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Old 03-29-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default Building your own system: Buyer's guide

After seeing that a lot of people come to this forum asking for help on choosing parts for a new build, I decided to write a guide for the selection of parts. The guide will be split up into two different parts. Builds for non-overclockers and for overclockers. I will recommend parts for all price points, starting at a basic $500 PC all the way up to an ultra high-end $2000 enthusiast system.

Section one: Builds for non-overclockers

There is a big difference in parts designed for overclocking and parts that well... aren't. There is obviously a price difference, therefore, there is no point in spending extra money on overclocking parts when you aren't an overclocker.

$500 office or budget gaming PC:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103774
This processor is a dual core 65nm part that that provides superiour performance to a similarly priced Intel part straight out of the box. If you're not an overclocker and you're on a budget, AMD is the way to go.

Motherboard: ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131273
This is AMD's newly released 780G chipset. It integrates the HD 3200 graphics chip which is the most powerful integrated graphics processor by far. But that is not the best bit, the HD 3200 is already good enough to do some casual gaming, but it can also be paired using hybrid Crossfire with a HD 3000 series graphics card for almost double the performance. The ASUS M3A motherboard has all of the features required this budget build.

Memory: Transcend JETRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820208283
This is where we can save some money by going for some memory that is perfectly adequete for this build but is not designed for overclocking. DDR2 is at a very low price at the moment so we can afford PC2 6400 RAM. 2x1GB is the sweet spot right now.
PSU: Antec earthwatts EA500 ATX12V v2.0 500W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371007
The PSU is an extremely important part of any computer and should not be ignored or skimped on even when you're on a budget. This power supply will provide sufficient power and there is enough headroom left for upgrading., all at a great price.

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119115
This is a case I will often recommend as a cheap but cheerful chassis. It comes with a 120mm exhaust fan but can also accomodate a 120mm intake fan for better airflow and cooling.
HDD: Here the choice is dependant on the user's requirements. If you're not sure where to start. Here are some requirements:
-SATA 3.0GB/s interface. This is the new interface standard and is a lot faster than the older PATA/IDE connection.
-Brand, I recommend either Western Digital, Samsung, or Seagate hard drives.
-Cache, even with a low capacity hard drive, I would recommend at least an 8MB cache.
As for the space, that is entirely dependant on the user's requirements.
Here is just one small suggestion: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136075

Disk Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827118002
You can't really go wrong here but the Sony Optiarc drives are know to be reliable and good performers.

Price (at time of writing):
CPU: $55
Motherboard: $95
Memory: $37
PSU: $60
HDD: (My suggestion) $50
Case: $40
Disk Drive: $27
TOTAL: $363

As you can see, the original budget was $500 so there is room for an OS if one is required. You may also have noticed that the title read "office or budget gaming PC. But I've only recommend a motherboard with intergrated graphics? Now this is where hybrid Crossfire comes in. By adding a HD 3650 graphics card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121232 which will do Crossfire with the integrated HD 3200 chip, you can easily turn it into a decent budget gaming PC.




$850 to $1000 gaming PC build:

This is the budget most people will be building around. Here we can play around a bit and build a very good computer with this budget. Please remember when leaving feedback that this is the non-overclocker's $750 to $1000 build. This is a gaming PC and will therefore be built around the GPU.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115029
This was a difficult choice. I did a lot of reseach before picking this CPU. It was tough choosing it over the 6400+ X2 which performs at a similar level, but comes at a slighly cheaper price. I recommend the E6750 because it is more energy efficient than the 64 X2 and has lots of overclocking potential should the user wish to try their hand at it in the future. The reason I do not recommend a Wolfdale for this particular build at the moment is because of the high demand and pricing.

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813188012
I would normally recommend a P35 board but as this build is not built for overclocking, I picked the 680i as it offers the luxury of having SLI support with dual 16 lanes.

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231098
G.SKILL offer brilliant price to performance memory and the 800MHz rated speed is the best choice for a mid-range gaming PC.

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS ATX12V / EPS12V 600W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817341010
This build will include a decent GPU and this will require a power supply capable of powering it. OCZ PSUs are manufactured by the FSP Group who are a very reputable brand. The PSU features over 50A spread over quad 12V rails and an 80%+ efficiency rating.

HDD: Here it is entirely up to the user's storage requirements, there are a few things to look out for though:
-SATA 3.0GB/s interface. This is the new interface standard and is a lot faster than the older PATA/IDE connection.
-Brand, I recommend either Western Digital, Samsung, or Seagate hard drives.
-Cache, even with a low capacity hard drive, I would recommend at least a 16MB cache for a build like this.
As for the space, that is entirely dependant on the user's requirements.
Here is just one small suggestion: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152054
A raptor drive is not really an option with this budget.

Disk drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827118002
There is no need to change anything here and we can use the same drive as the low-cost build.

Case: Here it's up to the person's taste but keep in mind that the chassis will have an impact on cooling and noise. The case needs to support an ATX form factor motherboard.
Here are a few suggestions:
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119137
Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000BNA Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811133137

GPU: BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOCE GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814143118
The most important part of a gaming PC, this is where the most money needs to be invested. The 8800GT 512MB uses Nvidia's new G92 core and bring brilliant 8800GTX level performance at a great price.
Price: (at time of writing)
CPU: $180
Motherboard: $180
Memory: $40
PSU: $90
HDD: (suggested) $70
Disk drive: $27
Case: ~$80
GPU: $200
TOTAL: $861 with out rebates. Price including rebates: $811

Other options: For those who have $1000 to spend, there is the SLI capable 680i to exploit. $400 will buy you a pair of 8800GTs which will be extremely useful at resolutions of 1920x1200 and above. If you game at $1280x1024 or 1600x1200 the one 8800GT will be sufficient.
Another option which will help you like to do a bit of video editing is Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115017 For gaming it is pointless to spend the extra money as hardly any games can take advantage of quads, but for video editing and encoding you will really see the benefits.
For Vista owners: For people who are going to be running Vista on this build, I recommend investing in another 2GO of memory. Vista is very resource hungry and you will definitely see the benefits of going from 2 to 4GB.




High-end $1500 gaming PC to follow...
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

That's some nice work, you should probably include operating systems with the cost though, just a thought .

Man, and to think, I bought the computer in my sig, December of 2005 for 1,100 dollars.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

Those are two very nice builds.

You also saved me about 30 bucks on a future upgrade as well. I was gonna get a Thermaltake PSU that was about 120 bucks, but was 700w and only 30ish amps. That PSU you linked will be more than enough to power the new GPU I want.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

Quote:
you should probably include operating systems with the cost though, just a thought .
I wasn't quite sure, some members said I should, some said I shouldn't. So I never used the whole budget to ensure that there was room for an OS. I'll do the high end and overclocker's builds tomorrow.

Thanks for the feedback guys.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

Everything looks good so far worshipme +1 to you for the guide. My only complaint is the actual title of the thread.

When I saw computer build guide I thought someone wrote a how to build guide not what to buy.

If a mod could possible change the title to something like Building your own system buyers guide that would probably attract more people wondering what parts to buy. Also integrating the hyper links directly into the item you recommend would provide a cleaner look.

Thats just my suggestion I'm sure you can think better one to define the actual thread since this will end up being stickied.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

Quote:
If a mod could possible change the title to something like Building your own system buyers guide that would probably attract more people wondering what parts to buy. Also integrating the hyper links directly into the item you recommend would provide a cleaner look.
Haha, yes that's it! I was completely stumped when thinking of a title and I knew it didn't sound right. Thanks for that.

EDIT: I've run into a little problem, I can't fit everything into the same post. If I post the next build in a new post, will a mod be able to merge it?
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

I've got a idea here. Why not copy paste this into a notepad file and request a mod to lock this thread. Then remake the thread with the other title. Right after you post do another quick post reply and put section 2 in there. When you have section 2 wrote just copy from the notepad file and edit into the expansion space.

I do this when writing long things just in case someone trys to reply before I get everything finished.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Computer build guide.

I PM'ed Kage asking if would be possible to merge two of my posts, just waiting for an answer. If it's not possible, then I'll make a new thread like you suggested.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

Done. I'll merge, no problem, but I'm not sure wheather I can merge a thread thats already up to its limit, beyond what you can.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kage View Post
Done. I'll merge, no problem, but I'm not sure wheather I can merge a thread thats already up to its limit, beyond what you can.
Worse case senario, we can make two posts out of it, one per system. But what ever needs to be done we'll do for you.
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