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First DIY PC - got money left over !

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March 13, 2006 2:03:50 AM

Hello

Another newbie trying to build a pc. I have been asking people questions, read reviews until my eyes glazed over and I am still a bit confused (did I mention that I am blonde ?), but I have come up with a list of components and would like to know, if it will work and if it will be ok.

Let's start with specs and usage

I currently have a 5-year old system which I upgraded to it's limit and it's time to go for new. Currently running an Athlon 1.3 (the series before XP), so anything will be better, I guess.

Bits to be used from the old system:
DVD and CD drives, Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse, possibly floppy, OS (Win XP Home)

The PC is used for Internet, games and photo editing
Games we play are no FPS at all (and all reviews are based on these, sigh, I have no idea what they even look like), we play Sims2, Pharao, Stronghold, AoE, Rise of Nations, Sim City, Roller Coaster Tycoon etc.
I don't do Video Editing, but it may follow soon-ish (if I can afford a good digital Video Camera), but do quite a bit of Photo Editing. Apart from stitching panoramas, my current system does well, so I guess that's not so much an issue, allthough monitor choice will be.

Budget : £600-700 without monitor

I came up with this list, but it ended up well below £600, so I would like to know what bit I could do better with, if I forgot something, or if I should just count myself lucky and go for the new monitor... (It's included in the price below, which still keeps me within budget, allthough at the high end)

ThermalTake Tsunami Silver Aluminum (VA3000SNA) c/w 2x case fans +USB2 +Firewire NO PSU
£ 60.45 Ex. VAT £ 71.03 Inc VAT

Seasonic S12-430 ATX12V version2.0 PSU active PFC silent 12cm fan
£ 53.45 Ex. VAT £ 62.80 Inc VAT

Asrock 939 DUAL-SATA2 (939) ULIM1695 Dual core +8x AGP PCI-E SATA2 RAID +LAN +USB2.0 +8 ch. Audio ATX
£ 36.45 Ex. VAT £ 42.83 Inc VAT

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice Core 64 bit 512k L2 Cache Retail inc.fan Skt 939 (3 yr.warr.)
£ 94.99 Ex. VAT £ 111.61 Inc VAT

Sparkle GF 6600 256MB DDR 8x AGP, DVI, TV Out, Retail
£ 67.30 Ex. VAT £ 79.08 Inc VAT

160 GB Western Digital Caviar SATA UDMA150 7200rpm 8Mb cache (JD) oem
£ 48.00 Ex. VAT £ 56.40 Inc VAT

2x 512MB DDR400 PC3200 RAM (elixir brand)
£ 41.50 Ex. VAT £ 48.76 Inc VAT

SoundBlaster Audigy SE 7.1 surround sound Internal oem
£ 17.50 Ex. VAT £ 20.56 Inc VAT

19" ViewSonic VA912 8ms TFT Black/silver Multi Media + DVI 800:1 3yrs onsite
£ 154.99 Ex. VAT £ 182.11 Inc VAT

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT
Total: £574.63 £675.18


Cheers
Mad

More about : diy money left

March 13, 2006 2:25:36 AM

Quote:
Hello

Another newbie trying to build a pc. I have been asking people questions, read reviews until my eyes glazed over and I am still a bit confused (did I mention that I am blonde ?), but I have come up with a list of components and would like to know, if it will work and if it will be ok.

Let's start with specs and usage

I currently have a 5-year old system which I upgraded to it's limit and it's time to go for new. Currently running an Athlon 1.3 (the series before XP), so anything will be better, I guess.

Bits to be used from the old system:
DVD and CD drives, Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse, possibly floppy, OS (Win XP Home)

The PC is used for Internet, games and photo editing
Games we play are no FPS at all (and all reviews are based on these, sigh, I have no idea what they even look like), we play Sims2, Pharao, Stronghold, AoE, Rise of Nations, Sim City, Roller Coaster Tycoon etc.
I don't do Video Editing, but it may follow soon-ish (if I can afford a good digital Video Camera), but do quite a bit of Photo Editing. Apart from stitching panoramas, my current system does well, so I guess that's not so much an issue, allthough monitor choice will be.

Budget : £600-700 without monitor

I came up with this list, but it ended up well below £600, so I would like to know what bit I could do better with, if I forgot something, or if I should just count myself lucky and go for the new monitor... (It's included in the price below, which still keeps me within budget, allthough at the high end)

ThermalTake Tsunami Silver Aluminum (VA3000SNA) c/w 2x case fans +USB2 +Firewire NO PSU
£ 60.45 Ex. VAT £ 71.03 Inc VAT

Seasonic S12-430 ATX12V version2.0 PSU active PFC silent 12cm fan
£ 53.45 Ex. VAT £ 62.80 Inc VAT

Asrock 939 DUAL-SATA2 (939) ULIM1695 Dual core +8x AGP PCI-E SATA2 RAID +LAN +USB2.0 +8 ch. Audio ATX
£ 36.45 Ex. VAT £ 42.83 Inc VAT

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice Core 64 bit 512k L2 Cache Retail inc.fan Skt 939 (3 yr.warr.)
£ 94.99 Ex. VAT £ 111.61 Inc VAT

Sparkle GF 6600 256MB DDR 8x AGP, DVI, TV Out, Retail
£ 67.30 Ex. VAT £ 79.08 Inc VAT

160 GB Western Digital Caviar SATA UDMA150 7200rpm 8Mb cache (JD) oem
£ 48.00 Ex. VAT £ 56.40 Inc VAT

2x 512MB DDR400 PC3200 RAM (elixir brand)
£ 41.50 Ex. VAT £ 48.76 Inc VAT

SoundBlaster Audigy SE 7.1 surround sound Internal oem
£ 17.50 Ex. VAT £ 20.56 Inc VAT

19" ViewSonic VA912 8ms TFT Black/silver Multi Media + DVI 800:1 3yrs onsite
£ 154.99 Ex. VAT £ 182.11 Inc VAT

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT
Total: £574.63 £675.18


Cheers
Mad


Actually, lol, I have no suggestions for changes, that system is perfect for what you wish to do and any modifications would be eye candy such as a 6600GT instead of the plain 6600, but that's about it.

~~Mad Mod Mike, pimpin' the world 1 rig at a time
March 13, 2006 2:54:23 AM

see if you can swap out the mobo you are currently going for with a PCI-E version. also finding a PCI-e version of a similar card shouldnt cost you much more either. this well help make it so your comp is more upgradeable.
Related resources
March 13, 2006 3:23:06 AM

Quote:
see if you can swap out the mobo you are currently going for with a PCI-E version. also finding a PCI-e version of a similar card shouldnt cost you much more either. this well help make it so your comp is more upgradeable.


The Mobo I chose has PCI-E ? Or at least thats what I though from the title.

Cheers
Mad
March 14, 2006 1:53:19 AM

Quote:
see if you can swap out the mobo you are currently going for with a PCI-E version. also finding a PCI-e version of a similar card shouldnt cost you much more either. this well help make it so your comp is more upgradeable.


The Mobo I chose has PCI-E ? Or at least thats what I though from the title.

Cheers
Mad

I hope it is.. or I've serious problem about how I run my PCI-e card with mine...

I would either get an ATI x1600xt or a 6600GT instead of the plain 6600.

ATI has SM3.0 as well as Avivo image enhencer. I got one and play everything well and image quality is pretty go. And performance is on par with the 6600gt.. loosing at some place, winning at others..

I'm now using Samsung HDD. They run cool and quiet, and they are quite fast. Reliable too. Usually cheaper than WD and Seagate too.
March 14, 2006 4:18:30 PM

Looks pretty good to me. Normally home-builds go OVER budget, not under :oops: 

A few questions though:

1. do you really need a 7.1 surround sound card? If you're not going to plug in 8 speakers, you could probably get away with using motherboard on-board audio. I know it's only £20, but that's still a round in the pub, right? :wink:

2. not sure about the ASRock Mobo - does anyone have any experience of using them? I'm an Asus fanboy - they've always been superbly reliable for me. BUT if the Asrock has good reviews, then you've found yourself a bargain.

3. if you're building yourself a super-quiet PC, maybe consider swapping the stock cooling for some quiet fans. I've got a huge Thermaltake aluminium monster heatsink with a 12cm fan. I mainly bought it to look cool, since I don't overclock and it's way more than what I needed. The fan doesn't even start spinning when I boot up - I have to fire up an app before it kicks into life... :lol: 
March 14, 2006 8:45:48 PM

Quote:
1. do you really need a 7.1 surround sound card? If you're not going to plug in 8 speakers, you could probably get away with using motherboard on-board audio. I know it's only £20, but that's still a round in the pub, right?


I don't actually, but I need 5.1 - I currently have 5 speakers (came with a previous PC), but use the onboard sound which can only drive 2 of them it's very bad quality. Can't find a 5.1 card though....

Quote:
2. not sure about the ASRock Mobo - does anyone have any experience of using them? I'm an Asus fanboy - they've always been superbly reliable for me. BUT if the Asrock has good reviews, then you've found yourself a bargain


I haven't really seen a lot of reviews, I got the tip from Tom's HW site - it has AGP and PCI-e slots, so I can get a cheap AGP card for now and upgrade to a PCI=e later....

Quote:
3. if you're building yourself a super-quiet PC, maybe consider swapping the stock cooling for some quiet fans. I've got a huge Thermaltake aluminium monster heatsink with a 12cm fan. I mainly bought it to look cool, since I don't overclock and it's way more than what I needed.


I was thinking about that. I will see how much noise the sytem will make as is. If it is too loud,I will come back here and get some tips on how to make it quieter. I don't plan to OC, but never say never.... Maybe I will give it a go one day

I basically chose this system, so I can upgrade parts later when they become cheaper. I know it hasn't got the new socket, but there are plenty of CPUs for this socket and most of them will get cheaper once the new stuff comes out, so I should be good for a while. I can upgrade to a new Graphics card later etc
March 14, 2006 9:34:57 PM

Either an Nforce 4 or a Radeon crossfire board would be a better preforming board plus both have very good integrated audio. If you might do Video editing a good idea would be and x1600 all in wonder because the the excelent video capture ability of the card + the ability to be a decent gamer. Might consider 2gb ram for video editing as well
March 14, 2006 10:43:57 PM

I'll post my experiances here and you can go from there.

From what ive heard anything with the brand name 'sparkle' on it is highly suspect. Never experienced this 1st hand though.


Onboard sound = BAD.
sooner or later they go bad. Yes the onbard chips are getting better but ive yet to hear of one that works long term. Their performance in games is lousy, although sound quality is getting better.

Ive had 2 PCs with onboard sound fail on me over the past several years, causing no end of frustration, reboots, crashes and etc. I chose not to live with the frustration and got myself an Audigy 2 card. Works great, has all the bells & whistles I want and then some.

In the end its your $$ and you have to live with the results.
March 14, 2006 10:58:49 PM

Quote:
From what ive heard anything with the brand name 'sparkle' on it is highly suspect. Never experienced this 1st hand though.


I will keep that in mind - as I am still within budget, I will probably get a better Graphics card anyway, maybe I wont go for Sparkle then...does sound suspicious when combined with electronics...lol

Quote:
Onboard sound = BAD.
sooner or later they go bad. Yes the onbard chips are getting better but ive yet to hear of one that works long term. Their performance in games is lousy, although sound quality is getting better.


I totally agree. I currently use onboard sound after my soundcard gave up it's ghost and I am not happy at all - crackling, bad quality and I can only use 2 of my 5 speakers and I starting to think it's damaging my ugly but good speakers.... Sound Card is definitley coming back, but I can't find a 5.1... might try ebay
March 15, 2006 1:41:48 AM

Man, you guys pay a LOT for taxes. Ouch. Here in the States, we generally don't have to pay any taxes unless you order the parts from a state that the firm you ordered it from has an office in. That is generally California. And then, you just pay state sales tax and not local, so it's only about ~3-4%. I bought my parts and paid about $23.00 in taxes on $1700 in goods as I had to pay tax on the monitor since it came from a different vendor than the rest (Dell, who has stores in most states.)

Other than the taxes, the rig looks good.
March 15, 2006 10:13:28 AM

Quote:
Man, you guys pay a LOT for taxes. Ouch. Here in the States, we generally don't have to pay any taxes unless you order the parts from a state that the firm you ordered it from has an office in. That is generally California. And then, you just pay state sales tax and not local, so it's only about ~3-4%. I bought my parts and paid about $23.00 in taxes on $1700 in goods as I had to pay tax on the monitor since it came from a different vendor than the rest (Dell, who has stores in most states.)

Other than the taxes, the rig looks good.


Sadly, Value Added Tax is relatively standard across the whole fo the EU (deliberately so) - normally 15-20%. In the UK it's 17.5% on most goods.
We also suffer a higher level of personal tax on earnings.

On the flip-side, our taxes include state healthcare and a substantial subsidy towards education. Once you factor in health insurance and a "college" degree (how much does that cost in the US these days - $50k?), it doesn't look quite so bad.

But let's not talk tax - it's what I do for a living! :oops: 
March 15, 2006 7:24:29 PM

you should see the tax we pay on Petrol, Cigarettes and alcohol.....

the VAT is nothing.....

But I think I am in the wrong job.... Mr Tax man can afford to go to Peru ???? LOL

Thanks for all your help here. I am really impressed by how friendly and helpful everyone is!

I let you know how everything is going.

Cheers
Mad
March 16, 2006 10:11:50 AM

Quote:
you should see the tax we pay on Petrol, Cigarettes and alcohol.....

the VAT is nothing.....


I think we still pay more than you in duty on booze and fags (at least in the UK - it's very different in France, for example).


Quote:
But I think I am in the wrong job.... Mr Tax man can afford to go to Peru ???? LOL


Mr TaxMan probably can't, but I don't work for the Revenue. I work for the Dark Side in industry. However, my company don't have any assets in Peru, so it's unlikely I'll be sent there on a corporate junket, er, I mean important business trip. They're threatening to send me to Luxembourg and St. Petersburg next week. God help me.
March 16, 2006 11:53:42 AM

Have you considering moving up to a GeForce 6800 GS (eg: The Gigabyte one with Quake 4 and PowerDVD) ?

They'll outperform the 6600 GT by around 2x fold, and the total cost is not going to rise much for the performance increase you'll see.

Or even a GeForce 7600 GT if you see any around.

The board you've selected is fine, many dis it because they don't understand the chipset on it and lack experience with it, (it is also passively cooled, has no moving parts to fail, etc),... However do you really need the AGP 8X if upgrading video to a PCIe x16 card at the same time ? (as above, don't get a AGP 8X video card if you are upgrading board + video card at the same time).

You may want to consider these 2 changes:

Even though you play no FPS games - consider a GeForce 6800GS:

- Gigabyte GeForce 6800GS (or other decent 6800GS card, with good software bundle, will double video performance at only AU$350).
- Better choice, as the more basic games will be moving to it soon enough, and it will help in 'The Sims 2' a fair bit. (Far smoother to play, can turn FSAA on, and detail right up, etc).

For mainboard consider:

- http://www.asrock.com/product/939NF4G-SATA2.htm
or
- http://www.asrock.com/product/939SLI-eSATA2.htm

Instead of the Asrock 939Dual-SATA2, as you do not require an AGP 8X slot anymore. 8)

The final cost will be roughly what you are after, but video performance will be doubled compared to the GeForce 6600 GT. You may also score PowerDVD and Quake 4 with the video card for almost free. (Slight overhead is worth it IMHO).
March 16, 2006 4:05:19 PM

I agree with the idea of going straight into PCI-e, as you will get a much better card for the same price. Try This for a sound card. And also check out the rest of the ebuyer website, have some good deals on there.
!