Building new PC

I need some advice on putting together my hopefully awesome new system.

I’ve spent ages looking at many sites and with things coming out nearly every
week, it doesn’t make it easy with something else also just around the corner.

I have an existing Pentium II 450 with 512Mb RAM, a Diamond Monster 3dII Video
card and 2 SCSI hard drives - all rather out of date.
It’s networked to 2 other similar PC’s with a hub and Compaq 17” V710 Monitor.

I’m looking at moving over to the AMD Athlon way of things running Windows XP.

Processor: AMD Athlon XP 1800 - too much or should I go 1700 for £30 less?
Motherboard: I’m interested in the VIA 266A chipset. Currently the only mobo
I’ve spotted is the Epox 8KHA+. The only reason I haven’t decided on this is
that it only has 3 Memory sockets. I’d really like to have 1Gb of DDR SDRAM and
with Crucial 256Mb at about £25-£30, a gig is fairly cheap. The 512Mb’s much
more expensive and Crucial don’t have them, I think. So for a gig I need 4
Memory: 4xCrucial 256Mb DDR SDRAM
Case: I’ve seen the AOpen A600A. I like the front side USB/Audio/Firewire
connections. I need at least 3 external drive bays and 2 internal. This case
seems to do the trick. Only hassle I have is that it comes with it’s own PSU.
Don’t know if this is any good and it talks of options of 300W/350W/400W but
can’t find a place to buy that I can specify what PSU model. Also it says the
front I/O panel is optional, how do I get this?
Heatsink, Fans and Coolant: I’m nowhere to finding something yet. My PC will
live in my lounge connected to a DSL modem and I’d like to leave it on all the
time, so want a quiet fan so it doesn’t buzz in my ear when I watch TV. With my
CPU and graphics card which I’d like to overclock, can I find a heat sink
without fan or with an ultra quiet fan. Will I need additional fans for my
case? What about heatsink compound?
CD/DVD Drives: I’m going to get a stock standard CD-Rom drive and I’m looking at
a Toshiba DVD-ROM/CDRW combo drive. I know the reader is rather slow but that’s
what the other reader will be for and for copying it’s definitely needed.
Sound Card: Pretty much decided on the Soundblaster Audigy Platinum, I like the
external bay unit. It’s a pain to get to the back of my PC so the front
connections look really’s useful for MiniDisc and to connect to my Cambridge
DT3550 Speaker set.
Video Card: I’m wanting to go GeForce3 but the reviews say the Titanium 500 and
ATI 8500 are too expensive for what you get. The Leadtek Ti200 seems the
business. I’m definitely going to be playing on-line games - Counterstrike and
the like so a good graphics card is a must. I also want the TV out to have 1 PC
on a monitor and the other on the TV. Counter-strike and the girlfriend can
check email!
Keyboard and Mouse. Quite sold on the Logitec Cordless Desktop Optical.
Overkill but that mouse rocks.
Hard Drives. I already have SCSI controllers and drives so no money spent
Monitor. Now I’m thinking of being really greedy but can’t justify it yet. I
have two work colleagues, one with a 19” and one with a 21” and the 21” looks
great. They’re Compaq Trinitron ones which are really good but the money can’t
be justified but Iiyama look good and others. Is it really worth spending far
more on a 21” or should I stick with my 17” or go for a 19”. Any

So, that’s the plan so far, please flood me with comments. Am I barking up the
wrong tree or just get a new GeForce 2 MX video card and get my current system
to keep going for a few more months until prices go down.
10 answers Last reply
More about building
  1. CPU:
    With the 1800+, you have the advantage of being able to brag that you have the fastest CPU around :)

    I've heard good things about that Epox, go for it.

    Good stuff

    You can always get another PSU and install it. As for the optional I/O panel, you'll have to email the place you're getting it from.

    Sound card:
    Creative? Eeewwww

    Video card:
    The 8500 will be very good if Ati can sort out their drivers. Otherwise, go for the Ti200, it's a decent price.
    How are you planning on using two computers on one video card? I don't understand your "play CS while girlfriend does email" statement.

    Keyboard and mouse:
    Agreed, I have the same mouse. I wish that combo had been out when I got my stuff, I could've saved some money and gotten a better keyboard (iTouch wireless is what I have now). Oh well.

    This is very much personal preference. Get the one you like the most that's within your spending range. That's the only advice I can give, sorry.

    As for upgrading now or later, that's your choice. There's always something just about to be out, something big and expensive, and something that used to be big, and is now still decent and a bit cheaper. Your call, but there's nothing significant on the horizon to make you wait (except for maybe more SiS735 motherboards).

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  2. I'll comment on the monitor. Buy the best QUALITY monitor you can afford. It's much more important than any other component. If the chair is uncomfortable, you won't like sitting in it. The same goes for staring enlessly at a monitor.

    For bang vs. buck I personally recommend the ViewSonic PF790 19". I have one one one of my machines and it looks as good as my Iiyama Vision Master Pro 450, which cost over twice as much. I don't know about durability compared to the Iiyama, but ViewSonic has a good reputation. I found the ViewSonic at a computer swap meet for $375.

    You will certainly lose a lot of quality if you buy a 21" monitor for the same price as a 19". I've found 21" to be too big for me anyway. Just my opinion.

    -- Ah sh*t! sys64738 --
  3. Processor: 1600+ probably offers the most bang for the pound, but you can't go wrong with faster.

    Motherboard: The Shuttle AK31A has 4 slots, and ranks nearly equal to the Epox at

    Memory: Good choice.

    Case: Go with what you like that will suit your needs.

    HSF: Tom says the NoiseControl Silverado is quiet & effective. I don't know how many fans come with your case, but if you need more they're not expensive to buy (6-10$). Heatsink compound is a good investment, Artic Silver will cost you 5-10$ depending where you go.

    Video Card: GF3 Ti200 is the way to go, you can OC it to Ti500 speeds with a little cooling from what I've heard.

    Mouse: I love Logitech, they just can't break! I mean seriously, I spill one little 20oz bottle of water on my MS keyboard and the thing's shot! And the 6 year old Logitech 3-button mouse next to it is still chuggin along (although the ball needed to be dried). My other PC has the optical wheel mouse, works great, I'd get cordless if I wasn't sure I'd lose it like my TV remote.

    Monitors: I've never had any trouble with 17", 21" just looks too big for my desk. But as with the case, go with what you like, just try to buy one that does the GF3 justice.

    Me "I bought a TNT2 M64, the BIOS says its a Vanta"
    IOMagic "Theyre the same card"
    Me "Um, no"
  4. Well, not quite 1 computers on 1 video card but she can use another system with a TV out on the TV to view and I can use this machine.

    Does anyone know where I can get info on refurbished Sony 21" Monitors?
  5. So you're looking for a card to put in her computer so she can use the TV-out?

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  6. Not, really will pick up something else cheap.

    What Ti200 Card should I use for my machine?
  7. I have found a problem with the Epox 8KHA+.

    It only has support for the 2 USB devices on the header. I don't think you can plug in any more even though the VIA266A chipset supports up to 6. I want 2 USB connectors at the front of my case.
  8. I have had a couple of problems in the past with Epox build quality. In this sort of system i would go for a more main stream mBoard probably the ABIT KG7 (maybe even with the option RAID)

    It will do everything you want only point is in the UK you will have to Bios flash to get it to work with the new XP Aths.

    On that point it you can aford it go for the faster XP, but at the moment they are "unlocked" and can all be overclocked.

    On the monitors, LG are always over looked by most people i have two 19" LGE Flatron 795FT and they are great and only £165+VAT (~$260) (at the moment i bought them at £190 duh!!!) in the uk at trade prices, about £250 from normal stores!!

    cases yeah Aopen are one of the best i have used.

    Making it all quiet though this is the problem as i have not found any good quiet Heat sinks or PSU. But case fan essential if you are going to fill it with multiple hard drives.

  9. (auction site rebadged dell... what a shame)
  10. I'm currently going through the same exercise myself - sourcing a bunch of components for my new toy, so here's my 2c worth..

    CPU: XP1600+ seems to offer better value for money in the Bangs-per-buck category, but as others have said, you almost can't go wrong buying bigger.

    MOBO: I've seen only 1 MB with the 266A chipset with 4 RAM slots. The reviewer said that it was almost impossible to fit 4 slots onto an ATX mobo which is why no-one is doing it. The issue appears to be simply real-estate. I've decided for me that 3 slots will do. Once 1G sticks get affordable, that'll give you 3G. When that's not enough, its probably time for a new mobo anyway :-)

    Case: I'm going for a Lian-Li case for mine, they have a very good name and are easy to get here in Oz. Dunno about availability where you are though. They're also expensive. If you can find 'em and are prepared to shell out some extra, go for it. I've not heard a single person unhappy with them.

    Heatsinks &c: (I think!) has a huge comparison of 'em. It'll take you a while to get through the review, but there's bound to be something there for you.

    Monitor: Agree completely with the other replies of "get a good one". I've had a Sony 17" Trinitron for a few years now and love it. It hasn't missed a beat, I paid through the nose for it, and am planning to keep it with my new beast and employ a KB/Mouse/Monitor switch unit.

    Mouse/KB: Again, Logitech are great.

    Video card: I haven't decided for me yet. I might wait until GeForce 3 gets a bit more affordable and stick with my Voodoo 2000 for the time being.


    "When I was 18, my father was so stupid we could hardly bear to have him around the house. By the time I was 21 I was amazed at how much he'd learned in the last 3 years."
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