1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Help me buy a computer

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by unjung, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Mid-tower is fine. The only potential hangup is if you decide to go with a big honking video card (e.g. Radeon 5970) sometime down the road. But seeing as the OP's system isn't designed to be a gaming rig that is not going to be a problem. I love Antec cases; my previous system was built around an Antec 640B and an Antec 400W power supply.
     
  2. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    My Antec 300 has room for any video card it seems, motherboard limitations notwithstanding. But this is the first mid tower I've ever owned, so maybe this 300 is bigger than most.
     
  3. imschatz

    imschatz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    895
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    My Antec 300 has room for any video card it seems, motherboard limitations notwithstanding. But this is the first mid tower I've ever owned, so maybe this 300 is bigger than most.
    I have an Antec 900. Only problem I run into is with my Radeon HD2900XTX and ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe is the end of the video runs into the HDD bay. If I wanted too I could still fit HDD's in every slot, but it takes some wiggling to get the SATA cables all hooked up in a couple of the slots.

    That video card seems to be half a square foot though. Never seen one quite that big.
     
  4. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Holy crap. I knew video cards were getting bigger, but no idea there were that monstrous!

    I never buy ATI due to Linux driver issues. Nvidia or bust here. Got my Asus Geforce 9500 GT in there with room to spare. Even has a fan.

    Runs Half Life 2 and Oblivion great maxed out.
     
  5. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,809
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    OP's build would run Win7 very, very well and I suggest it.

    Do not get the value ram, you really don't save much. Get the Gskill Ripjaw DDR3 1600. Much, much faster without a large price hike, with excellent reviews. Get the 955 or 965 CPU, whichever is fine. Only spring for the added video card (the integrated HD 4250 will not play games made within the last 2 years very well). 4gb of ram is more than you'll need, even with a 64 bit OS. People go nuts on ram and then realize that they barely use 20% of it at any given time. Speed is more important than capacity once you hit 4gb and up. HDD is up to you, sounds like you'd be better off with a smaller, faster HDD for your OS (maybe an SSD) and a large one for your movies, games, pr0n, etc.

    Get an ATX board to go into the mid tower case. Make sure you have some quiet 120mm fans with a quiet PSU. I'd suggest getting an aftermarket CPU cooler, something like the Cooler Master 212+ (used to be $25 but got really popular as of late).
     
  6. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    And if you're interested in the Antec 300, don't let the bad reviews re: cable management throw you off. I don't think most people writing negative reviews have realized if you take off the other side panel, there's a cable bay right there for you to run your wires to to keep them out of the way.

    If you have a modular power supply (thanks again for the rec!), it's even less of an issue. Granted, some people avoid modular b/c of imagined degradation from the plugs, but that doesn't even come close to the degradation you get from the wires themselves on any old power supply, so that's not even worth worrying about.

    white/asian, was it you who recommended the OCZ PSU + DVD writer combo off newegg? If so, thanks again, that was an incredible deal. Essentially that combo makes the DVD writer free, not to mention a nice fat 20 dollar mail in rebate. 60 bucks after rebates for a 700 watt modular PSU and LiteOn SATA DVD writer can't be beat!

    unjung: Your setup looks great to me. I'd go for an ATX mobo over mATX and get a good mid tower case, which can last you forever. I checked the mobo you chose, and my ATX Gigabyte cost just as much as that, or even a little less with a rebate, it just didn't come with integrated video. But, if you're building it for gaming, you won't be using integrated video anyway.

    Also, good for going DDR3 and socket AM3. Newegg has lots of combo deals on Socket AM2+/AM3 boards, but I'd be hesitant on getting those. You won't be saving that much money, and you'd be stuck with DDR2 800 RAM on most of those AM2+ boards.

    I'd also go for a good case, I like my Antec, and Lian Li was highly recommended to me here as well, but that's up to you.

    I'd pony up the extra dough and get one of those name brand modular power supplies and a decent case, since you can keep that for future builds. Just something to think about.

    edit 2: If you are planning on carrying this box around to LAN parties and such, maybe mATX would be better, but I don't know about air flow, cooling, space for video cards. But I've seen some neat mATX cases with bar handles on top for carrying around.

    I just noticed also, my 4 gigs of G.Skill DDR3 1333 has a cas latency of 9, and for not much more I could have gotten a latency of 8. Not sure how much of a difference that would have made though.
     
  7. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Holy crap. I knew video cards were getting bigger, but no idea there were that monstrous!


    The ATI Radeon 5970 is almost a foot long! Then you'd want some space around the card to give it good airflow. Videocards are getting monstrous. I have a full tower case so I've got plenty of room but frankly the footprint is huge.
     
  8. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    When it gets to foot long video cards, I'm tempted to say, just buy a god damned Xbox lol
     
  9. bearsfan172

    bearsfan172 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Haha yeah the 5970 is a fucking massive card. But so nice. I'll agree with the others that valueRAM should be avoided...

    And just go Windows 7 out of the box. If there are programs you need to run that ONLY work on XP, just set up XP virtualization in Win 7. Sticking with XP at this point is just silly
     
  10. AR_Six

    AR_Six Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,770
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    K keep this thread alive because I want to build a PC very soon (ie as soon as I get my starting bonus for the new office). What I want to do is grab a 46" HDTV and hook up the desktop sort of as a media PC, but also, if need be, a gaming PC. I probably won't play many games on it but it would be nice to have the option. I'll mostly use it for watching downloaded TV shows / movies, hockey games through nhl.com. Also for browsing teh interwebz when I'm not using my laptop.

    I haven't really kept up to speed since I haven't built a desktop since... like 5+ years ago. So I'm not sure what I'll need processor-wise. I'm thinking I'll want 6-8 gigs of decent memory, a good but not top of the line video card (~$150-200), a blu-ray player, and... what? HD space is probably not an issue since if I max out I can always just add a 1TB external.

    So my questions are, I guess,

    1. Does this idea even really make sense?
    2. What processor should I be looking at, and what speed?
    3. What do I need to know to pick the right memory setup?
    4. What are good video cards for my purposes?
    5. Somewhat unrelated, but anything anybody can tell me to help me pick a TV would be appreciated since I know relatively little about that, I'm trying to find a 42-46" HDTV that'll be good for ~4-5 years, but have little grasp of terms like "contrast ratio".
    6. Anything else I should know?

    If there's a substantial benefit to stepping up a bit in price I'm okay with that but I really am looking for something that's good value and will do the job, not something that'll develop sentient thought or support a national intelligence agency.

    If anyone can help me out with this stuff I'd appreciate it, feel like the guy wandering into SW&D asking others to dress him, but salespeople just want you to buy shit and that'd be the other major source of info I have.
     
  11. bearsfan172

    bearsfan172 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    K keep this thread alive because I want to build a PC very soon (ie as soon as I get my starting bonus for the new office). What I want to do is grab a 46" HDTV and hook up the desktop sort of as a media PC, but also, if need be, a gaming PC. I probably won't play many games on it but it would be nice to have the option. I'll mostly use it for watching downloaded TV shows / movies, hockey games through nhl.com. Also for browsing teh interwebz when I'm not using my laptop. I haven't really kept up to speed since I haven't built a desktop since... like 5+ years ago. So I'm not sure what I'll need processor-wise. I'm thinking I'll want 6-8 gigs of decent memory, a good but not top of the line video card (~$150-200), a blu-ray player, and... what? HD space is probably not an issue since if I max out I can always just add a 1TB external. So my questions are, I guess, 1. Does this idea even really make sense? 2. What processor should I be looking at, and what speed? 3. What do I need to know to pick the right memory setup? 4. What are good video cards for my purposes? 5. Somewhat unrelated, but anything anybody can tell me to help me pick a TV would be appreciated since I know relatively little about that, I'm trying to find a 42-46" HDTV that'll be good for ~4-5 years, but have little grasp of terms like "contrast ratio". 6. Anything else I should know? If there's a substantial benefit to stepping up a bit in price I'm okay with that but I really am looking for something that's good value and will do the job, not something that'll develop sentient thought or support a national intelligence agency. If anyone can help me out with this stuff I'd appreciate it, feel like the guy wandering into SW&D asking others to dress him, but salespeople just want you to buy shit and that'd be the other major source of info I have.
    1. Yes, the idea makes sense, people do it all the time 2. Processor-wise, there are a lot of different routes you can go. First you need to decide if you want to do AMD or Intel, and then what motherboard you want to use. I'd probably go on ahead with AMD, cause Intel chips are pretty expensive for what you get. The only reason to go Intel IMO is if you need the top top level of performance that only the highest end i7 or Xeon chips can offer. The 965 Black Edition that the OP mentioned is a blazing fast processor that can be found really cheap, so I'm tempted just to recommend that right away. 3. Picking the right memory is easy, just go for the fastest memory speeds that your system board supports. It had ought to be some nice DDR3 memory, but check the specs on your motherboard. I reccomend at least 6 GB out of the box. I work at Best Buy, and only our very cheapest computers come with anything less then that. 4. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned the Radeon 5770 chip, which is an awesome chip for that price range. As I said above, anything 57xx should be a nice chip. All of them will support DirectX11, so you'll be well futureproofed. If you go with an AMD processor, stick with a Radeon chip, unless you HAVE to run Linux for some crazy reason. Even if you go with Intel, I'd probably go with a Radeon chip. nVidia chips just don't tend to play as nice, and can cost a bit more for what you get. 5. Depending on what you are looking to spend, the new lineup of Samsung LED TV's are quite nice. I have one of last years models and I love it. Very energy efficient, with awesome color and a nice sleek design. But they are pricey. A standard 120 Hz LCD should do just fine for about anyone, and they can be picked up at bargain prices if you watch the ads and internet. The Hz I referred to above is the refresh rate on the TV. 120 Hz says the screen will refresh 120 times per second. 60 Hz would be 60 times per second. If you are looking to play Blu-ray movies, make sure you get at least 120 Hz, which is the standard today. The benefits offered by 240 Hz are marginal, but if the upgrade is cheap, go for it so you are prepared for the future. Contrast ratio refers to the difference between the deepest blacks and the brightest brights. The higher the contrast ratio, the more the colors will pop, and the deeper your black levels will be. Better black levels are awesome if you're watching blu-ray movies. So go for a higher contrast ratio if possible. And make sure the TV is 1080p 6. Make sure whatever graphics card you use has an HDMI output to hook up to your TV. Get a blu-ray player, either as a standalone or built into your computer. Keep in mind that graphics are important to keep decent refresh rates on a massive 46 inch TV. I have seen good machines get crippled by outputting to massive screens.
     
  12. AR_Six

    AR_Six Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,770
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    ^Thanks man. What should I be looking for as stats for ram? Like DDR3 is a good thing to know, but I have this vague idea that there is another standard attached to ram relating to quality vs cheap stuff.

    Check, radeon 5770 noted. Anything else I should consider besides ATI cards or have they and Nvidia pretty much cornered the market at this point?

    I am looking to spend hopefully less than 1k on the TV portion of this little venture. I'm not completely averse to breaking that if I think the value for the extra money is there. If I could do it for $800 + the desktop I'd be pretty satisfied. K, so 120hz minimum, maybe 240hz (though I'm betting that right there will cost me ~200 bucks). What is a "good" contrast ratio? Because some of these things go up to 4 million : 1 and some are in the several-hundred-thousand to one range.

    Definitely need HDMI out, and probably need to make sure whatever TV I get has more than one HDMI port because I might want to hook up a couple of things. What do you mean by graphics are important to keep up the refresh rate? A good graphics card is necessary for that, you mean?

    It sounds like I might want to go plasma from what I'm reading, to get a better contrast ratio and pay somewhat less for the same size screen. Any good reason to avoid it? Seems like the downside is lifespan but if I have to upgrade in a few years, I might want to do that anyway if 3d technology has come along by then.
     
  13. bearsfan172

    bearsfan172 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    ^Thanks man. What should I be looking for as stats for ram? Like DDR3 is a good thing to know, but I have this vague idea that there is another standard attached to ram relating to quality vs cheap stuff.

    Check, radeon 5770 noted. Anything else I should consider besides ATI cards or have they and Nvidia pretty much cornered the market at this point?

    I am looking to spend hopefully less than 1k on the TV portion of this little venture. I'm not completely averse to breaking that if I think the value for the extra money is there. If I could do it for $800 + the desktop I'd be pretty satisfied. K, so 120hz minimum, maybe 240hz (though I'm betting that right there will cost me ~200 bucks). What is a "good" contrast ratio? Because some of these things go up to 4 million : 1 and some are in the several-hundred-thousand to one range.

    Definitely need HDMI out, and probably need to make sure whatever TV I get has more than one HDMI port because I might want to hook up a couple of things. What do you mean by graphics are important to keep up the refresh rate? A good graphics card is necessary for that, you mean?

    It sounds like I might want to go plasma from what I'm reading, to get a better contrast ratio and pay somewhat less for the same size screen. Any good reason to avoid it? Seems like the downside is lifespan but if I have to upgrade in a few years, I might want to do that anyway if 3d technology has come along by then.

    If you're looking at a TV for less then 1k, it is going to be an 120 hz TV. There is nothing wrong with plasma, I just have never been a big fan of it. Seems too fussy to me. In my opinion, the only reason to buy plasma is at the top top end (see Pioneer Elite) where an LCD just can't match. Again, that's my opinion, there are plenty of people that swear by plasma too. It is impossible to define a "good" contrast ratio due to the fact that most of these companies make it up. My LED TV is stated to have an 8 million:1 contrast ratio, but yet the LCD in my basement is a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The LED is better... but 8000 times better? I don't think so. Samsung is the biggest infringer on this bullshit contrast ratio stuff, but yet their TVs do have high contrast ratios. It is all very convoluted... so there is really not good answer on that one. By the way, look to get a Samsung or Sony TV, in my experience they are simply at a higher level then most of the other brands. Sharp is nice too, at a bit lower pricepoint. If you do go Plasma, Panasonic makes a very nice TV as well.

    I don't even know if anyone makes graphics chipsets other then ATi and nVidia. But keep in mind that in most cases they won't be the ones manufacturing the cards. They simply make the chipsets, and other companies manufacture them. PNY, and BFX are good graphics chip manufacturers that I have used before. Diamond makes some nice chips as well. I had bad luck with Galaxy before, but I do know people that swear by them so who knows. My knowledge of chip makers is slightly limited, someone else might know more.

    What I mean by the refresh rate part is just that you shouldn't expect amazing gaming performance on a screen that big. It will be playable, but if you are looking for massive framerates, you probably need a PC monitor. I think it will be fine for more casual gaming though, as long as you get a good enough graphics card (5770 would be considered "good enough"). Oh and while I'm at it, don't get ripped off when you buy HDMI cables. Monster cables can run $100 to $140, don't let yourself do that. Monoprice cables are dirt cheap online (like $5), and if you have a fry's electronics near you, you can easily pick up some cheap cables there. Don't walk into a best buy and get a cable, you will be mercilessly ripped off. And don't buy into any crap that some cables are better then others, they aren't. Digital signal doesn't have quality. It is either all on or all off.

    I don't know a ton about the differences in RAM quality. I usually just stick with reputable brands like Kingston and PNY, and that has always been fine for me
     
  14. AR_Six

    AR_Six Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,770
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Yeah brand-wise I'm just wondering if I should be looking at brands I haven't heard of as being cheap crap or just that being a product of me not really knowing what I'm talking about.
     
  15. unjung

    unjung Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,544
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    The beach
    What about this guy?

    I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.
     
  16. binge

    binge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,210
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Keep in mind that graphics are important to keep decent refresh rates on a massive 46 inch TV. I have seen good machines get crippled by outputting to massive screens.

    [​IMG]

    And 1600x1200 wasn't uncommon in the late 1990s. Somehow those video cards kept up. Or are you suggesting bigger pixels put more stress on the graphics card?
     
  17. AR_Six

    AR_Six Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,770
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    What about this guy? I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.
    Where are you finding these systems? I'm looking on the website under computer systems and not seeing them. Wondering if I'm in the wrong category, or what.
     
  18. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    JD, please post a follow up once you build your HTPC. I'm looking to do that in the not so distant future, perhaps.

    Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz would be good for a HTPC, but if you are looking to game too, I'd just go ahead and get a dual core.
     
  19. imschatz

    imschatz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    895
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    What about this guy?



    I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.

    I think it sounds better then the first system; but I'm a little behind on my pc components knowledge.

    Check out www.tomshardware.com .. they do monthly or quarterly CPU reviews and rank them into price groups. Some of their stuff can be a bit off for the hardcore PC enthusiast, but it's usually a good starting point. They might point you towards a better CPU for the same price as the one your looking at.
     
  20. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,809
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    I think it sounds better then the first system; but I'm a little behind on my pc components knowledge.

    Check out www.tomshardware.com .. they do monthly or quarterly CPU reviews and rank them into price groups. Some of their stuff can be a bit off for the hardcore PC enthusiast, but it's usually a good starting point. They might point you towards a better CPU for the same price as the one your looking at.


    Not sure what CPU that would be. AMD has pretty much cornered the market for the sub $200 price/performance processors for the last 2 years. $ for $ you cannot beat an AMD Phenom II X4, especially considering the OC headroom you get with them.

    The system unjung posted is perfectly fine for what he wants to do. Photo, sound and video editing, watching movies, browsing the web, and the occasional light gaming. Just because retail manufacturers are shoving 6gb + ram into their systems doesn't mean it's necessary. Again, I work my computer fairly hard at times and rarely ever get within 20% of my 4gb total. However if you're doing some serious Photoshop or editing work, then it may be something to consider. I just do some picture touch up, cropping, and light editing on the occasion in addition to my gaming.

    Still not sure why unjung insists on using a micro-ATX motherboard when he's using an ATX case. Make use of the extra room! You never know when you want to add a TV tuner card or get a large dual slot video card. Better to future proof and it's not like it's an extra charge to get the larger ATX mobo.

    I heartily endorse modular power supplies. I hate the ones that come bundled in a case already. They're often pure crap and die out within a year. Also the modular ones allow you to only use a few leads and keeps the case clutter free, allowing for better airflow. Get a decent case and a separate PSU. The OCZ modXstream is a great option that often can be combo bundled with a DVD Burner like javyn purchased (you're welcome [​IMG])

    In addition to the case fan, I suggest getting an aftermarket CPU cooler such as this. It will keep your CPU cooler, exhaust the air toward the back of the case (there should be a fan back there) therefore keeping the case temps lower, and be quieter than the stock fan at the same time.

    Also, newegg.ca has lower prices... in general.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by