Hello - I created this thread because I need guidance on building a gaming desktop. I don't have much experience with this - so far all my experience is replacing a video card and putting in some thermal paste.
My goal is to make a great GAMING PC for my little brother for about 600-800$ - i want to try to not go over 700 but i also want to get the most out of my money. I am using websites such as google, newegg( especially the reviews!), toms hardware, pricewatch, and tigerdirect. I won't get state of the art technology with that budget, but I still want it to last a good number of years with the latest games. I live in and will be buying from the USA.
Keep in mind that since i have never built a computer so I'm not really sure too sure what I'm doing. I figured that i would order all the parts and then just try to put it together.
So far, the parts that I think I need are:
Motherboard Processor Video Card RAM Monitor Computer Case Hard Drive Keyboard Mouse Speakers CD/DVD Burner
Please let me know if there is anything else I need. The fan comes with the motherboard right? Will I need some sort of external cooling also?
I have researched the priciest components so far (CPU, motherboard, video card). Please let me know what you think of my decisions and if you have recommendations. Is everything compatible with eachother? I'm trying to get the biggest bang for my buck. Based on my research, I have come to the conclusion that Intel > AMD at this current moment.
I haven't decided if I am going to overclock this (partly because I'm not sure how to). But let's just assume I will.
Processor - this is what I have researched the most so far and I am fairly confident in my choice - but let me know if you disagree.
Keep in mind that I have not checked these motherboards on Pricewatch - so there may be a 5-10$ cheaper elsewhere.
As for CPU/Motherboard combos, I've looked for a good deal on one of those but what I am finding is that they offer a really great processor and a very crappy non-gaming motherboard.
Video Card - I have already purchased this one for 20$ (after rebate) and based on the reviews its pretty good for gaming - my reasoning was that since it is only 20$, worst case scenario is I will just get a better one later on incase this one isn't good enough.
RAM - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of RAM I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of RAM to accomplish this?
Hard Drive - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of hard drive space I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of HD space to accomplish this?
Monitor - Haven't researched this much yet.
The rest of things like the keyboard and speakers I don't think is that big of a deal, that I can do on my own but the main components is what I need help with.
Also - here a couple of combos from some users on Newegg. Haven't looked at these very carefully yet.
-EVGA 512-P3-N980-AR GeForce 9800 GT Hybrid -GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel -Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB -G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory -LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model -Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor -Rosewill RCX-Z300 92mm Ball CPU Cooler -RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power **this box was not the best choice** -Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit
1.This mobo Gigabyte EP45 2.Intel E8500 C2D...OCed@3.9Ghz/1644mhz FSB 3.GTX260(MSI)Oced 702/2406/1467 GPU(just 1) 4.DDR2 1000@822mhz 5-4-4-12 1:1 (gskill)2x2=4gb 5.X-Fi gamer's edition audio 6.(optional) Asus PhysiX card-takes load off GPU 7. 750watt 4x12v rail PS(Zalman)or better 8. Antec 300 or 900 (depending on your budget)case 9. 22"lcd or bigger with 2ms 10000:1 (LG)or samsung 10. any of the THX Logitec speakers are good! Z series
Let me know if I forgot to mention anything. I would appreciate it if you would please let me know what you think, thanks a lot.
Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)
Mar 11, 09 at 5:27pm
The PC is running great - but I have this error. My videocard has this error. My ASUS video card came with a software called "ASUS SmartDoctor" - I think it just monitors my video card and allows me to overclock and adjust other settings. I haven't messed with any of it.
But the other day, I get this error from SmartDoctor:
VGA's voltage is out of safe bound. Motherboard doesn't supply reliable 12.0 voltage. Contact with its manufacturer for help.
What does this mean and how do I fix it? Is my video card overheating? I am not familiar with overclocking.
Jan 03, 09 at 4:56am
I fixed it!!! Not exactly sure how - but the important thing is that it is fixed :}. My little brother has been gaming for hours without a lag spike!
I did several things - I'm not sure what fixed it - here is what I did :
1. Installed 3rd party firmware on my router (Tomato). 2. Enabled Frame Burst and AutoBurner in the Tomato settings. 3. Replaced my Linksys adapter with a SpeedBooster adapter (same adapter, just with speedbooster).
That's it. No Ralink drivers, no anti-lag software, or anything, just used the drivers from the linksys CD. I don't know what it was, it says on the box speedboster only works with XP and 2000.. but I heard people saying they utilized their non-speedbooster router to work with their speedbooster adapter via 3rd party firmware. Maybe that's what I did (I know afterburner enables speedbooster). But I don't see how that would fix it anyway.. whatever, who cares! I'm getting excellent/very good signal with great latency!
Thanks for the help.
Jan 01, 09 at 11:07pm
The root problem for this I think is the WLAN Autoconfig, checking for new networks every 60 seconds. to disable this i go to run > services.msc, and scroll down to WLAN Autoconfig and disable it.. but the problem is that when I disable it, I can't detect my network so I can't connect.
This Autoconfig is only in Vista so what I need to do is install XP drivers for this adapter. The problem is that linksys does not have 64 bit drivers for XP so I have to use ralink or some other driver.
I do not get any error code - the error I get when trying to install any of the Ralink Drivers is this :
Windows was unable to install your network controller
Windows could not find driver software for your device
If you know the manufacturer of your device, you can visit its website and check the support section for driver software.
The Ralink Wire Lan Card Utility/Status is just a big black X... the Ralink utility/status ONLY works when I install the Linksys driver from my cd that came with my Linksys adapter. That is the only driver I can get it to recognize and thus the only driver I can access the internet with, for this adapter at least.
Jan 01, 09 at 12:53pm
I went to cmd and typed in "ping -t 192.168.1.1"
and then it started pinging my router.
it showed this line.. one second at a time
"reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=<1ms TTL=64
occasionaly it would have a request timed out line (every 5-15 lines)
but the thing I noticed was that EXACTLY every 60 lines ... the time would jump from <1ms to around 600-1500 ms.. just for the one line.
I'm guessing this is the spike problem that is pissing me off.
Based off google searches, I think problem is because of the incompatibility of the ralink rt2561 chipset for my adapter with Windows Vista 64-bit. It's actually a common problem.. called something like the vista 60 second lag spikes (1-3 second lag spikes every 60 seconds.
I say this because I have two other laptops. My laptop has XP. I tried this same cmd command on there... no major spikes...my dad's laptop is Windows Vista 64 bit (only difference is that his is home edition, the PC i just built has business edition) and that did not have any spikes as well.
So that means the only variable that remains is the adapter.. and based off google searches I think it's because it is incompatible with Vista 64-bit (I guess the laptop adapter is not the same chipset).
However, I could not manage to install the rlink drivers. It kept saying unsuccessful or whatever when I clicked browse and specified the driver. It worked for him though, and he suggested that I get the same adapter as him.
What do you think?
Jan 01, 09 at 3:31am
The computer is running beautifully. CS:Source and BF2 run flawlessly ... video-wise.
I still have one thing which frustrates me. I did not build this computer so I can lag spike every 30 seconds. It's not the computer - the PC is fine. It's my wireless internet.
Yes, I know that wired is much much better for gaming, I am aware of that, but at this point that is not an option because my family hates wires.
Here is what I am going to try and I need some feedback.
I am going to install 3rd party firmware on my router (Tomato). I was deciding between Tomato and DD-WRT and I went with Tomato ... what is your opinion?
Also, I have no idea how to do this but from what I understand, it increases performance. I am hoping this will eliminate the lag spikes. I know that if I am not careful, I can "brick" my router - so if you guys have any guides on how to do this, I'd appreciate it. I was just going to google for some guides.
It's basically the same one I have now, but with SpeedBooster. However, it clearly says on the box that the speedbooster mode is only available under Windows 2000 and XP. So should I not bother? However, reading a few NewEgg reviews here : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] ter&=0&=10
It looks like some people have hacked the firmware and enabled speedbooster, given that they have a speedbooster wireless adapter. What do you think of this? Will hacking the firmware and enabling speedbooster still work if I have vista 64-bit? \
Will doing all this even eliminate the lag spikes?
Dec 29, 08 at 7:18pm
The applications on Vista Business are based on use for business. I would recommend getting Home Premium instead. If you got the OEM version of Business from newegg, you can get Home Premium for $40 less.
Dec 28, 08 at 5:26pm
CPU, Ram or Mobo, also could still be PSU related
Dec 28, 08 at 4:11pm
I checked the temps in the BIOS - the system temp was around 40C last night and the CPU temp was like 45C.. or the other way around I don't remember. How do I check the voltages? I couldn't find a way to check the video card temperature (if there is a way in BIOS).
After I installed the OS last night, I put the 4830 in for a little while and I didn't lose picture.. it is currently in the machine now also and I am not losing picture. I'm actually touching the video card now and although it's reasonably hot, it's not blazing hot like it was last night.. the hotness it is at now may be normal. So I don't know what was up with it last night but I'm going out for 2-3 hours now and I'm going to leave the machine on, and I will see if I lose picture when I come back.
But besides that, the OS is installed! Thanks to everyone that helped, I learned a lot! A couple more questions- I installed the OS and I changed settings in the BIOS so it is 64 bit and I put it in HTEP mode and also ACHI mode (I don't really know what all that means) - but anyways, the OS is installed, but I noticed that it is Windows Vista Business 64-bit. Does it really matter that it is Business? Should I exchange it? What's the difference?
My last question (I think) - I need to go out and buy a wireless adapter so I can have wireless internet ( I know wired is better but I'm going to try this)
What wireless adapter do you recommend for gaming? Should I cheap out and just buy one for 10-20$?
Dec 28, 08 at 7:19am
It was the RAM - I replaced the RAM and now I am getting into the BIOS screen! Such a relief.
But of course, the problems do not end there. I figured since it was the RAM this whole time, I would go back to the old UD3R GIGABYTE motherboard.. so I did that and hooked it up to the the CPU, RAM, and video card.
The problem now is that it will stay on the BIOS screen from anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes... and then I lose all picture.
I'm pretty sure this is not the motherboard's fault, rather it is the video card's fault. I say this because of a couple reasons:
1. The rest of the power remains, fans still running, all lights still on - the only thing is that I lose picture.
2. When I touch the video card after only being on a little bit.. it is BURNING hot.
So I figured maybe there's something wrong with the video card... I try the other one (EVGA 8600 GTS) and that one is staying on the BIOS screen.. but it is still VERY hot.
So I figured this either meant that it's supposed to be this hot.. or this motherboard is not very good at heating the video card... ( I initially had everything in the case where the case fans were also cooling the video card, but that didn't help I believe).
So what do you think? Is it the mobo or the video card? Should I try the ASUS mobo?
Dec 28, 08 at 12:25am
Shadow of Death
That happens when I turn my monitor on, but not my computer (or turn my computer off while my monitor is still on).
It just means that your monitor is getting power, but no image.
Have you tried putting in the video cable to the other slot (Analog)?
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