TechSpot

One very simple Question

By mv670
Feb 14, 2010
  1. Alright, I need some feedback as detailed as possible because I am in a sort of limbo right now. I have never built a pc before.Granted I don't post much, heck I'm not of much aid either :p but my questions are

    Should I build a PC or Should I buy one already built?
    Are all processors(dual,quad,i5,i3,i7) the same, regardless of the brand?
    The same said question I ask of the motherboards. DDR2 or DDR3?
    Oh and I am only interested in the tower If I decide to buy one.

    My old PC Specs are
    Compaq Presario SR1610NX
    Mobo: MSI-Amenthyst MS 7184
    CPU: AMD Sempron 3200 1.80 GHz
    GPU: Nvidia Geforce 9400 GT
    PSU: Apevia 500W <-- recently purchased.
    1.25 Gb Ram
    OS: Windows Vista 32bit Home Basic
    500$ budget if I choose to build one(very unlikely but possible).
    Now I have seen the techspot buying guide. I do not know what is stopping me from doing a build. It can be that I am too lazy to put everything together if i go for a build. Then again, it sounds so much simpler to just buy one, and yes I do want Windows 7.
    I have a link to a PC of interest.
    http://www.frys.com/product/6133279?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    I'm not a casual pc gamer, but i will game once in a while.
    I'm looking for great performance, can this pc that the link shows give me that and some gaming? and in the future can it be upgradeable?
    I welcome the Pros and Cons of both options from you guys, give me all you got.
     
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,062   +77

    1. No not all processors are created equal; they are manufactured / built to cater for needs of different segments (price/performance range).

    2. DDR3 is rated from 800-1600 mbps (which is double at the maximum, from DDR2); along with many other improvements in power useage/management etc. (you can find details by searching for JEDEC specs DDR2 vs DDR3). Since DDR3 is designed to run at higher memory speeds the signal integrity of the memory module is much more important though. Lastly, it should use about 16% less power than DDR2.

    3. And I think you can build a better system than this one for about the same money, if you try to be bit less lazy ;)

    Here's what I would suggest at your budget:

    AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz - $56.99
    ASRock M3A770DE AM3 - $59.99
    BFG Tech GS-550 550W - $49.99
    A-DATA Gaming Series 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 - $91.99
    XFX Radeon HD 4770 512MB - $114.99
    Antec Three Hundred Illusion - $61.99
    HITACHI Deskstar 7200RPM 1TB - $79.99
    Sony Optiarc AD-7241S-0B - $26.99

    Total - $542.92

    Source: Ritwik

    That is one decent build IMHO, so I just got it here for your consideration & I think your current PSU should be alright with this rig; so you can deduct 50$ from price ;) hence making it 493$; and also have the option of updating the rig to an Quad Core CPU later on.
     
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,967   +738

    Building a PC is an achievement, buying one somewhat less. If you feel confident enough then building one will allow you to tailor the system closer to what you need. If you don't want the hassle then go prebuilt.
    Short answer is no. With a $500 budget you wont be exploring that statement regarding Core i3/i5/i7 firsthand. The difference between processors for normal desktop activities is not great. A good AM3 (AMD) or LGA775 (Intel) CPU will suffice, and more to the point, is within your stated budget.
    No real performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 in the budget-mainstream bandwidth segment. Price differential is marginal also.
    I think you are answering your own question
    Your present 9400GT offers better gaming potential than the onboard graphics in the PC you linked to, although adding something like this would only marginally put you over your budget, and give you a better gaming experience (this would depend on the PC's power supply suitability also)
    Aren't you glad you asked?!

    If you decide on building a system you can most likely get a much better end product IF you plan on utilising components from your current computer (power supply, hard drives, optical drives ). If you don't plan on recycling then the price of the HP system would be tough to better.

    A very quick build based on Newegg's prices:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103687
    AMD Athlon X2 245 retail (2.9GHz) ($61, free shipping)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128431
    Gigabyte GA-770T-USB3 motherboard ($90 + $7.87 S/H)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227479
    OCZ Gold DDR3-1333 4Gb ($82 + $5.99 S/H)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754
    Windows 7 Home Ed. X64 OEM ($105)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066
    Antec Three Hundred Illusion mid-tower ($50 + $10 S/H)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148445
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 750Gb harddrive ($60)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121354R
    Asus GT 240 ($75 + $7.56 S/H) –open box but a good deal.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034
    Antec Earthwatts 430W PSU ($50)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118032
    Sony (Optiarc) CD/DVD burner ($27 + $2 S/H)

    Comes out to around $534.
    I think I'd prefer this over the Hewlett-Packard TBH.
     
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,062   +77

    I pasted one of Rit's builds here, I would like you to have a comment on it please; and also I think if he goes with that HP he is better off using his 9400GT; although it is much slower than the proposed 4770. But then again I have no idea which games he want / like to play.
     
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,967   +738

    Pretty much what I came up with in the rough-and-ready costings. Re-using the original PSU and ODD would allow our OP go with a HD 4850 1Gb or HD 4860 1Gb and puts them with touching distance of a HD 5770 - a sizeable performance boost.

    Edit: I'd go with the Gigabyte board I think. If the chipset is equal then the USB3 support I think would be worth the extra cash.
     
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,062   +77

    Thanks, yes it looks very decent with that option in my view; allowing him to play most of the modern games at higher resolution / details. Anyway, its upto him now whatever he wants and feel is best for him. Regards.
     
  7. mv670

    mv670 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    After reading your feedback(Great info btw) I'm leaning on going for the build.
    Since i have no experience in putting a pc together, I am concerned I might do something wrong in the process of actually doing the build.
    Basically from what i'm interpreting, one can have a better pc from a build as opposed to those pre-built machines at the stores?
    As for the gaming part of it, I just want to make sure my pc will handle any modern games and those in the near future.
     
  8. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    Follow the instruction manuals that ship with each component. Everything will work out fine.

    Yes. At the same price point ofcourse.

    The system suggested by Archean was put together for a budget build by me. It should handle most current games at reasonable settings. However, do not expect stellar gaming performance in games such as Crysis, S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Clear Sky, etc. at High or Very High settings.

    To build a system that will be able to handle all current and near-future titles at Very High settings you would need to look into a better CPU + GPU. Which essentially means that you're looking at a bigger budget.

    @ Archean - Thanks for looking into the build. :)
     
  9. mv670

    mv670 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    Your system comes to a total of 542.92, with the 50 deduction of the PSU, since i will keep my current one, the new total is 493 plus the 105 dollars for windows seven.
    Ritwiks/Archean system approx: $598
    dividebyzeros system: $534

    Roughly in the same area, of course with a 64 dollar difference. I don't see how I can go wrong with either system.
    I guess it is now my personal choice(always was :D)

    Thank you very much guys, I got a better understanding of the situation now. I will think about it and I'll post back later with my final decision. Once again I appreciate your feedback.
     
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,055   +970

    There are many resources available online that address themselves to "BYOPC" this guide for example; http://www.pcguide.com/byop/index.htm is now quite dated but has a good deal of relevance,
    Even Intel gets into the act; http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-020836.htm

    And those pesky instructions, that have already been mentioned.

    The rule of thumb, (at least for carpenters) is measure twice, cut once. In our case, let's go with "read thrice", post questions if you don't understand something, then assemble. OK?
     
  11. mv670

    mv670 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 75

    Will do, thanks
     
     
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