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Amateur needing help with shopping list...

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May 21, 2006 9:09:25 AM

Alright, so I've finally decided to build my own comp. It'll be primarily for gaming, I do listen to music and watch movies but those are secondary. So I'm aiming for great graphics and game performance.

Now, I do have some sense of what is good and what is not but when I have to start comparing two components, identical to me, for example memory I'm lost. I'd really appreciate any help anyone could give.

I'll be taking my optical mouse, Sounblaster Live Value! card, Cd-RW/DVD drive from my old computer but the rest will be bought. I've thought of putting 2000 € into this project and here's what I've been thinking:

Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (Toledo, 2x2400/200, NF4, DDR400) = 650 €
Radeon X1900 XTX R580, 648 MHz, 1548 MHz, 512 MB = 600 €
Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe = 200 €
Kingston 2 Gt, 900 MHz DDR2 = 350 €
Harddrive: Ata 250 Gt = 100 €
Powersource 500 W or more = 150 €

The main idea would be to have a great comp which I wouldn't have to update in a long time, excluding graphic card and maybe cpu. Basically with this list I've done the, perhaps, amateur thing: I've picked the items from the top on different benchmark results. But like I said, most of the technical stuff goes bit beyond me.

I've been also planning to buy a DVD-RW drive, 19" lcd monitor, perhaps ViewSonic VX922 (straight from the Spring 2006 Collection :p ) and maybe new sound card so if anyone has ideas concerning these, please do tell.

Thank you all in advance.
May 21, 2006 9:29:14 AM

Your config looks pretty good to me although I remain sceptical about dual core processors. Also, once again, I am going to derecommend Asus as they are a horrible brand and I have no idea how they sell so many boards... maybe past reputation. Asus boards are a hell to set up as the bundle is VERY light and is usually missing something... that's not fun when you're building a new rig.

So I strongly suggest you to go with MSI which is a fantastic brand that has give me 99.9% satisfaction (I had a BIOS update problem once on one out of 15 boards, yet it go fixed in 15 mins).

Also, I will recommend RAID0 to you since it will dramatically lower game load times (Tested and approved).

As far as the DVDRW drive goes, I would buy a random one of a rather know brand (Pioneer or LG but NEVER Lite-ON). For the 19" LCD, I will recommend you either Samsung or Philips or even LG. I have a philips right now and it's just fantastic :D , my parents have a 17" LG and it's perfect. As far as the Samsung goes, a friend has one and he's always telling me how great they are and I put one in a rig I built a month ago, and that guy too was very enthusiastic about it.

Oh ! One little problem ! AMD does not support DDR2 so you'll be needing to go with good ol' DDR.
May 21, 2006 10:17:26 AM

Don't listen to him, Dual Core CPUs are a great idea and work superbly. Come Vista you won't be disappointed (except perhaps by Vista, but that's a different story)

Concerns:

Motherboard - Seeing as you're getting an ATi card, why bother with an SLi board? The SLi-deluxe has a bad rep for not working with certain PSUs/RAM. Consider a different Asus board. If you are going to overclock, consider a DFI board as they have a great OC reputation.

RAM - DDR2 won't work with your board. DDR2 is a new feature for socket/platform AM2, and will not work on any socket 939 board.

Hard disk - What brand are you looking at? Is it SATA?

PSU - what PSU are you looking at? Is 'Powersource' the brand name? Look for a branded PSU - wattage alone is not a guarantee of success.
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May 21, 2006 10:25:27 AM

First off, thanks for the advices. And like I said I really don't know much of specific qualities.

Ok, so as for the motherboard, how about:

MSI K8N Diamond Plus?

As for the memory, it seems I have to stay with old DDR then. Will that be a big disadvantage later on?

As for the Hard Disk, I don't know much about brands or wheter to choose SATA or ATA? So any advice or recommendation on this part will be highly appreciated.

Same goes with the powersource, I have no idea how they differ from each other and which would suit a gamer like me best. All I know is that new graphic crads need power and I assumed 500 W would be enough. Any specific labels?

Thank you once again for the help.

PS. I don't think I have the skills needed to overclock so that's not a quality I'm looking for/needing. :D 
May 21, 2006 10:43:39 AM

SATA = much, much faster than ATA. It's the standard now, so don't worry about compatibility problems. As far as hard disk brands go, go for Western Digital, Maxtor or Seagate.

Memory wise, you won't be able to re-use your memory when you upgrade to either next-gen Intel platform (Conroe etc...) or AMD's AM2 platform - they both use DDR2. If you want to go AMD and use DDR2, then you'll have to wait a few weeks before AM2 is released, but motherboard, RAM and CPU will be more expensive and motherboard/CPU will likely be less reliable.

That MSI board looks good, if the price is significantly more for the SLi feature then don't bother - you're not going to use it.

As far as power supplies go, the best seem to be OCZ, Enermax etc... brands that you have heard of. Search the forum to find other threads about PSUs.
May 21, 2006 10:55:52 AM

Alright, thanks a LOT for the advice and for giving few brand names, I was pretty lost on those too.

So SATA it is on the HD and as for the PSU, I'll check the forums, thanks again!

I guess I'll stick with the MSI (the price is also 200 €) and DDR then, I guess they'll still be useable for quite a while. Which is better in memory by the way: 1 x 2048 mb or for example 2 x 1024 mb? And is it really better to look for the highest MHz or stick the regular 333 MHz?
May 21, 2006 11:04:26 AM

I agree with what Mesa said.

The K8N Diamond Plus is nice bit a bit overpriced I think, I would get it's little sister the Neo4 Platinum but that's just me.

For the memory, you should definently get 2x1024 in order to use the dual channel. Also, getting plain ol' 400Mhz (or 200 DDR) will satisfy you just fine if you do not overclock.

As far the PSU go, I have a Fortron BlueStorm and it's fantastic yet I'm not sure if it's available in the US. I'll also give you an example for "wattage doesn't matter".

I had a no-name 460 Watts for my computer and the fan was spinning incredibly fast and my computer was not very stable. I got a Fortron 400Watts and I have never had a crash for 3 months and it's fan is not spinning very fast at all.

Moral of the story : buy quality not numbers.
May 21, 2006 11:23:49 AM

I agree, 2x1024mb is the best setup for this build - allowing you to have a large amount of RAM along with the benifits of Dual-Channel.

DDR400 should be just fine.

Quote:
Moral of the story : buy quality not numbers.


Absolutely true. Unless you can afford to buy both :wink:
May 21, 2006 1:59:07 PM

tekzone must have been smoking some crank in that first post 8)

Duel core is outstanding. I recommend it. You will like it.
Other people may have had a problem with Asus, but I never have. My new rig has an A8N-32 board, runs like a champ.

For gamming purposes, raid is worthless. Just stick a Western Digital 150G raptor in there for the hard drive.

I agree on the powersupply, go with a "name brand". Most people tend to skimp on the power and pay the price for it later.
May 21, 2006 2:03:02 PM

I just said I remained sceptical about Dual Core which doesn't mean I think it's bad. It just means I'm not sure it's really worth, yet I still have to try it.

RAID0 is NOT worthless, you'll have to trust me on this one. I have a RAID0 array and it really loads faster then a single HD as that is what I had previously. This applies to HL², CS, Photoshop, Flight Sim 2004, Firefox. I mean everything loads up faster with RAID it's quite amazing.
May 21, 2006 2:39:49 PM

What are your current drives? What was your old drive?
!