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new build (or upgrade old?) almost narrowed down...

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January 29, 2008 11:37:47 PM



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...

More about : build upgrade narrowed

January 30, 2008 10:04:47 AM

Ok.. almost decided, except for a few things...

CASE:
Rosewill R222-P-BK - $20.99 + 13.92ship
Raidmax Symphony ATX-308 - $24.99 + 14.99ship
Is the Rosewill OK, or should I go for the Raidmax?

PSU:
I'll be checking around locally, but I'd also consider one from NewEgg. I don't want to spend more than $40 to $50 before rebate. In addition to my proposed config below, I already have 2 7200rpm IDE hard drives (80GB and 250GB), as well as a few various USB devices that I occasionally plug in (cell phone, card reader, digital camera, mp3 recorder, etc).
For example, would the Anteq Basic 350-watt PSU be enough? It's $20 for the OEM version on NewEgg, or $40 for the retail version.
When I spend more than $150 in upgrades (based on today's prices) I'll plan to get a better PSU.

MOBO (AM2): Asus M2A-VM = $65 (local store)
CPU: Athlon 3200 = $46 (at a local store)
RAM: 2GB (1 stick) Kingston DDR2-667 = $49 (at a local store)
HD: 750GB WD 16m 7200rpm SATA 3g/s = $129 (local store)

DVD+-RW
Either I decide when I go to the local store (maybe Fry's), or... on NewEgg, are there any brands I should avoid if I'm getting one under $30 (or $35 for lightscribe)?

I already have a keyboard, mouse, and OS install CD (Windows 2000 Professional).

I'd consider a pre-built (see the above post for a few I'd consider), but not with less than the above specs (except I COULD probably get by temporarily with a smaller HD, but I'd be buying a larger one much sooner if I, say, got a 160GB in a prebuilt.)
Also, last time I was in Fry's, I didn't really see any pre-builts that I liked for the price. Also, I don't want one of the national brands - I'd rather get something locally assembled. (One exception, if applicable, would be a national brand based in San Diego, CA.)
January 30, 2008 9:39:19 PM

What is your total budget and how are you going to use the machine? Recently use that Gigabyte board in one of my grandkids computer, compare it with the ASUS on newegg see what the difference. Not sure what it is but I usually buy ASUS and for some reason the Gigabyte looked better
Related resources
January 30, 2008 10:28:37 PM

g-paw said:
What is your total budget and how are you going to use the machine? Recently use that Gigabyte board in one of my grandkids computer, compare it with the ASUS on newegg see what the difference. Not sure what it is but I usually buy ASUS and for some reason the Gigabyte looked better


Total budget is as low as I can possibly get it, like around $400 or so, plus tax & shipping (but not to exceed a total of $500, even with slightly upgraded components). That doesn't include the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and OS, all of which I already have.
Two things I don't want to skimp on are the RAM and HD. For RAM, minimum 1GB, preferably 1 stick of 2GB. For the HD, minimum 500GB, and I'm eyeing a 750GB Western Digital I can get locally for $129.

Usage includes music composing and editing (including pre-recorded audio), DVD/CD authoring, some video editing (mainly from my camera, for example making several clips into a DVD and changing the audio track, etc (but probably not right away cause I can't afford higher-end hardware right now), photo editing, archival of hundreds or so old analog cassettes / LPs (again, that can wait, in this case, mainly until I can afford a sound card with multiple (at least 8 simultaneous, preferably more) inputs and good-quality tape decks / turntables that can squeeze the best quality possible out of old worn-out media (the players I now have are worthy of descriptions that are probably not permitted in this forum)), and occasional light gaming (for example, Scorched Earth 3D, Half-Life 1, Total Annihilation, probably not more than a few hours a week (and by my standards, my parents' Athlon 1.4GHz, 256MB RAM, Windows 2000, GeForce4 MX 400 config works just fine, and I could even live with a little less gaming power (but not less for what I posted above that I will be doing more often).

A few things I'm having trouble with figuring out... what are some good budget PSUs that'll be enough to power my system, and take into account adding another HD, a low to mid-level video card, and a low to mid-level dual-core CPU later? Also I've noticed several different SATA DVD burners within a few bucks of each other on NewEgg (with the lightscribe ones being a few $ more expensive, all in the $30 or so range (35 or so for the LS)). How would you suggest deciding which one to get? Most of the specs that matter to me look the same, and I don't care how they look cosmetically.

(Note: I plan to get XP Professional later, like in a couple months or so. Also, I could probably postpone one or two things like the DVD burner (if I can figure out how to network with my parents' DVD burner).
January 30, 2008 11:19:47 PM

The thing you're running into is that what you're doing is CPU intensive and you really need a faster processor. Would suggest something like this. Didn't fully price it out but should be around $500. The PSU that comes with the case isn't the greatest but will work and you eventually move up to a quad core in the future.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

January 31, 2008 12:26:56 AM

g-paw said:
The thing you're running into is that what you're doing is CPU intensive and you really need a faster processor. Would suggest something like this. Didn't fully price it out but should be around $500. The PSU that comes with the case isn't the greatest but will work and you eventually move up to a quad core in the future.


Rosewill R5717 SL 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W Power Supply with Tool-Free kits - $44.99
This is something that might be ok.

EVGA 256-P2-N751-TR GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card - $94.99
You must have seen "gaming". I DID mention it was basically very light gaming, as an afterthought. I'm happy if I can get 640x480 at 25fps with low to medium detail level settings in the older titles I mentioned. So.. I hope onboard video would be fine. If I absolutely MUST get a video card, I don't want to spend more than $40 or $50 for my first one, for example an ATI X1550 or lower, or GeForce 7300 or lower, or something like that. When I want a nicer video card, I also want video capture capability from analog sources (VHS, for example).

ASUS M3A AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $99.99
This is much higher price than I've been looking at, ESPECIALLY considering it doesn't have onboard video. I'd like one like this, but seeing that I can't afford it, I'm willing to go with micro ATX, no quad-core upgrade path on this mobo, on-board video (probably GeForce 6100 or 7xx0 series or ATI X1250 or similar) (but same DIMM, SATA, IDE connectors). I also don't need S/PDIF (btw what's that used for?).

A-DATA Extreme Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - $51.99
Wouldn't the Kingston value RAM work just fine? I can get it for $50 locally or $40 on newegg last I checked.
Also, if absolutely necessary to save $, I COULD live with 1GB temporarily, but I'd rather start with 2GB.

MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal USB 2.0 Internal USB 2.0 digital card reader with Floppy Drive Model FA404M BLK - $18.99
I don't need a floppy, and I already have an external card reader (which, though, I don't think supports SDHC). Although, for the price and if it stays within my slightly flexible budget, it might work if it can use every card format out there.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $109.99
I can get a 500GB for $99, or a 750GB for $129 locally.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor - $169.99
*GASP!* I'm not even considering anything over $80. If I NEED a dual-core, wouldn't a 4000+ or 4200+ be enough for now? (I could even start with a single core like a 3000 series or so.)


Also, many of the components, for example RAM, HDD, CPU, etc, I would like to get locally (and for the components I'm considering, taking into account shipping on NewEgg and the fact that I have to pay tax on the huevo, they're a better deal locally (for example, the Western Digital 750GB SATA 3G/s 7200rpm 16MB buffer for $129)). The bulky ones (MOBO, case, etc) I may order from somewhere and have shipped.


I know I mentioned a few intensive things I'd like to do, but that'll come later (the video editing, for example).

Basically, I am "upgrading" from my parents' computer (getting my own), so I basically want something better than what they have (with a TON of storage capacity and decent amount of RAM). Their config is:
MSI K6T266 Pro2 Mobo
mid tower case with 4 ext 5.25", 2 ext 3.5", 2 (or maybe 3) int 3.5" bays, and 300W PSU with a 15A 12V rail
LiteOn DVD burner (a year old or so)
floppy (I don't need one)
AMD 1.4GHz Athlon CPU (single core)
Promise Ultra100TX2 PCI HDD controller (this is mine - I'll be taking it out probably so I can use (hopefully soon to be) my 750GB HD with Windows 2000, which I already have.
200GB HDD (formatted as 127GB due to the LBA limit and not knowing at the time how to work around it). I have upwards of 75-80GB of my stuff on there, plus a nearly full 80 and 250GB HD of my own (the 80 is currently not physically installed). I'll plan to get my stuff off my parents' HDs, get my 250 out of their PC, and install it, the 80G, and the 750G in my own PC. (Also, I plan to install a copy of Windows 2000 I already have on the 80GB (to avoid the LBA limit issues, then apply the patches / registry tweaks as necessary, THEN install the 750. (I think the 250 hopefully shouldn't be a problem because it's split into 2 equal partitions.)
GeForce4 MX 400 video card (Shouldn't even on-board X1250 or GF6100 be as good as this?)
256MB DDR-266 RAM
January 31, 2008 12:49:24 AM

You could shave some off with a different CPU, something like a 4200+ and could go with the 7600GT. It's easy enough to add storage and it's pretty inexpensive. I would keep the board so you could upgrade to a Penryn when you have the money. If this is just a year or so stop gap and then build a better one, you could go with a less extensive mobo.
January 31, 2008 3:07:44 AM

g-paw said:
You could shave some off with a different CPU, something like a 4200+ and could go with the 7600GT. It's easy enough to add storage and it's pretty inexpensive. I would keep the board so you could upgrade to a Penryn when you have the money. If this is just a year or so stop gap and then build a better one, you could go with a less extensive mobo.

I would consider this a stop gap. When I upgrade again (hopefully in about 12 to 18 months) I'll want to something SIGNIFICANTLY better, for example, based on today's technology, a 2.8GHz dual-core or 2.4GHz quad-core CPU, ATX MOBO with at least 7 PCI/PCI-Express/etc slots, 8 SATA ports, 2 IDE ports, 8 USB ports, etc, 1 to 1.5TB storage (2 500GB or 750GB HDs), 2 DVD writers (and not the cheapies - more likely Plextor or something like that, a good-quality 600W or better PSU, an 8800 video card, video capture card, sound card with at least 8 simultaneous inputs, a good keyboard & mouse, a full tower case with at least 6 to 8 each ext 5.25" and int 3.5" bays, 2 120mm fans on the rear & 1 120mm fan on the front, 1 200mm fan on top & 1 300mm fan on the side, etc....
In the meantime, since this IS a stopgap, wouldn't either mobo I mentioned above work just fine for now, with the onboard video?

chuckm said:
If your budget is the best you can come up with, get this PSU;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you can come up with a few more bucks, get this one, you won't have to worry about upgrading and I'd sure feel a lot better.
http://www.buy.com/prod/Corsair-VX-450w-Power-Supply/q/...

With my current budget, and considering the price is BEFORE rebates on the Corsair, I think the TK is my best bet of the two.

In the meantime, I desperately need a larger HD, while I'm still using my parents' computer. Chances are I might go out and buy that 750, maybe tomorrow if I get by the store that has it. Thing is, it's a SATA drive, and my parents' computer doesn't have any SATA ports. Is there any good inexpensive (for example, under $10-15, maybe $20) way to plug it into my parents' computer? (I'd prefer external, even if it was as simple/cheapskate as getting a $5 USB 2.0 adapter card (their mobo only has 1.1 built in) and a $2 USB to SATA cable, or something like that.)



Note: Also, tomorrow, since I'm probably going to try to see about finding work (and visiting a couple piano stores in San Marcos in the meantime (I'm a piano tuner/tech)), I may try to stop by the geeks.com retail outlet in Oceanside. Anything you'd suggest I get from there?
January 31, 2008 3:32:27 PM

If this is a stop gap, I'd go with pretty much with your original build but I would definitely compare the 3 mobo on newegg. I'd also also go with 2 x 1GB of RAM, A DATA makes good inexpensive RAM, have them in a couple of my machines. For the $9 I'd go with the X2 4200+ over the 4000+. As for storage, I'd get about 2 x what your using now and get more later, prices keep going done. Sounds like you really need your own machine ASAP. You should definitely check the price of the build on newegg, create a wish list, and compare to buying locally. Of course living in CA, you likely have to pay sales tax at newegg so the savings may not be that much but worth checking out. Rosewell does make some decent cases without the PSU but again for stop gap the one I suggested would work
February 1, 2008 10:52:47 PM

Well... I've made a start.

I got a 750GB WD HD for $129. (Also, since I'm plugging it into my parents' computer for now, I got a USB 2.0 PCI card and a USB to IDE/SATA adapter cable.)

As for the rest of it, should I build from scratch (including the parts I already have), or get one of the builds from the places whose ads are duplicated here and upgrade/change a few indiviual components (mobo, PSU, etc)?
February 1, 2008 11:48:49 PM

Always better to build, you know the parts going into the machine, you get better warranties, parts are warranted from 3yrs to lifetime depending on the part, usually save a some money, and nice to look at a machine and know it's yours, you picked the parts and put it together, can be satisfying. Could be a chick magnet if you can find any that are impressed with guys that build their own machine :) 
February 10, 2008 8:59:45 AM

Antec NSK6580 Black/Silver w/430W PSU - $79.99, free shipping
Would this case be a good buy? It's more than I want to pay for a case, and only has 1 120mm fan, but I can get another one or two for a few bucks, and it includes the Antec Earthwatts EA-430 PSU, normally $54.99 by itself.

Or, should I get the Antec Earthwatts EA-380 for $34.99, and one of the 2 following cases?:
Rosewill R-222-P-BK - $20.99 + 13.92 shipping
Rosewill R604P SL - $24.99 + 14.84 shipping

Should I go for this Asus M2A-VM HDMI MOBO for $74.99 + 6.33 ship, or would this Foxconn A690GM2MA for $68.99 + 6.33 ship be ok? Or, I could get a non-HDMI M2A-VM for $65 locally. (I don't see any reason why I'd need the HDMI.) (I was trying to find something under $60, but I was having to make too many sacrifices while searching el Huevo Nuevo.)

Is the Athlon 64 X2 4000+ CPU for $59.99, free shipping ($70 locally) worth the extra $20 over the Athlon 64 LE-1600 CPU?

Should I get the Kingston 2GB DDR-667 RAM for $44.99 + 4.99 shipping from NewEgg, or get it locally for $49? (I'd have to pay tax on NewEgg anyway.)

I can't decide what DVD+-RW to get. I'd like one under $35, the lower the better. Lightscribe would be a plus, but I won't require it. SATA IS required, though. It looks like there's several brands at/near the same price point, like Sony, Asus, LG, Lite-On, etc - what would you recommend?

I already got a 750GB hard drive.

There's a keyboard & mouse sitting here that I probably could use, or, could anyone recommend a standard keyboard (extra multimedia/internet/etc keys might be a plus) and an optical scrollwheel mouse for no more than $15 shipped & taxed?

I already have a monitor.

I also have a Windows 2000 CD, but if possible would like to get XP Pro ASAP. I heard today on Leo Laporte's show that XP won't be sold after June 30. Anyone know where I can get a legal copy of XP Professional for under $110? I can get it for $124 locally if I buy some hardware from the same location. (would the 2GB of RAM I mentioned above work, or can I show them my receipt for the 750GB HD from a different store?)




OR... could someone suggest a pre-built machine with the same or better components for a lower price than the sum of the prices of the above separate components (and no, don't factor in 2 cases or 2 mobos to boost the max build price just cause I couldn't decide between one or the other above)?
February 10, 2008 12:33:36 PM

Go with the Antec case, PSU is much better and Antec cases are very good. THe X2 4000+ is definitely worth the extra money, dual core, which is the standard today. This A DATA RAM is good and DDR2 800 and less expensive. Samsung, Lite On, LG, and ASUS all make good DVD RW. Personally I like Samsung but it's a toss up, really no difference in performance. I have seen anything saying Microsoft won't be selling XP after 6/30, have no idea where that is coming from. Is there a reason want XP Pro? With that machine XP would work fine unless you're using a server and OEM is $89. There is no prebuilt machine that will be better than the one you build, your parts will be better and the warranty will be better, parts are warranted from 3 years to lifetime. I'd go with the ASUS mobo, ASUS and GIGABYTE are right now the 2 best mobo mfg out there. Recently used his Gigabyte on a machine that my granddaughter and I put together for her. Not even sure why I picked it over the ASUS given I usually buy ASUS boards.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 10, 2008 1:54:29 PM

That's a decent price for 2 1GB sticks. I was looking at 1 2GB stick (so I still have more slots available). Any suggestions for that?

That GB board is one I was considering, too. Don't know why I "dropped" it, if I did. Right now I don't have time to look around though cause I might be out of town for the day.

I looked at some comparison of XP home vs pro and figured there are several features (don't remember which right now) that I don't want to be without that only pro has.
February 10, 2008 2:12:36 PM

pianoplayer88key said:
That's a decent price for 2 1GB sticks. I was looking at 1 2GB stick (so I still have more slots available). Any suggestions for that?

That GB board is one I was considering, too. Don't know why I "dropped" it, if I did. Right now I don't have time to look around though cause I might be out of town for the day.

I looked at some comparison of XP home vs pro and figured there are several features (don't remember which right now) that I don't want to be without that only pro has.


It's better to go with 2 x 1GB so you'll have dual channel. The most you would ever run, and it's not likely on that machine, would be 4GB and you'd have 2 unused slots
February 10, 2008 10:43:38 PM

How much better would the dual channel performance (2 sticks of 1GB) be over one stick of 2GB?

Also that A-Data you linked is out of stock, so which one of these would you recommend? (I don't do MIRs, btw, unless it's already a good deal before rebate.)

Is the Lite-On 20X SATA DVDRW (with Lightscribe and Nero 7 Essentials) for $35.99 worth the extra $6 over the Lite-On 20X SATA DVDRW w/o LS? I figure it wouldn't be worth it to shave a few bucks off to get the OEM version, cause I'd need the SATA cable anyway.

So.... if I get the Antec case, Asus or GB board, X2 CPU and 1GB RAM, install a copy of Win 2000 I already have, and plug in my 750GB, 250GB and 80GB HDs, will I at least have a functioning system? (Then when I can afford it I could buy XP Pro, a DVDRW and another GB of RAM.) Or what am I missing? Will I be condemned to eternal agonizing pain in the gluteus maximus for my choice in hardware?

Also, which of the 2 boards would you say is better, the Asus or the GB that we were talking about? I don't know if I'll need the Raid function on the one that has it.



Oh... and... if it's OK to hijack my own thread...

We're trying to backup my dad's 200GB HD to my 750 so we can increase the partition size from 127GB to 200GB. I got a $7 USB 2.0 card and a $12 USB-SATA adapter to plug in the 750. (the mobo is a MSI K7T266 Pro2 ver 2.0)
Transfer speeds through the card are no faster than onboard USB 1.1 (and possibly a little slower.) Does that mean the board doesn't support USB 2.0 even with the add-on card?
Also, I can't see the USB-SATA connected HD on bootup - bios doesn't recognize it. My bro was saying I shoulda gotten a SATA adapter and/or an actual enclosure. Is it time for my dad to get a new board+CPU? (It has a Socket A Athlon 1.4GHz with 256MB DDR-266 RAM, and he's running Windows 2000 and was talking like he wants to go to XP.)

About the HD backup... What do I need to be aware of when "ghosting" one HD to another? I have a Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools CD, but when I boot off that I can't see the 750.

Just a little bit ago I started the process of moving 80GB of stuff from 1 drive to another, but canceled it cause it would take over 12-14 hours (and we actually had more like 1/4 TB of stuff to move around, or more). Is there any way to speed this up, or should I just wait till either my dad gets a new system, or I get my own (which is very likely to happen anyway - just a question of who jumps first)?
February 10, 2008 11:07:59 PM

Qty. Product Description Unit Price Savings Total Price

Update XION Solaris XON-403 Black with Green LED Light Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: XON-403
Item #: N82E16811208009

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

Out Of Stock
Mail-in Rebate
Auto-Notify
$39.99 $39.99

Update BIOSTAR TForce TF570SLI AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #: TForce TF570SLI
Item #: N82E16813138059

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
$87.99 $87.99

Update SAPPHIRE 100218L Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #: 100218L
Item #: N82E16814102703

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
Mail-in Rebate
$119.99 -$20.00 Instant $99.99

Update OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS ATX12V / EPS12V 500W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: OCZ500SXS
Item #: N82E16817341012

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
Mail-in Rebate
$79.99 -$10.00 Instant $69.99

Update AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Windsor 2.4GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor Model ADA4600CUBOX - Retail
Model #: ADA4600CUBOX
Item #: N82E16819103751

Return Policy: Processors (CPUs) Return Policy

In Stock
$79.99 -$5.00 Instant $74.99

Update G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
Model #: F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
Item #: N82E16820231098

Return Policy: Memory (Modules, USB) Return Policy

In Stock
$86.99 -$40.00 Instant $46.99

Update Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD1600YS
Item #: N82E16822136062

Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

In Stock
$59.99 $59.99
Subtotal: $479.93

that leaves you about $20 to put towards a bigger Hdd if you want
February 10, 2008 11:39:05 PM

g-paw said:
Recommend this,running this in 2 machines http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Can't give you a number on the speed difference between dual channel and single but the dual is definitely faster. Don't know anyone that would knowingly run single channel

Did you intentionally link to search results of almost every A-Data product? I didn't know you could put an SD card in a DDR slot. :p  :D  (note to self: read the fine print at the top of the page before replying. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but the item you are looking for has been deactivated. Here are some similar products that you may wish to consider:


jalpaugh1978 said:
Qty. Product Description Unit Price Savings Total Price

Update XION Solaris XON-403 Black with Green LED Light Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: XON-403
Item #: N82E16811208009

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

Out Of Stock
Mail-in Rebate
Auto-Notify
$39.99 $39.99

I already have an Antec case with a 430W PSU for $80 picked out (see a recent above post). Did you only look at the first post in the thread? Do I need to edit that post?

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update BIOSTAR TForce TF570SLI AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #: TForce TF570SLI
Item #: N82E16813138059

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
$87.99 $87.99

I'm deciding between an Asus M2A-VM or a Gigabye GA-MA69SM-S2H board, both $74.99 + $6.33 shipping.

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update SAPPHIRE 100218L Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #: 100218L
Item #: N82E16814102703

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
Mail-in Rebate
$119.99 -$20.00 Instant $99.99

I'm willing to live with on-board video for now.

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS ATX12V / EPS12V 500W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: OCZ500SXS
Item #: N82E16817341012

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

In Stock
Mail-in Rebate
$79.99 -$10.00 Instant $69.99

I'm quite sure I'll be fine with the Antec PSU that comes with the case I've picked out. If I need a better PSU later, I'll upgrade when the need arises.

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Windsor 2.4GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor Model ADA4600CUBOX - Retail
Model #: ADA4600CUBOX
Item #: N82E16819103751

Return Policy: Processors (CPUs) Return Policy

In Stock
$79.99 -$5.00 Instant $74.99

I'm probably getting an X2 4000+ for $59.99

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
Model #: F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
Item #: N82E16820231098

Return Policy: Memory (Modules, USB) Return Policy

In Stock
$86.99 -$40.00 Instant $46.99

Now... that MIGHT be a good deal, with free shipping to boot. But is that brand a good quality one? (Also I'm wondering why it didn't show up in my search when I restricted it to sub-$50 items - I would like it to have shown up if there's an instant savings, but it was behaving properly on the mail-in rebate items.)

jalpaugh1978 said:
Update Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD1600YS
Item #: N82E16822136062

Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

In Stock
$59.99 $59.99

I already bought a 750GB WD AAKS SATA drive for $129 at a local store.

jalpaugh1978 said:
Subtotal: $479.93

that leaves you about $20 to put towards a bigger Hdd if you want

I figure you must be looking at an earlier post in the thread. What I'm proposing getting, which I am sure will serve my needs at the current time, is hovering around the $275 to 325 range, not including the OS or HD. I have Windows 2000 Pro and a 750GB, 250GB and 80GB HDDs, and plan to upgrade to XP Pro later.
February 10, 2008 11:45:06 PM

just trying to help out ...I thought I'd help with something that would be upgradable in the future
February 10, 2008 11:46:53 PM

jalpaugh1978 wrote :


Update G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
Model #: F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
Item #: N82E16820231098

Return Policy: Memory (Modules, USB) Return Policy

In Stock
$86.99 -$40.00 Instant $46.99

its working great for me so far.


I already bought a 750GB WD AAKS SATA drive for $129 at a local store
^^great deal yeah youre right i didnt really read through everthing
February 10, 2008 11:56:21 PM

Yea ok :) 
A few posts up G-Paw and me were discussing... or actually it's in another thread... basically this is a stop-gap until I can afford something much better (hopefully in the $1000-2000 range) after a year or two.
February 11, 2008 5:35:19 PM

Ok... the Asus mobo vs the GB mobo.... which is the better one? I can't decide what features one has that the other doesn't have that I want or don't need.
Among the differences I can see:
M2A-VM FSB: 1000MHz Hyper Transport (2000 MT/s). GB doesn't specify
Asus: 8GB max memory. GB: 16GB max. This probably doesn't matter to me - when I need more memory, considering other things I'll be needing then I'll probably have a different board.
Asus: PCIx16=1, PCIx1=1, PCI=2. GB: doesn't specify the PCIx1, but a picture shows a PCIx4.
Asus: SATA Raid 0/1/10, GB doesn't specify
ASUS: 1 LPT port, GB doesn't specify
ASUS: Video ports: D-Sub + DVI-I. GB: substitute DVI-D for DVI-I. doesn't support D-Sub connection by adapter.
ASUS: 3 USB 2.0 connectors support 6 ports. GB: 6 USB 2.0 (onboard USB)
ASUS: Power Pin: 24 pin. GB: 1 24-pin ATX, 1 12V 4-pin ATX connector
there's a couple other things too.


If possible, I'd like to get a few parts locally, like the CPU, RAM, etc. I have a limited amount I can put on my credit card, and if I bought everything at once from NewEgg I'd go over, even if I had paid the card off previously. I think I'll have to order the case from the egg, though due to self-with-case-transportation issues. Maybe the MOBO, too... or do you think it'll fit in a backpack?

So... to recap... so far... (and this time, you'll have to go up to see the links, I'm not linking them here)... my proposed build:
CASE: Antec with 430W PSU from the egg.
MOBO: Asus M2A-VM *OR* Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H from the egg, or local if I get a good deal.
CPU: Athlon 64 X2 4000+ from the egg, unless a local place has it for less
RAM: 2GB, probably 2x1GB sticks. Would like to buy locally but don't see it under $50. Haven't checked Fry's in-store yet, may go today but don't know if I have time. good quality brand required. was looking at Kingston but open to other ideas, A-Data has been suggested in this thread.
HD: already got ripped off for $129, and overpaid by $129 :D , for a 750GB SATA WD AAKS (plus 1 each 250GB and 80GB IDEs I already had that were getting full)
DVD: Lite-On, maybe with Light-scribe, from the egg, unless I get one locally for less.
monitor: already have one.
OS: will start with Windows 2000, planned upgrade to XP Pro when I have the $.
keyboard/mouse: have one here, but probably should get my own instead of borrowing a family member's currently unused kb/rat.


About the Antec case... it only comes with the 120mm rear fan. Is there a front and side fan I should also get?
February 11, 2008 7:26:33 PM

Have you try looking on ebay. You might find some of the components your looking for there for a better price. I bought my hard drive new off ebay for $10-$15 cheaper the it was at the egg. It's not as risky as some people think. just buy off the right people . Make sure they are well established sellers with good ratings. Most all of them will even comunicate with you if you have a question or concerns. You may be able to find a pre-built system that has what you want in it for the price you're looking for...check it out if you haven't already, I've had nothing but good experiences on there.
February 11, 2008 8:10:55 PM

Yea.. too bad the other less expensive ram is out of stock... :( 

I'm just wondering, mainly based on features, how to decide which mobo to go with. I may be slightly leaning toward the GB, as I don't anticipate using the raid function on the Asus.


note to self: do NOT research Team Fortress 2 online! It will just make you want to upgrade your system with a better video card so you can go into debt and buy TF2 and play it. :D 
No... I'm not getting TF2 for a while yet... (maybe when its price comes down to $15 or so)... btw would my proposed system as is (with ATI Express 1250 graphics onboard) play it ok (at least 640x480, 30fps, low to medium detail level settings), or should I wait to get it until I can afford a decent (over $30) graphics card?
And.. I already miss TFC even though I haven't played it in over a year... and when/if I ever get TF2, I think I'll miss the triple concussion jumps that used to be my mainstay in transportation...



d00d with the flamin' hottie in your avatar:
I've thought a little about ebay, but their search makes things a bit difficult for the way I like to do things. :( 
gotta run... might check in later from an internet/gaming cafe across town if I have time...
February 11, 2008 8:36:48 PM

Dude that flaming hottie is Natalie Gulbis and I think I'm in love with her...Oh S&%t the wifes coming. gotta go before she sees this
February 12, 2008 8:21:35 PM

Ok....I already have the 80GB, 250GB and 750GB hard drive, standard keyboard, optical mouse, Viewsonic P95f+ CRT monitor, and Windows 2000 CD.
If I go with the Antec Case, Gigabyte mobo (with on-board video/sound/lan), X2 4000+ CPU, 2GB RAM, and Lite-On Lightscribe DVD burner, will I have enough to have a functioning computer for now?

That A-Data ram that g-paw linked is back... although it's $41.99 now instead of $38.99 for 2 x 1GB.
February 12, 2008 10:18:54 PM

Yes, it'll be fully funcional. For the price difference I'd get the X2 4200+ Forgot if you have a copy of Windows, if not get XP OEM it's $90 at newegg
February 12, 2008 10:42:51 PM

Hi pianoplayer,

I think that you will be disappointed with the low end AMD Athlon 64 X2's. They are great for building a budget system that will be used for simple tasks such as web browsing, spread sheets and word processing. Anything that is CPU intensive such as music or video encoding will show you the weaknesses of an X2 4000+. Windows 2000 is also very antiquated at this point in time, and probably does not support some of the codecs that you will need to view certain content online. I bet that it doesn't support some of the programs that you would like to run for your music editing and composing, either. It also has limitations on how much disk space and memory it can see. Your 750GB hard drive will not work with Windows 2000.

Here is what I would recommend, based on an approach of getting the best bang for your buck, not just putting together a system as cheaply as possible. Buy an Asus P5NE-SLI motherboard and an Intel E2160. The E2160 is $74 from Newegg, and the motherboard is about $90. This cpu can easily overclock to 3.0GHz on that board and it will be competitive with up to a 2.4GHz Core2Duo as it is essentially the same die with a 1MB L2 cache and no virtualization.

Newegg has 2GB of Corsair DDR2-800MHz memory for $45.99. Then, throw in an EVGA 8600GT for $99.

Total cost: about $300.00, plus tax and shipping. This is the absolute fastest, most powerful machine that you can buy for 300 dollars. Anything that you buy off the shelf for that kind of money is either a Pentium 4 prescott or a Celeron. Three to four generations old - this stuff was hot poop when your copy of Windows 2000 was new.
February 12, 2008 11:03:55 PM

g-paw said:
Yes, it'll be fully funcional. For the price difference I'd get the X2 4200+ Forgot if you have a copy of Windows, if not get XP OEM it's $90 at newegg

I have 2000 Professional now. Will plan to get XP Professional a couple months after I buy the system. If I get Vista, it'll be Ultimate, and not until they have all the bugs / compatibility issues / etc / whatever worked out, or I'll wait for the next version of Windows after I get my second/third computer.

Jonn said:
Hi pianoplayer,

I think that you will be disappointed with the low end AMD Athlon 64 X2's. They are great for building a budget system that will be used for simple tasks such as web browsing, spread sheets and word processing. Anything that is CPU intensive such as music or video encoding will show you the weaknesses of an X2 4000+.

So far I've done ~ok using my parents' Athlon 1.4Ghz Socket A, with 256MB RAM. Wouldn't the X2 4000+ be a significant improvement over that? I'm not building an uber-1337 gaming rig, here! :p 

Jonn said:
Windows 2000 is also very antiquated at this point in time, and probably does not support some of the codecs that you will need to view certain content online. I bet that it doesn't support some of the programs that you would like to run for your music editing and composing, either. It also has limitations on how much disk space and memory it can see. Your 750GB hard drive will not work with Windows 2000.

There's an enable big LBA registry entry possibility with SP3 or later that enables drives larger than 137GB, provided the board/controller/etc supports it. Also, for my current use, it's fine, although I DO plan to upgrade to XP a month or two after I buy the computer, if not sooner.

Jonn said:
Here is what I would recommend, based on an approach of getting the best bang for your buck, not just putting together a system as cheaply as possible. Buy an Asus P5NE-SLI motherboard and an Intel E2160. The E2160 is $74 from Newegg, and the motherboard is about $90.

That P5N-E SLI is $114.99 + 6.61 shipping + tax at the egg. It does look better featured than the AM2 boards I'm looking at, in some ways.

Jonn said:
This cpu can easily overclock to 3.0GHz on that board and it will be competitive with up to a 2.4GHz Core2Duo as it is essentially the same die with a 1MB L2 cache and no virtualization.

I don't expect to do any OC'ing on this rig.

Jonn said:
Newegg has 2GB of Corsair DDR2-800MHz memory for $45.99.

Sounds like that price isn't too shabby. But.. don't they charge a few bucks for shipping beyond that?

Jonn said:
Then, throw in an EVGA 8600GT for $99.

I'm not an avid gamer at this time. Would it still help with displaying homemade movies, though? Or would it be a waste of $99?

Jonn said:
Total cost: about $300.00, plus tax and shipping. This is the absolute fastest, most powerful machine that you can buy for 300 dollars. Anything that you buy off the shelf for that kind of money is either a Pentium 4 prescott or a Celeron. Three to four generations old - this stuff was hot poop when your copy of Windows 2000 was new.


For now, I'm just getting something to get me by until I can afford something better. Probably in a year or so I expect / hope I'll be building another complete system.
February 12, 2008 11:28:03 PM

I think that you have some very good points - you don't need a dual core right now, and you don't need to overclock. But, I am trying to steer you in the direction of building a system now, within your budget, that will give you the same performance that you would get from a $1,000 name brand computer with a Core2Duo. The E2160 is cheaper than all but the cheapest Athlon 64 X2s and it blows them out of the water when it's clocked to +3.0GHz.

Take a look at these benchmarks: http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=653&p=2
Then go look up the prices of the CPU's that this system runs circles around. It is, in my opinion, the best bang for the buck going right now. It just seems like a false economy to spend 500 bucks on a system to get you by and then chuck it all in a year and spend another 2000 dollars. Plus, I honestly believe that you will need the extra horsepower for your audio encoding and music editing work.

The graphics card will make a huge difference. When I upgraded to a 7600GT (which might be a viable option for you - they are down in the $50 price range now) from an OLD Nvidia Riva TNT the difference was night and day, and am not a hardcore gamer either. You are missing out on a lot of content if you use onboard video or an old graphics card like my old TNT. I notice a big difference with streaming video. Also, colors are better, more vibrant. I thought that my old Trinitron Multiscan monitor was just getting old as the colors were dull and washed out with the old video card - the new card breathed new life into it.

I have a 4200+ X2 now. It's fine for basic office tasks, but it really slows down to a crawl when I throw any video encoding stuff at it.
February 12, 2008 11:28:36 PM

pianoplayer88key said:

I'm not an avid gamer at this time. Would it still help with displaying homemade movies, though? Or would it be a waste of $99?

Imo, unless you plan to game a 8400GS is fine for DVD play back, and playing old DX9 games (ie Halo CE, CoD2) even better once OCed.
February 13, 2008 12:16:46 AM

:bounce: 

new stuff is good.
February 13, 2008 6:15:04 AM

Ok.. normally when I quote multiple people, I quote and reply in the same order that they were posted. However... in this case I'm going to make an exception.

firetatoo said:
:bounce: 

new stuff is good.


Yes, I'm sure new stuff is good. Let's consider what I've been running up to now:
Case: generic no-name, 4 ext 5.25", 2 ext 3.5", 2 int 3.5" drive bays, 1 80cm front fan, with Logic 300W PSU
Mobo: MSI K7T266 Pro2 Ver 2.0
CPU: Socket A Athlon 1.4GHz
RAM: 1 stick DDR-266 256MB
Video: GeForce2 MX400 64MB w/heatsink, no fan

I basically want as good of an overall improvement over that as I can get in my budget (although I can live with similar video performance for now)


Jonn said:
I think that you have some very good points - you don't need a dual core right now, and you don't need to overclock. But, I am trying to steer you in the direction of building a system now, within your budget, that will give you the same performance that you would get from a $1,000 name brand computer with a Core2Duo. The E2160 is cheaper than all but the cheapest Athlon 64 X2s and it blows them out of the water when it's clocked to +3.0GHz.

I am leaning toward dual core, though. You're right I don't need to overclock.
Could you explain, though? Within my $300-400 budget (although if I have to, I might squeeze a little more), how would I get the performance you're referring to?
How good is the E2160 at stock speed, compared to the X2 at the same price?

Jonn said:
Take a look at these benchmarks: http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=653&p=2
Then go look up the prices of the CPU's that this system runs circles around. It is, in my opinion, the best bang for the buck going right now. It just seems like a false economy to spend 500 bucks on a system to get you by and then chuck it all in a year and spend another 2000 dollars. Plus, I honestly believe that you will need the extra horsepower for your audio encoding and music editing work.

I'm not that versed on reading benchmarks, and the few sites I've tried don't have my current setup that I can use as a reference. Maybe because it's too old to be included in benchmark tests anymore?
As far as running circles around things or keeping up, or being left in the dust.... I'm only interested in stock performance, not OC'd performance.
I might be able to go a little higher than 300 or so, but 500 (or thereabouts) is tops for now.
You may be right about getting better stuff for the audio encoding, music editing, and future video editing. I'm beginning to think that maybe I should invest a little (10-20%) more in the case & mobo.

Jonn said:
The graphics card will make a huge difference. When I upgraded to a 7600GT (which might be a viable option for you - they are down in the $50 price range now) from an OLD Nvidia Riva TNT the difference was night and day, and am not a hardcore gamer either. You are missing out on a lot of content if you use onboard video or an old graphics card like my old TNT. I notice a big difference with streaming video. Also, colors are better, more vibrant. I thought that my old Trinitron Multiscan monitor was just getting old as the colors were dull and washed out with the old video card - the new card breathed new life into it.

Someone in my family used to have one of those old Riva TNTs. It's been too long, though, so I don't remember what it was like, but I think it was several years ago or more.
The card in my parents' computer is a GeForce2 MX400 with 64MB RAM.
Would a better card help with my frequent misaligned audio/video sync when watching youtube/etc videos?

Jonn said:
I have a 4200+ X2 now. It's fine for basic office tasks, but it really slows down to a crawl when I throw any video encoding stuff at it.

How would you compare it to the Socket A Athlon 1.4GHz, which I'm using now?


Shadow703793 said:
Imo, unless you plan to game a 8400GS is fine for DVD play back, and playing old DX9 games (ie Halo CE, CoD2) even better once OCed.

Would it be ok for Half-Life 1 (and mods), Total Annihilation, Scorched Earth 3D, and (at 512x384 25fps low-mid settings) HL2 and TF2?





quick edit....

Ok.. I did a little looking around on the egg to try for a slightly better / more upgradeable setup, and I'd have to blow my budget up too much. For example...
I didn't find any good full-tower cases under $100, with at least 5 each ext 5.25" and int 3.5" bays, front audio+usb+1394+esata, at least 3 120mm or larger fans, including side/top.
The 500-700-watt PSUs I glanced at were in the $80-120 range, more than I want to pay right now.
The standard ATX mobos for both platforms were too compromised under $110 for the number of slots and on-board peripherals they give you.
I'm not that versed on CPUs. I don't think I'd even THINK of going quad-core for now, cheapest was an AMD Phenom for $200.
My brain fogged up when trying to sort through the 4GB (2x2GB) RAM kits under $90, and forget about DDR3.
Also, trying to figure out what video card to get (for my use) with video capture capability, whether I'm spending $20, $50, $80 or $120, is worse than DWI.
I didn't find any sound cards with multiple (at least 4 stereo) inputs for under $200.

So....... I think I'll have to mostly stick with what I've got, for now.

I would be open to suggestions, for now, of a part or two to not skimp quite so much on. If I could get a decent case and mobo that's a little more future proof than the micro-tower case and micro-ATX board I'm looking at now, then hopefully I won't have to upgrade them quite so soon when I get a better PSU (600 watt or better, good quality), dedicated graphics card (with analog video capture to digitize older sources), faster CPU (when the currently $400-700+ quad-cores come down below $100), upgrade RAM to 8GB, another couple TB of HD space, a blu-ray DVD burner (when the good-quality brands (Plextor, for example, if they ever make them) come down below $50-70), etc.

So any suggestions on a better board and case? I don't want to spend more than 25-40% more for a suggested board+case+PSU than what I currently have picked out. (Case: Antec mid tower w/430W PSU, Mobo: AM2 Micro ATX, see above (either ASUS or GB). Total shipped w/tax (no MIRs) is $172.55.
If you suggest an upgrade, make sure the case has plenty of ventilation, at least 10-12 drive bays, front USB+audio + eSATA/1394, 2+ 120mm fans, etc, and the board is standard ATX with quad-core support, PSU is good quality at least 500W, for no more than a total of $210 taxed & shipped before rebates. If you switch me to Intel, make sure the CPU doesn't add more than $65 to that price, including tax & shipping.


If I was going to buy right now (or in the next 24-48 hours), I'd get the Antec NSK6580 case w/430W earthwatts PSU, Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H board, AMD X2 4000+ CPU, 2x1GB A-Data Value series DDR2 800 RAM, Lite-On Black SATA DVD+-RW with Lightscribe. All are retail version products. Total shipped & taxed price would be $318.37. My credit card maxes out at $300, so that could be a problem (and I've already charged $43 this month already, and don't get my bill for another week or two).
February 13, 2008 11:48:16 PM

Ok... so a few of you think I should squeeze a few more yen out and get something a wee bit better.

I've taken a quick look around at mobos, and have come up with 5 possibilities. Here's links to a couple comparison charts:

AMD full-size (not micro) ATX mobos
Asus M2N-SLI = $89.99, shipping $6.33
Asus M3A = $99.99, shipping $6.33
Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 = 99.99, shipping $6.61
Asus M2N-E = $94.99, shipping $6.61
Asus M2R32-MVP = $116.99, shipping $6.61

Intel full-size (not micro) ATX mobos
Asus P5K SE = $89.99, free shipping
Intel BOXDG33FBC = $104.99, shipping $6.33
Asus P5N-SE = $114.99, shipping $6.61
(I ONLY want to go above that price IF the boards below are unanimously worth the extra cost, and I'd rather not squeeze to get the P5N-SE, either.)
Asus P5K-V = $134.99, free shipping
Asus P5K-E = $139.99, shipping $6.61

I basically can't decide which one to get, mainly cause I'm not sure which features I'll need, or what I want to give up to get something else....
For now, I don't want to spend more than $60-75 on a dual-core CPU. (less is better in this case)

Of the 10 boards, only the DG33FBC and P5K-V have on-board video. If I get another board, what's a decent video card under $20-35 shipped?

Also, I don't expect to be using SLI/crossfire anytime soon, but would it help (in the future) with real-time or faster high-definition video encoding?



Oh... and as for the case... could I get by with the one I've picked? Or, besides having to get a better PSU when I upgrade the video card and add 6 more DVD burners and HDDs, will I run out of room?
February 14, 2008 12:24:23 AM

You asked me how the E2160 compares to the Athlon 64 X2 4200+ at stock clock speeds. What I can tell you is that the E2160 has a slight edge (5% or so) on the Athlon 64 X2 4200+ in most benchmarks. Benchmarks are synthetic, this is absolutely true, but they do tend to give a good indication of how system 'X' performs certain tasks when compared to system 'Y.'

Compared to the old single core Athlon in your dad's machine, any Athlon 64 X2 or low end Core2Duo will completely trounce it. But, to be fair, we are comparing new chips to a chip that is probably 7 or 8 years old now. That's like comparing a 2000's model year car to a 1960's model year car and concluding that a 1980's car would be a good compromise because it's cheaper than a 2000's car but still so much better than the old 60's car. Guess what I am saying is, if you are going to spend money to build a system, it is much better IMO to spend a few bucks more (but don't go crazy) and get something that still has some life left in it rather than buy bargain basement CPU's that are on their way out. Socket 939 is obsolete and no longer supported, and the really cheap dual core Athlon's still use socket 939.

Here's what I would do, after reading your two most recent posts:

Asus P5N-SE = $114.99, shipping $6.61
Intel E2160=$74.99. Newegg usually combines shipping on these types of orders (mobo and CPU).

Get this 7600GS for $57: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You also really do NEED at least Windows XP. There are several programs that will not run under Windows 2000, and you will very likely encounter problems finding device drivers for your new hardware. A new motherboard's chipset will probably have problems with Windows 2000 for the same reason - lack of proper drivers. You would be running an operating system that is not supported by any major software vendors (at least with regard to the latest versions of their programs).
February 14, 2008 8:05:10 AM

Jonn said:
You asked me how the E2160 compares to the Athlon 64 X2 4200+ at stock clock speeds. What I can tell you is that the E2160 has a slight edge (5% or so) on the Athlon 64 X2 4200+ in most benchmarks. Benchmarks are synthetic, this is absolutely true, but they do tend to give a good indication of how system 'X' performs certain tasks when compared to system 'Y.'

Ok... so seeing that the E2160 ($74.99) is ~15.4% more than the 4200+ ($64.99) for a 5% increase in performance... looks like the AMD gives slightly better performance for the price.

Jonn said:
Compared to the old single core Athlon in your dad's machine, any Athlon 64 X2 or low end Core2Duo will completely trounce it. But, to be fair, we are comparing new chips to a chip that is probably 7 or 8 years old now. That's like comparing a 2000's model year car to a 1960's model year car and concluding that a 1980's car would be a good compromise because it's cheaper than a 2000's car but still so much better than the old 60's car. Guess what I am saying is, if you are going to spend money to build a system, it is much better IMO to spend a few bucks more (but don't go crazy) and get something that still has some life left in it rather than buy bargain basement CPU's that are on their way out. Socket 939 is obsolete and no longer supported, and the really cheap dual core Athlon's still use socket 939.

Yea, I know.. I'm not getting the latest and greatest... (and in fact.. I was recently looking at getting a car, and mainly looking at mid-late 80s and early 90s models, and so far have decided to wait a little longer on that. I DO need my own computer pronto, though, as I don't always have access to my parents' computer.)
Oh, and the X2s I'm looking at are socket AM2, not 939. I AM insisting on either Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, or LGA 775.

Jonn said:
Here's what I would do, after reading your two most recent posts:

Asus P5N-SE = $114.99, shipping $6.61
Intel E2160=$74.99. Newegg usually combines shipping on these types of orders (mobo and CPU).

I could possibly consider that Intel solution. Is there a comparable AMD solution you might recommend as an alternative in case I decide to go that route? (Also, that should have been P5N-E - I mistyped in my haste to post.)


Also, that's a bit more than I want to pay for my first video card. I was looking more along the lines of something in the $20-40 range before rebate, like an X1550 or GF 7300 series or something like that. I just glanced and saw this ECS 8400GS for $36.99 + 4.99 shipping. Is the 8400 any better than the 7600? Although.. that one gives me pause because it's only rated 4 eggs, but then the person who "downgraded" it really didn't have much to complain about.

Jonn said:
You also really do NEED at least Windows XP. There are several programs that will not run under Windows 2000, and you will very likely encounter problems finding device drivers for your new hardware. A new motherboard's chipset will probably have problems with Windows 2000 for the same reason - lack of proper drivers. You would be running an operating system that is not supported by any major software vendors (at least with regard to the latest versions of their programs).

Well... I'll probably try to start with Windows 2000... then if I need to, I'll try to get a copy of XP ASAP. Would it be possible to get a copy of XP Home, then later pay the difference and upgrade to Pro if I decide I need it? (for example, let's say home is $85 and pro is $135. I buy home for $85, later decide to go pro, and pay $50 (135-85) for the upgrade.)


-- -- -- -- --


I've pretty much finalized a budget for this system (barring having to spend some $ on something I didn't think of). First, though, when I give my max budget, that will include a couple other non-computer items that I need, AND will be the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM combined, including tax & shipping, assuming no rebates, that I can spend.
Ok... $500 cash, $250 available on credit (would be paid off next month to avoid interest charges), total $750.
Besides the computer, I need to buy a Zoom H2 recorder (to replace an iRiver iFP-899 that I've been using for the same purpose), and an mp3 player to replace an ailing MP3 CD player (Sony D-NE330). I'm practically using every cuss word I know in english, spanish, tagalog, pig latin, l33tsp34k, etc, every 3-5 seconds because my CD player skips constantly, among other things. It also will often skip 10-30 consecutive tracks before it finds one it likes, and will often never skip in the same place twice. I even have it skip while the disc isn't spinning and it should be playing off of buffered memory! Also, the forward/reverse never worked right - their speeds are inconsistent, and sometimes hitting reverse will make it go forward 15-25 seconds then suddenly jump back 50 seconds! Not to mention that, even though I compressed some of my music to 16kbps, I still can't fit it on 3 discs (and I'd like to fit it all on 1 uncompressed, but even with a HD player that won't be possible now), and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of my vast music library.

Quick note about the mp3 player needed: I'm looking at getting an Archos 504 (the one with the 40GB HD), then later getting a 250GB (or if I can hold out with the 40GB a little longer, maybe a 500GB) 2.5" HDD and upgrading it.
Another option would be a portable DVD player (but not the laptop kind - the one that looks like a portable CD player that plays MP3s on DVDs. (I haven't found one that will, though - they'll play MP3s on CDs. but the reason I would get the DVD player is so I'd have 4.7GB per disc of MP3s, not 700MB.)), or an MP3 CD player.
If I get an MP3 CD player, I want one that's built like a tank (for example Sony Sports or Panasonic Shockwave series), has a decent built-in headphone amplifier (13-16mW or better), decent battery life (at least 10-15 hours using 2000mAh NiMH rechargeables, even if it requires 2 AAs), and an at least 3-band EQ would be nice. Also, I'd want its VBR time display to work properly. I have some VBR discs that on my current player (and an older player - Sony D-NS921F which was built like a tank (and could possibly survive a direct hit from a hydrogen bomb) but was stolen, unfortunately) on which the time display is way off (and Winamp 5.x on Windows 2000 is the same way), for example showing a track as being 25 minutes long when it really was only 4 minutes. (Could that be because of something I was not doing properly when encoding the VBR files with LAME?) Also, I'm often exceeding the 999 song per disc limit on the D-NE330 (and the D-NS921F, if I remember correctly, was limited to something like 490). (That, though, is because I have some music compressed to 16kbps to try to fit as much as possible on one disc.)

Ok... so... to recap the above few paragraphs... total absolute max budget including credit card is $750.
Zoom H2 recorder: probably $175 online (Amazon, eBay (new), maybe a little cheaper for a used one off ebay or craigslist (I saw one for $140 on CL). Budget down to $575.
Archos 504 40GB: probably $200 online, unless I get a better deal. Budget for computer down to $375.
Instead of the Archos, for now I'd be willing to consider a good-quality MP3 CD (or DVD) player that works properly and is built like a tank (but not over $100), which would "up" the computer max budget to $475. Note, though, that I really should leave off a few Andrew Jacksons, and possibly up to a Ben Franklin, just in case something comes up.

I'd really like to buy the Zoom H2 and the Archos 504 in a local brick-and-mortar store, but the nearest place that has the Zoom is in L.A. (SamAsh) and it's $200+tax there), and the Archos 504 is probably over $250 or 300 locally, although I haven't really checked around. I bought my MP3 CD player (the one that skips all over the ****ing place) for $50 at Fry's about a year or so ago. The Sony D-NS921F several years ago (the one built like a tank) was around $200 locally (don't remember if it was Fry's or not but I wouldn't be surprised if it was).

So... what would you guys suggest?

Should I post my request for what MP3 / CD / HDD player to get in another forum?
Also, should I have just started a new topic about this computer before now, rather than clutter this thread with my seemingly constantly changing preferences?
February 14, 2008 10:59:55 AM

"Ok... so seeing that the E2160 ($74.99) is ~15.4% more than the 4200+ ($64.99) for a 5% increase in performance... looks like the AMD gives slightly better performance for the price."

Ahh, but the E2160 has great overclocking potential that puts its performance right up there with more expensive Core2Duo processors. Stable overclocks to 3.0GHz are a reality with the motherboard that I suggested. With a little tweaking and a better cooler, 3.4GHz is possible. Thing is, AMD uses different dies for each of their chips, whereas Intel uses basically the same die for all of the dual core chips with varying amounts of cache memory and some features disabled on a "low end" processor like the 2160. So, the AMD chips do not have nearly as much overclocking potential (unless we are talking about "black editions") where the low frequency Intel chips are basically the same as their high speed counterparts but with a different stock multiplier, FSB, and less cache memory. The 2160 also has VT disabled. An Intel board with the nvidia 680i chipset, like the P5N-E, can overclock the CPU independently of the memory. This is not possible on AMD boards as the memory controller is etched on to the CPU die.

"Is there a comparable AMD solution you might recommend as an alternative in case I decide to go that route? "

For stock clock speeds:

For $69, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you can stretch to $99, then http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

"just glanced and saw this ECS 8400GS for $36.99 + 4.99 shipping. Is the 8400 any better than the 7600?"

Yes, buy this card. It is a better value than the 7600GS. You can upgrade later as the need arises.

"Well... I'll probably try to start with Windows 2000... then if I need to, I'll try to get a copy of XP ASAP. Would it be possible to get a copy of XP Home, then later pay the difference and upgrade to Pro if I decide I need it? (for example, let's say home is $85 and pro is $135. I buy home for $85, later decide to go pro, and pay $50 (135-85) for the upgrade.)"

It is possible, but I am not sure that is the most cost effective way to upgrade to XP. Also, before you do anything, please go check with the hardware vendors and double check that the hardware we are talking about will run properly under Windows 2000. If the drivers are not available, then it is a moot point and you will have to factor the cost of XP into your order.
February 14, 2008 11:00:35 AM

"Ok... so seeing that the E2160 ($74.99) is ~15.4% more than the 4200+ ($64.99) for a 5% increase in performance... looks like the AMD gives slightly better performance for the price."

Ahh, but the E2160 has great overclocking potential that puts its performance right up there with more expensive Core2Duo processors. Stable overclocks to 3.0GHz are a reality with the motherboard that I suggested. With a little tweaking and a better cooler, 3.4GHz is possible. Thing is, AMD uses different dies for each of their chips, whereas Intel uses basically the same die for all of the dual core chips with varying amounts of cache memory and some features disabled on a "low end" processor like the 2160. So, the AMD chips do not have nearly as much overclocking potential (unless we are talking about "black editions") where the low frequency Intel chips are basically the same as their high speed counterparts but with a different stock multiplier, FSB, and less cache memory. The 2160 also has VT disabled. An Intel board with the nvidia 680i chipset, like the P5N-E, can overclock the CPU independently of the memory. This is not possible on AMD boards as the memory controller is etched on to the CPU die.

"Is there a comparable AMD solution you might recommend as an alternative in case I decide to go that route? "

For stock clock speeds:

For $69, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you can stretch to $99, then http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

"just glanced and saw this ECS 8400GS for $36.99 + 4.99 shipping. Is the 8400 any better than the 7600?"

Yes, buy this card. It is a better value than the 7600GS. You can upgrade later as the need arises.

"Well... I'll probably try to start with Windows 2000... then if I need to, I'll try to get a copy of XP ASAP. Would it be possible to get a copy of XP Home, then later pay the difference and upgrade to Pro if I decide I need it? (for example, let's say home is $85 and pro is $135. I buy home for $85, later decide to go pro, and pay $50 (135-85) for the upgrade.)"

It is possible, but I am not sure that is the most cost effective way to upgrade to XP. Also, before you do anything, please go check with the hardware vendors and double check that the hardware we are talking about will run properly under Windows 2000. If the drivers are not available, then it is a moot point and you will have to factor the cost of XP into your order.
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