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Building My First Computer-Advice Needed

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  • Computer
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June 5, 2003 5:52:47 PM

I'm building my first computer for college, and because college is expensive, I'm trying to keep the costs down, but still have it be pretty powerful because I play alotta games and such on it.

So far this is what I have:

ANTEC ALUMINUM SERIES LAN BOY MINI TOWER CASE Model# LANBOY w/ Antec 350W SmartBLUE POWER SUPPLY.
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=1...
I Picked this because of the generally positive reviews it has gotten, its lightweight, and I like the design :-D.

Asus Motherboard for AMD Athlon/XP/Duron Processors, Model# A7N8X Deluxe Retail
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=1...
From what I have heard this is a really good mobo, all though If anyone has any suggestions about a diffrent one or knows of anyproblems with it, please tell me.

AMD ATHLON XP 2800 "Barton" 333 FSB PROCESSOR CPU- RETAIL
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=1...
I picked the 2800, because there didnt seem to be that much of a preformance diffrence between it and the 3000 Barton, to justify spending 75 more bucks.

2 Sticks-DDR 3200 RAM From Crucial.com.

All Together so far this comes to about 500 dollars.
I already have the optical drives that I would be using with this computer, and will probably purchase the 80GB Maxtor Hard Drive's frequently on sale at Staples to save a few more dollars.
That just leaves a video card, and sound card. For the video card, can anyone recommend a good mid-priced card that would be able to handle upcoming games quite well(Like HL2,etc.). And for the sound card, is the diffrence between the onboard soundcard on the mobo, and something like an audigy 2, that big? I have a set of Logitech Z-640 speakers and would I be able to notice a big diffrence if I purchased an Audigy 2? I do spend alot of time listening to music, but would not consider myself a high-end audophile( As it should be apperent by the fact the Z-640s only cost about $70 :)  )

If anyone can suggest any changes, or has an advice on the parts I have selcted, please tell me. I'm conserned about cost, but I also dont want to have a system that becomes antiquated very quickly.
Thanks.

More about : building computer advice needed

June 5, 2003 6:19:25 PM

Are you planning for OC? if not, I guess that buy PC2700 ram would also be good
Mid range video card? Radeon9500Pro and above
GeForce 4 Ti series or fx5600Ultra
will they be able to handle HL2? I don't know..
Sound card? Audigy2? I guess that your mobo comes with an excellent "sound card" that beats Audigy2
buy Audigy2 if you are buying another mobo like MSI K7N2..(forgot the name)
June 5, 2003 6:21:23 PM

here are a few suggestions.

The ASUS board is gr8. but as u say u r on a tight budget, how about a MSI board? its a gr8 overclocker i hear. and its SOUNDSTORM certified and a few bicks cheaper too.

The CPU: have u checked out the Barton 2500+. it has a gr8 potential in overclocking and costs less than the 2800.

Sound Card: Audigy is gr8, but at a price. From what i have been hearing, the nVIDIA SoundStorm is almost as good as Audigy, almost.

Graphics Card: u dont want to spend too much and still want a future-proof card. the thing that pops in my mind is Radeon 9500Pro/Radeon 9600Pro.

One more thing, see if u cud get a higher rating on the power supply. say a 430W??




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June 5, 2003 6:23:43 PM

Nah not planning to 0/C just because I know something will go wrong cause I have horrible luck :) .
I dont know how "excellent" the onboard soundcard is on the nforce2 boards, thats why I was asking about the Audigy 2, like is there a huge diffrence that justifies the extra expense. Like I know that obviously the Audigy 2 would be better, but I dont know how much better it would be, because I have never had the oppertunity to hear one in action.
Thanks.

<edit>
I see you guys are recomending the MSI boards alot for their lower price; which one of their boards exactly do you suggest?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ShawnM on 06/05/03 02:29 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 5, 2003 6:33:07 PM

If you were going to get an A7N8X Deluxe anyway, give the onboard sound a try. If you don't like it, you can then get an Audigy 2.

I'm not sure the A7N8X is the best choice, though. I've had some problems with mine, it's rather nit-picky about how the video card is inserted. Takes a lot of adjusting to get it to boot up after you physically changed something in the case, and possibly brushed against the video card. Probably just my particular board, but something to watch for.

If I were going to get a new motherboard I'd get an MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR. It's supposed to have Soundstorm, unlike the G model K7N2.
June 5, 2003 8:56:30 PM

Newegg has the MSI K7N2 for jsut about the same price as the A7N8X, so I think I might take your advice there.
June 6, 2003 12:46:18 PM

Hi! Well, go with the Nforce2 APU soundsystem, according to THG http://www4.tomshardware.com/game/20030405/index.html it utilizes the cpu less than a Audigy2. Also has excellent soundquality. If you go with the ASUS (I would) just make sure it's a V2.0 or greater to be sure it has the new Northbridge "400 ultra". These boards does:
MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR
A7N8X Deluxe V2.0 or greater.
(I think the ASUS is better because it utilizes the builtin NIC support in the Nforce2 chipset, and its a very good NIC with very low CPU utilization (as good as a real 3com) and you also get 2 NICs!)

About videocards: See if you can find a 9500PRO (the non pro version sucks, big differences between them) its better than both the 9600PRO and the Nvidia 5600PRO.


And finally memory, get the Spectec PC2700 memory, you don't need 3200 if youre not going to OC!
GL

Turk
June 6, 2003 1:04:59 PM

The ASUS board is an excellent choice and you will get also a lot of add-on.
Do not buy any sound card. The onboard soundstorm is one of the best solution today available...at no additional cost.
The video card should be based on Radeon 9500 128 MB (I bought a Sapphire card). If you buy the non-pro version , you will have the possibility to mod the card as a Radeon 9700, just loading the right drivers.
The money you will spend for the 3200 RAM will allow you to upgrade in the future your computer with a faster CPU.
For the disk drive consider also the Hitachi-IBM 180 GXP 61 GB. It should costs about 70 $.

But this is not a cheap computer. This will be one of the best solution for the desktop computing.

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