make me a PC!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by McPaul, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    I think I'm buying a new computer this weekend, i'm sick and tired of this piece of doo-doo Dell. No more brand names for me. I am buying parts locally and having a buddy of mine build it for me. I've been told by many people that Memory Express here in town is the best place for that. here is their website and that of another company which a few have recommended for monitors.
    www.memoryexpress.net
    www.techtronics.com
    Canadian Pricing
    Now the guy who's probably going to be building this for me knows the guy that owns memory express here in town, so that's why I want to deal with them. I used to know a lot about computers and how to piece them together, however all the abbreviations on ram, motherboards, etc is killing me as I haven't been "up" on things.
    What do I want this to do?
    I'm not a hardcore user so I wont be running servers off it or anything like that, but I want this to do pretty much everything that you all want yours to do, work with my DSL, run games, digital photography down the road and possibly a PVR. I wont be doing any scaling as I only have a 27" tv, I do want a burner. I don't really have a price range, I want it to last however. My last computers I have been upgrading about every 4 years - is this normal? My buddy is trying to urge me towards the AMD 1800 or so, so something that would work ok with that. I do need a monitor as my 17" DELL (made by samsung) has been HISSING at me lately. I want a better video card as I got screwed by DELL last time, the guy told me it was a video CARD and not on the mobo. yep. it was onboard. upgrade the vid card meant upgrading the mobo. upgrading the mobo meant upgrading the case, might as well get a new processor and new ram as the new mobo's use a different type?? of ram I'm told... and my processor is about 1/4 of the ones out now. Is this a GOOD time to be buying computers? some say no, but is it ever? What I want is for someone to tell me what mobo goes well with what processor and what ram and what video card. is it necessary or even preferable to buy all the same brand? ie. ASUS? or not? what brand of HD is best? my buddy says IBM but yet I read somewhere that IBM is disco'ing their latest HDDs. he is REALLY good with his stuff when it comes to computers... and what kind of case should I get? I'm not going to be changing stuff every day or even every other month even so I don't need all the pullout trays or blowholes or blacklights or anything, but what do I need to allow the mobo to be expandable in the future and still be serviceable, and not get in the DELL predicament that I'm in now. I'll be selling my current computer as a whole (without the printer) so I'll be buying key/mouse, probably cordless. what's necessary to hook this thing up to my stereo? what sound card should I get? should I bother buying computer speakers? I've been told I should be able to get something for less than 1200, I'm flexible on this esp. if I can get a good price for my DELL P2 400 w/ 192Mb ram, 17" monitor, 9GB HDD, floppy, 4x DVD, DELL keyboard, logitech scroll mouse, harman kardon speakers, microphone, ATI onboard graphics - what price, canadian should I be able to get for all this stuff? I've shown you all the site where I will be buying it, make it happen!!
    Thanks a bunch!!
    Paul McGowan
    ICQ 121412168
    [email protected]
     
  2. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    Anytime you need to upgrade is a good time to do it.
    You say you want something that will last, which means you're going to need to start out on the high end of the spectrum now, so that as it ages, it has room to come down to the low end of the spectrum. If you start at the middle, it won't last as long, and even less if you start near the bottom. The thing is, for all that you want, $1200 is not a reasonable expectation for a system that's going to last you a long, long time. You could get a $1200 system and it will last you as long as you want to keep it, but it's not going to compare to even next year's low-end computer.
    You are correct that IBM is getting out of the hard drive business. I haven't heard anything bad about their current line of hard drives, the 120GXP series, but all the same, I'd avoid them. Go with Western Digital or Maxtor. The best hard drive on the market now is probably the Western Digital WD1200JB. It's a 120GB, 7200rpm, ATA/133 hard drive, but it's a Special Edition, which means it has an 8MB internal cache (buffer), as opposed to the standard 2MB buffer. That extra buffer really does make a difference. There's also a 100GB SE available, if you don't think you need that much space.
    For a sound card, I suggest the SoundBlaster Audigy. Some here will tell you to go with the M-Audio card, but it's a lot more expensive, and the Audigy is actually a very nice card. It's a lot better in terms of sound quality than any previous SoundBlaster.
    For a case, a good one would be the Antec PLUS880, unless you'd prefer covered drives, in which case the PLUS1080. Note that in both cases, I suggested the xx80 model, instead of the xx60 model; the difference is the xx80 models come with a 430W power supply, and the xx60s come with a 330W power supply. 330W should be enough, but it's just a little bit more for more power. These are high-quality power supplies, too; they're among the best that you can get right now.
    I'm going to leave the video card suggestion to someone else. The reason is that I have a personal preference to cards with NVIDIA chips, but it seems a lot of people here prefer ATI cards. I believe some of the ATI cards have some features that appeal to home theater enthusiasts, but I'm not too familiar with them, which is why I'm not going to say anything about ATI. I have also heard some people say that the ATI cards produce better-looking images. One thing that is a fact is that the NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4600 chip is the fastest consumer-level graphics chip on the market today.
    For a burner, anything 32x or higher is good right now. 40x models have been on the market for a short period of time, but already there are some 48x models trickling in. I've seen one 48x model on the shelf at Best Buy; the brand was Benq (?). I've also just learned that Lite-On, probably the best brand for a CD-RW drive, also has a 48x drive. I'm not going to recommend a specific drive (if I did, it would be to look for that Lite-On 48x model), but I'll say that any 32x or greater drive from Lite-On, Sony, TDK, or Plextor will be a good drive for you. One other thing: If you don't already have Nero (burning software), make sure you get a drive that comes with it (TDK, Lite-On, and maybe Sony); don't get anything that comes with Roxio Easy CD Creator. Nero has consistently proven faster than Roxio, sometimes as much as half a minute faster.
    I'm sure you also want a DVD-ROM drive. The Lite-On 16x model seems to be what everybody likes right now, and that's fine. It's 16x DVD-ROM, 48x CD-ROM. I would like to point out an alternative, however. It's the Toshiba SD-M1612, also a 16x/48x unit, which you can find being sold as the Hi-Val 16x/40x model (yes, the Hi-Val box says the CD-ROM speed is 40x, but it's wrong).
    It's not necessary to buy everything from the same brand. No one brand makes everything, anyway, so it's pretty much a moot point. For a motherboard, if you're willing to go to the high end as I discussed earlier, I'd recommend something with the VIA KT333 chipset. You can read a comparison of 18 such motherboards here at Tom's Hardware Guide. They end up recommending the Gigabyte GA-7VRXP, but I've heard a lot of people have good things to say about the EPoX EP-8K3A+. I'd go with either of those.
    Get a minimum of 512MB of memory. I'll discuss brand names and types more specifically once I know if you want to go to the high end or go with something less expensive. I will go ahead and say that the absolute best memory you can get right now is probably the Mushkin 512MB Hi Perf LEVEL 2 2100 222. Its internal timings are faster than any other module that I'm aware of, and those fast timings are still usable even if overclocked by being used in a PC-2700 system (a system with the KT333 chipset).
    I'm not going to suggest a monitor because you really need to go somewhere you can see a bunch of them and compare them side-by-side. You don't necessarily have to buy from that place, if you can get it cheaper online, but you really should do the comparison. It's like buying speakers, you don't just pick from a list which one has the best specs and buy that set; you listen to them first and buy what sounds best to you, regardless of the specs. Same with a monitor, only you buy what looks best to you. You've already had a 17" monitor, now I'd try a 19" monitor, one with a flat screen.
    I'm also not going to suggest a particular keyboard or mouse, because again, that's something you're going to need to go see in person to touch them and see which one feels best in your hands. Try to get them with USB connectors (instead of PS/2), if possible. Also, for the mouse, try to go with an optical mouse. An optical mouse using a light emitter and sensing system to track its movement, rather than a ball on rollers. Optical mice are smoother, and stay smooth as new forever, because there are no rollers to get all cruddy, mucking up the responsiveness.
    Well, I think I hit on all your major points. If I left anything out, let me know. If you'd like me to be more specific about anything, just ask me. I'm sure someone else will be along soon to give you some other ideas, possibly even to contradict some of what I've said. [​IMG]
     
  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I suggest also shopping at Firestorm (http://www.firestorm.ab.ca/ ), another local computer shop. Very nice people, good service, although they don't stock everything like Memory Express. I ordered the 120gb WD ATA-100 8mb cache there, and it would be $15 cheaper than Memory Express. It should be in tomorrow.
    I have some issues with Memory Express...the quality of their service is rather spotty. A couple of the young techs are enthusiastic and do some good work, but the older staff are problematic. They almost wrecked my new system because one of the guys behind the counter put the heatsink on backwards in my Athlon 1800 XP machine! Wasted 2 days on that problem. Then, they overcharged me on a heatsink/fan combo that I bought for a friend. Fortunately, one of the young guys there took pity on me (after I wasted $2 in gas going back and forth!) and gave me $10 off.
    So, in short, double-check everything you buy from them. They're not bad, but you have to be wary! The place is very busy, so they are prone to screw things up. And they are not always the cheapest place to go.
    Anyways, with that said, I had special-ordered the Asus A7N266-C motherboard from Memory Express (but Firestorm officially carries them), which uses the NVIDIA nForce chipset, similar to the chips used in the Xbox. Real-time Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding for games (although most games are 4.1), and a pretty good performer compared to the VIA chipsets. Not recommended if you plan to add a RAID card though, but for gaming this motherboard is great! The mobo ships with an audio-card riser (ACR) that has the coax-digital-output, the 6 analog audio outputs, line-in and microphone inputs. Also, the mobo completely eliminates any of the numerous Creative Labs driver problems...because you won't need a creative labs card! Audio performance is also better than the Audigy. You can look at www.3dsoundsurge.net for more info. BTW, it is recommended you run Windows XP for this board. There are no sound stuttering issues, unlike the problematic soundblaster cards. The only issue I have with the nforce sounddrivers is that you have no control over the EAX effects. This is a pain for older games.
    The most common choice for motherboard chipset for the AMD processors are the VIA KT333 or KT266A. Many of the new boards have onboard audio (like the Asus nForce A7N266C) based on the C-media audio chipset, or another brand which I can't remember off hand (used by the MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard). I heard that the c-media audio isn't too bad, and makes a decent Soundblaster Live 5.1 replacement, although there have been issues with lack of rear-channels on some forums.
    Both the nForce and KT333/266 motherboards require DDR-SDRAM, which are cheap now.. Try to get at least 512MB, as Windows XP is a memory hog.
    The Athlon 1800 XP is a wise choice...it is in the sweet spot for price/performance. However, you have to be extremely careful with overheating. It is very easy to destroy the CPU. Too much pressure when mounting the heatsink can crush it, and too much or too little thermal grease can cause lockups and BSODs, even when the temperature probes report no overheating. The Pentium 4 CPUs, while nearly twice as expensive, are fault-tolerant and will actually operate without a heatsink, albeit very very slowly. Consider a P4 system if reliability and longevity are real issues for you.
    Cases: I have two PCs, each of which have the Landmark KS-299 computer case (Memory Express sells them). I LOVE these cases. Very quiet because of the thick plastic covers that surround the metal, and the side panels also slide off with no effort. Best computer cases I ever owned...no rattling, no insane vibrations.
    A good resource on all this stuff can be found at http://www.amdmb.com
     
  4. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Here are the specs for my gaming rig. Cost was approximately $1700 CDN (probably $100 cheaper after the price drops...I built this machine 2 months ago!), not including monitor:
    Athlon 1800+ XP CPU
    2x512mb Samsung PC2700 DDR-SDRAM
    Geforce 4 Ti4400 (Visiontek Xstacy...I do NOT recommend the Asus Geforce 4 cards because of their extremely poor video output quality...black text with yellowish streaks at 1600x1200? Forget it!)
    Asus A7N266-C (needs the latest beta BIOS to work at peak efficiency!), $175 at Firestorm
    Lite-On 32123S 32x12x40x burner (Fast, copies anything, and dirt cheap..$95)
    Toshiba M1612 DVD-ROM (really nice and quiet! Great drive!)
    Landmark KS-299 case
    Enermax 431 dual-fan powersupply...probably overkill.
    Intel Etherpro 10/100 NIC...does the job I guess.
    40GB Maxtor drive from the year 2000...gonna be replaced by the 120GB Western Digital with 8mb cache soon. [​IMG]
     
  5. Craig LeBlanc

    Craig LeBlanc Stunt Coordinator

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    Hrmmm I'd do my ordering from ncix.com . They do online price matching with any other retailer in Canada.
    Here's what me and my roomie ordered for a friend:
    Abit NV7-133R Motherboard
    Abit Geforce 4 Ti 4200
    Athlon XP 1800+ retail
    2x256MB DDR PC2100 OEM RAM
    80GB Maxtor 7200RPM Hard Drive
    AOpen HX08 full tower case
    2x60mm fans
    2x80mm fans
    3.5" Floppy
    The total after shipping and taxes (ncix only charges GST) was somewhere around $1100. [​IMG] I don't think there is a better deal anywhere for that kind of performance. We did a lot of price matching from anitech.ca if you're windering about that [​IMG]
    This system is basically our idea of the best-bang-for-the-buck. The only things you could do better with would be going for more memory and maybe a faster video card. But as it stands, the Ti4200 is the best performance for the money. You should be able to overclock it to Ti4400 speeds with no problems.
    You could throw in a Liteon 32x12x40 burner for about $100 and get a DVD drive for about $80. With the HX08 case, you have TONS of room to put in extras [​IMG]
    The Abit board has onboard USB, USB 2.0, 10/100 ethernet and a 5.1 channel sound card. For the ~150$, I don't think you can beat it.
    We just slapped together the system last night and it runs pretty good. The only problem we've seen is the CPU temperature. The retail HSF unit doesn't do a very good job of getting rid of heat...it was running at 65C. So you could go out and buy a nice HSF for 30-40$ and cut that down to the low 40's.
    Hope that helps.
     
  6. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Landmark KS-299 Case - $99
    AMD XP1800+ (oem) - $159.95
    questions: Why does it say 1800 when the speed is only 1.53Ghz? What does the XP stand for? Cache: 128k L1, 256k L2 - what does this mean? and when I bought my previous computer it had 512k Cache, why is this so low? does it matter? Socket A 462 - what does this mean, does it matter?
    ASUS A7V266-C CPU w/ Audio - $139.00
    questions: I'm really trying to get away to having all my 'cards' onboard. are you telling me that I don't have to get a SB Live 5.1 card for $55 with this mobo? what happens when I want to upgrade a sound card? what is the advantage of 'upgrading' to the A7v333 card? (I assume it's an upgrade) 3x DDR DIMM Sockets - is this enough?
    MSI Geforce 4 MX 440 64 MB - $164.00
    questions: why such a vast difference in prices of video cards? I assume a Geforce4 is better than a 3, is it necessary to up to 128mb ram on a vid card? There's one for 540 bucks on here! what does it do that others dont? I could jump down to a Geforce3 and 128mb ram, with some other stuff I dont understand, but that ups my price to $219? it's called a Geforce 3 Ti200 128MB Video In/TV out. What's the difference between the Ti and the MX? the 200 and the 440? and does it matter?
    SoundBlaster Live Dolby Digital 5.1 $55.00
    LiteOn 40x12x48x CDRW - $109.95
    (the 32x was 94.95, is this worth it or should I drop to a 32 and does it make a difference? I've never heard of LiteOn. Who are they?
    Western Digital 80GB Caviar 7200rpm ATA100 - $195.00
    the ones with the cache that you mentioned are 330 and 350 respectively. is this worth almost double the price? down the road if I get another hard drive and they dont come out with a cache at that time, does this create a bottleneck in my system?
    Micron 512MB PC-133 CAS3 SDRAM - $189.00
    what is pc-133? what is cas3? what is sdram? and what is the difference between this and ddr sdram? or rambus memory? or EDO/FPM memory? or "digital memory"?
    DLink 10/100 PCI w/ wake on lan $24.95
    Sorry for my endless questioning, but like I said, I want to understand all the little abbreviations that are used with everything. So without a monitor, the system is:
    Landmark KS-299 Case - $99
    AMD XP1800+ (oem) - $159.95
    ASUS A7V266-C CPU w/ Audio - $139.00
    MSI Geforce 4 MX 440 64 MB - $164.00
    SoundBlaster Live Dolby Digital 5.1 $55.00
    LiteOn 40x12x48x CDRW - $109.95
    Western Digital 80GB Caviar 7200rpm ATA100 - $195.00
    Micron 512MB PC-133 CAS3 SDRAM - $189.00
    DLink 10/100 PCI w/ wake on lan $24.95
    --------------------------------------------
    System price $1135 Canadian.
    I'm in a bit of a rush right now - forgot I have a dentist appointment in a little over an hour. Is this it? have I forgotten anything? what do you all think about that machine? good for gaming? Can I play the latest games that are out nowdays? Can someone recommend a good 17 or 19 inch monitor? what do I need to connect this thing to my receiver? and is that necessary? any other suggestioins?
    thanks for putting up with me, gotta see Dr. Ber!! he's the gentle dentist!! *nods* [​IMG]
     
  7. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    I would recommend against getting any GeForce4 MX card... they are actually SLOWER than the GeForce3 Ti cards. The best deal right now is the VisionTek Xtasy Ti200 card... nice card, dirt cheap [​IMG]
    You forgot 3 things... the copper heatsink for the CPU (I would go with a Vantec model, mine is very nice for the $$$ (around $20 USD), thermal compound for attaching the heatsink to the CPU (get some Arctic Silver), and a power supply (don't get ANYTHING under 300w).
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    Oh, and PC133 is no good... I don't even think it would work in that mobo. You need some DDR for that CPU and mobo. And if your mobo supports DDR333, get some PC2700... good stuff [​IMG]
     
  9. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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  10. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    Man Justin, how long did that take to write? I got all excited when I saw the title of this thread, but I see you all have everything taken care quite nicely. [​IMG]
     
  11. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    what brand of HD is best? my buddy says IBM but yet I read somewhere that IBM is disco'ing their latest HDDs.

    I'm a bit put off by the IBM Deskstars right now. I've had two die in the past month, and a third is clicking at me as I speak. Of course all these computers were bought in the same month, so perhaps we got a bad batch or something.

    Maxtor is pretty reliable. You can get a 120 GB drive (5400) for $140 online. You pay more for 7200 speed. It depends on your use on if you need the higher rotation or not.

    Whatever you get, look for the 3 year warranty. Every drive can die eventually, and the "sweet spot" for failure is at about a year in my experience.
     
  12. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    WOW!! thanks guys! that is awesome info! I think I understand where youre at now, and am well kept up with computer hardware.
    I've replaced my ram. Any reason why 1 512 stick is 189 while the 256 sticks are 89 each?
    Alright, I've taken out the SB Live. now what is the difference between that $55 card and these? There seems to be a lot of audigy choices...
    Creative Labs
    Sound Blaster Live! Dolby Digital 5.1 $ 55.00
    Sound Blaster 128 PCI $ 45.00
    Sound Blaster 16 PCI $ 35.00
    Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer $ 149.00
    Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+ $ 149.00
    Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum $ 289.00
    Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum Ex $ 359.00
    Sound Blaster Extigy $ 209.95
    Sound Blaster Live! Audigy $ 98.00
    Hercules
    Gamesorround Fortissmo II $ 69.95
    M-AUDIO
    AUDIOPHILE 2496 $ 249.00
    Video card swap out:
    MSI Geforce 3 Ti200 128MB Video In/TV out $ 219.95
    - is this better? It sure does cost more, it's a GF 3, and has twice the memory. Video In/TV Out, does that mean I can turn my computer into a PVR thing-a-ma-bobber? Is MSI as good as some of the other brands of vid cards? Oh, and the only VisionTek I can get is a GF 4. sorry.
    MOBO
    still a little bit unsure on this one. Pick one!
    Abit
    AT7 DDR W/Audio & Network $ 279.00
    KG7-RAID $ 195.00
    KR7A-133 $ 209.00
    KR7A-133 w/ Raid $ 245.00
    KR7A-RAID $ 219.00
    KT7A $ 155.00
    KT7A-RAID $ 185.00
    TH7 w/ Raid $ 299.00
    Intel
    Desktop Board D815EGEW $ 189.00
    ECS
    K7S5A $ 99.00
    MSI
    K7T266 Pro 2-RU DDR Raid $ 199.00
    KT3 Ultra $ 129.95
    KT3 Ultra w/ Raid $ 195.00
    Gigabyte
    GA-6VEML SDRAM w/sound, video & LAN $ 125.00
    GA-6VTXE $ 125.00
    GA-7VKML DDR w/sound,VGA & LAN $ 149.00
    GA-7VRX $ 133.00
    GA-7VRXP $ 169.00
    GA-7ZXE $ 115.00
    GA-8IDX S478 SDRAM $ 145.95
    GA-8IDX3 $ 189.00
    GA-8IEX $ 199.95
    GA-8IR533 DDR w/Audio $ 135.95
    GA-8IRX S478 DDR $ 179.00
    GA-8IRXP ATA133 DDR $ 229.95
    GA-8ITXE S478 RDRAM $ 185.95
    GA-8TX-C $ 199.00
    BioStar
    M7SXF $ 135.00
    Soyo
    Dragon KT333 Ultra $ 279.00
    Dragon Plus $ 249.00
    Asus
    A7N266 DDR w/ Audio and Video $ 169.95
    A7S333 w/Sound $ 109.95
    A7V 333 $ 184.95
    A7V 333 w/Raid $ 239.00
    A7V133-C SDR $ 135.00
    A7V266-C CPU w/ audio $ 139.00
    A7V266-E w/ sound $ 199.00
    CUV266 with 128MB DDR $ 159.00
    CUV4X-D $ 229.00
    P4B $ 189.00
    P4B266 DDR $ 229.00
    P4B266-C DDR $ 174.00
    P4B533-UAY w/sound $ 245.95
    P4B533-VM w/ sound, video & LAN $ 189.00
    P4S533 w/ Audio $ 179.95
    P4T-E Socket 478 RDRAM $ 239.95
    P4T-E with Sound $ 259.95
    P4T-M (Micro ATX) $ 299.00
    P4T533-C/LAN-UAY w/Audio,Lan $ 285.00
    TUSI-M/533 SDRAM w/sound,video & LAN $ 119.00
    TUSL2-C $ 149.95
    TUV4X $ 127.00
    and you never really said what RAID was...what is it and what do I need it for?
    I guess I should have some sort of DVD drive in here, is that necessary? I haven't really used the one in my current computer.
    LiteOn 16x (40x cd rom) DVD-ROM $69.95
    I think I might go with a smaller HD like this:
    Western Digital 40GB Caviar 7200rpm ATA100 $ 129.00
    and wait until the higher capacity drives with that special cache come down in price. I'm only half way through my 9GB drive right now anyways... space, right now, is not at a premium... Is that a good idea?
    I guess I should have some sort of a:
    Logitech Cordless MouseMan Optical $ 99.00
    and a:
    Logitech Internet Navigator keyboard $ 49.00
    woah.. my price is rising... *sigh*
    hmmm... cooling and power, never thought about that...
    Enermax 350w Whisper Dual Fan w/Fan Control $ 85.00
    I have no idea about the rest of the stuff, couldn't find "Vantech" on their website... help here please?
    So lets do this again...
    Athlon XP 1800+ (oem) $ 159.95
    Micron 512MB PC-2100 CAS2.5 DDR $ 189.00
    ASUS A7V 333 $ 184.95 - is this what I should get?
    LiteOn 32x12x40x CDRW $ 94.95
    Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer $ 149.00
    MSI Geforce 3 Ti200 128MB Video In/TV out $ 219.95
    Western Digital 40GB Caviar 7200rpm ATA100 $ 129.00
    DLink10/100 PCI w/ wake on lan $ 24.99
    Enermax 350w Whisper Dual Fan w/Fan Control $ 85.00
    Viewsonic E90 $ 389.00
    Landmark KS-299 $99.00
    Arctic Silver III Recommended for AMD CPUs(3 grams) $ 12.99
    Logitech Cordless MouseMan Optical $ 99.00
    Logitech Internet Navigator keyboard $ 49.00
    I think this is everything? = $1885.78
    any way I can chip this thing down a bit?
    add GST 2017.78.
    and how much can I get for my previous computer, listed in my previous post? That turned into a lot of money real quick... but if this would make a good machine... whatever...
    NO CAVITIES!! [​IMG]
    time to head to work for night shift... thanks again!
     
  13. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    For a sound card, just go with a basic OEM SB Audigy (unless you need all that comes in the other packages), or take a look at what I'm running, a Hercules Game Theater XP.
    For a motherboard...well, it's really up to you, with all those choices. Just stick to a decent brand, and since you probably won't be concerned with OCing, you don't need any fancy features. I've always gone with ASUS, although my current MB is an IWill.
    You don't need RAID, don't worry. I'm sure someone else will explain it in detail, but you don't need it. [​IMG]
    Your DVD price seems about right, since you can get it shipped at Dell for about $38USD
    Your hard drive price, however, seems a little high for that little storage. These days, there's always a deal every week, and the price change from 40 to 80 gigs is very small, I'd suggest looking around in some tech forums, or hot deal forums. If you need some, just PM me.
    That's a really nice combo for keyboard/mouse, great stuff...pricey, as always, but deals are harder to find on those.
    You'll enjoy the quietness of an Enermax (variable fan speed is nice), along with the sanctity of mind knowing that you have the best kind of power supply supplying juice to your system.
    Assuming all your prices are in Canadian, I'd say you're off to a pretty good start for your first built computer. As for why memory is more expensive for one stick than 2 256 modules, it's just more difficult for the manufacturers to cram all that memory onto one stick. It's up to you if you want to save the difference.
    I see you couldn't find Vantech? I'm assuming (w/o reading teh entire thread), that it's for teh HSF...if you can't find them, any decent HSF will do fine (even stock, since you're not doing anything extreme with the computer). Go to http://www.hardocp.com, I know they have a lot of HSF comparisons.
    The only things I see in your list that are a little high are the video card (MSI is okay, might want to see if you can find LeadTek or Gainward) and sound card (the OEM audigy should be fine for you, unless you really really want the software package and gold plated input/output connections) [​IMG].
    Lastly, if you care enough, a company called Evergreen Technology just released last week a thermal paste that was supposed to be better than ASIII by 18%. You might want to look around and see if you can find that stuff, as that's what I'll be using in my computers from now on.
    If I've missed anything, or said anything wrong (I'm sure I have), someone'll point it out.
     
  14. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    The more memory is on a stick, the harder it is to manufacture, which is why price more than doubles as amount doubles. You could get two 256MB sticks for $178 total, saving yourself $11. The trade-off is now you only have one free slot left. However, if you're looking to shave a few dollars, I'd say go for the 256x2.
    The SB Audigy is the best SoundBlaster available. The Live! is what used to be the best SoundBlaster, before the Audigy. The SB128 and SB16 were never the top of the line. The SB Extigy is a special version of the Audigy that is completely external (EXTernal + audIGY, get it?). It connects to a computer via a USB cable. It's good if you have a laptop and need the best sound possible. It also has digital inputs, and can be connected to an Xbox or PlayStation 2 for better sound. But this isn't what you want. Of the various Audigy variations, here's what it all means. The Platinum and Platinum EX are the top-end of the Audigies; the top-end of the top-end, basically. They both come with a breakout box that adds additional connectors to the system. The difference is that the Platinum EX has an external breakout box which connects to the sound card on the back of the computer; the Platinum (non-EX) has an internal breakout box which mounts in a 5¼-inch external drive bay and connects to the sound card internally. The Audigy MP3+ and Gamer do not have the breakout box. The difference between them is the bundled software; the Gamer includes a couple of games, while the MP3+ comes with some audio ripping and playback programs. All the various versions come with the same basic sound card; the only difference is what else is included. For more details on the various versions and specifications, I'd suggest visiting SoundBlaster.com. Oh, and the Audigy for $98 is probably an OEM version, which means it comes with no software bundle, no breakout box, no nothing. OEM units vary, but some don't even come with a manual or driver disk. But you can download the drivers, and I'd suggest doing that, anyway, just to be sure you have the most up-to-date drivers available.
    Regarding the video card, the one you've selected now, the GF3 Ti200 is better than your earlier choice, the GF4 MX440. A definite better choice. I am not aware of the specific features of that particular card and don't know if it can be used an a PVR or not. The video in may be so you could hook a camcorder up to the computer to edit home movies; I don't know. I'm also not too familiar with MSI's reputation for video cards. In general, almost all the manufacturers that use NVIDIA chips design their cards as almost exact copies of NVIDIA's own reference card design, so in general, there is actually very little difference between various brands of cards with the same chip. Most of the differences are in what kinds of connectors they put on the card, like if it just has a VGA connector, or if they add a DVI (digital interface for some flat panel monitors), or S-video out, or whatever. Some manufacturers use a higher quality of memory than what the reference design calls for. VisionTek uses better memory, and usually stretch the reference design a bit more towards ultra performance than some of the other manufacturers.
    Regarding the motherboard, you can eliminate some of the choices right off the bat: Take out anything with a "133" in the name, or "P4".
    If I were to be nailed down to a specific motherboard suggestion, it's going to be the Gigabyte GA-7VRXP. It has the KT333 chipset and should last you the longest out of any of those in the list.
    RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives. It is based on the idea that using multiple smaller drives is cheaper than using one large drive, because if the one large drive fails, you have no drive, whereas if one smaller drive fails, you still have the rest of the drives. It's also meant to help protect your data, because some variations of RAID either use two disks that mirror each other, so if one fails, the other still has all your data, and there are other variations as well that provide different types of protection. RAID is primarily meant for servers, where data reliability is of paramount importance. But RAID is becoming more popular in desktop computers now because of another version of it, this particular one called Level 0 (all variations of RAID are referred to by a Level number). Level 0 means striping. Striping means that you have two drives, which are seen as one logical drive (meaning the computer thinks the two are really one drive), and when data is written to the one logical drive, the RAID controller writes half the data to one drive and half to the other. When two drivers perform half the work, obviously, the work takes half the time to complete. And it's read faster, too, of course. At least, that's the theory, but in practice, you don't really get a "drive" that's twice as fast. If I recall an article from Maximum PC correctly, you get maybe 1.25 times the performance of one drive. The speed advantage is real, if not quite the theoretical 2x, but there is a downside. Because two drives each have half the data, if either drive fails by itself, all your data is completely gone. Unless you are religious about doing backups (by that, I mean that we all know we should do backups, but most of us probably don't do it as often as we should, or even at all), I don't think the speed benefit is worth the extra risk (not to mention the extra cost of an additional hard drive).
    That said, you don't have to try to avoid getting a motherboard that has a RAID controller on it. In fact, getting such a motherboard could even be better. Why would it be better if you're not going to use RAID? Because the RAID controller gives you two additional IDE channels, and you don't have to use them for RAID. You can use them as standard IDE channels, which means you can now have up to eight IDE devices in your computer, instead of the typical four.
    The DVD-ROM drive you've selected is a good choice. So is the hard drive; you know better than us how much space you'll need. The Enermax power supply is a pretty good choice, too, although not as good as an Antec TruePower power supply, but they don't seem to have those where you want to buy.
    The monitor you've selected, the ViewSonic E90, is not, in my opinion, a good choice. It's not a flat-screen monitor; it's a standard curved screen monitor. For about the same price, actually $4 less, I'd go with the Samsung 955DF, which is a flat-screen CRT monitor, and also has a higher refresh rate at the resolution you'll most likely use for a 19" monitor, which is 1280x1024 (the Samsung will do 85Hz, compared to the ViewSonic doing 80Hz).
     
  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Hey great responses guys! I went through this with a friend of mine 3 months ago, who went with the nForce motherboard (the Asus A7N266C). It was a lot of work explaining all the terminology and tradeoffs in the technology to him. [​IMG]
     
  16. Craig LeBlanc

    Craig LeBlanc Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul,
    Do some price matching with nxic.com at anitec.ca (?). Like I had said in my previous post, you could save quite a bit of $ by going with the Abit NForce board without on board video. THen again I saw a couple things in your most current list that could probably be gotten for less money.
    SAMSUNG PC2100 256MB DDR 266MHZ CAS2.5 OEM
    http://www.ncix.com/canada/productde...liateid=272708
    Get 2 of these instead of 1 512MB Stick and save $60.
    You can price match a whole boatload of stuff at
    http://www.anitec.ca/
    Maxtor DX740-6L 40Gb 7200RPM 2Mb Buffer ATA133
    $109
    Asus A7V333 w/audio (KT333 USB2.0 DDR333 ATA133) AMD
    $185
    Liteon 32x12x40 Burn-Proof CDRW w/ software &cable
    $84
    You can save about $60 by going with the OEM version of the Audigy :
    Sound Blaster Audigy w/SB1394 Firewire OEM
    $98
    AMD Athlon XP1800+(1.53GHz) retail
    $165
    And I'd highly recommend you spend a little extra and get the Abit Geforce 4 Ti4200
    Abit Geforce 4 TI4200 64Mb AGP with DVI and TV out retail
    $245
    then again that's only if you're a power gamer [​IMG] But for the $40 difference from the GF3 TI200, it would last you longer.
     
  17. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I'll just mention I had Abit's KT266A board with a Vortex2 soundcard and now a basic Audigy (non of the Audigy software installed, just drivers).

    The Vortex2 card would work perfectly for 10seconds - 10minutes, and then the sound would just cut out. The latency fix did not solve this problem.

    I now have an Audigy (in the second PCI slot, i've read you shouldn't put a soundcard in the last two slots or the first slot), and don't have the latency patch installed. I've had no problems with sound at all.

    Well I'm at it. I'll plug the TI4200 as an excellent value/performance choice as well. I'll also recommend the Antec Performance Plus series of cases (a little expensive, but very nice cases). Also consider the Seagate Baraccuda IV series HDD (quick and very quiet). Finally my monitor of choice was the Samsung 900NF
     
  18. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

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    I would specifically recommend against any nForce motherboard. I would also specifically recommend against the Asus A7V333, as I've heard of some issues regarding it. I'd still go with the Gigabyte board that I suggested earlier, because it was picked as the winner of a comparison between 18 KT333-based motherboards, including the Asus board.

    I don't know about all these alleged problems regarding SoundBlaster cards. I've heard very small reports of possible issues which lead me to believe that generally, they are just fine, and that they aren't crashing systems left and right and don't give stuttering problems in the vast majority of circumstances. I know I've never had any problems with my Live!.

    Putting a sound card in the first PCI slot, the one closest to the AGP slot, probably would be a mistake. The first PCI slot is tied to the AGP slot in some way, I forget the technical details but they're related in some way, possibly sharing resources or something like that. The reason is that every system must have a video card, and that card will be either AGP or PCI, and if it's PCI, it's to go in the first PCI slot. This is why the BIOS might attempt to share some of the resources between the two slots, so that a video card installed in either slot will get those specific resources. If you use an AGP video card, this may cause issues with some PCI cards being put in that first slot. I was told that a video card and an ethernet adapter (NIC) can always coexist perfectly peacefully, so a NIC should always be put in that first slot, so that any other card you have which might be problematic will have to go in another slot where it won't cause any problems. If you don't have a NIC, leave the first slot empty, if possible.
     
  19. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    Concerning motherboards, how's this look? A Shuttle Model AK31 V3.1 VIA KT266A DDR. I've been considering upgrading my system as well - a Asus K7M Slot A mobo with a 650mhz processor. I could go with a higher Slot processor but it seems better just to go with a socket/mobo. Unfortunately, I'd have to buy ram as well (256mb PC100 right now)...grr.
    You guys gave me the bug...[​IMG]
     
  20. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I disagree with the recommendation against the nForce motherboards (with the exception of the MSI K7N series...customer support has been an issue lately!). My nForce Asus A7N266C, based on the 415D NVIDIA chipset, is perfectly stable and runs extremely well. It is a great gamers PC! I love having full-time DD5.1. The onboard audio exceeded all my expectations...the first time in my life that I saw onboard audio done perfect...no hassles, excellent audio quality, no bus conflicts whatsoever. The nForce chipsets use AMD's hyperbus technology as well, hence there will not be any conflicts with the PCI or AGP bus.

    The problems with the soundblaster cards are very well known and quite common...I've been reading the same complaints about them for years, and had trouble with them myself. You only need to peruse the USENET newsgroups and hardware enthusiast sites about the problems. However, a dedicated group have found workarounds that the motherboard makers adopted (PCI latency patches in the drivers, BIOS updates, etc.). So, to say they never had problems is unfounded! I had problems with my Soundblaster Live!, for example, until I resolved the issue a year and a half ago with a PCI latency patch. This is with the VIA-based chipset supporting the Pentium 3 CPUs. Playing audio and copying files from a hard drive was impossible at one point. Grrrrr. VIA and Creative Labs both had issues with their hardware that together compounded the problem...VIA's PCI latency problem mixed with the Live!'s non-standard PCI bus handling was quite a nightmare for everyone.

    Concerning placement of PCI cards: Ignore the rules-of-thumb, and go straight to the motherboard manual. A good manual will tell you precisely which slots share IRQs with other slots or other onboard devices (for example, on some motherboards, slot 5 will share an IRQ with the onboard USB controller, slot 1 and the AGP slot will share an IRQ, etc.). Most modern high-quality motherboards (ie. based on the KT333 or nForce chipsets) use a new interrupt controller, usually identified as the APIC in the BIOS. They've raised the number of IRQs from the constricting 15 to 23 (or is it 24?) when the operating system takes advantage of ACPI mode. Thus, do not make the mistake of disabling the ACPI drivers in Win9X or Windows XP on these motherboards, otherwise you're guaranteed to have an IRQ conflict with one of your cards! Typically, PCI card placement is irrelevant with these newer motherboards AS LONG AS YOU ARE RUNNING IN ACPI MODE!

    On my nForce motherboard, my geforce 4 ti 44000 card uses IRQ 18, for example. No IRQs are shared between anyone, either.
     

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