Okay, just as a background note first. I build my own systems to last on a 4 - 5 years basis without upgrading (minus Vid cards of course)and now is the time to build a new system.
I'm a hardcore gamer (online games such as DAoC, NWN, Q3A, UT, ALL Bioware games, etcetera etcetera) so my system is geared more so towards games, then Adobe PS and 3dMax (although I use those proggies a lot aswell for my business, and for work). The following are the items I'm looking at, with a few questions afterwards:
Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG w/430 watt PS
Intel P4 3.0 800FSB
2x Corsair PC3500 512 (CMX512A-3500C2)
Western Digital 1200JB 8mb cache IDE drive
Panasonic 1.44 FD
Plextor PX-W4824TA/SW 48x24x48 CDRW Int. w/software
Liteon LTD163 16x Dvd w/Power DvD
Ati Radeon 9800 pro 128
SB Audigy2 Plat - Internal
Creative Labs Inspire 6.1 6600 7 piece speaker set
MS Multi. Keyboard
MS Intellimouse Optical
Sony CPD-G410R 19" monitor
System total:- $4049.10 Canadian, 3421.00 w/o the Monitor, but that's another story I've already asked in the CRT section.
Okay.. that's the low down on what I'm looking at. Now for the "should I do this instead?" questions and my long winded way of asking them. Sorry, some of these questions do not pertain to Mobo's.. but this section and the CPU section are the ones that have the heavy traffic section. So I'm posting most of my q's here.
I should state now, I 'would' have gone with a 3.2C, and want too.. but for $1100 Can. over $670 Can for the 3.0 it's not worth it imnsho.
Question 1 - Case:
I'm a freak over towers and pow. supplies, and I know that Antec makes awesome cases that ship with quality PS's. What do people think about the Aspire Turbo ATX cases w/450w Enermax PS? I'm thinking that with this system, the more juice the better.. but is the extra $53.90 for an Aspire case with an extra 20 watts in PS and the flashy dashy Side Window, at the loss of an additional 80mm cooling fan worth it (I really like the side panel and Fans on the Antec)?
Question 2 - Mobo (3 in 1 Question):
I've been really really really interested by the Abit IC7-G board, but for $7.70 less then the P4C800-Deluxe, is the work around for the mem. timings worth it?
I'll also have a home network happening between 3 systems, using DSL connection to the internet for all systems, which will be going through two-way Satellite connection in a couple of months. How badly will the loss of CSA-LAN (which is on the Abit board) effect me presently, and in the future in that respect (a lot, or not enough to even notice do you think)?
Question 3 - HDD's (ties in with Q#2):
I know, I'm wasting speed with an IDE drive.. but at present I'm not happy at all with the size of S-ATA drives, and I will not purchase Seagate products (bought too many bad drives from them). I'll be hooking into S-ATA drives in RAID likely a year or so down the road from now when WD has something more along the lines of 120GB's+ on the market. Until then, I'll be using my present system for work projects etc, and this new system strictly for gaming. So my question here is - buy the Asus now, for the stability/speed gains with the Corsair ram, and replace the board when I do go RAID, or do the work around, take the slight performance hit until new BIOS revisions come out for the Abit board, so I don't have to replace the mobo in the future when I do go with a system with a RAID set-up?
Question 4 - Sound Cards:
SB Aud.2 ext over SB Aud.2 int - is it worth the addtional $88.00 for the external? I'm using a SB Aud.1 ext. now, and I am still flipping the coin as to whether I want to keep it that way or not. I do like the way the external works, and I've never used/seen the internal version to know the differences between them. What are the pro's/cons?
Question 5 - Speakers:
For $253.00 more, are the Megaworks 510D's THAT much better then the Inspire 6.1's???? I love sound, infact.. I would seriously love to know what Altec-Lasing set compares to the Inspire 6.1's and the MW 510's if anyone knows.
That sums it up for questions.. if anyone wants to nit-pick on any of the listed items, PLEASE do.. I'm in my ranges (give or take 500 - 800 dollars which is fine) of what I 'want' to spend. I build these to go 5 years before a serious upgrade, so within 5k Canadian is acceptable. If you think there's something I have listed which I haven't asked a question about that could be upgraded to something better, let me know so I can weigh out that option. Especially as I'm not certain about that monitor yet, which will knock my current price down by 700 bucks. I will not be buying it if it's no better then my current Sony Trin. G400.
Your system looks real good for what you want to do. Going with Canterwood Mobo is very upgradeable. Thats if you want Prescott Cpu next year. That would be small upgrade price. That will last you for your 5 year upgrade. I would use Windows 2000 Pro. To much extra junk in XP that you don't need. Plus Longhorn due sometime 2005 Which is in year 5 year plan.
mobo Undecided between Asus P4C800DLX and Abit IC7-G I'm probably going with the Abit. Canada Computers doesn't have them in stock yet so i will price the Asus board - $278 (CC)
Memory - I couldn't make myself buy Corsair its just so expensive so i am probably getting 2 sticks Kingston Hyper-X 512MB PC3200 CL2.0 for $199 each (KCP). $398 total. I might get the PC3500 sticks for 30 dollars more each not sure yet.
Video - ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB DDR more info for $515 (CC)
Hard Drives - 2 Seagate 120.0GB S-ATA, 8MB cache for $219 each(one reason i want to go with Abit board)
Burner and DVD i already have Liteon 52X burner and Pioneer 16x slot DVD-ROM.
Keyboard & mouse I already have old mechanical IBM keyboard and Logitech mx300.
Case - Lian Li PC65 amazing case - $220
Power Supply - Antec Trupower 430W. BTW if you want that other case with the Enermax PSU go ahead and get it, Enermax make amazing PSU's every rig i own until this one has been Enermax. Only reason i am going with Antec is i have heard they are a little more quiet than the Enermax.
Floppy - I have got too many already going to use one of them.
Question1. I don't know much about Aspire case but i do know Enermax makes quality products and you can't go wrong with them.
Question2. Supposedly new BIOS is being released this week which will fix any mem. and the heat be showed to high. Since im getting the Seagate drives i will probably go with this mobo.
Question 3. Well unlike you i haven't had alot of problems with Seagate drives, to tell you the truth i have had every brand and make die on me, lol. I have no real favourites when it comes to HD's. What i like about the Seagates is that they are quiet.