OT - The Build a Computer Thread

I figured I would lock this away in its own thread.  I hope to tap the mind of Tapspacers to put together a new machine. 

This is what Jesse had suggested...

[quote]cpu: Intel Q6600 quad core cpu - $275
mainboard: LGA 775 mainboard - $80
ram: 4 GB DDR2 - $100
hard drive: Raptor 74 GB 10k rpm drive for OS and Samples - $150 // 500 GB for storage - $100
graphics: nVidia 8600 GTS (assuming you want to play some current generation games) - $120
sound: M-Audio Audiophile - $110
DVD-RW: $30
Nice Antec Case + power supply: $130
[/quote]

Now in doing some research ont he motherboard, I've run into configurations for

Quad-core / Core 2 Duo (4)
Quad-core / Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Celeron(33)
Quad-core / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo(1)
Quad-core / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo / Pentium(118)

What's the difference?

Thanks guys.
They're all the same [i]socket[/i], which is the thing you plug the cpu into.  It changes from time to time as new technology emerges.  There are several different [i]chipsets[/i] on the mainboard that have different features and sometimes a slight speed increase or overclocking options.  Some might have integrated graphics, wireless, firewire, etc.  Most will have sound, LAN, USB 2.0, and SATA RAID.  This means the price range for a mainboard might be $40-400.  Just by looking at the number of sales and the 5 star rating on a site like newegg you can usually tell if it's a good buy.  You should be able to fnid something good for under $100.
I am writing this reply on a computer I built myself.  I highly recommend it to anyone. 
First, websites: 
www.tomshardware.com
www.buildyourown.org.uk
www.newegg.com
www.tigerdirect.com
www.pricewatch.com
www.pricegrabber.com
www.silentpcreview.com
www.endpcnoise.com

From these you can get the best deals, reviews of hardware, advice from experienced computer builders, and the last two pertain specifically to building high quality quiet computers, if you're going to be doing any recording/music production.

Now, for advice:  Spend a decent amount of money on the motherboard.  I got an MSI P965 Platinum.  Spendy, but very well reviewed.  This is the one piece of hardware that will determine the lifespan of your rig.  For instance, a couple years down the road, 4 GB of RAM might not be enough, so you want a board that can expand.  Stability is also determined to a degree by the mainboard.  Since it's the foundation of the entire computer, I just figured it was worth a bit more money.  The other component you should not stinch on is the power supply.  Make sure you get a high quality, name brand, well reviewed PSU because that is the one component that can destroy other components if it fails.  If your CPU dies, you can get a new CPU.  If the power supply goes schizo, everything can fry.  I don't have any personal experience with Raptors, but the advice I read from the above websites was that the extra rpms weren't really worth the money.  There are plenty of perfectly good 7200 drives for much less.  Effectively, I think you only get about a second less seek time with the Raptor. 

My main advice would be hit those websites and familiarize yourself with the components and especially the brands.  If you go with good brands and are smart about it, you can get a nicer rig than a store bought one for less money.  Plus, you can say you built it yourself!

Good luck!  Let us know how it goes!

J. Peter Wolk-Laniewski
I was asking around and it looks like some people have had success putting mac on a PC. Apple doesn't support it, but may it be feasible to get the mac OS without spending outrageous amounts for their hardware? I'll do more research, but thought maybe someone here would be interested or already know for that matter! Peace...
I've been browsing motherboards... how do these look?  I figured I'd be looking for something with a high FSB?  I believe the hardest part about this will be picking the motherboard/processor and after that, should be a piece of cake

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121035

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128080

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128050
[quote author=TuoPohc link=topic=2244.msg11717#msg11717 date=1200432143]
I was asking around and it looks like some people have had success putting mac on a PC. Apple doesn't support it, but may it be feasible to get the mac OS without spending outrageous amounts for their hardware? I'll do more research, but thought maybe someone here would be interested or already know for that matter! Peace...
[/quote]


Well, it's not legal and requires a hacked version of OS X.  You have to build a system with specific hardware that is compatible, and the list is not very long.  But yes... a lot of people have had success installing 10.4 on a very cheap system.

Cadet311- I would go with [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059";]this one[/url]
Thanks Jesse.  I assume since the ";Memory Standard"; is DDR 1066, that I should be looking for DDR Memory of that type?
I believe Front Side Bus is only really important if you are planning on overclocking.  When I was shopping, features like number of USB ports ended up being deal breakers for me. 

The board Jesse recommended looks good.  You can max it out with DDR2-1066, but if your budget is getting tight, DDR2-800 will work fine for anything you do as well.  I don't know how much of a gamer you are, but if you're just looking for a graphics card that will run DX10, any nVidia 8000 series will do that, and the 8400 will be much cheaper than the 8600. 

I forgot to ask, what are you planning on using the computer for mostly, and what's your budget?  (if you don't mind sharing, of course) 
No problem at all.  I'm trying to keep things under 1k. 

I don't do much gaming besides addictinggames.com, so that's not a concern.  Basically what I'm trying to create is a machine that can handle charts of full marching band, battery and percussion without hiccuping.  Currently, I use a Powerbook, and it's a great machine, but it is a pain and a crap shoot to get a battery recording without hiccuping.  Some of the groups I work with will take a chart and change it six ways from Sunday (Start in mvt 1, play to measure 17, jump to measure 53 movement 3.... etc etc) and it would be nice to have everything plugged in and say ";This is what it sounds like"; rather than play musical-chairs with CDs.

So, that said, the machine is going to serve as a home base for composing/arranging/making and playing music and that's it.

I'm competent in how to put a machine together, I'm just a little clueless on the technology.
Sounds exactly like what I went for when I built mine.  A Quad Core CPU, lots of RAM, and the two Hard Drives are the main things that'll help.  For the graphics end, bear in mind that if you use, or are planning to use a sound editing software like Pro-Tools or Cubase, you will probably need monitor space to be able to see everything.  A big widescreen monitor should be included in the budget.  Make sure also that your graphics card supports multiple monitors.  That way, you can add a second monitor later on to increase your workspace.  Pretty much all nVidia Graphics Cards do this. 

Are you looking to build an especially quiet computer?  Some musicians, myself included, place a priority on that.  It could raise the price a bit, though.

Let us know if you have any questions about specific technology, then go to those websites and make sure we're right:) 

No need for a quiet PC - no big aspirations of making the world's next great album or anything, and it's only for sib/finale/vdl/music stuff, so it won't be running all the time.

With the motherboard in the bag, I saw this memory and thought it was a great deal, but wanted to see what you tech gurus might have to say..

[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122[/url]

I've not heard of this brand and am only familiar with the big ones - Kingston, Crucial and PNY


I was also considering the HD issue, and was considering using one drive for the samples (VDL 2.5, Garritan CMB - around 50 gigs), one drive for system programming (100 or so) and one drive for recording/storage (as much as I can).  My thought process is that oner drive will be running the program, one drive sending the samples and one recording the output, so as to get as fluid of a process as possible.  If my logic is wrong on this, please tell me.
G.Skill is very popular and well reviewed on the websites I researched.  And that's a very good deal.

I think your logic will work fine, but I'm not sure about the capacities.  It seems to me that more memory for the samples and less for the system might be better, unless you're planning to do a dual boot (two operating systems, like XP and Vista).  You don't usually need more than 40 or 50 GB of storage for an OS, especially if you're keeping all your program files on a separate disk.
[quote author=Cadet311 link=topic=2244.msg11960#msg11960 date=1201881036]
No need for a quiet PC - no big aspirations of making the world's next great album or anything, and it's only for sib/finale/vdl/music stuff, so it won't be running all the time.

With the motherboard in the bag, I saw this memory and thought it was a great deal, but wanted to see what you tech gurus might have to say..

[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122[/url]

I've not heard of this brand and am only familiar with the big ones - Kingston, Crucial and PNY


I was also considering the HD issue, and was considering using one drive for the samples (VDL 2.5, Garritan CMB - around 50 gigs), one drive for system programming (100 or so) and one drive for recording/storage (as much as I can).  My thought process is that oner drive will be running the program, one drive sending the samples and one recording the output, so as to get as fluid of a process as possible.  If my logic is wrong on this, please tell me.
[/quote]

How fast is your board running?  What's the bus speed?  Matching that appropriately to your RAM will maximize your use of the RAM.
[quote author=drumcat link=topic=2244.msg11968#msg11968 date=1201926111]
How fast is your board running?  What's the bus speed?  Matching that appropriately to your RAM will maximize your use of the RAM.
[/quote]


I plan on going with this board here...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059

And if I go with the lower speed (800) memory, I'll be going with 8 gigs of it and just max the sucka out.

As far as HDs go, I was going to use a 40/50 gig (small one) for XP/Programs, and 100 or so for the samples.  I got my numbers messed up :).
So are you planning on running Vista 64-bit then?  Otherwise, anything over 3 gigs of ram is a total waste...
Or XP Pro 64.  32-bit operating systems won't recognize more than 4GB of RAM.  When the RAM speed is up in the 800 range, I'm not sure how much of a difference bus speed makes.  This is based on a post I read somewhere, though, and the info might be dated with the higher RAM speeds now available. 
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