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First time Builder. Need help with whole process!

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August 23, 2008 9:15:35 PM

Hello all. I’m starting the process of building a new desktop, from top to bottom. I am pretty much a newb on the subject of building your own PC. I wouldn’t say a complete beginner because I know the basic components of computers and their functions. I wanted to find a good forum that could aid and assist me through the whole building process; from picking parts to the assembly, and this forum seems like a great place. I filled out the list to help you all get an idea of what I’m looking for.

1. Budget: $1,000+ but not too much over that because I still need to buy monitor, keyboard, mouse… basically everything

1. Brands: Are there any brands of components you want or don't want? Intel over AMD

2. Multitasking: Will you be multitasking with this computer and if so, how much? Gaming and maybe something in the background, playing music for example.

3. Gaming: Will you be gaming and if so, how much and how new are the games? Yes. Primary purpose for the computer would be gaming. I’m not looking to play the hardcore shooters that are very demanding. Main goal is to play World of Warcraft at max settings(I know its not too hard to achieve), City of Heroes, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 (when they come out). Also, games like Gears of War and Supreme Commander would be nice to play on max settings also.

4. Calculations: Will you be doing any intense calculations or media encoding? Not so much. Just gaming, word processing, music, etc. No photoshop or similar demanding programs.

5. Overclocking: Do you plan on overclocking and if so, how much? I guess if I could be confident in my ability to do so, but if I can achieve my gaming goals above without the need of overclocking, then most likely not.

6. Storage: How much storage will you need and what will you be storing? Nothing too extreme. Just enough for games and some music. I can always buy extra storage later if I need it, right?

7. Legacy Support: Will you need support for older hardware like parallel, serial, or PS/2 devices? Shouldn't since I'm starting from scratch.

8. Operating System: Do you want Windows XP or Vista, or Linux compatibility? Vista

9. Case: Do you want help selecting a case and if so, how big do you want it? I have a potential build below, if there is a better fit I am totally open to opinions.

10. Accessories: Do you want a keyboard, mouse, or other items included? Yes I will need to get it all.

11. Recycled Components: Will you be reusing any components you already have? Nope. All from scratch

12. Monitor: If you want a monitor, what size do you want and should it be widescreen? Preferably 22 inch. Always open to opinions to what is best for my intentions (gaming).

13. Stores: Do you have any online stores that you prefer to purchase from? Newegg, Tigerdirect. Any others people recommend.

14. Location: What country do you live in? USA

Here is the potential build I had in mind. I’m not going to try and hide it; this is from the PC Gamer: PC Building Bible for 2007. I’m using this because I’m fairly certain it can achieve the gaming goals I’m aiming for and I know the price of the components should have gone down from last year.

Videocard:
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX

Mobo:
EVGA nForce 680i SLI

CPU:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300

Memory:

3gb Corsair TwinX DDR2/800

Case:
Antec Nine Hundred

Power Supply:
Antec True Power Trio 650

Operating System:
Vista

Hard Drive:

250 GB Maxtor DiamondMax 9

Optical Drive:

Lite-On lt Super AllWrite SHM-165H6S

Now that is all from the magazine. I did change how much ram and the video card they had. At the time they published the magazine the price of all the components totaled around $1,400. I checked all the parts a few weeks back on newegg and I’m pretty sure the total came close to 1k. Probably a little more because I wand 3gigs of ram to their 1. I’m fairly certain all the parts are compatible.

But yeah, tear my list apart. If things have came out that are better and still cheap, or my parts aren’t compatible, go ahead and let me know. I’m not married to the $1,000 price range; I can go a little higher. I just don’t want to go too extreme because I still need/want to buy a decent monitor and the other peripherals. I know Quad Core is the big thing now, but do I really need it to achieve my aims, and if I can use Quad Core and get better performance but still keep my price range then that would be awesome-- This is what I'm hoping you all can help me with...Telling me how i can reach my goals as efficiently as possible.

I’m looking forward to the process and I hope the community here at Tom’s Hardware can help me through each step. I’ll have pictures posted when everything is done!!

P.S. Sorry for bad grammar, want to get this up and going ASAP, so I can start ordering soon!

Thanks,
Aaron

More about : time builder process

August 23, 2008 9:39:38 PM

Hi Ark300,

Very informative post! So comments:

- Go for an E8400 CPU $170

- An ATi 4870 will outdo that 8800 - $270

- Try a Gigabyte P45 DS4P motherboard. The Intel chipsets have been working better than the NVidia ones, and given the ATi cards at the moment XFire looks a better option than SLI. $180

- Go for 4Gb of DDR2-800 RAM from Corsair, Mushkin, or Geil. Add to this Vista 64bit to give you use of all the RAM. Also buy in 2Gb sticks to allow for easy upgrade later.

- Try the Corsair 750TX $100

- Maybe a seagate barracuda 7200.11 750Gb HDD $120

- I have a very nice Samsung 226BW 22", if you could stretch to it I would go for 24". You might not get the max resolutions for gaming but you would get some very nice results. The extra area makes working with multiple document far easier.

That comes to $920 and should outdo the system you spec'ed by a good margin.

However you could go for a quad core especially if you want a long lifetime out of this machine. Try a Q6600 ($190) or Q9300 ($269). If you feel you might want to overclock you would be advised to go for an aftermarket cooler - try an Xigmatek one, their mounting bracket will also help.

Hope that gets you started. Post back with questions.

Jeremy

August 24, 2008 2:39:01 AM

Videocard:
ATI HD 4870 $270

Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L $100

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0ghz $170

Memory:
Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 4-4-4-12 $79

Case:
Centurion 5 $50

Power Supply:
Corsair 750W $100

Operating System:
Vista $100

Hard Drive:
640GB $85

Optical Drive:
Any SATA $30

Total: ~$984 before shipping and handling
Related resources
August 24, 2008 3:04:10 PM

I like the look of sanjiwatsuki's design.

I would go for his motherboard and Kingston RAM isn't too bad. I'm not sure what hard drive he has spec'ed there. It would be useful to know.

It is your call on quad vs dual.

Jeremy
August 24, 2008 3:20:08 PM

Processor Cooler - $34.99
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler


Processor Cooler Bracket
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - $6.99

Thermal Compound
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $6.99

Motherboard - $159.99
ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard


Video Card - $289.99
POWERCOLOR AX4870 512MD5-PPH Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card


RAM - $87.00
CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory


Hard Drive - $59.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM


Power Supply - $119.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V NVIDIA SLI Ready ATI CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

DVD Drive - $23.99
LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM


Case - $84.99
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


OS
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - $99.99

Total - $1144.89 ~ $1145.00

How about this?

And what happened to the posts we had in this thread yesterday? I asked you about quad core and the antec 900 case and you replied....But now I cant see those posts anymore. Is it because of maintenance?

Also, which RAM would you recommend?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I believe the second has faster timing( the numbers that look like this: #-#-#-#)

Thanks for your replies...I won't be able to respond till late, have to go to work, but i'll be back on later tonight.
August 24, 2008 3:31:31 PM

Looks good. Not sure where those post have gone. Not sure what I wrote either - if you need to know, just ask.

The second set of ram does have faster timings and will allow a little more flexibility if you decide to do some overclocking. $8 for the faster set won't exactly break the bank.

There might be some rebates to be had on some of these parts as well.

You've dropped the HDD capacity quite substantially, I might wager that an extra $25 seems to be worth nearly 400Gb and might not be a bad investment.

I think I said that people liked the Antec cases but I haven't got any personal experience with them. Although I felt slightly envious looking at the shiny metal compared to my naff cream coloured box....
August 24, 2008 3:46:13 PM

jpdykes said:
Looks good. Not sure where those post have gone. Not sure what I wrote either - if you need to know, just ask.

The second set of ram does have faster timings and will allow a little more flexibility if you decide to do some overclocking. $8 for the faster set won't exactly break the bank.

There might be some rebates to be had on some of these parts as well.

You've dropped the HDD capacity quite substantially, I might wager that an extra $25 seems to be worth nearly 400Gb and might not be a bad investment.

I think I said that people liked the Antec cases but I haven't got any personal experience with them. Although I felt slightly envious looking at the shiny metal compared to my naff cream coloured box....


Thanks for the reply. Yeah you said something on the lines of that about the Antec in the post that has mysteriously disappeared. I'm considering using the Antec 900 instead of the one I have listed. Yeah, your right I could go for more space. Never a bad thing. Thanks for the answer on the ram. Ill be using the second.

Also, I need to get a monitor. Have any that you would recommend. Looking in the are of 22'' to 24''. What is the price range that I would be looking at for a high quality one? Well off to work... ill be back later.

Once again, Thanks for all the help.
August 24, 2008 3:53:04 PM

For monitors I use a Samsung 22" (226BW, long time recommended by PC Pro) which is very nice. There is a better quality 2253BW (no recommended) at $260. Samsung 24" ones seem to be around $420.

I don't have massive knowledge on that front. Look for high contrast ratings 1:3000+, brightness around 330cd/m2 and fast response times ~2ms for best gaming.

Jeremy
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