TechSpot

Building a new PC, advice?

By delfofthebla
Feb 28, 2008
  1. I am sick of my constant failing gateway computer, and I do happen to know a few things about the inside of computers. So I thought now would be the perfect time to build myself a new PC.(I am making a gamer PC of course, and want to be able to keep up with games that will be coming out in the near future, and run them well.)

    I've done a lot of research myself but sometimes you just miss stupid small details, you know? I am trying to build a PC that will last me a good 2 years without needing upgrades, and hopefully keep it actually running for much longer. Vista can die, I would like to stick with XP for the first 2 years. Then if possible I would upgrade the SAME PC to vista when it's..."required" (DX10 is the only thing I'm concerned about really...). If there is anything special I need to know for that, or if there are special parts I will need to switch out for, help on that would be greatly appreciated.

    These are the parts I have so far, if I'm missing any actual hardware or something is incompatible please say so.
    Processor
    Motherboard
    Old PSU Choice
    New PSU Choice Good/Bad Idea?
    Old Ram
    New Ram
    Old Hard Drive Choice
    New Hard Drive Choice Good/Bad Idea?
    Old Video Card Choice
    New Video Card Choice Good/Bad Idea?
    DVD Drive/Burner. I do plan to burn DVD's every now and then.
    Tower Case
    If I actually end up with spare cash I will buy keyboard/mouse/speakers on my own. (Do not need a new monitor at this time.)

    All of this, with a copy of windows XP is going to be around $1500, which is a pretty decent price compared to what I payed for my piece of crap. If someone thinks I could use some upgrades or if different parts just cost more, I can up the budget by $500 MAX. Thanks for any help offered!
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Sorry just want to be thorough:
    Power cable
    Data cables
    Heatsink
    Fans
     
  3. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Right, wouldn't want to miss the simple stuff.

    Power cable
    The power cable comes with the PSU doesn't it?
    Data cables
    Not sure what you mean for that one, do you have specifics?
    Heatsink
    This comes with the Mobo/Processor I believe.
    Fans
    I'm pretty sure the case has two fans so I don't think I need to worry about that. Or is there another type of fan I need to look into?
     
  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    The power cable should come with the PSU, any data cables you need ought to come with your motherboard, and the processor you've chosen will come with a heatsink.
     
  5. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Alright cool, did you happen to look at the list to see if I should change any parts out?
     
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    You would be amazed howmany people come to me and say:

    Please install my new HardDrive in the case
    • I then let them know that they will also need a Sata cable

    Is my new case OK?
    • Yes but it requires another fan for airflow (1 in and 1 out)

    Can you mount my CPU?
    • Yes where's the Heatsink (and obviously paste)

    Where's my floppy?
    • You will need to purchase one plus data cable

    The new box does it have screws Power cable, posts, fans
    • Depends, sometimes you just get a box
     
  7. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    Yep, I looked. You obviously chose what you wanted for what fits your use so I wasn't going to say anything. It's compatible from what I can tell by a quick run down, but since you asked:

    I wouldn't buy half of the components that you chose.

    The motherboard is too expensive, I wouldn't buy that PSU, I'd opt for the 8800GT or 9600GT over the 8800GTS for the price difference.

    For $150-$200 I'd buy a low capacity 10K RPM drive for my OS and general use along with a 400GB HD for extra storage rather than a single 7200RPM 750GB HDD.
     
  8. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Thanks for the comment, The motherboard I had many problems finding, I just couldn't find a cheap "good quality" motherboard that didn't have sketchy reviews. Do you know of a compatible motherboard with my processor that you would recommend?

    What did you find wrong with the PSU exactly? Was it too expensive, or just not a fan of the company?

    As for the video card I didn't expect to find a good one on my own so I will probably do more looking around later tonight after I switch the mobo.

    Thats a good idea with the hard drives, I will look for a different set.
     
  9. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Took another look around at some Mobo's. The one I have I think is going to be my best bet (Unless of course someone has a suggestion.) It has 2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, which I believe is better than going for just the regular PCI Express x 16 (Right?). (I plan to go SLI in the future, so having 2 of these slots is necessary. I would like it to be completely SLI compatible so when I'm ready I can just plug and play. The memory speed is DDR2 1200, which is a lot faster than most motherboards I was looking at. I heard DDR3 isn't quite ready yet, and isn't worth the cash sink. (Haven't looked into that at all, so correct me if I'm wrong.) If there is anything anyone wants to add or if I'm overlooking something please say so.

    New Video Card Choice
    I decided to take your advice and went for a 9600GT. It has pretty good reviews, is BARELY less powerful than previous choice, and is a lot cheaper.
    New PSU Choice
    It is 100W less than the other PSU I picked, but the ampage/voltage seems better. Would this be a smart trade off or should I revert back to the old PSU?

    I forgot that I had a decent sized external hard drive, so what I think I'm going to do is just stick with a 7200 RPM 500gig drive and use the external when I can. Or is a 10,00 RPM really that much worth it?
     
  10. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    Mmm, I hate giving advice on buying PC parts. I mean if someone is close to me and I know what they're actually going to use/need it's different. I honestly don't know who you are, or what you need.

    If I were you, I wouldn't be focusing on SLI because I don't see SLI as being worth it. The idea most people seem to have with SLI, is that they'll extend the life of their system by giving it a slight boost down the road when their VPU isn't top of the line anymore. Really though, two 8800GT's of any form probably aren't going to top the performance of a single 9800GT or whatever GeForce series is after that. You're better off buying an 8800GT (of whatever variety you care to) or a 9600GT and then when you're ready to upgrade, Ebay your card and buy a new one.

    I'd go with one of these VPU's:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127329
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127332

    I prefer your newly chosen PSU over the previous one.
     
  11. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Thanks for the heads up, I probably won't go SLI then. I like the 9600GT you picked out, slightly better than the one I had my eyes on, and cheaper too!

    If you can, I was wondering if you had any thoughts on my RAM, or if you think I should jump up to 4 gigs perhaps?
     
     
  12. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    Windows XP 32bit is only going to recognize around 3GB of RAM, give or take. You have no need for 4GB of RAM anyway.

    I would buy this. It matches the FSB frequency of your chosen CPU and saves you cash.
     
  13. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    I was unaware xp was capped at 3 GB, thanks.

    I thought the RAM was supposed to match the "Memory Standard" under the memory section of the motherboard, so thank you for catching that. While were on the topic...what exactly DOES the "Memory Standard" mean? it says DDR2 1200 on my motherboard specs, and if its not the memory speed requirement of the ram, I'm clueless.
     
  14. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    Newegg is probably just referring to the native RAM frequency as the "Memory Standard".

    Doesn't really matter, the maximum memory frequency that your motherboard supports is DDR2 1200MHz, your CPU's FSB frequency is only going to be at 1066MHz so theres no reason to buy beyond that.
     
  15. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Ah, I see.

    I'd like to thank you for all your help, you saved me a few hundred dollars and stopped me from making quite a few mistakes. If the shipping/building will goes well, I'll have myself a nice new rig, thank you :)
     
  16. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,094   +86 Staff Member

    No problem, glad I could make myself useful ;).

    Have fun assembling it, and assuming all goes well, you will indeed have a nice new PC. Enjoy.
     
  17. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    I had a..question. I just ordered my parts friday, and they will be here tuesday. Of course I was all excited, as well as a little scared I messed something up. After looking over the parts over and over it finally hit me.

    Processor This says "Series - Core 2 Quad"

    Motherboard
    This says "CPU Type - Quad-core / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo / Pentium"
    I don't know if "Core 2 Quad" is the same as "Quad-Core", so I'm kind of worried.
    I read "Quad-Core" and just immediately assumed it was ok, but now I'm not so sure. I don't want to have to RMA my motherboard because I missed something like that ><

    Just want to clarify, will this motherboard run with this processor or not?
     
  18. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 454

    Well, in short, yes! No worries, that board will work with a Core 2 Quad Kentsfield.
    I see nothing wrong with the configuration you have chosen thus far, and Zenosincks has done an excellent job at setting you on the right path with revised selections.
     
  19. batigoal

    batigoal TS Rookie Posts: 75

    2 gb of ram is kinda enough for the near future since the xp can only recognise 3gb of it unless u are plannin to run a 64-bit windows probably Vista den i would recommend 4gb ram =D
     
  20. delfofthebla

    delfofthebla TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 40

    Phew, thats a huge relief, thanks. After panicking over that I looked at other mobo's and really wished I took his advice on finding a different board, but it would be to much of a hassle at this point. Just glad I won't have to do any RMA'ing.

    I intend to run XP for a good while, at least until Vista becomes...tolerable. At that time I will switch over and probably upgrade my RAM then as well. On that note, what would be the key difference of going for 64-bit vista vs the 32-bit be?
     
  21. batigoal

    batigoal TS Rookie Posts: 75

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