Novice Building a system - Please Help!

I haven't built a computer in years. I've agreed to build a new system for my cousin. This will be good practice as I hope to upgrade myself in a few months.

She is looking for a system that will not be obsolete for a while. It should also be upgradeable in the future. They will do a bit of gaming (they already own a PS2 and XBox), standard MS Office apps, MP3 downloading, DV NLE editing and DVD authoring of home movies in the near future, and watching DVD's on a small TV through the TV out. Their budget is not defined, however, I need to keep the costs at the best performance/value for the buck while preserving upgradeability.

Below is what I am considering for them. Please share any advice that you have. (I'm not sensative.) Will I need any additional fans, accessories or anyhing else when I get ready to assemble?

Qty Product Item # Unit Price Qty x Price

Cases (Computer Cases, ATX Form)
Unique High Gloss Car Paint Finish case w/ 1/3" Clear Acrylic Front Bezel, All Folded Edges, Front USB/Audio ports, 250/300/350w P4 Power Supply ready, & a strong Steel Construction.
Material: Steel
Driver Bays: External 4 X 5.25" - 2 X 3.5" Internal 4 X 3.5"
System Board: AT/ATX
Expansion Slot: 7 Slots
Standard Fans: 1 X 80mm (front)
Optional Fans: 2 X 80mm (rear) or 1 X 120mm Intake Fan Option (rear)
Dimension:19"(L) x 8"(W) x 17"(H) ***No Power Supply*** more info>
N82E16811180013 $45.00
I'm hoping that they offer the version with the clear window that they now make. Is there a better sub-$50 case?

CD/DVD Burners (RW Drives)
►Hot Item! Lite On 48x24x48 CDRW Model LTR-48246SBlack OEMBuffer underrun error free & automatically adjust writing strategy plus running OPC to meet various burning condition.
Speed : Recording 48Xmax CAV Re-writing 24X High-Speed CLV Reading 48Xmax CAV
Interface : ATAPI-E/IDE, support up to Ultra-DMA Mode2 33.3MB/sec
Access Time : 80ms (typical)
Buffer Memory Size: 2MB
Operating System : Windows 95/98/NT/XP/2000/ME
MTBF : 70'000 Power On Hours with 25% Duty
OEM (Comes with Software, Manual and Audio cable.) more info>
N82E16827106189 $59.99

Lite-On 16x DVD Model LTD-166 Black
Speed :DVD-ROM 16X (6.4X~16X) - CD-ROM 48X (20X~48X)
Interface : ATAPI-E/IDE
Sustained Transfer Rate : Support up to Ultra-DMA/33 33.3MB/sec
Burst Transfer Rate : Support up to Ultra-DMA/33 33.3MB/sec
Access Time : 120ms (typical)
MTBF : 70'000 Power On Hours with 20% Duty
Supported OS: DOS 6.xx, Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP, OS2 Warp
OEM (Contains Power DVD software) **Black Color** more info>
N82E16827131109 $46.99

Memory (System Memory)
CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series 256MB PC3000 DDR RAM 370MHz - OEM
CMX256A-3000C2 DDR, PC3000 32x64, Non-ECC, 184-Pin, CAS2 -Unbuffered Requires DDR supported Motherboard - Lifetime Warranty. more info>
N82E16820145402 $104.00
This may be overkill, but they may upgrade the CPU in the future.

Motherboards - AMD
Asus Motherboard for AMD Athlon/XP/Duron Processors, Model# A7N8X Deluxe Retail
CPU Supported: Socket A AMD Athlon/XP/Duron (support AMD XP2800) Throughbred core CPU ready
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce2 SPP, nForce2 MCP-T
FSB: 333/266/200MHz
IDE: 2x channel ATA133
RAM: 3x 184-pin DIMM Sockets (PC3200/PC2700/PC2100 non-ECC DDR Ram)
Slots: 1x AGP (Pro/8X), 5x PCI
Ports: 6x USB(2.0),
Onboard Serial ATA: Silicon Image Sil 3112A Controller with 2 ports, support RAID 0/1
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC650 6-ch w/built in amplifier, integrated APU (Audio Processor Unit), Soundstorm Encoder
Onboard LAN: MCP integrated 3Com MAC + Broadcom AC101L PHY
Onboard Firewire 1394: 2 Ports MCP-T integrated IEEE 1394a + Realtek PHY 8801B more info>
N82E16813131436 $153.00
Do I need to get the Asus SPDiF attachment with this board to use the Labtec Z-640 speakers?

Power Supplies
Antec 480W Power Supply TRUE480 ATX Form Factor, ATX12V compliant for Pentium 4 (backward compatible with previous Pentium versions) and AMD systems
+5V Stand-By & Logic On/Off Antec Low Noise Technology Maximum Power 480W Dimensions - L5.9" x W5.5" x H3.4" UL, CSA, TUV, CB, CE, NEMKO Approved more info>
N82E16817103909 $91.00
I may downgrade this to the TRUE380

►Hot Item! AMD Athlon XP 2000+/266 FSB Processor CPU - 2000+/ 1.67GHz -Retail Box
BOX2000DMT3C. 3 Years Warranty. The AMD Athlon XP processor with QuantiSpeed architecture powers the next generation in computing platforms, delivering extra performance for cutting-edge applications and an extra-ordinary computing's highest overall performing PC processor.
CPU: 1.67 GHz
Type: 2000 XP
Cache: 256K
BUS: 266MHz
Socket A (PGA)
Retail (Box with Heatsink and Fan) more info>
N82E16819103327 $90.00
The 2100+ is out of stock. They may opt for the 2400+ .13 micron or the 2700+. Would they notice the performance increase as much as the dent in their wallet?

Logitech Z640 5.1 Speaker - RETAIL
Patented subwoofer design delivers twice the bass energy of conventional designs
Innovative satellite design with rotating pedestals that allow for wall or desk placement
Internal power supply eliminates bulky wall adapters
Easily hook it up to your video game console with our included adapter cable... no need for an external amplifier or receiver! more info>
N82E16836121104 $67.00
$20.00 mail in rebate on these now as well. These are the cheapest 5.1 speakers I could find. How will I connect these to the A7n8x board to get DD 5.1?

Video Cards
Chipset:9500 PRO Visual Processing Unit
Engine clock: 275 MHz
Memory:128MB of double data rate SDRAM
Memory speed: 540 MHz
Eight parallel rendering pipelines
Four parallel geometry engines
128-bit DDR memory interface
BUS: AGP 8X support
OS Support: Windows® XP, Windows® 2000, Windows® Me
Ports; VGA + DVI + S-Video
Retail box (see pics for details) more info>
N82E16814102256 $201.00
I'm open to a cheaper card if you have a recommendation. It should have a good TV-Out. They may add a realtime DV editing card in the future.

Subtotal » $961.98
Shipping and Handling Charge »
>How calculates shipping< $ 30.00
Grand Total » $ 991.98

I plan to build this with an old ATA 100 hard drive. I plan to add two of the Seagate Serial ATA 80 or 120 MB drives in a RAID 0 configuration next month when they are available.

OS - Windows XP Home-SP1 upgrade.

Thanks for the help! -Drew
4 answers Last reply
More about novice building system help
  1. just a few thoughts....
    you are right, the memory seems like overkill. I would go for maye 512MB Samsung PC2700. Perhaps go with a 2600+? The jump from 266fsb to 333 could be helpful, but it is more expensive.

    On the video card, if they are going to be doing a lot of editing and home movie stuff i would get maybe a radeon 8500 All in Wonder.

    <font color=blue> If it ain't broke, don't fix it...tweak it.</font color=blue>
  2. I've got to agree, the Samsung PC2700 (333Mhz) memory is well worth the price (thats what I've got)... check-out they've got good pricing. Also, if they're going to be doing viedo editing, you might want to check-out a Matrox Parhelia card, or perhaps the Radeon 8500 all in wonder. Also, make sure you've got plenty of case-cooling, because that processor gets mighty hot, as well as the video card and hard drives adds up to an oven. Definitely go for a 120mm front intake fan (a lot more cfm, a lot quieter... check out some Sunon fans, or perhaps the Panaflo U series at and then the two 80mm in the rear (perhaps some Thermalttake Smart Fan 2 - they are temperature controlled and have 75cfm (max) at 41db... also at kdcomputers). As for the speakers, thats a nice deal. I just bought the Z540s a little while ago, and I love them - especially for the price. The motherboard has connectors (3) in the back that allow you to plug it all in, don't worry. The SPDIF jack they sell additionally simply allows you to plug in coaxial or fiber-optic cables into the sound-ports for non-pc speakers.

    Ahhh! It's 2003 and wait, whats this!? My computer didn't blow up! ... Well damn, there goes my new Athlon @ 333FSB and my inssurance claim... heheheh
  3. do you really need to buy a 480watt! psu? if anything 431w enermax is more then enough..

    Is THG Slightly Slacking??
  4. my uncle put together a decent system a few months back..

    soyo Dragon+
    80Gb Maxtor
    cd-rw liteon
    512 mb crucial pc2100
    xp pro
    VisionTek Geforce3 ti500

    i forgot what he paid, but you can that system for a great price now, and it performs excellent..

    Is THG Slightly Slacking??
Ask a new question

Read More