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Thread: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

  1. #1
    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    I have been out of the loop for too long, and am toying with the idea of building a brand new computer. My current computer is from 2004. I've upgraded it a few times, but it still has a p4 3.0 ghz, ati x800 xt, and 2 gigs of ram. In addition it runs windows xp.

    I want something more modern. If you tech guys have time, please provide me components that you would suggest putting in a new computer. My total budget would be around $1000 (need keyboard/ mouse too) . I have a monitor, but I got in 6 years ago, and it runs max res of 1280 X 1024. It's also 19 inch. I'm sure there are affordable things out there that trump my current one.

    Thanks!



  2. #2
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Hmmm. That monitor could probably use replacing, given its age and resolution, but to do the CPU, keyboard, mouse and monitor for ~$1k ... I dunno.
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    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Do you want a new case? Do you have any parts that can be recycled, most notably PSU, HDDs, and DVD drives? If PSU can be recycled, please give the wattage of the current one, also does it have SATA connectors? If HDDs and DVD drives can be recycled, are they IDE or SATA?

    Please also state whether you'd prefer to have a balanced machine or to go budget in a few areas to make a few others stronger. $1k for a full build is doable, but corners will have to be cut here and there. I would personally recommend a good upgradable mobo, GPU, and monitor, with budget CPU and the rest. Better CPU can be had a decent price in a year or two to keep it up to snuff. Then again, the upgrade-capable mobo is also pointless if you will never buy a new CPU, so also state whether you will realistically spend more money on this machine over the next 2 years.
    Last edited by TinCow; 06-07-2010 at 20:56.


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    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    Hmmm. That monitor could probably use replacing, given its age and resolution, but to do the CPU, keyboard, mouse and monitor for ~$1k ... I dunno.
    I just did an entire computer w/ case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor for under $500. It was a bare-bones fileserver with no GPU whatsoever, but if I can built a complete server box for under $500, it should be easy to build a gamer rig for under $1k.


  5. #5
    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow View Post
    Do you want a new case? Do you have any parts that can be recycled, most notably PSU, HDDs, and DVD drives?
    I want a new case.

    The power supply and hd are bit outdated, but I think I could keep the DVD drives.



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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow View Post
    I just did an entire computer w/ case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor for under $500. It was a bare-bones fileserver with no GPU whatsoever, but if I can built a complete server box for under $500, it should be easy to build a gamer rig for under $1k.
    I did a custom gaming rig 2 years ago, which ended up amounting to $1,500 or so. That still plays modern games at basically max resolution (if not on ultra setting, it will play them on high-very high).

    Those pieces of hardware would be far cheaper or have better versions at around the same cost now. So getting a decent rig for that price is do-able without too much hassle.

    As for DVD drives/ Hardrives etc, they are dirt-cheap anyway. What costs is the motherboard + CPU and the Graphics cards.
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    Member Member jabarto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    As a general rule, a machine that costs more than a grand is probably wasting money somewhere, so I normally wouldn't worry too much about your budget. The monitor might make things difficult, though.

    If you like, I can compile a list of components for your price range and you can decided if it's worthwhile.

  8. #8
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Ok, pretty much new everything then. We'll have to cut some corners to keep it under $1k and still game well, but let's see what we can do here.

    Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW - $50. On a budget build, case must also be budget. This one looks like it will get the job done and still look pretty. Different colors available in the same model if you search.

    Monitor: ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD - $170 ($150 after rebate). Monitor is a pricey part, but probably the thing most likely to last the longest out of all of this stuff. You also spend every second staring at it, so it's better to spend a bit more on it. This one looks decent at an acceptable price. If there's money left over after this is all done, this would be the first thing I would spend more cash on.

    VPU: XFX GS250XZDFU GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - $150. On a gaming machine, VPU has to be good. I am kind of amazed at the price on this one. Expected $200+ for a decent VPU, but this is very good and should handle almost anything you throw at it now and will continue to do so for a few years.

    Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX - $120. I love Gigabyte boards and I actually use this one myself. Can handle i5 and i7 for future upgrades to keep the machine decent in the long-term. Only downside is lack of IDE, which requires converter cards for any old IDE devices you have to hook up.

    CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 - $200. This is a little pricier than I expected for a the lowest tier i5 quad core. Might have to go back and revise the mobo/cpu choice later if this goes over budget.

    RAM:
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $110. It's RAM. It's 4gb. It's GSkill. 'Nuff said.

    HDD:
    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb - $70. It's a 1TB SATA drive for $70. I bought one yesterday. WD Caviar drives are great.

    PSU:
    Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W ATX12V - $55. 600w is plenty.

    Total Price: $925 w/o Keyboard, Mouse, new CPU heatsink/fan (Intel stock coolers are not good). $905 if you send in the rebate noted above. $100 is plenty to spend on Keyboard and Mouse. I'm unsure how well the stock heatsink/fan will perform, so I'm leaving that out of the equation. If the stock stuff works fine, then no need to replace it. If it runs too hot, that's another $50 for a decent cooler.

    There are ways to cut corners on this, most notably by dropping the quality of the CPU/Mobo/RAM, but that will majorly impact the long-term usefulness of the machine. A 775 socket machine will be much cheaper, but won't be upgradable and won't keep up with software over the next few years. That's why I recommend the socket 1156 with the lowest tier i5... you can upgrade to a much faster quad core i7 in a couple years and keep the machine running very well. Note that I'm an Intel-only guy and I pretty much ignore AMD when searching for parts. You could perhaps save some money by going AMD, but you'll have to get advice on the corresponding CPU/Mobo from someone else.

    You could also go with a much cheaper VPU, but that will directly and immediately impact gaming. I do not recommend it, especially with that excellent price on the VPU. Another cost-saving area would be to go with 2gbs of RAM instead of 4gbs. That will save you $45 right there, which brings the total down to $880 ($860 w/ rebate) which provides a lot of wiggle room for mouse/keyboard and perhaps a nicer monitor. It will also help offset the shipping costs. Then again, 4gbs is nice. You could probably save another $20-$30 on the case as well if you went for a super-budget case.

    You could also go with a budget mobo which is i3/i5/i7 capable, such as this one and then opt for a much cheaper dual core i3 CPU. Together that would save you about $100, and would still let you upgrade to an i7 quad core in the future without a new mobo/RAM. (Note: that board is a bit light on the SATA ports, so it may be problematic if you run lots of HDDs/DVD drives. That said, I've never personally needed more than 4 in a non-server box.)
    Last edited by TinCow; 06-07-2010 at 22:16.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Hmm, over here I'd be looking at a HD5750 for €103,- rather than a GTS250 for €101,- or basically the same money :shrugs:. Has 512MB of GDDR5 memory instead of 1GB of GDDR3 but you get hardware acceleration of higher API versions (Direct X 11 instead of 9, higher OpenGL specs too) and better hardware support for things like transcoding (required for watching TV on your PC and similar things). Plus it should have rather better power consumption stats. Alternatively I'd look at a 1GB HD4870 for €137,- which is about $150 I think (not sure how euros work out in dollars?) but it requires more memory and drops the higher API compliance in favour of more raw performance and has worse power consumption than the GTS250. Prices with a 19% VAT included btw.

    Also consider you will need an OS to go with it; unless you intend to use Linux or FreeBSD or something that adds another sum of money.
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  10. #10
    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Here's a build I did back in Feb.:
    CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
    LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
    AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HDX945WFGIBOX
    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ...
    ASUS CuCore Series EAH5770 CuCore/2DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support ...
    Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case(I love this case)
    That all came in at just under $770 for the hardware. Unfortunately for me, I had to pony up an additional $140 for Win7 Pro x64 OEM, since I didn't have access to any student deals at the time. Since this was almost 4 months ago, I imagine some of the components have gotten cheaper....

    I got a really nice monitor at Sam's Club for $200, and used my existing keyboard and mouse. If you're in the market for a good mouse, I highly recommend the SteelSeries.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 06-08-2010 at 00:33.
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  11. #11
    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Looking at all these parts makes me realize how stuck in the dustbin of history I am with this current computer.

    Thank you guys. I never realized such good stuff was so cheap.



  12. #12
    Member Member jabarto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    This is actually one of the worst times in years to build a new machine; ATI has been overshadowing Nvidia and inflating their prices from lack of competition. But yes, a lot of people don't realize just how much money you can save by building your own.

  13. #13
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    I recommend you buy what Xiahou posted, I was going to say TinCow's isn't bad, just replace the Intel CPU with an AMD and give it a much better graphics card (GTS 250 is a renamed 9xxx, get at least a GTX 260 or equivalent ATI card), but that's more or less what Xiahou did.


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    Guest Azathoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Design me a Computer (Please :) )

    Here's a link to a crappy CompTech project I did. We had to spend exactly $1300, but you could find these parts for less.

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LR84COUI

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