Constructing new PC, motherboard unclear...

EagleTwelve

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Jun 15, 2007
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Hello,
I'm frankly very new to PC construction, but I think I have somewhat of a good start towards learning how to make my first one. My intentions are to build a GAMING computer.

What I am attempting to do is take parts from my current computer and sort of re-work it into a better gaming machine. I THINK I have some good parts, but as I'm green to this stuff, I really don't know... don't even know where to start. BUT, I think the biggest step would be to get a gaming motherboard? I bought a business PC, I think, which I will get into. So please forgive my newbishness!!!!!

I'll list what I have, and I'll note out what I have added to the computer.
Bought a HP Pavilion a1710n (around 700 dollar desktop)
Chipset - 6150 LE
Motherboard - ASUS A8M2N-LA, supports AMD
CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 (W) 4200+ 2.2GHz
RAM - 1.5G PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM
HD - 320GB
Video Card - ATI Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB through PCI-E

*What I have added is 500mb of RAM, and the graphics card, which the motherboard processes at PCI-E 16x....!??! haha not sure if that is good or bad!

I have a vague understanding on chipsets and motherboards, enough to make me assume that is my weak spot. I bought the computer at Best Buy for 700 dollars, and it was not a gaming computer. After replacing the graphics card and upping the RAM, I thought I'd have a great setup... 4200+, 1.5 RAM, and an expensive 256MB ATI card. But it doesn't perform nearly as good as I'd thought! I've been playing games like BF2 and the frames lag even in the lowest setting. I also play Counter-Strike, but that game runs pretty well. But I feel as if I have all the components lined up except for the chipset/motherboard!!!!

What I was looking at, but in a newbish way, was the ASUS Crosshair motherboard... not sure if that would fit my system though properly?

Any recommendations? I know next to nothing about motherboards... or what the chipset implies. Do you think that would be the biggest improvement if upgraded? I'm looking to spend less than 400 dollars, but please do tell if there is something I should really look into!!!!
And of course, point out any good places to increase for gaming. Looking to make a great machine.

Thanks a bunch,
Harry
 

tlmck

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That machine should be more than adequate for BF2. I would suspect you may have a ram issue. Some motherboards have trouble supporting more than 2 memory modules, even though they have four slots. Your machine has a low end ASUS board, which is a good brand, but still low end. I would try whatever configuration, 1 or 2 modules, that gets you to 1gb of ram and see what that does. Even better would be a matched pair of 1gb modules(2gb total). You will have to stick with PC4200 as that is all your MB supports.

Also make sure you have the latest driver for you ATI board. You do not need the Catalyst software, just the driver. Catalyst is a useless resource hog IMO.
 

EagleTwelve

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Jun 15, 2007
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Hey guys,

Many thanks for the super fast responses!
Boner, lol, thanks for the suggestions... I got some real good reading material for tonight! Definitly puts me in the direction I was hoping for.

T, yes I agree, even my noobish computer knowledge would think that BF2 would run properly. Intriguing explanation about the RAM... makes perfect sense too. I have three 512mb sticks in there, and I BARELY noticed a difference when I plugged in the third just this past week. Like seriously cannot even tell if there's a difference (but the computer recognizes it on the spec sheet). Dual 1GB sticks... definitly valuable info that I will use in the future... NOTE TAKEN!

Thanks guys,

Harry
Computer Noob
 

EagleTwelve

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Jun 15, 2007
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Well, after looking into parts for the past few hours, I've decided to build an even more powerful gaming PC. Went from upgrading to nearly building a new one. HOWEVER, I'm real shaky as to compatability... really confused. Please critique! Tell me what doesn't fit, or what would be a much better substitute!!!!

I plan on purchasing everything from Newegg.com. First I will list the combo I am leaning on, then afterwards I will list the parts I have been considering substituting in (or adding on).

Case - XCLIO ATX Full Tower *Comes with free CPU fan

Motherboard - ASUS CROSSHAIR, chipset NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP
OS - Microsoft Vista 32-bit Home Premium Netegg.com only had 32-bit Vista listed under compatable OS for my motherboard? Not sure if that's true, or even if I want 64-bit Vista. Whatever is better for gaming!
CPU - Taken from my old computer, AMD X2 4200+ 2.2GHz (sorta slow compared to the rest, but I'm assuming it would still flourish with it's surrounding parts).
RAM - 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2-6400).... 4GB total
Hard Drive - Taken from my old computer, a 320GB drive

Graphic card(s) - With two PCI-E slots on the motherboard, I want to take full advantage. I believe it is called crossfire? Using two cards? I have a small dilemma however... but this is what I'm thinking of doing...
Taken from my old computer, an ATi Radeon X1950Pro 256mb
Buying an additional X1950Pro 256mb, but would POWERCOLOR, still an X1950Pro, be compatible? I understand that if two video cards are to be used simultaneously, the cards need to be identical. My leftover X1950 is straight from ATi, bought at BestBuy. The double I would buy is made through POWERCOLOR, with a huge fan on it or whatnot. Despite not being identical, would they still work together? Because of the actual graphic insides? Both X1950Pro GPU's? Just don't want to assume too much!

That is basically all the main components of what I'm looking at! Will it all work together though? No idea how to find out...
And, here are some considerations I am also looking at. Please do tell if any of these fit much better than what I have selected!
Graphic cards-
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit I was looking into this card due to the reviews. It appears to be a great card, and if 1 of these comes close to the dual processing of both of the X1950Pro cards, then I will consider going with this. Would be real cool if I eventually double up on them!
Or
Buying TWO of the 512mb version of POWERCOLOR Radeon1950Pro 512mb, totalling over 1GB. With the current setup I'm looking at, I have 2 x 256mb X1950Pro cards. If I go with this, it sounds so much better, but I feel as if there is something I'm missing here... because the price difference between the 256mb version and the 512mb version are just too close! If the 1GB total will really outperform the 512mb total though, I'll do it!

And of course, contemplating a faster CPU -
AMD 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz

AND ONE LAST THING! The only thing I have yet to look into is a power supply. What wattage will be sufficient for the setup? Thanks!


So please tell me what you think works best out of these parts! I really don't know how well I pieced these together, but I did the best my noobish contruction-skills would allow! Honestly do appreciate the help! I'm actually looking to buy this tommarow, to get things running, if I get the GO from you guys.
Sincerely,
Harry
 

f61

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Jun 3, 2007
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If you're gonna do THAT, AMDx2 5600+, CROSSHAIR, 7900gt, Windoze XPsp2, G.Skill 2x1Gb 4-4-4-12, 600W power supply (Xclio GreatPower is nice), NZXT Zero Case (remove the top fan). Stay at the egg for this. Reduce your cost by selling the old system. You might want an aftermarket cooler, but the case kinda negates it using 8 fans.

My signature build below is about 750US.

f61