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New Build! X1900XT concerns

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March 9, 2006 1:51:34 AM

Hey everyone. This thing will be my first computer build and despite all the research I've done I still feel like I'm (1) missing something or (2) not selecting compatable components.

If anyone could look at this for me and make reccommendations I would very much appreciate your time.

To start these are the spec of my old system:
Dell Dimension 8200
IntelĀ® PentiumĀ® 4 2.00GHz (400 MHz)
w/ four PCI connectors and 1 AGP
1GB PC800 non-ECC RDRAM
Gefore Ti4600 Video Card

That said, I will be reusing my old monitor and (if they are compatable) my old DVD drive, CD-RW, and perhaps harddrive.
I have some concerns about this, but to save money I'd be willing to reusing the old parts if they will work with a custom build.

Here is what I'm thinking about building:
Note: I will not be doing SLI or Crossfire. Nor do I plan on overclocking.
My budget is around 1000-1200 dollars.

Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
89.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 1GHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
356.00

ASUS A8N-E ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
96.99

SAPPHIRE Radeon X1900XT 100149 Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
459.00

CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
140.00

Total: 1141.98

Concerns:
(1) If this is good; is this all I need? Will I run into trouble the PSU on that case and the force of that video card? I don't really know much about cooling -- so I'm not sure if it's needed. Also, how smart is it for me to be using my old hard drive rather than a new one?

(2) I don't plan to crossfire not do I plan on overclocking. So is the motherboard and RAM good for the X1900XT? Anyone here have this card and recommend different items?

(3) Anything else you would recommend. I am all ears, as I am sure most of you are more knowledgable on all this than I.

Thanks a lot for you time, I really appreciate it.

More about : build x1900xt concerns

March 9, 2006 2:26:21 AM

Case looks good.. without Crossfire/SLI 450W PSU will do just fine.

If i were buying, i would trade in the 4200+ for an Opteron 170. Only $40 more at Newegg, and you get double the L2 cache with a server quality chip.
Opteron 170

Motherboard looks fine for your use, and it supports Opteron CPUs (per Asus support).

The X1900XT is a nice card, not really overkill and will serve you for a while to come. Since you are not overclocking, the value RAM is okay (I have the same RAM), but I do really like OCX Gold RAM (It would be around $100 more however.)

As far as cool, the case comes with a 120mm fan and since you are not overclocking the stock cooler that comes with the CPU will be pretty good. You might consider adding another 120mm fan, but thats up to you. This will keep the system a bit cooler, but will add noise.
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March 9, 2006 3:31:26 AM

Compatability wise, you shouldnt have any problems w/ either the HDD or the optical drive. But IMHO, since you are investing in nice equipment (x1900) I suggest to go with the Opteron as shadowduck suggested as well as better RAM (OCZ products have been treating me real nice).

As for the HDD, I suggest throwing in a nice 74gig raptor for an extra $150 (or the 150gb if your willing to spend the extra bux). You can run XP as well as your games and apps on it. It should significantly speed up everything and you can use your dell provided HDD as an archiving drive for multimedia files as well as a quick backup for documents incase the unthinkable happens.
March 9, 2006 4:02:56 AM

Wow, you guys are awesome. thanks for the suggestions.

I've really not looked into the Opteron processors (mostly because what I've read only suggested them for overclocking) -- but based on price alone I'm guessing that even though the Opteron 170 runs at 2.0 ghz and the X2 4200+ runs at 2.2 ghz the extra L2 cache makes all the difference?

I will certainly take the RAM suggestions into consideration, but I'm afraid I might be getting a little over budget (hopefully with the new Nvidia cards coming out we'll see some price drops on the X1900XT though)

And as far as the motherboard goes, I'm glad to hear that it will work. I did have two quick (and probably easy questions) that I'm a little unsure about however.

(1) On that motherboard, the on board sound should be good enough that I don't really need to invest in a sound card? I ask becuase all prebuilt computer's I've owned have had a sound card.. but I figure things are a little different when building your own.

(2) Probably stupid question but, on the board where it says on board LAN -- that is just saying that it has a standard ethernet port on it, correct? Meaning that I wont need to investing in a network card unless I choose to go wireless?

Thanks again everyone.
March 9, 2006 4:14:13 AM

for the Opteron, it is debateable whether or not the L2 cache would make up for the lower clocking without a bit of overclocking... if you're worry about being over budget and you are iffy about even slightly overclocking, then I believe the extra cash would be better spent on nice RAM.

1) onboard sound is very good nowadays so it should be more than enough... if you develope a hobby for mixing music or whatnot, then you can always ugrade that later.

2) exactly
March 9, 2006 5:36:16 PM

Hey guys, I think I'm finally nailing this down to a system that I'm gonna order.
Just one or two more quickies if you don't mind.

(1) What the big difference between this:
ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
76.99

and this:
ASUS A8N-E Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
96.99

There is a 20.00 difference in price, but I'm not to sure what it's for.

(2) You mentioned getting one of those raptor drives for my Windows and applications. I've seen this recommended a lot of places, but was always curious about it, because it seems to me that whenever I would need to "clean up" (or format) my OS, I would also have to format all of my applications. Am I thinking about this correctly? Having two HDD is definitely appealing, but I guess I'm not too in tune with how they should work in conjunction with each other.

Thanks for your time!
March 9, 2006 6:46:07 PM

I would concur with this. the extra speed on the 4200 is prb better for you w/ no oc. When toms first did the cpu charts I believe that they said with the x2 procs the bigger cache gave less perf increase than the 200Mhz speed did... just something to think about if you really are not going to oc.

If you enjoy sound quality at all you will be better served w/ an add-on sound card. (better speakers/headphones really reveal the diff) If you really dont mind slight background interference or have low-end speakers then the onboard is fine.
March 9, 2006 7:20:49 PM

From the looks of it, the A8N5X is newer with slightly different packaging. That's pretty much the only difference I see... the boards have the exact same layout and features... and best part is the better rated one is cheaper, seems like a no brainer 8)

For the HDDs, you could partition a seperate area for the OS (like 10 gigs or whatnot) if you like to reformat it often. Honestly, though from my experience XP doesnt really need formating. I just use the XP "Repair" option during OS installation when things start slowing down and it's almost like brand new minus all the headache of reinstalling all the apps that attach themselves to the OS registry. Also for how the drives work together, in your "my computer" you'll just get an extra drive displayed that you can use. Very plug-and-playish (just dont forget to activate the new drive through Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Disk Management once you install it).
March 9, 2006 7:46:24 PM

After doing a bit more research i found that the A8n-E used the Nforce4 Ultra as its northbridge as opposed to teh Nforce4 that the A8N5X uses. The main difference is that the Ultra supports 3Gb/s SATAII and has hardware firewall that supposedly takes network monitoring duty off the CPU (less stress = better performance for other tasks) while the non-ultra only supports 1.5Gb/s SATAI and doesnt have the hardware firewall.

Very few HDDs support SATAII till now so that shouldnt be a majorly deciding factor in the short term... but the future upgradablilty is nice to have. Also the hardware firewall is a very nice feature. Although it's overhyped, i'm sure the peace of mind is worth it.
!