TechSpot

Help in building a new PC

By nariman1977
Nov 28, 2009
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  1. Hi,

    Firstly I must say what a wonderful site. It has opened my eyes to so many things.

    Secondly, I like your help in getting a spec sheet together to build my PC.

    Just a back ground info: I built my last PC 7yrs ago and it has lasted me 7yrs! It started life with windows98 and now am runnig XP professional. Originally was built with 256ram and 40Gb HDD. But now it is running 1Gb RAM and 40+80GB HDD.

    Processor it has a P4 1.6Ghz runnig at normal speed.
    Grafix it is running NVIDIA Geforce2 MX/MX400 card

    So you can see when it was built 7yrs ago it was a pretty decent spec for the time.

    I think it is now time to finally replace it as it seems to not only be runnig out of HDD, but also tends to run a bit slow.

    So my intention is to build something again that is goin to last me for a good few yrs still to come.

    Budget wise I don't wanna go crazy, but maybe in the region of £500 if thats feasible? Obviosuly anything less will be better.

    I am not a big PC gaming fan. Have a PS3 and Wii for that side of things, so I won't be doing any gaming, however I will be doing lots of photo and video editing. I would also like to have the option of watching TV on it, whether online or digital tuner I am not too sure.

    I am based in the UK and don't mind ordering things over the internet. It certainly in most of my past experience is much cheaper than going to the shops like Maplin or PCWorld and ...

    I would like to build a full ATX size desktop pc rather than a mini. But again it is not a necesity as I am here for advice.

    Now here is the list of items I have got together that obviously I am gonna need:

    1) CPU: AMD Athlon 64 6000+ 3.2Ghz £60 ( AMD2 socket), is this a good enough processor?

    2) Motherboard : Asus SOcket AM2 + M3N WS motherboard £85: I have searched lots and I think this might be a good enough mobo for my needs? Again any other suggestions will be much appreciated.

    3) RAM: 2GB DDR-2 PC6400 800MHz £45 the above mother board is capable of handling up to 8Gb, however I don't think I need anything more than 4Gb to begin with?!

    4) Graphics Card: ATI HD 4850 £80 I have heard a lot of good things about this card and how it compares against Nvidia 9800Gt. So it this good enough? or am I better off going for the HD 4870 instead?

    5) PSU: Now this I don't know much about. I think my current one is a 40W PSU and I have never had any problems with it. But if I start to use the above grafix card, then I guess I will deffo need to go for something better? Any suggestions?

    6) O/S: Windows XP I am gonna keep my O/S as it is. It has been out for along time and it is stable. I am not sure if Windows7 is as stable as it is relatively new and ought to have lots of bugs. What ya reckon?

    7) Case: I don't know much about case, but I guess that would depend on the mobo that I go for. I like to have a case which is quite cool looking and I can show it with pride instead of hiding it under the desk. So any cool suggestions?

    8) Drives: I have looked aorund for blueray drives to be able to write bluerays and read them. But they seem to be a bit over priced at the moment, About £150. Am I better off getting a good DVD RW for now and wait a few more months, prices might come down a bit? ANy suggestions for good DVD RW drives and also blueray ones?

    9) HDD I take it as most of the new mobos have SATA drives now instead of the good old IDE ones. And they seem to be quite cheap compared to the old IDE ones. What I have thought about is to have 2 Sata Drives: a 300Gb one and a 1T byte one. I will then partition the 300Gb to 100 and 200 Gb and use the first one for the O/S only and use the 200Gb one for the programme files. The 1T byte one will be used for general files and application stuff like videos and .... Is this the right way to go about it?

    10) Monitor and speakers I guess these are pretty standard whatever I do. I could even get a 20" HD ready TV and use that instead maybe for the monitor? What I like to do is though, have 2 monitors if I can. I have seen lots of people using them and it seems to be an ideal choice if I have to do lots of diff things at once. instead of keep minimizing and maximising. So how does that work? Is it a feature of video card or do I need to have a separate controller?

    11) Any thing else I have forgotten? Anything else that you think I might need?

    one thing I have noticed with the new mobos nowadays is that you don't get that many PCI slots. Is this normal? Has the standards changed for adding diff hardware? If they are not internal PCIs anymore, what is the alternative?

    Also as regards to grafix card, is it better to go for a twin 4850 instead of a single 4870?

    anyhelp and pointers is much appreciated.
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    I would suggest these:

    Processor - AMD Athlon II X4 620 - £73.40
    Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P - £65.89
    PSU - Corsair 550W VX Series PSU - £61.75
    GPU - VTX 3D HD 4770 512MB - £72.39
    RAM - Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz - £60.00
    Case - Cooler Master CM-690 Dominator - £59.51

    Total - £392.94

    That leaves you with a little more than £100 for the HDD and DVD drive.

    I suggested the HD 4770 as it performs at par with the HD 4850. It also consumes lesser power so you may consider getting the Corsair 450VX PSU and save another £10. (Personally, if you're not interested in gaming then you might even consider getting the HD 4670.)

    As for the HDD, I think 1 TB is more than enough. No need to give the OS (Windows XP) more than 15 - 20GB. It's best if the OS is maintained on a partition separate to all other apps.

    Two HD 4850s in CrossFire will definitely outperform the a single HD 4870. However, they would consume a lot more power. You'll have to get the Corsair 650TX PSU in that case.
  3. nariman1977

    nariman1977 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.

    One question as regards to the case you have suggested:

    The case can have up to 7 fans, however the mobo that you have listed only supports 3 fans( 2 system fans and 1 power fan). So how do you conect all 7 if you wanted to?

    The reason I want to have 2 separate HDDs is that if one fails then I am not gonna loose all info.
    for instance if the drive that has the OS on it fails, then I just have to replace that one and only loose standard os info instead of loosing all.

    The CPU you have suggested is the 2.6Ghz one, any specific reason? For instance why not the phenom x4 instead? apart from the price side of things.

    I do like the mobo though. cool.
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    You can run the remaining fans by connecting them to your PSU.

    The Athlon II X4 is much cheaper than a Phenom II X4. Since you will not be gaming excessively on your system a Phenom II is not necessary. The Athlon II X4 will suffice very well for photo / video editing, watching HD movies and playing all games (even the recent ones) well enough if you have a decent GPU. The only advantage with the Phenom II is the presence of an L3 cache on the die. But you will not really notice any significant difference now.
  5. jasonbernal

    jasonbernal TS Rookie Posts: 32

    way cheaper than the phenom
  6. nariman1977

    nariman1977 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So finally after months of contemplating what to do, I have gone and done it. Bought all the bits and pieces, hopefully should be with me to build in the next 2 weeks:

    1) CPU: AMD Phenom II 965 Black edition, 3.4Ghz, quad Core £135
    2) MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-790XT-USB3 £100
    3) GPU: PowerColor HD 4850 PCS 1GB GDDR3 DVI VGA HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £85
    4)RAM: Kingston HyperX 6GB DDR3 wtih Kingston HyperX FAN - KHX1800C9D3T1FK3/6GX £180
    5) HDD:WD 1TB SataII + WD 250Gb SataII 7200rpm £100
    6) CD/DVD drive:LG CH08LS10 DVD writer+Blueray Rom £85
    7) PSU: Greenpower 850W PSU £60
    8) Case: X Case NZXT M59 Midi Tower Case £50
    9) Monitor: BenQ Benq E2420HD 24 LCD Monitor £180
    10) OS: Windows7 Professional 64bit

    Hopefully when they all come, they fit together ok :D

    only one quesion though: The GPU I have ordered is a GDDR3 not a GDDR5. Would this be a OK GPU? Or am I better off changing it for something else? I have gone for this one, as I am planning on mybe getting another one at some stage soon and crossfire link them together. MOBO supports crossfire.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks
  7. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    I would suggest that you get the Radeon HD 5750 instead of the 4850. For the CPU the X4 955 would have saved you a few bucks and you could have easily overclocked it to match the 965.

    Also, 6GB of RAM is unnecessary. I'm assuming it's 3 x 2GB. The Phenom II does not have a triple channel memory controller like the i7. Get a 4GB kit instead. With the money saved, you may even be able to get yourself the HD 5770.

    Why a second 250GB HDD over the 1TB?
  8. nariman1977

    nariman1977 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    the 250Gb HDD is purely for the OS installation and 1TB is for main program files. The reason i am keeping separate is that i have had problems in the past that i don;t want to hae to format everything if the OS goes pearshaped!

    I am not really keen on OC. However the same argument really applies that I can now OC the 965 instead of getting a 955 and OC it to 965.

    As for the RAM, thanks for the advice. So are you saying that i either need to go down to 4Gb or up to 8Gb to occupie the 4 RAM slots?
  9. nariman1977

    nariman1977 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, I have now cancelled both 6Gb memory and the GPU and gone for the Kingston Hyper 4Gb 2000Mhz memory and the HD 5750. I saw that it doesn't have normal VGA input, but just remembered that my monitor has HDMI input, so that shouldn't matter.
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