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Question

My Toshiba laptop is getting old and slow (about 4 years old to be precise), and I am trying to learn a little bit more about computers. Thus I want to "build" my computer from scratch if possible with the latest features available. Now I don't have a lot of money but I know I want a good DVD burner, Blueray player, 500+ Gb hard drive, wireless capabilities to network my printer & external drives etc, the ability to use my monitor as a TV (can I get one that is digital capable?), be able to play with DTS sound if possible, and of course it should have speed and sufficient ram.

What are some of the things I should consider? I have already started to look for hard drives and DVD drives. That stuff is getting cheaper and cheaper but I don't know what to look for as far as the motherboard, processor, and would I need a monitor with a tuner? I would like to be able to burn shows from TV to DVD with the DVD burner, how can I do that? I don't have cable so I don't think it would be worth me buying a blueray burner.

Currently I salvaged a Dell Precision 330 from the scrap heap. I know that the processor is too slow for me, but is there any way I can save the motherboard? It still has it's graphics card which is good but I am not sure it will be good enough for a Blueray player.

Though I can't buy all the components I need right away, any help and info would be appreciated.


Answer

Hey James,

Unfortunately, I doubt you will be able to salvage much from the old Dell since it is an old Pentium 4 machine.

For a budget pc, I would start with the processor. Look at getting a cheaper core 2 duo or phenom am2 from newegg.com or tigerdirect.com. I wouldn't spend a ton of money on the motherboard. However, I would recommend buying a good brand such as Asus, MSI, or Gigabyte. Make sure you match the socket of the processor with the socket of the motherboard so that they are compatible. For example, a lot of the core 2 duo's have the socket LGA775. If you get one of those, make sure your get a socket LGA775 motherboard.

When it comes to memory, I would get 2-3 GB of RAM for what you are looking to do. I would recommend a Western Digital or Seagate hard drive for your 500GB hard drive.

To be able to record/burn shows from your TV to DVD, you will need a tv tuner card or a video card that has a tv tuner card built in. Not all TV tuner cards will do HD, so if you want HD, make sure to look for that. Also, windows media center does a great job with recording tv and burning it to a disk. The XP media center and Vista Home Series' have this software included with the OS. When it comes to Video Cards, most newer video cards use PCI-E. A lot of the older video cards are AGP. Make sure you get the correct video card for the motherboard you buy.

Last, you will need some miscellaneous components such as a computer case, power supply (~500 Watt or more), and a wireless adapter (not needed but you said you want wireless).

Feel free to ask another question if we missed any of your questions.







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