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  • help me computer shop, please

    Guys, my current computer is reaching the end of its expected life span and is possibly going to die on me soon. I am interested in buying a new computer, but I have a limited budget. I am willing to spend somewhere between $500 to $750 for a good medium range computer.

    I have been looking at cyberpowerpc.com computer deals. Their products can be extensively customized allowing for almost any configuration. I have found two such deals, but I need advice.

    Examples of deals:
    http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/A..._Configurator/
    http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/A..._Configurator/
    http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Mega_Special_II/

    I understand that AMD/ATI products still have a good name and that they are priced reasonably for their performance. I am curious about what graphics cards and CPUs I should look into.

    Should I look into Intel?

    Currently, I see DDR3 ram is coming into use. Should I consider buying a computer with DDR3 capabilities?

    AMD offers a series of TRI-core PHENOM II processors that fit into the newest socket type offered by AMD. Should I consider the TRI-core series of PHENOM II processors as a starting point for the computer's CPU? What should I consider when picking a multi-core processor, because I clearly understand that interpreting the specs is different from what it was 2 years ago.

    Is the AM3 socket better than the AM2+ socket?

    What is the Hybrid Crossfire feature on certain motherboards?

    Should I consider Crossfire? Should i consider Crossfire if I buy an AMD socket based motherboard?

    Should I consider SLI?

    When considering hard drives, what should I consider as a good baseline for size, speed, and type?

    Based on price versus performance, which companies' graphics card series (AMD/ATI vs. Nvidia) is better? What series of cards should I consider based on the budget I have listed?

    When considering motherboards and graphics cards, what manufactures are considered reliable and reasonably priced?

    What exactly is the difference between the 740 motherboard from AMD and the 790 motherboard?

    What should I consider when choosing a motherboard? Should I consider PCIx16 or PCIx2.0? How many expansion slots should I consider when buying a motherboard?

    Should I consider a sound card?

    Should I consider a separate network card?

    When considering power supplies, what should I consider? What wattage should I consider as a good baseline for long term use even after possible future upgrades? How does one identify if a power supply is good quality and what brands are trustworthy? I ask about brand quality because I heard of some of the knockoff brands being garbage.

    Based on the parts suggested, how many fans should I consider purchasing?

    When I finish building the computer, what size and type of case should I consider? What qualities of a case should I keep in mind when I build the computer?

    When considering screens, what qualities should I look for? I am also unsure about prices. Can anyone help?

    Please help me guys.
    Last edited by BeSiege82; 06-08-2009, 03:10 PM.



    Interested in listening to guitar playing and a good conversation, look for me on TS.

    "Hope is for the weak. I hope for nothing. I work for things. That is the only way for events to unfold." -Cleverbot

  • #2
    Re: help me computer shop, please

    Originally posted by BeSiege82 View Post
    I understand that AMD/ATI products still have a good name and that they are priced reasonably for their performance. I am curious about what graphics cards and CPUs I should look into.
    Their whole Phenom II line is a great bargain for the money. The tri-cores especially seem to be great for gaming while being significantly less expensive than a Quad.

    Should I look into Intel?
    Intel makes great chips but if you're on a budget (which would mean that the Core i7 is out of the question) then I would stick with AMD.

    Currently, I see DDR3 ram is coming into use. Should I consider buying a computer with DDR3 capabilities?
    It would certainly make your system more future proof in the long run. I don't know what kind of a premium system builders are charging for a DDR3 equipped computer but in the DIY market, it doesn't cost that much more than DDR 2 anymore.

    AMD offers a series of TRI-core PHENOM II processors that fit into the newest socket type offered by AMD. Should I consider the TRI-core series of PHENOM II processors as a starting point for the computer's CPU? What should I consider when picking a multi-core processor, because I clearly understand that interpreting the specs is different from what it was 2 years ago.
    Absolutely, the tri-core CPUs are a great palce to start. I would, of course, go with a quad if money were no issue but people are getting great results in games with the tri-cores. Some people have even found a way to unlock the fourth core (AMD's tri-cores are just quad cores with a partially non-functioning core disabled) to make them into a quad. The Phenom II 920 has an unlocked multiplier and should overclock really well.

    Is the AM3 socket better than the AM2+ socket?
    The only real difference between AM3 and AM2+ is that the AM3 boards take DDR3 while the AM2+ boards take DDR2. The important thing when buying an AMD motherboard is to get one with a chipset that includes AMD's SB750 (I believe the 790GX chipset is the only one with this Southbridge but I'm not sure.)

    What is the Hybrid Crossfire feature on certain motherboards?
    It means that you can run multiple video cards in Crossfire mode, even if they are different models. (ex. you could run a 4850 with a 4890.)

    Should I consider Crossfire? Should i consider Crossfire if I buy an AMD socket based motherboard?
    Crossfire is nice but if you're on a budget, you're much better off buying one decently powerful video card and running it by its self.

    Should I consider SLI?
    Same answer as above, although you'd have to put up with an Nvidia chipset if you wanted to run SLi.

    When considering hard drives, what should I consider as a good baseline for size, speed, and type?
    The Western Digital 32MB cache black line is what I would go with. I'd start with the 640GB model and go up from there. A year ago I would have recommended Seagate but they've gone into the toiled since the 7200.11 was released.

    Based on price versus performance, which companies' graphics card series (AMD/ATI vs. Nvidia) is better? What series of cards should I consider based on the budget I have listed?
    I would probably go with an ATI Radeon HD 4850 for the price you're looking at. Nvidia's 9800GTX+ is slightly slower and slightly more expensive. Something like this might suit you well:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814131125

    When considering motherboards and graphics cards, what manufactures are considered reliable and reasonably priced?
    Newegg is your friend. I would suggest you go on there, look through the cards you're interested in and read the user reviews.

    What exactly is the difference between the 740 motherboard from AMD and the 790 motherboard?
    790GX is the way to go. It has a better chipset, allows for better overclocking and is supposed to be a bit more stable.

    What should I consider when choosing a motherboard? Should I consider PCIx16 or PCIx2.0? How many expansion slots should I consider when buying a motherboard?
    I would go with a board with PCIx 2.0. The extra bandwidth would be helpful if you ever were to decide to upgrade your video card.

    Should I consider a sound card?
    Given your budget, I would say no. You can always add one in later.

    Should I consider a separate network card?
    No.

    When considering power supplies, what should I consider? What wattage should I consider as a good baseline for long term use even after possible future upgrades? How does one identify if a power supply is good quality and what brands are trustworthy? I ask about brand quality because I heard of some of the knockoff brands being garbage.
    You can't go wrong with Corsair, Seasonic, PC Power and Cooling, etc. I would get something that outputs at least 600 watts and is at least 80+ certified. Don't go with off brands (ask about specific brands before you buy) because they may fry your system. (I speak from experience!)

    Based on the parts suggested, how many fans should I consider purchasing?
    It depends on the case that you choose. Some come with plenty of fans installed while others could use more.

    When I finish building the computer, what size and type of case should I consider? What qualities of a case should I keep in mind when I build the computer?
    That depends entirely on your needs. Get something with good airflow and good ratings on Newegg that looks like something you might like. I love my full tower but my brother recently traded his in for a mid tower because the full took up too much space.

    When considering screens, what qualities should I look for? I am also unsure about prices. Can anyone help?
    Look for a fast response time and a high contrast ratio. I love my 22" 1680X1050 Viewsonic but you might want something bigger/higher resolution. It all comes down to personal choice!
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: help me computer shop, please

      Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem
      Western Digital Caviar Black 500 gb
      Crucial 3GB (3 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 mhz
      Foxconn FlamingBlade GTI LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX
      Video card: ATI 4870 1 GB
      nvidia GTS250 or 260 1 GB model

      are you re using the case and PSU for your new build?

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      • #4
        Re: help me computer shop, please

        I was under the impression that hybrid crossfire only allowed you to pair a low end GPU(3540, 4350) with the integrated graphics on the motherboard(3200, 3300?). At least at this point.

        2 of the systems you listed use a 9500gt, which is not recommended. However those configurations do leave room in your budget to upgrade to a different GPU if you wanted to go that route.
        |TG-12th| Namebot

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        • #5
          Re: help me computer shop, please

          Originally posted by Namebot View Post
          I was under the impression that hybrid crossfire only allowed you to pair a low end GPU(3540, 4350) with the integrated graphics on the motherboard(3200, 3300?). At least at this point.

          2 of the systems you listed use a 9500gt, which is not recommended. However those configurations do leave room in your budget to upgrade to a different GPU if you wanted to go that route.
          Sorry to confuse you, but it is highly recommended that you customize the computer's configuration.



          Interested in listening to guitar playing and a good conversation, look for me on TS.

          "Hope is for the weak. I hope for nothing. I work for things. That is the only way for events to unfold." -Cleverbot

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: help me computer shop, please

            Mouse, keyboard, monitor, operating system?
            |TG-12th| Namebot

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: help me computer shop, please

              Originally posted by Buckets View Post
              A year ago I would have recommended Seagate but they've gone into the toiled since the 7200.11 was released.
              I beg to differ on that opinion. Not all of the 7200.11 drives were affected. And Seagate did fix the firmware issue since and have offered to replace any affected drives for free + recover any lost data.

              Originally posted by BeSiege
              When considering hard drives, what should I consider as a good baseline for size, speed, and type?
              Consider firstly how much space you might need. So say 320 GiBs is what you need, you could then go for a 500 GiB or higher capacity drive and that would suit your needs. You'd want to stick with SATA300 interface, at least 16 MiBs of cache, and 7,200 RPM (or higher). Western Digital and Seagate are the most popular and trusted brands so far.

              If you can afford it, Samsung's Spinpoint series are fast, quiet, and pretty reliable (if expensive). 10,000 RPM drives are also nice, but not as high capacity as traditional 7,200 RPM drives and there's a higher risk of data loss due to drive failures (head crashes, cracked disks, etc). Hitachi and Toshiba also make decent drives, but I don't have much experience with either brand for HDDs. I only have one of each and they both are fine after 3-4 years of use.

              Exeletor (or however it's spelled) is a fairly new startup based in China. From the NewEgg reviews, they seem to make some no-frills decent drives. I'd be worried about long-term reliability if you decide to go with this brand.

              SSDs are out of the question for you since you can't afford them at any sizable capacity.

              Originally posted by BeSiege
              what size and type of case should I consider? What qualities of a case should I keep in mind when I build the computer?
              Generally you want a easy to work with case that gives you enough room for expansions and isn't too cramped so you are able to have some leeway when you put the parts in (or take parts out). You'd also want to at least have a 120mm fan in the back and one in the front. With that said, the front fan should be easy to replace and a lot of cases have fixed front fans that aren't easily accessible (or removable). Finding a good case is time consuming, the most time consuming thing next to choosing a graphics card.

              Consider a quality case that you can reuse for later builds and consider one with removable hard drive bays (like the Antec Performance series). Sound dampening material is also a plus if you want to keep noise leak to a minimal in a quiet environment.
              |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
              TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
              Former 9th & 13th

              Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
              Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





              SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

              TG Primer and Rules

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