Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

Hello - I created this thread because I need guidance on building a gaming desktop. I don't have much experience with this - so far all my experience is replacing a video card and putting in some thermal paste.

My goal is to make a great GAMING PC for my little brother for about 600-800$ - i want to try to not go over 700 but i also want to get the most out of my money. I am using websites such as google, newegg( especially the reviews!), toms hardware, pricewatch, and tigerdirect. I won't get state of the art technology with that budget, but I still want it to last a good number of years with the latest games. I live in and will be buying from the USA.

Keep in mind that since i have never built a computer so I'm not really sure too sure what I'm doing. I figured that i would order all the parts and then just try to put it together.

So far, the parts that I think I need are:

Video Card
Computer Case
Hard Drive
CD/DVD Burner

Please let me know if there is anything else I need. The fan comes with the motherboard right? Will I need some sort of external cooling also?

I have researched the priciest components so far (CPU, motherboard, video card). Please let me know what you think of my decisions and if you have recommendations. Is everything compatible with eachother? I'm trying to get the biggest bang for my buck. Based on my research, I have come to the conclusion that Intel > AMD at this current moment.

I haven't decided if I am going to overclock this (partly because I'm not sure how to). But let's just assume I will.

Processor - this is what I have researched the most so far and I am fairly confident in my choice - but let me know if you disagree.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0Ghz 1333FSB 6MB L2

Motherboard - I'm not very knowledgeable with the specs for motherboards, I have narrowed it down to the eight motherboards you see below (based on the reviews at newegg).

Keep in mind that I have not checked these motherboards on Pricewatch - so there may be a 5-10$ cheaper elsewhere.

As for CPU/Motherboard combos, I've looked for a good deal on one of those but what I am finding is that they offer a really great processor and a very crappy non-gaming motherboard.

Video Card - I have already purchased this one for 20$ (after rebate) and based on the reviews its pretty good for gaming - my reasoning was that since it is only 20$, worst case scenario is I will just get a better one later on incase this one isn't good enough.

EVGA 256-P2-N761-TR GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

RAM - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of RAM I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of RAM to accomplish this?

Hard Drive - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of hard drive space I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of HD space to accomplish this?

Monitor - Haven't researched this much yet.

The rest of things like the keyboard and speakers I don't think is that big of a deal, that I can do on my own but the main components is what I need help with.

Also - here a couple of combos from some users on Newegg. Haven't looked at these very carefully yet.

-EVGA 512-P3-N980-AR GeForce 9800 GT Hybrid
-GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel
-Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB
-G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
-LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model
-Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
-Rosewill RCX-Z300 92mm Ball CPU Cooler
-RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power **this box was not the best choice**
-Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit

1.This mobo Gigabyte EP45
2.Intel E8500 C2D...OCed@3.9Ghz/1644mhz FSB
3.GTX260(MSI)Oced 702/2406/1467 GPU(just 1)
4.DDR2 1000@822mhz 5-4-4-12 1:1 (gskill)2x2=4gb
5.X-Fi gamer's edition audio
6.(optional) Asus PhysiX card-takes load off GPU
7. 750watt 4x12v rail PS(Zalman)or better
8. Antec 300 or 900 (depending on your budget)case
9. 22"lcd or bigger with 2ms 10000:1 (LG)or samsung
10. any of the THX Logitec speakers are good! Z series

Let me know if I forgot to mention anything. I would appreciate it if you would please let me know what you think, thanks a lot.
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More about need building budgeted gaming system amateur
  1. You will need a bit more in the video card dept.

    Here's some help:

    This list is a bit old, but gives you an idea of a $700 build:
  2. Here's a great build in that price range:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $164.99

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $119.99 - $15.00 MIR

    mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $49.99 - $20.00 MIR

    ASUS EAH4850 TOP/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $159.99 - $30.00 MIR

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $68.99

    Antec Three Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $49.95

    Corsair VX450W ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-450VX $69.99 - $10.00 MIR

    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM $24.99

    Total - $708.88 - $75.00 MIR's = $633.88

    I included a GPU because that 8600 GTS is not a good gaming card. I'd try to re-sell it on e-bay or something. A 4850 will stomp it.

    Throw in a copy of 64-bit Vista so you can use all 4GB and you're all set.

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99.99
  3. Here's a fresh build at $850.00, including OS. Has everything. Probably comes under $800 after rebate:
  4. Shortstuff's build is great of course, better than mine, but he forgot the monitor and KB :)
  5. Thanks Proximon - I read the thread you made and it was very informative.

    Being new at this, deciding between all these components is pretty overwhelming. So I'm going to do it one step at a time.

    Processor - e8400 - this is set, I'm already going to purchase this.

    Motherboard - based on your guide, I should be getting a P45 right? I will look at all the P45s and then get back to you guys. ShortStuff thanks for the build I will check it out. Thanks for the replies so far!
  6. I have narrowed the motherboard down to three (although feel free to suggest something else).

    The ASUS p5q Pro 115$

    The ASUS p5q-e 145$

    GIGABYTE UD3P 117$

    (Keep in the mind that I will receive a 20$ combo discount for the Pro and a 10$ discount for the UD3P when coupled with the 8400)

    I chose the UD3P over the UD3R and UD3 because of this chart:

    Although that chart does confuse me. I know I need CrossFire for overclocking so I figured I'd go with the UD3P.

    Can you guys give me feedback on which is the best from the three motherboards? Please let me know what your reason is for recommending also.

    Is the p5q-e worth it for the 30$ price jump?

    Is there any difference in the expansion slots? I see a difference in the p5qe.
    I also see a difference in the max memory supported - p5q pro only supports 8GB while the other two support 16GB. But I only need 4GB of RAM right? Then this would be irrelevant.

    Are there any other differences?
  7. The P5Q-E is a great board, but I truly believe the UD3P is just as good for less. There are a few ASUS features that I doubt you'll miss.

    Crossfire is not for overclocking. It's the ability to run two ATI video cards together for increased performance.

    I do want to say this about my P5Q-E... I have never seen a motherboard that worked so well in sleep mode with no tweaking. In Vista 64, my entire computer just powers off after an hour unattended... and wakes at the press of a key, taking about 10 seconds or less to be FULLY functional. It does this with NO stability issues whatsoever, and I can jump into anything I like without any worry that something got messed up in sleep mode.

    All three motherboards are excellent choices. If you choose one of the ASUS boards, don't mess with the driver disk at all. Just install Vista 64 SP1 and you'll be covered, except perhaps for a LAN controller update.
  8. Okay - I'm leaning towards the GIGABYTE one now - but I have a question. Why do you recommend the UD3P over the UD3R. The only difference I see is that the UD3P has an extra x16 PCI slot. What is the advantage of that? Is it worth the extra 17 bucks?

    This is one of the things I read in the UD3R reviews.
    Cons: Only one PCI-E slot, but I'm not using this one for much gaming anyway.

    The extra PCI-E slot is for Crossfiring right? It has no other purpose? If so, then there is no point in getting the UD3P - rather I should get the UD3R and save 17$ since I do not need to CrossFire. Is this correct?

    Also, one of my student organizations at school offers free copies of software. They have Vista and XP operating systems but I read somewhere that Vista is better for gaming. Is there a specific type of Vista that I need? Vista 64?

  9. 64-bit Vista would be the one to get with a new build, especially since your build has 4GB. 32-bit operating systems can't fully utilize 4GB. 64-bit Vista will use all 4Gb and leave the option open to add more RAM in the future if needed.

    The UD3P board supports crossfire which means you can add another GPU later. It's worth the extra money if you think you'll ever need/want a crossfire setup.
  10. Oh okay. Thanks. Well, your guess would be better than mine - what do you think - will I need to crossfire in the future? I assume the only reason I will need to crossfire is to play Crysis, or to play games 4-5 years down the road - right?
  11. I say for $17, why not leave that as an option? If the budget can stretch to allow for the UD3P, you might as well get it.
  12. That's true. I'll most likely go with UD3P.

    But I am still not 100% sure - because of the following.

    - someone on another forum suggested getting the EP43 - DS3L -

    His reasoning was:
    the EP43 DS3l is it allows you to spend more on the video card which will have the greatest impact on gaming performance. The only reasons to get a more expensive board is if you want to run crossfire or plan on heavily overclocking your cpu (>4ghz) in which case the biostar TP45HP is your best option. While the EP43 might be able to overclock that high the TP45 will do it without a problem assuming the cpu is capable of it. - BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

    Basically, he is saying that settle for a low mobo to buy an extremely high end video card. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know what to think of this - what is your opinion?
  13. There is nothing wrong with that opinion. I don't agree on the Biostar board so much, but it's not a bad choice either.

    You'll note that I had put the DS3L board into the newegg wishlist I linked above, the one for $850.00:
  14. Here is where I am at so far:

    CPU - e8400 WolfDale

    Motherboard - GIGABYTE UD3R

    Video Card - researching

    I was going to shop for desktop components one at a time and although the video card is still my main priority, I am reading these NewEgg emails and there are promotional discounts that expire on the 18th, and some on the 21st. Based on what I have bought so far (CPU and motherboard) and what I am trying to accomplish, please let me know what you think of these discounts and if you recommend any product.

    Please don't get the idea that I am not researching or that I am being lazy - I am simply doing this because the promotions will expire before I get to researching the products. I realize this is a lot to ask all at once but if you could even just give feedback on one of the components I'll appreciate it. Also, feel free to suggest something that is not a promotion, I am not simply going to buy it because there is a discount, I still want to get the biggest bang for my buck.

    I cannot link to the deal page because it's in my e-mail.

    All the prices below are after promocode and rebate:

    Video Cards:

    EVGA GeForce 9800 GT PCI Express 2.0 x16 512MB GDDR3 Video Card



    EVGA GeForce 9500 GT PCI Express 2.0 x16 512MB GDDR3 Video Card



    ASUS EAH4830/HTDP/512MD3 Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    640 Stream Processors ready



    MSI GeForce 8800 GTS PCI Express x16 320MB GDDR3 Video Card



    Power Supply - I need at least 600W right? How much of a performance increase will I saw if I do more than 600W?

    Thermaltake Purepower W0121RU 600W ATX12V V2.0 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retail



    Corsair 750 Watt ATX12V/ EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply



    OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail



    Rosewill 630 Watt ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91 Active PFC Power Supply



    I definitely want to buy a power supply in the next couple days because there is a 20% sale right now for all PSUs in the following link:

    Let me know which one you think is the best deal for me.


    Monitors :

    ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail



    Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 (ACM) - Retail
    High resolution 19” monitor



    SAMSUNG 2233bw High Glossy Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 20000:1(1000:1) - Retail


    Basically each monitor is 10$ off with the promo code. I haven't researched monitors heavily yet but I just wanted to know if these were good deals since they will expire soon.



    - for memory I need the 4GB RAM correct? Most of the promotions are only for 2GB RAM so I will not bother posting them.

    G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory



    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail



    Hard-Drives - I have no idea why the prices vary so much when the memory space is the same. The 1TB and 400 GB HDs are the same price - why is that?

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM



    Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive OEM



    Western Digital Elements Portable 400GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive



    Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM



    DVD Burners - I assume this includes CD drives inside them - right?

    Lite-On IDE 22X DVD+/-R DVD Burner with LightScribe



    Sony NEC Optiarc IDE 20X DVD+/-R DVD Burner OEM




    There's a lot of cases there. The one on top looks cool.. I like the blue lights - but is it good for airflow?

    Also, there are some case combo deals with CPUs here:

    The first two on that link are the ones that apply to me since I am buying the e8400 CPU.


    Thanks a lot.
  15. The 9800GT is the best buy. The 9500 is junk. The 4830 is similar in performance to the 9800GT. 8800GTS is... not as good as the 9800GT.

    You do not get performance gain from a PSU. It either works as it should or not. 600W is more than enough for your build, and the OCZ SXS 600W will do the job. The Rosewill and Thermaltake units are to be avoided.

    All 3 of those monitors are good deals, and just choosing what the budget allows will be the best way to go. 22" will seem quite a bit larger than 19", even though they are the same resolution.

    The 800Mhz RAM is fine. No speed gain from the other RAM.

    The first HD you list, the 500GB Seagate, is the one you want. The 400GB drive you list is external, comes with an enclosure.

    DVD burners can also read and burn CDs. Just be sure to get a SATA drive, not IDE.

    The Antec 900 is a very nice case that will have way more room and better cooling compared to the Rosewill case.
  16. Okay - thanks.

    I am about to purchase a video card. I will likely go with the 9800 GT over the 4830, even though they're basically the same.

    However, can you give me some feedback on this comment from another forum:

    i suggest the 4830, but if you plan to sli/crossfire(this means putting in another of the same card into your comp to double the power, usually the cheapest way to upgrade later on) in the future then get the 9800 however getting the 9800 means you'd have to change your motherboard IF want to sli/crossfire.
    However i REALLY suggest you get a Radeon 4850 or GTX 260 which is $50 more than the cards you chose but much better for todays games especially with a 22 inch screen.

  17. I am most likely going to go with the OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail.

    This is only 35$ after MIR and promo discount.

    However - since I am buying the e8400 - I can get the OCZ OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail for 35$ also after MIR.

    I believe that I should save my combo discount with the e8400 for when I buy the CPU case, or the RAM... rather than to use it on the PSU - because like you said, 600W is all I need, right? 700W won't make a difference.

    What do you think?
  18. Here is where I am right now:

    CPU - e8400

    MOBO - UD3R

    Video Card - 9800GT

    PSU - OCZ StealthStream 600W

    RAM - GSKILL 4GB 1066

    CASE - Antec 900 (comboed with the CPU)

    This totals to 520$ after rebate.

    What is left? I think just the monitor, hard drive, keyboard and DVD drive. I have a mouse and I get the OS for free from a student organization at school (I am getting Vista 64-bit).

    The biggest thing left is the monitor and I think it is very important since that is what I'm going to be staring at. I am thinking about going with this one since it's a big 22" screen :

    However, there is one thing that bothers me. One guy is saying that basically I should pay 50$ more and get the 4850 video card or the geforce 260 because the 9800 GT is not sufficient for a 22" monitor - it may not handle the detailed resolutions on high for some games - is this a valid statement? Should I be concerned about this? I was looking forward to the 22" screen but if the 9800 GT cannot handle it then I guess I will settle for the 20".

  19. It's not the screen size, but the resolution. Some of the latest games will not run well with max settings at 1680x1050 on a 9800GT, that's true. Most will. You can always decrease the resolution of a game, or reduce the textures, but you can never increase the resolution beyond what the monitor will support.
  20. Alright – I’m done ordering everything (except the speakers). Let me know how I did!
    Here is the final order:
    CPU: e8400 WolfDale

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE UD3R

    Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 4830 (I decided to change this from the 9800 GT – some people say they are the same, some say the 4830 is slightly better, so I went with the 4830).

    RAM: G.Skill 4GB(2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066

    Power Supply: OCZ StealthStream 600W

    Monitor: SAMSUNG 2233bw High Glossy Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD

    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB

    DVD: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe

    Case: Antec 900 (great case, the blue looks sweet!)

    Keyboard: Saitek Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse (this has illuminated blue keys – matches the case!).

    Mouse: Logitech MX518 – I already had this.

    OS: Vista 64-bit - I got this for free from a student organization that I am in.

    The total for all this (minus the last two which I already had) turned out to be 830$ after all promo codes, discounts, and rebates.

    Did I spend my money well? What do you guys think?

    Thanks to everyone who has helped me – I’ve learned a lot! Now it’s time to build lol – this will not be fun.

    Am I missing anything else? I don’t need a cooler unless I decide to overclock – right?
    The only other thing I need that I can think of are speakers. Is there anything you guys recommend that isn’t too expensive? Here are the two that I was looking at:
    Logitech X-240 25 Watts 2.1 Speaker – Retail



    I don’t know which one I should get. The Logitech one is great because it’s Logitech… plus the black speakers will match my case… but its 40.99 … on the other hand the other one has great reviews and is supposed to great for gaming but it’s some weird company called LOGISYS.. and the speakers look nice but they are more silver than black and they won’t match my case at all… but they’re only 23.99.

    The crappy part is that either speaker will cost me an extra 15$ for shipping … all the stuff I’ve bought so far conveniently had free shipping. Not sure what to do – any other alternatives? Or maybe I should just stick with the monitor speakers? And then maybe just use a headset from the monitor speakers when I game? Or is that not a good idea?

  21. Headphones until you can afford good speakers :)
  22. I bought some other stuff on NewEgg today:

    Mousepad: steelseries 63005SS QcK mini.

    Speakers: Logitech X-240 25 Watts 2.1

    Router: LINKSYS WRT54GL IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g Wireless-G Broadband

    Games: Battlefield 2: Complete Collection and Counter Strike: Source

    All I need now are headphones.

    The above games are sort of old - I also want to buy a new game that will really challenge my system - but at the same time I want the game to be multiplayer and fun. I think Crysis is the only game that fits that criteria. Do you think my system would be able to handle Crysis? I don't know how to OC and stuff though.
  23. Not on high settings perhaps, but you can run anything. Left4Dead is very popular and multiplayer.
  24. Wow I am really mad right now - I spent like 12 hours reading so many websites and manuals and stuff and I think I finally figured out where everything goes.. so I plug the power supply cord in to the wall and flip the switch and try to turn on the computer and what happens? nothing..

    I think the PSU is defective or something... sometimes when I'm flipping the switch and I lean in real close I hear a slight hissing sound, not sure if its the PSU or the motherboard, but I'm guessing the PSU.

    I dont know if its just because I am new at this.. but I really think I plugged in everything where it belongs.. this really sucks
  25. You are turning the switch in the back of the PSU on and off? try unplugging it, waiting a few minutes, and plugging it in... no brief sound from the PSU?

    If there's no sound, it's a dead one. Happens, because they are heavy and get slammed around in shipping sometimes. Contact newegg.
  26. There js a hissing sound - I think it's the PSU.

    The hissing sound only occurs when I have the system plugged in, it is flipped on, and I am holding the power button on the case.
  27. I'm sure I connected the front panel - I checked it many times.

    I think I may have found the problem - as I was taking everything out of my case - when I unplugged the MAIN power supply wire that goes from my PSU to my mobo (the 20+4) wire... the 4 wire was fine .. and so was 19 out of the 20 holes on the wire of my PSU - but one hole was empty ... do you think this is the reason for the lack of power??

    The missing pin is #10 (+12V) ... that sounds important.

    EDIT : Nvm, I wasn't looking at the pin alignment close enough and I had it backwards, the missing pin is #17 - which is GND - so that should not matter right?
  28. Help!

    I made some progress.

    Here is what I did.

    I followed this guide exactly -

    and it didn't work - then I decided to follow the guide exactly AND plug the power switch from my case onto the MOBO - this lit up the mobo, i heard the fans spinning and everything was great! it stayed on for about 5 seconds, shut off, and then did it all over again a few seconds later.. it was a cycle. I'm not sure what this means but I think I have made some progress - what should I do from here?
  29. I think the problem is something related with the CPU. I unplugged the PSU cables (CPU1 and CPU2) so that there is no power to the CPU and I also unplugged the CPU fan. I then turned on the computer and now the power stays on. I left it on for about 30 seconds on two separate occasions without any interruption in power. I did not leave it on for more than 30 seconds because I'm not sure if it is safe to do so without having power to the CPU and the CPU fan not being on. Is that safe? Does this mean that the problem is CPU-related?

    Here is what the situation is:

    I have the everything out of the case.. the mobo is on top of the box it came in .. I have the PSU connected to the mobo, I have the case power switch and the other front panel cords connected to the mobo, one of the case fans connected to the PSU.. the CPU is on the mobo with the heatsink installed. I also have one stick of RAM in there.

    That's it.
  30. It still may be power supply because every time the power turns off the PSU still makes that hissing sound.. i have the PSU separated from the mobo now so I know for sure that hissing sound is the PSU. Maybe it just does not have enough power to stay on? Although I'm unsure why it stays on continuously when I unplug the CPU power. Maybe because it is defective it does not have enough juice to continually power the CPU and mobo? This would explain why I had absolutely no power when I had everything connected like the hard drive and the DVD drive. The PSU couldn't handle it all. So maybe it is the PSU. I already ordered a new, different PSU from NewEgg (Corsair), they gave me free next day shipping so it is scheduled to be here Friday, but may probably get here on Monday because of the holidays. They are going to refund me on this OCZ.

    But if it's not the PSU then what? I tell NewEgg that the mobo may be defected as well? If that doesn't fix it I call NewEgg again and say the CPU is defective?
  31. A hissing noise from your PSU could be a bad capacitor.

    Let me get this straight - you plug your two 4-pin CPU connectors, side-by-side, into the 8-pin CPU power socket? What happens if you just plug ONE in... use the CPU1 plug to do this, which should only fit in one side.
  32. Same result. The CPU fan powers up a good two seconds after the PSU fan and the mobo lights power up... does that mean anything or is that normal?
  33. It's a bit slow, as if the PSU is taking it's time sending a "power ready" signal. However, that's the correct sequence.

    A couple things here.
    First, don't leave the power on with the CPU power completely unplugged.
    Likewise, do not power on the computer without the CPU fan plugged in.

    You seem to be saying that your computer tries to boot when it's out of your case, but would not when it was in the case. That would indicate you had a short in your case.

    The fact that it tries to boot and fails IS A SEPARATE ISSUE. Don't start making assumptions that replacing the PSU will solve your problems. It might, or might not.

    Motherboard standoffs...
    Look at this picture. Do you see the nine screw holes? 3 on each side and three down the middle.

    Now look in your case. There should be ONLY nine standoffs in your case, and each one should align with one of those screw holes exactly.
  34. Well - it may because there is a short in the case, or it may be because when I took it out of the case, I also took out the hard drive, dvd drive, and things like that. So it may simply be because when it was in the case, the PSU had to power up a bunch of other stuff as well. When I took it out of the case, all I had connected was the mobo, cpu, video card, and RAM. (i took the video card out now). To know for sure, I can put it back in the case without connecting the extra things like hard drive.

    Yes, I know I should not have any extra standoffs. The case came with six standoffs already installed, and I added three more - all nine standoffs match the shape of the motherboard exactly. The only thing about the standoffs is that two of the standoffs stay with the mobo when I take it out of the case.. I can't seem to separate two of the standoffs from the screws - but I don't think that's a big deal, when the case is in the mobo, all nine standoffs are in their proper place (although one screw won't tighten).

    A lot of people believe it's not the PSU, rather it's the motherboard - but I'll find out for sure if it's the PSU or not soon, it's supposed to arrive any minute.
  35. Yeah - so it was the motherboard that was defected.

    The new PSU came from newegg this afternoon - same result.

    I drove to tigerdirect and bought a new motherboard, and now it's staying on! I'm glad that's over... hopefully I don't run into anymore problems. Thanks for your help.

    I do have one more question though - the motherboard I bought from tiger direct was this one: Asus P5Q Green Motherboard - Intel P45, Socket 775, ATX, Audio, PCI Express 2.0, S/PDIF, Gigabit LAN, Firewire, USB 2.0, SATA, RAID

    for 129.99 + 12$ tax... the P5Q-E was not in stock.

    So my question is - is this motherboard fine? Because if it is not - what I could do is just use this one and tell Newegg to refund my defected motherboard and buy a new one from newegg and after it arrives in 2-3 days, I'll return this one to TigerDirect. Should I do that or this mobo fine? Here is the link to it.

  36. I have another problem.

    I hooked everything up and the computer runs fine - but the first thing I do is run BIOS right? I cannot get to it.

    According to my mobo manual - I just power it up and hold DEL.

    I don't know why I can't get to it, it can be for one of three reasons:

    1. The USB function is not working on the motherboard - the keyboard I bought is an illuminated one, so it turns blue when it is powered, but when I plug it into the USB, it doesn't turn blue - when I plug it into my laptop, it works perfectly fine. However, on my new build, if I plug in the USB halfway, at just the right amount, then it will illuminate.

    2. Am I setting up the monitor wrong? From what I understand, I do not plug in the analog cord right? Only the digital? The monitor seems fine, the light is on and on the top left corner it keeps saying "Digital" and then "Analog" and keeps cycling through like that.

    I don't know if the problem is that I cannot access BIOS because of my keyboard.. OR that I actually AM entering BIOS but I cannot see it because I am doing something wrong with my monitor.

    I have no idea how I access BIOS.. i tried holding down DEL but it did not work. I tried using a PS2 keyboard also (although I think it is broken because none of the lights turn on).
  37. The P5Q is obviously not as nice as the P5Q-E. It's more a basic board. Certainly nothing wrong with it.

    Do the other USB ports on the motherboard behave the same? If the KB isn't plugged in fully it won't work. You may need to press the del key repeatedly rather than hold it in.

    If you do not see text on your monitor, it's because your computer is still not posting. I don't understand how this situation is different from what it was before? You are saying you believe it's booting because the fans are turning and the monitor is cycling between one state and another? Sounds as if the monitor is searching for a signal it's not receiving.

    When your computer posts correctly, you will see text on your screen. It will tell you when to hold down the del key.
  38. All of them behave the same, the USB slots on the back and on the front pane.

    Well I believed it was booting because the overall power continually stays on (the mobo light, all the fans, the fan lights, etc.)
  39. It clearly says in my Mobo manual.. hold down DEL key to access BIOS... but the thing is that the keyboard is not working.. at least I don't think it is.

    As I said before, it will only light up if the USB cord is halfway in the USB Port.. but I don't believe that means it is working... I just went to wal-mart and bought a PS/2 keyboard.. I plugged that in and the keyboard still didnt light up.. however.. the PS/2 Keyboard lights (numlock, scrollock, etc.) stay on for a split second when I have the PS/2 plug HALF way in there.. just like the USB.. so whatever is wrong with the USB ports is also what is wrong with the PS/2 ports.

    But I don't know if the USB/PS/2 ports are the you said, it's not posting correctly..
  40. just tried benching it.. same result.. tried using the other video card.. same result.. dont see anything on the monitor
  41. vista x86 can use ALL 4gb with sp1 just no more than 4
  42. It was the RAM - I replaced the RAM and now I am getting into the BIOS screen! Such a relief.

    But of course, the problems do not end there. I figured since it was the RAM this whole time, I would go back to the old UD3R GIGABYTE motherboard.. so I did that and hooked it up to the the CPU, RAM, and video card.

    The problem now is that it will stay on the BIOS screen from anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes... and then I lose all picture.

    I'm pretty sure this is not the motherboard's fault, rather it is the video card's fault. I say this because of a couple reasons:

    1. The rest of the power remains, fans still running, all lights still on - the only thing is that I lose picture.

    2. When I touch the video card after only being on a little bit.. it is BURNING hot.

    So I figured maybe there's something wrong with the video card... I try the other one (EVGA 8600 GTS) and that one is staying on the BIOS screen.. but it is still VERY hot.

    So I figured this either meant that it's supposed to be this hot.. or this motherboard is not very good at heating the video card... ( I initially had everything in the case where the case fans were also cooling the video card, but that didn't help I believe).

    So what do you think? Is it the mobo or the video card? Should I try the ASUS mobo?
  43. I checked the temps in the BIOS - the system temp was around 40C last night and the CPU temp was like 45C.. or the other way around I don't remember. How do I check the voltages? I couldn't find a way to check the video card temperature (if there is a way in BIOS).

    After I installed the OS last night, I put the 4830 in for a little while and I didn't lose picture.. it is currently in the machine now also and I am not losing picture. I'm actually touching the video card now and although it's reasonably hot, it's not blazing hot like it was last night.. the hotness it is at now may be normal. So I don't know what was up with it last night but I'm going out for 2-3 hours now and I'm going to leave the machine on, and I will see if I lose picture when I come back.

    But besides that, the OS is installed! Thanks to everyone that helped, I learned a lot!
    A couple more questions- I installed the OS and I changed settings in the BIOS so it is 64 bit and I put it in HTEP mode and also ACHI mode (I don't really know what all that means) - but anyways, the OS is installed, but I noticed that it is Windows Vista Business 64-bit. Does it really matter that it is Business? Should I exchange it? What's the difference?

    My last question (I think) - I need to go out and buy a wireless adapter so I can have wireless internet ( I know wired is better but I'm going to try this)

    This is the router I have - LINKSYS WRT54GL IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g Wireless-G Broadband Router -

    What wireless adapter do you recommend for gaming? Should I cheap out and just buy one for 10-20$?

  44. Hello.

    The computer is running beautifully. CS:Source and BF2 run flawlessly ... video-wise.

    I still have one thing which frustrates me. I did not build this computer so I can lag spike every 30 seconds. It's not the computer - the PC is fine. It's my wireless internet.

    Router: LINKSYS WRT54GL IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g Wireless-G Broadband Router

    Wireless Adapter: LINKSYS WMP54G IEEE 802.11b/g, PCI 2.2 and 2.3 32bit PCI2.2 Wireless-G Adapter Up to 54Mbps Data Rates WEP, WPA, CCX 2.0 - Retail

    Yes, I know that wired is much much better for gaming, I am aware of that, but at this point that is not an option because my family hates wires.

    Here is what I am going to try and I need some feedback.

    I am going to install 3rd party firmware on my router (Tomato). I was deciding between Tomato and DD-WRT and I went with Tomato ... what is your opinion?

    Also, I have no idea how to do this but from what I understand, it increases performance. I am hoping this will eliminate the lag spikes. I know that if I am not careful, I can "brick" my router - so if you guys have any guides on how to do this, I'd appreciate it. I was just going to google for some guides.

    Secondly, I am going to replace my wireless adapter with this one:

    It's basically the same one I have now, but with SpeedBooster. However, it clearly says on the box that the speedbooster mode is only available under Windows 2000 and XP. So should I not bother?
    However, reading a few NewEgg reviews here :

    It looks like some people have hacked the firmware and enabled speedbooster, given that they have a speedbooster wireless adapter. What do you think of this? Will hacking the firmware and enabling speedbooster still work if I have vista 64-bit? \

    Will doing all this even eliminate the lag spikes?

  45. gfdsg
  46. One of my favorite programs:
  47. How will that help me?

    I don't think it works with Vista.
  48. If you are getting lag spikes, the first step would be to verify where the packets are being dropped. If 3d traceroute won't work for you, at least connect a cable temporarily to your router and verify that fixes it.
  49. The packets are being dropped every 60 seconds.

    I went to cmd and typed in "ping -t"

    and then it started pinging my router.

    it showed this line.. one second at a time

    "reply from bytes=32 time=<1ms TTL=64

    occasionaly it would have a request timed out line (every 5-15 lines)

    but the thing I noticed was that EXACTLY every 60 lines ... the time would jump from <1ms to around 600-1500 ms.. just for the one line.

    I'm guessing this is the spike problem that is pissing me off.

    Based off google searches, I think problem is because of the incompatibility of the ralink rt2561 chipset for my adapter with Windows Vista 64-bit. It's actually a common problem.. called something like the vista 60 second lag spikes (1-3 second lag spikes every 60 seconds.

    I say this because I have two other laptops. My laptop has XP. I tried this same cmd command on there... no major dad's laptop is Windows Vista 64 bit (only difference is that his is home edition, the PC i just built has business edition) and that did not have any spikes as well.

    So that means the only variable that remains is the adapter.. and based off google searches I think it's because it is incompatible with Vista 64-bit (I guess the laptop adapter is not the same chipset).

    My friend has this router:

    He has the same problem.. however, after downloading one of the ralink drivers from these forums:

    He was able to fix the spikes. He downloaded and installed the driver, and then ran a program called WLAN Optimizer.

    ^ That is a fix for my exact problem.

    However, I could not manage to install the rlink drivers. It kept saying unsuccessful or whatever when I clicked browse and specified the driver. It worked for him though, and he suggested that I get the same adapter as him.

    What do you think?
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