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Need computer geek help :)

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by tRustyK5, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I'm gonna get a computer built in the next month or so. Problem is I don't know a hell of a lot about what to ask for and could easily get 'taken'.../forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    We do not use our computer for finances, small business or any of that other crap. 75% internet surfing and gaming. Obviously I'd like the best I can afford and my budget is roughly $700 (without monitor)

    I want fast, especially with the graphics heavy games that are out now.

    So...suggestions? Take me to school here. If any of you that care to help wouldn't mind could you take the time to give me a laymans explanation of what stuff does? I'd like to learn enough to get what I want the first time around. A big list of gobbledegook terms isn't gonna help me much.../forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    Fire away...

    Rene
     
  2. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    tell ya what rene... i just had a guy at work build me a 950mhz athlon, cd burner, a dvd played/cd drive, floppy drive, modem, uses onboard sound and video (no extra cards).. cost me $450 bucks..
    for fast internet and gaming, you need lots of RAM, random access memory.. the more the better, so 512megabytes (mb) is a good amount, i run half that and i dont lag at all..
    as for really fast internet, im sure you've heard about broadband, dsl, cable modems, etc.. get one, if one of those is available, weigh the costs of each one for setup and monthly access charges and go with the best balanced one..
    nVidia makes good graphics cards.. thats what the one was in my dell, which is over 5 years old and still going strong.. i actually just whored a modem out of it for this machine when lightning struck..

    anything else i forgot?

    oh.. sound cards..
    montego bay (turtle beach)
    soundblaster FX, good stuff, ill talk to the guy at work who built mine for suggestions on all that kinda stuff and get back to you!!
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Been on cable for over two years now. This POS has on board graphics (no graphic's card)and I'm not at all impressed. It won't run many newer games at all...and the ones it does run it runs really slow. Thats with 256mb of RAM.

    I'm looking for recomendations for mother board, processor, graphics card, HD size and brand preference, etc.

    I just really don't want to go to one of the big box stores and buy a system with a bunch of crap I don't need/want and pay double or more.

    Upgradability is important.

    Rene
     
  4. mudjunkie 82

    mudjunkie 82 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    A got a Dell Catalog in the mail the other day.You can get fast puter for less than $500.00 not including the monitor.
     
  5. or2play

    or2play 1/2 ton status

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    www.tigerdirect.com is a good place to look. They sell parts to prebuilt units. Also cnet.com and maxium pc magazine are good places for reviews and comparisions. Your having somebody build you one, so already your on the right track. I always advise againts the "brand name computers" dell, hp, compaq etc. Good luck
     
  6. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    ok first things first stay away from anything with a built in video card /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif

    here is my pc i built for less then $700
    msi motherboard with 8x agp my motherboard
    a msi 128meg ddr 8x agp video card my video card
    amd barton xp 2500 (now a amd barton xp 3000)
    512megs pc3200 400mhz ddr ram (now 2 sticks of 512)
    120gig 8meg buffer 72,000rpm western digital hard drive
    soundblaster live sound card
    dvd/cdr-rw burner (not a dvd burner well not yet anyways)
    new tower and 8 blue light fans /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    if you need software send me a pm ill send you all the software you need free /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    Couple of things to consider when you need speed. First, total amount of RAM. It's cheap now, but sometimes RAM chips are a bit touchy, so if you are going to build a system, buy as much RAM as you can afford so it's all matched. Less potential for problems that way. There are different types of RAM. "DDR SDRAM" is the type I have and it's good stuff. Good for multimedia use There may be a newer type out, but if so it'd be pretty pricey still.

    The type of motherboard you have also determines how much RAM can physically be installed.. The motherboard also has various speeds of processor (the brain) that can be installed. That's where you hear terms like "2 gig CPU"... that's the top speed of the the brain (Central Processing Unit). A lot of people will tell you that the fastest is the best, and that may be so, but I'll bet for most peole they can't tell the diff between 1.8 gig and 2 gig. But there is often a big diff in price. So get something over 2 gig (which is common now), but don't feel compelled to get the fastest out there.

    There are different brands of processors (CPU) - IBM P4 and AMD Athlon or Duron are common processors. I have a 2.1 gig AMD Athlon. I got it because it's as reliable as IBM but doesn't have the priciness due to brand name recognition.

    You will also want to check out the amount of cache the motherboard has available for use. cache is a kind of temporary storage area for info you want. the bigger the cache, the more stuff can be readily available for your use. Otherwise it has to check the hard drive. Look for more than 256 megs. 128mgb was also common. Dont' know how much cache is now available on new machines. The tech changes so fast...

    Your graphic card also affects gaming speed. They'll have speeds noted, also memory on the card. Mine has 128MB on the card, so it's a fast one. nVidia is a good brand, and the Raedon's are too. Get as much memory and speed as you can afford.

    Hard drive is sooooo cheap now, get whatever you want in a good brand (which is debatable). I like IBM or affiliate HDD's, as they are very reliable. I think Hitachi is now producing IBM's hard drives. Whatever drive you get, make sure it's at least a 7200 RPM. The bigger a drive gets, the longer it can take to access data. there are 10,000 RPM HDDs, but they are mainly SCSI, which you don't need. There are many 5400 RPM drives, but they're too slow for the money.

    Here's what i have on mine:

    Motherboard: ABIT AT7-MAX2with 133 bus, 256 cache(IIRC).. (see www.abit.com for specs) CPU:2.1 gig AMD AthlonXP. RAM: Kingston 1 gig DDR SDRAM. Graphics card is All-In-Wonder 9700PRO. I have 8 IBM HDD's, all 120 GB UATA 133 with 7200 RPM. There are larger HDDs out there, but I didn't need that much on one drive. I have 2 that are in mobile cases so i use them as backups for the system and data, as they are removable. You won't need that...

    You'll want a decent CDRW or DVD drive. I like TDK's, but I'm sure there are many other opinions out there.

    Then you'll need to make sure the motherboard fits into the case and you have a decent power supply. I got a server case because fo the number of HDD's I wanted. It's anAntec Plus1080 series with 430 watt power supply. You won't need nearly that big a case. But not all motherboards fit into all cases.

    If you have someone putting it all together for you, then they should know what motherboard fits in what case and the type of RAm a motherboard requires. In any event whoever you buy the motherboard and RAM from, make them assemble and test it for you before shipping it out. That way you'll know it works and if it doesn't they'll have to fix or replace.

    I got all my parts from <a href="www.mwave.com" target="_blank">MWave</a>
     
  8. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Thanks Brian, some really good deals there.

    I'm leaning towards a 'gamer' system, should do fine for internet and it'll satisfy the rest of the family too.

    Rene
     
  9. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Wow Pam...gonna take a little bit to digest all that. This must be how my Mom feels when she takes her car to the garage.../forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    Looks like I know at least one victim (I mean friend) I can bug through pm's over the next few weeks. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Rene
     
  10. landsmasher

    landsmasher 1/2 ton status

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    Pam... You need a boyfriend...
     
  11. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    *start of hijack* Larry: Yes. Yes I do. Know anybody that's funny, cute (at least not ugly), smart, willing to dance, and makes more money than me? *end of hijack*

    Rene: After I wrote it I thought maybe you didn't need all that info. If it helps great! PM me anytime.
     
  12. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    Good info for Rene there Pam. I always find it appealing to see a woman know her stuff /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Just one thing I saw that caught my eye...

    [ QUOTE ]
    There are different brands of processors (CPU) - IBM P4 and AMD Athlon or Duron are common processors. I have a 2.1 gig AMD Athlon. I got it because it's as reliable as IBM but doesn't have the priciness due to brand name recognition.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    The 2 processor manufacturers you mentioned IBM P4 and AMD. The P4 is actually made my Pentium, and both the P4 and AMD are both of the IBM compatible class.

    Other than that, it was a great refresher for me /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  13. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I always find it appealing to see a woman know her stuff

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Thank you Steve! /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    Yep, should a clarified the processor stuff more. My point was that the AMD is sometimes thought of as the poor relation, but it's a good processor. I used to have a little prejudice against AMD and towards Pentiums.
     
  14. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    oh heck yeah, I run nothing but AMD's nowadays. Pentiums are just too damned expensive IMHO, and the Athlons have always been better gamers to me.
     
  15. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself! /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  16. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    this is the one i built in the spring, about 1100 without monitor and keyboard.


    [​IMG]
    Athlon XP 2000
    Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo
    512 pc3200 ddr ram
    ATI 9500 PRO
    onboard sound
    40gig 10,000 rpm Lite On drive and burner
    LCD display
    Lian Li case with skate inspired window

    the actually hardware stuff is fun. putting it together is like building a little hotrod, except you stay clean. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    where i lack knowledge is the bios and stuff like that. thank god mine fired right up with no hitchs....

    http://www.newegg.com/ is killer for buying hardware...
     
  17. Tybee

    Tybee 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    http://www.newegg.com/ is killer for buying hardware...

    [/ QUOTE ] I agree best prices and good customer service and free shipping on alot of stuff.
     
  18. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    Hmm...Leaning toward a "gamer" system. With a $700 budget, that will be tough. With gaming in mind, there are 3 things to consider- Processor, RAM, and video card. For the processor, you can't beat the AMD Athlons in the "bang for your buck" catergory. Buy the most expensive one you can afford. XP 3000+ would be a good choice I would say. $176 on pricewatch.com. I run a P4 3.2- $370 on Pricewatch. RAM- Take a look at the Kingston HyperX DDR stuff. It's a more "premium" brand, but RAM is important. Don't skimp. I run 512 mb PC3500 HyberX and I wish I had more. With Windows XP, 512 is adequate, 1gb would be perfect. You can get 1gb PC3500 for $144 on Pricewatch.com. Video card, as far as I'm concerned, for gaming, this is the most important choice. I'm obsessed with gaming, and I absolutley have to have all the details and eye candy in a game turned up as high as they will go. Therefor I spent a stupid amount of money on a pretty bad ass card. Radeon 9800 Pro. When I bought it, it was $400+. Now you can get the same card for $267 on Pricewatch. Mother board- I would go with any of the higher end ones from Abit or ASUS. Hard drive- try to get a 7200 rpm model with an 8mb cache in whatever capacity you need. The rest is easy. Also check newegg.com for good prices on this stuff. Another good website to learn about this stuff, is www.overclockers.com They have a great forum there, the guys are very willing to answer questions. I built my system based around the recomendations I got from there.

    [ QUOTE ]
    You will also want to check out the amount of cache the motherboard has available for use. cache is a kind of temporary storage area for info you want. the bigger the cache, the more stuff can be readily available for your use. Otherwise it has to check the hard drive. Look for more than 256 megs. 128mgb was also common. Dont' know how much cache is now available on new machines. The tech changes so fast...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Motherboards don't have a cache. A processor has a cache memory. If you choose either the P4 or the newer Athlons, cache speed/size isn't really a concern. If you go with one of the "value/budget" processors- AMD Duron or Intel Celeron, cache is more of an issue, the value/budget processors are, for the most part, nuetered versions of thier bigger brothers. The Celeron for example, is a P4 without the L2 cache. In laymans terms, its slower/cheaper. /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

    Hard drives have cache- I am not really familiar enough with them enough to explain it more than to say that the more cache a hdd has, the faster it is. 8mb is what to look for.

    Sounds to me like what you are referring to as cache, should be RAM. If you don't have sufficent RAM (Random Access Memory) for whatever program, X program will start using the hard drive instead. Since RAM is ALOT faster than a hard drive, when a program starts to "swap" with the hard drive, it will slow waaaaay down. Thats why RAM is always stressed as being important when these questions come up. You want the best, most and fastest RAM you can afford. Quantity so that programs use RAM instead of the hard drive. Quality for stability, and speed because the faster the RAM, the faster a program can access it. Look for DDR PC3200 (atleast- PC3500+ would be best)CAS2 RAM. Also, better to have two sticks of RAM on modern mobo's rather than just one. For example- 2x256 rather than 1x512, or 2x512, rather than 1x1024 (1gb). Most mobo's these days run RAM in "dual channel". Meaning that 2 sticks running in tandem with each other is faster than just one stick by itself.

    Here is my suggestions for the base parts on your new system-

    Athlon XP 3000+
    1gb PC3500 CAS2 RAM 2x512
    Radeon 9800 Pro video card
    Hard drive with 8mb cache in whatever capacity you need
    Higher end ASUS or Abit mobo

    If you search around for prices, I think you could do that for just a bit over your $700 budget. That system would run any game you want, and run it fast with lots of eye candy. Would do anything else you would ask of it too.

    Just for $hits and giggles, here's a screen shot of the game I am most obsessed with, Unreal Torunament 2003. This is from an online game. I run it at 1280x1024 with every possible setting turned up as high as it will go. Notice in the upper right hand corner- I'm getting an average of 78 frames per second. Thats fast.
    [​IMG]
    /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    With the stuff I reccomended, your system would do the same. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  19. landsmasher

    landsmasher 1/2 ton status

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    Pam, not too many men make more money than you! /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  20. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]

    The 2 processor manufacturers you mentioned IBM P4 and AMD. The P4 is actually made my Pentium, and both the P4 and AMD are both of the IBM compatible class.

    Other than that, it was a great refresher for me /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Actually if you want to get technical... Pentium, Pentium II, Pentium, III, Pent. 4, etc is a class of processor MADE BY Intel...... AMD was started by a couple of people that left Intel to start their own business.... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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