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  1. #1
    RetroSteve! My location

    Stephen Coates's Avatar
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    I might build a new PC

    Everything has changed since 2004. So I don't really know what is best any more.

    Hopefully the nice members of this forum might be able to help me choose some new components.

    I would like to keep the cost down to around 200.

    I have already decided I will get a couple of these hard drives:
    http://www.cclonline.com/product-inf...id=st3500418as

    The case isn't really a concern as I can use one that I have already. Same goes for CDRW drive and floppy drive (though I may buy a new DVDRW).

    I will definitely need a new PSU. And of course a Motherboard and Processor. I'm not sure whether Intel or AMD is best these days. When I was looking at systems back in 2004, I decided that the Athlon XP would be the best, but that was a few years ago now.

    I would also like a proper graphics card and PCI slots so that I can use my PCI SCSI card. A floppy drive controller, parallel port, and serial port would also be nice but its not the end of the world if these aren't available. Do motherboards tend to have firewire built in these days? I have a firewire card in my current PC which I got exclusively for the external CDRW drive that I was given, but I don't use this much.

    I'm also not too sure about sound cards. I have always found integrated audio to be pretty good but I would consider a sound card if good ones are available.

    I may also get a new mouse, for which I will definitely be going to Microsoft for. And possibly an extra keyboard, which, if I do get one, will be from Unicomp. My current mouse is USB with a PS/2 adaptor, but my keyboard is PS/2, so a PS/2 port would be useful. Of course I'm not sure how popular these are these days.

    Operating system wise I will be using Linux and Windows XP.

    All suggestions and recommendations are welcome.

    Thanks
    Steve

  2. #2
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Great to see you are finally considering a new system. And the good news is that you should be able to keep the costs under 200.

    Intel are currently the best CPUs to go for. On a price to performance basis they give the best at the moment. And while the newer i7, i5 and i3 CPUs are now available, the slightly older Core 2 Duo and Core Quad CPUs are a better option to go for now as they are right down in price and give great multi-core performance. However as you are not into games tat much then the even more avoidable Pentium Dual Core E5xxx CPUs are good and I highly recommend these.

    For motherboards, I would go for an Asus Intel Socket 775 motherboard.

    Ram has gone up in price recently since I last purchased some. But you should be able to get 2GB or maybe even 4GB within your budget.

    Is your budget including the HDDs you are buying or not? I hope not, or you will be a it restricted.

    For your requirements you are going to need: PSU, Motherboard, RAM, CPU, Graphics card. For everything else, as you mentioned, you can use your existing case, optical drivers, keyboard, mouse, monitor etc..

    Most new motherboards only have one IDE port to run 2 devices, so keep those for your existing CD/DVD drives and use SATA for all your HDDs.

    For graphics cards the current ATI Radeon 48XX range is great performance for the money, and depending on what you want the card to be able to run they are affordable, from as low as 40 to over 100. However many motherboards have fairly good built in graphics cards for general use, plus a PCI-E slot so you could use the built in graphics to begin with, and then add a PCI-E graphics card later if you find you need one.

    Sound cards are not needed unless you are into music creation in a big way, or want the ultimate sound in games. Most motherboards come with 7.1 sound built in that is good quality.

    Finally PSUs. Never buy a budget make or unbranded PSU. Always go for a good known make. For the spec I'm going to be recommending a 500W PSU should be more than enough.

    Looking at currently available options and your budget I would recommend the following items:

    CPU: Intel E5400 2.7GHz CPU - 74.75
    Ram: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz Dual Channel Kit - 40.24
    Motherboard: Asus P5KPL-AM EPU Intel G31 Micro ATX (Socket 775) PCI-E DDR2. - 41.39
    PSU: OCZ StealthXStream 400W Silent ATX2 PSU - 37.98

    Those parts would come to 194.36 which is just inside of your budget and will give a nice system that can easily run any current OS well, and most games too.

    This doesn't include a graphics card, and as mentioned there is one built into the motherboard which is fine for general use. And with a PCI-E slot on the motherboard a proper dedicated card could be added later.

    If you did however want to buy a graphics card, then something like:

    Asus ATI Radeon HD 4550 512MB - 34.49

    Would be perfect for your needs.

    With that graphics card, the total would come to 228.85.

    I hope that helps.

    I build a very similar system for someone a couple of months ago on a similar budget and they were very happy with the finished system.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    RetroSteve! My location

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    Thanks for the reply harrison.

    One reason I am interested in graphics is because I wouldn't mind having the ability to play high definition videos, possibly from Blu-Ray, if I were to get a BR drive. This isn't a very high priority though.

    However as you are not into games tat much then the even more avoidable Pentium Dual Core E5xxx CPUs are good and I highly recommend these.
    I originally read this as 'affordable' but I just looked now and it said 'avoidable'. I'm guessing you actually did mean affordable. I certainly hope you don't recomend to me something which should be avoided .

    Is there likely to be much difference between an Intel e5300 and an e5400?
    Do these e5xxx processors come with cooling fans, and if so, are they likely to be adequate, or would a thrid party one be better?

    I see the Asus motherboard you recomend is a MicroATX one. Is this likely to fit OK in an ATX case? Or maybe even an AT case? Perhaps I should just buy a new case since I intend to continue using my Dell and Pentium systems.

  4. #4
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    MicroATX motherboards fit ATX cases. They use the same holes, but only use the 6 pointing points towards the back of the case, instead of the full 9 of a full sized ATX board.

    Oh, and yes that was a typo.

    The main difference between an e5300 and e5400 is the clock speed. Retail boxed Intel or AMD processors come with a bundled fan which is perfectly adequate for the CPU at stock temps. You would only need to consider a third party cooling fan/heatsink if you wanted to overclock.

    If you did want to buy a new case then you can find good ones starting as low as 30, but it depends on what you would want. It is better to get a case with at least 1 120mm fan at the front and 1 120mm fan at the rear. The larger size keeps noise down and still shifts more air than an 80mm fan can at faster speeds. I personally like Thermaltake cases, but they do cost a bit more, starting around 55.

    Never buy a case with a PSU included as they will generally be a budget PSU that is not good quality and is more likely to die at some point and take some of the components with it.

    Most graphics cards can easily do HD video these days. Even the budget end of the graphics card range such as the card I recommended above. On board video might also be able to handle it with the dual core CPU and 2GB of ram. Should handle it fine.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  5. #5
    RetroSteve! My location

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    Is the fact that my current case does not have any fans likely to cause problems? (I could probably add some if neccesary)

    Will any LGA775 motherboard work with any LGA775 processor? I read some specifications for other LGA775 motherboard and there was no mention of the Pentium e5xxx, but I only read them briefly. I am looking at different motherboards as Firewire and a floppy drive controller would be quite useful if it is possible to have them. Extra PCI/PCIe slots would also come in handy I'm sure.

  6. #6
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    You won't find many motherboards these days with more than 2 PCI slots because they are slowly being phased out in favour of the much smaller PCI-E x1 slots for network and sound cards.

    Not all LGA775 motherboards are the same, but all should work with the e5xxx CPUs because they are basically the last of the dual core Pentium's, before the Core range starts.

    The main different between motherboards will be the chipsets being used. Some chipsets offer more things like firewire, more sata ports etc, Plus supporting quad core processors, and different front side bus speeds, for CPU FSB and Ram type and speed. For the e5xxx CPUs you are only going to need 800MHz FSB and DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz ram.

    If you didn't mind spending a bit more then there are motherboards with 3 PCI slots and a floppy port, such as:

    Gigabyte GA-P31-ES3G Intel P31 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard - 46.99


    Gigabyte are also a pretty good motherboard maker.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  7. #7
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I did consider the Asus P5KPL/EPU as that has extra PCI slots. The fact that it doesn't have integrated graphics doesn't matter as I have decided to get a graphics card.

    However, the Gigabyte one is tempting since it has a floppy controller. The floppy controller will be useful, but I'm sure I could cope with a USB drive (I don't intend using the new system with MS-DOS).

  8. #8
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I have ordered the following:

    Gigabyte GA-P31-ES3G iP31 Socket 775 5.1 channel audio ATX Motherboard - 47.17 inc postage from Ebuyer

    Gigabyte GV-R455D3-512I Radeon HD 4550 512MB ATX DVI-i Graphics Card - 29.28 from Amazon

    OCZ-S400 OCZ StealthXStream 400w Silent SLI Ready ATX2 Power Supply
    SG-712S500 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 16MB Cache Hard Drive SATA II 300MB/s 11ms 7200rpm - OEM
    IL-CE6300 Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 2 x 2.8Ghz 2MB Cache 1066 FSB Dual Core Processor
    CRU-B642GK Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 PC2-6400C4 800MHz Dual Channel Kit
    187.27 inc postage from Novatech

    So the total has come to 263.72.

    I only ordered one hard drive. I would like to have two but I can always get another one in the future when I have more money. I will be reusing harrison's old CDRW drive which is currently in my PC. I guess if I end up having to use DVDs I will use my 10 year old Hitachi DVDROM. Will also be reusing the floppy drive and case.

    I'm not sure whether I will keep my 120GB Maxtor IDE hard disk will the old Dell stuff or whether I will put it in this new system. That would mean I can't have the DVDROM, but I am thinking about possibly getting a Blu Ray drive at some point in the future and that would be SATA, so this isn't a concern in the long term.

    Hopefully this will all work nicely. It should all be delivered before friday.

    Now for the hard part, deciding what Operating Systems to install and how to partition the disks.

  9. #9
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    You should have a very nice PC once built Steve. If you need any advice or have questions when building it please let me know.

    The hardest bit is fitting the stock Intel heatsink's to the motherboard/processor. Follow the instrustions that come with it exactly and it should be fine. Make sure you align the processor correctly with the motherboard socket before seating it with the lever, and when putting the heatsink on, make sure the 4 catches on the feet which clip through the motherboard are rotated correctly. It can be worth looking at a couple of videos on how to install them on the Intel site, and also on youtube, just so you get an idea. It looks easy but can be a right bitch to actually get into place and secure.

    I find it best to fit the PSU into the case first before the motherboard or anything else. And to fit the processor, heatsink and ram before you install the motherboard into the case. But make sure you do this on a flat non static surface. I have a large coffee table with the glass top I use for this, and also a large wooden desk. Both great for antistatic environments.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  10. #10
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I will definately take care with the heatsink. And don't worry, I won't use any sellotape .

    I thought first, before assembling it in a case I could connect it all up on the table and test that it works, kind of like my A1200T was before I finally manage to get a tower, but I'm not sure this would be a good idea.

    I am wondering how well it will all fit into this case, with it being a Dell one. The case does have a fan (probably an 80mm one) situated next to the Pentium III's heatsink. This is clearly part of the case and not the heatsink unit, but there is a piece of plastic covering these bits up so the fan will only suck warm air away from the pentium III and not from the rest of the case. I expect this fan could remain in place and possibly be replaced with a bigger one.

    Hopefully I will be able to install Linux and Windows onto the same hard disk. Last time I attempted that I had trouble setting GRUB up.

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