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Trying to build a new computer ~~~First Time~~~

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August 28, 2010 11:19:13 PM

So basically im trying to build a computer and have 1000 dollars to work with, my mom finally conceeded and told me she will help me and im just trying to make this work well.

main things im going to be using the computer for is
school work
(mainly gaming probably going to venture into mid-higher end things if i can this year)
some games, WoW, SC2 maybe some others
photo editing(photoshop addict)
and i might try my hand at programming if that has anything to do with it


trying to get a AMD phenomIIx4/ATI vid card but dont really know if intel/Nvidia is better, have trouble finding out MB,VidCard, ram, basically everything except the case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

and that is open to suggestion as well, please help me, been talking about building a computer for years and ya the opportunity presented itself.

EDIT: things i might want
1TB of HD space,
4gigs+ of ram
great video card
DVD bruner/Cd/DVD drive - do they come combined?
would love to be able to kepe it under 1k once again =P thanks
I have never assembled a computer before.i have read books though =P

More about : build computer time

August 29, 2010 12:35:54 AM

http://www.buildeasypc.com/hw/hardware.htm is a good start for making sure you tick the right boxes!

I also went onto a 'PC builder' site which gives you some idea of specifications and also which bits work with others - like the processor, motherboard and power supply (PSU). It is a UK site but im sure you can find a US one www.arbico.co.uk. they list the components they use so you can then just go onto (e.g.) new egg and find ones with similar specs :) 

I was looking at a similar set-up for my PC, and I am pretty much doing the same as you, (i'm about 1 step ahead so far!!) So if you want to look at my build in the forum (below yours) that may help, although I am going for a slightly better processor. As far as I can tell the AMD and Intel chips are pretty much the same at mid-level uses (games and internet), with the AMD being cheaper. I am looking for advice on this myself but all the info i have found says basically that.

The same is true of ATI v nvidia cards - unless you have a specific need for a REALLY high end use (like say professional video editing at movie standards) any reasonable card of either brand will do. If you are gaming I would suggest a 1gb card with ddr5 RAM - which is what I am thinking of for SC2 and should last you well into the future. A trap I fell into before was to assume the memory stated was dedicated memory. I got a laptop with an ATI Radeon HD 2400 card up to 3gb RAM - but it was only 256mb of dedicated memory, so games like SC2 run very slowly even on the lowest settings! According to the box you need at least 512mb (dedicated) memory for SC2 with either a Geoforce 8800GTX or Radeon HD3870 or better.

These are the cards I am looking at:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

if you want to check out the specs of individual cards that you have found www.hwcompare.com was quite useful - if one is $20 more than another for example, what makes it better. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I can point you towards a good card for the right price for your system. These cards have DirectX 11 (DX11) most games at the moment are DX10. So you can probably get a good card for about $100, if you are planning on keeping the PC for a few years and you can spend the extra $50-$100 I would suggest going for the better card.

DVD/cd players come as one unit. For example if a unit was a DVD reader (DVD-R) it would also be able to read CDs (CD-R) if it was a DVD rewriter (DVD-RW) it would also be able to write CD's. (CD-RW). I am pretty sure most DVD-R units will automatically be able to burn CD's anyway but just check - it should say in the specifications if it is RW or R. There is also a thing about layering 4x, 10x, 20x, im not sure what this means but like most things PC the bigger the number the better / quicker it is.

Blu-Ray RW - Read and write
Blu Ray R - Read only
DVD-RW -
DVD-R -
CD-RW -
CD-R -

These are the terms used in the UK - I am 99% sure they are the same in the USA but you never know!

With RAM memory it isn't just the amount of GB it is also the speed - you can get a RAM unit from 800 to 2000mhz - again I dont know how much of a difference they are but aiming at 1333 or 1600mhz is a good bet. There is also CL7, CL8, CL9 which is something to do with latency, but again for normal operations that we are using it makes no odds and CL7 is a few $ cheaper. DIMM RAM is for desktops and SO-DIMM RAM is for laptops, so make sure to get DIMM.

There are also DDR2, DDR3 and DDR5 options - 5 is better than 3 which is better than 1. For the extra $10-$40 I would opt for DDR3 again, it is better, but I couldn't tell you how or why :s :D 

When it comes to hard drives the bigger the drive the longer it takes to access. With a new PC you wont notice much difference between 250gb and 2tb but as you start to put more music, films, games etc you notice the PC will start to slow down, games and especially films will lag more. If you can go for a smaller primary drive 250gb-500gb and add a larger 1tb drive as your secondary to store films, music etc on.

There is something called RAID that makes it possible to link up drives and run them faster, but I can't tell you any more than that, as I don't know!

The only other advice I can offer is decide on which processor you want first either AMD or intel - this will determine which motherboard and cooling fan(s) you will need. E.g. If you go for the phenom II you will need an AM3 motherboard (or you may be able to use an AM2+ but I dont know about that!)

Bear in mind each component in the PC (like the graphics card) has 2 connectors - one for information (connects to the motherboard) and one for power (that unsurprisingly connects to the PSU!) Make sure that both the motherboard and the PSU you get have enough connectors to power all of the components you want to add onto your system. I would also advise (finances permitting) getting ones that have more on than you need, so in the future if you wanted to add say an extra DVD or a Blu-Ray player, you wouldn't need to buy a new motherboard or PSU, it will simply plug into the existing one. Likewise you can also have 2 graphics cards connecting so if you think in the future you may want to add another card (crossfire with ATI / SLI with nvidia) .

Once you have decided upon the processor, motherboard and graphics card you will then need a PSU (power supply unit) that is capable of powering them all. They are measured in Watts and for a system like yours I think something around 400w-500w would be needed.


There is usually a compromise between system and graphics performance. Given what you have outlined below I would spend as much as possible on getting the skeleton of the PC - motherboard and PSU as big as you can and then get a cheap graphics card that will do for now. Then, in the future, when you have more money, or need a faster card you can then just swap it out for a better one as opposed to buying a top graphics card now, but then when you want to upgrade your PC having to spend more on new motherboards, PSU's, etc.

Another advantage to buying a better motherboard is the amount of RAM it can hold. Some cheaper ones only have 2 slots for RAM meaning a maximum of 2 x 2gb cards - if you get one with 4 or 6 (or even 8!) RAM slots you can add more RAM as you go - 4gb will be more than enough for the moment given your usage, but then in a years time as things like photoshop get bulkier, you may find you want 6gb or 8gb etc and the sort of money for 2x2gb RAM is about $80-$100 which is an ideal christmas present from a close and generous relative!

I really hope this is of use, it is only what I have learned myself over the last few days, so make a note that I could be totally wrong about everything I have said!! Like I mentioned at the beginning I am here for the same reasons you are and am looking for help and advice on the same subjects so make sure someone you trust agrees with me before taking my advice! If you read my post and find out anything you think would be useful please let me know! All the best.
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August 29, 2010 12:41:47 AM

Oops- I noticed when talking about RAM I said 5 is better than 3 which is better than 1... i meant of course 2, not 1! There is also something about the number of pins in the specification of RAM, but I think they are all the same (240). Expert clarification needed I feel. I also said "Given what you have outlined below I would spend..." when naturally, I meant 'above'. I did mention i'm a noob right?!
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