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Building New Comp For Uni

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August 13, 2006 10:46:27 AM

I finally managed to scrounge together the funds for my new computer in time for the first quarter of university. My mate, who's considerably more up-to-date and knowledgable on hardware and who'll be helping me strap this baby together has compiled the following list of items he thinks should be acquired for the creation of this little beast. I have 2k to play with (but no tears will be shed if the final number is lower than that) and will be using this piece of machinery for all your usual university demands but ultimately its main domain will be gaming. The benchmark is being able to pick Oblivion up and juggle it at full specs. I'm fairly certain with my budget that's possible. I really just want something that will last me all of uni without becoming obsolete.

Here's what my friend has suggested:

*

AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 San Diego 2000MHz HT 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor

DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 SLI-DR Expert Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

120 GB HD with Windows (he had no suggestions)

7900GT or 7600GT gfx card

Then there is little stuff like the case, case fans and PSU 5. Will want a 500w one.

*

He estimates that once the monitor, keyboard, mouse etc is obtained that ought to come out to a little under the budget.

So that is what he recommends, what do you all think? Any modifications you'd make or additions? Any specific items that ought to be dropped and others sought out?

If I do go for this do you recommend buying through a site like newegg or... ?

I appreciate all the help I can get!
Cheers, ~Syke

P.S. And remember to talk slowly, I'm not the greatest when it comes to the hardware aspect of things and I've been out of the country for the past year with almost no access to internet.

More about : building comp uni

August 13, 2006 11:43:54 AM

hi!
I m not that knowledable to computer but i'll try my 2 cents!

I m sorry but i'm guessing you are from the US since you didnt state where you were from...the prices are a little different from country to country (ok thats obvious lol!) espcially when the intel core 2 duo chips and the motherboards are already out...with more motherboards providing more features (and cheaper) in the next few months...
with 2 grands, Im very sure you can build a pretty good CPU to running your uni applications...and maybe oblivion is the most intense ones...
there was an article on toms hardware which should help you a lot
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/07/10/can_your_rig_run...

while looking at your computer parts, I am very sure you can find better parts for your new rig
And it would be nice if you laid down your prices one by one and add them up slowly so that the budget for your computer can be more accurate...
such as
logitech keyboard + mouse $35
antec 500W PSU $70
and start showing the remainding budget..(i know this sounds obvious but it would just be better for you and the ppl giving suggestions to squeze out the extra cash you can offer) and providing the brands of parts may also help as some ppl may have some experience with some brands and give some bad/good suggestions on the brands.. ..
hope this helps !
August 13, 2006 12:44:01 PM

Take a look at some of these reviews if you wish to see how certain models of PSUs perform under testing.

Midrange
http://techreport.com/reviews/2004q4/psus/index.x?pg=1
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/other/display/atx-psu4...

Highend
http://www.bytesizedreviews.com/?rev_id=302

I'm going to say that you are probably from England since you refer to your friend as "mate" and you are going to "uni". With that, I am not certain what resources you have available to you as far as PSUs selection so I'll just list some PSUs from Newegg that you can use as a reference. However, if you can get your hands on a Seasonic - it's a very awesome PSU.

eaSonic S12-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply ($129)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rail with good amps (17, 16 amps), excellent rep, Active PFC

SILVERSTONE SST-ST50EF ATX12V 500W ($89)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rails, strong amps (18 per rail), excellent rep, Active PFC

Thermaltake W0057RU-01 PurePower TWV ATX 12V 2.0 500W ($129)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rail with good amps (18 amps per rail), excellent rep, Active PFC

ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W ($105)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rail with STRONG amps (22amps per rail), excellent rep, Active PFC

XCLIO X14S4P3 500W ATX 500W ($95)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
triple 12v rails (18, 18, 16 amps), modular, Active PFC, Good Rep

ENERMAX Noisetaker II EG495P-VE ATX12V 485W ($90)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rails, strong amps (22 per rail), excellent rep, Active PFC

FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX500-A, 2.0 version, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 500W ($90)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
dual 12v rails, amps are ok (15 amps per rail), excellent rep, Passive PFC
Related resources
August 13, 2006 2:03:54 PM

Well, here's what I'd recommend:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (If you can get it, that is...)
2GB DDR2 667 RAM
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP 965P
ATI Radeon X1800XT 512MB
Seagate 7200.9/10 500GB HDD
Lian-Li Case.

Should be less than $2000 if my memory serves me right.
August 13, 2006 6:31:59 PM

Quote:
Well, here's what I'd recommend:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (If you can get it, that is...)
2GB DDR2 667 RAM
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP 965P
ATI Radeon X1800XT 512MB
Seagate 7200.9/10 500GB HDD
Lian-Li Case.

Should be less than $2000 if my memory serves me right.


Totally agree here.... except for the mobo.... you can drop itto the regular P5B. The Core 2 E6600 will beat the FX-57 in every category (except for those which reap MASSIVE benefits from an integrated memory controller) even while underclocked...
August 13, 2006 9:05:39 PM

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (If you can get it, that is...)
2GB DDR2 667 RAM
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP 965P
ATI Radeon X1800XT 512MB
Seagate 7200.9/10 500GB HDD
Lian-Li Case.

With monitor and all the rest that ought to come out to a little over 1850 I think. If I were to upgrade the Radeon 1800 to a 1900, how much would you imagine that'd run me?
August 13, 2006 9:56:14 PM

I agree with the most there, except the case. That is a matter of taste, you'd have to make up your own mind which one you'd like most. Just check if the airflow will be decent. Remember, you'll have to look at it thoughout uni. A PSU is still missing, I'd suggest this one.

The system should cost about $1500, and as 1900's have dropped a bit in price you might even go up to an X1900XTX.
August 13, 2006 10:02:07 PM

Alright, so then with all that in mind, where would you recommend I buy all of this? Would it be best to seek out a local dealer assuming they have what I need (am in a mid-size city in the state of Arizona), or should I buy it online off of somewhere like NewEgg?
August 13, 2006 11:15:48 PM

Quote:
The system should cost about $1500, and as 1900's have dropped a bit in price you might even go up to an X1900XTX.


Don't even spend another thought on the X1900XTX. It performs marginally better than the XT model, and consumes a lot more power.
August 13, 2006 11:20:17 PM

Any particular model that you'd suggest? What would be the absolute top-end and what would be most cost effective in your opinion?

Edit: Oh, and would you think it worth it to get crossfire in case I ever need a bit more oomph in the future or should I be happy with just one for now?
August 13, 2006 11:44:49 PM

Quote:
Any particular model that you'd suggest? What would be the absolute top-end and what would be most cost effective in your opinion?

Edit: Oh, and would you think it worth it to get crossfire in case I ever need a bit more oomph in the future or should I be happy with just one for now?


If you want the best performance for the money, stick with an X1900XT. Only performs slightly worse than an XTX, but uses quite a bit less power. Crossfire (and SLI) is a HORRIBLE upgrade path. If you decide to get another X1900XT in 6 or 7 months, 1 or 2 newer generation cards will already be out which beat 2 of your cards in crossfire by itself.
August 14, 2006 12:20:35 AM

Quote:
Alright, so then with all that in mind, where would you recommend I buy all of this? Would it be best to seek out a local dealer assuming they have what I need (am in a mid-size city in the state of Arizona), or should I buy it online off of somewhere like NewEgg?


Since you are in America, I would recommend Newegg. They really are the best on the web and generally have lower prices than a local shop. I recommend looking at Newegg, printing out the shopping list with the prices and taking it with you to the local shops to compare prices. Or you could potentially save hours by just buying Newegg in the first place since in 99.9% of cases (yes, I have looked at a thousand things :roll: ) they will be significantly cheaper. Or you could decide to support local business and buy from your local retailer and get localized support and some real people you can talk to in real time. Its up to you.
August 14, 2006 1:28:36 AM

These guys are right if you want a desktop but I think you'll find a laptop is much more usefull in a university setting, I have one of the gateway convertables, its 3 years old but i've never had a problem, it works beautifully and I dont need notebooks, i scan handouts and write on them on my laptop, polish things and then if i want i can print them out for others. Its marvelous and even if you're looking for a PC to play games on a decent laptop can handle popular games on decent settings. I still have a desktop for gaming however it is quite antiquated, old dell >< that i hope to upgrade to conroe in a month or two when prices fall (i pray ><)
August 14, 2006 3:29:21 AM

I agree about the laptop. I just got one, and I now use it much more than I use my desktop. However, I do plan on using both in tandem. I use my desktop one for things that need raw power, like calculations (I'm a Comp. Sci. major) and things of that nature, and I use my laptop for things that are useful to be portable, such as note taking and the occasional lan partyl.

A major issue with laptops is upgradeability. While I have had the same case for my desktop, the innards have undergone many revisions, a plan of action that has saved me tons of money and enabled partial upgrades. With a laptop (at least for the moment) its all or nothing. If you find your laptop lacking in performance or such you'll be pretty much stuck with it until you have enough money to buy a whole new one.

This is why I advocate one of each. You are able to keep the portablility of a laptop while not sacrificing the performance/upgradeability of a desktop. While I know its not an option for most people, especially college students, it does make a good solution.

Of course you could always get a desktop that really kicks butt then get a laptop later, or vice versa...

A note about gaming notebooks: They usually aren't worth it. They are very overpriced when compared to desktop counterparts, and they usually sacrifice everything that is a notebook, namely portability. My friend has an Alienware m7700 laptop with a P4 processor and such. It has melted the varnish off of his desk in the two weeks that he has had the desk, and his battery time is a mere 30-40 minutes.

If you want to game, get a gaming desktop. You will be able to upgrade it in the future and you'll get more bang for your buck. If you want portability, get a laptop. Unfortunately, there isn't a happy medium yet. However, my laptop which has a Turion64 chipset and an ATI Mobility 200m graphics chip is decent in games and still gets over 2 hours on battery with the smallest battery available for it. Its an HP dv500z, if you were interested.
August 14, 2006 3:54:56 AM

I hate laptops for the exact reason as you've stated that they're unupgradeable and because you get a lot less bang for your buck. Thus I'm going to be picking up a used one from the university students here who're getting rid of them or if my mom decides to upgrade hers to a better one she'll just give me her old one. So that's not an issue.
August 14, 2006 3:56:58 AM

Quote:
Thus I'm going to be picking up a used one from the university students here who're getting rid of them or if my mom decides to upgrade hers to a better one she'll just give me her old one.


Thats a good way to go. Hopefully circumstances will work out for you. Another thing: It doesn't take much power to take notes...
August 14, 2006 5:03:28 AM

Well then if 2k is your budget, get
Conroe e6600 (400)
Asus P5B Deluxe (250)
OCZ 2x 1Gb PC800 (200)
2x Seagate 250Gb 7200 SATAII (170) (Raid 0)

Vid Card: now you could go and get a 7900 or a 1900 but what i did saved me some money otherwise, instead of buying a TV i used my 20" LCD and got an All-in-Wonder 1800, the 1900 is out and although it's not as powerful as the other 1900 series it'll do anything you want and plus you'll be able to use it as a tuner so you dont have to buy a TV, its also only about 200ish so the choice is up to you really.

Case/PSU- find a Lian Lui for 100 and a 500+Watt PSU for about 50-70, optical drives- 30, misc other stuff like case fans/AS5- 50

and thats about 1300-1400 and you can get a really sweet LCD with the remaining money
!