Ok im not exactly a newbie I have built a few systems but the lasst one was still a few years back it was a Pentium 3 1ghz system whichis my current family computer. Its done its job well for the past few years and I never had a probblem with it, but its getting old and a bit slow and I just feel its time for something new.
Ok so the computer will be used for very basic stuff, web browsing, downloading music/movies/software, watching the occasional dvd, ripping/burning music and some word processing. No gaming at all so I dont need anything to highend but I would like something thats fast and reliable. I already have a large 250gig HD for storage and I have my music library on that drive so I am all set for storage so a small fast drive would be best and I also will need a Dvd/CDr/w drive and a card reader and thats about all I need, a very basic setup and the budget is around $800 for just the computer I have a monitor, mouse, keyboard....etc already.
So I have a few basic questions i need answered and would really appreciate everyones ideas and opinions.
1. CPU- Intel or AMD?? Entry level dual core(amd64x2 3800) or higher end single core(amd64 4000)?? Or is that to much processor for what I will be using the computer for?? If so whats the best bang for the buck??
2. RAM- How much?? Does dual channel make a significant differance? Any reason to go with high permformance like OCZ Platinum vs OCZ Value memory?? Does it effect performance if your not overclocking?
3. What motherboard and chipset?? Do differant chipsets difer in performance?
4. Hard Drive- since I already have a large 250gig HD for storage, should I go with one of the small but super fast drives like the WD Raptor 37gig?
5. Video Card-I just need the basics, whats a good inexpensive card?
6. DVD/CDr/w-I am a music lover so the cd-rom will get alot of use, ripping and burning, whats a good quality drive that will last?
7. Power supply- do I need a high performance supply or is the basic $25 400w supply good enough for my needs?
Ok I think thats basically all I need to know. Just need some advice on what would be a good system for what ill be using the computer for. Obviously I want as much speed and power as I can get for my budget. Any other advice opinions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance everyone
First off, currently unless you are going to be doing alot of multitasking or video editing, you should probably get an AMD due to their cooler temperatures and higher performance. I recommend anywhere between the Athlon 3000 and the x2 athlon 3800+ for the usage you have indicated.
As for RAM, Value Ram will work fine for your purposes. There might be a small performance increase with dual channel ram, but not enough that it would be overly significant.
Motherboard is really your choice, look around and see which features you are interested in. From what you have described, you dont have much if any need for a DFi mobo. Look into Asus, Abit, or even possibly Gigabyte. you dont truly have need of SLi or Crossfire capability as it stands, but its something to look into for future upgradeability. Try to get a good 1000/100/10 Mb Ethernet port built into the motherboard (fairly standard these days).
In the sub $200 video card price range, I would recomend the ATI Radeon X800 series. they run around $165, give or take a little.
If you are only watching DVD's and not burning them, Then an industry standard 16x optical DVD reader will suit you fine. Look into Plextor
CD-R/RW (52X x 32X x 52X), as they are normally very good quality drives.
No need to get a new Hard Drive, 250 gigs is fine (7200 RPM i presume?)
Get a good quality Power Supply, not some unknown brand. 400-450 Watts should be fine.
Also, being an audiophile, you might want to look into a stand-alone sound card (NOT ONBOARD SOUND). The Creative Labs X-Fi series is the industry leader currently, and with a decent pair of speakers/headphones, it would make any audiophile proud
If this is to be a media center pc (ie. portable/living room pc) you might want to look into a small form factor case with a pentium M processor. Windows Media Center Edition might be more suited to your needs as well. Then again, just a thought...
I agree with the above comments, I would like to plug the onboard video
motherboards if you're not into games. The benchmarks are almost exactly the same in all other applications, the newest Tforce 6100 and 6130 chips
are said to work with the upcoming Vista. Case temps are lower also.
Biostar, Asus and MSI all have new boards relatively cheap, and you will
have $ for a better sound card and speakers, I have Logitechs which
sound great and am digitalizing my music collection. Anandtech has a rundown on the new boards.
With one of these and RAM with moderately good timings the Dual Channel
feature will render 5-10% faster performance with an Athlon64 3200 and up.
Thanks for the advice, Im not really worried about the sound card and speakers and all that, I already have a high-end USB DAC and will be hooking it into to my main stereo setup. Im mainly just worried about the computer performing well, I really dont need any fancy features or anything.