Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Ready to pull the trigger on this purchase. ..your thoughts?

Last response: in Systems
Share
April 8, 2006 2:29:15 AM

ETA: Forgot to add processor (see below)

I asked a question on memory and the mb I was looking at. . .well, I figure rather than posting a dozen different threads on different components, I would lay this all out for people to advise me on:

Current System
Antec 635 mini tower (I think) with 350 watt ATX PSU (4 years old)
Shuttle AK31a v3 mb
1700xp processor
512MB RAM (DDR 2100)
Nvidia Geforce3 Ti200 (64MB) card
Couple hard drives
19” CRT
Generic keyboard and mouse
2.1 speaker system
DVD drive
CDRW drive

When I built this system, it was about $1000

This has been the home PC since January 2002. It handled everything thrown at it up until about a year ago. From a gaming standpoint, Half Life 2 and Call of Duty are playable but about the limit. From a video editing standpoint, it is inadequate, and have never been able to run any of those suites (e.g., Pinnacle) very successfully.

New System
I would like a similar system to last 3-4 years again. Below is what I have put together. I do not plan to overclock, run 2 video in SLI.

Antec TX640B Case http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=61640
Includes 400 watt SmartPower 2.0 Power Supply
-I ALREADY OWN THIS (was gift)-
This has an identical form factor to my old case. However, I am slightly concerned about the PSU. It should be adequate. A 7600GT from EVGA wants higher amps than the 15 on the 12V that this has, but I am not planning on SLI or overclocking.

Two NEC 3550A -I ALREADY OWN THIS (UPS goof got me two)-

WD 250GB SATA II w/16MB cache / 3 year warranty – OEM

MSI K8N Neo Plat. nForce4 Ultra MB
I don’t plan on ever having 2 cards

AMD Athlon 64 3700+ Processor (San Diego)

eVGA 7600GT
The website states 18A on the 12v, but I think that I should not have to worry about that, since I have two 12V and not overclocking, etc.?

MEMORY
I have thought about it, and I just want to start off with 2GB and not worry about in the future. I have looked at both Corsair and OCZ, and there are too many things I don’t understand about memory. Please look at this page, and maybe someone can explain this to me. Literally, I would love for someone to say EXACTLY what I should get.

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=K8N_Neo4_Platinum&class=mb
(about ½ way down page)
So if I get 2 sticks of 1GB OCZ each in slot 1 and 2 it will run at DDR400 and dual-channel?

Finish it off with some Evercool fans for the case

I will use my keyboard/mouse/speakers/monitor for now. . .

Looking at about $800 ballpark for above. Thanks for helping a guy who hasn't touched the inside of his computer for the most part in 4 years. Please advise.


FUTURE UPGRADES:
20” Widescreen LCD (will need new KVM that supports DVI)
USB Keyboard/Mouse
New USB/DVI KVM

Comments or recommendations on the above are welcome.

Last question: Has anyone used Newegg's deferred billing or 0% until Nov. 6? Thanks.
April 8, 2006 2:39:45 AM

This is more personal opinion and based on work experience at one PC store, but I have a strong dislike for MSI motherboards. They were the #1 DOA brand month after month at my store. Ditch the MSI board and get an Asus A8N-E instead for $93.

As for RAM go with 2GB of OCZ Gold or Corsair XMS. Both are around the same price and both work nicely with this board.

You didn't list a CPU at all, I would go with the Opteron 165 (dual core- if you want to O/C a little- it won't hurt and you get Celeron 300A overlcocks with it). If you don't want to O/C go with something like a X2 4200+ or 4400+.

As for the PSU it should be fine. This system will last you 3-4 for video editing and such, but will not last you 3-4 years for gaming. 7600 will hit its limit much sooner due to how gaming requirments are going through the roof.
April 8, 2006 8:05:44 AM

Hi ravne760,

In response to your questions about your new build, here are my opinions:

1) eVGA 7600GT
If you want to play current games (e.g. Oblivion) - this card will scream. A friend of mine has an A64 3200+ and 2GB ram and he gets Oblivion at 50fps on average.

However, this card will get outdated very quickly, given that the 7900GTs are storming the market. The fan noise can also be a tad noisy.

For this price-point, this is easily the nicest card available. The garish green color is a little hard on the eyes though :p 

2) The MSI K8N Neo is in my opinion, a great board. There's plenty of BIOS options and it is a very inexpensive product.

The downsides? Well, for one thing - the manual is not very helpful.
Frankly, I've seen many builds based on MSI boards. They have never given problems. Overclocking with this board is also a snap.

Yes, like what shadowduck mentioned, I've read about people having issues with MSI, but I never had any. Would recommend it to anyone.

3) Why not just get a USB Keyboard/Mouse now? Why later?
Related resources
April 8, 2006 1:22:27 PM

Thanks for the great feedback. . .

As for the MSI board, I have received as many good and bad reviews on lots of boards on that one. The Asus does not have 1394, which I need for DV camcorder. I really don't want to add in a PCI card for that if I don't have to.

3) Why not just get a USB Keyboard/Mouse now? Why later?


I currently have two systems that use the KVM. I would have to take one offline or buy new mouse, keyboard, etc. and monitor for 2nd system. So, in the short term, I need to use PS2 connections for mouse and keyboard and analog monitor.
April 8, 2006 3:16:40 PM

I have had great experiences with msi boards. Have had nothing but problems with Asus. Just look at the Asus reviews on newegg and you have to wonder about their quality these days.
I also recommend corsair memory, even there value series overclocks pretty well.
Evga video cards have a lifetime warranty.
The hardrive you metioned, the WD 250 oem. I'd suggest getting the retail from newegg. The RE series is only $95 with a 5 year warranty.
April 8, 2006 3:51:58 PM

I've been using MSI in all of my builds for many years and have only had one problem and that was very recently with a Neo4F. RMA'd it to MSI (Newegg doesn't get involved with MSI/AMD (note that I also got a bad proc and had to RMA that with AMD too). Both (MSI & AMD) handled the process very nicely and that particular PC is now working perfectly. Since you don't overclock, your MSI should do you very nicely.

3700+ is a great processor but again, since you don't overclock, you may be better off with a 3800+. Since these processors scale extremely well, the additional clock speed, 2.4GHz will take you a lot farther than the 512KB of L2 cache you'd be losing with the 2.2GHz 3700. With the difference being around $60USD, the performance would be far greater. Of course if you CAN swing a dual core, it would extend the life of your system but then, you can always just swap procs in the future.

I'm using Corsair (2 * 1GB) and it works as it should. Each of my kids has 2 * 512 of Crucial Ballistix and that is really nice too. That savings alone would get you your processor upgrade and possibly a new power supply too as that does seem to be your only weak point.

All in all, it looks like you've done your homework and are you ever gonna see a really nice speed bump over your current system!
April 8, 2006 7:25:10 PM

2.4GHz will take you a lot farther than the 512KB of L2 cache you'd be losing with the 2.2GHz 3700.

I thought the 3700+ San Diego had a 1MB L2 cache? Are you talking about the x2 or the other 3800+?

Actually, looking at Tom's CPU comparison, reviews, etc., I am thinking of spending the extra money and getting a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 1GHz HT 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor for around $295 vs. the 3700+ for $223.

Is the price difference worth it?


ETA: Here's where I am at (4/8/06)

Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YD 250GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer - Retail $95

eVGA e-GeForce 7600 GT CO PCI Express 256MB GDDR3 Video Card w/DVI-I Retail - $189 - $15 rebate

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum nForce4 Ultra Athlon 64 Skt939 DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail - $114.50

OCZ OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K 2GB Kit DDR400 PC3200 Platinum Edition Dual Channel Memory Retail - $193.50 - $50 rebate

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Processor Socket 939 Retail - $295

Total of $895 - $65 rebates = $830 (no tax and free shipping from zipzoomfly.

OR $898 (includes shipping) - $65 rebates = $833

Do I need thermal paste, or does a retail AMD processor come with somehting? Also, what about fans?

My case has a large rear fan, two fan openings on the side (an 80mm, and a 92mm over CPU), and an 80mm in the front.

I was thinking of at least one in the front to draw in, but what about those side vents?

Any tips on brand, etc. I am not overclocking, but PC is somewhat confined. I was looking at Evercool fans at Newegg. Leaning towards Newegg over Zipzoomfly for 0% until November and previous good experience.

How does this look above? Thanks.

Next
April 8, 2006 10:12:15 PM

Quote:
2.4GHz will take you a lot farther than the 512KB of L2 cache you'd be losing with the 2.2GHz 3700.

I thought the 3700+ San Diego had a 1MB L2 cache? Are you talking about the x2 or the other 3800+?

Actually, looking at Tom's CPU comparison, reviews, etc., I am thinking of spending the extra money and getting a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 1GHz HT 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor for around $295 vs. the 3700+ for $223.

Is the price difference worth it?


ETA: Here's where I am at (4/8/06)

Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YD 250GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer - Retail $95

eVGA e-GeForce 7600 GT CO PCI Express 256MB GDDR3 Video Card w/DVI-I Retail - $189 - $15 rebate

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum nForce4 Ultra Athlon 64 Skt939 DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail - $114.50

OCZ OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K 2GB Kit DDR400 PC3200 Platinum Edition Dual Channel Memory Retail - $193.50 - $50 rebate

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Processor Socket 939 Retail - $295

Total of $895 - $65 rebates = $830 (no tax and free shipping from zipzoomfly.

OR $898 (includes shipping) - $65 rebates = $833

Do I need thermal paste, or does a retail AMD processor come with somehting? Also, what about fans?

My case has a large rear fan, two fan openings on the side (an 80mm, and a 92mm over CPU), and an 80mm in the front.

I was thinking of at least one in the front to draw in, but what about those side vents?

Any tips on brand, etc. I am not overclocking, but PC is somewhat confined. I was looking at Evercool fans at Newegg. Leaning towards Newegg over Zipzoomfly for 0% until November and previous good experience.

How does this look above? Thanks.

Next


Retail CPU comes with a useless/heat inducing thermal pad, use thermal paste instead. Pull the trigger, good system. :) 
April 9, 2006 12:09:14 AM

Quote:
2.4GHz will take you a lot farther than the 512KB of L2 cache you'd be losing with the 2.2GHz 3700.

I thought the 3700+ San Diego had a 1MB L2 cache? Are you talking about the x2 or the other 3800+?

Actually, looking at Tom's CPU comparison, reviews, etc., I am thinking of spending the extra money and getting a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 1GHz HT 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor for around $295 vs. the 3700+ for $223.

Is the price difference worth it?


ETA: Here's where I am at (4/8/06)

Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YD 250GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer - Retail $95

eVGA e-GeForce 7600 GT CO PCI Express 256MB GDDR3 Video Card w/DVI-I Retail - $189 - $15 rebate

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum nForce4 Ultra Athlon 64 Skt939 DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail - $114.50

OCZ OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K 2GB Kit DDR400 PC3200 Platinum Edition Dual Channel Memory Retail - $193.50 - $50 rebate

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Processor Socket 939 Retail - $295

Total of $895 - $65 rebates = $830 (no tax and free shipping from zipzoomfly.

OR $898 (includes shipping) - $65 rebates = $833

Do I need thermal paste, or does a retail AMD processor come with somehting? Also, what about fans?

My case has a large rear fan, two fan openings on the side (an 80mm, and a 92mm over CPU), and an 80mm in the front.

I was thinking of at least one in the front to draw in, but what about those side vents?

Any tips on brand, etc. I am not overclocking, but PC is somewhat confined. I was looking at Evercool fans at Newegg. Leaning towards Newegg over Zipzoomfly for 0% until November and previous good experience.

How does this look above? Thanks.

Next


My point was that the 2.4GHz 3800 w/512MB L2 cache will be considerably faster than the 2.2GHz 3700 with its 1MB of L2 Cache. For the difference of ~$60, I would opt for the 3800.

However, if you can swing an X2, by all means consider doing so. The X2 3800 is essentially 2 * 3200s (2.0 GHz with 512 L2 cache * 2!). You can't go wrong with any of the X2s or even dual core opterons. If you're looking at dual core processors, go with whatever gets you the best price.

Note also that all Opteron Dual core processors and all X2 4200s up come with excellent heatpipe CPU coolers. You'll not need to spend any extra on better cooling with one of these. This assumes you purchase the "boxed" version. It also assumes that your OS can handle 2 processors. WinNT, 2K & XP and virtually any flavor of Linux can. Win95, 98 & FU (I mean ME) cannot.

Looks like you've almost put together a rather stunning system! Regarding Etailers, I've never dealt with ZipZoomFly but have several positive experiences with Newegg. I can speak very well about Newegg. They're honest, very fast and guarantee virtually everything they sell. My recent experience with a bad CPU and a bad MSI motherboard, Newegg did direct me to the manufacturers instead of a swap but it all worked out just fine.

Finally, you can't overcool your case. You can make it too noisy however. Personally I don't skimp on fans as good airflow across all your components (Northbridge, CPU & Videocard) is crucial to proper operation and longevity.
April 9, 2006 3:31:42 AM

WE HAVE A PROBLEM HOUSTON. . .

Ok, I loaded up the card. . .doing my last minute pricing, etc. Something in the back of my head kept saying. . .this is not right. . .

I have only DSUB on my current monitor and KVM so, I am stuck. . .7600GT only comes with DVI.

What is a $200 price range card that is as good or close to it as 7600GT with both DVI and DSUB?

:?
April 9, 2006 3:41:50 AM

Quote:
WE HAVE A PROBLEM HOUSTON. . .

Ok, I loaded up the card. . .doing my last minute pricing, etc. Something in the back of my head kept saying. . .this is not right. . .

I have only DSUB on my current monitor and KVM so, I am stuck. . .7600GT only comes with DVI.

What is a $200 price range card that is as good or close to it as 7600GT with both DVI and DSUB?

:?


No, you don't have a problem, use the included DVI to D-Sub adapter that comes with the video card.
April 9, 2006 4:05:04 AM

Quote:
No, you don't have a problem, use the included DVI to D-Sub adapter that comes with the video card.


That's why I love this forum. . . :D 

I have posted my original post in at least 5 other online forums. Motherboards.org, Anandtech, Bjorn3D, HardOCP, and others. . .I have recieved no where near the amount of useful info as I have here.

THANK YOU ALL
April 9, 2006 4:16:46 AM

i highly disagree about wat u said about msi boards. u and many others on this forum are asus fanboys. u act as if asus is the only option. msi mobos are actually amazing. i love them
April 9, 2006 4:23:07 AM

Quote:
i highly disagree about wat u said about msi boards. u and many others on this forum are asus fanboys. u act as if asus is the only option. msi mobos are actually amazing. i love them


Excuse me, before you go to the fanboy BS maybe you should read my posts. I recommend DFI and EPoX also. I am entitiled to my opinion and my experience with MSI is poor. That does not make me a fanboy. Get over it.
April 9, 2006 4:33:20 AM

STOP THE BICKERING. . .IT'S TOO LATE ANYWAY!!!!

Thanks again! :D 

1 MB MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum NF4U 939 - Retail
Item #: N82E16813130484 $109.99 $109.99
1 VGA EVGA GF 7600GT 256-P2-N553-AX - Retail
Item #: N82E16814130283 $189.00 $189.00
1 CPU AMD|ATHLON 64 X2 3800+ 939P R - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103562 $295.00 $295.00
1 MEM 1Gx2|D400 OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K R - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227210 $191.99 $191.99
1 HD 250G|WD 7K 16M SATA WD2500YD % - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136010 $95.00 $95.00
1 CPU THERMPASTE|ARCTIC SILVER5 3.5G% - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007 $5.99 $5.99
2 EVERCOOL 80MM FILTER FAN SFF-8 RTL - Retail
Item #: N82E16835119033 $7.49 $14.98
1 EVERCOOL 92MM FILTER FAN SFF-9 RTL - Retail
Item #: N82E16835119034 $8.49 $8.49
Subtotal: $907.45
Tax: $0.00
Shipping: $32.46
Grand Total: $942.90

$65 in rebates on memory and video card

Opened preferred account, so I only have to pay about $150/mo for 6 months at 0%. Very happy so far.

I appreciate all the help I received!

I will let you all know how the build goes. . .
April 9, 2006 4:39:10 AM

Just make sure you get it paid off or the interest of the full amount (not what you did not pay) is tacked on from Day 1 and that HURTS.
April 9, 2006 4:47:08 AM

I think all here will agree that you will have a really nice system. You won't even need to open your Artic Silver. There will be a thermal pad on the bottom of your packaged heatsink, which will be all you will need.

Congrats. Let us know how you like it when you get everything assembled, up and running.
April 9, 2006 4:48:51 AM

Quote:
I think all here will agree that you will have a really nice system. You won't even need to open your Artic Silver. There will be a thermal pad on the bottom of your packaged heatsink, which will be all you will need.

Congrats. Let us know how you like it when you get everything assembled, up and running.


The thermal pad, frankly sucks. The silver cooling compound will keep the system 5-10C cooler then the pad will.
April 9, 2006 2:13:14 PM

Quote:
I think all here will agree that you will have a really nice system. You won't even need to open your Artic Silver. There will be a thermal pad on the bottom of your packaged heatsink, which will be all you will need.

Congrats. Let us know how you like it when you get everything assembled, up and running.


The thermal pad, frankly sucks. The silver cooling compound will keep the system 5-10C cooler then the pad will.

If you don't overclock, the thermal pad is sufficient and more importantly, unlike Artic Silver, the thermal pad won't void your warranty.
April 9, 2006 3:43:25 PM

Great system raven70!
April 10, 2006 12:06:13 PM

Order shipped! That was quick for a late night Saturday purchase. Look for posts Friday night asking for help! :D 
April 16, 2006 9:40:33 PM

Setup last night, and was able to POST on first try! It came with 1.b BIOS, so it instantly recognized the X2 processor. Did not correctly set memory timings, but easily corrected in BIOS (known issue).

Next is cleanup of wiring, install some fans, and then OS, and a game or two to run try out a test drive.

Thanks to everyone that gave advice.
April 25, 2006 3:42:44 PM

I just wanted to say thanks to all the advice I have received on this site.

The system has been up for over a week, and it is running cool (am able to keep it under 40C under heavy load due to case cooling. . .I love my case). I have resolved all minor issues.

With no performance tweaks and with Symantec running, achieving around 3600 3D Mark score. Half-Life 2 running with high settings on all running well into the 100+ FPS.

Oblivian is on order and should arrive soon. That will put it to the test.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
!