TechSpot

Need some advice in building my PC.

By Phat Stealth
May 16, 2002
  1. Hi im new to the board, and new to the really advanced aspect of computers i.e. RAID. Anyway i can usually keep up in a computer conversation but it sometimes get out of hands, so ive come to this board. Anyway to the point of my post, my current pc is alright but its time to upgrade again. Ive decided to build my own PC this time around. Its going to be mainly for gaming. What do you think of it so far?:

    Maxtop CSX-147KF-G5-USB (case; i got the idea from another post; i had orginally decided on an Enlight ATX Mid tower EN72500AZ)

    Samsung Syncmaster 753DF 17"

    Soyo K7V Dragon Plus VIA KT266A

    PNY Geforce3 TI200 64 MB DDR

    Now I need some help on some stuff. With that case I'll need a PSU. Will a 300-350 Watt be sufficient? For memory I'm getting a 512 DDR PC2100 184 pin 2.5v unbuffed, but should i get the Corsair, Crucial, or the Mushkin equivalent? I currently have a 1.2 Athlon, should i buy a new one, or try to OC my current one for the Soyo? I definetly want an external modem, but what do u reccomend? Ive always liked the Supras, but is there anything more recent? Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks. Peace!
     
  2. recoombe

    recoombe TS Rookie

    well as far as power supply goes, i'm running an athlon 1.33 gig + 512 ddr, geforce 3 ti 200, two hard drives + dvd off of a 250 watt (yeah i know i'm broke), but i would get at least a 300 to be safe. 350 is probably better if you plan to get a newer processor.

    crucial memory hasn't failed me yet, so based on personal experience i'd go with that. a 1.2 gig athlon isn't enough? ;). you can try and overclock, but processors are so cheap now that it may be safer to spend a few bucks for a better one if thats what you want.

    an external modem is definitely the way to go so you don't get stuck with crappy winmodems. if you plan to use any other alternative os (linux) then an external modem is almost required since few winmodems work in linux (i have an external modem that works in linux although i have to go through some hoops to connect it). the bad thing is that its hard to find good hardware modems now that the winmodems have taken over. most ppl don't care taht they're winmodems since windows is all they'll use and it takes off about 50 bucks or so off the hardware price since they're emulating the hardware in the drivers.

    so in summary:

    350 watt power supply

    1.2 gig should be more than adequate but if you must upgrade get a good enough upgrade that you'll actually notice a performance difference in

    crucial memory, although corsair is good

    DEFINITELY a hardware modem, and most of those are now external.

    hope it helps.
     
  3. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,568   +103

    Well your choice in monitor is good for the price.
    Not that long ago I purchased a Samsung 957DF monitor (19" Dynaflat screen) and love it in comparison to my old curved 17".
    Great improvement. I would say it even rivals the 17" Dell Trinitron monitors I have at work! :grinthumb

    Motherboard is a good choice (I believe we have a few Soyo Dragon reviews here at TechSpot - Check out the reviews link in my signature) since 333 fsb motherboards have not shown much improvement in performance over the king of 266 fsb chipsets, the KT266a, to warrant paying the extra for this.

    One other thing to bear in mind when upgrading is what you are upgrading from... For instance if you have a Geforce 2 GTS or Ultra then I don't think I would bother going to a geforce3 Ti200. You would be better off trying to stretch your budget to a Geforce 3 ti500 (which should be set to come down in price with the release of the Geforce 4 ti4200 (which should be a good price not that far from Geforce3 prices! so waiting would be quite advisable).

    Recently one of the TechSpot news editors upgraded to a Geforce 4 ti4400 running with a 1.1Ghz Athlon running at 1.2Ghz (because of the limitation of his motherboard chipset).
    His 3dmark benchmarks were only about 800 points higher than my Geforce3 (original) benchmarks on a 1.4Ghz 266DDR motherboard. This is where we see the CPU limiting the performance of the video card as it can't keep up with it. I can say without doubt that a faster processor (for instance Athlon XP 1800+) would give you even greater performance from a Geforce3 card or Geforce4 card so its something to consider, but if you are on a limited budget you can always do this later. If you are upgrading from onboard graphics or a Voodoo3 card or something then you will still get a great boost in graphics capability with your current processor partnered with a new video card....

    As far as memory goes I don't think you can go wrong with any of the brands you mentioned but I would probably go with Crucial (division of Micron) which you can order through the advertisements on this site to help support us :D

    Also check out the TechSpot cooler roundup (reviews link or guide link in my signature) if you decide to overclock your 1.2Ghz and find the temperatures are getting a little too high. You should be able to get at least another 100Mhz out of the chip with the proper cooling. I myself overclock my fsb from 133 to 143 to get my 1.4Ghz Athlon to 1.503Ghz which increases my system performance a bit (bear in mind that this overclocks the PCI and AGP buses also).

    Just a few things to think about ;)
     
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    I would definitly go with Crucial as well. Mushkin is very expensive & works just as well as others ( unless you want aggressive memory timings at ridiculous speeds ;) ).

    I've never bought from any online company besides Crucial, so they get my vote. If you're stranded for cash, you might as well stick with the Athlon 1.2 for the time being, but just remember you aren't using your system to the fullest of it potential. Maybe you should wait for the Thoroughbred release which is sure to make AMD drops prices on end series CPUs ( the 1700+ is gonna disappear pretty soon ).

    What heatsink have you got for the CPU ?
     
  5. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 527

    I know it's a cop out, but take the advice of the posts above and you won't go far wrong....

    have fun, but there aren't many scarier moments whe you think you have finished building your machine and you turn it on for the first time.....and the relief when you realise it works.....its like a drug.

    oh, and don't forget your thermal paste to put between your cpu and heatsink - arctic silver will do the job.
     
  6. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

  7. T-Shirt

    T-Shirt TS Rookie Posts: 329

    Definitly, go with a "oversized" PSU, Many problems can be traced back to inadaquite/unstable power supplies, and you may want to add more stuff in the future!
     
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 6,504   +6

    I think the best possible advice I can give for a first time build is:

    Take your time!

    Don't rush the job. Take it easy. If something seems not right, take a break, have a snack, watch some TV, whatever... Come back to it with a fresh head.

    You need to be firm, but also gentle. Gentle and firm are not the opposites of one another. Always take the greatest of care. If something doesn't seem to want to fit some way, maybe it isn't supposed to....

    Have a good light and a good assortment of screws and screwdrivers, plyers and a small torch would be handy too. Follow the motherboard manual - it more or less tells you have to build the machine.

    Good luck!!! :) :) :)
     
  9. T-Shirt

    T-Shirt TS Rookie Posts: 329

    Good advice, Phantasm66
    Maybe just one more thing, If your not sure about something, come back here for a second opinion. we will try to help.
     
  10. Phat Stealth

    Phat Stealth TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ive not actually ordered anything yet, and i could use some stuff from my current computer to save money. Heres the list of what i could use:

    Generic 40 gig 5400RPM HD
    Elite PC Mid tower (1 case fan, and psu not sure how many watts tho)
    10x12x32 CD-RW & 52 x CD-ROM ( i could buy a dvd/cd burner combo)
    Creative Blaster Live 5.1
    Mouse and KB of course
    A crappy monitor

    Im upgrading from a GF 2 Mx400 so a GF3 TI200 would be a big improvment.

    Abotu the Mushkin ram, the site im ordering from is cheaper than the Crucial or Corsair equivalents. Would Mushkin be a better choice than the other two?

    Any suggestions are apreciated. Peace
     
  11. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    I'd suggest that you keep the HDD but add another one as the main HDD, use that one as a second drive, if you are going to add a DVD/CDRW, then keep one of those CD drives as well to use when copying CDs. Keeping the case is a good idea as well if it is large enough to house everything. I'd go with a new PSU though unless that one is 350W+, just look at the label on it, it should give you the Power rating as well as other info.
    If having the latest and greates sound isn't that important to you, or if you are going to use your same speakers, then the SB Live! is fine, otherwise go for an Audigy. The mouse/KB should also be ok unless you want to go wireless or optical with the mouse.
    I only use "Crucial" RAM, so it doesn't matter to me how good a deal the other brand is, although if I remember correctly, Mushkin is usually pretty expensive stuff is it not?
    You'll also want to look into cooling that rig once it is built. I don't want to start a debate about cooling here, so I'll just refer you to the cooling forum where you can find some great info.

    Just my 2 cents
     
     
  12. Phat Stealth

    Phat Stealth TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well come to find out, im not going to be able to get anything till Christmas, so i guess ill wait. Isnt the Hammer coming out pretty soon? If so by christmas i hope it has a price drop :) Anything else coming out that will make me feel like waiting is a good thing?
     
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,623   +320

    There will almost for certain be an advancement in vid cards, so waiting will only make your current choice cheaper, or a better option the same price.
     
  14. Tedman

    Tedman TS Rookie Posts: 61

    :bounce: Yes waiting is always a good option. Its a consumer market so its always beneficial to wait.
     
  15. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    Waiting will never solve anything. There's always something new & better coming out.

    Let's say someone has a GF2 & wants to buy a GF3TI200. The GF4 4200 gets announced so he decides to wait for it. Once he's about to get the 4200, there will probably be something better announced. If he keeps waiting, he'll drag that GF2 all the way to 2003.

    It just depends on how patient you are.
     
  16. m1066ad

    m1066ad TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Use 5-minute epoxy, applied with a 24 oz hammer.
     
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