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In Over My Head...I Think!

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January 22, 2010 7:03:08 PM

:o  About six months ago, I got the itch to get a new computer (current PC is Compaq Evo 310D) but didn't have the cash to spend. Started buying components with the idea of building somethin that would be an improvement on what I had, but not the newest technology. At this point, I have enough components to build a system, but am rethinking my original plan. Here's what I've got so far:

OS: Windows Vista Home Basic
Case - Gigabyte GZX9*
CPU - Pentium 4 LGA 775 2.8 Ghz/1 MB cache (used)
Power Supply - PC Cooling 420 W*
Heatsink - Thermaltake Silent 775*
Motherboard - Foxconn 915PL
Opt. Drive - Samsung 22x DVD-RW*
Memory - 1GB PC-2700 DDR

Items with an asterisk (*) were purchased retail just before Xmas and can be easily returned. Othet items purchased via ebay (good prices, but....). Am now seriously thinking about going with AMD Sempron 140 as CPU, getting 2 GB of DDR2 Ram and a new motherboard. Assuming I don't want to lay out more than $500 for components (have about $350 invested to date), would be interested in your thoughts. Would you go ahead with build as-is, use different components (which means I take a hit on the stuff I've already bought or just buy a retail box. Don't do games or movies on this computer - just work (mostly spreadsheets) and general web surfing.


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January 22, 2010 7:08:21 PM

OS: Screwed the pooch on that one. 7 is superior in every way. It's everything Vista was supposed to be.

CPU: Also screwed this one up, as the 775 socket is dead. I'd highly recommend getting at least the Athlon II X2 240, if you're getting something different.

RAM: You'll really regret buying DDR2. It's about as dead as the 775 socket. DDR3 is newer, better and about the same price.

PSU: That's a decent one.

HSF: I don't know how good that one is. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 is the same price as the 1156 model, and is one of the best available.

Really, you bought a very old computer with some sub par parts. Short of giving everything back and retrying, there isn't much you can do to fix it. However, you are lucky that you don't actually do anything instensive with it. It will be perfectly fine for Excel and interneting.
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January 22, 2010 7:35:34 PM

Let me be very honest with you. Return everything you can, sell the rest. The only thing worth saving is the DVD drive and perhaps the case. Your OS is outdated and flawed. Your CPU is very slow and 3-4 generations out of date. It will not even run your outdated operating system very well. Your RAM is 2 generations out of date and you have too little. (MadAdmiral, PC2700 is only DDR not DDR2) Not only is your motherboard's socket dead, it does not even support newer, better lga 775 processors like Core 2.

OK, that was the bad news. . . Now, if you can raise/salvage 400 dollars you can build a very capable computer. Try an inexpensive AMD II X2 240 or a Pentium E5200, and overclock. Literally, this could be 5X-10X faster than the setup you just described.
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January 22, 2010 8:08:28 PM

Can't believe I got replies already! Mulder and MadAd, I knew I'd made some mistakes, so I'm not upset with your concise (blunt?) analysis. Please keep in mind that my current computer is a Socket 478, so 775 seemed like a significant improvement at first glance. OK, now assume that I'm keeping the OS, DVD-RW, PS and case ((really don't want to spend any more money on MS products). Specific suggestions on the rest of the components are welcome........ :hello: 
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January 23, 2010 6:32:41 AM

Sorry for my initial bluntness, I just wanted to be clear that trying save $ and work with the mobo, CPU, and RAM you bought would not be a good technical or financial decision. I would hate to see you waste money on a final setup that would not be able to deliver a good experience. If you build the comp I suggest below, the responsiveness and speed will blow you away. Every time I use my mother's, comp (similar to your setup) I get agitated waited for it to move.

Well, you were right in thinking 775 is better, but it is really only superior if you take advantage of it by putting a newer processor in it. The mobo you have there seems to only support single-core procs. Vista, which will be fine for what you do, is optimized for dual core so it will give you much better performance.

Here is my suggestion: I am going with a Pentium build, because I can personally vouch for the components I recommend. However, there is a lot of sense in going with the AMD X2 240 because it does use a newer CPU socket, so upgrading is in. However, if you don't plan on doing gaming or time sensitive video encoding, I am not sure you will need to upgrade. The E5200 will run HD video and multi-task like a champ. If you want to go AMD, head on over to the CPU forums and get a recommendation on a good budget mobo for that.

The System (I highly recommend www.newegg.com for all parts. Great customer service and low prices!)

$65 - CPU: Pentium e5200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

$50 - Mobo: Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L
http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

$50 - RAM: 2 GB DDR2. Yes DDR3 is faster, but for what you do it is not important. (An AMD mobo may or may not support DDR3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

$55 - Hard Drive: Spinpoint F3 500gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

$40 - Graphics Card: Radeon 4350
http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

Total for above: $260

Make sure to buy an anti-static wrist strap for building (<$5 at NE) and familiarize yourself with the process itself. Also, I recommend getting an aftermarket cooler for your CPU (Freezer 7 ~$35 at NE). To get the best performance you will want to overclock the E5200 to ~3.5 ghz. This should give you great performance without serious risks. Consult OC forums for assistance. Also, make sure the PSU is solid, a failure there can damage other components. Hope this helps!





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January 25, 2010 8:12:11 PM

Just wanted to let the forum know what I've decided to do. In the end, the argument that buying up-to-date cpu, m/b and RAM resonated. Going w/AMD AM3 build as follows:


CPU - AMD Athlon II X2 245
M/B - ECS MCP61M-M3
P/S - PC Power & Cooling Silencer 420 W
HDD- Wetsren Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA
DVD - Samsung Dual/Double Layer 22x DVD-RW
Video - NVIDIA Ge Force 8400 256 MB
Memory - 2 GB Crucial DDR3-1066
Case - Linkworld 323-02 ATX
O/S - Windows Vista Home Basic

Cost of Parts = $387
From Original Parts List: O/S, P/S, DVD-RW ~ $140
Cost of Added Parts ~ $250

Thanks for your advice. Will be back in 4-5 years to get tips on next build.
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January 26, 2010 3:05:17 AM

Why did you choose to go with the WD Caviar instead of the F3? As far as I know, the blue is an older, slower drive. Also, the F3 is the same price at Newegg.
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February 2, 2010 12:34:05 AM

Best answer selected by ebonyexec614.
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