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  1. #1
    is Keaton
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    PC Recommendations; barebones, from scratch, etc.

    First, I apologize for the long post. I have a lot to cover, so I thank those of you who take the time to read through it all.


    I'm thinking about buying a new PC to replace my current one, but the problem is I'm not very savvy when it comes to hardware specs. With this new computer, I'm looking to spend moderately and get the most bang for my buck.

    Before I get into the hardware, here is what I'm planning to use this computer for: Amongst the usual being able to handle Photoshop and other programs open at once without much slow down, I'm looking for this computer to handle HD video without slow down as well, covering both playback AND production (editing, rendering, etc.). This includes animation. Being able to handle audio production is a plus, too. I'm not looking for a gaming PC. This is strictly for media production.

    As far as hardware goes, I'm looking for a customizable PC I'll be able to upgrade in the future with ease, meaning I'm not after some Dell PC bundle-like offers. I'd like to be able to switch out video/sound cards and other additions without too much trouble. I've been reading up on base systems, also known as "barebones" and it sounds like a guarantee as long as the motherboard is high-end enough and compatible with other hardware I buy. However I'm torn because barebones are apparently low-end for money-saving purposes and could mean spending more on replacements and/or the items left out of the kit. I'm not sure it's the best choice financially.

    Judging from TigerDirect, it seems a lot of generic brands are included with their barebones kits, so I'm inclined to believe it may not be the best option.

    There's also building one from scratch, which I'm open to doing however I'm not sure I possess the necessary knowledge or ability to do it. I've only gone so far as to add RAM and USB/FireWire cards to my PC so I'm not sure I qualify. I understand the overall build of my current computer; I can look at the wires and recognize how things are connected, but if it were disassembled, I don't think I could put it back together. I'm afraid that without proper instructions, I won't know how to construct it.

    Currently I'm really leaning towards building one from scratch, but I'm looking for suggestions as to what my options are and which are best. I'm trying not to spend more than $2,000 (including a new monitor, which I already have picked out but I'm open to suggestions on those, too). I'd appreciate any details that could help me get the best PC I can for my money, if that means going with a 64-bit processor (though I'd still probably be using XP) instead of a 32-bit, I'd like to know that, too. In general, any recommendations and assistance with parts or how to go about learning to build one from scratch would be really appreciated.

    Thanks in advanced.

  2. #2
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    TBH, building a new computer isn't as hard as it sounds. Everything can only go in one way, and it will only fit in where it's supposed to go, it's extremely difficult to screw something up. The most difficult part is buying the parts and making sure they're compatible (for example, getting the right CPU, RAM and video card for your motherboard), but actual assembly isn't really hard at all; it's not physically possible to put RAM into a PCI slot or plug the power supply into a SATA port or anything like that. And if you do get stuck, there are all sorts of tutorials and help forums and whatnot out there on the internet for that sort of thing.

  3. #3
    is Keaton
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    That's primarily why I was considering going with a base set, so that I know all the components are compatible. As much as I'd like to just build my own, I've been getting overwhelmed while trying to make comparisons, mainly because there are just so many different parts manufactured by so many different brands. I'm not sure which are the best for my money and more importantly, if the best are compatible with one another. I've been reading guides online and I get the gist of the components I need (which I'm assuming I could buy at a local Best Buy?), but is there an easier way to tell if product A will be compatible with product B?

  4. #4
    No control, no surprise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    TBH, building a new computer isn't as hard as it sounds. Everything can only go in one way, and it will only fit in where it's supposed to go, it's extremely difficult to screw something up. The most difficult part is buying the parts and making sure they're compatible (for example, getting the right CPU, RAM and video card for your motherboard), but actual assembly isn't really hard at all; it's not physically possible to put RAM into a PCI slot or plug the power supply into a SATA port or anything like that. And if you do get stuck, there are all sorts of tutorials and help forums and whatnot out there on the internet for that sort of thing.
    Very true. My dad left me to build a computer all to myself once. I didn't have any trouble, because like Todd said, it's pretty much "this goes there but nowhere else." Again, be mindful of compatibility.

    Unfortunately, I'm not any more knowledgeable on this stuff to assist you more. Sorry, man. :/

  5. #5
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kęton View Post
    That's primarily why I was considering going with a base set, so that I know all the components are compatible. As much as I'd like to just build my own, I've been getting overwhelmed while trying to make comparisons, mainly because there are just so many different parts manufactured by so many different brands. I'm not sure which are the best for my money and more importantly, if the best are compatible with one another. I've been reading guides online and I get the gist of the components I need (which I'm assuming I could buy at a local Best Buy?), but is there an easier way to tell if product A will be compatible with product B?
    Best Buy won't have what you need. They may have a few things, but I doubt they'll have the motherboard and processor, and if they do, the prices will be sky high. You'll either have to find a local computer store, or buy online. I highly recommend NewEgg. I buy all my computer crap from them.

  6. #6
    is Keaton
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    Best Buy won't have what you need. They may have a few things, but I doubt they'll have the motherboard and processor, and if they do, the prices will be sky high. You'll either have to find a local computer store, or buy online. I highly recommend NewEgg. I buy all my computer crap from them.
    Unfortunately I don't have many options. Local computer stores are rare, often not holding much, mainly providing services, and Best Buy is the only other retailer around. I was planning to buy my monitor from New Egg, but I'm iffy on purchasing all my components from there because last I checked, they charge A LOT to ship to Hawaii. I tried to buy a MicroSD card from them a while back and the shipping was almost as much as the card itself. I'm not sure if it'll be reduced if I order everything at once though. I'm mostly afraid that if I ever have to ship something back, I'll end up paying way more for shipping than expected.

  7. #7
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    Hmm, I wonder if MicroCenter or TigerDirect would be any cheaper on shipping for you.

  8. #8
    is Keaton
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    Actually I think I may order parts from Amazon. I just did a comparison on the monitor I was going to order from New Egg, and while it's about $20 more, I can get free shipping. So it sounds like I can make up for the pricing difference in shipping if I use Amazon, which I've ordered from without issue in the past. Well, that's assuming they have the parts I need. *crosses fingers*

    That still begs the question though... Is there a better, newbie-friendlier way to check compatibility of components?

  9. #9
    Five Star General Infantry Controller JESEFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kęton View Post
    Actually I think I may order parts from Amazon. I just did a comparison on the monitor I was going to order from New Egg, and while it's about $20 more, I can get free shipping. So it sounds like I can make up for the pricing difference in shipping if I use Amazon, which I've ordered from without issue in the past. Well, that's assuming they have the parts I need. *crosses fingers*

    That still begs the question though... Is there a better, newbie-friendlier way to check compatibility of components?
    Amazon = win, just sayin
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  10. #10
    is Keaton
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    Okay let me rephrase my question since I'm pretty sold on building my own PC:
    If I provide a list of components I eventually choose, would anyone be able to help me figure out if they're compatible or not? How likely is it components will be incompatible anyway?

  11. #11
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    I'll try to help. It's been years since I built a PC and I'm not up to speed on the latest processors and stuff, but if you post parts here, I'll see what advice I can offer.

  12. #12
    is Keaton
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    Thanks, Todd. I've posted below the names of all the components I've chosen, based pretty much off of usage and customer reviews. I think price-wise it's a bit bloated but if it means great performance, I'm willing to shell out the extra cash. Still, if anyone knows if these are simply overpriced and I can get better deals, or my choices are outdated, please let me know. I'd really, really appreciate the insight.

    Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard - LGA 1366, Intel X58, SATA, SLI Ready, CrossFireX Ready, Triple Channel DDR3 support, RAID, Hyperthreading, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s
    Processor: Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8 MB LGA1366 CPU BX80601920
    Power supply: Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750-Watt
    Case: Cooler Master RC-922M-KKN1-GP HAF 922M ATX Mid Tower Case (Black)
    RAM: Corsair Dominator 6 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz Triple Channel Core i7 DDR3 CAS 8 Memory Kit CMP6GX3M3A1600C8
    HDD: Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.5 inch Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive HD103SJ
    Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD1001FALS
    CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S222L/BEBS Internal Half Height Supermulti PATA 22X Lightscribe DVD-Writable Drive
    Video Card: EVGA 01G-P3-N959-TR GeForce 9500 GT Video Card
    Monitor: ASUS MS238H - 23-Inch Wide LED Monitor

    A few notes: Ultimately it seems for what I want to do, I need an Intel i7, which is where I started and tried to add accordingly. I don't really need that good of a CD/DVD drive since I have great external drives already; it'd be nice to have a solid Blu-ray player/burner, but I couldn't find one. I think a 1TB HDD should be enough but I'm willing to go to 2TB, I just don't know if I'll need that much space since I'm constantly storing work elsewhere anyway. From what I read online, workstation video cards are basically luxury versions of commercial cards, so I figured a solid, basic, good card was enough. I'm assuming depending on the computer case I get will determine how many fans I need, so I didn't bother listing them as they seem pretty basic. Oh, and I'm assuming a floppy drive isn't necessary, right?

    Thanks in advanced for any help provided.

  13. #13
      Tomi's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go with a Samsung harddrive - go with either Seagate (7200.12) or WD (Black if you need performance, or Green otherwise). 1TB harddrives are very cheap, although, I just got a WD20EARS (2TB green) for $120 (they're now $110CAD). It's pretty awesome.

  14. #14
    is Keaton
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    Noted. I'll look into those harddrives. Does that mean everything else is OK though?

  15. #15
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    Blu-ray burners are available (I have one) if you're interested. I think they run around $150-200 now and that you should be able to find locally at Best Buy, that's where I bought mine. One problem I did notice is that the DVD drive you posted is an IDE drive, but the motherboard doesn't have an IDE connector (I guess IDE is officially dead. Good riddance). The mobo you picked is an excellent choice, so rather than get a mobo with an IDE connector, try to find a DVD drive that uses SATA instead. If you go with DVD instead of Blu, consider this drive instead.

    Also, I'd recommend Western Digital over Seagate. Nearly every Seagate drive I've had has failed on me, and I've never had a WD fail. Those are all I use now and they work great. And it wouldn't hurt to order some extra SATA cables too. The drives may not come with them since they're OEM, and you don't want to get everything and then realize you can't connect the drives.

    Other than that, I think everything looks good.

  16. #16
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    Keaton, I see you're reading this thread. I just edited my post, make sure you refresh and read my latest post or else you might be getting bad advice

  17. #17
    is Keaton
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    Thanks for the insight, Todd. Would you happen to know of any reliable brands for an internal Blu-ray drive? I've seen a couple online but the reviews were mixed at best.

    As for the harddrive, I've changed it to the following:
    Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD1001FALS

    It seems to cover what you guys were talking about and it's gotten high reviews so I'm assuming this is a good choice?

  18. #18
    FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃŹN Todd's Avatar
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    I have an LG Blu Ray burner that works well. I haven't done much actual Blu Ray burning with it though. And good choice on the hard drive. I have two of those.

  19. #19
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    Yep, that harddrive's a really good drive.

    As for the FUD about Seagate - in my server, I have a 60GB harddrive used for OS that's probably 5 years old, and still works really smooth. I also have 2 500GB harddrives, used for holding various media (one is heavily accessed, the other is a backup), bought 3 years ago, one died a couple of months ago (the heavily accessed one, of course) but the other is still going. 2 years ago, I bought 2 1TB harddrives, they're still going somehow, regardless of how brutally accessed they are.

    For the rest of the hardware, I'm not really sure - not much of a hardware guy.

    Oh, and if you end up getting that monitor, please let me know how it is. I've been planning on getting one in September.
    Last edited by Tomi; 07-05-2010 at 08:38 PM.

  20. #20
    is Keaton
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    All right we're making progress here! Thanks you two for the help thus far. I really appreciate it.

    Searched newegg for an LG model Blu-ray drive and found this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827136189

    Seems to be a good choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Oh, and if you end up getting that monitor, please let me know how it is. I've been planning on getting one in September.
    Will do. Though my opinion may be a little biased since I've been using the same monitor for almost 10 years.

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