System Upgrade - selfbuild? Advice appreciated

Bully9

Active Member
I'm thinking of upgrading my PC and i quite like the idea of building one - i'm no techie, but i'm sure there's plenty of advice to be had here. One of the reasons is that most off the shelf systems come with Vista and i think i'd prefer to stick to XP at this stage. I use several small open source apps which have little support and i'm guessing may not work in vista, and i'm not really interested in the bellls and whistles. Can i load my XP onto a new PC and still use it on my old one or do i need to buy a new copy?

Speed is probably the most important factor, I do a lot of video editing and multitasking - and i'd like a decent 19" widescreen. I don't game, but i do watch some streams - would a good graphics card be a good idea or a waste of money? It would be good to be able to output HD (as opposed to S-video at present) to the tv which has component inputs. Does this make sense?

One thing that obviously concerns me is if you screw all the bits together and they don't work, what do you do? It seems a bit of a minefield for a non techie, so any advice (including "forget it and go to PC world") much appreciated.

Oh, i guess i'm looking to spend around £500
 

enablerbro1

Well-known Member
Building your own PC isn't too difficult these days. Re your current XP, you can try and install it on your new PC and if you haven't reinstalled it too many times previously on different PCs or upgrades on your old one then you'll probably get away with it. Is it OEM or retail?

For HD output I'd recommend the HD2400XT, if it's not for gaming. If speed is more important than being very quiet then I'd say go for an Intel E21x0 and overclock it. Get a decent mobo and 2Gb RAM. To help with keeping noise down, get a roomy case with a couple of 12cm case fans (I've just completed a new build using an Akasa Zen which is both roomy and has a couple of 12cm case fans and only costs about £25 but you will need to buy a seperate PSU). Unless you're planning on Sli'ing a pair of 8800s and running Quad core I'd suggest getting a modular PSU around 500W.

Remember, a PC is basically a case, a motherboard, a CPU, some RAM and graphics card and a PSU. Not a lot to bolt together and not really a lot you can do wrong if you follow the install instructions.

Maybe invest in a static strap too.

:)
 

badbob

Banned
Since you don't game, then put all the money into CPU, memory and hard drives (ideally several, working source and working destination)

19" is too small, another inch will help. Since video editting requires lots of CPU horsepower go for quad core. Again have to say use seperate hard drives, it doesn't matter if you have a 32 core 8ghz CPU, if you're using a single HD, reading and writing HD and temporary video files it'll grind to a halt.

If you're given a list of bits that people know that work, it's pretty idiot proof, if you can build a self build piece of furniture, you can build a PC. Windows is pretty easy to install.

It helps if you have another working computer nearby, so if you're stuck post a thread on a computing forum.

Not like in my day...had to figure it by yourself.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
Yep the days when you had to figure things out for yourself are well gone. In the same time making systems has got easier and easier. Personally I would recommend the following system for video editing:

Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower Case - With 500W EarthWatts PSU 128045 384 in stock £65.52
Samsung SpinPoint HD501LJ 500GB SATAII Hard Drive 16MB Cache - OEM 130454 131 in stock £50.86
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4GHz 1066MHz) Socket 775 L2 8MB Cache (2x4MB (4MB per core pair)) Retail Boxed Processor 124869 1111 in stock £144.30
Xpertvision 8500GT Sonic edition 256MB 128bit DDR3 DVI TVO PCI-E 128084 124 in stock £41.69
ECS P965T-A iP965 Socket 775 8 channel audio PCI-E ATX Motherboard 130327 99 in stock £42.54
CIBOX C2201 22'' Widescreen TFT 1680x1050 1000:1 300cd/m2 5ms inc speakers 3 Years Warranty 128036 138 in stock £136.16
OCZ 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 CL 5-5-5-12 GOLD XTC *SPECIAL OPS* ED 114721 42 in stock £50.03

Cart Total: £531.10

Yes I realise that the total of £531 + VAT is a little over budget, but for video editing the Quad Core is the sensible option, as is the 22" Monitor. Personally I think that system would be an excellent workstation for the money.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
Oh and the component list is from ebuyer but it may be worth a little shop around. Just remember that for a Quad Core system you will be safer with an Intel 965 based motherboard as a minimum as they are the cheapest chipset designed for Core2Duo from the ground up.

Case is recommended as it is quiet, fairly nice looking and cheaper than buying a decent PSU and case seperately :thumbsup:
 

booyaka

Moderator
Would agree that video editing the Q6600 quad core would be the most beneficial cpu to use.

decent psu needed also - personally i would buy a case without a psu and get a seperate psu (seasonic, tagan, corsair etc)

Large hard drive 500Gb or so should do it.

2gb of ram.

As sugested - fairly easy to build your own - it's just about idiot proof as most/all of the parts can only be inserted into the one slot etc.
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
I have the Cibox monitor, not sure if that one comes with DVi but the one I have doesn't but the image quality is fab. no missing or stuck pixels, no backlight bleed and a cracking picture as well.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
decent psu needed also - personally i would buy a case without a psu and get a seperate psu (seasonic, tagan, corsair etc)

To be fair that is one of the main advantatges of that case in that it comes with a good quality Antec PSU. They may not be the best of the best, but they are more than good enough for most users and attracively priced if you consider the cost of a decent case too.

As badbob states you will get further advantages when you add a further hard disk so that data is coming off one and onto the other, I had spoilt your budget too much already though and an extra HDD is an easy later addition. To keep to a similar price two smaller cheap drives would be another option. This 250GB Maxtor is only £29 + VAT / drive:

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/131214
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
I have the Cibox monitor, not sure if that one comes with DVi but the one I have doesn't but the image quality is fab. no missing or stuck pixels, no backlight bleed and a cracking picture as well.

A good friend of mine got two of them recently for 3D Max work, they are easily as good as the Dell ones we use in work and much cheaper :thumbsup:
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
The reliabilty difference is not massive and the next cheapest 250 Gig was around £7 more per drive. I have installed drives from all makes for about 10 years. They all have some failures, the only massively disproportionate one being the old IBM drives (now Hitachi). That said Seagate has probably been the best for me, closely followed by Western Digital.
 

badbob

Banned
Every Maxtor I've used has gone down. Got a couple of Maxtors free and don't trust 'em, data on them isn't critical.
Stick with WD or Seagate, or Samsung if I need quietness.
 

Bully9

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies. I think a 19" is as big as i can go practically with the space i have. I can hook up to my TV in the next room very easily to watch movies, but would like to use component leads if possible instead of s-video. Re hard drives, i've had an excelstor 60gb whirring away for almost 5 years with hardly a break, so i'm well impressed with reliability there, tho i'm not sure if you can still get them. I've also got a little used 80GB one which i suppose i could transfer to a new PC as a second HD, albeit a bit small by modern standards.

enablerbro1 - The XP home version i have on disk came with the PC which makes it OEM i guess - does that make a difference to "transferrability"?
sibeer - thanks for your suggestions, i'll take a closer look. Not sure about ebuyer. I've used them in the past but i'm dubious about their contact-us system and after sales service if the pc doesn't work when built.
 

enablerbro1

Well-known Member
enablerbro1 - The XP home version i have on disk came with the PC which makes it OEM i guess - does that make a difference to "transferrability"?
As long as you haven't done a lot of reinstalls with new components then you should get away with loading it onto your new PC.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
sibeer - thanks for your suggestions, i'll take a closer look. Not sure about ebuyer. I've used them in the past but i'm dubious about their contact-us system and after sales service if the pc doesn't work when built.

Ebuyer have improved A LOT from when they killed the phones and went "Contact Us" or "Hope for a Response this Year" as it was more akin to. They now have phones again and people you can talk to.

I think you will find though that no one gives great aftersales advise if you have problems whilst building. The basic premise is that if you can't diagnose the fault to return the correct part yourself then you shouldn't be building. Not very helpful when you only have the one system with compatible components. Have a look at some of the smaller local chains. Their service may be better, it may not, but at least you can confront someone head to head with any issues. May be worth spending an extra 5% or so for that :thumbsup:

With your OEM issue I can back badbob's comment that the OEM license is for the PC it came with, not any other. Whether it will work or not and what constitutes a different computer is another matter.

I once repaired a HP machine with a HP specific license. When I say repair the motherboard and PSU had gone, I salvaged the RAM, the HDD, DVD-ROM and put them in a new case with new mobo and processor. When trying to reinstall it rightly came up with license issues. I rang the CS number though and assured them that this was a repair were unfortunately the original motherboard could not be salvaged. They asked me in a couple of different ways if I was installing the license on multiple machines and were happy to sort out activation once they had ascertained that I wasn't.
 

Bully9

Active Member
Yes, looking at the disk it says "......may only be used for backup and recovery of your Medion computer system" :-(
 

Bully9

Active Member
I'm quite tempted to go for the system sibeer suggested, perhaps with a 19" monitor. Could i ask a few more questions?
Firstly, will the graphics card output to the monitor (VGA - whatever that is!) and tv (via a dvi-component converter perhaps) simultaneously?
Will ebuyer accept a return if there are any dead pixels on the monitor?
Software - should i buy a "system builder" package, say from ebuyer? Not sure exactly the implications - and is there anything special about the software, like 32bit or anything. Sorry, i'm a bit out of my depth here. Thnk i'd prefer XP if possible for reasons stated in OP.

Any helpful comments appreciated. Thanks for your patience.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
I'm quite tempted to go for the system sibeer suggested, perhaps with a 19" monitor. Could i ask a few more questions?
Firstly, will the graphics card output to the monitor (VGA - whatever that is!) and tv (via a dvi-component converter perhaps) simultaneously?

No problem, I belive it can output a TV out (component, composite or s-video), DVI and VGA at the same time. It can also output two DVI signals or two VGA if required.

Will ebuyer accept a return if there are any dead pixels on the monitor?.

No, no where will unless they specifically say they have a Zero Dead Pixel Promise. It is not as big a problem as it used to be though but still a risk with flat panels. For example non of the past 15 or so TFTs I have bought (Dell, LG and Dabs Value) have developed or came with dead pixels. Yours still might but the problem is not as common as it used to be.

Software - should i buy a "system builder" package, say from ebuyer? Not sure exactly the implications - and is there anything special about the software, like 32bit or anything. Sorry, i'm a bit out of my depth here. Thnk i'd prefer XP if possible for reasons stated in OP..

I wouldn't bother with a system builder pack (to be honest I am not sure what you are talking about). As you are building a new system though I would take advantage of OEM software for any apps you need as it is far cheaper than retail. The likes of McAffee Security Suite for under £5 and Nero for simlar are no brainers, as is OEM Windows for around £50 instead of around £200 retail.

Personally for any professional workstation type system I would look at 64 Bit Windows, probably Vista. It will be a bit of a pain for some apps, but most top professional packages get real performance benefits from running in a 64 bit environment (though you need to be careful as some don't run whatsoever). We are currently in a period of change and to my mind we are getting close to the end. Best advise though is to contact the providers of any software you need to see if it will be compatible.

At the end of the day though if all you want is your existing machine but faster then buy XP Home and be done with it. Personal preference can easily be more important than minor performance gains and futureproofing.

Any helpful comments appreciated. Thanks for your patience.

No problem :thumbsup:
 

enablerbro1

Well-known Member
If he's got OEM then not allowed to install it on the new PC.
Allowed has little to nothing to do with whether you can. You change your motherboard because the old one is faulty and Windows might decide that it's a new PC. MS allow a certain number of upgrades with OEMs and, as you're still the sole user I'd say you have a better than average chance of being able to install it. Even if you have to authenticate it over the phone you're only talking a few minutes of number punching. As long as you have your serial number I don't see a problem trying.

OEMs can be loaded onto a new PC, just don't try running it on multiple PCs.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
Doesn't what security depend a bit on the user level and budget. Norton and McAffee may not be the absolute best protection, but they offer simple integrated solutions for a cheap price (when bought OEM). My dad for instance has no problem keeping McAffee up to date and set up correctly as he does not have to do anything. When he was using AVG or Avast along with Sygate or Zonealarm he got asked far more questions he did not know the answer too, just OKed them and hance had a less secure machine.

The best combo is Karparskey Antivirus and Agnitum Outpost Firewall, far better than any package. the downside is that they cost much more and Outpost in particular requires a fairly high level of understanding to get the most out of it.
 

sibeer

Well-known Member
Allowed has little to nothing to do with whether you can. You change your motherboard because the old one is faulty and Windows might decide that it's a new PC. MS allow a certain number of upgrades with OEMs and, as you're still the sole user I'd say you have a better than average chance of being able to install it. Even if you have to authenticate it over the phone you're only talking a few minutes of number punching. As long as you have your serial number I don't see a problem trying.

OEMs can be loaded onto a new PC, just don't try running it on multiple PCs.

It is breaking the license agreement but it will definately work. If your old system has not been reinstalled for a long time then it may even go through without a call to CS. The only thing to check is whether your previous PC supplier gave you an actual Windows disk or an image of their pre-installed system.
 

enablerbro1

Well-known Member
I use AVG, have done for years. It updates when I switch on my PC, scans and tells me when it's done. I don't have to ok anything until they release a new version and they want me to upgrade. AVG isn't the best, as you say Karparskey probably holds that title, but AVG is free and is better than either Norton or McAfee and doesn't "infect" your PC the way Norton certainly does.

As you say though, horses for courses.

:)
 

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