TechSpot

Building First Custom Computer

By TheJediSlayer
May 30, 2008
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  1. Hello,

    I'm planning on building my first custom computer in about 15 days from now, so I'm pretty psyched. Anyways, I was hoping someone could please give me some great web sites to look at computer parts at. i.e. Motherboards, RAM, GFX, etc.

    Newegg.com looks promising, and I've already begun searching on it, but I was wondering if the TS community had any special advice/links to some good website content.

    The type of computer that I am building is going to be a gaming computer over $1000 dollars. If that helps any with advice you can give me.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tyler
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Read all the related posts at www.tomshardware.com and www.anandtech.com, as they are filled with full reviews that are well respected. Do a Gurgle search on power supplies, and on every component you are considering.
    Look at www.tigerdirect.com, www.directron.com, www.zipzoomfly.com, www.outpost.com, www.techdepot.com, www.pcconnection.com, www.pcmall.com, www.cdw.com, www.cpu.com, www.computerpoweruser.com, www.seasonicusa.com, www.cpusolutions.com, www.maximumpc.com and anything else you find along the way. Do a Gurgle search for PC Power and Cooling where they have some of the best articles on power supply technology, as well as some truly terrific power supplies, and www.FSPGroupUSA.com.
    Good luck. You will be back.
     
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

  4. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Alright, well I appologize for the previous threads I made pertaining to my new computer rig. I merely made them so that I could get more specific help with those hardware componets I was trying to focus on.

    Anyways, I like the one you suggest, Rage_3K_Moiz. However, I do have several questions about it. First and foremost, will it be upgradeable in the future? CPU wise.

    Second question... I'm trying to find a good LCD monitor to go with this computer, but I've only found a few that are good candidates. Does anyone have any suggestions for a LCD gaming monitor?

    Thanks again.

    Tyler
     
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    LCD Monitors: My Choices: Sony Trinitron superior to all others but they cost a lot.
    Next: LG, most NECs, Gateway, Samsung, Sharp, Philips, AG Neovo, Dell (made by Samsung), HP.
    Avoid: KDS, Envision, Acer, Hanns-G, Planar, DoubleSight, Chime, Sony KLH, Mitsubishi, BENQ, AOC, LaCie, ViewEra, and ASUS.
    Anything with a 3, 4, or 5 year warranty is probably OK, but it is important that you see any brand and model you are about to purchase, as some have much better detail, contrast, and DMax than others.
    Focus mainly on contrast and resolution. You can get monitors with1024 X 768 as a base, but consider one which can also output 1280 X 1024, 1366 X 768, and if you really want a useful well-built one, get one with resolution of at least 1920 X 1200 or 2560 X 1600.
    Each step up in resolution and contrast, will cost a bit more, but usually will last a lot longer.
    Also, inspect their warranty policy carefully.
     
  6. Acclamator

    Acclamator TS Rookie Posts: 295

    Do not get the E8500 like Rage recommended, get the E8400 and save yourself some money. Do not get the PSU he recommend as it only has one, though very powerful, 12V Rail.
     
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    You do not need more than one with that wonderful unit. Beats many power supplies much, much more expensive, with easy. You will rarely see one fail.
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    Price didn't seem to be much of an issue since the budget was described as being over $1000, hence I recommended the E8500. By all means, go for the E8400 if you want to save some cash. The E8500 only has a 0.5 multiplier increase and higher stock frequency.

    As for the PSU, care to explain how a multiple rail PSU is better than a single rail one delivering the same amperage? I'm an electrical engineering student , so I'd love to listen to the explanation.

    @TheJediSlayer, yes, it will be upgradeable, since the motherboard supports quad-core CPUs as well. And as for the monitor, I have many friends who've bought this and love it.
    Oh, and cool nick BTW. :D
     
  9. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,573   +9

    I agree with rage, a single, powerful 12V rail is superior to many small 12V rails. So I wanna hear an explanation too :D

    Also, I'm not sure why you'd want the X48-DQ6, other than the fact that you have an unlimited budget (as pointed out). Don't get me wrong, its a great board, but I think its a little excessive.

    Thats all I wanna say :D
     
  10. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Once again, thanks for the support. I just want to make sure this thing can be upgraded down the line since games and technology seem to require more and more out of a system every few years.

    Anyways, Rage_3K_Moiz, I just wanted to say thanks on your suggestion about the monitor. It looks cheap and from the reviews I've read, very good. However, are you sure it will be good for gaming? It looks pretty wide, and my concern is that it may make everything in the world of gaming look weird.

    I was checking out some RAM that I'd like to use, and came across this type of ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145197 Does anyone believe this will be good to use? Thanks again for the help. Now that the motherboard is selected, I can start moving onward to other parts of the computer. = )
     
  11. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,370   +125

    When i played halo with a 24" monitor compared to a square little 12", The aimer thingy was all ovally. Its not much, and it might just be halo but its still there. It doesn't effect gaming skills and you get used to it so i don't think you need to worry. No it doesnt make it look weird though. Im pretty sure it does put more strain on the GPU though.

    Don't buy that ram. Its a waste of money.

    Instead buy these OCZ reapers:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227289

    Or These patriot Vipers:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220315

    I would go with the OCZ's though.

    Exactly how much money are you going to spend? Most gaming comp's are over $1000 anyway................
     
     
  12. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Well, from what I'm getting now, it's going to cost me about 1500 plus for most of the computer and the monitor. My goal is to make this computer able to handle the requirement that games and programs are demanding today, and to also make this computer upgradeable in the future, so that it can continue to support future applications and games. I'm still shocked at the price, though, but I guess if you want quality, you've got to be willing to cough up some. Just going to take me till about mid-July or early August to get that 1500 plus. Which is fine. Been waiting a few years now.

    Anyways, thanks for telling me about the monitor, and I'll consider both of the suggestions that you made about the RAM.
     
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,573   +9

    Corsair Dominators are ego-boosters I reckon, not much more. Plenty of other ram with similar/superior performance can be had for less.

    Also, you don't look like you're into overclocking, or at least you had no mention of it. These RAM modules mentioned are equipped with really absurd heat management, designed for abuse, which comes with overclocking.

    You'd be hard pressed to see any difference between such RAM, and simpler, cheaper mid-ranged RAM by the same companies. They will be equally stable in your computer, and cost you much much less, as they aren't hand picked for extreme performance.

    As previously mentioned, if you're strapped for cash, the E8400 is of better value, with a slight performance hit.

    Also, as I mentioned previously, the motherboard is really high end. Also, I wouldn't suggest SLI for your system, especially since you're only buying a single card at the moment. The best out there as well. I would instead invest in a single PCIEx16 motherboard instead, as the 9800gx2 would last you long enough that a whole graphics card upgrade would make more sense than adding a second 9800gx2 to your system.

    SLi also really shines in a system powering a HUGE monitor (1600x1200 or higher). A 24" monitor will not see that much of an improvement.

    A mid-ranged non-SLI board will be equally upgradable (not including the second graphics card). You will still be able to add more RAM, more HDDs, swap out the processor to a better one (same LGA775).... You'd really only pay for the X48 if you wanted to overclock seriously or had too much money.

    I'll end with saying: spending 1000 instead of 1500 on your computer will not see a HUGE performance boost. Yes, it will run faster, but its not something you'd spend money on, unless you had too much of it lying around, or really need that performance boost.
     
  14. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Well, my whole reasoning for wanting such a powerful system, is because I wish to have a system that can handle today's applications/games, be fast and powerful, and finally upgradeable for future use.

    I see the motherboard, CPU, and the GFX card as being high end performance stuff right now, and I just feel that an upgrade won't be needed for years to come, and when it inevitably is needed, I can upgrade the CPU later on. I don't think Nvidia will come out with a better GFX anytime sooner, either. So, I think this will be a great investment for years to come. This is, however, my first computer, and I'm new to the game of making and building computers. So, everyone's help is appreciated so far. Anymore advice is more than welcomed. I'd rather not have to spend 1500 if I don't have to, but I don't want to buy a 1000 dollar computer that'll end up becoming closer to lagging behind the rest of technology in two to three years, if you catch my drift.

    I also have another question to ask. I like playing some old games like CS:S, Halo, Half-Life 2, etc. With all these hardware components being really high end etc, will these games not be able to run on the new computer once it is built? If so, what steps can I take to try and minamize the risk of incompatiablity?
     
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    The OCZ Reaper kit is of the exact same quality as the Corsair Dominator kit, so it won't really affect performance and is highly recommended.

    As for old games being compatible, all the ones you've suggested are compatible, and unless you're talking about games that released before Half Life, every game should be compatible.

    Lastly, the motherboard I suggested is geared more towards overclocking than anything else. You can go with this instead and it'll help save you some cash while delivering the same performance as the X48 motherboard. It also has support for quad-core CPUs, so you can upgrade the CPU later. The choice is entirely upto you, so if you're a bit strapped for cash, you can go with this motherboard and save about $150 or so.
     
  16. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,573   +9

    The difference between my suggestions, and rage's initial suggestions, are probably 5%, and thats probably being very generous.

    And you'd save tons on RAM, MB and CPU.

    You'd still get everything you mentioned: it'll handle any game out there very well, and will continue to run new games for a few years to come. Quad core is still an option as Rage mentioned. Drawback is you won't get to upgrade to SLI, which I have mentioned why its not much of a drawback anyway.

    I took a look at RAM prices, and it seems you might be able to save 20 bux on RAM, which I think is not really all that worth it, so we'll just stick with whatever's been suggested. Although, if you want, you can cut that back down to 2gb without a huge performance hit, and increase that to 4gb at a later date.

    Don't worry yourself about RAM latencies, the performance difference between a 5-5-5-15 and a 4-4-4-12 is going to be minimal, but the price difference won't...
     
  17. 210gray

    210gray TS Rookie

    If I were you, I would contact tiger direct or computer wholesale, san antonio, texas to purchase my components. computer wholesale does not sell retail. have a san antonio company purchase the components for you, you will save a bundle. barebone is the way to go.
     
  18. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    PCI-E 2.0 graphics cards are compatible with PCI-E 1.0 slots. Any 9800GX2 will work in either of those motherboards. So you don't need to worry.
     
  20. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    As of right now, these are the current specs. Please tell me if anything is not compatible, or rather I screwed up on something. Also, could anyone please recommend a good CD/DVD drive? Thanks again. You guys really have been a tremendous help....

    CPU:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Processors-_-intel-_-19115036

    = $270.00

    __

    Motherboard:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131196

    = $150.00

    __

    Graphics:

    http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-...5?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1212421318&sr=8-5

    = $520.00

    __

    RAM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227289 = $123.00

    __

    Case: (Still looking.)

    __

    PSU: http://www.antonline.com/p_CMPSU-750TX-PG_456586.htm

    = $100.00

    __

    CD/DVD ROM: (Need suggestions, please.)

    __

    HDD:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148317

    = $80.00
     
  21. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    I'd recommend this this drive since it's a rebranded Pioneer, and thus offers excellent performance and reliability.

    Also, I'd recommend going for a Seagate ES.2 drive instead of the one you've chosen, since the ES.2 ones have better performance and lifetimes, from what I've seen.

    Lastly, the Antec Nine Hundred and the Thermaltake Soprano DX are good choices for cases.
    Everything else looks perfect to me.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
     
  22. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,573   +9

  23. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Alright, I'm nearly done now with trying to figure out the parts that I'm going to put in. One last thing remains: The case. I need suggestions about which case to go for. The Tool-Free case one looks tempting because, obviously, it's tool-free.

    Links to cases:
    http://www.thermaltake.com/product/Chassis/midtower/sopranoDX/ve7000bws.asp
    http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15900

    Computer Specs:

    Finally, one thing remains left. Can someone please check all these components and make sure they'll play nice with one another, and suggest the best case to use for these components?

    Lastly, I just wanted to say thanks again for helping me out on this new computer... I'm really excited to finally be able to build one and get all these parts and assemble them together. = )
    _____


    CPU:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

    = $195.00

    __

    Motherboard:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131196

    = $150.00

    __

    Graphics:

    http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-9...2421318&sr=8-5

    = $520.00

    __

    RAM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227289

    = $123.00

    __

    Case: (Looking For Best Option) I.E.
    http://www.thermaltake.com/product/Chassis/midtower/sopranoDX/ve7000bws.asp
    http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15900

    __

    PSU:

    http://www.antonline.com/p_CMPSU-750TX-PG_456586.htm

    = $100.00

    __

    CD/DVD ROM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135156

    =$36.00
    __

    HDD:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148294

    = $115.00

    __

    Monitor:

    http://www.consumerdepot.com/products.asp?id=226BWD&referer=google

    = $229.99

    __

    Keyboard:

    http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Dig...7?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1212507111&sr=8-7

    = Already Own
     
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    The Soprano DX looks much better but relies on two fans and the ventilation slots to cool the system. The Nine Hundred on the other hand has space for upto six fans, giving you superb cooling. I'd go for the Nine Hundred since IMO, you can never overcool a PC. The Soprano DX would be next on my list.
     
  25. TheJediSlayer

    TheJediSlayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 182

    Final Build:

    ______________

    CPU:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115037

    = $195.00

    __

    Motherboard:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131196

    = $150.00

    __

    Graphics:

    http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-9...2421318&sr=8-5

    = $520.00

    __

    RAM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227289

    = $123.00

    __

    Case:

    http://vpcllc.stores.yahoo.net/annihuulgaca.html

    = $100.00

    __

    PSU:

    http://www.antonline.com/p_CMPSU-750TX-PG_456586.htm

    = $100.00

    __

    CD/DVD ROM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827135156

    =$36.00
    __

    HDD:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148294

    = $115.00

    __

    Monitor:

    http://www.consumerdepot.com/product...referer=google

    = $230.00

    __

    Keyboard:

    http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Digi...2507111&sr=8-7

    = Already Own It

    __

    Grand Total: = $1569 - Not bad from earlier estimates. = )

    _______________________

    I will post pics when I get all the parts and start assembling it together. Thanks once again for all the help, and, as I said, I'll be sure to post pics of the new PC. = ) You guys have been a tremendous help, and I don't use tremendous that often. I so cannot wait to kick *** with a good computer. :evil:
     


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