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Building my first PC

By Skream · 20 replies
Jan 6, 2007
  1. Last summer, I decided I was going to build a gaming PC. Since then, I have scouted stuff, learned as much as possible, and here's what I've come up with -

    CPU - Intel Pentium D 805 2.66ghz Dual Core
    GPU - BFG GeForce 7600GT 256mb PCI-e
    Mobo - Foxconn 915A01-P-8EKRS2
    PSU - OCZ Technology GameXStream 700W Power Supply
    HD - Seagate Barracuda ST3320620AS 320GB Hard Drive
    WC - Don't know

    I could probably get a better GPU and I don't know if the 700W power supply is necessary, but it's on for a good price. I do not care a lot about sound, or peripherals (printer, mouse etc) I'm just focused on best performance/dollar. I play WoW a lot, my current system blows. I'm looking to spend $500-700 USD on a good machine. Again, looking for performance per dollar not best performance, I'm not wealthy.

    I'm unsure as to what case I would use, I don't know a lot about cooling or dimensions. I also don't know if the mobo is that great, heard some good things about Foxconn so I tried to find a cheap one with PCI-e and reasonable FSB - mainly something that'd work with the Pentium D 805,

    Any suggestions or product reviews would be greatly appreciated, I have never been through the process of building my own PC so I wouldn't doubt it if there were a lot of things I overlooked. I am in no rush to go out and buy everything, I will wait until I know everything about everything.

    Thank you!
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    What about ram?

    The only thing about your system that I'd recommend reconsidering, is that your current motherboard does not support the core 2 duo cpus. This will limit you when it comes time for upgrades in the future. The core 2 duo cpus are a huge leap in technology. If you can afford it, get one that will allow you to install a core 2 duo at some point in the future.
  3. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Ah yes I completely forgot about RAM... who needs it anyways?.. I don't know a lot about RAM, anything I should look into?

    I never thought about Core 2 Duo compatibility, I will check out prices for better motherboards and see.

    Thank you very much!
  4. Jesse_hz

    Jesse_hz TS Maniac Posts: 475

    If you're looking for performance/$ then you should add some valueRAM from a good manufacturer (Kingston, OCZ etc) to your list.
    Do not under any circumstances consider buying RAM from an unknown manufacturer no matter how cheap it is!

    That 700W PSU seems unnecessary to me.
  5. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Wow seems RAM has changed a lot in a year, I have to relearn a lot. Thanks for the suggestion Jesse, I appreciate it.

    What should I be looking for in regards to power supply? I want to be able to upgrade my PC in the future for cheap, so I'd rather get some decent stuff for it now. Is that a good idea? I.e. mobo, like Don suggested, and possibly PSU? I think I'll get some top of the line RAM too, because it's universal for the most part right? Still have to check into it a bit more.

  6. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 287

    Definitely overkill on the GameXStream 700-Watt. Consider a more conservative alternative.

    As for RAM you can get cheap but good RAM, in the form of Corsair Value Select, Kingston Value RAM, OCZ Value, etc. 2x512MB of value RAM should put your PC comfortably ahead of the curve and give you great performance.

    Get that Pentium D if you must, but get a motherboard that allows you to upgrade to a Core 2 Duo in the future. The Pentium D is the cheapest way to go Dual-Core.

    I would recommend another variation of the GeForce 7600GT if you are looking for the best bang-for-buck deal. The XFX GeForce 7600GT XXX-Edition is the one I currently have, and it is definitely the best deal for the money. It should cost about $140-$150 USD (found on Newegg), and it is overclocked a considerable amount past nVidia's reference 7600GT design. It will run your WoW at very satisfying settings and performance.

    I recommend you research and learn as much as you can before ordering. I remember that before my first build I researched a lot on the parts I was planning to get to make sure there were no surprises. Trust me, it will pay off in the end. The actual "how to build it" part of the research should be quite brief, since it's pretty easy, and there are manuals that come with the parts should they be necessary. The majority of the research should involve the specific product, making sure that it is truly what you want.

    I am not a wealthy man, and money does not grow off the tree on my front lawn, so before I buy any any part for my PC, I do a but-load of research first to ensure that I will not be wasting what little money I have to spend. This way I am (almost) always satisfied with my purchases. Always remember: an informed buyer is more likely to be a satisfied buyer!! :)

    Hope I helped, and good luck with your build.
  7. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Great! As far as this topic goes, you and I seem to have a lot in common! Was there anything at all you ran into as trouble with your build? Anything you needed to get afterwords that you may have overlooked? Share!

    I am doing as much research as possible, reading other people's experiences, learning as much of the technical stuff as I can.

    Thank you for all the help! You guys are going to make my first build excellent, I'm already starting to feel good about it :) .
  8. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 287

    My only regret was going with a select few generic (unbranded) products. Don't get un-branded products!! Ever!!
    I got two unbranded items. I had a generic power supply, which I have replaced for a better one. I got generic RAM too, which I am in fact going to be replacing later this afternoon.
    I got my parts from a cousin who owns a small computer shop, where there was hardly any selection. He said all he had at the moment was unbranded RAM, so he gave me a good deal on them and ensured me that it would work. And to make a long story short: it's garbage.

    No matter how cheap it is, don't get unbranded products, it will come back to bite you in the ...

    Will you be ordering your parts online? Which e-tailer will you buy from? Links to the products you want to buy would be good. We need to know the exact products and the specifications of each of them, which can easily be expressed through links of the product at the store you're getting it from.
  9. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    I was looking at TG Stores, because theyve got a price comparison thing. Cheapest on a lot of the hardware I was looking at is on ZipZoomfly.com, they've got free shipping!

    Here are links:
    Processor - I hear you can OC to 4ghz!
    Graphics Card - Took your advice on the graphics
    Hard Drive
    DVD Drive - Something Simple
    Power Supply - Don't know much about these
    Water Cooling - Something simple, don't know much about WC either

    Don't think I'm missing anything. Maybe cables? Anyways, tell me what you think.
    Was using this guide as an outline, why does the water cooling look different on that machine then on the diagram shown on the linked cooling? I know it's a different model and everything, but will it just come as shown on the image?

  10. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,892   +9

    I would stay away from Coolermaster PSU's; stick with Thermaltake or Antec for the best quality.
  11. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Shoot, ran into a new problem - neither zipzoomfly nor newegg.com ship to Canada! Only alternative, that I know of, is tigerdirect.ca? Anyone know of anything cheaper?
  12. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 287

    The hardware at tigerdirect.ca is pretty cheap.

    The prices at Newegg or ZipZoomFly are only lower because they are in USD LoL.

    Another site I can recommend is www.canadacomputers.com

    Their prices are good too and they ship anywhere in Canada.
  13. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    I knew they were in USD, but still considerably cheaper - zipzoom has the Pentium D 805 for $91 USD, where tiger has it for 139.99 CAD. Save about $10 at zipzoom, and free shipping, etc - after looking at tiger a bit more, it doesn't seem so bad.

    How can you tell if the HD is compatible with the Motherboard? I know theres ATA and SATA, but the actual port is called IDE isn't it? If it's SATA compatible, will it say somewhere? Or is that a standard thing now?

    Also, when it comes to graphics, ATI vs nVidia? I've heard good stuff about nVidia, maybe not the best place to ask about that, just looking for opinions I guess.

    Water cooling - what should I know about it? I've read a bit but havn't seen anything obvious that I should look out for. Is there anything?
  14. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,892   +9

    If you don't know, just stick with IDE. The bandwidth is bigger with the other ports, although I still like IDE.
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,306   +577

  16. fw2004

    fw2004 TS Booster Posts: 152

    You are going to need a lot of cooling!
    I don't know what kind of HS/Fan the Intel Dual Core processors come with, but they have been legendary in under-cooling out of the box.
    I'm using a ThermalRight HS. It's HUGE, and has a 120mm fan mounted on top.
    The fan makes a lot of noise, but I can tolerate it, as it is keeping the CPU nice and cool at around 35-40C.

    I'm running the BFG 6800, which was the TOL at it's time. I think your price range is a bit off, as I paid $550 for the BFG 6800 alone!
    I don't know what the 7600 is going for now.

  17. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    BFG 6800 is 164.99 on TigerDirect, currently has a $30 rebate, don't know why you paid $550 :S

    The cooling is something I'm going to have to work out, I don't know anything about WC - would like to get a decent WC system, they generate less noise and are very effective, right?
  18. Superinc

    Superinc TS Rookie Posts: 63

    ^yes ,

    I have a Thermaltake Big Water SE , that one you choose is better.

    Been running it for a few months , its a lot cooler than air , and more quieter, but more expensive and requires a little bit of maintenance.

    your motherboard supports SATAII drives .. faster than IDE-100/133 , and now cheaper.

    I recommend upgrading the ram to DDR2800 if you want to start overclocking.
  19. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 964   +8

    Hi Skream,

    yes and no... the acronym "IDE" stands for Integrated drive electronics, it refers to the general technology of integrating the controller onto the drive itself (as opposed to a separate controller). both PATA (formerly called "ATA") and SATA are infact IDE drives, however the term IDE is often misused as a synonym for PATA. when looking for compatible hardware, look for "PATA" and "SATA", not just IDE. and look at the pictures of them item itself (PATA and SATA drives are easy to distinguish).

    that pretty much comes down to personal preference. they both make very good graphics cards, so I would suggest that you decide how much $$$ you are willing to spend, and then look at both brands to see what offers the best price/performance for your budget.

    yes and no...

    • NOISE - most water cooling systems have fans on the radiator, so depending on the model, it may be just as loud
    • EFFECTIVENESS - generally water cooling is more effective than stock air cooling, but aftermarket air coolers can be very effective as well. and many of them are quiet, some are even silent.
    • COST - water cooling is always more expensive than air cooling. that being said, you can save yourself some money if you build it yourself (which is not hard to do ;))

    either way, they will all work fine if installed/used/maintained properly. one system might cool a little better than another but it may cost alot more as well, weigh the pros and cons of each system and stay within your budget. your CPU will run just as good at 35°C as it will at 25°C, so as long as you stay in the safe temp range then you're fine.

    good luck with your new build :wave:
  20. fw2004

    fw2004 TS Booster Posts: 152

    I paid that price 2 years ago when the 6800 was king of the jungle.
    That's what I get for buying the current product. It really pays to buy good but not best!

  21. Skream

    Skream TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Thankyou! That's what I was looking for :)

    Thanks! I'll keep that in mind.

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