First Time Computer Build - Help and Suggestions?

By Fidelus28 ยท 7 replies
Aug 29, 2007
  1. Hi,

    I'm building a PC in a few months and was wondering if the following would run fine, or if i'm even heading in the right direction. I'm not quite certain if the PSU is enough. I'm looking for this PC to play the latest games with ease (ie. Assassins Creed, Bioshock, Black and White 2...etc) and hold the ability for heavy multi-tasking XD as well as run Vista. Basically an all-in-all good PC.

    Here's what i've planned out:
    (Note: I've tried to keep this as cheap as possible (Australian Dollars) without taking away too much from performance. Though i suspect prices will fall over the next three months so i'm open for suggestions for more expensive parts.)

    MOBO: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 ($135)
    RAM: Corsair Value Select 1GB x 2 ($110)
    CPU: Intel Quad Core Q6600 ($330)
    VIDEO: 256MB Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce 8600GTS ($245)
    OPTICAL: Asus 18x Lightscribe DVD Burner ($42)
    HD: Seagate 320GB ($90)
    DISPLAY: Dell 19" Widescreen ($250)
    Option 1 - Thermaltake Soprano Black with 430W PSU ($140)
    Option 2 - Thermaltake Soprano DX Black without PSU ($190)
    PSU: ?

    I think that's about it for now.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Use this Power Supply Calculator
    It will give you an estimate of your required wattage.
    I would recommend a PSU around the 600W range. Just to make your system open to newer upgrades.
    PSU brands are really important in terms of reliability. Good PSU manufacturers include Antec, Thermaltake, Cooler Master, Seasonic, FSP, Enermax.

    Your motherboard is a bit on the low side, especially since you are using it with the mighty Q6600.
    First of all, you should not get the P965 chipset anymore, because it's being replaced by the newer one, the P35 chipset.
    One excellent Gigabyte P35 mainstream board is the GA-P35-DS3R (the famous GA-P965-DS3 was its predecessor).

    For the RAM, 2x1GB is a good amount, but you need to stay away from the Value series (it's for people who are on a really tight budget).
    The Corsair XMS2 series is great mid/high-end RAM and would be perfect.
    You should get regular DDR2 RAM (800MHz is enough). Get a 2GB dual channel kit and make sure the sticks have 4-4-4 timings.
    Corsair XMS2 2x1GB DDR2-800MHz PC2-6400 (4-4-4-12)
    Try to find the same one at the place you shop at.

    For the video card, the 8600GTS doesn't exactly justify its price. It performs barely any better than the 8600GT, yet it costs $60-$100 more.
    I would recommend that you either push your budget and get an 8800GTS-320MB (entry-level high-end card), or get the XFX 8600GT XXX-Edition (an overclocked 8600GT, more value for the money than the 8600GTS).

    Hope this helps...I spent quite a while typing it :)
  3. rickk1

    rickk1 Banned Posts: 68

    Wattage Required


    Low-End CPU

    Mid To High-End CPU

    7 per 128MB

    PCI Add-In Card

    Low To Mid-Range Graphics

    High-End Graphics

    IDE Hard Drive

    Optical Drives

    Do the math. You may need to purchase a higher-output power supply for your new PC.

    If you've added a lot of new components to your PC, you may be overtaxing your existing power supply, so look at getting a bigger, better one. Power supplies can cause problems--including random crashes or even component failure--if they are asked to produce more power than they are designed to generate. Reputable manufacturers will typically include a chart of acceptable components.

    TIP: Choose the motherboard after selecting the processor: The processor you choose usually determines which motherboard you select: Motherboards are designed to work with specific CPUs, indicated by the type of socket that the processor fits into. Socket A, Socket 939, and Socket 940 are designed to work with Athlon processors, while Socket 478 and the new LGA socket 775 are for Intel CPUs. Many dealers offer bundles consisting of a processor, a motherboard, and memory; these can be a good way to save some money. The system chip set (the chips that pass data between the peripherals and the CPU) is the other component that differs among motherboards; it determines which integrated components (graphics, sound, Ethernet, etc.) will be included. Though integrated graphics aren't generally as good as dedicated cards, they're usually adequate for simple tasks.

    Memory: The More, The Merrier.
    Because it's an easy upgrade to perform and can significantly improve performance, boosting a PC's RAM is one of the most popular hardware enhancements people undertake. This 5-minute procedure can let you keep more programs open, accelerate memory-hungry graphics programs and games dramatically, and sharpen your PC's responsiveness.

    TIP: Get at least a gigabyte

    TIP: Opt for dual-channel if possible: If your motherboard supports it, use dual-channel memory. This type of memory boosts performance by increasing the speed at which data can be read and written. But for it to work, you have to install matched RAM modules in pairs.

    TIP: Don't pay for features you don't need: At the high end ATI and nVidia have been flirting with designer pricing, as loaded enthusiast parts go for upward of $500. At those prices, only the most hard-core gamers will pay to keep up with the latest styles; but even if your needs are relatively modest, you can easily find an affordable board that boosts your PC's 3D graphics speed. If you're doing some light photo-editing, gaming or just surging the web, a $50 or $75 video card is more than adequate. Look for models that have 64MB or 128MB of dedicated memory.

    TIP: Make sure you get the features you want: Most graphics boards today let you connect a second display to your PC. If you'd like to use your PC to record TV, a board with an integrated TV tuner (like the ATI All-In-Wonder line) is a good choice. EVGA ( makes a competing set of TV tuner-equipped graphics boards based on nVidia's Personal Cinema chip set.

    TIP: PCI Express--the next generation of video display: The latest graphics cards now use PCI Express, an improved version of the AGP slot on most PCs. Our tests of new PCI Express graphics cards detected no significant speed gains as a result of upgrading from AGP to PCI Express, though that will surely change as graphics chip speeds increase and as games get more complex.

    Gamers Agree: Don't Skimp On The Video Card.
    An integrated graphics processor is like a suit bought at Wal-Mart: It does the job, but it doesn't look great. The PC World Test Center tested a PC with integrated graphics on a number of 3D games, and found them virtually unplayable. But when we installed a $220 Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card, the games ran much faster. This upgrade isn't difficult. First, find out who makes the graphics chip you already use: Right-click your desktop, choose Properties, and select the Settings tab. Your graphics board will be listed under 'Display'. All graphics cards based on chips from NVidia now use the same set of drivers, so if you're upgrading from one NVidia-based card to another, download and install the latest NVidia drivers. The same is true for ATI-based boards. If your new card switches graphics chip brands, you should uninstall the graphics drivers before you upgrade.
  4. Fidelus28

    Fidelus28 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you for all the help!

    I will look into some more expensive RAM (ie. not value select), and definitively a different motherboard (the one i was planning on using will most likely be "outdated" within a few months anyway.
    I'm still not 100% sure on the PSU - except that it has to be over 430W and near 600W :p Considering i don't want to spend more than $100 on a PSU i'm going to have to do some hunting for bargains (or work more for the $$$ :p)

    Thanks again!
  5. Fidelus28

    Fidelus28 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply! I'm going to go hunt for a better PSU!
    With regards to Dell, i'm going to stick with them :p Personally, i like them a lot and reckon their products are awesome quality. My laptop (Inspiron 9300) was bought from them, and i wouldn't trade it for anything, bar this new PC i'm building. Even then, i will still keep it nearby :p.

    Considering the response i've gotten with the RAM i'm definitively going to search for something better - thanks. I wasn't aware that the Value Select could draw such a response :p

    Will be interested to hear what price your supplier gives you for that setup - though it will be in UK dollars. I wonder if i'm been overcharged for bits or not - i swear i had found some of the cheapest.

    Thanks again!
  6. Fidelus28

    Fidelus28 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Thank you for the time you spent! It was quite helpful :D
    I was just wondering if it is possible to mix lets say an Antec PSU with a Thermaltake case? Do you think, for example a PSU such as would be suitable? Or is it safer to play it with the same Case/pSU?
    I'm going to look into this GA-P35-DS3R you suggested. But is it likely to last me well into the next 3 or so years with upgrades?
    WIth the RAM, i've been drilled :p lol To Self: MUST GET BETTER RAM XD
    Also, will look into the 8800GTS-320MB Graphics Card - thank you for the suggestion!

    EDIT: Looked into that RAM you suggested. $121 for the 2x1GB - that sounds pretty decent if you reckon they're much better than the Value Select. ^^ Thanks!
  7. rickk1

    rickk1 Banned Posts: 68

    Truth be told, I've not seen much difference between value ram and high-end ram. I think they're all the same...just a marketing ploy.

    As far as video cards, I'd opt for anything built by ati. I've tried nvidia's several times and had nothing but problems with them and their tech support was really slow too.
  8. Fidelus28

    Fidelus28 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hmmm....i always thought that RAM, doesn't matter what type, brand, etc, was always the same, bar some minor issues that didn't really concern your average gamer. But 0.o i'm getting mixed views now. :p

    I currently have an NVidia card in my laptop and its been pretty damn good. Maybe it's just a matter of luck? I've never tried or asked anyone how ATI are overall, though i'll look into that now. Thanks.
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