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Ok my potential new rig (under $2000)

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March 16, 2006 5:54:33 AM

I read many of the posts in this thread before deciding on my personal rig and think I've narrowed down my selection. First my requirements: I'l need a system that can play the latest games well. I'm a casual gamer but I hate lag or playing on minium quality settings. Second: I'll be doing some light video work and converting many hi-8 tapes to CDs using this pc. I will also need an IEEE port and would prefer if it was on the motherboard as apposed to an add-in card.

My budget is $2000 and will include a monitor. So here's what I'm looking at:

Antec Performance Plus PlusView II Black Steel/Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail, 85.00
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail, 166.99
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester - Retail, 357.00
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W - Retail 89$
GeForce 7900 GT EXTREME (520MHz) 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail, 315.00 (If they ever get this in)
OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Plat memory - Retail $197
Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM, 95.00
BenQ Black ATA/ATAPI 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With LightScribe Model DW1655 - OEM, 54.99
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS SB0350 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - OEM, 75.00
LINKSKEY LKA-CR15W 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader/Writer - Retail, 12.99
Mouse & Keyboard about $50 (I'll decide this later)

Total about $1500. This will leave me with money for a decent monitor (I'll decide this later).

I have the following questions:
- Are all the parts above Compatible?
- Any suggestions on the case other then the above?(under $100)
- I will not be going SLI. Should I get a different motherboard (remember I'd like an IEEE port as well).
- Any bottlenecks above that would require me to lessen one part or increase another?
- I may overclock in the future but not right now.
- I may also consider a tuner card. My video camera is having problems and if the IEEE does not work, I can always use a tuner card to capture the video. Any recommendations for a tuner?

Thanks for all you help. I know this is similar to build I've already read about but of course it's not exactly the same.

Regards
TooRested
(should rename my account to NotEnoughRest)
** edited first question. Meant to say compatible not configurable :)  **

More about : potential rig 2000

March 16, 2006 1:30:26 PM

Quote:
I read many of the posts in this thread before deciding on my personal rig and think I've narrowed down my selection. First my requirements: I'l need a system that can play the latest games well. I'm a casual gamer but I hate lag or playing on minium quality settings. Second: I'll be doing some light video work and converting many hi-8 tapes to CDs using this pc. I will also need an IEEE port and would prefer if it was on the motherboard as apposed to an add-in card.

My budget is $2000 and will include a monitor. So here's what I'm looking at:

Antec Performance Plus PlusView II Black Steel/Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail, 85.00
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail, 166.99
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester - Retail, 357.00
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W - Retail 89$
GeForce 7900 GT EXTREME (520MHz) 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail, 315.00 (If they ever get this in)
OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Plat memory - Retail $197
Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM, 95.00
BenQ Black ATA/ATAPI 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With LightScribe Model DW1655 - OEM, 54.99
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS SB0350 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - OEM, 75.00
LINKSKEY LKA-CR15W 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader/Writer - Retail, 12.99
Mouse & Keyboard about $50 (I'll decide this later)

Total about $1500. This will leave me with money for a decent monitor (I'll decide this later).

I have the following questions:
- Are all the parts above Compatible?
- Any suggestions on the case other then the above?(under $100)
- I will not be going SLI. Should I get a different motherboard (remember I'd like an IEEE port as well).
- Any bottlenecks above that would require me to lessen one part or increase another?
- I may overclock in the future but not right now.
- I may also consider a tuner card. My video camera is having problems and if the IEEE does not work, I can always use a tuner card to capture the video. Any recommendations for a tuner?

Thanks for all you help. I know this is similar to build I've already read about but of course it's not exactly the same.


Sadly, at least in Asus you have to go an SLI motherboard to get the onboard 1394 connector. DFI has a board that is cheaper ($122) that has Firewire on board as well.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136152
That board is great for overclocking, but if you are looking to save a little money, the basic $75 DFI board has Fireware also.

However, I would get the $122 board since it has SATA II and more features than the more basic one. Most of your others parts are good. For the hard drive go with this one:
WD 250GB SATA II 16MB cache - $96.00

Drive perfomance actually increases a bit when the cache is doubled from 8MB to 16MB.

Prozac makes a good suggestion to with the Opteron. I would get a 165 with the DFI board and overclock it. You can get a nice overclock that will exceed the speed of the 4200+, plus you get 2MB cache vs only 1MB.
March 16, 2006 2:23:33 PM

I am a sucker for Thermaltake Cases so I would personally reccomend one of those. The Viking model or a Tsunami/Soprano variant.
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March 16, 2006 2:42:00 PM

Quote:
Sadly, at least in Asus you have to go an SLI motherboard to get the onboard 1394 connector. DFI has a board that is cheaper ($122) that has Firewire on board as well.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
That board is great for overclocking, but if you are looking to save a little money, the basic $75 DFI board has Fireware also.

However, I would get the $122 board since it has SATA II and more features than the more basic one. Most of your others parts are good. For the hard drive go with this one:
WD 250GB SATA II 16MB cache - $96.00

Drive perfomance actually increases a bit when the cache is doubled from 8MB to 16MB.

Prozac makes a good suggestion to with the Opteron. I would get a 165 with the DFI board and overclock it. You can get a nice overclock that will exceed the speed of the 4200+, plus you get 2MB cache vs only 1MB.


Thanks for the tips! As for the HD, the one I listed has a 16mb cache, but I guess it's not SATA II. I'll make sure to get SATA II.

As for the DFI motherboard. One of the reviewers on NewEgg said you need a floppy to flash the bios. Would I be able to load the drivers from a usb drive or CD? Can I get the PC to a a bootable state to read from those devices? I have a 2nd PC to use for driver d/l but it doesnt have a working floppy. I'll give the DFI a strong consideration based onthis answer. it's also cheaper then the Asus I selected.

For CPU, I think I'll stick with the 4200+. I will not be overclocking much because I don't want to shorten the life of the CPU. My PCs are used for about 5 years or more because I hand them off to my inlaws when I'm done with them :) 

Thanks!
March 16, 2006 3:10:34 PM

I just built a very similar system.

Go w/ the sata2 drive suggestion, that is what I did.

I love Asus, never had issue. Have that board and works flawless from start. xp w/ sp2 installed w/ no floppy needed for f6 drivers when installing on that sata drive. (any pre-sp2 windows needs the floppy for sata unless you slipstream drivers to it, regardless of mobo)

I got the sli premium mobo just for more accessories, more connections, fanless cooling and more pci-e slots(I know no real boards for that yet but one day...)

For case, try the antec sonattaII, it comes w/ antec power supply and works great/looks great. (rubber grommets for hd's are nice) very quiet case. $100 (pics dont show how SHINY the black paint is...)

Other diffs: I have x1900xt card and corsair ram. Same proc though, and according to toms the speed is more important than the cache on these. You get more perf w/ speed increase than cache. (both still increase, but speed does more) so w/ you not oc'ing that is the best for your $.
March 16, 2006 3:10:58 PM

looks great.

i would go for the regular asus sli mb, instead of the premium, if u are not planning to go SLI anytime soon.

my system
**********
X2 4200+
Asus A8N SLI
2048MB Mushkin PC3200 DDR400 CL2.5
256MB eVGA NVIDIA 7900 GT
550 Watt Antec TP II
250GB Western Digital WD2500JD
samsung 940b
( 3dmark05 8086 at stock settings)
March 17, 2006 6:20:29 PM

Quote:


As for the DFI motherboard. One of the reviewers on NewEgg said you need a floppy to flash the bios. Would I be able to load the drivers from a usb drive or CD? Can I get the PC to a a bootable state to read from those devices? I have a 2nd PC to use for driver d/l but it doesnt have a working floppy. I'll give the DFI a strong consideration based onthis answer. it's also cheaper then the Asus I selected.

Thanks!


Depends if you slipsteam SP2 onto the XP install. Like another poster said, if you just have an orginal XP CD you will need the floppy for the drivers no matter what. (Only Vista supports getting drivers from anything but a floppy sadly).
March 18, 2006 11:27:34 PM

Quote:
Depends if you slipsteam SP2 onto the XP install. Like another poster said, if you just have an orginal XP CD you will need the floppy for the drivers no matter what. (Only Vista supports getting drivers from anything but a floppy sadly).


Thanks Shadowduck. I guess I'll grab a $9 disk drive.

I'm about to send in my order but I have one last question for my new system. I will be getting a Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS card. Is it really worth replacing the on-board sound? If so will I have to disable the on-board soudn in the bios before plugging in this card?

Thanks again
Toorested
March 18, 2006 11:45:33 PM

There is a noticeable difference in the quality of sound between on board and an add-in card. Secondly with the Soundblaster you can crank up the sound using things such as EAX3 and not have the extra strain on your cpu.. as it will be on the soundcard.
March 19, 2006 1:04:49 AM

I'm the owner of a busy computer store, have been in business for 11 years. Built thousands of systems. I am the purchasing agent, and return materials agent, and built a good bit of systems myself still, along with feedback from techs and customers.

Some problems with your build:
First of All Asus motherboard SUCK, I know unpopular position I'm sure, but we have a 30% failure rate, far too many of these boards are DOA, especially for the price. I have never been impressed. Only reason people get suckered into buying these boards are because of excellent reviews. Well, I feel that they get good reviews because those reviews are bought (Asus pays alot for advertising, Asus provides the samples to the review sites, and the samples are pre-tested). I think review sites should only review products that they buy from the end-user channel. You know pick a random board from an e-tailer, and not accept product from manufacturer. (we've all read about tweaked bios's etc) I know, not practical and will never happen. Anyway, by far the best quality boards are Abit, though few models to pick from, and because of their financial scandal, may not be around forever. 2nd choice would be DFI lanparty boards. Both have extremely low failure rate. Abit <2%, DFI <4%.
Antec power supplies are junk, a VERY HIGH failure rate, around 30% over a years life. Antec does not always honor their 3 year warranty. When they do, very SLOW at replacing product, 6weeks. Again, far too many failed for their premium price. Of major name brands, Enermax work very well, same for Seasonic and to save money, buy yourself a cheaply priced Xion power supply, the 500 & 600w models are very well built and cheap.

Antec cases have never impressed me, oversized, yet far to little space inside to move around, and again, overpriced. Find something with a little more style. My personal systems, I use Thermaltake, but alot of generic companies out there that make nicely built heavy cases. Stay away from cases with drive rails, and fancy gizmos to mount things, those parts get lost over time and are a pain in the ass to swap parts later.

Western Digital Hard Drives very high failure rate. Use Seagate Sata-II, 5 year warranty, very low failure rate. If you get talked out of Seagate, then use Samsung, whisper quiet, you'll wonder if drive is powered on.
Benq DVD+RW are fine, I prefer Samsung, will save you another $10

Video Card, say away from Evga, Pny, etc. Asus, Gigabyte & BFG all make great cards.

OCZ ram - WAY overpriced, seen too many fail. Same with Mushkin, and Geil. Buy Supertalent brand, non-existant failure rate.

Audigy2 card is fine, but do you really need one? Never had anyone complain about the quality of either Abit or DFI's 7.1 sound.

My 2cents.
March 19, 2006 1:15:11 AM

I won't sit here and tell you bwave is wrong. He is the owner of a pc store, and has access to much more failure rate data than I do.
However, as far as Antec goes, I would highly recommend the Sonata if you are looking for a super quiet pc that still performs. I know there was a huge batch of bad 350 PS (power supplies) about a year or so ago, but they seem to have fixed that problem. My son has my old case, Antec Sonata, which is over a year old and has never had a problem. I have a Sonata 2, 380W case. It is so quiet, you barley even know your system is on, except for the blue light in the front.
To bwave, it might be a risk, but I was willing to take it several times, as the last 6 systems I have built were antec. These Sonatas are just great if u want low noise from your pc, and worth the risk. If the power supply doesn't go out in the 1st couple of weeks, I would imagine you will end up getting your monies worth.
bware, I am sure you are correct, but I have been lucky to be one of the 70% that has had no problems with Antec, and will continue taking that risk based on the noise reduction the Sonata provides.
Just my 2 cents....
March 19, 2006 1:20:20 AM

Quote:
...I have the following questions:
- Are all the parts above Compatible?
- Any suggestions on the case other then the above?(under $100)
- I will not be going SLI. Should I get a different motherboard (remember I'd like an IEEE port as well).
- Any bottlenecks above that would require me to lessen one part or increase another?
- I may overclock in the future but not right now.
- I may also consider a tuner card. My video camera is having problems and if the IEEE does not work, I can always use a tuner card to capture the video. Any recommendations for a tuner?


1) Yes.
2) Antec Perf TX1088AMG Tower w/480 TruePower $139+19 3/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129159.
Lots of room, great cooling, lower cost than listed case+PSU.
3) EpoX EP-9NPA+Ultra 939 nF4 Ultra (adds 1394) $105+3 3/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236.
4) No.
5) The EpoX OC's well.
6) Maybe others can help here.
March 19, 2006 1:38:40 AM

While I respect your opinion, the Antec Sonata looks bad with all the fingerprints/dust that collect on the glossy finish. The case is a tight fit for many full size atx boards. Horrible for wiring, the hard drive layout is just plain stupid for getting wires to. Antec power supplies have ridiculously long wiring, but with poor choices for connectors on them, your going to have to string down 2 leads minimum to power video card or bottom power connector on motherboard and drives. I'd rather see either a window on the side panel, or a fan on the top or side of case. Ok, I know supposed to be quiet, be it's NOT, alot of quieter cases out there. Antec fans aren't known to be quiet, nor are it's power supplies. You will find people find this case loud enough that they mat it with sound dampening, and I feel this case runs warm enough (heavy steel, little venting, aluminum alloy would be better cooling choice) without putting insulation in it! This is not my opinion alone, read unbiased reviews out there. Case is too pricey, especially when came with 380w power supply, who uses a P/S less than 450w? The sonata II has a 450w p/s now, but still too small, I'd use at least a 500w with a 3200-3700 A64, or a 600w with a dual core cpu, or a 7800 GPU (or SLI). Again, it's crazy to use the drive rails, why? Easier to put screws in, then put rails on, then slide in case. The rails leave ugly gaps beside the optical drives, of course most of the time the door is closed. As far as the door goes, it's matte finish clashes with the piano black glossy finish. I personal dislike the power button being behind the door, I don't like to open a door to power on system, but those with small children may like it. Of course, I personally hate doors all the way around, but again, if you have kids or keep on the floor of a dusty house, then I can see point. Back to the rails, rails on hard drives are bad idea, vibration = premature failure. I know they have rubberization on the rails you're going to tell me. I just know if you don't have a study case with 4 screws per hard drive, the drives fail quicker. Well, if you use Maxtor or WD drives that is! :)  If WD would just die off too, then we wouldn't have to worry about that, as the other 4 companies all make decent drives.

Quote:
I won't sit here and tell you bwave is wrong. He
is the owner of a pc store, and has access to much more failure rate data than I do. However, as far as Antec goes, I would highly recommend the Sonata if you are looking for a super quiet pc that still performs. I know there was a huge batch of bad 350 PS (power supplies) about a year or so ago, but they seem to have fixed that problem. My son has my old case, Antec Sonata, which is over a year old and has never had a problem. I have a Sonata 2, 380W case. It is so quiet, you barley even know your system is on, except for the blue light in the front....
March 19, 2006 2:37:10 AM

As far as the power button, just set your "power on" as "keyboard power on" on the bios to avoid that little problem. bware is right, that button behind a door is a pain.
I have to disagree about the noise level. It is very quiet for me, but I have not owend any other "quiet cases" and it is hard to judge in a store with all the noise.
The 450W PS is more than enough for the cards today. It seems the newer cards (PCIE) use even less power than the older technology AGP from what I have been reading on the forums here.
I just like the Antec and the noise level, no problem with heating, even when playing graphics intensive games like FEAR.
They have a new Sonata that is white if you dont like the black piano finsh as well and looks very nice. The Shiny surface allows easy cleaning, but once again he is right. You will see fingerprints when you touch the case.
I have been using Antec for years and have never had a drive fail. As you can see, I have 2 WDs and 2 Maxtors.
Hope this helps you in your desicion process. I can only tell you my experience with Antec, and it has been great so far.
But I don't own a computer store, so bware's suggestions may well be better.
March 19, 2006 3:35:24 AM

I will say, that I do believe Antec had a know issue with the first Sonata II's, the 450w fans were always running at full-power, so that certainly may prejudice me, I didn't hear any of the replacements (i had mail order customers tell me they complained to Antec, and Antec admitted a problem and sent them a new quiet p/s)

Quote:

I have to disagree about the noise level. It is very quiet for me, but I have not owend any other "quiet cases" and it is hard to judge in a store with all the noise. The 450W PS is more than enough for the cards today. It seems the newer cards (PCIE) use even less power than the older technology AGP from what I have been reading on the forums here.
March 20, 2006 1:53:28 PM

not to be like a vulture on a carcas, but I agree w/ the others about antec. They are not bad.

I have had many antec cases, starting in 2000 w/ a large tower that I still use. (man, I can stand on that case and it just asks for more! many current cases still copy the same design... cant remember the model #) My sonatta2 is very well built. No, it does not have the bling of other cases... but i dont like bling anymore. I like the understated style of it. The door actually is both glossy and matte, not just matte. This flows w/ the style and prevents the front from having all the prints that you dont like. (i agree that the paint can collect them) The hard drive positioning is awesome. Not sure why you have issue w/ getting cables to them... just aim the power and sata/pata out (not in) and you can fiddle w/ them w/o even removing the drive. The only bad thing about the case that i can see is the air tunnel thing over the proc/gpu. Worthless, bulky and i dont use it. Everything else is great.

2 power leads to the video card? check my specs in sig, I only have 1 lead to the video card. Power on mobo is all at the top so no leads to the bottom at all... not sure what you meant there...

I also do not want to come against you as you obviously have more data compiled than most of us on here... I just have yet to see a flaw w/ most antec products. (none in anything i have used) I have ps, fans, cases and even lights w/ no issues. (had an old slot fan fail once, but replaced w/ no prbs on new one)

I just plain like asus, but agree that there are other companies that are good. W/ asus though I have never had stability issues w/ the working boards I have had. I do not have the data that you do, and w/ a physically failing board that is a problem no matter what company you are using, so if you are getting more w/ them i understand why you would not like them.
!