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YIKES! Information Overload...Please Help

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June 13, 2004 5:05:43 AM

Hello all. I am planning to build a new PC to replace my old Dell Dimension XPS-R400 w/ 256MB RAM. I am still running Windows 98 1st Edition, so I am definitely behind the times. I have decided that it would be in my best interests to start from scratch instead of upgrading my old PC. I am a first timer at DIY PC building, and after spending a great amount of time reading all sorts of information both in print and online, I am just about as confused as I possibly can be about what components I should go with. Any of your opinions would be valued.

I intend to load Windows XP, but I have not yet decided on Home or Pro. Stability is most important. I will be using my PC mainly to manage a vast collection of digital photos using PS 5.5. I am a photographer, and I will be scanning numerous old photos. I also spend a great deal of time on the internet. I also will be managing a digital music collection, burning music CD's etc. I will be doing light gaming only, but I would like to have at least acceptable performance with mainly sports and auto racing games. Here are the system components I have chosen to start with:

CASE: Antec SX1000II VAR Series ATX Tower
PSU: Antec True 430
MOBO: Intel "D865GBFLK" i865G Chipset Motherboard for Intel Socket 478 CPU -RETAIL
PROCESSOR: Intel Pentium 4/ 2.8C GHz 800MHz FSB, 512K Cache, Hyper Threading Technology
CPU COOLING: Cooler Master Aero 4 Lite Model DI4-7J74F
VIDEO: Intel Extreme Graphics 2 on board
HDD: SAMSUNG 120GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model SP1213C, OEM
MEMORY: Kingston ValueRAM Dual Kits 184 Pin 512MB(256MBx2) DDR PC-3200
CD WRITER: Plextor 52x32x52 CD-RW Drive, Model PX-PREMIUM/SW

In time, I plan on adding a second and larger capacity HDD. I will upgrade the memory to 1 GB ASAP. I also want to add a DVD writer ASAP. I want a large case, as I plan to keep this PC at least 5 years or more, and I want to have plenty of room to upgrade as needed, so I chose the Antec. I have heard nothing but raves about Antec power supplies. I chose this Intel board for its stability and to save money by not having to buy an expensive graphics card right now, but I would like to in the future. I am not sure about the CoolerMaster and I have heard nothing but kudos for the Plextor brand. Total cost should be around $800 for this system as listed.

I would like to ask you ladies and gents in the know on this forum these questions: Have I gone wrong with any of these choices? Will the Intel on board graphics be suitable for my needs? If not, what AGP card should I consider for digital image editing and viewing? How about the Matrox Millenium P650 64MB 8X? I appreciate any and all opinions. Thanks.

Cheers
June 13, 2004 4:55:17 PM

The stock heatsink & fan are fine since you won't be overclocking with that motherboard. The Sapphire 9600PRO or XT would be a much better video card. You'll need at least 128mb to do the things you want to do quickly. XP Home is fine too. XP Pro has better network options that you won't be using.

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
a c 435 V Motherboard
June 13, 2004 5:03:28 PM

I would change the motherboard to the abit is7. I would also shop carefully for memory on pricewatch. You don't need to buy a dual channel package. Just 2 sticks that are the same brand and rating. Any of these other brands will work equally well: samsung, crucial, corsair, or mushkin. Fry's electronics has a cheapo best data mx400 nvidia card for $29.95 after rebate. It's better than any onboard video, and won't break your budget. I use it with my p4. The abit board will allow you to overclock later, and may actually have fewer problems with memory compatability. Finally, consider the retail boxed 2.8c. You'll get a 3 year warranty, and the heatsink is good enough for some modest overclocking. If the noise bothers you, I use a zalman "fan mate 1", and turn the fan rpms down to 2500, which will still give you adequate cooling.
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June 13, 2004 5:11:01 PM

I agree with o1die, dont get the intel board. An IS7 will do you just fine and will prob be cheaper. Good RAM is very important for stability esspecially in dual channel mode as this stresses RAM.
You can look on abit's site to see a list of memory that has been tested to work fine with the IS7.

XP home is a cut down version of pro, I doubt u will use the features of pro so just get home and save some cash.

If you want to play games that on board graphics is going to be useless. If you can find one buy a GeForce4 Ti4600 they should be cheap as chips now.

<font color=blue>P4c 2.6@3.25
512Mb PC4000
2x120Gb 7200.7 in RAID0
Waterchill KT12-L30
Abit AI7
Radeon 9800Pro
</font color=blue>
June 14, 2004 4:24:06 PM

I am very grateful to each of you that responded with advice.

I had seriously considered two Abit boards, the one recommended here, the IS7, and the AI7. I originally listed the Intel board, but will go with the IS7 as advised if stability is not an issue between the two. It looks to meet my mobo needs in all areas other than having to add a video card, but I was afraid the onboard video with the Intel model may not have sufficed anyway. These are the changes I will go with after taking into consideration the advice given here:

Motherboard: ABIT "IS7" i865PE -RETAIL

Memory: Crucial 512MB CT6464Z40B DDR PC3200 CL=3 Non-parity (x2) (recommeded by Abit on their website)

With the change to the IS7, will there be any need to add better CPU cooling if I decide to OC? Any recommendations?

I have some other questions, but I will go to the proper forums for those. Thanks again.
June 14, 2004 5:29:19 PM

I agree with the other guys, the Abit board is a better choice. You can't go wrong with the 865 chipset. I have an Asus P4P800 deluxe which alows you to turn on the PAT feature to make it equivelent to the 875 chipset. The Abit probably has the same. I highly doubt the intel board would have allowed that.

Crucial may not be the Overclocker's choice, but it's reliable and will work out of the box.

Like the other's say, skip the fancy hsf and just get the OEM P4 and use that. I'm not familiar with the case, but you may want to add a fan to make sure things stay cool.

On board sound will be sufficient, but on-board graphics are useless. The ATI9600 is sufficient, and should hold you over for a year or two. Or more if you're not hardcore.

Good luck with the build - the hard part is the research. Assembly is the easy and fun part.
a c 435 V Motherboard
June 14, 2004 9:58:37 PM

No need for better cooling. The stock Intel heatsink will keep your temps at 60 celcius or less for any realistic overclocking, and keep your 3 year warranty intact. Those warranties come in handy. I just got a replacement cpu from Intel after 1.5 years of overclocking. I use a zalman "fan mate 1" with my Intel heatsink to lower rpms to 2500, which still provides adequate cooling.
June 15, 2004 5:33:01 AM

I have that antec true power 430. I bought it after two generic power sources bit the dust. It is super quiet. I really didn't think that much about it after I put it in till I stood next to somone elses comp. Their computer was so loud I asked them what that noise was, lol.

I hear plextor is top notch. I looked up the drive you are planning on buying and it gets great user reviews. <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">plextor</A>

I also found this deal on new egg. I have seen no testing reviews but it gets great user reviews, any comments?
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">nec</A>

*I also have a question as to why pre-assembled computers often come with two optical drives. Years ago I assumed this was so one could "play" off of one drive and "record" on the other like recording a tape. I understand that generally this is an inferior method of burning a cd/dvd though. It is better to save to hard drive then burn the copy.
After that I assumed that it was to save the dvd burner use since they were so much more expensive. But now that they have come down so much in price, why have two? I guess some of the cd rom speeds are better in some cases when dealing with a cd. Is this the reason? Or is it just that old habits die hard? Why not one optical drive that does it all, like the nec listed above?*

comments?


I have been watching corsair memory over the past few months. This went from $208 in the winter up to $290 in April/May. Over the past month or so it has settled back down to $254. You can still get cheaper memory, but it doesn't seem like too bad a deal for a matched pair of 512 3200 ram (total 1024) <A HREF="http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product..." target="_new">http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...;/A> I have seen single 512s for around $84ish I think?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Zeekfu on 06/15/04 01:55 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 16, 2004 10:25:01 PM

Thanks for your comments, Zeekfu.

As for the second optical drive, It would just be an upgrade later to a "do-it-all" drive. However, I am going to look long and hard at this NEC that you pointed out. That is a heck of a price, which was the main reason I was going with just a CD writer to start with. The Plextor do-it-alls are pretty expensive, and I am trying to get this good quality system off the ground asap while confined to a pretty tight budget. Thanks again.
June 16, 2004 10:51:01 PM

Check if the samsung drive is 2MB cache. I would go for a hard drive with 8MB cache vs. the 2MB cache. Why not the hitachi SATA deal today at newegg?
From other threads the seagate sata is a very nice drive, but $$.
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