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Need help picking out new pc & components

By Fred G · 10 replies
Dec 30, 2006
  1. I hope i'm posting this in the right board, i wasnt sure which one applies to this topic, so forgive me if i'm not.

    I'm currently looking for a new pc, that will be used mostly for gaming and web surfing. As for the price, i guess it should be somewhere in the medium range. I really have no clue where to start my search so thats why i came here to ask some basic questions. I just hope that i'm asking the right ones.

    PC Brand: First thing i need to know which brand is considered to be good: Dell, HP and so on.

    Motherboard: Which motherboard should the pc have? i've heard asus boards are good, is that true? Also, somebody told me that motherboard should be compatible with the video card. I'm planning on getting an nvidia geforce card, does that mean i should get an nvidia made motherboard?

    Processor:which processor to get AMD Athlon XP, Intel? How many mhz?

    Memory: how much memory should a gaming pc have?

    Hard Drive: i need advice on decent hardrive manufacturers and size

    CD,DVD-ROM\burner: what kind of speed should these have?

    I guess this covers the basics.

    One final question: I was told that one could get a customized pc, the so called bare-bones pc, and outfit it with all the components one needs. Is this option better than buying a pc with all the parts already in?

    If anyone knows the answers, please help!
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    Hello and welcome to Techspot!

    I guess the first question to ask is, are you interested in trying to build this system yourself? Building a computer is easier than ever, but it really depends on what type of person you are. Are you a geek? ;) I mean that in the most polite way possible of course.

    Some people shouldn't consider building a computer, as they just don't have the "tech" brain. Not an insult at all, they are better at other things instead. But if you are the type who typically has no problems at all installing a VCR, then you can probably build your own computer. The manuals that come with the parts are for the most part very well written, and provided you have the patience to follow the (very detailed and lengthy) instructions, you can do it.

    I am asking because it is unclear in your post. You are asking two different questions. First you ask about Dell, HP etc., then you ask about specific part makers. If you get a Dell (for example) you do not get to choose the maker of the parts. You use Dell proprietary parts, and they are all preinstalled. It has it's advantages and disadvantages. For those who are not interested in building their computer or upgrading for that matter, Dell and HP are a good choice. All you have to do is turn it on.

    If you build your own however, then you get to know it's guts, intimately. If something goes wrong, you have a good sense on how to fix it. If you want to upgrade, you can (provided you select the right parts when you build). It is not necessarily all that much cheaper to build your own, but it does have its advantages. First and foremost, for people like me, it is a lot of fun.

    So...... what do you think? Pre-made computer, or self-build?
  3. Fred G

    Fred G TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 86

    I appreciate the reply, DonNagual. Unforunately i'm not a geek and dont have the technical aptitude to build one myself. I understand some aspects of how pcs work, but comparing to some folks here i'm a novice. So thats why i asked about getting one with everything already in it or customizing one to fit my needs.

    By the way, i think you are wrong about the dell, they do allow some customization, i've seen one in their store, here's the link:

  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    Yes, dell does allow for some customization of course. You can select HOW MUCH ram you want for example. You can select HOW MUCH hard disk space you want. But you can't select the maker of the parts. You get dell's proprietary parts. Again, for some people this is not a bad thing, and I am sure you'll be happy with it if you go that route.

    If you are wanting a Dell that is good for gaming, make sure it has a powerful graphics card (most important part for games), and at least 1Gb of ram, preferably two.

    I'd also recommend Intel's core 2 duo CPU.
  5. Fred G

    Fred G TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 86

    yep, you are right about dell not letting pick the part manufacturer. But is dell among the better brands? Also what do you think about getting a bare-bones pc, from what i understand they only have a motherboard in there, and you pick the rest, it is al most like building it yourself. If i decide to go this way i need to know what kind of processor to get and so on.
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    Well, be forewarned, a barebone system is pretty much a build-it-yourself system. You still have to install the ram, graphics, hard drive, optical drive, floppy, all the required PSU connections and install windows. Also, the drivers required for all the hardware. It is an involved process, and judging by what you have written above, I am hesitant in recommending you go this route. Other's may disagree, but I'd say it may be best that you get that dell.

    This way when it is delivered, all you have to do is turn it on. All the software, all the drivers, everything is installed.

    If I were buying a pre-built system, I'd probably go with the Dell XPS. Again, you'll get a lot of different opinions on this. HP has been making some good systems as well. I'd avoid emachines though.
  7. Fred G

    Fred G TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 86

    Thanks for the warning. Though i'm not a total ***** and i had to put in my graphics and sound card myself, as well as dowload drivers for the sound card. However, i never put in RAM or other things, so i'm not exactly sure how to do that. If i buy this kind of pc from a store, can i just tell them what to put in, or it doesnt work like that?
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    It varies from store to store. Some will build it for you, some charge extra for that. If they'll do it for you, that might be a great middle-ground actually. You can use this forum to help you pick high quality reliable parts, then use the computer shop to put it all together for you.
  9. Fred G

    Fred G TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 86

    You are right, this does sound good. :approve:

    Since i have never done this before i'd like to ask whetheer i'm better off finding a place that offers this service online or should i go to a physical stoe and do it there, so i can see the process for myself?

    And finally,when looking for a bare-bones pc with a motherboard already in it, which one am i better off with? Asus? if yes, is there a particular kind thats good?
  10. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,382

    It is hard to answer your first question, as I am in Japan. Maybe someone local to you could answer that for you. If you do choose to use a shop, that would be great if they let you watch. Most probably would say no, unless it is a small mom n' pop type store. It takes a few hours to set up a system, and if it were me I personally wouldn't want someone looking over my shoulder (no offence ;) )

    As for parts, Asus is one of the top companies for motherboards. There are other good ones as well, but I am a fan of Asus as I have always received good customer support. There are some horror stories on the web about Asus as well, but you can find bad info on any company (especially the big ones).

    As for which board to get, you should be looking at the boards that support Intel's core2 duo cpu. The P5V boards are all pretty nice and stable.
  11. Fred G

    Fred G TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 86

    ok, make sure the asus board supports 2 core duo cpu, got it. Thank you, you've been very helpful. I'll be back later to get info on other components, after i find a store that sells and outfits these pcs.

    Take care,

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