TechSpot

First time building computer

By lucky_charms
May 1, 2006
  1. Hi guys,

    I will be building my first computer soon and wanted anyone's opinion on the parts I have picked out. The motherboard I'm not too sure of so if anyone can suggest a better one, that would be great. I will be using the computer mainly for entertainment purposes, of course as well as doing work on it. I will be installing a music studio and probably watching several videos, and probably downloading a bunch of programs, as well as playing some games. Someone already suggested the AMD motherboard and chip, but I'm not sure if Intel or AMD would be better. I would like a processor chip of at least 3.2 GHZ if not more. Also, when you buy the processor chip, does it come with the thermal paste or will I have to buy it on my own? The prices are in Canadian dollars, but the price isn't too much of an issue, as long as I get an excellent performance out of it. Let me know, thanks for your time.


    Motherboard:

    ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe ATX NFORCE4 LGA775 DDR2 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E SATA2 RAID Sound 2LAN 1394 Motherboard
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14915 - $200.64

    I wanted this motherboard because I wanted the LGA775 chip to fit, and also, later on if I want to add more RAM, it would be compatible as it can hold at least 4GB of RAM. There is already an onboard sound card. Also, I went through other motherboards and motherboard reviews and customer ratings and this seemed to be the best one for performance. The motherboard doesn't have an onboard videocard which is something crucial I didn't want because my friend's computer had an onboard video card, and it stopped working, so I had to buy another video card, but that didn't work because I couldn't go into the BIOS settings to change it because the screen wouldn't show up. I just wanted to make sure that wouldn't happen to me.

    Processor Chip:

    Intel Pentium 4 640 3.2GHZ LGA775 800FSB Prescott 2MB Cache 90NM EM64T HT Processor Retail Box
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14040 - $264.00

    I only picked this one because of the price. I personally want as fast as possible, but with the highest quality. I can't seem to tell the difference between each of the processors, but I know I would like an Intel, at least 32 GHZ with Hyper-Threading Technology. I'm not sure if the 2MB Cache is enough though. However, I would like to be able to overclock although I've heard that damages the quality of the chip. If you have any other suggestions please let me know. There was another one I was interested in as well:

    Intel Pentium 4 650 3.4GHZ LGA775 800FSB Prescott 2MB Cache 90NM EM64T Ht Processor Retail Box
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14035

    Intel Pentium 4 651 3.4GHZ LGA775 2MB 800FSB XD EM64T Processor Retail Box
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17444


    CPU Heatsink:

    Gigabyte GH-PDU21-MF Copper Alum CPU Heatsink Fan 1700~3200RPM 362~68.5CFM 21.3~40.1DBA
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=16026 - $49.02

    I'm actually not sure about getting this fan because the processor chip already includes it, but I heard it isn't that good and I should buy something that can cool it better as Prescott processor chips get hot really easily.

    Power Supply:

    OCZ OCZ52012U-520W Modstream Power Supply PCI-E Ready W/ Ezmod Cable System & Blue LED Fan
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=13609 - $115.24

    I like this fan because the wires won't be all tangled up as my previous computers have been doing. The noise is also minimal on this fan as well. Also, there is the same power supply but with 450 W. I picked the amount of watt because there was something I wanted to put in, I can't remember on the top of my head right now that needed this more than 450 W.

    RAM:

    OCZ GOLD EL PC2-4200 1GB 2X512MB DDR2-533 CL3-3-3-8 240PIN DIMM DUAL CHANNEL MEMORY KIT W/ RAMSINK
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=15370 - $112.24

    There are so many different brand for memory that I couldn't decide, but I came up with this one which I think should match my motherboard. I would like at least 1GB of RAM. This is for two 512 MB so that would make it 1GB. I'm not sure if getting two and add it up to 1GB would be better or getting one that is 1GB.


    Video Card:

    Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO2 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI VIVO OEM Video Card
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17166 - $216.60

    Again, if you have any other suggestions, please let me know. I would like a video card that is at least 256 MB, and it has to bb either PCI or PCI-E


    DVD-Rom:

    ASUS Quietdrive DVD-E616A Black 16X DVD-ROM CD-ROM 48X Retail Box W/SOFTWARE
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17630 - $32.64

    Since my mom will be taking my old computer, I have to get a new CD-ROM. I think this is a good one, because it is a quiet drive and it is CD/DVD compatible.

    Hard Drive:

    Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB 9MS NCQ Quiet RoHS Hard Drive 3 Year MFR Warranty
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17402 - $135.15

    This is a quiet drive with 300 GB of space. Maxtor is a good company, I've had no problems with it as everyone's computer I have dealt with has Maxtor on it.

    Tower Case:
    Antec P160W Anodized Aluminum Super Mid ATX Tower 4X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5INT W/ Front IO Ports & Air Duct
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=16579 - $126.73

    This is the computer case I would like.
     
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Anyone buying (or putting together) a new computer these days really should be looking at dual core CPUs. If you are wanting to stay with Intel, the pentium D lineup is what you want, and if you are willing to give in and go AMD, you want the AthlonX2 line.

    So, rather than me or someone else telling you that AMD is better, take a look at what the pros (and more importantly, the benchmarks) are saying.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/01/05/the_65_nm_pentium_d_900s_coming_out_party/
    http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1=235&chart=63&model2=322
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2658
    http://www.sharkyextreme.com/hardware/cpu/article.php/3565416

    AMD dual cores clearly outperform the Intel counterparts in just about every way possible.

    Ok, now that that is out of the way..... ;)

    If you decide to stick with Intel, that is a pretty nice system you have put togther! I'd probably go for a 7600GT graphics card instead (or even the 6800GS) as they would both outperform that X800 in gaming, but that's not really a fair comparison, as you are looking at a VIVO card, and the X800 has the added bonus of video in. If that is a feature you are wanting to use, then the X800 is a great choice I'd say.

    The stock heatsink will have a thermal "pad" on it. The gigabyte heatsink will have either a pad, or some paste that comes with it (probably paste). But really the best thing to do is invest in some Actic Silver thermal paste. Amazing stuff.
     
  3. connerwayne

    connerwayne TS Rookie Posts: 61

    My 2 cents

    I got an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ and ECS mobo for 279 at Outpost.com... I hated the ECS mobo (even though a friend of mine really likes it) so I called Fry's Outpost, told them I didnt want to even look at it, and they took it back, then credited my Visa 60 bucks plus shipping costs. Outpost has excellent return policies...

    I then bought an Asus A8R-MVP ATI 2X PCIe Crossfire mobo from Fry's for 109... that makes it like 310 for the combo. Not bad considering the kick-booty X-Fire mobo.

    I also got the Thermaltake Big Typhoon CPU cooler, and I love it.. well worth the 50 bucks or whatever you spend on it... My CPU idles at 35 degrees C, and 54 degrees C at full load for awhile... Thats OC'd to 2.25Ghz too. I'd OC more, but my RAM is cheap. Corsair Value Select. If you want to do mad crazy OC's, make sure you get good RAM. Corsair XMS, etc. I couldnt wafford it, as I was on a budget, and the memory was extremely cheap (50 bucks per 1GB stick. I got two so I could run dual channel). Also, the Big Typhoon is sooo quiet. I use this PC as a media center PC on my DLP HDTV.

    Wayne
     
  4. connerwayne

    connerwayne TS Rookie Posts: 61

    Ac5 Rocks!

    Also, Don is right, get the Arctic Silver thermal conductive paste... It's better than pretty much anything out there. I saw a review once for a Zalman CPU cooler that had paste that rated much better than AC5, but it could have been that the person doing the test applied too much/not enough AC5...

    Wayne
     
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