First PC Build, suggestions/comments :)

By deeps1987
Aug 19, 2007
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  1. hey all,
    my love for computers started way back in 1999, when i first got a computer and started to use it, it was top spec back then, according to PC World lol (some advice, never buy a PC from there, utter crap, but i was new so it was a good start)
    anyways from what i can remember it was

    AMD something, with 600Mhz
    64MB RAM (later up graded to 256MB)
    16MB integrated Graphics
    so laughable theses days, although it lasted me up until late 2005, then the processor died lol, it was running XP, think that did it.

    second PC (current one)
    bought it from MESH a year and a half ago (by this time i had learnt a lot about computers)
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (939)
    A8N-SLI Nvidia Nforce 4 (939)
    1GB DDR400 RAM (512MB x 2) now upgraded to (2GB DDR400 Corsair Twinx 1024r-3200c2 (1GB x 2)
    ATI Radeon Connect 3D X1600 Pro (512MB) PCI-E now upgraded to (ATI Radeon Connect 3D X1900 XTX)
    250GB Maxtor Serial ATA Hard Drive with 16MB Buffer
    SONY 16x Dual Layer DVD-Re-Writable +R/-R/RW
    550W PSU (HEC) or something
    19" Viewsonic VA1912W Digital
    7.1 Channel Surround Sound Audio (on-board)

    Laptop for Uni
    AMD Turion 64 1.6GHz
    ATI RS482M
    128MB Graphics Card (64MB Shared)
    1GB DDR400 (512MB x 2)
    17" Screen
    802.11b/g Wireless Function
    Built-in DVD Dual Layer Burner drive


    As you can see, im a big fan of AMD......till now
    anyways, its been a good computer, but now i want to build my own custom pc, ill use it for games, and uni work
    i want to go water cooled, but have no idea how to build it myself or set it up, and my dad wont let me try,lol shows the trust?
    so i decided on buying a case with water cooling preinstalled

    here are the components so far (i haven't bought any yet, just been looking into it)

    CPU

    Case

    Motherboard

    RAM

    PSU

    Hard Drive x2

    I'm not sure on the CPU yet, but i want to use my existing X1900XTX Graphics card and i also just bought the Crossfire X1900 card.

    Any suggestions on CPU?
    also, do i need fan controllers for the radiator for the water cooling and case fans? or will the motherboard operate them correctly?
    suggestions on DVD RW drives?
    I'm going to use the sound card that comes with that motherboard, as iv read its already rather good
    I plan to start the build in early September

    thanks

    Components Definitely in the build
    ATI Radeon Connect 3D X1900 XTX
    ATI Radeon Connect 3D X1900 Crossfire Edition
    2 x Danger Den Tyee GPU ATI X1800/X1900 3/8" Full Waterblocks
  2. samjohnson

    samjohnson Newcomer, in training Posts: 320

    Your Case, Motherboard, Hard drive, and PSU look good. Look at this CPU.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115016

    For your RAM look at Corsair or some A-Data ( that is what I have in mine, pretty good). There is other RAM options but those I know are pretty good RAM. I would defintly use your existing Graphics card.
    If I was you I would look at some AMD compatible motherboards, it makes the build a whole lot cheaper. The AMD CPU's are cheaper then intel. I got a 2.4 dual core 4600+ for $115. I would deffintly stick to ASUS motherboards mine so far is done pretty good for me(its a couple of months old, my first build also). Ive read also that they are supposed to be the best for overclocking. Good luck on the build.
  3. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    Pretty Prime

    That's one premium looking setup you seem to be going for there. But I've got to ask, why get such a high-end case, high-end MoBo, Super high-end PSU, and then just 300GB of drive space???

    I don't know what your needs are, but if you plan on installing a bunch of high-end games that take advantage of all that hardware, or plan on doing any video editing or use high-end graphics software, you're gonna fill that puppy up quick.

    I RAID-0'ed two 500GB SATA3 drives (a mere $114US each) for more than a TERABYTE of drive space (including my old 250GB IDE), and my system is not as high-end as yours will be (I DO work with lots of video).

    Consider more drive space.

    PS: When searching for my own drives, I found a good drive study online somewhere (Tom's Hardware? Not sure) that found that only in VERY limited situations, do 10,000 RPM drives provide any significant performance boost. The cache on many drives now is making it irrelevant. And the extraordinary amount of heat produced by Raptor's makes them undesirable for general use.
  4. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    hi Mugsy
    the reason is, iv read that no matter how fast everything else is, i.e CPU, Mobo...etc, if you have a slow hard drive, its pointless, currently, the WD Raptors are the fastest hard drives available, 10,000 rpm, compared to the usual 7,200rpm.

    150GB is enough i think, cause i have an extrernal for my back ups and music and such.
    These WD Raptor will only be running installed games and probs about 100MB of uni work lol max

    i may install another hard drive, maybe 500GB, just as storage come to think about it, thanks :) good idea

    thanks for that samjohnson
    i was a real AMD nut, hated intel etc, and also love ATI, hated Nvida, so when AMD/ATI joined i was really glad.
    Then intels Core 2 Duo architecture was so good, and AMD had nothing which could compare, ao i started to sway to Intel, same with ATI and Nvida, its disappointing really.
    Also i agree, my current Mobo is ASUS and i love it, its great :)
    But i think ill go with a Core 2 Duo, cause they're cheap, better mobo choices (i choose the one i did cause its ready for the new intel P35 chip and its already got a water block on the northbridge)
    the good thing is im not going to use Vista, not for a while yet, which means i don't need direct x10 yet, also i just bought a X1900 Crossfire edition card, so when i get this new mobo, i can install both my X1900 cards in Crossfire. Which is ATI :D

    CPU wise, i think i should stick with a C2D, but not quad core, as no games take advantage of that yet, and they are still rather expensive.
    i was looking at this one what do you guys think?
  5. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    Check my PS.

    Check the PS I added above regarding 10K drives, added after my initial reply.

    My experience has been that unless you plan on running a home server, there just isn't much of a point in spending so much for so little. Get a couple of fast SATA's with big 16M caches. The difference in speed is negligible. The difference in price, heat production and capacity for the money, are not.
  6. samjohnson

    samjohnson Newcomer, in training Posts: 320

    Ya that CPU looks good. I wish I could have gotton something that fast for my build. I was trying to make my build not so expensive. :D

    I would deffintly just go for XP home or Pro or whatever you want. Vista eats a TON of memory. My sister got a laptop for college and we put another gig into it to make 1.5 but the graphics ate like 256 and so her main memory was only 667. Have fun building your comp!
  7. rapzkilla

    rapzkilla Newcomer, in training Posts: 60

    get a core 2 duo processor dude. its tight and fast. also your motherboard could be better. and hard drive, try getting a 350GB hard drive if you will be playing video games. trust me.... i have 50 games on my pc. oh ya and go for xp home edition. if you want vista, you can just dual boot it..
  8. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    Mobo could be better? huh? which one?
    XP Pro for me :) may try the 64Bit version


    lol that laptop sounds like fun, why not just install XP instead? its far better suited for mobile computers, and with 1.5GB, it will fly

    What hard drives would you recommend? i want 2 in RAID0 (which should be fast) and then another one for mass storage (which doesnt have to be as fast)
  9. samjohnson

    samjohnson Newcomer, in training Posts: 320

    Ya well I suggested that, but my dad was paying for the laptop so that would have added a extra 100 bucks to it. :D
  10. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    lol i know what you mean, same thing here when i odered my current pc, i had to pay extra to not have Vista, and i did, get how much i dislike Vista now? :p lol
    why not install XP now?
  11. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    hey guys, just been looking around the OCUK website, and under memory, it has matched DDR memory, but on DDR2 it doesn't, as I'm new to DDR2 memory, i was just wondering if they need to be matched like DDR, for better performance?

    I'm not sure if i should get the best current Core2Duo
    or the cheapest Quad Core
    seeing as the dual core is based on the new architecture, and has a higher FSB (1333) and a higher clock speed 3 Ghz, but the quad core has more cores, but slower FSB (1066) and clock speed of 2.4 Ghz, plus not many, if any games use quad core properly yet?
    they are exactly the same price though
    also any suggestions on particular hard drives and DVD RW drives?
  12. cartera

    cartera TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 119   +10

    Sweet build you have going, i personally only have dual core but my friend just got a dell xps modded to his needs (gaming). He has quad core and it runs like a dream, so i would recommend quad core. Personally i have no problems with vista, however dont fall for vista ultimate it is no different to premium really. Is far easier to back up your computer if you do that!
    On hard drives i would say that you will need more than 300gb if you want to do high end gaming and i wouldnt get a hard drive that wasnt 7200rpm. Look at seagate hard drives since i have personally found them very reliable.
    Hope you get that comp up and running quick. On paper its looks like a stunner in the making!
    Good luck
  13. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    Always (always) match your ram when installing or adding multiple sticks.

    Memory with different timing... if it works at all... will always be forced to use the speed/latency of the slowest stick in your system, wasting any benefit you might get from using faster memory.
     
  14. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    Is this RAM matched? even though it doesnt say it, but its the same brand and type etc
  15. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    I think I'm missing what you mean by "matched"? I'm only familiar with the term in the literal sense.
  16. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    well from my understanding, matched modules have the exact serial number, revision number, batch number etc, basically, two were taken straight from the production line, right next to each other, to create a matched pair.
  17. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Posts: 454

    Yes, the RAM you linked to is "matched" for dual-channel, not to mention it's also great RAM. It says in its title that it's 2x1GB, which means it is in a dual-channel kit of two matched sticks.

    The good brands of memory include Corsair, OCZ, Kingston, and a few more. You've chosen OCZ, which is great. You also chose the "Reaper" series in OCZ's memory products, which is the top-of-the-line series of their products. It's also DDR2-1066MHz, which is the fastest DDR2 on the market.

    My point is, there's nothing wrong with the RAM you've chosen.
  18. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    thanks :) Custom PC mag rated it as the best DDR2 RAM

    so if i buy two of them kits, would they work in Dual Channel?
  19. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Posts: 454

    Yup. :) Two kits (four sticks) will work in dual channel. Your motherboard has four DIMM slots, which support two pairs of dual channel memory.

    What OS will you be using though? A 32-bit Windows XP system can not see more than 3GB memory.
  20. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    hmm, will 64bit xp accept it?
    id rather not go to vista
  21. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Posts: 454

    Yep, XP 64-bit will see all 4GB of memory should you decide to get that much.
    Just make sure you're not wasting your money though. There aren't many apps that can use a whopping 4GB of memory (2GB is plenty for Windows XP).
  22. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    hmm in that case ill stick with 2GB :)
    any suggestions on CPU's? E6850 or Q6600?
    thanks
  23. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    Memory limits with Windows

    The current memory limit of the existing x86 design is still 4GB... that's ALL addressable memory: RAM, ROM/BIOS/CMOS & VRAM *combined*.

    If you have a 1GB video card, the most RAM your PC can use to run programs is 3GB. This is known as a "Memory window" (no relation to "Windows").

    A short history lesson:

    WAAAAY back in the old 8bit days, computers like the Apple-][ and C64 had a 64K memory window (2^8). If the OS used 16K, that left you with only 48K to run programs. Computer makers worked around this limit using a method called "bank switching". 16K blocks of memory could be swapped in/out as needed, but you'd never have more than 48K of contiguous memory at any one time. Oddly, no one has ever resurrected "bank switching" for use with 32bit hardware. (If they did, you could conceivably add upto another thirty-two banks of RAM to your PC!)

    Today, 32bit PC hardware has a 4GB limit (2^32). 64bit memory addressing reaches into the hundreds of Terabytes (if not higher), but right now, no one makes a 64bit MoBo with support for more than 8GB of memory. And 64bit versions of Windows are notoriously incompatible, with HORRIBLE driver support. Microsoft releasing Vista... yet another 32bit operating system... was a monster mistake. Built in obsolescence. An OS with a 1 year shelf-life IMHO. Gawd only knows why they did it.

    So until 64bit hardware and OS's become mainstream, I wouldn't bother installing more than 2GB of ram in any PC plus a 1GB videocard, leaving a 1GB address window for external device data (don't ask).

    Remember what Steve Jobs said about the Macintosh when it debuted in 1984: "128K should be enough for anybody!" (Bill Gates said a similar thing about DOS before Windows came out, saying no one was likely to ever write a program so big it wouldn't fit in 640K of memory.)
  24. deeps1987

    deeps1987 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 135

    in that case I'm sticking with 2GB RAM (1GB x 2, Dual Channel) and 32 Bit XP Pro.

    I'm not sure if i should get the best current Core2Duo
    or the cheapest Quad Core
    seeing as the dual core is based on the new architecture, and has a higher FSB (1333) and a higher clock speed 3 Ghz, but the quad core has more cores, but slower FSB (1066) and clock speed of 2.4 Ghz, plus not many, if any games use quad core properly yet?
    they are exactly the same price though
    also any suggestions on particular hard drives for RAID-0, and what i need to make RAID-0 work? (any additional hardware/software?)and what type of hard drive does my purposed Mobo will take?
  25. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Posts: 404

    Options

    Quad core is a waste of money. As you note, nothing takes advantage of it yet (nothing that YOU plan on using it for), and it's more expensive. The bus speed is irrelevant if you plan on using 1066 DDR2 memory anyway, though the lower clock speed is misleading because there are more cores to share the work, theoretically making it faster. But as we've agreed, nothing takes advantage of it.

    On the RAID, I'm partial to Western Digital SATA-II drives. They're dirt cheap, more reliable than anything else out there, and the 16MB cache makes them comparable to 10K rpm drives. I have two 500GB WD's in RAID-0 for a full Terabyte of drive space.

    Since the MoBo is an ASUS, you probably have a choice of RAID controllers. I use the standard Silicon Image controller. Same performance but generates less heat (SilImg typically only supports RAID 0/1/2/10).
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