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Geek girl needs help building a pc

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July 3, 2011 10:38:21 PM

I need to give my PC a major overhaul, and basically rebuild it, but I don't know a lot about hardware and am feeling overwhelmed!

Right now I have Windows 7 64 bit
Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.00GHz
4.00 GB RAM (only 2.87 GB of which are usable, I think it's the motherboard that's causing this, it's too old or something)
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500
2 Acer LCD VGA monitors
5.1 surround sound Logitech speakers that are only giving stereo because my computer doesn't support 5.1

I'm not really sure how to find out what kind of motherboard is in here :S

I have new graphics card that I can put in, I know it's better than the one I have though I'm not sure how good it is, it says "ZOTAC GT240 1GB 128BIT SDDR3"
I was also looking at getting an i7, although it looks like there are different kinds of i7s so I'm a bit confused by that.

I do a lot of work with 3D animation in Maya, FaceFX, and UDK, and work in Premiere and After Effects. I don't think I do a lot of intense gaming, but Minecraft starts to run slow if I turn up the graphics, which seems kind of sad... I play WoW, Minecraft, Dragon Age, Portal... and it would be nice to be able to crank up the graphics. I don't intend on doing any overclocking.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Although I'm sure I haven't provided enough information, so please tell me what else I need to give.

Thanks!

More about : geek girl building

a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2011 11:04:56 PM

SammyDee said:
I'm not really sure how to find out what kind of motherboard is in here :S

I have new graphics card that I can put in, I know it's better than the one I have though I'm not sure how good it is, it says "ZOTAC GT240 1GB 128BIT SDDR3"

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Although I'm sure I haven't provided enough information, so please tell me what else I need to give.

Thanks!

Download and run CPU-Z :

http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

On CPU-Z's Mainboard tab page you will find the motherboard information that you can post back here.

What is the make and model of the system's power supply unit?
Related resources
July 3, 2011 11:09:20 PM

aznshinobi said:
Please fill this out :p 
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...


Approximate Purchase Date: asap

Budget Range: not sure how much these things cost maybe ~1000?

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 3D applications, video editing and effects, games, movies

Parts Not Required: Microsoft Basic Keyboard 1.0A, Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse 1.0A, 2 Acer LCD VGA AL1717A 1280x1024 Monitors, Logitech X-540 Speaker System, Logitech HD Webcam C510, Windows 7 64bit, GeForce GT240 graphics card

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ncix.com

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: I'm looking at getting an Intel i7, though I don't know much about the different types of i7s

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No (don't know what that is)

Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 1024

Additional Comments: quiet is nice, the WD harddrive that's in there atm is really loud....
Is this useful?
July 3, 2011 11:16:37 PM

ko888 said:
Download and run CPU-Z :

http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

On CPU-Z's Mainboard tab page you will find the motherboard information that you can post back here.

What is the make and model of the system's power supply unit?


I THINK the power supply is Sparkle Power fsp550 60plg, does that sounds like the right information?

CPU-Z says the motherboard is Intel D915GUX with Chipset i915P/i915G. Do you need any other numbers?
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2011 11:18:55 PM

Yes that's plenty useful. Well one things for sure, you actually do need an i7 because of the 3D side of things, it helps out in Premiere a bit too and After Effects. Not much in gaming though.

So check out my $600 build in my sig or here.
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Just change the i3 2100 to the i7 2600
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=57961&vpn=BX80623I72600&m...
You should switch the 5850 for the 550 Ti
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=59490&vpn=N550GTX-Ti%20Cy...
Usually I don't recommend it, but in your case, the CUDA would help since you can "Hack" premiere to allow Nvidia cards not certified to use Mercury engine.
http://blog.krama.tv/hacking-adobe-premiere-cs5-to-enab...

This should end up totaling to about $800
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2011 11:20:48 PM

1) To identify your motherboard and other components, download and run CPU-Z.

2) The usual reason for an odd amount of ram <4gb is use of a 32 bit OS. Verify that you have windows 7 64 bit by right clicking on my computer and accessing properties.
While we are there, what is your windows experience index? Clicking on the number will give you the details of the components. Processor, memory, graphics etc.

3) Since you have a GT240, go ahead and install it. recalculate the wei and see how you do. The GT240 is a decent card, about $50. Not great for fast action gaming, but probably adequate for your work. But for gaming, plan on spending $100-$200 on a good discrete graphics card.

4) I am surprised that you can't get better than stereo. Every motherboard should have that capability. Either your motherboard is truly ancient, or you need to install the proper sound chip drivers.

5) If you will rebuild it, consider one of the sandy bridge processors. Even the cheapest G620 @$78 will be much superior to your current cpu. The sandy bridge processors have integrated graphics with the power similar to the GT240. The i3 cpu's have two cores, the i5 cpu's have 4 cores, and the i7 cpu's have 4 cores plus hyperthreading. Hyperthreading looks like additional cores, but they have the effective speed of perhaps 1/4 of a core. For most of us, dual core, or dual core with hyperthreading is plenty. If you have an app that is multi core enabled, then 4 cores is better.

6) If your pc is old, it will likely have some IDE drives which can be slow. Modern sata drives are cheap($75 for a 1tb drive) and fast.
If your storage needs are modest, a SSD is much faster and will make your pc feel much snappier. A SSD costs about $2 per gb, and the price is declining.

7) You will need DDR3 ram, and the good news is that it is cheaper than older types. A 8gb kit will be about $75.

8) A sandy bridge motherboard will be $70 -$120, depending on how much expansion you need. Today, we really don't need any more than the minimum number of expansion slots. They all have integrated lan and HD5.1 or better sound.

9) You should be able to reuse your case, monitors, keyboard, mouse, OS, and perhaps even the psu.
If you can, look at the psu to identify it. There will be a data label attached to it. If you need a different psu, it will be $50 -$80 depending on the graphics card you select.

10)-----------------bottom line------------------
Tell us a bit more about your budget and what you want.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2011 12:23:18 AM

SammyDee said:
I THINK the power supply is Sparkle Power fsp550 60plg, does that sounds like the right information?

CPU-Z says the motherboard is Intel D915GUX with Chipset i915P/i915G. Do you need any other numbers?

The Sparkle Power Inc. FSP550-60PLG 550 Watt Power Supply, with its +12 Volt continuous current rating of 36 Amps, should work fine for powering a system, current or new, with your single GeForce GT 240 graphics card.

Are you reusing your current chassis/case? If yes, does it handle full size ATX motherboards or micro-ATX motherboards only?

Using NCIX's Canada Day Sale Specials, which gives you until July 6th to make your purchase :

http://www.ncix.com/promo/promosale.php?webid=FourthofC...

Motherboard & CPU (assuming your chassis/case handles full size ATX motherboards)
NCIX Bundle Deal - Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Processor & ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Motherboard $499.99

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory $69.99

Hard Disk Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM $79.99
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2011 12:28:29 AM

^ OP isn't overclocking, it'd be cheaper to stick with a 2600 with an H61 mobo.
July 4, 2011 1:25:58 AM

ko888 said:
The Sparkle Power Inc. FSP550-60PLG 550 Watt Power Supply, with its +12 Volt continuous current rating of 36 Amps, should work fine for powering a system, current or new, with your single GeForce GT 240 graphics card.

Are you reusing your current chassis/case? If yes, does it handle full size ATX motherboards or micro-ATX motherboards only?

Using NCIX's Canada Day Sale Specials, which gives you until July 6th to make your purchase :

http://www.ncix.com/promo/promosale.php?webid=FourthofC...

Motherboard & CPU (assuming your chassis/case handles full size ATX motherboards)
NCIX Bundle Deal - Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Processor & ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Motherboard $499.99

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory $69.99

Hard Disk Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM $79.99


Um, what size does it have to be to have full size motherboards? Mine is about 8" by 17" by18"
July 4, 2011 1:32:43 AM

Someone was telling me that you can get good graphics by having two graphics cards and bridge them, or something to that effect. Is that a good way to go, or is having one really good graphics card just fine?
a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2011 1:33:57 AM

SammyDee said:
Um, what size does it have to be to have full size motherboards? Mine is about 8" by 17" by18"

You can tell if your chassis/case handles full size ATX motherboards by counting the number of expansion slot covers on the back of the chassis/case. Seven slot covers means the chassis/case will handle a full size ATX motherboard. Only four slot covers would indicate that the chassis/case is only able to handle micro-ATX size motherboards.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2011 1:51:42 AM

SammyDee said:
Someone was telling me that you can get good graphics by having two graphics cards and bridge them, or something to that effect. Is that a good way to go, or is having one really good graphics card just fine?

If you have a motherboard that supports NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX you can use two or more graphics cards all having the same GPU and memory architecture to increase graphics rendering performance by working in tandem.

There is a bridge connector that is used to connect the graphics cards together.

For NVIDIA SLI capable motherboards an SLI bridge connector is usually included in the motherboard package.

For AMD CrossFireX capable graphics cards a CrossFireX bridge connector is usually included in the graphics card's package.

Your GeForce GTS 240 (OEM Product) is a 2-way SLI-ready graphics card. You would need a second one of these cards and an SLI capable motherboard to make it work if should decide to go this route.

A single high performance card is usually considered more stable.
!