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Old 02-01-2009, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

Yesterday I got the opportunity to get to the bank and deposit my Christmas money. I don't have a car or a job (and won't be getting either).
Anyhow, my dream computer, that perfect combination of CPU, MoBo, RAM, PSU, is no longer the price it was when I originally put it in my Newegg cart. And so I was heart broken, and a little outraged.
So now it's back to the drawing board. I have to reevaluate which brand and model to buy, and I have to start configuring future plans into all of this. This has lead to being on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
It's gotten to the point where I question the validity of everything. Like, will I ever do a SLI/crossfire? Will I ever buy an AM3 socket CPU? Will I ever buy a computer case?

I'm not out to buy the perfect computer, or anything super powerful. I am simply fed up with the one I have; it's about 9 years old, and wasn't even close to top of the line back then.

I want to build a strong computer with awesome upgrade potential. And I want to do it for approximately $220
I have a floppy drive, CD Burner, an old 30 GB hard drive, keyboard, mouse, crt monitor, printer, modem, headphones, microphone. And a horrible old computer case that might actually work with a new ATX motherboard. So all that stuff can be put aside. What I need are just the essentials.

Out of all the essentials, I think it's the PSU and MoBo that's most important. The CPU, RAM, and video card, can only be changed and upgraded based on the PSU and MoBo.
The subject of PSU's seems to be more complicated than the whole some of the computer itself. Unless you spend an outrageous amount of money, your going to get half the promised wattage (and god only knows how much wattage you needed to begin with), it's going to be a fire hazard, probably destroy everything in your computer the moment you have a little power spike, cause damage to your computer over time because of its "electrical noise", and may cause your computer to not run. So, spend as much on the PSU as the whole computer or take your chances with a ticking time bomb. I'm not liking that, but I have no way of knowing how much power I "really" need and how much power I will need in the future. I've tried to study PSU's, and as if all the rails, modular, power correction factor, voltage versus amperage on any given rail at any given time, wasn't enough to make me blow my brains out, I can't even go by those things because it seems too many companies just invent fake statistics out of thin air and magically can't be held accountable for what used to be called false advertizing.

Then comes the motherboard. I'd love to stick a Sempron in their now and upgrade to a Phenom next year. After all, many mother boards make this claim, but than specify they can't handle a processor that consumes as much wattage as a phenom. And thus their advertized statement is only true if AMD magically begins making super low power consumption phenoms.
Also, wouldn't it be great to stick a gig of the cheapest DDR2 800 in there, and upgrade to the fastest, most over clockable DDR2 1066, in the future. Well many mother boards claim you can. But only if you have an AM2+ socket processor (such as the wacky 3 core, and that 4 core phenom whose power consumption is over the limit for the motherboard).

And what about those motherboards that allow you to put 32 gigs or 64 gigs of DDR2 RAM in their 4 slots? Awesome! But when the heck are we going to see 8 or 16 gigabyte sticks of ram? And if it doesn't exist now, than how the heck do the motherboard manufacturers know it can handle such memory? I guess they consult their psychic hotline, gaze into the crystal ball to know it will work in the future.

Same with those few motherboards that claim AM3 socket ready. That's right, AMD hasn't released a AM3 CPU yet, but when they do, this thing will run it, our crystal ball said so.

And when the AM3's hit the market, will they cost $200 or $2000

And since the bragging point of the AM3 socket is "will allow you to run DDR3 RAM" will that work on a hybrid motherboard able to run AM2/AM2+/AM3, or just the AM3 only mobos?

Side port memory, with hybrid crossfire… I don't even have the patience to examine what the heck this actually means. I suspect it translates to "by spending extra money on this mobo, buying 2 mid priced video cards for a total of $230, you can have the power of one well made video card that costs $200".

Then comes the difficulty of to overclock or not. Should I invest in a PSU and MoBo that's primed for overclocking, to get a good performance out of cheap parts? Or is overclocking just a way of marketing premium quality parts that can be over driven to result in an unstable 15% over all system performance boost at the risk of destroying all those expensive premium priced parts?

To be honest, I really don't even know if I should bother building a computer.
I went from about ready to enter my credit card number and buying the parts, to wondering if I should continue chugging along on a low end computer that has a "Windows Millennium" sticker on the front. *cries*
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

dude, sounds like you need a kick *** gaming pc. but $220 is not going to cut it. you need a little more for a decent gaming rig.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

double your budget and you can build a decent budget gaming rig.

e5200 + 4830 or 9600gso + ddr2 800 ram + etc.

i do not recommend you sticking with your ide components tho.

and as for your case goes, you are either going to give it a few mod jobs or buy another, something tells me it does not have well enough airflow for todays parts.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tastegw View Post
double your budget and you can build a decent budget gaming rig.

e5200 + 4830 or 9600gso + ddr2 800 ram + etc.

i do not recommend you sticking with your ide components tho.

and as for your case goes, you are either going to give it a few mod jobs or buy another, something tells me it does not have well enough airflow for todays parts.


Yeah I wish I could double my budget. But with no income, and $250 in the bank, I'm kinda *nailed* (because the other word is probably censored).

As for the computer case: yeah, it bothers me. But a computer case is going to cost $25 with nearly $20 for S&H. Some cases are shipped free, after you buy it for $50+
So the point is $50 would've put me over my budget then, and certainly will now.

Also, I'd like to replace those old IDE components. But a hard drive is $50 (or $35 + 10 S&H) and a DVD/CD reader/writer is $23 and the DVD's is about $20, so there's about a hundred bucks. Guess I'll have to do without that motherboard LOL

So, using old IDE components is a must. Also, I am considering using a floor fan and taking the side off the computer case to keep the computer from over heating. The only problem is the dust. I hope it isn't able to get jammed inside the PCI slots and ruin the contacts. I'm just hoping that isn't even possible.

I've been daydreaming about a way to build a computer case out of things I have laying around. Like a cardboard box. I'm thinking of ways to cut it down to the right size, cover the outer with aluminum foil to absorb the heat to avoid the cardboard catching on fire. Cutting out a little square and poking some holes in it where I can mount a fan, and covering the square cutout with a coffee filter to block dust. I think a direct hole in the cardboard over top of the CPU fan would allow for most of the heat to be blown directly out of the box.
Of course the box is just there to keep out dust. the motherboard itself would lay down on a table, and would be elevated about a half inch off of the surface by 4 plastic soda bottle tops where the mobo screws go (the screws would screw into them). The rest of the stuff would just sit on the table.

The only thing I am worried about in this scenario is something bumping the hard drive while it's in motion; causing a head crash. But then again, those laptops seem to be able to take a lot of jiggling and bumps without a head crash. So maybe I shouldn't be concerned.

Of course there is just laying everything on the table, nothing covered, some thing plastic to elevate the mobo off the table, and a floor fan to blow air across the mobo, or at least the north bridge (I don't think the south bridge gets hot). As long as nothing gets spilled on it, this should work. And of course the dust may or may not end up causing a problem.

I think the only thing that really causes heat is the CPU and GPU. I won't have a graphics card, so the only thing that needs the actual heat sink and fan is the CPU, and I believe a gentle breeze over the graphics chipset on the north bridge is the only other ventilation requirement.

In fact, I think it's about time to rebuild that ancient computer my uncle threw out. He threw out an old PentiumII machine. I'm thinking about disassembling that, and creating my cardboard computer case, and seeing how probable this is. Of course that little PII won't kick out any heat, but should at least give me an idea of how plausible this is.

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Old 02-01-2009, 10:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

Sorry to say but a 30GB Hard Drive wont cut it either. Even with XP which takes up less space upon install if you are going to be gaming you have to seriously take a look at the size of some of the games you plan on installing along with the other software.

I have easily filled up 50GB with just software installs. That was not even a single game installed with that. That was things like Office 2007, Visual Stuido 2008, CDBurnerXP, and some other stuff.

When games are hitting 4GB or more for a install you wont be able to get many installed before you start getting low space warnings. Epically with Temp files that are on there and Temp Internet files as well.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

im not sure how old you are, but if your under 15, try some neighborhood jobs. raking leaves, snow, rocks, dead animals, old smelly garbage, ect.
mowing grass, trimming bushes, painting fences, ect.

do something, if your over 15, get a job lol.

if there is a will, there is a way!

if you really want to put this dream of yours together, your most likely going to have to work for it......but get use to this idea, thats just life.
i do wish you good luck.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warning: Building a computer may lead to nervous breakdown!

To the OP,
Save up. Doubling your computer budget can quaddouble computer performance. The more money you spend up front is less money and heart ache you have later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mak213 View Post
Sorry to say but a 30GB Hard Drive wont cut it either. Even with XP which takes up less space upon install if you are going to be gaming you have to seriously take a look at the size of some of the games you plan on installing along with the other software.
And games these days are at least 4Gb.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well I am not building a gaming PC, or else a video card would be my highest priority. In fact, If I was aiming for a gaming computer I'd probably be looking at high end Intel CPU's instead of looking for AMD athlon's. I've never really been one to play games on a PC, but that's mainly because this thing even when it was new really couldn't handle a lot of games on their high setting, and since around 2004 even low powered games seem to require way more than this old thing can do.
In fact, a friend of mine just a few months ago popped the Crisis video game into my computer and tried to install it… it gave me an error message "Don't even think about it! Any attempt to install this on your computer would result in your CPU crying and your PSU looks a little too suicidal to even attempt it"

OK, I made that last part up. However, it would be nice to play RuneScape on it's highest settings, which requires a Gforce2 or greater, and at least 1.5 GHz CPU.
And my old Xbox Thompson drive is broken, and I'm not even paying $80 for a Samsung replacement off of eBay. I've heard there are Xbox emulators for the PC one of them is "legit" the other is I guess what you'd call home brewed. I have no idea what kind of power is needed to run an Xbox emulator (assuming these things actually work).

Again, when it comes to video games, I'm only concerned with The Sims, RuneScape in HQ, KOTOR and KOTOR2. I bought KOTOR 1 and 2 (Starwars Knights Of The Old Republic) a few years ago at a flea market, and my system fell just short of the minimum requirements. I thought I could install it anyway and put up with some frames skipping. Nope!

Again, I have no idea how valid Xbox emulators are, but man oh man, I really wish I could get a computer to run one of them. I have like 40 games just collecting dust because my old Xbox won't play it. And yes, I've tweaked the pot on the laser in the Thompson drive. It helped for a few months before completely dying.

So, the computer I am attempting to build is a general purpose computer. But I hope to build a dirt cheap general purpose computer that can one day be up graded to a reasonable gaming computer.

My immediate tasks on my new computer (the one I am trying to build) will be surfing the web, running Photoshop and stuff like that. While this old thing can do that, it doesn't do it very well. I can't have more than a couple of tabs open in my browser, or it takes up so much virtual memory that I am waiting forever for the hard drive to finish thrashing around just to go from one tab to another. I can view only about 1/3 of MySpace profiles because my CPU can't handle all the graphics and java. In fact, a lot of people's profiles cause my CPU to run at 100% and my entire system will just hang for a few minutes. My browser crashes often because something (mostly java and flash) eat up the CPU so bad. I toggle between using Firefox with No-script and Flash blocker, to running a non graphical browser. Most of my web surfing is done with a browser set to show no graphics, videos, sound, flash, java, or activeX stuff. That way I can actually surf the internet without my computer hanging.

As for the 30GB hard drive, well up until a year and a half ago, it was all I had. And 90% of that thing was MP3's LOL. But now I am using a 250 GB hard drive (and it's almost maxed out). The reason I'll use the 30GB HDD is because I don't want to reformat the 250GB that I am using now, and I have to reformat the HDD to reinstall WinXP on a new computer. I have waaay too much valuable stuff on this HDD. Currently my 30GB drive is used for pagefile on the first primary partition, and WinXP on the second primary partition. I like having the secondary WinXP as a backup system in case something goes wrong with my current operation system, I always got that backup to get me on the web and running diagnostic tools. That's saved my butt twice already.

But yeah, a new hard drive is something I'll get one day, right along with a really awesome case. I figure buying a DVD burner ($23) and a 100 pack of DVD's ($21) will give me more storage for the dollar than any other medium.
After cost of DVD burner ($23): $21 buys 470 gigs (100 pack, each disk holding 4.7GB) 22.38 gigs per dollar
After cost of Blu Ray burner ($190): $116 buys 625 gigs (25 pack, each disk holding 25GB) 5.38 gigs per dollar
After cost of 1TB HDD for $95: buys 10.52 gigs per dollar
After cost of 320GB HDD for $50: buys 6.4 gigs per dollar

Though I must confess to really wanting one of those 10,000 RPM Raptors. A 74GB Raptor costs $100
I've wondered whether it would be better to buy one Raptor, or have two 1TB drives working in a RAID. I forget what raid type, but the raid type that allows two hard drives to act as one; maximizing speed. Of course I don't know if those two 7,200 RPM drives working that way would provide the effect of 14,400 RPM or not. It might be like Crossfiring; you don't actually get double the graphics power. And of course I'd have to buy one of those RAID controllers that actually does the processing instead of forcing the CPU to act as a controller processor. And I hear those things cost like $200.
So for now, I'm just sticking with the spare 30GB drive I got. I don't know whether to put $40 into a DVD burner and pack of 100 DVD's, or spend $30 on a coaxial cable for my cable modem (the coaxial cable I have cuts out and needs to be jiggled). So yeah, I sure do need more money

The reason I can't get a job is because it would kill my disability claim (which I'm probably not going to get). And as for doing work around the neighborhood: I spent all last summer doing that, and as a result my lawn mower broke, forcing me to invest almost all the money I made into a new lawn mower, and the rest I loaned my sister for her rent (money I can count on never seeing again). It's all cold and snowy around here this time of year. I would offer to shovel snow, but shoveling is like the one thing I can't do with my back. I can do most other things, but shoveling I just can't do. So I plan on getting more money this summer either from disability or from mowing yards. But I can't wait for this summer… I need a new computer now! I need it… I really do!
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Shop around for some used parts
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe you should look into buying a barebones build. While it isn't the best for future upgrades. It will give you a Case, CPU, mobo, PSU and normally a HDD.
I know this is probably out of your price range but here is a good example of something that might work for you.

XFX nForce 630i Socket 775 Barebone Kit - XFX MG-63Mi-7159, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 OEM, 2GB Corsair TWINX PC6400, 500GB SATA II, Silver ATX Mid-Tower Case, 450 Watt Power Supply at TigerDirect.com
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