Need some advice guys about building :)

First I'd Like to introduce my self. Im Liam and I Live in Eastern Ireland. I like to play games like Cod2 and Cod4 Play some Wow but i haven't in a while because i stop for obvious reasons :) and im soon gona get Cod5.

I'm Thinking about Getting a new Pc but im confused about what road to go. Weather to build my own from scratch? Or to buy a pre build one from dell or alienware or such places. ( Iv been told to stay away).

But my problem lies when buying the components is where to i buy them from that will ship to Ireland? Hopefully you know some sites.

I have some experience changing graphics cards and putting some extra ram in to my machine but thats about it.

Im looking to make a pretty good gaming pc so im not too worried about like Blu Ray burners etc because il use this pc if i need to do anything like that.

My current pc specs are something like this:

Packard Bell NEC (?)
Os: Xp Home edition
Cpu:Intell Pentium 4 3.06Ghz
Gfx Card:Nvidia 7600Gs 256mb i think

Em thats all i can dig up but i think i can find more if needed. So im just wondering if i was to build my own pc..

-Is there a checklist of things that i need
-Wheres the best place to buy the stuff
-Do you recommend i build my on pc and is it extremely hard?
-Wheres the best place to spend the bulk of my money
-What brands would be better?
-Sli or not?

I just need some general advice really so thats all..

Oh budget wise the cheaper the better but i suppose maybe 600-800$ would suit fine but i suppose i could go over it a bit if it ment i had a really cool rig.

I would really like two good cards running in sli but if the price is too much then i can settle for one.

Cheers Guys :D
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  1. The answers to your questions in order are

    CPU, Motherboard, hard drive(s), optical drive, video card(s), RAM, case, PSU, case fan(s). Optional: CPU fan if you plan on overclocking, sound card (some things such as hard drives or optical drives you might be able to salvage out of an old system)

    I don't know due to the fact that I live in the US

    Building is quite easy and there are hundreds of guides online to help you through the process.

    Video card

    There are many good brands so don't get caught up too much in that. Some good ones are Asus, Gigabyte, Evga, Corsair, Mushkin, OCZ, Silverstone, Lian Li, Cooler Master, Antec, et al. More important than the brand is getting a product with good reviews and the features that you want at a good price. Newegg is a good place to research what to buy but take their customer comments with a grain of salt. I usually look through them and if I see a problem that is mentioned more than a couple times, then I consider it a real concern. I also combine the percentage of 4 &5 egg reviews and if it's 90% or higher you can feel confident that it's a good product.

    SLI/Crossfire depends on your budget and what video resolution you plan on using. With the budget you chose I would suggest a single ATI 4850 or 4870.

    You also mention that you would like SLI but I would strongly urge you that if you do consider multiple video cards your best option would be Crossfire with 2 ATI cards.
  2. yeah with that budget two decent cards in sli is going to be too expensive, better to just get a single mid-end card and add another later if you want. because one decent gpu will destroy 2 low end in sli. For gaming rig the biggest portion of your money is going to be in a gpu, but on a budget that gets tough to fit in. Im also guessing your going to need monitor and peripherals? as well as an os? on tight budgets like this sometimes its not bad to get a boxed system and order upgrades a couple key components, like psu and a gpu to put in when you get it. There are debates on here sometimes as to when is it worth it to build a system vs buy and 600 is pretty much the lowest you can go for an ok system. comp companies like dell make some of their parts so a decent model for them is cheaper than the cheapest you can buy, as well as massive volume discounts for their parts.
  3. Forget SLI and Crossfire on that budget. You'd have to do it with two lousy cards and it's usually better to just get a single card for the same money. Motherboards are cheaper too if they don't have to support SLI/Crossfire. SLI motherboards in particular are a pain these days.
  4. Aevm has a decent build but at $700 out of his $800 top end of budget needs a lot more parts....even if he was talking euro's that E550 and E250 for a monitor case psu mouse and keyboard gonna be a tight fit.
  5. Yeah, ebuyer seems to be very popular in that part of the world. Since you're not in the UK you might get the VAT removed. At least I get it removed when I buy DVDs from amazon UK (I live in Canada).

    An E8500 is 163 British pounds at ebuyer. It's 165 pounds at overclockers (140 without VAT). 140 pounds is about 166 euros, at the official exchange rates. I assume your credit card company will make it 175 euros, and you'll probably have to pay some customs fee too. Still, it may end up cheaper than at (192 euros). Shop around...
  6. kurtyboh said:
    Aevm has a decent build but at $700 out of his $800 top end of budget needs a lot more parts....even if he was talking euro's that E550 and E250 for a monitor case psu mouse and keyboard gonna be a tight fit.

    Yeah, I know it's over budget. Hardware prices in Europe are just horrible. I didn't even include RAM or case or a new HDD (hopefully he can reuse what he has). I did include a PSU. I'm assuming he can reuse his current monitor for now. If not, he'd better wait and save more.

    He could go for a E7200, I guess, or wait and save more money while prices drop a bit. There are cheaper video cards than HD 4850, but that's the last place where you want to make cuts on a gaming PC.
  7. I know everything prices in europe are crazy, im in germany for the next 3 yrs and wow... but it from what i read "Im looking to make a pretty good gaming pc so im not too worried about like Blu Ray burners etc because il use this pc if i need to do anything like that. " The monitor and other stuff is in use... that coupled with the crazy euro expense is why i mentioned possibly buying a boxed comp and upgrade a couple parts when he gets it to gear it for gaming. and as far as getting the vat removed he is still in the E.U. and its standard everywhere in the E.U.
  8. Then those UK retailers are even more expensive than :(

    Still, it's worth trying. He can go through the screens when ordering and just not click the final button if the VAT is still there. It might still be there but lower too. I don't know how "standard" it is, TBH. At overclockers in the UK they add 17.8% (from 140 to 165). At (in Germany) they add 19% (I just tried with a CD, it went from 17.95 to 15.08 when it learned the shipping address.)
  9. Wow Thanks for all your advice..I think i will increase my budget tbh because i dont want to be compromising on important stuff..

    I see alot of ati cards sugested here..These im not familiar with thats why i was leaning towards nvidia a bit..

    I will have a look around on those sites..I didnt even know about

    Emm What do i need to be looking for in a Cpu and a moterboard? is there big difference that could affect gaming?
  10. Ok i had an idea..Im gona keep my old system and just upgrade it in to somthing better..

    So Things i need are
    Monitor (old one is shot)
    Graphics card
    Processer? I duno about this one do i need it?
    Motherbord (il buy one that can take my 2.5gb of ram i allrdy got )
    Psu maybe for new card..and do i need a New cooling system?

    I think this would be a less stressfull road to go down what you guys think
  11. Ok i had an idea..Im gona keep my old system and just upgrade it in to somthing better..

    So Things i need are
    Monitor (old one is shot)
    Graphics card
    Processer? I duno about this one do i need it?
    Motherbord (il buy one that can take my 2.5gb of ram i allrdy got )
    Psu maybe for new card..and do i need a New cooling system?

    I think this would be a less stressfull road to go down what you guys think
  12. nVidia is not bad either. It's just that this year ATI has this HD 4850 card that owns the $150 range and sells like hot cakes. It even beats my 8800GTX that cost $651 last year. Compare prices between the ATI HD 4850 and the nVidia 9800GTX+. These two cards are almost identical in speed (maybe the ATI a bit better, but not really something you'd notice).

    What to look for in a CPU: you should decide between dual-core and quad-core. For example a Q6600 costs about as much as an E8500, and will beat it in certain applications (like compressing DVDs or playing Flight Simulator X). On the other hand, the E8500 will do better in most games, assuming you don't run other things in the background. If you do crazy things like playing Warcraft with two accounts at the same time, again a quad helps.

    What to look for in a motherboard:
    1. video cards supported. That is, if you can afford a video card now but want to add a second one later, you need to match the MB and video card.
    That is, an ATI card with a Crossfire MB, or an nVidia card with a SLI MB.
    If you don't intend to add a second card ever, you can get a cheaper MB normally, with a single PCI-E x16 slot. In particular, that GA-EP45-DS3 will support Crossfire i.e. a second HD 4850. If you find a 9800GTX+ for less money and prefer nVidia and care about a second video card then you should get a SLI motherboard instead of the GA-EP45-DS3.

    2. DDR/CPU type supported. Specifically, you want one that works with DDR2. Some work with DDR3, which costs (a lot) more than DDR2, so be careful there. Also, you want something that works well with the CPU you want. Motherboards based on P45 are the best available these days on a reasonable budget and working with Q6600, E8500 and the other Intel Core 2 CPUs.

    3. SATA ports (ideally at least 6) - this decides how many hard disks you can add.

    4. PCI slots (ideally 3, but usually 2). These are useful for TV tuners, sound cards, modems, etc. Most such devices are available in USB too, or not even necessary (e.g. sound cards, where onboard audio is just fine for lots of people), so PCI slots are less important these days.

    5. Fancy cooling and lots of overclocking options and LED panels and so on. These can make the difference between a $200 and a $400 MB. Probably not of much interest to you. Important to overclockers, of course.
  13. Oops, you've changed plans while I was typing the long message above. :)

    Tell us the exact model of your motherboard and your power supply.

    The weakest points in your system are the GPU and then the CPU. Ideally you should be able to replace those only, but it depends on the MB and PSU.
  14. For a graphics card i was thinking of this maybe NVIDIA Geforce GTX 280..But im not even sure if it would fit in to my case..

    once i get decided on a gfx card i can work around everything else from there
  15. still we need to know the specs for the stuff you plan on keeping, for compatibility... dont want to be telling you to get stuff that wont work without some crazy tweak
  16. Yeah. And if you're thinking about the GTX 280 you should also measure how much room you have for it. That card is huge and might not fit in your existing box. Same thing for HD 4870 X2, in fact - the best video cards are monsters. They also need some serious PSUs.
  17. I didnt read you above posts so maybe i will take your advice and go for a crossfire mobo with 1 4850 for now and then maybe another later :D

    Id like to know whats the difference between my Cpu and the E8500 because the core speeds seem to be the same and stuff.

    How do i find out the make of my motherboard and psu? Will it be written on it?
  18. they have close to the same core speed, but the e8500 is duo core... essentially two processors on one die... plus its 45nm which has been amazing for oc. but my parents almost always buy packard bell, and not once have they been able to drop in a new proc. cuz their soldered in.

    I am partial to the asus p5q deluxe mobo, although asus ram compatibility is picky.

    Good call on the 4850 and crossfire future possibility.

    Both your current mobo and psu should have a name on it somewhere the psu is usually on the back/can see it from the rear of comp-if not the namebrand wattage amperage and such. mobo, screenprinted... anywhere they had room. Check on the ram too so we can tell you if it'll be compatible with whichevere mobo you choose. or you'll be able to look it up in the user manual (usually avail. online.)

    Even if you have to replace the mobo, cpu, gpu and psu for 800 you can have a pretty nice rig. maybe even some left over for faster oc'able ram as well...
  19. I am partial to the P5Q Pro, mostly because it costs less.

    The P5Q Deluxe is aimed at overclockers with larger budgets than average IMO.

    Don't bother with the MB and PSU models if it's too much trouble. Just look at the front of the PC and tell us what model of Packard Bell it is. Once we know that I'm sure we can get details with Google.
  20. The one reason i support the deluxe over the pro or even the e which is nearly its identical twin, is the heat pipe which goes all over helping to keep things cool and last a bit longer
  21. but if money is that much of a concern then the pro or the e for 15 bucks more are excellent choices
  22. Yeah, but that heat pipe got me in trouble once. I told a guy to get an Arctic Freezer 7 Pro cooler and it didn't fit because of the pipe. Embarrassing, isn't it :)
  23. lol. yeah good to know though... sorry to do this to the pirate but aevm have you heard of any others that dont fit in case i want to add one on in the future???
  24. No others AFAIK. Just go to Newegg and read its user reviews, see what others are using with it. Here's an interesting quote for example:


    Other Thoughts: My 3rd build, Q6600 @ 3.2ghz (800x4), FSB to Ram 1:1, Evga 8800gt Akimbo Edition, Antec TPQ 850W, Razer AC-1 soundcard, 4gb Corsair (4-4-4-12), Antec 900 case. When installing my Xigamek S1283 cooler, it is honestly 1-2mm off of the Northbridge cooling, but it still fits. Future proof, I plan on throwing in 2 ATI 4850's and I wont need a new computer for years to come.

    Of course, the "Xigamek S1283" is Xigmatek HDT-S1283. There are also people using that MB with the Zalman 9700NT, or the Zerotherm Nirvana.
  25. Well i can tell my psu is a "FSP Group Inc" Ermm Model No:fsp250-60Gen..
    I duno if that helps..My Mb Says Gigabyte Ga-81915PMD or it could be GA-8I9I5PMD not sure.. My Ram Is ddr2 i think i remember when i was buying it.. Im hot not :P I think that all if theres anything else il try find it
  26. Also im doin a price compare of those 5 parts on Those 5 sites..just for curiosity sake :)
  27. Smart. Please tell us which sites have the best prices when you're done.

    Your PSU is rated 250W. Totally wrong for what you're looking at. A system with a HD 4850 should have at PSU with at least 450W, and if you want the option to do Crossfire later you need at least 550W. (The numbers are from Visiontek specs, but all HD 4850 cards consume about the same.)

    Bad news about the motherboard too, sorry. It's Ga-81915PMD, btw. It's based on the 915 chipset and won't support a Core 2 duo processor.
  28. Also if the rest of the stuff is that weak/old, your ram is going to be slowing you down... most likely you will be able to use it in your new setup however, you will not see the massive improvement you were hoping for although it will definitely be noticeable. you could get the other parts and drop in ram later and watch the system kick into high gear for you. some mobo's are picky about ram, so it would be nice to know what brand, speed you have. There should be a sticker on them, usually its easy to see.
  29. Ok so maybe i should leave the cpu for now and i could get a mb, gpu and psu? Would that keep me going till say maybe mid 2009.. Il look now what make my ram is so il have to turn pc off cuz i may take it out..
  30. You could change the PSU and GPU only, and keep the current motherboard. There are motherboards that support both Core 2 Duo and your Pentium, but not all. Also, they won't support i7. By mid 2009 get yourself a new motherboard compatible with i7, and an i7 920, and some DDR3. They're overpriced right now IMO but that's normal with brand new technology and they will be cheaper in 6 months. If they're still too much, you'll be able to get the E8500 or a Q9550 for less money than today.
  31. Yeah this is hard business..You have to plan for the future and future updates :P..Would my current Mb support a 4850 i wonder..? Ok im just gona check my memory then il post the results of my shop around :)
  32. Good point... Theoretically, it should work, because it has a PCI-E slot. However, it might need a BIOS update. I found this with Google, for example:

    Send an e-mail to Packard-Bell's support, see what they know.
  33. Oh i see..So are bios updates in anyway dodgey? or like could they wreck your pc? or are they good?

    Anyway I took the ram out and discovered somthing odd..It seems i have 3.5Gb of ram in my 4 slots, theres like 2 red and two yellow slots..But when i go to run>dxdiag it is only detecting 2.5Gb of ram , this is peculiar but im not to worried about it for the moment.

    But heres what i got:
    512Mb 1Rx8 Pc2-42004-444-12-D0 DDR2, 533, CL4

    1Gb PC2-4200 DDR2 SBRAM 128mx64 1GBBulurttlbb

    1GB Memory Power- 195313 1GBDDR2KH553 2pc kit

    1GB Memory Power- 195313 1GBDDR2KH553 2pc kit

    But now since of take the ram out and back in the screen turns black for around 2 seconds, every 10 seconds or so. I remember somthing like this happening before when i was puting stuff in there i think it just went away by its self but i thought it was worth mentioning.
  34. again like aevm said it should work. But it's not a 2.0 so youre not going to get the full potential of the gpu.. jfyi... down the line when you update the mobo and proc, you'll notice a large difference. however in 6 months if you go the i7 route you will need new ram, those boards run tri-channel ram, and i've heard reports of dangers over 1.5v for the ram on them, havent seen an article about it though.
  35. Is there anyway to know how well the card would work with my Mb? Or should i just get a new one?

    Also do you know anything about the blackscreening? After i touched the ram its going mad now :( maybe dust got in it?
  36. Well, the best way I can think of is to ask Packard-Bell. It's a proprietary MB and they're the best source of info.

    Was there a spark when you touched the RAM? If yes, you may have just damaged it. Google "electrostatic discharge" for details.

    Hopefully you just seated it wrong. Touch the PC case to discharge static electricity and then take the RAM out and put it in again.
  37. I took all the ram out and just put one stick in and it works fine..the 512mb stick so im gona try another now, im sure il get it working through trial and error..

    So anyway do you think i should get a new Mb mate? or just a nice new Gpu and a psu
  38. Yes, you should get a new MB, if you can.
  39. Ok well everything is back to normal now i just put the ram in one by one and it seems ok..i realised why i only got 2.5Gb instead of 3.5gb is because the two of the same stick are only 512mb each its a 1Gb set :s.. Hence why it says 2pc kit :L..

    I had a mesure also while i was down there.. My current gpu is about 7" or 180mm long..So i have around 5 more inches before i hit the hardrive..Il check the size on Newegg.

    So is the GA-EP45-DS3 Mb a good one to get? And the Corsair Psu?

    Also is Ati reliable ?
  40. Here are prices Btw:

    133€ 4850
    86€ Psu



    psu-Not found around 70-80€


    Aria 43€

  41. Some mistakes in names..couldnt edit it sorry
  42. Don't bother checking sizes. Newegg won't show them anyway. I usually get that info from reviews. The HD 4850 is about 9.25" long, depending a bit on manufacturer and model, and the GTX 280 about 12" long. Most other gaming cards are somewhere in between. You'll be fine with your current case then, excellent :)

    MB: I'd pick between GA-EP45-DS3, GA-EP45-DS3R, GA-EP45-DS4, P5Q Pro.
    All are between 115 and 126 euros at Compare features if you want ( is a great site for that). For example I like the P5Q Pro because it has 8 SATA ports. Very handy if you record TV shows and the HDDs get filled and you end up with lots of hard drives.

    PSU: yes, the 650W Corsair is the best choice I can find for your needs at Dabs. You need something around 600W for future-proofing, and preferably not a brand like "Sweex" or "Dabs value". If you look at this list you'll see for example a CoolerMaster 650W for 61 euros (the Corsair is 90 euros).
    IMO the Corsair is totally worth the extra.

    Is ATI reliable??? Yes and no. Yes, as in millions of cards sold and used successfully all over the world. Yes, as in, this year it gets fewer complaints than your only other choice, nVidia. No, as in it depends on manufacturer. You can have an ATI HD 4850 made by a good manufacturer which works and another ATI HD 4850 made by somebody else which doesn't. For example Visiontek or Sapphire have good reputations, but even they send out defective cards from time to time and you need to RMA them. Newegg is good here too because you can get an idea. For example here:
    It shows Sapphire HD 4850 with 115 reviews and 5 eggs, and Asus HD 4850 with 51 reviews and 4 eggs. Based on that, you can see that Sapphire sells more and they're generally more likely to make the buyer happy. Not very scientific but still it seems to work :)
  43. Thanks for the price list. I've got to go back to work now, but I'll study it later. I assume you've included shipping and rebates in there, but not customs fees and any VAT rebates or adjustments from UK rates to Ireland rates.

    Anyway, Aria at 438 euros seems to win. I'm surprised at ebuyer, I thought they had better prices than average. See, I learned something useful today :)
  44. No i didnt inc shipping and other stuff :( im a silly boy..i wouldnt sware by that list because i just did it quick..sorry
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