Everyone is raving about the nforce 2 boards. Msi seems to have the speed crown right now but the Asus board is about as popular. I would go with the A7N8X Delux by Asus personally but whichever you get make sure it uses the nvidia apu. That way your onboard sound will = an audigy 2.
the money you save with that board( the asus nforce2) and the on board sound that is more advanced than the card you were going to buy so you wont need to, you can get dual channel memory to go with the board with the money you save and have a pretty fast machine.
wow i didnt realize that the onboard sound was an audigy2 chip, is that correct?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by lumper on 06/02/03 00:53 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
I suggest any nforce2 based motherboard, make sure you get 2 256MB sticks of RAM so you can run in dual channel. Corsair XMS PC3200 (400MHz) RAM will do the trick if you're looking for good high quality RAM. The motherboard you get will have documentation on which DIMM slots to put the RAM in to make them run in dual channel. As far as that videocard goes, I would suggest an ATI Radeon 9100 128MB instead. I've heard bad things about the MX440. CPU-wise, you should get an XP2500+ for the extra L2 cache and overclockability, plus it's cheaper. The motherboard should support 200MHz FSB so that you can easily overclock the CPU to 200FSB. Make sure you're harddrive has 8MB cache. If you want to get a Western Digital, make sure it's a "Special Edition" drive to insure the 8MB cache. The extra cache just makes the loading and transferring of files faster. You are ok on the cdrw and dvd rom drives, Lite-on is a good brand so I hear. For a soundcard, the Soundblaster Live! 5.1 is a pretty old card and the Audigy 2 is well worth the extra money. If the motherboard you get comes with the nVidia SoundStorm APU use it instead of the Audigy 2. Otherwise, get the Audigy 2 card. So this is what I would suggest:
Athlon XP 2500+
ASUS A7N8X rev 2.0 or 200FSB (400FSB) supporting motherboard
2X 256MB Corsair PC3200
Western Digital 80GB "Special Edition" 7200RPM Drive
ATI Radeon 9100
Same CDRW and DVD drives
SoundBlaster Audigy 2 or nVidia Soundstorm (if it comes with the motherboard)
Hi! Seems to be a nice setup except a few things: the mobo you should buy ought to be equiped with the Nforce2 chipset. And should have the MPC2-T southbridge and use it (phew). Not all NF2 boards actually uses the built in super dolby sound! But these three boards does:
1: Asus N78X-Deluxe (get V2.0 or later)
2: Abit NF7-S V2.0
3: MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR
All the above ones utilizes the builtin APU-sound which is better than almost all separete soundcards you can buy and uses less CPU power than ANY other card including the very expensive Audigy2 cards!
Please, don't buy an MX card because they even aren't directX 8.1 cards and certainly not DirectX9 cards. If you are on a very thight budget then by all means buy a radeon 9000pro, or a 9100 or a 9200 (all DX 8.1 cards) or if you can afford it a Nivida 5200 or better.
I have taken into consideration all of your advice and have put together a list of quotes on components (all prices are in Australian Dollars). Im still unsure as to which motherboard or graphics card to purchase .... your help will be much appreciated. If the performance of the more expensive options are only fractionally better than their cheaper alternatives i would rather go for the cheaper ones as I have a limited budget. I have decided to use onboard sound. ANyway, here is the spec list:
Asus A7N8X Deluxe -- 270
MSI K7N2-DELTA Nforce 2 400FSB -- 235
Asus A7N8X-X–Nforce 2 400FSB -- 180
MOBO -- from what I know now -- all *can* have problems ... I'd go to their mfg sites and go onto the forums and research just a bit before buying. You'll see problems on each I bet ... I know, b/c, I bought the MSI K7N2G-L ... and it has some issues (But, they aren't "show-stoppers" for me anyway). But, I don't have enough experience on this mobo or the others to tell you which way to go.
Now, for Video -- I think some said to go with a Radeon 9100 ... I'd second that. I just bought one for a friend - except his was PCI - and it rocks. Very nice card .. and CHEAPER than what you're looking at if those are US $$ prices. Go get this one from NewEgg or take a look ... it's the bottom one and is 128mb/Radeon 9100.
As for a case, for $100 bucks or so -- you could get an Antec Lanboy that has a 300 or 350watt PS in it as well. I just installed my MSI K7N2G-L in it and it's nice. Just get some case fans too... it lacks those.
IC7-G 1.1| P4 2.8 800 | SLK900-U / 92mm Fan (AS3) | 2x512mb Corsair PC3500C2 | 2x120gb SG SATA RAID 0 | CM ATC201B-SXT | 520W | Radeon 9800 Pro | Audigy2