Building PC's-How-to?

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ikellen

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I have been toying with comps since the early years of my life (i'm 15) and have gotten to the point where I wanna put together my own custom PC so I can get better performance, more space, better peripherals, etc. for less money. I know how to install most components, but I have a few, make that more than a few questions regarding building custom PC's:

-First off, is there a guide somewhere that explains the ins and outs of buidling computers?

-Bios-How do you program it once you get all your components installed?

-Motherboards-Do they all have one global layout for plugging things such as power and IDE cables in?


Those are my main questions I had, most everything else I know how to do, it's mostly installing motherboards and getting everything connected to them that I have trouble with :) Thanks-
 

Martin

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1) Check guide above, although Tom's Hardware also has one as well.

2) The BIOS is already programmed from the factory with the correct data for function. Only if you do an incorrect BIOS update/flash later on is when you will need to seek assistance. ;)

3) Different motherboards have different layouts, therefore you will always need to check the length of certain IDE cables when running through the case.

For starters, some nice board selections are: (just to name a few)

AMD: ASUS A7V333
Intel: (Pentium 4) ASUS P4S-533
 

ikellen

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Cool thanks for the Tut. Now for my next couple of questions, lol :)

Motherboards/Processors-This probably been posted a million and one times, but what motherboards work good with which processors? I am looking for a comp that I can do all my web and graphic design on, along with gaming and 3D renders AKA I want a bitchin fast comp :) Well, fast, but no 2.5 ghz proc's, something around 1.4-1.7 ghz. What are the best for AMD and Pentium processors (which is good for the P4 and which for Athlon XP)

Budgeting-I am not sitting a wealth of cash, so I'm probably not going to go top-o-the-line on every component of my comp. Which parts is it generally ok to get general compnents instead of top of the line stuff? I know a sound card might be one, but the thing's I will definitly go top-notch on are:

-Processor
-Video Card
-RAM
-Hard Drive

Of the remaining parts of a PC, which area's are OK to put in a general component instead of the most expensive?

Sorry for writing essays about my topics, but I'm trying to get as informed as I can so I don't screw anything up :)

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Vile

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ikellen said:


What are the best for AMD and Pentium processors (which is good for the P4 and which for Athlon XP)

-Processor
-Video Card
-RAM
-Hard Drive

Of the remaining parts of a PC, which area's are OK to put in a general component instead of the most expensive?

Sorry for writing essays about my topics, but I'm trying to get as informed as I can so I don't screw anything up :)

Thanks

Motherboards:

AMD:
I've read good reviews about both of the following motherboards:
ABIT TH7II-RAID and ASUS A7V266-E

Intel:
I'd suggest looking into the ASUS A7V333.


Processor:
If you choose AMD, I'd say at least get an AMD XP 1800+.
As for Intel, you could probably pick up just a 2 GHz (just CPU) for around $180, so that could be cool. It all depends on what you really want to do. 3D rendering can take up a lot of system, depending on what progs you use.

Ram: I'd say 512 if you can.

Hard Drive:
HD is an important one. Make sure you get one thats at least 7200 RPM. Since your system waits on your hard drive, you don't want to get 5400 RPM. That would just slow stuff down, and you would defintely notice it.

Video Card:
I'd say at least a GeForce 2 Ti200. Currently the best available is the ATI RADEON 9700 Pro, but the GeForce 4 Ti4600 is not far behind.

It's really up to you. I'd check out the following sites and read reviews:

www.tomshardware.com www.anandtech.com www.firingsquad.com

As for the whole AMD vs Intel thing..I wont get into that, but I'll tell you that my XP 1800+ performs damn nice, and wasn't too expensive.

My setup:

AMD XP 1800+ @ 1.53 GHz
SY-K7V Dragon Plus Motherboard
1 GB PC2100 DDR RAM
180 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
GeForce 3 Ti200

When playing games, I jack the graphics settings up to the max, and everything runs great, even UT2003 ;)

BTW, I'm also into graphics/getting into it, and my system has no probs with them.

Some programs I use are 3DS Max 5, Maya 4, Bryce 5, Poser, Infini-D, etc....

Just to give you an example of what the system is capable of doing.
 

Martin

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If you are into some heavy 3D rendering, and have the extra $200-300 or so, Quadro4's are some of the very best, but a GeForce4 Ti 4200 level card will do. (64mb), or 128mb for the extra $10-20.

An AMD CPU will save lots of $ in the process, but it's really much of a test of your power supply and your case's airflow depends on the amount of heat dissipated from the CPU, and they do get quite surprisingly hot without good airflow within the case (for my setup I use a single 80mm, 4500rpm case fan at the top back of the case to blow hot air OUT, while another one at the bottom provides fresh, cold air IN.)

P4's are generally more expensive; but consume less power (1.65V core voltage as opposed to 1.75 for common Athlon XPs/Palominos). They are also more prone to overclocking; for example if you are quite skilled, and have the cooling solutions, you can get a P4 1.6A as high as 2.4ghz.

As for heat concerns, the P4's don't generally run as hot, but there are many cases which it can heat up to almost the same as an Athlon XP when loaded at work.
 

ikellen

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OK thanks-

I currently run a P4 1.5ghz with no problems on a 300w PS. Haven't had any system lags, but my video card isn't the best so gaming sometimes isn't great. In terms on motherboards, are Soyo's any good? I know nothing about mobo's :p and I was looking at a soyo that my local shop had on sale.

P4 vs. Athlon XP is a mjor toss-up, I wouldn't really care either way, I might kinda prefer a P4 since I dont wanna spend cash on a bunch of fans.
 

Martin

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Soyo's are pretty favored, though you may want to look for some of their motherboards based on VIA KT333 (AMD) chipset or Intel 845 (DDR) / Intel 850 (RDRAM) / SiS chipsets (Intel).

Those are some I stick to.
 
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