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Old 04-17-2009, 08:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question PC builder challenge and network connection question

I have a challenge for you computer-building experts on here, and I hope you can help me figure out the best computer setup for my situation.

I need to buy a new computer, which will be used for Internet, multimedia, gaming, and occasional DVD viewing (Blu-Ray upgrade possible). I create multimedia PowerPoint presentations for work on occasion, along with photo editing for personal use. The computer will have Office Enterprise 2007 installed on it. I play Neverwinter Nights (plan to get NWN2 after upgrade), Sid Meier's Pirates!, Civilization III, etc., but may add games such as Halo to the list. It needs to be powerful enough to run what I have now to the fullest extent without a problem and also keep up with newer games and applications for at least a few years before upgrades would be needed, but I would like to keep total cost to about $1k (if possible). I already have a monitor and speakers, so those are not part of the budget for this build.

Criteria:
1) Case size: it would have to be a mid-tower, with depth less than 17.5", width less than 9.5", and height less than 18".

2) Case does not need to be flashy, just needs to hold the parts without overheating, etc.

3) The power button and any easy access ports should be on the front, as the tower will be enclosed and placing them on the sides or top (as I've seen on some cases) would be counterproductive.

4) No extra door covering the disk drives would be preferred, but is not necessarily a deal killer.

5) Needs an internal 3.5" 1.44MB floppy drive.

6) Dual internal HDD required. One will serve as a backup.

7) Dual internal disk drives required, one Blu-Ray DVD (RW?) and one Lightscribe DVD/CD+R/RW preferred.

8) Multi-interface needed for camera memory cards, memory sticks, etc.

9) Potential for upgrading graphics/sound/memory without changing out motherboard if possible.

10) A regular Internet keyboard and mouse (one with two buttons and a scroll wheel that also functions as third button) are good enough. I don't want a keyboard with backlit keys or anything. I prefer having the keyboard and mouse wired so that I don't have to fuss with batteries.

I will be using a ViewSonic 22" monitor (VX2260wm), which has full 1080p HD capability (1920x1080 res. and a 16:9 ratio), and HDMI and DVI with HDCP inputs. The speakers for my surround sound are Logitech X-230.

I have an hp psc 2410 photosmart all-in-one printer/fax/scanner/copier that will be connected this computer.

Am I better off trying to build one myself with parts, order a custom-built one from a site such as iBuyPower Custom Gaming Computers - Gaming PC & Gaming Notebooks, or should I just go to Best Buy and get something off the shelf and perhaps throw a couple of upgrades into it? If buying off the shelf, I won't touch Dell or Gateway due to past experience with those companies. I prefer HP or Compaq computers.

I would also like to connect this new computer and my old computer (going to my wife) on a home network so we can share our cable Internet connection. Due to the layout of the room/house, a wireless connection would be preferred, but I have concerns about privacy and unfortunately don't know anything about setting up a wireless network.

Is anyone able to meet this challenge and help me out?
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

Newegg.com - HIS Hightech H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Newegg.com - D-Link WDA-2320 IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Rangebooster G Desktop Adapter Up to 108Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA - Wireless Adapters

Newegg.com - LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

Newegg.com - LG Black 6X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Model GGC-H20L - Blu-Ray Drives

Newegg.com - Rosewill RCR-102 52-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader w/ USB port - Card Readers

Newegg.com - Microsoft QQA-00001S Black USB Digital Media Keyboard 3000 and Mouse Kit - Keyboards

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TPower I45 LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

Newegg.com - PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Power Supplies

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

I think i got everything. I didn't put in a second dvd drive because the blu-ray drive does everything. If you really think you are going to be like playing a movie and burning a disc at the same time, then go ahead and throw in another dvd drive of your choice.
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Old 04-18-2009, 01:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

Concerning your wireless network worries, When a wireless network is properly encrypted via the use of wep or wpa (wpa is preferred) you will be as secure as you can be.

All new routers make the setup and encrypting of their wireless products easy these days. When you get a router if you have any setup issues please ask and we will be happy to help.

I prefer D-Link for my wireless needs.

The build Pinscher put together is very nice and much better than any off the shelf product you could buy.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinscher View Post
I think i got everything. I didn't put in a second dvd drive because the blu-ray drive does everything. If you really think you are going to be like playing a movie and burning a disc at the same time, then go ahead and throw in another dvd drive of your choice.
Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it (and yes, I added to your rep). I don't see the 1.44MB floppy drive on the list of items, but maybe I'm not reading something correctly. I wouldn't be watching a movie while burning a disc, but I have copied from disc to disc before (backups, transfers from older discs, etc.) - that's why I wanted the two drives. Your post would have been even better if you'd provided a total cost for your list of recommended items, but I can definitely go to the site links you provided and add that up myself. In fact, I've pasted the results below - you did excellent job staying close to the target price of $1k!

mobo = $159.99
case = $89.99
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card = $129.99 (includes free S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:Clear Sky game)
D-link adapter = $39.99
BluRay DVD±R = $109.99
52-in-1 card reader = $11.99
keyboard/mouse = $26.99
750GB 32MB Cache HDD = $89.99 x 2 = $179.98
500W power = $74.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz processor/4GB DDR2 SDRAM memory = $234.98

Total = $1058.88

Would still need:
3.5" floppy drive = $?
2nd DVD±RW drive = $?
router = $?
OS = $?
Audio card = $?
anything else? = $?

New questions:
1) To create my home wireless network, I know that I need a single router, and also one adapter for each computer. I see an adapter on the recommendation list; is there a router you guys would recommend to go with it?

2) Is there any other equipment I'll need?

3) Does it matter what kind of adapter I get for the older computer? The old computer has a Pentium 4 1.6GHz processor, 1GB 400MHz PC3200 DDR RAM, and a 64MB nVidia GeForce2MX 200 graphics card with TV-out.

4) I don't know anything about the old mobo to give you that info, is there a way to pull up the info for it on the computer? I looked in System Info, but didn't see anything.

5) I noted some current games already recommend 512MB video card. Is it advisable to replace the 512MB recommended card with a 1GB? If so, would that require other changes?

6) Essentially, what is my limit for future upgradability based on the recommended motherboard? Could I put better (or additional) video card or a Corei7 processor on that board later if I wanted to upgrade?

7) Is there a website with videos showing us noobs how to put this stuff together and get it running? I noted some feedback on a review for the recommended motherboard that I would need to make some kind of adjustments to get the computer to boot up.

8) Recommendation on OS - Windows Vista or XP? I currently use XP on my old computer, don't know if changing to Vista is worth headache of learning new OS. Any bugs in Vista? Also, I noted there are two versions of Vista, 32bit and 64bit. What's the difference and which do I want? I'm inclined to say 64bit because it sounds more advanced, but I also don't know what I'm talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hefemeister View Post
Concerning your wireless network worries, When a wireless network is properly encrypted via the use of wep or wpa (wpa is preferred) you will be as secure as you can be.

All new routers make the setup and encrypting of their wireless products easy these days. When you get a router if you have any setup issues please ask and we will be happy to help.

I prefer D-Link for my wireless needs.

The build Pinscher put together is very nice and much better than any off the shelf product you could buy.
I also upped your rep. Thank you for the input.

Unfortunately, this case does not meet the specified dimension criteria, so I can not use it. The dimension criteria is a critical point. I will keep looking, but welcome any new input.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

I've done a few builds with this case and has free shipping and also will save you some money, However you should buy a 120mm fan to replace the 80mm they have installed and put the 80mm in the frone as a intake fan. Pretty solic case for the money too. Best of all it comes in just under the measurements that you require. Newegg.com - HEC 6K60BS Black / Silver 0.8mm SECC Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
also the floppy drive Newegg.com - NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model FD1231M - Floppy Drives and the DVD burner Newegg.com - Pioneer Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Question Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dauntae View Post
I've done a few builds with this case and has free shipping and also will save you some money, However you should buy a 120mm fan to replace the 80mm they have installed and put the 80mm in the frone as a intake fan. Pretty solic case for the money too. Best of all it comes in just under the measurements that you require. Newegg.com - HEC 6K60BS Black / Silver 0.8mm SECC Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
also the floppy drive Newegg.com - NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model FD1231M - Floppy Drives and the DVD burner Newegg.com - Pioneer Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners
Dauntae
Thank you for the input. I looked at the case you recommended, and it does meet the size criteria but it doesn't appear to meet the double HDD capability because of mini-tower (only 1 slot on specs). I'm concerned that the tower will be too small on the inside, but would like to hear additional input on this case as an option. Will it fit all the stuff I want to put in it without giving me a headache, and without overheating? Will have to check out the floppy and DVD links.

While I've been searching through Newegg, I've found a few mid-tower cases that appear to meet the dimension criteria, any thoughts on these?
Rosewill R230-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
HEC 6C28BB8S Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
APEVIA X-Dreamer ATXB3KLW-AL Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply - Retail
HEC 6C28BBX585 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 585W Power Supply - Retail
AeroCool S9 Pro Black 0.6mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
The AeroCool did not have any dimension information in the specs, but it had good reviews. Does anyone know the dimension info for this case?

I've re-measured the space in the desk, and I think the absolute maximum depth I could fit into the space is 19", not 17.5", although at 19" the plugs in back are going to be a very tight fit. I can also fit a height of 18.5", but the width is indeed comfortably maxed out at about 9.5". Isn't there supposed to be a minimum space on the top and sides required for air flow? If so, that will affect the depth and height measurements downward. At 19" depth, I'm allowing only 2" space in back of the tower; at 18.5" height, I'm leaving only 1" space above the tower - is this enough space?
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

Newegg.com - Antec NSK4480B Black 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Computer Cases

16.6” x 7.8” x 16.5”

The main clearances you should worry about would be at the front of the case (for air intake), to the left of the case (if it has a side intake), and the rear of the case (for the exhaust). If you are planning on putting it in a cubby, make sure it has good ventilation. It it doesn't, you are putting your components in an oven.

The AeroCool case is 430(H) x 200(W) x 440(D) (via the manufacturer's specs).
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

You seem to have a good grasp of what you need for your networking. I would recommend looking for a D-Link router and pci wireless cards.

To find out information about your old computer you can run cpuz CPUID which will tell you the motherboard model that you have. Then you can go to the manufactures website for additional information.

As for your video card memory, more memory helps you when you game at higher resolutions. If you have a large monitor and game at high resolutions get a card with more memory.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

+1 to the antec 4480B and the power supply in their is great (made by seasonic). Would be a very good option for your to get.

This is what i recommended you get, all under 1000 besides router, any decent one will do.

Newegg.com - Pioneer Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners
Newegg.com - Antec NSK6580B Black 0.8mm cold-rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430 Watts 80 PLUS Power Supply - Computer Cases
Newegg.com - SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model MPF920 Black - Floppy Drives
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives x2
Newegg.com - D-Link WDA-2320 IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Rangebooster G Desktop Adapter Up to 108Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA - Wireless Adapters
Newegg.com - HIS Hightech H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Newegg.com - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Sound Cards
Newegg.com - Microsoft QQA-00001S Black USB Digital Media Keyboard 3000 and Mouse Kit - Keyboards
Newegg.com - Rosewill RCR-102 52-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader w/ USB port - Card Readers
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - Operating Systems
Newegg.com - LG Black 6X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Model GGC-H20L - Blu-Ray Drives

That's your whole rig, very good build.

EDIT: if your running riad might need to change mobo. becasue this doesn't support RAID
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Question Re: PC builder challenge and network connection question

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+1 to the antec 4480B and the power supply in their is great (made by seasonic). Would be a very good option for your to get.


Newegg.com - Antec NSK6580B Black 0.8mm cold-rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430 Watts 80 PLUS Power Supply - Computer Cases

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards


EDIT: if your running riad might need to change mobo. becasue this doesn't support RAID
I didn't understand a couple things from your response. Could you please clarify on these?

1) Are you recommending the 4480B case over the 6580B you linked, or provided it as a backup option because the 4480B is smaller? Neither case came with a power supply from Seasonic, so I'm confused on that point.

2) About the mobo comment in the edit - what is RAID? Would the mobo recommended by Pinscher be a better option? I don't know the difference between them because I know nothing about mobos other than that they hold all the other stuff.
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