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upgrade parents' PC with locally-purchased parts?

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January 25, 2008 3:06:06 AM

Hi guys. I'm trying to figure out what parts to tell my dad to get to upgrade his computer. He's recently told me he wants to upgrade to Windows XP.

We currently have:
MOBO: MSI K6T266 Pro2 Ver 2.0
CPU: 1.4GHz Athlon
RAM: 1 stick 256MB DDR-266
HD: WD 200GB (currently only 127GB formatted due to LBA limit) (plus my own 80GB and 250GB HDs, and my as-yet-unpurchased 500GB or more HD)
OS: Windows 2000 SP4

here's a few pics of the case & components we now have

We'd like a case with better ventilation and airflow, for one thing. (for example, a program I have shows something running at 54°C.) Our computer sometimes runs hotter than we're comfortable with. Also, I would definitely like front USB and audio ports, too.
Also, as for the MOBO, I definitely want it to have PCI express, SATA (at least 4 devices; current one doesn't have any), USB 2.0 (current one has 1.0 or 1.1), either socket LGA 775 or AM2 (current one is an older socket).

Some things that we (or at least I) will be doing with this computer that we either aren't able to now, or it's severely crippled, include, but are not limited to: extensive music production, video editing, photo editing, etc. Games will be an afterthought, but if I have time I might dabble in it a few minutes a day.

Ok.... I know you guys are going to recommend NewEgg, or the like, for purchasing the components. Thing is, I talked to my dad last week, and he wants to buy locally.
Anyone have suggestions on how to figure out what to get from the local stores? (I'm sure you guys probably don't know their reputations.)
Links to several stores we'd consider shopping at:
ChipsAndMemory.com (Display Ad (in local mag)
Best Bytes - Display Ad
Technology Depot - Display Ad]http://webserver.computoredge.com/shopper/sponsor.mvc?ccode=TND8&zone=SD&session=11f3733adcc11760e5fd85f47925ea18]Display Ad

A few other stores are listed in the advertising section of ComputorEdge. Most of the extras are a bit out of our area.

Would Geeks.com (in Oceanside) be worth the trip (from El Cajon (home) or Kearny Mesa (work)), though?
January 25, 2008 3:53:10 AM

a blast from the past....upgrading to windows xp.

case: antec or silverstone. good bang for your buck (and quality i must say)

mobo: pretty much anything made in the last two years fits the specs you mentioned

cpu: anything dual core and modern,

since you're not gonna game get something from the 8xx0 or 7xx0 geforce series. 7600gs or 8600gs, maybe even x400 will work for you.

January 25, 2008 4:33:54 AM

pianoplayer88key said:
Hi guys. I'm trying to figure out what parts to tell my dad to get to upgrade his computer....

Ok.... I know you guys are going to recommend NewEgg, or the like, for purchasing the components. Thing is, I talked to my dad last week, and he wants to buy locally.
Anyone have suggestions on how to figure out what to get from the local stores?


For parts, why not use the ones from the thread you started on January 13 - you got about 25 responses from people trying to help you build a low cost system - same as upgrading with replacement components. And I personally addressed the limitations of upgrading your Dad's system.

For shopping, do you really expect posters to try to find prices at your local stores? They can make recommendations based on commonly known prices, but if you want to pay more to shop locally - or even from other online stores - I think you should be prepared to do a little leg work yourself.

I mean, gee, you get all those people helping on your last thread now you want people to basically repeat the same info but price it at your stores. Come on.
Related resources
January 25, 2008 5:06:49 AM

Something to seriously think about when buying local... It might actually be cheaper to get it from newegg (or similar sites). Even counting shipping, I saved more than $300 on the parts I bought from mwave ($1100 vs $1400) over buying locally and running to FIVE shops even.

Yes, you might have to wait a few more days, but that will give you time to prepare for the install. Dload latest drivers, check your app's compatibility with XP (ALMOST all 2k compliant software works on XP, but not all), think about where you're going to do the build, what order you're going to install the software, etc, etc.

Spend an extra %10-20 time/effort above what you think you're going to and you'll not have to redo everything in a few weeks/months.
January 25, 2008 5:46:13 AM

ZozZoz said:
a blast from the past....upgrading to windows xp.

At this time, we're wary of Vista. (We're currently running 2000 Professional.)

ZozZoz said:
case: antec or silverstone. good bang for your buck (and quality i must say)

What about the PSU (if it doesn't come with the case)? Same brands there?

ZozZoz said:
mobo: pretty much anything made in the last two years fits the specs you mentioned

Is there anything we should avoid, for example shoddy quality?

ZozZoz said:
cpu: anything dual core and modern,

since you're not gonna game get something from the 8xx0 or 7xx0 geforce series. 7600gs or 8600gs, maybe even x400 will work for you.

Even with the little bit of gaming I might do on the side those would be fine. Our GF2-MX400 does ok, too, for what I throw at it. HL2 is a stretch (based on the demo), but I'm not planning to run that on my dad's PC.


rockyjohn said:
For parts, why not use the ones from the thread you started on January 13 - you got about 25 responses from people trying to help you build a low cost system - same as upgrading with replacement components. And I personally addressed the limitations of upgrading your Dad's system.

I hadn't thought of that. I was thinking his needs might be a little different than mine, but seeing as we'll probably sometimes use the same PC...

rockyjohn said:
For shopping, do you really expect posters to try to find prices at your local stores? They can make recommendations based on commonly known prices, but if you want to pay more to shop locally - or even from other online stores - I think you should be prepared to do a little leg work yourself.

No, I don't expect them to find prices at local stores. I just want some general guidelines - X product is good, Y product is bad, never pay more than $A for Q, etc.
Also, my dad's more comfortable with shopping locally, in case something goes wrong. For one thing (I didn't ask him about this, I'm guessing, but am fairly sure) he doesn't want to have to ship something back somewhere, but would probably prefer to take it in person to a local place (that is, if it's something my brother can't or doesn't want to help us fix.)

rockyjohn said:
I mean, gee, you get all those people helping on your last thread now you want people to basically repeat the same info but price it at your stores. Come on.

No, not price it at my stores. I'll do that myself.
One thing I was thinking. Should I search NewEgg for the model numbers of things listed in local stores, and do some research that way?

stromm said:
Something to seriously think about when buying local... It might actually be cheaper to get it from newegg (or similar sites). Even counting shipping, I saved more than $300 on the parts I bought from mwave ($1100 vs $1400) over buying locally and running to FIVE shops even.

I know local is MUCH cheaper. For example, some local places advertise 1GB Kingston RAM around $25 and up, whereas I can get it on NewEgg for $20. The MOBO prices (at least a few I looked up) are within 10-15%, though (at least the ones under $100.) I did see one vendor that had a 750GB Western digital HD for $129 on sale, though.

stromm said:
Yes, you might have to wait a few more days, but that will give you time to prepare for the install. Dload latest drivers, check your app's compatibility with XP (ALMOST all 2k compliant software works on XP, but not all), think about where you're going to do the build, what order you're going to install the software, etc, etc.

Spend an extra %10-20 time/effort above what you think you're going to and you'll not have to redo everything in a few weeks/months.

Would that also include extra $?


Ok here's another thing. I need to get a bigger HD for myself (looking at at least 500GB). I don't want to get some legacy (PATA) interface, but want a modern (SATA) interface, nor do I want to get some adapter card for my dad's PC that we might only use for a few months until he upgrades, nor do I want to split it into 4 partitions due to the LBA limit that I haven't been able to work around satisfactorily. (Also, I'd prefer external, and USB 1.1 is WAY too slow!)

Also, at what point (depending on which components we keep / upgrade) would it be better to just throw in the towel and buy a whole new pre-built (but NOT name-brand (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc) PC?
I expect we'll keep the same HD (there's still 73GB of unformatted space there), DVD burner (still works for our use), keyboard, mouse, monitor, MAYBE the GeForce2 MX400 video card, printer (LPT port), mouse (forget if it's PS2 or USB), speakers.
January 25, 2008 6:05:17 AM

Also, at what point (depending on which components we keep / upgrade) would it be better to just throw in the towel and buy a whole new pre-built (but NOT name-brand (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc) PC?
I expect we'll keep the same HD (there's still 73GB of unformatted space there), DVD burner (still works for our use), keyboard, mouse, monitor, MAYBE the GeForce2 MX400 video card, printer (LPT port), mouse (forget if it's PS2 or USB), speakers. said:
Also, at what point (depending on which components we keep / upgrade) would it be better to just throw in the towel and buy a whole new pre-built (but NOT name-brand (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, etc) PC?
I expect we'll keep the same HD (there's still 73GB of unformatted space there), DVD burner (still works for our use), keyboard, mouse, monitor, MAYBE the GeForce2 MX400 video card, printer (LPT port), mouse (forget if it's PS2 or USB), speakers.


I think if you have to upgrade at least 3 components at the same time, a brand new system is probably the better option especially considering you have an older motherboard and the technologies have changed since then. And as far as keeping your older hardware just be sure that your new mobo can support it. I didn't read the entire thread but by the specs you listed I'm guessing both your hard drive and DVD drive use IDE cables which are quickly being phased out. There are converters for them however, and as far as I know motherboard still have at least 1 IDE hookup; I know mine does (granted it's not really NEW, but it's not old either). If you go the route of a complete overhaul your old card will not be usable unless you get one of very few motherboards that still support AGP, and by doing that you'd highly limit an upgrade path for a video card. With your printer, the best option is to get an LTP to PCI adapter; I don't believe any company that produces motherboards uses LTP any more.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2008 6:12:08 AM

Your case is actually not that bad. In one picture it seems to be missing the rear fan. That can cost you 15-20c right there. If you get a couple of good, quiet 80mm fans, I think you would be fine. A more modern PSU would also help temendously. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As I recall also in the previous thread, the case was sitting in some sort of cubby hole of the desk. Definitely not good for airflow no matter the case.

Having said that, an excellent low cost case with excellent airflow, and roominess, would be this one. It is bigger than it looks in the pictures. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I used Newegg links, but these components are available from just about anywhere. You might try Fry's. I believe the closest to you would be San Diego. http://shop2.outpost.com/ac/storelocator/index.jsp;jsessionid=aUos+vFpwce2+U7EkRQvwQ**.node1 They often have great MB/CPU combo deals, as well as Case and power supply deals, memory, and hard drives. Not great prices on vid cards though. http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/

For the rest of the parts, I agree with RockyJohn. Go back to the other thread, pick the ones you want, get the part numbers from Newegg and take that info to the other stores. If they have a web site, just punch in the part numbers to the search box. Should be simple an painless.
January 26, 2008 6:25:36 AM

Ok... a few possible products... are these any good? (And, I'll have to check with the local vendors to see if they have them in stock - just because they're on their website doesn't mean they're in the store to pick up...)


Technology Depot:

Cases:
CoolerMaster RC-534-KKN2-GP Black - $56.25
Cooler Master CM Elite 330 Black = $47.50
ThermalTake TT Wing RS100 Black - $47.50

CPU:
Intel LGA775 2.8GHz Pentium 4 - $55.56
Athlon 3800 Dual Core AM2 Box - $72.61

Video (but don't want to get it if it's not necessary for viewing high-def videos, extensive video editing, etc):
ASUS 6200LE PCI-Express Turbo 256MB - $37.19
ASUS X1050 PCI-Express 128MB - $43.75



Before I continue... is the 750GB Sata2 WD HD for $129 near the top center of this ad a good deal?



chipsandmemory.com:
(note: they don't have individual products on separate pages; all are on one link per category. note #2: they DO have links, but they seem to link to the manufacturer's website, so I didn't include them here.)

CPUs:
Intel LGA775:
Dual Core E2140 1.6GHz - $69
Core2Duo E4500 2.2Ghz - $125
AMD AM2:
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz - $79

RAM:
Kingston 1GB: DDR2-533 = $35, DDR2-667 = $25, DDR2-800 = $29

PSU
24-pin ATX 2.0 - Thermaltake 430w TR2 - $49 - is Thermaltake also a good brand of PSU?
Also what other brands (not just on the immediately-above-linked site) are good?

Mobo - anything under $120 that has good (for an integrated solution - not looking for 8800 here - 6x00 is probably ok) onboard video, at least 4 DDR2 slots, 4 expansion slots (any type), 1 PATA (maybe 2), 3 SATA, LAN, audio. NewEgg was responding too slowly at the time I was going to try to look up different model #s there.

Video:
nVidia 7200 GS 256MB - $39
ATI X1550 256MB - $39


StarTech:

Case - didn't find any that I liked.

CPU:
AM2 Athlon 64 X2 4200+ - $88.80
775 Intel P4 P631 3GHz - $72.81
775 Intel Core2Duo E4500 2.2Ghz - $142.60

RAM:
Kingston 1GB DDR2-667 - $28.17

MOBO:
AM2:
Asus M2N-MX uATX - $79.00
Asus M2N-E ATX - $101.00
775:
Asus P5GZ-MX - $64.54 (but only 2 DDR2 slots)
Asus P5LD2 ATX - $100.71

Video:
nVidia eVGA 128MB 7200GS PCI-Express - $47.25



Fry's:

Case:
Thermaltake Mambo - $39.99
Cooler Master Centurion 534 - $49.99
Cooler Master Centurion 5 - $49.99
url=http://shop2.outpost.com/product/5030745?site=sr:SEARCH...]Cooler Master Elite 330[/url] - $49.99

PSU:
Thermaltake 430W - $34.99
Antec Basiq 350W - $39.99

Mobo (socket 775 ; both are more than I think we'd like to spend though):
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L - $94.99
Abit Fatal1ty F-I90JHD - $106.99

CPU (socket 775):
Pentium Dual-Core E2180 LGA775 - $99.00
Core2Duo E4500 LGA775 - $124.00

Video:
evga 7200GS 128MB PCI-E - $44.99





Keep in mind we currently have:
IDE DVD writer (forget what kind it is - I think maybe a Lite-On but don't remember)
AGP Video card - GeForce2 MX-400
IDE HDs - 200GB WD, 250GB WD, 80GB WD (the 250 and 80 are mine. the 200 only has 127 formatted due to the lba limit)
Also, I'd prefer not to have to spend $ to replace components that are currently working that we'll transfer, like the HDs for example (and if the video card we have is better than an on-board solution, that too. (but, seeing as hardly anything has an AGP slot anymore, I guess we'd have to, especially if the board we get doesn't have on-board video.))


I didn't check places that are farther away, like Geeks.com (I've heard them recommended either here or cnet, can't remember which), which is in Oceanside, a bit far.

Or... should we just order from NewEgg instead of buying locally?


If we keep the same case... is there a suggested way to ventilate it better? Would 120mm fans work? Also, should I try to persuade my parents to keep it out of the cubby hole?


(I guess we couldn't put a fan like this on our current case, considering it doesn't have a side window?)


a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2008 9:02:00 AM

Of your case choices, the Coolermaster 330 or the Thermaltake Wing would be best concerning airflow.

Most of your video cards are not much better than onboard. Definitely avoid any video with SE on the end. SE is is actually worse than onboard in most instances. The x1550 is the best performing choice above. You could try onboard video first, and the add a card later. You might find onboard will work fine for you.

For ram get two sticks for dual channel(2x512mb). 2gb(2x1gb) would be better. Kingston, Corsair or Crucial "value series" would be fine. DDR2 800 would be better for Athlon, but DDR2 533 and 667 work.

That Thermaltake 430 PSU would work in a low power system like yours. They are actually very quiet, but not very efficient at 65%. Not really good for the long term. The best bet would be the Antec Earthwatts 380w I linked to. More amps on the 12v, 80% efficient, way better quality. Generally can be had in most places right now for the same price after rebate as Newegg.

Don't know if you saw this on the Fry's web site, but it is actually a great deal. The processor is pretty fast, and the MB has good onboard video. I have owned 3 ECS combo boards over the last few years, and all are trouble free. Not made for high performance or overclclocking, but solid for stock speed systems. http://www.netaffilia.com/ad/electronics/frys/i/2008/01... Avoid old tech like the P4 CPU.

With a Dremel, or Rotozip type tool, you could easily cut a hole in the side of your case and put such a fan in. You could also put a plastic panel in with a piece of cheap Plexiglas from Home Depot. They generally have precut pieces for sale. You can use 2 part epoxy or rivets to attach the Plexiglas.

The two cases I mentioned with an added front fan would actually be better in the cubbyhole, as long as there is space in the back for the air to blow out. In general though, it is best not do do cubbyholes.

As for shopping, you would probably do best on price by getting the Fry's MB/CPU combo, and getting everything else on Newegg, although you will have to pay taxes from Newegg in addition to shipping.
January 27, 2008 7:54:48 AM

Ok.. I was just snooping around.... what do you think of these mobos?

I'll list 2 sections - ones available locally cheaper than NewEgg, then ones for which el Huevo Nuevo es mas barato.
All links are to NewEgg. Prices are local. Keep in mind that I DO have to pay sales tax on NewEgg.

I'd like to get as inexpensive of one as possible, but I don't want caca-like quality (or lack thereof). Also more ports for expansion (drives, RAM, slots, etc) would be better. I won't require an ultra-high-end CPU upgrade capability, like Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Phenom, etc.

M2N-MXSE - $53
M2A-VM - $65
P5B-MX - $73
P5L-MX = $73
P5KPL-VM = $79
P5L-VM = $79
M2NBP-VM = $79

These are cheaper on newegg. Would they be worth it, or should I go with one of the above ones locally?
P5GC-MX = $59
P5N-MX = $75
GA-MA69GM-S2H = $85


I have more local stuff I'm researching (and may ask about later), but before I sign off this post..

Is this 750GB WD Sata2 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive for $129 (available locally) a good deal (if the price is still valid)?
Or should I stick with a $99 WD 500GB drive, also available locally?

EDIT (and, some of this would be for if I go ahead and build my own system anyway):

How would you decide which DVD burner to get? I see several brands (LG, LiteOn, Sony, ASUS, etc) that are virtually the same price with almost the same specs. Lightscribe and SATA might jack the price a few $, but assuming you're comparing equal ones, which is best? Or, are they all just different names on the same drive?

Should the on-board video on any of the above mobos be good enough? One problem I often have with our GeForce2 MX-400 (or am I blaming the wrong thing?) is that video and audio, especially when online (we DO have cable, though) are often way out of sync, sometimes by a few seconds or more.

Also, 533 vs 667 vs 800 RAM - I know the 800's fastest, but how does mobo support work? Could I put 800 RAM in a 533 board, or 533 RAM in an 800 board, and expect it in both cases to run at 533?
Also, 2 sticks of 1GB, or 1 stick of 2GB? If I get a board with only 2 slots, I want to have 1 slot available for later (and don't want to have to purchase 2 new sticks later), but should I fill both slots anyway if I get 2GB RAM?

More Mobos....
I didn't find these on NewEgg. Are any of them ok, or what do you think? (prices are as advertised locally.)
Asus M2N-E SLI = $87
Asus M2N-BPVM AM2 = $78
BIOS NF61VM2 Am2 = $49
Intel D965GFERK = $125
Intel DG31PR = $79
Asus M2NBP-VM = $79
Gigabyte GA MA96GM-S2H = $69
Gigabyte GA M57SLI-S4 = $95
Asus M2A-MVP Xfire = $89
Intel Box D946GZISSL C2 = $88

BTW, someone on CNET told me to stay away from ECS and PCChips Mobos. (I've also heard someone else say avoid ECS.) What do you guys think of them?

I don't find many ANTEC PSUs locally, unless they're upwards of $70 or more for less than 500 watts.

A few local CPU prices... Would it be worth it to spring for the more expensive ones, or could I get by on a less expensive one?

AMD:
Sempron 3400+ = $38
Sempron LE 1100 = $39
Athlon 3200 = $46
Athlon 3800+ = $55
Athlon 64 X2 4000 = $70
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ = $79 (or $75 in Chula Vista instead of Kearny Mesa)

Intel:
Cel 3.06GHz = $45
Cel 3.3Ghz = $49
Cel D 3.0GHz = $49 (or $44 at a place that's farther out of the way)
P4 3.0GHz = $65 (or $62 farther away (Chula Vista instead of La Mesa)
P4 Dual Core 3GHz = $90
Core2Duo E2140 1.6GHz = $69
Core2Duo E4500 2.2GHz = $125


Last, but not least...
Would we (or I) be better off just plunking down and buying one of the systems advertised here?
(Note: link is to my Picasa web album where I've uploaded a few JPG ads I edited on my cell phone. Links to original PDFs can be found at ComputorEdge's San Diego site.)
Thing is, though.. I don't want an el-cheapo case, PSU, or mobo.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2008 8:23:59 AM

So the Fry's $78.99 CPU/MB combo deal with a modern Intel core duo processor and a decent MB is too expensive?

The 750gb HDD is a good deal.
January 27, 2008 8:46:03 AM

The 750GB HD does seem like a good deal.

I agree with tlmck that Fry's is worth looking at. The online Friday ads have a bunch of MB/CPU combos, as well as RAM, HDs, etc., and the return policy is very liberal. Even if you fried the MB, they'd take it back (at least that's true at my local Fry's) without a problem if you just said it didn't work, which would be true.

I've seen the Sonata III, which includes an EarthWatts 500w for 80 or 90 dollars after MIR, but there are all kinds of good deals, if you know what you're looking at and compare the prices against online stores.

I've been messing with hardware for a long time and have no doubt that if you check the online ads for a couple weeks running, you can put together a decent desktop for a very reasonable price, depending on what you need.

E.g. (based on current Fry's ads):

Case $60
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

PSU $40 - $30 = $10
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

MB + CPU $159
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

RAM $50
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

SATA HD $100
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

I would definitely get a SATA optical drive instead of using the old one, which will cost another $30 or so, but the MB has onboard graphics, which may be good enough. A decent, serviceable computer. The PSU is probably adequate but a Sonata III with the EarthWatts would be much better.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2008 10:07:07 AM

Most of the folks who say avoid ECS are gamers who overclock. ECS boards are not made for high performance computing. They are made for stock speed, run of the mill systems.

The three I have used for builds, the most recent being in April, have POSTed on the first try, and have run very solid. The one I am typing into right now even allowed for a slight overclock of the Celeron 420 chip it is running. Absolutely 0 problems with it.(see my more informations)

My previous ECS(4 years old) has an Athlon 64 3200+ chip on it, and is still running fine today for the folks I donated it to.

The third was a socket AM2 board I built for a friend with a 4200+ chip. Still running great after 1 year.

PC Chips boards are low end ECS and can be problematic. They usually work, but that is about the best you can say about them.

Even if you replace the ECS board, you are still getting the E2200 chip well below the cost of most places.($93.99 at Newegg). The E2200 has more than enough power for what you want to do.

The dual core will help with your music stuff. It will not speed up stuff such as web surfing, word processing, e-mail, etc... all that much over your parents current machine.

Lastly, I will be signing off this thread. I have helped as much as I can.
January 27, 2008 10:16:28 AM

tlmck:
No, it's not too expensive. I'm just wary, based on things I've heard, of the ECS brand. You seem to have had no problems with it. Am I just irrationally panicking (sp)?
LOL... edit... you apparently replied as I was posting this one. :p 
Ok, so still avoid PC Chips. but ECS might be OK. I don't anticipate doing much if any OC'ing on my current hardware.
So what brands' boards ARE made 4 high-perf computing at a reasonable price, or are they all over $100-120 for even the most basic models (no more than 8GB RAM support (at least 4 DIMMs), 3 each PCI, PCI-Express slots, 8 USB ports, 4 firewire ports, 8 SATA ports, 2 IDE connectors, etc)?

both:
Should I go buy that 750GB HD NOW, even though I currently don't have a physical way to install it, or if I wait a few weeks should I still be able to get it, or would a 1TB drive come down to, say, under $150?

kuniskos:
I'd have no problem shopping at Fry's so long as the prices aren't more than 1 or 2% higher than other places.
Do you know where I'd go online to see the Fry's ads? I can't seem to find the newspaper display ad online, and I don't have a subscription to the local paper it appears in (San Diego Union-Tribune). (usually the Sunday ads are the most extensive.)



Another thing... when I buy the stuff... I don't have a car yet, so I'll have to find some other way to take it home myself, possibly. I'm sure I could carry the HD, DVD, CPU, RAM, etc, the 1.5 miles home from the nearest bus stop to my house, but the case & mobo might be a bit unwieldy.
I might be able to get friends/family to drop it by (but my parents'll be out of town for a few weeks sometime in the next month - my sister's expecting her first baby), but otherwise should I just tough it out, or what?
January 27, 2008 10:49:21 AM

pianoplayer, this is probably your best bet for the ads: http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/

You might want to confirm with your local store that the components you plan to buy are in stock and available at the right price. The above link, from the SJ Mercury, should work too, but again, a quick phone call may not be a bad idea.

I again agree with tlmck: ECS boards are fine as long as you're not overclocking. I've owned a couple and they've been problem-free.

I'd say only the case will be an issue in terms of transport; even the mb should fit in a bag.

Lastly, if it were me, I'd hold off on the HD. It's a good deal (I doubt you'll get much better over the next few weeks), but I think it's best to get everything around the same time in case any of the components are bad, so that you're not beyond the store's return date.

Good luck with it.
January 27, 2008 11:56:53 AM

pianoplayer88key said:
Hi guys. I'm trying to figure out what parts to tell my dad to get to upgrade his computer. He's recently told me he wants to upgrade to Windows XP.

We currently have:
MOBO: MSI K6T266 Pro2 Ver 2.0
CPU: 1.4GHz Athlon
RAM: 1 stick 256MB DDR-266
HD: WD 200GB (currently only 127GB formatted due to LBA limit) (plus my own 80GB and 250GB HDs, and my as-yet-unpurchased 500GB or more HD)
OS: Windows 2000 SP4

here's a few pics of the case & components we now have

We'd like a case with better ventilation and airflow, for one thing. (for example, a program I have shows something running at 54°C.) Our computer sometimes runs hotter than we're comfortable with. Also, I would definitely like front USB and audio ports, too.
Also, as for the MOBO, I definitely want it to have PCI express, SATA (at least 4 devices; current one doesn't have any), USB 2.0 (current one has 1.0 or 1.1), either socket LGA 775 or AM2 (current one is an older socket).

Some things that we (or at least I) will be doing with this computer that we either aren't able to now, or it's severely crippled, include, but are not limited to: extensive music production, video editing, photo editing, etc. Games will be an afterthought, but if I have time I might dabble in it a few minutes a day.

Ok.... I know you guys are going to recommend NewEgg, or the like, for purchasing the components. Thing is, I talked to my dad last week, and he wants to buy locally.
Anyone have suggestions on how to figure out what to get from the local stores? (I'm sure you guys probably don't know their reputations.)
Links to several stores we'd consider shopping at:
ChipsAndMemory.com (Display Ad (in local mag)
Best Bytes - Display Ad
Technology Depot - Display Ad]http://webserver.computoredge.com/shopper/sponsor.mvc?ccode=TND8&zone=SD&session=11f3733adcc11760e5fd85f47925ea18]Display Ad

A few other stores are listed in the advertising section of ComputorEdge. Most of the extras are a bit out of our area.

Would Geeks.com (in Oceanside) be worth the trip (from El Cajon (home) or Kearny Mesa (work)), though?


Don't Upgdade!!!!
Just say No!!!

#1) Regardless of what you do, this will be too slow to do much.
#2) The upgrade parts will cost more than parts for a new system. (Memory Comes to Mnd.)
#3) Cost of the XP OS can be quite high, relative to everything else.

You can get a complete new system for $380 (Including Monitor and OS)

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us...

January 27, 2008 11:19:28 PM

That is an incredible deal, which will never be beat, in terms of price, by a homebuilt. The OS & monitor are probably worth about $250, meaning you're getting the whole box for something like $130.
January 28, 2008 7:07:52 AM

Ok... so I picked a config comparable to what I'm looking for on that Dell config, and I came up with...

Dual Core E2140 1.6GHz
XP Professional
M$ Works 8 (or no software - same price. I'd probably get OpenOffice)
Dell 19" E198WFP LCD. I wanted to deselect though cause I already have a monitor I can use, but it wouldn't let me.
2GB RAM
16X DVD+-RW
500GB SATA HD (no secondary drive or custom partitions)
Intel GMA 3100 onboard
Dell keyboard
Dell optical mouse

Price came to $688. Based on my research into local / newegg prices, I figure I could do better than that.

Also, does that Dell come with:
a GOOD quality MOBO with at least a total of 6 PCI and/or PCI-Express ports, 8 USB ports, 4 SATA ports, 1 (or 2) IDE ports, 4 DDR2 (minimum 800) slots, etc...
a good-quality case with a side vent, front and rear 120mm fans (and/or possibly a 200mm top fan &/or 300mm side fan), at least 4 external 5.25" bays and 4 internal 3.5" bays
an Antec Earthwatts 430 watt or better PSU?
I didn't seem to see that info on the site.

But... I'd rather not buy one of the national name-brand systems. I'd prefer to buy a custom / whitebox / local (or NewEgg).

Yes, getting XP Pro in the bundle would help a little, but I can get it for like $130 or so locally, assuming I buy it at the same time I buy a part from the store, which has a good chance of happening. Although, if necessary to temporarily save $ (but I WILL need to upgrade ASAP / as soon as I can afford it), I already have a Windows 2000 Professional CD I might use.
January 28, 2008 12:24:32 PM

Well, you can see from my sig that I didn't buy a Dell, though I also knew when I built the E6850/680i that I couldn't exactly compete with Dell on pricing. So the answer to most of the yes-no questions is no.

If you don't need or want a monitor and have no interest in selling one on craigslist, that's a point in favor of a homebuilt. The other thing about Dells is that you pay a steep premium for anything beyond the base configuration; if you start adding RAM and HD space to a Dell, and upgrade the OS, it ceases to be such a good deal and, again, a homebuilt makes more sense from the perspective of cost.

The sample build I listed above, with XP Pro, a SATA optical drive and a couple of other minor things will probably be nearly $600, but it's simple enough to put together, you know what you have, and it's a stronger PC than the Dell in many ways.

For me it's pretty simple: If I need a cheap, decent computer with a monitor, and cost is my main priority, and I can live with the base Dell configuration (aside from maybe upgrading the RAM on my own), go with Dell, otherwise build my own.
January 29, 2008 6:54:42 AM

Ok... I did some checking around locally, and think I pretty much got it almost narrowed down...


If I build from parts...

CASE:
don't have much info available about local ones. I may get one from NewEgg, but I'll probably also check around at the local stores in person, too. I don't want to spend more than necessary. Under $25 would be best, but I could go up to $40 or $50. Minimum 4 each external 5.25" and internal 3.5" bays, front USB and audio, 2 fans at least one of which is 120mm (or POSSIBLY 2 80mm fans), side air vent (and no, this case, if it's my own build, will not be going into the aforementioned cubbyhole)

PSU:
Antec 430W is $65 at a local store, $60 at Fry's (online). The Basiq 350W is $40 @ Fry's. NewEgg has the , or for the same price, the Basiq 500WBasiq 350W for $20 for the OEM or $40 for the retail. Would the $20 one be ok? I don't want to spend any more on the PSU than I have to. If I ever get a high-end video card, or plug more than a total of 6 HDs or DVDs in at once, I'll probably upgrade to a better PSU when the need arises. For now, though, I'd like to spend no more than $40 for the PSU.

MOBO (all AM2):
Asus M2N-MX SE = $53 @ Technology Depot. (It only has 2 SATA ports and 2 RAM slots, though)
Asus M2A-VM = $65 @ Technology Depot.
Gigabyte GA MA69GM-S2H = $69 @ Best Deal Computers (in Chula Vista)
(Note: all 3 links are for images of display ads in a local magazine, with other things advertised on the same page)

CPU (all Athlon):
3200 = $46 @ Technology Depot
3800+ = $55 @ Technology Depot
X2 4000 = $70 @ Technology Depot
(note: Technology Depot has CPU listings here but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy on prices listed there vs the ones listed in the magazine display ad.
X2 4200+ = $75 @ Micro PC Outlet (Chula Vista) or $79 @ ChipsAndMemory.com (Kearny Mesa - more convenient location (I'm in El Cajon))

RAM:
1GB Kingston DDR2-667 = $25 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources
2GB (1 stick) Kingston DDR2-667 = $49 @ MicroPC Outlet (Chula Vista)

HDD (all Western Digital SATA-2 7200rpm 16mb):
500GB = $99 @ chipsandmemory.com (shows as $104 online for the KS version
750GB = $129 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources

DVD+-RW
not much info on the locals. For an 18X, there's a Sony for $31 or a Samsung for $35. For a 20X, LiteOn or Pioneer is $29. Add lightscribe, and ASUS or LiteOn is $37. Chances are I might be better off browsing the local stores. I would like to have lightscribe available, but considering I have to get special discs to use it, I'll probably not require it.

Keyboard & Mouse
We have an unused set sitting around here so I'll use that for now.

OS
We have a Windows 2000 CD that I'll most likely use (although I'll want to get XP Professional later - it's about $125 at one local place, but you have to purchase hardware too.) One concern is the large HDD I'm planning to purchase, that I would like to have as all one partition, and the 28-bit (127 or 137GB) LBA limit.
Should any MOBO I'm considering support it?
Also, I have a Promise Ultra100 TX2 card in my parents' PC (with the K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, Win 2000 SP4, a 200GB HDD of which 127GiB is formatted). Should I take it out (it's mine anyway) and put it in my own build?
Also, what about getting 2000 to work with the large HD? I see that I need at least SP3 (I'll plan to have probably SP4, or if there is such thing, MAYBE SP5), and I'll need to add an EnableBigLBA registry key.
What about the installation and HD partitioning, though? I also have an 80GB HD, and a 250GB HD split into 2 120GiB partitons. Should I install the OS onto one of those, patch it, etc, THEN install the 500GB or 750GB HD? (Once the larger HD is installed, something upwards of 60 to 80GB (won't all fit on the 80 or 250 I now have) of my stuff will be coming off my parents' 200G (127 formatted) HD.



OR.... buying a pre-built system locally:

Technology Depot - looking at the Advance System, but it doesn't seem like all that good of a deal.

Best Bytes Computer Sources:
P4 775 System: Cel 3.0 for $199 or Cel 3.2 for $209 or P4 for $249, OR...
AM2 System: probably X2 4400+ for $279, or where's the sweet spot on these for price/performance?
Core2Duo System: probably E4500 2.2GHz for $329, or is there a sweet spot somewhere above that?

Best Deal Computers:
BD System #1 AMD Dual-Core - X2 4200+ 2.2Ghz = $295 (others also available, but leaning toward economy for now)
BD System #0 barebone - Intel 327 Cel 3.0GHz $229, Intel 631 P4 3.0GHz $258, Intel E4500 Core2Duo 2.2Ghz $321.
BD System #4 Intel Core2Duo - E4500 2.2Ghz $333, other options also available.


If I get a pre-built, I can, although very temporarily, live with a 160GB HD. Chances are, though, I might buy that 750GB WD linked/mentioned above cause I believe it's a very good deal.

What would you say, generally, is the best deal on the pre-builts? If I haven't already made it clear, I do NOT want to get one of the national brands, i.e. Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, HP, eMachines, etc. I prefer to buy from a local store if I get a prebuilt.


Another hybrid option would be to get one of the prebuilts, then get a better PSU (unless whatever one comes with it is fine for my use), a bigger HD (although I can live with 160 for a few months - it's just that 500 or 750 is a much better deal if I'm building my own), another GB or 2 of RAM (considering I'm going with onboard video) but would the 1GB be fine? (Note: i very regularly take my parents' PC - 256MB plus swap, up to over 600 or 700MB peak limit, and have been known to tax my brother's 1GB (Athlon 1.2MHz) sometimes.)


I'll probably want to upgrade later (but not within 12 months). This, for now, is basically to get me off my parents' computer. Later additions would include, but not be limited to, a decent video card (but not necessarily an 8800 series), a better PSU, faster CPU (and a new mobo if I have to - I'm not requiring quad-core support on my current DIY), XP Professional, larger HD when I run out of room on the 750, etc..." target="_blank">.
Los Huevos also has the Basiq 350W for $20 for the OEM or $40 for the retail. Would the $20 one be ok? I don't want to spend any more on the PSU than I have to. If I ever get a high-end video card, or plug more than a total of 6 HDs or DVDs in at once, I'll probably upgrade to a better PSU when the need arises. For now, though, I'd like to spend no more than $40 for the PSU.

MOBO (all AM2):
Asus M2N-MX SE = $53 @ Technology Depot. (It only has 2 SATA ports and 2 RAM slots, though)
Asus M2A-VM = $65 @ Technology Depot.
Gigabyte GA MA69GM-S2H = $69 @ Best Deal Computers (in Chula Vista)
(Note: all 3 links are for images of display ads in a local magazine, with other things advertised on the same page)

CPU (all Athlon):
3200 = $46 @ Technology Depot
3800+ = $55 @ Technology Depot
X2 4000 = $70 @ Technology Depot
(note: Technology Depot has CPU listings here but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy on prices listed there vs the ones listed in the magazine display ad.
X2 4200+ = $75 @ Micro PC Outlet (Chula Vista) or $79 @ ChipsAndMemory.com (Kearny Mesa - more convenient location (I'm in El Cajon))

RAM:
1GB Kingston DDR2-667 = $25 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources
2GB (1 stick) Kingston DDR2-667 = $49 @ MicroPC Outlet (Chula Vista)

HDD (all Western Digital SATA-2 7200rpm 16mb):
500GB = $99 @ chipsandmemory.com (shows as $104 online for the KS version
750GB = $129 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources

DVD+-RW
not much info on the locals. For an 18X, there's a Sony for $31 or a Samsung for $35. For a 20X, LiteOn or Pioneer is $29. Add lightscribe, and ASUS or LiteOn is $37. Chances are I might be better off browsing the local stores. I would like to have lightscribe available, but considering I have to get special discs to use it, I'll probably not require it.

Keyboard & Mouse
We have an unused set sitting around here so I'll use that for now.

OS
We have a Windows 2000 CD that I'll most likely use (although I'll want to get XP Professional later - it's about $125 at one local place, but you have to purchase hardware too.) One concern is the large HDD I'm planning to purchase, that I would like to have as all one partition, and the 28-bit (127 or 137GB) LBA limit.
Should any MOBO I'm considering support it?
Also, I have a Promise Ultra100 TX2 card in my parents' PC (with the K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, Win 2000 SP4, a 200GB HDD of which 127GiB is formatted). Should I take it out (it's mine anyway) and put it in my own build?
Also, what about getting 2000 to work with the large HD? I see that I need at least SP3 (I'll plan to have probably SP4, or if there is such thing, MAYBE SP5), and I'll need to add an EnableBigLBA registry key.
What about the installation and HD partitioning, though? I also have an 80GB HD, and a 250GB HD split into 2 120GiB partitons. Should I install the OS onto one of those, patch it, etc, THEN install the 500GB or 750GB HD? (Once the larger HD is installed, something upwards of 60 to 80GB (won't all fit on the 80 or 250 I now have) of my stuff will be coming off my parents' 200G (127 formatted) HD.



OR.... buying a pre-built system locally:

Technology Depot - looking at the Advance System, but it doesn't seem like all that good of a deal.

Best Bytes Computer Sources:
P4 775 System: Cel 3.0 for $199 or Cel 3.2 for $209 or P4 for $249, OR...
AM2 System: probably X2 4400+ for $279, or where's the sweet spot on these for price/performance?
Core2Duo System: probably E4500 2.2GHz for $329, or is there a sweet spot somewhere above that?

Best Deal Computers:
BD System #1 AMD Dual-Core - X2 4200+ 2.2Ghz = $295 (others also available, but leaning toward economy for now)
BD System #0 barebone - Intel 327 Cel 3.0GHz $229, Intel 631 P4 3.0GHz $258, Intel E4500 Core2Duo 2.2Ghz $321.
BD System #4 Intel Core2Duo - E4500 2.2Ghz $333, other options also available.


If I get a pre-built, I can, although very temporarily, live with a 160GB HD. Chances are, though, I might buy that 750GB WD linked/mentioned above cause I believe it's a very good deal.

What would you say, generally, is the best deal on the pre-builts? If I haven't already made it clear, I do NOT want to get one of the national brands, i.e. Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, HP, eMachines, etc. I prefer to buy from a local store if I get a prebuilt.


Another hybrid option would be to get one of the prebuilts, then get a better PSU (unless whatever one comes with it is fine for my use), a bigger HD (although I can live with 160 for a few months - it's just that 500 or 750 is a much better deal if I'm building my own), another GB or 2 of RAM (considering I'm going with onboard video) but would the 1GB be fine? (Note: i very regularly take my parents' PC - 256MB plus swap, up to over 600 or 700MB peak limit, and have been known to tax my brother's 1GB (Athlon 1.2MHz) sometimes.)


I'll probably want to upgrade later (but not within 12 months). This, for now, is basically to get me off my parents' computer. Later additions would include, but not be limited to, a decent video card (but not necessarily an 8800 series), a better PSU, faster CPU (and a new mobo if I have to - I'm not requiring quad-core support on my current DIY), XP Professional, larger HD when I run out of room on the 750, etc...
January 30, 2008 7:49:29 PM

pianoplayer88key said:
Ok... I did some checking around locally, and think I pretty much got it almost narrowed down...


If I build from parts...

CASE:
don't have much info available about local ones. I may get one from NewEgg, but I'll probably also check around at the local stores in person, too. I don't want to spend more than necessary. Under $25 would be best, but I could go up to $40 or $50. Minimum 4 each external 5.25" and internal 3.5" bays, front USB and audio, 2 fans at least one of which is 120mm (or POSSIBLY 2 80mm fans), side air vent (and no, this case, if it's my own build, will not be going into the aforementioned cubbyhole)

PSU:
Antec 430W is $65 at a local store, $60 at Fry's (online). The Basiq 350W is $40 @ Fry's. NewEgg has the , or for the same price, the Basiq 500WBasiq 350W for $20 for the OEM or $40 for the retail. Would the $20 one be ok? I don't want to spend any more on the PSU than I have to. If I ever get a high-end video card, or plug more than a total of 6 HDs or DVDs in at once, I'll probably upgrade to a better PSU when the need arises. For now, though, I'd like to spend no more than $40 for the PSU.

MOBO (all AM2):
Asus M2N-MX SE = $53 @ Technology Depot. (It only has 2 SATA ports and 2 RAM slots, though)
Asus M2A-VM = $65 @ Technology Depot.
Gigabyte GA MA69GM-S2H = $69 @ Best Deal Computers (in Chula Vista)
(Note: all 3 links are for images of display ads in a local magazine, with other things advertised on the same page)

CPU (all Athlon):
3200 = $46 @ Technology Depot
3800+ = $55 @ Technology Depot
X2 4000 = $70 @ Technology Depot
(note: Technology Depot has CPU listings here but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy on prices listed there vs the ones listed in the magazine display ad.
X2 4200+ = $75 @ Micro PC Outlet (Chula Vista) or $79 @ ChipsAndMemory.com (Kearny Mesa - more convenient location (I'm in El Cajon))

RAM:
1GB Kingston DDR2-667 = $25 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources
2GB (1 stick) Kingston DDR2-667 = $49 @ MicroPC Outlet (Chula Vista)

HDD (all Western Digital SATA-2 7200rpm 16mb):
500GB = $99 @ chipsandmemory.com (shows as $104 online for the KS version
750GB = $129 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources

DVD+-RW
not much info on the locals. For an 18X, there's a Sony for $31 or a Samsung for $35. For a 20X, LiteOn or Pioneer is $29. Add lightscribe, and ASUS or LiteOn is $37. Chances are I might be better off browsing the local stores. I would like to have lightscribe available, but considering I have to get special discs to use it, I'll probably not require it.

Keyboard & Mouse
We have an unused set sitting around here so I'll use that for now.

OS
We have a Windows 2000 CD that I'll most likely use (although I'll want to get XP Professional later - it's about $125 at one local place, but you have to purchase hardware too.) One concern is the large HDD I'm planning to purchase, that I would like to have as all one partition, and the 28-bit (127 or 137GB) LBA limit.
Should any MOBO I'm considering support it?
Also, I have a Promise Ultra100 TX2 card in my parents' PC (with the K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, Win 2000 SP4, a 200GB HDD of which 127GiB is formatted). Should I take it out (it's mine anyway) and put it in my own build?
Also, what about getting 2000 to work with the large HD? I see that I need at least SP3 (I'll plan to have probably SP4, or if there is such thing, MAYBE SP5), and I'll need to add an EnableBigLBA registry key.
What about the installation and HD partitioning, though? I also have an 80GB HD, and a 250GB HD split into 2 120GiB partitons. Should I install the OS onto one of those, patch it, etc, THEN install the 500GB or 750GB HD? (Once the larger HD is installed, something upwards of 60 to 80GB (won't all fit on the 80 or 250 I now have) of my stuff will be coming off my parents' 200G (127 formatted) HD.



OR.... buying a pre-built system locally:

Technology Depot - looking at the Advance System, but it doesn't seem like all that good of a deal.

Best Bytes Computer Sources:
P4 775 System: Cel 3.0 for $199 or Cel 3.2 for $209 or P4 for $249, OR...
AM2 System: probably X2 4400+ for $279, or where's the sweet spot on these for price/performance?
Core2Duo System: probably E4500 2.2GHz for $329, or is there a sweet spot somewhere above that?

Best Deal Computers:
BD System #1 AMD Dual-Core - X2 4200+ 2.2Ghz = $295 (others also available, but leaning toward economy for now)
BD System #0 barebone - Intel 327 Cel 3.0GHz $229, Intel 631 P4 3.0GHz $258, Intel E4500 Core2Duo 2.2Ghz $321.
BD System #4 Intel Core2Duo - E4500 2.2Ghz $333, other options also available.


If I get a pre-built, I can, although very temporarily, live with a 160GB HD. Chances are, though, I might buy that 750GB WD linked/mentioned above cause I believe it's a very good deal.

What would you say, generally, is the best deal on the pre-builts? If I haven't already made it clear, I do NOT want to get one of the national brands, i.e. Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, HP, eMachines, etc. I prefer to buy from a local store if I get a prebuilt.


Another hybrid option would be to get one of the prebuilts, then get a better PSU (unless whatever one comes with it is fine for my use), a bigger HD (although I can live with 160 for a few months - it's just that 500 or 750 is a much better deal if I'm building my own), another GB or 2 of RAM (considering I'm going with onboard video) but would the 1GB be fine? (Note: i very regularly take my parents' PC - 256MB plus swap, up to over 600 or 700MB peak limit, and have been known to tax my brother's 1GB (Athlon 1.2MHz) sometimes.)


I'll probably want to upgrade later (but not within 12 months). This, for now, is basically to get me off my parents' computer. Later additions would include, but not be limited to, a decent video card (but not necessarily an 8800 series), a better PSU, faster CPU (and a new mobo if I have to - I'm not requiring quad-core support on my current DIY), XP Professional, larger HD when I run out of room on the 750, etc..." target="_blank">.
Los Huevos also has the Basiq 350W for $20 for the OEM or $40 for the retail. Would the $20 one be ok? I don't want to spend any more on the PSU than I have to. If I ever get a high-end video card, or plug more than a total of 6 HDs or DVDs in at once, I'll probably upgrade to a better PSU when the need arises. For now, though, I'd like to spend no more than $40 for the PSU.

MOBO (all AM2):
Asus M2N-MX SE = $53 @ Technology Depot. (It only has 2 SATA ports and 2 RAM slots, though)
Asus M2A-VM = $65 @ Technology Depot.
Gigabyte GA MA69GM-S2H = $69 @ Best Deal Computers (in Chula Vista)
(Note: all 3 links are for images of display ads in a local magazine, with other things advertised on the same page)

CPU (all Athlon):
3200 = $46 @ Technology Depot
3800+ = $55 @ Technology Depot
X2 4000 = $70 @ Technology Depot
(note: Technology Depot has CPU listings here but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy on prices listed there vs the ones listed in the magazine display ad.
X2 4200+ = $75 @ Micro PC Outlet (Chula Vista) or $79 @ ChipsAndMemory.com (Kearny Mesa - more convenient location (I'm in El Cajon))

RAM:
1GB Kingston DDR2-667 = $25 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources
2GB (1 stick) Kingston DDR2-667 = $49 @ MicroPC Outlet (Chula Vista)

HDD (all Western Digital SATA-2 7200rpm 16mb):
500GB = $99 @ chipsandmemory.com (shows as $104 online for the KS version
750GB = $129 @ Best Bytes Computer Sources

DVD+-RW
not much info on the locals. For an 18X, there's a Sony for $31 or a Samsung for $35. For a 20X, LiteOn or Pioneer is $29. Add lightscribe, and ASUS or LiteOn is $37. Chances are I might be better off browsing the local stores. I would like to have lightscribe available, but considering I have to get special discs to use it, I'll probably not require it.

Keyboard & Mouse
We have an unused set sitting around here so I'll use that for now.

OS
We have a Windows 2000 CD that I'll most likely use (although I'll want to get XP Professional later - it's about $125 at one local place, but you have to purchase hardware too.) One concern is the large HDD I'm planning to purchase, that I would like to have as all one partition, and the 28-bit (127 or 137GB) LBA limit.
Should any MOBO I'm considering support it?
Also, I have a Promise Ultra100 TX2 card in my parents' PC (with the K6T266 Pro2 Mobo, Win 2000 SP4, a 200GB HDD of which 127GiB is formatted). Should I take it out (it's mine anyway) and put it in my own build?
Also, what about getting 2000 to work with the large HD? I see that I need at least SP3 (I'll plan to have probably SP4, or if there is such thing, MAYBE SP5), and I'll need to add an EnableBigLBA registry key.
What about the installation and HD partitioning, though? I also have an 80GB HD, and a 250GB HD split into 2 120GiB partitons. Should I install the OS onto one of those, patch it, etc, THEN install the 500GB or 750GB HD? (Once the larger HD is installed, something upwards of 60 to 80GB (won't all fit on the 80 or 250 I now have) of my stuff will be coming off my parents' 200G (127 formatted) HD.



OR.... buying a pre-built system locally:

Technology Depot - looking at the Advance System, but it doesn't seem like all that good of a deal.

Best Bytes Computer Sources:
P4 775 System: Cel 3.0 for $199 or Cel 3.2 for $209 or P4 for $249, OR...
AM2 System: probably X2 4400+ for $279, or where's the sweet spot on these for price/performance?
Core2Duo System: probably E4500 2.2GHz for $329, or is there a sweet spot somewhere above that?

Best Deal Computers:
BD System #1 AMD Dual-Core - X2 4200+ 2.2Ghz = $295 (others also available, but leaning toward economy for now)
BD System #0 barebone - Intel 327 Cel 3.0GHz $229, Intel 631 P4 3.0GHz $258, Intel E4500 Core2Duo 2.2Ghz $321.
BD System #4 Intel Core2Duo - E4500 2.2Ghz $333, other options also available.


If I get a pre-built, I can, although very temporarily, live with a 160GB HD. Chances are, though, I might buy that 750GB WD linked/mentioned above cause I believe it's a very good deal.

What would you say, generally, is the best deal on the pre-builts? If I haven't already made it clear, I do NOT want to get one of the national brands, i.e. Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, HP, eMachines, etc. I prefer to buy from a local store if I get a prebuilt.


Another hybrid option would be to get one of the prebuilts, then get a better PSU (unless whatever one comes with it is fine for my use), a bigger HD (although I can live with 160 for a few months - it's just that 500 or 750 is a much better deal if I'm building my own), another GB or 2 of RAM (considering I'm going with onboard video) but would the 1GB be fine? (Note: i very regularly take my parents' PC - 256MB plus swap, up to over 600 or 700MB peak limit, and have been known to tax my brother's 1GB (Athlon 1.2MHz) sometimes.)


I'll probably want to upgrade later (but not within 12 months). This, for now, is basically to get me off my parents' computer. Later additions would include, but not be limited to, a decent video card (but not necessarily an 8800 series), a better PSU, faster CPU (and a new mobo if I have to - I'm not requiring quad-core support on my current DIY), XP Professional, larger HD when I run out of room on the 750, etc...



Since you don't appear to be a PC enthusiast, what may I ask do you have against the big national chains? gateway, dell, hp etc? Usually they come along with a pretty sweet warranty. in 1999 i bought my first PC after months of saving via part time job from gateway, although now I build/upgrade for myself, I have nothing against them. That PC worked great, and in my first attempts ever at upgrading etc. I fried my system (or at least parts of it) installing a new video card with it plugged in and not shutting the PSU off and of course no static reducing measures taken. Gateway replaced the whole system even after I told them what I did.

I think my question is, if your not a big gamer/pc enthusiast why do the big chains bother you? Unless building a PC is just something you want to do. The primary thing about buying from a chain is the warranty, you can just say, its broke fix it, you dont have to narrow the problem down, RMA or return the jacked up part to local store. and generally you get a longer warranty with National chain(many including onsite labor for at least a year) then you do with your typical 1 year on individual parts (with most some give you lifetime).
January 30, 2008 10:18:28 PM

tsd16 said:
Since you don't appear to be a PC enthusiast, what may I ask do you have against the big national chains? gateway, dell, hp etc? Usually they come along with a pretty sweet warranty. in 1999 i bought my first PC after months of saving via part time job from gateway, although now I build/upgrade for myself, I have nothing against them. That PC worked great, and in my first attempts ever at upgrading etc. I fried my system (or at least parts of it) installing a new video card with it plugged in and not shutting the PSU off and of course no static reducing measures taken. Gateway replaced the whole system even after I told them what I did.

I think my question is, if your not a big gamer/pc enthusiast why do the big chains bother you? Unless building a PC is just something you want to do. The primary thing about buying from a chain is the warranty, you can just say, its broke fix it, you dont have to narrow the problem down, RMA or return the jacked up part to local store. and generally you get a longer warranty with National chain(many including onsite labor for at least a year) then you do with your typical 1 year on individual parts (with most some give you lifetime).


For one thing, I'll want to be able to fairly easily change hardware components. I've heard stories that some make it more difficult to do that (or have otherwise proprietary components / connectors / etc, which I DEFINITELY want to avoid!).
Also, for the online configurators, they seem to rip you off if you get anything other than the cheapest base config. For example, I was looking at one from I think HP, and I'd probably get it with the absolute basic stuff, then immediately turn around and add a GB of RAM (they would "give" me $40 for downgrading from 512 to 256MB) and the $129 750GB HD (they wanted $100 for a 250), and a DVD burner (they wanted $12 for one, or would give me $36 for opting for no optical drive).
Also, I don't want it loaded with bloat-ware that I'll never use, and therefore I don't want to pay for it.

I haven't COMPLETELY ruled out a national chain, it's just that I have some reservations.
January 31, 2008 1:17:36 PM

pianoplayer88key said:
For one thing, I'll want to be able to fairly easily change hardware components. I've heard stories that some make it more difficult to do that (or have otherwise proprietary components / connectors / etc, which I DEFINITELY want to avoid!).
Also, for the online configurators, they seem to rip you off if you get anything other than the cheapest base config. For example, I was looking at one from I think HP, and I'd probably get it with the absolute basic stuff, then immediately turn around and add a GB of RAM (they would "give" me $40 for downgrading from 512 to 256MB) and the $129 750GB HD (they wanted $100 for a 250), and a DVD burner (they wanted $12 for one, or would give me $36 for opting for no optical drive).
Also, I don't want it loaded with bloat-ware that I'll never use, and therefore I don't want to pay for it.

I haven't COMPLETELY ruled out a national chain, it's just that I have some reservations.


Have you checked out PC builders that use non-proprietary hardware, such as www.cyberpowerpc.com ? My cousin bought a computer through them, and loves it, 3 year warranty, I was surprised how cheap it was for what he got, it was darn close to building yourself. I garauntee you couldnt get a system as good at what he got at dell, hp etc.
I am pretty sure it is a reputable business, they have a list of awards won and I have personally seen adds for the company in PC magazines, primarily PC World. Only thing I heard isthe customer service end is hit or miss, could be great could be bad. Also, one of the few that pretty much lets you pick what you want, (i.e. you dont have to select a monitor, keyboard, optical drives etc. you can just get what you want)
February 1, 2008 4:25:48 PM

If I was going to go with a national chain, ones like cyberpowerpc (like you mentioned), avadirect, or ibuypower would be under consideration. Can you think of any others like those?
!