/ Sign-up
Your question

Should I build a PC? Here is my build list vs. buy list. Thanks!

  • Build
  • Systems
  • Product
Last response: in Systems
October 20, 2008 9:22:59 PM

Hi guys & gals -

I have been looking to upgrade for a while. I have never built a pc before, nor do I know much about undertaking such a project. I am looking for a computer for moderate gaming (company of heroes, fallout 3, etc...), but mostly use for general and photo editing (Nikon RAW files, CS2 and Lightroom 2). Anyways troubleshooting myself would be limited. Buying a PC is appealing due to ease of use and tech support, but I hate fluff software that bogs things down. Please help, and thanks in advance!!

Oh yeah and I'd like to keep the box around $1300 or under since I have to get a monitor and some software

Build list:


Corsair TX CMPSU-650TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

LITE-ON Black 20X

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit English

Roughly 1390 before monitor

and the buy off the shelf option:

HP - Pavilion Elite Desktop with Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q9300

Constructive criticism is welcome as well as any advice. Should I try building, or buy this PC and be happy? Also running a 24" + monitor at high res is what I am looking for. Also thanks to other threads where I pulled some of the build ideas from. I am lost without this board!



Changed motherboard and HDD per recommendations below

More about : build build list buy list

October 20, 2008 9:32:40 PM

A definite NO on the motherboard. That's old technology. Check out the P45 instead.

I would suggest a Western Digital 640 GB HDD - cheap, great performance.

The rest looks fine. If you want to push a 24" monitor at High Res, and plan on Gaming at high settings/all the eye candy, it may be tight with only 1 GPU.

I would suggest building a PC - it's not difficult, is fun, and saves plenty of money.
October 20, 2008 9:36:07 PM

As of right now a 4870 512 MB runs anything (except crysis... obviously) at 1920 by 1200 with out any hiccups... probably will for the next year at least... Most second level top of the line cards last about a year to a year and a half being able to play top games at top levels of eye candy at that res... my 8800 GTS 640 did it... and hopefully the 4870 will do it as well
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
October 20, 2008 9:38:55 PM

i always suggest building a computer. but if you are not comfortable with providing your own tech support dont build your own computer.
October 20, 2008 9:40:48 PM

^ +1 for motherboard and hdd change. Try Asus P5Q or Gigabyte P45 models. Should be ~$100 cheaper too.

You should be fine with a 4870 at 24", definately if you are planning on only moderate gaming.


October 20, 2008 9:42:32 PM

Since you said yourself that you are inexperienced in building a PC, I'd suggest that you go with the HP desktop you mentioned. The specs are quite good. It'll handle the games you mentioned as long as you dont max out all the detail settings. You can always uninstall the software you don't want.
October 20, 2008 10:32:16 PM

That system you're putting together will definitely be able to out preform that pre built box. Also consider that by building it you can add another 4850 latter for even more performance, while that HP only has 1 PCI-E 16x slot that already has a 9800GT in it.
October 20, 2008 10:52:03 PM

also u get a better powe supply than the hp and maybe less ram yet better everything better and i assume the warranty on ur parts beat the 1 yr hp gives you
October 20, 2008 10:56:07 PM

Hey check your PMs, i sent you a private message.
October 20, 2008 11:55:02 PM

Do you have a particular need for Vista Ultimate? You can save ~$80 by downgrading to Vista Home Premium 64-bit. Great choice on RAM, GPU, HDD, PSU.
October 20, 2008 11:56:28 PM

+1 to the Vista suggestion. Very few need all the features in Ultimate.

Another +1 to going to to check on a CPU cooler.

Let us know if we can help out anymore.
October 21, 2008 12:03:44 AM

The HP has an inferior cpu and vga card.

If you need 8gb of ram, it is a cheap addition.

You get a 3 year warranty on the cpu from intel/newegg, only one year(limited) from HP.
How about other parts?

Do you really need ultimate? There are not very many features that a home user would want, compared to home premium. Go to the vista web site for a side by side comparison of features.

You will probably get better support from these forums than you will get from HP.

The satisfaction of building it yourself---Priceless!
October 21, 2008 12:09:55 AM

well y dont u consider this maker...

check the ratings and reviews... here

looks pretty impressive and has quiet a number of awards..

ok u have three good options...

let me just write down the total prices and the different parts in the three configs...the rest of the components are common and listed below...

system 1
cpu..core 2 duo e8500 @ 3.1ghz
case...cooler master cosmos S (the sports car of cases:)  )
vga... geforce 260gtx
mobo...MSI P7N SLI-FI 750i SLI (20$ rebate)
total price ...$1302

system 2
cpu core 2 quad q9550 @ 2.8ghz
case ..cooler master cm590
vga geforce 260gtx
mobo...MSI P7N SLI-FI 750i SLI (20$ rebate)
total price...$1319

system 3 (my recommended)
cpu..core 2 duo e8500
case 590
vga 2 x 4850 in crossfire
mobo..Asus P5E Deluxe X48 CrossFire (full 16x and 16x in crossfire)
total price....$1357

ok the list below is the common components..


FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)

cooling= Asetek Liquid CPU Cooling System (Extreme Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA)

HDD: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM


MOUSE: Logitech Optical Wheel Mouse (BLACK COLOR)

MEMORY: 4GB (4x1GB) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)

NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network

OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (32-bit Edition)

POWERSUPPLY: 700 Watts Power Supplies (Thermaltake Toughpower 700W Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready)

SOFT: Free 60 Days Microsoft® Office® 2007 (Words, Excel, Access, Power Point, Outlook + More) - Windows Vista™ Required



USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports

WNC: PCI Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Interface Card

i think any three of the systems would be a good investment with three years warranty coming on all of them..obviously u can customize yourself as well but thse were my is the link..

October 21, 2008 1:01:46 AM

Holy - I just got back from dinner and there is already tons of help. Let me sift through this info now and get back to you guys tomorrow. Everyone has been a huge help so thanks again!
October 21, 2008 3:07:29 AM

wow i love this website such nice systems...just made an amd setup...mouth watering hehe..

CASE: ($10 off Mail-in Rebate) Sigma Gaming Unicorn Mid-Tower

CPU: AMD Phenom™ X4 9950 Black Edition Quad-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology

MOTHERBOARD: Asus M3A79-T Deluxe 790FX CrossFire Chipset with Quad PCIE slot DDR2/1066 SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394, & 7.1Audio

MEMORY:4GB (4x1GB) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)

VIDEO CARD: 2 x ATI Radeon HD 4850 in crossfire

PSU: 700 watts Thermaltake toughpower

Cooling: Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Excellent Overclocking + Silent Proof 16dBA)

HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)



modem and ethernet included

3 years warranty

total...1285 before MIR....just wow :) ...u can customize yourself but i already did it for ur budget

that Mobo is sick with four PCI-e slots and the newer SB750 south bridge with ACC overclocking......I need one of these puppies :D 
October 21, 2008 4:04:59 AM

What ever system you get, try and get a quad core, and a 4870, with 4 gigs of ram. (I say 4870, cause i am a AMD fan) if you can get that in your system your fine.
October 21, 2008 4:49:37 AM

i would tend to say that you should build it yourself if you can do a little troubleshooting when something goes wrong it shouldn't be a problem the knowlege that you gain just from getting it all together will make up for any of the time spent building it and it is always a nice feeling to use something you built
October 26, 2008 4:57:31 PM

Hi all -

Thanks for all of the input so far - everyone has been very helpful.

I have a few additional questions Later on down the line when the 4870 becomes more affordable, I may be interested in getting another for crossfire. Will my power supply support it, or do I need to upgrade. Also I have the same question about my motherboard. Would I need to go to something like this:


then would I need to change my RAM type?

Thanks for your continuing help!
October 27, 2008 10:33:23 PM

in case of the p45 board u selected "yes" u might have to change the motherboard since the pci-e slots on p45 in crossfire usually only work at half the speed that is 8x-8x (16x-8x for this particular board), instead the ones on x48 (the one u have selected in above post) work on full 16x-16x so if u want to go with a 4870 crossfire u will really see a bottleneck with the p45 board, although a single card would run fine at 16x...

that psu at 650watts and coming from a good brand i.e. corsair should be ok for crossfire....check this link for dual 4870 setup taking around 450 odd watts with a dual core extreme cpu and other components....

"NO" the RAM is fine for both boards u dont have to change it :)