Building a Completely New Computer

By shoot4thrill
Jul 14, 2008
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. *Sorry for the long post but any help will be greatly appreciated!*

    I haven't posted much here but now I am in need of a lot of help so I don't waste a lot of money. I am building my own computer because my money will go a lot farther this way. I have been told that this is relatively easy to do with some computer experience. I've dealt with computers my whole life but never in the building aspect.

    This computer will be used MAINLY for gaming and web design and some programming work. I'll have a couple of sites running off of this computer aswell. Also, this computer will be my only one and will be used for everything else aswell (internet browsing, college work, etc...)

    I've got a few general questions that I need answered and I'd like some help choosing all the hardware.


    1. Should I choose an Intel or AMD Processor?
    2. Is it worth buying 'Okay' products instead of buying 'the latest and greatest' to save some cash.. or will it just hurt me in the long run? (New products come out so fast in today's market so I assume I'll be alright buying last years models since the latest and greatest will be replaced soon...this way I don't lose out on a lot of money).
    3. NVIDIA or ATI Radeon card?
    4. How do I know that one part of my new system will be compatible with the other parts? For instance NVIDIA has A LOT of different brands in their corporation...such as ASUS, MTI, PNY, XFX, Leadtek, Chaintek, Gigabyte, etc... That's extremely confusing to me. What do each of these signify?
    5. What's your opinion on buying used?
    6. LCD or CRT? I've heard that LCD has a better picture but CRT is faster for gaming..will I be alright with a 2ms or a 5ms LCD screen?
    7. What's a good size screen to get?

    Those are the main questions I have. I'd like to keep this system total around $1500. I already have a Logitech MX518 and I'm not looking to replace it. However that's the only thing I'm not looking to replace.

    Parts Needed -
    Motherboard -
    CPU -
    Case -
    Memory/RAM -
    Hard Drive -
    CD/DVD Rom Drive -
    Video Card -
    Keyboard -
    Sound Card -
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Should I choose an Intel or AMD Processor?

    1. You can get some solid AMD AM2 dual cores for great prices, but overall - right now - Intel is on top with price and performance.

    Is it worth buying 'Okay' products instead of buying 'the latest and greatest' to save some cash.. or will it just hurt me in the long run? (New products come out so fast in today's market so I assume I'll be alright buying last years models since the latest and greatest will be replaced soon...this way I don't lose out on a lot of money).

    2. Latest and greatest are obsolete as soon as you buy them. With you budget you can build a very nice system that will be fine in the near future. Build with upgrading in mind. I was able to take my old 939 system and upgrade from single to dual core and from 800GTO vid card to a 9600GT card. I can play any game I want though not with all the eye candy, but it is very doable.


    NVIDIA or ATI Radeon card?

    3. Right now ATI's 4800 offerings are great. But both are offering tremendous cards at mid-range pricing. Just do your homework.


    How do I know that one part of my new system will be compatible with the other parts? For instance NVIDIA has A LOT of different brands in their corporation...such as ASUS, MTI, PNY, XFX, Leadtek, Chaintek, Gigabyte, etc... That's extremely confusing to me. What do each of these signify?

    4. The only thing it signifies is that there are many vendoers able to build Nvidia card. ATI has a number of manufacturers as well.

    What's your opinion on buying used? Buy new

    LCD or CRT? I've heard that LCD has a better picture but CRT is faster for gaming..will I be alright with a 2ms or a 5ms LCD screen?

    5. The lower the ms the faster. 5ms is quite fine. I have a CRT on my older system an an LCD on my newer and I prefer the LCD especially for space considerations.

    What's a good size screen to get? I have 17" and it is quite fine for me. Many like 19" to 22"

    * I suggest going over to NewEgg.com and look at the various parts and their specifications as well as customer reviews. Remember, even the best of the best will have some duds.
  3. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Thanks for the reply. I'd like to buy a system where I don't have to 'dumb down' the game graphics. I can extend the budget if need be...but like you said, as soon as you buy a piece of computer hardware..it's outdated. Can you give me some recommendations for the parts to buy? I've been browsing newegg for awhile now (a couple months) but am not sure what to get. Would it be better to get a great motherboard and cpu and just a decent video card or vise versa?

    Motherboard -
    CPU -
    Case -
    Memory/RAM -
    Hard Drive -
    CD/DVD Rom Drive -
    Video Card -
    Keyboard -
    Sound Card -
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Games today are very graphics intensive. I will give my considerations but I am sure others can help in this matter by way of opinion. Many people here have built systems so there is a lot of experience here at TechSpot.

    With your budget you can build a very nice system without having to sacrifice all that much. You are doing the right thing by taking your time and researching/reading. I did the same thing you are doing when I got back into the game and decided to build. I took a lot of time but it was worth it.
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    Try this system out:

    Grand Total = $1483.8 including shipping and not including any rebates. The above system will tear into any game you throw at it and remain pretty cool because of the fans. I leave the choice of HDD and OS upto you. I recommend getting a Seagate ES.2 drive of your choice of capacity and Windows Vista Home Premium x64. Whatever OS you get, make sure it is a 64-bit one, otherwise it will not recognize all of the 4GB of RAM.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
  6. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    ZOTAC ZT-98XES2P-FCP GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB Video Card - $199.99

    ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - $289.99 Is it worth it to upgrade to this instead of the one listed above?

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $49.99

    How are these products instead of the ones you listed?

    I already have a Windows XP Pro disk so I'll use that as well.
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    Two HD 4850s in Crossfire are far more powerful than a single 9800GTX and even leave the dual-GPU 9800GX2 far behind. I have calculated the total price above with two of them. Also, the Rampage Formula will show you no benefit over the P5Q Pro, unless you were getting two HD 4870 cards instead of two HD 4850 cards. Lastly, the Centurion is a decent enough case, but lacks the cooling options of the Antec case, which will be important since the HD 4850s run quite hot.

    P.S. - Look here, here, here and here for an idea of how the 4850s perform in Crossfire.
  8. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    I knew Rage would be by; he loves when people want to build but need help. He even does the shipping costs! :grinthumb

    I would still go with the 4850 that Rage has listed.

    I have built a system with that CoolerMaster and it is a nice case and I would do it again, but that Antec may provide more space but I am only guessing at this point.

    Since you are going to use XP be aware that it won't utilize more than 3 to 3.5 gigs of RAM. If you didn't have XP I again agree with Rage on the Vista Home Premium 64 but keep in mind if you build according to the specs provided you have room to grow. And Windows 7 is right around the corner.

    My own personal preference for monitors is Samsung and Viewsonic, but Acer makes some good ones.

    Intel chipsets are very good and you won't go wrong with that motherboard, but in about 6 months or less it will drop significantly in price.

    * All in all what Rage listed you will have one very nice system.
  9. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    It seems that no matter what I go with there's gonna be something more expensive and 'faster' / 'more efficient' right afterwards... I have the option to extend my budget a lot but is it worth it?
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    That's right, but understand that a single HD 4850 is about equal to the 9800GTX. Two of them are a different story altogether. As for being worth it, what are you thinking of extending your budget for? About $200 extra would get you two HD 4870s, which would boost performance, but require a more powerful PSU, and you'd need to get an X48-based board for the best results, since the x8+x8 Crossfire on the P5Q Pro will bottleneck two HD 4870s. So you'd end up spending at least $500 more. The performance increase will be very substantial, but it's upto you in the end if you think you can and want to go with it.
  11. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Yes. Always.

    Stick to your budget and build the best system you can. If you wait to jump in... well then you'll never jump in because there will always be something "more expensive and faster/more efficient right afterwards."

    Again, what Rage listed is very nice, but ultimately it is your system. Go with what you are comfortable with.
     
  12. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Your right about the 'jumping in' statement.

    I was just browsing processors and saw that Intel's most pricey processor is a lot more expensive than AMD's..not that it means much. (from newegg)
    Intel Core2 Extreme QX9775 3.2GHz LGA 771 150W $1549.99
    AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition 2.6GHz Socket 140W $235

    How much more power/speed do you actually get when spending 2000+ compared to 1500?
  13. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Very few softwares even utilize dual cores let alone quads. There are some games coming out now that will take advantage of dual cores but I don't know of any for quads (but if I am wrong I am sure someone will straighten me out).

    For your information that Black Edition does not come with a standard fan. You have to buy a third party option (many of which are very good). That particular AMD is used by enthusiates who like to overclock and thus creating more heat. Therefore you need a better cooling solution than that which normally comes standard.

    Seriously, if you aren't into overclocking you don't have to worry about a number things.
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    The QX9775 is for use with the D5400XS, otherwise known as the Skulltrail. It uses the LGA771 server socket, so it won't fit in an ordinary Socket 775 motherboard.
  15. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    At this price range can you buy a PC built with this quality or no?
  16. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23


    Absolutely! Your $1,500 today will buy more powerful components then my $1,500 did back in late 2005. I looked at that motherboard Rage posted to and its is a good one! You can run single, dual-core, dual core extreme, and quad cores on it. If you get a dual core and in the future you want a quad you will be able to do so within the motherboard parameters.

    By the way here is another Corsair power supply that is a great deal with free shipping. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...139005&cm_sp=DailyDeal-_-17-139-005-_-Product
  17. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Could you guys guess what kinda FPS I could get on Fear, COD4, or any other graphic demanding FPS games?

    Also, can you give me a link to the OS you recommend?
  18. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    I don't have a clue to what FPS you can get. But with that system you'll be more than fine. Keep in mind a lot has to do with the game's coding as well. Neverwinter Nights 2 came out a couple of years ago and brought high end rigs to their knees. Why? Sloppy game coding. There was no way that game should have demanded so much. It took 5-6 patches to get it to where it was playable.

    You're over analyzing, shoot4thrill. You'll be more than fine with what Rage posted.

    As for a link on an OS, go to NewEgg.com You'll find what you need.
  19. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    I looked on newegg and there's a lot of different options even for Vista Home 64 bit. I know I'm over analyzing but this is not pocket change and I don't wanna make a bad decision.
  20. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Since you have XP stick with XP. You don't have to nor need to get Vista. Both my rigs are running XP Pro. The games you have mentioned run well under XP; the only thing you won't be able to do is play games with DX10. With the system Rage put together you'll be able to upgrade if and when you ever need to.
  21. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,438

    I'd go with what Route44 said, VISTA is going to be replaced by a new operating system coming out in 2009 ( I don't remember the name, but you can look it up ). Vista wasn't that great either, sure it has Aero but everyone could get that on Windows XP with msstyles mods or the Vista transformation pack. Also, many games that support DX10 such as Crysis and Bioshock could have .ini / .cfg modifications that will allow a DX10 mock to run, in Crysis you can't play Very High without DX10, but with the mod you could. And similar to Bioshock as well.
  22. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    Look at post #7. I have posted links that show the performance of the Radeon HD 4850s in Crossfire. They're pretty impressive numbers IMO, so I think you'll be more than happy with the performance.
  23. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Rage, you said a new motherboard and two 4870's would be a pretty big difference in performance. What other motherboard would you recommend to go with two 4870's?

    And is two 4870's going to be better than anything in its price range?

    With the memory you recommended why did you list the price so high? At newegg it's $70.99 and the $40.99 after rebate. Almost $100 left than what you have listed. And you only need to buy one because they come with 2x2GB right?
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    That was the kit's price at that particular time. It has dropped a lot since, and you can also get a DDR2 1000 kit like this one and easily OC it to 1066MHz.

    As for a motherboard, I'd still recommend the P5Q Pro as the best choice for its price. As for performance vs price, an HD 4870 can be had for as low as $175 after rebates and two of them will cost you less than a single HD 4870X2. So yes, I think it's the best card in its price bracket. But two of them need a lot of power, so make sure you have a good-quality 600W PSU as a minimum. I'd recommend the Corsair 750TX and the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 as great choices.
  25. shoot4thrill

    shoot4thrill Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 41

    The money's here and I'm finally ready to buy this computer. Here is what the final list is looking like. What do you guys think?

    Case
    Antec Three Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $69.95
    Case Fans
    Scythe SlipStream "Kaze-Jyuni" 120mm Fan 1900RPM 110.31CFM 37dBa - $8.99 (x5 for Case)
    Processor
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $189.99
    Hard Drive
    Seagate Barracuda ES.2 250GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0GB $79.99
    Monitor
    Samsung 2253BW Black 22" 2ms(GTG) DVI Widescreen $249.99 / $229.99 after Mail-In Rebate
    Motherboard
    Intel ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $149.99
    Power Supply Unit (PSU)
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $119.99 / $99.99 after Mail-In-Rebate
    Memory
    OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Chanel Kit Desktop Memory $70.99 ($40.99 after rebate)
    Video Card
    SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x 16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supproted Video Card - $194.99 / $174.99 after $20 Mail-In Rebate x2
    Sound Card
    HT OMEGA STRIKER 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card $79.99
    Speakers
    Logitech X-540 70 Watts 5.1 Speakers $76.99
    CD-ROM/DVD
    ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD+-R DVD Burner with LightScribe $34.99
    Mouse
    Logitech MX518 (Already have)
    Keyboard
    Saitek PZ30AU Black 104 Normal Keys 4 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard $34.99
    OS
    Windows XP Professional (Already have; may upgrade in later future)

    I think that about covers it. Any improvements that you guys can think of?

    Total Cost: around $1662.78 not counting rebates. Upgrade any parts you think will be beneficial and explain why. I'm willing to overclock as well but only enough enough as to overclock it and be able to basically forget about it.

    I'm not really set on the speakers or the sound card at the moment.
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