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Need your comments on a new system

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December 8, 2002 7:23:49 AM

I'm going to be building a new system, and I just want to get a few thoughts. First I'm going to outline what I plan on getting, then why, followed by a few questions I still have.

AMD Athlon 2700+
Asus A7N8X Deluxe
2 Corsair 512 PC3200 (DDR400) dimms for dual channel
Gainward PowerPack Ultra/650-8x (GF4 Ti 4200 8X 128MB)
Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG (430W)
Plextor PlexWriter 48x24x48
IBM DeskStar 180GXP (180GB, 7200RPM, 8MB cache)
using old monitor, Sony Trinitron 19"

Now, if I wait until the 2800+ is available, I might be able to get the Serial ATA version of the DeskStar, but I don't know when IBM will make that available, and AMD is even a little questionable.

Now, for graphics I've thought about just waiting for the FX, but I need something soon. The reason I choose the 4200 over the 4600 is because of the 8x AGP, and I couldnt find out when (or if) an 8x version of the 4600 will be available.

Ok, memory. TH did some memory comparisons between the DDR33 and DDR400, and the sync'd DDR333 outperformed the latter (I've brought this up in a question I posted in the CPU overclock section). However, the ASUS A7N8X motherboard allows for a FSB of 200! Now, I've never overclocked before, which you can guide me. If I overclock the FSB to 200, it will be in sync with DDR400, correct? Which will outperform the DDR333 @ 166FSB, right? If this is true, now I need to cool this bad boy. I know nothing about cooling, but if aircooling would do the trick, what do you suggest? I was reading that the Thermaltake Volcano 7+ is a good one for CPU oc'ing, but is there anything else I need to consider when oc'ing the FSB? Otherwise, I will go DDR333.

Thanks for you comments and suggestions. Please let me know if the system looks like a good setup, or if I should wait/change. No AMD/Intel wars, please. I'm going with AMD.

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December 8, 2002 10:17:21 PM

sounds godd, i dont see no problem with your setup, persoanlly, i would go for an ATI card thou.
December 9, 2002 2:39:57 PM

save some cash on the cd-rw and get a lite-on. my opinion only, of course :) 

Also, 8X AGP seem to be a bit of a marketing scam, as it offers no big difference in real life performance over 4X.
A TI4600 4X is going to be quite a lot faster than a 4200 8X. But you seem like you have money to play with so why not get something to tide you over until the FX comes out?

<font color=red> -- </font color=red><font color=blue>A bush in the hand is worth two birds at the bar</font color=blue>
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a b V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
December 10, 2002 1:37:52 AM

OK, a few comments:

AGP8X does nothing right now. Some of the nVidia cards labled AGP8X perform better than the previous version for one simple reason: they put faster memory on the card. This has nothing to do with AGP8X itself and the cards still run just as fast in 4x as 8x mode.

Serial ATA, it's just one more marketing gimmick at this point. Drives are limitted to under 45MB/s continuous transfers, and faster cache burst (up to the limit of the bus) helps perfomance only a little. Now, all current Serial ATA controllers are PCI devices. That limits you to 133MB/s for cache burst, and ATA133 is already an existing standard (and not noticably faster than ATA100 BTW).

OK, on to the memory! ALL memory can be run at less than it's max rated speed. That means you can run DDR400 at DDR333 speed and still get the DDR400@DDR333 synced to your DDR333 bus. So there's no disadvantage for using DDR400 as compared to DDR333 if both are running DDR333 speed and synced to the CPU bus. BUT, DDR400 gives you better overclockability! I don't know what your max overclock will be, but it's certainly something to think about. For instance, say you hit DDR384 in your overclock, and your memory is synced at that speed, well, DDR400 will easily handle it where DDR333 might not. Also, DDR400 will be compatable with more future platforms.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
December 10, 2002 4:55:55 AM

Quote:

AGP8X does nothing right now

True, but the price difference between the 8x version and the 4x version is only around $20 US, and the 4600 is an additional $100. Now, I'm comparing the Gainward Golden Sample here. Plus, if I were to overclock, wouldn't I have more of a benefit with the 8x version? Also, I plan on building another system (Linux) in less than a year. So, I don't want somthing too weak, because it will be the card in that system.

Quote:

Serial ATA, it's just one more marketing gimmick at this point. Drives are limitted to under 45MB/s continuous transfers, and faster cache burst (up to the limit of the bus) helps perfomance only a little. Now, all current Serial ATA controllers are PCI devices. That limits you to 133MB/s for cache burst, and ATA133 is already an existing standard (and not noticably faster than ATA100 BTW).


A few things. First, not all drives are limited to 45MB/s. Some go higher (50 - 55). Second, I was choosing the SATA on the basis that even though there is not much of a performance increase, future controllers would change that, and I would have a drive that would be ready to put out that perforamace (let's not forget it has an 8MB buffer, so in those instances when the internal tranfers are limited, this would help. Am I wrong? Please let me know if I am. I've never run IDE/ATA before, so I don't know what type of performance to expect except for the specs. I've been pure SCSI.).

Quote:

ALL memory can be run at less than it's max rated speed.

I was planning on overclocking the memory to 200 instead of the stock 166. this is why I was considering the DDR400

Thank you for the response. I really appriciate your input, and I think I will reconsider something other than the Deskstar. I do wish that the nForce2 boards had onboard SCSI controllers.

What about the processor? Is it worth waiting for the 2800+, either for the price drop on the 2700+ or for the 2800+ itself? I've been out of the hardware loop for 4 years, and I'm less familar with the market reaction than the actual hardware.
a b V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
December 10, 2002 5:27:45 AM

AMD is really pushing the bus speed on their CPU's so I doubt you'd see better overclocking with the higher speed CPU, and at stock speed you're talking about a small difference considering the price.

AGP8X will never benifit this card, but the faster memory does.

I think your drive will be outdated long before you find SATA to be usefull (except for it's thinner cable feature).

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
December 10, 2002 11:50:11 AM

There will be more lifetime in a Radeon 9500Pro/9700/9700pro card... unless you wait long enough for the Nvidia one (whenever it actually comes out...3+ months)

no-one shouts louder than someone who is being ignored, or in the case of techies, to be heard over the noise of their PC's ;-)
December 10, 2002 7:54:08 PM

I'd rethink using an old monitor with what your building. Monitors have came a long way in the last 4 years (that's what I guessed the age of yours is from your post). I just had a guy I was going to build a computer for. He went out & bought the new monitor he was going to run on the new machine a ViewSonic A90f+ & hooked it up to the old computer until the parts came in.. He has a 1 gig Tbird with a Geforce II Ultra. He's also a gamer like myself. Called me up & said cancel the order on the new computer. He'd been running his Ultra for a little over a year on a KoMoDo monitor. He'd never seen what the Ultra put out until he got the new monitor. Went from running 1024 X 768 @ 75 hz to running the ViewSonic @ the recommended 1280 X 1024 @ 75 hz. The long & short of it is he felt he'd bought new games & a faster CPU his games were so much better looking & faster. Cost me a sale, but then I always get the latest CRT when I build for myself.

Your putting together a whale of a system together for yourself, all the latest pretty much, don't loose some of it because of a old monitor!! You want to get the most out of your investment for sure.

I only use Geforce. Better drivers & support. Radon has to prove to me their serious about driver support before I'll use one again. Today they are faster. Tomorrow Geforce FX will rule again. Then lets see how Radon support is on drivers. Just can't beat the Detonators Drivers for Geforce in my book.

I'd go with WD HDD SE with 8 mg cash. as well. Don't use IBM anymore.

Skinny

Signature, I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
December 11, 2002 12:21:03 AM

The reason I was using the old monitor was because it's not just any old monitor. It's a Sony Trinitron GDM400 (400 Professional Series). If it were any other, I would swap out, but they were definitely ahead of their time. At worst, I think it's average quality. Not to mention the dual input for multiple systems. The only difference I notice is that the color are a little brighter. Until I get more money, think I can handle it another 6 months.

What monitors are good now-a-days? Perhaps if I can get something affordable (300-400) for the quality that I want, I will swap. I'm also looking for the dual input feature (unless you know of a cheap KVM unit).

As far as graphics, I use Linux. So, I want the best board for that system as well. Which, would be nVidia.


Thanks.

[EDIT[
I starting churning the idea of a new monitor in my head, so I decided to do a little research, and I found this at TH:

"The G520 is in the upper range of the Sony "performance" family. Its visible screen measures 20.18 inches, and the tube of course uses the manufacturer's own FD Trinitron technology. Remember, the screen of a Trinitron tube is not made up of dots but of vertical strips -- unbroken, like strips of phosphor. The mask - the solid part that prevents the beams from crossing - takes up less room than with the earlier technology. This makes the images much brighter and sharper. "

Which, would explain my comments earlier. Funny, when I bought my monitor a few years back, I paid 900.00 on it, and that it was the new mointor is selling for.

[/EDIT]<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by xerid on 12/10/02 09:33 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 11, 2002 2:09:01 AM

That's great about the monitor. I just thought that it was a real old monitor & as I said, I always upgrade the monitor when I build to as late of monitor as the computer.

You use a lot better monitor than I do for sure. I use this bench/article to buy my new monitor.
http://www.tomshardware.com/display/20020319/index.html
However I went with the ViewSonic A90f+, because of being a gamer. The + stand for UltraBrite Mode. It's a button on the front of the monitor that boosts the gamma (I believe) when you go into games. It says "UltraBrite:Graphics/Game/Video". You just hit the button & game brightness is perfect. I don't have to adjust anything in the games at all. When you come back to the desk top you hit the button again it readjusts & says Normal:Text/Spreadsheet. For gaming it doesn't get any better for me.

Your building almost exactly what I'm running now, except with a little more horse power.
AXP 2400+
ASUS A7V8X Deluxe
512 DDR333 RAM
PNY GF4 TI 4600
Antec 1080AMG (430W)
Liteon 48X24X48 CDRW
WD 80JB SE (80GB, 7200RPM, MB Cash)
ASUS 50 x ROM - It's super quiet.
ViewSonic A90f+ Monitor

You must do video editing with that much HDD & RAM. I've built & sold a A7N8X, but I'm going to let the Nforce mature before I run one here for myself. I happen to like the VIA boards. They are the easiest to set up now contrary to what's been said around here. They have matured. Probably 6 months from now I'll be running the Nforce, but I'm waiting for Barton & that will give me time to build a few more Nforce's before I'm satisfied with it. But don't get me wrong, it's my preference is all.

The Antec case, run it with the smart fans. I have the 2 extra fans installed, one in the HDD bay & the other right below it. Run 41c idle 44c under full load & I haven't heard the fans spin up yet. It's super quiet set up that way.

Your gonna be happy & impressed I would think.

Skinny

Signature, I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
December 11, 2002 10:33:26 PM

Personally i would swap the plextor burner for a liteon, and save some bucks.

<b>My Idea of a DOS attack is to stop posting helpful information at Toms Hardware.</b> :smile:
December 15, 2002 4:36:42 PM

Asus A7N8X Deluxe - good choice. I find Asus a bit overpriced myself, but then I don't have anything even close to your buget. If you want to save a few bucks go with MSI or Gigabyte, but Asus has better tech support than those 2.

AMD Athlon 2700+ - Very good choice. I don't know if or when the price will drop.

2 Corsair 512 PC3200 (DDR400) dimms for dual channel - Good choice.

Gainward PowerPack Ultra/650-8x (GF4 Ti 4200 8X 128MB) - AGP 8x provides absolutely no performance advantage. I'm assuming that you won't condsider the ATI 9500 Pro or the 9700, though these would be better cards. I have no idea how they perform under Linux.

On the other hand if you want to overclock the vid card, get the 8x version, as it has faster RAM.


Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG (430W) - Very good choice.

Plextor PlexWriter 48x24x48 - Too expensive. Plextor USED to be highest quality, but Light-on and even LG have caught up to them now and only cost half as much. If you really want to spend extra money get a Yamaha 48x burner. They are even higher quality than the Plextor, especially when burning music CD's.

IBM DeskStar 180GXP (180GB, 7200RPM, 8MB cache) - good choice. Ignore what everyone else says, it was only the 75gxp model which crashed. As someone else stated serial ATA has no performance advantage, and by the time it does your hard drive wil be too outdated to take advantage of the increased performance. The only advantage is the rounded cable, which you can also get for IDE.

old monitor, Sony Trinitron 19" - It was a wise decision to purchase a good monitor all those years ago.

Thermaltake Volcano 7+ - a good choice, but not the best for overclocking. It is very quite though, and provides above average cooling. A better choice might be a Alpha PAL8045T with a 92 mm Swiftec fan. As ever, with coolong you have to balance noise versus coling.

Of course there's always water cooling (at roughly $200) or refrigerant cooling (at roughly $600), but these options aren't for the faint of heart.

--------------
Knowan likes you. Knowan is your friend. Knowan thinks you're great.
December 16, 2002 4:05:11 PM

If you are going to blow additional cash on SATA, which won't provide any performance boost, why not go SCSI and get additional performance and MTBF for your $$$?
December 16, 2002 7:43:50 PM

I thought about that. The only problem is, I didn't see and boards that offer onboard SCSI and the nForce2 chipset. Now, I can get a SCSI expansion board, but I dont want to.

"the most important thing is not life, but the good life" - Socrates
December 21, 2002 7:30:21 AM

Ok, this is what I decided on. It's in the mail, but this Christmas rush is killing UPS.

AMD Athlon XP 2700+ 2.167GHz Processor
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200P0 200GB ATA/13 7200PRM Hard Liteon LTR-48246S 48x24x48 E-IDE CD-RW Drive w/Nero Software Corsair CMX512-3200C2PT 1024MB PC3200 400Mhz 64Mx64 184 DIMM
Liteon LTD-166S 16x DVD
Antec Performance Plus Series Plus1080AMG Soho File Server
Asus A7N8X Motherboard

Now, for the video. Since I want to get my hands on an FX (1st or 2nd generation), I dont want to spend a crazy amout of money on a card now, and since i will be building a linux box in a few months anyway, I decided to just get a card that will be used in that. so my choice was

Gainward GeForce4 PowerPack! Pro/600 TV GeForce4 MX440 AGP

this will save me $ for the fx since this card is only around 70.00US.

I decided to go with the Maxtor drive because IBM said they did have any plans on releasing a SATA version for the 180GXP. The logical choice was to go with an ATA133 drive, which was the Maxtor.

I will be running 2 Corsair modules for dual drr and a total of 1024MB of memory. I'll post some benchmarks when i get the machine.


"the most important thing is not life, but the good life" - Socrates
December 21, 2002 8:27:42 AM

Boy gimics all over the place. ATA133 is no faster than ATA100. The only one putting it out is Maxtor of which I call Crashtor. To much Hype. Serial ATA, AGP8X, ATA133, where will it all end? My #.02 Rant!!!

Signature, I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
December 21, 2002 8:35:46 AM

maxtor does offer good performance.

"the most important thing is not life, but the good life" - Socrates
December 21, 2002 6:47:30 PM

Sounds like you did you're homework on this one, I have the WD800JB and I am getting a second one to run RAID0, but I like you're choice on the Maxtor, I've had my eye on them for a few months just waiting to see who was going to be the first to carry them, ATA133 and 8MB buffer, imagine running two in RAID0, I know people say that ATA133 has no real world advantage over ATA100, I'm just rambling here anyway let us know if the MOBO is as good as it sounds...

As for Ram, excellent choice, I have the xms3000 platinum 512mb stick, it's awesome.

I don't know how you feel about ATI, I have the AIW8500 retail w/ the 6ns mem modules, it's awesome for an all in one card. Have you checked out the AIW9700?

Lite-on, another good choice, I have that one two, it is blazing fast, I also heard somewhere that you can flash the bios on them two over clock-em to oh say 52x24x52, I have'nt tried it yet though.

Antec, another excellent choice, I went with the Enermax 651 series, these two are the best power supplies out there, just my opinion...




<font color=red><b>We all love disassembling things to see how it works,
but who wants to put it back together again?
January 6, 2003 2:04:46 PM

I love this machine. I'm going to keep my geforce 2 until the fx comes out. i still get great graphics with it because of the system it's running on. However, i know that wont last forever with new games taking advatage for newer version of ogl and dx. Problem, i can't overclock the memory cause the MB wont let me change the multi. i'm currently looking into this.


"the most important thing is not life, but the good life" - Socrates
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