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Author Topic: Building a computer
Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 19:39      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So Im going back to Cisco again in 2 weeks, that aside.

Ive finally got some money. And I want to do something Ive wanted to do for a while, which is build my own computer. Still doing research, and probably wont start ordering stuff for atleast another month, but Id like anyone's opinions on stuff here. Intending it to be a gaming box, but nothing hard core, just with some muscle [Wink]

Still debating between a dual core and a quad core. Probably Intel. Which means Core Duo or Quad Core CPU. Im not dropping 1k for the Core Duo extreme.

Motherboard is still undecided, but I know to match it with support and physical matching for the CPU and vid cards and then just find memory that works in it.

Definatly going with dual vid processor for SLI. Still debating how much I want to spend, if I want to go for a top of the line GeForce 8800 Nvidia architecture, or something a bit lower. Probably not lower than 8600.

Memory, probably 2GB. XP pro is going back on it.

RAID controller, and Im still pricing HDs. At least 2, maybe 3. Size at least of 1Tb total.

Any other ideas, suggestions, or remarks are welcome (I havent been following the market, so if anyone knows any insider stuff, and that I should hold off a few months, please do share)

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Use the Force, Luke.

Posts: 406 | From: The Line Between Time and Space | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Shredder565
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 21:25      Profile for Shredder565   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome to the club [Smile] . I was in the same boat 2 years ago, and did not want to buy another Dell. So, I built my first PC. It was nerve wracking, especially with the first chip and Motherboard installation, but when I got down to my third one, it starts to get easier..

My AMD powered machines have been pretty loud. I had one in both a laptop and my first built PC. I switched to core 2 Duo and you can hardly tell it's on. From all I hear, Quad Core seems to only be needed for heavy stuff....that and most applications don't recognize it yet.

Can't help you out with SLI. Never tried it. But, I am never going back to ATI until they get their act together. I have had numerous ATI driver problems, and their false claims of the AIW X1900 being HDCP compatible have given me a chance too try NVidia. My NVidia cards have worked like a charm.

2GB is a must. Anything more seems to be overkill.

Can't help on Raid.

Suggestions: Motherboards are pretty sturdy, but it's wise too be careful. I accidentally had a screwdriver slip as I was securing said screw, and it scratched the board. No ill effects. I've also bent it a tad more than I should have, and after the sweat cleared, it powered right up.

I've had good luck with both Asus and EVGA boards. Not one has failed me yet.

Get a Zalman fan. Much better than the stock fan of the Core 2 Duo.

The other thing I found tough to find, was a good standard case. Most of the ones found on NewEgg are hideous gaming cases. I finally settled on a decent one for $45's with 5 5.25" bays and one 3.25 in one.

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Posts: 54 | From: New Jersey | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 22:13      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A lot will depend on what sort of games you run and what else you do.

Right now, only some of the 3D engines (the Unreal engine and Valves Source engine come to mind, but I'm sure there are others) take advantage of multi-core processors. Most games are still designed for single core systems. I suspect this will start changing since single core processors are definitely a dying breed in the home computer market.

The quad core processor is going to be overkill for any single game you want to run today. By the time we get to the point where it would be needed (I would guess 2-3 years or so before it becomes a minimum requirement, if not longer), you'll find that associated components are outdated and not supported by the games that require it.

That said, if you run other processes in the background (an mp3 player and a bittorrent client, for example) while you play games in the foreground, the quad core processor is nice. If you're dinking around with virtual server software like VMWare or Xen, the quad core is made of sunshine and unicorns.

There isn't a marked increase in gaming performance from 2GB to 4GB, but XP can take advantage of 4GB of memory (although you may find 0.5GB missing, but we won't get into that). Individual applications can only take advantage of a 2GB memory space, however, which is why game performance tends to not improve with additional memory.

SLI is... well, give it a try if you really want to. I've been less than impressed because I honestly don't feel or see any effective difference once the system gets past 40 FPS and none of my games bog down the single card system that much. In addition, SLI seems to not work with dual monitors. Then again, maybe you have no need for dual monitors and play games that require a lot more graphics card performance than I do.

RAID... meh. I dismantled my array and turned it back into individual drives, using half of them in external USB enclosures to back up my system. The performance of RAID never made much difference and, when I've restored my system, it was because Windows' registry got corrupted, which RAID will not protect you from.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Shredder565
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 07:07      Profile for Shredder565   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's basically what I have set up. I'm converting my 500GB Sata drive that's in there now into an enclosure that can fit at least two drives. A 1 Tera byte drive is going in there as my first backup solution....

But even that will get filled up pretty quickly.. Especially when I make the jump to HD Camcorders..

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Posts: 54 | From: New Jersey | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 11:06      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First, thanks for all the tips.

HDs with the RAID: I have about 4 drives sitting around now, some in external enclosures, and intend to put them all in a computer together. Kinda pointless to me to have them all there, and not really backed up. Thats why I intend to do a RAID setup of some sort. Points to Steen about the registry, lately Ive been reformatting my laptop (my current workhorse) every 6 months, so its definatly something to take into consiteration.

Vid Cards: I have an ATI in now, works fine, but market seems to go for Nvidia. Plus you hear a lot on SLI and not a lot about Crossfire (or ATI in general since they got absorbed by AMD).
With the remark on multiple monitors. I intend to run 2. But that maybe changed. Steen, what do you mean by not working, or do you mean just not working well, or no improvement in performance. I know one thing ive got on my list to look up, is how to impliment that, as I know most vid cards have 2 ports now (least most Im looking at have 2 DVI ports).

With brands, Ive been looking at Asus and Evga stuff. Also XFX, can any one say anything about them?

Fans, I intend to have some fun with. Also thinking of maybe a liquid cooled system, but I dont intend to overclock, and have never had issues with temps (cept the one time I had a fan go bad in my laptop, and that didnt do anything bad thankfully). Probably will put in some sort of fan/temp sensor array and controller.

On side note, Ubuntu will also be put on, and Im thinking of dropping for a copy of VMWare for workstations. Ive got a copy of server right now, which I like.

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Use the Force, Luke.

Posts: 406 | From: The Line Between Time and Space | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
maximile

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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 15:18      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shredder565:
But even that will get filled up pretty quickly.. Especially when I make the jump to HD Camcorders..

OT (sorry):

Have you made a post anywhere about what equipment you use and how? Seems like a few people here (myself included) might be interested. It's always cool to read about how people do creative stuff with computers.

Posts: 1085 | From: London, UK (Powys, UK in hols) | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 15:53      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Have you ever thought about building a custom high-end laptop instead? Nowadays, you can get one that's nearly as powerful as an uber-fancy desktop (SLI, quad-core CPU, RAID array and all the other good stuff,) and you won't have to sell your kidneys and your first-born in order to be able to afford one.
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Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 16:06      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by zesovietrussian:
Have you ever thought about building a custom high-end laptop instead? Nowadays, you can get one that's nearly as powerful as an uber-fancy desktop (SLI, quad-core CPU, RAID array and all the other good stuff,) and you won't have to sell your kidneys and your first-born in order to be able to afford one.

I have a decent working laptop right now. And with as small scale as stuff in laptops are, id rather not.

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Use the Force, Luke.

Posts: 406 | From: The Line Between Time and Space | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Shredder565
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2007 18:07      Profile for Shredder565   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by maximile:
quote:
Originally posted by Shredder565:
But even that will get filled up pretty quickly.. Especially when I make the jump to HD Camcorders..

OT (sorry):

Have you made a post anywhere about what equipment you use and how? Seems like a few people here (myself included) might be interested. It's always cool to read about how people do creative stuff with computers.

Nope, but here goes...

Case:
COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-SKN2-GP Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119104

CPU:ntel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel

Videocard:EVGA 256-P2-N761-AR GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Fan: ZALMAN CNPS9500 LED 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan with Heatsink


PowerSupply: SeaSonic M12 SS-600HM ATX12V / EPS12V 600W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CE, CB, TUV, FCC

Ram: 2 GB's of G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Videocard: EVGA 256-P2-N761-AR GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI

HardDrive: WesternDigital 320GB Sata 8MB Cache
HardDrive: WesternDigital 1TB 16MB Cache

DVD Drive: Pioneer Blu-Ray Drive
DVD Drive - Soon too be purchased HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo Drive

Sound Card: HT OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail

TV Tuner: Dvico HDTVFusion 5


As you can imagine, it took me about 2 months to save up for all of it, but well worth it. I have built a similar PC for the shore house, and a scaled down one for work. I obviously do not need to be watching TV or be gaming there [Smile] .


As far as HomeBuilt Laptops, I thought those where super hard to do because of all the space, or lack there of. I will be able to take my co-workers ten year old laptop apart soon to get my first peak inside one. Once his new one gets broken in.

Posts: 54 | From: New Jersey | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2007 10:18      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi All __________________________ I too am thinking of building a machine. However my requirements will be quit different. Video basic, processor at least 500MHz sound card in and out has to be line level and I would prefer that it has RCA pin jacks and broadband very broad band a good enough sound card will allow me to watch 100KHz of the hambands at once. With SDR you get to see a spectrum display of the activity on a band, and strong signals do not drown out weaker ones. Its the weaker ones that are worth the most points because they are usually farther away.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2007 19:46      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
RAID makes no sense for a desktop machine. If you want hot backup, just put 2 disks of the same size in the machine and bit copy one to the other each night. You'll find it easier to manage, and if you're mobo goes paws up, you can pull out a disk, pop it in another machine and boot from it.
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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2007 06:17      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you play around with virtual server software on a dual core system, you probably want to make sure that the software you're using supports client-side SMP. I think that gives you a choice between VMWare Server and QEmu, though there could be others that do this as well.
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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2007 06:18      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My previous experience with XFX was good. One of their cards failed on me, but they promptly replaced it and I haven't had any other problems since.
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2007 08:52      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Metasquares:
If you play around with virtual server software on a dual core system, you probably want to make sure that the software you're using supports client-side SMP. I think that gives you a choice between VMWare Server and QEmu, though there could be others that do this as well.

Xen supports multiple processors as well.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted December 08, 2007 09:55      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shredder, As Im taking you built that, how much (guess) did you put into it? As mine might look something along the lines of it.

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Use the Force, Luke.

Posts: 406 | From: The Line Between Time and Space | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged


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