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Best system for $700...

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January 14, 2003 4:39:14 PM

I am a newbie (finally joined the Community this morning!) attempting to build my own PC. My budget is approximately $700 + or - $50. My goal in building this computer is to have something that I can puchase games that I won’t be limited too badly by my PC in 2-3 years from now or at least one I can build now and upgrade later. I typically play Sim games and occasionally get into something such like Quake or SWAT, which require a better video card/RAM/processing speed/etc. I currently have a Gateway PII 350 that is suiting my needs okay now (using IE, MS Money, MS Office, The Sims), but it is time to upgrade, although using the parts I already have (monitor, speakers, Win98, CD/CDRW, etc.). Given my approx. $700 budget and from reading other posts, here is a system I've come up with so far. I would like to get some feedback from this community. Thanks for your help!

- AMD Athalon XP 2000+ retail box ($90)
- Asus A7N8X Deluxe Retail ($158)
- Chieftec Case & 450W Power supply (Model#: DX-01BD) ($84)
- Gainward GeForce 3 Ti200 64MB ($90)
- 2 x Corsair 256Mb XMS2700 DDR-333 (...what about OCZ 256 PC3500 EL???) (2x$102 = $204)
- Maxtor D740X 40 GB ($93)

More about : system 700

January 14, 2003 4:50:13 PM

You might want to look at a Radeon 8500 instead of the GF3. Personally, that's what I'd get in that price range.

Also, if you're trying to keep cost down, you could get the regular A7N8X instead of the deluxe. Do you really need all the bells and whistles of the deluxe?

"There's no such thing as gravity, the Earth just sucks."
January 14, 2003 5:00:52 PM

I agree with bdaley, if you don't need dual lan controllers, serial ATA, and an onboard Dolby 5.1 encoder, get the standard A7N8X. Also, if you can find a case w/power supply cheaper, do so. 450W is probably more than you need and might be able to save a few bucks that way (put it towards a Radeon).

Good luck with your new system when you get it :) 

Vyr
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January 14, 2003 6:14:30 PM

Get the XP-Tbred 2100 that newegg is selling for $100 instead. It's much better- should safely overclock to 2400+ speeds for a few $ more. Make sure you get a good heatsink and fan combo, like the sk-7 and your set.

Also, get the western dig 40 gig hard drive with the 8 MB cache. It's only $87 and the speed difference will be major.

Within your budget (considering what you already have), you can get a nice set-up with a much better vid card. I'd recommend the ati 9500 pro. You may want to upgrade to win XP though cause it is much more stable than win 98 and will be able to handle more than 512 megs of ram when you decide to upgrade.

Here is a sample newegg set-up you can get within your budget.



Qty Product Item # Unit Price Qty x Price

Cases (Computer Cases, ATX Form)
ENLIGHT Model# EN-72500AZ (BEIGE) ATX MID-TOWER CASE w/ 300Watt POWER SUPPLY - RETAIL
AMD Approved & Pentium 4 Ready One Year Warranty. Virtually screwless case assembly, universal I/O shields, more drive bay options than other cases on the market and more!
Specifications:
Material: 0.8 mm thick SECC rustproof & galvanized JIS steel
Drive Bays: External 4 X 5.25" - 2 X 3.5" Internal 1 X 3.5"
System Board: Full ATX 12" x 9.6"
Expansion Slot: 7 Slots
USB/IO: Dual USB on front
Standard Fan(s): 1 X 80mm Ball bearing fan (front)
Dimensions: 7.7" (W) X 16.7" (H) X 18.9" (D) more info>
* (Includes FedEx Saver Shipping) N82E16811116122 $59.00
$58/10 pcs*
$57/20 pcs*
$56/30 pcs*
$59.00


CPU Thermal Paste / Grease
Arctic Silver's NEW Premium Silver Polysynthetic Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 3. 3-gram( 1 cc. ) tube. Artic Silver more info>
N82E16835100003 $6.00
$6.00


Fan - Case
Thermaltake SMART CASE FAN II. Variable Fan Speed Control, by temperature sensor. Fan Dimension: 80x80x25 mm. Two Ball Bearing. 3-Pin. FAN Speed Control Setting: 1300 rpm at 20°C~ . 4800 rpm at 55°C. Air Flow: 20.55 CFM at 1300rpm. 75.7 CFM at 4800rpm. more info>
N82E16835999111 $17.00
$17.00


Fan / Cooling Device - CPU
Thermalright SK-7 ( Heatsink ONLY ). All Copper heat spread. Dimension: 85 (L) x 65.5 (W) x 42 (H) mm (without fan). Can be used with 60MM, 70MM, or 80MM fans.Retail. Please see the image. more info>
N82E16835109006 $25.00
$25.00


Hard Drives
WD WESTERN DIGITAL 40GB 7200RPM EIDE HARD DRIVE MODEL # WD400JB - OEM, DRIVE ONLY
Specifications:
Size: 40 Gigabytes
Interface: IDE ULTRA ATA133
Seek time: 10.9 ms
RPM:7200
Cache 8MB
OEM(Drive alone) 3 Year Manufacturer Warranty more info>
N82E16822144126 $87.00
$87.00


Memory (System Memory)
►Hot Item! CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x64 PC 2100 DDR RAM - OEM Offer Time Limit Will End Soon. 184-Pin, CL=2.5-Unbuffered 2.5V, 6-Layers CT3264Z265 Requires DDR supported Motherboard - Lifetime Warranty. OEM more info>
N82E16820145001 $55.00
$110.00


Motherboards - AMD
LEADTEK Motherboard K7NCR18D-PRO Nforce2-ST for AMD Socket A Retail
Specifications:
Supported CPU: for AMD XP and Duron CPU's
Chipset: Nforce2 SPP + Nforce2 MCP-T
FSB: 333 MHz
RAM: 3x 184-pin DIMM sockets for DDR-SDR
IDE: Dual IDE ATA-133/100/66/33 Channels, (up to 4 Devices)
Slots: 1x AGP(8X), 4x 32-bit PCI, 1x ACR
Ports: 2x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard, 1x RJ45, 2x USB(rear) *supports up to 6x USB, 1x LPT, 2x Serial, Audio ports
Onboard LAN: Built in 10/100 NVIDIA Ethernet
Onboard Audio: Built-in NVIDIA Soundstorm Audio with Dolby Digital 5.1 Encoding, SPDIF Digital Output and 6-channel speaker support.
ATX Form Factor more info>
N82E16813122106 $112.00
$112.00


Processors
AMD Athlon XP 2100+/266 FSB Thorougbred Processor CPU 2100+/ 1.73GHz -OEM, AXDA2100DUT3C
The Ultimate Digital Media Experience in an x86 Platform.Tailored for Microsoft® Windows® XP. Featuring QuantiSpeed Architecture for Rapid Execution of Applications. Tomorrow’s Technology Today.The Power of a Reliable Partner.
Specifications:
CPU: 1.73 GHz
Type: 2100 XP
Cache: 256K
BUS: 266MHz
Micron: .13
Socket A (PGA) OEM (Processor Only) more info>
N82E16819103370 $101.00
$101.00


Video Cards
ATI OEM RADEON 9500 PRO 128MB DDR DVI BULK
Specifications:
Chipset:ATI RADEON 9500 PRO
Memory:128MB DDR
Bus:AGP 8X 128-bit floating-point color precision allows for a greater range of colors and brightness
Memory Bandwidth: 2GB/Sec
Directx 9.0 Supported
Supports Modes SmartShader2.0 SmoothVision2.0 Truform 2.0 and much more
Ports:VGA + DVI + Svideo Out (s-video cable included)
OEM Bulk Kit, (see pictures) more info>
N82E16814102258 $180.00
$180.00


Subtotal » $697.00
Shipping and Handling Charge »
>How Newegg.com calculates shipping< $ 18.00
APO/FPO - Military ONLY FedEx Standard Overnight FedEx 2Day FedEx Express Saver Choose which State to ship AA AP AE ALASKA ALABAMA ARKANSAS ARIZONA CALIFORNIA COLORADO CONNECTICUT DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DELAWARE FLORIDA GEORGIA HAWAII IOWA IDAHO ILLINOIS INDIANA KANSAS KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MASSACHUSETTS MARYLAND MAINE MICHIGAN MINNESOTA MISSOURI MISSISSIPPI MONTANA NORTH CAROLINA NORTH DAKOTA NEBRASKA NEW HAMPSHIRE NEW JERSEY NEW MEXICO NEVADA NEW YORK OHIO OKLAHOMA OREGON PENNSYLVANIA PUERTO RICO RHODE ISLAND SOUTH CAROLINA SOUTH DAKOTA TENNESSEE TEXAS UTAH VIRGINIA VERMONT WASHINGTON WISCONSIN WEST VIRGINIA WYOMING
Grand Total » $ 715.00

This set up will overclock nice and later (a year or more down the road) you can put a barton CPU and faster ram in when prices are low. You could also get a better case, like the one you originally were considering and stay within the $750 range (I think). If you get that chieftech case, you'll probably need 2 case fans too as I don't think it comes with any, but those are cheap. Also, the power supply in that chieftech does get some negative feedback from time to time.

Or, you may want to get the OEM win XP and just get a cheaper vid card like the 8500 LE or even a $25 GEForce 2 GT-V (if you can still find one). One more upgrade down the road for you, but win XP is probably worth it. Plus the new vid cards will drop a lot in price when the FX comes out. I'd expect even the 9500 pro to hit the $100 price range within 6 months and the GEForce 4 4200 to hit the $50 range.

Edit:By the way, the reason I put in the leadtek motherboard is that it is cheaper than the asus, even the non-delux and it has as good a sound system as the asus delux. Since you dont have a sound card, you may want this if your using your computer as a home hi-fi system too. You don't need the other bells and whistles that the asus deluxe has like the others said.




<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by vermis on 01/14/03 03:49 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
January 14, 2003 6:20:23 PM

One other thing. You have a gateway currently. If your windows 98 CD came with the gateway and it is some kind of restore disk or says gateway somewhere on the disk, it will more than likely not install into your new system. With most name brand computers, once you change the motherboard, the propriatory OS will see it as a new computer and will not allow the OS to operate.

If this is the case, you MAY still own the license to win 98 if you have your product code, so if you still want to stick to win 98, you should ask gateway about this as you can then pick up an unlicensed version of 98 for less than $10 and use your own product key.
January 14, 2003 6:31:37 PM

For a few bucks more on the hard drive, I would recommend the Western Digital 800JB , 8MB cashe, fast as any drive out there, and has a nice 3 year warantee.

<font color=green>::: Sir, I'd like to return this cpu, it is dead.</font color=green> <font color=blue>::: Its not dead, its resting...</font color=blue>
January 14, 2003 7:03:18 PM

Vermis,

Thanks for the product info from newegg.com. I am in the process of building a computer at home and cost is an issue. I have been trying to decide on a motherboard. I've been looking at the A7N8X and the 8RDA+. I do some research on the Leadtek board you mentioned in the post.

Thanks,

Mike
January 19, 2003 4:22:47 PM

Thank you for such detailed information. I think I've gathered enough information to build the PC I want. I'm thinking of going with a cheaper video card for now to save a few $$. I think I will also go with the recommendation of the Western Digital 800JB , 8MB cache. The only other question I have is that I looked in the paper this morning at computers for sale at retailers like Best Buy, CompUSA, etc. A lot of people have told me that you can just about buy and computer for the same price as building. It is my assumption at this point that this is correct, however with building, you're able to buy better parts. Is this an accurate assumption or, for my price of $700, am I better off to buy a PC off the shelf with rebates. I'm still much leaning towards building, but am curious what everyone has to say.
January 19, 2003 4:40:42 PM

Also...one other quick question. What is the difference between buying the processor -RETAIL- versus buying OEM? It looks like the -RETAIL- AMD 2100+ is $105 and the OEM is $108. I would think the -RETAIL- would be more expensive as it comes with a heat sink and fan. I apologize is this is a stupid question.
Thanks.
January 19, 2003 4:42:03 PM

If you buy retail and the price sounds looks to be lower than building it yourself, there is probably cutbacks somewhere. Example would be the video card is listed as Geforce 4. Well a Geforce 4 MX420 is still a Geforce 4. You have to look for those little corners that they try to cut to make the price look good. Also if you buy retail you have no idea what is in the case of the computer, ie the motherboard brand, psu rated wattage, etc. And the upgradability of a retail computer is very limited.
January 19, 2003 4:57:24 PM

It is always better to build your own. There's no better way to put it. Your machine will be head & shoulders above the BOXED machines.

I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
January 19, 2003 8:47:45 PM

I dont know where youre getting your prices, most sound fine, but check www.pricegrabber.com on those parts. I know the mobo only cost me about $130 or so, so check that out.
DONT get that ram for $102, i got corsair xms 3200 for like 92 a stick, and you can get xms3500 for like 100 or 105 some places. DEFINATELY do not get a ti200, theyre not that good and over priced. In that price range get a radeon 8500 (non-AIW) or a 9000 pro, or check out the cheaper ti4200s. Thats a great case by the way, good deal.
Also that hard drive price is a rip off, you can get that from Best Buy for $50, you can get an 80 gig for that price!
P.S. Dont ruin your new system with Win 98. Get Windows XP, but DONT get it pirated offline or from someone cause M$ will come to your house and kill you in yoru sleep!!! (wink wink) pirate it.

www.tigerdirect.com has some good deals sometimes, check on the ram there. Also your cpu might be cheaper somewhere else.

The first LAN party I went to was at a PETA convention. They booted me when I shot a crab in HL!
January 20, 2003 1:51:20 AM

Whoa the Geforce 4 MX420 is a DirectX 7.1 based card. That means no pixel shaders. Just because it has a 4 on it doesn't make it a good choice. I with all my heart vote against that choice. Get a DirectX 8+ card!!! TI or better.

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