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first computer fried, so looking into a custom built one

By LxTrix · 42 replies
Jan 14, 2007
  1. I came home to find out my computer had been fried, well our home computer. My brother told me the news. He said while it was on it made a popping noise and some smoke came out. I know some things about computers, the most in my household but not enough to know how to fix or build a computer. I figure it's fried though. I called a few pc repair stores and a few even said they have dealt with emachines before. They said usually when the power supply goes out it takes out the motherboard. So after calling about six or so stores, my cheapest price on replacing both the power supply and motherboard with labor was $150. My first question is, is that a reasonable price? Or should i look elsewhere and maybe even try learning how to put it in myself? So i thought well I’m putting that much into an old machine, bought in 2002, maybe i should put in double that and i can get a better machine. The most i could probably put into it is $400. If anything in my old pc is usable i could even use them and of course my monitor. Looking through Google there are so many places that sell parts and already built pcs. There’s stores to and eBay. So it’s pretty hectic. If I do fix what I have now and its under $100 I can do it soon. If I have to spend $400 then I may have to wait til February because of finical issues. I really don’t want to wait til February but if I did order parts online I’d have to wait anyway. Below is the specs of my emachine, well what I could find. Any advice and help is greatly appreciated. If you need any more information let me know. Thanks.

    Emachines T4165

    System Specs
    Type of system: Desktops/Servers
    Bus Architecture: PCI/AGP
    Hard Drive Bus: EIDE
    Native OS: Windows XP Home
    CPU Type: 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4

    Memory Specs
    Standard Memory: 256 MB (removable)
    Maximum Memory: 2 GB
    Memory Expansion: 2 sockets
    Memory Comments: PC100/PC133 SDRAM Modules

    It has a CD/RW and a DVD drive
  2. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Do you... game by any chance? Judging by your old machine probably not, but thought I might as well ask.

    Here's a great system that will not only be faster than your eMachines, but upgradeable (new AM2 socket and PCI-E x16, DDR2) and cheap (but not cheap in quality).
    It's a nice Gigabyte board, that's MicroATX, uses the AM2 socket, DDR2 ram (four banks, up to 16GB), and has a nice PCI-E x16 slot for later graphics expansion. It has good onboard audio (8 channels) and graphics (excellent for office use, not good in games; but it can be upgraded due to the PCI-E x16 slot).

    Let's see, so far 74.99$ + 6.13$ = 81.12$.

    This is an excellent budget CPU. At 1.6GHz is may *seem* slow, but it is NOT slow at all. Again, great for office use, and if overclocked (like I have mine, at 2.16GHz) good for even gaming. Not only that, but is 64 bit.

    Now it's 43.00$ + 0.00$, so that's 43$, add it to the mobo and we're up to 124.12$.

    AMAZING ram. It's a bit slow compared to more high-end models (DDR2 533 vs. DDR2 800), but again for office use and non-hardcore gaming it's fine. It's 2 sticks of 256MB running in dual channel, which is faster than 1 stick of 512MB in single channel. 512MB should be fine for office work, and O.K. for gaming. Don't get the "Value" sticker wrong - this is top-notch ram from Corsair, it just so seems that it got a "Value" sticker stuck to it.

    It's 55.99$ + 4.99$ = 60.98$, add it to the other stuff, 60.98$ + 124.12$ = 185.10$. Pretty good so far.

    Currently we have the motherboard, RAM, and CPU done. Let's go get a good, quality PSU to handle this new stuff, and allow for later expansion.

    Awesome PSU for a low price. 400W, 34amps on the +12V line should make it quite powerful. Not only is it good on paper, but it's from one of the best companies, FSP Group (Fortran Source).

    41.99$ + 7.64$ = 49.63$, add it to the others = 49.63$ + 185.10$ = 234.73$.

    Now we're done with the base of the computer. We need to go out and hunt for a nice case with good ventilation, a good fast SATA drive (compared to your old, slower PATA drive), a DVD-RW (so you can record CDs, DVDs, and also read them) and a floppy.

    Currently I have to go, but the parts that I didn't suggest are easy to find. The parts that I DID suggest, however, I must say are EXCELLENT quality as I have used them to replace the guts of an old eMachines that crapped out on me.

    Good luck!
  3. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Thanks so much. Thats exactly what i was looking for. I used to play games back in the day but due to my graphics card i was never able to play games like World of Warcraft, The Sims 2, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, just to name a few.i have learned one thing, newegg is the best place to buy parts since everyone keeps linking me there. another person elsewhere suggested this:

    Rosewill case (Micro ATX compatible) w/ 350w power supply
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800 dual-core processor

    PC Chips Micro-ATX AM2 motherboard w/ onboard Nvidia 6100 graphics:

    2x512MB (1GB) PQI DDR2 533 SDRAM

    Windows XP

    1GB RAM, dual-core processor, a good amount of headroom for future upgrading, and an operating system - all for $400. Worlds better than you old computer, and better (not to mention cooler and less power-consuming) than that Celeron."

    how would that compare?
  4. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    That ram looks fine. I've heard of pqi, but I'm not sure of their quality. Kingston, Crucial, Corsair, G.Skill, OCZ, Mushkin, and Patriot are the top ones, so you'll have to hear from someone else whether pqi makes quality ram.

    The PC Chips motherboard is utter crap. No offence or anything, but PC Chips is one of the worst (if not THE worst). Stick to Gigabyte, Asus, DFI, Foxconn, Abit, and a few others I'm not remembering right now.

    That case looks *really* low quality, and has extremely poor ventilation (just one rear exhaust fan). The included PSU is garbage (most PSUs that come with cases are garbage, except for a select few) - it comes from a crappy company, has crappy wattage (and it probably doesn't even deliver true 350W), and is incredibly cheap (30$ for a case AND PSU?). Stick to FSP Group (Fortron Source), Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Enermax, Thermaltake, and Corsair.

    The CPU is fine. You can always upgrade the CPU, as I suggested the new AM2 socket. Whatever money is left over from your 400$ can be used to upgrade the CPU and or graphics card (and the graphics card would be the better choice in this case). The CPU I suggested is NOT a "crappy celeron". It's an AMD 64-bit Sempron. It stays incredibly cool and is VERY fast. When overclocked, it's faster than my stock X2 3800+. Either way, if you have the money, sure, upgrade the CPU (although I strongly suggest you rather use the money for a non-onboard graphics card).

    Nothing to say about WinXP :).
  5. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    I was about to get that setup too. I'm glad you warned me. I'll look into your suggestion a bit more.
  6. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    I have had a good experience with PQI, their RAM looks really good and overclocks good.
  7. Jboman

    Jboman TS Rookie Posts: 29

    Good for you.

    Building your own system is a good idea. You can build it to you own specs, learn something, and feel a good sense of accomplishment. If you decide to build-it yourself, then check the web out for parts (i.e. systemboards, memory, psu's...etc) for some good deals first. You could possibly build a system for under $200.00 dollars. It may sound cheap, but if you shop right, you could build a system to your own liking and upgrade as needed. Good Luck!!!
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    agi_shi's suggestion is pretty good. If you are really in a pinch the only thing you'd need to buy after that is a Windows lisence. You can reuse your existing hard drive (but not the same Windows installation) as well as reusing your existing cd rom. You may even be able to get by with the same case...
    You don't need to spend much money on a case, some people like big sturdy cases, but I built a system in a $30 case for myself and a $20 case for my aunt. The $20 feels incredibly cheap, but you have to ask yourself, does it need to be able to be thrown down stairs? or does it just need to hold the components? Once you've made that decision all you need to look for is a place for intake air on the front (for a fan) and at least 1 place other than the power supply to blow hot air out of the case (with a fan). Oh, and to make sure it will hold your motherboard (ATX, ect).
  9. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Alright thanks everyone. Wouldn't the pqi ram work with agi_shi's suggestion? That would be nice to have a gig of ram. i do want a new case and don't mind if its cheap as long as it does its job. and i'll try and see how muich more i can spend for a graphics card.
  10. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Yes, the PQI ram will work with the motherboard that I suggest.

    As for the case, sure, it can be cheap. After all, all a case does is hold the components (and possibly cool them with air). What I meant is that you DO NOT want to use the included PSU.
  11. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Well i think i'd get a different case. I'd need one that says micro atx compatable right? And can you suggest a few good graphics cards at different prices?
  12. Surkitz

    Surkitz TS Rookie Posts: 145

    Here are a few cards relating to your budget. not sure how much will be left when you get to this point but the good thing is you can always upgrade later if you buy the mobo agi_shi suggested



  13. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    If you're not a hardcore gamer, just get onboard video and make sure the motherboard has a pcie16 slot.

    I would HIGHLY advise you against pqi, thats probably the lowest quality brand out there, they've given me nothing but problems. If you really want to stay budget, Wintec is OK, but i'd reccommend a bump up to Patriot, they're only a little bit more expensive, and i've never had a stick of Patriot crap out on me - compared to the outrageous 75% success rate on PQI.

    Cases are probably the single most overrated component you can buy. I'd reccommend Rosewill and In-Win as far as case brands go, Antec and Thermaltake are really enthusiast's brands and their budget stuff is pretty shoddy.

    I reccommend this case from Rosewill
    And this one from In-win. This one is higher quality, but you pay a little more for it.

    The Rosewill model I linked is very sleek, very good build, however the power supply doesn't have SATA connectors, so you gotta watch that. Both the power supplies are good builds, they've never failed me.

    MSI and Biostar are my favorite motherboard brands, both have models in the 60-70$ range that have onboard GeForce 6100 GPUs, which can be cranked up to 256mb shared vram (the manual says max is 128 but its BS). I found this to be more than enough with sufficient RAM to play WoW, dont know about the others you listed.

    You can reuse your hard drive and CDROM, so you save there. I would try to reuse your windows license before shelling out the money for a new one - at least on XP the key can be reused multiple times before MS gets angry at you. Even then, its easy to get around licensing. I've used the product key for my current installation of windows at least two dozen times so far, and its an OEM SP0 key.
  14. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Ok so PQI is out. Thanks for suggesting them graphics cards. as far the windows key. I don't think i have it unless i can someone get it from my old machine. The system came with a restore disk but not a windows cd. I think thats a another downfall of emachines. you also mentioned i have a PAtAhard drve. Whats the difference/ i was just going to reuse my 60gb hard drive and latter on buy an external hard drive so if my computer ever crashed i wold have the backup data and stuff.
  15. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Uh, legally speaking, your CD key has to be affixed to the side or underside of your computer tower for your Windows License to be valid in the first place. You sure its not there?
  16. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    PQI is good it just seems that you dont know what your talking about so why dont you goo back into your hole ok.
  17. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Please, PQI good? Like I said, they've given me nothing but problems. Price is the only thing good about them.

    The final episode I had with them I had to RMA 2x1G sticks - twice. The first time only one stick was faulty, but newegg needs both to process an RMA. When they sent me a replacement BOTH sticks were bad. I got a refund and went for Patriot. I also hear Corsair is a good brand but I don't deal much with them.

    Don't pretend I don't know what i'm talking about just because you disagree with me.
  18. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Wow, so you got unlucky and you had to RMA some sticks (again though, I'm sticking to Corsair Kingston Crucial OCZ G.Skill...)

    Really though, I agree with F1N3ST - it does sound like you have practically no idea what you're talking about.

    Antec and Thermaltake cases are shoddy? Do you know what shoddy is? So you're saying that they are "of inferior quality; cheap; fake; phony"? Wow.

    How can you recommend a $30 case AND PSU and say that the PSU is good and stable, and will not fail? There was a wise phrase in one of my computer books about the cost of productions and stuff, and I'm going to quote it once I find what page it was on.
  19. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    I really don't want to get into an argument, but if you're going to reply to a post at least read all of it.

    I repeat: Antec and Thermaltake are enthusiast's brands. I did not say all Antec and Thermaltake brands were shoddy. I said their BUDGET lines were shoddy, because they're exactly that, budget. I've built computers with $200 Antec/Thermaltake cases before, they make a very good quality product, but this guy is on a budget. Its like the difference between the C2D and the Sempron - the Sempron is a high quality processor for its price. Obviously the C2D outmatches it, but you pay for it, while at the same time i'd buy a low-end AMD before a low-end Intel.

    Thats a 25% success rate. I'm gonna quote myself again on my overall success rate with PQI:

    Okay, so thats a 25% success rate on my last episode of PQI products, and a 75% success rate overall. Do the math and figure out how many more sticks of pqi I've had to buy that would have had to work just to get up to that roughly 75% success rate (it was probably more like 80%, that last episode really pissed me off). I can guaruntee you it's not a matter of simply "getting unlucky".

    I've used both of those cases numerous times - they have never failed me, even after prolonged periods of use and stress.

    Did I even say that it won't fail? I've said that in my personal experience it hasn't failed me. That's in my personal experience. If your personal experience differs, then please share, and perhaps it can be taken into consideration as well. What good does it do to start bashing people when you can't even read what they're saying?

    If you really want to keep up this argument, then PM or IM me, its a waste of board space to bicker.
  20. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Meh, let's leave it to the others and see what they say.
  21. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Mother Board - GIGABYTE GA-M61PM-S2 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    CPU - AMD Sempron 64 2800+ Manila 1.6GHz 128KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor

    PSU - FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX400-PN, RoHS, 12cm FAN, version 2.2, 2 SATA, 20+ 4 pin, PCI Express, 400W Power Supply

    RAM - Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory

    Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

    Subtotal - $295.96
    Total - $309.59

    This is the setup I’m looking at. I still need a micro atx compatible case and a graphics card. My limit is $450ish.
  22. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    If you really think so, then why do it in the first place?

    Anyway, LxTrix for the case, just pick something that costs more than $15 and that you think looks cool. And make sure it has a lot of fan ports. As long as you don't use the included PSU, the case doesn't matter much. And as for the video card, try a 7600GT. They aren't very expensive these days.
  23. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Well should i just use that rosewell case? And i don't know what a 7600GT is, but i'll attempt to look into it. And a freind said i should spend more for a better cpu so hows this?

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Orleans 2.0GHz 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor

    Will it work with the motherboard and everything else?
  24. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Yes, that CPU will work with the motherboard, and I have that same CPU and I'm pleased with it. And pretty much any case in the world would be fine as long as you don't use the included PSU.
  25. LxTrix

    LxTrix TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Mother Board - GIGABYTE GA-M61PM-S2 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Orleans 2.0GHz 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor

    PSU - Sunbeam NUUO SUNNU450-US-BK ATX12V / EPS12V 450W Power Supply 100-120V CE, UL (CUL), TUV, CB, FCC, FIMKO, SEMKO, DEMKO, NEMKO

    RAM - Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory

    Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

    GPU - Leadtek PX7600GS TDH GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card

    That comes up to $452.78. Now i just need a case. Can someone suggest a few around $40 or less. I don't know what kind of fan support i'm looking for to make sure its cool enough. I'm really pushing my limit. I can only spend $40 or less on a case unless i downgrade something. Oh and your cpu is a Venice and mine says Orleans, whats the difference? should i try and find the one you have?
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