My First PC

  KCeeC 11:13 30 Oct 2009

I'm just about to buy my first PC, the site I am buying from offer quite a few customization options which I'd appreciate some help with.

1. A friend told me that it is best to install the operating system (I have a copy of Windows 7) on a hard drive of its own, and then have a second hard drive to install all your programs on and store your files. Is this true? Is it absolutely necessary? How much of a noticeable improvement will doing this give my PC performance? As adding a second Hard Drive might limit my options elsewhere due to budget.

2. For Graphics Card I have 3 options within my budget:
-NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 896MB
-ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
-ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB

Which would you recommend? Will I notice that much of a difference between them?

3. Will a 500W PSU be sufficient? or should I go for the 700W option?

4. With the options above and a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400, will I be able to play all the top games that are out now? If not what area is holding me back?

Any help or guidance you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I'm so impatient I just want to buy the thing now, but I want to get it right

  xania 11:26 30 Oct 2009

1. No. You can install it all together. However, I suspect you may have misinterpreted your friend's advice. On a single Hard Disk you can split it into what we call partitions. It is a good idea to have your operating system on a separate PARTITION but on a separate Hard disk is a little over the top IMHO.

2. Most motherboards come with on-board graphics which is perfect for anything apart from the most demanding CAD or games software. You don't say what you plan to use your PC for but I would doubt you needed any Graphics card at all.

3. This depends on what you have in you PC - the faster processors need more power. You can pick up very powerfull PSU for little more so I would go for 700W, especially if you do want a graphics card as well.

4. I'm not much into this side of things, others may have a firmer view.

  xania 11:27 30 Oct 2009

Incidentally, this question is more appropriate to the Helproom - you should get more answers there as well, You might like to ask Forum Editor to move your posting.

  GaT7 16:14 30 Oct 2009

1. I agree with xania on this. However, it's always wise to have a 2nd drive as a backup for your data, emails, music, vidoes, etc.

If they fail, one can buy another CPU/motherboard/etc without a second thought, but one's data & related may not be so easily replaceable/recoverable.

2. & 4. As a gamer, get the best graphics card you can afford. I think the 4890 has an edge over your other choices.

The Q9400 CPU will be fine as most games are more graphics-driven these days.

Another thing to consider is whether you'll be considering running 2 (or more) graphics card at any time in the future. This is called SLI & Crossfire/CrossfireX with nVidia & ATI-based cards respectively. If you think you will, then you'll need a motherboard with this capability too, & will be dependent on your choice of graphics card brand. I think most of the newer i5 & i7 Intel motherboards have both capabilities, but getting matching i5/i7 CPUs & DDR3 RAM may take it beyond your budget.

3. A good, quality branded PSU should be your first priority. A 500W will do for a single graphics card, but running 2x graphics cards will need a higher-powered one with the requisite number of PCI-E connectors. A single HD4890 requires 2x 6-pin PCI-E connectors.

Good brands include: Antec, Enermax, Be Quiet, Corsair, Tagan, Seasonic, Silverstone, Etasis, OCZ (or PC Power & Cooling), Zalman, Coolermaster, Xigmatek, Hiper, FSP, Akasa, Thermaltake, Gigabyte, etc. May have missed a few - just ask if in doubt.

Take your time choosing your system - as you rightly mention, you'll want to get it right the first time around. G

P.S. xania, this is in the correct section. It's just that fewer people tend to visit/post in the Consumer section

  KCeeC 16:52 30 Oct 2009

Thanks alot for your post it is really helpful and I think it has given me enough to make my final decision.
I'm so excited! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

  carver 19:35 30 Oct 2009

This will give you an idea of the power supply you need click here

Just enter what you think you will have in your system either now or in the future.

  mrwoowoo 20:01 30 Oct 2009

In my opinion the GeForce GTX 260 896MB is a better overall card as most games are bias toward Nvidia.
I have this card and am very impressed.
It does require a minimum 500W PSU though so i would go for the 700W option to be on the safe side.

  Mr Mistoffelees 09:22 31 Oct 2009

Take a look at this comparison from from Tom's Hardwareclick here Seems to be swings and roundabouts, but with the ATI having a slight edge overall and the one I would buy.

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