Ah, the joys of builing a "new" system

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Brett_H, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    So I finally got the go-ahead from my wife to upgrade our home PC. We've been limping along on my old AMD K6-2 350 for a few years now, and it's finally getting to the point where we can't do the stuff we want: watching video clips has become a choppy, distorted mess, etc.

    I was given a rough budget of $150, knowing that this was going to have to buy me a MOBO, Processor, and RAM. I can reuse my existing drives, case, monitor, etc. With this small of a budget, I decided to go used for as much as possible, so I lurked around the anandtech forums until I came across some decent deals. $30 got me 256 MB of PC2100 RAM, another $50 got me an Athlon XP 2200+. Now all that was left was the mobo, and for this I decided to splurge and go new just because there's more stuff to break and I'd rather have the peace of mind that comes with new stuff. I ordered an Asus A7V8X from newegg for $80 shipped, and even sprung for the $2.99 for same day shipping (more on this in a minute)

    All of this is supposed to come together this Saturday, when my wife has a friend in from out of town and I have to entertain myself for the day. The RAM went out UPS from Texas on Monday, supposed to arrive today. So far, so good. The Processor was my biggest worry, the guy wasn't shipping it until Wed, and it was going USPS priority mail from Arizona. At least they deliver on Saturdays, so it will probably be here by then.

    Cool, now all that's left is the motherboard, the thing I wasn't worried about because I thought I was leaving myself "plenty of time". Wrong. Ordered it Tuesday from newegg before 3 EST, within their requirement for same day shipping (noon PST). It shipped Wed (10/8) from NJ, but now FedEx.com claims that it will arrive Oct 13, 2003 by 4:30 pm. Crap. Their "free super save shipping" says 3-4 days, my only hope now is that since they don't deliver on Sat that they're covering themselves by estimating 4 days (10/13) and it might really show up on Friday.... well, I can dream can't I?

    Thanks for letting me vent. Anyone care to place a bet on whether or not all three pieces will be here by Sat?

    -Brett.
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    not sure i'd take that bet, but i feel your pain. i did the same thing when putting together my pc. that whole weekend hinged on my mobo coming in on friday - as promised.

    by late afternoon, no luck. i was getting totally anxious. thank goodness it finally did arrive.

    but i stil recall how antsy (sp?) i was getting.

    hopefully all your stuff arrives on time. good luck with the build! just think how cool it's gonna be when you're all set and done!
     
  3. John*Jones

    John*Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a heads up for your consideration. You may have issues with your power supply. Athlon processors can draw alot of power. >300W PSU is generally recommended.
     
  4. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Ted, yep, even though I keep telling myself not to get worked up because the stuff's probably not going to be here on time... I can't help but hope.

    John, the box will have the following in it:
    (2) 7200 RPM WD 40 Gig drives
    Yamaha 16x burner
    Generic CD-ROM (Can be sacrificed, I rarely use it)
    Floppy
    Two case fans
    3dfx Voodoo 3 3000 PCI video card (not a gamer, so this should do fine)

    I don't plan on overclocking it, at least not initially. The case/power supply was a chap "In Win", I think it has a "300W" PSU, but I'm sure that's peak power or something. IIRC, the case & PSU were a total of $50 or so. I wonder if this will be an issue?

    -Brett.
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I know how you feel, I ordered a printer (Canon i9100) from newegg on monday and I got the printer in only 2 days on Wed. The problem is the printer doesn't come with a cable so I ordered one as well. This cable just happens to be shipped from New Jersey and may come Fri/Sat!

    This is the first time I've had NewEgg deliver something from NJ... What's so hard about keeping USB cables in stock...

    Anyways, your computer should work, but if u have crashing issues or even a boot problem I'd first expect it to be the PS.

    Correct me if i'm wrong but your processor is a Thoroughbred with 266 bus. So the ram you would want should be at least PC2100. This means if you get generic PC2100, you may have trouble overclocking without instability. I know I had crashing problems when I tried a generic stick of ram out with a pentium3 600E @ 840mhz.
     
  6. John*Jones

    John*Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    It's really hard to tell. If you really want to go into detail, wattage alone is not the only consideration. The quality of the PSU(generic/name-brand) and the maximum output in amps at each output voltage (+12V, +5V and +3.3V specifically) also matter. This page provides a nice summary.

    I'm certainly not saying it's a must to get a new PSU, just a consideration. I've certainly gotten alot of heat in other forums for running just a 300W PSU with my setup, but it's a quality product (bought for low noise levels) and hasn't given me any problems. As always, YMMV.
     
  7. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Chris, yes it's a t-bred code processor. I'm getting Kingston RAM, so I assume it should be sufficient.

    John, I'll see how it runs and go from there. Thanks for the link and the help.

    Something I've been thinking about is my IDE configuration. In my current system, I've got 4 IDE devices. The mobo only supports ATA33, but the two hard drives are ATA100, so I had to get a Promise ATA100 controller card. Currently, I've got each HDD on it's own channel from the add-in controller car, with the CD-R and CR-RW each occupying one channel of the mobo's onboard IDE controller. Basically, everything's running as "master" on it's own channel. I did this under the theory that a.) you shouldn't mix ATAPI and IDE devices on the same channel and b.) I thought that having each HDD on it's own channel would increase file transfer speed b/t the two drives.

    My new mobo only has the two IDE channels, so it looks like I'll have to have both drives on the same channel (there is also a RAID controller that can supposedly function as a regular IDE controller, but I don't want to mess with that if I don't have to). Will having two HDD's on the same IDE channel cause slower file transfer speeds between the drives compared to them being on their own dedicated channel? If so, I might look to using the RAID controller as another IDE channel.

    Thanks,
    -Brett.
     

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