TechSpot

Building/Buying a New System

By Cyber
Jan 12, 2010
  1. Hi, i've been wanting to get a new computer for a while now, and have finally decided to put something togater.

    Things i have:
    OS(64 bit Vista)/LCD/Keyboard/mic/speakers

    Aii so I live in Canada and my price range is around 500, I am willing to pull up to 600 if I need to but really would love to stay near 500.

    I am not a huge gamer, but I do play games, but not very often. My main use of the computer will be using CAD software’s, such as Autodesk AutoCAD and Micostation. I also do occasional video/image editing. And of course watch movies and stuff.

    So I found this prebuilt refurb system;
    Price: $430 (CAD$)
    Gateway DX4820-05H (Refurbished) Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33Ghz 6GB DDR2 Memory, 640GB SATA II HDD, ATI Radeon HD 4350 512MB, Super-Multi DVD�R/RW, Card Reader, 7.1CH HD Audio, GigaLAN, IEEE1394, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (Windows 7 Upgradeable)

    The other option is to build Something my self.
    I've looked at a Barebone kit and here it is;

    Price: $600
    Barebone kit:

    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5633678

    Video Card:
    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4111742&sku=E145-9504

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I have looked at the Techspot PC guide and wanted some more help. The truth is that i am not sure abt new systems out there and if i need something better to do the tasks i want to do.
     
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    The system you listed is a good price. Dont like the included power supply.
    The Gateway system, while refurbished has someone else's mileage on it- does it come with warranty's of the same length as new product? If not, would this bother you?
    I quickly put together a system based on your pre-built. I came up with:
    Motherboard : Gigabyte H55M-UD2H ($105)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128421
    CPU : Intel i3 530 Retail ($130)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115222 i3 530
    RAM: G.Skill 2x2Gb DDR3-1333 CL8 ($100)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231189
    PSU : BFG 550watt modular ($60)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817702010
    Chassis : Cooler Master Centurion 534 mid tower ($51)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119106
    Harddrive: Samsung Spinpoint F1 750Gb ($73)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152100
    Optical drive : Sony Optiarc CD/DVD burner ($32)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118032
    $551 + shipping and local tax.+ the 9500GT card you listed in your post

    The card you have picked is good for only very light gaming.
    Something like this...
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102824
    is a quantum leap above the 9500GT and also supports native 7.1 sound over HDMI
    This...
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102859
    gives you a degree of future proofing and has excellent connectivity.
    Both these graphics cards would be supported by the BFG power supply with ease, but not with the Ultra PSU listed in the prebuilt.

    You could probably save a few dollars by checking out other etail/retail in your country (Tiger Direct, Direct Canada, NCIX etc) but a good system is do-able on your budget
     
  3. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Considering the total price, the i3 530 is looking like a very nice budget choice, especially as it reportedly gets to 4ghz with ease.

    And yeah it's definitely worth getting at least a 4850/GTS250 even for mild gaming.
     
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    Consider an AMD Athlon II X4 620 or Phenom II X3 720 based system. The Athlon II will suit you fine and come in much cheaper than the the i3. If you're looking at gaming performance, then the X3 720 is better and slightly cheaper than the i3.

    For bare minimum gaming you may also consider the Radeon HD 4670 or the nVidia 9600GT. However, the cards suggested above are better performers than these. I would suggest that you identify the games you usually play and check a few benchmarks to determine which card would adequately serve your purpose.

    Also, the PSU listed above is, I believe, not modular. (The modular system is about $10 more). But that should not matter.

    Let us know what you decide.
     
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

  6. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, thaks for the replies every one; after looking at the suggestions from "dividebyzero" i have put this togather,

    Motherboard : Gigabyte H55M-UD2H ($105)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16813128421

    CPU : Intel i3 530 Retail ($130)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16819115222 i3 530

    RAM: G.Skill 2x2Gb DDR3-1333 CL8 ($100)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16820231189

    PSU : BFG 550watt modular ($70)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817702020&cm_re=modular-_-17-702-020-_-Product

    Chassis : Logisys Acrylic UV Clear ATX Tower Case 4X5.25 2X3.5 No PS Front USB Audio ($65)
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=16425&vpn=CS888-Clear&manufacture=Logisys Computer

    Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Dual Proc SATA ($60)http://www.ncix.com/products/index....S&manufacture=Western Digital WD&promoid=1061

    Optical drive : Sony Optiarc CD/DVD burner ($32)
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16827118032

    The toal comes to $563.

    Also i've just started my new semester and today was a long day, 6hrs lectures. Looking at how stuff is going there is no way in hell that i will get time to play any games... well at least month.. so i will hold back on the graphic card until my semster break which is at end of feb. Also by then i will just have saved up some extra money and would be able to by the Radeon HD 5750. I guess better to seped a few extra few bucks.

    Also i changed the case to a Clear ATX one. I've always wanted to get that but when i did my build in highschool i could not find it any where. However if u think that the case has issues then can you please sugges something from, http://ncix.com/.

    Also i changed the hardrive because the one suggested is not avaliable and anyhow i already have two externals (1TB & 500Gb) so i dont have to worry abt space.

    Ritwik7, can you please elobrate on the AMD you suggested.

    One again thankyou for the advice. I and looking to order everything by tomorrow night so that i can get this done by the end of next week.

    Cheers.

    Cyber
     
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Looks all good.
    Acrylic cases are a matter of personal taste- I've owned a couple and built a few (they are relatively easy to construct from scratch if you're the kind of person who likes doing such things.) They do have a couple of issues-
    1. They show up dust buildup very well and most plexi cases don't have fan filters installed for some reason. Something like this would more than pay back it's $3 in short order
    http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=9248&vpn=CO-F8CM&manufacture=nGear Technologies Inc.
    2. Plexiglass/Acrylic does not dissipate heat so you are relying on the fans solely to remove heat from the case, whereas chassis made of aluminium and steel radiate heat through the body panels- this isn't a concern with the setup you have chosen as it will run very cool, but is something to be aware of if you decide to upgrade the graphics card to one that exhausts hot air into the chassis ( Sapphire's Vapor-X, Sparkle's Calibre, MSI's Lightning etc.).
    All up though I'd say you're getting a lot of bang for your bucks.
    Good luck with the build.
     
  8. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi thx for the quick reply. Your right it is plastic and since i live in a small drom room and the case will be like a meter away from the heater it might not be the best idea to get the acrylic case. Here are some cases i am considering. Which one would you suggest.

    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46894&vpn=VL80001W2Z&manufacture=Thermaltake

    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47874&vpn=CS606BK&manufacture=Logisys Computer

    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47667&vpn=66RCBB&manufacture=Compucase

    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29812&vpn=THREE HUNDRED&manufacture=Antec&promoid=1061

    Thanks again,

    Cheers,

    Cyber
     
  9. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    This is the system that I would propose:

    BFG Tech GS-550 550W PSU - $59.99
    AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz - $104.99
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 2 x 2GB DDR3 1600 - $96.99
    MSI 770-G45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX - $89.99
    POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 5770 512MB - $159.99

    Pick a case and HDD for yourself. It will exceed your budget a bit (maybe about $650) because of the GPU. However, alternatively you may consider:

    POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4850 512MB - $104.99

    EDIT: Among the cases you've proposed, the Antec 300, I know for sure, is a little small in length. Good case though. I like the Thermaltake V3 too. It comes at a great price.
    If you feel you could check out the Cooler Master CM 690. It's probably the most spacious mid tower gaming case you'll get. And it's competitively priced as well.
     
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    I'd personally go with the Thermaltake V3. The internal spaces are more efficiently used and the level of finish is good-only downside is you may need to add a front fan if the room temp is warm. The Antec 300 offers better out of the box cooling but the level of finish isn't quite as good.
    Both should offer plenty of room for you componentry as the board is mATX and will be using the stock CPU cooler. Either case will accomodate a HD 5770/5750/5670 if/when you decide to expand the system.
     
  11. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, sorry to bug you guys again, i was suppose to order everything yesterday but by the time i got time i was dead tired. Anyways i was just ordering my stuff and wanted to ask how does the timing of a ram matter.

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231193

    vs

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231189

    Also after reading some reviews, talking to friends and considering the cost differences i feel that i should get the i5 750. Its costs me abt $85 more and the performance bench marks that i saw were substantially good. Also after reading reviews it seems that people are saying that it performs close to an i7.

    I also changed the case cuz the other case was out of stock. Anyways i've will be ordering the HD and Case right now and will wait for more input on the processor.

    Do you think i should invest the extra $85, just in hopes that my pc will not be too much outdated by next year summer.
     
     
  12. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Lowering the latency will give you a better benchmark score but the difference between C9 and C8 is negligable in any real world usage. Lower latency means that the RAM can (probably) be pushed to a higher bandwidth (speed) and tighter timings than the looser timing varieties, although the step up ideally for DDR3-1600 would be C7, or ideally C6.

    The Core i5 750 would be of benefit to you if will be using a lot of video encoding and other multi-threaded intensive software. The Core i3 is a dual core with hyper-threading (so 2 physical cores + 2 virtual cores), while the i5 750 is a quad core (4 physical cores) and offers better performance as you will have seen.
    As to whether the 750 performs close to an i7, that's debateable. Just as the 750 is a step up from the i3, the 860/870 i7's are a step up once again as they have hyper-threading (4 physical cores+ 4 virtual), so any software that can take advantage of those 8 threads will increase it's productivity substantially. If you plan not to upgrade the system substantively once it's together then the 750 makes a compelling choice, however if you have budget constraints and are not adverse to upgrading the CPU at a later stage then a later change to the 750/860 (or it's successor) is an option.
     
  13. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    I personally feel that the AMD Athlon II X4 620 would be more than sufficient for the above-mentioned purposes. Even with this system, your PC would not be outdated by next summer (considering that your requirements from it remain the same).

    However, if you're willing to exceed your budget (by quite a bit), you could get yourself the Core i5 750. It's an excellent processor and has no significant competition at its price point. It also OCs very well and can hold its own against the i7 920.

    RAM timings will not significantly affect any performance. I would still advise you to get the Ripjaws that I linked to before instead of the other two as they're cheaper and you'll get no less performance from them.

    It all depends on how far you're willing to stray from your $600 budget. All prior systems were suggested in accordance with that. Give us a new figure and we'll provide a different config. :D
     
  14. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, yes i see your point. I checked out the athlon II as well and I think I would’ve satisfied my requirements, however I had the urge to get something that packed a punch.
    Anyways I ordered the stuff like 4 hours ago, I just had to order asap... Cuz i can never focus on my studies if I have an idea in my head so just had to do it and get over with it. Aii i'm just gona wait for it to show up and will let you guys know how everything goes. Bty here is the list of all the things I bought. Also, yes I got the Ripjaws modules, I searched around and people said they were good for their price. The total came to $600.1. Also I did not purchase the GPU... Will do in a month during my February break

    Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Dual Proc SATA 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM 5YR MFR Warranty
    Apex VORTEX3620 Mid Tower ATX Case Black 3X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT
    Gigabyte P55M-UD2 mATX LGA1156 P55 DDR3 2PCI-E 2PCI SATA2 RAID Sound GLAN Motherboard
    Intel Core i5 750 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.66GHZ 8MB Cache Retail Box
    G.SKILL F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM Ripjaws PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL8-8-8-24 Core i5 Memory Kit
    BFG GS-550 550W Power Supply ATX V2.2 EPS12V Active PFC 20/24PIN 6PIN & 8PIN PCI-E
    Samsung SH-S223L/BEBS 22X SATA Black DVD Writer Lightscribe OEM
     
  15. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    Stuff looks good. If you want to pack a punch like you said, at least consider the HD 5770.

    Best of luck. :)
     
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Errr, sorry to rain on your parade Cyber.
    The i5 750 has onboard graphics capability (unlike the i3 530 you were originally looking at)-nor does the board.
    You'll have to get a PCIe Graphics card.
    Either he HD 5750 or 5770 would be a good choice, or if you're strapped for funds then a HD 5670. The other alternative is to buy a "placeholder" card-just so you can connect a monitor- a HD 4670 or GT 220 (if you can find a cheapie)
     
  17. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, I did not quiet Understand you there. I know that the boad has intergrated graphics, by changeing the processor how can that effect the on board graphics.
     
  18. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Aii then i guess i will buy the GPu right now too. Hoping that i dont get distracted by games. Anyways here is what i've searched for;


    Powercolor Radeon HD 5750 700MHZ 1GB 4.6GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI
    Powercolor Radeon HD 5770 850MHZ 512MB 4.8GHZ GDDR5 VGA DVI-I HDMI


    aii so this is what i could find. I am not sure how much of a performace bost i will see if a go from 5750 to 5770. They are both dx11 cards so i know they will not get outdate fast. Also please select something from ncix.com, just because i ordered every thing from there and they allready processed all of my price mathes on a saturday. But a also if u find a lower price somewhere else, just mention that too so that get pick up some benifits from price match there.

    Thanks again for all your help guys,

    Cheers,

    Bilal

    Edit did the post the links properly.

    Powercolor Radeon HD 5750 700MHZ 1GB 4.6GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI
    http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=48965

    Powercolor Radeon HD 5770 850MHZ 512MB 4.8GHZ GDDR5 VGA DVI-I HDMI
    http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=48575&vpn=AX5770 512MD5-H&manufacture=PowerColor
     
  19. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    It's listed that the board has no onboard video chipset. I guess you'll have to buy the GPU. The Powercolor HD 5770 will definitely be a much better buy than the HD 5750.

    That's relative. They might get outdated performance-wise pretty soon.

    @ dividebyzero - I think you meant that the i3 has integrated graphics which the i5 does not.
     
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Correct. The original choice (i3 530 ) had onboard graphics, the 750 does not.

    For mild gaming the HD 5750 will be fine -depending on the monitor you will be using (1600 x 1050 should be a breeze, 1920 x 1080 will give the card a workout on some games- the HD 5770 would cope better here)
    The card should be fine for a while yet. It will however (at the rate of new cards intoduction) be superceded by the time you have breakfast tomorrow (or fairly close !!! - joke....sort of)
     
  21. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, so I got the Powercolor HD 5770 PCS. I got a sweet deal on it. I had it price matched for like 163 CAD, considering their price was 195 CAD i think i got a good deal. Anyway i'm still waiting for my stuff to come, they shipped most of the stuff yesterday, except the ram cuz it is on back order and the graphics card will be shipped after it gets processed cuz i ordered it separately. I should be getting every thing some time next week. Aii once again i just wanted to thank every one for their help and i will definitely hit ya guys up with details when every this comes and i put it together.

    Cheers,

    Cyber
     
  22. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    Sweet!

    Let us know how it all goes. I'm sure you'll enjoy your build. :)
     
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Sounds like a very good deal.
    Remember to check everything thoroughly before you start putting components together
    i.e.
    Read all the manuals first
    If you haven't built a system ground-up before then make a checklist of the steps you need to take.
    Make sure you're grounded from static charge before handling any components directly
    Check the heatsinks are properly attached to the board (no missing screws/push pins)
    Check the CPU socket for bent or broken pins.
     
  24. Cyber

    Cyber TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 89

    Hi, so i received all the parts yesterday and i put them together, but when i press the power button there is absolutely nothing. No fans, no lights, no noise. I went through the entire system again, took it apart and tried to power on without anything but the cpu + its fan, but still no response. I have a feeling that I have a DOA mobo or PSU, lets see i will be calling ncix tomorrow so lets see how things will proceed.

    Sometime life just sucks... lol...

    Cheers,

    Cyber
     
  25. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,899   +711

    Bummer. Hoped you'd have a good first boot.
    First off, I'm not sure on the troubleshooting procedure you used so I'm putting a guide below of how I go through a no POST.

    clear cmos....
    Remove power from the system.
    Hit the power button to discharge the capacitors.
    Move the CCMOS jumper to the clear position. (at the bottom of the board, just above F_USB1 pinout)
    Remove the battery from the motherboard.
    Do something else for an hour.
    Replace the battery.
    Place the jumper back in the normal position.
    Restore power and boot up immediately into BIOS....if you can
    Select "Load Optimized Defaults" and set the recommended voltage for your RAM
    Save & exit.
    On reboot, go directly into BIOS and set the recommended timings for your RAM and any other options you'd like to set (i.e. boot order, etc.).
    If still a no POST
    Make sure you are doing the antistatic protection thing.
    I usually keep the PSU plugged in at the wall but turned off so that the PSU is grounding the chassis-touching any unpainted surface occasionally will discharge any anti-static buildup.
    Ideally the PSU should be checked first-you need a voltmeter for that though.
    Disassemble the system -remove power connectors, cards, cables
    Remove the motherboard from the chassis and check that you have no "extra" motherboard standoffs connecting the back of the mobo
    Visual check of board for burnt/severed traces, blown capacitors, and whether the cooler is definitely seated correctly. If all good the remove the cooler and cpu
    Check socket for bent or broken pins-if you check from all angles any bent/broken pins should be apparent. If you have keen eyesight then check the gold contact pads on the underside of the CPU- they should have slight indentations/scuffs from making contact with the socket pins. All good then...
    Reassemble outside of chassis with bare essentials for POST
    -CPU
    -Cooler
    -Graphics
    -1 stick RAM
    -keyboard (pref PS/2 esp. for older boards)
    -connect GPU to monitor
    Power up. If no POST then recheck with remaining RAM (and the MemOK! switch routine before each test)
    Retest with remaining RAM sticks
     
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