Noob to Computer Building

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

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Noob to Computer Building

Post by gharkins » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:41 am

This is my first computer I am building, and I have selected roughly what I would like to purchase, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am looking to make a computer that is not outdated quickly, and runs rendering programs and games easily:
  • Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe

    Amd Athlon 64 X2 2.2Ghz

    2 x 250Gb Maxtor DiamondMax10

    4 x Generic 1GB PC3200

    XFX 512Mb GeForce 7900 GTX

    Trust SC-5250 5.1 Surround Sound Card, Digital & Optical

    Thermaltake Eclipse DV Black with Window

    NEC ND4551 16x+/-R 5x DVD-RAM Labelflash DVD Writer

    Hiper Type-R 580W (Cheap from friend=reason for so much power)

    4 x Akasa Copper RAM Heat Sink

    Thermaltake A1744 CPU Heat Sink
Cheers :)

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Post by cAPSLOCK » Sun Jun 04, 2006 6:48 am

Just a couple of things that spring to mind:
-The A8N-SLI Deluxe will need a northbridge heatsink (will it interfere with the card?)
-Maxtor HD's are louder than the Samsung equivalent
-Geforce 7900GTX will be needing an aftermarket HSF
-NEC DVD is noisy, if that bothers you (LG, Plextor and Samsung seem to have the reputation of being less noisy)
Don't know about the rest, but it sounds like noisy stuff to me :(

I think you will find out like many first time builders (myself included), that noise quickly becomes an issue, then you will come back to these forums and ask what to do, and you'll end up buying a new case, new psu, new heatsinks, new fans and all in all spending more money than you needed to.

Apart from that, I would stay away from generic memory.
I am looking to make a computer that is not outdated quickly
That doesn't exist :lol:

There are two strategies to this problem:
1) get a low-medium range computer that's upgradable and upgrade every year or two, right now this would mean going for AM2 or the upcoming conroe
2) get a medium-high range computer and redo the whole thing in four years or so, in this case I would suggest going for just below top of the line hardware, because the price/performance is much better (in any case that 7900GTX isn't going to be the top card anymore in a few months), so get a GT, and 2GB of ram is enough for most, etc...

Well in any case you would have a computer that works, but how well, how silent and for how much money is the question!! :P

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Post by slashdotcomma » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:05 am

cAPSLOCK hit it right on. Though I would look at a few other choices. Do you plan to overclock? At this point getting midrange ram with heatsinks are about the same as getting generic ram and buying ram heatsinks. That way you get better timings as well as warranty. People around here try to stay away from Thermaltake products because their not usually the best bang for the buck. They may have the bling factor, but if you want silence and cheap, it might be better to look elsewhere. I'm assuming you've listened to the powersupply that you've bought, because you really don't need anywhere close to that much power to run what you've spec'ed out. Look at the recommended cases, Antec has several very good cases (namely the 3000B, P150, and P180) but perhaps you want better looks. If you're playing games, perhaps you might want to look into the creative audigy line. Since the X-Fi series have come out, the Audigy 2 line prices have dropped considerably, and it would help decrease CPU usage during gaming. For the heatsink, check the recommended list again, since you didn't really give a budget, I can't say what to choose. The XP-120 or Ninja's would be great, but the stock heatsink with heatpipes is also very good.

Like cAPSLOCK said, how silent and how powerful, and how much money will determine what we can work with.

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Post by justblair » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:45 am

Just to step in on the TT debate (as always)

Where are you buying from? The UK or otherwise.

In the UK TT gives you a lot of bang for your buck. However I wouldn't use that heatsink. I have one in the house (It was called something else when my bro bought it) and can say that it aint quiet to say the least. For a few quid more the Typhoon is available. The difference between them is night and day when it comes to both cooling and noise. If you shop around you can get a typhoon in the UK for about 25GBP It is a very quiet cooler.

I agree on the memory front, those Akasa coolers are not cheap. Go for mid range memory and you usually get alu coolers. Better memory + Alu cooler IMO is likely to be more stable than cheapo stuff with copper. The memory isn't generating much heat at stock, so copper is overkill. Cheapo memory will crap out if overclocked, so you still dont get much VFM from the copper sinks.

Maxtor drives are noisy. Full stop. Samsung preferably or Seagate drives are far quieter.

The other stuff I cant comment on as I dont know enough about them.

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Post by autoboy » Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:40 am

Read the recomended parts on this site. There are too many things to list here. Building a computer is easy. Building it right takes some time and research. These are the things to keep in mind. More is not always better -- size, noise, power. Start with high quality components everywhere. If the same or similar motherboard/video card comes fanless, get the fanless one. Silence starts with the right case. High end SLI or crossfire motherboards are not faster, just more configurable. You can get an SLI/crossfire motherboard if you like the features, but don't get graphics thinking you are going to go go dual as an upgrade because the next great video card is always faster and cheaper (and quieter) than going dual cards. Go AM2 if you ever want to upgrade. Read the recomended lists.

I also noticed you wanted a sound card with optical out. Unless your receiver has only optical inputs (like mine --- I have one coax) digital coax is just as good as optical. Remember, it is a digital signal so there is no way the signal can degrade over such a short distance like it can with an analog signal. Also, if you are using the s/pdif only then the quality of the sound card does not matter because your reciever does all the processing. Also, most new boards come with High Def audio built in which is really quite good for analog. If you are looking to improve gaming performance by 3% or so get a creative card.

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Post by dfrost » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:55 am

Lots of good advice here.
4 x Generic 1GB PC3200
Why 4Gb RAM? The tests I've seen show no noticeable improvement from 1Gb to 2Gb, and most motherbaords don't run quite as fast with all four RAM slots occupied. But maybe your rendering programs can use that much. Pro-Engineer that we use at work can't access more then 3Gb.
4 x Akasa Copper RAM Heat Sink
My Corsair RAM heatsinks never get warm. I wouldn't have bothered in hindsight.

The SLI boards seem to put the chipset heatsink (usually an irritatingly noisy fan) in an awkward position. As autoboy suggested, an SLI board doesn't give any benefit unless you buy two matching graphics cards, then something newer comes out in six months that's much faster. Also, the ATI chipset boards seem to run cooler then the nVidia chipset boards, judging from the cooling configurations.

My Samsung HDD is much quieter then the Seagate. And I'd recommend getting a case that allows HDD suspension or isolation of the HDD, as well as good airflow.
Hiper Type-R 580W (Cheap from friend=reason for so much power)

If you're looking for low noise, that cheap PSU won't seem so inexpensive if the noise causes you to replace it. Around here, the Seasonic S12 PSU's are favorites, as you'll read in the Recommended articles.

Lawrence Lee
SPCR Reviewer
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Post by Lawrence Lee » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:57 am

2 x 250Gb Maxtor DiamondMax10
-you'll mostly likely have to get updated firmware from Maxtor to use these drives. There's an compatibility problem with Maxtor DM10 and the nForce4 chipset.

4 x Akasa Copper RAM Heat Sink
-RAM heatspreaders are a waste of money

Thermaltake A1744 CPU Heat Sink
-there are much better heatsinks out there than the Venus 12. Thermalright XP-90/XP/SI-120, Zalman 7000, Scythe Ninja. Thermaltake hasn't made a good CPU heatsink in a long time.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:28 pm


If you are using 4GB of RAM, are you going to use WinXP Pro X64? The 64bit version allows you to use all 4GB for the OS and one app -- 32bit would limit you to 3.25GB, with 2GB max /app.

WinXP Pro X64 needs to be supported for all the motherboard drivers, the video card -- and the harder part is drivers for printers/scanners/other peripherals. I have it running just fine, but I have it dual booting wit the 32bit version, so I can use all the printers (not just two out of three), Palm Desktop, Electron Microscope, and it is nice to have my multimedia keyboard work, too. X64Edition is very close to working transparently, for me, but is quite there...

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Post by Howard » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:17 pm


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Post by gharkins » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:21 pm

For the budget, I am not looking to spend over £1350 ($2500). I do not need a monitor or peripherals so this is just for the base computer...

As for buying options in different countries, I can buy from Hong Kong, England and the USA very easily.

Thanks for the replies

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