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Time to reinstall Windows? Or get a new desktop?

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Well, it's that time for me again.  I built my current desktop back in December 2001.  It's my workhorse, it's lasted fine all this time, but maybe it's time for a new one.  I know I need to either reinstall XP or get a new desktop PC.  The reason for this is that I upgraded my AV software and it's not working due to some conflicts and I can't figure it out because I have sooooo much software installed.  I want to start fresh.

I haven't kept up with hardware, I rarely do.  What is the latest cpu specs?  Usually with the CPU, I don't get the very latest because it's price is so much, but I'll get the highest priced mid-level chip.  Basically, I look at the prices and get the one right before the big jump in price for the latest-greatest chip.  That usually ensures me a good 5 years or more of solid performance.  I'll probably get a 1TB Seagate drive.  Video cards I know nothing about...I'll just get something decent.  I don't do anything graphic intensive.  Do you guys normally use the built in motherboard sound cards now?  I have my pro sound card for my musician stuff, but for regular audio, should I just use the motherboard audio?

How about cases and fans?  Can anyone point me to a good tutorial about how to place fans on cases and what cases are good?  I never do this part right, I just stick fans around.  There's gotta be a method to it.

FWIW I just used this Antec case which has the benefit of a half-decent power supply and attention to noise reduction. I found its options for fan placement to be quite good.

I like that case, it's nice and simple.  I need to think about how many 5-1/4 slots I need.  I think 3 should be enough right?  Nobody uses the 3-1/2 disks anymore, so this will be my first computer without it.

Where's the cheapest (but reliable) place to buy chips and motherboards?  Usually, I just go to Fry's.

Where's the cheapest (but reliable) place to buy chips and motherboards?  Usually, I just go to Fry's.
-superboyac (September 09, 2008, 03:36 PM)
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Fry's is very good. For online I usually wind up at They're not always the absolute cheapest, but their service is good. For memory try Crucial over at

I've also had good luck with these guys: for cables and accessories.

Be sure to post a picture when you're done! :)

2001? Get a new computer ASAP :)

I suggest you look around a few hardware sites, particularly system guides to make yourself an idea of what you want in the system, but CPU-wise, it's either a dual core or a quad, preferably an Intel chip. Your criteria for choosing a chip is anything you need to get a good one, as long as the model number has a leading 7 or an 8 (dual core) or a 9 (quad core) as those are the newer ones, using a 45 nm process, which means better performance, less heat, etc. Plainly speaking, they're better.

The videocard thing depends if you're into gaming. If you're not, you could get something mid-range, but new enough to have the logic that helps with video decoding (if you're into HD playback and such).

Sound, yeah, for general playback, the motherboard chip should be enough, unless you use a nice speaker system, in which case it would be nice to have a decent soundcard for better quality.

Fans is generally a complex issue once you start using too many around the case, but the bare minimum is one in the front sucking air, and another in the back expelling it.


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