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Build Your Own PC

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Harbourboy, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    OK, so everyone here seems to keep saying that it's much better and cheaper to build your own PC.

    So I thought I might look into how this would be done and just how cheap it would be. I’ve looked at a few sites and started to pull together a list of components.

    So far, the combined price of the components has come out at NZ$4,682. This compares to the Dell specification that you guys said could play NWN 2 which came out at about NZ$2,500.

    Clearly I am doing something wrong here. So I have started this thread to discuss the components of this PC with a view to seeing how it is possible to build a cheap but effective PC.

    So, the most expensive component is the 2 X Western Digital Raptor 150gb 10000RPM hard drives which total NZ$951. Does that sound right? Should 300gb cost that much? If I can cut some costs here, I would go a long way to a target price below $2,000.

    The next most expensive part is the Corsair TwinX Dual Channel Memory Kit 2x1g at NZ$613.

    The third most expensive part is the Sapphire Radeon X800 Crossfire X800 25 at NZ$534.19

    These parts cost $2,000 all on their own! Are they too high spec for what I want, or are they just ripoff prices and I should be looking for a cheaper supplier?
     
  2. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Well... this bizarre currency is beyond me, but if you're paying more for a DIY computer, than a rip-off package computer you're doing something VERY wrong. Find the cheapest site around and cobble bits together from that (no need to get top end stuff throughout). I mean, I use ebuyer.co.uk but that's a UK based company... their prices are the **** though - dead cheap.
     
  3. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Raptors are a waste of your money. I bought 320GB Seagate SATA drives for $95 US (or about NZ$143 ) apiece.

    EDIT: But even the 150GB Raptors should run you about NZ$333 apiece, not NZ$475 apiece.

    NZ$613 for a 2GB kit of RAM is crazy. Either buy value RAM (Corsair Value Select RAM should be about half that) or go for a 1GB kit. I bought 2GB for my computer and even with all the junk I've got going on in my system tray I rarely exceed 50% RAM use; it's usually around 33%.
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Thanks! What about that video card? I always get confused about video cards.

    And how much should the 'case' cost?

    OK - the Seagate Barracuda 160GB 7200RPM is only $127.13. That sounds better!

    And - Corsair Value Select 2 x 1gb DDR SDRAM is $418.

    How on earth do I work out the best sort of RAM to get? There are about 83 options to choose from at the site I am looking at. Prices range from $44 to $1,084 (for Gell 2x 1gb)

    [ October 30, 2006, 23:17: Message edited by: Harbourboy ]
     
  5. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    I wouldn't spend anymore than 20 quid for a case and 35 quid max for a stick of 1gb ram. 2no. sticks of 1gb is plenty to be honest. Corsair Value is as good as any.
     
  6. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't know. There are so many flavors of X800, I think I'd need more detail about the specific one to comment.

    Depends mostly on what processor you're getting and what type of RAM it (or the motherboard) supports. Is this something that is going to be put together for you (i.e. it's guaranteed to work for you)? If so, then I'd go for the cheapest RAM offered. Different RAM will typically give you just a few percent performance difference. Is that worth a whole lot more money to you? Probably not.
     
  7. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    The problem is that you don't know enough to pick the good parts yourself. Usually I'd recommend a computer-savvy friend, but well...

    Asking here about parts isn't a bad idea. And is a good way to avoid getting ripped off. Like buying a Raptor for normal use.

    For advice, I'd suggest the Intel Core 2 E6400 or E6600, 2x Kingston 1gb stick, a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (with at least 8mb cache) (they can be a bit noisy though) and a nVidia GeForce 7800GT (but that's because I'm a nVidia fan).

    The Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320gb with 16mb cache is about NZ$200 here, for example.
     
  8. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Chances are that I won't end up making my own PC, because it would be safer to pay a bit more to have someone I can yell at if it doesn't work. But I am interested to see just how much I could save by making one myself and I am interested in learning more about what each component does (as you still need to make these sorts of decisions when selecting a pre-made one anyway).
     
  9. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    Take a look at this site:
    Ars Technica

    I built my computer following their suggestions for the Hot Rod (except for the part about the sound system), and it cost me about 1,500 USD. The Budget Box is not too bad, either, and it costs only about 800 USD (although I'd probably go for a Core 2 Duo processor and a compatible motherboard in any case; the rest of the components can be upgraded later if necessary)

    The prices you quote look really high, though.
     
  10. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Harby, there are factors that a beginner is unaware of.

    From your list, it looks like you're going down the, "Hey! Look at my rig! It only has the biggest name brands with their most expensive products!" road... :rolleyes:

    When it comes to memory, there are about 3 main factors that determine the overall price: Amount of RAM, Clock Speed, and CAS Latency. To run NWN2, you don't really need 2GB of RAM....but it's always nice to have. Clock speed is dependant on your motherboard. And CAS Latency is for those hardcore gamers looking for the best frame rate they can get. Two sticks of Kingston "Value RAM" will save you a *lot* of cash over something like the Corsair XMS Pro Series. You'll probably never know the difference between the 3-3-3-8 ("slower") CAS Latency or the 2-3-2-6 ("faster") CAS Latency. When it comes to RAM, choose a reliable manufacturer, like Kingston (they offer lifetime warranties on all their RAM), and then opt for the "value" side of their products.

    Now, as for hard drives, you certainly don't need to go and waste that much money on a WD Raptor. I would take a reliable Seagate drive over a WD any day. What you need to look out for is interfaces. If you're motherboard supports SATA 3GB/s, buy a drive that offers that connection speed.

    As for the video card goes, may I ask why you want a Crossfire edition of the X800? Unless you are planning on buying 2 of them and you have a motherboard that supports 2 video cards, you don't need to waste the extra money on a crossfire card. Also, different brands of a given vendor's chip can/will do different things to a card that can either make or break a card. That's why I've always liked ATI. They actually make their own version of the card...so when you go shopping, you can compare ATI's card to a 3rd party's card. Just the other day, I was looking around on newegg.com when I found ATI's Radeon X1600 Pro with 512MB and a 500MHz core clock for $175...but then I found a HIS Hightech Radeon X1650 Pro with 512MB and a 600MHz core clock for only $165. For $10 less, you can get a faster card that offers better cooling.

    Anyway, my point is, it's all about shopping around for the best deals for the features you really need. :rolling:
     
  11. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Sorry to chime in, but the WD Raptor, despite having a SATA interface is based on SCSI technology.

    And what's this about a Seagate instead of a WD? WD are great drives, and I'd take a WD over a Seagate anytime. Also, if you have a SATA II Mobo, you still have to remove a jumper to enable 3GB/S, otherwise your SATA II drive works as a SATA I.

    Oh please. Corsair also makes budget memory.
     
  12. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker Veteran

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    @DotW: Take a look at who's asking. Seagate Barracuda or WD Raptor? There's exactly one right answer.
    (That is between only those two. There probably is superior choices to both of them.)

    And also, I'd suggest Kingston memory over Corsair, but that is just a matter of preference.
     
  13. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Thanks for all the advice guys, although I'm not sure I understood a word of Disciple's post.

    I think it is now clear that the 'suggested' starting build that I was given by that site was a bit over the top, but that's fine because that's provided some material for discussion here.

    The next question would be about the 'motherboard'. How do I choose on of those?
     
  14. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    That depends on what you want. Start with the processor you want, then look at motherboards that support that processor and see what all the nifty features they are offering you for the price they are asking and what reputation the manufacturer has.

    For example, I wanted a Core2Duo processor, and Gigabyte is a top-tier manufacturer. I wanted onboard ethernet, but I didn't need dual onboard ethernet, I didn't need onboard wireless ethernet, I wanted onboard Intel Matrix RAID, I didn't want onboard graphics, I wanted lots of SATA and USB ports, I only needed one IDE port for my DVD drive. So, I ended up with the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6.
     
  15. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Uh oh. I didn't understand anything that Blackthorne TA just said. Maybe building my own PC will be just too hard.
     
  16. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Come now. I'm sure you know what ethernet and wireless ethernet is. You know what graphics are because you already mentioned the X800 graphics board. You know what USB at least is. SATA you can think of as the new-fangled hard disk connection. IDE is the old-style hard disk and CD/DVD drive connection. If you don't know what RAID is then it's something you can do without. Onboard simply means the motherboard has it without having to plug in some other peripheral card.
     
  17. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    heh, I felt the same when I started shopping for my computer. But it is not so difficult, HB.

    Let's look at what you need to know for buying a motherboard. First, you decide what processor you want. Intel Core 2 Duo chips require motherboards with Socket T (LGA 775). (What do those numbers mean? I have no idea, but I do not need to know that). How do you find out what motherboard you need for your processor? Easiest is to go to newegg.com, select Motherboards, then Intel Compatible, then CPU type. It will give you a list of mb's for the CPU you choose.

    other stuff: onboard ethernet: the ethernet card is what you use to connect to the internet (assuming you have cable). Onboard ethernet means that the circuitry is integrated on the motherboard, you do not have a separate card.

    About wireless: again, you can have an integrated wireless card (on your MB), or it can be a separate card (which you plug in the MB). You need one only if you plan to use a wireless connection, anyhow.

    PCI slots : slots on the motherboard where you can connect different cards (eg, video card, sound card, or ethernet card, if your mb doesn't already have it). Typically you want a MB with at least a PCI Express x16 slot, where you can plug your video graphics card in. Other types of PCI are PCI Express x1, which you would normally use for a sound card (it is slower than the x16).

    Note that as you may have onboard etherned, you might also have onboard videocard. You do not want that. Typically the integrated videocards are quite weak; they are mostly used for office work, not videogaming.

    SATA port: this refers to the connection of your hard drive. If you have a HD which uses SATA interface, you need a MB which supports this. Most of them do at this time, I think.

    IDE/PATA port: that's where you'd connect your CD/DVD drive. I think these are quite standard, too.

    USB ports: the slots in the back of your computer where you plug your printer, or scaner, or photo camera (typically some other type of electronic equipment which might interact with your computer). Your MB should have at least 4; the more the better.

    I think this covers pretty much all the basics. You also have memory slots, where you plug the memory you buy. If you look at the description for the MB, it will tell you it wants DDR2 memory, how many slots it has (usually 4), what's the max amount of memory you can have(i.e. , 4 or 8 GB), and the max memory speed it can accomodate (typical values for memory speed are 533 MHz, 667 and 800).
     
  18. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I suppose it would help if I had ever seen a motherboard so I don't really have a mental picture of what one is.

    But I have seen the word 'wireless' a few times mentioned above. I am definitely aiming for having a completely wireless house eventually, with wireless internet and wireless connections between more than one PC. Plus, I would definitely need at least 4 USB ports. I already have 4 USB things I need to attach right now, let alone anything new I might get in the future. But I never knew the USB ports were on the motherboard, I thought they were just on the side of the case.
     
  19. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well, it's called a motherboard for a reason. EVERYTHING is connected to it. It provides all the interconnection circuitry (power, memory, processor, video, other peripherals) and most if not all of the interface circuitry (ethernet, USB, firewire, keyboard, mouse, microphone, headphone, speakers, serial and parallel ports).
     
  20. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    So do you then have to rig up further cables from the motherboard to the actual sockets and ports that sit on the outside of the case? Those ports can be all over the place.
     
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