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Critique my new system (will buy tomorrow)

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September 21, 2006 7:24:47 PM

I was going to put together a socket 370 system but I did a little more looking around and it seems like socket 478 can be had for pretty much the same money. Please check out this system and tell me what you think. It's strictly for DVD/video/CD/music playback and web browsing.

micro-ATX black desktop case and power supply $50
micro-ATX socket 478 motherboard $40
Intel Celeron D Prescott 2.13Ghz CPU $30
512MB DDR 400 memory (eBay) $35
Nvidia 6200 AGP passive cooling video card $30
Sound Blaster Live! sound card (already own) $0
Lite-On DVD burner (already own) $0
Seagate 320GB SATA hard drive $95
Netgear WG311T wireless card (eBay) $35
DVI video cable $10

All of this will be bought from NewEgg.com unless otherwise noted. I'll save $30-$40 buying those two items from eBay which doesn't hurt.

Also, I love NewEgg.com like everyone else, but what is your second pick for computer parts? Paying sales tax in CA is getting a little old and I'd like to compare prices with at least one other store. Which price comparison engine is best for this stuff?

edit: Total is $325 plus tax and shipping for the NewEgg.com stuff.
September 21, 2006 10:06:14 PM

After configuring that Dell as closely to my proposed system as possible, it's no good for a few reasons.

1. $114 more expensive
2. smaller hard drive
3. no DVI-out or DVI cable (video card must be Nvidia for Linux support)
4. no wireless card
5. wrong case orientation (vertical instead of horizontal)
6. the Dell factor

The processor and memory are faster, but I don't need that.

edit: There is no monitor included at that price.
September 21, 2006 10:06:56 PM

You'll get a better Dell for the money.

And if you're going to buy anything from eBay make sure it isn't the RAM. Or hard disk. Or graphics card. Or motherboard. Or CPU. Or power supply.

So pretty much just the WLAN NIC you've decided on.
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September 21, 2006 10:16:02 PM

Sorry, i must say that for the money, you wont get a better dell for the money. Besides, dell is a beoch to deal with. This computer, for 325 is definitely a rockin SUPER BUDGET system. You obviously don't want to spend any more money than you have to (hence the ebay). Since it obviously won't be used for gaming (much?), I say for 325 its a great deal. Just make sure your distro of linux supports the wireless NIC, those can be very difficult to configure if it isn't natively supported, or if there aren't instructions online (learned that the hard way).

Good system, good luck
September 21, 2006 10:34:53 PM

Thanks elpresidente. I chose that wireless card because I have the exact same one working in another system running Gentoo Linux as we speak.
September 21, 2006 10:36:11 PM

Agreed. Dell will fill the "normal use" for 400-500 bucks catagory, but since you wanted a specific build, (eg: big harddrive, wireless, super budget) I think you made a good choice.
September 21, 2006 10:46:51 PM

I can't believe you'd get anything with prescott in the name!!!

IMO, grab the same MOBO and CPU that is in my profile, and a stick of 512 DDR2 for newegg. DO NOT buy RAM off of eBay.

So here is what I would change

ECS mATX AM2 MOBO $50
AMD Sempron 2800 $40
512 DDR2 $50 ?
PCI-E Vid card

Everything else looks good. At least this way, you'll be able to upgrade in the future if needed. IF you must go intel, an LGA775 setup would be alot more future proof.
September 21, 2006 11:10:24 PM

Good idea! I totally forgot that the semprons were so cheap. Don't know so much about the ECS, never used one, but it would probably be good for the super budget. This would definitely produce a much better system than the ol' celeron d stuff. Not to mention the AM2 Semprons are 64bit compatible, so you could use 64bit linux, as I do every day.

PCI-E video card? I just so happen to be selling a BFG 6600 HSX 128MB for $40. Just got it as a pair from an SLI system off ebay, I'm using the other one. Its in pristine condition, and in a couple days I'll have the breakout box to go with it (came OEM, got one from BFG). Generally, cards like this go for around 80 - 100 bucks retail, I should know, I've been looking for quite some time.
September 21, 2006 11:40:25 PM

It looks like I can get a Sempron 2400 for ~$40 from NewEgg. It has a much lower clock speed and a higher price than the Celeron D. Why would you prefer the Sempron? Will the matching motherboard be more easily upgradeable in the future?
September 22, 2006 12:19:24 AM

8O You were gonna put together a socket 370 system??? LOL; that's the funnist thing I've heard all day.

Just go for one of the new AMD-based Dells; those look really nice for the price. You can't beat Dell in the low-end, plus it comes with an OS (it's $90 to buy WinXP Home, BTW). If anything, order it with teh Windows reinstallation CD, so that you can have a nice, clean copy of the OS.

tada!
September 22, 2006 12:34:55 AM

CLOCK SPEED DOES NOT EQUAL PERFORMANCE!!! Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system... For the longest time it did, but when AMD came out with the Athlon series, it started mattering less and less. And now, in the latest generation, it has completely lost focus. It now only matters within product lines, as different architectures (i.e. intel vs AMD) are so completely divergent that you must compare some completely different standards.

Just let it be known that Semprons generally beat out compably priced Celerons. Same with the Athlon/Pentium battle. Core2 is a completely different and equally irrellevant case.

But upgradeability is the biggest factor here. AM2 parts are gonna be available much longer than socket370 parts. It is simply a newer socket, and isn't even close to being phased out, much unlike 370.

You may also want to take a look at some of the reviews. Many people are getting 2.6 ghz out of these procs on stock air cooling. That is a huge overclock. That type of overclock is simply not possible with that Celeron with stock cooling. Now, I know that I said "clock speed does not equal performance" but in this case, clock speed over stock gives a huge boost to the power of the system, much like turbocharging your car makes it get much more power, if you do it right.

All I'm saying is that you have a lot more options with an AM2 based system than a 370 based system. Or at least you will in 3-6 months when you can't find any of the 370's and there are still brand new chipsets being developed for AM2.

@Everyone: When did everyone start being Dell lovers? Is this all because they started stocking AMD stuff? Even if the processor is great, the rest of the system is still the same crap they have always been putting out, and their support is still legendary for its horribility. You don't get a bargain with Dell, at least on the low end. You get exactly what you pay for, and that ain't much.

@angry_ducky; Did you not see that he's gonna be using Gentoo Linux? You musta just missed it...

Edit:
Go for the AM2 2800+
September 22, 2006 1:14:01 AM

Quote:
@angry_ducky; Did you not see that he's gonna be using Gentoo Linux? You musta just missed it...


If it wasn't mentioned in the first post, then I didn't read it. I'll second your recommendation for the AM2 Sempron 2800+.
September 22, 2006 2:40:56 AM

Well, it sounds like I should get a Sempron. Will a Sempron 2400 1.6Ghz ($45) beat a Celeron D 2.2Ghz ($30) and leave me with a better upgrade path?

edit: Actually it looks like I could get a 64-bit version for the same price. Which would be the best one to get for overclocking?
September 22, 2006 2:51:48 AM

No. You need the Sempron64 2800+ that I linked in the earlier post to beat the Celeron D and get a better upgrade path. The 2400 is socket A and is also just as depricated as 370. For reference, here it is again: Link. The 2400+ is not what you want. You need socket AM2... Any of these motherboards will work for your price range, and more than likely will have more features than the other board you were looking at. Link.
September 22, 2006 4:14:55 AM

Dude, we are trying to steer you away from crappy old, worn out stuff! Get something that has an upgrade path. After all, it is easy to upgrade a CPU, upgrading a whole system is... well... expensive. GET THE AM2 2800+

Remember Socket AM2!!! Really though, if you could squeeze an Intel C2D E6300 in there, that'd be ideal for bang per $
a b B Homebuilt system
September 22, 2006 4:43:28 AM

I usually would steer clear of a post like this, but if you don't buy at least a 3200 amd and a cheap 939 motherboard, you'll be very disappointed in the system you're going to put together.
September 22, 2006 2:46:40 PM

Quote:
I have a friend that uses linux and he says Nvidia has great linux support for there drivers.


That they do. In fact, they have the best driver support for linux out of anyone in the business. But IMO, they have the best driver support all around anyway.
September 22, 2006 11:32:53 PM

A couple questions...

All the AM2 motherboard I can find on NewEgg don't have any AGP slots. What am I missing?

Do I need to make sure the motherboard explicitly supports Sempron64, or just Sempron, or Athlon64/Sempron?

Also, I'm considering the 3000+ to get the extra L2 cache.
September 23, 2006 12:26:06 AM

Anything AM2 will be Sempron64. It used to be, with (i believe) the socket 754 (older socket) that you had to make the distinction between Sempron and Sempron64. That is no longer the case.

About the graphics? I recommend getting a PCI-E card anyway, but if you need an AGP slot (sadly, i was in that situation for some time) I would heartily recommend the 939 dual vsta Link. This board is actually the product refresh of my board that I have in my sig. While it isn't an AM2 processor board, it is easily upgradeable to do that with a simple bios flash and an add on card that usually runs about 30 bucks. Or, if you can find it, the AM2NF3 motherboard Link, you could do it without the upgrade card.

Note: You can get the 939 variant of the Athlon64 3000+ (quite a bit better) for 5 bucks more than the Sempron variant (link), and get the 939 dual vsta, keep your AGP card and your DDR1 memory and just upgrade when you have the dough.
September 23, 2006 12:58:01 AM

Judging by the NewEgg reviews, the Sempron 2800/3000+ might be a better overclocker than the Athlon 3000+? Is the L2 cache the only difference between them?

Is PCI-E a replacement for AGP? I must have missed that. I want to get an Nvidia 6200. It could be PCI-E.

So any AM2 board will run a Sempron, Sempron64, Athlon, or Athlon64?
September 23, 2006 1:11:00 AM

Quote:
Judging by the NewEgg reviews, the Sempron 2800/3000+ might be a better overclocker than the Athlon 3000+? Is the L2 cache the only difference between them?


The differences are a bit larger than just overclocking and cache. However, as far as normal usage, Sempron/Athlon won't make a HUGE difference. I only recommended that Athlon because you seemed like you needed AGP rather than PCI-E. It still stands that AM2 will be the best upgrade option of all the choices we have discussed here. Go for a motherboard/processor that is natively AM2 and you'll get a better upgrade path in the future for your money.

Quote:

Is PCI-E a replacement for AGP? .

Yes. Very much so. If you are going for the 6200, go for the PCI-E version.

Quote:

So any AM2 board will run a Sempron, Sempron64, Athlon, or Athlon64?


Any AM2 version of those. There are also socket A, socket 940,754, and 939, in that chronological order. Just make sure you select AM2 rather than anything else. The others are older varieties.
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