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What parts for a decent computer-first build

Hey Im a whiteboy who would like to start building his own computers. my dads a electrical engineer and can help me but he is clueless when it comes to parts. I looked at a bunch of stuff on how to build one but i am finding it harder to pick out parts. Does anyone have any suggestions or past builds that i could use as a base. Im about to go to UCSD for college so I only want to spend around 1,000 dollars for a comp that will be stable when i use adobe illustrator or photoshop..and most importantly counter-strike...thoroughly addicted. Any suggestions would be awesome.

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In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

gaming go amd obviously.

with $1000, get these components

mobo - SLI nvidia 4 ultra
cpu - AMD 64 3200+ socket 939
ram - 512 x 2 PC3200
hdd - 120GB, maxtor, seagate, their all good
case - antec sonata II
ps - 450w ps comes with case
drive- CD/DVD combo drive
gpu - nVidia 6600GT PCIe

should be less than $1000, go to and start shopping Happy

obviously this is what i would build and obviously its not really budget budget. i know that anyone else that posts will choose diff stuff so dont critic me Happy all IMO


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In reply to: alright

dat list is pretty ok cept dont use the power supply dat comes with the case. usually it is really junk. consider getting a separate one.

oh yah i would go for a better processor too, the amd 3500+ one. i'm sure with 1000 bucks u can get dat processor.

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can we PLEASE stop saying dat

In reply to: hmm

aside from that,

A) he doesn't not need the 3500+, and it's close to $300
B) do not buy the nForce4 SLI equipped motherbard (there are many) as it will cost a fortune ($170-$250)
C) I would suggest Intel for the CPU, in the form of the Pentium D 820, as it gives you an affordable dual cored solution (same price as the 3500+, yet provides dual core)
D) i'd suggest 1GB of RAM
E) counterstrike will run on about anything...counter strike source will run on about any decent computer

I would personally suggest a 945 equipped motherboard with the 820, 1GB of DDR2, a decent PCIE graphics card (Radeon X600Pro 128 or X600XT, it won't match the 6600GT but will save money (between $30 and $50))

as for the hard drive, I would suggest a good Maxtor drive (i'm partial ot Maxtor)
that would be excellent

but if you decide to go P-ATA (that drive is P-ATA) you'll want to ensure your motherboard has 2 ATA headers, some Intel boards only have 1

another option would be to get a SATA drive of simmilar capacity, but you'll only get 8MB of cache (which is still VERY GOOD)

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forgot power supply question...

In reply to: can we PLEASE stop saying dat

ok, you will want a power supply which is able to provide 24A on the +12v rail, and which has a maximum wattage output of 450W or more

also, buy one of the following brands (some claim better than they are)

the following brands are known good PSU's:

PC Power & Cooling
Thermaltake (average, not competitive with anything in this list)
Fortron Source
Sparkle Power
TTGI/Super Flower

if it has a listing like +12v1: 15A +12v2: 12A, it is a good unit, having 2 12v rails (or 3, or 4...depending on how much you feel like spending (you can go all the way to $500 on just the power supply, i'd suggest keeping it at $65-$105)) is a great feature

another good feature is Active PFC, not many units in the sub $100 range have it, it stands for Actice Power Factor (might be Flaw) Correction

basically it's designed to keep rail voltage stable
some PSU's have this feature, others dont

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good pc

In reply to: can we PLEASE stop saying dat

everything ozos said is great except now AMD has the Athlon X2 dual core proccessors that you could look at, they may be too expensive though

definitely get a S-ATA HDD, Western Digital has some S-ATA HDD w/ 16MB of cache but they can be quite pricy

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nah the power supply is fine

In reply to: hmm

that case comes with antec new line of true power II. Happy

obiviously ozos, we all recomend different things. i go amd, you go intel. either way, a game will play on any cpu and thats something some people don't understand. Happy

but yah ur system is pretty powerful. i'm not sure of dual core because i dont think it will be needed anytime soon, but hey it is new technology.

also whats with the
"can we PLEASE stop saying dat"???

is there something wrong with recomending an amd sli system? maybe i should tell him to buy a cross fire motherboard who knows. we both have our own choices and i know i wouldnt spend my money on an intel system where u can over clock the 3200+ to faster speeds than that dual core.


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My thoughts...

In reply to: nah the power supply is fine

First, I think ozos was refering to the use of slang, such as the word "dat," not the suggestion of an AMD SLI system.

Now, personally I'd suggest the AMD, as it runs cooler and costs less for similr performance. Both are important considering the budget and the fact it will be running a lot (with fairly-intensive tasks).

As for the dual-core, you could go eaither way. While it would help for multitasking (especially when considering that Adobe Photoshop is multi-threaded), it isn't quite as good for gaming. (That's why AMD is advertising its older FX series as the key for gaming, despite its launch of the X2.) It just depends on what is more important to you...multitasking or gaming. Keep in mind that dual-core is new, and thus will cost significantly more than a single-core...for now.

Hope this helps,

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In reply to: My thoughts...

First, I think ozos was refering to the use of slang, such as the word "dat," not the suggestion of an AMD SLI system.

haha, sorry but i didnt even think of that. i am sorry if i critized you for saying that.


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dont get maxtor

In reply to: alright

They overheat more than the other leading competition, go with Seagate or Western Digital. If you can afford it, get a Thermaltake Tsunami or Shark case, these things are beast!

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What parts for a decent computer-first build

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

Well I tend to be an AMD person. But any of the proposed systems will be realy fast. AMD does a much better job on games and about every thing else at this point in time and runs cooler. If you get an AMD64 get one with Venice core. Here is a link that will help you on your first time build. John

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some thoughts

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

Motherboard and Cpu

Case and PSU


Dvd/cd burner

Combo drive

graphics card

17'' lcd monitor

Of course you can change things around to suit your needs, If your budget didn't include monitor, Use extra money for CPU upgrade.

Also not sure if you wanted agp or Pci express in regard to your video options.

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In reply to: some thoughts

Thanks for this list since this will be my first build i keep going back and forth on parts and trying to keep it under 1G (including monitor)I was leaning toward PCI but the motherboard you had listed supports both I believe. I like the setup thanks

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Re: Mobo

In reply to: Thanks

The Gigabytye motherboard GA-K8NS Ultra 939 has one AGP slot and 5 regular PCI (2.3 compliant) slots with no PCI-Express slots.

Scott has a nice configuration which comes to about $1000.97. Don't forget about an Operation System (WinXP home aprx $89), a Modem, and if desired a:

Card Reader
Floppy Disk (Sometimes with Card Reader)
Network Card
Sound Card (May desire to use integrated sound)
Mouse (Optical or maybe wireless optical)

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What parts for a decent computer-first build

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

Right now newegg has some good deals going on ADM64 and MB combos. John

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Start with MoBo

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

Find a mobo you like and go from their; for a graphics oriented rig you may want to go for Intel, but that's my personal choice, gamers tend to go for the 64bit AMD chips (which doesn't make sense to me if programs are written with a 32 bit address bus in mind, it never takes advantage of that 64 bit technology, thus decreasing productivity; correct me if I'm wrong, I'm interested to find out if resource use is dependent on program code). But decide which way you go; read reviews on your choice of mobo, compare prices; here are some sites for good prices:

compare on all, i recommend chiefvalue - fast, free shipping and best prices 9/10 times. your basic infrastructure is your mobo/cpu and build from there. i recommend a videocard with 256mb of ram and at least 1gb of ram that makes full use of your FSB (say you have an FSB of 800, get two sticks of DDR 400 ram if you're mobo takes 184 pin DDR SDRAM; or if it's DDR2, buy accordingly and maximize the FSB. there are tons of deals on 512mb sticks; i saw one on sale for 33USD, insanely cheap.

Not much help, but I think you'll be much happier if you pick the parts of your own PC. Just make sure they're compatible, down to the tiniest piece like having SATA power connectors on your PSU (there are adapters if you do not, but you'll most likely not want to wait 4 days for them to come in the mail and head down to your local electronics shop).

Match processor sockets, get a PSU of at least 400W (500W if you plan to OC anything), get compatible ram, get compatible HD (either ATA[100,133] or SATA[150,II] make sure your PSU has connectors for it and your mobo uses it; if you plan on using RAID, you'll need mobo that supports the array you want; if you do get IDE see if you can get round cables. make sure there are will be enough cooling for your system; best (this arguable) set up is an exhaust in the back just below the PSU and an intake right below your HD in the front; possibly another exhaust on the top of the case and a filter for the intake will keep your system clean (i don't like a dirty system, especially sense i have an transparent acrylic case).

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Really, it is experience that counts

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

You will get a lot of advice as to what to buy or not buy. But from experience, I have ran into compatibility problems. So it can not be said, "Um, just buy this or buy that and put it together." Does not work that way. Enough of my philosophy.

Now down to the nitty gritty. Here is my take of what to do and in what order.

1. Decide if you want a General computer (you would want as stable a main/motherboard as you can get), business computer (you would want as stable a main/motherboard as you can get), gaming computer (not necessarily stable, but speed would be of the essence). Once you have decided what category of computer you want to build, go to some reviews on the different main/motherboards (Tom's hardware, Sharky's, CNet is another good source of reviews). With the main/motherboard naturally the decision of which CPU goes with the main/motherboard, is made by the main/motherboard you chose. Once you have decided what main/motherboard, go to their site, most have what hardware are compatible with their main/motherboard.

2. Then one must decide as to what case to purchase to house their computer system in. Expensive is not always the way to go. I have gotten some really nice cases that were not real expensive (last one I bought cost $29.95 and it is a gamer type of middy tower, 480Watts output on the power supply, came with the case, which is more then enough for me). Design for expansion, that is get a high powered wattage supply then what is required. Heat wise it will run cooler.

3. Decide what Drives, floppies (yes floppies still have a purpose for Small files), IOMega, video cards, CD or CD/DVD ROM. At this point I would like to say most computers usually have a CD or a CD/DVD burner in them. Now myself I would opt for a CD/DVD burner. This is because DVD ROM's and DVD burners were made to be backward compatible with CD's, that is to say that the ROM's for a DVD as a standard had to be able to play or record CD's as well. This is a standard that all DVD manufactures had to agree to, to be able to produce DVD ROM's or burners. As far as hard drives go, there are some hard drives that spin up at 10,000 RPM's these are fast. But the prices are fairly expensive compared to the garden variety 7200 RPM types. Video cards again you have to go with what it is that you want (category), general/business, any cheap graphics card will do that works with your main/motherboard (did I say cheap? Some cable/digital/TV video cards can be quite expensive), game video type cards are fast but you pay a price for this type of video card.

At this point, once you have the main/motherboard and case you can start to put together your computer. Now you have to figure out the input/output devices, keyboards, mice, game consoles, joysticks, printers. You might want to consider controller type cards, such as firewire if you are going to do video editing.

As far as suppliers go, there are more then just, there is pricegrabber, The difference between NewEgg and pricegrabber, pricewatch, is that newegg is a computer supply store. pricegrabber and pricewatch do not sell you the product they simply introduce to the supplier that has the lowest price for what you want or are looking for. Not bad, if you do not mind waiting a day or two for your parts.

Once the computer is up and running, you can consider things such as CPU coolers (there are some really nice ones that are water cooled, but if cost is of no consequence, then there is a non-conductive coolant that runs approximately $400.00 a gallon), hard drive cooling fans, Un-interruptible power supplies/line conditioners (keeps from blowing up a perfectly good computer, but expensive).

Hope this helps, Rick

I could go on and on, but I am not going to do the classroom bit. Because I could write a small text on this.

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Gee, you have two other post going in

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

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building your own machine

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

Looks like you have lots of good responses already, so I cant add much except this. You may be better off with a laptop at UCSD. It's more convenient to take to class, and in a host of other situations too.
But if you must build your own PC, I highly recomend setting up SATA RAID. You will notice the difference! And None of your other choices will impact performance as much!

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Add Sound Quality

In reply to: What parts for a decent computer-first build

You realy need a good quality sound card and speakers to enhance the counterstrike game or its not worth playing

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Intel, AMD, sound, and RAID

In reply to: Add Sound Quality

A) I suggested the Intel dual core because of it's low cost (it's going to give him a little more "future proofing" over a single core Athlon64, and X2 costs a fortune (i've been aware of it for weeks, but X2 is very expensive, that's a fact)

B) SATA RAID is something i'd advise against, as it's going to put all sorts of potential for destroying all your data, a drive fails, and, unless your using RAID 5, 6, a nested RAID format, or RAID 1 (which doesn't benefit speed at all) it's going to make your hard drives worthless, and anything on them, is essentially GONE

C) as for sound quality, on board Intel audio is of good quality, so is nVidia's onboard audio

VIA has half-way decent onboard audio chips as well, for 99% of use onboard sound is fine, and after paying out the money for a sound card, I can really say it's not worth it (it does give you a performance benefit in gaming, but it's not more than maybe .5FPS)

D) i am normally an AMD person, but again suggested the Intel to keep up with newer technology

DO NOT BUY AN LCD if your gaming, LCD's are terrible for gaming, have the potential for dead pixels, most LCD makers are stingy on their replacement policy, most LCD's will ghost in games

now whichever one of you monkeys feels like throwing the following things at me:

CRT's have UV
CRT's are heavy
CRT's don't look cool
CRT's are old school
LCD's are more power efficient
CRT's are junky
CRT's have lower image quality

I Can tell you that while some of those points may be true
CRT's are superior for any form of graphics work, unless you have thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to spend on top of the line professional grade LCD's

the best CRT is only around $2000-$3000
the best LCD's cost upwards of $9000, just to compare
now they do utterly anhilate those CRT's in terms of power use, size, and so on (it's a 22" CRT vs a 22" LCD, Sony's Artisean vs IBM's T221, which requires a special video card)

the LCD is more expensive

in a college scinario i'm guessing a desktop system will also have to endure possibly being semi-abused (it's not in a perfectly calm home enviroment)
an LCD can't take abuse like a CRT (like suction cup dart guns, those can hurt an LCD, but a CRT, you can shoot em at a CRT all day long with no issues)

i'd like to also point out that the "best" computer speakers are generally junk in comparison to the most average of home theater equipment

same goes for headphones

do not try to fight this down, you will lose

the best computer speakers are often considered the $400-ish Creative Labs S750's
which are a 7.1 700W RMS system

the best home theater speakers cost between $14,999.95 to $19,999.99+ PER SPEAKER, and deal out a few thousand W each

they are driven by multi-thousand watt amplifiers which weigh more than some TV's, and retail at nearly $10,000
this entire system is then controlled by a reciever unit costing as much as a used car

in addition to a projection TV costing as much as a house

in addition i'd like to say yet again, the sound card isn't required in this modern day and age, it's a luxury item not worth the money it costs unless you have need of a seperate audio processor for video or audio work, in which case you shouldn't even look at consumer grade stuff
you should consider professional grade cards, costing a few thousand each or more

audio equipment is no where near cheap, the audio equipment found on a computer is mediocre at best compared to an average home theater costing maybe $1500
(yes, sadly Bose does out-do a computer audio system)

in the end i'd like to write that since your buying this computer for work first, please re-evaluate the whole gaming push

secondly, a laptop does make college more convienent

i'd suggest a basic notebook with a Pentium M, while that will lack 64-bit and dual core, it will get the job done

it will run counter strike, but one thing I'd like to say to you, if your going to college and the majority of your time is expected to be spent playing counter-strike, unless your a gaming designer/other gaming related field, you should really be using the computer for study and work, as your paying to goto school, so I really don't think your going there just to game

but i'm just seeing the entire purpose of this computer as gaming, which is fine, but please consider that your going to college, not high school, your paying (someone is) to goto school, and it's going to be a factor in determining your future...I personally couldn't throw it away for a game as pathetic as Counter Strike

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Nice take

In reply to: Intel, AMD, sound, and RAID

I have a laptop already Dell latitude c640 already but I also wanted a desktop as a home base type of deal and something that wouldnt run out of battery, and most importantly a back up incase the laptop crashes and i need to do schol stuff but dont have enough time to fix the laptop right away or spend lots of time fixing. You saw right through the gaming thing. I only play CS:S and not much else but i dont even play it that much. I play it on my laptop so im not even worried about getting something decent to run games on...because I play on the laptop im used to the quality. Good advice though because I almost started off getting sli mobo and sound card but then i realized i dont need it and ill never get so into games that I'll need all those features any time soon. I am however a engineering physics/electrical engineering (not sure what part of engineering i really want to do..just not mechanical..for the most part its common sense and too boring...FOR THE MOST PART..) major so I will be running a few cad programs on it. I also want the experience of making a computer. Regardless though Ive down graded my part ideas because Im not at the point where i need/ know how to use all the newest features. So I really just need a decent comp around a grand. I already have most the parts picked out but im just waiting on a few things as i see new prices and rebates popping up every other day. I have a deadline set to order parts by though so I figure ill wait on prices til then. Anyways thanks for your no bull **** advice. and the fact that everyone saw that a i played a game and assumed i wanted a gnarly gaming comp. but i think you got the nail on the head

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Mechanical Engineering

In reply to: Nice take

"I am however a engineering physics/electrical engineering (not sure what part of engineering i really want to do..just not mechanical..for the most part its common sense and too boring...FOR THE MOST PART..) major so I will be running a few cad programs on it"

Mechanical Engineering seems the most fun to me. There is such a broad spectrum of opportunities. I would like to go into automotive after I get my degree. What school do you go to?

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In reply to: Intel, AMD, sound, and RAID

And im gonna use raid 1 because i dont really care about improving harddrive speed but do care about backing up all my stuff incase something goes wrong

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