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Need support on components for A64 System please!

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April 10, 2004 4:26:29 AM

Hi all,
I have just spent 20 minutes writing a very long post on this subject only for my IE to crash and it all to be lost, even from my copy. That is one of the many reasons I can't wait anylonger to move on from this ancient 98 system!

Basically I am a novice with computer hardware, however I have decided it is time to dive into the hardware world and start to learn a little more in this area. Where better to start than building myself (A much needed!) new system.

I am from the UK, and trying to find out just where it is actually best to purchase hardware from. I need to find out which online sales companies are cheap/reliable/good customer care. Any advice appreciated on this subject!

I have a budget of £1000 (Maxium +£100) and after doing some research in the past two days on the internet I am currently considering:
(Component/Provisional Selection/Found Price ->Thoughts)

Processor/AMD A64 3200+/£185
Depending on how my final system budgets ends I may just upgrade to the 3400+. However I think any kitty left to play with would go on other hardware.

Motherboard/MSI K8T Neo/£76
I know there are several others being recommend. Maybe you would recommend another above this, and could tell me the pros and cons of each?

RAM/1GB DDR PC3500/N/Haven't selected a brand yet...
PC3500 would be the best decision for my system on this budget I think? Or maybe it is PC3200, let me know your opinion. Additionally, I am aware that many people are saying buying from the likes of Corsair, Kingston, Kingshaw... isn't RAM based on specs and not manufacteurers? Isn't there any quality RAM providers outside the top price range manufact'?

Would I need ECC, dual-band or any of that other special type for my system?

Graphics Card/Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb/£237
I seen a basic Radeon 9800 with 256mb for a significantly lower price than this one. Would there really be a major difference in performance between the two cards now or in the future? What is your recommendation?

Soundcard/Creative Audigy2 ZS/£86
I was told by a few people Audigy is leading in the audio field out on its own, and it seems creative are the only active soundcard company? Maybe I just didn't find any alternatives yet.

Was wondering if their was a cheaper rival with a card offering the same stats for a lower price you would recommend, or if you thought I had made the right decision here.

Hard drive
Now this subject is also one I really need some help with. One guy I spoke to advised me to buy a 74GB SATI 10,000RPM hard disk. I will surely buy a SATI hard disk, however I wonder if I would be better buying a 160/200GB 7,200RPM SATI hard drive instead?

Would it have a significant effect on the performance of my system at the moment or in the future? Is so, how much and what would you recommend?

Afterall a 200GB 7,200 rps is still substantially smaller in price the 10rpm hard drive. Please note noise isn't a big issue, just aslong as it doesn't sound like morse code it shouldn't bother me too much? ^^

Case
There are so many cases. Mini, midi ATX, are they both suitable for my system? Is which you select just based on personal aesthetic preferance or are there real pros and cons to each? If so can somebody explain to me please.

A lot of these cases come with built on PSUs, I heard that it is quite important to have a half decent CPU, and its best to have 4watts for a system such of mine, is that correct, if not what would you recommend?

Would I need to purchase any additional fans or such, or are they usually contained with the casing? The heatsink fan and gel comes with the A64s I have been lead to believe, are they suitable until I decide ti overlock? (If I do..)

Monitor
After searching around I found a few TFT 15 inches for under £200. However I heard that all TFTs have a problem with ghosting atm and have been recommended to stick with a CRT for value for money and graphics, have I been told correctly?

Are there any monitors you would recommend? What is important, spec-wise in a monitor to make it good for gaming (Needs to be ok for infreuqent word processing tasks I do..)? Should I got for a 17 inch or 19 inch monitor with my budget? Would the difference in performance be noticeable if I used the same budget for a 17 and 19 and compared their performance?

Speakers
I have looked arround at the surround speaker systems offered. They range anywhere from £25 to £500, obviosly anything over £100 I haven't even considered on my budget.

What would you recommend and are any systems specifically known to work well with my sound card or are they all the same on that front? How much would you suggets I spend? I heard there was a creative surround system for around £70 too..

Other Stuff

There's a few other things I'd need as I am starting from scratch. I haven't been gaming for quite some years now as my PC isn't in the best way. Hence I have no idea about the PC gaming pad situation.

I am sure there are a lot of hardcore gamers here, I need to find a value for money, reliable and quality game pad which can cope with playing with all the latest games and stuff.

Ditto for a webcam, DVD-R(8x)W(5x)/CD-RW combo drive and cordless keyboard & mouse. There are so many around, so many places to look, I hope some experienced hardware experienced people could really help me out!

Any recommendations, suggestions are greatly appreciated people, I could really do with some help amd support!

Kind Regards
Calla

P.S: I really could do with an experienced mentor or two to speak with directly on MSN to help decide on my final hardware configuration and eventually when I purhcase my components to guide me on putting my PC together and getting it up and running! If you are not too busy and ready to help a novice, let me know :D 

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 10, 2004 6:01:41 PM

Nobody can give me some advice then I take it? :/ 

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 10, 2004 8:24:54 PM

I haven't built an A64, but there are few here that have.
The 3200 is a good choice-still have the 1mb cache
The Sapphire 9800Pro w/128mb is a best buy. Uses the R360 XT core. If you need better, so be it.
Geil, OCZ, HyperX, Corsair, all great, but since you won't be overclocking you won't need any better than PC-3200. Lower latencies don't seem to matter that much to A64's either.
I always buy Sony CD/DVD burners. Had bad experiences with others. Some like Lite-on and Toshiba.
10,000 rpm drives are extremely expensive, but they are faster. I would rather have 2X80gb 7200 in a SATA-Raid configuration than a single 160gb 7200, but the single drive might be faster.
If you can wait for the Nforce3 250 chipset boards, you will get GB lan, raid 0,1, and 0+1, plus a JBOD configuration and a built-in firewall right from the chipset.
You need to grab somebody that has built one for the finer points, but I don't hear anybody that has one complaining! Good luck!


"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
Related resources
April 10, 2004 8:43:40 PM

A64 3000+ is very little slower than 3200+ (2%-4%, not noticable at all), but costs much less. You can save some money here.

If you can wait few weeks, then you can buy nForce3 250 chipset based mobos, which are featurewise much better than current chipsets and more overclocking friendly.

Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB is the best card for you.

LiteOn SOHW-812S is my recommended DVD burner. Can burn to both + and - format.

------------
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April 10, 2004 10:44:47 PM

Well I have been out of the top end of gaming and PC specs for quite few years now, and being a hardware novice and with this due to be my first PC build I don't want to have too much to install.

I do plan to use it for storing audio and gaming, and I guess that a 200gb may be overkill? Maybe I could be better with two drives. Open to advice =)

You spoke about seperating my OS from my page file, wouldn't a partion do that more effectively? If I am wrong, please correct me (n00b alert :p ). Would there be any real advantages to that?

Infact another guy advised me of the following:

"10,000 rpm drives are extremely expensive, but they are faster. I would rather have 2X80gb 7200 in a SATA-Raid configuration than a single 160gb 7200, but the single drive might be faster."

I have heard a little of RAID, it is some type of connection right? But that's all I know (Or don't?). I have seen there are numerous types 0, 1, 0+1? If somebody could explain that to me please let me know.

Also if somebody could give me a general overview of the connection types (Assuming that's what they are?). How can I have a SATA-RAID connection? Would that mean bypassing the IDE and using a RAID connection?

Kind Regards
Calla

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 10, 2004 11:05:29 PM

Yay, some responses! Thanks guys =D

Firstly cybercraig, you said:

"The Sapphire 9800Pro w/128mb is a best buy. Uses the R360 XT core. If you need better, so be it."

I thought that all the 9800pro cards followed the standard ATI format for the motherboard? How much would that board cost? I seen a review for a 128mb Sapphire and I heard that its cooling system is *really* bad.

As I am a n00b and this would be my first PC build I wouldn't want to take anything on too complicated. I seen some reviews for a HIS 128mb graphics card, it seems to be a real bargain and the cooling system is seemingly excellent, ready to go for overlocking! Here's the link:

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...

What do you think? I think the bad customer reviews on a 128mb Sapphire where on the same site. Not totally sure. The customer reviews for this product are the most comprehensive I have seen to date also...

As for not overlocking, after considering it a little more I would like to have the option to do it in the future. As I said I am hoping to get my hardware/technical knowledge up to scratch, and by overlocking I could probably lengthen the time until my next hardware update.

I was hoping for 1GB of RAM, at a minimum of PC3200 but at my hard pressed budget for the things I require, going any further than that seems impossible? You also said:

"If you can wait for the Nforce3 250 chipset boards, you will get GB lan, raid 0,1, and 0+1, plus a JBOD configuration and a built-in firewall right from the chipset."

Sounds good, although I don't know or understand any of those features, could you enlighten me? I was also thinking that the Mobo's on release would be highly priced? I don't really plan on waiting anylonger than 4-5 weeks before getting started. Probably will order even earlier..

@Spitfire_x86: I am also considering that should it be needed that I go for the 3200+ due to budget after seeing the benchmarks. However the price differentiation isn't too big tbh:

Athlon 64 3000+ S754 512KB Box (£152.00 inc VAT)
Athlon 64 3200+ S754 1MB Box (£191.00 inc VAT)

Less than a £40 difference, the real step up is when you look at the 3400+ don't you think?

The isse with waiting for the new mobo's to come out is the waiting time, and also it always seem a major advancement of one sort or another is around the corner, and they are. It's hard to draw the line, but I see your point, are any official dates released yet do you know?

"+ and - format." I didn't understand that? Sorry for being such a n00b =)

Kind Regards
Calla

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 10, 2004 11:08:27 PM

Blah one of those responses was posted in the wrong reply. Sorry, ignore that one, kinda obvious which one I think =)

*Slaps himself*

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
a b V Motherboard
April 10, 2004 11:53:55 PM

If you're building on a budget, consider the ECS 755-A2. It's a basic stripped down, mid quality board with a better chipset than the K8T, at a low price.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
April 11, 2004 3:27:30 AM

Quote:
Less than a £40 difference, the real step up is when you look at the 3400+ don't you think?

The performance difference is not worth £40, at best £10.

There's two kind of writeable/re-writeable DVD disc in the market. One is (-) format, DVD-R and DVD-RW. Another is (+) format, DVD+R and DVD+RW. DVD-R is usually the preffered format for write-once DVD, because movies burned in -R is it's somewhat more compatible with stand-alone DVD players compared to +R. And +RW is preffered format for rewriting, because it's much faster than -RW.

If you have a burner that can burn to both formats, then you can enjoy the benefit of both formats. This is why dual format burners are much more popular. Though they still cost more than single format DVD burners, the price difference is relatively small considering the benefits. You can buy LiteOn SOHW-812S for only US $120.

------------
<A HREF="http://geocities.com/spitfire_x86" target="_new">My Website</A>

<A HREF="http://geocities.com/spitfire_x86/myrig.html" target="_new">My Rig</A> & <A HREF="http://geocities.com/spitfire_x86/benchmark.html" target="_new">3DMark score</A>
April 11, 2004 3:54:03 AM

Even though I plan on overclocking? It has the additional cache...

As for the combo drive, thanks a lot for the explanation. I will take a look into that!

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 11, 2004 4:01:23 AM

I thought that all the 9800pro cards followed the standard ATI format for the motherboard? How much would that board cost? I seen a review for a 128mb Sapphire and I heard that its cooling system is *really* bad.
___________________________________________________________


Yes, the stock Radeon cooling system leaves a lot to be desired in extreme overclocks. You can always slap on a Zalman heatpipe if you get to that stage. You would be running so damn fast anyway with a 3400+ set-up you may never feel the need to overclock ANYTHING. If you can wait till May you should see the new Nforce chipsets. They are worth waiting for. In the meantime, hit every "How to" web-site and start building your wish list and your knowledge base. You are going to spend $1200.00+ US, so make sure you get what you want! The Sapphire 9800Pro is $212.00 at NewEgg.

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
April 11, 2004 11:00:58 PM

Hi all,
Well basically after a few days of taking advice and researching around, I have some kind of idea of the components and hardware to be placed in my system, or at least a few options listed down:

Motherboard:
A) MSI K8T Neo (http://www.dabs.com/uk/productview?quicklinx=2R4M)
B) Chaintech ZNF3-150 Zenith (Availibility is an isse I think?)
C) ASUS K8V Deluxe
D) Abit KV8-MAX3

Case:
A) Super Flower SF-464T2-BK Rhythmic Black Case (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...)
B) Super Flower SF-464T2-S Rhythmic Silver (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...)
C) Superflower SF-702T1-BK ATX Case in Black
D) Quartz Series Silver (http://www.armadacomputers.co.uk/show.pl?product=1278&c...)

PSU:
Tagan TG480-U01 480W Silent PSU (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue...)

CPU:
A) Athlon 64 3200+
(http://www.dabs.com/uk/productView.htm?quicklinx=2SCF&f...)
B) Athlon 64 3000+
(http://www.dabs.com/uk/productview?quicklinx=2ZBL)

Graphics Card:
A) Hightech ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Iceq 128MB (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...)
B) Sapphire ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB (http://www.microdirect.co.uk/ProductInfo.aspx?ProductID...)

Soundcard:
A) Creative Audigy 2 ZS PCI
(http://www.dabs.com/uk/productView.htm?quicklinx=2S2R)

Hard disk:
A) Western Digital 200gb Serial ATA150 7200rpm 8mb Cache- OEM
B) Western Digital 36.7Gb 'Raptor' Serial ATA150 10,000rpm 8mb Cache (Will the extra rpm substantiate to lose over 100gb additional GB?)

RAM: Need 1GB of minimum PC3200

DVD-RW:
A) Liteon SOHW-812S DVD 8X +/- RW Burner

Leaving me with a measily £357 to find myself 1GB PC3200 RAM, a monitor, keyboard & Mouse, gamepad and if possible some speakers.. blah.. anyway, any recommendations are appreciated =)

Kind Regards
Calla

"Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present"
April 12, 2004 11:36:40 AM

Hi Calla
I have the following system all bought over the past six months and i can recomend it all bought from aria.co.uk

Motherboard/MSI K8T Neo £91

Processor/AMD A64 3200+/ £198

Memory/Corsiar PC3200LL 1GB £210

Hard Drive/ 2 x 36GB Raptors (in raid 0 array)£87 60GB IBM Storage

Graphics/Asus TD9900 Ge Force FX 5800 £230

Optical/Asus DVD reader, Lite on 52 speed CDRW, Pioneer 106 DVD writer

Tagan 480 PSU £60 (from scan.co.uk)


All prices inculde VAT

Hope this helps

Essjay
May 2, 2004 10:18:02 AM

These would be my recommendations:

MB - MSI K8N NEO Platinum Edition S754 <b>nForce3 250GB</b>,SATA,Dual-GbLAN,ATX,Raid @ £94.00

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0 GHz Socket 754, 1 MB cache, <b>OEM</b> @ £172.00

GPU - Sapphire Radeon 9800 Atlantis PRO 128MB AGP,ATI9800PRO,DVI-I,TV-Out, Lite-Retail @ £140.00

DVD Drive - NEC DVD-recorder ND-2500 IDE black OEM DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW @ £69.00

PSU - Q-Tec PSU ATX 550W Gold PFC Dual Fan PSU @ £41.00


Prices from <A HREF="http://www.komplett.co.uk" target="_new">http://www.komplett.co.uk&lt;/A>
!