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I need help building a computer -fi

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok, so the title says it all. I have no idea where to start. I do not know which motherboards hold which processors, what the functional difference between processors is (I know how they work, bu not between brands--i.e. I have heard an AMD 3.4GHz quadcore is arguable only as fast as an Intel 2.66 quad. Is that true?). Basically, I am a lazy technophilic person asking for help in doing something new.

I do not game, but the computer has to be fast with graphics, as I do a lot of 3D function/differential equation modeling, and would like for it to not take all day. I assume that since fps is not a big issue, a midlevel GPU at most would work. I also would like to have a small (50GB, maybe flash, but that is expensive beyond what I really need) HD to boot both Windows 7 and 1 (possibly 2) linux distibutions from, and then two large (1TB?) Hard drives in Raid 1 for music and general storage. I am also aiming for two monitors.

Here is what I have been looking at:
Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!

possibly adding a GPU to it if necessary.

Or, going totally from scratch with probably that case,
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops or
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

the HDs, a respectble PS (suggestions)? Also (and obviously), and motherboard (again, suggestions?). Also 4GB RAM at least. I want the motherboard to support 16GB if possible

Is the kit worth it for what I need? I know I do not need all that power, but I like it A since I can afford it, I see no reason not to. I have every intent on making this an overpowered machine and keeping it 4 or so years, at which point it will be pedestrian, or even old. But so what, if it fits my needs.

Thanks,
Nkk
post #2 of 31
i would say an amd is fit for purpose here, but get the best monitor you can

i have a dell ips u2410 which i love, that and the hp version are the only reasonable priced monitors that are [reasonably] colour accurate and are way more appropriate than cheaper TN panels

if you can afford a solid state hdd id go for that, and being in the US will help [im uk based], i couldnt so have a WD VR as win 7 boot drive

as for hardware, since youre not gaming i cant really advise, but for data archive id go for a quiet WD caviar green 1.5TB hdd [WD and seagate are my fav brands]

get yourself a good [i have corsair 850W] PSU dont skimp on it, id say 500W+


my next big PC related purpose will be another u2410, i love it that much and it has so many ports on it its unbelievable!

oh and win 7 64bit obviously tho i sure you know this
post #3 of 31
If you are not building a Graphic Station machine but one for music, you can just buy a MacMini and a DROBO.
post #4 of 31
I would encourage the use of a dual GPU for running two monitors too.
post #5 of 31
Unless you the programs you are using are optimized for multiple cores, you want the fastest speeds possible. You will not be happy with a 2.66 Ghz proc, unless you are using software made for multiple cores. The 3.4 AMD will treat you well, and if you get into overclocking I know it has some good headroom, as well, and if you want to stay Intel go for an i7.

GPU is a non-issue, buy up an 8800 GT off ebay you shoudl be ok with that, or I can sell you one of my extra 8800 GTS 512's . You probably don't need anything more than a 400-500 watt PSU if you aren't running a huge vid card like most enthusiasts. Don't buy the biggest one you can find, the PSU gets more efficient the closer it gets to the limit, so you don't want to go too high unless you want room for major upgrades.

The best way to learn about all this stuff, is to read multiple reviews on the gear you are interested in. They usually do a good job explaining the test setup, the different equipment, and usually a little background. Google is your friend.
post #6 of 31
get a LGA 1366/1156 mobo and one of the new core processors (i7 or i5, respectively). then just get a set of dd3 ram (however much you need) and a small ssd. then add on whatever else you need. but for the core system i'd go with the new mobos and processors. the older stuff (ie. lga 775) is probably gonna start getting phased out and especially if you're planning on keeping this for the next 4 years or so, they're definitely gonna be ancient by then.

mobo + i5/i7 + ssd is definitely gonna be the bulk of your purchase.

you should be able to get 1 tb hdd for <$100 now.

and you don't need a dual gpu as most graphics cards nowadays come with two display outputs.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
What about this Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N987-TR GeForce 9800 GT HDMI 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards ?

I have to admit I am sort of confused as to what it actually is. Is it just the nvidia graphics card on a different mount, or is there something difference about it? What does the brand EVGA have to do with it if it is just an nvidia card? Or is it the nvidia chipset with something else that I am missing?

Thanks,
Nkk
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkk View Post
What about this Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N987-TR GeForce 9800 GT HDMI 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards ?

I have to admit I am sort of confused as to what it actually is. Is it just the nvidia graphics card on a different mount, or is there something difference about it? What does the brand EVGA have to do with it if it is just an nvidia card? Or is it the nvidia chipset with something else that I am missing?

Thanks,
Nkk
It is still a nVidia 9800 GT, just with different pcb/cooling/connectivity
EVGA is just one of many manufacturers, and only makes nVidia cards (for the time being).
Many of the cards that are out there use nVidia's reference designs and puts their company sticker on top. Sometimes there is appeal in custom cooling implemented by the end-user company. Sometimes, this is a passive cooling design, sometimes a dual-slot cooling, sometimes water block, etc...
This particular card has vga and hdmi output unlike the reference 9800gt, and also uses a a dual-slot cooling design.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok, so one last check before I come up with a final list. I am thinking of getting a PS that has 18A on the 12V rail. The card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-339-_-Product) recommends 24A. Is this a hard recommendation, or what? Can it be bent, and if so, how much? I am admittedly cheaping out on the PS right now, and I do not mind getting a better one, so long as I need to. From what I can see, the PS here is not like analog audio, where it changes everything. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks again,
Nkk
post #10 of 31
The power supply is a important component. Reputable brands are Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, and Silverstone, to name a few. While I wouldn't go strictly by specs, I would not bother going for the cheapest power supply you can get away with. Most of the time, if you buy a good power supply from a good brand that has sufficient wattage, then it will be fine.

Since you do a lot of modelling, you have to consider the way your program works. If it uses on the GPU, then do not skimp on the GPU. If the program uses the CPU, definitely go for the i7's, which have fantastic multicore ability (walks all over AMD in that area) and, depending on the CPU model, equal, if not better, single-threaded performance.

If you are interested in cutting edge power, then Intel has a new 6 core processor and Nvidia just released a new GPU.

Don't forget that one (good) GPU typically can run two monitors in any mode you want... mirror, stretched desktop, and so on. ATi's Eyefinity GPUs can run a whole bunch of monitors from one card, if you intend to go more than 3 monitors.

Personally, what I've got is a i7 and I sometimes use it to render scenes (Indigo). I don't think that any other rig would be better except for a higher end i7 rig. Running a 4870 and it is powerful enough, though for gaming it sometimes shows its age.

Anyway, good luck in assembling your build!

EDIT: Knowledge is power. You must must know what's going on, if not we might as well just recommend overpriced pile-o-junk or something so vastly powerful and wallet-roasting that you would run away in terror.

EDIT 2: This is why you shouldn't buy a cheap PSU: M-my pppower supply just blew... UP - Page 7 - Overclock.net - Overclocking.net
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
While I would love the six core processor, $1000 is too much. Although I am willing to pay for power, there is a limit and power/$ optimization says no to $1000. Is the Intel really that much better? The price difference is rather large for equivalent specs, but if there is something the numerical specs do not say, I will consider it.

My deal is that I do most modeling on school lab computers which are usually state of the art. However, a good amount is done at home, and I would like it to not take 1 hour. Even 15 minutes is fine (browse the web on the laptop then go back to the desktop if I have to). I do not need something like real time rendering, as nice as that would be.

As for knowledge, I am getting there. I have been reading a lot this past week. Also, thanks for the power supply link. I will reconsider.

Thanks,
Nkk
post #12 of 31
What is your budget? Sorry if you have already stated this. I am very nifty with computers, and as a 15 year old, I can learn very quickly I am here to help I know a lot about gaming computers, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything about other kinds of computers (Family PC, graphic design, media pc etc). Once you have a budget in mind I can easily help you
post #13 of 31
I built an i7-920 box about 6 months ago. its stock speed is 2.66 but Ive got it over clocked to 3.8 running all day and with the Zalman 9900led cooler my temps are lower than they were at stock speeds with the stock cooler. Microcenter has the i7-930 for 199.99 and it runs native at 2.8. They are selling these as a loss leader. Compare the price to newegg or tiger direct.
post #14 of 31



If you notice, the cpu temp is actually lower than the system temp.
post #15 of 31
I understand that Intel's platform is much more expensive (less so with the LGA-1156 socket platform) than a comparable AMD platform, but if its one thing that AMD has nothing on an Intel i5 or i7 is Hyper-Threading.

It essentially doubles the number of processing cores (in number, not necessarily performance compared to a multi-CPU system) which means that any multithreaded program will benefit if it can take advantage of more than four threads.

AMD only has four cores/four threads, compared to a i7, which has four cores/eight threads.

If your programs are able to use more than four threads, there's really no (inexpensive) alternative: get a i7. Something like a i7 860 will do just fine in this case.

If the program can only take advantage of four threads or so, then the higher clocks of the AMD system will probably be much better for you.

Good luck on your research.
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