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System overhaul time

Discussion in 'Tech: Medical Apps, iOS, Android, medical devices' started by Ollie123, May 25, 2008.

  1. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Hey folks,
    About to either completely overhaul my old Dell Dimension 8300, or just plain build a new one from scratch.

    Any advice on a decent but cost-effective build? Any suggestions on parts that worked better than you expected or parts to avoid? Not trying to build anything completely top of the line, but my current system doesn't cut it anymore. I'm decent with replacing parts and the like, but I'm trying to avoid any overclocking that would require additional cooling systems, etc. since its a little outside my comfort zone (plus I don't want to screw up and fry something since I'm trying to save money!).

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  3. MrMunkily

    MrMunkily Rogue One 5+ Year Member

    I recently built a system using one of Antec's higher-end cases and power supplies. I was very pleasantly surprised at how quiet, cool, and reliable it's been. No need to go all out, basically, don't skimp on cooling and power - and you won't go wrong. Cheap cases are hot, and cutting a hole in one with a dremel is not going to help all that much, anyway - trust me, I know.

    Buy a reliable motherboard - it's the single largest point of failure, in my opinion, just because it is so large and has so many parts. and their return policy is your friend. Their product ratings and testimonials are also very good friends of yours. I've found them to be fairly accurate, so I'd check them out even if you use a different store.

    Do not bother trying to overhaul an old Dell - last time I checked, their cases and power supplies are incompatible with commodity goods - however the last time I checked was a looooong time ago... things may have changed.

    I agree - don't overclock. More trouble than it's worth.

    You can safely cannibalize your old computer for its HD & CD/DVD drives to save some cash - just make sure the HD isn't going to be a real bottleneck...

    I really haven't kept up with trends in hardware since I got a Mac... I'm kind of out of it. The last system I built was a HTPC that lives under my TV and spends most of its time recording TV or playing movies... not a typical use, I'm sure.
  4. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Yeah, I've been debating getting a new HD anyways and maybe using my current as a secondary drive for extra backups/MP3's and the like. I'll most likely be using my current DVD drive though because I really cannot come up with a good reason to spend money on a new one - I don't burn things often, very few programs I use run off the disk, and it just doesn't seem like its worth the money. Only other part I might try and bring over (if its compatible) is the sound card, just because I'm not a big sound junkie. If it functions for some background music, I'm good to go.

    Thanks for the input. I've also heard good things about Antec so that might be a good option. Any recommendations on cooling? That's actually the part I'm least comfortable selecting just because I never hear about it so I don't know anything about it. Everyone hears about the new Intel processors, etc., but you never hear about what keeps em from bursting into flames;) Do most CPU's/motherboards come with built in heat sinks or do you usually buy those separately? I know power sources typically have their own fans, but any recommendations on the main fan or other cooling equipment?
  5. MrMunkily

    MrMunkily Rogue One 5+ Year Member

    So, there are different types of cooling.

    The CPU needs active cooling so that it doesn't burn or shut itself off to prevent burning. This means a heatsink + (almost always) a fan. I bought... oh dear I wish I could recall. Anyhow. A few things to be careful of:
    Make sure it fits your motherboard and socket
    Make sure it is "rated" sufficient for your CPU of choice (or at least that others use it without issues)
    Make sure the fan is reliable and doesn't fail or screech after 3 weeks
    Make sure it is of good build quality...
    Noise may or may not be soemthing you care about.

    The power supply fan is not really anything to concern yourself with, as a good quality PSU has a good fan that self-regulates, usually.

    Graphic cards almost always have heatsink-fans. If they need them, they'll come with them. Always make sure you buy a graphics card from a company that builds them right... Many different companies resell ATI & Nvidia gpus on their own cards. Check the reviews to avoid poor quality fans and RAM.

    Motherboards do get hot - their components typicall have heatsinks without fans, leaving air excahnge up to your case fans.

    Case fans... Oh case fans.... If you have a crummy case, all the fans in the world won't cool it. The best case/fan combinations are those that let you use 120mm slow fans. They move a lot of air while not being terribly loud. Don't stress if you ahve to use 80mm fans, though. They aren't that loud unless they are failing or you have 8 of them... I should know.

    Some people add hard-drive coolers and all sorts of other stuff... I've never had a hard drive fail due to heat or any other reason, so I can't vouch for the neccesity of such extravagances.
  6. Slaiby


    Apr 23, 2008
    I just built a new computer this past fall and I have to second the Antec Case recommendation. I have an Antec Solo case and its nice and quiet and looks great.

    Make sure you buy a good power supply, you don't want to go cheap on that because a bad power supply can fry your whole system. Corsair makes some really nice efficient power supplies, and so does Antec.

    At the moment you can't really go wrong with intel or amd processors, it really just comes down to what you want for a motherboard, AMD boards tend to have more features than intel. But intel processors have a little more power in the higher end, but thats only really a concern if you are trying to make a super powerful gaming rig. Also I would recommend not getting a motherboard with built-in graphics, separate graphics cards are a lot more reliable and powerful and won't put unnecessary strain on your processor and memory.

    Last point of advice: do research, check out places like and for really helpful reviews on various computer components and recommendations on their forums. Once in a while they have recommended system builds for people on various budgets which you may find useful.

    Good luck :)

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