Okay, I'm afraid of making long posts, so here's what I got, and some suggestions as to what you might buy instead:
For the CPU
, I went with an Athlon XP1700+. It was an OEM which means it comes without a heatsink and fan. It cost me $117 from NewEgg. Prices have come down since though, so you may be able to get an XP1800+ for just a tad more.Heatsink
? I got the Alpha PAL8045. It's the best damn Socket A HS out there IMO. Something like $35, and there's a nice little phamplet to explain how you mount it, comes with all the screws, etc. Highly recommended.Fans
? I outfitted my case with 4 Panaflo fans. They're made by Panasonic and push a decent amount of air for the noise they make. They are pretty quiet. I also got one for the heatsink. The Alpha will take any standard 80MM fan, Fans will come in 60MM, 80MM, 92MM, and 120MM sizes in diameter. There are smaller ones etc. for graphics cards and stuff, but those are the most common sizes. A run down on fan makers (you will soon realize how important fans are):
Delta: Incredibly loud, but push incredible amounts of air. Make a high pitched whine that has been known to drive people insane.
Sunon: Push good amount of air, but very loud. Not as loud as Delta though.
Panaflo: A good blend of loudness/airflow.
Sanyo: Kind of the midrange, average...I'm not really sure though, I haven't heard much.
Papst: Very quiet, push a respectable amount of air, but are quite expensive.Memory
: If you're going AMD, DDR is the only way to go really. You could get SDRAM, but...no. Crucial, Cosair, Mushkin, Samsung, Micron, and Kingston (as long as you don't get the ValueRam or whatever), are great. Emphasis on the first two. For speeds, AMD currently only has chips that use a 133MHz bus (effectively 266MHz DDR), so anything above is useless unless you overclock.
PC2100: 133MHz (266)
PC2400: 150MHz (300)
PC2700: 183MHz (333)
Beyond that there is PC3000, PC3200, etc, but AFAIK no memory makers manufacture >200MHz parts so chances are they're overclocked. I'd stick with the above speeds, and just get vanilla PC2100 unless you plan on overclocking. Keep in mind that many people have had great success with overclocking Crucial and Corsair PC2100 chips though. CAS 2.5 is the standard latency for DDR. I got one 256MB PC2100 stick from NewEgg (Crucial brand). It cost me about $80.Video
: This will need a ton of research. For gaming, I'd look straight to one of these three chipset families:
Radeon 8500 (includes the LE etc)
GeForce 3/NV20 (Ti 200, Regular, Ti 500)
GeForce 4/NV25 (Ti4400, Ti 4600, and the 4200 later on)
This is a whole new topic...we could go on for ages. You have to decide how much you want to spend, etc.Mobo
: There are a few chipsets competing for Socket A. There's the Via KT266A and KT333, the ALi Magik 1, the nForce, and the Sis 645 (I think, not really sure about SiS). The word:
KT266A: Tried and true, it is simply one of the fastest, cheapest solutions. Unfortunately, it has been known to poorly manage the PCI bus. Do not use with anything Creative! Garaunteed problems.
KT333: A 166MHz bus version. Useless unless you overclock your Athlon, but many are interested nonetheless. Not really been out for too long though, and Via has a reputation for not getting anything right until the "A" revision comes.
nForce: Hands down the fastest, most stable chipset out there. This is what I'd recommend. You pay a premium for nForce motherboards, but I highly recommend it. I've heard nothing but praise for the nForce. Plus, they overclock like mad (usually up to a 160-170MHz bus...crazy!).
ALi: Ermm...slow. Supposedly cool. For some reason reminds me of asparagus (don't ask).
SiS: Has some cool features I think, but again, don't really know.
There's also the aging AMD 760 chipset, but they're pretty slow and old. They are stable though, but it's getting harder and harder to find an AMD 760 mobo.
I went with the EPoX 8KHA+ KT266A motherboard. It's like $90 and the fastest KT266A motherboard, overclocks like mad, etc etc. No whiz-bang features, but it has everything I wanted: Overclocking in the BIOS, 6PCI slots, 3 DIMM slots, and the standard ports. However, there is one problem: They are not compatible with GeForce 4s! Ahh! I bought it before this was known, and I now feel bad. But Visiontek has modified their GeForce 4 to work with it. I'm not sure about the other card makers. The thing is that a capacitator is in the way on the mobo, and another cap on the GF4 will smush it. Visiontek replaced their cap with a low-profile cap (hooray for Visiontek!).HD
: Go with IDE, for sure! SCSI is a pain in the ass for us n00b PC builders. Stay away from IBM, except for maybe the 120GXP series...they can't seem to make anything without crapping it up these days. Maxtor, Western Digital, and Seagate (wait, do they even make IDE drives?) are all good choices. I'd go Maxtorsupposedly the fastest. Go with a 7200RPM, and then decide on the size. I got a 40GB 7200RPM Maxtor 740DX. Price? $85.
NIC: You're gonna need one to use a cable connection. Otherwise, use a modem or whatever. I went with Linksys, but to be safe, 3Com and Intel supposedly make the best NICs and they're the most stable etc. Might as well for over a little extra for the good brand. They're only like $35 anyway.
CDROM: Whatever. Doesn't really matter. They're all fine. For CDRW though, I'd get a LiteOn. They work great (I use one with my G4), and are dirt cheap. Plextor is super, but way too expensive IMHO.
DVD: Toshiba is good, I've heard. Same with Pioneer, LiteOn, etc.Case
: Okay, this is tough. Sure, a case is a case, but you want a blend of cooling, appearance, and price. You also want a good power supply. Here's what I'd get:
The Antec SX1040B. It's black, has a solid 400W Antec PSU, and is a very very good case. I have basically a clone with a generic 420W PSU (hey, it seems to work). Has room for 4 80MM fans, comes with 2. 6 3.5" bays, 4 full size external bays.Sound Card
: I skipped this. I wanted to keep things simple so I decided to stick with the onboard AC97 (teh lose) on my mobo for awhile. But if you want any quality, get a sound card (unless you go nForce, which has an onboard 5.1 chip...great sound from what I've heard, making a sound card useless unless you need tons of weird ports etc). TB Santa Cruz = teh win. Listen to Eskimo!
Monitor: Meh, use whatever you have now to make sure that it works first is what I'd do, then choose a quality 19". Just ask Tigerwoods, he'll give you a billion choices for a flat 19" CRT. You'll want something that will do the res you want (1600 x 1200, probably) at a decent refresh rate (75 or 85Hz, depends). Definately go flat. There is such a difference.
Get whatever keyboard you can. I got one for free at a university. Online you can get one for like $2.
Mouse: I think you can handle a mouse
Now, REGISTER ON ARS!
Best choice I ever made. You'll see me around there as MacAddict (my old handle around here as well).
Oh yeah, I got an old GeForce 2 GTS-V (underclocked GTS) for like $50. I figure I'll upgrade later to a GF4 when I get things working. The total system cost me $710 or so. Add the extra cost for say, a GF3 Ti 200, and you have an ass-kickin' gaming system for less than $900!
[ 04-01-2002: Message edited by: radar1503 ]</p>