Author Topic: Up and Running  (Read 7560 times)

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Up and Running
« on: Jan 27, 2011, 12:56 PM »
As I'm definitely in need of a new tower, and could use (and welcome) advice I wanted to pose one I found just to get a feel on how to go with this project...  it's been about 5 years since I ventured into the research and purchase mode, and in spite of some upgrades and part replacements I really haven't kept up on the current state of the art..

I'm thinking I'd like to go with a pretty functional but basic set-up; @$500 with everything. I located a New Egg DIY "Phenom II X2 555/MSI 770 OC SuperCombo" for $297 and this doesn't sound bad to start:

Antec One Hundred case  $59
MSI 870-G45 ATX board $70
Antec PSU 500 watt EA500 $65
AMD Phenom II X2 555 dual core CPU  $90
G Skill 4 GB PC3 10666 (2x2GB) memory $43
So missing OS, hard drive.. I'll probably shoot for a 500G or more hard drive (don't think I need to get to the TB stage as yet.. I'm living with 250 G right now). SATA 6? 3? And Windows 7 64 bit OEM I suppose.

I know I could (should?) figure each part, but I'm really not up to speed and think I'll get paralyzed if I have to configure it all from scratch.  I'd like a reasonable gaming machine, but am not keen on the Crossfire/SLI thing as I found if you lose half of it you are ____.  So just one decent video card, and I guess the PC 2.0 thing is the current mode? I've always gone nVidia on that... I did see a mobo with a Radeon built in gpu that then could take an additional Radeon card to enact a crossfire mode, but that seemed a bit odd… I do want to stay with the ATX size board, and mid or full tower.  And am not that brand loyal; I’ve been ok with Asus boards and nVidia cards and Corsair memory etc. but nothing where I wouldn’t try something again (Gigabyte..) or new (MSI..). I kinda like the AMD thing, and wouldn’t naturally hunt down an Intel core.

Would like hearing if I’m on the right track or missing the boat on what to go with in this day and age.
Ace; danke
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2011, 11:53 AM by Ace »

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #1 on: Jan 27, 2011, 01:43 PM »
Well of course you missed the boat. Why would you ask?

I'll take a look through the DIY, but at first glance it looks like a good option for an AMD solution. I'm not much on Antec PSUs anymore, having had 100% (4 of them) go bad on me. I have had excellent results with Thermaltake and PC Power and Cooling. My next one would likely be either PC Power and Cooling or Corvair Corsair.

As for video cards, the last time I looked Radeon had the edge for gamers. I recommend you remain flexible and get the best option, regardless of whether its NVidia or Radeon.

You might not find a 500GB hard drive (if you can find one at all) where the the "bang for the buck" is as good as a 1TB+ model, so you'll probably have to give in anyway.

Good call on the Windows 7 64-bit. SP1 will be released very soon (literally any day now), so when you buy make sure it's the updated version.

I have become a fan of G Skill RAM, I think thanks in part to Bill.

Scuzy; dang it, where'd I put that other 'z'?

Offline Bill

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 6183
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2011, 03:29 PM »
Unless I missed it, you're also shy an optical drive on your list.

B-
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2011, 03:42 PM »
Well, yeah. Two, actually. And I still want a floppy... and would like one of those multi-reader things built in.  I don't think I care about USB 3.0.

I'm seeing several mainboards that have the built in GPU, then can add the card to cross fire... (guessing it would have to be a Radeon to do that?).  I can't see how they'd be "equal" to split the processing...

I'm also looking at the places that do builds, or barebones... CPU Solutions and Cyberpower and PCS for everybody.  At least to get a feel for parts, and levels of things now. Can't seem to find Monarch mentioned...
« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2011, 03:49 PM by Ace »

Offline Bill

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 6183
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #4 on: Jan 28, 2011, 08:27 AM »
Having had the SLI gaming experience (when it worked) you're probably going to be slightly disappointed with onboard video.

Like you I was a believer in Floppy drives until my last and current build which is now about 2 years old.  I haven't missed it at all.  Windows 7 has native Sata drivers which are automatically used eliminating the old requirement that you load Sata drivers from the Floppy. Save your self $20 and put it toward something else.

My last 2 builds have been Gigabyte mobos and they have been flawless, although sometimes their website can be snail slow.  But I would use them again. 
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #5 on: Jan 28, 2011, 09:11 AM »
I wouldn't (just) use an onboard GPU... would definitely add the card.  I remember how meticulous one had to be to identically match the 2 SLI cards; type/vintage/drivers.. even to BIOS being a concern (card BIOS, not board...). That's why I'm skeptical about having some onboard processor linking with a video card, and the two of them working in cahoots.  I'll try to find reviews of someone actually trying it; otherwise I've seen a lot of boards that seem to have a built in GPU plus the PCI-E (or 2.0, whatever it's called now) setup.  I'd really wonder about any attempt to have a Radeon built-in and then add an nVidia card...

I've got a lot of floppies, of previous stuff... maybe I'll look to convert those to a CD burn or some archive mode.  Appreciate your take on the floppy demise.  Thankfully I don't have any 5" floating around...

I had a Gigabyte that failed, and their website was cumbersome.  I'm used to Asus way of presenting things, and MSI's looked pretty slick.  Have no knowledge of ASRock or Foxconn or others of the ilk.  I've noticed some boards have little levers and switches for overclocking and the like (which, I've never attempted...). 

I actually found a Tiger Direct barebones "Black Ops" version tower, to run the game and comes with a "free" one.  I had already finished the prior COD games, so I guess no great loss in losing them.
Ace; I cannot fathom having to start Oblivion all over again…  geez.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #6 on: Jan 30, 2011, 01:46 PM »
Here's an interesting and timely read from AnandTech: AMD's GTX 560Ti Counter-Offensive: Radeon HD 6950 & XFX's Radeon HD 6870

EDIT: After reading the article, it seems the XFX Radeon 6870 is a good contender. I was most impressed by the low noise findings. It's nice not to have to add aftermarket coolers due to loud OEM offerings.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #7 on: Jan 30, 2011, 10:30 PM »
This is related to the above article: NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 560 TI: Upsetting The $250 Market

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #8 on: Jan 31, 2011, 11:38 AM »
Thanks for the GPU news... those sound really good (too good..?).
I'm probably going to try to stay in the @$100 max range, just to try to keep the whole thing as "cost effective" as possible (cheap..).  I have been looking into nVidia GT 240 and GTS 450 cards too (seems like DDR5 memory is definitely preferred over anything DDR3). And the MSI Radeon HD 5970 1GB card, on the Radeon end. 
I saw a comment that ATI cards utilize AMD motherboards well...
Probably a Phenom II quad, or dual, core.  Antec 300 case.  Mobo like an Asus M4A77T (something ATX, no onboard video, AM3 socket).  There are so many with video, or microATX.
650 watts...?  And a new mouse...
Ace; getting there...
« Last Edit: Jan 31, 2011, 12:22 PM by Ace »

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #9 on: Jan 31, 2011, 01:34 PM »
You know, I have the GT 240 w/1GB of DDR5. I need to fix my computer signature, as I just realized that it's outdated.

Regardless, I don't game but the card is certainly fast.

Scuzzy; somewhat on the noisy side, though.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #10 on: Jan 31, 2011, 02:25 PM »
Really... You're forgetful, and I'm dyslexix.. the Radeon card was a 5670 version.  It's apparently a low-end but functional one, and known for being a low-power draw... "lean and mean"...?  From what I've seen it's ok on fps rates, and just above the 240. And doesn't require a separate power connection, which is something I've never done anyway (always just powered from the motherboard).  Apparently they knocked about half of the stuff off their better cards to come up with this "budget" thing.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #11 on: Jan 31, 2011, 04:46 PM »
Just verified that my card is a Gigabyte NVIDIA GT240 1GB GDDR5. I paid $110 for it, back when.

But as I mentioned earlier, it is a bit on the loud side.

Scuzzy; I probably paid too much.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #12 on: Feb 01, 2011, 07:15 AM »
Hopefully I'll figure out a video card in the next couple days; the rest is coming together...  The Radeon 5670 and nVidia 240 are bottom of the scale (Black Ops/etc) but it throws me where a 512 card is reviewed and you're considering a 1GB for instance. I'm going to try to locate a "midstream" functional one that will get through the COD and Far Cries without breaking the bank, or me.  But since I do enjoy gaming I gotta figure getting one that really isn't going to hack it (right now the single 7600GT sure isn't up to any speed) is going to be a real downer after spending a goodly amount anyway.  Keep those suggestions coming; it helps.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #13 on: Feb 01, 2011, 07:26 AM »
In video cards, like everything else computer related, money = performance. The more you spend on the card, with few exceptions, the higher the performance.

But somewhere there must be a "bang for the buck" point that is acceptable to you and your wallet that will give you good gaming performance.

With just about every system  I've built for personal use, I upgrade the video card once or twice in its life cycle. You might consider the same.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #14 on: Feb 01, 2011, 09:16 AM »
Well, yeah. With the last one the "upgrade" was the second card for SLI.  Which, eventually seemed to kill the thing when the Evil Twin died.
And I'm ok with upgrading, later; just would hate to save $30 or 60 now and get something pretty dysfunctional just to later spend $80-$100something for something acceptable. The charts can be real apples and potatoes; comparing wrong configurations, video settings beyond my monitor's capability...  I'm going to figure Black Oops is the new most demanding out there (I think a Far Cry 3 is coming) so would expect something that can handle that can handle anything in the near future.
I already wear funny looking glasses so I can’t see any attraction to 3D.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #15 on: Feb 01, 2011, 01:33 PM »
Well, yeah... what you said.

I'm suggesting you go with what is reasonably affordable for you now, since you'll probably upgrade sometime in the future anyway. By then, the high end stuff available now will be much cheaper.
 
Or you can spend a lot more now and not bother with an upgrade later.
 
Scuzzy; this is easy when it's somebody else's $$$.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #16 on: Feb 01, 2011, 02:13 PM »
You at least could offer me your card. You said you don't need to look at anything, anyway.

I'm now (this moment.) leaning toward a GS450 nVidia or a Radeon 5770. They seem to be at that "pretty good ok" level, and competitive to each other. And a step up from those below.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #17 on: Feb 01, 2011, 03:23 PM »
You could buy a cheap one along with an expensive one. Install the cheap one initially and upgrade it with the expensive one a couple weeks later.

You know, I've noticed that a step up is usually above those below.

Scuzzy; funny how that works.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #18 on: Feb 01, 2011, 04:04 PM »
It's probably a step above what's below.  I'm usually a notch below those above.  Unless it's the low hanging fruit, and I have to jump.

Shoot, it's not even my money... it's my credit, which they tell me is good.  That's why they keep offering me more of it.  I sense a trap.

Kids, and jesters, say the darndest things.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #19 on: Feb 01, 2011, 08:10 PM »
Hey J, thank you for running down and sending that GPU comparison chart... that thing even included my current 7600GT, to figure what the new ones even compare to that old thing besides each other.  I'll go with either the Radeon 5770 or nVidia GTS450 unless something earth shattering comes around.  Anything less is too little, anything more is too much.  I think either are acceptable...  I've read a few "this, or that" comparisons between the two. 
My lame system is getting even more twitchy... It won't boot on the first try half the time, and "motorboats" to start then quiets down.  Pretty much had it with it...

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #20 on: Feb 01, 2011, 08:36 PM »
If I were building a new system today, I'm pretty sure I'd lean toward native motherboard USB 3.0 support.

It's obvious that the market is leaning toward more USB 3.0 products, and it won't be long before it becomes the norm. Everything from scanners, to printers, to flash drives and external drives, will take advantage of the high speeds. Windows 7 SP1 should include support without 3rd party drivers.

It's certainly not a necessity at this time, but it probably will be sooner than later.

As for a floppy drive, what the heck is that? Why would you want one?

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #21 on: Feb 01, 2011, 09:20 PM »
The ASUS mobo I'm leaning toward is 3.0 USB.  That is one step above 2.0.

Ace; I am so on the cutting edge here.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #22 on: Feb 02, 2011, 06:33 AM »
Probably; and who knows what else...  Shoot, I just blew out the driveway after the (3rd or 4th) Blizzard of 2011 and my HDD is probably shot too.
Guess I'm glad I didn't just buy a stop gap one since there are so many other wrongs (still cannot get any IE higher than 6 to function).  I could use either spring, or some fresh start.
ace; my PSU is tired right now too.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #23 on: Feb 02, 2011, 10:26 AM »
I don't know.. I downloaded the WD drive check tool, and ran a quick and thorough one and it checked out fine...  Something's sure kicking it into the boot failure/BIOS mode frequently.  Not like I haven't been there often enough...
You know, I just pulled out the parts list for this PC; scary how much it was (and about twice what I'm looking to get now, which should be twice as good..).  A step up from the one below me.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #24 on: Feb 07, 2011, 01:13 PM »
So, are you any closer to coming up with a new build?

You asked about a card reader, and I definitely have an opinion on that. I have a good recommendation, but I need to research the brand and model. It's too easy to get cheap trash with card readers.

Scuzzy; I have other opinions, too.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #25 on: Feb 07, 2011, 01:59 PM »
yeah, getting there.  Need to move on, as I'm still getting a persistent boot up hiccup. And yes, do believe a card reader is a nice touch.  I guess I can forego a floppy.  Not like I pull those out frequently.
Eventually, I think I'll add a usb HDD adjunct thing to save over to... Just to make sure my hard drive is "there" in case.  And the 3.0 capability.
Settled on a video card, too.... will try a nVidia GTS450 copper pipe version.  Seems to fill the price/value "niche".

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #26 on: Feb 07, 2011, 02:02 PM »
This is the card reader that has worked very well for me: AFT XM-35U Kiosk Card Reader $39.99

I have tried others, but all have failed miserably. The Rosewill brand readers are near worthless; built super cheap.

I have three builds with the AFT card reader. At this point, I don't think I'd use anything else.

Offline scuzzy

  • Forum Cop
  • Administrator
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 9420
  • In an emergency, 9-1-1 calls me.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #27 on: Feb 07, 2011, 02:04 PM »
Settled on a video card, too.... will try a nVidia GTS450 copper pipe version.  Seems to fill the price/value "niche".

Not familiar with the copper pipe version. Does that mean no fan?

Scuzzy; I'm no fan of noise. That's my opinion.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Shopping for a DIY
« Reply #28 on: Feb 07, 2011, 02:26 PM »
Yeah... it's a ASUS ENGTS450 DirectCU TOP/DI/1GD5 GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16.  Has a fan, then on the top there's a copper cooling pipe. It seems to be a goosed "hot" version that runs cool, and figured that might get an edge over an ATI 5770.

Offline Ace

  • Mighty Jester
  • xTreme Super Poaster
  • *
  • Posts: 7612
  • over. out.
Re: Up and Running
« Reply #29 on: Feb 13, 2011, 12:17 PM »
Ok, I'm there. It's up and running.
The gist of it:
Antec 300 midtower
Phenon II 955 dual core
ASUS M4A77T USB 3 mainboard
WD 500 caviar blue HDD
two LG multi-drive (play and burn DVD)
ASUS GeForce GTS450 Direct CU video
Ultra 650 series pro power
Crucial 4 GB DDR3
Foxconn 19 in 1 card reader
Zonet fax/modem
Windows Home 64bit

Wound up going with a barebones from CPU Solutions in Wisconsin;  reviews seemed fine and liked their configurator mode. Went with a burn-in by them and they even loaded Windows. Wound up with a very tidy/neat assembly... I don't mind fixing or re-doing but I really do not enjoy the mobo and PSU stage.  The Ultra has braided cables so they're really tied-off nicely. Two case fans; top and back.  Has USB 3 connects on the top front, which are handy.  They even called to touch base on a memory hangup with the Corsair sticks I’d specified; went with Crucial instead as that wasn’t acting up in it… and cheaper, so not like they were looking for more money from it.

Only horrific moment came last night when I had installed a Canon photo software; zoombrowser and edit stuff.  And wound up losing both LG Dvd/CD players (!).  No diagnostic fix, said drivers were up to date, but nonfunctional.  Naturally couldn't reinstall drivers from the CD since they couldn't recognize themselves. Nothing online for a download from LG. Finally found a "another" step diagnostic, that pinpointed a windows system 32 CD driver.  I guess somehow the generic Windows driver got overwritten with an old 32 bit version, and threw a fit since it’s 64…?  After a couple hours got through a diagnostic/repair mode that actually got them back.

Otherwise going through the tedium of reloading everything, for the 2nd time in a month. I was impressed that 7 identified and self-loaded the two Canon printers I have and didn’t require the disks.  For older units, that was surprising.  Antivirus, crapcleaner and Malwarebytes, Outlook mailbox are all good to go plus WP and MS Office. Hope to get to a game today, for something enjoyable  This Video card is massive; quite a piece of machinery.  The two front/top USB connects are handy.

So far, so good.  No more classic view, but I use 7 at work and used to the look now…