View Full Version : Help a noob build his first computer and I'll love you forever

08-27-2005, 12:57 PM
I've never built a computer and I'm pretty nervous about doing so but think it's the best way to go this time around. Any and all help you can give me, whether it's links or advice would be great.

I'm looking to build it about a month from now, so that gives me plenty of time to figure out the specs and order the parts. I'm looking to spend about $1000, no more than $1200-1300.

I use the computer for lots of things. Besides your basic word processing, web browsing, and chatting, I also frequently use Photoshop and Illustrator. I am not yet doing video editing although that's something I may want to do with this rig at some point. Poker-wise, I play 4-8 tables with PokerTracker and either PokerAce or GameTime+ -- usually also while watching a movie on the comp or listening to music, plus browsing and chatting. I also play games when I have time. I'm not obsessed with having a computer specced to play games optimally but I want to be able to play them with solid video performance (my current comp usually requires everything set at the minimum settings). I have 2 2001FPs so ideally would like a video card with dual DVI, and potential to expand if I decide to get a quad monitor set-up in the future.

I have an external DVD burner and an external DVD hard drive as well, both firewire.

I'm trying to think of what else would be pertinent here. Anyway, advice on building in general plus suggestions on specific parts or complete builds would be appreciated.

08-27-2005, 05:28 PM
I just built my first computer a few months back, so here's my .02:

I think you first need to figure out what type of CPU you want. p4, athlon 64, whatever. you can do some research to figure out what works best for you, but my guess is that "anything decent" will do. no need to go crazy. I went with a p4. safe choice I guess.

Then pick a motherboard that will fit your chip. don't skimp on the motherboard, as this will determine how much flexibility/expandability you have. make you you get at least 2 slots for RAM, preferably more, so it's easier to go above 1GB. sounds like you'll want lots of firewire/USB ports. also, I think you want ATX form factor, unless you have limited space for your PC. I bought this one. (http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2024537) no complaints. also, for more firewire/usb ports, it's very easy to buy an expansion card.

buying ram is pretty easy. I would just guy ahead and buy 1gb of dual channel RAM. not very expensive, and it should be all you need for a while.

I'm not an expert on video cards, so I can't so too much about them. like you already know, just be sure to buy 1 w/ 2 DVI's. there are some with 4, but they are quite expensive. again, it doesn't sound like you need anything too schmancy - just make sure it's AGP or pci express/compatible with your mobo, and anything mid-range you find at newegg.com should be fine. also, do you want a TV tuner?

if you feel like kicking it up a notch, you could install 2 hardrives; a fast one dedicated to windows, and a big ole regular one for everything else.

one thing you will need (duh): software. shop around for good windows/office deals, as they can be expensive. or you could go a less ethical route. your call.

finally, I would buy a full size atx tower with at least 400w of power. as this is your first time building one, having a lot of room inside to work around will help you out.

08-27-2005, 09:13 PM
one thing you might look at is you most find "barebones" deals that are a mobo/cpu/RAM combo. see here: http://www.pricewatch.com/m-349.htm

I'm assuming you are building because you have some parts to reuse from and old box? If not, if it's just because you wan to pick every component, look at some of the white box builders sites and they will assemble and burn in for you... this is a pretty good deal.

If you are resuing a case and power supply, make sure it will drive the new stuff... you may need a new one.

08-29-2005, 05:21 PM
Make sure to read reviews of your prospective choices before making a decision on what to buy.

The number one mistake I've seen people make when building a system is not researching motherboards , and just picking up the cheapest one they can find.

08-29-2005, 05:29 PM
agreed. I got an ASUS motherboard on the advice of a friend/reviews for my last upgrade. I paid a little more, but I've been VERY impressed with it. Solid as a rock. Good drivers, updated often.