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budget box under $350, already have a few things...

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January 13, 2008 3:32:47 AM

I'm looking to build a budget box. I'll mostly be doing multimedia-related things (audio, video, photos) and the like. I may do a little light gaming (mainly 3+ years old), but nothing really fancy. Could you guys rate (for the price it looks like I'll have to pay) the system specs below? How much better is it than what I've been using (not my own PC though) - Athlon 1.4MHz, K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, 256MB DDR-266MHz RAM, GeForce MX400 Video, etc...

CASE: Broadway 808PA ATX with 450W PS - $29.99
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-M61SME-S2 AM2 NVidia GeForce 6100 Micro ATX - $46.99
CPU: Ath64 LE-1620 2.4GHz AM2 45W 1core - $47.00
RAM: Kingston 2GB ddr2-667 - $39.99
HD: WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200rpm SATA 3G/s - $99.99
DVD: Samsung 20X DVD+-R Lightscribe SATA - $29.99

Price with shipping & tax before rebates = $334.82
Is there any way I can save money (besides a smaller HD, which, knowing how I use it, is NOT an option) without sacrificing performance, quality, or expandability?

I don't like only having 2 memory slots on the mobo, but the ones that have 4 slots are more expensive. I could save a couple bucks by going with a Celeron 420 combo, but I don't know that it'd be worth it.
Also, with the MicroATX board, will I have a problem later when I want to add a high-end sound card (the kind that audio professionals use that have 24-channel inputs and things like that), 16 DVD drives and hard drives, 2 video cards, and other peripherals? I'd like the board to last me until the AM2 (or LGA775) socket CPU is obsolete, but if I have to upgrade (not within the next year though) I'd be willing to consider that. I DO expect, knowing my HD space usage habits, that I'll need to add another HD in a year or two. I may consider an external drive then.
Also, I'll want to keep the case and PSU for as long as possible. After a year I may be willing to consider upgrading the PSU, and the case after maybe 3 or 4 years.
I don't anticipate overclocking the current setup.

Is there anything I'm missing? I already have:
a Windows 2000 disc (I plan to get XP Professional (2-6 months) later. MAYBE Vista Ultimate or Leopard :)  after service pack 5 if all the bugs have been worked out by then.)
2 western digital IDE hard drives - 250GB and 80GB, both of which are getting quite full. Also I have upwards of 75GB (and counting - I do a lot of video and audio recording and photography) on my parents' 200GB HD, of which only 127GB is allocated due to the LBA limit.
standard keyboard and optical wheel mouse - not mine, but they're not currently being used.
Viewsonic P95F+ monitor - has a magnitization problem on one side of the screen (a magnet was held too close to the screen one time and the color is permanently a little distorted on the extreme right side), but I can live with it for now. When it dies completely, or in a couple years, I'll want a high-resolution (at least 1000-1500 lines) LCD.

One thing I forgot to mention - I'm comfortable buying from NewEgg, but I'd prefer to buy from a local store in San Diego, CA, just in case (and to save on shipping).

More about : budget box 350 things

January 13, 2008 4:17:19 AM

looks great but windows 2000 will have the LBA limit on your 500gb hard drive so i recommend getting windows xp sp2 (if you can) or get a copy as soon as possible. also if you could, get a retail x2 3600 or x2 3800 most media software have multi-core support now so it would benefit you and dual core am2's run around 50-60 dollars...
January 13, 2008 5:30:26 AM

You sure the latest 2k service pack will still have the LBA limit?
Also, I'm trying to keep this as budget as possible, hence going with a low-end CPU for now. I tried to pick a socket type & board with which I could upgrade later.

BTW, that CPU I picked is a retail box version. There's a X2 3800+ OEM (but doesn't come with heatsink or fan) for $47.99 (vs the 47.00 for the CPU I picked). Also there's this X2 3600+ for $55.99 - would that work?

Also, is there a way to get XP Pro for under $100 legally?

Another thing... my credit limit is $300, and the build I'm proposing is a bit over that (and I've already spent $110 this billing cycle, which should end on the 18th). I can afford it, though. Should I pay with paypal, send a paper check, or should I limp along for a month with my current HD (dumping the 500GB HD for now will bring me down into the range I can pay with CC)?

In my original post, I said I would like to buy local. Well, I may have just changed my mind - the local prices are considerably higher than what NewEgg's charging.
Related resources
January 13, 2008 6:25:20 AM

A dual core processor alternative. The dual core will help with encoding, etc... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A better deal on ram, albeit after rebate. Gigabyte compatible. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lastly, the PSU in that case is of miserable quality. If it even boots up, I would plan on replacing it sooner than later. Since you are going with on board video, this might be a better option. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

The case is uATX, but is very good quality, and is a lot roomier than it looks. Two 5 1/4" bays, and five 3 1/2" bays. Also has excellent airflow with the metal mesh front.

Your chosen MB will handle the addition of a sound card just fine.
January 13, 2008 7:13:52 AM

Just get xp home edition and you should try to get intel as there is more head room to upgrade I put together this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
[Much] more power than the AMD (dual core) $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I had one like that very good quality $34.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Still 20x but IDE which allows for the second hard drive for later on $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This graphics card isn't much, but is a hell of a lot better than onboard $37.99

the total is $171.96 plus p+h and rebates $173.28
Build would then be 361.47 (including everything) but much much better.
January 13, 2008 8:00:08 AM

Hmm... if I go with the original setup, that's $193.96, not including tax & shipping, before rebates (I ALWAYS price things before rebates - I almost never get around to sending them in anyway), and without the hard drive (I'd use my current 80GB and 250GB for a month or two if I can last that long.

Price with the substitutions you suggested, not including tax & rebates, and before shipping, is $244.94, again dropping the hard drive.

I could consider buying the computer in two stages, seeing that my credit limit is $300, and I've already spent $110 this month on non-computer-related things. But, I want it to be usable with the first batch of components I get, and I don't want to replace something I just bought a month before. (Note: I can afford to pay a little more than that, but I prefer, if buying online, to pay with CC, and the local prices are upwards of 20-35% more.)

Also, that case you suggested doesn't have nearly enough room for the add-in cards, hard drives and DVD burners that I will inevitably eventually be adding later.

And, are there any PSUs that come with cases under $45 that are good, or do I have to get the PSU and case separately?


Or, as another option... pick a PSU at least 480W under $20 before MIR from this list, and..

Would this Rosewill R218-P-BK case for $17.99 be ok, or would it be worth it to splurge on this Rosewill R5604-BK for $39.99?

Also, could I keep the single-core CPU for now (and upgrade maybe a year later to one that today might cost upwards of $400-700 (but will hopefully be cheaper then))?

Also, as a reference to my parents' computer, which I'm currently using, how much of an improvement is it? For example...
2.4GHz Athlon 64 vs 1.4Ghz Athlon
2GB DDR2-667 RAM vs 256MB DDR-233 RAM
? vs probably a 300W (I don't remember) PSU that I think came with the case
GeForce 6100 onboard video vs GeForce4 MX400 card



Oh, and 1283, I didn't see your reply until AFTER I had posted mine (which took a while to put together). Just as a quick note, I'd like to keep this as low of a price as possible for now, with an eye toward upgrading some components (not including the case and mobo) later.



Also, I plan to wait on the 500GB HD for a month or two, and I'll try to limp along with my current 80GB and 250GB drives, both of which are IDE. Even if Win 2k has the 127GB LBA limit, the 250GB is split into 2 equal size partitions and I'm running it just fine on my parents' computer (although it may be hooked up to a controller card - I'd have to open the case and I don't feel like doing that right now.) When I get the 500GB (unless 750GB or 1TB has dropped in price) in a couple months, I'll get XP Pro at the same time.

Also, my parents are planning to upgrade their system and get XP. Is there a way we can save $ if we're both buying XP at the same time, for installation on two different computers, running simultaneously?
January 13, 2008 8:14:19 AM

ok then instead of the Dual core just get a celeron d 420 save $30 and onboard video is really not worth it trust me. the 8400gs that I recommended is really the minimum you want these days.

Try this order of buying parts
CPU-Mobo month 1
Ram-Graphics-DVD month 2
HDD- month 3
should be fine
January 13, 2008 8:16:42 AM

Quote:
I'm looking to build a budget box. I'll mostly be doing multimedia-related things (audio, video, photos) and the like. I may do a little light gaming (mainly 3+ years old), but nothing really fancy. Could you guys rate (for the price it looks like I'll have to pay) the system specs below? How much better is it than what I've been using (not my own PC though) - Athlon 1.4MHz, K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, 256MB DDR-266MHz RAM, GeForce MX400 Video, etc...


it will be a much better system, but try to go for a cheap duo core (athlon 64 bit x2) doesn't cost that much!
and that geforce 6100, it may run your older games, but there are better ones, who arent expensive. like an 7300GT or 8500GT. good cards for video and stuff.

January 13, 2008 8:59:06 AM

random1283 said:
ok then instead of the Dual core just get a celeron d 420 save $30 and onboard video is really not worth it trust me. the 8400gs that I recommended is really the minimum you want these days.

Try this order of buying parts
CPU-Mobo month 1
Ram-Graphics-DVD month 2
HDD- month 3
should be fine



vochtige said:
it will be a much better system, but try to go for a cheap duo core (athlon 64 bit x2) doesn't cost that much!
and that geforce 6100, it may run your older games, but there are better ones, who arent expensive. like an 7300GT or 8500GT. good cards for video and stuff.



For the most part, at least for the next few months, things I'm running on my parents' computer (1.4GHz Athlon, 256MB RAM, GeForce4 MX400 video, etc, will be what I'll be running, at least until I get some upgraded parts at least 6-8 months from now.
Also, month 1 should have enough to have a usable computer - minimum CPU, Mobo w/video, RAM, maybe DVD (unless I network to my parents' DVD burner then I can wait).
I have a 250GB and 80GB HDs I can limp along with for now, and I may be able to network (but I'll need to figure out how to do that) with my parents' DVD burner (but I will want to get my own sooner rather than later). Probably the next purchase, after the initial outlay, will be a 500GB (or 750GB if the prices come down in the next month or two) HD and Windows XP. Later on down the road, as needed (but I don't anticipate any of this being within the next 6-8 months), a dedicated graphics card, better PSU, faster processor, more hard drives, extra DVD burners. In something like 4-5 years or so when I'm looking at upgrading the mobo and case, it'll probably be better at that time to get a whole new system.

So should I switch over to the Intel, or keep the AMD? If so, what Intel board/CPU should I go with, while keeping the same price, performance, and connectivity as with the AMD setup I have proposed?

Also I would like to keep the initial purchase price under $300, so I can put it on my CC (which reminds me I should see if the CC company will let me pay my CC bill before I receive the paper bill in the snail mail), AND have a usable computer from the start. I will plan to add more components later as they're needed, though.
January 13, 2008 9:32:28 AM

pianoplayer88key said:
Also, that case you suggested doesn't have nearly enough room for the add-in cards, hard drives and DVD burners that I will inevitably eventually be adding later.

And, are there any PSUs that come with cases under $45 that are good, or do I have to get the PSU and case separately?

Or, as another option... pick a PSU at least 480W under $20 before MIR from this list, and..

Would this Rosewill R218-P-BK case for $17.99 be ok, or would it be worth it to splurge on this Rosewill R5604-BK for $39.99?

Also, could I keep the single-core CPU for now (and upgrade maybe a year later to one that today might cost upwards of $400-700 (but will hopefully be cheaper then))?

Also, as a reference to my parents' computer, which I'm currently using, how much of an improvement is it? For example...
2.4GHz Athlon 64 vs 1.4Ghz Athlon
2GB DDR2-667 RAM vs 256MB DDR-233 RAM
? vs probably a 300W (I don't remember) PSU that I think came with the case
GeForce 6100 onboard video vs GeForce4 MX400 card

The case I suggested can handle all the addin cards your chosen MB can supply. It is actually as long, front to back as just about any mid tower, it is just shorter. This means 2 drive bays for optical as opposed to 3. It does have room for 5 hard drives. If you need a standard mid tower, here is a good deal with free shipping. A little flashy, but it will work. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As a general rule, the only "included" PSU's that are any good are Antec Earthwatts. However, their combos are out of your budget. None of the PSUs you suggest are worth the tin they are stamped out of. PSU's are not a "budget" or "afterthought" item. If they do not work, then it really does not matter what other components you choose. They will be collecting dust assuming the cheap PSU does not fry them. The PSU I listed was the best "quality" deal I could find for your proposed build. It will handle just about anything you can throw at it except for a high end video card.

You could keep the single core, but would be better served with the dual for your intended tasks. Either way, that motherboard will not be upgradeable to the newer processors you mention.

The onboard 6100 video chip is good for everything but gaming.

As far as I know, you can only run 1 copy of Windows on 1 machine at a time. Microsoft is getting pretty good at sniffing out duplicates. Many places like Newegg sell just the additional license(no disk) for less money. You can get 1 OEM copy, and then just buy an additional license for the second machine.
January 13, 2008 9:55:10 AM

tlmck said:
The case I suggested can handle all the addin cards your chosen MB can supply. It is actually as long, front to back as just about any mid tower, it is just shorter. This means 2 drive bays for optical as opposed to 3. It does have room for 5 hard drives. If you need a standard mid tower, here is a good deal with free shipping. A little flashy, but it will work. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I prefer a standard mid tower over a uATX. Actually I'd like a full tower but they're way over budget. The taller, the better, and I want decent ventilation, and at least 1 fan included (more could be purchased later as I get higher end components that need better cooling).
Would this Rosewill R5604-BK case work? It's the same price as the one you suggested (I don't count the MIR), and the side panel window and lighting doesn't matter to me.

tlmck said:
As a general rule, the only "included" PSU's that are any good are Antec Earthwatts. However, their combos are out of your budget. None of the PSUs you suggest are worth the tin they are stamped out of. PSU's are not a "budget" or "afterthought" item. If they do not work, then it really does not matter what other components you choose. They will be collecting dust assuming the cheap PSU does not fry them. The PSU I listed was the best "quality" deal I could find for your proposed build. It will handle just about anything you can throw at it except for a high end video card.

So I can't get a PSU under $20? Also, that one you suggested is only 350W. For $40, I expect AT LEAST 600W, or is that unreasonable?

tlmck said:
You could keep the single core, but would be better served with the dual for your intended tasks. Either way, that motherboard will not be upgradeable to the newer processors you mention.

Is there another board with preferably more slots & connectors that WOULD be upgradeable? I'd like to keep the board+CPU combo under $100 base price, though, if at all possible. If I splurge on the board, I'll have to (for now) skimp on the CPU.

tlmck said:
The onboard 6100 video chip is good for everything but gaming.

Would Half Life 1, Scorched Earth 3D, and Total Annihilation run ok on it? They run good enough for me on my parents' computer (GF4-MX400).

tlmck said:
As far as I know, you can only run 1 copy of Windows on 1 machine at a time. Microsoft is getting pretty good at sniffing out duplicates. Many places like Newegg sell just the additional license(no disk) for less money. You can get 1 OEM copy, and then just buy an additional license for the second machine.

How much less would it cost? If I could get the 2nd copy for, say, 10-15% of the price of the 1st one, with permission to make myself a copy of the install disc (so we have 1 disc for each license, but alas it's probably copy protected), I would like that. But if I'm only going to save $10 or so, it's probably better to just buy the two copies, I think.
January 13, 2008 10:06:38 AM

At the moment you should switch to the intel and mobo as the mobo has room (1066mhz fsb) to even take a quad q6600 and with the new chips coming out intel is going t get cheaper in about 2-3 months time
January 13, 2008 10:27:48 AM

Could you suggest a couple Intel boards and CPUs to choose from?
January 13, 2008 10:43:42 AM

at my own experience, pick asus! and a p5k serie (c2d and quad) or the p5b for c2d! i think for the perpuse you are you should take the pentium c2d E6750 2.33 ghz, it's stronger than the best amd duocore (look at the charts here on tomshardware). and if you can wait the E8 series is coming up, and prices don't change a lot, but performance will!
January 13, 2008 11:24:52 AM

pianoplayer88key said:
I prefer a standard mid tower over a uATX. Actually I'd like a full tower but they're way over budget. The taller, the better, and I want decent ventilation, and at least 1 fan included (more could be purchased later as I get higher end components that need better cooling).
Would this Rosewill R5604-BK case work? It's the same price as the one you suggested (I don't count the MIR), and the side panel window and lighting doesn't matter to me.


So I can't get a PSU under $20? Also, that one you suggested is only 350W. For $40, I expect AT LEAST 600W, or is that unreasonable?


Is there another board with preferably more slots & connectors that WOULD be upgradeable? I'd like to keep the board+CPU combo under $100 base price, though, if at all possible. If I splurge on the board, I'll have to (for now) skimp on the CPU.


Would Half Life 1, Scorched Earth 3D, and Total Annihilation run ok on it? They run good enough for me on my parents' computer (GF4-MX400).


How much less would it cost? If I could get the 2nd copy for, say, 10-15% of the price of the 1st one, with permission to make myself a copy of the install disc (so we have 1 disc for each license, but alas it's probably copy protected), I would like that. But if I'm only going to save $10 or so, it's probably better to just buy the two copies, I think.
The Rosewill case will work, although the shipping cost is a bit steep. They also tend to have cheap noisy fans. The case quality is decent though.

You can certainly buy a PSU for under $20. You just cannot get a quality one that cheap. You can even find a 600w for $20 if you really look. Just explain that to the fire department when they show up. Quality PSU's in the 600w range start at about $90. Based on your system specs 600 watt would be overkill. Also, more watts does not mean better quality. The best price I could find on a higher power unit was this. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I did not mention it before as it was out of the budget, and overkill for your needs. The only reason you would need this is if you plan to add a high end gaming card later.

The only MB/CPU Combos you will find for under $100 are old, and not upgradeable. For extra slots, you would need a standard ATX board, which further drives up the cost.

You might be able to run those games on the 6100, depending on the resolution. Once again, on board video is just a different animal since it does not have it's own dedicated memory. At best, it would be equal to the MX 400.

Apparently they do not sell the license only things anymore. At least I could not find them. Used to be around $50 or so. The cheapest OS upgrade path I can see right now would be to get a copy(s) of Vista Home Basic Upgrade from Amazon for about $50 ea. A friend got me one for about $42 I think. At any rate, with your current version of Windows you would have to use this procedure to do a "clean install". http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/winvista_upgrade_c...

The Home Basic version of Vista will run on just about any machine that XP will run on. It does not have the Aero interface, but I don't care about such stuff anyways. The one drawback may be that it would not like your old games. I have a couple that simply would not run, and they are newer than yours. http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows-Vista-Basic-UPG...





January 13, 2008 12:59:59 PM

After reading thru this I think the best thing for you to do at this time is to look in the For Sale section. There are quite a few upgrades being done and parts are being sold thru the different forums. You might be able to get some good deals on used parts. The only other thing is your obsession with cheap power supplies. Do whatever you have to do, but get a good one NOW and you won't have that problem later. Get a 450 watt like this;

http://www.buy.com/prod/Corsair-VX-450w-Power-Supply/q/...
January 13, 2008 3:06:13 PM

ok forget the video card i'll give you my geforce 6600 256mb.
January 13, 2008 3:25:02 PM

i've got an geforce 7500le if you want! or an 6600GT

but i'm sitting in belgium
January 15, 2008 8:56:54 PM

So looks like my proposed parts don't cut it...

So looks like I'll wait till at least next month to buy one.. :( 

I really don't want to pay $∞ for -∞, which is what it's looking like I'd have to pay if I bought top-of-the-line quality. I'm willing to pay a little more than bargain basement to avoid buying parts made in China, but, for example paying $80 for a 350W PSU vs $25 for a 600W PSU - what's the justification if you're not an avid hard-core gamer?

Or, get my dad to upgrade his computer so I can get an external 500GB USB2/eSATA/firewire800 hard drive. (His computer currently has USB 1.1 for external and PATA for internal.)

I think I've said before, but my dad's PC is an Athlon 1.4MHz on a MSI K6T266 Pro2 mobo, with 256MB of RAM, currently Windows 2000 (He wants to upgrade to XP Professional), a 200GB HD of which only 127GB is allocated.

So... whether it's for my own computer, OR my dads.... I guess I need some pointers on what to look for, for example using NewEgg's power searches - cases, CPUs, RAM, AMD/Intel mobos, etc.

4 example, for the case, we would like something well ventilated, front (or top) USB+audio (firewire & esata may be optional), plenty of fans - 120mm, 200mm, 300mm, etc (btw I saw a case at Fry's that had a fan on the side that was bigger than my hand! (which can stretch a 10th (octave+3rd) on a piano), plenty of room for expansion (cards, optical & hard drives, etc). One problem is possibly limited physical space in the computer desk to put it, though. I don't have the measurements off the top of my head, but I think it's less than 8" wide and 27" tall or something like that, I don't remember.
On the CPU, for me, I'm willing to settle for low-end single-core, but it must be either Socket AM2 or LGA 775. I think my dad might want at least a mid-level dual core, though. (Note: we're not both buying (me getting new, him upgrading) at the same time - either he's upgrading (and I'm getting a bigger HD), OR I'm buying new (and he's holding out).)
RAM - minimum 1GB. 2GB or 4GB would be preferred. CNET forum users say Kingston and Crucial are good quality. Any other suggestions?
MOBO - plenty of expandability. Would like minimum 2 or 4 IDE device support, 4 SATA drive (more like 6 or 8), Socket LGA775 or AM2/+, 6 or more expansion slots (although I don't remember how many, if any, legacy (PCI/AGP) devices we have. (I'm sure the GeForce4 MX400 video card would get upgraded, possibly.)

Also, just because I don't get my own computer right away doesn't mean I'm not running out of hard drive space, and QUICKLY (and no, not due to a virus - it's because of all the stuff I put on it from my digital still/video camera, mp3 recorder, etc. So I'll need pointers on picking out an external HD (so I can take it with me and plug it into other computers occasionally). For 500GB, for example, I'd prefer to pay no more than $100-120 before rebates, tax & shipping (and I will be charged tax if I order from NewEgg - I live in California.) I'd also be willing to consider an internal drive + external enclosure.

Also, how would you back that data up? We do have a DVD burner, but I don't want to use ∞ discs to back up our HDs, nor do I want to pay the same price per GB for the backup media that I pay for the main storage. I have a personal rule that anytime I pay the going rate for main media storage (HD), that is used for primary storage, NOT backup. (for example, $100 for 500GB.)

Another thing I may have not mentioned earlier, but I will eventually be doing with my computer (although I'm willing to wait until I get an add-on device later) is archive some 100s to 1000s of old cassettes / reel-to-reel / LPs into uncompressed digital format, for long-term (50+ years) archival and frequent playback (maybe a few hours a day or more, although that may be on portable devices like mp3 players / iPod / etc) purposes. So this may not be the place to ask what would be good quality players (I want to get every last micro-bit of quality possible out of the old media - I'd be happy with 99.999% of the original quality when it was new), but what are some good sound cards, especially with multiple inputs (so I could have, say, 4 to 16 tapes recording at once)?

*GASP* I feel like I'm out of breath! I didn't know my post would get THIS long!! :ouch: 
January 15, 2008 10:04:50 PM

Why don't you want to back up data to DVD or CD. It's a very low cost way to free up that hard drive if there is already a burner in the system. Depending on the burn software you have, it's very easy to do, just drag and drop, hit burn.
As far as power supplies, the justification is system stablilty and simply having enough AMPS on each rail, particularly the 12V. Good power supplies are best sellers for a reason, no matter what else you decide to get, do not go CHEAP on the power supply. Pay attention to amp ratings and how many 12 V rails the unit has, it used to be multiple rails were better , but now you want a single 12V rail.
You do NOT have to go top of the line to get a great performing system but you will need at least $400-$500 and personally go with an Intel 21XX CPU and go from there. I have not built myself an new system since my PIII and probably could spend $1500 but so far it looks like around $700 will have me very satisfied. I've done builds for others for a long time, and most of the people that spend a little less are more satisifed than the ones that spend more.
January 16, 2008 12:20:42 AM

pianoplayer88key said:
but, for example paying $80 for a 350W PSU vs $25 for a 600W PSU - what's the justification if you're not an avid hard-core gamer?

Once again, you are confusing quantity with quality. More watts does not equal better quality. I could go to the local Fry's, buy a bag of parts for ~$25, and build you a 1000w PSU. I would, however, be conveniently in another country with no extradition treaty when you fired it up. :lol:  And, the 350w PSU I recommended is $39.99 with free shipping, not $80.

You are certainly free to buy whatever you wish. I just cannot, in all good concience, recommend such products.
January 16, 2008 9:26:01 PM

Ok, so rather than getting my own computer, I'm thinking about getting an external 500GB HD for ~ $100-125 to plug into my parents' computer. (Also, external, because I want to be able to take it with me when I need to plug it into another computer and use it. I'd be willing to consider internal plus an external enclosure, too.)

Also, my dad wants to upgrade to Windows XP. And, he would like a better way to cool the computer. Our CPU (or something - I don't know how to interpret this SpeedFan 4.25 program my dad has) sometimes runs upwards of 52°C

One thing... I want that ext HD to be forward compatible to current technology. Thing is my dad's computer doesn't have SATA or Firewire, and only has USB 1.1

I've already mentioned most of the specs, but now I got a few pics...

Place where Tower Case is (with the case in there for reference) - this may limit how big of a case we can get. Would it be better not to put it there?


Side of case, with custom-made side air vent courtesy of my dad


Rear of case. (click and browse the album for a couple closer shots of the bottom and top)


PSU


Inside overview looking toward drives


Inside overview of mobo (view album for a couple closer shots)



Oh, and the internal IDE controller (the one that's not built into the mobo):



So.... btw my parents have a 200GB HD, Windows 2000 SP4, the pictured components, etc. What gives, with only 127GB formatted?

And, anything I would need to watch out for with plugging in a 500GB (or, if I can find a good deal on ebay, 750GB (a few completed around $125+20S&H) or 1TB (a couple completed around $160+14S&H) USB 2.0 hard drive into a USB 1.1 port? (I'm leaning toward USB, because the chances of my friends (when I may need to use it there) having USB is much greater than them having firewire or eSATA.)
January 16, 2008 9:29:58 PM

The manufactures assume 1000 MB = 1GB insted of 1024MB=1GB.
January 16, 2008 9:43:04 PM

Shadow703793 said:
The manufactures assume 1000 MB = 1GB insted of 1024MB=1GB.


I already knew that. Which thing were you replying to, btw?

And, it SHOULD be 1,099,511,627,776 bytes = 1TB, not 999,999,999,999 bytes = 1TB, but unfortunately it seems like a variation of the latter is what it is. :( 
January 16, 2008 10:09:48 PM

does outpost.com have any of the same combo deals as the B&M Fry's stores? because they're selling a mobo and E2180 for like $88 all the time. That's a Core 2 architecture chip.

May I suggest you take a look at the used market? Even with setting aside $50 for shipping, it's possible a $300 used computer will end up being a better performer than what you're spec'ing out.
January 16, 2008 10:32:30 PM

My older computer is almost simualr your parents - same CPU but I have the K7T266 mobo rather than the K6T266. I tried searching the MSI site for your mobo and could not find it. I am wondering if yours is actually K7T266. For it there is not a reasonable CPU upgrade. However I bet their performance would increase substantially if you added a stick of 512MB memory.

Newegg has one for about $30.00 - but I would suggest using a memory locator to veryify its compatiblity:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, if they have an open PCI slot, consider an add-in card to provide an eSATA (preferable) or USB 2.0 connector. They are only about $15. Trying to transfer much data with USB 1 will take a long time. You can get external drives that support both eSATA (for speed) and USB (for use with machines that don't have eSATA.
January 16, 2008 11:29:05 PM

rockyjohn said:
My older computer is almost simualr your parents - same CPU but I have the K7T266 mobo rather than the K6T266. I tried searching the MSI site for your mobo and could not find it. I am wondering if yours is actually K7T266.

It actually IS a K7T266 Pro2 ver 2.0

rockyjohn said:
For it there is not a reasonable CPU upgrade.

:( . So I guess we'll need a new board then. I may be doing some things in the near future - video editing, virtual piano simulation (you know, the ones that have 40GB of samples that you use to make your midi controller sound like a nice concert grand piano), etc.

rockyjohn said:
However I bet their performance would increase substantially if you added a stick of 512MB memory.

Newegg has one for about $30.00 - but I would suggest using a memory locator to veryify its compatiblity:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I was thinking of adding 1GB or maybe 2GB. NewEgg, though, has them priced at $50 and up (1GB), whereas I can get a Kingston 1GB DDR2-266 for $20 plus shipping/tax.

rockyjohn said:
Also, if they have an open PCI slot, consider an add-in card to provide an eSATA (preferable) or USB 2.0 connector. They are only about $15. Trying to transfer much data with USB 1 will take a long time. You can get external drives that support both eSATA (for speed) and USB (for use with machines that don't have eSATA.


I thought about the eSATA/USB2 add-in card, and would be willing to consider it. Thing is, I don't want to waste my $ on the card if my parents are going to be upgrading the computer within the next few months (although he hasn't given me a time table - just has said he wants to upgrade to Windows XP sometime this year.) But, I DO need to get a bigger HD within the next month or two, and I don't want to get an IDE.
January 17, 2008 12:39:33 AM

Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$34.99

Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$53.99

CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.99

Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$19.99

Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$22.99

DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$26.99

Your Hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$99.99


$342.25 shipped to my house....

Perhaps the Power Supply Natzis would completely disagree with my choice here - I sorta have a feeling it will work well for you. (Ive been running a similar one for 2 years now at 400watts, 5 hard drives, 2 optic drives, and Ive use both a geforce 6600 and, more recently, a 8600gt, with a PCI SCSI adapter tossed in the mix)

The CPU is a few bucks more so why not......

The case is cheap but it has plenty of of room for any Motherboard, plus you can add fans to it easily when you want more cooling (fans is cheapo at yur local shop)

Motherboard is the same 6100 integrated graphics - easily to upgrade to a PCI-Express if you choose to later - it has 4 memory slots, and 4 sata connectors - BTW don't worry so much about the graphics for now, I had a motherboard with this same integrated chip and it ran Doom 3 quite well actually. Nothin close to top of the line but it worked (at low resolutions of course)

Memory is a single stick of DDR2-800 Kingston, I know you want 2gb of RAM, but yur gonna be running W2K for now, no worries, the second you end up with an extra $20 bill in yur pocket, get another stick. (lets not forget yur motherboard has 4 memory slots)

The DVD burner is SATA and matches the black case (nothin much to say here)

Your Hard Drive - so nothin new to add

wanna skimp a little until you have more cash - don't order the DVD burner just yet, it's $26 with about $5 in shipping so shave about $30 off my price of $342.25.... you get the idea.

I cannot personally vouch for any of the individual components, well I swear by kingston memory - its always been good to me in every motherboard over the past 10+ years - but I am positive these parts will serve you quite well....
January 17, 2008 12:58:02 AM

This is all from the Egg.

Case: Rosewill R6422-P SL $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PS: Broadway Okia-550-Blue $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: Biostar NF520-A2 Skt AM2 $49
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vid: XFX PVT86SWAQG 8400GS 512 $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Proc: AMD X2 3600+ Skt AM2 (Retail) $56
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD: Samsung SH-S1H2D/BeBM 18x Burner $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Geil GX21GB5300PLXK (1Gb DDR2 667) (2 of em) $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: WD SE16 WD4000AAKS 400Gb 7200rpm (SATA) $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total no OS $354 +S&H (nor counting MIR, or sale)
January 17, 2008 1:05:18 AM

Side note here....

I used the term Power Supply Nazi quite freely.... heh

I have to admit that you can NEVER go wrong with a quality power supply BUT, this does not mean that a cheaper one will not serve you well, unfortunately sometimes it's the luck of the draw on a cheaper power supply. Sometimes you get a batch of bad ones as well, and remember one small thing here, people speak more loudly about their bad experiences with anything. Also you are asking questions on an enthusiasts (well it used to be) web forum, no one is gonna recommend super cheap anything. This also means others will try to convince you of alot of things that go against what yur wallet wants.

Power supplies are a funny animal though if you purchase a $30 600watt, I would be willing to bet it would not last NEARLY as long a $30 400watt.....
January 19, 2008 8:14:13 AM

Ok.. soo.. looks like maybe I should save a little bit more $ if I wanna get myself a full-blown computer. It's just not that I don't have the $, I don't want to blow such a huge percentage of my savings to get one.

Oh, so this is more of an ENTHUSIAST forum where you guys recommend higher-priced products. :p  (Reminds me of the piano forum I'm a member of... typical person originally maybe wants to spend $2000-3000 on a new piano, sometimes ends up buying one for upwards of $20-35k or so (and even up to, and above, $100k, on a few occasions, but those are usually looking to spend more in the first place.) (Oh, and before I posted here, I posted on CNET, but thing is they try to be a jack of all trades there, and I thought it'd be better to try posting in a specialty forum.)



For the two ppl that recently responded with specific setups.

Case: hmm.. they both look like the same kind, just different color trim. I think something like one of those was one I was considering.
PSU: I don't want to get a cheapie that's gonna fail soon as I try to plug my 2nd hard drive in, but then I don't want to splurge for a heavy gamer PSU until I need one. I don't plan (at least yet) to have a high-end video card with SLI/Crossfire, but I will probably have an optical drive or two and several hard drives installed, plus various USB devices.
CPU: so I guess the single-core lower-end cpu is barely cheaper than the dual cores you guys are recommending?
HD: minimum 500GB. Sorry IH8U.
RAM: So 1GB will work for now? My brother's PC has XP, 1GB RAM, and an Athlon 1.2Ghz CPU (the one he left here at home that he telnets to on occasion - he has a much nicer computer at his place where he lives), and I can bottleneck it fairly easily.



Ok, for my idea of a cost-saving measure.... go ahead and keep using my parents' computer, BUT with a slight modification.... basically get another HD to put my rapidly accumulating personal audio/video/photos on.

I definitely want an external drive, although I could consider an internal + enclosure setup.
Also, I want a drive that uses fairly modern technology (SATA / USB 2.0), but my parents' computer, as I already described earlier, only has IDE / USB 1.1.
They do plan to upgrade to run Windows XP better, but how soon, I don't know. (Dad said earlier this week he wants to buy at a local store rather than online.)
I maybe could consider getting an eSATA/USB2.0 add-on PCI card, but I don't want to waste $ on something I may not need in a short time, cause I don't know when my dad'll upgrade. I do need more HD space within the next month or 2, and burning to DVDs is getting to be a tedious proposition, and deleting isn't really an option I want to pursue at this time.

Oh, about the 48-bit LBA limit, how do I get around this with my dad's current setup, if I end up getting the HD before he upgrades? I don't want to split it into multiple 125GB partitions.

Although... I suppose I could go ahead and get the 500GB ext HD now, format it into 4 125GB partitions, and connect it via the USB 1.1 port. I would expect that to be a huge pain in the gluteus maximus, though!
January 19, 2008 10:11:25 AM

Some things have gone on sale recently. While slightly over your $300 budget after rebates, this rig would be quite a bit faster than what you have now, and have the "upgradeability" you desire. This MB is $13 more than your original choice, but has better video which should easily run your games, and can be upgraded to the newer Phenom processor when necessary. If you could somehow reuse your current case, you could be right at $300.

Rosewill RZS01 Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811147084
$19.99

GIGABYTE 690V Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128043
$59.99

Antec earthwatts 430W Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817371006
Mail-in Rebate - $30.00
$59.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz
Item #: N82E16819103774
$59.99

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 Memory
Item #: N82E16820145590
Mail-in Rebate - $24
$49.00

Western Digital Caviar SE 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Item #: N82E16822136178
$99.99

SAMSUNG 20X DVD Burner
Item #: N82E16827151161
$24.99

Subtotal: $373.93

Total after rebates: $319.93 before shipping.

note: Newegg no longer stocks your original case/psu choice.
January 19, 2008 4:55:35 PM

If I was going to get the system NOW (I've almost decided to postpone a little bit, but hopefully not too long), I actually could spend more like $400 or maybe $500 if I HAD to.
For now, though I mainly need a bigger HD for my current system, but I don't want one with a "legacy" interface.
!