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Thread: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Thanks again, some of these model builds are quite helpful.

    Something I've always wondered is what happens the first time I turn on a PC that's been custom built. Does some of the hardware have pre-installed drives and software which allows you to get the OS and other drivers installed?

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Hologide View Post
    Something I've always wondered is what happens the first time I turn on a PC that's been custom built. Does some of the hardware have pre-installed drives and software which allows you to get the OS and other drivers installed?
    The BIOS bootstraps the hardware, and loads bootsector code from whatever storage medium you choose, usually (the default) from the CD/DVD drive, that then loads the pre-installation operating system from the disc, and begins the setup programme to install the operating system to the hard drive. After that, it's merely a matter of following the on-screen prompts.

    If you want to get into the nitty gritty of PC-BIOS hardware and how it relates to Windows, fellow Hexite Paul Adams put together this informal post: http://forums.hexus.net/operating-sy...h-windows.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Hologide View Post
    Thanks again, some of these model builds are quite helpful.

    Something I've always wondered is what happens the first time I turn on a PC that's been custom built. Does some of the hardware have pre-installed drives and software which allows you to get the OS and other drivers installed?
    Windows does have default drivers for most hardware.When you boot up for the first time after you have installed Windows it may install the appropriate drivers automatically. However it is best to have the drivers to hand already on a usb pen drive or on a cd.

    Regarding the build I would personally spend another 100 quid and get a quad core processor and perhaps a faster graphics card if it is needed. This way you will not need to be bothering about upgrading the core components for a while. It is one thing just replacing a graphics card but it is much more trouble replacing a CPU for example.
    By the time a quad core Phenom or Core2 is considered a major weakness you would need to change all your major components(RAM,motherboard,CPU and graphics card).

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Here are my thoughts:

    The overall plan with the suggested build is to get a solid processor and motherboard. With the other bits, value for money will be the key factor. I have taken all prices from Scan but you may wish to shop around.

    CPU: AMD Phenom II 920 £160.07
    Motherboard: Biostar TA790GX3-A2+ (£83.36) - the 790GX gives a bit more kick in the integrated graphics department which should be ok for light gaming. Don't expect to play Crysis at high settings though. Although I don't expect you to need to replace your CPU this board will work with AM3 processors so there is an upgrade path should you require it.
    Memory: 4GB Corsair (2x2GB) TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800) CAS 5-5-5-18 (£39.84)
    PSU: 450W Corsair VX Series PSU (£51.76)
    Case: Coolermaster Elite 335 (£28.69)
    HDD: 500 GB Samsung HD502IJ Spinpoint F1 (£43.76)
    ODD: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBE 22x (£15.24)
    OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64Bit (£89.57)
    Telly: 17" Hanns-G HW173AB Silver/Black Widescreen LCD, 1440x900 (£66.69) - mainly recommended because of the price.
    Keyboard & Mouse: Genius KB 600 Black Value Wireless Keyboard & Optical Mouse Kit (£13.79)

    Total: £592.77

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Quote Originally Posted by tonpal View Post
    Here are my thoughts:

    The overall plan with the suggested build is to get a solid processor and motherboard. With the other bits, value for money will be the key factor. I have taken all prices from Scan but you may wish to shop around.

    CPU: AMD Phenom II 920 £160.07
    Motherboard: Biostar TA790GX3-A2+ (£83.36) - the 790GX gives a bit more kick in the integrated graphics department which should be ok for light gaming. Don't expect to play Crysis at high settings though. Although I don't expect you to need to replace your CPU this board will work with AM3 processors so there is an upgrade path should you require it.
    Memory: 4GB Corsair (2x2GB) TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800) CAS 5-5-5-18 (£39.84)
    PSU: 450W Corsair VX Series PSU (£51.76)
    Case: Coolermaster Elite 335 (£28.69)
    HDD: 500 GB Samsung HD502IJ Spinpoint F1 (£43.76)
    ODD: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBE 22x (£15.24)
    OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64Bit (£89.57)
    Telly: 17" Hanns-G HW173AB Silver/Black Widescreen LCD, 1440x900 (£66.69) - mainly recommended because of the price.
    Keyboard & Mouse: Genius KB 600 Black Value Wireless Keyboard & Optical Mouse Kit (£13.79)

    Total: £592.77
    Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade w/SP1 (additional products) - £40.95. You can upgrade iteself. Saving £48.62!

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Using an upgrade without an existing copy of Windows does violate the EULA. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it.

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Hello just stumbled across this thread, just put together a new built myself, its gone wrong but thats in another post ... Anyway just wanted to say that when i was at uni i put together a new PC and had a nice dual 21 inch viewsonic crt set up for about £50 of ebay from a small local business, they were hugh and usually go to local buyers because of the weight ( got a mate with a car to pick them up), but that means very little demand and a great price Worth looking into it if u have the space and want a nice monitor setup on the cheap, but i have to say now gone to a single 24in crt and i miss them lol. Look for decent spec dell / viewsonic / Illayma / nearly all have a date of manufacture on the back so you can aim for one less than 2-3 yrs old . Both monitors were 2 years old and 5 years on and both are still working perfecty one on my mum's and one on my brothers pc. Gotta love those crts

    Good luck!
    AC

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Hmm a CRT is an interesting idea, one which I was considering. My only concern was picking one up with resolution comparable to a flat screen monitor.

    Furthermore, space is in a premium in my room. I've already got a small TV for my 360/PS2. What would be really useful is if I could use my new monitor to display from my desktop and consoles. I imagine only a minority of monitors come with SCART input, so I'd assume some sort of signal converter would be in order??

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    i haven't seen scart adapters but never used one so i can;t comment on the quality of picture, as to the crt resolution/picture quality, well thats a debate that might last a while, IMHO unless u run the lcds at its native res they dont look good, crts are a lot more flexible also they usually have much wider resolution choices if u need then. Personallly i prefer the crt display but i think its an end user thing. I went back to lcd because of space ( finished uni) but i since i had the space at uni it was not a problem, but yes those large +21' have Huge footprints worth measuring first. In the end it was a nice and very cheap setup that kicked arse, dual 21's baby, dual 21's!
    Last edited by ashwinc1; 01-02-2009 at 06:49 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    I seem to remember that good 21"crt's would go up to 1600x1200 resolution but the big issue is space, power usage and weight.
    I have an old 19" crt I still keep for emergency backup screen, however it's damb heavy and bows the top of my computer desk if I have to use it.

    You should be able to pick them up 2nd hand dirt cheap, however 17" and 19" LCD's are also very cheap to get 2nd hand.

    Yes you could use a small tv as a monitor, if it's an LCD tv (most lcd tv's have a standard d-sub input) however very few crt tv's will have d-sub.
    However it's still possible using the s-video connector depending on your tv and you will need to get the correct leads.
    Another However, resolution may again be an issue, but this all depends on the TV.

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    I seem to remember that good 21"crt's would go up to 1600x1200 resolution but the big issue is space, power usage and weight.
    I have an old 19" crt I still keep for emergency backup screen, however it's damb heavy and bows the top of my computer desk if I have to use it.

    You should be able to pick them up 2nd hand dirt cheap, however 17" and 19" LCD's are also very cheap to get 2nd hand.

    Yes you could use a small tv as a monitor, if it's an LCD tv (most lcd tv's have a standard d-sub input) however very few crt tv's will have d-sub.
    However it's still possible using the s-video connector depending on your tv and you will need to get the correct leads.
    Another However, resolution may again be an issue, but this all depends on the TV.
    Buying a cheap small LCD TV and using it as a PC monitor is a bad idea, it depends on the panel used on the TV but everyone of the customers that buys them for that purpose at work has said the max resolution some of ythe really cheap ones can handle is 800 x 600.

    Stump up the extra money and just get a decent TFT screen on it's own

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Like I said depends on the TV

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Thanks for the advice on this thread guys. I've taken into consideration what you said, but also considered my avaliable budget and the fact that most of us are guilty of wanting to squeeze that extra core or .5GHz into the specs at a little extra cost - I've tried to trim down to a minimum spec which would work for me. I dont feel I've much use to a Quad Core or a huge HDD or anything like that yet. Could always bang one in in a couple of years if I needed to I suppose. Anyway, the build I came up with on Scan:

    Motherboard: LN21923 Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H £68

    What drew my attention to this was the pretty high RAM capacity, plus it's claims of the integrated GPU. I figure if it's really that good I can save myself a little on an actual graphics card, for the time being at least until I have a bit more cash kicking about.

    Processor: LN23890 AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ £59

    Seems like the standard dual core to me. A quad core would, of course, be preferential, but I'm not sure if the cost is worth it for what I'll get out of it right now. I believe the Mobo can hack a Phenom so there's room for upgrade if that turns out not to be the case sometime down the line.

    RAM: LN19302 4GB Corsair (2x2GB) £40

    Pretty standard 4GB RAM.

    HDD: LN11035 250 GB Hitachi £34

    Again, seems pretty standard. Cut back a little on the memory size, but it's taken me two years to get close to filling a 100GB HDD on my lappy so 250GB should serve me 4+ years.

    PSU: LN8039 550W EZcool Silent pPFC Power Supply £20

    Not sure why but I feel there may be a compatibility issue here :S

    Monitor: LN25067 20" Samsung SM2043NW £110

    This choice certainly isn't set in stone. I'll probably shop elsewhere for a monitor.

    Peripherals: LN19999 Microsoft Basic Black Value Pack Keyboard + Mouse £13

    Silly question - I'm assuming I'll need to pick up a set of speakers if I dont fancy using headphones all the time? Yeah, I haven't set up/regularly used a desktop for 2 years now. 2 years of laptoping has driven me slightly insane mind you, can't see me ever buying a new laptop again. Not on a budget of £500 anyway....

    OS - LN17166 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1* 64Bit £90

    Again, I figure this can be found cheaper elsewhere. Not sure how many licences this edition of Vista comes with, if it's more than one I may try to source one out from a mate.

    Case: LN20988 Akasa ZEN V4 Tower Case Black £32

    Meh. I tried not to be too cheap on the case

    Optical drive: LN24458 LG GH22NP20 £15

    Which comes to a grand total of £495. About £480 if I can scrape together enough posts for free shipping. Reckon I can get it under £450 with a bit of shopping around. So if anyone's gonna rip this build [please do!] and suggest an alternative [again, yes please ] bear in mind I've got about another £100 to play with. Maybe £150 if I stretched.

    Thanks a bunch guys, your input has been handy

    Oh yeah, a Scan screenshot, as I've seen posted:



    Looking at my build it doesn't seem too different to Tonpal's. A little cheaper maybe, value removed from the CPU and transferred to the monitor...
    Last edited by Hologide; 03-02-2009 at 12:34 AM.

  14. #30
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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Please don't order that PSU, you would be better off with a Hamster in a wheel.

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Please don't order that PSU, you would be better off with a Hamster in a wheel.


    I agree!! There are rumours that they explode even before you install them!!

    I would spend another 15 quid and get a Silverpower 400w PSU:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400w-...2V-6Serial-ATA

    It is made by Tagan and has got a very good review:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/16073/11

    Scan are also doing a 700w FSP for £35 on Today Only:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    It is usually around £70.

    I would also get an AMD X2 7750+ instead of the X2 5600 as it has an improved architechure(it is based on the Phenom unlike the older X2 5600+) and is hence faster!!

    It also does come with a heatsink and fan:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-A...B-Cache-Retail

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    Re: Complete beginner, looking for advice with building PC



    This is my final build, having taken into account some of the above posts. I reckon through a bit of alternative sourcing I should meet my £500 mark spot on.

    Is there a significant bottleneck or part which really should be upgraded? Nothing on there that's liable to spontaneously combust when I first hit the power button I hope I have a little bit of flexibility but really I'd rather use that to hold out for a graphics card. I'd just rather see how this system performs with what i wish to run on it before I go out buying a graphics card.

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