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Have $1,500, help me decide on hardware!


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#1 Woody

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 02:53 PM

I just found this site last night doing a google search, and after reading through some of the posts and seeing the amazing responses by the admins as well as other members, I think I will try my luck. Bear with me on the length.

First a little background. Right now my wife and I have a Dell computer that we bought back in the spring of 2000. It has the following hardware:

533 MHz Pentium 3
128 MB RDRAM (yes, that's not a typo)
20 GB hard drive
SoundBlaster Live sound card
nVIDIA GeForce 64MB video card
CD-RW drive
19" monitor
Standard Dell keyboard
Logitech mouse
Road Runner high-speed Internet

The reason we want to get a new computer is that the hard drive only has 3 GB left of space, and there is something funny going on with the computer because it won't transfer large files back and forth (not sure if it's a RAM issue or what).

Our current and anticipated future uses include:

Standard office uses (e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet, etc.)
Digital picture viewing/editing/storage
Music CD creation (mp3, wav, etc.) and storage
Hard drive-based and Internet games (i.e. Half-Life 2, casino games, sports games)
Digital video storage/editing at some point (don't own a digital video camera yet)

We do not anticipate wanting this new unit to act as a TIVO-type device, and we won't be using it to watch DVD movies on our TV in the living room. This computer will reside in our home office. It won't be our digital home entertainment hub.

We plan to re-use the following items from our Dell computer:

19" monitor
Speakers (Harmon Kardon 2-speaker setup with a subwoofer)
Keyboard & mouse

I have done some research here and at places like www.extremetech.com, cNet, etc. Based on what I've read and my goal to strike a balance between performance and price, here is what I am thinking right now for hardware:

3.2E GHz Pentium 4, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2, Hyper-Threading Processor - $219.00
Chaintech 9CJS Zenith i875P Chipset MOBO - Socket 478 - $165.00
Kingston ValueRAM Dual Channel Kit 184-Pin 1 GB (2 x 512) DDR PC-3200 - $168.00
Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 250 GB 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive (L01M250) - $205
Asus 16X DVD-ROM Drive (DVD-E616P1) - $28.50
Sony 12X DVD+/-RW Dual Format Recorder Drive (DRU-540A) - $95.00
Powercolor ATI Radeon 9800XT Video Card, 256MB DDR, 256-Bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP - $319.00
Creative Labs SOund Blaster Audigy 2ZS PCI Sound Card - $85.99
Mitsumi USB Digital Card Reader/Writer with Internal 3.5" Floppy - FA404 - 25.50
Have not decided on a case
Not sure how big of power supply to get
Not sure if I'll need aftermarket CPU cooling device
Not sure if I'll need aftermarket fans

Total so far is $1,310.99

I'm not worried about software right now, as I can get all the software I need for free.

The 2 big things I haven't picked out yet are a case and a power supply. I think I would like a black case, one that doesn't have a swing-out door covering the drive bays. I don't need an acrylic side panel or led lights... this will sit under a desk largely out of sight. I think an ATX Mid-Tower size should be fine, I don't think I will need a full tower will I?

Here are the questions I want you to answer for me:

1. Is there any hardware I'm missing?

2. Is the hardware I've listed above going to be overkill for what we will use it for? There will be timed where we have multiple software apps open at the same time, and there may be times where more than one program will be running at the same time.

3. How much money would I save if I went to an apples-to-apples AMD-based system instead of Intel-based? Would I lose or gain performance?

4. What case would you recommend based on my desires above?

5. How many watts of power would I need? 400? More? I'm clueless on how to make this decision.

6. If you had to shave $200 to $300 off the total price for the above hardware, what would you give up and replace with? In the end I really would like to keep the total (for all hardware) at around $1,100 but am willing to go as high as $1,500.

Thanks in advance for any help and insight you can provide. I'm really excited about building my first system, but I need to work on my wife some. She's not so enthusiastic about me spending this kind of money and doing it myself for the very first time.

Jason

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#2 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 03:14 PM

Ok welcome to BC!
I think you can get those parts cheaper. Ok try looking around here:
www.newegg.com
and www.ebay.com
Those two places might get your parts cheaper than what you have posted.
(im sorry looks like you have been to new egg.)
q&a
5. How many watts of power would I need? 400? More? I'm clueless on how to make this decision.
I would go for a bigger amount of watts. If your running a big cpu then you will want around 500- 550+.
If you would like a case here is a cool one!
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductdesc....-147-006&DEPA=0
Its a neat one with a 400watt ps included.
Just some of my opinions.
Also If you say you have never built a pc before I found this place for a cheap how to guide on how to build a pc(im not sure if you want it but you could take a look.)
Build your own pc

#3 Woody

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 04:32 PM

Yeah, those prices I listed are all off of newegg.

For what I have listed for hardware, would I need more than 400W of power?

#4 JEservices

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 04:41 PM

[quote]The reason we want to get a new computer is that the hard drive only has 3 GB left of space, and there is something funny going on with the computer because it won't transfer large files back and forth (not sure if it's a RAM issue or what).[/quote]

If you have only 3GB of space left, and you would like more, you could always add an external HD. Since you plan on getting another computer, personally, I would recommend that you get a hard drive enclosure kit. These boxes will allow you to add any internal HD, and install them, without having to turn the computer off. It makes transferring files from one computer to another much easier. The kit will be around $30-40, with the HD sold separately.


[quote]We plan to re-use the following items from our Dell computer:

19" monitor
Speakers (Harmon Kardon 2-speaker setup with a subwoofer)
Keyboard & mouse[/quote]


I would not recommend that you re-use the 'old' parts. Since you purchased those parts with your Dell, it is likely that the drivers are on the restore CDs that came with it. Even though you can find drivers for these to work on another computer, they may not function as well then newer models. 19" monitors can be bought under $200 (sometimes under $150 if you get them with the computer parts), a decent set of 5.1 speakers will often come with the sound card (or you can find one that will come with them), and the mouse and keyboard can be found together under $40. With the sound card that you are looking at, it would function far better with 5.1 speakers anyway. I realize that you are on a budget, but I build computers all the time and can get them under $1000 with printer and monitor.

On with the parts that you listed.

[quote]3.2E GHz Pentium 4, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2, Hyper-Threading Processor - $219.00
Chaintech 9CJS Zenith i875P Chipset MOBO - Socket 478 - $165.00
Kingston ValueRAM Dual Channel Kit 184-Pin 1 GB (2 x 512) DDR PC-3200 - $168.00
Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 250 GB 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive (L01M250) - $205
Asus 16X DVD-ROM Drive (DVD-E616P1) - $28.50
Sony 12X DVD+/-RW Dual Format Recorder Drive (DRU-540A) - $95.00
Powercolor ATI Radeon 9800XT Video Card, 256MB DDR, 256-Bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP - $319.00
Creative Labs SOund Blaster Audigy 2ZS PCI Sound Card - $85.99
Mitsumi USB Digital Card Reader/Writer with Internal 3.5" Floppy - FA404 - 25.50[/quote]

For your needs on your computer, I would recommend that you get a Pentium 4. The 3.2E is a little high priced right now, and you would not see much of a difference between this one and a 3.0Ghz-I would get one that is certified HT (Hyper Threading). The last time that I looked at a motherboard/CPU combo,
I seem to remember one that was in the 3 Ghz range, w/ HT, and the mobo, for under $300. When I find the link, I will post back.

The ValueRAM is a little high priced as well. For $84 ea 512 MB, you could get a better name brand.

Even if the motherboard supports it, you do not need a SATA HD. These are a little more expensive, and they are really used for if you want to add more HDs down the road. Even if you run out of room, the ATA HDs can still have 2 on the same IDE channel.

The DVD drives are a good price and name brand.

The 256MG video card is high priced. If you can wait for the PCI-X video cards come out (in about 30-60 days MAYBE), then AGP video cards will fall down in price. If you can not wait, then I would shop around a little more. You should be able to get a 256MG vid card under $200.

The sound card is a good model and about the right price.

The floppy and card reader is entirely optional. Since you are planning to get a dig cam, it is a good purchase and price.

One thing to point out though. I would purchase all of your equipment at one time. You will save a bundle on the shipping and handling.

[quote]I'm not worried about software right now, as I can get all the software I need for free.[/quote]

Does that include Windows XP? If not, add $100 to the price for the Home version.

[quote]The 2 big things I haven't picked out yet are a case and a power supply. I think I would like a black case, one that doesn't have a swing-out door covering the drive bays. I don't need an acrylic side panel or led lights... this will sit under a desk largely out of sight. I think an ATX Mid-Tower size should be fine, I don't think I will need a full tower will I?[/quote]

Most cases are standard sizes that will fit the motherboard. The main differences between them are the number of bays, color (including clear), and the PSU (Power Supply Unit). Most are standard and come with 2 bays, but since you need one for DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, and floppy/card reader (Im assuming that it need one, some do not), then you just need one with 3 bays. If you wanted more then that, then the height of the tower will be higher, and you need to take that into consideration for space. Yes, a mid-tower should fit your needs.

[quote]1. Is there any hardware I'm missing?[/quote]

Some hardware will not come with the wiring. It will say that on the product description. You may need to purchase these separately.

[quote]2. Is the hardware I've listed above going to be overkill for what we will use it for? There will be timed where we have multiple software apps open at the same time, and there may be times where more than one program will be running at the same time.[/quote]

It will not be overkill. Sure, there will be times that you may not need the 256MG vid card, and the 1 GIG RAM, but if you plan to play Half-life 2, then you will need all that you can get. When having multiple programs running, that also uses up RAM and video RAM (from vid card).

[quote]3. How much money would I save if I went to an apples-to-apples AMD-based system instead of Intel-based? Would I lose or gain performance?[/quote]

You may save money, and it may take a hit on the performance. It is really a matter of opinion. IMHO, I would stay with Intel.

[quote]4. What case would you recommend based on my desires above?[/quote]

I would not spend much on the case, if it is going to stay under a desk. Just go based on the PSU. I have not had any bad experiences with any particular name-brand.

[quote]5. How many watts of power would I need? 400? More? I'm clueless on how to make this decision.[/quote]

I would go with a 450wt PSU. The price difference is not much from the 400, and it will give you plenty of power. You could go higher, but you would not get much benefit from it.

[quote]6. If you had to shave $200 to $300 off the total price for the above hardware, what would you give up and replace with? In the end I really would like to keep the total (for all hardware) at around $1,100 but am willing to go as high as $1,500.[/quote]

I will be able to answer this question better by providing a link for a different set-up. Bear with me on this, as I will post it later tonight.

[quote]Thanks in advance for any help and insight you can provide. I'm really excited about building my first system, but I need to work on my wife some. She's not so enthusiastic about me spending this kind of money and doing it myself for the very first time.[/quote]

My wife was the same way. Now, I build them for a living. Currently, I am writing a tutorial on how to upgrade hardware, and working on another one, on how to build your own computer. My wife may not like them much, but she is interested in learning how to do things. If you include her on the build, she will see how easy it is, and how much money you saved by doing it yourself.


Like I said, I will provide a link for a build, that will be fast enough for your needs.
We are all curious like a cat. We wonder, we ask, we learn.
Please post back when a suggestion works, so that others may learn.

#5 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 05:32 PM

Well I would re-use the monitor......

#6 phawgg

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 11:08 PM

One Jason to another is a great combination, in my opinion. (where's that ditto emoticon...) :thumbsup: ah, heck, I'll use the horse, instead. I'm also in agreement with CGM3 'bout the monitor. If it's not main entertainment, and you're used to it...The PC itself will show-off on it, for a while at least. The fact that you've gotten 4 years out of da' Dell is noteworthy. I'm using a late 1999 17" compaq (at all of $50.00 recent retail price). I usually surface as a cheap AMD user, too. A couple years on a 1.73 GB now and it works fine. I read your list and sincerely concur with JEServices. Await the second-round of links, I'd say. Include the Mrs. Build yourselves a handy reference manual as you go, for offline with all the product info, and then scan it in to a pair of the ATA 133 250 MB Maxtors (@ under 150.00 most all the time on sale at retail places like Fry's or Office Depot). Buy big on the tower if you have the space, and skip the after-market cooling except for 1 additional side case fan, 1 in back 1 in front with a good one atop a good beefy heat sink over that cpu. That's my 2 cents worth. If I felt inclined to modify my signature, it would say "Build It, It's Better For You" :flowers:

Edited by phawgg, 01 October 2004 - 11:20 PM.

patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#7 EMICT1

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 03:15 AM

Sorry I cant help you much with the processer since I am not that familiar with Pentium processers. I buy strictly AMD Processers for my builds. I agree with the others in here you can probably find comperable components or identical components for a little cheaper if you shop around a little. A good resource I have found for this is www.pricewatch.com. Sounds to me like you have a good grasp on the hardware you will need/want. Best of luck with your first forey into home built computers.

#8 Woody

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 10:05 AM

Once again I am amazed by the great responses. Thank you very much!

Some follow-up discussion and questions:

I am definitely going to get a hard drive enclosure kit for my current hard drive. That is a great idea and it seems like the best way to eventually transfer the data I want from the old hard drive to the new. Thanks for the suggestion JEservices.

My current monitor is the Dell P991. I have been nothing but happy with this monitor. It has performed flawlessly. I am using the EVEREST application that can show me everything about my computer, and here is what is shows for the monitor:

Model DELL P991
Monitor Type 19" CRT
Manufacture Date Week 5 / 2000
Max. Visible Display Size 37 cm x 27 cm (18.0")
Picture Aspect Ratio 4:3
Horizontal Frequency 30 - 107 kHz
Vertical Frequency 48 - 120 Hz
Maximum Resolution 1600 x 1200
Gamma 2.50
DPMS Mode Support Standby, Suspend, Active-Off

Supported Video Modes
640 x 480 120 Hz
800 x 600 120 Hz
1024 x 768 120 Hz
1152 x 864 115 Hz
1280 x 1024 95 Hz
1600 x 1200 80 Hz

On the topic of video cards, how much of a performance difference will there be with a card that is 256MB and 128-bit versus a card that is 256MB and 256-bit? Cards that are 256MB and 128-bit are the ones you can find for under $200 retail or OEM. But as soon as you go for 256MB and 256-bit you jump to $250+ retail. What I noted in my original post was a card that has 256MB and is 256-bit.

I don't know why, but I seem to be migrating to high-end cases when searching through newegg. These cases have caught my eye:

Lian Li Black Aluminum - Model PC-65B - $110 @ newegg (need PSU and fans)
Cooler Master Praetorian Black Aluminum - Model PAC-T01-EK - $98 @ newegg (need PSU)

I know I could go with a cheaper case/PSU combo, but for some reason I don't think I want to skimp on the case, fans, or PSU since these will have a big effect on the overall performance and cooling of the internals. But feel free to try voice your argument and try to get me to accept something less, because this is causing my budget to increase a good amount.

Again, thanks for all your help so far. I'm really getting pumped about doing this, and I'm slowly wearing the wife down.

Later guys.

Jason

#9 jgweed

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 10:40 AM

Since you are building a computer for the first time, you really might want to go with a full sized case because it is easier to work in, especially if you have big hands. Be sure your case has at least two fan openings (front and rear) for best ventilation. I am using an ANTEC black case, with two sets of fans, and a dust filter on the front. You might also wish to reconsider the option of having a door, both for dust/animal hair and for general security (it is lockable). Also check to be sure the peripheral plugs are located well and there are enough of them.

AMD processors, in my experience, are as every bit as good as Intel, especially for multitasking, and less expensive.

Cheers,
John

Edited by jgweed, 02 October 2004 - 10:45 AM.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#10 JEservices

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 06:35 PM

As mentioned before, here is the research that I have done. All of these prices came from newegg.com, and I also provided links to the specific products. I also have a line-by-line comparison from your original post.


3.2E GHz Pentium 4, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2, Hyper-Threading Processor - $219.00

(This processor requires a Socket T (LGA775) on motherboard ONLY!!)

2.6c GHz P4, 800MHz FSB, 512K cache, Hyper-Threading-$165.00. This processor uses Socket 478, and will save you some money on both the CPU and motherboard. If you can concerned on the GHz rating, you can VERY easily overclock this chip, for much less then the saving on the CPU alone. Newegg CPU


Chaintech 9CJS Zenith i875P Chipset MOBO - Socket 478 - $165.00

(You need a socket 478 processor for this motherboard)

Chaintech S848P I848P Chipset motherboard-Socket 478- $53.00. This motherboard may not have a very good on-board audio and video, but you are going to bypass them anyway. It does support the 800 FSB, P4 HT processors, up to 2GB RAM, 1-8x AGP, and 5-PCI. Newegg motherboard


Kingston ValueRAM Dual Channel Kit 184-Pin 1 GB (2 x 512) DDR PC-3200 - $168.00

(The motherboard needs to support the memory speed (PC-3200))

Finding the right RAM for a motherboard can be confusing because of the terms. Some manufacturers list speed as PC-3200, and others may list it as DDR400, 200 MHz. You also may be concerned about words like registered, unbuffered, ECC, and latency. First off, the PC-3200 and DDR400-200 MHz, is talking specifically about the speed. The other terms are referring to error checking, and its different methods. Personally, the only thing that you need to worry about is the speed, and if it fits as the type (184-pin ect...). The other descriptive words are really if you are concerned with benchmarking tests.

pqi POWER Series 184-Pin 1GB (2x512) DDR PC-3200 - OEM- $142. Although I have not personally used this brand, I did take the time to call a few local stores and asked their opinion. In the informal poll, they gave it a 4 out of 5, with 5 votes total. newegg RAM


Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 250 GB 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive (L01M250) - $205


Maxtor Ultra Series Kit 80GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model L01P080, Retail -$84.00. Now you may be thinking, why would I choose a 80GB over a 250GB one? Answer is simply the price. 80GB will last you easily a year, and by the time you need another one, the prices will drop even more. I personally use a 60GB one, use it everyday for over a year, and not even come close to filling up half. Sure, you may d/l files from the Internet all the time, but IMHO you do not need anything more then 80GB. newegg Hard Drive


Asus 16X DVD-ROM Drive (DVD-E616P1) - $28.50
Sony 12X DVD+/-RW Dual Format Recorder Drive (DRU-540A) - $95.00


Even though these prices are about right, I wanted to provide newegg links, just in case you decide to get everything from them. As mentioned before, if you buy all your parts from one place they will often give you a break on the shipping and handling.
Lite-On 52X32X52X16 Combo Drive, Model SOHC-5232K, Retail -$46.00. This DVD-ROM also burns CDs. I like to have both a CD burner and a DVD burner as separate drives, so that I can burn 2 disks at a time. newegg DVD/CD-RW drive
Lite-On 16X DVD Dual Drive, Model SOHW-1633S Beige, Retail -$83.00. This DVD burner can burn +- formats and can also burn the dual layer disks. It also includes Nero. newegg DVD burner. Lite-on name brands have earned a very good reputation in the last few years for quality products at low prices.


Powercolor ATI Radeon 9800XT Video Card, 256MB DDR, 256-Bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP - $319.00


Rosewill nVIDIA GeForce FX5500 Video Card, 256MB DDR, 128-bit, DVI/TV Out, 8X AGP, Model "256-A8-N313" -RETAIL -$58.30. IMHO I dont think there is enough of a difference between 128-bit and 256-bit, to warrant the difference in price. Not only does the motherboard need to support it, but so does the processor(really to a lessor extent), and the software that you are going to be running. Just like the RAM, the only noticeable difference would be in the benchmarking tests. As long as it supports DirectX9, which this one does, then it can run all the latest games. newegg 256MB 8x AGP video card


Creative Labs SOund Blaster Audigy 2ZS PCI Sound Card - $85.99


Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS PCI Sound Card, Model "SB0350" -RETAIL -$85.99. I found the same model at nearly the same price. I wanted to provide a link, so that you can read the reviews from over 150 buyers. I was not able to find one that had a speaker set with them. It is possible that it was an in-store special, and not one that is posted on line. newegg PCI sound card

I did take the liberty to find you a 5.1 speaker set-up, even though you was talking about re-using the speakers that you already have. With yours, you only have 3 speakers, 2 plus subwoofer. To take full advantage of this sound card's quality, you really need 6-center, front left, front right, rear left, rear right, and the subwoofer. The .1 in 5.1 stands for subwoofer.
ALTEC LANSING 251 5.1 Amplified Speaker System -RETAIL-$40.00. This is the set that I personally use. Only costing $40, with a subwoofer, you can't go wrong. The sound is very crisp, and does not distort when it is loud. newegg 5.1 speakers

Mitsumi USB Digital Card Reader/Writer with Internal 3.5" Floppy - FA404 - 25.50


Mitsumi USB Digital Card Reader/Writer W/FD INTERNAL, Model FA404A/404M -OEM-$25.50. I found the same item, with the same price. I wanted to include the link so that you can purchase at newegg, if you prefer, and read the reviews. newegg USB floppy/card reader


The total for my parts, including the speakers is:...(drum roll please)...$782.79. Of course this does not include shipping or taxes, but if you was to compare these parts to a name-brand, already made computer, you would easily spend over $1200.



If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask.
We are all curious like a cat. We wonder, we ask, we learn.
Please post back when a suggestion works, so that others may learn.

#11 JEservices

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 06:56 PM

I wanted to start a different reply for the other ideas that you was asking about. I did not want to confuse an already long post from the parts.

I am definitely going to get a hard drive enclosure kit for my current hard drive. That is a great idea and it seems like the best way to eventually transfer the data I want from the old hard drive to the new. Thanks for the suggestion JEservices.


You are very welcome on the suggestion.

My current monitor is the Dell P991. I have been nothing but happy with this monitor. It has performed flawlessly.


If you are happy with the monitor that you have, then the video card should not have any trouble with it at all. 'Recycling' the monitor is one of the ways to save some money on an already expensive purchase.

On the topic of video cards, how much of a performance difference will there be with a card that is 256MB and 128-bit versus a card that is 256MB and 256-bit? Cards that are 256MB and 128-bit are the ones you can find for under $200 retail or OEM. But as soon as you go for 256MB and 256-bit you jump to $250+ retail. What I noted in my original post was a card that has 256MB and is 256-bit.


There is not much of a difference. IMHO it is not worth the extra money.

I don't know why, but I seem to be migrating to high-end cases when searching through newegg. These cases have caught my eye:

Lian Li Black Aluminum - Model PC-65B - $110 @ newegg (need PSU and fans)
Cooler Master Praetorian Black Aluminum - Model PAC-T01-EK - $98 @ newegg (need PSU)

I know I could go with a cheaper case/PSU combo, but for some reason I don't think I want to skimp on the case, fans, or PSU since these will have a big effect on the overall performance and cooling of the internals. But feel free to try voice your argument and try to get me to accept something less, because this is causing my budget to increase a good amount.


If you dont mind, tell me what you think of the cases below. It will give me an idea of what you are looking for, and a direction to go.

JustPC Silver/Black ATX Mid Tower Case With 450W PSU & Side Panel Window, Model "JPC767P-SILVER" -RETAIL -$48.00 (they also come in black/red for the same price)newegg case 1

A-Top XBlade Blue/Silver Gaming Machine With 450W PSU & Side window, Model "AT859A-BL" -RETAIL -$65.99 (These also come in a wide variety of colors). This one I would show off. newegg case 2

AsiaPro ASYS Blue/Silver ATX Mid Tower Case With 450W PSU, Model "180 BEIGE/BLUE" -$26.00 This one is fairly inexpensive, and comes w/ a 450wt PSU. It does look a little plain compared to the other two. newegg case 3



Let me know what you think.
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#12 phawgg

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 10:47 PM

Here is the drum roll...dbddddddbddddddbdddddddbddddddbddddddb :thumbsup: good job, Jason
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#13 JEservices

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 09:16 AM

:cool: :thumbsup: :trumpet: :inlove: :flowers:

I just love the banana

Thanks phawgg

Edited by JEservices, 03 October 2004 - 09:17 AM.

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#14 Woody

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 10:13 AM

Holy CRAP! All this information is making my brain hurt! :trumpet:

In all seriousness, thanks for the research you did JEservices. You obviously know what you're doing. :thumbsup:

In response to your many suggestions from last night's post:

The 3.2 GHz processor I originally posted was listed on newegg as socket 478... here's a link to it. 3.2GHz Processor The processor you listed is OEM, not Retail, which would require me to get a heat sink and fan for the PCU also... correct?

For $28 I can go up from that 2.6GHZ OEM CPU to a 3.0GHz Retail CPU (cost of $193 at newegg). Here's a link to it. 3.0GHz Processor Seems like a pretty good deal since I would also be getting the heat sink and fan. Your thoughts?

Your motherboard suggestion looks like a good one. One of the newegg reviews concerns me a little when the person says "It only has a SMBIOS 2.2 and no upgrade offered from chaintech. It will not boot from cd so i have to buy floppies to load win xp Pro. Besides that its a good motherboard for the price." Should I be concerned with this?

On the RAM, I saw that listing on newegg as well. What threw me off was the customer review about instability of his computer. Granted he's not sure if it's his RAM or the MOBO or what. It sounds like you've done some research and it shouldn't be an issue. Thanks!

The more I think about hard drive capacity, the more I think you're right. We've had this computer for 4 years and haven't completely used up the 20GB we have now, so having 4 times that amount should be okay. I guess I was thinking down the road of not having to add another HD or replace it. I will probably use your suggestion to save the money. Anyone tell you you're good? :flowers:

Regarding CD & DVD burners, your suggestions are excellent. Having the ability to burn a CD and DVD at the same time is intriguing. Would I have enough RAM and CPU power to do this given the above parts?

On the issue of video cards, I am under the impression that nVidia cards don't do as well as ATI cards (at least in benchmarking) when comparing apples-to-apples cards. I do have an nVidia card right now so it's not a huge consideration. But if I want to play Doom3 or Half-Life 2 will an nVidia card handle the job as well as a Radeon? It is a huge price difference.

On speakers, the hard thing is that we really do not have a room setup that will allow us to take advantage of rear speakers (no good place to put them). I wonder, for $40, if I could just use the front speakers (left, center, right) and the subwoofer? It would probably be an upgrade from our 4-year old speakers, and would allow for expansion to surround sound if we move or change up the configuration of our office.

Your case suggestions are interesting. Here's my thing about cases... the case will be sitting on the floor under our desk. The way our desk is shaped, the case is about a foot away from our legs. While the idea of a door that would cover the drive bays may be good from a dust and security standpoint, when the door is open it will be very close to my legs and I don't want to bump it for fear of ruining the door or jarring something internally. If I can get over that, having a door covering the drive bays is fine.

And for some reason I am leaning towards black just because I think black is simple, sleek, and modern. Our Dell is that boring beige color right now, and I'd like to have something different. I'm not entirely opposed to silver or blue or a combination of colors.

I'm also not terribly concerned about having neon or different color led lighting. I'm not a LAN party person so having a flashy case is not something that matters to me.

My biggest concerns are having a case that has easy access to the internals, is not terribly cramped, offers good airflow options to keep everything cool, and that is laid out well so a newbie like me can install the internals without getting too frustrated (I'm sure I'll get frustrated being a newbie no matter what!). Will slide-out drive bays and MOBO tray be worth it from a ease-of-install standpoint?

Specific comments on the three cases you linked to at newegg:

The JustPC case looks like it will require me to buy front fans (from looking at the pictures on newegg)... do you agree? The color is neat, I like the side fan thing (even though the led light part of the fan is not a seller, but not a turn-off either), and it has enough drive bays. It doesn't seem to have a FireWire port on the front, am I correct? I'm thinking down the road that this might be a nice feature when we get a digital video camera. Would black-colored drives look okay in there?

The A-Top case is actually really cool looking. What is that opening at the top of the front panel for? A temperature readout device? From the ictures it looks like I would need to buy a front and rear fan (I only see the side fan). All-in-all, not a bad choice. What color drives would I want for this case? I guess it doesn't matter if the door is mostly closed (a positive for having the drive bay door I guess).

On the AsiaPro case, something about it just doesn't attract it to me like the others. Maybe it's the color of the front panel, maybe it's the led lights on the front, it just doesn't attract me like th other 2 you listed, or the ones I listed. It is cheap though.

I have to run off to watch the Astros wrap up the NL Wild Card now (yep, I'll be there at Minute Maid Park rooting them on). I want to post the combination of the parts JEservices listed with mine and see what you think. I'll do that later this afternoon/evening. Again, thanks to everyone here who has taken some of their valuable time to offer suggestions and help. I really appreciate it!

Jason

#15 JEservices

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 11:49 AM

Enjoy the Astros game. By the way, oh wait, I want to mention it at the end of my message... :flowers:


The 3.2 GHz processor I originally posted was listed on newegg as socket 478... here's a link to it. 3.2GHz Processor The processor you listed is OEM, not Retail, which would require me to get a heat sink and fan for the PCU also... correct?

For $28 I can go up from that 2.6GHZ OEM CPU to a 3.0GHz Retail CPU (cost of $193 at newegg). Here's a link to it. 3.0GHz Processor Seems like a pretty good deal since I would also be getting the heat sink and fan. Your thoughts?


The 3.2 processor that I found had that warning on it. I guess some do, and some do not. That is correct that the retail version does come with heatsink and fan, which you do need. That was my mistake. In the majority of the parts, you do want them to be retail. The upgrade to 3.0 retail, for the little price difference would be a good investment. Good call :thumbsup:


Your motherboard suggestion looks like a good one. One of the newegg reviews concerns me a little when the person says "It only has a SMBIOS 2.2 and no upgrade offered from chaintech. It will not boot from cd so i have to buy floppies to load win xp Pro. Besides that its a good motherboard for the price." Should I be concerned with this?


He did not mention that you can flash the BIOS. When you upgrade to the new BIOS, then it will boot to CDs. Also the BIOS update is small enough to fit on a floppy, and since you was going to have one anyway (from the parts), then you can do it this way. Even if all of this did not work, floppies are VERY cheap. I can give you some to get it going, if you need them.


On the RAM, I saw that listing on newegg as well. What threw me off was the customer review about instability of his computer. Granted he's not sure if it's his RAM or the MOBO or what. It sounds like you've done some research and it shouldn't be an issue. Thanks!


I was a little concerned for the reviews as well. That was why I wanted to get more opinions.


The more I think about hard drive capacity, the more I think you're right. We've had this computer for 4 years and haven't completely used up the 20GB we have now, so having 4 times that amount should be okay. I guess I was thinking down the road of not having to add another HD or replace it. I will probably use your suggestion to save the money. Anyone tell you you're good?


With HDs becoming cheaper the higher you go, many people wonder why there are even smaller ones available. Some people do not know that once you start getting to the higher capacities (some even suggest that you do this with a 80 GB HD), that it becomes easier to use if you partition it. There is even a limit of space that Windows will even read, and many out there do reach this, in which you HAVE to partition it, just to see it. To make it easier and smoother, especially being your first build, 80GB is more then enough. To anyone who may say to you, 'well for only $20 more, you can get more space', you would be better off spending the $20 on something else, like a surge protector, or something that you would actually use.


Regarding CD & DVD burners, your suggestions are excellent. Having the ability to burn a CD and DVD at the same time is intriguing. Would I have enough RAM and CPU power to do this given the above parts?


Yes, you will have plenty of RAM and CPU to burn a CD and DVD at the same time. I would not recommend that you play a graphic intensive game full-screen while doing both of them. You should be able to surf the web while doing both of them though. Because burn-proof has become standards in CD/DVD burners, then the computer will allocate CPU and RAM to them, when they need it. If you are doing anything else doing the burns, then it will slow that application down, while keeping the discs burning at a constant speed.



On the issue of video cards, I am under the impression that nVidia cards don't do as well as ATI cards (at least in benchmarking) when comparing apples-to-apples cards. I do have an nVidia card right now so it's not a huge consideration. But if I want to play Doom3 or Half-Life 2 will an nVidia card handle the job as well as a Radeon? It is a huge price difference.


It is true that the NVidia cards do not do as well as ATI cards, but it is not as bad as you may think. In benchmarking, they will put both cards in computers with big monitors, and basically see what they can handle at the highest possible settings. The key word here is BIG monitors. I do not know of any benchmarking test that uses only 15" or 17" monitors-they start at 19" and some even do them with 21"s. They push the resolutions and the refresh rates to the max, and see what happens. A video card is only as good as the monitor that you are using. If this video card can push out 2048X1536@60Hz max, but your monitor can handle 1600x1200@80Hz, then the monitor will only display what it can use. On newegg, it did not show what the Hz rating is for this card at 1600x1200, but I will be willing to bet that it is more then 80. FYI-Hz stands for the refresh rate. 80Hz means that the monitor is cycling through all of the pixels at 80 times a second. If Im not mistaken, we can only see up to 60 times (or frames) a second when viewing it on a TV or monitor. If you was considering using a larger monitor (over 24"), then you would notice the difference in the cards, but for your size monitor, then it would not matter.


On speakers, the hard thing is that we really do not have a room setup that will allow us to take advantage of rear speakers (no good place to put them). I wonder, for $40, if I could just use the front speakers (left, center, right) and the subwoofer? It would probably be an upgrade from our 4-year old speakers, and would allow for expansion to surround sound if we move or change up the configuration of our office.


Im not sure if you can only use 3.1, as I have not tried this. What you can do, if you do not have the room for rear placement, is to have them next to the front 2. Phyisically, all of them are the same size (except for the sub), at 3 1/2"x3 1/2"x5 1/2" high w/ stands.



I would like to continue my comments later tonight. I wanted to send this part out, so that you have something to look at when you return.


I have to run off to watch the Astros wrap up the NL Wild Card now (yep, I'll be there at Minute Maid Park rooting them on). I want to post the combination of the parts JEservices listed with mine and see what you think. I'll do that later this afternoon/evening. Again, thanks to everyone here who has taken some of their valuable time to offer suggestions and help. I really appreciate it!


I dont like to watch baseball much, but I do like watching football, especially the home team. That is why I wanted to wrap up this message so that i can catch the game. I am very happy that you like to watch games at Minute Maid Park, especially since because you mentioned that, it told me that you live in Houston (or surrounding area). My home team in football, is the Texans. Sound familiar? I live in Pasadena. It looks like I will be able to help you out with the build physically. We can build it together, and I can show you some tricks of the trade.

Edited by JEservices, 03 October 2004 - 11:51 AM.

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