Building a computer, need some advice

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by hideon9, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    I'm going to be heading off to college this fall and my current computer is getting a bit dated. I need to build a new one but I don't know much at all about the hardware that's out right now, so I came here for advice. My budget is about $1400 in cash and $175 in amazon gift certificates.

    Here's what I have picked out so far:


    MSI K8N NEO2 PLATINUM Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - $119.99 from newegg
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - $267.00 from newegg
    Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - $148.00 from newegg
    CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) - $250.00 from newegg
    NEC Black IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3540A - OEM - $40.00 from newegg
    Logitech x-230 2.1 2-Piece Dual Drive Speakers with Ported Subwoofer - $34.99 from amazon
    Logitech Keyboard Elite Black - $29.99 from amazon
    Logitech 961361-0403 QUICKCAM IM WebCam - Retail x 2 - $69.90 from newegg
    Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 - OEM - $145.95 from newegg
    Microsoft Windows XP HOME Edition With Service Pack 2 - OEM - $91.95 from newegg



    $1197.77 total. Using the certificates puts it down to $1132.79.

    I already have a case, cd-rw, dvd-rom, floppy, mouse, monitor, and sound card I'm scavenging from an older computer I built.

    I need some help picking out a video card. I prefer ATI cards and something from the x800 series seems like it would fit my budget. I went through Newegg and Amazon and found these 4 cards:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102492
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007XGOQY/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_1/103-0728552-8512661
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102380
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102521

    I'm leaning toward the card from Amazon right now because there would be enough of the certificates left to bring the price down to $189.97 for a total of $1322.76.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Which video card do you all recommend? One of the four above or a different one?
    2. Would the nvidia chipset on the motherboard cause problems with an ati card?
    3. Should I get the 64-bit version of xp pro instead since the processor is 64-bit? I've heard it's kinda buggy and has lots of driver issues.
    4. Would a 350w power supply be enough to support this system?
    5. Newegg doesn't give the timing for the RAM. Does anyone know the timing or if it's good quality?
    6. Am I missing anything?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    1) stay away from ATi. If poor performance for the dollar isn't enough reason, then the horrible drivers should make you steer clear. 6600GT or 6800GT is my recommendation.

    2) ATi cards suck. Get nVidia 6-series, problem solved.

    2b) While you're at it, if this is a NEW system, then get a nForce4 chipset... not nF3. Likewise, get a PCI-E video card.

    3) Stick with 32-bit of XP Pro for now

    4) No. You want a GOOD power supply. Generic is not good. Antec is lame, too. Get an Enermax, Sparkle, or Fortron.

    5) that RAM is CL2... which is good. HOWEVER, I would save $60 and get two of the 2x512MB kits.
     
  3. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    1) This article (http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2299&p=2) seems to show that the x800xl has similar performance to the 6800gt (except in doom3) while consuming less power and producing less heat. The price difference for me would also be a factor because both AGP and PCI-E versions of the x800XL are available from amazon for 299.99 while 6800gt cards are about $50 more for AGP and over $100 more for PCI-E. I'm using amazon to find the cards because by doing so I can take nearly $110 off the price through gift certificates.

    ATI Radeon X800XL Pci-E
    MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum

    By switching to that motherboard and vid card I would get a nforce4 board and pci-e card for only $5 more.

    4) The case I have right now is an antec server case with a 350w power supply. Is 350w enough for the system to actually run? If it will run with that much then I can get everything else and save up and buy a better power supply in a couple months.

    5) I would rather have open slots so I could just pop another couple sticks in instead of having to replace 2 if I wanted to add more in the future.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    That article does not mention the HORRILBE DRIVER PROBLEMS that ATI has. That is the reason to avoid ATI.

    It's probably a SmartPower (piece of shit) I'd spend the $75 for a great PSU, now. You can try it, but the PSU is not something I would cheap out on.

    You're kidding yourself if you honestly believe you'll need more than 2GB before that machine becomes obsolete :mamoru:
     
  5. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    Any details on these problems or links to somewhere I could read about them?


    how bout this one? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103489


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145449
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145575

    Going to 4x512 instead of 2x1024 would only save me $10.
     
  6. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Look on any gamers forum. ATI has to keep releasing new drivers just to make games playable.

    I think you can find better pricing on the 4x512, but if it's not much more, then get the 2x1gb... the only argument against 2x1gb is cost.
     
  7. monolith

    monolith My soul grows ever weary and the end is ever near. OT Supporter

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    I have an X800 and I haven't had a single problem with any games and I haven't had to update my drivers.
     
  8. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    I looked around a bit and didn't really find anything about massive driver problems. I did find out that ATI releases drivers on a 1/month schedule, so the frequent releases aren't really a mark of bad drivers.

    I found a few other brands with better pricing but I've been told by several people that Corsair XMS is by far the best brand of RAM out.
     
  9. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    Personally I've had problems with every Nvidia card I own. The GeForce4 4200 Go on the laptop I'm using now has just about died completely.

    This, plus the price difference, is the main reason I want to get an ATI card.
     
  10. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    ignorance is bliss I guess.
     
  11. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    If your referring to the ATI vs. Nvidia then I've already explained that the $100 price jump from the x800XL to a similarly performing 6800gt is too much to justify switching due to driver issues that I can't find any details on.

    If these issues are minor problems with a few games then I can overlook them for a $190 price tag. Now if it's stuff like complete failures, crashes, or other major problems then I might change my mind.

    The only thing I've found when searching for details on these problems is a few random forum posts, usually about problems with older drivers (catalyst versions 3 and 4), and a few articles about how ATI used to have horrible drivers but now they seem to be getting alot better.

    If you have details about the type of driver problems ATI has then I would appreciate if you would post them or direct me to where I can find them. I've spent quite a while searching tonight and couldn't find anything current that would be enough to justify the $100 markup.
     
  12. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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  13. Jay

    Jay My shit don't stink

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    1. if you like that card, go for it. I've built a handful of systems with ATi x800's. I've never had a problem.
    2. no.
    3. I'd stick with the regular 32bit home or pro
    4. I dunno about a 350W. I guess it would if the psu was from a reliable company (enermax, antec, sparkle etc...). just make sure the 12v rail is at least ~20A
    5. Timings aren't really significant, but I believe those sticks run at 2.5-3-3-6 @ 400 on an amd system
     
  14. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    Thanks. I decided to stick with the x800xl and 32bit pro but I'm going to add a 450w power supply from cooler master.

    It seems like every time I go to newegg my list gets more expensive :hs:
     
  15. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    don't use coolermaster. You should get enermax/fortron/sparkle.
     
  16. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    I'm using the remains of my old computer and a few others to build a computer for my mom. I need pro, she'll be fine with home.
     
  17. [dRu]

    [dRu] Active Member

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    The set up looks good but what exactly do you plan on doing with it? If you're going to be overclocking you may want to invest in a higher-quality heatsink (ThermalRight is always good) and a Western Digital Raptor would definitely be a good idea. Just my two cents.
     
  18. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    It'll be used mostly for programming and gaming along with the basic stuff. I might look into overclocking but it's not a priority. I'm sure it will be plenty fast for me for awhile considering what I'm used to.

    I'm planning on getting a better heatsink and adding some fans sometime in the future. Right now I'll be happy with just getting it built. Probably gonna order half of the pieces today. Would order all of it but newegg jacked up the prices on a bunch, so i'm waiting a few days to see if those go down, or if I can find better prices elsewhere. I like how prices on stuff actually go up during "one days sales"...

    I considered a Raptor but 74gb just isn't going to cut it. The laptop I've been using has a 40gb and I never have more than a gig or 2 free. That's with another 50-60 gigs of tv shows and movies burned to cds. God knows how much space I'll need once I get access to a university internet connection.
     
  19. hideon9

    hideon9 The plane will take off.

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    Any advice on what to look for in a power supply besides brand name and watts?
     

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