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Skitter302
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Building

Ok, I'm looking into building a computer over buying one

because I don't like my selection available to me at the stores. I need you people, as my friends, to give me feed back on what to buy:

~ !!! On a $800 budget !!! ~

- Mother Board (looking at Gigabyte)

- Processor (looking at AMD but will accept Intel depending on which is the better bang for the $$)

- Hard Drive (Western Digital or other reasonable brand the does 320GB on up)

- Video Card (Something nice)

- RAM (how many GBs and what brand???)

Any Help is very Welcome.

I want stuff that can Play Movies, Play newer Games, Run Windows 7 and run fast.

Edit: Not thinking of building any more http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229181

NathanJ79
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...

I can help you. I just put together a reasonable build in the $850 range, it might have been $900, but included a nice LCD monitor (full 1080p HD) and a nice keyboard and mouse. Drop that and you shave about $225 off the total build cost. Anyway, my budget fell through, so I'll have to re-evaluate next year, but you can use my work.

--Motherboard -- You're on the right track with Gigabyte. Not trying to steer you, but ASUS and MSI are both good as well. But the trick here isn't the mobo itself, it's the chipset. Assuming you stick with AMD, the 790GX is top and not too expensive. Here's Gigabyte's, the one I was going to get.

--CPU -- If you want to stay under your budget, you're pretty much stuck with AMD. That isn't a bad thing, AMD's been good to me. My AMD64 lasted five years and would still be in service if the mobo didn't die. Five years is a long time for tech though. Anyway, you'll pay $100 or more for an equivalent Intel CPU, that's a fact. Then the mobos cost more, and do less. $160 for an AMD quad-core shipped ain't bad. If you want to save money though, most games won't do more with a quad than a dual; the quad just future-proofs your rig. In other words, a dual will play today's games, but a quad will play tomorrow's.

--Hard drive -- Go small for your system drive. Windows runs best on 80GB or less. Takes less time to format, and access speeds tend to be a little better. If you want to spend the money, get a Raptor. Look at the site you're on -- portable apps aren't just for flash drives. Get a second, larger hard drive, and run portable apps off that. Make a folder called shortcuts, make shortcuts to the apps on the desktop (so the PortableApps platform menu becomes optional, and redundant), and back the shortcuts up in the shortcuts folder. Next time you reinstall Windows, just dump the shortcuts back on the desktop. "Portable" apps become "perpetual" apps. Anyway, you want storage, you can get a 2TB drive for around $150 these days. You can also use whatever hard drive you have now in the meantime, if you want to skip the second hard drive and buy a nice big one later.

--Video card -- This will make or break your gaming experience, but if you went with that quad, it's not as important. Now, I'm an nVidia guy, I don't know much about ATI, but that mobo has an ATI Raedon 4400 with HDMI on the motherboard. Coupled with a quad, that will play most games, at least at low and medium settings. Especially with a lot of RAM (I'll get to that). I was looking at the GeForce 9800GT line. But whatever GPU line you go with, make sure it has GDDR5. That's the type of RAM. A lot still have GDDR4, or what the Xbox 360 runs, GDDR3. GDDR5 is much faster. As for quantity, 1GB is probably the sweet spot. All I'm seeing on Newegg is GT240s for nVidia, and I read that 9800GTs are so much better for about the same price, I'm just not seeing them right now. GT240 is probably *fine*, just not *great*. As in, I can't see a lot of fault in 1GB of GDDR5, but if a 9800GT clocks faster, well, that's the deal. Not sure why I'm not seeing them though. Oh, I see 'em now. They all have GDDR3... I am thoroughly confused. Research the two (GDDR3/9800GT vs. GDDR5/GT240) or if you know/love ATI, go that route.

--RAM -- I can only recommend Corsair and OCZ. Corsair is great and OCZ is pretty good. You will want DDR3 RAM, and you will want *at least* 4GB of it. Start with 4GB (which you should be able to get for about $120, I think). Get two 2GB sticks, and get two more later, down the road. 8GB plus the CPU plus a 9800GT or GT240 should let you run anything. 4GB plus those and you'll find very few closed doors in terms of gaming.

--Case and power -- You didn't ask, this is mostly an aesthetic choice though. Pick out something pretty. Power supply, you'll want to take note whether the video card you want requires a power line, and make sure the power supply supports it (most new ones do). There are a lot of cheap power supplies, just check reviews. You have to be more careful with the power supply, and look for number of 12V rails. Two is standard, one is cheap, four is good. One means most of your power is going through one conduit. Two divides the load, and four -- you get the idea. Cases you can be more flexible with. Read the reviews, what people say. That's any part, but for cases, look out for stuff not fitting, things breaking easily, quality (or not) workmanship.

Just about any computer can play movies. For DVD, you can get a DVD burner for under $30 shipped. Brand doesn't matter too much. NEC and Lite-On are both great. Anything else is probably good. But for Blu-ray you will spend at least $100, and that's just a reader. If you want an all-burner (burns CD, DVD, and Blu) you'll pay a lot more. Over $150, I think.

I'm running Windows 7 on a 1.8GHz AMD Sempron (their value CPU from 2004-2005) with 2GB of RAM and it's running good. Vista was a resource hog. Win7, not so much.

Playing new games is what you need the fancy CPU and GPU for. Personally, I think PC gaming is a waste of time. There's a lot of good stuff out there, and Steam is very cool. World of Warcraft is a neat idea (not for me though). And there's modding (legal and otherwise, but I mean legal). But if you want to be able to play the latest games and watch Blu-rays, you might just get a PS3 to complement your PC. I'm more of an Xbox guy, but LIVE is $50/year and PSN is free, and Xbox doesn't have Blu-ray. The best games are on both. But, if PC gaming is what you want, I think you can build a capable gaming rig for under $800.

Follow my advice (not too closely, use it as a guide, but don't be afraid to stray a bit) and add up the parts. Post them and link to their page on Newegg (or, your e-tailer of choice) and I/we can show you where to pinch pennies, if need be. Like dropping from a quad to a dual CPU, a cheaper but "almost as good" video card, smaller hard drive, whatever.

Bahamut
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Anyway, you want storage, you

Anyway, you want storage, you can get a 2TB drive for around $150 these days.

2TB drives are expensive. 1TB and 1.5TB drives seem to be the sweet spot as far as bytes per dollar. A small system drive is a good idea, performance gains or not, since you're keeping the system separate from your other data. 40GB is plenty unless you intend to load it up with games. There would only be two reasons to have a system drive bigger than 80GB - either you have large amounts of data that have to be on a high-performance drive or you don't have much extra data to store and you need just a bit more for what you do have. If you need a lot of extra space, get an external 500GB/1TB/1.5TB drive depending on your needs. If you need more than 2TB, I suggest getting internal 1.5TB drives and either using the bays in your tower, or if you need several drives, get a RAID enclosure or something like these.

I'm interested in what people have to say about motherboards and Intel vs. AMD. I'll be building my own rig sometime in the future.

Vintage!

Vandrvekn
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Motherboard: Gigabyte is a

Motherboard: Gigabyte is a good manufacturer. I'd recommend spending the extra to get of their newer motherboards. They have some that are good for future upgrading with USB 3.0 and SATA 3. Also, get one without an onboard video chip. Even a $20 card is better.

Processor: AMD is better in your price range. You can get a quad-core for around $100 at Newegg. Don't get the Black edition ones unless you plan to overclock it. If you do, you'll need to buy a cooler. Otherwise, the stock cooler is good enough.

Hard Drive: While it is best to have your OS separate from your data, I don't recommend getting a small drive. Unless you spend a fortune for a Velociraptor or SSD, it'll be a lot slower than a new terabyte drive. Get a 1 or 1.5 TB 7200 rpm drive and partition it with a small primary partition for your OS and a large secondary for the data. WD and Samsung are both good, I've heard that Seagate drives had a pretty high failure rate.

RAM: 4 GB DDR3 should be enough. If you're going to use the 32-bit Windows 7, you might as well just get 3 GB since it can't use much more. I use OCZ memory, it's fairly cheap and reliable.

Optical: Just get a $20-$30 cheap DVD writer, Blu-ray burners and media are still overpriced. If you really want to watch blu-ray movies on your computer, get a separate drive for that.

Video Cards: I'm not a gamer, so I really don't know what to recommend.

Bahamut
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Optical: Just get a $20-$30

Optical: Just get a $20-$30 cheap DVD writer, Blu-ray burners and media are still overpriced. If you really want to watch blu-ray movies on your computer, get a separate drive for that.

Why get a separate drive for Blu-ray?

If you want Blu-ray, get a BD reader (most BD drives have CD/DVD writing capabilities anyway). BD writers (and media) are expensive and it's cheaper and easier to store a BD's content on your HD than to burn copies anyway. There are alternatives to BD media and unless you plan to make PS3 game backups (which is pointless right now since there isn't a way to play these backups, at least not yet), stay away from BD burners.

Vintage!

Vandrvekn
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>>>Why get a separate drive

>>>Why get a separate drive for Blu-ray?

NathanJ79
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Corrections

Bahamut2TB drives are expensive. 1TB and 1.5TB drives seem to be the sweet spot as far as bytes per dollar.

2TB drives starting at $119.99 shipped. 'Nuff said.

VandrveknAlso, get one without an onboard video chip. Even a $20 card is better.

A cheap video card may beat the ATI Raedon 4400 HD, but it beats no card, and if he can get away with shaving a video card off his budget until later, it'll hold him over until he can add a really good one down the road. That's what I'm doing. And you can disable the onboard video on the BIOS or just not use it once you upgrade. Also, it seems like all the mobos with the latest AMD chipset come with onboard video standard. I know onboard video gets a bad rap, but it's not a bad thing here.

VandrveknAMD is better in your price range. You can get a quad-core for around $100 at Newegg.

Those are Athlon X4s. But I don't have any solid reasons for recommending the more expensive Phenom II line over Athlon X4 (both are quad core) except one is newer (Phenom II). Both use the AM3 socket, which is AMD's latest.

Skitter302
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I See now

Most of the parts that you guys are taking about are ones that I have been looking at on newegg. The more tips the better I feel, keep em coming.

Load the App and Play :evil:

NathanJ79
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Cooling!

Whereabouts in the world do you live? Because cooling might be an issue if you live in the Southeastern United States. As in, not enough cooling and your hardware goes bad, quick. Most cases will come with a couple fans, but the more the merrier, and if the case has the mounts for more fans, that's great too. I had a mobo die on me, and all the usable parts went into another case. I took the vacuum, some dust wipes, and cleaned that case good, and found a few places I could have mounted a couple more 80mm fans, though the case only came with, oh... six 80mm fans and a 120mm. Not kidding.

Anyway, when you look at a case, flip over and look at your power supply. Now try to imagine where the air is going to flow. You want some good airflow over your CPU (well, over your CPU's heatsink and fan), your video card, and your hard drives.

And fans are fans are fans, so you can cannibalize your last computer for them. If they're not as pretty, just take the new fans off the back or other less visible places, put the ugly ones there, as long as they spin. And while the old fans are "loose" you can wash them. Don't fully submerge them, but if you have a sink with a spray gun, just get the water really hot and give it a few squirts, get the caked up dust off. Let it dry for a few days. It'll move more air that way, should make it perform like new (assuming the bearings and whatnot inside are still good).

Some cases come with a thermometer on the outside; you will also have to connect "leads" when you build the computer. The thermometer isn't magical; you'll have to find a clever way to attach the one marked "HDD" to one hard drive or the area they're all in, and the one marked "CPU" to the CPU's heatsink and/or fan. If they're just allowed to dangle, they'll both report the same thing and they won't be accurate. But if you have your heart set on a case that doesn't have such a thing, and it has a floppy drive bay you're not planning to use (two, if you also want a memory card reader; you could also have a front panel with more USB ports and a headphone jack, so three?) you could add one of these. Now, I'm not endorsing that product; it was simply the first of its kind I found. But if the tower is going to sit on the desk, you can take the clock off the Taskbar and save space there, and just get the time off the tower. (I might have to get one when I build my next computer, but as with anything, read the reviews to avoid bad hardware.)

Bahamut
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2TB drives starting at

2TB drives starting at $119.99 shipped.

That's a sale price. If you actually compare each 1.5TB drive to its 2TB counterpart, it's pretty obvious the 1.5TB drives are cheaper. You might get lucky and find your favorite model on sale, but overall 1.5TB beats 2TB, at least for now.

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Barely

Yeah, normally it's $140, which is $10 less than the $150 I threw out there the other day as a guess, but Newegg runs great sales all the time. The first hard drive I bought was a thirteen-point-seven gigabyte drive (spelling it out so as not to look like a typo, for younger readers), and I paid $140 for it. (I've had smaller drives, of course, but that was the first one I paid for separately, at full retail, from my paycheck. I paid about the same back in 2004 for a 300GB drive (which is still in use today). Now I can get roughly 2,000GB for the same price? No complaints here!

Let me put it another way. I built my last PC with an 80GB system drive and a 300GB secondary. Filled the 300GB, bought a 750GB. That 300GB I bought in 2004 is an external. So I'm sitting on about 1.4TB -- across four drives. It's not bad, but my wife and I have to keep track of what's on each drive. Now, buying the absolute biggest wouldn't be smart -- best to find the sweet spot, as you think 1.5TB is -- but at $120 shipped -- even $140 shipped -- 2TB is the way to go.

Anyway, that $120 2TB drive is a "power saving" drive. They cleverly avoid giving the speed, but it seems that 3.5" hard drives are either 5400RPM or 7200RPM (Raptor and some others are faster, of course). If it were 7200RPM they'd say so. 5400RPM isn't bad for straight storage, and it'll run cooler, use less power, but if you want to fill a drive fast, you might want to look at 7200RPM drives, and put an 80mm fan in front of it.

Bahamut
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Barely is enough

If you know you need more than 1.5TB, but 2TB will do, of course 2TB is the way to go, but if you're simply adding to get more space and plan to expand in the future (or if you want to add a lot of space like 3+ TB), the sweet spot is always the way to go. For example, if you want 6TB, you can save a good $50 minimum just by getting 4x1.5TB instead 3x2TB. Of course, 2TB drives are getting cheaper as time goes on, so it is very possible that in 6 months to a year, 2TB will either become the sweet spot or at least match 1.5TB drives.

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Psychic?

You must be psychic. I had another paragraph in my last post about 3xTB=6TB, but I took it out because it didn't add much and would have made my post even longer. But since you opened the door, I might as well step through it with you.

No. If you want 6TB, it's worth the $50 to get three drives with 2TB each as opposed to four with 1.5TB each. Power, for one. Heat and (lack of) air flow for two. Being more organized for three. The one and only advantage you get with four, being an even number, is RAID capability. But I would never recommend anyone get a bunch of small drives to get a lot of space. Just get a big disk or two. See, the other thing is... I don't want more drives. So say I get a 2TB drive today. I'm gonna retire that internal 300GB drive. Who would want it? The only other geek I know locally just bought a 2TB drive himself. He doesn't need it. He might keep it around as a spare, same thing I'd do. Or I could retire the 80GB (more wear on it) and make the 300GB drive my new system drive, maybe partition it. Point is, the smaller the drive, the shorter amount of time until it's useless to everybody. Same friend has a 30GB drive. Came with the barebones PC I bought. I don't want it. He doesn't want it. Who wants a 30GB hard drive? It'll be a long, long time before a 1.5TB drive is unwanted, but I guarantee you that day will come before a 2TB drive is unwanted.

I can't even say it's a matter of power vs. value. It's value vs. slightly more value. We're talking 6.67¢/GB for 1.5TB (@ $100) vs. 7¢/GB for 2TB (@ $140). Take the sale price of $120, which you can get it for today, and 2TB becomes 6¢/GB. In other words, on a given day you're paying one-third of a shiny red cent per gigabyte less, but today you're paying two-thirds more. (These figures assume 1.5TB = 1,500GB and 2TB = 2,000GB, simply for the sake of even numbers, though we both know they format to less. 2TB formats to 1.81TB according to a review, not sure what 1.5TB formats to.)

The point I was going to make was that if you want three drives, three of "mine" equal 6TB and three of "yours" equal 4.5TB, a difference of the size of one of "yours". (See, adds nothing of value, aside from cute number play.)

Bahamut
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Power, for one. Is there

Power, for one.

Is there really a major difference? I honestly don't know, but I doubt it.

Heat and (lack of) air flow for two.

If it's absolutely necessary to have all your drives in the case and running most of the time (and I won't argue it isn't in certain situations) then, yes, this can easily warrant going for the larger drive, but I think most people would do just fine with an enclosure or BlacX/similar (see this post above).

Being more organized for three.

4x1TB in a RAID configuration is as organized as 2x2TB in a RAID configuration. The bit above applies here too - if you really need the extra space at one time you'd get with 2x2TB versus 2x1.5TB, then 2TB fits.

See, the other thing is... I don't want more drives. So say I get a 2TB drive today. I'm gonna retire that internal 300GB drive. Who would want it?

It's a moot point unless you buy bigger drives specifically to replace smaller ones. I'm pretty sure most people buy hard drives to either get more space or to backup existing data. If I had the drives you do, I'd gladly hold on to the 80GB and 300GB until they fail.

It's all about needs, and cheaper 1.5TB drives will serve most needs just fine. When the number of drives is a major issue, then using the largest drive size is appropriate, but otherwise it's not worth the extra cost.

Vintage!

Darkbee
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small drives have their uses

300GB makes for pretty hefty dedicated virtual memory. Smile

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>>>Also, it seems like all

>>>Also, it seems like all the mobos with the latest AMD chipset come with onboard video standard. I know onboard video gets a bad rap, but it's not a bad thing here.>>Those are Athlon X4s. But I don't have any solid reasons for recommending the more expensive Phenom II line over Athlon X4 (both are quad core) except one is newer (Phenom II). Both use the AM3 socket, which is AMD's latest.

Darkbee
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Some comments

I wasn't going to bother replying because you've already got some pretty comprehensive answers but I thought what the hell.

Mother Board (looking at Gigabyte)
Can't go wrong with Gigabyte or Asus. Keep in mind not be sold on features you don't need like onboard graphics. Onboard graphics solutions are usually NOT cool for gaming. However, consider things like the motherboard being SLI ready (assuming you go with an NVdia graphics card), and is the ethernet gigabit. (which I think is pretty much standard these days). Although I guess if you plan on using wireless that's a moot point too. Also, onboard sound is pretty much the only way to go that i know of these days, I haven't bought a sound card in ages, so make sure the onboard sound is up to par. Also consider upgradeability, can you increase the RAM, can you use a better processor in the future?
Processor (looking at AMD but will accept Intel depending on which is the better bang for the $$)
I used to be a pure Intel guy all the way, but to be quite honest, if you're on a tight budget then AMD is the way to go. I have an AMD machine at home and have no complaints. It's not the slickest machine but it gets the job done, even playing games.
Hard Drive (Western Digital or other reasonable brand the does 320GB on up)
Just stick with branded drives. I have NEVER had a young hard-drive fail on me, even branded drives bought from eBay. Don't go for the biggest size on the market, always choose something slightly smaller than the current biggest available, you'll get better value.
Video Card (Something nice)
I'm not impressed with ATI cards, they seem to have horrible software drivers and compatibility problems with some games. I've been a long term fan of Nvidia cards. If you're a hardcore gamer then you might want to consider eventually buying two graphics cards and hooking them up via SLI. Having a decent graphics card with solid amount of onboard RAM is critical for gaming.
RAM (how many GBs and what brand???)
Corsair, Kingston any branded RAM will do. I'd recommended buying at least one of the maximum size RAM sticks your motherboard can accept, at least to get you started, you can always buy more RAM later. It's one good way to spread the cost, so that if you motherboard accepts 2 times 4GB sticks, buy one 4GB up front, it'll be enough to get you started.
Power and Case
Power Supplies are a critical component of any system. Cheap power supplies will cause other hardware to fail. Look, not just at the power wattage but also the amperage. Just because it's a 650w PSU doesn't make it good, it's really worth spending the extra money on a decent PSU. As far as cases are concerned, often you'll pay more for cases that look pretty like fancy LEDs or clear plastic on them. All that really matters is that you can easily get to all the various components if you ever want to upgrade things. To be quite honest, the clear plastic and LEDs will lose their novelty factor after about 5 minutes... Oh... that's nice *look of being underwhelmed*
Monitor
Assuming you don't have one already, budget a large portion of your money going to a decent flat screen monitor. I've bought some cheaper brands over the years and never had any complaints. I think this comes down to personal choice/preference more than anything.
Skitter302
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How about this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229181

Pros:
Cons:

Let me know.

and one more thing

Is quad core and quad processor the same thing? (noob Q I know)

Load the App and Play :evil:

Vandrvekn
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Cyberpower?

As far as the system goes, it looks like a fair price for the components you get. I'm not familiar with the company, so I don't know about their build quality. I'm the wrong person to ask, I don't trust anyone to build my systems but me!

Quad-core means a CPU with four cores, "quad processor" doesn't mean anything as far as I know. Whoever used the term is probably the noob.

Mir
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it does

there are a few motherboards out there that are capable of handling 4 quadcore processors and are upgradeable to the 6 core xeon if you hav3e the 5K per processor.

So yes Quad Processor is a term that is used.

Bahamut
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HDTV

Monitor

I'd suggest using an HDTV as a monitor (HDMI works quite well, and most HDTVs will even accept a standard monitor input) if you have one (and if it's practical in your setup). No need to spend all that money when you have a large display already. Right now, I have my TV hooked up to my laptop and the dual display setup is nice (admittedly, the TV only displays a wallpaper most of the time, but it's nice for videos or just a larger view of a window).

Vintage!

Skitter302
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19"

Costco Wholesale

19" Vizio TV HD, Widescreen $165

(still doesn't answer the above Q)

Load the App and Play :evil:

Mir
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22"

22" Debranded HP Geeks.com 179$

Skitter302
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OK Cool

(REpost)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229181

Pros:
Cons:

Let me know.

and one more thing

Is quad core and quad processor the same thing? (noob Q I know)

Load the App and Play :evil:

Darkbee
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Already answered

Vandrvekn already answered your question:

VandrveknQuad-core means a CPU with four cores, "quad processor" doesn't mean anything as far as I know. Whoever used the term is probably the noob.

There's no such thing as a "quad processor" it's simply a misuse of terminology, the CPU is comprised of one or more cores. In the case of a "Quad core" the CPU has four cores, which means to over simplify the CPU can do four things in parallel (at the same time).

Skitter302
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I'm Stupid

I over read and didn't reread. Sry Vandrvekn. I must be a total noob then i used to use the quad processor term for a time.

Load the App and Play :evil:

Darkbee
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Stupid or not...

I'm not interested in a put-down of your intellectual capacity. I just wanted to point out the question had already been answered. Easy to miss, anyone could make that mistake.

Mir
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Darkbee

Did you not read my comment? Yes there is such a thing as a Quad Processor!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010200302+1...

Darkbee
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My Bad

Sorry, I need glasses, it looked like you linked to Quad Processor motherboards (motherboards that accept four processors), rather than quad processor processors. My mistake.

Mir
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there is no such thing

as quad processor processor. there is a quad processor quadcore. thats is the correct terminology.

Processor/die= the physical peice of silicon
Processor/core= the number of processors on a single die

the key point is the difference between a die which back in the old days they where called processors because they only had one CPU per die verses now a days where each core on a single die also is called a processor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicore_processor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-chip_module
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiprocessing

Darkbee
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Nevermind

Sarcasm dude. Discussion over.

Mir
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well kinda

this guy could not afford a multi die multi core system anyways. even if the mobo is only 200$ the processors/dies/cores are 4-5 grand each and need to match, that and the ram needed is EXPENSIVE. also try finding a tower for that beast or even a powersupply. xD

thats why i went with a Zotac IonITX F-E motherboard. built in wifi, dualcore intel atom LV processor, 16X pcie, Nvidia Ion GPU. and the total system cost was under 400$

Smile

Skitter302
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This Guy

"this guy could not afford a multi die multi core system anyways. even if the mobo is only 200$ the processors/dies/cores are 4-5 grand each and need to match, that and the ram needed is EXPENSIVE. also try finding a tower for that beast or even a powersupply. xD"

Who Can?

Load the App and Play :evil:

Mir
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:3

i have one. but alas it was a prebuilt and used.

Skitter302
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:)

That's about the only way to get one.

Load the App and Play :evil:

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