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System for $500 - feedback please

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June 8, 2003 4:23:26 PM

I am in need of upgrading my PII 350. I'm a casual gamer and won't tweak too much with overclocking(although I may get interested later). Here's the setup that I'm thinking about. I eventually want to upgrade the video card, but I'm hoping the integrated video will be good enough for games like Simcity 4 while I wait to buy something nicer. Please give me your feedback. I don't want to spend anymore than this current configuration $500. Do I need Win XP?

Motherboard Soltek Motherboard for AMD Processors, NVIDIA nForce2 (IGP + MCP2), Model SL-75MRN-L Retail 96

Processor AMD ATHLON XP 2500 "Barton" 333 FSB PROCESSOR CPU- RETAIL 96

Hard Drive WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 80GB 7200RPM EIDE HARD DRIVE MODEL # WD800JB - OEM, DRIVE ONLY 82

Case ANTEC SOLUTION SERIES Model# SLK2600AMB w/ANTEC SMART POWER 300W P4/AMD POWER SUPPLY ATX12V - RETAIL 60

2 Case Fans ANTEC All Clear PRO 80mm 4 pin Sleeve Bearing Fan for all 80mm Computer Case cooling requirements. 10

2 sticks of RAM CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x64 PC 2100 DDR RAM - OEM 32

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 1 - OEM Full Version 93

Total: $501

More about : system 500 feedback

June 8, 2003 7:50:46 PM

I'm sure there will be some people that can help you with AMD. I would suggest you use Windows 2000 Pro. If you want Xp I would use Pro not home.
June 8, 2003 7:57:20 PM

where u getting these parts for so cheap?

ALWAYS AIM LOW SO YOU CAN'T BE DISSAPOINTED
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June 8, 2003 9:12:57 PM

Newegg.com

:smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
June 8, 2003 9:15:52 PM

bad news. That ram will really drag your system down. You need the ram to run sync to the fsb. I've had good luck with cheap generic ram on nforce boards. Get some samsung pc2700. It's about the same price.
June 9, 2003 7:36:39 AM

Hi!

Nope you don't need XP, atleast not rightaway, use your old OS and buy a decen't videocard for that 93$. Also noticed that your system dosen't contain any CD/DVD-ROM.
If you do go for a seperate videocard then you can buy a mobo without and maybe save some cash!

If you go with a seperate Videocard may i suggest either a GF 5200 (as cheap as 68$) or an ATI 9000PRO or 9100 or 9200? Don't go for a Nvidia MX card, those are even not DX8 compliant.
GL

Turk
June 9, 2003 1:20:30 PM

So I should stick with Win 98 and go with the recommended video card. What mobo would you recommend with a GF 5200 or ATI9000PRO that would fit my needs and stay within my budget? Also, I have a CD/CDRW (and possibly a DVD player????) from my old PC that I will just move to the new CPU. Does everything else look good?
June 9, 2003 1:35:39 PM

if you're just a casual user you really shouldn't post here. Everyone here are extreme computer guru's and will recommend you expensive parts when you won't even make any use of it.

Again, becareful who you listen to.

Everything you picked is fine but the power supply. please consider 400watts or greater. THG made their recommendation so check there for a better power supply.

windows xp home will be fine. I really can't tell you the difference between home and pro. My cuz has home edition and it's fine for what he does. His computer sucks ass but xp home is fine.

Now for my biased opinions - i really think you should take a look at the intel solutions with their 800mhz FSB. Or, wait until athlon 64 comes out. Intel has a wider upgrade path right now compared to AMD who is discontinueing athlon production in september in replace for athlon 64. So your purchase will be obsolete in september where the athlon will be replaced with the athlon 64.

"Bread makes me poop!" - Special Ed

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
June 9, 2003 1:36:56 PM

Okay, here goes...

First, I've heard of a lot of driver problems between nForce2 and Win9x. So you can <i>try</i> to use Win9x if you want, but if you run into problems (especially popping noises through the speakers from the onboard sound card from what I've heard) then upgrading to Win XP will make a difference. If you don't run into problems with Win98 then consider yourself lucky and enjoy. :)  You <i>might</i> be able to save some money and not have to buy a new OS. Just don't spend that money that you would have spent on WinXP until Win98 is installed and running flawlessly on your hardware.

Second, your 333MHz Barton and your PC2100 RAM <i>really</i> aren't going to be happy together. (And <b>especially</b> if you are using that onboard graphics.) I would <i>highly</i> suggest PC3200 and running asynch if you are using the onboard graphics or PC2700 and running synch if you aren't. Well, that or get a cheaper processor like the TBred 1700+ that only has a 266MHz FSB.

Other than that, good luck with the new system and I hope that you enjoy it. :) 

"<i>Yeah, if you treat them like equals, it'll only encourage them to think they <b>ARE</b> your equals.</i>" - Thief from <A HREF="http://www.nuklearpower.com/daily.php?date=030603" target="_new">8-Bit Theater</A>
June 9, 2003 1:45:09 PM

oh i didn't even see that.

ya for your barton "333" you need pc333 (PC2700) RAM or PC400 (PC3200) RAM. Otherwise you will need to go to the lesser "266" t-birds.

Other than the power supply and RAM - lol - you're pics are fine.

"Bread makes me poop!" - Special Ed

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
June 9, 2003 2:15:07 PM

Thanks for the great advice. All along I've been thinking about getting the XP 2100+ with the PC2100, but I saw the price of the 2500+ and thought for $20 more why not. I don't want to spend more money on faster RAM (i..e greater than $32/256MB) unless their is something stable and cheap that is faster for the same price, so would my original configuration of the 2100+ and the PC2100 RAM be better off?
June 9, 2003 2:34:16 PM

Well, despite being in some tests inferior to the soltek mobo, I would go with the WinFast K7NCR18D-Pro 92$ at newegg. Why? Because it has the builtin Nforce2 APU digitalsound, which is one of the best there is! You see, not all Nforce2 mobos has this, instead they use a cheap solution for sound such as the realtek 650. The Nforce APU (soundstorm dolbydigitalsoundsystem) does make quite a difference in overall performance check the following THG articel about this: http://www6.tomshardware.com/game/20030405/index.html

And by all means, if you can afford it go with the A7N8X Deluxe 127.99$. But then again, it might be wiser to spend that differance in something else like a faster CPU or a better GFX, "the possibilitys are endless".


About the GFXcard i do agree with the other guys, go with the ATI card unless you can afford a better card such as a ATIradeon 9500PRO (very important that it is the PRO version, the nonpro is much much worse) or an Nvidia 5600.
And finally yes, everything else looks just fine!

GL

Turk

PS just saw the remarks about your choice of ram, I'd missed that :redface: and they are absolutely right, you should really get some pc 2700 memory or better. If its a cashproblem then better to get cas2.5 PC2700 memory instead of cas2.0 PC2100 memory. You need that faster memory modules when going for a FSB 333 CPU like the Barton.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Turk on 06/09/03 04:46 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 9, 2003 3:20:02 PM

I don't know about the Soltek motherboard, but they seem to be doing pretty well with their stuff lately. Windows XP Home will be fine; I can't vouch for Win9X on and nForce2 system. I agree that you do need to upgrade the RAM. Get some Crucial 2700 or Geil 3200. Since you're not an extreme power user, they'll suit you just fine. Also, for this system, a 300W PSU (especially considering the brand) will be suitable. You're not powering a high end video card, have only one HDD, etc. Barton chips run a little cooler, so they are probably drawing a little less current, too. From personal experience, Sim City 4 may drag a bit with the IGP unit, it's a GeForce 4 MX equivalent and it will draw from your system memory. You'll feel it when your cities get big in SC4. You may want to consider getting a different board, my recommendation right now would be the Epox EP-8RDA+, and adding the Abit Siluro Ti 4200 video card. The board is $85 and the card is $89 right now at NewEgg and both have free shipping. You'll need about $90 more for all the changes, but you'll be better off in the long run. You'll probably still be getting some hitches with SC4, it seems to be a huge resource hog, but unless you want a P4 3GHz system with an ATI card that costs you closer to $2000 this would be the way to go. Just my opinion.
-Brett
June 9, 2003 4:34:47 PM

I wouldn't recommend that mobo becasue it uses the ac97 sound chip instead of the mcp-t Nvidia soundforge.

Chose one:
Aopen AK79G-1394 $115
Biostar M7NCG $104
Leadtec K7NCR18G-PRO $114 (The only full-size board, the other 2 are micro-ATX, AKA 3 PCI slots instead of 5)

I wouldn't recommend that RAM. It's too slow for your CPU. Click <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?DEPA=1&submit..." target="_new">here</A> for a list of pc2700 RAM.

Finally that power supply is an Antec 300 watt. It should be fine for you. I'd be leery of a generic 300 watt PSU but Antec is top of the line.



--------------
Knowan likes you. Knowan is your friend.
June 9, 2003 7:06:31 PM

Actually, it looks like some Kingston might be the way to go memory wise, now that I've checked.
-Brett
June 10, 2003 8:36:53 AM

Quote:
First, I've heard of a lot of driver problems between nForce2 and Win9x. So you can try to use Win9x if you want, but if you run into problems (especially popping noises through the speakers from the onboard sound card from what I've heard)

i run 2nforce2 based comps on win98se and they are 100% stable. havent had any lockups frezzes random reboots slowdowns or ANY other errors since i had them. as for the popping noises this s nothing to do with the operating system. this is down to electrical noise generated by hdd cdroms fans etc and beingpicked up by the onboard sound.. a lot of onboard sound solutions have this 'problem'. its down the onboard solutions not having the same quality of noise filtering that an add-on card has.
!