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Building a new pc from the ground up, advice?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Software & Troubleshooting' started by J112, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. J112

    J112 Very Superstitious

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    Ok so, its been a while since I've done any level design because my puny pc just cant cut it with ut3 and I've finaly scraped together a reasonable budget (I hope ;)) to create a decent rig.

    Trouble is, I really don't have a clue when it comes to getting the best hardware for my cash, so I'm hoping that those of you in the know here can basically advise me on a complete spec. I basically need something that can max out ut3 and be easy to upgraded as technology advances.

    My budget is roughly £1200 - £1500 so $2400 - $3000.

    If I've left anything out then i'll do my best to fill in the blanks =P

    Cheers.
     
  2. Steyr

    Steyr I posted in the RO-me thread
    and all I got was
    a pink username!

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    Well, first things first, if you've never built a computer before, or you haven't built one since AGP was a new technology, BE VERY ****ING CAREFUL!!! You can easily lose at least a thousand dollars just by choosing incompatible components. Make sure EVERYTHING is compatible with your motherboard. That was the biggest mistake I made when I built my first comp since AGP.

    Ok, now on to specs.

    Cram as much RAM as possible into that thing. 8 gigs would be a good number to start with. You're gonna want DDR2, because there is currently no DDR3 motherboard that supports SLI. and don't settle for 800, get something a little faster. It's not hard to find a motherboard to support a faster memory clockspeed than the standard 800.

    Processor, I'd go with something from Intel. If you can afford it, a core two extreme. It'll help with the mapping.

    Video card - Nvidia here. I wouldn't go for two in SLI just yet, unless you have the extra cash to cover it. But do go for a good 9800 gx2. Get as much memory on it as possible. 512 MB per GPU minimum. I think that's all it comes in at the moment, but that could change by the end of the month. Keep an eye out.

    Motherboard - I like things with NVidia chipsets. They support SLI, RAID out the ass, and just about everything else you could want. I hear gigabyte is good. Asus Blitz boards are good, too.

    Speaking of raid, it'd be a good idea. It can be a pain in the ass to set up on XP, but it's not so hard if you merge the raid drivers with your XP disk via NLite. You'll probably either want raid 0 or raid 5. 0 is faster, but 5 gives you more data security.

    Oh, and if you were considering anything other than XP x64, beat yourself over the head with a crowbar and repeat the following phrase to yourself until it starts to sink in:

    DirectX 10 is a lie
    DirectX 10 is a lie
    DirectX 10 is a lie
    DirectX 10 is a lie

    It should also be noted that the cake is a lie too. And if you don't believe that DX10 is a lie, check out what happens when you remove the artificial limits on the quality settings in Crysis. The only difference is they messed with the gamma a little more on 10. I don't think a little change in gamma is worth the 15+ FPS you're gonna be losing in Vista.

    The only other thing I'm thinking about right now is the case. Get a Lian-Li. They get great airflow and are much easier to work with than most other cases.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
  3. B

    B Bee

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    WTF is up with 8Gb of memory? There isn't a single game that will use all of that. 2-4Gb is more than enough.

    Processor: Intel Dual Core or (if you want future proof) a Quad core.
    Memory: 2 to 4 Gb will do just fine (8Gb like steyr is suggesting is overkill, nothing will use it.)
    Motherboard: I prefer Asus because of the experience I had with them.
    Videocard: Geforce 8800GT or better (if you got $$ to burn get a 9800X2, they go for about $700,-)
     
  4. Steyr

    Steyr I posted in the RO-me thread
    and all I got was
    a pink username!

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    I'm calling the bull**** on that one. you are right in that no current game takes up that much memory, and if he was just playing games 4 GB would be enough. 2 GB would not be a good idea, as that's what I'm using now, and it's not enough to keep everything running smoothly, even if you're not playing games.

    However, he stated he would be mapping. That takes up a ****load of memory, as do other programs that he's likely to be using, like photoshop for textures or maybe Firefox to look at tutorials. So unless he wants to go page file crazy, it's probably best to go with 8 GB. It's not a huge expense as long as he sticks with DDR2, and it will give him a lot of speed.
    Pretty much agree with you on this one, the only reason I said to go with an Extreme is because I believe that UnrealEd can take advantage of multiple cores while building lighting, geometry, etc. I could be wrong on this though. If I am, then a Core 2 Duo would probably be the most you could really use.

    Asus is good. No question there.
    Actually, 9800X2's are going for about 600 right now. So it's probably best not to bother with anything less. And as he said his budget is $2400 - $3000 I think he has money to burn :lol: Otherwise I'd just have said a Core 2 Duo and 4 gigs of DDR2.
     
  5. J112

    J112 Very Superstitious

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    I'm starting to get a clearer picture of what to go for thanks guys.

    The extreme quad is seriously tempting. I'll have to do the math when I've got a full spec and see how the quad fits in over the dual tbh =P

    I'm liking the 9800X2, the built in HDMI is there too. You both seem to agree on Asus boards so i'll look into those for a start. And yeah I'll prolly end up splashing on the 8 gig just because i can =P

    Future proofing matters so overkill is good. Plus after living with ued, maya and ps open with only... *cough* 512meg of ram, i feel like i deserve it somehow.

    Any guidance about power supply and cooling? This is probably my weakest area as far as hardware goes so any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks again guys.
     
  6. [VaLkyR]Anubis

    [VaLkyR]Anubis Foregone Destruction

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    So,you wanna build your own PC with fresh and new hardware,hehe,I'm also upgrade my currently system in some weeks.Here is my advice.:)

     
  7. Steyr

    Steyr I posted in the RO-me thread
    and all I got was
    a pink username!

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    Again, I think 8 GB would be useful, 4 might not cut it if you're running UnrealEd, Maya, and Photoshop all at the same time. And if it did handle it, starting up Firefox while those programs were running would almost surely push that 4GB over the edge. Reccomended system reqs for ya:
    Maya: 2 GB ram
    Unreal Tournament 3(probably about the same for unrealed): 1 GB
    Adobe Photoshop CS3: 512 MB

    That's 3.5 GB right there. you can probably subtract 256 MB from it all because they all account for the memory taken up by stock XP, and you only need to count that once. Of course, that's stock XP, no processes running in the background, so you add in your other stuff like virus protection, steam, IM programs, P2P programs, and all that, and you end up adding another 512 MB on. 3.75 GB. So while you could probably get by without using your PF much, I know I'd much prefer to never have to use it at all. And since the next step up from 4 GB is 8 GB, that's what I'd do. Though, keep in mind that I'm making the big assumption that this guy is like me in that at any given time he's got at least 5 programs on his task bar and another 5 in the systray. Oh, and about a bajillion tabs open in each of the three firefox sessions he's running.

    Hi, my name is Steyr and I'm a RAMoholic...:lol:

    But one thing that I certainly do agree with anubis on is that if it comes to a choice between memory speed and memory capacity, go with speed. But please get AT LEAST 4 GB of RAM. You will kill yourself if you try and get away with two. Like I said, I'm using 2 GB right now and my computer hitches without me even opening stuff like Maya or UT.

    Power Supply, get a good, solid, well known brand. A dependable 500w is a hell of a lot better than an unstable 700w. And if need be, you can always get another PSU if you ever go SLI. As in, Dual PSU's. It's simpler than you think. Google it sometime.

    Cooling, go for copper heatsinks, not aluminum. Get a good, well cooled case. Like I said, Lian Li's have great cooling and some awesome features that make putting your computer together a lot easier. Tom's hardware recently did a comparison on different fans and coolers. Google it. That should help you out.

    EDIT: On a more humorous note, I think I just realized why my computer has been hitching so much recently. It's only recognizing 1 GB of my ram. Must've happened last time I reformatted or reset the bios or something. Of course, it's using all of it and about 900 MB of my PF, so I'd still probably still be running into a little hitching every now and then if it was seeing all 2GB.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
  8. Parser

    Parser Hello

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    £1200 is quite a nice budget, but you might as well source out parts that will serve you well and leave you with some spare cash. The thing is, you can order the most expensive parts available, put your PC together and drool at the 3-digit framerates, but once the "honeymoon" period is over and your setup seems dated already, you'll start to wonder why you spent so much in the first place! How far are you able to re-use components you already have? If you own a decent sound card and various peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor) you've already saved yourself a decent amount.

    I just recently put together something that would better suit all the editing work I'm doing for Uni (Premiere, After Effects, Flash, Photoshop etc) but I tried to stay within a reasonable budget. In case you're interested, I'll just quickly link the parts I ordered (from scan.co.uk), as some of them might suit the kind of PC you're looking to build:

    Asrock 4Core1600P35-WiFi (yeah, they don't just do budget motherboards now!) - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=771463 . I jumped for joy when I found they were stocking these in the UK, since I've always used ASRock. Had no problems with it so far, plus it comes with an eSATA port (great for working with external drives in editing since it's so fast)

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 retail - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=643237 . I know, you can get the newer 45nm models, but this is pretty well priced for just under £150.. the stock heatsink and fan that come with the processor are more than enough.

    2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX DDR2 XMS2 PC2-8500 (1066) - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=462617 . Memory that will match your CPU well. Add two of these and you have 4GB for under £100.

    320 GB Samsung HD321KJ Spinpoint - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=529060 . I know Western Digital and Seagate get namedropped frequently, but there's nothing wrong with Samsung! I'm using this drive at the moment and it's lightning fast, doesn't break a sweat when capturing HD footage.

    1GB Asus 8800GT
    - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=759408 . Well, this thing will certainly max out UT3. I confess I didn't get a new video card (just used my old 8800GTS), but if I can play the game comfortably on that I'm sure an 8800GT will breeze through it.

    520W Corsair HX Series Modular PSU - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=446788 . Unless you plan on using SLI or 5 hard drives all at once, this should take care of your power needs too!

    Factoring in your other peripherals and what have you, that's a pretty good setup for under roughly £800 (the actual cost is just over £600, but there will probably be more parts needed). As for using SLI or getting one of those new X2 cards, look at your monitor for this - if you have any kind of LCD over 19", chances are the top refresh rate will be 60Hz, and any frame-rate that's higher than 60 will be effectively wasted. You might as well spend the rest of your budget on a really nice widescreen monitor (think of all that screen space for editing!) as a decent screen will last you longer than whichever video card is fastest for this month. ;)

    Hope that helps in some way!
     
  9. [VaLkyR]Assassin

    [VaLkyR]Assassin Kidneythieves and Poets of The Fall Fan

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    If you've got that kind of budget, you might as well splash out on the best of everything! It might not be the "best value for money", but hey, if you have the cash, and are willing to spend it, go ahead and enjoy!
     
  10. J112

    J112 Very Superstitious

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    Ok, I think (think!) i've finally got together the spec i'm going to go for. Would seriously appreciate it if someone could just give it the once over for compatibility/sensibility, i'll link to the site i was thinking of buying from in each case. Falls just within my budget at £1447 - $2868 so the price works out prety well , might pick up some decent speakers =P:

    GPU - 1GB EVGA 9800 GX2
    CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450
    Memory - Kingston 4GB(2 x 2GB) (Planning on buying two of these to total the 8gb i'd idealy like)
    Monitor - BenQ G2400W 24" HD widescreen
    Motherboard - ASUS P5N32-E SLI PLUS (Good spec of this item on this page too)
    HDD - 1000 GB Seagate (Overkill i know, But i want to be part of the TB club xD)
    Thermaltake Tsunami Dream (w/o PSU)
    PSU - 650W TX Corsair PSU
    Sound - Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Professional

    I've tried to incorperate some of all your knowledge into my suggested spec so it should be good. The case seems to be damned well cooled and hopefully the cooling with the cpu will be fine too.

    Thanks again/in advance ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  11. GG-Xtreme

    GG-Xtreme You are a pirate!

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    With that budget, I'd go for an Intel Core 2 Quad or Xeon Quad with at least a 1333MHz FSB (memory-intense applications will benefit). 2GB of RAM is plenty for now on less your running extremely memory-hungry applications or doing heavy rendering or something like that. Look for a motherboard compatible with your CPU that is SLI ready (PCIe x16 or PCIe 2.0--doesn't matter, there will be no difference when using x16/2.0 cards). Try to stick to motherboards with high user ratings, as it'll give you an idea on BIOS quality and mobo failures. Don't go for one 1TB hard drive, go for 2x500GB SATA3.0GB/s hard drives and put them in RAID 0--you still get 1TB at nearly twice the performance. When you get a PSU, make sure it's Quad-SLI ready, because the first thing you might upgrade will be your GPU. Finally, for the GPU, you can make a choice: you can get 2 8800's in SLI, or get a 9800GX2 and upgrade to Quad-SLI later on. The only really good sound card I can think of is the Fatal1ty PRO, so if you plan on a surround setup, you should consider it. If you're going to use a headset, don't bother with it. Also, I would never buy anything used, they tend to fail right after the 're-certified' period. Choose a case you like, look at reviews to find out if it's defective/flimsy and make sure it can hold everything you put in it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  12. Kantham

    Kantham Fool.

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    I'd get 4 GB thanks. 2GB is lacking when you're into level design indeed. But 8GB? :lol:
     
  13. Jordan L

    Jordan L New Member

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  14. [VaLkyR]Assassin

    [VaLkyR]Assassin Kidneythieves and Poets of The Fall Fan

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    I've got the 520 watt version of that. I agree they're good PSU's, 620 version should be very good.
     
  15. Jordan L

    Jordan L New Member

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    No Doubt, J112, I see you are planning on Getting the TX Series of Corsairs PSU from an above post, Those are good to, but the HX Series is Corsairs Premium Series, while the TX is more Budget Line. All a good choice though. Just giving you a heads up on the TX @ HX.
     
  16. J112

    J112 Very Superstitious

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    Thanks for the comments guys. The main reason I'm opting for the 650W TX Corsair PSU is because my chosen gpu needs both a standard 6 pin and an 8 pin too. The corsair 650W TX has both the 6's and two 6+2's PCI-e so it seems like a logical choice. I'm not sure but the CMPSU HX620 doesn't seem to have anything capable of the 8 pin, i could be wrong tho =P I also believe that the tx is quad ready too, but i could be wrong.

    I recon it'd be a good idea to get two 500gb sata 3gb/s like xtreme suggested, raid 0 seems fairly simplistic to set up (I hope!).

    If there are any any other suggestions you people have i'm all ears. My proposed spec hasn't changed since my last post but i'm probably going to drop the sound card because i'll be using a headset so its not really worth it for me.

    Probably going to start ordering tomorrow :)

    Edit: Was also planning on adding this to my list.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  17. Jordan L

    Jordan L New Member

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    The Corsair HX620, does indeed come with two 6+2 PCI-E connectors. For the past year or so, Retailers have been shipping 6+2 PCI-E connectors replacing the 6 Pin PCI-E that it previously came with. I'd go with the Corsair 750TX over the 650TX if running a Quad Core and SLI, it seems thats what is recommended on various sites.

    Heres some photos of the connectors and info about the PSU

    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...2-corsair-hx620-620w-power-supply-review.html


    [​IMG]

    Corsair CMPSU HX620

    Cable Lengths and Connectors:

    - Molex: 10 Connectors (modular)
    o 2x 31” (3 connectors)
    o 2x 18” (2 connector)

    - SATA: 8 Connectors (modular)
    o 2x 32” length (3 connectors each)
    o 1x 26” length (2 connectors each)

    - PCI-E 6+2 Pin: 2 Connectors (modular)
    o 2x 22” length

    - 4-Pin Floppy: 1 Connector
    o 1x 6” length (dedicated cable can be attached to Molex connectors)

    - 20+4 ATX Connector: 21” length

    - 4+4 Pin CPU connector: 21” length

    - Dedicated fan connector: 6” length (2 fan connectors)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  18. J112

    J112 Very Superstitious

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    Thanks for the heads up Jordan, appreaciate it. I'll splash out the extra... say £20? to get the TX750w =P I'm not 'overly' fussed that its the budget modal tbh, i'm sure (hopeing) it'll do fine.

    I'm (unsurprisingly) slightly over budget right now at £1627.45 - $3226.58 so heres hoping nothing else will need upgrading =P
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  19. Jordan L

    Jordan L New Member

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    TX are great PSU's, and cost less. I recommend ASUS like some others have already, as far as mobo's and drives go.
     
  20. Steyr

    Steyr I posted in the RO-me thread
    and all I got was
    a pink username!

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    If you haven't ordered yet, swap the mobo for something that can handle faster than ddr2 800, and swap the 8 gigs of ddr2 800 for 4 of something with a higher clock speed, like this. While 8 gb of memory would be nice, 4 gb of faster memory is better.
     

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