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Last post Author Topic: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?  (Read 18338 times)

wreckedcarzz

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Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« on: January 17, 2008, 11:04:20 PM »
Hey everyone,

My goal here is 2 things: 1, see if anyone can help me finalize my PC (finalize meaning use all the ports the motherboard has available - all my PCI/PCIe ports are already used :P) by suggesting items that may be useful, and 2, to help other people get good deals on their computer upgrades.

As some of you may know, I have been burning an infinite hole in my pocket for the last few months in computer upgrades constant computer upgrades. Fortunately, I was able to get a decent gaming PC running for about $800 (the PC itself, a graphics card, RAM, monitor, 3 year warranty and Windows Vista Home Premium Anytime Upgrade).

But knowing me, that wasn't enough. I always want to be able to do more with my computer, no matter what it is. So I started browsing NewEgg and TigerDirect for things I might like, need, or be cool to show off (:P). After about another ~$1,325 in upgrades (totaling about $2,125), I am at my present day computer. However, I am still not happy (surprise surprise).

Despite the above amounts, I always search on at least 3 websites (the usual ones are, in order, NewEgg, TigerDirect, ClubIT, Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA) before I buy anything. I pay for about half of the upgrades myself, with the other half being either birthday/christmas gifts, or just random "I need this because ..." every couple months.

Right now I am looking for a good front panel 5.25" USB hub with as many ports as possible, and a front panel 5.25" temp/fan speed monitor (and controller?). I don't care who makes it, but money is the main issue (I have to wait 10 more months for my birthday to roll around again).

Anyone got ideas?

-Brandon

(BTW, you can see my current PC setup under my bio in my profile)

mouser

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2008, 12:07:38 AM »
I have a 5.25 front panel fan/temp monitor you can have if you want as my gift (mail me at mouser@donationcoder.com).

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2008, 04:34:39 AM »
So... you went super cheap on the CPU, and spend tons of cash on peripherals? O_o

If your motherboard supports it, I would suggest spending ~$230 (and that's for Danish prices - it'll probably be $200 or less in .us) on a Core2Duo E8200 CPU. You won't regret that.
- carpe noctem

lanux128

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2008, 07:17:53 AM »
imo, dream PC and cheap doesn't go together.. when i have build my PC, usually i'd go for components that are slightly above entry-level so that i can extract more years out of it. i had bookmarked some PC buying tips and i'll post them here when i manage to dig them up.

Lashiec

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2008, 12:45:09 PM »
Oh, gosh, a lot of people would kill you for spending so many money and having such components in the PC ;D

I'd get a Core 2 Duo (get rid of that Pentium D!), but not the E8200, not yet, it's not even available on Newegg, and AFAIK the Wolfdale family of new Core 2 are not out yet (the Duo will be out first, the Quad is delayed), and if you can, a Radeon 3850, which has a good balance between power and cost (oh, man, you have a 2600 >_<). I don't have an idea of what to use for the front panels, but Zalman has good things in the controller area.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 09:11:36 AM by Lashiec »

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 04:12:48 PM »
I'd get a Core 2 Duo (get rid of that Pentium D!), but not the E8200, not yet, it's not even available on Newegg, and AFAIK the Wolfdale family of new Core 2 are not even available (the Duo will be out first, the Quad is delayed),
Hm, they're available for purchase at the Danish shop I use, but they're not in stock yet... the dualcores are scheduled for end of January, quadcores beginning of February, and the extreems for end of February. But of course those dates can be postponed, we'll see :)

and if you can, a Radeon 3850, which has a good balance between power and cost (oh, man, you have a 2600 >_<). I don't have an idea of what to use for the front panels, but Zalman has good things in the controller area.
Personally I stay away from radeons, their fans are insanely noisy >_<, and I still shudder at the driver bugs.
- carpe noctem

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2008, 04:30:16 PM »
Wow, I wasn't expecting any more than a couple posts when I got back from school. Heh.

I thought about getting a Core 2 Duo/Core 2 Duo Extreme (my dad has an HP with one) but I actually picked this particular eMachines PC because of its single core CPU. If I am going multicore, it is quad or above. :-\ The frame rate hit isn't worth it IMO (I don't run more than 2 hardware-intensive programs at once on a usual day).

I have a printout of the latest Radeon HD model (can't remember the model atm, too lazy to search through my growing pile(s) of crap to find it) from NewEgg, and I plan on getting whatever is the top-of-the-line when my bday rolls around again. As for driver bugs...what driver bugs? O_o? And my fan is whisper quiet. :tellme:

-Brandon

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2008, 04:52:26 PM »
Don't get extreme, it's too much cash compared to the little extra performance.

And wtf. are you talking about "frame rate hit"? O_o. Deliberately getting a single-core CPU is outright stupid, unless you're very very short on cash. And even if you don't run threaded software, well, dualcore makes your whole experience sooooo much smoother. Btw, QuadCores are quite affordable now, Q6600 very cheap (and overclockable), and the Q9450 being mad power right out of the box, but still reasonably priced.

Your motherboard is guaranteed to be LGA775, and if it was purchased relatively recently, it should work just fine with a core2 CPU.

Oh, and finally: Pentium-D consumes more power and is slower per megahertz than the core2 CPUs.
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2008, 05:27:42 PM »
It's not even a Pentium D, it's a Celeron D. But I thought the D stood for Dual Core?

Why do you want/need so many USB ports? And why do you want to use up every slot on your motherboard? I know it's fun to upgrade computers, but is it really necessary to have something plugged into everywhere?

Your reasons aside, when I build a new computer I focus on CPU, RAM, GPU, and HDDs. Those are the areas you want to spend the most money because most everything else (IMO) doesn't make much of a difference for the longevity of the system. And naturally with all those USB ports in use you'll need a good Power Supply and naturally a good motherboard to handle the high end GPU and CPU. But my point is that I focus on 3-4 things I want and then determine the rest of the stuff I need to be able to handle those 3-4 things.


f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2008, 05:37:07 PM »
Hm, can't remember if the Celly-Ds are also dual core... wouldn't think so. They suck any way :). (Btw, there's also core2 celerons, those are a lot nicer than p-d celerons, but still inferior to non-celerons).

- carpe noctem

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2008, 05:42:08 PM »
wtf. are you talking about "frame rate hit"? O_o. Deliberately getting a single-core CPU is outright stupid, unless you're very very short on cash. And even if you don't run threaded software, well, dualcore makes your whole experience sooooo much smoother. Btw, QuadCores are quite affordable now, Q6600 very cheap (and overclockable), and the Q9450 being mad power right out of the box, but still reasonably priced.

Your motherboard is guaranteed to be LGA775, and if it was purchased relatively recently, it should work just fine with a core2 CPU.

Oh, and finally: Pentium-D consumes more power and is slower per megahertz than the core2 CPUs.


When I compare my dad's HP PC (is is about even, I have a couple better parts (sound and power supply) versus his dual core and slightly better (but not HD) graphics card, his always loses. Boot time, frame rate in games, program launching... it didn't exactly impress me.

I have been looking at quadcore CPUs but they are still out of any price range for anyone in my family atm (dad is in retired and now back in college and mom is now the primary source of income @ $~40k a year - down from about $120k a year - major change in lifestyle).

And yes, I am aware of the power consumption thing, but it doesn't bug me. A few bucks more a month (tops) isn't going to change much.

It's not even a Pentium D, it's a Celeron D. But I thought the D stood for Dual Core?

My mistake on the Pentium thing. But no, I thought the same thing a year or so ago but I guess they just decided to throw a D in for its name. I checked- its single core.

Why do you want/need so many USB ports? And why do you want to use up every slot on your motherboard? I know it's fun to upgrade computers, but is it really necessary to have something plugged into everywhere?
I ran out of USB ports. Litterally. I used every last one. Including the 2 on my keyboard! Hence the need for a USB card. I now have 5 total ports left, opposed to none. :) And for the PCI slots, I only had a PCIe 16x (GPU), a PCIe 1x (now my USB hub), and 2 PCI ports (sound card, TV tuner). I use my PC for everything now- I only leave it to sleep, eat, go to the bathroom and school. I can do just about everything sitting here.

Your reasons aside, when I build a new computer I focus on CPU, RAM, GPU, and HDDs. Those are the areas you want to spend the most money because most everything else (IMO) doesn't make much of a difference for the longevity of the system. And naturally with all those USB ports in use you'll need a good Power Supply and naturally a good motherboard to handle the high end GPU and CPU. But my point is that I focus on 3-4 things I want and then determine the rest of the stuff I need to be able to handle those 3-4 things.

I look only at a CPU when I buy a PC. I upgrade everything else afterwards. The only reason I went single core was simply because I don't want to go multicore yet. I don't see the point. (And I am one of those people that still compares GHz speeds, regardless of CPU type/cache/size etc)

Deozaan

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2008, 05:43:31 PM »
Well I thought the letters meant something. For instance, the Pentium/Celeron M stands for mobile (laptops) and I was under the impression that Pentium/Celeron D stood for Dual core. But I seem to have been mistaken.

If it doesn't stand for Dual core, what does it stand for? Why not just go with Pentium/Celeron 5? Was it a conscious effort to fool people into thinking the D was for Dual Core?

Ooh I just thought of one: D is for Desktop. M is for Mobile.


wreckedcarzz

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2008, 05:44:32 PM »
Maybe D = Desktop...
My laptop has a Pentium M in it so that could be the reason...
hmm :tellme: :huh: :-\

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2008, 05:47:38 PM »
I think they went for "Pentium D" because it sounds cooler than Pentium 4? Dunno :P

Wrecked, game FPS is mostly tied to graphics card, and program launch speed to harddrive (and possibly running antivirus apps)... so it's not smart to judge CPU based on comparing your pc to your dads on those terms. Do yourself a favour and get a core2duo, even the low-end models are likely to beat the crap out of your celeron d :)
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2008, 05:57:16 PM »
I look only at a CPU when I buy a PC. I upgrade everything else afterwards. The only reason I went single core was simply because I don't want to go multicore yet. I don't see the point. (And I am one of those people that still compares GHz speeds, regardless of CPU type/cache/size etc)

I think your method of buying a PC is flawed, and that's why you end up spending so much later in upgrades. I focus on GPU and CPU foremost, with the knowledge that I can upgrade RAM, HDD size/speed, and everything else later.

As for choosing your CPU, f0dder says it well:

Wrecked, game FPS is mostly tied to graphics card, and program launch speed to harddrive (and possibly running antivirus apps)... so it's not smart to judge CPU based on comparing your pc to your dads on those terms. Do yourself a favour and get a core2duo, even the low-end models are likely to beat the crap out of your celeron d :)

But I feel I should also add that it's not wise to choose CPU by Ghz alone anymore. Think about it. If you have 2 cores (effectively saying 2 CPUs) at 2.4Ghz or just one core at 2.6Ghz, which one will show the best performance? To put it into a more traditional math word problem: One person working at 5 units a second is not as good as two people working at 4 units a second. The result is, in the same amount of time 5 units a second vs. 8 units per second.

EDIT: as f0dder explained after I posted this, it isn't a perfect analogy but I think it gets the point across.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 06:07:07 PM by Deozaan »

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2008, 06:01:56 PM »
Yeah, just GHz won't do it, you also have to take in amount how many cores you can utilize at a time. Most people won't be able to utilize quadcores... I'm going to get one asap, but I won't even be tapping into all cores at once. Most people would *at the moment* be better off with a dualcore with "omg moar gigahurtz!" than a per-core slower quadcore.

Also remember that even per-core GHz can't be used as a measure, since there's also the issue of how much work can be done per MHz. Currently, core2 leads over Pentium-D and whatever AMD has.
- carpe noctem

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2008, 06:06:21 PM »

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2008, 06:46:55 PM »
So something like this?
http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16819115017
That CPU is very good bang for the buck, yes, and should be able to overclock stable to 3.0GHz with stock cooling.

Personally I'm waiting until Q9450 comes in stock, it's a bit more expensive, but uses 45nm process fabrication technique, which means more performance and less power drain. More cache too, and faster FSB. :-*
- carpe noctem

Lashiec

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2008, 08:34:10 PM »
I have a printout of the latest Radeon HD model (can't remember the model atm, too lazy to search through my growing pile(s) of crap to find it) from NewEgg, and I plan on getting whatever is the top-of-the-line when my bday rolls around again. As for driver bugs...what driver bugs? O_o? And my fan is whisper quiet. :tellme:

f0dder had bad experiences with previous Radeon models ;D. Time ago Catalyst drivers gave a lot of problems, things are much better n... *Lashiec computer gets a BSOD*, nah really, it's rock solid :). And one of the highlights of the 38xx line of cards is that they give a beating to nVidia alternatives regarding fan noise (it depends on the assembler implementation, though), and in power consumption, they're fantastic in that department.

Besides, you can always get a third-party cooler for the card, or buy one with one already built-in. My Radeon came with a Zalman cooler out of the box, that's one of the reasons I bought it. That, and the game that came in the package, better than the other alternatives :D

Deozaan

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2008, 10:37:46 PM »
Here's one for you:

The developers of the game Crysis have gone through the effort to build a PC for $900 they consider Crysis-worthy:

CPU - Intel Core2Duo E6750
GPU - GeForce 8800GT 512MB
Motherboard - NVIDIA nForce 650i Socket 775
PSU - 600W ATX12V
RAM - 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
HDD - SATA 250GB 7200RPM
DVD - 20x DVD±R Burner
Case - ATX Midi Tower Computer Case
OS - Microsoft Windows XP Home with SP2

But that doesn't include keyboard, mouse, or monitor...

http://www.incrysis....ewtopic.php?id=18017

P.S. They just released Crysis patch 1.1 which doubles the framerate on some hardware setups. But the framerate is still below 30fps!

« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 10:39:24 PM by Deozaan »

cmpm

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2008, 11:58:11 PM »
I don't think I'd count ole AMD out.
Their amd 2 quads are cheaper and faster when it's a 4400 or better.
I'd go with Asus for motherboard-3 year warranty.
One of the few that go for 3 years, and  Asus is reliable.
Nor would I underestimate the AMD2 Quads 4400 and above.
Working on building one my self here, so i' been doing some research.

a cheap one and one that will out perform most anything....

http://www.tigerdire...3032387&CatId=13

http://www.tigerdire...2853609&CatId=13

If money is no hindrance that is.

But more usbs hmmm.
pretty cheap these days-

Just do a search for USB Hubs at TigerDirect.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 12:01:14 AM by cmpm »

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2008, 04:59:15 AM »
Humm, my own radeon experiences were back in the 9600 days, and that is quite a while ago. But BSODs is one thing, data corruption bugs is something that stings hard and leaves a scar for a long time.

My brothers both have 1950Pro cards; one of them has an occasional BSOD (though that could be related to something else, even if the crash address is in ATI drivers), the other is a bit annoyed that blender can't render properly on his primary display (could be ATI's fault, could be blender's fault, but there's buggy code somewhere). One has a zalman cooled radeon which is "probably okay" (his casefans being so loud I definitely can't hear the cooler), the other has a reference fan. And christ it's noisy.

cmpm: 4400+ would be dualcore for AMD, not quadcore. But it doesn't really matter, AMD is still stuck wiht 65nm fab process while intel has moved to 45nm, the AMD chips (even the new Phenoms) are less efficient per MHz than intel's core2 chips, and to make matters even worse, AMD can't reach as high clock frequencies as intel. The fastest Phenom quad is slower than the slowest core2 quad...

AMD does have the advantage of somewhat lower pricetag, but do keep in mind that it does also mean lower performance. If you look at performance/price ratio, I daresay intel is still better.

Keep in mind that my current main workstation is an AMD64x2 4400+ which I quite like, but I'm trying to be pragmatic about these things, instead of resorting to fanboyism. As I see it, AMD is dead in the water, and I really hope they will shape up, since they're the only real competition intel has on the desktop market.
- carpe noctem

cmpm

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2008, 08:39:41 AM »
Yes, I'm still investigating, fodder.
That more expensive board would have 2 dual cores which is effectively a quad.
Personally I'm wanting to stay with Intel.
But AMD is much more direct in their approach.

Intel-Pent D, Pent Dual Core, Intel Core Duo.
pffft, Annoying, what's next? P2?

AMD went from socket 939 to AMD2.
Their processors are easily discernible compared to Intel, imo.

And they both leap frog each other.
The Pent D and x2 were a test of the real thing.
Both companies could do better with real dual core socketS.

Shoot I had an old server with dual P3 sockets.
I know they can do it.

Anyways the 4 PHD guy who runs our tech dept says get a Mac. :)
Which can run osx or whatever and windows on the same machine.
Funny guy, Yes it's faster, But my income ain't that fast!!??

The Intel vs AMD war marches on and on and on..........

f0dder

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2008, 10:34:54 AM »
AMD (in recent times, there's been more!) had Slot-A, Socket-A, Socket-940, Socket-939, Socket-AM2, Socket-AM2+ (supposedly more or less compatible with AM2, buuuuut...). They've had names like Athlon, Thunderbird, Opteron, Athlon64, Phenom, (...). They've had various "performance numbers". I don't see how that is very much more clear than intel's naming strategy :)

I honestly don't see much advantage in having multiple sockets, unless it's because you need as many CPUs as possible into a system; using multi-core has the advantage that you don't need (slow!) bus locks when synchronizing memory access, you can have faster in-core sync mechanisms. Shared L2 cache is also very interesting, and if done right it can be much more efficient than per-core cache.

Traditionally the companies have leapfrogged, yes, and AMD had a very nice thing going with the AMD64, it smoked the Pentium4/PentiumD very well. Then intel introduced the core2 architecture, and AMD haven't been able to do anything since. Even their most recent (and post-core2!) Phenom architecture did nothing to save them. Probably spent too much money and research time buying up ATI, bad move unless they can get their act together.

These days, macs are actually just standard x86 hardware, with a fancier computer case and a heavier pricetag. With a few patches, you can run OS X on your stock x86, as long as you choose approximately the same hardware (graphics, net) as the macs have. So no, mac hardware isn't faster than PC hardware; it's been many years since macs ran on Gx CPUs and had SCSI harddrives :)
- carpe noctem

cmpm

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Re: Making a dream PC for cheap (as possible) - help anyone?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2008, 02:59:27 PM »
I appreciate the info fodder, i can use all the advice i can get.
Yeah I'm a bit aware of the different slots for amd and intel.
They just seem to be in a big hurry and they have to slow down to sell what they already did.
Instead of improving the thing further and skip some of these various things.
But they didn't ask me...lol.

You know, I still wonder what they are holding back, till the core 2s move out of production and sales.

And for the topic at hand.
I want to know why they have dropped down to two or even one pci slot on the machines now.
Yes, I know the pcie and sata stuff takes room but sheesh, 2?
It's either more USBs or another computer.

And I don't think I can do a Mac only. I'd have PC withdrawals or something. I would like one of those G5's though with windows and ox-tiger or leopard or whatever cat they are now.