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Is this better than a mac?

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January 7, 2006 8:55:47 AM

The last system I built was an AMD T-Bird 1.4ghz, Abit KG7RAID (to this day still runs flawlessly). It's about time for something more powerful... So I've done some research (reading your posts) and came up with the following below. I'm pretty sure all of this work well together. My budget was only a grand so I may have to sacrifice the 2gb ram for only 1gb. OR just screw the budget and deal.

Case: The case below comes w/ a 500w and has some good reviews. Can this psu be trusted or should I get a case w/o a psu and purchase them separately? Some Aspire (Dreamer) cases were smaller w/ 420w psu and only like $50...but I decided not to skimp here...

DVD: Should I spend the extra $ for the 8mb dvd drive? Don't know how much of a difference I will notice from 2mb to 8mb...is it worth it anyone?

Mobo: I selected this motherboard for the future possibility of SLI, but right now it's not necessary. Can I get a different board for $60 less that will have the same performance? or just stick with this one?

This system will be benchmarked on heavy multitasking, e.g., several tabbed browser windows, dvd encoding, photoshop, and flash animation creation. I don't want a mac, nothing against them really, I just want a very powerful PC that can handle some intense design work.

_______________________________
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester
$322

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium
$167

OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
$240

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 300 MB/s Hard Drive
$107

MSI NX7800GT-VT2D256E Geforce 7800GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
$300

ASPIRE X-Navigator ATXA8NW-AL/500 Silver/Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
$154

NEC Black IDE/ATAPI DVD Burner Model ND-3550A
$39

Tot = $1329

What else can I consider or do differently to make this system more capable for heavy multitasking and graphic design work?

More about : mac

January 7, 2006 9:51:25 AM

If you don't game, I would say, go for the mac. I hope that you understand when you say Mac, people will think about powermac G4 or G5, not iMac, Emac, Mac mini etc. But there's one problem here. $1300 won't buy a new Mac. Maybe a good "second hand" double 1.8 G4. I don't know about the new dual core G5s, but man, my 3 year old Dual processor 1.8 G5 rocks!
X2 it's a real deal, but in you case I'd buy two (smaller) hdd, two gigs of ram and a cheaper graphics card. Photoshop likes to eat ram when aplying heavy filters, plus the animations...just in case.
About the hdd buffer, I've got one of 2mb and other of 8mb in my pc, but i only found this one month ago, so I didn't note any difference.
Mobo sli? Man, do you want to game or work? Like I said, if you want to improve other qualities, save on the graphics card and spend it in other stuff, otherwise your wallet is going to get skinny. Imho save on the mobo too.
Saving in the hdd, graphics card and mobo will get you the next step cpu.
This is just my opinion, because I don't game too, but if you are going to heavy gaming, maybe someone here could give you more hints.
Btw, save a little more and buy a mac :)  lol they are beautiful like no other...

Scruze my Engrish :D 
January 7, 2006 6:19:55 PM

I really wanted to build a new PC. I thought a dual core chip would suffice. I may be a bit biased towards macs since I've always used a PC. Another thing that would lead me away from a mac is that I already have all the software for windows. This is a thousand at least in applications!

Quote:
2 it's a real deal, but in you case I'd buy two (smaller) hdd, two gigs of ram and a cheaper graphics card.

Can you make a recommendation on the graphics card? Which is best for video editing/dvd encoding?
Related resources
January 7, 2006 7:03:02 PM

Although I remember reading that future graphics cards will be able to take some of the work off the cpu in tasks such as you mention right now I don't think they are available.
There isn't any thing wrong with the components you chose if your going to be gaming on it, but the type of software you are going to be using is more cpu and memory intensive. So I would splurge in those areas and cut corners in your graphics. Go with a 6600 or x1800xl for your graphics.
January 7, 2006 8:33:28 PM

I made some changes to the motherboard and the graphics card.

Which would be a better mobo?

ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 (4 SATA I slots)
OR
ABIT KN8 Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra (4 SATA II slots)


This gfx card should work well and it's $100 cheaper:
eVGA 256-P2-N386 Geforce 6800GS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video

Will this HD work for the above boards?
Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive[/quote]
January 8, 2006 12:14:04 AM

Quote:
I really wanted to build a new PC. I thought a dual core chip would suffice. I may be a bit biased towards macs since I've always used a PC. Another thing that would lead me away from a mac is that I already have all the software for windows. This is a thousand at least in applications!

2 it's a real deal, but in you case I'd buy two (smaller) hdd, two gigs of ram and a cheaper graphics card.

Can you make a recommendation on the graphics card? Which is best for video editing/dvd encoding?
Man, if you don´t game, dont spend more than $150 on a graphics card. I´ve got a 9800pro aiw agp on the pc and a 9600pro agp on the mac, and they do just fine! As a pro video editor, i just can´t see any differences to other graphics cards (in video stuff).But if you are into gaming, you know...
I don't know much of graphics card by now, but find some expensive 128mb ($150 max) or a cheaper 256 ($150 max) pci.
January 8, 2006 12:20:47 AM

Quote:
I made some changes to the motherboard and the graphics card.

Which would be a better mobo?

ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 (4 SATA I slots)
OR
ABIT KN8 Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra (4 SATA II slots)


This gfx card should work well and it's $100 cheaper:
eVGA 256-P2-N386 Geforce 6800GS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video

Will this HD work for the above boards?
Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive
[/quote]
The cheapest one?????? As for the hdd don't know, i've got 3 160gb hitachi deskstar and a 80gb on the pc and 4 250 gb maxtor in the G5, plus 2 external 300gb idontknowthebrand firewire 800. Since they don't give problems I just don't care :D 
January 8, 2006 1:18:22 AM

The nVidia 6600GT is a very nice card and sells for about $120 on newegg.

There's no need to buy a $500 VGA card unless you are playing some serious games or are a professional graphics/video person and even then you don't really need a 6800 or 7800.

Either one of those boards will work great. SATA II is not really necessary.

Good luck! :D 
January 8, 2006 9:04:28 AM

Thanks so far for the input. I selected a cheaper gfx card and a mid-priced 939 abit mobo.

Last question... I was reading the reviews for the amd 3800+ and I can't wait to get this dc chip. I have considered reducing the 2mb ram to 1mb ram and upgrading the 3800+ to the 4400+. (the cost should about even out, and I can always get more ram later) The L2 cache 2 x 1mb is attractive. I think that w/ video editing and heavy multitasking could qualify for the additional processing power.

Do you agree? Or will I be more than happy w/ the 3800+?
January 8, 2006 10:00:07 AM

The 3800+ should be good enough.

It's always a good idea to buy a CPU a few steps below the top of the line one to get better price/performance.

I would personally take a slightly slower CPU for more RAM than the other way around.

You can always upgrade your CPU later.

Good luck.
January 9, 2006 3:32:15 PM

Mac is probably the best way to go for your needs, and the Imac would be great for $1299. Its got the 1.9ghz G5 processor which is very powerful for graphics and multitasking IMO.

But since you dont want mac. Heres what I would go with in your price range

AMD64x2 3800 $349
DFI Infinity NF4 $89
Corsair Value select pc3200 2x1024meg $179
WD Caviar 200gig HD $100
Geforce 6600 256meg $150
DVD burner Plexor PX716 $99
Case $50
500w power supply $60

total=$1170

I think something along those lines would work very well for you, the dual core processor along with 2gigs of ram should let you beeze through most multitasking situations.
January 9, 2006 6:34:43 PM

Heres my 2 cents on the subject.

If you want to save some serious cash get these components

ASUS A8N-VM CSM (MATX) *$86*
4 Gigs of ram *varies say $480*
amd X2 4400+ *$470* (or the 4800 if you want to splurge)
aspire qpack (case) (or a full tower) *$90*
(your choice of 2 fast hd's and run them in raid)

The asus board has onboard 6150 nvidia chipset with HD video.. and 5.1 sound. very stable but its not an overclockers mobo. It has a dvi and vga out and able to run dual mon. Now if you need more power upgrade to a cheap 6800gs later.

I stated 4 gigs of ram merely as an overkill. However it wont be an overkill in the future when Windows Vista arrives. (1 gig will be required for OS memory)

The processors... the toledo x2 4400 and 4800 are very close to the opterons running the same speed but cheaper. Nothing on the charts can touch them unless you want to drop serious cash.

The HD's get somethign fast.. dont want to bottle neck there High rpm and a good buffer. Raid them if possible that should add a bit of performance.

basically the nonesense about Macs being faster for graphic design is old news. That hasnt been true since the amd 64 hit the market. I still remember the commercials for the mac shooting the computer through the wall of some guys houses because it was so fast. Yet 1 day later I looked up the benchmarks and it lost in all the so called Graphic suites to the amd's. Ironic...

here is an old article.
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,112749,pg,1,0...

notice that it mac g5 couldnt beat the amd's in any of those tests. Granted its an old test however BOTH companies have increased their performance. However look at the link below. It shows the only thing that comes close to the processors that i listed is a quad 2.5 g5 LOL. now thats funny.

and here is a chart for the new processor comparison estimates
http://www.systemshootouts.org/processors.html

I don't know how you can say that a mac is better for graphics. It may have been the case in the past however it just isnt so any longer. The only thing you are paying for is the little fruit on the side of your pc.

Don't get me wrong.. Mac's in their own right are great machines if you have the thousands of dollars to drop on them for a cool case.. nifty fruit logo.. and being one of the cult following users. However if you want to come to the realization of bang for the buck, upgradability, and performance. Then look at the charts.

Basically you can make a smoking machine that can do games AND design.. with the Amd x2.. if it was games only you'd go with a single core Amd 64.

The base model of the quad g5 2.5ghz apple costs $3,300 on apple.com. Thats only 512 mb of ram and a 250gb hd. yet its is twice the price of the system I could spec out.

all of that above is just my opinion and information that i found on the net under benchmarks. Do with it as you will but the mac being the graphic design king is a myth.
January 9, 2006 11:26:26 PM

In that comparison you showed of the Apple g5 and AMD64 processors the G5 was still as fast or faster in Photoshop whih is what most Mac users want. I work at a Printshop and we just got two of the Quad G5's and all I can say is that they are FAST!!! I dont favor Mac over PC or vice versa, but theres a reason graphics people use Macs even though they are pricey. That said for all around everyday performance the AMD chips blow Mac away its not even close unless you get one of the new Quad G5's and even then AMD still has the edge for most uses.
January 10, 2006 2:19:31 AM

Quote:
Now if you need more power upgrade to a cheap 6800gs later.

I ended up purchasing a 6800gs - see below...

Quote:
I don't know how you can say that a mac is better for graphics. It may have been the case in the past however it just isnt so any longer. The only thing you are paying for is the little fruit on the side of your pc.

Every Mac lab in my college is loaded w/ all the Adobe apps on it. All the PC labs run programming, development, enterprise, and technical related apps or Linux/Unix. Urban legend, maybe, but the Mac/Graphics label still runs rampant today.

Quote:
Basically you can make a smoking machine that can do games AND design.. with the Amd x2.. if it was games only you'd go with a single core Amd 64.

Its not really a gaming setup (except for AOE) so I went w/ an x2. I read alot of posts and reviews in the past week or two to help me come up w/ the below configuration which was ordered today... let me know how I did.

One note regarding the mobo - I selected from these Non-SLi boards: ASUS A8N5X, ASUS A8N-E, ABIT AN8-ULTRA, ABIT AN8, ABIT KN8 Ultra, ABIT KN8, and the DFI Infinity NF4.

Total budget was $1000 (plus shipping):
ASUS A8N-E = $109
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ = $322
eVGA 256MB Geforce 6800GS = $189
A-DATA Vitesta 2GB DDR 400 = $157
WD Caviar 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s = $103
PLEXTOR IDE DVD Burner PX-740A/SW-BL = $62
ASPIRE X-Navigator, Steel, 500w PSU, 4 80mm + 1 120mm = $99

Total of this system = $1041 (plus shipping)

Obviously not a fancy rig, but I'm hoping it will get my business of the ground. As my needs grow, in terms of processing power, I can upgrade to the 4800+ (when price drops), add 2GB ram, and HDDs. The A-DATA chips were recommended from newegg + had good reviews. MemTest also gave good ratings. It's probably not going to be overclocked, so should be ok. The only other thing I am a bit unsure on it the psu that comes with the case. This will probably need to be upgraded.
January 10, 2006 12:37:17 PM

Thats a great setup.. I mean for $1000.

My post was just to show that the amd x2 does both.. and beats the g5 mac in most if not all the tests. Thats also with the consideration that the adobe apps are highly optimized to run on adobe giving it the supposed edge.

but what you have priced out will out run.. out power.. and even out game (if you wanted) any mac in the same price range unless you want to double or triple the amount you are spending on it. If you went with the 4400 x2.. you'd need a quad mac to beat it. and a 2 gig upgrade on ram for that machine (g5's) is another $500 on top of the already doubled or tripled price.

SLI isnt needed at all as you discovered as well. Even for gaming it is overkill in most cases with new single slot cards coming out every other month beating the previous sli leader.

I think you have a good system going

Asus is stable, the amd x2 is a great processor (might splurged a bit for a 4400+), the 6800 gs is a good card for your needs, and if you did your research on your system memory then you should be safe.


anyways I think you will enjoy the system. I grew up on macs.. but I out grew them.
January 10, 2006 2:13:13 PM

You obviously have not seen s g5 quad powermac WOW, but i would still get the pc, it will work out cheaper software-wise. The WOW for the g5, is a "Wow, I have so much power, too bad i can't use it.'
January 10, 2006 5:51:51 PM

Quote:
You obviously have not seen s g5 quad powermac WOW, but i would still get the pc, it will work out cheaper software-wise. The WOW for the g5, is a "Wow, I have so much power, too bad i can't use it.'


Don't forget WOW.. i'm broke.. or WOW I could have bought a car lol. WOW it cost me $3000 for the base model... but wow I got the nice fruit.

Bottom line is..

the amd beats the g5..and it was within his/her budget. Plus it saved him/her money in software since he already owned pc based ware.

Amd beat the g5 in single cores, Amd beat the g5 in dual cores, I'd like to see the test of a quad opteron vs the quad g5 if you want apple to apples as the case may be... or even the a the amd fx60 which is a 2.6ghz dual core.

Oh well.. we'll see how the macs do now that they are intel based. Talking about sleeping with the enemy. You'd think if you wanted less power consumption, better performance, and no bloated designs you'd go amd. But I heard intel has a better design in their latest. Especially power consumption wise which is cool.

Keep in mind.. you go with what you are loyal to... or if you're loyal to perfomance.. I don't dislike macs.. I just dislike the hype. not all of us are able to drop 3-5 thousand dollars for a graphics machine. And honestly why should anyone when there is a more economical and effecient or even more powerful way to get the same end product?
January 10, 2006 6:44:08 PM

Yup, and you still have to go through the pain of buying windows emulation software just to get something to play games, half of which will refuse to work. Stephane i know you might read this and if you are, i now know what a nosy backstabber you are, take revenge on me all you want i dont care, keep the 600 bucks. Goodness no, i am not being materialistic whatever has gotten in to me? You lot can all ignore this, some people have... Issues. If this shows results i will explain it to anyone who wants to know.
January 10, 2006 8:31:23 PM

for graphic design, and not gaming, I would go with a mac G5. Ok, please, everyone just admit it, that macs run much smoother and as long as you aren't gaming, they are truly seemless and excellent computers, and are compatible much more today than they used to be. In my house we have an iBook, an eMac, and iMac, and only 1 windows, a Dell which has needed much more attention than all the macs combined.

My advice, is don't bother building a windows unless you have the time/patience or just want to use windows instead of Mac. With a G5, you can add in ATi graphics cards, and have the advantages of using a mac (as long as you don't intend on gaming). All the designs u make will be compatible with windows as well. I would say the only bad thing might be that Macs tend to be pricey.
January 10, 2006 8:41:45 PM

My motto concerning steve jobs is

Don't Give gates a Job.
January 10, 2006 9:02:30 PM

Interestingly enough, Apple is about to release their Intel / x86 based machines soon!!!!

From http://slashdot.org/ 01/10/2006

Quote:
Steve Jobs began giving his keynote at 9am local time, PST. The action was posted live at MacRumorsLive, and Engadget. From the Engadget liveblog: "How many [iPods] did we sell last quarter? Some of the estimates were getting astronomical - 8 million, 9 million. I'm really pleased to announce that last quarter we sold 14 million iPods .. that is over a hundred every minute, 24/7 throughout the quarter. And it still wasnt enough. We've now sold over 42 million iPods -- as you can see the curve is going up again" MacWorld and Ars Technica has coverage as well. The shiniest news: MacBook Pro. iSight, Front Row; $1999 1.67 Core Duo; 667 DDR bus, Radeon x1600; $2499 1.83GHz. Intel chip.


AMD will still beat them ;-) :D 

I applaud Apple for switching to BSD however :D  :D 

They switched to BSD so they could go Intel / x86 without major issues.

hmm....... maybe Apple will go AMD someday who knows.....
January 10, 2006 9:16:11 PM

Quote:
..... maybe Apple will go AMD someday who knows.....


The day that happens lock up your daughters, because after that day nothing will be sacred anymore. :wink:
January 11, 2006 12:53:41 PM

Quote:
for graphic design, and not gaming, I would go with a mac G5. Ok, please, everyone just admit it, that macs run much smoother and as long as you aren't gaming, they are truly seemless and excellent computers, and are compatible much more today than they used to be. In my house we have an iBook, an eMac, and iMac, and only 1 windows, a Dell which has needed much more attention than all the macs combined.


I would agree with you if it was true. I've used both. I respect both but if "smoothness" is based on performance then the amd is "smoother". Its faster in processing the graphic design apps, games, and encoding (i believe).. faster all around. The only reason why apples are seemless so to speak is because they are primarily proprietary machines. You cant adjust them, upgrade them, or mod them like a pc can be. Also if a pc is built correctly it is seemless. You just need quality parts (not expensive parts).

Quote:
All the designs u make will be compatible with windows as well.


LOL.. come on.. if you make a design on a windows based illustrator.. its jsut as compatible with a mac as if you made a file on the mac is to a pc. what you have to be careful of is to outline your work prior to using it on either machine due to the fonts being named differently. Or just replace the fonts when using the other platform.

Quote:
I would say the only bad thing might be that Macs tend to be pricey.


pricey? Thats an understatement. You're talking about 200-300% more expensive sometimes for a system that does less than its pc counter part.

It will be interesting that now Apple is basically an OS developer on a PC based cpu. Intel may give it the boost it needs to reclaim the Graphics actual lead spot again. But for some time it hasnt reigned supreme since amd 64's came out. It's just been the mac faithful shroud covering it up.

not trying to start a mac pc war.. but please stop with the mac hype. The mac stores German Sprocket (snl) look are annoying enough lol
January 11, 2006 3:14:17 PM

Quote:
It will be interesting that now Apple is basically an OS developer on a PC based cpu. Intel may give it the boost it needs to reclaim the Graphics actual lead spot again. But for some time it hasnt reigned supreme since amd 64's came out. It's just been the mac faithful shroud covering it up.


This means that AMD has a new super enemy, it will keep them on their toes quite nicely. The gap between AMD and intel will widen once more in price. That steve jobs finally got his head out of the clouds and realised just how much he was losing out on. Elitism is a stupid concept.

http://www.ancientspear.com/mac.wmv
January 11, 2006 4:54:30 PM

Its very funny, because most of that video would be correct if you replaced 'Dell' with it, or at least my Dell. hahaha lets not flame here
!