Computer Basis

Hi to all of you. Ok, i have a lot time working on computers, i have a descent knowedge about OS, sofwares, internet, also a bit of Computer hardware, etc…Howeber i stil dont know the Basis to Build a computer and install an Operating System (windows in my case). I always have to look for a friend that i have to do that. he build, install and configures everything and i dont want that anymore. I have two computers right now… and i would like to format the HD of the other one that im not Using to start Learning with that. I actually know how to build the Pieces (mainboard, pci cards, powersupply, ide cables and optical drives)… but i dont know what to do after that. i know something about Boot Disc, also i need to format the HD and configue the cards, etc… Well, i know this might be a very newbie question but i really want to start in doing that. so … anyone have a Link of a page, or any other good information that could guide me in that process? or any link to another post??.. thats all…
Thanks in Advance.

i’ve been through this… the best thing is to go to the microsoft site particularly… in your case you have a windows OS…there you will find some basic and compliacted processes but im sure it will help you a lot… i also try to look for some help in google…try this and good luck :clap:

Corporate Business Attorney

Actually most “build your own PC-tutorials” are outdated by know, not mainly because they’re are a few months old but because the development of new hardware is going at a rapid pace. 95% of the time you use your common sense and I’l try to give you a few hints.


[li]Decide which socket (CPU socket) you wanna go for
[/li][li]Decide which type of video card slot you want (AGP or PCI-E), PCI-E is the way to go today
[/li][li]Check DIMM-slots (RAM), DDR2 offers no performance boost over DDR as it is today and it’s a lot more expensive so go for DDR unless you have a good reason for it
[/li][li]Check the additional hardware, does the NIC (network interface) run off PCI or PCI-E/Chipset (you want to be sure that it uses PCI-E/Chipset today), are all ports that’s needed on it (firewire isn’t obvious).
[/li][li]Read reviews
[/li][li]Remember that Google is your friend. :slight_smile:
You can find good reviews on sites such as Hexus, HardOCP, GamePC, Xbitlabs, Digit-life, Anandtech, Techreport. ThG (Toms Hardware Guide are a bit biased so I wouldn’t really recommend them…)


[li]Make sure that you’re going with one that has the correct PSU (20 vs 24-pin ATX connector) and the same form factor for that matter too.
[/li][li]Cheap cases usually carries poor PSU which may cause instability and sharp edges (cutting yourself is not that enjoyable)
[/li][li]Make sure it has decent design for adding a fan or two and has enough 3.5" and 5.25" slots for upgrades later on.
[/li][li]Have in mind that most PSUs that are included are noisy so if you want a silent PSU with good cooliong (120mm fan!) go with one from FSP (Fortron-Source), Seventeam, Seasonic or Antec.

Video card:

[li]Make sure you get the same connection on the card as on your mainboard (AGP or PCI-E)
[/li][li] and Xbitlabs have great roundups regarding video cards and performance
[/li][li]There’s no need to go with the most expensive card on the market, that’s just plain stupid unless you want to waste money. Stepping down a few FPS in performance might make quite much difference in price.
[/li][li]As for low-end, dont go with the cheapest card around, it’ll make your computer unusable on the long run. Spend another 20 bucks to get 50% better performance…
[/li][li]Be very careful when you choose video card about suffixes, SE,Pro, GT for instance makes a great difference. Also check so you get a card that doesn’t use slower memory chips (Gecube does this from time to time for instance).

Hard drive:

[li]Choose interface PATA or SATA, SATA is faster in theory but pratical you wont be able to tell the difference.
[/li][li]A 7200 RPM drive is what you probably is going to go for, there are faster drives out like Raptor but they’re really expensive if you compare price / size and the performance isn’t that great. (Usually a few secs faster when it comes to loading).
[/li][li]If you find an interesting hard drive, read reviews!
[/li][li]I’d personally prefer Hitachi or Samsung (Good performance and quiet) while others like Western Digital or Seagate. Beware that WD and Seagate are noticable louder than Hitachi and Samsung while not being faster (in general).


[li]Get on using the same socket as the mainboard
[/li][li]Check if your motherboard supports the CPU core (important!). Some mainboards doesn’t support all CPUs that physically fits at all or with a later BIOS revision.
[/li][li]Again, Xbitlabs have great roundups for this…
[/li][li]Don’t go with the most expensive blah blah blah (refer to Video cards)…
[/li][li]Make sure you get a decent (and quiet) CPU cooler


[li]Get the correct type DDR or DDR2 depending on motherboard
[/li][li]Most CPUs requires PC3200 (DDR that is) while there are RAM sticks that supports PC4200 or higher. These are only made for overclocking so if you dont plan to overclock go with PC3200.
[/li][li]Get a decent brand: Crucial, Corsair, Samsung, Kingston are safe bets.
…as for the building part:

Mount the CPU, CPU cooler (CPU cooler if possible) and memory before seating the motherboard in the case and for the name of God dont forget to apply thermal grease on the CPU. If you dont know where it should be or how it should be applied RTFM or use Google. Dont forget to use the springs while seating the motherboard in the case, you end up with a dead and shorted mainboard (along with other components if your unlucky). Read the manual on how and where to connect leds and buttons. The rest is self explaining if you just look at the documentation for a minute or two. If unsure, ask!

Unfortunately, this is really a “get some hardware and try it out” sort of thing. People are continually amazed at how much esoteric stuff I know - it comes from having built my first PC 20 years ago. shrug Practice makes perfect. Trial and error.

True, but it would help if the parts actually fit too :slight_smile:

Hi, Thanks for all the replies…Well… the PC im runing right now its a new one, i bought all pieces, and my friend build it and configures it for me… its an AMD Athlon64 3200 socket 939 on an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, with 1GB Corsair memory… nx 6600 GT Nvidea Video Card, everything well cooled… my old PC its a P4 1.5 Ghz with 256 Rimm memory on an nItel Motherboard…GeForce Video card. this will be the one ill be playing :)… il format the disc, unbuild everything and start there… after i get a little practice and see how it works…so… .what do i have to do to format DIsc??.. of course ill be reading the Web Pages that you gave me… Thanks again… Later

You can format using the installation CD for Windows 2000 or XP.

OK… I need Help before starting playing with the Old PC. What are Partitions??.. For Example, my HD its a 200 GB Capacity, but it was splited by my friend i guess… so that means the HD has 2 partitions??.. another thing its that the HD its splited in this form:

(C: )------>99.9 GB
(D: )------>86.3 GB.

I would like that (C: ) has a size of 50 GB… and add the other 49.9 GB to(D: ).

its that possible to do that in windows without formating any Partition??..


For ripping and burning, I would recommend not formatting into partitions. Better to leave hd whole. Better performance that way.

oh Really??.. i though that was better have one partition for Ripping/Burning… and another for program files, installed games, etc…well… and its possible to do that??.. to have the whole hd…

@ harley2ride
What are you talking about?
It’s the same just that data wont get as fragmented as with one drive/partition and it’s way more easier to reformat/reinstall (you will probably do that sometime in the future).

Carlos: You can reallocate the space on your hard drive, there’s a fairly easy way of doing it in the windows installation software, however as far as i know it means you have to reformat your entire drive to do what you want.

Think about getting a second hard drive, it might be totaly unessisary but that’s up to you really, they are dirt cheap these days. (If you want to get really fancy you could have a RAID system running, but that would be more difficult to say the least)

Ok thanks… can I have RAIDstem with IDE Drives??.. i though that was just with SATA Drives… and bout hard disc must has the same size??.

Yes you can have RAID with IDE or sata, you have to have a RAID controller, either on your motherboard, or a controller card. Two hard drives work together as one (with RAID0) to make them together faster than a single drive. Only problem with this, is if one of the two fails, you lose everything. But if you have everything backed up to another drive you’re OK. I’m using RAID0 and I love it, makes your comp alot faster, I swear my boot time is half of what it was before.

As far as having the same size drives, you don’t HAVE to, but it’s recommended to have two the same size. More important than the size I think, is to have two drives with the same specs (seek time, transfer rate, etc.) So it’s better to have two identical drives to do RAID. But you can have different sizes, you just lose whatever extra size the larger disc has. For example, if you have a 120G and a 200G drive, you only get 120 + 120 or 240GB, you would lose the other 80G of the larger drive.

Thanks for the explaination,… what about the difference between using Raid System on IDE Vs RAID System on SATA??.. SATA its faster??.. im thinking either buy 2 SATA Drives for using RAID… or buy just one IDE HD to run thems RAID too.

Oh… what u mean that Ill Lose everything if one HD Fails??.. u mean a Hardware Fail??..


Yes a SATA RAID will be faster than an IDE one, but either would be faster than a single drive. Also don’t forget what I said about a controller, either your motherboard has to have the capability, or you need to buy a controller card. I don’t have your motherboard, but I also have a newer Asus board, and on mine, for SATA, you can configure it for RAID in the motherboard bios (so you don’t have to buy a card), for IDE, I would have to buy a card to do it.

You may want to buy two SATA drives for your RAID, and keep the IDE drive installed to keep a backup of your important stuff. Be careful to backup anything on your current drive before you start messing with partitions etc. If you have some $$ to burn, I’d suggest 2 Western Digital Raptor drives 10,000rpm. They are smaller than other drives (only come in 36GB or 74GB), but damn are they fast. With 2 74G ones you would have about a 140GB main drive, which is big enough for me, will cost you about $400 US to get 2 of these 74GB though.

Also RAID is slightly (not much) more complicated to setup than a single drive config. If you buy a card, it will come with a floppy with drivers (or d/l it from manufacturers website), or if running from your motherboard, d/l from Asus site (or you may need to make a driver floppy from the CD that came with your Asus board, their site should have instructions. You will need these drivers during the initial windows setup. When the computer starts to boot from the windows CD, you will see a message that says “press F6 if you need to load 3rd party drivers…” something like that. Press F6, then it will come to where it tells you to load your disc. If you don’t do this, windows CD won’t even see your RAID configured drives.

And ya, I do mean a hardware failure, in a RAID0, half the data goes to one drive and half to the other, that’s why it’s faster. Think of it as two pipes carrying water rather than one, your bucket will fill up faster :slight_smile: . Either drive by ITSELF then is a paperweight with only half the data. There are also different RAIDS (1,2,3,4,5) some requiring even more hard drives. For a RAID1, you DON’T get the speed increase, because the SAME data goes to both drives, it’s more secure, if one drive fails you still have all your data on the other. Or another RAID you could have 4 drives, half the data going to 2 drives, half to the other, then you get the speed AND security. Or you could even have 4 drives where the data is split up between them, but then if ANY of the 4 fails you lose it all. You have to pick what’s good for you. I’d recommend two drives for a RAID0, and keep all your stuff backed up on your IDE drive. Personally I have two RAID0 arrays, one running from my motherboard, and one running from a controller card. Good luck with whatever you chose. :smiley:

In case you need a link explaining RAID levels, check e.g. this one. :wink:

Regards, :slight_smile:


Seriously SATA vs PATA RAID is close to zero (if any at all) in performance and I think you’ll confuse him quite a bit :wink:

Oh, OK I was under the impression SATA would be a bit faster, but I’ve never benchmarked them to see. OK thx