Building your own PC: recommendations.

Discussion in 'Computers' started by DaveBB, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    I've decided to take the plunge and build my own PC from scratch.

    I've already picked up a book and done plenty of reading over at newegg.com as well as spending a lot of time in the hardware section of CompUSA.

    Has anyone built their own PC and have any recommendations? Personal experience and helpful websites would be appreciated.
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    many of us here have built our own pc. it really is quite easy and you'll get a huge sense of satisfaction out of doing it yourself. plus you'll know exactly what's going on with your system, what kind of software you're running, you'll know how to upgrade it as you please, etc.

    the first time i built my pc it took me most of a weekend. but that's because i went really slow, took my time, read all the manuals, etc. i'm sure i could build one and have it basically running in about two hours now.

    unfortunately, i deleted all my "how to build your own pc" links, but just do a google -- there's tons of websites with this info.

    when selecting your gear, decide what you want this pc to do. is it for daily tasks, a power-house gaming machine, etc. for me, i choose mostly middle of the road gear, because i knew i wasn't a big-time gamer. so i didn't buy a top-flight video or sound card ... but i got decent ones.

    get the biggest flippin' hard drive you can afford. i never thought i'd fill out my 80g, but now i'm running about 300g total (between two separate hd's), plus an external 80g hd (that i use for backups)

    get as much memory as you can afford. go no lower then 512 -- i would recommend 1g if possible. memory is relatively cheap these days.

    if you want to see what i built, click here. for the most part, it's the same pc.

    some good websites include:

    http://www.anandtech.com/
    http://www.tomshardware.com/index.html
    http://www.motherboards.org/
    http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/index/0,00.asp
     
  3. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    If you're into gaming choose an AMD setup. If you like working with digital video go Intel.

    That and CPU speed is probably the hardest decisions you have to make. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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    If you want to run zoomplayer, ffdshow (sse2 version) http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/f...2.exe?download and the nvidia codec or Dscaler exe codec for DVD playback you'll need at least a Athlon64 3200+ or equivalent Pentium and a Radeon 9800pro.
    Since the picture is being resized through ffdshow it will take a large processor and videocard to prevent studdering.
    I have a Athlon64 3400 and I'm overclocking my 9600pro card by 30%. I also had to overclock my 3400+ chip by 5% I think because of the graphics card.
    http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=ffdshowdvd_2
    Lot's of people use the Chaintech AV-710 because of it's bit perfect transfer and price.
    I've got 512mb of DDR ram and 120GB of Harddrive and that works fine for me.
    I'm also running powerstrip as well as DVD shrink and DVD decrypter together.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Whether you go AMD or Intel, you may want to skip the stock heatsink. Make this decision early as many third-party heatsinks require you to mount them to the motherboard before installing it in the case (hard to do after you've built the computer). Look in the Zalman for a really quiet, and really good heatsink/fan for your CPU.

    As others have said, go with a minimum of 512MB of RAM. Go with SATA hard drives. Beyond that, we'd need to know what you plan to use the system for to give specific recommendations.
     
  6. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    If you go with a SATA drive remember that installing windows from scratch will require a little extra work. I do recommend a SATA drive though.
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    what extra work is involved with sata drives? just curious...
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    well you need a floppy drive to install the sata drivers. I then unplugged the floppy drive and put it back in the box on the shelf. I don't really need one but you have to have one to install sata drivers. You have to have a floppy though, no two ways around it.


    I personally found a local place http://www.pcclub.com to be extremely competitive. They were $50-70 cheaper on the AMD 3500+ I bought compared to Newegg. This was the retail version versus the retail version. Apples and Apples.

    One thing I did learn is that you don't just go to pricewatch and buy whichever is the cheapest. It will get you burned. Alot of the cheaper sites are cheap for a reason... they have poor reseller ratings.

    Also with the possibilities of failure and returns, I felt awful good that I was able to buy locally(not COMPUSA or BB) and save a chunk of cash too. I did however buy the DVDRW online(NEC thru Newegg) and buy the video card(BFG 6800GTOC at Best buy since they were hella cheap). Shipping on cases is extremely expensive too.


    Another tip: Buy a really good power supply.
     
  9. DanielM

    DanielM Stunt Coordinator

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    there is no such thing as too much memory or too much hard drive space
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I build a PC last year, and I got on the SATA HD bandwagon with my boot drive, but after finding out how scary it was to ghost SATA to SATA (as in, I wasn't quite sure which was the SATA source HD and which was the destination), I converted my SATA boot HD to a more conventional PATA (normal IDE ATA HD), and it's a lot easier to know if I'm ghosting to a slave or master on the other IDE channel.

    I did take those 2 SATA HDs and converted them into a RAID 0 setup just because my motherboard supported on-board RAID for SATA drives.
     
  11. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for taking care of that question Shane.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    dave, if you want, i have a 2nd ed of building a pc for dummies. it's in excellent shape. you can have it if you don't mind paying the shipping.

    but let me know by tonight...otherwise wifey is donating it to charity.
     
  13. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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  14. Shane Roach

    Shane Roach Stunt Coordinator

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    It looks like you've got a pretty decent setup coming together, Dave. It's fairly similar to the one I built a few months ago, but I went with the windowless version of the case because I knew a see-through computer would start me on another hobby I don't need just now.

    Before building my new system, the most I'd done with computer guts was adding RAM. Now I've got a machine that is able to do anything I ask it to and nothing I don't want it to, because I built it to my specs. The current system is connected to the second DirecTV box in the office/overflow guestroom, and I'm enjoying the PVR experience so much that my next round of HT upgrades will include a new PC for the living room.
     
  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Dave, you are off to a good start. [​IMG]

    Personally, I would use an nForce4 Ultra motherboard (maybe a DFI branded one), but not sure if that would fit in your budget. I guess with the memory controller built into the AMD processor it isn't too big of a deal.
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Good start. I too would use the Nforce4 chipset rather then a Via chipset, something like the FoxConn NFU8KK-ERS board is a very nice one.
     
  17. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Piece of cake nowadays actually. Just be sure to ground yourself as much as possible and DON'T DROP ANYTHING!!! Sounds like you picked some good components. BTW, if this is your first PC you are building, DON'T OVERCLOCK yourself. Build the PC and get some experience and then try this advanced stuff I have seen many newbies fry their systems by doing things they knew nothing or very little about. BTW - Just my opinion, but I would stick with an Intel chip.[​IMG]
     
  18. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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  19. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Good board. SATA's prime advantage is that they are, apples for apples, better performers, as the mechanism to get data through the IO bus is faster from SATA then PATA as a native device.
     
  20. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    SATA also uses less CPU overhead.
     

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