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-   -   Buying/Building a new computer... (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=171958)

Negative Sun 10-26-2006 06:31 PM

Buying/Building a new computer...
 
Share your tips and ideas for buying and building a new computer, what should one look out for? What should one avoid?

stoffe -mkb- has some good advice:
Quote:

Originally Posted by stoffe -mkb-
Some general advise from what I picked up when I got a new computer roughly a month ago:

What kind of power supply you need depends on what hardware you have in the computer. Use the Power Supply Calculator to get a rough idea of how many watts you need, but also keep an eye on the ampere on the 12V rails since modern graphics cards draw power from there. At least 30A (in total if you have a power supply with two 12V rails) seems to be recommended if you have a decent graphics card (though I have a 450W power supply with 14A on 12V1 and 15A on 12V2 and haven't had any problems with my Radeon X1900 so far). More might be needed if you want to run multiple cards with SLI (nVidia) or Crossfire (ATI).

Since PCs tend to be loaded with cooling fans nowadays it may also be wise to pay extra attention to what type of chassis you get to keep the noise down. I learned this the hard way, and have had to bury my new computer under a mountain of pillows to get the noise down to a level where you can stay in the same room as the computer for more than 5 minutes. :)

Also, if you intend to get a new monitor as well I'd advise you to stay away from Viewsonic's 19" TFT monitors. I bought one when I got a new computer, but the image/color quality was so poor I had to revert back to use my old CRT monitor with the new computer and relegate the new monitor to be used with my old computer. (That, and Viewsonic's customer support sounds like they want you to hang up already so they can go back to sleep...)



I have a few questions of my own:
Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
Well, me and my fiancee have decided to invest in a new PC, we've got our eyes set on this one...

You can customize it to your needs, which is brilliant, could any of you help me figure out a few things though, like what would be the best GPU in that list? (under or around 50 extra)

What power supply would you recommend?

Is it possible to have an ATI and GeForce card working together in SLI? Or is it just GeForce? And are all the GeForce cards compatible with SLI?

If you have an nForce4 motherboard, can you use that nTune program to tune you dual-core CPU? And your GPU?

I already have 512Mb of DDR-400 RAM, which I could add to the 2x512Mb it already has (since the motherboard has 4 RAM slots), would that be enough?

A lot of questions lol, I'd appreciate any kind of help :)

Hint: Maybe this should be a sticky? ;)

Det. Bart Lasiter 10-26-2006 08:25 PM

First off, wait until DX10 cards come on the market. Second, see how much power your parts will need and add 100-200 watts and add 10-15 amps on the +12 volt rails. Lastly, get a full size ATX or BTX case, they stay cooler and are much easier to install things into.

***Edit***
And try to make sure that each stick of RAM is the same type/speed/latency.

Q 10-27-2006 12:01 AM

Agreed with Jmac. Also, I'm waiting until Nvidia releases nForce6 for Intel motherboards. These promise to have a far better northbridge than nForce5 boards so that overclockers who want SLI can finally take advantage of all of the O/C headroom that Core 2 Duo provides. It's supposed to be released at the same time as the new G80 GPUs.

Edit: Definitely build your own system. There's lots of people here who do this a lot and would be more than happy to help you. A custom system is far more upgradeable and will have everything you want and nothing you don't. It's definitely the way to go!

stingerhs 10-27-2006 12:33 AM

^^^^
and don't forget that you won't have to worry so much about getting "sub par" parts, assuming that you made a good selection to begin with. another advantage is that you can save yourself a pretty penny if you're willing to shop around for your parts rather than getting everything from one source.

about the only downside is that you won't get your tech support from one company. instead, if you have a hardware problem, you're gonna have to do some investigation on your own to figure out where the problem is coming from and then contact the manufacturer's tech support to help solve the problem. then again, that's partly what we're here for, although i wouldn't completely rely on us for all the answers since we aren't likely to know everything.

CalcProgrammer1 10-27-2006 01:39 AM

I just got an ATi Radeon X1600Pro, 512MB, AGP 4X/8X card today, runs great, but currently it's running (and doing just fine) on a (really loud) micro ATX 200watt PSU...I'm getting a Rosewill 500 watt tomorrow, hopefully it will fit in my case (and be at least sort of quiet!).

Negative Sun 10-27-2006 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stingerhs
^^^^
and don't forget that you won't have to worry so much about getting "sub par" parts, assuming that you made a good selection to begin with. another advantage is that you can save yourself a pretty penny if you're willing to shop around for your parts rather than getting everything from one source.

Yeah, but the problem with that is that there's not that many great shops in the UK, I like the one they have on that site I linked to, I think it would do for me, I don't want an ultra top notch gaming machine, I just want a decent system with a good processor, a fair amount of memory and a decent GPU that will allow me to play older games with everything maxed and newer games with most settings on medium or high and no lag, and one that will allow me to use the internet, WMP and other programs at the same time without slowing down to a grinding halt...

So for all of that, will that system do in your opinion? Would 1.5Gb of RAM be enough?
Would it be worth to switch from the standard AMD Athlon 64 4200+ X2 Dual Core Processor with 2000MHz HyperTransport Technology to the optional AMD Athlon 64 4800+ X2 Dual Core Processor with 2000MHz HyperTransport Technology for about an extra $100?
And will that Radeon X1300Pro Hypermemory do or should I invest in the X1600Pro?


Quote:

Originally Posted by jmac7142
And try to make sure that each stick of RAM is the same type/speed/latency.

If the system has 2x 512MB (1GB) DDR2 533 (PC4200) Branded Memory already in it, would it do more harm than good to add my own 512MB DDR-SDRAM PC3200 (200 MHz) - (DDR-400)?



Just a general question:
What on earth is the L2 cache and does the size of it matter?

Thanks for all your help so far...

tk102 10-27-2006 12:47 PM

Quote:

stingerhs advised:
another advantage is that you can save yourself a pretty penny if you're willing to shop around for your parts rather than getting everything from one source.
Maybe so if you're shopping in person... but online I've found the multiple shipping costs eat into any savings very quickly. Plus the intangibles of having track multiple packages on their way to your home, submitting your credit card at multiple sites, plus (as you said) varying degrees of tech support, possibly having to sort through the return policies of each vendor.

Quote:

then stingerhs confessed:
we aren't likely to know everything.
:D

Negative Sun 10-27-2006 01:00 PM

Good points there tk102, and take this from me: shopping in store in Britain is like taking cash out of your wallet and burning it...

stingerhs 10-27-2006 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
Yeah, but the problem with that is that there's not that many great shops in the UK, I like the one they have on that site I linked to, I think it would do for me, I don't want an ultra top notch gaming machine, I just want a decent system with a good processor, a fair amount of memory and a decent GPU that will allow me to play older games with everything maxed and newer games with most settings on medium or high and no lag, and one that will allow me to use the internet, WMP and other programs at the same time without slowing down to a grinding halt...

actually, what i meant by shopping around was to look for deals on the internet. it's the way i shop for computer parts since most retailers sell identical parts for more money. the downside is paying the shipping bill, but even that usually isn't enough to offset the money you'll save.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
So for all of that, will that system do in your opinion? Would 1.5Gb of RAM be enough?

in most cases, yes it will be enough. however, with the Vista launch ahead of us, 1.5GB of RAM might be a rough equivalent to 512 MB with Windows XP. although M$ has announce that Vista will need a minimum of 512 MB for Vista, nobody know the optimum amount of memory a system needs to run well.

so again, it should suffice for the time being, but just keep in mind that you might want to upgrade on down the road. ;)
Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
Would it be worth to switch from the standard AMD Athlon 64 4200+ X2 Dual Core Processor with 2000MHz HyperTransport Technology to the optional AMD Athlon 64 4800+ X2 Dual Core Processor with 2000MHz HyperTransport Technology for about an extra $100?

that depends on if you're using a Socket 939 compatible motherboard or a newer AM2 compatible motherboard. if you use the 939, i'd say no since you can get the Athlon 4400 X2 for a cheaper price and similar performance. if you use the AM2, then yes, it is a good deal.
Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
And will that Radeon X1300Pro Hypermemory do or should I invest in the X1600Pro?

to answer your question directly, i would go for the X1600. the performance level difference between the two is massive. however, i would recommend that you wait for the DX10 comaptible cards before you make your decision. i only say that because the performance differential between a DX9 card and a DX10 card on Vista is going to be huge.

if you're not planning on waiting for the DX10 cards, though, i would recommend that you shoot for something that runs a bit faster than the X1600, though. my recommendation for you would be the Radeon X1900 GT. it can be had for under $200, and it has great bang for the buck.
Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
If the system has 2x 512MB (1GB) DDR2 533 (PC4200) Branded Memory already in it, would it do more harm than good to add my own 512MB DDR-SDRAM PC3200 (200 MHz) - (DDR-400)?

for the direct answer: i would strongly recommend that you don't do that. DDR2 memory, while not incompatible with older DDR memory, is going to run at the same speed as the DDR memory which means that the DDR2 memory is nothing more than a wasted expense.

i would also like to once again point out something: if you use a Socket 939 motherboard, you will not be able to use DDR2 memory since it isn't supported. you'll need to use a Socket AM2 motherboard since it's the only AMD compatible motherboard that supports DDR2. however, if you make the switch to an Intel Core2 processor, you won't have to worry about that.
Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
Just a general question:
What on earth is the L2 cache and does the size of it matter?

Thanks for all your help so far...

L2 Cache explained. ;)

Negative Sun 10-27-2006 05:59 PM

So basically stingerhs, this sytem is cheaper, but would give me better value for money, because it has an AM2 socket and it supports DDR2 memory, and I can upgrade to an AMD Atlon 64 X2 4600+ for about $100...
The available GPUs aren't that bad either, between the 512 MB X1600Pro and the 256MB X1800, which one would be the best?

So overall would you say this system is a much better choice?

Thanks for your help stingerhs I really appreciate it!

stingerhs 10-28-2006 03:15 AM

that sounds like a good system. it should keep you fairly up-to-date for at least a year or longer.

and i'd go for the X1600 Pro (the X1800 isn't listed :eyeraise: ). otherwise, i would recommend the X1800. ;)

Astrotoy7 10-28-2006 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GodSlayer
Hint: Maybe this should be a sticky? ;)

Im reluctant to do so as people needs differ. eg someone building a gaming PC vs a media center pc vs linux box etc. Alot of the great points in here will be incorporated into the FAQ, which - like all masterpieces - is coming along slowly but surely :D

Also, there will be a series of picto-tutorials about building a pc from scratch... but the FAQ comes first :D

also,
Quote:

Originally Posted by stingerhs
although i wouldn't completely rely on us for all the answers since we aren't likely to know everything...

speak for yourself !

*uses pepsi max as thermal interface material for new dual core build*

;)


mtfbwya

Negative Sun 10-28-2006 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stingerhs
that sounds like a good system. it should keep you fairly up-to-date for at least a year or longer.

and i'd go for the X1600 Pro (the X1800 isn't listed :eyeraise: ). otherwise, i would recommend the X1800. ;)

It's the last one in the list, but it's quite confusing, all it says is "PCI Express Graphics", but when you click on it it says that it's the X1800...

What makes the X1800 better than the X1600Pro?

Negative Sun 10-28-2006 05:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Astrotoy7
Im reluctant to do so as people needs differ. eg someone building a gaming PC vs a media center pc vs linux box etc. Alot of the great points in here will be incorporated into the FAQ, which - like all masterpieces - is coming along slowly but surely :D

Cool, I just thought this could be a place where people ask their questions, and then you can add the most relevant ones to the FAQ even afterwards...

Edit: sorry about the double post, I tried to delete one but it won't let me...*confused look* *





Edit by Darth333: I just made a few changes and you should now be able to delete your posts except when it's the first post of a thread.


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