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Old 12-09-2005, 10:08   #1
powasky
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Building a computer..first time

My parents assigned me the task of building my own christmas/hannukah present. I've been all over Newegg trying to find the parts to do this well, and I came up with the following list:

ThermalTake XASER case
OCX Powerstream 520w PSU
Asus A8N5X/ geForce 4 mobo
Athlon 64 3700+ SD CPU
Corsair Valueselect 1G RAM
eVGA geForce 7800GT
Western Digital Caviar 250G HDD, 16MB cache
Sound Blaster x-fi sound card


All of that comes to a 1179$ total.

I was told that my total cost could be up to 1300.

Is there anything that I'm missing, or any parts that could be replaced with better performing parts for around the same cost?

The comp will be primarily used for gaming, and I already have an OS to install.

I can provide links if necessary.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:11   #2
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Unless i've misread did you forgot a CD/DVD rom drive? Are you going to be burning CDs/DVDs at all? The new lightscribe units are pretty cool.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:18   #3
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I built my own from newegg last year, great experience. A few thoughts:

Double your ram to 2GB, BattleField 2 and newer games will dog without it. Good call on the valueselect though, the low-latency $$$ doesn't perform for the money.

The X-Fi is supposed to be a great card, but I don't know if it's really worth what they're asking for it (250 vs 75?). That's really up to you:
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=177&type=expert

I would ante up for a better processor though, opting for a 4200+ or 4400+. It's not terribly much more, and if price is an issue (250 vs 400), I'd definitely get it instead of the X-Fi.

GREAT call on the 7800. I love my two 6800GT's.

PS: the lite-on's are great DVD drives....
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:21   #4
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i'd upgrade the stock cpu cooler they usually suck, for my 939 amd 64 I really like the Thermaltake A1744 Venus 12 CPU Cooler and it's only like $25.

with the ram get the dual channel kit (matched sticks)

also check here:
http://www.directron.com/
they are who I get my parts from and are VERY good with customer service and prices
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:26   #5
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Consider Seagate hard drive.... 5 year warrantee.
1 year with WD or Maxtor.
About the same $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Hard drives are notorious for crapping out.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:27   #6
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Yeah, 2 GB RAM is almost a must for a newly built gaming rig.

Some other things to consider:

Does your Mboard support SLI? (Probably does, but I'm too lazy to look it up.) The single 7800 will be enough for now, but later down the road you can get quite a performance jump by adding a second 7800.

Floppy drive, because well, you never need it after installation, but you sometimes need it to flash your MB bios to the newest one or install RAID and SLI drivers.

Monitor. Don't skimp, this really makes a difference in gaming enjoyment. About 6 months ago I went from a 17" CRT to a 20" Dell flatpanal, and wow... won't ever go back to anything CRT or smaller.

Same deal with quality speakers. Sound adds a lot of enjoyment to the game, although I personally just use the onboard sound from my MB with a feed into my stereo... 12" floor speakers are fun too.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:33   #7
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ngray, thanks for the good idea. I think I'm going to end up getting the Audigy2 ZS over the X-fi, unless someone can suggest something better. Right now I'm running on built-in sound and graphics, so getting ANY card will be a big difference.

And yeah, I did forger the CD drive ;g . What do you guys think of this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106988

If anything, I'll just be burning CD's, no DVDs.


Would it be smarter to get a faster CPU, or more RAM?



EDIT- I have a pretty sick Klipsch sound system, so no worries there. I don't think I'll have to worry about monitor YET. I can pick one of those up after the holidays.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:34   #8
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More ram is, indeed, better. A worthy investment (knock a few MHz off the CPU to double the RAM, if need be).

As mentioned, do consider the warranty on the hard drive! The enormous cache you're looking at is a good move, though.

(Random mentionings of accounting for drives, monitor, and accessories.)

Looks like you've selected quality parts there.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:35   #9
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I'd go with an AMD 64 x2 dual core processor. More and more games are being written to better take advantage of multithreading now.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:36   #10
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I wont do business with Newegg, Its a long story but they made WAY to many mistakes on a simple transaction for me to want to deal with them ever again, personnaly or professionally. Your experience may vary...


Yeah wheres your DVD burner? Get more RAM 2 GB min. Dont use Asus, high failure rate boards. Need a high end joystick or steering wheel? How about surround speakers? Look at the Midiland stuff, they have controls you add to a 5.25 bay with volume, balance, treble/bass, etc....

High end monitor?

Add a second hard drive...
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:41   #11
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OK- here's the new setup.

ThermalTake XASER case
OCX Powerstream 520w PSU
Asus A8N5X/ geForce 4 mobo
Athlon 64 3700+ SD CPU
Corsair Valueselect 2G (1gx2) RAM
eVGA geForce 7800GT
Seagate Barracuda 250G HDD, 8MB cache
Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS
LITE-ON DVD/CD-RW drive


comes out to 1225. Leaves ~75 if they want me to pay for shipping.


BOB- can you suggest an alternative mobo? A friend helped me make this list, and I'm not really computer-parts literate.



EDIT- On the comment of adding another HDD- I'll probably be using the one thats in my computer now, along with the new one. I recently wiped this one, and just installed the OS, and a few games I regularly play.
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Last edited by powasky; 12-09-2005 at 10:51..
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:03   #12
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Any of the compatible Gigabyte mainboards will do the job nicely....why not the GA-KVM800M (Basic) or the soon to be released GA-K8N51PVMT-9 (top of line)


Check here: http://www.giga-byte.com/Motherboard/Default.htm

Or just ask a vendor for advice on which one to get....good luck, ground yourself...dont forget you have to pull the power plug before removing/installing RAM...turning off the power buttons isnt enough, theres still power going through the mobo.
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:09   #13
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I would definitely find the money to go with an X2 cpu.

The slightly lower clocked 3800+ is only another c-note.

Lots of geek types swore off Creative sound cards some time ago. They have a tendency to make bloated, unstable drivers. Lately the onboard solutions have become quite good. The Asus board you chose has 7.1 analog channels, and digital out. You might consider checking to see if it isn't good enough before you spend the money on a discrete card.

The Thermaltake cases look nice, I guess, but it doesn't make games run any better. If I'm on a budget, function before form. Something a bit more subtle like this would save me some money for better hardware. I've had good luck with cheap cases in the past.

As for the high failure rate of Asus... opinions definitely vary on that one. Short of Intel and Tyan (and maybe Supermicro, maybe) I can't think of any board maker that hasn't had it's issues along the way. I've had outstanding luck with Abit, though some say they are unreliable junk.

Depending on your proclivity for upgrading rather than replacing, an SLI board, like the A8N-SLI can be handy later. This Gigabyte board is the same price as the Asus, but is SLI capable.

It's OCZ, not OCX. $130 for a PSU? Not that a good power supply isn't a good thing to have, I wonder if there isn't a bit of fluff in that number. This is a similarly specced product, from a well respected PSU maker, and costs $50 less. And definitely more well known in the PSU field than OCZ. The voltage pots on that OCZ strike me as a solution in search of a problem. The Antec will probably be quiter, too.

As for taking Seagate for it's 5-year warranty... eh, whatever. Maxtor and WD both have 5yr warranty lines (most others are 3, not 1) that are in the same price range as the Seagate. Most people swear Maxtors are the lowest on the pile, but I've had 9 or 10 of them at various times and have had zero failures. I'm 1 for 3 on Seagates and 1 for 5 on WDs (we won't talk about IBMs). Most people forget that the new Maxtors aren't really Maxtors. When they bought Quantum they basically went over to Quantum designs and tooling. Anyway, point is, not that big a deal either way. As a mechanical device, a hard drive can't help but be the most likely point of failure. If it's a concern, buy 2 and put them in a RAID-1 array (or 4 in a RAID 1+0).

Newegg's shopping cart is quick and easy to determine shipping. Just punch in your ZIP code and it puts it right on the sheet.
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:20   #14
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You obviously have a great list of components there, I'm just curious(since this is your first build).. How comfortable are you with the actual building of the PC?

There's some good mags out there on this if you need some help/review.

IGF
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:12   #15
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I'm pretty comfortable in the building aspect, because a dad and a few of my friends build, and they'll help me out. My dad just won't help pick out parts because this is "my deal, and not his."

I don't want to go with a cheap case, it's just a personal preference.

In regards to some of the parts you suggested- Look at the reviews that they got. Thats the main reason I'm not taking the suggestions.

Do you think that I'll still get good performance without a sound card? I don't have one now, and I'm satisfied, but I don't think I've really ever experienced a "good" sound card.

New list w/o the sound card:

Thermaltake XASER
Enermax 550w PSU
ASUS A8N5X mobo
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPU
Corsair 2x1gb RAM
eVGA 7800gt
Seagate Barracuda 250GB hdd
Lite-on CD/DVD RW drive
Sony floppy drive


Comes to 1248, and I have the X2 processor and a new PSU. Does it look better now?
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Old 12-10-2005, 10:08   #16
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I know others have already said it, but I agree. For games, 2gigs of ram is a must. Also my 7.1 onboard sound works way better then the $70 soundblaster card I had bought (I returned it because I had so many issues with it)

Also as someone else said, monitors are a big deal as well. No point in getting a kick ass gaming machine if the picture quality sucks.
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:00   #17
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Im with Havoc on the PSU, pass on the OCZ in favor of the Antec. They will both do fine but why spend the extra $50 when it is not needed.

As for the RAM you slected its fine unless your gonna OC. If you are OC this you should get better RAM, OZC Platnuim would be good.

you forgot an OS

AS
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:51   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Altaris
I know others have already said it, but I agree. For games, 2gigs of ram is a must. Also my 7.1 onboard sound works way better then the $70 soundblaster card I had bought (I returned it because I had so many issues with it)
Agreed. Onboard sound has come a LONG LONG way, where it used to pretty much suck, you'll find that 90% of the time, its as good as alot of sound cards. You'll likely find a board with 7.1 will be better than most sound cards..

Best of luck
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Old 12-10-2005, 15:29   #19
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Sounds good guys, thanks for all of the responses so far. Is the X2 processor really worth the 100$ over the other one I had picked out before, especially since its clocking lower?


I already have the OS, and the funds to purchase a monitor will come after the holidays.

I probably wont be OCing anything just yet, so I think that I'll be fine with the Corsair.


Any last suggestions before I order the parts tonight?
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Old 12-10-2005, 16:30   #20
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I think it's worth it... it's 2 2GHz CPUs as opposed to 1 2.2GHz CPU.

Some things it won't make a hill of beans worth of difference, in a few select cases it might be SLIGHTLY slower (200MHz is what... 10%, worst case?) and in some cases significantly faster.

It's definitely got more life in it. The whole industry is moving toward multi-CPU cuz they've basically run out of (efficient) MHz.
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