1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

building first pc

By etones · 23 replies
Jul 21, 2005
  1. i going to build my first pc, but first i need to buy all the hardware, and i was wandering what cpu, motherboard and graphics card to get. i use my pc for gaming, internet, video editing, website design etc.
  2. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    Hello! Welcome to TechSpot

    You came to a very helpful place... :bounce:
    TS has a very good buyers guide, not to mention
    the forums here. You can get "very good" advice
    on hardware....

    First we need to know your budget, how much $$
    you want to invest..Also what games are you into?
    The PPL here will even help locate best places and prices.
  3. etones

    etones TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 146

    between £500 to £700 GBP, i play world of warcraft, guild wars, close combat first to fight, battlefield 2 stuff like that.
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I'd recommend a amd socket 939 cpu(a 3000+ or 3200+ if you overclock, a 3800+ if you don't), a nforce 4 based motherboard, pci-e graphic like a 6800gt or x800xl, 1gb(or more) pc3200 ram, a good psu(~500w, name brand like antec, enermax, ocz, fortron(fsp), etc), a hd with 8mb(or more) cache, whatever case(that's atx), whatever monitor, whatever optical drives, whatever input devices.
  5. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    yes, when selecting a cpu make sure it is a 90nm model, and is not using a newcastle core. make sure you get a quality name brand motherboard and power supply too. given your budget you'd probably have to go with a 6600gt based card, and an agp graphics card would nold no penalty. i reccomend the msi k8n neo2 board and the msi nx6600gt-vtd128sp graphics card. just get yourself a good case and power supply (must be >420w) and you'll have a solid backbone for a fine system.
  6. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    zephead I've seen you reject the newcastle core a bunch of times. Spill the beans, what's the deal? Is that like a budget line core or just no good for performance or for OCing? Versus the "90nm", does that not have a "name", so to speak?

    I don't usually go around memorizing code names and what core is what. So an outline would be good. Or point to a page that outlines all the different kinds.
  7. Merc14

    Merc14 TS Rookie Posts: 171

    Newcastles are 130nm architecture and aren't the best O/C'ers (I know I have one) but they aren't a "budget line" of CPU, just the last of the 130's. Winchester core ushered in the 90nm architecture and a lot of O/C'ing potential. Given a choice, go with the 90's.

    Since this is your first build get yourself a retail version (as opposed to an OEM) of whatever motherboard you pick so that you'll get the full compliment of cables, connectors and plugs as well as a instruction manual. i'll repeat the above and advise that you get a really decent PSU. Don't skimp there. 420-450 watts and 18amps on the 12 volt rail minimum. I'd recommend more amps if you can afford it and if you get a mobo with 24 pin powerconnector get a 24 pin PSU.

    PZEROFGH TS Rookie Posts: 63

    AMD Athlon 64 Core Explanation

    Note: No processor is guranteed to do anything apart from operate safely at advertised specifications. Although some cores have reputations of high overclockability, chips of the same core vary based on speedbinning, fab location, and week and stepping numbers.

    A common question which seems to be asked is the difference between the numerous cores which AMD offers on the Athlon 64 lineup. Each core offers a variation of improvements over its predicessor, and this will explain the relations between the current cores offered for Socket 939 Athlon 64s.

    One of the large differences between AMD cores is the process size. The process size is measured in nanometers (1 nm = 0.000000001 meters). Smaller process size is in theory a superior core, simply because the circuits consume less power, and uses less current as it can charge faster.

    Consider a 130nm core, and a 90nm core. Imagine the 90nm core is a 200mL cup, and the 130nm core is a 300mL cup. Not only can the 200mL cup fill faster, it fills up with far less liquid or voltage, therefore it uses less power and produces a smaller heat output.

    The only problem with smaller process size is the fact that as transitors get smaller, the insulation also gets smaller and current can have a tendency to leak, or give out excess heat output. AMD has not reached this problem as of yet and their 90nm cores are still energy and heat conservative, however the Intel "Prescott" suffers from this problem.

    AMD currently has five single cores availible to the socket 939 family; Newcastle, Clawhammer, Winchester, Venice, San Diego. AMD also offers multicores: Manchester and Toledo.


    Newcastle is one of the older AMD Athlon 64 cores, being brought to the socket 939 family from socket 754. Newcastle chips are based on the 130nm process, and have the largest power consumption and heat dump overall next to the Clawhammer core. They've got the normal Athlon 64 cache size of 512KB.

    Newcastle is availible in chips such as the 3000+, 3200+, 3500+, and 3800+. It's a dated core and as far as overclockability goes, don't expect much more than 400MHz on air. I really would stay away from this core as I don't think there's any difference in price between it and the more power conservative 90nm cores.


    This core is another one that migrated from the socket 754 family, and assumed the role of dealing with the high end processors in the family, such as 4000+ and FX series processors. It is also avalible in 3400+ format however. It's nearly identical to the Newcastle except it pumps out more heat, consumes more power, and has a larger 1MB L2 cache.

    Like the Newcastle, this core has bitten the dust recently, and is outshown in both overclockability and overall performance by newer 90nm cores.


    This is the first native socket 939 core that AMD introduced, and is also the first core to boast the 90nm process size. The Winchester is near identicle to the Newcastle, however it has a smaller heat dump and consumes less power. Again, a modest 512KB L2 cache.

    These cores scored some big points in the overclocking catergory early on, you should expect about a 400-600MHz increase on these cores. Unfortunetely however, the 90nm process wasn't perfected and couldn't sustain higher clock speeds, and was only availible up to 3500+. A Winchester generally caps at around 2.6-2.8GHz since the silicon couldn't support higher clock speeds. The Winchester has been revised, and replaced with the "Venice".

    Note: Some Motherboards require an updated BIOS in order to use 90nm cores.


    The Venice is notorious for it's ridiculous power and voltage conservation, reaching clock speeds as high as 3GHz with little overall vcore increase. The Venice uses an improved intergrated memory controller which can account for all 4 DIMM slots running at 400MHz. Previous memory controllers would underclock the RAM to 333MHz if all four slots were in use.

    The Venice specifically fixes the silicon problem found in the Winchester and can handle higher clock speeds. It's also the first AMD core to add SSE3 instruction sets, the third iteration of the SSE instruction set for the IA-32 architecture. It is a SIMD instruction set. If you are purchasing a midrange processor, get a Venice based chip.

    Note: Some Motherboards require an updated BIOS in order to use 90nm cores.

    San Diego

    Once the silicon problem found within the Winchester was fixed, the 90nm process could support higher clock speeds. AMDs high end cores such as the 4000+ and FX series were stuck on the 130nm Clawhammer core since the 90nm silicon could not support them, however, using the Venice architechture, the San Diego, with a larger 1MB L2 cache, was born.

    The San Diego is identical to the Venice, same instruction sets and memory controller, as well as same notorious overclockability. The introduction of the San Diego effectively migrated all Athlon 64 cores to 90nm process technologies. If you are buying a high end core, the San Diego is for you.

    Note: Some Motherboards require an updated BIOS in order to use 90nm cores.


    This core is the lesser of the two multicores avalible, with a 512KB L2 cache on each of its cores. The Manchester consumes a lot of power and gives off quite a bit of heat despite running on a 90nm process, however, still achieves impressive overclocks ranging between 2.6-3GHz.

    Note: A BIOS update is required to use AMD multicore processors.


    Toledo, in theory, offers the fastest processor on the market at the moment, the 4800+. Toledo offers a 1MB L2 cache on each of its cores, and uses a 90nm process. It consumes more power than the Manchester and gives off quite a bit of heat dump, but still provides impressive overclockability.

    Note: A BIOS update is required to use AMD multicore processors.

    To summarize, in my personal opinion the only two cores worth considering right now are the Venice, and the San Diego. The previous cores are outdated , and price is relatively the same when comparing to their predicessors.

    As far as multicore processors go, multithreaded applications to take advantage of Toledo/Manchester are a rarity. Performance gains over single core processors are neglible, and the price is still too much for what they are offering. I suggest waiting 6-12 months before purchasing a multicore processor.

    i would go with a venice core!
  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Wow, that's quite a read. Now if only I could memorize it I'd be set!

    Those high-end cores must have been the $800 CPUs AMD was putting out when A64s were coming of age. Now are the Venice and San Diego chips still super-expensive? Don't bother with looking up prices I'll look around. But thanks for posting, now I know. Now I know to much.

    Now if only we had a modern OS that wasn't built on 15 year old technology with 80% of it made up of backward compatibily bloating it's function.
    MS would benefit from building a new OS with no "old" stuff in it. And just have an emulator app to run old apps. But anyway...

    PZEROFGH TS Rookie Posts: 63

    a venice core chip runs abuot 150(3000+ easily OCable) to about i dunno 300? but the cheaperst is around 140ish san diego are like 300dollars
  11. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    We need more info....not

    Win XP pro 64, Win media center are the bloated kernel's.
    Isn't LongHorn (future win Expidition) a fully 64bit allowing a 32bit emulator?
    I have a beta2 ver of longHorn...all it would do is install, the first
    lovely message I got booting into it for first time was,
    "No PCi Device detected"
    It proceeded to just sit and stare at me (not locked up) and would not function.
    No mouse function keyboard only....

    I don't see anything else anywhere on the near horizon as for new OS..
    I was hopping this was it, everything else seems just like Vigil says
    "a modern OS that wasn't built on 15 year old technology with 80% of it made up of backward compatibily bloating it's function."
    Is all hope lost here?
    There seems to be a NON-scientific technology approach,
    that this whole fool thing is ONLY economics, producing
    profitable, planned bottle necks..... puke:
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    "Isn't LongHorn (future win Expidition)"

    I think I saw it's called "Vista" now. Odd, I saw that e-xp-edition thing, and hoped they wouldn't pick that, although vista isn't much better.

    Maybe there's a linux distro that'd fit your needs?
  13. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    I'm kinda a parasite on this thread

    That'd be cool!
    My knowledge is very limited on unix base Os'.
    I try tried red hat extreme first release a few years ago.
    I had minimal mid range success, Gaming balance vs software functional.
    I never did get the whole kernel compiling thing.
    Not to mention the driver issues (no drivers) I remember.
    I'm open to good suggestion and have a system I can uh er play with....
  14. Merc14

    Merc14 TS Rookie Posts: 171

    Thanks pzerofgh. Very concise and informative review of AMD's technologhy.
  15. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I don't know much about linux either, but am interested. I've tried a live distro, but it wouldn't work with my modem, so I couldn't do much. Also, sound didn't work.
  16. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    well said, Merc14 and PZEROFGH. that exactly is my reason(s) for telling people to not get a newcastle core. the reason i mentioned it is that newcastles are still out there and they tend to be cheaper that other cores of the same p-rating, thus encouraging buyers to pick 'em up.
  17. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Cool guys. Well if you want to play with "live" CDs, the most popular these days is Knoppix. Used a lot for fun and for using as a diagnostics tool. Downloadable for free of course.

    But one I highly enjoyed watching the development is called Linspire, used to be called Lindows until MS tried to sue them. Visit www.linspire.com and check it out. I think you can get a free live demo CD also. Which, when I tried it, loaded ALL my hardware. I could go online and play music and crap without having to do anything at all. This OS is meant from the ground up to replace MS as a user-friendly OS.
    Watch the flash demo: http://images.linspire.com/linspire5.0intro4-8-6.swf

    And then a real demo to watch: http://linspire.com/flashdemo2

    It's pretty cool. Can do everything except play your games. But Linux PC emulators have come a long way. People run the whole version of MS Office on it using the emulator. And in Linspire you don't ever have to touch command line crap or compile apps to use them. And naturally the default install comes with **** loads of free progs so you can do just about everything from the get-go.
    And no, I'm not on commission. lol


    PZEROFGH TS Rookie Posts: 63

    w00t w00t :)

    vista, wat a poop name...
  19. saurabhvarma

    saurabhvarma TS Rookie

    PC Configuration:
    Processor:AMD Athlon 64 ADA3000DAA4BP (Model Number: 3000+; Frequency (MHz): 1800; L2 Cache Size: 512KB; Socket: Socket 939; Stepping: E3; Manufacturing Tech (CMOS): 90nm SOI; Wattage (W): 67; System Bus (MHz): 2000; Core Voltage: 1.35-1.4v)
    Motherboard: ASUS A8N-E
    Graphics Card: ATI RADEON X300 SE (GV-RX30S128D)
    RAM: Simmtronics 512 MB DDR Double Bank
    PSU: Colorsit (450 W with double fan) or some other brand
    DVD ROM: 1 LG
    CD Writer: 1 LG
    Floppy Drive: 1 Samsung
    HDD: 1 Hitachi SATA 80 GB
    Mouse and Keyboard: Microsoft Cordless
    the above config is good for gaming as well runs all the basic games including Doom 3, GTA, splinter cell, etc, good for encoding and decoding best of all has 64 bit support hence future ready!!

    PZEROFGH TS Rookie Posts: 63

    x300se???!?!? yuck, 6600GT is better!!
  21. saurabhvarma

    saurabhvarma TS Rookie

    dude its not YUCK.. i think its pretty cool as per the price its available at...
  22. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    actually, the 6600 series was intended to compete with ati's radeon 9800xt, and not really intended to beat the x300. now if you had said 6800gt instead...

    PZEROFGH TS Rookie Posts: 63

    x300 vs 6800GT, ???.
    i dont think so. more like the 6800 or the 6600GT.

    anyways no one likes the x300
  24. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i didn't mean it like that...i was naming a card that was 'way better', in response to the previous comment.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...