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Thread: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

  1. #1

    Default Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    I have limited knowledge on the various specs/acronyms in the PC industry, but am leaning to building one in the next 2 months. I have a budget of about $900. I have no need for a monitor, keyboard, mouse. I only need the CPU.

    Its mainly for processing photos, but would be good to be able to play some games (3rd person shooter games to relieve stress)

    Looking all all the specs, I am dumbfounded. I have a few questions where I hope I can get some clarifications.

    1. How do I find out the RAM space a mainboard has
    2. What brand of graphic card is preferred
    3. Are the Hitachi hard drives reliable
    4. Is Intel's iCore 670 3.46 CPU a good buy?
    5. Is there a big difference between a 1333MHz RAM & the 1600MHz
    6. Is the Kaspersky Anti-Virus & Internet Security 2010 a good barrier
    7. Will Lightroom 2.6 work on the Windows 7 plateform
    8. Is the NZXT's Hades casing overkill for a Asus P7H55D-M Pro H55


    Sorry for the long-winded thread!
    Any ideas welcomed.
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    I have limited knowledge on the various specs/acronyms in the PC industry, but am leaning to building one in the next 2 months. I have a budget of about $900. I have no need for a monitor, keyboard, mouse. I only need the CPU.

    Its mainly for processing photos, but would be good to be able to play some games (3rd person shooter games to relieve stress)

    Looking all all the specs, I am dumbfounded. I have a few questions where I hope I can get some clarifications.

    1. How do I find out the RAM space a mainboard has
    2. What brand of graphic card is preferred
    3. Are the Hitachi hard drives reliable
    4. Is Intel's iCore 670 3.46 CPU a good buy?
    5. Is there a big difference between a 1333MHz RAM & the 1600MHz
    6. Is the Kaspersky Anti-Virus & Internet Security 2010 a good barrier
    7. Will Lightroom 2.6 work on the Windows 7 plateform
    8. Is the NZXT's Hades casing overkill for a Asus P7H55D-M Pro H55


    Sorry for the long-winded thread!
    Any ideas welcomed.
    1. Look for the No. of DIMM slots. Usually Blue or Black in colour. Long strips.
    2. It's your choice. Nvidia, is good, ATI is good as well. I like ATI, because the toning effects seem more real to me. Personal choice.
    3. Hitachi Drives are not bad, but it's more recommended to get WD drives instead.
    4. Hmm, CPU's change all the time. Just get something decent and powerful enough for your needs. Corei5 or Corei7 should be more than enough
    5. Not much, just the clock speeds.
    6. Depends, can't say that any anti virus program is a good barrier.
    7. Why not? With the correct firmware upgrades, should be fine.
    8. Casing is also a personal preference. So if you want your computer to look good on the outside, then get a nice case. Else if the insides matter the most for you, then get a simple case, spend more on the insides.

    Hope it helps.
    Last edited by Ninja23XX; 22nd February 2010 at 03:29 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Many thanks Ninja.

    Lets say there are 3 RAM ports, can I assume that if I wan to max it out at 6GB/port, its possible? That would give me a total of 18GB of RAM. Does each board have a maximum capacity of RAM?

    The Hitachi's happen to be cheaper. Okay, then may settle for the Seagate or WD.

    Is there a significant difference between the iCore 5 & 6? The iCore 750 (2.66) is $200 cheaper than the iCore 6's 670 3.46. Now, thats confusing for me!
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

  4. #4

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja23XX View Post
    1. Look for the No. of PCI-E slots. Usually Blue or Black in colour. Long strips.
    correction: look for DIMM slots, not PCI-E.
    Fujifilm X-Pro2 Graphite, X-Pro1
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Okay thanks for the DIMM ports data. Found the specs via ASUS, where the maxed out data is 16GB of RAM. (Flying for me!)

    I am thinking of exploiting two of the cheaper internal hard disk of 1TB ($133/1TB). Is this considered crazy? Or should I just focus on the RAM? I am doing this because I have experienced 'insufficient disk space' to even process my photos and its a terrible feeling.

    Does Over Clocking affect the life-span of a PC?
    Last edited by Benji77; 22nd February 2010 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Added question
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    I'm not sure what's the hype in overclocking. Is there a reason you want to do it?

    I'm sure more is better but there has to be a limit to how much RAM you really need. At the moment, I find that software has not caught up to hardware for 64-bit computing. I assume you are coming from 32-bit computing where the max RAM is only less than 4GB... were you running out of memory back when you had 4GB of RAM?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    I'm not sure what's the hype in overclocking. Is there a reason you want to do it?

    I'm sure more is better but there has to be a limit to how much RAM you really need. At the moment, I find that software has not caught up to hardware for 64-bit computing. I assume you are coming from 32-bit computing where the max RAM is only less than 4GB... were you running out of memory back when you had 4GB of RAM?
    nope, no reason for me to overclock. I just wanted to find out more about 'OC' and how it works.

    I currently run Pentium 4, 2.4Ghz, 2GB RAM. It gets slow when processing files, even when I open them individually. (Capture NX, Nikon).

    I plan either a 6GB or 10GB setup in the initial phase.
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    if you want performance, get dual Intel-X25E and chain it on RAID0, then use normal SATA drives for your file storage needs.
    Fujifilm X-Pro2 Graphite, X-Pro1
    XF 14/2.8, 18/2, 23/2, 35/1.4, 56/1.2, 60/2.4, 55-200/3.5-4.8

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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    correction: look for DIMM slots, not PCI-E.
    Oh yeah, sorry. Wrong term. Haha...i was so into graphics card that i wrote that. Sheesh. Sorry.

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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    Many thanks Ninja.

    Lets say there are 3 RAM ports, can I assume that if I wan to max it out at 6GB/port, its possible? That would give me a total of 18GB of RAM. Does each board have a maximum capacity of RAM?

    The Hitachi's happen to be cheaper. Okay, then may settle for the Seagate or WD.

    Is there a significant difference between the iCore 5 & 6? The iCore 750 (2.66) is $200 cheaper than the iCore 6's 670 3.46. Now, thats confusing for me!
    Technically, if you are using a 32 bit OS, having 18GB of ram would not matter. A 32 Bit OS reads about 3+gb of ram. Thus you see most systems use 4gb. Because they run on 32 bit OS. But if you intend to use a 64bit OS(Expensive), then having about 8GB in total would be more than sufficient enough. 18GB is over kill.

    There's always a peak for everything. More does not mean better.

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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    Okay thanks for the DIMM ports data. Found the specs via ASUS, where the maxed out data is 16GB of RAM. (Flying for me!)

    I am thinking of exploiting two of the cheaper internal hard disk of 1TB ($133/1TB). Is this considered crazy? Or should I just focus on the RAM? I am doing this because I have experienced 'insufficient disk space' to even process my photos and its a terrible feeling.

    Does Over Clocking affect the life-span of a PC?
    Overclocking will affect the life span, if not properly cooled. It's just like you running all day, with no water. But if given water, you can run longer.

    I'd say, get a MAC, seems better for photo editing. Haha.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by yrh0413 View Post
    if you want performance, get dual Intel-X25E and chain it on RAID0, then use normal SATA drives for your file storage needs.
    Whoa. This sounds really cool, but I dont understand it one bit. Will do some research on it tonight. Much thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja23XX View Post
    Technically, if you are using a 32 bit OS, having 18GB of ram would not matter. A 32 Bit OS reads about 3+gb of ram. Thus you see most systems use 4gb. Because they run on 32 bit OS. But if you intend to use a 64bit OS(Expensive), then having about 8GB in total would be more than sufficient enough. 18GB is over kill.

    There's always a peak for everything. More does not mean better.
    Understood. This means I can save some cash too and stay 'sane' with 4-6GB of RAM. In this case, would it mean that the 'CPU's' clock is dependant on the RAM? Or is this the other way around? Does the CPU work on RAM as the primary source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja23XX View Post
    Overclocking will affect the life span, if not properly cooled. It's just like you running all day, with no water. But if given water, you can run longer.

    I'd say, get a MAC, seems better for photo editing. Haha.
    Okay, thats very clear for me now. No overclocking for me then. I hate running. Not to mention ALL DAY

    A MAC would set me back a big sum. I was thinking of saving for a new lens leh.
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

  13. #13

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    get a quadcore CPU. AMD has really cheap ones. 64bit OS, its not expensive rather its the same as 32bit lol... 6gb ram would be good too. GFX unless you are a gamer, a cheap one ranging around $150-200 will more than suit ur needs.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Interesting proposition for a Quad Core. I note it's relatively cheaper than the Core I5/6/7. But how do the Quads measure up to the Core I(5-7)?
    The sooner you get it, the longer you enjoy it.
    I welcome you @ www.benaw.zenfolio.com

  15. #15

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    errr... i7s are quadcores some i5-7xxs are too ... go n google amd athlonx4 reviews. For your budget, i dont think its worthwhile or even feasible to go for an i5 or i7. might as well save the money and get better lenses or a good monitor. you nvr said what u intended to use the com for also.
    Pls go and read up more. youre gonna take a long time to gather information if you ask basic stuff here. find out how computers work, what programs,functions need what, what are the limitations of what, etc etc.. less u wanna waste ur money on redundant things, then by all means.. haha...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by mynameisgreg View Post
    might as well save the money and get better lenses or a good monitor. you nvr said what u intended to use the com for also.
    If getting better lenses and/or good monitor solves his current issue, then who would need better computer? He has already mentioned why he's getting a new system, perhaps you didn't read thoroughly enough to see it. Below's a quote from him:

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    Its mainly for processing photos, but would be good to be able to play some games (3rd person shooter games to relieve stress)
    P e r s p e c t i v e

  17. #17

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    Interesting proposition for a Quad Core. I note it's relatively cheaper than the Core I5/6/7. But how do the Quads measure up to the Core I(5-7)?
    Some information for ya:

    Intel Core i5 series includes Dual-Core and Quad-Core processors. i5-4xx to i5-6xx are Dual-Core processors of which i5-4xx to i5-5xx are mobile processors while i5-6xx is desktop processors. The i5-7xx series is the Quad-Core desktop processors.

    Intel Core i7 series includes Dual-Core and Quad-Core processors as well, but that will most probably hit beyond your budget in most cases.

    You can refer to this site to help you in deciding which processor is good for you. In most cases, you can consider Intel Q8400 or Q9400 (price difference between these 2 ain't big), which will roughly set you back by $3xx to $4xx, depending which motherboard you choose to go with it.

    The RAM used will also vary depending on which motherboard you choose. If you choose DDR2 type, each 2GB module will cost at least $59 or thereabout. For DDR3, it will be $99 for for 1333MHz 3GB or $138 for 1600MHz 3GB. Simple math will most probably tell you that DDR2 is the way to go if you wanna save for other components.

    The remaining stuffs will be the harddisk, graphics card, optical drive (DVD Writer), power supply unit and chassis. Do drop by shops like PCTheme, Bell, VideoPro or Fuwell in Sim Lim Square for recommendation. Of course, do your homework in comparing the prices before purchase.
    Last edited by Yoh; 23rd February 2010 at 08:17 AM.
    P e r s p e c t i v e

  18. #18
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benji77 View Post
    nope, no reason for me to overclock. I just wanted to find out more about 'OC' and how it works.

    I currently run Pentium 4, 2.4Ghz, 2GB RAM. It gets slow when processing files, even when I open them individually. (Capture NX, Nikon).

    I plan either a 6GB or 10GB setup in the initial phase.
    Pentium 4 has 2.4GHz? Hmm.. that's pretty fast. And 2GB of RAM already... so I assume you will be moving to 64-bit OS, right? Overclocking, especially if you don't understand how to tweak the latency properly, can make a PC run slower and/or blue screening it. Boosting voltage seems simple enough.. but yes, you run the risk of burning your CPU, although if I am not wrong, later CPUs may have built-in measures to prevent you from OC too much.

    I'm running 6GB at home also, with a 64-bit Vista. Don't think I'll need more but everyone has different needs.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Pentium 4 has 2.4GHz? Hmm.. that's pretty fast. And 2GB of RAM already... so I assume you will be moving to 64-bit OS, right? Overclocking, especially if you don't understand how to tweak the latency properly, can make a PC run slower and/or blue screening it. Boosting voltage seems simple enough.. but yes, you run the risk of burning your CPU, although if I am not wrong, later CPUs may have built-in measures to prevent you from OC too much.

    I'm running 6GB at home also, with a 64-bit Vista. Don't think I'll need more but everyone has different needs.
    Pentium 4 2.4GHz should have at least 4 to 5 years old age already. Not exactly fast compared to current technology as back then, Intel's Netburst architecture was considered a failure and Pentium 4 was based on that though.
    P e r s p e c t i v e

  20. #20
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a personal computer- Tips please!

    Just another note. I remember back when I got my setup, most motherboards at that time limited the latency of the RAM or something. I was using CPUID to check stuffs and noted my RAM was "underclocking" which I had to modify the latency from the mobo to push it to the correct values. Take note of this especially if you are getting fast, low-latency RAM.

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