Newbie First PC Component List, Please Review.

I recently posted on this board about guides for a first timer like myself and in that thread it was recommended that I post the system I am planning to buy and have all the experts here give me some feed back; so here it goes:


This system is actually for my father. He will use it mostly as a PhotoShop work station. He is an avid amature photographer and has been yearning for a better machine to use for photo editing. He might also do a little software development stuff (VB and SQL Server) on the side, but this is being built to optimize PhotoShop. He never plays games.


<b>Motherboard - Abit IS7 [$108]</b>
(This board received the best benchmarks for Springdale and Canterwood mobo's and is a lot cheaper than the P4P800)

<b>Processor - Pentium 4 2.4C [$172]</b>
(Seems to be a pretty good consensus on this CPU, I don't expect much debate)

<b>Memory - 2X Corsair 512 MB PC3200 CL2.5 [$97 per stick = $194]</b>
(PhotoShop is a major memory hog so I think a GB is reasonable. Went with CL2.5 because there is no plan to overclock)

<b>HDD (Operating System) - Maxtor 60GB 8MB Cache EIDE [$77]</b>
(I've heard conflicting opinions on the 8 v 2 MB cahce issue, but it seems likely to benefit system performance)

<b>HDD (Scratch Disk and Storage) - 2X Maxtor 120GB 7200 RPM SATA in RAID 0 [$125 per drive = $250]</b>
(This was recommended to me by a PhotoShop guru, these drives will be used mostly for caching all the huge files that are associated with PhotoShop workspaces. Access to these files is a major bottle neck for PS hence the RAID 0. Plus when you shoot hundereds of images a month lots of storage is good.)

<b>CDRW - Lite On 52x24x52 [$45.99]</b>
(Didn't put a lot of thought into this one, just seemed to be a good performance/cost ratio.)

<b>DVD ROM - Lite On 16x DVD [$34.99]</b>
(Same as above)

<b>Video Card - Matrox G650 [$158.25]</b>
(Everyone seems to agree that you can't beat Matrox for 2D and dual monitor support, both of which are important for this system. And he doesn't play games, so Matrox really makes sense.)

<b>Case - Antec Sonata [$110]</b>
(This is one part we can't decide on. He wants a case that looks decent but not wild like the Xaser. Also a front IEEE 1394 port is a big plus. And of course noise is a consideration too. PLEASE recommend some other cases if you know of a good one.)

<b>Power Supply - Antec True380 PSU [comes with Sonata case]</b>
(I hear the Antec PSUs are high quality and quiet. I think 380W should be enough, but then again the system does have 3 hard drives. Please advise if this is not a good choice.)

Total Price: $1,150.23

Cost is a consideration, but if there is a part that is deffinately better for the job, he is willing to pay for it.

Please give any advice/constructive criticism you can think of. These boards have been extreamly helpful in getting me this far and I'm sure I've still got a thing or two to tweak before I build it.

Thanks in advance.
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  1. i don't see any goof ups..

    Fear not lite-on drives...they actually contract drives for major companies including tdk and sony (to name a few)

    3 386DX-25's...12 volts...glue some ln2 and a wicked amount of overclocking and you get a willamantee minus 36 pins, 33.75 million transistors and a couple hundred mhz... :cool:
  2. This should help you in deciding on a case. Check <A HREF="" target="_new">this</A> and <A HREF="" target="_new">this</A>.

    My personal favorite is the <A HREF="" target="_new">Chieftec-Al01DB</A>because of its innovative yet simplistic design. I'm not a case-modder but I also like the Xaser from Thermaltake. My long-time favorite is the Chieftec Dragon and I'll probably get this case this coming Christmas.

    <A HREF="" target="_new"><font color=blue>My System </font color=blue></A>
    <b><font color=blue>VAGABOND<font color=blue></b>

    <b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
  3. Thanks both of you for your input.

    Anyone else see any room for improvement?
  4. heya 12th_man;

    It looks pretty good to me, although i do some advice for ya.

    For your OS/programs drive i would recommend paying close attention to the average seek time, as it will affect performance significantly, you want to look for a drive at 8.5ms average seek time, i would recommend an Seagate specifically for this reason, they offer an 80GB in your $80 price range that meets this requirment (its actually less money then the WD) the drive is also quieter, if your interested in that sort of thing.

    Seek times are also a concern for the storage drives as a 120GB drive is fairly large and he is going to want to access files quickly, Seagate also offers the 120GB drive in the 8.5ms version and its also less money then the WD. Ya cant beat a Seagate Barracudda when it comes to performance/quality vs cost.

    Also i would recommend Crucial Memory over Corsair for this aplication. Crucial is the industry standard and you wont have any problems with it at all. Use their handy memory selector.

    Lite on drives kick ass, i just bought a DVD drive and not only is it quiet, but they use a space saving design, which comes in handy for those smaller cases with a big ass video card in em.

    As far as the case goes, hes obviously not going to any lan parties, so look for pure functionality over design, there are many offerings, but for some good ones see Toms Case review.

    As far as power supply goes buy the case without the PSU, and just get a Fortron TRUE 350 or more, it wont have any troubles powering his rig. Whatever brand you buy make sure you get a True power PSU, this is mainly why i recommend Fortron cuz they got power just oozing out of the box, often times they output even more power then they are rated at.

  5. Nice Setup, should serve you well. The Lite-Ons will be solid. I think the Corsair memory will be fine, although I am a bit of a Crucial "fanboy". It has never been anything but rock solid and the Customer Service/Warranty is unmatched. I'm surprised noones come on telling you that you're an idiot for getting a Matrox VC. Are the 650s out?
  6. Thanks for the input. I'll probably switch to the Crucial.

    As far as the P650's, I thought googlegear had them because they are listed there, but it says they are out of stock which probably means it will be a little longer before you can actually get them. I might set it up with a cheap PCI card to start and then add the Matrox in a few weeks.

    As for being called an idiot, I think that most people realize that if you have absolutely no need for 3D graphics and a very high need for 2D performance and top notch dual monitor support you can't beat a Matrox (at least that's what all the reviews say).
  7. I don't know about the crucial switch, i love my Corsair memory...

    anyway, i have the Lite-On and it is one beautiful performing drive.

    Basically it looks like you have a killer setup.. good luck and personally i like Lian Li cases... Clean cut look, very easy to upgrade and work in.. comes with a nice amount of fans, but yes Lian-Li's are a bit pricey, but i say you pay for what you get!

    good luck..

    Asus A7N8X Deluxe
    80gb Maxtor
    Lian-Li PC-60
    Lite-On 52X
    AMD XP2800+
    LeadTek GeForce 4 Ti4200 w/vivo 128mb 8x
    Hitachi CML174
    1 GB Corsair XMS PC3200 Cas2
  8. if you want to save a few dollars then try the lite-on dvd/cr-rw combo drive ($65 @ newegg). i have one on my spare machine and it works fine.
  9. If you want a nice case get the Antec PlusView 1000AGM. It’s as tough as rocks and comes with a neat side window.

    Do you really need serial ATA? Its much more expensive then regular IDE cable Hard Drives, and they do not give that much of a performance boost (if any).

    Like that guy said above, get the Seagate HD's. I have to put my ear right up to the case to make sure its working right as it's so quite!!!!
  10. i don't know about seagate.... Hard Drive area i say stick with either Western Digital or Maxtor.

    Asus A7N8X Deluxe
    80gb Maxtor
    200gb WD 8mb cache..
    Lian-Li PC-60
    Lite-On 52X
    AMD XP2800+
    LeadTek GeForce 4 Ti4200 w/vivo 128mb 8x
    Hitachi CML174
    1 GB Corsair XMS PC3200 Cas2
  11. 2 big reasons for SATA:

    First, I've heard thr RAID 0 setup is really helpful for PhotoShop and this board only supports RAID with SATA.

    Second, if I'm not wrong (please correct me if I am) you can only run a total of 4 IDE devices, 2 master/slave pairs right? I'd like to stick w/ separate DVD and CDRW drives becasue performance is a little better and it makes copying CD's twice as fast. When you add the OS drive and the RAID drives that's 5 total drives, 1 too many.

    Even if the IDE controller could support 5 drives, wouldn't it bog down more with more devices? Seems like there would be an advantage to balancing the loads on the SATA and IDE controllers.

    Again, I'm just a newbie so please let me know if my reasoning is way off.
  12. true...ide can only support 2 drives per channel...

    Cd copying on the fly works better when the drives are on diffrent channels...

    If i put my k6 in a Ferrari it would be faster than your your pentium 4 or Athlon XP :tongue:
  13. Dude, go with dual raptors striped raid 0. If you can afford it, get a 200gb or 250gb hard drive also just for picture storage. Definitely get Corsair ram as memory performance will help in that application. In my photo and digital video editing machine, I have 2x raptors(striped) and 2x WD 120 sata (striped)for storage and a few other less frequently used apps.
  14. WD's are the best all round drive. In addition, they come with a 3-year warranty.
    It depends what you are looking for. Seagate’s are reliable and quite. Maxtor offer the best performance along with excellent customer service. Which unfortunatlay maybe needed as there the most unreliable of makes.
  15. to add to your post...

    Ibm makes great drives too...however they have a very aukward and non the less BAD costumer service policy...if your drive fails...they give you a refurbished one...which i have heard normally fails after some it turns into a cycle of hard drive falures!!

    If i put my k6 in a Ferrari it would be faster than your your pentium 4 or Athlon XP :tongue:
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