Building a new system. Opinions? -Newbie-

Okay, first of all- don't rip me a new one just for asking.
I had $1900 to work with. (My university is paying for it... so I don't mind blowing it all.) It's for my home, I play Quake3 and other graphic intensive game. I also use Bryce3D v4.... just for fun. I'm online alot and use business programs.
I figure, if someone else is paying for it- I want top of the line...
I really don't care about having an awesome sound card. I'm using the one that came with my motherboard at the moment and it's working fine for me.
I guess it's mostly that I need help picking out a CPU/Motherboard and Graphics card.
I'm running ME at the moment and will most likely upgrade to XP. (I've had constant problems with all Windows versions and I'm praying that XP will give me the least amount of trouble. I already know that it's too much to ask for, so no preaching on the subject.... please.
Anyway, any good advise would be much appreciated.
Oh... almost forgot... I can easily wait six months or so if something REALLY cool is just on the horizon.
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  1. What's this got to do with hard drives?

    Anyway, I'd get a Athlon 1.33 (266), ABit KT7A, 512Mb Crucial RAM (don't get unbranded, it's no longer worth the trouble). I don't know much about DDR systems - if you can afford it, it would be better (I heard 10% performance increase). I also avoid Asus mobos as I boycott them for their graphics card drivers that used to include cheats built in (used to I know, but they could come back - they've already popped up twice).

    I'd also be wary of on-board sound. Does it have full duplex? Doubtful. This is needed for when you want more than one program to use sound, like Quake 3, Roger Wilko and, say, Coolplayer. Soundblaster Live 5.1 is a good card, but the live (particularly the live 1024) has compatability problems with Athlon mobos and nVidia cards (and everything else). Creative are bringing out a new series called Audigy (pronouced like Prodigy without the Pr) which is supposed to be less troublesome and all around better - I don't know when you'll se them in shops, or how much they'll cost.

    If you feel confident you can get it working (not really too hard) you could get a RAID mobo and two identical disks. This, I think, is a system that went you want to write out a 4mb file it writes it out in 2 2mb files, one on each drive. This makes disk access twice the speed (in theory at least).

    Finally graphics card. I've got an nVida GeForce 3 which is pretty good (ie. the best non-professional) but it's pricey. If you have enough left of the $1900 (I don't know the dollar prices of these so it could be way under or over) that would be indeal. If you can't afford it, get which ever of these you can afford (best first):
    ATi Radeon 8500 (due sept)
    GeForce 2 Ultra
    ATi Radeon 7500 (due sept)
    GeForce 2 Pro
    GeForce 2 GTS

    I don't know where the Kyro2 fits in, it could be up there in the list, I don't know - also the Radeon 7500 is better than the GF2Ult for features if not speed, so if this bounces you bubbles, go for that. The Radeons are also cheaper for what you get.

    Cheers,
    Xain
  2. Almost all onboard sound on top-teir motherboard are full duplex. Those made on OEM machines are (most of the times) not.

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  3. nforce, audigy, athlon 4, 512 megs of pc2400ddr...would be interesting... radeon 8500 if they sort the drivers out, otherwise geforce 3... if prices are low enough in 6 months time...

    if in doubt blame microsoft...
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