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Building Your Own Computer


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I built my own computer years ago using directions from TomsHardware.com. I was surprised that it even turned on once I assembled it all together - I am not very handy. I was so excited by my success that I built my mother a computer and later helped JTello build his.

 

I haven't had any problems with my PC for years (though my mother's and JTello's had problems), but recently my computer has been randomly shutting off. I assume it is the processor, powersupply, or motherboard that is giving me problems, but I don't know. This has inspired me to maybe build a new rig. So I am seeking some advice.

 

I want a stable PC, with good performance for video editing. I plan to reuse my existing soundcard, videocard, LCD monitor, DVD drive, and floppy drive. So I need to purchase a motherboard, processor, case, and RAM. Additionally, I'd like to maybe buy two new fast and big harddrives and set them up using RAID for performance reasons, as well as use my existing two IDE drives (if I can). Is it possible for me to have two Serial ATA drives in RAID as well as two IDE slave drives?

 

Anyway, I am seeking advice for motherboard and processor. Note that I do not want to create this computer for the fun of it. I want this to be as painless as possible. I'd like to use the fan that comes with the processor. I'd don't want to assemble things I don't have to, overclock my processor or videocard, or develop a cure for cancer.

 

A recent article on extremetech gave me some ideas. The Nforce motherboards seems interesting. Athlon64 has some hype around it. PCgamer always issues a computer parts recommendation every month. What do you guys suggest?

 

One last thing... since I am interested in RAID, I am looking for an explanation of RAID, the different configurations, and the positives and negatives. What is a good reference for that? Thanks everyone.

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If you are going to be video editing I'd go for the P4 over AMD. I'm in the process of puting together a computer and like you I will be using it mainly for music and video editing. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get the following core setup:

 

P4 3.0 800MHz 512k retail

ASUS P4800SE

1gig Kingston PC3200

Antec Sonata Piano Black TRUE380W

 

 

From what I hear the 512k (Northwood core) processors run quite a bit cooler than the 1mb (Prescott core) cpus. I know some guys who had trouble keeping the 1mb cpus cool. I dont want to worry about that kind of crap. Anyway P4 + Asus mobo = good combo from what I could gather. The Antec case is really quiet as well. I will probably have the place I order from put a Zalman CNPS7000A CPU Fan just to help keep it running quieter and cooler. They come highly recommended.

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Keith, unless you're planning on spending some serious cash, you'll only be getting the basic RAID 1 or RAID 0. A quick Google showed this site that goes into loads of detail for you, if you really care, or are thinking about a more Enterprise-level solution than the onboard jobs that are currently common.

 

RAID 0 is basic data striping - the two disks act as one big one, and because alternate blocks of data go on alternate disks, the performance is (nearly, in practice you're also limited by the controller) doubled. You're also doubling the chance of data-loss, though, as your files are gone if either disk dies on you.

 

RAID 1 is mirroring. Half your disk space is redundant, no extra write performance at all, but because both drives can supply the info read performance does go up a bit (though not quite as much as RAID 0, if memory serves). The Big Thing about 1 though, is that it takes loss of both disk to lose anything, which is pretty unlikely.

 

Personally, I'd be inclined to make your system and programs on the IDE disks in a non-RAID layout, and then keep your fancy SATA RAID stuff for the data files you need to be shifting around in a hurry. Apart from anything, all types of RAID need as nearly identical drives as you can manage, and that is a lot easier to achieve if you're buying them together for the task.

 

On another note, as you can see I've moved this to Computer. Although we're not talking about a games machine here, we do all sorts of hardware here. Otherwise I'd have to get all the Mac threads kicked out ;)

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I didn't own a PC until 2000.It was built by myself with the help from a friend and I've been doing it ever since. I prefer to do it this way since you have a better idea of what you are getting plus you can upgrade a few parts at a time to spread out the cost. When I upgrade again sometime this year I'll most likely be going with a socket 939 Athlon64.

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I haven't had any problems with my PC for years (though my mother's and JTello's had problems), but recently my computer has been randomly shutting off. I assume it is the processor, powersupply, or motherboard that is giving me problems, but I don't know.

 

In my experience RAM is among the most overlooked problem areas. It either becomes unseated in the socket or mysteriously just goes bad. I suggest you download Memtest (free) and run it on your troublesome PC. It will at least let you eliminate RAM as an issue:

 

http://www.memtest86.com/

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Originally posted by iainl@Jul 9 2004, 04:23 AM

RAID 0 is basic data striping - the two disks act as one big one, and because alternate blocks of data go on alternate disks, the performance is (nearly, in practice you're also limited by the controller) doubled.

In theory, yes, in real life situations (for a desktop), no.

 

Anandtech RAID 0 benchmarks

 

If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop.

 

The main benefit gained from using RAID 0 in a desktop is the drive space.

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Keith,

-This is kinda funny, I was looking into doing all of the same stuff to my computer! (I'll save you the pain of the obvious jokes that I would normal insert here. :) )

 

Anyway, I tried for two days to get in on THIS DEAL- AMD64 3200+ Asus K8V SE Deluxe Mobo Combo $192 shipped , ...but it's over now and I was never able complete the order process because the friggen website sucked big donkey doo! :x :evil: :x :evil:

 

So, anyway, good timing on creating this thread! :tu: 8)

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Thanks everyone for the tips. The knowledge on Raid is enlightening. And I scanned my RAM last night. Funny, thought there was a beginning and end to the test, so i waited 18 hours and it wasn't finishing. Then I realized that it seemed to do the test 23 times. No errors it seems. So who knows what my problem is.

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and remember to uses spacers between your case and mobo. My brothers friends comp wouldnt boot when the power button was pressed. he brought it over last night for like 15 minutes but he had to leave. I just looked at it and first thing i noticed was he used no spacers. now it works again. So just remember to use them

 

capt

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, I am about to pull the trigger, and build a new computer. Please comment on my parts:

 

Intel D875PBZ ($99)

Pentium 4 3.0GHz ($204.95)

Antec SLK-3700 BQE ($70)

1 Gig RAM ($193)

250GB SATA harddrive (162.89)

Total: 730.82

 

I'm just nervous about buying and installing the CPU. Last time I built my AMD computer, I was nervous when attaching the fan, inserting the CPU, applying the liquid stuff. I had a hardtime. Not sure if it is the same process for an intel CPU or not.

 

One last thing, I want to make sure the CPU I get is compatible with my board. I got the prices from pricewatch. I read about the different Pentium 4 CPUs (extreme, prescott, 800fsb, etc..) and just want to make sure I get the appropriate process, but it is sometimes hard to identify what your getting on those sites. Any advice?

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With 2 IDE and 2 SATA connections you can hook up a total of 6 HDD. 2 on each IDE channel and 1 on each SATA channel. Of course you wouldn't have a CD drive unless you used USB ;)

 

If you want to use a third SATA HDD you're going to need a controller card to do so.

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