Building a PC for university next year, what components should I get?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin Ward, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    I am pretty comfortable with working on the inside of a PC so I think I will build my next PC. I want something to do school work on but I also want it to play games well and to be useful for video/audio capturing/recording.

    I want to spend under $2000 Canadian(this is set in stone). I would also prefer to buy from a Canadian dealer.

    Here are some of the components I was considering:

    Video: GeForce 4 or ATi Radeon(which model should I get if I want good game performance and S-video in and out).

    Audio: I am pretty much settled on the Audigy 2 but I am not sure if the upgrade to Platinum is worth the extra $$.

    Processer: I was thinking of going AMD to save money but if it is not a good idea I could go with a slower P4.

    I have another question as well. If I got the Audigy 2 and used my PC as the DVD player could I get 6.1 even though my reciever is only 5.1? I think I could do this by hooking up an extra amp to the cards preouts to do the rear center and send the rest of the channels to the recievers 5.1 input.


    Anyway, I probably won't be able to afford this for a couple of months but I wanted to get an idea what to look for.

    Thanks,
    Justin Ward
     
  2. Ken.Nischan

    Ken.Nischan Agent

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    If your timeframe is a couple months, you may as well not waste your time putting together a spec till you are closer to your deadline. Things change so darned fast [​IMG]
     
  3. Tim Robbins

    Tim Robbins Agent

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    Justin,
    I recently finished putting a system together, so I'll give you my 2 cents.

    P4 2.4G

    512M pc 2700 DDR Ram...trust me, put in DDR, it is much faster than SD Ram, I noticed a huge difference. Of course you have to have a motherboard that will take DDR.

    ASUS motherboard with on board sound and LAN connection

    DVD

    CD burner

    I haven't put in a sound card yet, I'm using onboard sound at the moment, it's OK.

    ATI all-in-wonder 8500DV video card, comes with a remote control, I have my PS2 and satellite dish hooked up to it as well as my DV camcorder (firewire). It also has a built in TV tuner, so I bought an amplified antenna ($40 canadian tire) it works pretty good. It has composite and S-video in and out, analog audio in and out, and digital coax out.

    19" samsung flat screen monitor

    All this cost me just under $2000 Canadian.

    Hope this gives you some useful tips.

    Tim
     
  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    I'll echo Kens comments, but with a twist. There are certain components that really never drop too much in price:

    An ATX case
    Power supply
    CRT Monitors (if you are thinking about getting an LCD then I would wait)
    Network card

    Start making it a habit to browse sites like Techbargains, Anandtech, FatWallet, etc every day or so to find a super deal on the above components. That way you can have the best parts ready by the time you get ready for school this summer, you can just shop for the board, memory, CPU, hard drive, and video card. Also, you never know what you might come across for free between now and then (I've gotten free 21" monitors before just by being in the right place at the right time).
     
  5. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Because PC parts depreciate in value extremely quickly, the less you spend, the less money you've lost to depreciation.

    My suggestion would be:

    Athlon XP 2100+
    Epox 8RDA nForce2 mainboard
    Maxtor 120GB 7200RPM HD
    Lite-On 52x24x52 CD-RW
    Lite-On 16X DVD-R
    512MB PC2700
    Floppy
    Case/PSU
    Logitech Cordless Freedom mouse/keyboard
    ATi All-In-Wonder graphics card (either the 8500 series or a 9X00 series card)
     
  6. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Can anyone recommend any good Canadian PC component retailers?

    About the N-Force motherboard. Does it have built it Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding? Because that would be great. The X-box does 5.1 encoding as well and I love playing games in DD 5.1.

    Also about the "Lite-On 16X DVD-R", I assume the DVD-R is just a typo right?

    Are there any HTPC cases that would work well with this setup? Is it easy to get CD-RW or DVD drives with black face plates?

    I think I will start my getting the pieces that will probably not be dropping in price as some of you have mentioned. Probably the case(with power supply), wireless keyboard/mouse, monitor(normal CRT type) will all be first since I don't think they will be going down in price soon.


    Thanks for the advice so far.
     
  7. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Justin,

    As a student moving around at least once a year or so and minimal space, I would go for one of these (SN41G2):

    http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.html?i=1764

    It has it all in one little package that is easily moved around and takes up minor desk area. All you need buy after that is an AMD CPU, DDR memory, a HD, monitor (LCD?), and a video card if you wish. The SN41G2 has audio, LAN, 1394 firewire, s-video out, and more integrated right into the box (it is very well done.)

    For video card, I would say a Radeon 9700 (pro?) is a great card that should be good for a while. Wait a month until the 9800 versions come out and you'll save another $50 from today's price.
     
  8. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I meant to say DVD-ROM instead of DVD-R.

    As for info about the nForce2 APU, a review can be found here.
     
  9. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    the soundstorm audio present on most of the nForce2 based motherboards in fact does do DD5.1 encoding which and their output is easily compared to the Audigy line when the digital output is used (the onboard DAC is horrible so good sound means digital only).

    I would reccomend the AMD route just because the motherboards out there have a much better feature set, and if you ever get into the overclocking the AMDs are better for that. the p4 line is nice and if you foot the premium you'll get most power. nevertheless the value still remains with the AMD side.

    The radeons are the better performing cards this round, and with the 9800 comming out I think ATI will hold the crown at least until christmas of this year, wait for the 9800 to sell for a few months before buying a video card if you can, the prices of everything else will be based on the 9800 and the usual first two months will involve a larger price to catch the "must have it" people.

    I really liked the suggestion for the shuttle case, they are a bit pricey, but they are sooo compact it's unbelievable. they would be great for any situation where you had to move the computer around to any degree and they are nice for not taking up much space.

    if your interested in doing a HTPC you might look into this case:
    http://www.digitalconnection.com/Pro...ases/ht200.asp

    the beauty behind it is that it's a full ATX and there's a cover over the drives so that you can still have your biege cd-rom and DVD and not have to worry about it. but of course, like almost everything the style does come at a premium. but if you ask me the fact that it comes with the LCD screen makes it a pretty good deal [​IMG]

    well hope that helps some, any other questions comments. . . whatever, just ask [​IMG]
     

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