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Knowledgeable recommendations needed.

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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 11:34:04 AM

I just got the go-ahead to build a new system for the family, and I have opted to build an AMD system. With this said, I need recommendations for almost all the components.

I have decided to base the system on the 1.2Ghz AMD processor with the 133(266 effective) FSB, coupled with DDR RAM.

<b>Motherboard</b>: what is the most stable and performant DDR solution for the type of processor above? Stability is more important, though performance is not to be neglected.

<b>CD-ROM</b>: Performance and good(as opposed to best) quality

<b>HDD</b>: Maxtor or IBM? 20Gig minimum with good read and write times.

<b>Case</b>: From what I've read, it seems most people go with ATX cases. Any explanations and recommendations?

<b>Fans</b>: Case and CPU fans. Considering their importance, the performance:p rice ratio. Durability is desired.

<b>Graphics</b>: Looking at the performance:value ratio, I'm thinking Kyro II. I'm also thinking GeForce2 GTS. What would you go with?

<b>OS</b>: I'm familiar with Win 98SE. I'm trying to decide if ME would be worth it, considering that this system would be used <font color=red>extensively</font color=red> for gaming. Win98SE has proven itself to be stable and performant for <b>me</b>. I would go Win2k except for my siblings...they couldn't fix it if it went "broke".

<b>Modem</b>: I've already decided to go with US Robotics 56K internal modem. Living where I am (Burkina Faso), having the best modem can mean the difference b/w a good "net" experience or "god-I-want-to-break-something" experience.

<b>Sound card and speakers</b>: I don't necessarily want to go with the Creative that everyone seems to get as I'm trying to keep prices low. Good(not greatest) sound card is all I want. I'll grab "decent" speaker from somewhere :) 

<b>Mouse</b>: Going logitech here. Hoping to grab one of their 5 button mouse.

<b>Keyboard</b>: Microsoft egonormic keyboard--it's about time I start taking care of my hands....


It's a lot of recommendations, but I hope you pick and choose what areas you've the most experience in and not necessarily try to answer all. Community regulars, your recommendations are most welcome--the more the better as far as I'm concerned. :)  Thanks in advance.

A nice day to all.
June 8, 2001 11:50:11 AM

for ddr ram you will need a mobo that supports ddr. you'll also want one that uses the amd761 chipset as opposed to the ali magic chipset. the 760 is by far the most stable chipset currently for ddr mobos. that being said you've got a couple of options; there is the Biostar M7MIA AMD761 DDR ATX, asus A7M266, microstar MS-6341, gigabyte makes a couple of models ga-7dxr & ga-7dxr. the 7dxr comes with 2 ide slots to utilize the raid function, 0,1, has onboard Creative CT5880 4-channel audio and supports upto 3 dimm of pc1600,2100. as for hard drives i would definately go w/ibm and get the deskstars, the 60gxp models have been getting rave reviews. w2k is not the best platform if you want to use extensively as a gaming computer. hope this helps. you can check for the best prices for your componets on pricewatch.com. for other mobo considerations go to amds website and you can view their recommended mobos for use with their processors. hope this helps and the systems goes well.

life is what happens while you are making other plans
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 12:55:14 PM

Thank you! Your suggestions are noted and very welcomed.

From the features of the ga-7dxr's that you listed, they look like great buys. Only one thing left, where might I get reviews on them. Sh|t, they are looking really good...their integrated "Creative CT5880 4-channel audio" sounds like music to my ears :D 

IBM Deskstars are looking good--one recommendation so far (and counting)....

I can't disagree with your evaluation of W2k as a gaming platform. I do know that M$ didn't intend it as a gaming platform, but despite this, gaming developers are supporting it. Go figure, right? The consensus seems to be that W2k is not a good idea for older games. On the other hand, current releases, especially those that support W2k, have no problems at all.

A nice day to all.


Edit: Another reason why I'm thinking of going W2k is due to the increase stability and performace gained by going that route. Someone might argue, "Why don't you just wait for XP", but I'm afraid I"m hearing too many things that upset me about XP: (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2770516,0... -- read the comments, very instructive) I see no reason to keep supporting M$'s practices by going XP. It's good a lot of good things I'd LOVE to get, but my prinples must come first. Wish everyone else thought the same.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by readysetgo on 06/08/01 01:01 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Related resources
June 8, 2001 1:22:12 PM

i had posted awhile back in the motherboard section a post about the ga-7dxr to get input on whether or not it was a good board. look on page 33 of this section and look and the post entitled ga-7dxr mobos. also you can do a search on google.com that will return many hits on this mobo. it is the one that im going to use in my new system.

life is what happens while you are making other plans
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 1:44:42 PM

Hello, Heres some recomendations for ya...

Mobo- Personaly, I'm an Asus fan. I asked yesterday what everyone thought I should get for my new ddr/amd system, overwhelmingly it was the Asus A7M266 (unless you want built in RAID)

CD-ROM- I don't know what is a good CD-ROM, but I caan tell you not to buy the Creative 52X. I got that and its junk. Always overspins, always slams my cd around, bah!

HDD- IBM all the way. I have never heard a bad thing about the Desktars and I have heard a spew of rants about Maxtor.

Case- I like ATX cases cause they are larger then most, meaning you can move your hands around in them atleast to some degree without too much cussing and frustration. :) 

Graphics- I got the Creative GeForce2 GTS and I'm very pleased. I had a Matrox G200 before and my Quake3 FPS averaged around 27. The only thing I upgraded was the Geforce, average 70 FPS. muahahaha. And the colors are still rich and flush.

OS- If this is strictly for gaming, Win98se without question. I put Win2k on my system and loved, LOVED it. It's by far the best Microsoft OS ever made. EXCEPT for gaming. If games run at all, they are slower, not a smooth and tend to have more problems. Win98 may not be encredibly stable, but it's fast and sleak and runs games better then any other MS OS.

Modem- Personaly, I have a Courier 56k V.90 Everything external modem that screams (if a 56k modem could scream atleast) They arent THAT difficult to find, and IMHO are worth the effort and the money if 56k is all you can/want to have. If not, the internal U.S. Robotics is a nice and decently fast.

Speakers- THIS IS A GREAT DEAL!! I was reading in MaximumPC about their speaker review. They reveiwed the LabTek Pulse 727. They said they had to keep checking the box to make sure it was LabTek (they despise LabTek) but they said the speakers were awesome. So I bought a set. 45$ at best buy for 2 satelites and 1 sub-woof. and OMG! They sound great! MaxPC said if you get 2 sets (100$) they sound better then the top of the line 300$ set. A must buy IMO.

Hope that helps.

"He not busy being born is busy dying."
-Dylan
June 8, 2001 3:26:25 PM

Quote:
Speakers- THIS IS A GREAT DEAL!! I was reading in MaximumPC about their speaker review. They reveiwed the LabTek Pulse 727. They said they had to keep checking the box to make sure it was LabTek (they despise LabTek) but they said the speakers were awesome. So I bought a set. 45$ at best buy for 2 satelites and 1 sub-woof. and OMG! They sound great! MaxPC said if you get 2 sets (100$) they sound better then the top of the line 300$ set. A must buy IMO.

I couldn't find pulse-727 anywhere. Did you by any chance mean pulse-424?

<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 4:11:39 PM

I managed to triple-post. This is all remains of the 2nd of the 3--the first was deleted completely. Please forgive any confusions.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by readysetgo on 06/08/01 04:24 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 4:14:51 PM

Thank you for your post. I can see the new computer growing....piece by piece.

Ok, here what I've got so far:

<b>Processor</b>: 1.2Ghz AMD ($150)

<b>Mobo</b>: Asus A7M266 or Gigabyte 7DXR, final decision will be decided by checking reviews. 7DXR has upper hand right now due to integrated sounds or does Asus A7M266 have one as well?

<b>HDD</b>: IBM 75GPX or 60GPX. Final decision will depend on price.

<b>Fans and case</b>: Undecided yet. Will be doing more research on the fans, but I need some help with the case. First question, what are the types of cases out there and what are their differences?

<b>Graphics card</b>: Kyro II or Radeon 2 or GeForece2 GTS. Here, waiting for more recommendations. Kyro II has upper hand at the moment....performance and price advantage (< $150 I believe).

<b>Speakers</b>: LabTek Pulse 727(424?), only recommendation so far. $45? Wow, if they're as great as you say. Are they USB? Is it possible to get a set without the sub?

<b>Modem</b>: Sal_Paradise, you're introducing a new modem to me! Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'll be able to take advantage of the greatness of the Courier 56k V.90 where we are at right now. The telephone/internet infrastructure is lagging behind the greatest. So, pending reviews, it's 56K US Robotiks vs. Courier 56k V.90. More recommendations for either?

<b>OS</b>: Sal_Paradise, I'm not sure why your performance under Win2K is so bad, but from the articles I've read around, it seems like the latest drivers for W2K have decreased the performance difference b/w Win98SE and ME significantly. Only problem now with gaming under W2K is legacy games--which is anything developed BEFORE W2K in this case. But, since my siblings will be in charge of this computer, Win 98SE will be installed.

<b>Keyboard and mouse</b>: M$ egonormic keyboard and the 5 button, Logitech mouse.

<b>CD-ROM</b>: No recommendations yet. I'm thinking of getting a CD-RW. I don't think my family will get into the DVD era soon enough to warrant a DVD at this time. More so, the monitor we have now, IBM C51 13(.3?) viewable, isn't exactly something to rave about.


Sal_Paradise and jmycal, great thanks for your contributions so far. The two of you, I'm sure, are helping not only me but a lot of others needed the advice. Others, you're more than welcome to join in.

Prices will come in a later comprehensive post!

A nice day to all.

A nice day to all.
June 8, 2001 4:48:08 PM

<b>CASE</b> InWin or Enlight (I prefer InWin)

<b>DVD</b> Pioneer 16x slot or tray loader (I love mine) it is concievable that you'll be using DVD in the next year but the CD-Rom performance of this drive made it espcecially worth it to me

<b>MOBO</b> I'd stay away from Gigabyte as I've heard they have problems using video cards from other manufacturers the A7M is a better choice. If you have a little time to wait Abit will soon have the KG7-RAID. It'll be the best 761 based board in both stability and performance.

<b>SOUND</b> I don't think I'll buy an SB Live again I'm looking into Hercules now specifically the Game theater XP

<b>BURNER</b> plextor 16x is the best currently but I've never had problems with HP burners if you don't wanna go top end

<b>DDR RAM</b> make sure you buy from a reputable dealer. I love Mushkin although they're pricey their service and performance are top notch. They have CAS2 PC-2100 coming very soon, but they also have normal grade PC-2100. Do not go for PC-1600 as that is just crap (mushkin doesn't sell it anymore, very few places still do).

<b>Graphics</b> that'll be a tough one I like the Raedon's quality and the GeForce2's performance. I have both on two monitors cause it was such a tough choice.

<b>OS</b> Win2K, there a few games even those before Win2K that don't play. If you're stuck, do a dual boot, but Win2k's stability far outshines 98se. 98 is just crap code.

<b>Fan</b> if you've got the money to spend go for the noisecontrol silverado. It's $80 to get shipped to the US from Germany but damn it's nice to have a quiet computer

ps: make sure you are up to date on all drivers

Your Signature Sucks
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2001 4:52:54 PM

Yeah, sorry guys, it is the LabTek Pulse 424. Sorry, I suck with numbers. No, as far as I know you cannot buy only the satalites, but trust me, you wouldnt want to. The woof is what makes this system sound so good, and, the woof has it's own volume control so you can make the bottom end quiet but keep the higher ends up. And it doesnt use USB, it has a little jack that plugs into your soundcard.

(word of advice. with this system, open up your volume control and turn the volumes down low. then turn the speakers up high. That will give you a nice clean sound. If you have the volume on your computer high and you turn the volume on the speakers up, you'll get distortion, as with any speaker. Keep the preamp low and the main volume high for clarity.)



"He not busy being born is busy dying."
-Dylan
June 9, 2001 12:49:43 AM

I will try to avoid Logitech mouse. They do not work as well as microsoft's.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 9, 2001 3:11:11 PM

I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who is taking time out to post their recommendations. The process has moved along admirably well. After the first round of replies, I'm narrowed down my choices quite a bit.

1) <b>Motherboard</b>: I have decided to go with the AMD761 chipset. I think I'll be going with:

MSI K7 Master. ($145+) or the
Asus A7M266 ($166+)

Both are using the "VIA® VT82C686B" southbridge. *sigh* What to do?


2) <b>Processor</b>: I'm going with

AMD 1.2Ghz 266Mhz processor (~$142)


3) I haven't thought too deeply about my <b>graphics card</b> choice, but 3 options I'm thinking of:

GeForce GTS (which brand?) ($114+)
Kyro II (Hercules) or the ($99+)
Radeon ($68+

From the reviews, it seems the performance of all 3 cards are close. Kyro II has had great review and nothing bad has been said of their drivers. The Radeon is said to be a viable replacement for the GTS, right? Are there two versions of the Radeon? LE(didn't sell well in Asia?) and VE?


4) <b>Hard drive</b>: IBM won out(sorry crashman). I'll be going with the

IBM 75GXP(30Gig) ($125+)


5) <b>Modem</b>: I'll be going with crashman's suggestion:

Lucent 1646T00 chip modem.

Just have to find a quality modem using this chip. So far, it's proving hard to find--help...


6) <b>Sound card and speakers</b>. If the sound option with the card I go with is good, I'll skip the sound card. If not, I'll go with:

Aureal SQ2500 sound card ($49+)
LabTek Pulse 424 [speaker and sub sys] (~$$45)

Does anyone know any other cards, aside from the Aureal above, using the SQ2500 audio chip?


7) <b>CD-RW</b>: Plextor was the only recommendation I got. Might go with it.

Price for new drives: ($83+)

I don't know much about CD-RW's. Is there any good CD-RW that is cheaper?


8) <b>Case, Fans, PSU</b>: This is where I'm almost clueless. What I do know is that from suggestions:

a) ATX form factor case, front intake "valve", exhaust "valve" as well.
b) Min 300Watt PSU
c) Double-bearing fans last longer. Better performance as well?


9) <b>Keyboard and mouse</b>: Decided NOT to go with M$ egonormic keyboard afterall. I will have to look for a good keyboard. Mouse will be Logitech. Looking to get the:

iFeel Mouse, 3 button, ball-less mouse ($19+)

Has anyone had a good or bad experience(s) with this mouse? What keyboard are you using?


So far that's it. The parts are getting finalized, and if all goes well, shopping should start next week. Wohoo! *quietly crosses fingers.....and toes*



A nice day to all.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 10, 2001 3:52:09 PM

Sounds like you're on the right track. I have a couple suggestions based on my own experiences. I recently replaced an A7M266 with an Epox 8K7A and am very satisfied with the MB. It's faster than the Asus and cheaper too. Did you know the Asus MB has no multiplyer control? Doesn't matter if you're not OCing. Only negative I've heard about the K7 Master is one reviewer said he thought it was better suited as a server MB. Also, the MSI board has no fan on the north bridge...I think. I would definately recommend using a VGA board with an Nvidia chip on it and I would n't buy any of the "light" versions either. Especially if you're considering 3D gaming. I have a couple of GForce 256DDR boards. One from Creative and one from Leadtek. There's little difference in performance but I think the support is marginally better from Creative. Get a GForce 2 with 64mb of DDR if you still can. I've settled on an Enlight model 7237 case. I only wish I could find someone in town who stocks them. The freight is high on one box. I like the Soundblaster Live! very much. If you get the "value" version it's only about $40. I've had good service from my Aopen 12-10-32 burners. You can buy it without software for around $100. I've settled in on Western Digital HDDs. They're high quality, available everywhere and cheaper than most and easy to set up. I always suggest to people that they not rule out a track ball instead of a mouse. It's one of the best decisions I ever made. May I further suggest that the Kensingtom Expert series is the best available. Don't even consider one of their lower priced units. They're junk. I have a cable modem so I have no suggestions as to who has the best"dial up" modem today. My only thoughts are that you'll never go back to dial up accounts once you try broadband. So, that's my two cents worth. good luck.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 12, 2001 2:47:50 PM

I have a similar decision Msi K7 Master or Epox 8k7a. Which one to use with an Athlon TB 1.333 Ghz?

Are there any troubles with the VIA southbridge bug on AMD 761 chipset.

I decided on the MSI Starforce64 Graphics Card. Haven't bought it but i will, cause its a descent and quite cheap DDR GTS Pro Card.

Please help me with the "MOBO-decision"!
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 12, 2001 4:52:59 PM

Here's a review to look at:

http://www.digit-life.com/articles/roundup0105/index.ht...

For a friend of mine, I'm looking at the MSI K7 Master. If you've noticed, this is the board Tom uses for much of his benchmark testing with AMD. It also received a good review at the above website. I've posted here a few times and many ppl have recommended the Asus board. You're probably not going to go wrong either way. Maybe someone with the MSI board will post and say how they feel about the board.

As for the Pulse 424 speakers that have been recommended to you, that's a definite go ahead with me. I bought them when they first came out. Best investment I ever made for such a small amount. They will surprise the crap out of you.

Yes, Plextor is considered the best for a CD burner.

Case and CPU fans, might want to look at pcpowercooling.com. Not the best of the best but pretty quiet for a decent price. I have two of their silencer case fans and their AMD processor fan.

I have a Maxtor drive. Not bad I suppose. No major problems. A lot of ppl use WD.

I like the Enlight 7237 case.

I've read great reviews on the Kyro II.

Win98SE for games definitely. I'm not a gamer but my friends that are only use 98SE. Don't try it with Win2k.

Only other suggestion I have is a hardware based modem. If you rely on dial-up, winmodems will work but you don't get the best performance from them. Hardware based are more expensive but it's worth it if all you have is a dial-up connection.


NO, I will NOT fix your computer. And please, RTFM.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
June 13, 2001 1:56:52 AM

I don't think you could go wrong with either board. All the 760 MBs run pretty much alike I think. I am a little concerned about the fact that MSI left off a fan on their north bridge which all the other manufacturers put on. The AMD chip is known to run hot. I don't know of any problems using the Via south bridge. I've observed the workings of the chips on both my Asus A7M266 and my Epox 8K7A and fouind nothjing to complain about. The Asus MB is not overclockable so I would only recommentd it to someone not interested in OCing. My Epox has been running perfectly for about a week now. When I first bought the MB it had a bad BIOS and I spent a lot of time diagnosing that but the vendor replaced the MB and it's been fine since. I've never even seen one of the MSI graphics cards. I'v sure it's the same as the rest and so is OK. I think all the GeForce boards within a group are not enough different to warrant buying one over another on anything but price and support. I think MSI is a good company.
June 13, 2001 3:03:34 AM

I have a case recommendation and some ideas on fans. I have an Antec SX830 case that I love. It's well ventilated, has plenty of room to expand and is easy to get in and out of. It cooms with an Athlon certified 300Watt power supply, or you can order it with a 400 Watt or higher PS. It even comes with two case fans preinstalled in the back. Best of all, it's not an arm & a leg -- about $89. You can get cheaper, but I guarantee they won't come with the case fans or be as easy to work with. If you're in and out of your case regularly, this one is worth it.

A good source for both CPU Coolers and case fans, etc., is <A HREF="http://www.plycon.com" target="_new">http://www.plycon.com&lt;/A>. They even give the noise level of each cooler in "dBa".

Finally, I want to second the earlier recommendation for the Noise Control Silverado. See Tom's multi-cooler review in the CPU section of this site. I just ordered a Silverado myself to replace an effective but very noisy VanTec FCE 62540D (46dBa). If you want my existing cooler cheap, let me know. Here's the URL if you want to order a Silverado <A HREF="http://www.noisecontrol.de/international/oversea/order...." target="_new">http://www.noisecontrol.de/international/oversea/order....;/A>. It's expensive, but in the long run I think it will be worth it.


Ain't this fun!
June 13, 2001 3:38:44 AM

sal is exactly right about those labtech speakers.... i added some to a system i built... unbelievable for <$50!! when buying your cpu, make sure you get a retail/boxed one. i believe they say "axia" on them... they have the copper core and are MUCH better than any oem ones. also, i believe they are for 1.2Ghz + so you are all set.
!