Thinking about this setup for my new white-box...opinions please?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
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    Hi All -
    I'm thinking about having a computer built by these folks at They seem to have a good reputation here in Sac.
    But I thought I'd ask your opinions on some of the options they provide. I'm checking out their desktops - the one called "intel p4 super system 400Mhz..."
    Following is a list of components - I put an asterisk next to the one I chose and any general questions after the category.
    CASES - don't really care
    *Enlight Pentium 4 Mid ATX 7 Bay 300 Watt Power supply, Dual Fan, Screwless
    Inwin Pentium 4 Mid ATX 300 Watt Power Supply
    Antec Pentium 4 Mid ATX 300 Watt Power
    MOTHERBOARDS - no clue which to choose - isn't 533FSB the new thing?
    *ASUS P4TE Pentium 4 Mainboard, Socket 478, Pentium 4 1400 to 2200 CPUs, 400MHx Front Side Bus, AGP 4X
    ABIT TH7-II Pentium 4, Raid, ATA 100, Rambus Memory
    CPU - i assume a 2G processor should be fast enough?
    Intel Pentium 4 2400MHz CPU-Retail Box
    Intel Pentium 4 1700MHz CPU-Retail Box
    Intel Pentium 4 1800MHz CPU-Retail Box
    *Intel Pentium 4 2000MHz CPU-Retail Box
    Intel Pentium 4 1500MHz CPU-Retail Box
    Intel Pentium 4 1600MHz CPU-Retail Box
    Intel Pentium 4 2200MHz CPU-Retail Box
    MEMORY - figure the more the better
    256MB RDRAM 800MHZ ( Rambus )
    128MB RDRAM 800MHz ( Rambus )
    *512MB RDRAM 800MHz ( Rambus)
    HARD DRIVES - no clue, figure more the better, but isn't 133 better than 100
    IBM 40.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 100 Hard Drive
    Maxtor 80.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 133 Hard Drive
    * Western Digital 120GB 7200 RPM 8MB Buffer ATA 100 Hard Drive
    IBM 60.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 100 Hard Drive
    IBM 80.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 100 Hard Drive
    IBM 120.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 100 Hard Drive
    Maxtor 60.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 133 Hard Drive
    Maxtor 40.9GB 7200 RPM ATA 133 Hard Drive
    Western Digital 40.0GB 7200 RPM ATA 100 Hard Drive
    CDROM/DVD - would like dvd
    *Pioneer 16X DVD Drive/Slot Load
    Mitsumi 54X CD Rom
    Sony 52X CD Rom
    Toshiba 16X DVD Drive
    VIDEO CARDS - tv not important, gaming is
    *ASUS GForce4 V8170 MX 440MB 64MB DDR with TV
    3D Labs GVX1 Pro 64MB AGP
    3D Labs Oxygen GVX1 32MB AGP
    3D Labs Oxygen VX1 32MB AGP
    ASUS GForce4 Ti 4400 128MB DDR with TV and DVI
    ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 64MB DDR AGP
    ATI Radeon 7500 64MB AGP with TV Out
    GForce 2 MX 200 32MB SDRAM
    GForce 4 MX 440 64MB DDR with TV Out
    Matrox G550 32MB Dual Head AGP
    Vision Tek GForce 4 Ti 4400 64MB
    ASUS GForce V7100 Pro GeForce MX400 64MB with TV
    ASUS GForce4 Ti 4600 128MB DDR AGP 4x with TV and DVI
    ASUS GForce 2 V7700TiVx 64MB DDR AGP
    ATI Radeon 8500 64MB AGP
    Matrox G450 E TV Studio Card
    ATI Radeon 8500 128MB AGP with TV and DVI Out
    SOUND CARDS - not too important, maybe 5.1 gaming? i hear audigy is pretty good?
    *Soundblaster Audigy 5.1 with Firewire Port (Oem)
    Soundblaster 128 PCI Sound Card
    Soundblaster 16 PCI Sound Card
    Soundblaster Live 5.1 (Oem)
    Soundblaster Audigy MP3 5.1 Sound Card
    Soundblaster Audigy Platinum 5.1 Internal PCI Sound Card
    Soundblaster Audigy Gamer 5.1 Sound Card
    Current total as configured is about $1250.00.
    I'll worry about the monitor, keyboard, speakers, etc. later. I figure approximately another grand for a good flat-panel monitor, decent speakers and the rest of the accesssories
    So, do you guys think this is a smart move? It seems like a pretty decent system for the price. I don't want to do mail-ordering and I'd like to stay local.
    Thanks in advance,
    [edit] oh yeah...obviously if you have suggestions for a better setup, please advise! [​IMG]
  2. Paul Spurgeon

    Oct 23, 2001
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    I'm not super knowledgeable with regard to Intel-based motherboards, so I have no recommendation in that department. The 2Ghz will be fine for a good amount of time, as will 800MHz RDRAM. The hard drive you selected is blazing fast for IDE due to the 8MB buffer.. if I had the cash I would buy it. ATA133 is marginally faster, don't even bother as support for ATA133 isn't really there and ATA in general will be making a paradigm shift soon (Serial ATA). I guess the Audigy will be ok for you, since that seems to be the only product they have. The Turtle Beach/Voyetra Santa Cruz is an older sound card that supposedly sounds better than Audigy and only costs $60.. I have one and it does great.
    I'm making this a new paragraph because it's THAT IMPORTANT. DON'T BUY A GFORCE4 MX!!! Nvidia should be kicked in the nuts for releasing the GF4MX to an uneducated public. It is not a gaming card and is outpaced by all GF3 cards and most every GF2 card. The GF4MX has weak DirectX support and is pretty much a souped up GF2MX, which was again not a gaming card. Ask them if they can put a GF4 Ti4200 in there.. the 4600 is a ripoff and the 4400 isn't worth the extra cash for the marginal performance increase.
    If you have any questions please PM me or just check out these sites: Toms Hardware, AnandTech, [H]ardOCP. Post a couple questions in the HardOCP forums if you want 5000 different opinions and no true answer; those kiddies are too smart for their own good.
  3. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

    Jul 2, 2001
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    Yeah, I didn't notice too much other than the video card, everyone will suggest that you don't get a GF4 MX...
    Other than that, i'd just have to say that your price is pretty high, but mainly because you're buying it from a store...I'm also not too up to date on the Intel chip prices, but with a quick glance at newegg, I think you could put together a similar computer and save about $150? And that's with a 533FSB mobo, ASUS. And a GF4 Ti4400.
    Either way, good luck with it, getting a new computer's always fun. [​IMG]
  4. Eric S M

    Eric S M Agent

    Jan 2, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Have you ever considered constructing your own PC? It can be a pain, but it can also be rewarding. Not mention, you get to choose everything about the setup.

    Here's what I've been looking into as far as components. I put together a system about 3 years ago and I'm almost ready for an upgrade.

    No religous wars here over components. This is just my opinion.

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA81-HXP. Voted best on Tom's Hardward Page (Paul linked the page). Supports RDRAM 1066 which allows 1066Mhz RDRAM to take full advantage of the 533Mhz front side bus. RDRAM 800 still leaves some performance on the table. Also, this board has a built in RAID controller. So, you could buy 2 harddisks and put them in a striping raid configuration. This increases throughput of the harddisk system by interleaving reads/write between two disks (the data is mirrored on each to allow the OS to do this). Also, has USB 2.0 and built in LAN controller.

    Graphics: GeForce4 Ti4600

    Case: Antec 660B. Again, Tom's Hardware liked it and a friend has it. Looks like good quality.

    Memory: 2x256M Kingston RDRAM 1066Mhz for 512M total

    Sound: I like the Creative products. Audigy should be sweet, but is not cheap (~$170 online). If you get the retail instead of OEM, you'll get the bundled software (if you care).

    CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.53 GHz BX80532PE2533D. The fastest yet with the 533Mhz front side bus to mate with the 1066 RDRAM.

    Harddisk: 2x80GB. Again having two will allow you to connect them in a raid configuration. 80GB total in raid mode.

    If you put these components together on your own, it would run about $1900 (online prices) plus the cost of the OS. But, there are pros/cons to the do-it-yourself approach. If you don't want to order online as you mention, you might be able to find them at CompUSA or such. However, online would be cheaper and depending on the location of you and the vendor, potentially tax free. You can search for prices on

    Good luck.
  5. Matej

    Matej Extra

    Jun 27, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I third that opinion about the graphics. Go with a geforce 4400 or the radeon 8500 64mb (cheaper, near same performance)

    the mobo is good-asus has a reputation for being fast and rock solid. you can check for specifics on the board at toms hardware if you want.

    I would downgrade your hard drive. 120 gig will cost you a lot more than the 80gig and you will not need that much if you do not do a lot of video editing or have a lot of wav files. If you are just using it for games and mp3 then the 120 is more money than is worth. If you need more you can upgrade later with a minimum of hassle.

    For the DVD while the slot load are cool I have had problems with mine taking a long time to read teh disk. it sits there and clicks for a while before it can read teh disk. Mine is an old drive so it may not be an issue but just my $.02 I would go with the toshiba

    As for teh operating system go for the XP pro edition it will be worth the $50 extra in the long run. I personally prefer 2000 but that is just me. Linux is even better buy hey what can you do when there is a monopoly!

    So my revions would be
    same power supply case etc.
    same mobo
    same processor
    same ram
    80 gig IBM HD
    Toshiba 16x dvd drive
    ATI radeon 64mb
    Win xp pro

    price $1254

    another thing to consider-while not as fast as the newest p4 system you could go with an AMD Athlon xp system and you will save a bundle. if you got a athlon XP 2100+ with the soyo dragon + mobo with the kt333 chipset It should be as fast, if not faster than the 2ghz system from pentium and be $100 cheaper if you do it yourself. Everything will be just as compatible. I have run AMD for the last two years and had very few problems.

    building your own pc is not terribly hard if you have a bit of patients and can save you a bundle and you know exactly what is in your system .

    not to bee too long but i just saw that this company also offers a athlon setup where you can choose nearly the same options as above (XP2000+ and asus nvidia 4400) for about $80 cheaper.

    though I must say this all seems a bit much for just the system you can do it much cheaper if you build yourself.
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
    Likes Received:
    wow - great info. thanks guys. looks like i'll have to revisit the video card for sure. sounds like the radeon may work.
    i suppose i'm not completely opposed to building my own system. i know those places offer "bare bones" packages (case, motherboard and ram). if i go that route, you can definitely expect to see me posting specifics on each additional component.
    i still hate the idea of buying parts on-line (i'm just afraid of the hassle if the part doesn't work) - assuming i purchase the rest of the components at a retail store, will i still be saving money?
    i expect to do some graphics work (i want to learn photoshop/dreamweaver), some light gaming (that may increase if i don't get motion sick [​IMG] ), and other normal computer stuff.
    essentially you think this setup (besides video) is "good enough"?
    thanks again all, i really appreciate your input. [​IMG]
  7. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

    Jul 10, 1999
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    Just some thoughts:
    Another vote against the GF4MX. For the absolute best money can buy, the GeForce4 Ti4600 is the one. I disagree with the other poster that it is a rip-off. Its the most expensive, but for a reason. Best value though is the Ti4200, and the Ti4400 isn't bad either. All of them better candidates than the MX.
    You're other choices are sound. That HD rocks for sure!
    Anyway, there's my 2 cents. [​IMG]

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