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Building a new system

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June 10, 2003 8:06:47 PM

Greetings all!

It's been a few years since I put one together, so I'm not in the loop as to what's the "best bang for your buck" system. The last time it was the AMD XP 1600+, which is still working quite well for me. I generally like to go one or two notches below the very latest and greatest releases, which looking at pricewatch makes me think it's between the P4 2.6 @800mhz fsb and the Athlon XP 2800. (I really hate spending extra money for negligable performance increases) I have tended to lean towards the MSI or Gigabyte mb's in the past, but am certainly open to looking at an Asus or Abit or whatever the folks here seems to be the best. I'd like the usual features (onboard sound, usb 2.0, LAN, etc...but I don't usually do any overclocking) I've got a 10k rpm scsi setup on my current system and I'm wondering how it compares to the current SATA or Raid setups (I'm certainly willing to make the switch if it's warranted) As for video cards, right now I've got the Nvidia GF3 Ti 500, which has been decent, but I'm leaning heavily towards switching to an ATI all-in-wonder 9700 or 9800 (for the all the video capabilities both to and from the computer)

Oh yeah, and I'm completely clueless as to what would be good ram choices nowadays....although I'm pretty sure it all depends on what CPU I get, which drives the mb choice. I will want to match the bus speed to whatever mb and CPU I get, right? (I'm thinking I'll need to go somewhere between 500mb to 1GB total) Overall this is going to be my primary system...used for everything from video editing/capturing to latest and greatest gaming. I'll be running Windows XP Pro w/ SP1 (in case that matters)

Thanks in advance for any advice/info you can give!
NanooK

More about : building system

June 11, 2003 7:17:13 AM

I like the amd setup myself so here goes
I only use asus but I hear that the MSi K7N2-DELTA-ILSR is the fastest of the nforce boards. It has onboard SATA raid if you care to try it. It will also allow PATA + SATA raid.
Raid is something you might find in the catagory not much bang for your buck when compared to 10k scsi. The Radeons are very pricey, but for once you dont have to suffer with a lesser gpu performance to get the all in wonder.
For ram I would suggest the corsair pc3200 LL . The low latancy never hurts (except the pocket book) and the extra speed is just nice to have. Looks like a great toy. He who dies with the best toys wins.
June 11, 2003 2:47:39 PM

Quote:
(I really hate spending extra money for negligable performance increases)

While the 2.6C might be a little more expensive than the 2800+ if you get a P4P800 from ASUS, I don't think that is a negligible performance increase. The benefits from HT are very real and the added bandwidth makes diference; overall, the 2.6C is probably a better deal than the 2800+ at this point. Plus, you can upgrade to Prescott 3.4 or 3.6Ghz later on... :cool:

I'd go with the Intel setup in this case.
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June 11, 2003 5:03:44 PM

In this case it seems like your doing a complete overhaul of your system. These are the items i would get

CPU:Intel P4 2.8C - $275
Mobo:Asus P4P800 Deluxe - $145
Memory: 2x Corsair XMS pc3500 512Mb - $135
HD: WD Raptor S-ATA 10Krpm 36Gb - $142
Vid Card: ATI All-in-wonder 9700 pro - $362


These Items come to a total of $1194. All prices are from newegg.com. If you go to www.pricewatch.com you could probably find some of these items a little bit cheaper. Remember if you still need a case, CD drives, floppy, OS (if needed), and maybe a case fan or two if needed.

Im guessing that you are going to use the same monitor and kb/m for this setup. If you arent get a good( i prefer) Logitech Optical mouse and kb. You can also downgrade the Mobo to a non deluxe version( theres 2 different types) and save a solid 40 bucks. You can also use the scsi drives that you already have and save another 140 dollars. Downgrade the processor to a 2.6C and save 45 dollars. Possibilites are endless.

So depending on your budget you can cut corners here and there or add stuff to this setup. This is definetly the system i would get if i had the money.

Happy Buying

Mike
June 11, 2003 7:52:03 PM

Okay, I have to support the Intel suggestions here. Because it's a lock that there will be an upgrade path for an Intel P4 motherboard and because the P4Cs just completely rocked both the P4Bs and AMD's world, the C models of the Northwood are just the way to go in my book. (Unless you're desperate to save money anyway, which you don't seem to be.) So get the 2.6GHz C, or even the 2.8GHz C if you can afford it. Heck, even the 2.4GHz C if you need to save more money. It's just really that hard for me to justify suggesting a top-end AMD system at the moment.

Okay, 10K SCSI vs SATA and so forth ... here's the scoop that I've gotten talking with friends who've pretty much tried it all. Theoretically the 10K SATA is just as fast as a 10K SCSI. In reality they are in a lot of simple benchmarks, but in cases where the SATA drive is being accessed repeatedly it still chokes a bit where as SCSI doesn't. It's something that doesn't matter unless you're running a heavily-used server really, but appearantly after all these years IDE still hasn't solved that problem completely. So I've heard anyway.

Here's the other thing, your SATA controllers are generally run through 32-bit PCI bus, meaning that you're going to max out your bandwidth pretty quickly with any serious RAID configurations. Most SCSI controllers though are on a 64-bit PCI (if not PCI-X or whatnot) and have a lot more bandwidth to work with, so you can do a SCSI RAID that won't be bottlenecked by the PCI bus. Of course if you're using a 32-bit PCI bus for SCSI, then you're just as screwed. Heh heh.

So if you're doing single-access to a single drive, SATA 10K is just as good as a SCSI 10K. If you do multiple-access SCSI is a little better. If you do RAID arrays, a good SCSI system on a good 64-bit bus still rocks SATA's world.

And there's still always the waranty on the hard drive to consider as well. :) 

So I'd say look for these parts:
Intel Pentium 4C 2.6GHz (good performance)
Asus P4P800 DELUXE motherboard (nice features, good speed)
Corsair twin-pack of 3200LL RAM

And then the video card and hard drive depend on what you're using them for.

"<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 11, 2003 8:08:00 PM

Thanks a bunch for the feedback you guys! Just have a couple of additional questions....

As for the hard drives, I've been told that this is usually the biggest bottleneck in a system and that's where I should focus most of my attention. Anyone know of any comparisions to a Raid system vs SATA and/or SCSI? I'm not very interested in going scsi again and SATA is looking pretty sweet (especially 10k rpm drives, although they're only at 36gb), so I guess the real question is the differences between a Raid setup and SATA. It kinda sucks having to sacrifice an entire drive to do RAID, and if the speeds are comparable then the only benefit would be the data backup (which I'm not that interested in). Hmmmm....it sounds like I've already convinced myself to go SATA, unless anyone responds to change my mind :) 

The other question I had was about PSU's......what's the best one to go with for the P4P800 mb's? I'm probably going to get one of those clear sided blue cases w/ blue LED's (hehe....tired of the plain old white thing), but I'm not sure what the latest is on PSU's.

Thanks again for your advice :) 
June 11, 2003 8:21:19 PM

Quote:
Anyone know of any comparisions to a Raid system vs SATA and/or SCSI

Try reading my above post...

It's really a loaded question though as it depends entirely upon both how you're using it and what hardware you're running it on.

Quote:
It kinda sucks having to sacrifice an entire drive to do RAID

Wow. Appearantly you know even less about RAID than I thought. There are several different RAID setups. What you seem to be talking about is RAID <b>1</b> which is a redundant backup where the contents of the first drive are mirrored to the second drive. That way should either hard drive fail, your data is still on the other hard drive. The only real drawback is that you lose half of your storage space.

RAID <b>0</b> which is far more commonly used is striping the data across two hard drives. The advantage is that you can read and write data faster. You also don't really lose any of your storage space. The disadvantage is that should either drive fail then all data on both drives is usually completely and totally lost. (Because it's split across both drives.)

Then there are RAID 3 and 5 which are extremely rare to even find on an IDE/SATA setup. These are a neat method of storing data across several drives but with recovery information also stored, so you get the advantages of both RAID 1 and RAID 0 without either of their drawbacks (well, a little less storage space, but a lot more than just half) ... but you need more than 2 drives to do it. This is what most file servers are set up with.

And then there's a combination of RAID 0 and 1 (usually called RAID10) where you make a RAID 1 array to backup a RAID 0 array. This takes four hard drives and only has half of your storage space, but it's pretty safe and pretty fast.

The vast majority of the SATA onboard RAID only supports RAID 0. The rest pretty much only support RAID 0 and RAID 1. On rare occasion you also see support for RAID 10. Any other RAID modes generally require a card because onboard won't support them.

Oh, except for JBOD (just a bunch of disks) which seems to be supported by almost all RAID controllers, onboard or not. Of course it isn't actually RAID. It's just a bunch of disks squished together into one logical drive. I'm not even sure what the point of it is, really.

Quote:
The other question I had was about PSU's......what's the best one to go with for the P4P800 mb's? I'm probably going to get one of those clear sided blue cases w/ blue LED's (hehe....tired of the plain old white thing), but I'm not sure what the latest is on PSU's.

Toms Hardware Guide just did a really nice evaluation on power supplies. Read their article. Or skip it and get the Antec True 480P. :) 

"<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 11, 2003 8:32:10 PM

Regarding the PSU, if you are getting a blue case with blue accessories, get the Antec True Blue 480 Watt PSU or the SmartBlue 430 Watt PSU. ( http://www.antec-inc.com/pro_p_specialtypw.html ) The 480watt is $99 At newegg.com They both have dual Fans that "glow" blue. Looks pretty pimp if you ask me.

Regarding the HD issue: Im pretty sure that you are able to have a Raid setup with the S-ATA drives. The only problem that S-ATA drives have is that it only allows one drive per channel. But i do believe you can combine IDE and S-ATA drives to make a better RAID setup.(from what i have heard at least).

The only real reason to be getting the S-ata drive is because it is where HD are going to be in the next year or so. Also it cheaper and going to be better than a scsi drive. The first version of S-ata has a transfer rate of up to 150 compared to the IDE of 133. In the coming years the S-ata drives are going to be bumped up to over 600 almost double of Scsi has to offer right now. Also the cables associated with the S-ata drives are small and round and offer a higher max. length of cable(3 meters?) Which offers better airflow throughout the case. (the cable is about the diameter of a normal #2 pencil maybe a little bigger)

Happy Buying
Mike
June 11, 2003 8:33:20 PM

"Wow. Appearantly you know even less about RAID than I thought"

hehe....yeah, it's true....I've never messed with RAID before, so thanks for taking the time to explain some of the differences :)  (I also managed to reply to the previous posts before reading yours)

I guess the bottom line is what's the better overall system setup (for both storage capablity as well as OS system performance)

1) 10k rpm 36 gb SATA primary drive with 200gb 7200 rpm storage
2) RAID 0 setup with say, two 150 gb 7200 rpm IDE
3) RAID 0 with two 10k rpm SATA drives and a 150gb 7200 rpm storage drive (I think this one is the best, but I don't know if the speed increases will justify the increased cost.....)

What do you think? :) 
June 11, 2003 8:39:21 PM

If your going all out i would do a "mutation" of option 3.
Get the two WD raptor 10K S-ata and then get two IDE drives and run a RAID1+0/RAID10 setup. That would be your best option with out going to scsi for all of it.

Mike
June 11, 2003 8:47:22 PM

Quote:
thanks for taking the time to explain some of the differences :) 

Not a prob. :) 

Quote:
I guess the bottom line is what's the better overall system setup (for both storage capablity as well as OS system performance)

1) 10k rpm 36 gb SATA primary drive with 200gb 7200 rpm storage
2) RAID 0 setup with say, two 150 gb 7200 rpm IDE
3) RAID 0 with two 10k rpm SATA drives and a 150gb 7200 rpm storage drive (I think this one is the best, but I don't know if the speed increases will justify the increased cost.....)

As you already guessed, number 3 will of course rock for performance, but cost a fortune. I'd say go with number 2.

If it's a gaming machine that'll do you.

If you have any important data to store (like a dissertation on world peace and your final thesis for abnormal psych) then I'd suggest setting it up in RAID1 instead of RAID0. You lose half of your storage space, but you gain the security that if one drive fails you're not screwed. (And a RAID1 array is still a little faster than no RAID array at all.)

"<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 11, 2003 9:32:22 PM

Quote...

Okay, I have to support the Intel suggestions here. Because it's a lock that there will be an upgrade path for an Intel P4 motherboard

End Quote...

It's a lock, heh, I don't trust Intel there. Intel likes to change their mind alot, which could hose upgrade possibilities.

<i> If your computer is your best friend, maybe you should rethink your life.</i> :wink:
June 11, 2003 9:38:08 PM

The 2.6 is not much better than the 2.4 and less overclockable. This is a VERY good setup, it is one of the fastest gaming machines ever made (89th fastest ever on 1024x768, 36th on 640x480). It is:
Abit IC7 Mobo
P4 2.4C o/ced to liking (I run mine at 3.52GHz)
2x256 (or 512) TwinX Corsair Ultra Low Latency Memory
Radeon 9700 (All In Wonder if you need) Pro
SLK-900U Heatsink with a 55CFM Sanyo Denki Mini Ace 92MM from <A HREF="http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/sanyodenki92mm.html" target="_new">Sidewinder Computers</A>
As of the AMD/Intel thing, there is no different "feel" to an Intel system. The 2.4C will beat a 2800 in many tasks.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=24302" target="_new">My System</A>
My NEW, Breaking 23k 3DMark2001 Score: <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=6590569" target="_new">http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=6590569&lt;/A>
June 11, 2003 10:37:37 PM

Quote:
Intel likes to change their mind alot, which could hose upgrade possibilities.

It sounds to me as if you're looking at Intel suspiciously from the very start. They won't suddenly say that their previous "i865 & i875 support prescott" claims were BS. They've never done that, but they do change socket designs more often than AMD. So unless you've got good reason to say that Prescott is in fact not supported by i875 and i865, then I'd say you're just being way too paranoid. :smile:
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