Building a new PC. Recommendations needed.

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Andy Olivera, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    I've got most of the specs narrowed down, but there are three aspects on which I could use some help. They are: sound card, speakers, and monitor.

    I'm pretty open on the sound card and speakers, as neither are incredibly expensive. I'm not looking for 5.1, just a standard 2+sub setup.

    The monitor is my biggest problem with so many from which to choose. I only have two requirements: 19" and a good balance between quality and price(meaning no Active Matrix/Plasma displays).

    That's it. I'll take any help I can get, from specific recommendations to brands to favor/avoid. Thanks!
     
  2. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    A monitor is a big investment and often not reviewed...
    Hands down, my favorite monitor to buy would be the 19" Cornerstone P1460. They supply monitors for professional buisness use (Graphics and CAD type use) and you can order them from monitors direct. They are the ONLY online place i've found selling them (PCnation.com ships from there). They also have an excellent comparison tool for monitors and prices since they carry all the big brands.
    A lot of 19" CRT monitors you'll find are aperture grill meaning there are 2 visible grill lines across the screen which can get bothersome. The colors are more vibrant but the picture isn't as clear and precise as a shadow mask CRT.
    Cost was about $400, competitive with the Sony G420S and Samsung 900NF. I prefer the cornerstone though since I can look at one all day with no eye fatigue. It boasts .22mm dot pitch with 1600x1200 resolition @ 85hz. (Pretty hard to beat)
    Speakers for PC I would consider the Diva Swans M200 for $200 at av123. They pack enough bass to not really need a separate "boomy" sounding multimedia sub. I havn't found a 2.1 multimedia setup I likes since most of the "bass modules" really bugged me.
    Sound card, there's a wide variety to choose from in different price ranges, I'll list the more expensive ones first:
    M-audio audiophile 2496 $170
    6.1 Hercules GTXP $130
    Turtle Beach Santa Cruz $60
    SB Audigy $60
    others:
    Phillips acoustic edge, and hercules fort digital.
    All of the ones listed above will have great quality sound for a PC.
     
  3. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I'm happy with my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz soundcard ($59 at Newegg.com). It does 5.1 and comes with some nice software.

    I still have my 17" Hitachi monitor I bought in 1996 and it still works great, I'd consider Hitachi again.

    For speakers, I have a modest Altec-Lansing 4.1 system that I paid about $39 after rebate, it sounds pretty good actually.
     
  4. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    The Samsung 900NF is a nice monitor.
    I HIGHLY recommend the Hercules Game Theater XP sound card. I use it and its like a little piece of heaven.
    Speakers, can't go wrong with the Klipsch 2.1 set.
     
  5. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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    Monitor: Dell P991 - 19" Trinitron flatscreen (CRT) for about $350 direct from Dell. I have two of these for a dual-monitor setup and love them.
     
  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  7. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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    Another thing to look for in a monitor - a high refresh rate. After using 85 Hz @ 1280x1024, looking at anything less actually hurts. Don't strain your eyes [​IMG]
     
  8. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    Okay, here's the score so far.

    Sound card: A split between the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz and the Hecules GTXP. Question: what's the difference between Retail and OEM? I keep forgetting what OEM stands for. I ask because at newegg.com the GTXP OEM is $25 cheaper(also currently out of stock).

    Speakers: I'm pretty much sold on the Klipsch 2.1 setup. The specs are a tad more to my liking than the Diva's and at $20 less.

    Monitor: Here I'm still undecided. I'd like to stick with a shadow mask CRT, so the Samsung 900NF is out. I think I've got it narrowed down to three. The Samsung 955DF & 900IST, and the Cornerstone P1460. The specs on the Cornerstone are impressive, but $500 is quite a chunk of money. So, what kind of a graphics card would I need to take advantage of those specs? My current selection is the GeForce3 TI200 with a probable upgrade to the GF4 TI4400.

    Once again, thanks!
     
  9. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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    Go with a GF4 Ti 4400. The MSI is a good buy.
     
  10. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Or you could go with the Cornerstone monitor and a GeFORCE4 Ti4200 and that would balance out your budget a bit.

    Just go down to the local Best Buy and get the GTXP in the retail box, you get a much better warranty, 5 years compared to 90 days. Or you could try mwave.com or accessmicro.com for the OEM version of the GTXP. The GTXP's break out box is the best thing in the world to me.
     
  11. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I've got a mitsubishi diamond pro 900u and it is awesome. 19" CRT, flat screen, USB hub. Its perfect, but I don't think mitsubishi makes monitors anymore [​IMG]
     
  12. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    I'll have to wait until I get the rest of the system assembled before deciding on a monitor. Anyway, all the advice has been very helpful. I'll post the specs when they're final(hopefully no more than a week). Thanks again!!!
     
  13. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    Alright, everything's on the way. Here's the final tally:

    NEC AccuSync 95F 19" CRT monitor
    Epox 8K3A+ Motherboard
    AMD Athlon XP 2000+ 1.67GHz
    256MB(x2) DDR RAM PC-2700 333Hz
    GeForce3 Ti200 128MB
    80GB/20GB Maxtor Quiet Drive 7200RPM ATA133
    Plextor 40/12/40A CD-RW
    Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card
    Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers

    The reason for not going with the GeForce4 was that I'll be sharing this PC with my father and he'd heard the GF4 had some compatability issues. I voted to get it anyway, but since he's paying for the bulk of the PC that one was his call. I partially compensated for that by upgrading to the 128MB version.

    The duel hard drives will be in a removable tray setup. One will be Win2K Pro(the 80GB), the other Win98.

    I realize I didn't take much of the advice given here, but thank you, anyway. It helped greatly...
     
  14. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Actually, the extra 64MB on your video card will help your performance very little; it's money down the drain.

    Also, for the same price of the ProMedia 2.1, you can get the more highly regarded Logitech Z-560 4.1 speaker setup.
     
  15. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Masood. Also, no offense, but the pc2700 is a waste as the XP bus is only 266mhz (really 133x2) and won't notice ANY difference between 2700 (which is really overclocked PC2100 anyway) and regular Pc2100
     
  16. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I would not say that a 128MB video card is money wasted. If your video card has more memory to store larger textures there will be less swapping back to main memory for new data. That cannot be a bad thing.
     
  17. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    Well, I'll have to disagree about the extra 64MB being a waste(the price difference wasn't significant), but I wish I'd have known about the memory difference(or lack thereof) earlier. As for the speakers, I really only wanted a 2.1 setup, as this will primarily be used for music and I haven't found surround to make a significant difference in gaming. Besides, I already have a 5.1 system.[​IMG]
     
  18. Andrew Grall

    Andrew Grall Supporting Actor

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  19. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    Alright, guys. I'm back and building yet another PC. I'm keeping the specs relatively similar to the last one, as I've been very pleased, but I've a couple questions.
    ENERMAX Model# CS-003-A106USB ATX 10-Bay Mid-Tower
    Epox 8K3A+ Motherboard
    AMD Athlon XP 2000+ 1.67GHz
    256MB(x2) DDR RAM PC-2700 333Hz
    This is what I've been using, but it runs pretty warm(under average load 28C case/44C CPU during cool weather; 35+ case/50+ CPU during the summer). Too warm? Haven't had any problems so far. My thinking was to add an extra 120mm fan in the available slot, but I don't know if it'd be worth it(that would make a total of four fans). Just wondering...
    My two changes here are a newer board(Epox EP-8RDA+) and memory(256MB(x2) DDR PC-3200 400MHz). I'm assuming that with the onboard 6-channel audio and LAN that I could do without seperate sound/network cards and save about $75. True?
    Plextor DVD/CDRW Combo Drive
    Logitech Z-340 2.1 Speakers
    I'd love to get another set of the Klipsch ProMedias, but I'll be buying this out of a student loan, so some things had to be downgraded...[​IMG]
    GeForce3 Ti200 64MB
    I know this is outdated, but I really haven't used the one I have to its full potential. Just another money saving cut...
    Overall, what I need to know most is whether or not I'm going to need seperate sound/network cards. Thanks, once again!
     
  20. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    If you aren't going to be doing anything besides listening to CD and MP3's then you are fine with the onboard sound.
     

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