I could use some PC building help...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by saunders45, May 19, 2006.

  1. saunders45 macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #1
    Ok, here's the deal. All issues aside, I need a PC for some stuff. The thing is, I refuse to buy a cheap piece of crap, but I don't really have the cash to blow on a nice rig. I'd like to build something that would at least play some games modestly (mainly RTS's and games that don't get to the 360). I've looked at buying a canned system from one of the big chains, but I just am not completely thrilled about that. The other issue is, I haven't built a system since, well..... it had an AMD T-Bird 800 MHz in it. I've been browsing various sites and have even returned to good old Tom's hardware. I'm just struggling with information overload I guess.

    I guess what I need is just some real world advice with what you guys have had experience with. I'd like to keep it in the $700 dollar range (I'm still in college and just bought a house so I can't use dad's anymore). If anyone has any advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #2
    You can buid a rig under $700, Newegg.com has all the parts,PC gamer did a nice article on a gaming rig about 6 months ago. In fact it was a excellent article. I would wager for $700 you can come up with a system that will match any new console. edit i just looked and found your mag on top of my stack, holiday 2005 issue so i guess that means december or jan, photos,how to etc.
     
  3. saunders45 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    Jul 29, 2004
    #3
    Cool. Any possible online link? Like I said, I'm not looking for a dual FX-60 system with Quad SLI or anything. It's just been a while since I last built a complete system from scratch, and the market is much broader with many manufacturer's I haven't heard of.
     
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #4
    I went to their web site but it doesnt appear to be there.:(
     
  5. saunders45 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    Jul 29, 2004
  6. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #6
    The article is build a gaming rig for under $1500 but its all relevant plus what was $1500 6 months ago in the PC world is like 1,000 now. Just lower some of the system specs, go a little cheaper on video card and motherboard,etc. You own a version of windows?
     
  7. stefan15 macrumors regular

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    Oct 2, 2005
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    Canada
    #7
    Just an observation, the AMD X2 3800 is a really good deal... Pair that with an ASUS motherboard and some DDR400, 450w or more power supply, dvd rom, 120gb HD, you might be able to get away with just around $700
     
  8. jamesi macrumors 6502a

    jamesi

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    Sep 13, 2005
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    Davis CA
    #8
    700 bucks? you are set man, as long as you shop from newegg, you can buy a splendid machine. if you want some punch from your video card but not go overboard, consider the 6600 GT from nvidia.
     
  9. steelphantom macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

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    Oct 15, 2005
    #9
    Here's an article from digg a few days ago about building an $800 gaming rig. I'm not so much into PC gaming, but this seems to be a pretty nice setup. Change a few parts around and you should be well within your $700 budget.
     
  10. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #10
    if yours willing to overclock go read the article on the pentium D 805.

    also consider a shuttle, they kick ass.
     
  11. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #11
    If you have any type of hardware in there worth it's salt, you're going to need over 450w power supply. Plain and simple. The PSU is probably the most overlooked part of system building...too much gpu, cpu, hard drives, cd/dvd drives, usb connections going at once, and the thing crashes on ya, maybe blowing out some of the pricey components as well. Don't skimp on the PSU. I've built/fixed enough computers to know. Also, for gaming (medium-heavy), a $700 system won't come anywhere near to decent quality, especially even a year from now.
     
  12. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    UK
    #12
    i spent about that much on my athlon 64 x800XTPE monster over a year ago and it still kicks ass.
     
  13. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

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    #13
    Really Hector. I would love to see those specs priced out "over a year ago."

    As it is now, the x800xt is $280 alone.
    A decent mobo for that would run you a min of $80-90 at the time.
    Let's spot a minimally-decent case ($50?), with any decent 500w+ PSU ($40+?) running at least $90.
    A gig of VALUE ram, as it is, right now is even $85.
    Let's say the crappiest cpu you bought last summer was a 3200+ (with that gpu I wouldn't expect any less, or else it wouldn't even take advantage of it), which is priced right now at $140-150.
    We haven't even touched hard drives yet, but let's say maybe 120 gig? You wouldn't want much lower I guess, and that is say $60ish, at best.

    Now, keep in mind, all of these prices are quoted as probably as low as you can find them right now (Newegg), and this is RIGHT NOW. Last summer the prices were much higher. As it is, with this barebone system, ONE YEAR AGO, you're at $750-760, for a system I wouldn't even surf on, much less game or Photoshop on. I'd love to see how you come up with an answer to this...
     
  14. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    London, UK
    #14
    You know what, after all these years of custom building systems, I've had enough of it all. If I were to buy another PC I would be sorely tempted to get a Dell that I knew had a graphics card slot and then upgrade the graphics and memory myself. The quality of PC components, particularly motherboards has seriously deteriorated over the past few years. The boards used back in the days of P3s and T-Birds were rock solid. These days they're flaky at best and I've been through enough of them.
     
  15. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #15
    Nice Link, Sweet.
     
  16. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #16
    anandtech does buyers guides that are pretty good and very informative. Then you can buy the parts from newegg or whatever.

    BTW PCs are cheap, just don't go for the latest and greatest. Last year's hot video card will work just fine and will cost you a lot less than this year's.

    One tip: buy your case + MB + CPU + RAM all from the same place and pay them a little extra to put it all together. That's the hardest, most annoying, and error-prone part of the build.
     
  17. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #17
    You mean like Dell does? That's basically the entire assembly process, and if you're not going to do that assembly and you're on a budget, there's no reason not to get a Dell. They have comprehensive warranties, free Windows licenses, and monitors.
     
  18. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    i did allot of shopping around heres what i payed for what last year in about march:

    cpu: venice 3000+ overclocks like a behutch on fire i have it running at 2.8GHz

    £90

    cooling: thermaltake large copper heatsink

    £15

    gpu x800XT PE refurb original ATI card from ebay

    £150 quid

    case: old black one from my 700MHz athlon

    psu: hiper 480w £45 again ebay

    ram 2x 512 sticks

    £40 microdirect.co.uk

    HD: i already had a 120GB drive from my athlon

    optical: phillips 16x burner 40 quid

    so thats: £380 and you could get a half decent case and HD for £70 quid

    at the time the pound was weaker against the dollar, so that was about 650 bucks.
     
  19. saunders45 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #19
    Well thanks for your help guys. Like I said, I don't need it for heavy gaming, just some RTS stuff. Mainly, it's for online college classes. And I don't need a power system, as I've got access to great stuff at work. My workstation is a dual 2.0, and as soon as there is a universal binary for Adobe stuff (God only knows when that will be), they'll be getting me a brand spanking new Macbook Pro . I just need it for certain apps and IE only compatible stuff.

    The other option I've considered, is buying a pre configured system from Circuit CIty or Best Buy and just swapping the Power Supply and Video card.
     
  20. saunders45 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    Jul 29, 2004
    #20
    One thing, I have absolutely zero experience with overclocking. I read the article on Tom's Hardware about the Pentium D 2.66 being overclocked to 4.1 GHz. I just haven't had any experience, and I would rather not melt down a brand new system.
     
  21. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #21
    as you know, the graphics card is very key in this...don't skimp

    on a side note: if you are going to eat after working on the innards of a machine, wash your hands...i learned this after being a tech for 7 years...oops

    not that it's a huge risk, but motherboards do have some levels of lead, mercury, and chromium 6 and some third world countries literally have piles of old electronic gear sitting near wells...but i will keep it at that and not try to turn this thread into a political forum subject ;)
     
  22. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #22
    Reasons not to use Dell:

    1. They use the cheapest components they can get their hands on.
    2. Their customer service is abysmal.
    3. Build quality is garbage.
    4. They could care less about your business.
     
  23. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    They're not *that* bad!!
    1. Sure they use the cheapest components they can get their hands on, its a business!! Apple do the same, GMA950 anyone? They sell systems with the best components they can get their hands on too. Quad SLI systems.
    2. If you make it clear to them that you know what's wrong and you lay it down they tend to be very co-operative. I once needed a replacement HDD because my old one had failed and wouldn't spin up. I got one delivered to my door the very next day.
    3. I'd say their build quality is actually very good. Sure it involves a lot of plastic but then they need to keep their costs down, what do you expect. They tend to be incredibly well designed cases/laptops when it comes to heat dissipation and accessibility. To change hard drives on my laptop I have to unscrew one screw. Same goes for memory and bluetooth/wireless card (should I want to).
    4. I can't pass an opinion on this one I'm afraid.

    Sure, Apple > Dell but Dell aren't that bad. If I had to buy a pc from a company and I wasn't building my own, I'd get a Dell. Hands down, no questions asked.
     
  24. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Bay Area, CA
    #24
    1. On a budget, the fact that they're cheap is exactly a reason TO use Dell. You can't beat their prices on the extreme low end.
    2. Ever tried tech support service with Abit or Intel? As far as sales service, Newegg restocking fees and RMA can be a pain--I use Newegg and love it, but it's much easier to get a replacement out of Dell than it is from Newegg.
    3. Nonsense. It's at least comparable to budget PC cases, and if it fails, they replace it without any trouble. Meanwhile, if you break your own computer trying to put it together, good luck.
    4. Newegg couldn't care less about you either.
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #25
    Having rolled my own a couple of years ago, I discovered that newegg is not necessarily the best on price, and in California, they charge sales tax. For the big-ticket items (e.g., the video card), it pays to shop around. Personally, I wouldn't bother building another low-cost PC -- to much time invested to pay off. Depends on what your time is worth to you.

    Nobody else suggested this so I will: Have you considered buying a MacBook or mini and loading Windows on it? A few hundred bucks more, I realize (for the MacBook anyway), but certainly worth considering if you can afford it.
     

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