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Hardware Thread
Discuss computer hardware here.
Don't know which components to get? Don't know how to spend your upgrade money? Then ask here, and forum regulars will tell you to fuck off in a number of different ways!
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I'm glad you made this thread, because I'm no pro when it comes to hardware. I've been looking into buying parts for my new computer and building it myself to save money but still have a great rig

There is my computer as I would order it (disregard that there is no keyboard, mouse, speakers, printer, or soundcard -- I have these things or will be getting them elsewhere)

Another thing, someone left a comment saying I couldn't use 3 sticks of that RAM. I dunno what he's talking about, but I really was shooting for 1.5 GB RAM so I don't have to spend an extra 80$

Any suggestions as to how it could be improved? Or advice for building?

... according to my little experience, there are some basic mystakes you must not do.. otherwize your PC can go to trash... I hope you are not a real beginner in PC building, and that you have done this at least one time already before... For example, when you will place the processor, sometimes you miss to add some thermic-glue for the heat exchange between processor and radiator... Another example is a badly placement of the processor without taking care at its pinout: at power up, the processor can burn... etc.. etc... And there are numerous things like this that can cause big damage to your PC.... I have just one advice: find a guy who had already built many PC, and learn: that's the better way to avoid PC burn... and the better way to kill someone instead of yourself if things goes bad :)
Another thing: to increase PC performances, and speed-up your processor, just place it into your freezer... It's well known that heat is the worst ennemy of processor performances... ;)

Enjoy !! 
LOL @ This Thread. 
I expect ProdXL just came in his pants =).

Good one though. For the time being I have little hardware interest as things are working fine and I can play D3, that's cool. 
512MB Video Cards 
Anyone knows when abouts these will be coming out?


I would expect that the "I couldn't use 3 sticks of that RAM comment was pointed at the fact that your motherboard supports 'Dual Channel'RAM, and to use that you have to use matching pairs, ie, you couldn't have 3 sticks, 2 or 4 yes, but not 3 
Everyone Please Upgrade Their Computers... 
...and then send the old parts to me. 
You'll need to get a heatsink for your CPU as OEM models do not come with one. This one seems like a good one:

Also, I'd suggest spending a bit more and getting a 256MB version of that video card. Otherwise, looks fine. 
100 Euro Video Card 
As some of you might know, I haven't been able to play Doom 3 because I had fans of 2 video cards fail on me within a short period of time. In a week or 2, I will be shopping for a new video card in the ~100 euro range. The card WILL be an NVIDIA one, since I want decent drivers on multiple OSes and ATI drivers for Linux and FreeBSD suck donkey balls.

I am currently looking at:
Gainward GF FX 5200 Ultra 128M DDR - 105 euro
Leadtek Winfast A340 Pro TD Geforce FX 5500 DDR 128M - 95 euro
Asus V9570LE/TD Geforce FX 5700 DDR 128M - 114 euro
Gainward GF FX 5200 256M DDR PRO/680 - 102 euro

Which one should I get? Any other suggestions? 
Personally Blitz, I would go with just 1gb ram, ditch the static wrist guard (unnecessary and a waste of money), and use that money to get the ati 256mb 256-bit radeon 9800 pro card instead of what you have in there already. Its like 266$ at newegg instead of 193$. Don't forget the games you'll want to buy too :P 
At 5 bucks you would be an idiot to not get an anti-static wrist band.

Blitz: you might look into getting someone else to mount the processor and heatsink. Everything else is fairly straight forward. It helps if you have a second pair of hands around. 
Doom 3 Buyer's Guide 
Anandtech has an article called Doom 3 Buyer's Guide. Might want to look into it if you're planning an upgrade, and especially if you're upgrading mostly just to play Doom 3. 
RE: Doom 3 Buyer's Guide

I don't get it, I purchased a ti4200 over a year ago and it's quite similar to the ti4400. AFAIK, fx 5500 is much more recent card. How come it is so much slower? 
You think I should buy a processor with the heatsink included? 
I Build My PCs 
I have built several - probably 5 or 6 or more. I get all my parts separately and haven't had a ready made machine since my used DTK 386-25. My P4 processor came with the heatsink and the thermal compound paste that you add between the CPU and heatsink. Another PC I built for someone used a thermal pad on the heatsink - it didn't require the syringe of paste. This was a P4 Celeron. From what I've heard, Intel chips get unstable when hot but AMDs can actually go up in smoke if there is a problem with heat removal. The Intels are more likely to survive a fan failure and if you build the system properly and don't bang it around, the heatsink should not dislodge. The spring retention system on the heatsink ensures constant contact throughout the operating temperatures.

If you take care and walk through the mainboard docs, I think that building a PC is really not difficult at all. I don't use a wrist strap, but I touch the metal case and take care not to present a static discharge risk to components. Handle stuff with care. Tie off unused power connectors so that they can't short on the case and neaten your cables to permit better airflow in the cabinet.

Don't rush either - take the time and do it right. 
Installing Cpus Are Simple. 
heck, my amd came with a step by step installation if a dozen languages. mind, that was a retail version.
still, my motherboard booklet had the same thing. don't worry about cpu installation. 
Depends on the differance in price and how confident you feel in installing the CPU. When I bought my A64 3400+, I went the OEM + heatsink route because it was cheap and I knew it'd be a simple install. Static Bracelet may be worth the few bucks, I've never used one, but have never had an issue to to the fact I have an area with hardwood floor and do all my hardware installs and upgrades on that. 
All upgrades and computer building should be done naked (it's just common sense :) 
Fun Thread 
I'll take a stab at all these posts and questions with some advice. Not end all be all, but a few hints and tips when it comes to purchasing hardare.

Looking at the rig you mentioned I had a few suggestions. First off, why the different HDs? If your going to put them in a Raid 0 setup, you should really just get 2 of the same. The Seagate gate one you mentioned is quailty by itself too, that's alot of space. Remember if you place a set of SATA drives in a RAID0, you get twice the performance because it splits the data across both drives. This however means if one drive goes bad, so does your other.

Also your videocard I think will leave you wanting more. You really should consider at least a Nvidia Vanilla 6800 if your looking at mainstream cards. It has 12 pipes and the core is only a little off the GT models. In Doom3 benches it even beat the X800Pro. It smokes the 9800 pro in all benches as well. If you got that 9800Pro you'd be GPU limited in a lot of games, don't handicap your rig like that if your going to spend the money. Perhaps just ditch a gig of that ram instead.

Processor wise, if your going to go Intel, and your intent on playing Doom3 alot you may want to actually consider a Prescott core instead. The extra L2 cache size does provide a performance boost. I believe I read it on Otherwise, in just about every other title I'd suspect the Northwood you chose would be fine. As mentioned as it is an OEM chip, you'll need to consider a cooler. I personally would just get a retail box that comes with a cooler if your not going to overclock. Otherwise, look at a Gigabyte 3D Cooler Pro. It lights up cool, and has great performance from every review I've read.

Do not purchase any of those cards unless you want to play Doom3 at it's lowest and ugliest settings. They all have slow clocks, and low memory bandwidth because of the 128bit memory controllers (or something like that). What kind of system are you running on now, if it's a older rig you should maybe look at a Nvidia 5700 , or 9600. The 9600s tho I believe are mostly just 128 meg cards. Performance wise you should read the articles on about mainstream cards and their performance in game. Save yourself some more money before purchasing a videocard.

You can look at the performance benches at . Blitz you should read that too.

As mentioned before there are a lot of guides out on the net for Doom3 performance on various topics. Below is just a quick list of links that you can read up more. Later I'll compile a list of HL2/Source benches that were done recently on the CS:Source port.

By no means comprehensive, but all those together should really inform you on upgrading your videocard if your mostly interested in Doom3 performance.

Till next time 
Clearin Up A Mistake 
When I said "twice the performance" on a RAID0 setup, I meant twice the space. Wanted to clear that up. 
Blitz, since this is your first self-built system, I wouldn't even worry about RAID. I'm guessing you aren't, considering those 2 drives are different capacities and makes.

Like prod did mention, if you are eyeing the 266$ 256mb 256bit radeon 9800 pro, for a little more you can get a generic 6800. Up to you really, unlike prod, the rest of us exist in a world where money _is_ a factor.

Personally, I just ordered some new athlon64 stuff, but will be waiting a little while to get a new video card. 
Blitz And Jago 
Yes, like ProdigyXL said, you should get the "Prescott", they say the performance is noticably better, and it doesn't cost much more, actually, here in Australia, it is actually cheaper than the supposedly slower "Northwood" CPU, so check it out

If you are stuck with those cards to choose from, I would go with the FX5700, although, you should get a 256MB version, it wont cost much more, and the difference will be worth it.

As for your ti4200 vs FX 5500, don't beleive all the bench marks/reviews etc. (it may well be true in this case, but) While I was waiting for my GF6800 Ultra to show up, I went out and bought a FX5700 256MB card so I would be able to play DooM3 with a DirectX9 card until my 6800 Ultra showed up. All the reveiws, benchmarks I read said that it would be slower than a ti4600. I had a ti4600 Ultra, so I thought that it would be slower again. Anyway, I went to the store to see what DirectX9 Nvidia cards they had in stock, they had a FX5700 256MB, I asked they person, and he said "no, you would be wasting your time, because your ti4600 ultra would be faster". But I really wanted a DirectX9 card for DooM3, so I bought it anyway. Turns out, the card IS noticably faster than the ti4600 Ultra, whether or not it is the 256MB vs 128MB or not I don't know (it wouldn't hurt) but it proved all the benchmarks/reviews I had read wrong, so I now take them with a grain of salt.
Anyway after all that my 6800 Ultra turned up 2 days later, so the FX5700 is now packed away in the cupboard. 
All of the CPU/Heatsink combo packages I looked had negative user comments saying that the processor got too hot with the out of the box heatsink. So I dunno =( 
My Ulterior Motive In Starting This Thread 
I'm looking for a PC for me to take to university.
The budget should be roughly �2000
It will be used for many purposes, but the most demanding will be gaming and mapping of course.
I'm looking for an all round system, with a good TFT and good speakers.
I lean towards wanting an AMD processor and a geforce 6800 (it wins for doom 3!)

I dont have the time to build the system myself, so it'll have to be prebuilt, and availible in the UK. I also don't trust myself with putting top-quality kit together to a very high standard :) . I have some choices i've already found, but I'd really like you guys to suggest some other options. These are some i've been looking at:

Scan Computers
Pros: Great manufacturer! Uses my dream case, great keyboard+mouse, cherry-picked components.
Cons: Expensive as hell! Ouch! I'd have to lower the spec in a few ways (they include an mp3 player for some reason :/). Also, have they got a 6800 ultra in stock?

Mesh Computers
Pros: a great Sony 19" LCD, fx53 cpu, 500 gigs of HDD, audigy ZS Platinum
Cons: case doesnt look too hot, has software and joysticks i dont need. Generally though, really damn good as far as i can tell.

Overclockers UK
"Ultima" Pentium IV 'Northwood' 3.4 GHz
Pros: experienced custom pc company, great components
Cons: have heard mixed reports on delivery times and customer service. The price doesn't seem too spectacular. CPU is a little crap?

Carrera PC's
configure this with some high specs and youve got a good pc i think
I really like Sharp LCDs too

To me it seems that the MESH is the best deal, if you can beat it, show me the goods! :) The only thing wrong with that is I dont want a case that shitty for 2000 quid, and I dont have great faith in their abilities to set up the system as well as someone like scan would.

these are just ideas, I'd love to see some more suggestions...
thanks for any help you could give guys 
You haven't really built a computer if you haven't used hammer at some point ( 'form factor compilant' PCI-NIC).
Buying brand stuff is for pansies!

And 9800pro being a bottleneck is pretty humorous in my opinion. 38fps at 1024 resolution in doom3 is plenty fast enough for me, espcially since in the game it doesn't go that low very often. 
Farking 'ell 
2000 squids to blow. I'd go for Evesham, I've used them twice and have been generally impressed with quality and reliability. They have a good reputation as well and they aren't DEll which is a big bonus.

I'd lean towards getting a good CRT for now, I looked into TFTs/LCDs but they're still not really recommended for gaming. Plus you save several squids that way for more ram/GFX etc.

Bollox to the case and shit. Evesham ones (not the fancy X shit, the normal ones) are pretty elegant anyway. 
Ok, Advice Needed 
Soon, I'll be plonking down �1500-2000 squid on a brand new desktop pc. Primary usage: gaming, mapping, Maya. At the moment, I'm thinking Alienware. Any thoughts? 
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