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  • Building a new PC

    Hey everyone, I'm wondering if I can get a few pointers.

    First I'll start out by saying I'm pretty new at building computers. I've done my fair share of upgrades and all that, but the process of finding parts that will work together is pretty foreign to me.

    First things first, This new PC is going to be for gaming. I may eventually install Microsoft Office but the main idea here will be centered around games.

    I've searched on many online computer stores, On TigerDirect I noticed some barebones systems. Keeping in mind building these is a new thing for me, would something like this be an okay start?

    I have access to full operating systems from an agreement with my college and microsoft, so that part is not an issue. The big thing for me is the basic hardware, Motherboards, Processors, Power supplies, RAM, etc. The systems I spoke of above mostly contain those things, so it seems reasonable to me. I'd like to keep the cost of these parts as low as possible. I dont need 2 Gigs of the fastest RAM out there... Just enough to run most things I'll need for a while.

    Any recommendations for or against these "barebones" systems, or whats the better processor type.

    As far as Video Cards go, I know how expencive these get, Right now I am planning on buying a Radeon X800 (or better) for my future system. I currently own multiple radeon cards and have been satisfied with them. It'd take quite a bit to turn me to nVidia too, I still hold a grudge for when they bought out 3dfx.. I loved my voodoo 3

    So basically, Any and all recommendations and help is greatly appreciated, Thanks for your time.
    RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!!

    Nations are like individuals: they achieve more when they plan to plant a tiny tree, and do it, than when they propose to raise an entire forest and then fall asleep in the furrows.

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  • #2
    Re: Building a new PC

    I don't like barebones. Just the thought of some under-paid high school reject taking my part out of the static bags and trying to half-assed assemble them gets on my nerves.

    If you're going to build your own PC: I would recommend buying everything retail or OEM, then doing all the assembly yourself. It's more rewarding if not rage inducing (you almost always have little hitches). But it's worth it.

    Don't skimp on parts. Sure, you want to stay cheap, but you only have problems with it later on. You can get Good-name parts for almost the same price, and they are much better.

    Enermax makes good Cases and power supplies.
    I only buy ASUS motherboards. They are some of the best and I've never had compatibility problems with them.

    Make sure the case you buy has plenty of room for your board and accessories and is made of high quality aluminum. I've had friends buy cases that looked cool, but had the most retarded accessories (like losing the top 5 1/4" bay for a useless fan that folded out when a button was pushed).

    Whether you choose AMD or Intel is your own deal, but remember that 1-2 more FPS is not worth a $100 price jump unless you smoke crack. And even then, it's not worth it. Just buy more crack.

    Don't spend more than $150 US on a motherboard or CPU. Don't spend more than $200 on a video card. This is just a waste of money. Try and get boards based off the NForce chipset, it's nice.

    If you plan to overclock: spend extra money and get something besides the OEM cooler. This is especially important on AMD because the heat they put out.

    The only sound card worth buying (if you don't have on-board audio) is Sound Blaster Audigy. They are dirt cheap now.

    Consider Serial ATA hard-drives. I run an SATA RAID 0 array and garner a huge performance benefit.

    Go water-cooled and be 1337 like me!

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    • #3
      Re: Building a new PC

      Originally posted by Vinzalf
      I've searched on many online computer stores, On TigerDirect I noticed some barebones systems.
      OK, quit searching stores... Figure out what you want and then go to www.pricewatch.com to compare prices. You'll probably find there that, taking into account the cost of shipping, you can't beat www.NewEgg.com for just about everything you're going to need. If you find something cheaper somewhere else with free shipping, then go for it if you trust the store. But you're not going to go wrong if you buy everything from NewEgg...

      And I don't know if TigerDirect has changed, but they used (like more than 5 years ago) to have absolutely horrible service. I mean really bad...
      Become a supporting member!
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      • #4
        Re: Building a new PC

        ok, no.

        for the processor, if you are worried about screwing it up.... you might consider intel or an amd64 chip for no other reason than they have covered chips, where the athlon xp line is exposed. I have 14 causualties of crushes in my drawer right now..... everything from a 700 duron to a 2800 XP (not all me, I do fix computers for a living.... I claim 6 of them....and on 3 I cant see where it is messed up....)

        the motherboard is the biggest thing to look at. once you know the platform you want, this is where you do not need to skimp. 40 for the cheapest out there compared to 130 for the most expensive.... 90 dollars is not worth not getting everything you want.

        avoid onboard video for a gaming machine... the only reasons for onboard video are as follows:

        1) a low end office computer or netsurfer

        2) a testbench setup

        3) if you want to sell it for parts in the future (granny dont play JO) this will allow you to pull your card and keep a working system

        4) just in case backup. (if your card dies... at least the computer will function)

        now, unless there is an 8x AGP slot onboard as well as onboard video, its not worth it unless its a netsurfer..... I still reccommend no onboard video..... its not really worth it.... just go get a cheap agp matrox 16 meg card for 10 bucks sometime if you are worried about any of these things.

        other options you want

        onboard nic ( if not get realtec or intel)
        onboard 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 audio (if not go for the audigy)
        Serial ATA (preferrably able to do a raid 0 array) there are significant speed gains to be had here
        for athlon xp a 400 fsb, intel needs to have 800 fsb, athlon64 is moot (the fsb is on the chip)
        raid on the ide is a good thing to have as well
        ieee 1394 (firewire) if you have anything that needs it, otherwise usb 2.0 is faster and more capable, but get at least 4 ports
        fan headers... a good board will have 2 or 3... they come in handy
        a fan over the northbridge is a nice addition
        capacity for 3 gigs of ram.... if there are only 2 dimm slots, skip it
        you should also look for pci express. this is what things will be in the very near future.

        I would suggest an athlon 64 socket 939 (the 939 takes standard ram where the 940 socket requires ecc) with a gig of pc 4000 and an ati card on a 16 lane pci express bus. the sound and nic should be onboard, and the mobo should have sata and probably raid capable as well.

        get 2 wd sata 7200 drives or if you feel froggy, go for the 10,000. get a dual layer dvd burner and a 56x cd burner. lite-on makes good stuff in this area.

        the case is up for grabs. get a case you like the looks of. dont worry about the power supply. get a decent 450 or 500 watt enermax ps.. look real close at the amps on the 5v 12v and 3.3v rail the higher the better.

        hope this helps. remember above everything, that while you are spending more now, you will be future proofing your investment. if you go for an intel 3.2 and an agp card... you will not have the options in a year to upgrade. the intel and the agp are nearing e.o.l. time. the athlon xp is there now. while amd will churn out semprons as a replacement for durons (basically, these are thorobred chips) on the socket a line for a while, but it is the low end of amd's line. there will be socket 754 semprons as well, but socket 754 will always be a lowend budget line. dont ever look at a 754 socket... you will regret it.
        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
        The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

        If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Building a new PC

          Originally posted by CingularDuality
          OK, quit searching stores... Figure out what you want and then go to www.pricewatch.com to compare prices. You'll probably find there that, taking into account the cost of shipping, you can't beat www.NewEgg.com for just about everything you're going to need. If you find something cheaper somewhere else with free shipping, then go for it if you trust the store. But you're not going to go wrong if you buy everything from NewEgg...

          And I don't know if TigerDirect has changed, but they used (like more than 5 years ago) to have absolutely horrible service. I mean really bad...
          plus, they are expensive as crap.
          Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
          The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

          If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Building a new PC

            Just to add to the confusion, Monarch Computers (www.monarchcomputers.com) has some good "barebones" systems in addition to pre-builts. I got a board, case, processor and hard drive there all at once a couple of years ago. For $30 extra, they'll test/verify the processor/board works as it should (which was a bonus for me, extra layer of comfort because I had never actually built a system for myself before then), but you don't have to get that service.
            The thing that impressed me the most was that I ordered it on July 2, and I had the system in my hands on July 5 -- and that was standard shipping (not express or whatever). They had it to me in 2 working days.

            For what it's worth, I've also had good experienced with NewEgg.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Building a new PC

              I put together a wish list for you at newegg. I didn't call out all of the pieces you need, just the major ones.

              http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=968750

              ASUS "A7N8X-E Deluxe" nForce2 Ultra 400 Chipset Motherboard for AMD Socket A CPU
              This is a great board. Several friends and myself all have this board. It has built in 5.1 sound which does all sound processing on the sound chip and doesn't require CPU cycles. It also has dual LAN, etc.

              AMD Athlon XP 2500+ "Barton", 333 FSB, 512K Cache Processor
              While this isn't the fastest chip available, it's the best chip to overclock. OCing this chip isn't hard so don't be too worried about doing it. I overclocked mine to 2.2 GHz which is equivalent to the XP 3200+ chip.

              Corsair Value Select (Dual Pack) 184 Pin 1G(512MBx2) DDR PC-3200
              You're going to want two chips of the same size to take advantage of the dual channel capabilities of the mobo. Also important for OCing the cpu.

              Western Digital 80GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model WD800JD
              You'll want a SATA drive to enjoy the faster drive access. I have a 10000 RPM SATA drive, but those are a bit more expensive.

              Thermaltake EXTREME VOLCANO 12, All Copper. 2 Adjustable fan speed controllers, installs in expension slot or in the front (in 3.5" drive bay) for AMD Athlon XP up to 3400+
              You'll want a better cpu fan to overclock.

              SAMSUNG 910T-Black 19" LCD Monitor
              Just a suggestion here. Samsung and Dell have GREAT LCD monitors. I'd suggest at least 19"

              NOTE: This is not a 64 bit machine. I'm not sure if that's what you want or not for future upgrading. I also prefer nVidia graphics cards but that's always debated. Make sure to get a decent case with good airflow and add some extra case fans to it.

              I currently have a similar setup and can play all of the latest games (BF42, BFV, Joint Ops, etc.) With one of the newer / faster video cards, you should be able to play HL2, BF2, etc. when they come out.
              |TG-12th| asch
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Building a new PC

                there are only a few computer shops online I trust 100%

                newegg
                computergeeks (slower, and has more of a refurb/used/open box type inventory, but good prices on a lot of items)
                monarch
                kahlon
                pcparts
                tekstation
                sweetwater
                gotink4u (200 cat-5 ends for 17 bucks.... dirt cheap on a lot of accessory type parts)

                there are others I have bought from in the past, but these are the best I have found in one area or another

                kahlon does have the best memory price out there if you are willing to wait about a week for it

                sweetwater is a pro audio site that has amazing customer service. I have a personal shopping assistant there that will call me/ email me or vice versa any time for any detail. they are willing to go the extra mile and then some.... (like calling tascam directly for me about a question on a new cd/tape recorder...the cc222-mkii...that is due out later this month to see if it can do timed index points.)

                tekstation has great prices and an awesome selection on laptops... I havent really looked at the rest of the site.


                I usually check pricewatch first, and if I find what I want ridiculously cheaper than newegg from someone I trust, I will go elsewhere, otherwise, newegg gets the business.... if you have a question about an etailer, pm me and I will be happy to give you my opinion/ experience with them) I have put a lot of orders in on the web this year.

                total spent online $13,453.84. I will be dropping another $15,000 in a month or so as well. I say this not to show off (most of it was not my money anyway... only about 1500 is mine) but to help you feel confident in my suggestions. I do a lot of research before buying parts, it is my job to get the best price/ service. these guys have always been top notch. the biggest thing is knowing what you need and when you need it. then go look for the best price. I would never hit up newegg for a piii 733 processor, but computergeeks stocks them all day. I would never go to computergeeks for a part I needed within 3 days.... they wont do it without charging way too much. I hope this will help some of you in your searches soon.
                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
                The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

                If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Building a new PC

                  Yes, compgeeks is a spectacular place to get bargains on refurb'd hardware. Especially peripherals such as mice/trackballs/joysticks/keyboards... Got my wife a Logitech trackball that was refurb'd by the manufacturer for $9.95 over 4 years ago. She's still using it without a single complaint. They were retailing for over fifty bucks at the time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Building a new PC

                    I use Tigerdirect exclusively, thier service has greatly impoverd over the last 5yrs and they ship same day. Thier prices are very competitive. I just built a discount gamer as a stop gap till 64 bit prices come into the reasonable range. Soyo make a great Motherboard, in fact many good ones. they are used by companies like Alienware. Tigerdirect has Soyo Dragon Modo's at very reasonable prices. Bare bones kits offer one big advantage, They wire the mother board to the power supply and front ports and such(most confusing part). when it comes to CPU I use a AMD XP 2800. like a has been covered alreay be very carefull and gentle to prevent crushing spend the extra few dollars for the retail package. With AMD retail pack you heat sink has a built in heat transfer past pocket filled and ready. My system is a 2800 xp 333fsb 512mb ram 80 gig HD cdrom I spent $325 total including Win XP Home full addition Tiger rocks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Building a new PC

                      2800+ 124 here
                      soyo mobo 50 here
                      512 ddr 70 here
                      cdrom 15 here
                      80 gig wd 59 here
                      xp home 47

                      total 364 with 7.49 shipping and 2 day delivery

                      thats newegg... show me links to tigerdirects stuff please. I cant see 50 bucks different... I really cant
                      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
                      The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

                      If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Building a new PC

                        Originally posted by =DdogG=
                        2800+ 124 here
                        soyo mobo 50 here
                        512 ddr 70 here
                        cdrom 15 here
                        80 gig wd 59 here
                        xp home 47

                        total 364 with 7.49 shipping and 2 day delivery

                        thats newegg... show me links to tigerdirects stuff please. I cant see 50 bucks different... I really cant
                        XP 2800 $114 here
                        Soyo MB 60 here
                        512DDR 3200 90 here (cheapest 512 stick they had...)
                        CDRom (Mercury? Never heard of 'em) 20 here
                        80G Hitachi 65 here
                        WinXP home OEM $100 here

                        UPS Ground to Duluth= 18
                        UPS 2 Day to Duluth= 32
                        Total (with ground shipping)=$468

                        *Note: There were rebates on some of these items that did not get included in the cost.
                        Become a supporting member!
                        Buy a Tactical Duck!
                        Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
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                        • #13
                          Re: Building a new PC

                          so it was 104 more for tigerdirect.......
                          Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
                          The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

                          If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Building a new PC

                            Originally posted by =DdogG=
                            so it was 104 more for tigerdirect.......
                            With slower shipping as well...
                            Become a supporting member!
                            Buy a Tactical Duck!
                            Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
                            TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Building a new PC

                              now take off the rebates :) and in indianapolis I get it next day on regular ground.

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