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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Need help building my first computer

    Hey... first time poster here.

    I have two months at home so I would like to attempt to put together a new main computer for the wireless home network I'm setting up. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Need suggestions on:
    ATX case, fans (if necessary) and power supply - I would like something with USB inputs on the front.
    Motherboard - At least four PCI slots and 1-2 front USB ports.
    Processor- I have no plans to overclock so anything that would be compatible with the mobo and case selected.
    Digital sound card - Big music fan (MP3s, audio CDs creation with Easy CD Creator 5 Platinum). Optical output a requirement. Surround will be handled by external decoder.
    Video capture - for video recording to hard drive from satelite via SnapStream software (how about the Hauppauge WinTV USB?).
    AGP graphics card - I'm not a gamer so just a decent card that can handle high res for DVD watching and video editing.
    Wireless Cable Router/Print Server - A few people recommened the D-Link DI-713P. I'm planning to pick up an ORiNOCO PC Card Adapter for my laptop.
    Wireless PCI Adapter - For my Intel P3 866.
    Wireless ISA Adaper - Is there such a thing? If so my old Compaq P2 dog needs one just for 'Net surfing.

    Preferred components:
    Memory - Crucial (DDR suggested? how much?)
    Hard drives - Seagate HDs (are they the quietest?)
    CD-RW drive - TDK 24/10/40 VeloCDReWriter or Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A
    DVD-ROM drive - Creative PC-DVD Encore 12X with Dxr3 (if needed. I want to do hardware DVD decoding).

    Miscellaneous:
    Operating system and software - I will be running Windows XP Professional (already purchased) as a server for a wireless home network of 3 desktops and 1 laptop, Office XP (already purchased).
    Miscellaneous - Logitech QuickCam, 3Com Cable Modem (already purchased)

    Not needed, already owned:
    Floppy drive
    Monitor
    Modem
    Network card

    That's a lot but that's it. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your replies and suggestions.

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    If you are such a big TV fan, consider to purchase DVD writer instead of CD-RW -- see, for example,
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.all4dvd.com/products/DVDRec.htm>http://www.all4dvd.com/products/DVDRec.htm</A>

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    Thanks for the suggestion. I think I'm going to wait a little longer for the media to gain popularity and the prices to go down more.

    Any other suggestions out there?

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    I have an Aureal A3D Vortex 2 Super Quad sound card with optical digital out (TOS-link connect) which I obtained brand new for ~UK

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    Opinions....my favorite things in the world since no one can tell you that you're wrong, it's just their opinion. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    The following is my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> based on my own experiences as a system builder. Check for current prices at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.pricewatch.com>http://www.pricewatch.com</A>.

    ATX cases - Lian Li is an excellent but somewhat pricey choice. The upshot - if you buy a Lian Li, you get with it, they look cool, and you won't need another case for 5 years provided form factors don't change too much.

    Processor - I am a die-hard AMD guy. They cost less and perform just as well IMHO, I've never had grief with an AMD chip. Intel just costs too much for me. Anything around 1.3GHz will be plenty of power for the time being.

    Sound cards - Creative is what you see a lot of. Philips also makes some great cards. There's a lot of flavors out there, most of your decision will be based on what features the card comes with.

    Graphics - I use Nvidia graphics cards wherever possible, because I was so disenchanted in the past with ATI's support and performance. Either is a good bet, but you won't catch me with an ATI in my systems. Bad impressions last forever. My GeForce 2 GTS is a solid performer in all areas (I'm not a PC gamer, I bought a PlayStation 2 for that <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>)

    Memory - AMD systems will use DDR almost across the board. Intel P4 systems use pricier RAMBUS memory, but recently have announced support for DDR. Crucial is an excellent chouice for a vendor, their support and service is TOP NOTCH. Prices are always among the lowest too.

    Hard drives - Seagate is not cheap but are hardy drives. I am currently using both Maxtor and Western Digital drives in my systems, newer 7200 RPM models, and they are plenty quiet. Probably the noise of fans in my case drowning them out. Any of the three brands will do you fine.

    I don't have preferences for brands in CDRs, but I have a Creative DVD-ROM Ovation and I love it. I have not used one, but friends of mine have raved about the <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products/hollywood_plus.htm>Real Magic Hollywood DVD decoders</A>. I tend to think more highly of them than Creative's offering; either way, hardware decoding will keep playback nice and stutter free. Check user reviews before you buy either.

    For your wireless solutions, check out <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.networkeverywhere.com>Linksys</A> base stations and transmitters.
    -Mark

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    Mark,

    Thank you for the reply post. This is exactly what I was looking for! Most people that I have spoken to tend to agree with you across the board. As far as the Hollywood Plus card, I originally was planning to go with that one until someone told me about the similarities to the DXR3. Like you said no one can tell you that you're wrong.

    Let's keep this thread going with more insight and opinions people!

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    I just built my first system and it works like a charm. I have a few recommendations and I'll share some answers I got from the lounge either through searches or direct questions:

    The case - I was torm between the lian-li and a coolermaster. Settled on the coolermaster because it has a fan at the top of the case that blows outward. Heat rises, you know? It was well over $200 but it is just too cool in every sense of the word.

    Mainboard - I got an Abit TH7-ll RAID, it has 4 ide connectors instead of the usual 2. I got the idea from studying the configurations in the BEST machines in MaximumPC magazine. Striping two 7200 rpm harddrives is the way to go if speed is what you're after. Read up on RAID and I think you'll like it.

    Processor and RAM - I went with the Intel P4 1.8ghz and 512 MB of Rambus (Kingston) RAM. I was steered by name brand recognition. The 2.0's had just came out and were very pricey - the 1.8's were falling in price so I jumped on board.

    Audio / Video - I had just read some reviews where the ATI Radeon 8500 was beating the GEForce 3 in testing, so I got the 8500. Name brand again led me to Creative for my soundcard. I got the Audigy Platinum and it's truly outstanding. As a side, the Audigy and the Radeon came complete with loads of good software, including a DVD package.

    CDRW and DVD drives - After reading tons of reviews, I settled on the Yamaha Lightspeed 2200 CDRW. It comes with an 8mb buffer wich is double what most others had. Also came with Nero burning software and more. I got a Pioneer DVD, 16X. If I would have waited another week, I could have got the slot load instead of the tray load. Go for the slot load if you can. Less to break!

    Power Supply - Antec (something above 300 watt). I got a 350watt.

    Networking - Use Linksys for any / all networking needs - it's good stuff.

    Speakers - No matter how good your sound card is, you gotta have good speakers or it's a waste. I think the world's best is Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 (-+$400), but I could not find 'em anywhere. I settled for Songistix Monsoon MM2000. Not the best in the world but they do sound good.

    Prices / Retailers - Check www.pricewatch daily for prices on what you're getting and when you can, get the RETAIL package. That way you get the cables, software, manuals, etc. I think it's worth the $5 difference to get the retail pkg.

    Cables - Get the new ROUND IDE cables instead of the flat blue ribbon type. Better air circulation in the case.

    Hard Drives - I got two identical Western Digital 7200rpm 60GB drives. In the RAID-0 configuration, the computer sees them as ONE 120GB HD, and it's very fast. I've read some nice things lately about the IBM drives and would probably go that way if I were starting over.

    BTW, I also got my Windows XP Pro Full version at a heavy discount by purchasing it with hardware from an online retailer.

    Using Creatives ripper utility and the Yamaha, I pulled a 4 cd set of Jimmy Buffet music to my harddrive in less than ten minutes. I'm am mp3 and audio fan as well and I built my system with audio as #1 priority.

    Good luck with your system.
    - Ricky

  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    Ok, it has been a while, what is the status of your new PC? Did you end up building it? What parts did you use?

  9. #9
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    I am also interested. I am in the process of building my own PC as well and am working on the case since that is going to take most of the time. So I am interested in what you have to see if I am going to change what I am getting.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Re: Need help building my first computer

    My plans got nix by my two month delay in going back to work. Since then I've pick up a Dell ultra light notebook. I will still build a new PC but not until later this summer or early fall. By then most of the components will change.

    Thanks for the interest.

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