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dean nolan

Advice on building new PC please

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I know this stuff gets asked all the time and I have searched about but most posts are old and there's such a huge selection of hardware out there now that I havn't kept up with in about 2 years. I am looking to build a complete new system that will have the main purpose of playing very high end games (fallout 3, far cry 2 etc etc) and programming games/websites. I was going to use it for recording music also but I think I am going to use my laptop untill I can afford to build a dedicated machine as games and music have such different requirements. I will be looking for vista 64 bit but have no idea what version to get. So I was looking for recomendations on processor, mobo, graphics card and ram, and maybe a good monitor. Where to get and price would also be useful. Sound system etc is a low priority and I have no intention to overclock or use 2 gpu's. Just want to be able to play latest games at a high resolution with full effects enabled ;) Fire away!

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I'm getting a new PC in the near future as well.

I'll be going with a E8400 Intel CPU (~$200), it seems to be a pretty good value for the high-end segment. I've already bought a ATI 3870X2 video card for a good discount (payed about $200, down from ~$300) and I'll be getting a Velociraptor HDD (150G ~$200). I'm still not sure about the Mobo, but I think one with an Intel P45 (~$150) will do. For a graphics card the ATI 4850 is also a great value with excellent performance (~$250).

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first, I start off with the chipset I want. That tells me what mobos and processors I can have. Then the memory sticks (2 gig, 4 gig better). You can often get bundles of the three, but you have to remember that those bundles sometimes contain a weak component that they can't sell. However, you should then have no compatibility problems. Stock cooling is pretty good, provided you dont overclock like crazy.

Then Graphics card, in the upper mid level (nvidia or ati).

Then two hard drives. One small, fast drive partitioned for OS, virtual memory, temporary folders, one large drive for program files and data (I'm now thinking of two big drives, mirrored).

Then the monitor. flat screen, samsung (cheap) or dell (better), 24'' with HDMI support if possible. However, a 24'' will have greater native resolution, that can impact on the performance. I also kept my old 19'' TFT as a second monitor.

I decided to stick with winxp as well. Maybe now would be a good time for an vista upgrade.

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Supposedly Intel is coming out with their new line of ass-kicking processors sometime in mid November, so if you do not need a new machine RIGHT NOW, you might want to wait for that. The reason to wait is that the new arch will also come with the obsolescence of all core2-supporting motherboards and ddr2 memory [and will likely also be an opportunity that a lot of hardware vendors will use to make some other shifts that the industry has been eager to do for some time]. The result is two-fold. First, the new processors are awful powerful, and you could buy one of those if you find yourself with a lot of money. Secondly, the old core2 Quads also are pretty powerful [though not as much so as the new pieces of course], and are likely far more powerful than you actually need, and will likely be dropping in price at a pretty quick rate after the main-stream computing market starts to adopt the new i7's in high-end machines. And with the drop in processors will come the drop in motherboards and memory [memory isn't such a big deal because it is dirt cheap anyway] as vendors shift to the new paradigm [likely won't happen immediately, but in a short while].

Build whenever you want, but this is something to keep in mind. Of course if you do decide to wait a month or two and go with one of the new Core i7s, then any suggestions will be a moot point since none of the material that would be recommendable even exists yet. Generally speaking, the CPU isn't the choke point for games anyway, so the new and amazing cpu may not help you, but hopefully games will be growing in a big way in terms of cpu requirements in the near future since multicores are becoming more common and multithreading tools are becoming more mature.

There is pretty much no point in vista 64 unless you decide to break the 4-gig ram limit, in which case it'll be completely required.

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DDR3 memory seems to be the new up and coming thing...

Processor with a big L2 cache (the quad I was looking at had 12MB)
though usually a faster GHz dual is usually recommended for gaming.

A good sized power supply to run the big GPU (or sli pair of them)

Adaquate fans

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DDR3 is still too expensive, although price has come down a little bit since introduction.

The problem with new CPUs is that they always start out costing a lot -- although the price on the older CPUs may drop, of course.

If you consider more than 4 GB of RAM, also consider that current memory throughput is about 10 GB/s, so 4 GB/s will take a good 400 ms to scan through, if you're considering using all of that. The main use of RAM is as disk cache, so if you're not doing large database tables or insane resolution Photoshop work, then more than 4 GB will be wasted.

I would recommend 64 bit Vista Home Premium for you; unless you have a need to run Windows Media Center, or a need to keep persistent network shares and join a domain controller for enterprise file servers and printing, anything higher cost is not necessary. If you want to upgrade anyway, go with Ultimate.

I would get two of whatever hard disk I'm getting, and run them in RAID 1 (mirroring). That way, when one hard disk dies, you won't lose all your data, because it'll still be on the second disk.

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Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
DDR3 is still too expensive, although price has come down a little bit since introduction.

The problem with new CPUs is that they always start out costing a lot -- although the price on the older CPUs may drop, of course.


The cheapest Core i7 starts at $284, or around that. The cheapeast motherboard supporting it seems to be just over $300, and I'm not sure how much the DDR3 ram is.

If you could hold off a few months, it might give you enough time to either pick up the cheapest Core i7 or a really good Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad for cheap.

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Quote:
Original post by dean nolan
I am looking to build a complete new system that will have the main purpose of playing very high end games (fallout 3, far cry 2 etc etc) and programming games/websites.
You are late, you should build your computer in summer if you wanted low price.
E5200 has nice price point. E7300 is somehow pricy, but still affordable. Fallout 3 works even on old NV 8600 GT card. NV9600 GT should be able to run far cry. 260 should be able to run everything and kill your electicity budget on top of that.

Quote:
I was going to use it for recording music also but I think I am going to use my laptop untill I can afford to build a dedicated machine as games and music have such different requirements.
Really? From when? I use games, play music, do programing/SW architecture/profiling, and watching videos on ONE computer. That computer is sometimes working whole night.

Quote:
Just want to be able to play latest games at a high resolution with full effects enabled ;)


Get 64 bit version of OS, and stay away from Vista home edition.

BTW Why should any computer be able to play a new game with full effects enabled?

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