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Building a computer from scratch

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by royster13, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    In another thread there was a good discussion about computers and it seems that "scratch built" is the way to go.....So your comments on the bits and pieces that make up a good computer would be appreciated....

    To start with, what is the best value in a processor and mother board?....And what would be a high end processor and mother board?...

    Thanks....
     
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  2. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    There's a lot of different options there, and a lot of possibilities depending upon your intended usage and ideal budget as well. Having some additional information may help in truly providing the best options for you. For instance, what programs do you intend to run? What kind of monitor set up? Do you plan to do plotting or rip printing from this computer? Do you need to store all of your files on this computer or do you have a separate storage server or hard drive?

    There's a lot of change happening right at this moment in the technology available on the market as motherboards supporting the newest Intel socket 1155 and the 6 series chipsets from Intel are just returning to retailers. I just re-ordered a new system using this platform on Friday, so I'll be working on it some more to get some hands-on experience with this new generation of Intel processors. But from what I have experienced already, and what I have read in expert reviews, it is hard to suggest anything else if you can put the money towards it.

    If this is going to be a design computer, I'd recommend trying to plan a budget of at least $1,200 to get a nice computer with plenty of performance to last you for the next several years. However, you can still get a decent computer for around $1,000. Let us know some more details about what you intend with this system and I should be able to help you more with what to look for.
     
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    That's about right. Mine was $1500 before I got the 3 monitors. That is a build with a quad core, gigebite motherboard, Radeon HD 5970 graphics card, and 2 internal hard drives(one for programs and one for storage).
     
  4. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    This is more or less a generic topic at this time...

    Hopefully I am not due for a new computer until Q1 2012...I try to make each system last a couple years and then I pass it down to my other half....
     
  5. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    I used to build computers from scratch using semi-quality components (always mid-range) but lately I've been finding myself buying prefab machines (dell, acer etc) replacing parts when they get broken, and ditching it for a better one when the time comes.

    this way, I find I'm not saving up and spending 1k on a machine that's pretty good, and waiting longer to get a bettoer one, I simply buy one sooner, with less spec, for cheaper.

    I also buy a lot of them with broken parts, dual 21" is always a must, I'd go triple monitor but funding does not currently allow it.
     
  6. Stan B

    Stan B Guest

    Ok I'm lost. How a powerful rip computer can cost ~$1500
     
  7. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    me too!!! they saw him coming with pockets full of money)))))))
    to answer the OP question:
    1. you need to know what your computer needs are.
    2. you need to have a good idea of what is available as COMPUTER PARTS GO.
    3. you need to find a good computer parts/builder/supply house that can accommodate you if your lookin for a BAREBONES purchase.
    4. computer savvy and do your reseach on the pieces you wish to use.
    5. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE if you destroy anything when you put it together!!!
    6. so you need to know computer electronics.......
    with out the above, you are futher ahead to go to best buy and get one off the shelf.
    i have a 2.8 AMD QUAD CORE, GIGABYTE MA74GM mother board, 2 gigs ram, new case, dvd write/play 500 watt power supply, I BUILT IT,..........and mine was under $350!!!!!
    but i been building computers since my 1st 386DX40)))))))
     
  8. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I didn't realize I was a they. I built that computer from scratch with my own specs. That's what I wanted and if I actually didn't shop around for parts that would have cost my far more money, especially the video card as that card alone usually retails for ~$800 by itself.

    If I really wanted to blow money away, I would have gotten just close to my listed specs and gone with a MAC and spent 3750 and that would have been without any monitors as well.

    I use one computer for everything, so just a RIP computer wouldn't cut it. For some it might, it just depends.

    Could the next person have gotten better deal then I did? Sure, but that depends on your individual specs, not based on someone else's. There is no way that I could have gotten by with 2 GB of RAM, especially consideringI consistently use ~6GB on a daily basis with the work that I do. Now I did splurge on the RAM and I went with 12 GB, that's all that the drivers at the time supported I didn't want to have to deal with that later, so I went all out. I could have stopped at 8 and been just fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  9. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

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    first start with a budget. one that is figured out, then think about what you are really going to do with the system. on average there will be 3 things that you need INITIALLY (other things can be upgraded and swapped later from cheap components.

    ultimately the big three is processor, ram and hard drive. find a motherboard that has atleast 4-6 ram slots and can support about 3 times the ram you initially put into it. also, with the processor, quad core is standard, and your processor doesn't need to be top of the line but do try to choose something that has a good amount of hertz in it.

    for ram you'll need to make sure that when you exceed hit 3-4 gigs of it that you have an OS to match, that being said ... go to town. more the better, just make sure that if you have 4 ram slots that you start with only 2 filled. so 4 gigs is two 2 gig sticks, 8 gigs is two 4 gig sticks, etc. this will help you later if you need to add ram to your machine so you don't have to completely replace ram ... just put 2 more sticks in.

    hard drive. what can I say, i'm a dual hard drive man. next time I build a machine ... i'm putting 2 terabyte drives in there with the first going to get a massive partition. price has really come down, though I know more than a few people who have switched to having external hard drives for data storage. really choose a hard drive that suits your needs. only now have I filled the hard drive in this machine with work files and I have 250 gigs in it. and even that has taken about 3 years. of massive photoshop files, digital illustrations, tons of vector art and just as much scans of all my original ink illustrations.

    the rest really can be upgraded as needed. just make sure you get a dvd drive, and that your sound and video is integrated onto the motherboard (pretty standard now) so later if you want a better video card you can buy that. I suggest eventually trying to get to dual monitors with a decent video card though. sooner the better.
     
  10. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    There are a couple big technology changes happening right now, things that people soon to be in the market should know exist and understand the impact that it has on their options.

    First, 3 TB single hard drives are just being released by all the major manufacturers. While this offers the most impressive data density ever seen in storage media, it presents a major problem for the majority of computers. You see, standard BIOS (the basic operating system that actually starts up and runs the hardware in every computer since the 70s) cannot detect and use a hard drive with a partition larger than 2.2 TB meaning your 3 TB hard drive would be worthless in a standard hard drive without being split up into smaller partitions prior to installing in the computer. However, this is changing thanks to UEFI.

    UEFI is the next standard in motherboards that will replace BIOS. It operates the same way but is many times more powerful. First off, it is designed in a graphical type interface where the user has access to use the mouse as well as keyboard, and interacts in real time with all the system hardware to give you instant information and instant settings modifications. It also supports hard drive partitions larger than 2.2 TB.

    The cost of memory has become incredibly low considering the cost even just a year ago, where prices for DDR3 1333 memory dropped from about $20 per GB of RAM to a little less than $10 per GB in some cases. 4 GB sticks (dimms) of RAM are also becoming very easy and cheap to buy, sometimes costing less than similar sets of 2 X 2 GB RAM kits. If you are wanting to get a large amount of RAM today you can do so relatively easy, and I'd recommend starting with 4 GB sticks of RAM to accomplish this if you're planning to do a design system. Even if you only start with a single stick of RAM, on most of today's computer platforms you will have room to continue adding RAM up to 16 GB just by adding sticks, without having to replace any that are too small capacity.

    Integrated graphics are also continually increasing in performance capabilities compared to just a few years back. It's feasible now to use integrated graphics on your computer to do most design tasks and still get high resolutions and even dual-monitor configurations. However, the most recent dedicated graphics cards allow for more performance in rendering tasks and in some applications like the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, the programs are able to utilize the incredible power of the graphics card processor (GPU) to help greatly increase the speed of renders.
     
  11. wes70

    wes70 Very Active Member

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    Choucove, will UEFI be more user friendly than BIOS?
     
  12. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

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    we can hope wes, we can hope.
     
  13. stickerman68

    stickerman68 New Member

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    one problem i had back when i built my own...sometimes stuff looks good on paper...all the specs sound great...but in the real world some parts didnt run so great with other parts..(brand wise). so one advantage of a pre built system is that somebody else has figgured out all the conflicts for ya..... :)...i hear ya Old Paint...my 1st one i built ahd 1gig hd...i thought it was huge...16 meg ram...woohoo...cut my first vinyl with it...only have around $650 in my main computer i use now.....guess my files are smaller ?? dono...works fine for me 4 gig ram dual core pros. nothing special
     
  14. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    UEFI is more user friendly. I've had a chance to work within it, and have watched several video demonstrations of it. One thing unique about it is UEFI is actually designed and implemented by the manufacturer. In other words, ASUS has their own version of UEFI custom tailored for their motherboards, while Gigabyte will have their own UEFI layout. But, the layout should be very VERY similar from one board to the next which makes it wonderful.

    Just take a look on Youtube at a couple videos where they are demonstrating the look and feel of UEFI and you'll see the difference.

    ASUS P8P67 Deluxe UEFI

    In ASUS's UEFI there are several key things that I really like. First, right on the main page it displays all of your temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds easy to understand and no hunting required! It also has a very easy way of changing your boot order simply by dragging and dropping the bootable objects in the order you want on the bottom of that same page (no more selecting primary or secondary hard drives, disabling or enabling external USB bootable drives, etc.) Next, UEFI and the built in chips to integrate with your hardware allow everyone to be able to overclock their computers with no risk and simply a click of the mouse. This can be done in the UEFI by clicking on the "Optimal Settings" button which will load all the ideal optimal settings for your processor and RAM, and then run a couple quick validation tests on boot up into Windows the first time to check the optimum overclock automatically. In many cases this simple default overclock gave an aditional 1 Ghz overclock to the stock speed of the processor without having to increase the CPU voltage and with little to no temperature increase even! It's all so simple, fast, and safe anymore.

    However, most of what I've said so far has been geared towards the new Intel processors as those have been the first platform released to really support UEFI. This means that if you plan to have any kind of overclock, you will have to 1) have an unlocked processor meaning either the Core i5-2500K or the Core i7-2600K, both of which are TREMENDOUSLY powerful and yet very bargain priced, and 2) have a p67 chipset motherboard as the h67 chipset motherboards - which include the integrated graphics from Intel HD - do not support the overclocking features. This will change in the future once the Z67 chipset is released.

    But, looking on into the future a little more UEFI is definitely going to be appearing on nearly everything hear on out. BIOS is over 30 years old and has reached a point where it no longer can support and run today's and tomorrow's leading hardware. I know that many of AMD's upcoming motherboards will also be supporting UEFI when the Socket AM3+ motherboards are released (supposedly around June this year) as well as the upcoming Intel Socket 2011 which will replace the Socket 1366 as the new ultimate enthusiast and enterprise server platform (again, sometime in the second half of this year.)
     
  15. Maxphobia

    Maxphobia Member

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    new egg usually has some pretty good kit builds you can buy and if your not the computer savy person you can always just take the kit to a computer shop and have them do all the install work and you should be able to come out with a $1150 tower that would have costs you about 2200 to have it built for you online and shipped.
     
  16. Maxphobia

    Maxphobia Member

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    oh and plus with the new egg kits you can be sure all your parts will fit in the tower which is a very nice thing to know
     
  17. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    Newegg is pretty good about making sure that the items included together in their kits or combos are all compatible, but it's not completely certain (and they flat out do not state or guarantee either) that the components in their combos will be completely compatible.
     
  18. Custom_Grafx

    Custom_Grafx Very Active Member

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    I was about to start a new thread, but found this one :)

    Not really seeing any specific answers though, so I'll try and ask some questions first?

    Thanks in advance!

    1) 1.5-2k$ budget - don't mind building it myself.

    2) I run, CS4 (PS, Bridge and AI mainly), Thunderbird, CorelX3, Chrome, RolandVW RIP, MS Office, VLC media player, and my Nikon RAW viewers/converters. That's pretty much it.

    3) What do I want? Something that grunts through processing of applying effects in AI and PS. Am sick of waiting for previews to update. I want to be able to have all above mentioned apps open at the same time, without noticeable lag. I also wouldn't mind a fast start up, and fast copying/back up of files.

    Considerations.

    Currently I back up to an external HDD using MS Backup, on incremental. Seems to work ok, but have been told I should go RAID next time. Should I? Which setup?

    I also want to have 2 monitors (currently on 1...).

    I've been told about considering to use SSD for my OS and Progs and that this might speed things up. True? Worth it? Not worth it?

    How much RAM? I know the common answer is the more the better... say, would I realistically benefit from more than 8GB? 16GB? (I'd like to go with 64bit Win7).

    Graphics card... I've been told if I don't work with 3D then I don't need to get anything special. How true is this? I don't use any 3D software like 3DMAX, but I do apply alot of 3D effects in AI, and also use the bevel/emboss tools in PS quite a bit. Does the vid card help with these?

    USB power. I have observed a bit of instability/lack of power - do I need a better power supply next time? A m/b with a better USB power layout? I've heard about more recent m/b's having more allocated power to USBs... true?

    That's about it for now. I have a ton of questions but these are the main ones that come to mind.

    As for what I currently run... it was ok when I got it 3 years ago, but I'm starting to feel the pain recently. It's just a XP machine, 4gb RAM, onboard vid/sound, dual core. I have a 160gb for my OS and progs, and recently got a 2TB for my data.

    Thanks again, hope to get some good advice as I'm keen to upgrade pretty soon.
     
  19. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I can tell you what I run, but I do quite a bit of 3D effects in programs as well as some gaming when I have the time.

    300GB HD for programs
    1TB HD for various files (I do use a couple of external drives as well)
    Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5980 Graphics Card
    12GB of RAM

    My dad uses two SSD drives and his computer boots up insanely fast. Is it worth the extra scratch, only you can determine that. My boots up fine. I can't remember my dad's specs other then that. I do know his can support 4 monitors and he has about 16GB of RAM.

    I can tell you on the setup that I have, I normally have 5 programs running at any given time, spread out across 3 monitors and don't have lag time (I do use the Master CS5 Suite). Now the graphics card I mentioned can support 3 monitors at 1 time. 2 DVI inputs and 1 MiniDisplay input. If you do go with 3 monitors at one time and that last one isn't a MiniDisplay port, you have to get a Mini to DVI(or VGA) ACTIVE adapter to get it to work. The regular $20 ones don't do the trick.

    I've been extremely happy with my system, but you have to shop around for some of the parts (especially the graphics card) as it get on up there if you don't watch it. It's more then what quite a few people on here would need or want, but this computer does it all for me, so it has to be "stout".
     
  20. Custom_Grafx

    Custom_Grafx Very Active Member

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    Thanks WWD,

    What kind of processor do you run?
     
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