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Need advice on a (near) total rebuild

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Last response: in Systems
August 4, 2010 6:17:01 AM


BUDGET RANGE: Technically unlimited, based more of the level of the parts than the price, see commentary for more info

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Downloads, gaming, movies, general internet usage, word processing/office work (hardly)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, keyboard, monitor. See commentary for more info.



PARTS PREFERENCES: Brand loyal to ATI and somewhat to AMD for processors but won't handicap my rig if the quality of Intel/Nvidia can supersede it.



MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently 1680x1050, may upgrade post-build

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to keep things quiet if possible, the computer is based in my bedroom so leaving it on overnight would be preferential (not possible now).

So this is my current rig:

OS: Microsoft XP Home 32 bit
Processor: 3.40 gigahertz Intel Pentium D
Motherboard: Intel Corporation D945GNT AAC96324-403
Graphics Card: Radeon X1950 Pro 512Mb
RAM: 2 sticks of 512 MB DDR2, 2 sticks of 1 Gb DDR2
Optical: 2 CD/DVD Drives
Hard drives: Primary 160GB, Secondary 320GB

This is what I know for sure what I want to upgrade to:

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit
RAM: 4 (or more) GB's of DDR3 RAM
Optical: Keep 1 CD/DVD Optical Drive and add a Blu-Ray drive
Hard drives: Swap Primary harddrive to the 320GB and throw in a 500 or higher Secondary
Graphics: Card should output HDMI (will need a new monitor but I can get that on my own and not necessary immediately)


Now I'm new to the computer building process but looking to do this with the help of a friend. I'm thinking I'm going to need to upgrade the motherboard to get a newer CPU in. I'm just not 100% of what's compatible with what. Hardware isn't totally my forte (hence the building help). Other things I'm looking for help with is considering swapping the primary drive with a new SSD 60 GB one. The reasoning would be as currently my OS is installed on the primary with most programs installed on the secondary. I'm using 50 GB of the 160 GB currently so it wouldn't be to hard to slim that down even less and throw it on an SSD if it would speed up boot time. I just don't know if it actually would? I'm also a bit of a multi-tasker so I get easily frustrated when things bog down because of it. That's why I also suggested using 4 GB of RAM or even maybe more? Examples would be alt-tabing out of games, running multiple videos (not as common), burning media while surfing the net/downloading, etc.

Here's my main issues/thoughts. I bought the current computer from my brother's friend who owns a computer shop. What I didn't realize until literally half an hour ago is the case. It's this Aopen one. The thing is, is that it has it's own PSU already in it as well as a placement for that side vent. I just don't know is this going to be an issue if I try and upgrade the PSU? Or the other question is, will I need to upgrade it? Also with that vent, will it again change things if I try and upgrade the motherboard in regards to placements.

As for the budget/parts level comment earlier. I am a gamer, though admittedly less-so on the PC as time goes by. Right now I'm mostly just running Left 4 Dead 1+2 as well as Starcraft 2. If I could run Starcraft 2 at near max levels or even just around high, I would be content. I definitely don't need a setup to run Crysis 2 at max or anything insane like that. I've heard good things about the Phenom II, though if there's anyway I can get out of upgrading the motherboard, ie sticking with a Intel processor I would go with that. I'm just thinking the whole thing is probably old enough I might as well replace the whole motherboard. Again a lot of it comes down to this being a first-build for me (I've done little things so far, added the second hard drive, optical drive, swapped out RAM) so while I will have some help, I'm trying to keep the difficulty level down.

More about : advice total rebuild

August 4, 2010 6:49:14 AM
August 4, 2010 9:44:03 AM

Your build is old enough to be buried now. There is nothing I would try salvaging from it (unless the DVD drive is SATA connected)

Honestly, building from scratch is a lot easier than trying to fit in a bunch of upgrades and removing parts.

Gkays build is good, you could save money by dropping to a RANA x3 440 processor, but I would not recommend it, the Phenom II x4 will last you a good many years.

The GTX460 is a good card, the downside to it is you cannot SLI it with. If you think you may game at 1920 x 1080 in the future and would like to know you can add a card later, something like this motherboard may be good

ASUS M4N75TD - $99.99 + $11.49 shipping

The downside to this board is that it does not have SATA/USB III. May or may not matter to you
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August 4, 2010 5:50:47 PM


That's a good build but I have a couple questions. Is there other case options I can choose from? I don't mind the first one but the vertical USB drives really don't help as it is under a desk with a moderately tight fit. Despite my current case right now I'm looking to move away from the flashing lights style so the second one doesn't really appeal to me. I guess that also applies to PSU's/fans/anything else they've added LED's to in the past few years.

Also are there are comparable ATI cards or is the GTX 460 the best bang for buck (I'm ok with that, just wondering)?

Edit: I found this one, if it would get the job done? I also found it on Newegg for a bit more but with a PSU already with it. Thinking that might simplify the build for me?

Edit #2: Forgot to add that through my work I can get a deal on some graphics card. Notably the Radeon HD 5770 for about $50-60 less than retail. I realize the card may be a bit higher than I need but for the price I can get it, it may be worth it?


The 500GB hard drive I have is 7200rpm SATA, so I would think I could keep at least that one. Both CD/DVD drives are SATA as well. But yes aside from that there wasn't much I was going to keep.

I have no desires to SLI/Crossfire so that doesn't really matter to me.

I was still hoping for some help regarding my other questions though. That being, would a SSD primary hard drive to install the OS on be noticeably beneficial? Is 4GB of RAM sufficient to allow multi-tasking without things bogging down? And also with regards to the PSU, as silent as possible with regards to recommendations.
August 5, 2010 4:16:49 AM

CASE option - IMO this would suit your requirements better -
And also it has better airflow...

As for the graphics card, if you want ATI, then get the HD 5770...It is slower, but also you get it so much cheaper and is a very good card...

And if you are interested in Crossfire, the get this mobo -
ASRock Extreme - Allows for x8x8 Crossfire...So later on you can add 1 more HD 5770 in crossfire if you want to...
And change the PSU to this - More power for 2x HD 5770s...

As for your question, Yes booting the OS from a SSD would noticeably be faster and Yes 4GB of RAM would suffice for multitasking unless you are into high-end Photo editing and 3D stuffs...
As for the PSU, that Fatality is a very good one...
August 5, 2010 4:51:19 AM

Think AMD and Gigabyte, your P4 is obsolete, quad core required.