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HELP!! Me Build a Computer Piece by Piece

Old 12-13-05, 03:52 PM
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HELP!! Me Build a Computer Piece by Piece

Alright, i'm slowly looking into building a computer. I was just going to buy everything piece by piece until I have everything I need to put it together.

I'm just looking for a simple computer I can use to search the internet, play internet poker, and Age of Empires 3

I know I can buy many parts off the internet at low prices and I can also get products from CompUSA at 5% above cost or even at cost. I'm not looking for anything fancy. Just cheap and efficient.

Here's the basics of what I want:
1.5 Ghz Processor
512MB of RAM
128MB video card with hardware T&L (for Age of Empires)
USB 2.0 and Firewall hook-ups (do those come with the tower?)

(Pretty much everything else like the DVD Burner, CD Rom, monitor, keyboard, etc.)

Everything else I could care less about. I just need to know what type of stuff I need to buy so everything will be compatible. I have no idea how processors and motherboards work and what type of ram or video card is compatible with what and what tower I need. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Price listings would help too.

Old 12-13-05, 08:54 PM
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Here's a quick rundown with examples for an Intel system from newegg.com. Those examples should all work together if you were to build that system, but you could substitute once you get the idea. I didn't add monitor/keyboard/mouse as those will pretty much all work regardless of the internal configuration. You'll also need an operating system obviously.

Everything pretty much depends on the motherboard you get. Basically you have to make sure the connections on it match the components you want to put on it.
Asus GD8 $84

CPU: Intel or AMD require different motherboards. Once picked make sure the CPU socket type (e.g. LGA775) matches the processor pins. Not sure if you can get something as slow as 1.5ghz anymore, outside of ebay.
Pentium 4-506 (2.66ghz) $120 This a 533 mhz front side bus, an 800mhz will let you take advantage of dual channel memory.

Memory: pretty much only DDR (184-pin) or DDR2 (240-pin) now in varying speeds, match with mobo sockets. sold in pairs for dual channel config if desired. RAM speeds that are too high for the motherboard will only run at the mobo's limit. Check the number of slots if you plan on adding more RAM in the future (my example only has two RAM slots)
Kingston ValueRAM 512MB (2x256 sticks) DDR400 $45 I would probably bump up to 1GB (2x512) just for smoothness, especially with gaming.

Video Card: connection types: PCI-express 16 (current), AGP (last gen), PCI (even older), match with motherboard connector
Radeon X700 128MB $95 You can get much cheaper than this card, but if you want to play AOE3 with decent graphic levels you won't want to go much lower than this.

Case/power supply: make sure you get an ATX case (pretty much any standard tower case) unless you want to build one of those little box computers (micro-ATX). Case mounted firewire, USB and audio jacks require those internal connections on the motherboard (pretty much standard except for Firewire). Be wary of cases for under $50 that come with a power supply included, as they will most likely be shit and could cause problems with your components. Good case manufacturers: Antec, CoolerMaster, ThermalTake, Lian-Li. You can also get the power supplies separately (at least 350w if you want to upgrade/add components). Most will come with plugs and/or adapters for newer SATA hard drives.
CoolerMaster aluminum case w/380w power supply $75

Hard drive: two connection types SATA (new), IDE (old). SATA's have a little better transfer speed, smaller cables and are generally quieter than IDE's. Make sure motherboard has SATA sockets if you go that route.
Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM SATA ($61) This is OEM, which means drive only, so you'll have to purchase a SATA cable ($5) if you don't have one laying around. Motherboards will usually give you IDE and SATA cables though.

CD/DVD burner: 99% IDE connections still. SATA is a premium.
NEC 3550 DVD/CD burner OEM $40 you'll need to get an IDE cable as well since this is OEM, if your mobo didn't give you some.

Firewire card (PCI): All motherboards pretty much have multiple USB2.0 connections now. Firewire connections are usually found on more expensive mobos. The example I gave doesn't have one so you'll need this card.
Firewire card $12 You might also need this adapter to connect the front firewire jack on the cases, as they usually want a direct motherboard connection: http://www.xpcgear.com/pinhead2fire.html

Last edited by matome; 12-13-05 at 09:03 PM.

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