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Computer Build Thread: Now sublimating the desire for a 5850 into cheap builds!

lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Moe's Stupid Technology Tavern
Welcome to The Computer Build Thread

This thread is for discussing the art and science of building your own computer in particular which parts should be bought. A lot of the information we share would also be useful for picking out or customizing a commercially build computers. Obviously a lot of us are interested in gaming PCs but other uses are also discussed.

Feel free to post your build for comment or just your budget and what you need your computer to be capable of. The friendly people of this thread can set you on the right track or give you options to save money or have a better computer or sometimes both at once.

If we know the answer to some of the following questions it will help us to point you to the right computer for you.
  • What is your total budget?
  • What has to be included in that budget? Just an upgrade, just the computer itself or a computer with monitor, mouse and keyboard? Do you have parts from your old computer that you can use?
  • Is this computer just for gaming and casual computer use or do you have other computationally intensive tasks in mind?
  • What resolution to you plan on gaming at?
  • Do you feel the need for cutting edge performance in the most demanding games (*cough* Crysis) or is good performance in most games and "good enough" performance in the most demanding games? Any particular games or upcoming games you care about?
  • Are you biased towards either ATI/NVidia or Intel/AMD?
  • How long do you want this computer to last?
  • How important is being able to upgrade your computer at a later time?

If you need help or instructions on how to build your new computer take a look at this guide from techreport.com or this wiki article.


General Overview

This is an amazing time to be building a gaming PC. Competition between ATI and Intel for CPUS and between ATI and NVidia is tight and the result is lower prices. You can build a decent gaming rig for $500 and a very nice one for $700. Some newer tech like i7 processors and solid state drives are more expensive but neither is necessary to play even the most demanding games.

These days most people buy most of their parts from newegg because they have a nice combination of selection, prices, customer ratings of the various parts, customer service and easily searched inventory. If you do buy from newegg keep an eye out for free shipping and nice "combo deals" that could save you a few extra bucks. You can often save $20 each off of a HD/OS combo, Motherboard/CPU combo, Case/Powersupply combo, etc.
If this is of any help to anyone, I've come across a number of online UK retailers.
Ebuyer.co.uk
Large catalogue of components; essentially a UK 'newegg', I guess
Novatech.co.uk
Also offers alot of components, as well as custom systems. Rated highly on quite a few forums.

For Canada apparently the strategy is to buy from NCIX using their pricematching policy. Read more here.


CPUs and Motherboards

CPU's are the most critical part for most computers although these days gaming computers' performance depends more on the GPU in most cases. For now most games can't use more than 1 or 2 cores with any efficiency so for a gaming rig a 2 or maybe 3 core CPU will provide the most bang for the buck. For more CPU intensive purposes like encoding video or ray tracing a quad core CPU will be faster. Anandtech has a nice database of CPU benchmarks.

Low end $150 for CPU+motherboard.
  • Intel Pentium E5200 Cheap and still fairly fast. This dual core CPU is also easy to overclock.
  • AMD Athlon II X2 or Phenom II X2s are also nice and cheap while being quite fast.
  • AMD Athlon II X3 should give good performance once they show up at reatail.

A step up ($250 for CPU+motherboard)

The new i5 750 and a motherboard will set you back about $300 and up. These are very fast and if you think you want to spend more than that you should think twice. A Phenom III X3 is a cheaper option that provides good performance.
  • AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Three cores, good speed and easily overclockable.
  • Intel i5 750

Maximum Power ($500 and up)

i7s are more expensive than i5s and some require more expensive motherboards. Their only advantage is Hyperthreading so make sure your application performs very well in multiple threads before you splurge.
  • Intel Core i7-920 on 1366 sockets
  • Intel COre i7 860 on 1156 sockets

Choosing a motherboard


Once you have a CPU picked out then you have a lot of choices for which motherboard to pair with it. You should want:
  • A stable board: make sure feedback on newegg is mostly very positive.
  • The features you want: Do you need raid? Xfire? SLI? A large number of SATA ports?
  • If you plan to overclock, you'll want a board with a reputation of being good for that.
  • A low price. Don't pay a lot for features you don't need. Also some chipsets may have advantages that don't work out in practice.


Memory

Memory is cheap and the speed doesn't matter nearly as much as the quantity so get 4 gigabytes at least, if you are going with an i7 CPU then get 6. Just make sure your memory is compatible with your motherboard and your memory comes with a good warranty. Also take a glance to see that your memory doesn't require too high a voltage. For DDR2 1.8V or less should be good without any need mess around. For DDR3 1.65V or less would be better.

Storage

Standard Hard Drives up to 1TB in size are priced from $100 on down. Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB for $75 or so might be a good place to start. You could spend more money on a faster and probably smaller drive. Look up velociraptors. 300GB will cost you more than $200 but it will be fast.

Finally solid state drives are finally become viable as a primary drive. Be careful what you buy since most of these drives have pretty poor performance. Also, you'll probably need a normal hard drive to store all your porn since the cost per gigabyte is still pretty high.Intel X-25s are the best and most expensive while OCZ's Vertex line is still fast but quite a bit cheaper.

Almost every computer will need a $25 DVD player/writer but for $75 more you can add the ability to play Blu-Ray movies.

Video Cards


These are critical for PC gaming, obviously. Compared to previous years your dollar will go a long way.
Low end (~$100)
Amazingly video cards at this level are capable of playing all but the most demanding games with good quality settings and at nice resolutions. The ATI cards are the best value in this range.
  • ATI Radeon 4850 512MB -- Be wary of Sapphire 4850s, several posters here have had problems with these.
  • ATI Radeon 4770 512MB Slightly slower than the 4850 but uses less power.
  • NVidia GTS 250 A bit more expensive than the ATI cards but some like NVidia's drivers or want PhysX support.
  • ATI Radeon 5750 512 MB Not available yet but should be faster than a 4850 at a similar price and lower power usage. The 1GB version is a bit more expensive than the other cards here.

A step up($140-$200)
  • ATI Radeon 4870 Seems that the 1 GB version might buy you a few FPS over the 512 MB one.
  • NVidia GTX 260 Make sure to get one with 216 stream processors
  • ATI Radeon 4890 just a touch more than the other two GPUs in this price range but its very, very fast.
  • ATI Radeon 5770 A tad slower than the 4870 but has DX11 support and uses less power.

Maximum Power ($200+)

Until NVidia's next gen cards come out ATI has the fastest GPUs you can buy
  • ATI Radeon 5850 have great performance for their ~$260 price
  • ATI Radeon 5870 are the fastest single GPU cards yet

Cases and Power Supplies

You are going to need a case to put all these parts into and your are going to need a power supply to make them work. Cases are a very personal preference type of thing and there are tons of different models for sale. Here is a list of cases recommended by PAers:
You shouldn't cheap out on power supplies and if you do the be very careful
. A bad powersupply won't last long and when it goes it may well damage your more expensive parts. The problem is that the company that makes your power supply is likely to be different than the one on the box and it's harder for websites to test a power supply's reliability than it is for them to check how many FPS a video card gets while running Crysis. Be especially wary of power supplies that come bundled with a case.

Another consideration would be a modular power supply. For a bit of extra money these let you remove cables that you don't need, freeing up space and reducing clutter inside your case.
imperial6 wrote: »
A quality power supply is necessary for a stable gaming system. "Total Watts" is heavily advertised, but not very important (or in many cases even very accurate). What is important is the quality of the brand, and the amps on the +12v rail. Get something with at least 28A on the +12v rail(s) for single-card systems. Try to get something 80-plus certified, because this will actually save on your energy bill and is usually a sign of a quality psu. Corsair and Antec generally make the most affordable psu's that meet these criteria (at least in the US).


Low end(less than $100 for Case and PS):
  • Antec NSK4480B ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply $80 Power supply isn't overly powerful but it should work if it's enough.
Midrange (less than $150)
  • Antec Sonata III 500 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply $110 Should be adequate unless you need 2 video cards
  • Antec 300 or other case coupled with BFG Tech LS SERIES LS-550
High End
  • LIAN LI PC-65B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case or other case coupled with CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
The actual power supply you need depends mostly on which video cards you want to be able to power here are some examples:
Sample Builds:


These are a very obsolete especially the powerhouse and E-PEEN builds. After all the ATI 5xxx cards are actually out I'll redo them.


Still waiting on Athon II X3s and 5850s to be generally available. Come one AMD, get to work!

These are just to serve as a starting point. You may find components at a discount or new, compelling bits of electronics may have shown up since these were created.

Budget build(<$500):

This computer is actually quite capable of playing most games at the highest settings (at reasonable resolutions) but keeps the price low.

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 512MB $95
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 $87
ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX Motherboard $80
OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $46
HITACHI Deskstar 500GB 7200 RPM SATA $55
Antec NSK 4480B II Black and EarthWatts 380W Power Supply
LG DVD Burner Black SATA $26

Total $489 - $25 combo = $464 -$30 MiR = $434

Bang for the buck build:

A bit more money gets an extra core for your CPU, a faster GPU and a bit more HD space.

GIGABYTE GV-R487D5-1GD Radeon HD 4870 1GB $170
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 $119
ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $80
Antec Sonata Plus 550 Black/ Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 550W Power Supply $120
LG DVD Burner Black SATA $26
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB HD $70
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 $45

Total $630 - $35 combo = $595 -$30 MiR =$565

Powerhouse build(~$1000):

For $1000 you could upgrade to the very fast i7 920 CPU and the best buy of the "high end" video cards. The powerful PSU would let you add another 4890 if you really want to push crazy resolutions or max out Crysis.

HIS H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890 1GB $190
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz$280
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Motherboard $200
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB Hard Drive $100
Antec EA750 750W power supply $110
Antec 900 case $100
Patriot Viper 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $86
LG DVD Burner Black SATA $26

Total $1092 - $45 combo = $1047 - $35 MiR = $1012


E-Peen Build ($Texas)
I can't recommend buying a faster i7 since the prices are too high but if you want an "ultimate computer" go ahead and buy that second GPU and a super fast SSD.

HIS H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890 1GB x 2 $380
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz$280
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Motherboard $200
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB Hard Drive $100
Antec EA750 750W power supply $110
Antec 900 case $100
Patriot Viper 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $86
Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) $314
LITE-ON Black 6X Blu-Ray DVD ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA $80
Total $1650 -$45 combo = $1605 -$35 MiR = $1570

Displays
Like cases, displays are a very personal choice and the cost can vary hugely. Most people use LCD monitors although CRTs have some advantages such as the ability to display multiple resolutions natively and naturally have both good response times and good contrast ratios.

As far as LCDs go the good news is that the natural LCD type for gaming is also the cheapest so you might not go too far wrong by going to a store and picking a model whose look, size and cost seem right to you. If you have more specific requirements you might know what you need or you might find this guide to be of use.

Low End < $200
  • ASUS VW224U Black 22"
Medium
  • HP's LP2475w
High end
  • 3007WFP-HC


Final Advice:

Don't be shy. Post what you are thinking of buying and you'll probably get some advice. If you don't have any idea where to start just post your budget and what you want to use your computer for and someone will probably point you in the right direction.

Checklist:

Make sure that:
  • Your CPU matches your motherboard (What's the slot type)
  • Your Motherboard matches your case (ATX or micro ATX)
  • Your Memory matches your Motherboard (DDR 2 or DDR3)
  • Your Powersupply matches your Video Card (Really you should be making sure that your powersupply has the right connectors and has enough power on its 12V "rails")
Links:
General PC sites:

These are good places to find either reviews or benchmarking info.
http://techreport.com/ Has a nice build guide.
http://xbitlabs.com/
http://www.tomshardware.com/ Nice monthly guide on what video cards are worth the money.
http://www.anandtech.com/ Also has build guides.
http://hardocp.com/

lowlylowlycook on
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«13456764

Posts

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    This is my current case:

    Cooler Master AMMO 533.
    Spoiler:

    This case is wonderful. Tons of space, great (and I mean GREAT) ventilation. The windows on the side are mesh, not plastic so it is another addition to the airflow. It has a vent slit on the top. I have three 120mm Case fans so the thing stays nice and cool.

    Great case.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    My Build! Looking for comments on my choice of Motherboard and CPU...I can't work out if going AMD is the best route, but I've heard so many good things about this particular CPU, it should last me a while. Not sure what the intel equivelant would be, either.
    About £420, give or take, depending on offers at the time. Optical drive not also not listed, but I'm pretty sure there's not much to think about with these, at about £15-20.

    All I need now is a case reccomendation, there are far too many out there to choose from with no knowledge of what I'm after. Something without a PSU, and one I'll find easy to build my first ever PC in.

    The whole thing's a bit over budget, so I may downgrade the GPU a little. Hopefully, I've compiled something that will let me play the majority of games comfortably at medium or above settings, whilst allowing necessary upgrades in the future.

    Is this for gaming mostly? If so, I'd cut back on the CPU before I would cut back on the GPU. The 4770 4850 and GTS 250 provide excellent gaming performance at a low price.

    Maybe go with an E5200. With that and a 4770 you won't need anywhere near 500W so maybe you can find a cheaper but still high quality power supply.

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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    This is my current case:

    Cooler Master AMMO 533.
    Spoiler:

    This case is wonderful. Tons of space, great (and I mean GREAT) ventilation. The windows on the side are mesh, not plastic so it is another addition to the airflow. It has a vent slit on the top. I have three 120mm Case fans so the thing stays nice and cool.

    Great case.

    Sadly, Newegg lists that as deactivated :(

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  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    They are a little more expensive, but Modular power supplies are so nice. I have a 700W Ultra modular power supply and it has kept my case nice and neat.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I totally agree with putting SSDs in the builds but for the E-peen build you should probably be listing one of the Intel SSDs, not the OCZ Vertex.

    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    This is my current case:

    Cooler Master AMMO 533.
    Spoiler:

    This case is wonderful. Tons of space, great (and I mean GREAT) ventilation. The windows on the side are mesh, not plastic so it is another addition to the airflow. It has a vent slit on the top. I have three 120mm Case fans so the thing stays nice and cool.

    Great case.

    Sadly, Newegg lists that as deactivated :(

    Wow, that is really sad. I bring this rig to LAN parties all the time (The handle on the top is really secure) and a couple of the guys there were going to try to get the same case to build new systems.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Scrublet wrote: »
    I totally agree with putting SSDs in the builds but for the E-peen build you should probably be listing one of the Intel SSDs, not the OCZ Vertex.

    Yeah, my inner cheapskate was able to win one battle in that war <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    Actually, since the e-peen was the only $700+ build originally I guess I was somewhat justified in reining it in slightly.


    Magic Prime: I'll add a note about modular PSs.

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  • Left Wing jAyLeft Wing jAy Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I am also hearing alot about the E5200, however, in terms of future upgrading, isn't it better to build a solid base of a quality CPU/mobo? I'm all for slashing that cost down, especially as low as the E5200, but is it something that's going to struggle in the next few months/year of gaming demands?

    I suppose what I'm saying is, for someone with no experience building machines, is it easier for me to spend money on the CPU/mobo now, coupled with a moderate graphics card, and then add a better GPU later? Unless of course, the E5200 really is that good. I'm not running any intense programs here, I just watch movies and TV, play games, maybe photoshop now and then.

    Edit: I am outrageously indecisive. Part of me will take over, and say 'Pick up an E5200, it's incredibly cheap and has good comments across the board!', before being knocked down by another part of me; 'Pick up that triple core Phenom! It costs more, but it will be sufficient for a long time'.

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Some random 5200 praise.
    Anandtech wrote:
    Our choice for the Intel entry CPU remains the excellent 2.5GHz dual-core E5200 Wolfdale. This 65W rated CPU is built on Intel's 45nm manufacturing that begs you to overclock. The E5200 uses a default 800FSB, so right out of the box the first option for overclocking, if you are so inclined, is to bump it up to 1066 bus. That will give you a 33% overclock and a final speed of 3.33GHz, and it is readily attainable with proper cooling. Even if you never overclock you will be very pleased with the performance of the E5200.
    ...
    The only drawback to this processor choice is the lack of Intel's Virtualization Technology (Intel VT). If running the Windows Virtual PC under Windows 7 for XP Mode (as one example) is important to you, then moving up to the E8x00 range or down to the E6x00 allow the best VT options in this range, although this budget point is no longer valid.
    techreport wrote:
    All things considered, we don't think AMD delivers a budget processor with as good a mix of price, power efficiency, performance, and overclocking potential as the Pentium E5200. If really want to give AMD your money (or you're just after something a little faster), then we suggest looking into our triple-core Phenom II alternative on the next page.

    Finally, you might wonder why we're not going with a faster 45nm Pentium like the E5300 or E5400. That's certainly a possibility, but those CPUs cost more and have little to offer over the E5200 aside from relatively small clock speed increases. The E5200 still has a pair of speedy 45nm Wolfdale cores, and any minor differences ought to vanish once you start overclocking.

    Really it should be enough and while you won't be able to upgrade to an i7 or the upcoming cheaper i5, if later you decided that it wasn't enough you could always buy a faster Core 2 duo or quad in the future.

    Keep in mind that the budgets of games are now so high that they either need to release on the HD consoles or run on a pretty high number of PCs to earn all that money back. I wouldn't bet on there being huge numbers of games that won't run on a E5200 anytime soon.

    Anyway if you are on a tight budget I think it will be hard to beat the E5200 or maybe the entry level AMD chip coupled with one of the entry level GPUs.

    [edit]
    Just to hammer away more:
    xbitlabs wrote:
    As for the other tested processor, Pentium Dual-Core E5200, it is a much more interesting newcomer. It starts a new processor family that will replace the old Pentium Dual-Core on 65nm cores. The E5200 model is based on a 45nm core with 2MB L2 cache, which will raise its performance to the level of Core 2 Duo E4000 processors little by little leaving the market. Pentium DC E5200, just like its predecessor, will be positioned in the sub-$100 price range, so it will be an extremely attractive solution from the price-to-performance prospective. Due to 2.5GHz clock frequency it is on average only 5% slower than a higher-end Core 2 Duo E7200 CPU. Although this difference may become more noticeable in some applications that are sensitive to bus speed and amount of L2 cache memory and may reach 10%.

    And take a look at these benchmarks but keep in mind the very low resolutions:
    xbitlabs

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  • KidDynamiteKidDynamite Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I suppose what I'm saying is, for someone with no experience building machines, is it easier for me to spend money on the CPU/mobo now, coupled with a moderate graphics card, and then add a better GPU later? Unless of course, the E5200 really is that good. I'm not running any intense programs here, I just watch movies and TV, play games, maybe photoshop now and then.

    Edit: I am outrageously indecisive. Part of me will take over, and say 'Pick up an E5200, it's incredibly cheap and has good comments across the board!', before being knocked down by another part of me; 'Pick up that triple core Phenom! It costs more, but it will be sufficient for a long time'.


    I would say... get both! Pick up the e5200 for the processor, but spend the extra money on the board to futureproof. It's basically what I've done recently. I splurged on my mainboard, but will wait until the quads come down in price.

    now I am overclocked, but comparing the $69 e5200 to the $140 e7400, allI am missing out on is 1 mb of L2 cache, but I gain .8 Ghz. I would say it has been totally worth it.

    I just can't foresee an immediate need for an i7 build. They are awesome to be sure, but I'd rather spend the extra cash on vid-cards which to me make a more noticeable difference.

    when the q6600 comes down to maybe $150-ish, I'll get one of those, overclock it to 3.6 (3.8 if I'm lucky) and be set for a while.

    ymmv.

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    My Build! Looking for comments on my choice of Motherboard and CPU...I can't work out if going AMD is the best route, but I've heard so many good things about this particular CPU, it should last me a while. Not sure what the intel equivelant would be, either.

    AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
    £115

    Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P 790X Socket AM2+ £95

    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz £35

    StealthXStream 500W ATX Power Supply Unit £45

    Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 16MB Cache £40

    Gigabyte ATi HD 4770 512MB
    £80

    About £420, give or take, depending on offers at the time. Optical drive not also not listed, but I'm pretty sure there's not much to think about with these, at about £15-20.

    All I need now is a case reccomendation, there are far too many out there to choose from with no knowledge of what I'm after. Something without a PSU, and one I'll find easy to build my first ever PC in.

    The whole thing's a bit over budget, so I may downgrade the GPU a little. Hopefully, I've compiled something that will let me play the majority of games comfortably at medium or above settings, whilst allowing necessary upgrades in the future.

    If you are over budget, I would drop down to one of these CPUs before I cut down on that video card:

    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/39713/AMD-CPU-AM2-7750--Athlon-64-X2-Dual-Core-Retail
    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/40913/AMD-CPU-AM2-7850--Black-Edition-Athlon-64-X2-Dual

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  • Bob SappBob Sapp Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I have a new computer with an eSATA port. I'd like to use this to transfer the data off my old computer's hard drive (which is a SATA drive) to my new comp. Can someone help me figure out which cable I need? I'm looking on Monoprice and there's a ton of choices.

    Is it this one?

    fizzatar.jpg
  • Left Wing jAyLeft Wing jAy Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Ooh, really liking the sound of that AM2 7850+ Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Black Edition. Seems like then I could keep my motherboard selection, and upgrade to a Phenom II down the line.

    How easy is CPU upgrading?

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Ooh, really liking the sound of that AM2 7850+ Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Black Edition. Seems like then I could keep my motherboard selection, and upgrade to a Phenom II down the line.

    How easy is CPU upgrading?

    Depends on how comfortable you are with taking nearly your entire computer apart and putting it all back together.

    You have to disconnect and remove the motherboard from the chassis to get to the mounting bracket for the CPU fan.

    Once you get that off its pretty simple. Just remember, DO NOT FORCE ANYTHING.

    The new processor should just slide right in with gentle pressure. Also, use an adequate amount of compound between your new fan and CPU. Those little pads of compound they use are plenty, but some people like to use that silver stuff in the squeeze tube.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I have a friend who tried replacing his CPU cooler with the motherboard and processor still in the case. Now since the motherboard is slightly lifted up from the surface of the case by spacers and screws, what happened was, he had to put so much force onto the CPU cooler to get it on that he ended up bending the motherboard ever so slightly.

    And that was all it took to snap his CPU in half.

  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Yeah, replacing CPU's and reapplying thermal paste manually are a last resort for me. I'd say put enough cash into your processor to make sure that you don't need to upgrade it without having to upgrade your board as well.

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    slash000 wrote: »
    I have a friend who tried replacing his CPU cooler with the motherboard and processor still in the case. Now since the motherboard is slightly lifted up from the surface of the case by spacers and screws, what happened was, he had to put so much force onto the CPU cooler to get it on that he ended up bending the motherboard ever so slightly.

    And that was all it took to snap his CPU in half.

    And thus was born the Core 2 Uno.

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  • DondumsDondums Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I have student loans coming in and would, of course, like to use the money to buy myself a much-upgraded PC rig. My current one is ~3 years old from IBuyPower (:() and I am amazed it still works. This is partially because I used to move it a lot so the case is kind of crapped out, but it is sad and weak and dying. I couldn't even install the Dawn of War II beta. I essentially want to run anything from here for the next few years at a respectable level. (SC2, D2, etc. all those Blizzard games, I'd -really- like to run at HQ or so).

    After my fiasco with IBP, I've vowed to build my own. Unfortunately, all the wisdom of the world doesn't help me as I just get overwhelmed making sure everything works with everything else, and I end up gravitating towards premade sites somewhere and from there just get sucked into buying top of the line for extravagant prices (>1200+).

    Basically, someone with free time and the knowledge to do so .. can you help me put together/note the parts I'd need to build the type of computer I'm shooting for? The price range I'm looking for is 800-1000 or so.. because money is just that fun to spend.

    internet
  • KidDynamiteKidDynamite Registered User
    edited May 2009

    Bang for the buck build: < $700

    Here a fast Core 2 Duo and an overcloced GTX 260 video card provides excellent gaming performance. Future upgrades will be limited by the lack of new CPUs for the 775 socket.

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz $168
    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $135
    MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 GeForce GTX 260 896MB $175
    BFG Tech LS SERIES LS-550 550W Power Supply $80
    Antec 300 ATX case $59
    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $45
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB Hard Drive $70
    LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black $23
    Total $760 -$15 combo deals =$745 -$60 in MiR = $685

    Powerhouse (~$1000)
    A quad core CPU and a Solid State drive provide more general computing performance right now. An AM3 socket motherboard and a beefy power supply provides futureproofing through the ability to upgrade the CPU or add a second video card later.

    AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core $190
    GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX $110
    ASUS Radeon HD 4870 512MB$170
    Antec 300 ATX case $59
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Power supply $120
    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $45
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB Hard Drive $70
    LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black $23
    OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk
    Total $991 -$30 in combos $961 -$70 in MiR = $891

    Either of these will work, and I have to give credit to the OP. It's a good list.

    I built one similar to the Bang for the buck, and I know for a fact I won't upgrade again until the i7s are cheap. That or the powerhouse will keep you under budget, and be a real nice machine.

  • RuddurBallRuddurBall Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Out of curiosity... is there any reason you wouldn't do a RAID 0 setup with multiple smaller SSDs? You boost speed substantially for little to no extra cost. Besides SSDs aren't prone to failure (we think).

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Dondums, let me test out a set of questions to put in the OP on you:

    What is your total budget?

    What has to be included in that budget? Just an upgrade, just the computer itself or a computer with monitor, mouse and keyboard? Do you have parts from your old computer that you can use?

    Is this computer just for gaming and casual computer use or do you have other computationally intensive tasks in mind?

    Do you feel the need for cutting edge performance in the most demanding games (*cough* Crysis) or is good performance in most games and "good enough" performance in the most demanding games? Any particular games or upcoming games you care about?

    Are you biased towards either ATI/NVidia or Intel/AMD?

    How long do you want this computer to last?

    How important is being able to upgrade your computer at a later time?

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  • EkilgoreEkilgore Registered User
    edited May 2009
    First off, thanks to all of you for putting all of this information together. Especially the OP, very helpful.

    I am trying to build a computer mainly for gaming. Ability to upgrade is a major concern for me, I want to spend around $1000. Haven't built a computer in a very long time and everything I know I have learned from this thread, or links from this thread, in the last few days.

    My main question is the processor, the i7's seems to be getting cheaper and seem to be worth it from what i can tell. I almost want to go with the Phenom II with the AM3, knowing that it will be cheaper now and hopefully they will come out with some really good stuff for the AM3.

    Will the i7's continue to be upgradable with the same motherboard or will there be a new socket type or something soon? This is my major concern mostly, as they seem to be getting much cheaper and more worth it.

  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'm thinking of going middle of the road, just waiting until some bills and paydays cycle through, so maybe in a month/month and a half.

    Question: If I go with the middle of the road case, what kind and how many fans should I use? Are extra fans really necessary?

    FFXIV/Sargatanas/Wintry Ptarmigan
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  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Btw I don't think I mentioned earlier that I love the new OP. The original PC system build OPs were garbage.

    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Renzo wrote: »
    I'm thinking of going middle of the road, just waiting until some bills and paydays cycle through, so maybe in a month/month and a half.

    Question: If I go with the middle of the road case, what kind and how many fans should I use? Are extra fans really necessary?

    Extra fans aren't usually necessary unless you're running a high-end rig with tons of stuff that generates heat.

    That said, a graphics card that exhausts heat out of the case usually helps with temps.

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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Ekilgore wrote: »
    First off, thanks to all of you for putting all of this information together. Especially the OP, very helpful.

    I am trying to build a computer mainly for gaming. Ability to upgrade is a major concern for me, I want to spend around $1000. Haven't built a computer in a very long time and everything I know I have learned from this thread, or links from this thread, in the last few days.

    My main question is the processor, the i7's seems to be getting cheaper and seem to be worth it from what i can tell. I almost want to go with the Phenom II with the AM3, knowing that it will be cheaper now and hopefully they will come out with some really good stuff for the AM3.

    Will the i7's continue to be upgradable with the same motherboard or will there be a new socket type or something soon? This is my major concern mostly, as they seem to be getting much cheaper and more worth it.

    AFAIK the next class of CPUs from Intel should be i5 which should be fewer cores and cheaper. I also think it uses a different socket.

    As for the AM3 socket it probably will support the next gen of AMD procs but that isn't guaranteed by any means and we don't know how worthwhile those will be in any case.

    Just keep in mind that i7 motherboards are also pretty expensive. On the other hand if you buy an i7, I'm guessing you won't need to upgrade the processor just for gaming purposes for a long time.

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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    So for comparing various processors, I found a nice techreport article full of nice scatter plots of CPU benchmark performance vs. price. Based on this I'm thinking of recommending people stick with the i7 920 since it often gets a nice boost over other chips but the higher end i7's are only moderately faster for a lot more money.

    Any thoughts?

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    @OP

    Are two 4770's better than a single GTX 275?

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    @OP

    Are two 4770's better than a single GTX 275?

    Well here is a comparison vs. the GTX 280.

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  • thorgotthorgot Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    This is more of an upgrade question than a building question, but:

    Looking for a 1 TB hard drive with decent performance. Finding it hard to tell the difference between drives like this and this, besides the price. Those two are just the first two Newegg came up with in a search for internal 1TB hard drives, though.

    Furthermore, is there any chance my motherboard wouldn't support SATA 3.0Gb/s vs SATA 1.5Gb/s?

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  • Left Wing jAyLeft Wing jAy Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Quick, probably very basic, question regarding GPU's...

    I'm hearing good things about the ATI 4770, so what exactly are the major differences between all the models? I've found Gigabyte ones, Asus, Sapphire...anything to look for? Should I match it up to my Motherboard manufacturer for simplicity?

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Quick, probably very basic, question regarding GPU's...

    I'm hearing good things about the ATI 4770, so what exactly are the major differences between all the models? I've found Gigabyte ones, Asus, Sapphire...anything to look for? Should I match it up to my Motherboard manufacturer for simplicity?

    Main differences might be that some are OCed at the factory and/or come with different (hopefully quieter) coolers. Otherwise look at the price, reviews on newegg, length of the warranty, etc., since they will be basically the same reference design that ATI provided.

    And the maker of the motherboard shouldn't matter. Only consideration there is that if you want to reserve the ability to add another GPU later your board should support SLI or Crossfire depending if you are looking at NVidia or ATI. Also you'll want to be able to run both slots at PCI-E 8x or better for that option.

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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    thorgot wrote: »
    This is more of an upgrade question than a building question, but:

    Looking for a 1 TB hard drive with decent performance. Finding it hard to tell the difference between drives like this and this, besides the price. Those two are just the first two Newegg came up with in a search for internal 1TB hard drives, though.

    Furthermore, is there any chance my motherboard wouldn't support SATA 3.0Gb/s vs SATA 1.5Gb/s?

    Make take a look at this guide?

    Edit: according to that guide 3.0 vs 1.5 Gb/s isn't important for platter drives.

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  • mechaThormechaThor Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Hey all, building a comp for my bro with a budget of ~750-800$. So far I gots,

    Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 ATX Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068

    Mobo: Gigabtye GA-MA790X
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128387

    CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 3.0 ghz AM2+
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512mb
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102824

    HDs: Western Digital 640gb AAKS model
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    PSU: Thermaltake 500W
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153052

    Also has 4gb ram and 25$ DVD drive. Total cost is ~670$ before shipping/tax.

    I'm planning on using 64bit Windows 7 (when I can buy a for-reals version), and will probably spend 100$ down the line to get another 4gb of RAM and probably a second harddrive to run in RAID 0 for more space. Any critiques? Should RAID 0 be scratched and just go and get a 1TB drive?

    In terms of gaming the rig will probably run things like Left 4 Dead and probably Starcraft 2 once it comes out (which thus far doesn't profess a need for intense GPU requirements, IIRC), so I think the 4850 should do the trick, if not, *shrugs* GPUs can be upgraded pretty easily now-a-days IMO.

    "I sent an e-mail asking why wood elves get +2 Str when other dwarves did not. My response from customer service consisted of five words: 'Wood elves are really strong.' "
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    mechaThor wrote: »
    Hey all, building a comp for my bro with a budget of ~750-800$. So far I gots,

    Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 ATX Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068

    Mobo: Gigabtye GA-MA790X
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128387

    CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 3.0 ghz AM2+
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512mb
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102824

    HDs: Western Digital 640gb AAKS model
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    PSU: Thermaltake 500W
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153052

    Also has 4gb ram and 25$ DVD drive. Total cost is ~670$ before shipping/tax.

    I'm planning on using 64bit Windows 7 (when I can buy a for-reals version), and will probably spend 100$ down the line to get another 4gb of RAM and probably a second harddrive to run in RAID 0 for more space. Any critiques? Should RAID 0 be scratched and just go and get a 1TB drive?

    In terms of gaming the rig will probably run things like Left 4 Dead and probably Starcraft 2 once it comes out (which thus far doesn't profess a need for intense GPU requirements, IIRC), so I think the 4850 should do the trick, if not, *shrugs* GPUs can be upgraded pretty easily now-a-days IMO.



    I don't think there is anything wrong with your build but if you only care about gaming performance you should be able to get better performance for the same price by going to a 3 core Phenom II and upgrade to a 4870 or a GTX 260.

    Also this thread would probably scare me off the PSU.

    I propose:

    Phenom II X3 720 with Motherboard
    BFG OCed GTX260
    4GB RAM
    Antec 500W PS
    Hard Drive
    Case
    DVD Drive
    Cost: $647-$20MiR -$626

    If you aren't attached to that case I think you could save about $20 with a Sonata III and DVD Drive combo.

    Oh and yeah, you should probably go with a 1Tb drive instead of mucking around with RAID 0 but I'm too lazy to go back and change it.

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  • mechaThormechaThor Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    mechaThor wrote: »
    Hey all, building a comp for my bro with a budget of ~750-800$. So far I gots,

    Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 ATX Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068

    Mobo: Gigabtye GA-MA790X
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128387

    CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 3.0 ghz AM2+
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512mb
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102824

    HDs: Western Digital 640gb AAKS model
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    PSU: Thermaltake 500W
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153052

    Also has 4gb ram and 25$ DVD drive. Total cost is ~670$ before shipping/tax.

    I'm planning on using 64bit Windows 7 (when I can buy a for-reals version), and will probably spend 100$ down the line to get another 4gb of RAM and probably a second harddrive to run in RAID 0 for more space. Any critiques? Should RAID 0 be scratched and just go and get a 1TB drive?

    In terms of gaming the rig will probably run things like Left 4 Dead and probably Starcraft 2 once it comes out (which thus far doesn't profess a need for intense GPU requirements, IIRC), so I think the 4850 should do the trick, if not, *shrugs* GPUs can be upgraded pretty easily now-a-days IMO.



    I don't think there is anything wrong with your build but if you only care about gaming performance you should be able to get better performance for the same price by going to a 3 core Phenom II and upgrade to a 4870 or a GTX 260.

    Also this thread would probably scare me off the PSU.

    I propose:

    Phenom II X3 720 with Motherboard
    BFG OCed GTX260
    4GB RAM
    Antec 500W PS
    Hard Drive
    Case
    DVD Drive
    Cost: $647-$20MiR -$626

    If you aren't attached to that case I think you could save about $20 with a Sonata III and DVD Drive combo.

    Oh and yeah, you should probably go with a 1Tb drive instead of mucking around with RAID 0 but I'm too lazy to go back and change it.

    Wow, you are divine. For the same price I upgraded HD to 1tb, got a better GPU and a better CPU. Great praise to you, sir.

    "I sent an e-mail asking why wood elves get +2 Str when other dwarves did not. My response from customer service consisted of five words: 'Wood elves are really strong.' "
  • JeixJeix Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Okay, so I have been working on a new pc build for a little while now. I guess my budget is around 700ish not including the monitor. But I am listing the monitor I am getting in case anyone has an opinion on it. Some of these prices might not match what you are seeing them at, but I have coupon codes or cashback on them.

    Monitor $174.99: SAMSUNG 2233SW High Glossy Black 21.5" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001308

    PC Parts

    Motherboard $101.99: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128359

    CPU $159.73: Intel Boxed Core 2 Duo Processor E8400, Picked up local, price includes tax
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0281097

    Graphics Card $179.49: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4890 1GB
    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=AT-4890_1G&c=pg&show=p

    Ram $46.79: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122

    Power supply $96.99: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

    Total Price so far minus monitor= $584.99 Shipped

    Ok, so I still need a case which I have no idea which one to get. I want to keep this cool and quiet so lots of big fans is nice. Anything else I am forgetting? Am I going overkill on the power supply?

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Scrublet wrote: »
    Malkor wrote: »
    So soundcards.

    They do make a difference auditorily (not a word :( ).

    But are they worth like a handful of fps?

    I don't know.

    I would say no to the fps. You're not going to see an appreciable difference in fps with a soundcard on any build worth something, IMO. I would love if someone could comment with firsthand experience only on using the X-Fis or other soundcards in the Windows Vista environment, since it removed hardware calls for the cards. EAX is effectively useless in Vista/7 as far as I know, and A3D is the new thing. The main thing I'm going to buy the X-Fi in my next build for is its ability to ENCODE (not DECODE) surround sound from games into Dolby Digital and output it over the optical. This is important for me since a TV is my monitor and a receiver/speakers are my sound.

    I have an X-FI Xtream Music that I purchased for $100 the day the X-FI was released. After taking my rig for a spin and blowing out an old set of speakers my cousin then purchased an X-FI as well. In Vista & Win7 you need to use a program called Alchemy to replace EAX support for games & other software. The cards are powerful.

    Let me say this. When my cousin & I purchased these cards onboard audio was very weak. When we plugged them in we also noticed over all system performance improved. Now with threaded multi-core CPUs & modern 1333+ bus speeds it isn't a noticeable performance boost. The current onboard audio chips are more than enough for the average person. If you're an audiophile with a 5.1+ THX sound system spend the money. If you need audio hardware decoding power then it's worth it to spend the money. When I build my i7 system an X-Fi will be the last component I worry about buying.

  • mechaThormechaThor Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Jeix wrote: »
    Ok, so I still need a case which I have no idea which one to get. I want to keep this cool and quiet so lots of big fans is nice. Anything else I am forgetting? Am I going overkill on the power supply?

    I have an Antec 900, and its absolutely fantastic if you don't mind blue LED lights. Two front fans, a top fan, plus one in the back to start. You can add a side fan and more in HD bays, so airflow is terrific IMO. With the heatsink that came with my CPU (E8400 Duel Core) it idles at 31c and I've yet to see it go up above 50.
    Linky: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021

    Also I'm pretty sure you'll run fine with a 500W PSU, unless you plan on doing schenanigans with duel video cards, etc.

    "I sent an e-mail asking why wood elves get +2 Str when other dwarves did not. My response from customer service consisted of five words: 'Wood elves are really strong.' "
  • TalithTalith 変態という名の紳士 Miami, FLRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    WOoo! Just placed my order. <img class=" title=":mrgreen:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    Now for the wait... <img class=" title=":cry:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    zs0NdTG.gif
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