Making My Own Computer

So, I’m thinking about making my own computer before I go to college next year. I want it to last a while, which also means I want it to be wicked awesome. I’ve been looking at barebone kits on tigerdirect.com I was thinking about getting this one, but I wanted some of your guys input because I’ve never really done this before. :]

Though I haven’t really actauly built one before, I may recommend that you first make a VERY specific list of what you want its functions and applications and other specifics to be. Wicked awesome is great, but say if you wanna run high level computer games on it, you’re gonna want a good video/audio card combination. Some computers have it some don’t. Good luck! When your done with yours, make one for me! :slight_smile:

I have built a few PC for myself, friends and family. If you have never done it before, I would recommend having a friend who has, help you through the process. That’s how I learned.

I, personally, don’t like bare bones kits. They never seem to come with the combinations of parts I want.

First, I’ll recommend newegg.com and mwave.com. I’ve ordered parts from both of them, and they have great service.
Second, I’ll recommend pcmech.com and their tutorial. Once you have a list of parts, post it on the message boards there. There are allot of people who will give you feedback and help you out.

I’m sure many people here will help out, also. Just ask questions and you will get answers.

As an IST major currently assisting my apartmentmate in one of her IST classes of PC Hardware and Design, be sure to take into consideration what software you will need to be running on your system, and what you will be studying in college and what type of system may benefit you. Look into new technologies, and how tech prices may be changing in those areas over the next 6 months or so.

I’d steer clear of barebone systems, too. You’ll want to pick your motherboard since that’s where all the features lie. Take a look at tomshardware.com and get a good idea of motherboards. If you want a system to last a bit longer, I’d go with an Athlon 64. What you want to use the computer for can drastically change the type of components you’ll want. And your budget. I always forget about that one. The amount of money you have to spend on this thing will probably be the biggest deciding factor :slight_smile: I’d also like to highly recommend www.zipzoomfly.com. They commonly have better prices and better shipping than Newegg. I got a $70 newegg order for $14 less at zipzoomfly with free 2-day shipping.

If I had to build a system to last a while, I’d go with an Athlon 64 3200 or so, 1gb ram, a video card using PCI Express, one or two 160gb Serial ATA drives, a DVD burner, and an M-Audio sound card.

I’ve built 3 computers, and it isn’t that difficult, but having a friend nearby to start is helpful (like Ogre suggested). Also like Ogre, I recommend Newegg. I have never personally ordered from there but I hear nothing but good things about them. For deciding parts, anandtech.com and tomshardware.com have lots of reviews to get you started.

What will it be used for? If it is a gaming PC, the Athlon 64’s are top-notch. The Pentium 4’s rule more of the digital media arena. If it is for gaming, a video card is more important than the cpu, if you are editing movies, a good CPU/RAM combo will be paramount.

I bought my desktop 3 years ago. My intent with what I bought was to get though college without having to upgrade. With that in mind, I bought a CPU near the top of the curve. I got an Athlon XP soonish after they came out, at got a 1700+ when the fastest one was 1800+.

Buying the fastest of anything is not cost efficient. If you look at the prices, there is a definite curve to them, with the newest thing sharply more expensive. The Athlon 64s are now coming down far enough on that for me to consider one, if I were building now. That said, I think it will be 4 years before you have programs that will take advantage of that chip. Linux zealots go away, Ryan is not going to run Linux. Save the money and get ~3000+ Athlon XP with a nicely equipped mobo like the Soyo KT600 Dragon Ultra. Build from there. Get at least a stick of 512 ram. Don’t get the latest generation of video card, buy one that is a step down-the price savings are amazing. Look for a good hard drive deal at Best buy/Comp USA/whatever, and get a SATA (Serial ATA) drive. Start figuring cost per meg, and that will allow you to better compare. SATA is faster then ATA, and with disk sizes going so high now, a very good thing to have.

Make your budget. From there pick a motherboard. Then build out. If you have money left over, add some RAM or up the video card. Or just come in under budget. :slight_smile:

Wetzel

depends on what you want the system for… if its for gaming i can give you some very specific parts and prices, and can narrow it down within $100 bucks of what you want to spend… that comes to the second part… what do you want to spend??? also if you want to spend the extra for SATA HD’s and PCI-express

Gaming Rig -
ASUS “P5GD2 Deluxe” 915P Chipset Motherboard For Intel LGA 775 CPU
Intel LGA 775 Pentium 4 520 2.8 GHz, 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, Hyper Threading Technology
CORSAIR XMS2 Pro Series Dual Channel Kit 240-Pin 1GB(512MB x 2) DDR2 PC2-5400
2 Western Digital 120GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model WD1200JD
ASUS ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition Video Card, 256MB GDDR3, 256-Bit, Dual DVI/VIVO, PCI-E, Model “EAX800XT/PE/2DHTV/256”

thats just about my system but i dont have PCI xpress…same company on all the parts and i have no complaints so far… (btw thats just about the top of the line right now)

I recommend either getting 2 hard drives, or at least partitioning your drive into 2. This is very helpful because you can install windows on one drive and put all your data on the other, and if anything ever goes screwy, you can reformat the main drive and still keep your data! (I use C: as my apps drive, and D: and E: as storage and backup.)

Also if I were you, I would go with a 10k rpm hard drive as a main system and program files drive. These are mucccch faster than the normal 7200 rpm drives you may be used to and applications load much faster off them. It may be a little more expensive, but is worth it in the long run because applications that require more memory are always coming out… and who wants to load them off a slow hard drive?! (My friend has a raptor 10k and a amd 64 bit 939 pin… he can reinstall windows in 5 minutes lol.)

Linky for Raptor 10k

Thank you everyone for their comments thus far.

With the barebones kit I mentioned in the start of the thread, I’ve been told that the motherboard is a good motherboard, but of course I don’t know for sure.

I would actually prefer an Athlon over an Intel, but I could go either way.

I agree w/ the video card thing, I don’t really want the latest thing, just a good one. I don’t see why the barebones kit is a bad idea, it takes the hassle out of finding many parts and gives you somewhere to start.

The bare bones kit you posted seems to be pretty good for the money.

The mobo (Intel D865PERLL) will probably be a good choice. It has built a built in gigabit adapter, firewire, and digital audio. These are the types of features you see on higher class ASUS and ABIT motherboards, but for cheaper. (i think everyone likes that)

Well anyway getting to the point… I would go with that barebones kit, then get a ATI Radeon 9600 Pro or XT. I say this because these seems to be the best value GFX cards out on the market (plus i hate nvidia.) The SE model is cheaper… but is also horrible (I have one :mad: )

Next to the RAM. It comes with 512mb DDR400 included. The motherboard supports dual channel RAM, but since it comes with bundled with one stick of RAM this feature is not available. So to overcome this I would buy another 512 stick of DDR400 (pc3200) Corsair for 73 bucks If you get this you will have a gig of RAM and will be able to run it dual channel, which makes the memory run much more efficiently and faster.

I think thats it for now… looks like a DoPe RiG tho.

PS… dont forget the underglow neons, blacklight, and UV reactive fans!

Couple things.

  1. I am not even taking linux into the equation here. An Athlon 64 is MILES ahead of the Athlon XP in TODAY’S software. The thing that makes the A64 great is not that it is 64-bit…it is the on-die memory controller. If you go Athlon, and have at least 200 bucks to spend on a CPU, go with an Athlon 64. There is a performance difference in todays software.

  2. Again, the new generation is a lot better than the old one, sometimes even justifying the price. If you can afford 400 dollars, the nVIDIA 6800 GT will get you awesome performance, double of many of last generations cards. The new generation of video cards really are screamers. If not though (it is a lot of money to spend on one component), the ATI video cards are the best of last generation. The 9600 pro/XT recommended above by Tom is a good choice, but if you can find a 9800 pro or non-pro for around the same price, it would get you a considerable performance boost.

EDIT:
Just a little proof. Anandtech’s comparision of CPU’s using Doom 3.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2149&p=7

In the least video card bound benchmark (the best gauge for CPU power), the slowest Athlon 64 beats the fastest Athlon XP by 11 FPS.
Athlon XP 3200+ (2.2 ghz)= 68 FPS
Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8 ghz)= 78.8
And the Athlon 64 runs 400 mhz slower! The Athlon 64’s aren’t just about 64 bits.

Actually, to get dual-channel DDR working, you’d need a matched pair, I believe. And I don’t think there are many advantages to Dual-channel DDR, if I remember the reviews I read about it correctly.

Also, if you want the fastest drive setup, RAID 0 a few of those 10k rpm Raptors :slight_smile:

Instead of only considering on what you want the computer to do, you should also design your computer around your budget limit.
And, from my experiences, Dual-Channel DDR does make a difference, but not that much, best save your money for something else. I’ve always stuck to intel processors since they generally are a bit more reliable, and run less hot, than AMD’s. AMD’s are much faster and cheaper, though.

Dual channel RAM makes a difference in Intel setups (and some with the regular Athlons), but not as much with Athlon 64’s. The Athlon 64’s on-die memory controller makes the RAM so accessible, that another channel to access it from doesn’t help that much. There is so much latency with the RAM in Intel setups, that dual channel memory helps.

As noodlenight said, the budget issue is paramount. If you are tight, then that barebones system you picked out seems to be an excellent choice.