First time PC builder

By rv13uk · 42 replies
May 30, 2005
  1. Need some help from all you computer geniuses

    Basically my current computer is a pile of sh**e with no upgrading capabilities and its current capabilities are way below par (a HP XG834), due to this I want to attempt to build a new PC but as its the first time I need some advice (and please don't anyone say that building a PC isn't for beginners because if it wasnt then no-one would ever have built one, everyones got 2 start somewhere). So far Ive decided on the case (A-Top X-Blade Ultimate Black With 580 Watt Psu -Pci Express-Cable Manager 20/24 Pin + LCD Controller) and thinking of getting the Athlon 64 CPU and the Geforce 6800 ultra, i need to know what sort of motherboard im going to need as I want to embrace luvly new 64 bit technolodgy and dont want any older or slower parts ruining it. Ill gladly take any advice and the PC is going to be mainly used for gaming as well as some basic desk top publishing. Money isnt realy an issue because ive got no time limits therefore time to save up (and evidently I can take think about parts that are being released immenently) I live in the UK if that matters and would greatly appreciate some assistance.
  2. ChiChi

    ChiChi TS Rookie

    I've done this twice since '97 (yeah, I practically run the machines into the ground before I build a new one), but on my last 'shopping trip' one of the sites I found most helpful was's Hardware Guide). They test just about every component you would use in a system build with more info than you may want. but they include performance and stability info on Boards.
  3. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Thanks for your advice, ill check it out soon as poss. :^)
  4. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    A little update, thanks to Tom's Hardware Guide I think ive decided on the MSI K8N NE04 Platinum edition motherboard. Im still not sure about the graphics card and it would be a great help if someone could tell me whether the parts I have currently selected (Athlon 64 CPU and MSI K8N NE04 Platinum edition motherboard) would fit in the case I liked (A-Top X-Blade Ultimate Black With 580 Watt Psu -Pci Express-Cable Manager 20/24 Pin + LCD Controller). What else would be an obvious nesessity for my set up (excluding drives as im just taking old CD/DVD-rom drives and a floppy-disc drive of an old PC ive got lying around). I think the case comes with a couple of fans but would a 580W PSU be powerful enough, thanks for your help.
  5. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Aaaaaand yet again another update, all on the same night, arent you lucky :^). Ive had a lot of thinking about what im getting now, and decided on the Nvidea Geforce 6800 GT 256 MB PCI-Express graphics card, the MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum edition Ultra Kkt 939 motherboard and the AMD Athlon 64 3700 skt 939 (with appropriate heat sink) CPU. Im sure your wondering why im telling you this but I really need to know whether theres going to be any compatibility issues, I dont want to realise any after spending a couple'a'hundred, and whether theyll fit the case. I also now need to consider RAM and how much will be needed for a 64 bit PC. Please help and dont just view, i dont want my first build to be a bad one.
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I just built my first pc the beginning of this year, although I've known the basics of how to do it for a while, but couldn't justify actually doing it until now.

    I found this article helpful, even if it is long.

    A 580w is plenty, 500w is enough if it's a quality brand, which I sort of doubt the one that comes with your case is. A quality psu is a must in a performance system. Here's a psu guide.

    You'll need some pc3200(or pc4400+ if you plan to overclock and don't want to use dividers). Get about a gig. of ram or more.

    Beware of static, touch metal before touching components(mobo, video, etc).

    If your case is atx it'll fit an atx mobo, if it's matx it fits matx mobos.
  7. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    As long as the board (im not familar with the exact model) has PCI-E and you have a an adaquate PSU like said in above post(6800s are very power hugry) , then i see no compatibility issuses.


    BTW-The PSUs that come in cases (unless its a antec or other reliable brand) are total crap. It is not just wattage that you need.
  8. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    Looks like the PSU has probably got more name than watts. Hardforum as mention has some good gen. I have an Enermax thast is easy to get in the UK.
  9. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus TS Rookie Posts: 18

    I can scarcely remember the last computer we did not build. I've just built a computer, my mothe, dearest, just built one, and I'm going to do another one for a friend tomorrow. Somebody correct me if I give bad information. So here's the product of my wasted time on research and the advice I've had from some generous sources:

    Mainboard or Motherboard:
    I've had good success with Soyo Dragon boards. Aside from that, I haven't much to say. You'd just have to check that it supports what you want to put on it. Maybe you want to do RAID or something; that's your call.

    Pretty is all that matters. And maybe front USB. The power supply is replacable, and if you go for a power supply, you can get a really big one, or you can get a really big one that's good. There's a feature, I think it's called "true power" where the unit supplies more power to that which needs more power. With most power supplies, there's only so much going through any line at any given time. With true power, whatever needs the power gets the power. My Thermaltake says "purepower" on it, and if I'm right, that's another term for it. Maybe it's a brand thing.

    Hard Drives:
    As good as Seagate is dubbed to be, I've only had problems. I think I've had to send in three or four for replacement, and finally, we missed a warranty. It could have been a bad HD controller on the boards we used with them, but I still wouldn't recommend them. I also have an unjustified hatred for Western Digital. So I don't really recommend them, either.

    I see no difference in brands, but I'm sure there is one. All I know is that Windows XP doesn't meet full potential until you get to 1 GB of it, and from then on the difference becomes hard to notice. If you run Linux or something, then I don't know what's what.

    Optical drives:
    CD burners burn out, so get something that matches your case and is cheap. For my purposes, burning speed is pointless. I end up slowing the burn speed to ensure I don't make a coaster anyway. Even cheap ones last if you treat them right, it seems. For $20, you can get a new one. And if you aren't going to already, I'm going to try to convince you to install two optical drives. Probably one CD burner and one dual layer DVD burner. It's the best of all worlds, and it makes copying disks so much easier. One feature I like on a CD burner is that of a play button. With it, I can play a music CD without using any system resources (and it's becoming all too rare.) As far as DVD stuff, I don't look for something with dual burning capability, because you may need the capability down the road. And if cost is no issue....

    Floppy drives:
    They're all the same except for color and the one I bought. I somehow got one that make NO noise, and yes it's working. I got it off NewEgg, but I think they're sold out, or I'd have two more sitting around. It was a Samsung Model SFD321B/LBL1 if you care to hunt it down elsewhere. So just color. And if anybody told you that you won't need a floppy drive, they're wrong. Something will come up. And even if you never use it, you're only out $10.

    Unitl costs come down or you're really cramped for space, I don't see any point to an LCD. For gaming, for word processing, for posting replies to threads, for everything I prefer the look of a CRT. And need I say get a big one? 19" is the smallest I recommend. Another reason I say CRT over LCD. And a person will probalby only need one unless he is running certain software, but you can make that call I'm sure.

    Keyboards and Mice:
    Yay for the cordless! But if you do go cordless (I just changed some batteries not two minutes ago) make sure the mouse has a charging base. With my stuff, I swap the mouse batteries into the keyboard and recharge the mouse with the base. I was looking at stuff today, and here's what I think looks awesome:,CRID=2162,CONTENTID=9950. I have the MX 700, and I love it. I think there's bluetooth version out there, too, which is probably better.

    Sound Card:
    Yeah, I know nothing about this. Your motherboard will probably come with something half decent.

    Speakers: must have a subwoofer. You have no other options. Because I said so. No, but in seriousness, you'll probably want some surround sound speakers, which has a subwoofer. Though I've never heard them, I hear only good reviews of the stuff Logitech produces. I'm using some Creative speakers, and they're actually better than one would expect.

    Case Mods:
    I'm a blue LED fan type-a guy myself. Especilly if you have a window on your case. And I know it's a bit excessive, but I went so far as to put blue LED case feet on. And there's a nice blue LED graphics card fan sitting in its box to be installed later today. (; check it out)

    Or is that too general? Oh, well, I got to share what I know.
  10. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    wow that was good. I have a few things to add. RAM...brand does matter, i would always recommend first teir RAM (Kingston, Corsair, OCZ, Mushkin) soley for relibality. Secondly, i have used MAxtor, WD, and seagate. Out of all of them i like Maxtor the most. But other then the RAM thing..that post above was very good.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,189   +471

    I built my first PC in April 2005 and I happened to use the MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum motherboard. I'm happy with mine. I installed a different AMD processor, an FX-55, but it's still a socket 939. For what it's worth, you can click on my public profile for the rest of the components I installed.
  12. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Thanks for all the help, i think the PSU is a gud one, as the case is brand new (coming out later in June), it also has sum nice blue LED's dotted around the place and a fancy LCD screen. Im now thinkin of wot hard drive and how much RAM i shud get, i also wont a gud sound card as ill probs play movies on the PC as well as games. I think ive got space for 4 main drives (tink their 5.5 inch or sumthin) and 1 floppy disc drive so i need 2 consider wot im gonna fill them with. The case is supposed 2 be an 'ultimate gamers case' but im not sure whether its atx or matx, it says it can take most motherboards though... Finally ive been looking at RAM and have noticed the different types (DDR, DDR2, SDRAM), i dont know which would work best with my chosen motherboard and obviosly when I get the 64 bit OS ill want RAM that can keep up, any suggestions? (And thanks gr8ly 4 ur help)
  13. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Heres a link to the case im getting incase anyone hu knows about such things can tell me whether its matx or atx - . Its the one that says arriving late June and comes with the 580 PSU, the details of the PSU is also below it incase anyone can tell me whether it would be enough or just whether it is good quality.
  14. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    AFAIK, all a64 939 mobos use ddr(not ddr2) pc3200(or higher for overclocking). I like corsair, geil, gskill, etc. I have maxtor and western digital drives and neither brand has died on me yet.
  15. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Thanks, I take it the result of that wos I need to buy DDR RAM, im rather worried about 64-bit compatibility issues though, if I have an Athlon 64 CPU will I still be able to use 32 bit applications (namely norton antivirus and Firefox), im not planning on installing an OS until theres one that can use 32 bit and 64 bit technology but does anyone know when one is likely to come out, I also need to know what is the most effective (and fastest) way of putting 2GB or DDR RAM into my PC, as i want to make use of the PC's capabilities if it is 64 bit.
  16. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    It's already out.
    It runs 32 and 64 bit apps.
    The issue is you need 64 bit drivers for your hardware, which are somewhat hard to find.

    For ram, you could do 2x1gb or 4x512mb. 2x1gb leaves room for expansion in the future, but either way is ok, but if you do 4x512mb you need a "venice" or "san diego" core a64. Winchesters run 4 pc3200 sticks as pc2700 IIRC.
  17. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    kk, thanks, but is it available in the UK, and how do I get hold of it. Ive heard getting a copy can be obscure, and if you cant find 64 bit drivers does that mean you cant run the hardware?
  18. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Most important stuff, like mobo drivers, video drivers, sound drivers, etc are already available in 64 bit if they are a popular chipset, but the problem is modems and other add in cards, especially from smaller companies.,,30_2252_869_875^10454,00.html

    Here's a uk site with x64 available.

    Overclockers is the only uk hardware site I know of(i know there are others, just I don't know 'em).

    Oh, since x64 is oem, you probably have to buy a piece of hardware with it to buy it(oem must be purchased with hardware).
  19. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    Thanks, ive essentially decided everything except the sound card and RAM now, but I reckon I want 2GB (im not going to say need because im sure I dont need it, but its nice to have it :^) ) of RAM, but im not sure what brand or what type yet. I think someone said I needed DDR RAM, but im not sure whether or not ill need to get RAM to go with the mobo. Youve all been a great help, so thanks and hopefully when this gets finished (I rekon this time next year) it wont be a complete disaster.
  20. rv13uk

    rv13uk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 88

    The conclusion

    Heres the parts I rekon im going to get:

    A-Top X-Blade Ultimate Black with 580 Watt Psu-Pci Express-cable Manager 20/24 pin + LCD Controller (Case)

    AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (CPU)

    Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe Motherboard Supporting AMD 64/FX CPU's (motherboard)

    Crucial 1GB DDR PC3200 CAS3 (CT12864Z40B) (MY-030-CR) (RAM) [getting 2 of these]

    Viewsonic VP191B 19 inch TFT LCD (Black) (Monitor)

    Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (OS)

    Maxtor Diamondmax 10 300GB (SATA) 7B300S0 (Hard drive)

    XFX Geforce 6800 GT 256KMB PI-Express Graphics card (Graphics card)

    And thats what ive decided so far, the sound card is going to be last and if anyone can see any compatibility issues or problems with that setup please tell me as its going to cost an estimated £1700 and I dont want any ****-ups. Thanks for all your help and hope it goes to plan :)
  21. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    I'd be cautious about the PSU. Lots of hype (Hiper - coincidence?) but no facts. You might like to keep an eye on this thread HardForums
  22. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    I'd suggest a pair of smaller hard drives. These could be mirrored to give you some data security. 300GB is a lot to back-up when it nears to filling.
  23. satchmo

    satchmo TS Rookie Posts: 83


    The brand of the RAM is very important for some motherboards. I just had a terrible experience building my first PC. Everything worked right after I put all the components together, but unfortunately, the system was very unstable. I have an ASUS motherboard and Kingston memory. Even though both brands are high-quality and trust-worthy, these two turned out to be incompatible.

    I recommend you searching the Crucial site to make sure that they *guarantee* compatibility of their memory with your model of motherboard. Get this in writing so if anything goes wrong, they won't argue with you about the issue.

    My problem finally resolved when I got two sticks of RAM from Corsair. I gave the two Kingston sticks to my friend who helped me pinpoint the problem.
  24. ripken204

    ripken204 TS Rookie Posts: 139

    i wouldnt get an xfx vid vard, just cus of what ive hear abut it, the evga is suppose to be the best
  25. GoAvalanche

    GoAvalanche TS Rookie Posts: 42

    Go For It

    I have built a few puters myself and have had great experiences using Maxtor Hard Drives. Kingston memory is super. The newer Graphics cards by NVIDIA seem to run hot so thats something to look at when purchasing a case. Good Luck and have fun!
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