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Building new desktop


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 06 2004 - 06:22 AM

Ok. So there have been several threads recently about how much cheaper it is to build your own computer. I've built one for my parents several years ago, but I am now thinking about building one for myself. I'd like to stay under $700 (preferably closer to $600). So I'm looking for suggestions for parts to use. I'm looking for a case, processor (either P4 or AMD), motherboard, RAM (min 512MB), DVD drive (burner not necessary), power supply (if not included with the case), video card, sound card, and hard drive (preferably SATA if possible, doesn't need to be very big).

If you've built something similar recently please list your parts and estimated costs and where you bought them if possible. My inclination is to go with AMD because they're usually cheaper for what you get and perhaps an ABIT board using the nvidia chipset.

Anyway, let me know what you guys think I should look at in this price range and where I should look online for the parts.

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Kevin T

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Posted August 06 2004 - 07:41 AM

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#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted August 06 2004 - 10:34 AM

I keep plastering this list on AVS for those with a $700-$800 budget.

CPU- $180 (3200+ or P2.8C)
Mobo- $70 (Abit/MSI nForce2 400 or i865PE)
Ram- $160 (1GB Corsair Valueram, Crucial also good & stable but more)
Grphx- $160 (9800, can oc to Pro or XT speeds)
Sound- $80 (Revo 5.1 or 7.1)
PSU- $40 (Fortron 350w)
HD- $66 (Seagate 80gb)
Disc drive- $42 (Lite-On DVD/CD-RW)

Total = $798 with Intel.
Total = $718 with an nForce2 motherboard with Soundstorm onboard audio (No Revo needed).

All prices from Newegg. Didn't include a case...

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Alf S

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Posted August 06 2004 - 04:37 PM

....Or for $770 after rebate you can get THIS

I got mine a week or so ago when, for the same exact price, it came with a 17" monitor, CyberPower battery back-up power strip, USB 2 cable, and a printer. Sweet deal, an I'm guessing they'll do it again soon.

Not that it comes with 512 PC3200 memory, but when I went into it to load another 512, I discovered that it allows up to 4GB memory as opposed to the max of 1gb the specs say(confirmed by their cust. support)..

So far this thing is awesome and runs SUPER quiet.

Highly recommend it.

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#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted August 06 2004 - 05:20 PM

I think building it for yourself is a different thing, though, Alf. A lot of people do it not just as a matter of expense, but a matter of chosing specific parts based on track record, overall performance, and name. When you buy a box by any other company (Medion, Compaq, whoever)

Medion, a german company, uses an altered micro-ATX Asus motherboard. Which is fine. But if you're going to go ASUS, you might as well go straight to the source so your bios updates are nice and quick and you know what they line up for Posted Image

And yes, it's hard to compete with a company selling exclusively through Best Buy in volume at a loss at current:

German Article Translated

And hey, for people who want a pre-built box, it's not a bad route to go.

That having been said, the question in this thread was: "what would you do to build your own"

On this level, I'll offer this:

Buy the best components you can, and don't skimp.

A good case and good powersupply alone -SHOULD- run you about $90. This is something that will last you for a long time if you get a good one, through various motherboard changes, etc. I like Antec, but also good are Thermaltake.

512MB of the "good stuff" is about $83 right now. Get a good motherboard, Nforce2, NF3, or 865 based. For your budget, I'm going to suggest something really new to you.. wait 4 days. In 4 days, Sempron drops, and at your price point, it's what you are after.

You can get a 3100+ Sempron processor from AMD (NewEgg, etc.) for about $129. This processor will spin with a 3.0G P4 at a cheaper price. Forget the size of a hard drive. You can add later. Get a FAST hard drive as a primary goal. WD has their 8MB Buffer SE SATA for $70. This will run circles around larger, slower drives. And when you need more space, your case will let you add on. Get the 8-n-1 card reader if you want, $9. Get an NF3 based MSI Board, $99. Get a DVD+-RW for $89 for a dual layer 8X Drive. Get a GeforceFX5700LE or ATI9600. Either can be had for ~$90. XTs or full versions $20 more.

Total: ~$650. You can get a good case for less, also, and save about $40, and you can go with a 5300 series card, etc. and save about $30 there too.. but you're better off going with the good stuff.

Going with a Sempron now gives you an Athlon64 board so that later you can easily upgrade the chip to the latest, greatest Athlon64 offerings. And right off the bat, you'll discover your little Sempron runs cooler then Intel's offerings and bests their 3.2G-C and Prescott 3.0E chip:

http://www.anandtech....spx?i=2149&p=7

The other great perk is, you'll end up with a solid motherboard with inbuilt firewall services, gigabit lan, integrated firewire, and some great performance behind it Posted Image
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#6 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 06 2004 - 05:21 PM

Question on that Medion: Does it fit the ATX standards? The reason I ask is that I'd like the ability to upgrade in the future using standard parts instead of being trapped into proprietary hardware (ie Dell, Gateway, Compaq, HP, etc).

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted August 06 2004 - 06:48 PM

It's a MicroATX Design. Many manufacturers do make that. However, the case makeup itself does not lend itself to put a new board in. The front panel connector is designed in a single block, unlabeled. Which means you'd have to break it up.

Pre-built designs are not bad, they just are what they are, so don't count to heavily on extensively re-working the design later Posted Image
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#8 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 07 2004 - 04:26 AM

You can get a 3100+ Sempron processor from AMD (NewEgg, etc.) for about $129.


That sounds great. I looked over some info about that processor and it looks good. I had been considering the AthalonXP 3200+, but this one will save me about $60. Do you know what the sempron's front-side-bus speed is? The reason I was looking at the 3200+ instead of the 3000+ is the 400MHz fsb as opposed to the 333MHz fsb. It probably doesn't make a huge difference, but for the price difference I think it's worth the upgrade.

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted August 07 2004 - 09:27 AM

FSB on the Athlon64 cores are pretty irrelevent.. the big thing about the FSB was that it represented the bus speed the CPU communicated with the onboard memory controller. With the Athlon64, the memory controller is built into the CPU.

I guess, technically, you'd say.. 800Mhz FSB, though that's also misleading. Posted Image NF3 boards will advertise support for 1600Mhz FSB.
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#10 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 08 2004 - 05:28 PM

I'm thinking I'm probably going to go ahead and get the 64 instead of the Sempron. Although most of it's benchmarks are pretty impressive, the fact that it was created to compete against the Celeron just annoys me. Anyway, I was looking at the Athlon64 3200+. The problem is there are 2 versions of this chip. The first version is the Clawhammer core, but it has 1MB of L2 cache. The second is the newer Newcastle core, but it only has 512KB of L2 cache. The prices are very, very close. I assume that the newer core is better despite the L2 cache, but stranger things have happened. Does anyone know of any comparisions of these two or have any information that might be useful to me? Thanks!

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   JustinT

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Posted August 09 2004 - 04:38 AM

The 3200+ Newcastle has an operating frequency of 2.2GHz, and the Clawhammer has an operating frequency of 2.0GHz. I've read that the faster clock speed on the Newcastle outperforms the larger cache size on the Clawhammer.

I personally just purchased a Clawhammer 3200+, because I've read that it runs cooler and overclocks better.

Do a couple searches on the forums over at anandtech.com and you can find all kinds of posts comparing these two chips.

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted August 09 2004 - 07:34 AM

Clawhammer does overclock more, and the larger cache can come in handy. If you leave them stock, it's a wash.. both very equal footing to each other. If you're intent on overclocking, get the clawhammer (1MB cache)
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#13 of 29 OFFLINE   DaveGTP

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Posted August 09 2004 - 07:36 AM

I'm pretty much with exactly what Chris posted up. Don't skimp on power supply/case. A cheap case can be a pain in the ass to work on. A cheap no-name PS can end up blowing sparks (I've seen it) or just mysteriously dying.

I, personally, though, would probably go with the Athlon 64 2800+ @ $149 myself, over the Sempron 3100+. Just a preference (I like to be forward looking). I don't think the performance between the 2800+ and the 3200+ merits the $50 (a 33% price premium). The Sempron is a good deal, though, and honestly makes more logical sense from a benchmarking/performance standpoint.
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#14 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 09 2004 - 08:00 AM

I can see where the sempron will probably be an incredible notebook chip . . . possibly the best notebook chip out there due to it's low power consumption and high benchmarks, but building a desktop I'm having a hard time talking myself into buying it over the athlon64. I had considered the 2800+, but I thought it might be nice to have the newest core as they usually run a little cooler and smoother. I will be running whatever I get at stock speed as I have no real reason to overclock (I'm not a gamer). Even getting the 3200+ I can stay under $700 case and all. Here's a link to the case I'm planning to get. I like it because it's inexpensive, NOT "pimped out," and it's Antec so I trust the power supply. Is 350 watts enough? I was hoping for 400, but I think 350 should be OK with a decent quality power supply like the Antec.

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   JustinT

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Posted August 09 2004 - 09:40 AM

350 watts should probably be enough since you are getting a quality power supply.

I bought this case and it has been great. It's got a 380 watt antec true power supply. The link is through outpost/frys, but I'm not sure if it is stock. I got mine for $98 shipped from Amazon.

#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Drew Bethel

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Posted August 19 2004 - 05:55 AM

PC World built this "value" PC for just over $1k with the components below. Any comments on their component selection?

AOpen AK89 Max motherboard: $115
AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU (retail version): $230
Corsair 512MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM DIMMs (two): $110
Seagate Barracuda ST3200822A hard drive: $130
Lite-On SOHW-812S DVD±RW drive: $90
Abit Radeon 9600XT graphics board: $195
Antec SLK3700-BQE case: $90
Windows XP Home (OEM edition): $87
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#17 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 20 2004 - 02:23 AM

That sounds like a pretty good setup. I just ordered the parts for mine and went a little over my original budget. I spent about $1100. Here's what I got:

Intel P4 530 3.0GHz Socket775 800FSB
Abit AA8-Duramax with Intel 925X chipset
2 x 80GB Seagate SATA HD for Matrix RAID
512MB Micron/Crucial DDR2 PC4200 533MHz RAM
NEC 8x Dual-layer DVD burner
NEC Floppy drive
Gigabyte 128MB PCX5750 ATI PCI-Express video card
Linksys 802.11b PCI Adapter
Antec Sonata Case with TruePower380

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Drew Bethel

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Posted August 20 2004 - 02:51 AM

Nice collection! Are you getting everything from Newegg with free shipping?
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#19 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted August 20 2004 - 05:59 AM

Everything is from Newegg except for the RAM. Newegg doesn't have any (or much) 240-pin DDR2 RAM. I think I paid a total of $2.00 in shipping. Oh, I got the RAM from mwave.com. Haven't been pleased with their service so far, but as long as I get the RAM eventually I'll be happy.

Oh yeah, I also got a free 5-pack of DVD-R's from Newegg with the dvd burner.

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted August 20 2004 - 10:48 AM

Anandtech put together a pretty good "recommend" list of their value/performance/medium systems recently.

http://www.anandtech...doc.aspx?i=2156

Forget the "Doom3" part (unless you're hell bent on the game) the guides are good instructions in general.
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