View Full Version : Building/Upgrading a Computer. Need Advice.

2003-03-31, 06:01 PM
I working with a little more than 350$

I already have output/input devices, harddrive, cd drive, floppy drive, and case because I am using all my reusable parts from my emachines T1090(Dont hate me. Im sorry.)


Emachines T1090 case- from emachines

20GB Hard Drive Ultra DMA/66- from emachines

Kingston Ethernet Card- DSL provided, currently in emachines

CD-Drive 48x Max- from emachines

Floppy... its a floppy- from emachines

Plantobuy P4 motherboard 1.7 ghz comes with CPU and fan- $144 on pricewatch.

Plantobuy SB Live soundcard- $13 on pricewatch.

Wasgoingtobuy PC2700 64x64 512MB DDR RAM- $51 on pricewatch but there is 128MB SDRAM in the emachines that I think I could use

Wasgoingtobuy GF4 TI 4200 128mb- $123 on pricewatch but I have no idea when it comes to video cards. I keep hearing conflicting things about radeons. I hear they are cheaper and just as good as geforce from some places, then I hear they have problems with game compatibility from other people.

Any help would be great.

2003-04-01, 12:13 AM
Never..ever...get a intel motherboard. you basicly can't overclock
it. If you dont like your current case, I highly recommend a maxtop case..um goto newegg.com and goto case-maxtop and the 1st case on the top with 389278 review. Its a really good case for how cheap it is.

This is a nice set of ram for cheap :) Better get it if you want before its outty

For the GF4 Ti4200 , There was a few sales for the PNY version for lower then 100$ at bestbuy you might want to look into but it might be soldout , try your luck.

If you need anything else , I got some free time to do some searching for you lol...

2003-04-01, 12:31 AM
Don't stick with the SDRAM it will slow you down (infact I don't think you can use it with p4's?)

since you're working with a limited budget you might want to look at AMD's they are cheaper and you will get more for your money...

plus with the extra cash you might save if you buy AMD you can either get better ram or up that GFX card to a 9500 pro or something similar

2003-04-01, 12:24 PM
Well I honestly know very little about this(which is why I am asking for help).

I picked the P4 because I understand the stats they give. P4: thats obviously better than P3. 1.8 Ghz: thats obviously better than 1.3. With the AMD I dont know what they are talking about. MP, XP, Sock, none of the above, what does that mean? I assume when they say 2700 they mean 2.7 GHz, but some of them have an extra 333 after that. wth is that?

That case sounds good. Ill see where Im at with money before I buy it though. Id like a new one because looking at this emachines makes me sick.

Ill check out that RAM when I go home. Should I buy 2 sticks of it or what?

As for video card, you think the Geforce sounds good? How much do the different stats on the card matter compared to their price?

2003-04-01, 12:46 PM
$350 upgrade using AMD is definitely do-able. And knowing that, you should go with the nForce chipset. The nForce chipset unlocks many functions that other chipsets either can't or won't.

Here's my recommendations:

If you go with a micro-ATX board (Assuming your case can't handle a full ATX board):

ASUS A7N266-VM BUNDLE W/ COOLING FAN & (AMD ATHLON XP 2000+ (1.67Ghz Speed); NO MEMORY; NO TESTING)Motherboard specs (http://direct.mwave.com/mwave/doc2/A16008.html) = $152.43
You can easily disable the on-board video in the BIOS. GeForce2 graphics would suck with Planetside.

512Mb PC2100 DDR = $46.00 Details (http://www.tufshop.com/store/product795.html)

ATI Radeon 9500 128MB DDR = $151 Details (http://www.buyxtremegear.com/9500128mboem.html)
While it is an 8x AGP card, you can use it in a 4x slot as well. Here's a direct quote from the manufacturer:Evil Commando X Radeon 9500 are tested and certified to run on AGP 8x Motherboard and are backward compatible with existing AGP 4x Motherboard. Earlier revision of AGP 8x Motherboard manufactured should be updated with latest BIOS from their manufacturers service support web-site to compliant with the final release of the Intel AGP 3.0 specification.

This gives you a profit of 46 cents. Please note that I did not include any taxes or shipping charges, as I do not know where you live. Click the details buttons and check what shipping costs would be.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

2003-04-01, 02:10 PM
he's on hte right track but I can find you some better deals. Gotta go with the AMD XP

to make it easy whatever the AMD number says is what its = to in Pentium standards for example AMD 2100+ = p4 2.1Ghz

when you see 333 next to it that means it is one of the new Chips. (2500+ and up) you need a mobo that supports 333mHz fsb for that..

socket A is just how the chip connects to the Mobo.

Let me find you some good deals and I'll post em up here for you.

2003-04-01, 06:03 PM
That would be awsome.

*Oh, and I live in St.Louis Mo, which is basically right in the middle of the country.

2003-04-06, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by OneManArmy
Let me find you some good deals and I'll post em up here for you.

I dont want to sound pushy or anything, but are you still planning on doing this? If not, it's not a big deal, just let me know.

2003-04-06, 11:55 PM
yea I've been looking, But because of your case you are limited. I didn't really do much better than the other guy.

**NOTE*** I don't even know if you can use that case. but assuming you can (i'll find out)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+/266 FSB Thoroughbred Processor CPU 2100+/ 1.73GHz -OEM $88


ECS Motherboard for AMD Processors VIA KM266, Model# K7VMM+ Retail $57

512Mb PC2100 DDR $46

RADEON 9500 PRO $173

Total $368

*** I know its a little bit more than what you said you had but that 9500 PRO is well worth it. ***

2003-04-07, 04:49 AM
I would be extremely suspect of a cpu/fan combo for $4, especially one that is supposed to cool a 1.7Ghz chip That's why I went with an XP retail chip as opposed to an OEM chip. It's about $15 more but you get an AMD approved fan/heatsink combo.

Sure the 9500 pro is better than the 9500, but wouldn't it be better than the GeForce2 on-board video? I would think that the regular 9500 would perform better than the GeForce2. Remember, this is about getting to play the game with a reasonable machine, not the uber machines some people have and swear by. Nothing is stopping him from upgrading later either.

I was told when I was building my machine that if you want to go with an AMD XP, get the nForce chipset. I stuck by that and now have a wonderful machine. That ECS board is ok, but the combo I posted is only $30 more and you get the benefit of the nForce chipset. If you decide to go with the ECS board, that could save you the $30 for the 9500 pro. It's your call though. I've build a couple of machines with ECS boards and they're great. No hassle at all with them.

2003-04-07, 09:50 AM
oh and as a quick note that heatsink/fan combo is straight form www.Newegg.com rated up to 2Ghz... (as a matter of fact I think it is an AMD approved one)

and there's no need for an onboard video when you are just going to disable it. with that combo he was only getting a 2000+ The one I suggested was 2100+ and he saves $30 for the (9500 PRO which can net him a lot more FPS than the regular 9500 which equals nice steady framerate when coming across large battles while playing Planetside. :)

2003-04-07, 09:58 PM
I really wanted to get a new case but I thought it would be a better idea to keep the one I have and use the money I saved on something else. If it is going to turn out to be a problem though I would gladly get a new one.

$350 is more of a guideline than a limit. I could probably squeeze out up to $425-$450. $350 is how much I have in actual cash. Then I have bestbuy cards I could sell my parents(or actually use to buy a part), a PS2 game I got for christmas and never opened to return, my mom owes me an old christmas present, and maybe some money my parants will just "loan" me.

It would also be helpful if you could give links to where you found the different items for those prices, if it's not too much of a hastle. Im sure I could find them for myself though.

2003-04-07, 10:38 PM
The links are in my post Mydis.

2003-04-07, 10:51 PM
the first three are from www.newegg.com

and the last two are from www.pricewatch.com

and I jsut talked to a tech guy from Emachines and he said that any micro ATX MOBO should fit just fine in your case.

2003-04-08, 05:46 AM
The 9500 pro has 8 pipelines, the 9500 has 4....

Don't get the 9500, not worth the money.

nice spec sheets for radeons


2003-04-14, 07:53 PM
Hmm... that's strange... pricewatch doesnt seem to have any radeon 9500 pro. They have every radeon but that one...

2003-04-14, 08:02 PM
just do a search for it, thats how I found mine

2003-04-14, 08:59 PM
Ok, Im going to buy a new case. Im tierd of looking at this thing.

Would you suggest a different mobo?

2003-04-14, 10:51 PM
It all depends. Are you still working with the $350 budget? If so, I just did a quote for someone else for below $300. It's not the UBER best mobo, but it's stable, reliable and gets great marks for ppl who don't like to fiddle with their settings. http://www.planetside-universe.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6302
Just look for my name. It's there along with all the links for each component.

If you do decide that you need a new case, go with Enermax or Skyhawk. Great cases with plenty of room.

2003-04-15, 06:55 PM
"I could probably squeeze out up to $425-$450. $350 is how much I have in actual cash. Then I have bestbuy cards I could sell my parents(or actually use to buy a part), a PS2 game I got for christmas and never opened to return, my mom owes me an old christmas present, and maybe some money my parants will just "loan" me."

Im looking for something as simple, reliable, and as cheap as possible. If one cost a little less without integrated sound or video, thats what I want, because Im planning on buying sound and video cards.

2003-04-15, 08:03 PM
I'm currently looking into a new system that won't cost me more then $300.
I'll finish up my stuff then post here about what I'm getting, why, and how much it is.

2003-04-18, 09:52 PM
First, are there any sites that I should avoid? Sites with a bad reputation? Tell me if you know anything about the the dependability of the following sites.

Corsair 512MB DDR PC2100 = $63 (I thought 10 extra bucks for a dependable brandname would be a good idea)

Enermax CA5018NB ATX Case w/ Sliding Front Bezels w/ Power Up 350W Power Supply(is 350W enough? I can buy it without a PS for $10 cheaper.) = $48 (case is not coming out of my $350-$400. This will be the present my mom owes me.)

ATI RADEON 9500 Pro 128MB DDR 8X/4X AGP DVI, Dual Video & TV Output, OEM white box = $165 + options(take a look at the link. Im not sure what, if any cooling/DVI options I would want.)

If either the site or the product it's self is not what you would recommend, you know of something better, or you know where to find it cheaper, let me know. Im going to keep updating this post as I find parts.

2003-04-18, 11:58 PM
I took a look at the chart zatrias provided, and Im wondering what exactly a pipe does. When he said 9500 had 4 pipes and PRO had 8, I didnt think that was the only difference. Turns out I was wrong.

So are four pipes worth $40? Are the pipes made of platinum and encrusted with diamonds?

2003-04-20, 10:01 AM
the pipes are in the core = GPU

2003-04-20, 10:37 PM
"to make it easy whatever the AMD number says is what its = to in Pentium standards for example AMD 2100+ = p4 2.1Ghz"

Woah, wait...

Looking at pricewatch, when I click on a link saying "Athlon XP 1800 with cpu, fan" it brings up "AMD ATHLON XP 1800+, 1.53GHZ 266MHz", and I also looked back at that link Sentrosi put up for a CPU for under $300 and for the processor you say "AMD XP 1700 (1.47Ghz) with Heatsink / Fan".

Where is this 300MHz going?

P.S. Im sorry if I am coming off annoying or anything. I have been gaming(trying to anyway) on below minimum requirments for years and I finally have a chance to catch up. I really dont want to make the mistake I made with my emachines all over again. That is why I am looking very closly at every part I plan to buy. I am very thankfull for any and all of the advice I am getting.

2003-04-21, 02:56 AM
Whoever posted that is wrong Mydis.

Why AMD went with this numbering system is beyond me. It causes more screw ups than anything. That being said....

$450 upgrade is very nice. Here's what I got for ya. None of these items include shipping/taxes/handling/etc charges.

Your system off of NewEgg.com (http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishList.asp?position=HISTORY&submit=VIEW&ID=287329)

I've looked around, and can't find a better deal on all of these components. If anyone else can, they're invited to try.

2003-04-21, 09:23 AM
Wish lists must be username only becuase when I click on your link it tells me my wish list is empty and there are some wish lists other people have posted... unless you mean for me to check the wishlists posted.

2003-04-21, 10:00 PM
Oops, sorry abou that. Here you go.

Foxconn 400W (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=11-154-021)

Epox 8RDA+ (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=13-123-191)

Video Card:
FIC 9500pro (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=14-137-002)

AMD XP2200+ (1.8Ghz) (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=19-103-334)

GEIL 512MB DDR PC2700 (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=20-144-508)

2003-04-21, 11:23 PM
im not sure if you want to go with a new case still but heres what i would recommend for a p4 system if thats what you want:

1. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=11-150-015

2. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=20-144-201

3. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=13-128-175

4. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=33-128-001

5. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=19-116-139

6. http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=14-102-258

ok its 500$ without the case a little over your budget you could always go to a p4 1.8 or less for quite a bit less than the 2.4 but this setup will hold you over for a very long time. O and by the way i made the same mistake as you by buying Emachines last year.

2003-04-22, 12:40 AM
Motherboards still scare me. So many different features and numbers and chips: all of which I dont understand. $95 seems a little steep but if you think it's worth the price Ill take your word for it. Will that on board audio sufice or should I get a sound card?

Processor Ill probably go a little slower and save a little cash.

Videocard is good.

RAM is good.

For case I found a new one I like: not bad for the price. (http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?description=11-156-114)
50W lower and $10 more... buts it's pretty.

2003-04-22, 11:09 AM
For more info on this board, visithttp://www.8rda.com. They have some great info on this board, including overclocking features that makes this board one of the best. The differences between the 8rda and the 8rda+ is that the + has on-board firewire and USB headers, where the 8rda only has the USB headers (I believe).

I have this board and it rocks. I'm not into Overclocking, as of yet, but I may give it a shot later on.

The reason why I went with a 400W power supply is that the 9500pro and on up require a seperate connection to the power supply. It'll draw a whole lot of current. Not sure the exact specs, but when you add 2 CD-ROM drives, Hard drive and the actual power to the mobo, you're pulling down a whole lot of wattage. Always go for more power (Tim Allen said that, and it's true).

That case looks pretty. I did hear that you'll need to switch the fans around on the bottom. They come with the fans blowing out, not in. The exhaust fans at the back of the case are designed for that. Other than that, not too bad (except for the power supply).

2003-04-22, 08:43 PM
Alot of newegg items come with free stuff. But when I add the free thing to my shopping cart, it tacs on the price of the item as if I were buying just that item. How do I get the price deducted?

I was hoping to order tonight so if anyone could give a quick reply I would be grateful.

2003-04-23, 03:49 AM
is there a coupon attached to the freebie offer? You may have to cut/paste the coupon number in a coupon field in order to receive it. Just like buying groceries in the store.

2003-04-23, 12:24 PM
To clear a few things up for you so its a little simpler.

AMD's XP line of chips are numbered to match the performance of a comparable speed Pentium chip. Say when someone earlier said a XP2100 performs like a P4 2.1 this is what he meant. Thats why the AMD chips may be clocked slower, but performance wise you would not be going any better with a faster P4. Speed is not king, performance is king. Speed is a close 2nd heh.

With the amount of money you are working with you really don't want to even go near Intel stuff. You will get much more performance for price with AMD stuff.

I just spec'd out an upgrade for a friend that came close to $200 and will prolly out perform most ppl's systems here. This is a break down of what he is getting:

Newegg - This site it top notch, why so many ppl like them.
Epox 8RDA+ = This is the newest version of the Nforce2 board from epox, a C1 stepping which means basically version 2 which means more stable at over 200mhz. Ppl have gotten this board to 244fsb = insane! Newegg has this board right now for $96, that is an incredible price. Its feature wise comparable to a Asus 87N8X Deluxe at much cheaper price. Someone earlier mentioned the Nforce chipset, sorry but that thing is old and junk. The Nforce2 chipset is the only new AMD chipset worth a crud, I don't care for Via anymore.

As for chip:
That JIUHB is from a batch of XP1700's that are way underclocked. This chip can clock up close to 2.5ghz, hit 2.2 without a sweat. Its only $53 and this site has great reviews.

If you don't want to mess with OC'ing, I'd suggest getting an AMD XP2500/333 or 2600/333. The prices on these new Bartons have dropped like a rock in the last cpl weeks.

Not that big a deal. You want atleast PC2700. I would suggest a name brand such as Corsair, Kingston, Mushkin. Here you can really pay as much or as little as you want. Minimum price for a 512 stick is prolly gonna be about $65 range for Kingston cas 2.5.

Volcano 7+ is $28. You can spend more and get better, but this is a very good one for a Volcano series, don't get the 9.

So thats about $250 for:
A TOP of the line MB that you can seriously upgrade to better chips later. A chip that will do decent as is, but if you learn how to OC will FLY and perform better than chips costing 3x as much. Good, not great, DDR ram that will highly out perform any SDRAM. And a very reliable All Copper heatsink.

Both newegg and gameve have great deals on S/H right now also. Both have great reviews under www.resellerratings.com. If I were you I would take what you had left and get a 9500 Pro. If you can get this card for under $150 your getting a deal. Its not quite as good as a 9700 Pro. The only other card in its performance range is the TI4600 which generally can't find under $190 to often.

Gluck and hope you get a good system.

2003-04-23, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by Sentrosi
is there a coupon attached to the freebie offer? You may have to cut/paste the coupon number in a coupon field in order to receive it. Just like buying groceries in the store.

I dont see any coupon numbers or places to enter coupon numbers. I sure it is really obvious and I am just missing it.

Ok, here's the exact description of the free item(this one happens to be a zodiac paper weight :p)

Zodiac Paper Weights Leo (July 23 -August 21) -- Astrological Zodiac Paper Weight.This is a block of crystal glass with a three dimensional Astrological Zodiac inside it. It's done with a laser heating a very tiny area inside the glass, creates a very tiny bubble of air inside the glass. Thousands of these bubbles of air at varying heights and depths creates a three dimensional shape suspended inside the glass.
Limited Time Offer: Free with ANY VGA Card or Hard Drive Product!
How does it work: Buy any qualified item and add this T-Shirt to cart. Credit Given at Order Confirmation. Limit One Per Customer Model#: LEOGLASSGIFT Special Free FedEx Saver Shipping

Does this mean that after I confirm the purchase of the comp parts I can go back and order the freebie, or the freebie automatically gets sent with my purchase or what? And is that mention of a T-shirt a typo? That is the only mention of a shirt in either the paper wieght or video card descriptions.

2003-04-24, 01:35 AM
The freebie is added after you confirm your order. It'll show up as being charged, but before you submit, double check to see if you're being charged.

2003-04-25, 01:35 AM
Ok, everything ordered(never did get my damn freebies). I knocked the Processor down to a 1800, but other than that everything you (sentrosi)recommended for the comfortable price of $397 including tax and shipping.

Anything I should know or be doing untill my parts arrive?

Keep an eye on this thread. I will have a million questions when it comes time to put it all together.

2003-04-25, 01:46 AM
Just a couple of questions...

1) Have you ever put a system together?

2) Do you have a place to put this together? This may sound like a stupid question, but I hope you're not going to assemble this on the carpet! I recommend setting it up and installing everything on your computer desk, if you have room. If you don't, set up a card table in the computer room.

You may have to buy an extra 3 pin connector, if the 9500pro doesn't come with one. You can find one of them right here (http://www.nexfan.com/3pto4padwirp.html). Just cut off the yellow RPM sensor, you won't need it.

2003-04-25, 01:23 PM
1. Nope. (thought that was pretty obvious =)

2. Yes, I can clear the gunk off my computer desk and set up there.

Looking at some computer construction sites, they make a big deal out of getting shock resistant wrist bands and what not. Do I really need one of these or will I be ok as long as I make sure to touch my case before touching any of my parts? If a wrist band is that important, could I just use some rubber dish washer gloves instead?

2003-04-25, 03:53 PM
The main thing to remember when assembling a computer is that ESD will wreck everything you put into it. That being said....

In order for you to be truly ESD safe, you need to be grounded to a true ground. The computer case is not considered a "true" ground. Even if you use one of those clippy ESD wrist bands and clip it to the case, you're not truly grounded. The inside of the cases these days have either a primer or a glossy finish to them. You have to scratch away at the surface paint to get to the bare metal. Seeing as this isn't really a ground anyway, you're wasting your time.

In order to get a true ground, go out and buy a short length (6' or smaller) 3 prong extension cord. It's ok if its the cheapest you can find, you're going to hack away at it anyway. Now, take that cord, cut off the female end (the end that you plug stuff into) and peel away the insulation. You'll see three colored wires, white, green and black. The Green wire is the ground, the other two are AC power. You'll want to peel the insulation back about a foot or so from your first cut. Then, cut off the Black and White wires and wrap some electrical tape around the exposed wires. Then, come back up to the green wire, strip away the insulation til you see bare wire. Clip your wristband to it and then plug in your cord. You've just brought true ground to your band.

Or, you can be like many of us and just be extra careful NOT to touch any exposed contact surfaces. Anything that looks gold or silver do NOT touch. Touch only surfaces that are green. Handle each component like it was a nuclear bomb. You should be fine.

2003-04-25, 05:17 PM
Hmm... cutting the end off a wire, attaching the exposed wire to my wrist, and pluging in the wire. Sounds like a good way to electrocuit myself.

I think Ill go with the "Dont touch the metal parts" methods.

2003-05-01, 05:56 PM
Well crap.

Got my parts today. The box that contained my case is covered in dents, cuts, and one esspecially large gash, 5 of which you can see from INSIDE the box. The things inside the box are no better off. The styroform around the case is in pieces, the front panel of the case has all of the bracket things that hold it on broken off, the bottom of the front panel is badly cracked in two places, and the metal panel where the hardware meets the mouse, keyboard, etc. wires is warped.

The back panel I could easily correct with a pair of pliars. It is the front panel that is the problem. I dont know if newegg or fedex is at blame for this, but I am very dissapointed. Arr... I dont know if I should send it back and get a new one, or if I should just glue this one back together.

Im going to check my other box and see how well my other parts did....

2003-05-02, 10:34 AM
Give newegg a call. They'll most likely give you the customer service number to FedEx. I've never had a problem when it comes to FedEx taking back something they damaged in shipping.

2003-05-02, 05:38 PM
Ok, newegg is sending me a new front panel.

About the epox motherboard: You said you have the same mobo, right? Well how do you go about putting the metal piece that comes with the motherboard(the one that goes over mouse, usb, moniter, etc slots) to connect to the motherboard properly? It has all kinds of wierd tabs and things that look as though they are supposed to connect to something or serve some kind of purpose, but as far as I can tell: they dont.

Things going well so far, other than that.

2003-05-03, 01:13 AM
You're talking about the back plate, right? On my case, it was a simple push-in that secured it. You'll have to remove your old backplate from your case in order to use it.

Those prong things that are inside the plate (when looking at it from being attached to the case) are used as grounding points so no ESD (electro-static discharge) comes out. When you slide your mobo into the case, those things will touch the metal parts of the connectors inside the case. It may take some working around inside your case, but it'll be nice and snug when in.