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Building First PC: Please Comment

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Last response: in Systems
June 13, 2006 6:39:21 AM

Finally, after almost two weeks of voracious reading in various forums my first system is ready. I will begin to buy the parts very soon and would appreciate any feedback from the pros. Here is what I’m getting:

CPU: AMD AM2 4000+
http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Sc...

Motherboard: MSI K9N SLI Platinum
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Memory: G. Skill 2x1GB 800DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Hard Drive: Western Digital 74 GB; 10,000 RPM; 16 MB Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Power Supply: Antec TruePower 2 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech DiNovo Bluetooth Wireless
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Optical Drive: BenQ DW1655 with Lightscribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

SoundCard: E-MU 0404
http://www.zzounds.com/item--EMU8803

Speakers: Alesis M1 Active MK2 Biamp
http://www.zzounds.com/item--ALEM1AMK2

Case: Antec Performance
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...


The case took the most amount of time to look for. I had also these choices, among others:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

As for video card, I don't play any games so I was recommended 7300GS or X1300 video cards. Do you think if I cheap out on the vidoe card I will have a slow system, especially when Vista comes out with Aero graphics? I use photoshop and other 3D designing software (SolidWorks). I want to make sure that I don't get the wrong video card.

Do I need a separate heatsink with AMD? Is this system OK for future overclocking?
I know about Conroe and AMD price drops, but I need this system now. My goal is to upgrade my system in a year or so by simply replacing the CPU with K8L and adding 2 more GBs of memory.
I already received Samsung 19” SyncMaster as a gift and don’t need a monitor.
For CPU, I could get 4600 or 4800, but given that those are already “old” tech CPUs, I don’t think they are worth the extra money.

Any system suggestions? I wanted to get 4200 at first, but someone in another forum recommended to get 4000 instead b/c it has a larger cache. Do you agree?

(I will be buying the CPU last, in case dual core prices drop earlier.)

More about : building comment

June 13, 2006 7:55:24 AM

I would rather take 7600gt instead 7300.
Everything seems ok.
If U meant to overclock take one cpu cooler too.
U can achive overclock with stock cooler but there will be much more heating.
June 13, 2006 12:31:24 PM

Quote:
Since you're not doing any gaming, I think X1600Pro would be the best card for you. The reason it's an ATI card, is because they have more features that could come in handy for you. Although a 7600 wouldn't be a bad choice.


Unless you are using Linux, of course. ATI has horrible *Nix support, so you would be better off with nVidia in that case.
Quote:
Rest of system looks pretty nice.


Word.
Related resources
June 13, 2006 12:39:55 PM

Well you say you need it now, but hope you realize that CPU is not available yet. :cry: 
June 13, 2006 5:52:06 PM

Ok, I decided to get 7600GT:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I hope that's fine.

Do you guys have any wireless keyboard/mouse experience? I want one with at least 8ft range. The DiNovo that I listed had great reviews and 17ft range, but someone in another forum said that it doesn't work well.
June 13, 2006 8:43:27 PM

Quote:
Ok, I decided to get 7600GT:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I hope that's fine.

Do you guys have any wireless keyboard/mouse experience? I want one with at least 8ft range. The DiNovo that I listed had great reviews and 17ft range, but someone in another forum said that it doesn't work well.


Been using a wireless mouse for 2 or 3 years (Logitech models only) and have never had a problem, even at as much as 5 - 6'. However my eyesight prevents me from seeing my monitor at 18'. :) 
However, I did have a logitech LX700 setup that I didn't care for so much. I found that my typing was delayed - would see a very minor delay between my finger hitting the key, and when I could see it on the monitor. I know for most this is not a problem... it was a very minor delay but was enough to throw my brain for a loop. Depends on what kind of user you are and what kind of patience you have I guess.

Also, very good move on the P180 series from Antec. I got the plain P180 (silver sides) and have never been happier with a case!! Think the P180 and P180B are the same, just different skins.
the others you listed are good... but just fell in love with that Antec!

I do feel the need to comment on the RAM. I build PCs on the side, and would highly advise spending a tad more on your RAM to get a name brand. Going cheap here can be like cheaping out on a PSU... random errors that take you forever to troubleshoot! :wink:
Names I would recommend, Corsair Kingston or Crucial. Specifically Kingston (HyperX) or Corsair (XMS) if you plan on overclocking. I know these aren't the ONLY good RAM companies, but they're the ones that I'll stand behind.
Hope this was helpful... but in the end, just my $.02... :) 
June 13, 2006 9:19:07 PM

I read more great reviews about DiNovo and I think it's good enough, especially since the mouse is rechargeable and I don't have to waste money on batteries.

Psaus, I really loved that Antec case too. Besides being stylish and sturdy, it is also very quiet.
I was surprised about what you thought about G. Skill. Before decided on them I read a lot in different forums and G. Skills is very highlly regarded.

I got some great feedback in different forums. Now I need to decide whether to get and ATI x16000pro video card or Nvidia x16000pro. Since I don't play games, is it really much better to ATI for graphic design and such?

These are the two I am considering:
POWERCOLOR Radeon X1600PRO X1600PRO512MBDDR2 CrossFire Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

OR
eVGA Geforce 7600GT 256-P2-N553-AX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

What are some opinions on these? Several people told me that Nvidia is much faster.
June 14, 2006 5:30:59 AM

My friend has saphire 1600xt and it is not much faster then my geforce gainward 6600gt GS.

So it is 100% shure that 7600gt is faster than 1600pro and 1600xt is faster than 1600pro :wink: .
June 14, 2006 8:47:12 AM

Thanks a lot vulefu, I also saw the benchmarks. I will get eVGA 7600GT. I might even try the mortal combat to see how fast my system runs (haven't played that game or any other since I was 16 about 6 years ago). I did some research and the graphics of modern games are really amazing.

My system is now ready for buying all the parts. The only problem is that there is no AM2 4000 in stock. Can anyone please find me an AM2 4000 to buy right now? I would very much appreciate it.
June 14, 2006 11:13:02 AM

Why do you want the 4000+? Go with the X2 3800+. You won't notice a difference in gaming performance, but you will notice things will be a lot smoother. Believe me. Once you go SMP (symmetric multiple processing), you never go back.
June 14, 2006 12:17:39 PM

Quote:
Why do you want the 4000+? Go with the X2 3800+. You won't notice a difference in gaming performance, but you will notice things will be a lot smoother. Believe me. Once you go SMP (symmetric multiple processing), you never go back.


Sound advice. Programs like Photoshop are also already optimised for dual core processing.
June 14, 2006 12:28:15 PM

I need it for the large cache. The next one with the same cache is 4800 or something.
June 14, 2006 1:04:04 PM

7600GT>X1600XT>X1600Pro>X1300>7300GS

Get the 7600GT. Then wait until late July when the Conroe comes out and AMD cuts the prices of the dual-cores in half.
June 14, 2006 2:26:34 PM

Yes, that's what I had been looking for. Today I saw that there is not obligation at TG, so I had ordered it just in case. Maybe it will arrive sooner. I could always cancel it and get it from another place if they get it sooner.

Should I get a heatsink if I am planning to overclock?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Is there any particular thermal paste that I should get?
June 14, 2006 3:13:58 PM

Quote:
Yes, that's what I had been looking for. Today I saw that there is not obligation at TG, so I had ordered it just in case. Maybe it will arrive sooner. I could always cancel it and get it from another place if they get it sooner.

Should I get a heatsink if I am planning to overclock?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Is there any particular thermal paste that I should get?



Stock is usually fine, but a Zalman would never hurt. Just make sure it fits AM2.

As for thermal paste: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835100007
Best stuff in the business.

Oh, one more point. Once Intel gets around to releasing Conroe, AMD chips are going to take a serious tumble in price. For example the $300 X2-3800 iis going to $169! I know you want a system now, but in this case it might pay to wait a month and cash on the HUGE price cuts coming.
June 15, 2006 7:42:54 AM

I have ordered everything, but I might not be able to wait for AM2 4000 and just get 4200. The difference in caches should only give a SLIGHT difference right?

1. For now I will get the stock heatsink. How far can it be overclocked?

2. What cooler should I get later and how much will it allow me to OC? Is the one that I provided the link above good enough? I don't want liquid cooling or a cooling system that is too noisy or expensive.

I know the prices will drop, but I'd rather pay about extra $120 to have my computer now. I have to do a lot of work over summer and by the time prices drop summer will be almost over, along with my college vacation. Realize that my 1.8Ghz Pentium 4 is UNUSABLE. Sometimes I get so incensed that I almost destroy the computer, but then I remember that I have to give it to my sister. BTW, I have to ask you: when intel prices go down, could I just change the processor in Dell before giving it to my sister? If so, can I put in Pent. D or should I stick to P4 only (don't know the sockets).
June 15, 2006 9:30:51 PM

Can't answer personally about the cache issue but from what I have read there shouldn't be much of a difference.

The stock heatsink should allow you to overclock pretty well. To really push it you will need to get a diff. heatsink. Zalman is a good name and there are many others. Do a search for reviews and you should be able to find something that suits you. How far you can overclock it depends on the quality of the chip. Some people can get better speeds out of the same kind of chip. It's the luck of the draw in that regard.

1.8 Ghz should be socket 478 (I think) so you would have to stay with a chip that fits that socket. I think that all the Pent. D's are socket 775 but you will have to ask someone more knowledgeable than me.