Building budgeted dream machine

Hello all.

Basically Im about to sell my computer to a friend and buy a new one. Of course I am gonna build it myself, but I havent been paying much attention to hardware for the past few months and now Im checkin this all out again and boom, everything has changed. (ah, the technological world)

Anyways, I would like some advice on what to buy and what not to buy. I'll give you an idea of what I am looking for.

First and foremost, I am a gamer. So, performance, performance, stability, performance. :) In that order.

I want an AMD system, but I hate VIA chipsets. I heard something about AMD designing a new chipset that is supposed to rock. I dunno, maybe a fairytale, I havent checked enough. Anyways, I want an amd cpu, probably a 1800 xp, but again, I havent done enough checking to truely understand what the xp has to offer as opposed to an athlon.
I am not sure what mobo to get. I prefer Asus, I don't like aBit, and I have heard lots of good stuff about ePox. Any suggestions and explanations there would be greatly appreciated.
Sound Card... I plan on making my computer into a small at home recording studio, I am saving up for a Karma Synthesizer, I have butt loads of audio software, and I dont know squat about soundcards. Again, suggestions and advice more then welcome.

Video, is there types of geForce3 cards, or is there only 1? I have a GeForce DDR right now, when I bought it I was told it was a geforce2 card, but now I am finding that it's not, I dunno. Suggestions, explanations, u know the drill. :)

Case. I want a full tower. it doesnt have to be colored, I plan on painting it up myself. but it has to be big, spacious, and nicely shaped. :)

PSU. I want the best. I am willing to pay good money for a high end PSU as I have a crap one now and I have realized how very important they are. So pls, point me in the direction of THE psu.

RAM. Micron DDR. Top end. Don't know the specs. I know how to install hardware, and I know how most stuff works, but I suck at the names and the specs and deciphering what they mean. So again, whats the best Micron DDR ram?

Cooling, I am all but sold on the Swiftech water cooling system. Dunno the name, but I like what I see, not to mention my system is SO loud now, I have 4 fans, The cpu fan and heatsink being an Alpha, and my box is open. I think stealth would be cool.

Anyways, while I have a ton more questions, Ill save those. I think this post has been long enough. Any more questions and no one will read long enough to respond. :)

Anyways, thx in advance.

BTW, my budget is in the area of 1000$, but that is negotiable if need be. :)



"He not busy being born is busy dying."
54 answers Last reply
More about building budgeted dream machine
  1. 1. MOBO: Two fastest chipsets on the street right now are the Via KT266A (don't forget the A - big peformance jump from KT266) and SiS735. The only board right now with the SiS735 is Elitegroup (ECS) model K7S5A and it goes for around $55 online. Well tested, very stable, and almost everybody that's using the board is happy. KT266A boards have been on the streets less than a month, so there hasn't been a whole lot of time to hear about stability issues or complaints from people in the forum. Because the KT266A is basically a revision of a tested chipset, there may not be a lot of issues. There are currently 4 boards on the street with the KT266a:
    Shuttle: AK31A - $89
    ePox: 8KHA+ - $113
    MSI: K7T266 Pro2 - $117
    Gigbyte: GA-7VTXH - $101
    Check out the manufacturers sites for features that you are looking for in your mobo. Any of these options will give you great performance with the AMD XP processors.

    Video card: There are multiple types of GF3 cards now - nVidia just released the Titanium series. There is an article on Tom's site under the graphics card section. The fastest GF3 right now is the GF3 Ti500. There is considerable debate on whether or not it is faster than ATI's Radeon 8500. Ti500 will cost you $320 and up and the 8500 is expected to cost around $250.

    Enermax makes a great PSU.

    Micron RAM from is great RAM. The PC2100 is DDR, $33 for 256MB CAS2, and has free 2nd day shipping.
  2. hello, here is a link that will give you the best places to check on I hope you will go their before you do anything
  3. thx guys

    So far, what I have decided on is...

    mobo- Epox 8kha+ I checked the website, seems to have everything Im lookin for, and I have heard lots of great things about them and it's about half the pirce of an asus.

    cpu- still undecided as to which amd xp to go for

    Video Card- With have to do some more research into the ATI card, however, I imagine with NVidia being as big as they are, that Ti500 will have better support. But still undecided although leaning towards the Ti500

    PSU- I have heard about enermax, however my dad was showing me a PSU that friggin rocked! Ill have to get the name from him and check that out again.

    RAM- 2 sticks of Micron 256 Meg DDR 2100

    Case- ?

    Sound card- ?

    so right now the 2 decideds are the epox and the ram, totaling 180$ Pls keep the suggesions coming, not only is this exciting and helpfull, but Im learning alot. Thx

    Damn I love this website


    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  4. oh yeah, also forgot.

    cooling- leaning towards the swiftech watercooling system, but still not sure. Any suggestions? Also, if u use water cooling on your rig, can ya offer me some opinions? I have never had nor ever seen watercooling in action, would like to know pros and cons

    also, would 2 sticks of 256 ddr ram be better, worse, or the same as 1 stick of 512?

    thx in advance

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  5. i think that the watercooling is good, dont have one myself, but have seen one...and i have to say that the one i saw was awesome, and cooled the cpu well...and was a cool looking one...
    a blue waterblock, and a radiator...
    made almost no noise whatsoever...
    another option that you might look into as far as near silent cpu cooling goes is the zalman cpu cooler...
    <A HREF="http:// " target="_new">http:// </A>
    it has a fan, but the fan runs slower, so quieter, and as far as the athlon xp goes, you might be able to run with no fan...but i would check in on that if i was you, because i am not sure about that...i do know that these coolers dont transfer vibration to the cpu, and that is better for the cpu life, and the thing looks friggin awesome!
    either way, you will be running near silence...
    and as far as the ram goes, get it from crucial, but as far as the 1 stick or 2 sticks goes, i dont know...i would personally get one if you want 512 because it would leave the other ram slots open for expansion in the future, like if you need more ram for a certain program...
    i hope that you have fun choosing the stuff, and then building it...
    also, as far as cases go, check out enlight...their full towers, seem quite full, and look nice, and i dont know but i am pretty sure that they dont have colored cases...
    i myself am getting a mid sized en-7237...i like that case bezel design, simple, and i can do some dremel cut-outs on the side when i feel like it...


    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  6. If you hate VIA, then why aren't you considering the ECS K7S5A? Especially since you want a "budget" system and you can get the board for $55-60?

    "There's no such thing as gravity, the Earth just sucks"
  7. Leadtek has just released its mobo with the SIS 735 chipset, and it's better than the ECS board. There's a review of it on Highlights: Overclockable (yeah!), performance equal to or greater than the Via kt266a reference board (and defiantly better than the ECS mobo performance). Disadvantages: It's new, so stability issues are unknown. Limited availability. More expensive than the ECS board.

    You might want to wait until the new nVidia chipset mobo's hit the streets at the end of this month/early next month. I would recommend the nVidia 220-d chipset. It's got great onboard sound (Dolby digital anyone?) and performance roughly equal to the kt266a chipset, just don't use the on-board video. The main advantage would be that you could use the on-board sound until you get your high-end soundcard. The main disadvantage is that this is a new chipset with unknown stability/compatability issues.

    As for the RAM, I would probably go with 1 stick of 512 megs, and I would also make it pc2700 or pc2800 (using a 166 mHz system bus, also known as pc333).

    Video card: either GF3 ti500, GF3 Ultra or ATI Radeon 8500. Be aware that ATI's drivers are not good right now. Also according to Tom, they don't work well with Win XP. If they sort out the drivers, the Radeon will likely outperform the GF3 ti500, but ATI has a bad rep when it comes to drivers. It's a gamble.

    If you go with GeForce, the brand name doesn't matter. GF cards from different manufacturers all perform with 1% of each other. Get the cheapest card that has the features that you require, and ignore the brand name on it.

    New ATI drivers are supposed to be out at the end of the month. It might be a good idea to wait until then. Read Tom's review that was just posted today.

    CPU: Although the Athlon XP 1800 is very good, and will out perform all current P4 CPU's, I would still go with the older Athlon 1.4 simply because it's cheaper and almost as good (just slightly outclassed by the P4 2.0G). Don't forget that the XP 1800 is actually running at 1.523 gHz, so a 1.4 ain't too far behind, and is less than half the cost.

    Case: Can't go wrong with an Antec case. I recommend the Antec SX1030 or SX1040 'cause their frogging huge. The Antec SX830 or SX840 would also be a good choice.

    Power Supply: Enermax is the best, but Antec is a close second. If you get one of the above cases you'll also get a butt-kicking Antec PS included.

    Soundcard: SB Audology (I may have mis-spelled that). Was there ever any doubt? If you're planning on replacing it then go for a SB Live until you can afford the new card.

    Anyway, that'sjust my $0.02.

    Knowan likes you. Knowan is your friend. Knowan thinks you're great.
  8. MB: Get a good SiS735. MSI, maybe?
    Sound card: Hercules Game Theater XP. I love <A HREF="" target="_new">mine</A>.
    Video: GeForce 3 (original, Ti200 or Ti500), or Radeon 8500
    Case: Antec SX1030 (I think that's the right model) ~$100
    PSU: Enermax, high wattage
    RAM: Crucial
    Cooling: You can get water cooling kits for around $100

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  9. RAM: I would look at the Corsair DDR Ram as they have some 2400 speed RAM at CAS 2 as opposed to most others that only run at 2.5 (slower). The CAS rating can make a lot of differnce in performance in gaming and other applications.
    The PC2400 CAS2 memory from Corsair isn't that much more than the 2100 CAS2.5 from Micron, and has as good of a reputation as Micron.
    VIDEO: Take a look at the GF2 Ti Xstasy 6564 from visiontek for 138 bucks, has some very good memory bandwidth, kinda like an Ultra but at half the price.
    My 2 cents. Good Luck, Take-Out

    God Bless New York<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Take_Out on 10/16/01 04:41 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  10. Wow, lots of replies, thx alot guys, you have no idea how encredibly helpful this is, and I know u guys get alot of "building new system. HELP!" type posts, so thx for goin through the routine again 4 me. Im havin fun! :) Hope your feelin half my excitment. never had the $ to buy and build a complete system before. Only pieces at a time.

    Anyways, I have several questions.

    1) Can someone give me a link to a websight that really explains the difference (or the lack of) between the athlons and the xp's? Id appreciate it because if other then running slightly cooler, there is no real difference with the xp, Ill save big $ and get the 1.4 Ghz athlon as was suggested.

    2) Mobo's. Before I came to this post I was reading crashman's post about fvck VIA. I never liked Sis, but apparently they are makin better chips now. Only problem is, I have experience with Asus and Abit, asus I like, abit I dont, and I have heard LOTS of great things about epox. Havent heard much about ECS or MSI. Granted, as I said before, I havent been doing much paying attention to hardware in the past few months, so maybe Im out of the loop. HOWEVER, I have heard great things about the Nvidia chipset, and especially if I get the Geforce3, that chipset would prolly be the way to go. Again, if someone could direct me to a website explaining Nvidia chipsets a little more, who will be using them on their mobo's and when they plan on coming out, Id appreciate it. I dont like to spend my hard earned money to be a guinea pig for new products. I learned that gaming. When things go public, that is usually the final beta test in my eyes. So Im a little worried to be buying a new technology like nvidia chipsets, but man I hate via.

    Case, I checked out those antec cases. They seemed pretty nice, but I would like to find one w/o a PSU so I can buy my own. I am currently VERY pumped on the importance of top end PSU's, and Im only runnin an old cele 366 @550. I can only imagine the importance when I run a powerhog like the athlon.

    Sound cards, I checked out the Hercules, That looks SWEET. however I havent checked in to that SB that was mentioned. (sorry for not droppin ur name guys, but unfortunalty I cant reply to the whole thread, so I cant go back and check names. my appologies.)

    Video, I did more research today, seems that ATi is renowned for terrible drivers to terrific cards. So Im sold on the GeForce3 Ti800. Thats the right name right? I want THE best vid card. I have never had a high class machine. I have always had machines that were top of the line 3 years ago. I want people at to drool a little. :)

    Anyways, again, I REALLY REALLY appreciate all this help, input and advice. Im glad you guys take time out of your day to help newb's like myself. I know a lot about a little and a little about alot. I get the main ideas and understand the generals, but details Im not sure of and names and specs I suck with. Put a FPS before a number, Im right with ya. :)

    And oh yeah, thank you for reading my long ass posts. My friends call me Chief Long Wind. :) hehe. For good reason.

    as always,
    thx in advance

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  11. BTW, I didn't mention this before, but I have a passionate dislike for Creative. Their speakers and MP3 players are good, but the sound cards have caused me more problems, and been worse quality than any other brand I've tried (even Philips, and they were pretty bad).
    High CPU usage, bad drivers, poor sound, etc.
    Ask around, plenty of people share my distaste.

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  12. Just one thing to say MSI boards are about the most stable overclockers I've ever seen or used. I highly recommend them to everyone.

    When I go into a computer store I lose all means of reason for some reason.
  13. I can't find any CAS2 DDR from Micron.... I got an e-mail on Oct. 1 from Crucial/Micron about DDR2100 CAS2. Said they were not expecting any soon but CAS2.5 was fine. But if performance is a key issue you could wait for some or bug the crap out of them to see if they could get you some. CAS2 is faster but only on the burst side. But every bit helps.

    I like to take my wife out for a romantic dinner…Sometimes I even let her Supersize it!! :lol:
  14. Ok, here's what you do. Take all of the money you were going to spend on your system. then go and buy a bunch of scratchers tickets. You should come out ahead. Then you can buy a real dream system.

    Nice <b><font color=green>Lizards</b></font color=green> <b>crunch</b> Trolls cookies....... :smile: Yummy!! :smile:
  15. Definately <b><font color=red>DO NOT!!</font color=red></b> buy the Zalman... That is not even an option. Water is good but watch the for leaks....can you say ouch get yourself another $1,000.

    If you are looking for air cooling alternatives then stick with the Alpha PAL 8045, ThermalRight SK6, Kanie Hedgehog or its big brother when it comes out the Hedgehog W (Wing). Make sure you have a good CFM fan with any heatsink that you by. (Deltas are good for CFM but can suck in hamsters and other small rodents...not to mention they are loud.)

    Here is a web-site that, if you are up to it, might help you in dramatically decreasing your internal case temp.

    Some ot this guys ideas are extreme but the do work.

    I like to take my wife out for a romantic dinner…Sometimes I even let her Supersize it!! :lol:
  16. wait...what is wrong with the zalman?
    does it not work at all or something?


    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  17. NVidia Chipset- To my knowledge, only comes with an on-board (read unchangable) video card. This is ok at first, especially if it is GF3, but when the nice GF5 comes out with 20Gbs of memory interface, then it is the pits, cause your AGP board has no AGP slot, it is hardwired.
    ANTEC Cases- Use the available PS from Antec, they are among the best in the world for the price. They have features that almost no other cards have, for any cost. So consider them, if you will.
    Athlon VS XP- Athlon is a bigger size die, so it is not as updated as the XP, there are HARDWARE changes that we are only just beginning to be informed about, since they want to deplete the stocks of Athlons. Although the Athlon is one fine processor, also.
    My $.02, Good Luck, Take-Out
    PS: Love Dylan too, "If you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose" , which is, by the way, the difference tween a Republican and a Democrat. Kidding. Listen to "Gates of Eden" if you haven't already, my favorite.

    God Bless New York<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Take_Out on 10/17/01 04:44 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  18. False-nVidia provided an AGP port for upgrades. It is up to individual manufacturers whether or not they want to include it. My guess is that most of the good manufacturers, such as Asus, Abit, MSI, etc. will include an AGP connection while many OEM suppliers may or may not, depending on the target price of the system.

    Back to you Tom...
  19. I recommend the SiS 735 chipset. The new Leadtek board loos promissing, the ECS board looks passable. Both outperform the AMD761 equiped high-performance motherboards.

    Back to you Tom...
  20. maybe crashman knows what is wrong with the zalman heatsink...
    i have heard good things about it...
    and it is near silent.....


    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  21. The coolers:
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    The Verdict:
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    The comparison:
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    Overall not too good for Zalman fanatics, sorry.

    Back to you Tom...
  22. Man I love u guys, so much info. :)

    ok, so far...

    Case- If I decide to go with Antec, which seems to be the common suggestion, it is a debate between the sx1040 file server, which seems pretty cool, or the sx1240 full tower, which looks friggin huge and would satisfy any male pride issue. :) Both come with the same 400wt power supply which, as u guys r telling me, is a good one. Unfortunatly my lack of knowledge shines through when I look at the specs, so I have to take someone else's word. But I trust u guys. :)
    SX1040 191$ from website 111$ from pricewatch :)
    sx1240 219$ from website 149$ from pricewatch, hehe

    Mobo- Still up in the air. I know Crash is suggesting the LeadTek board with the SiS chipset and he is very reputable, but my only reservation being I dont know much about LeadTek. And everything I have read about the Nvidia chipset sounds great. So a few questions about the mobo.
    1) How long do u predict it will be before Asus or Epox is making boards with NVidia chipsets, or will they? How long would I have to wait do you guess?
    2)Crashman, if u had to buy a mobo, knowing it would be awhile before u could afford to buy a different one, would u go with Sis or Nvidia and why pls?

    CPU- Up in the air right now between the Athlon 1.4ghz or the xp 1800, depending mostly on how much money I have left after everything else and also how much more the xp has to offer. (read somewhere amd prices r dropping again come Oct 25th.)

    Video- GeForce3 Ti500. Yup. Im sold. The ATI card looks nice, but I just dont trust ATI's driver making abilities.
    320$ from pricewatch, retail, 1 yr waranty

    Sound- While I liked what I saw with the hercules, and I like the underdog, non SB sound cards tend to have poor or non existent drivers for other OS's such as Linux. And when I went to the Creative website, they were goin on about how the SB Platinum is perfect for home studio work, which I intend to do. So hopefully that doesnt mean they pack a crappy card with crappy recording software. We'll see. Ill check some reviews.
    SB Audigy Platinum- around 75$ on pricewatch, depending on package

    Cooling- hhmm, while I would love water cooling, Im just not sold yet. I might just start out with fans and move to water later. I have some time so I'll have to do some more research. Opinions would be great on this area.

    CDRom- Plextor 16x/10x/40x
    163$ from pricewatch

    Ram- Crucial Micron 1 stick of 512 Megs DDR 2700 or 2800, although Take Out was offering the Corsair. Can someone explain a little bit about what CAS2 vs. Cas2.5 means to me? Id appreciate it. Half the fun in this for me is the learning. (Did I mention I love u guys?:)

    Went to, the only type I saw was DDR 2100, and the biggest was sticks of 256. Any idea why?

    Went to Corsair, best I saw was the DDR2400, and again biggest stick was 256.

    At this time Pricewatch got so unbearably slow, even with cable modem, I had to stop looking and wait till later at night.

    ok, so, using the higher priced of any 2 selections, we have
    149$ + 320$ + 75$ + 163$=


    That would be for The Antec sx1240 full tower 400 wt power supply, the GeForce3 Ti500 and the SB Audigy Platinum. All from Pricewatch.

    that means at almost 3/4 of the waythrough the budget (which, odds are will be strectched slightly) I am still missing a Mobo, a CPU, RAM and cooling. not to mention shipping asuming I go through pricewatch.

    man, i just can't wait. :)

    p.s. the song right after Gates of Eden is It's alright Ma (I'm only bleeding) which is one of my fav's. but I cant pick just one dylan song. That would be like picking just one supermodel for a one night stand. I want em all! :)

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  23. 1.) NVidia isn't released yet. How long can you wait? Who knws when the board will come out, it should have been out MONTHS ago, but now it looks like November at the earliest. Plus you should wait at least two months after a chipsets initial release for all the bugs to be found.
    2.) If the SiS and nVidia chipsets had the same reputation and same performance, the nVidia, because it comes with the PC industries most powerfull sound processor. But it takes a while to proove a chipset. So unless you plan on waiting until next year, SiS is you best choice (it's already proven).
    3.) If you really do plan on waiting for the nVidia chipset, you'll be pleased by the price drops of the XP by then.
    4.) If you want a standard soundcard, try the ESS 1868. It sounds OK for a single stereo channel soundchip, is cheap (I bought them bulk for $5 a card), and well suported. I think Creative is the worst driver maker. Maybe the Phillips Accoustic Edge is better with drivers?
    5.) Do you need water cooling? You could always get a Swiftech cooler for less.
    6.) Plextor makes a good CDRW drive. But I would get a SCSI drive myself. They are much cheaper these days. And CD devices can work fine on the slow old SCSI2 cards, because their tranfer rates are slow. Meaning a SCSI card for a CDRW can be cheap.
    7.) Crucial just announced PC2700 and has not yet put it in their catalog.

    Back to you Tom...
  24. Well, my turn...

    I have the Antec SX1040 and I recommend it. I don't know why you would need anything bigger.

    The SiS 735 is the chipset to go for. If you want to wait for more boards to come out, fine, but for $62 isn't it worth it to just go out and buy the ECS now? I think so.

    Crucial memory is the way to go. The difference between CAS 2 and 2.5 won't make that huge a difference unless you're a serious overclocker. Here is a <A HREF="" target="_new">link</A> for 15% off. As far as getting PC2400 or faster etc, it's also just a matter of overclocking. CPU's don't support those speeds yet. If you want to get a 512 MB stick I think you'll have to go elsewhere, but I don't think it's worth it unless you know you'll want more than a gig of memory eventually. Do you need that much memory?

    If you've got the money get the AMD XP, but once again, what will you be using it for? You won't notice the difference between 1 Ghz and 7 Ghz unless you use the processor for specific intensive tasks. I didn't see you mention anything beyond games so I'm just curious why you want to spend top dollar for a CPU.

    Now as far as the video card is concerned, spend your money. A gamer should spend as much money as he CAN on a videocard so enjoy that! Just make sure you have a great monitor to enjoy it on.

    I guess I'm just trying to help you out a bit since I see your budget getting tight. Just food for thought.

    <font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America!</font color=red>
  25. Well,
    I cant find anything about that leadTek board. I read some reviews about the ECS board, sounds ok, but even if I cant buy this dream comp of mine immediatly, thats fine. I dont want to buy any "passable" parts, especially not anyhting important like the mobo. I was hyped about the LeadTek board, but I cant find any reviews on it anywhere. Is it out yet? If only the ECS board is out, then Ill go buy the Epox board. I dont hate via THAT much to wait forevr. :)
    If someone can drop me a link or something, I know someone said there was a review at anandtech, but unless Im just not lookin hard enough, i couldnt find it.

    Another question. While I understand the reasoning behind amd changing their rating system, it makes it hard to judge a cpu. So what is the difference between an athlon 1.4 Ghz and a xp 1500 or 1600? Besides 20$ or so.

    And just to make sure it's understood what I am after, while I am trying to budget this, I want to build a computer that I can be happy with for a year or two, maybe three. My main priorities are 1)Gaming and 2)Sound recording for a home studio. I already have an IBM Desktar 60 gig drive I will be using (Ill buy my friend a 10 gig Western Digital or something, he'll be fine) so I can take advantage of the ata100, because seek time on harddrives is MOST important for sound work. Which is why most pro's use scsi, but I just cant afford scsi, even though the price is dropping. IDE is close enough in performance, that scsi isnt enough bang for the buck for me.

    Thx in advance

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  26. Cooling- just read tom's review for fans. That Silverado looks like the one for me. Not only is it great at cooling (not the best, but REAl good) but it is also quiet. Only problem is buying it. Seems it has to come from germany. And I went to Chillmax's website and they only accept deuche marx (sorry, I know spelling sux, Im a dumb american. :) Any thoughts?

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  27. I will Second that on the <A HREF="" target="_new">Antec SX1240, or any of these other cases</A>, would be great for you, and most of them include 400 watt PS. As far as Motherboards are concerned, I would take a good look at one that has an SIS chipset, whether it is Intel, or AMD. both are very inexpensive, offer good preformance, and have the same features as the one's with the Via chipsets. One question though to knowan, where is that Leadtek review, I even went to Leadtek's site and they don't have an SIS 735 Chipset in production, much less stores. The one and only complaint I have seen about the ECS motherboard is that it likes high quality Power supplies, in which case will be solved if you get an Antec case with PS, or another case with an Enermax PS. (make sure you have a battery backup system as well as the 350-400 watt PS unit. As far as CPU's are concerned, I would go with the Atholon 1.4, 266 FSB model, or, since you will be able to overclock, get the 200 version, and overclock the FSB to 266 (which will keep everything in speck and rate the 1.4 to around 1.5 level.) These three suggestions will add up to around $350, for case, powersupply, CPU and MB. This will let you spend about 650 on HD, cooling systems, Sound card, Video card, memory and OS. If you would like to know more about building your own cooling system, check out <A HREF="" target="_new"> Tom's review here</A> bare in mind, however, his warnings as you may end up getting a normal Heatsink instead.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  28. ok..glad to see that someone can explain why the zalman sucks a$$
    too bad because it sorta looks cool...but now i would definately not recommend it...
    thanks crashman!


    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  29. I'm not reading this long post, but I'll cut and paste the list (some of forum members helped me figure out this):

    last updated: 10/16/01

    Reviews of products:

    where to buy:
    forth: Check the rest


    Current Deals:

    before you buy check

    (You will not see more that a 2-3% increase in speed between any chipsets for socket A)

    best intergrated mobo in history:
    socket A Motherboard/2nd best chipset (almost equal to the leader kt266a chipset) nforce/Geforce2MX/dobly5.1 sound/ 10/100ethernet:
    MSI K7C12 PRO (ms-6373) nForce Mainboard
    about $150-200 (not out yet)


    fastest AMD chipset:
    (one with the kt266a chipset by msi or asus)
    MSI’s K7T266 Pro2-RU Motherboard


    best overclocking board:

    best air cooling cases:

    best mid tower:
    (Modified) Lite-On Fs020

    best full tower (good for custom water cooling setup too):
    (also at addtronics 7896a

    best water cooled case : the new high performance case with the enermax power supply they provide

    best power supply units:
    way cheaper, but still good power supplies come from

    I recommend this: Enermax EG365P-VE

    best/fastest scsi hard drive:
    CHEETAH X15-36LP Part# ST318452LW (will become outdated in probably 1 year.)
    18.2GB about $322

    best scsi controller: Adaptec scsi controllers, probably 29160n
    (ultra 320 is coming soon)

    best ram?: pc2400 by corsair? or new unreviewed pc2700? unknown.
    crucial is really good and cheap:

    Thermal paste for amd cpu cores:
    Artic Silver 2 or Nanotherm, depending on what you can get for cheaper.

    Depends on CPU. get one at or

    up to 16x only! (24x doesn't work with this media even though it says it does.)
    buy at officemax or compusa.

    best Burner:
    PlexWriter 24/10/40A

    Lite-on LTR-24102B also good and cheaper. (this drive cannot read and write all cd protections, but it can read most.)

    best CPU Fan (not needed when watercooling):

    Thermaltake 60mm

    best Heatsink (not needed for water cooling):
    ThermalRight SK6 All Copper Heatsink - Fantastic! Includes Clip, fan mounts and thermal pad (fan not included) A.htm

    EtherLink 10/100 3CR990-TX-97?
    I really don't think it matters a whole lot. The nForce Mainboard comes with ethernet built in.

    Air cooling round Floppy cables (not need when water cooling, use standard flat cables):

    Air cooling round Hard Drive/CDrom drive ATAPI cables (not need when water cooling, use standard flat cables)

    best atapi Hard drive (depends on size):
    Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X

    (The 100GB drives are faster than all the rest.)

    100GB the Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB is the second fastest atapi hard drive for about $255.

    100GB Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (special edition with 8mb cache) $379 is 20% faster than the WD1000BB and is only available from their web site.

    The quietest but good hard drive is the Seagate Barracuda IV which is the same price and sizes of the the 60gxp.

    best DVD drive:

    LiteOn LTD-163 (use this to for cd reading)

    the pioneer 106s (slot) or 116 (tray) (they are the same drive with different ways to load the cd) is also good.

    2 ATAPI flatribbon cables?:
    local store

    best amd cpu :
    palimino 1.5 Ghz also known as the Athalon XP 1800. for $255.
    cheaper but still good is the:
    AYHJA Y 1.4ghz AMD Thunderbird $100

    best mouse:
    Microsoft Intellimouse explorer

    best mouse pad:
    the free ones.

    best CRT (non flat screen) 19" monitor?:
    LG 995e (high chance of being defective, but if you get a good one it is the best).

    best 3d Card:
    ATi Radeon 8500 for $225
    Geforce 3 Ti 500 $357

    best sound card:
    Hercules Game Theater XP


    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum Ex
    (I don't recommend this card. It costs to much and reportably sounds worse than cards $100 cheaper, but it has some of the best specs for a card.)

    custom water cooling guides:
    and maybe pick up a few new tips here:
  30. The ECS is a very nice board, the nicest thing to come out of that shitty company in years. Most users love it, it has a very low occurance of problems, and performs very well. All in all it's better than most other boards out there. It still tops the AMD761/VIA686B found on the most well known DDR boards. It's simply that the leadtek is a faster board at this point. If you can't get the Leadtek, the ECS will do the job for half the money, and still give you great performance.

    Back to you Tom...
  31. This is gonna dim the lights and summon UFO's when you are done!

    Have a couple things for you to consider re: the case and some round drive cables. Check out for case options. You can select from a ton of choices and have them upgrade the PS or just ship it without one. I received the Fong-Kai 603 today without the stock and very weak 250W PS. Other than the PS, the Fong Kai cases have received great reviews stating that they are very solid, quiet and cool. The 603 is fat and roomy, but it may not be the one for you. They have models that are larger and may be better suited for your stuffing needs. Don't forget to check out the round IDE and floppy cables. I ordered them with my case but haven't put them to use yet. The round shape will improve air flow inside the case. That's what they claim... and they are also supposed to be 1:1 perfect with no cross-talk when tested against standard ATA100 cables, so the round shape should not pose a problem for you.

    Have Fun!

    Smoke is an indication you may have exceeded the design limits.
  32. Thanks, Crash, I wasn't aware of the optional AGP slot on some of the retail MBs. Well, when you stop learning, they throw dirt on you.
    Good Life to you, Take-Out

    God Bless New York
  33. A lot of what you are looking for can be found at "almost" lowest prices, but with great service and quick, low cost delivery, at <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>, and I will personally vouch for their great service as I have bought 8 items and every one was new merchandise with all the latest versions and was in full factory wrap for a very good price. Look any retailer up in <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> before ordering to look at previous customers' comments like did they ship opened, obviously returned defective merchandise and then charge a 15% restocking fee and you have to pay for return shipping and that is how they make money. whew!
    Good Luck, Take-Out

    God Bless New York
  34. Some? I would say most, if not all, of the retail motherboards will have it. I think it would only add $3 to the total design/production cost of the board, which becomes $20 by the time it reaches shelves.

    Back to you Tom...
  35. ok guys, first let me say THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has helped me. I am SO close to being done. Here is what I have so far...

    mobo- In the name of budget, I have decided on the ECS board K7S5A. 62$ from

    cpu- Athlon 1.4 266fsb 115$ from

    Video- GeForce3 Ti500 324$ from (VGA PNY manufac, comes with life time replacment!!!)

    HD- Already have an IBM Desktar 60gig Ill be using

    Case- Antec SX1040 169$ from

    Cooling- Noise Control Silverado from 59.99$

    RAM- 2 sticks of Crucial Micron DDR2100 from 74$

    Sound Card- The only thing I am still undecided about. I could REALLY use some suggestions here. Right now the main thing I do is game, but I want to turn my puter into a home recording studio soon, so I need a decent sound card. Unfortunatly I am very ignorant when it comes to sound cards. I have heard very mixed reviews about the SB Audigy Platinum, so Im still skeptical. Again, please, all help here would be MUCH appreciated.

    total for everything except sound card comes to 809.99 plus shipping and prolly tax. Not a bad price for such a kick ass system I think. Please guys, help me with that soundcard so I can get this show on the road!!

    Thx in advance.

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  36. Crucial Micron from newegg? Sounds fishy, the only place I know of to get Crucial memory from is Crucial. And it's cheap there, some of the best prices in the industry. And shipping is FREE.

    Back to you Tom...
  37. Oh, and I suggest Win98SE (because it runs programs so fast on a stable system like yours). Vortex2 cards work excellent in 98SE on your chipset. They include the SQ2500, MX300, and Montego II.
    If you want something newer, I suggest a Hurcules card or the Phillips Accoustic Edge.

    Back to you Tom...
  38. What the? Did you not see my post?
    "RAM- 2 sticks of Crucial Micron DDR2100 from 74$"

    my post:
    "crucial is really good and cheap:"
    It is cheaper there with free 2nd day air shipping!

    you:"Sound Card- The only thing I am still undecided about. I could REALLY use some suggestions here. "

    my post:
    "best sound card:
    Hercules Game Theater XP


    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum Ex
    (I don't recommend this card. It costs to much and reportably sounds worse than cards $100 cheaper, but it has some of the best specs for a card.)"
    I was just wondering why you didn't mention these.

    you: "Cooling- Noise Control Silverado from 59.99$"

    I looked into the silverado and I am pretty sure it is just overpriced compared in sound and performance.
    my post:
    "best CPU Fan (not needed when watercooling):

    Thermaltake 60mm

    best Heatsink (not needed for water cooling):
    ThermalRight SK6 All Copper Heatsink - Fantastic! Includes Clip, fan mounts and thermal pad (fan not included) A.htm
    The silverado just seems to much more expensive, when something better is about $15 cheaper.

    "Video- GeForce3 Ti500 324$ from (VGA PNY manufac, comes with life time replacment!!!)"

    If you want budget and great performance you might look at the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 KYRO II 64MB for $100 at Compusa. Reviews of it can be found here:

    Hey and what about your burner, DVD drive or monitor?
  39. Hmm the GUILLEMOT HERCULES 3D PROPHET KYRO II 4500 64MB WITH TV -OUT - OEM with free shipping is only $95 at newegg. $100 at compusa is the best for the retail kit though.
  40. Crash,
    I am running Win98SE right now. I got a final release of XP. I am gonna install it this weekend, see if it works. I heard XP is IT for gaming.

    hehe, relax. :) however, made some good points, so, time for revision.

    RAM- 2 sticks of 256 meg DDR2100 from 74$

    Sound Card- Hercules Game Theater XP CompUSA 100$

    CD/Burner- Plextor 16/10/40 OEM 149.99

    Cooling- Thermaltake 60mm
    ThermalRight SK6 All Copper Heatsink - Fantastic! Includes Clip, fan mounts and thermal pad (fan not included) A.htm

    that brings the grand total to

    *drum roll*


    So, does that sound like a fair price for this system?
    ECS K7S5A, Athlon 1.4 266, GeForce3 Ti500, Hercules Game Theater xp, Antec SX1040, 512 Megs of Crucial DDR2100, Plextor 16/10/40, ThermalTake 60 mm fan, ThermalRight Heatsink and a bag of chips?

    Cause Im happy with that. And that is a pretty kick ass system. Especially compared to what I have now.

    Asus P2b-f, cele 366@550, Alpha fan and HS, 192 megs SDRAM PC100, IBM Desktar 60 gig (will be using with new system), Generic case, generic power supply, broken Creative 52x CD-Rom (NEVER EVER buy creative cd-roms. this lasted 6 months), ViewSonic 19" A95f flatscreen, Cable modem, logitech wheelman mouse, cheap keyboard and some crumbs from bottom of someone else's chips. :)




    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  41. "RAM- 2 sticks of 256 meg DDR2100 from 74$"



    "CD/Burner- Plextor 16/10/40 OEM 149.99"

    I only say the 24/10/40a plex because it is the only drive I know of that will read and write all protections. your 16x plex will write all protections, but it can't read them all. it is up to you though.

    "I got a final release of XP. I am gonna install it this weekend, see if it works. I heard XP is IT for gaming."
    I don't know what it is, but your mobo (the k7s5a) and the WinXP final will just restart in a continual loop, and you will also have floppy drive problems unless you get an unofficial bios to use with WinXP. Trust me on this, I have just dealt with those issues the past 2 days. I must say though the restart loop thing appeared out of nowhere, (I think it was after I made it so it automatically logs on) but now if I want to have it actually boot, I got to press control alt delete before it boots up all the way.

    I would get a different mobo if you are using xp. how about this one:
  42. you can fix the floppy thing with the unofficial bios I'll find the link for if you ask.

    as for now the continually boot restart, boot restart, boot restart loop, cannot be fixed. And all of you that claim it is the power supply because this mobo is sensitive to power supplies, well it isn't in this case cause I got an Enermax EG365P-VE. Maybe a bug in winxp?
  43. In fact the K7S5A was on the list, until I used it and ran into those probs. I will describe my experiences with winxp and the k7s5a mobo: The events below are in chronological order:

    After WinXP is configured to log on automatically:
    Turn on computer
    It boots up.
    You go to shut down.
    It shuts down.
    Turn on the computer
    It boots up.
    You go to hibernate
    It does a weird thing and seems like it shut off
    You hit keyboard, move mouse, and do everything but nothing wakes it
    you press power
    it tries to wake, but says there is an error so you say restart
    it boots up
    you go to restart
    it turns off
    it turns on
    it boots up
    it turns off
    it turns on
    it boots up but before it boots up all the way you press control alt delete, so it won't turn off again.
  44. I don't know about WinXP being IT for gaming. The advantage it has over Win2k is a better ability to run games designed for 9x, but..

    I have seen a recent video card review of the GeForce3s and Radeon 8500 with benchmarks on both 98se and WinXP, and all the cards performed A LOT (up to 50%) better on 98se than on XP. I wish I had a link for you, but I don't right now (I'll look for it). I did originally find the link on the Graphics Cards portion of this forum as part of one of the GeForce3 vs. Radeon8500 discussions.

    Edit: I found the link. Check this out before you choose XP for gaming:
    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    In other reviews, Win2k performs as good as 98se or better for video benchmarks (e.g. gaming).

    So I would seriously reconsider running XP, at least until the drivers get better for the graphics cards. You would do better, IMHO, running Win2K or a 98se/Win2K dual boot.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Save the children :smile: <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by javelin5 on 10/20/01 04:05 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  45. Thx for the info guys. It's probably just the same deal that Win2k had when it first came out. No updated drivers. So I'll just use win98se for awhile until xp is more popular.

    Thx again.

    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  46. u forgot monitor... unless i missed it in all that lot?

    speaking of which does anyone know if the LG 17" Studioworks is any good? i see theyre cheap and know LG are fairly good at cheap monitors (plus one of those posts reccomends a 19" LG), also there seems to be about 4 slightly differnt ones, how good are they and whats the difference between them? much thanks guys :)

    Yossarian lives
  47. Nah, you missed it. I already have a 19" Viewsonic PerfectFlat A95f


    "He not busy being born is busy dying."
  48. have you tried moving the keyboard power on jumper?

    Video editing?? Ha, I don't even own a camera!
  49. Wow, this thread is growing faster than GA Cutzu. In defense of ATI (someone had to do it) I would recommend you wait until the 25th-31st before you rule them out completly. 90% of the problems with ATI cards, is that people mess up when installing them. If you plan on using Windows 2000, or XP, a new driver class will come out that supports not only all (or most of the features missing now) but will probably give us all a chance to see the Radeon 8500 in a new light. It is hard for us to see and blame ATI for problems with XP especially since many of us have run the program for months already, but Windows XP is still not out yet, nor is dirct X 8.1, which is needed for those new features to work accessible to the masses yet.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
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