I'm trying to a build a PC from scratch, but need a little advice

By torrenter · 27 replies
Jul 29, 2007
  1. Hey guys, I'm trying to build a PC from scratch for the first time and need a few tips.

    The reason I'm trying to do this is that I recently tried to upgrade my GPU and after a lot of excellent advice, I still came to realise that it was going to be more fantasy than reality. The GPU I wanted to get would be as long as my mobo and would be blocked by other things on the mobo. Plus, there's was no space for a longer PSU.

    I also want to save a packet and DIY, rather than pay the Alienware types a ludicrous amount to do something I'd like to learn how to do:) So I figured where else to start than the new mobo. I'll want to get one that is Sli compatible, has a Intel Duo Core CPU (fast!) and has a generous amount of space to upgrade later. This is the most important piece of kit to me right now.

    Can anyone recommend any specific models, meeting my requirements?
  2. mica3speedy

    mica3speedy TS Rookie Posts: 89

    ok so you wan't a motherboard that is socket 775, and has sli. I have the asus p5n32-e sli which supports core 2's, and quads. It also has support for the new 1333 chips coming out. If you wan't the latest get a p35 board but I'm not sure if any of the ones out have sli capability yet.
  3. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Hey torrenter. Building a new PC eh? Hope I can help you the same way I did in your other thread. :)
    I'll recommend a build but you have to give me a budget first. Everything else is there in your first post.
  5. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Why do you want SLI, are you prepared to buy 2 high end graphics cards at the same time?

    Usually, the smarter choice is to spend all the money put into 2 graphics cards and buy 1 graphics card instead. It generally would perform better, or roughly the same. And you don't need the hassle too. Don't forget to add in the money you save from NOT buying an SLI board.

    If you're leaving space to upgrade, forget it. Unless you're going to do it in the next few months, chances are that there are much better graphics cards to upgrade to, and the extra money spent on the motherboard probably would have made up that difference anyway. And you can still sell off that "old" graphics card.

    Not to mention that you don't need 2xPCIe x16 to have dual graphics cards.

    My conclusion: Certified SLI is overrated.
  6. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Ok guys, maybe buying a motherboard that is SLI-certified is a bit unnecessary and the technology's overated. I think Rage had said earlier to me that an 8800 GT/X performs the same as two X1950 XTXs crossfired.
    I wasn't planning on getting dual cards straight away, anyway. I just wanted the capability. So forget dual cards, but not SLI, if the CPU is kickass.

    Oh, Rage. I don't have so much a budget on a motherboard. Again, it now doesn't have to SLI capable unless the CPU on it is much better than on any other non-SLI board. I'll need a Intel Duo Core board.

    Most importantly though, I want space to upgrade the GPU later on. I.E, the board should be something like 270mm long and upwards. It'll have to be able to fit the 8800 Ultra or later cards easily. I'll probably be buying a cheaper GPU than the 8800 Ultra. But let's leave the GPU to the end.

    Thanks again.
  7. raveritz

    raveritz TS Rookie

    nice advice...
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    ASUS P5K AiLifestyle Series iP35 Socket 775 eSATA 8channel Audio ATX Motherboard - £89.07 inc VAT

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 (1.86Ghz) Socket 775 FSB1066 4MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor - £104.60 inc VAT

    OCZ (OCZ2P800LP2GK) 2Gb PC2-6400 DDR2-800 4-4-4-15 DFI Certified Platinum (Lifetime Warranty) - £76.64 inc VAT

    I have a different version of the motherboard recommended and I haven't had problems with it for the 2-3 weeks or so that I've had it. Everything works well together and if you're getting the X1950XT and the PSU I recommended as originally planned, you'll have a superb PC on your hands. Good luck and let us know if you have any queries. :)
  9. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Hi Rage. I've recently upgraded to a PNY Verto GeForce7600GT GPU. This was given to me by my Dad who himself had just upgraded to a BFG GeForce 8600GT OC GPU.

    Would any of these cards have problems being fitted onto the ASUS motherboard you've recommended here? The thing is, my Dad's just decided to buy this ridiculously powerful gaming PC and so it looks like I'd be able to get my hands on his old (new) 8600 GT OC card - happy days!:D
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    No, you'd have no problems fitting the cards onto that motherboard.
  11. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Yep, that's the one.
  13. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Looks like I've made a mistake Rage. My Dad's old (newish) card is the BFG 8600 GTS OC. I've got my hands on it now:D Just once again, do you think this card will be fine to fit on the motherboard you recommended?

    Thanks onve again..
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Hey torrenter. First off, what PSU do you have? The 8600GTS requires at least 18-20A on the +12V rail(s), so make sure your current PSU has that much, or else you'd need to buy another one. I don't know if you've upgraded it from the original one that came from your HP, so just confirming.
    If the PSU checks out, then all's well and you can just throw in the new card and start gaming. :)
  15. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Hey Rage. Thanks for the reply. I still have the original PSU (300W) that came with my PC. There really is no space to upgrade the PSU within the tower.

    I upgraded my original card to an old card of my Dad's, the 7600GT which is currently in my PC. I have no problems. But neither did my Dad who also had the same model of PC as me. He then upgraded to the 8600 GTS OC, which he has now given to me. When I took it out of his PC, he had the same, original PSU as me and the motherboard was the same aswell.

    He has now since bought a MESH gamer's PC, so I am taking the opportunity to strip all the goodies of his old PC, haha! I've also found a Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro sound card in there and his new gamer's PC only has the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer sound card. So I'm not sure yet, if he'll let me have that! Also, I think my DVD-ROM drive has failed, so if a new drivers install does not work, I'm going to see if I can get my hands on his one(same model as mine again:D)

    My Dad's always said that the power needed for these cards is always overstated, plus the upgrade from the original GPU to the 7600GT was HUGE but this did not cause any power failures, or other problems. And if the 8600 GTS OC worked in his PC aswell, the same model as mine, then I'm hardly expecting any problems. So, why do GPU manufacturer's say you HAVE to have a minimum power PSU? From what've I seen so far, it seems we're not given all the truth.....What do you think mate?
  16. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    They play safe 'cause as my favourite Don Vito Corleone said: A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns. Capice? ;)
    Just keep monitoring your PSU rails regularly while they're under full load. If the +12V rail falls below 11.8V or so, then you're overloading your PSU and need a new one.
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    If its the stock HP PSU then it is going to likely be too weak. But I think you have more leeway than .2V. If it goes below 11 then I'd get concerned.
  18. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thanks guys.

    Rage, Is there a program that allows me to look at how much voltage is being used in realtime or maybe while playing a game?

    I've also looked at the minimum system requirements for the BFG 8600GTS OC card and it says I'd need:

    375W PCI Express-compliant system power supply*

    * Minimum system power requirement based on a standard PC configures with an Intel® Core™2 Extreme X6800 processor

    This reminds me what you said about bottlenecking of cards. It looks like I'm near maxed out with my current PNY 7600GT. It's minimum system requirements are:

    1) Intel Pentium® III, AMD Duron™ or Athlon™ class processor or higher
    2) A minimum 300W system power supply

    If I want to install the BFG 8600GTS OC and have no chance of problems, I suppose I have to upgrade the PSU and motherboard and processor to Core 2. If so, this means a new tower... and I suspect the first time of putting together a custom PC:D
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    No, I think only a PSU upgrade is in order. The 375W PSU figure is there for a X6800-equipped system at full load. You have a system that pulls lesser power, so disregard that figure. But I'd still look into a new PSU, especially since it's better to have more power than you need than the other way around. You can use Everest Home Edition, SIW or your BIOS' hardware monitoring utility to view the +12V rail's stability. A bottleneck is not possible, since the card does not have that much of a bandwidth requirement to cause one.
  20. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    By bottlenecking, I was referring to what you said to me some time back.

    That I'd have to get a Core 2 processor if I wanted to use a Geforce 8800 Ultra card, and that my current Pentium IV 3.4GHz would not be enough to get the full performance of the GPU. That's how I understood it.

    I still have the same Pentium processor. I'm now not sure if my current 7600GT card is maximsing it's potential. Could it be bottlenecked? Could the 8600 GTS OC card be bottlenecked if I put it with my current Pentium IV?

    I'm still going to have to change the tower to get a larger PSU in there anyway, lol.
    Thanks for the heads up on the program;D
  21. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    You're correct in understanding what a bottleneck means. However, bottlenecks are caused by bandwidth latencies between parts, which forces some to slow down and play 'catch up' with others. Your CPU is good for cards upto the level of the 8600GTS, since beyond that, the card's bandwidth requirements would be much higher and you'd experience some bottlenecking.
  22. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Well thank you again Rage:D I can now enjoy this card. Getting a new PSU and tower to fit it in should not be to much grief for a newbie. Now I'm going to check out this new Everest program, hehe.
  23. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Developments, developments...

    Hey Rage, this upgrading has been crazyyy. I got hold of my Dad's 8600 GTS and I found he had a SB XFi Elite Pro soundcard, which I was given aswell. After we plugged them in the motherboard and turned on the PC, things didn't go according to plan:S The PC did not really turn on, a light (I'm sure a diagnostic light) on the back of the PSU, was switching on and off rapidly making a clicking sound.

    At first we thought this would be down to the PSU developing a fault. I especially thought so after what you had explained to me. I had put in a Soundcard aswell, lol! One thing we did do was take out a Wi-Fi card and Internal Modem that came as part of the original model. This I think would've alleviated some of the PSU usage to compensate for the new GPU card and sound card. Anyway, we think we damaged the PSU or motherboard, while using a compressed air duster, or the motherboard short-circuiting somewhere along the line.

    But it didn't end on a bad note. I just said, "F*** it, let's just transfer my hard drive to his old PC!" Everything seems to work fine, I'm using Vista now, with his old hard drive as the C:\ drive and my hardrive as a backup drive. That's 2x 250GB drives now.

    All I've been dealing with today is just trying to get my head around Vista, deleting unwanted data and reorganising material. I'm not sure why, but Vista seems slower. Maybe it's the fancy graphics, maybe it's the huge amount of data off my second drive (F:\Program Files) that I've got to get rid of. I'm not sure if Vista will grow on me..

    Lastly, I've a couple of quick questions, if you can help;)

    Do you think that storing downloads( DivX movies, music) and important documents on the 2nd drive will be of any other benefit apart from the security of a backup. I would like to know if having the 2 drives slows things down. They're both of 7,200 rpm, but will files read/be accessed slower off the 2nd drive??

    Also, I don't know if you use Vista, but I'm also trying to find the equivalent of the C:\ Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu folder, so that I can delete redundant items off the Start Menu. Bascially, I can't find a Start Menu folder in C:\Users folder of MS Vista. The version of Vista is Ultimate.

    Thanks again..
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    No there will be no other benefit of having a second drive separately but there'll be no performance loss since each drive will be on its own separate channel, assuming they're SATA drives. Put them together in RAID though, and you'd have a much faster solution, although it'd halve your space.
    As for the Vista question, I have no idea. You're gonna ask someone else for that. :)
  25. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

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