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Wondering if anyone could provide some guidance on build

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Last response: in Systems
November 9, 2008 5:22:20 AM

Ok so I havent even opened a computer in years, grew up with them then about 16 fell headlong into a vodka bottle and didnt resurface until 23. Finally got my life in order, sobriety, good job, wife, 1yr son. You know the kind of life that basically defines not having enough money and being stuck in the house looking for new hobbies. Tax time is coming up and every year I allow one gift to myself with my federal savings account(read: absurdly high tax return). Since I have a few months of obsessively studying and planning ahead of me I figure I will get my parts list together now so hopefully by tax time those same parts will be discounted some. I know I know then it wont be top of the line but seriously my current computer is a 3 year old gateway Laptop with a 1.6Ghz AMD Turion and a Gig of ram so whether it will be the best out there or not it will meet my needs of casual gaming, web surfing and my wife's photo editing. The final goal here is to have a fairly fast desktop to hook to my Vizio 32in LCD in my living room so I can kick back in my recliner and play some games in HD(newest game I have is CC:Generals all though I would like to remedy that with a decent machine) and surf the web without a red hot laptop on my lap. So here is version 0.2 of my final build, I would appreciate any advice from anyone who is willing to provide it, I know those of you with vast amount of technical knowledge don't have to spend your time helping those of us who need it so thank you ahead of time.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3.1Ghz ADV60000DOBOX

RAM: KingstonKVR800D2N6/2G DDR2 (x4)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 nForce 570

Video Card: Gigabyte 1Gb GeForce 9800 GT GV-N98TOC-1GH

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD5001AALS

Optical Drive: Asus DRW-2014L1T

So that's what I got so far, for some reason I felt qualified enough to research all of that however was stumped by the Case, Power supply and Sound card. I have a samsung 5 Disk DVD player/5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound system in my living room that I plan on using and wasn't sure if the current crop of 7.1 sound cards would be the right choice to connect to that. Case and power supply I just don't even know where to start so anyone willing to take a moment to provide some guidance would be greatly appreciated. Any comments or idea's on the rest of the build are welcome as well.

Thank you

More about : wondering provide guidance build

November 9, 2008 5:33:33 AM

Well couple of things: First of all what is your budget? Secondly, if you plan on building this PC after your taxes are filed your probably looking at the beginning of February before you have the money to fund the build. Since that time frame is 3 months away, I would recommend waiting until your ready to build to actually determine a good build. It takes just a day on these forums to get a sold build. And waiting is in your best interest in my opinion.

November 9, 2008 5:47:57 AM

Yeah, Feb is the time frame. All in all I would like to spend less the 1k which I dont think should be too hard seeing as how I dont have to buy a monitor and speakers. I am certain that this build will evolve over that period of time however I want to get ballpark decisions made as far was what I am going to look at. Main reasons being compatibility and price, I want to make sure that these brands, models, etc work together and hopefully if I know what I am looking for I can find some stuff on sale/clearance etc. I am big into planning and research, it is part of the fun of anything I do. Thank you for the input, I know as much as I would like to tell myself I could set things in stone right now it just doesnt work that way, by feb there could be parts that far surpass the ones I have listed at the same price point and at that point I will probably amend to update.
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November 9, 2008 6:06:37 AM

There is no probability there. When it comes to computer components, price drops are a certainty.

I will give you a general list of parts:

Since you mentioned that your wife uses the computer for photo editing, I would recommend going with a quad core processor, a 4870 GPU, 500-650watt PSU, 4 gigs of 800MHz ram with good timing, and Windows Vista 64.

I don't provide any specific details on the actual parts because what I choose today will not necessarily be a good choice in February but the outline itself should be a reasonable draft. I would get the fastest quad core processor that fits your budget at the time as prices of quads should drop substantially due to the near release of the i7 cores.
November 9, 2008 6:16:46 AM

I would love if the quad core's drop enough by Feb to pick one up. I did some research and found that they aren't very well utilized in today's software and since I wanted something in the 3ghz range I decided to drop down to a dual core. Anything above a 2.4 quad core and you are looking at hundreds and hundreds of $. If I dont get one with this years return my plan is to drop in a fast quad core with next year's tax return as I will have more of a budget seeing as how the rest of the machine will already be together.
November 9, 2008 6:26:09 AM

Thank you for the info on the PSU by the way, I was looking online for a calculator for such things but couldnt get what I felt was reliable info; would a 500-650 be just enough or would it be able to support further expansion? I am sorry, one more question with full tower ATX case's do most any of them fit most any ATX board or do different brand cases fit different brand boards? Another subject I could find no info about. I really appreciate your time, everybody recommended the newegg forums for expert help and I got shunned there, not one response so I went looking and found this place, I think I have found my new home. Really excited to get back into the hobby, I have lived with crappy equipment outside the new technology loop for far too long.
November 9, 2008 6:28:33 AM

It looks like you're trying to stick to a pretty low budget and you have time to do some research. You'll want to overclock to get the best out of a budget set up so that means Intel right now. Check out the E5200 and overclocking with a G31 Gigabyte motherboard. At @ $85 for that CPU and @ $55 for that motherboard you're looking at the lowest priced combo that can give pretty good performance for the dollar. DDR2 RAM 800 1.8v and the HD4830 or 9800GT. Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit. Good place to look at hard drive comparisons and reviews is good luck, have fun doing the research. Things WILL change by the time you get ready to buy. AMD has the Deneb coming out, Intel prices will drop, new things are always on the horizon. If you want to stick with AMD check out reviews of the 790GX and 790FX with the SB750 and phenom CPUs.
November 9, 2008 6:32:33 AM

Well considering that the new i7 920 @ 2.66GHz preforms better than a Q9650 @ 3.0GHz and costs $284, I am more than confident in believing that the Q9650s current price of $540 should drop to below $284 by February and that you should be able to squeeze it into your budget :) 

November 9, 2008 6:51:16 AM

Yeah, I am trying to stick to a pretty low budget but am trying to hit hard in the important area's. For whatever reason I am feeling like getting a pretty good CPU but a good/great mobo, video card, amount of ram is a better idea then getting a beast of a chip and have it bottleneck everywhere else. Technically I could spend more, but I am trying not to be selfish with the tax money plus the more I spend on myself the more my wife thinks she can spend....

You guys have got my hopes up now, I really wanted a quad core but didnt want to be limited on games because my chip wasnt fast enough. Crossing my fingers that Intel or AMD release some game breaking CPU that puts everything else down a notch or two so I can afford them.

Does anyone have experience hooking computers to TV's? Do they usually perform well. My 32in Vizio LCD has beautiful 1080p, way better detail and clarity then most other HDTV's I have ever seen but am worried it wont do as well as I hope as a monitor. Are there any usual problems I can expect?

I have been reading up on overclocking, it has a heck of a stigma about it but from what I have read it really helps when done right. I didnt have it in my mind that I would be overclocking but I think I will be after some research, I started testing a few months ago by overclocking my phone's CPU from 500Mhz to 675Mhz figuring I have total equipment protection from sprint so if I burn it up I get a new phone no matter what. Seems to be running great, noticed a definite speed difference in windows mobile 6.1 with no ill effects...
November 9, 2008 8:17:52 AM

I agree that you would be better off if you waited.
November 9, 2008 10:10:53 AM

Been reading along here, then I got to the part about you overclocking your phone :o 
Wow, if you can overclock your phone, I would think that overclocking your PC would be a walk in the park!
Overclocked his phone :D  never have I heard of anyone doing that.
Way to go, just hope it doesn't microwave the side of your head or anything.
November 13, 2008 10:27:29 AM


I'm wondering if you built this system as I've got the motherboard and CPU on order and have just spotted the GA-M57SLI-S4 doesn't list the 6000+ (3.1GHz)brisbane as supported.

Any help appreciated.

March 3, 2009 12:30:56 AM

Well, since this is where I started, I figured only fitting to end here. Tax return came and I placed my orders, put it all together this weekend. Running Vista Ultimate 64 hooked up to my TV in my living room with sound run through my surround sound system. Works great for watching episodes of shows off their websites, all caught up on Sarah Conner chronicles now. Not quite as high performance as I had hoped, due to an issue with my work that leaves me away from home a week a month I decided to half my desktop budget and buy a laptop as well so I could setup the webcam and see my son while I am in a hotel room 2k miles away. All and all it turned out well, put together a decent performer for under $600(of course that doesnt count the donated legitimate copy of vista, I will go ahead and thank the computer gods for that)

Here are the stats

SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit

ASUS 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-22B1LT

Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE SB0570LPVP 5.1

Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 Desktop Memory Model KHX8500D2K2/4G

Rosewill RCX-Z940-SL 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor Model AD775ZWCGHBOX

Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 550W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply with Three 12V Rails

Antec 300 Mid-Tower