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Building a gaming PC; need advice!!!

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
I want to build a really good gaming PC. I'm thinking of using an Athlon 2100 or a P4 2.2. Also I want a really cool case like those from <a href="http://www.colorcase.com" target="_blank">www.colorcase.com</a>. After those things, I'm not sure of what other components I should get. Reccomendations on video cards, sound cards, cooling and other components would be much appreciated. I've only built one PC before and that was a K6-2 so I could use some advice. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 68
How much you willing to spend?
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post #3 of 68
You need to know two things:

1) Your budget
2) <a href="http://www.pricewatch.com" target="_blank">http://www.pricewatch.com</a>
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post #4 of 68
[quote]I want to build a really good gaming PC<hr></blockquote>

Check. Some advice: If you're considering using a P4, you might want to wait until after the first 2 weeks or so of May, as the 533MHz FSB P4's are supposed to be launched around then. Pairing those up with PC1066 RDRAM should be a pretty good boost per-clock over equally clocked 400MHz FSB P4's with PC800 RDRAM.

If you're going to use an Athlon, I'd suggest you wait until the .13um Thoroughbred core is launched in a few weeks -- they run cooler.

You can build right now if you choose, but these are just some pieces of advice.

Some places to get components:
<a href="http://www.pricewatch.com" target="_blank">Pricewatch</a>
<a href="http://www.mwave.com" target="_blank">MWave</a>
<a href="http://www.newegg.com" target="_blank">NewEgg</a>

A good place to find parts advice, especially mobo/proc/RAM: <a href="http://www.arstechnica.com" target="_blank">Ars Technica.</a> Look in the CPU&Mobo Tech forum for tons of threads on what motherboard to buy, and what processor, etc. Just read a page or two of threads and you should find lots of advice.

For benchmarks:
<a href="http://www.tomshardware.com" target="_blank">Tom's Hardware</a>
<a href="http://www.anandtech.com" target="_blank">Anandtech</a>
<a href="http://www.hardocp.com" target="_blank">[H]ard OCP</a>
<a href="http://www.tech-report.com" target="_blank">Tech Report</a>

Hmmm...lot of URL's in this post.
post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I'm in no rush so I'll wait till the new CPU's come out. I like the Radeon All-in-Wonder 8500 but how much worse is the performance compared to a GeForce 4 Ti? Does anyone have a link to any benchmarks? Also, how many games take advantage of 5.1 surround sound?

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: G4Dude ]</p>
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post #6 of 68
[quote]how is the performance compared to a GeForce 4 Ti<hr></blockquote>

Slower.

As to 5.1 surround sound, since I don't use it, I don't know what games take advantage of it.
post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 
What type of display would be the best? 19" CRT? For games, an LCD would be less then perfect, no?

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: G4Dude ]</p>
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post #8 of 68
I still see no point in going out and spending thousands of dollars to buy a 'gaming' PC. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />
post #9 of 68
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Fran441:
<strong>I still see no point in going out and spending thousands of dollars to buy a 'gaming' PC. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>

And it's so I can browse the web fast. It will be my primary DVD viewing source also. Not just for games but mostly.
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post #10 of 68
[quote]I still see no point in going out and spending thousands of dollars to buy a 'gaming' PC.<hr></blockquote>

1. So that he can play the latest games, when they come out, at often significantly faster speeds than on a Mac that costs twice as much or more.
2. To have fun.
3. It's only money anyway.

Besides, a 'gaming' PC doesn't have to cost thousands. It can be less than $1000 if you're smart.

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: TheAlmightyBabaramm ]</p>
post #11 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by TheAlmightyBabaramm:
<strong>

1. So that he can play the latest games, when they come out, at often significantly faster speeds than on a Mac that costs twice as much or more.
2. To have fun.
3. It's only money anyway.

Besides, a 'gaming' PC doesn't have to cost thousands. It can be less than $1000 if you're smart.

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: TheAlmightyBabaramm ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

But it's still stupid to spend money on a computer just for gaming. Why not just get a console for that?
post #12 of 68
Because consoles aren't what some of us play games on.
I built a PC a year ago strictly for UT and got a pretty good gaming box. I still mainly play on my G4/533DP, but my AMD1.2/DDR/GF3Ti serves me well
.
I'm dumping this box and building a new PC soon - unless the G5/DDR comes out in July.
post #13 of 68
And you can run a superior OS that actually has good applications! *gasp*

I would find it difficult to build a PC using as much money as it costs to buy a Mac.

Dual AthlonXP2000, GeForce4Ti4600, 512mDDR, 80g HD, SB Audigy Platinum, DVD/CD-RW(40x-12x-48x), Nice KB/Mouse
Cost: Roughly equal to a low-end PowerMac
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post #14 of 68
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by groverat:
<strong>And you can run a superior OS that actually has good applications! *gasp*

I would find it difficult to build a PC using as much money as it costs to buy a Mac.

Dual AthlonXP2000, GeForce4Ti4600, 512mDDR, 80g HD, SB Audigy Platinum, DVD/CD-RW(40x-12x-48x), Nice KB/Mouse
Cost: Roughly equal to a low-end PowerMac</strong><hr></blockquote>
Damn, I didn't know it would be that cheap to get those kind of specs! Now THAT was good help, thanks groverat
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post #15 of 68
Dude, if you want a gaming PC get an XBox. That's what it is, basically.

I've been playing the XBox lately, and it's pretty damn cool. I don't think I have any interest in buying one since I have access to one with a ton of games anyway, but the games are quite fun and there are quite enough to keep you busy. Plus it takes up less space and can (supposedly) be used online.

[edit]

It's also much more convenient to have a DVD player that's not your computer. The XBox sits under the TV, too. very convenient. Get a nice 24 or 27 inch tv and you have a sweet display for that Xbox.

Lastly, I sort of wonder where you get this "browse the web quickly" thing. I'm running OS X on a 500Mhz PBG4, and the web is no slower than it is on PC's I've used.

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: Splinemodel ]</p>
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post #16 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by G4Dude:
<strong>Thanks for the info. I'm in no rush so I'll wait till the new CPU's come out. I like the Radeon All-in-Wonder 8500 but how much worse is the performance compared to a GeForce 4 Ti? Does anyone have a link to any benchmarks? Also, how many games take advantage of 5.1 surround sound?

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: G4Dude ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Are you actually going to use the Video In/Out, tv tuner of the All in wonder? Because if you aren't its not worth the extra money. That said the GeForce4 4400 and 4600 outperform the 8500. Performance advantage depends on the application/game. But on most popular games the difference is around 30-40 frames/sec. If you are planning on playing the newest most graphic intensive games at high resolutions the GeForce4 would be a good bet for future proofing. Plus Nvidia has a much better driver development program than ATI for the PC. ATI's drivers have been plauged by multiple bugs that led to a variety problems from objects not being rendered correctly, stability, and speed impacts.

As for 5.1 sound most of the modern games out today have support for either A3D or EAX surround sound which were developed by Aureal and Creative Labs respectively. Creative Labs (they make soundblaster) bought out Aureal. Both of these technologies are based on 4.1 sound. You can use 5.1 for watching your DVDs and most 5.1 pc speakers and soundcards have the ability to mix 4.1 sound to use your center channel through software (that's what I use).

Speakers = Logitech Z560 if you don't mind POWERFUL bass and aren't terribly picky about classical music quality and such. For the price the most powerful pc speakers you can get.

Sound Card = Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, fairly cheap and terrific drivers as opposed to the abomination that is/was SoundBlaster LiveWare. I hear the Audigy isn't as bad, but I don't trust creative anymore after bad experiences.

Are you planning/willing to overclock? If so then I would suggest a P4 1.6A (northwood), overclocks very easily with stock heatsink up to 2.1-2.2GHz levels. Get an Asus P4B266 motherboard for it.

If you go Athlon the choice of a power supply is especially critical. Enermax, Sparkle, and Antec all make topshelf power supplies. Anyone else consult AMD's configuration guide they have on their website for approved supplies. Lots of motherboard choices, Via KT266A is fastest but some stability problems, Nvidia Nforce is very nice but slightly more expensive until new version without integrated video comes out. There are DDR333 (PC2700) systems coming out now but the advantage of them over PC2100 is neglible and doesn't justify the price premium.
post #17 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by Splinemodel:
<strong>

Lastly, I sort of wonder where you get this "browse the web quickly" thing. I'm running OS X on a 500Mhz PBG4, and the web is no slower than it is on PC's I've used.

[ 03-31-2002: Message edited by: Splinemodel ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

What kind of PC are you using? Web browsing for the most part is extremely fast compared to browsing on Macs.
post #18 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by EmAn:
<strong>

What kind of PC are you using? Web browsing for the most part is extremely fast compared to browsing on Macs.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Erm, I'll check that up for you. It's running Windows 2000 and it's a Silicon Graphics. I think it's a dual P3 Xeon, maybe 933Mhz.

No noticeable difference than on my PBG4.
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post #19 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by Splinemodel:
<strong>

Erm, I'll check that up for you. It's running Windows 2000 and it's a Silicon Graphics. I think it's a dual P3 Xeon, maybe 933Mhz.

No noticeable difference than on my PBG4.</strong><hr></blockquote>

That's very surprising.
post #20 of 68
Ahh, we're in the same boat man. Just brush away all the guys trying to make you feel guilty.

First off, resist the urge to get all the top end components with all the whiz bang features. Coming from the Mac side (like I did), you think "damn, I was gonna spend $1600 for a PowerMac, but now I'll spend it on a PC and get all sorts of cool widgets". Don't. You pay a huge premium for the best...for instance, you pay about an extra $50 for 66MHz of performance. Not worth it!

The sweet spot for CPU performance on the Socket A (also known as Socket 462) side of things (that's what the socket interface for Athlons/Durons is...P4s use socket 478) is either the XP1700 or 1800+. Both are in the 110-130 range. Don't forget you can always overclock or upgrade later on when you feel more comfortable, and if you fux0r it up, you won't be $260 in the hole as you would if you bought a 2100+.

Be sure to buy everything from a reputable vendor. MWave and NewEgg are the best IMHO. I'd recommend you buy everything from NewEgg so you can save on shipping, plus everything will arrive at the same time. They are great about giving tracking numbers, status updates, giving out RMAs, etc...basically a system builders dream retailer. They're prices are always very very good as well.

Register at Ars Technica. 90% of those guys build their systems and they are very knowledgable and can answer all sorts of questions. In fact, right now, head on over and post a thread in CPU & Motherboard Technologia (usually where questions about building your system goes, unless it clearly is Case stuff) similiar to this. Be sure to mention you're coming from the Mac so they don't throw out a ton of weird crap at you.

Read read read. These sites will be a godsend when you want to know what's happening:

Pricewatch.com
Anandtech.com
Tomshardware.com (even though some people frown on his site, I find most stuff of his quite informative)
ArsTechnica.com (their forums, really, but they also have a great system builder guide)
xbitlabs.com
sharkyextreme.com
aceshardware.com

I'd recommend holding off a bit before you splurge. I originally wanted to buy the parts in let's see, July last year? And I waited, read stuff, read, read, read. I kept waiting for the next best thing to come out. I'm very happy I did that, because I bought what I felt I needed and what people considered to be good, and I don't regret anything (except maybe the KT266A...not sure though, it might work out).

Remember, your system will garaunteed not boot perfectly on your first try. Did mine? No...I pressed the wrong damn power button. Then it didn't work because (I think) my video card was dead. So I RMAed it to NewEgg, and a new one should come this week.
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post #21 of 68
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 &gt;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>
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post #22 of 68
[quote]and the Sis 645 (I think, not really sure about SiS).<hr></blockquote>

The SiS 645 is a Pentium 4 chipset. Other than that, your advice is fine.
post #23 of 68
That's what I thought. I believe I'm thinking of the SiS 735.
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post #24 of 68
G4Dude, yer gettin a Dell!

(had to say it...)
post #25 of 68
If you've got the cash get yourself an AlienWare system. They use top quality components that you and I would go out and buy (not OEM stripped down versions) and they have the coolest color cases (with HUGE matching monitors as well as matching performance keyboards and mice).

You can configure ANYTHING you want including the power supply. There are many choices and they use nothing but the best (latest and greatest) cutting edge name brand (non OEM) components. The inside of the box is just as meticulous and well put together as the outside. Wires are lined up and gathered neatly and the box can house up to 6 (quiet) fans to keep the system at a normal temperature delivering ultimate performance.

Above all that, since it's not a Dell, HP, Compaq, etc. it's totally upgradeable as if you put it together yourself.

AlienWare systems are well respected PC's with high end components that you would build yourself. The only difference is, they are building it for you and they use high end magnetic paint (that of a car finish) for the case, monitor, keyboard and mouse so that they all match the color that you choose. Oh yeah, 24/7 tech support with on-site service.

However, this is not a cheap PC. If well configured, this is truly a super computer with about a $4300 price tag (yet, ironically about $1,000 less than Apple's 'Super Computer' which has nearly half the specs).

Here is a pic and a configuration I would choose for my next PC. Of course, since you just want it for gaming and not a full time computer, this is way too much for you - I am just giving an example of what a cool and powerful monster PC is:



<a href="http://www.alienware.com" target="_blank">AlienWare</a>

Dragon Full-Tower Case (340-Watt PS) (Saucer Silver)
Enermax EG651P-VE 550 Watt Power Supply
AMD Athlon XP 2100+ Processor 266Mhz FSB
Cooler Master DP5-7H53F High-Performance HSF
1GB DDR SDRAM (PC-2100)
107-Enhanced Windows Keyboard (Saucer Silver)
Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer USB (Saucer Silver)
Promise FastTrak100 TX2 RAID Controller (Must Select 2 Same Size IDE Drives)
100GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
100GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
NEC 19" FE950+ MultiSync Flat CRT (Saucer Silver)
NVIDIA® GeForce4 Ti 4600 w/128MB Dual Monitor
KoolMaxx Video Cooling System (Chrome)
SoundBlaster Audigy 5.1 Platinum (w/front panel)
16X /48X IDE DVD-ROM Drive w/Hardware MPEG-2 Decoder
PlexWriter 40X/12X/40X CD-RW IDE
Iomega Internal 250MB Zip Drive IDE
US Robotics V.90 56K Internal Voice/Fax/Data
Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 400-Watt THX Speakers (Saucer Silver)
Intel® PRO/100 S Desktop Adapter Ethernet
Aliencare Toll-Free 2-Year 24/7 ONSITE Warranty
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition


$4,364 - no TAX and free FedEx delivery.

[ 04-01-2002: Message edited by: Patchouli ]</p>
post #26 of 68
[quote]Dragon Full-Tower Case (340-Watt PS) (Saucer Silver)
Enermax EG651P-VE 550 Watt Power Supply
AMD Athlon XP 2100+ Processor 266Mhz FSB
Cooler Master DP5-7H53F High-Performance HSF
1GB DDR SDRAM (PC-2100)
107-Enhanced Windows Keyboard (Saucer Silver)
Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer USB (Saucer Silver)
Promise FastTrak100 TX2 RAID Controller (Must Select 2 Same Size IDE Drives)
100GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
100GB Western Digital UltraATA 7200RPM 8MB Cache
NEC 19" FE950+ MultiSync Flat CRT (Saucer Silver)
NVIDIA® GeForce4 Ti 4600 w/128MB Dual Monitor
KoolMaxx Video Cooling System (Chrome)
SoundBlaster Audigy 5.1 Platinum (w/front panel)
16X /48X IDE DVD-ROM Drive w/Hardware MPEG-2 Decoder
PlexWriter 40X/12X/40X CD-RW IDE
Iomega Internal 250MB Zip Drive IDE
US Robotics V.90 56K Internal Voice/Fax/Data
Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 400-Watt THX Speakers (Saucer Silver)
Intel® PRO/100 S Desktop Adapter Ethernet Adapter
Aliencare Toll-Free 2-Year 24/7 ONSITE Warranty
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition<hr></blockquote>

The catch: I could build that for $2500.
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post #27 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by radar1503:
<strong>
Remember, your system will garaunteed not boot perfectly on your first try. Did mine? No...I pressed the wrong damn power button. Then it didn't work because (I think) my video card was dead. So I RMAed it to NewEgg, and a new one should come this week.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Did you buy that Chieftech case with the 420W power supply from newegg? One of my friends bought that case and we couldn't get his system (1800+) to boot for anything until we replaced the power supply with an Antec. If your new video card doesn't do the trick I'd definately look into that power supply.
post #28 of 68
Yep, that's the one. However, I'm pretty sure the PSU is fine because the fans work and I get the correct POST code (FF) that means the mobo is working. So if everything is peachy, and I know the monitor works, it's gotta be between the mobo--&gt;monitor. So either I've got a fried AGP slot or a bum video card.

I hope it's the video card *knock on wood*.
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post #29 of 68
Overclock that sucker. That new Pentium, I've heard of people overclocking it to 2.5 GHz! As long as you don't care so much about price, you might consider buying a bitchin' cooling system for your PC, so you can overclock the Pentium as much as possible.

Overclocking is where it's at. If you're not going to overclock, then just buy a console.
post #30 of 68
Don't go overboard on pricewatch. In general, you'll save on shipping getting your stuff from as few separate orders as possible.

[quote]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.<hr></blockquote>

To me, the Swiftech is still tops. The CoolerMaster witht he heatpipe is pretty nifty too.

[quote]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.<hr></blockquote>

Generally, I only go with Panaflo if I use fans over 92 mm in diameter. Their 80 mm fans just don't push a lot of air, and if You're going to use 4 80 mm fans, you might as well find a case that accepts 92 or 120 mm fans.

[quote]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.<hr></blockquote>

IBM has ludicrous specs on the 120GXPs, like 11 maximum continuous power-on hours a day...333 hours a month

<a href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/cn/20020322/tc_cn/ibm_acts_to_quell_hard_drive_concern&cid=70" target="_blank">Check this out</a>

Personally, I'd go with Seagate's Barracuda ATA IV HDDs.

[quote]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.<hr></blockquote>

It's not really fair to call your case a clone. Antec just buys OEM cases from Chenming or Uneec...the same source of your case probably.

[ 04-02-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #31 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by radar1503:
<strong>Yep, that's the one. However, I'm pretty sure the PSU is fine because the fans work and I get the correct POST code (FF) that means the mobo is working. So if everything is peachy, and I know the monitor works, it's gotta be between the mobo--&gt;monitor. So either I've got a fried AGP slot or a bum video card.

I hope it's the video card *knock on wood*.</strong><hr></blockquote>

The fans spun on this system too, but the power was not clean enough to boot the computer. Also be aware that they usually ship that power supply set to 220V instead of 110V.

[quote]Personally, I'd go with Seagate's Barracuda ATA IV HDDs.
<hr></blockquote>

Seagate Barracuda IV is nice if you want a very quiet cool running drive. But it's slow compared to it's competitors. I second the Maxtor D740X series. Or if you have the cash check out the Western Digtal 1200JB series, has 8MB of cache. <a href="http://www.storagereview.com" target="_blank">www.storagereview.com</a> in the best place for reading about drive performance and recomendations.

[ 04-02-2002: Message edited by: Eskimo ]</p>
post #32 of 68
I figure I'll ask in here instead of making a new thread.

Somebody at school contracted me to upgrade his computer so he can have the most powerful PC he possibly can. He's running Cubase etc and doing 16 racks, so I figure I would get him on the Athlon MP wagon.

Not sure how high he's willing to, I told him 500 should do it. basically I figure get him a new processor and maybe mobo instead of having him buy a whole new PC. He has what looks to be an ok case, but I'm not sure of a few things.

First, would you agree that it wouldnt be worthwhile to have say an Athlon XP 2100+ on his mobo? It is an ASUS CUV4X-E & has 133 MHz FSB, AGP Pro/4x, and Socket 370 Motherboard.

I thought that he should get dual processors if he wanted to have a real fast computer for his audio apps, so that would require getting a new mobo.

What he needs:
Athlon MP
DDR mobo
1 GB DDR RAM

Im thinking that he should get an Athlon MP 2000 or 1900. What is the best Dual Athlon mobo I can get and how much do they run? Are there any combos where you can get the dual Athlons & mobo together?

What do you think the best bet would be? A single Athlon Xp2100+ w/ DDR333 mobo, or something like an Athlon MP 1800, 1900?

Remember the budget being $500. He will spend what he has to (go over that 500) if he has to to get a bitchin system.

He wants to do it like right away (he was going to put down the money today) but Im a little wary of things like Thouroughbred and faster DDR. Even AGP 3.0.
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post #33 of 68
Check that, he needs a new mobo anywayz. His current one only supports Pentium III/Celeron processors.
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post #34 of 68
[quote]To me, the Swiftech is still tops. The CoolerMaster witht he heatpipe is pretty nifty too.<hr></blockquote>

I don't know about the CoolerMaster, but the Swiftech MC462 (if that's the one you had in mind...) is quite a bit more expensive than the PAL8045, plus doesn't seem to cool quite as well.



[quote]Generally, I only go with Panaflo if I use fans over 92 mm in diameter. Their 80 mm fans just don't push a lot of air, and if You're going to use 4 80 mm fans, you might as well find a case that accepts 92 or 120 mm fans.<hr></blockquote>

Maybe so, but you gotta factor in price. Panaflo L1A 80mm are about $3 a pop at BGMicro. I don't know the link offhand, but you can find it at Ars.

[quote]It's not really fair to call your case a clone. Antec just buys OEM cases from Chenming or Uneec...the same source of your case probably.<hr></blockquote>

I'm starting to think you're a Uneec employee or something...that really seems to annoy you, doesn't it?

[quote]The fans spun on this system too, but the power was not clean enough to boot the computer. Also be aware that they usually ship that power supply set to 220V instead of 110V.<hr></blockquote>

Maybe I'll check it out. I only paid an extra $5 for a 420W PSU, so I won't feel that bad if I have to shell out another $40 for a nice Antec (yeah ok Eugene, I know, it's just a rebadged PSU from Heorichi or whatever) or Sparkle...I'm thinking 340-370W should do the job. I'm gonna check to make sure it isn't the graphics card first though. NewEgg has a new one shipped already (they're so nice... ). I sure as hell hope mine isn't set to 220V...wouldn't that seriously fsck things up? I didn't see any smoke, and I've taken the HSF off and it looks just dandy.
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post #35 of 68
[quote]Im thinking that he should get an Athlon MP 2000 or 1900. What is the best Dual Athlon mobo I can get and how much do they run? Are there any combos where you can get the dual Athlons & mobo together?

What do you think the best bet would be? A single Athlon Xp2100+ w/ DDR333 mobo, or something like an Athlon MP 1800, 1900?

<hr></blockquote>

Best dual board for your budget right now would be the Tyan Tiger MP (note: not MPX). There is a newer dual chipset called the 760MPX out now but currently inserting any PCI cards into the motherboard will disable the ability to use USB ports. Therefore it is recommended to purchase the slightly older 760MP version. It runs between $199-$220 in price. You could get Dual Athlon MPs but you will pay a price premium. For 1800's you are talking close to $200 per processor.

For about half the price you could buy 2 AthlonXP 1800+ and use them in the motherboard. They are not "certified" for dual operation but they work 99.5% of the time. Certification costs you money. I looked on a forum and they claim the newest version of Cubase is multi processor aware so I would go with dual processors then. Also make sure he has a fast hard drive, as that can be a bottleneck in most high end systems today. I'd imagine for audio work he already has a high end soundcard?

For memory you should be aware that the 760MP requires registered DDR memory. I would look at Corsair memory for the best compatibility. Newegg.com and Mwave.com are both good places to order from online for all these parts. The website for the motherboard is <a href="http://www.tyan.com/products/html/tigermp.html" target="_blank">http://www.tyan.com/products/html/tigermp.html</a>
A good review of the board is at <a href="http://www.2cpu.com/Hardware/tiger_mp/" target="_blank">http://www.2cpu.com/Hardware/tiger_mp/</a>

On Tyan's site it states, "The Tiger MP S2460 accepts a standard ATX-style power supply . However, the P/S must be able to supply a minimum of 30A on the 5-volt line. Many 300+ watt power supplies on the market today are capable of this output." So a new power supply may be necessary. Again I'll recommend Enermax, Antec, and Sparkle as good brands.

[quote]I sure as hell hope mine isn't set to 220V...wouldn't that seriously fsck things up? <hr></blockquote>

I've started up 2 systems by accident at 220 with no lasting damage/problems. I believe the motherboard is smart enough to sense the wrong voltage and doesn't allow power to distribute to critical devices like the CPU and memory.

[quote]I don't know about the CoolerMaster, but the Swiftech MC462 (if that's the one you had in mind...) is quite a bit more expensive than the PAL8045, plus doesn't seem to cool quite as well.
<hr></blockquote>

The new Thermalright AX-7 is my personal favorite heatsink at the moment. Great cooling with a Panaflo 80mm and it won't drive you insane like the Delta fans. And because the base is slightly smaller than 80x80mm like the PAL8045 it will fit on most every motherboard. And since it uses traditional clipping mechanism motherboard removal is not necessary to install and it works on dual Athlon motherboards.
post #36 of 68
[quote]The new Thermalright AX-7 is my personal favorite heatsink at the moment.<hr></blockquote>

Ah, I forgot to mention that. I've heard great things about it. Considering AMD is going to remove to mobo mounting holes from future designs (or at least is planning on it), the AX7 might be the PAL8045 successor. The old SK6 was good too, but it only accepted 60MM fans (you could use a converter though, but...meh).

On a side note for gaming, I just recieved my Razer Boomslang 2000 mouse in the mail today (got it on ars for $15!) and it works fantastically. Even though I haven't fiddled with it much to getting it to work with my G4, it should serve me well on the AMD box.
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post #37 of 68
I was thinking the Tyan. There's also something called the Tyan Dual Thunder K7? What is that like? What is not being MPX going to do (is it that important?)?

I think your prices are waaaaaayyy too high. The Tyan Dual Thunder K7 was $117.

Here are the prices I found for Athlon MP:

Athlon MP 2000- $267
Athlon MP 1900- $178
Athlon MP 1800- $167

I'd think it would best to go w/Athlon MP 1800. Do you know if any mobos are DDR333 (or higher) that support the Athlon MP? I would rather get the Athlon MP, as it is acually cheaper contrary to what you stated. Example:

Athlon XP 1800- $107

Athlom MP 1800- $167

He has the newest version of Cubase and I was thinking it would be MP-aware and that would give him more performance. He said he had a 60 GB hard drive, so I think it's probably ok.

I noticed the SiS 735 chipset very cheap, and it supports both the Athlon XP & MP, and is 266FSB. Is this a descent one? I saw it for $54.

Also, he wants onboard Firewire.
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post #38 of 68
[quote] I would rather get the Athlon MP, as it is acually cheaper contrary to what you stated. Example:

Athlon XP 1800- $107

Athlom MP 1800- $167<hr></blockquote>

Okay, maybe I'm completely missing out on something, but last time I checked, $167 meant MORE MONEY than $107.
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post #39 of 68
[quote]Originally posted by TigerWoods99:
I was thinking the Tyan. There's also something called the Tyan Dual Thunder K7? What is that like?
<hr></blockquote>

Tyan Thunder is more expensive version of dual Athlon board intended for servers and 1U rackmounted systems, has onboard dual 3COM 10/100 ethernet and Ultra160 SCSI. It's priced from $300-$450 depending on if you get it with the SCSI or not.
[quote]
What is not being MPX going to do (is it that important?)?
<hr></blockquote>

MPX supports 64bit/66MHz PCI slots, doubtful you'll ever need them unless you have a very high end RAID card or something similar. Standard MP (which includes ThunderK7) has 64bit/33MHz and 32bit/33MHz slots.
[quote]
I think your prices are waaaaaayyy too high. The Tyan Dual Thunder K7 was $117.
<hr></blockquote>

Your price is incorrect or you are looking at the price for something else. Trust me you will not find the Thunder K7 for less than $300.

[quote]
Do you know if any mobos are DDR333 (or higher) that support the Athlon MP? <hr></blockquote>

No there are not but the performance advantage of DDR333 over DDR266 is neglible to nonexistant due to the Athlon processor being bottlnecked by its 266MHz front side bus speed.

[quote]
I would rather get the Athlon MP, as it is acually cheaper contrary to what you stated. Example:

Athlon XP 1800- $107

Athlom MP 1800- $167
<hr></blockquote>

Please reread what you just wrote and get back to me on that one, put down the pipe son .

[quote]
I noticed the SiS 735 chipset very cheap, and it supports both the Athlon XP & MP, and is 266FSB. Is this a descent one? I saw it for $54.
<hr></blockquote>

The SiS 735 chipset is a fair one, but only supports a single processor. I would not recommend the motherboard you are talking about ECS K7S5A (the $54 one) for your friend. It is very picky about components and has given many much more technical folk plenty of headaches. As a side note any chipset that supports AthlonXP will support AthlonMP processors. They are identical in nearly every regard except for pricing. Again if he is looking to stay under $500 I would stick with AthlonXP processors even if he intends to go dual.

[quote]
Also, he wants onboard Firewire.<hr></blockquote>

Not available on any of the dual systems. Firewire PCI cards are cheap and there are lots of them available for the PC, just buy one.
post #40 of 68
Ohhhh man I'm a f*ckin dumbass lmao.....I thought that the Athlon MP meant it was dual processors.....I didnt realize you had to buy 2 of them to get a dual processor system....dayyyyyyummn shows how much I know about PCs. You are probably right then, I should just tell him single processor for his budget....unless he really wants those duals.

Ok here's a question. Do you know if 2 Athlon XP processors can work together on the Tyan Tiger MP? I guess that would be a little better IF it would work without problems. Or would you say Athlon XP 2100 w/DDR 333 mobo is better than a Athlon MP 1500 system? He does use Cubase and other audio apps that would be good with dualies.

Sh*t, now I feel retarded re-reading my post!
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