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Please Review New System Specs Part 2...

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July 9, 2003 2:26:32 PM

Okay, so I've fudged around with a few of the system specs since I last posted them. It started when I couldn't decide between a GF FX 5600 VIVO and a GF4 Ti4200-8x VIVO. Then I realized that the UPS that I'd chosen didn't have AVR, so I wanted to get one that did. And then Newegg ran out of stock on the Logitech keyboard/mouse combo that I <i>really</i> wanted, so I had to look for something else. In the end a lot of specs have gone through minor changes <i>and</i> I was able to bring the total system price right at $1500. So here are the new specs. Somone please shout out if anything looks really bad.

CyberPower CPS625AVR, 6 Outlet UPS = $79
Reason: It has AVR. The UPS that I chose before didn't.

Antec Sonata with True380 PS = $120
Reason: This stayed the same. It's just so hard to beat.

Antec 120mm Smartfan = $26
Reason: I definately want to keep my front intake now that I have RAID plans. As much as I was tempted to put this on the chopping block to save a few bucks, I just couldn't do it.

KEYBOARD-2000 BLACK KB/MS-RETAIL BOX = $16
Reason: Cheaper than black Logitech optical combo and said combo is out of stock now. :(  ETA is 7-18 for restock of Logitech. I may still shell out the money for the Logitech in the end.

Retail Intel P4C 2.4GHz, 800MHz FSB = $174
Reason: I didn't want to downgrade from the 2.6GHz, but the price difference was too hard to ignore.

Retail Asus P4P800 Deluxe (i865PE) = $141
Reason: I want RAID that backs up my data for me because I'm lazy when it comes to backing things up and so far I don't have any burner for this system. Ideally I'd like RAID1.5 or RAID5 because they don't eat up nearly as much hard drive space. Since I can't find any RAID1.5 controllers <i>not</i> on an expensive mobo and since a RAID5 setup is even more expensive, I'll have to settle for plain old RAID1 provided by the P4P800 Deluxe's onboard controller. Plus I figured that if I don't set up a RAID array when I first set up the system then I may never justify the cost of an additional hard drive and controller later <i>just</i> for data redundancy. So it is now or never. Plus Firewire could come in handy.

Corsair Value Select 1GB (512MBx2) = $188
Reason: It's cheap but a good brand name and rated at CAS2.5. I have to admit that I am tempted by the GeIL Value 512MB PC3200 CAS2.5 on sale for $78 each. That'd <i>almost</i> save me enough to get the P4C 2.6GHz... :(  Darn temptations.

Retail MSI Ti4200-VTD8X 128MB GF4 Ti4200 VIVO = $128
Reason: 'Downgraded' from GF FX5600 VIVO because this has better performance with earlier games at stock and comes with a crap load of software titles that I wanted to get anyway.

(two)Hitachi/IBM 180GXP 07N9212 60GB 7200RPM 2MB cache = $136
Reason: They're one platter drives, which means less noise. They're also (according to reviews) <i>almost</i> as silent as the Panasonic that I downgraded from. Also according to reviews they rock for performance, only being beaten by WDs. So they're quiet drives that still have good performance. Their only fault is running hot, but with my 120mm front intake fan that shouldn't be a concern.

MSI MS-8216140BL 16x DVD/48xCD Black = $36
Reason: Still very silent and black matches case.

Samsung 1.44MB black floppy drive = $13
Reason: Still need floppy drive and black matches case.

CINTRE RW-6525D 5.1 Speakers = $52
Reason: They have a front headphone jack and the controls aren't built into subwoofer. They're cheaper than Altec Lansing 251 but still a 5.1 setup. The sound will probably suck, but I can upgrade later if it's just too awful.

NEC FE990-BK 19" Black Flat-Panel CRT Monitor = $245
Reason: Still looks like a great monitor, so no reason to change.

Microsoft XP Pro - OEM FUll Version = $147
Reason: Because I pretty much have to. I need XP for HT and I need protocols in Pro for software compatability with work so that I can work at home.

Total = $1501

"<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>
July 9, 2003 3:23:45 PM

How bout <A HREF="http://monitoronsale.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID=8..." target="_new">this</A> monitor instead? It's a 21" NEC AccuSync 120. Only 199 bucks. Of course, that's only if you don't mind refurbed. I've had my refurbed from that site since 2000 and it's still going strong.

<font color=red>To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.</font color=red>
<font color=green>Farmers' Almanac, 1978</font color=green>

TKS
July 9, 2003 3:37:02 PM

Hmm ... I dunno ...

I mean years ago I bought a floor-demo-model 17" monitor to replace the 15" that I had originally ordered with my Pentium 133 because the 15" had sync problems with the video card. That poor abused demo 17" has lasted me quiet some time and performed very well. For only $50 than the 15", it was a virtual steal.

So in theory you'd think that a refub wouldn't scare me.

But at the same time I'm really wanting as many parts under a year or more waranty as I can get with this system. So I'm probably going to stick with the monitor that I've chosen unless it goes out of stock.

Besides, I'm not even sure that I could fit a 21" on my desk! It'd be nice, but perhaps excessive. Plus I'm running 19" monitors at work and every time I go home I feel like the 17" is tiny. If I had a 21" at home that'd make my 19" at work feel tiny. **ROFL** Where as if I have a 19" at both work and home then I don't have to squint or adjust to different sizing ever again. He he he.

(There's sane logic for you.)

And my computer desk is black, the case is black, the keyboard and mouse are black, and the speakers are silver (which ties in with a hint of silver on the case), so a white monitor would really look funny.

(Even saner logic.)

Why do I feel sullied like I just asked for a lime-green or bright-orange computer...

"<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>
Related resources
July 9, 2003 6:17:44 PM

It seems you got the right system config now.The only thing I have to tell is, if u can manage with the old one ,wait till september.Then the deep price cuts of intel P4 will help u for getting a much better system(Hope u saw the news by now-from the inquirer)
July 9, 2003 7:43:59 PM

Quote:
The only thing I have to tell is, if u can manage with the old one ,wait till september.Then the deep price cuts of intel P4 will help u for getting a much better system(Hope u saw the news by now-from the inquirer)

So far every news source that I've read has said that the price cuts will take place on October 26th, which is 3.5 months from now, and will only save me something like $40 at best anyway. Basically if the prices for everything else stay exactly the same, all it would let me do is upgrade from a 2.4C to a 2.6C. So waiting until the price cuts happen seems kind of silly to me. I'd rather have my new PC now. :) 

Hmm... maybe I'll even order it today...

"<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>
July 9, 2003 11:13:19 PM

That logitech combo is really nice though. We have them at work and I find them more comfortable than the standard cheap keyboards.
July 10, 2003 3:05:02 AM

Looks good to me. Just like the last one with a few changes. Still buying in two weeks?
July 10, 2003 3:14:26 PM

Actually, I <i>might</i> be buying <b>TONIGHT!!!!!</b>

Heh heh. I'm so excited.

It turns out that my wife has been holding out on me and said that I'm allowed to spend up to two grand. (Tax and S&H are included into that though, so no 2K on just components.)

I kinda feel guilty pushing the system cost <i>that</i> high however because I know that it'll all go onto a credit card and we'll just be paying for as much as we can (looking to be between $1500 and $1700) once the statement arives. I hate having an outstanding balance of over $100 on any of my credit cards though because then you're paying interest <i>and</i> you're tempted to just keep adding to that balance because what's another n bucks, you know? So I don't know exactly what I'll do now. :( 

I'm thinking of things like upgrading back to the P4 2.6C at least. I'll be glad to have that back. And I may pick up Corsair 3200 XMS instead of Corsair Value Select for the heat spreaders. (I know they have problems running on 865/875, but I'm really just looking at ensuring CAS2.5 anyway.) Maybe I'll go back to the Altec Lansing 251 speakers too. They match the computer better and are supposed to have good sound quality ... for their price.

If I feel extreme I might even consider adding in a DVD burner into the lot as well because the CD burner on my Celeron 500 is ancient, slow, and doesn't support much. Plus the ability to burn the occasional home-made DVD is hard to resist when I have VIVO functionality. Heh heh. That could open up a whole new world of fun. :) 

Chances are though that I won't upgrade the hard drives. I'm tempted to run a RAID5 array with 3 drives, but then I start to worry about both the power supply and the advantages compared to the cost and I think in the end it might be a fun future upgrade instead. RAID1 is almost good enough. I had been tempted to get the DFI Lanparty board for RAID1.5 because I'd <i>really</i> rather have RAID1.5 than RAID1, but the DFI Lanparty 875 kinda sucks on memory performance, so I'm thinking probably not. Too bad no one offers an 865PE with RAID1.5 and solid performance all around. :(  And why can't I even find any RAID1.5 cards from Highpoint? If they're making an onboard chip to support it, shouldn't they make a PCI card for it too? Or a way to flash an existing card? It's kinda odd.

Of course upgrading the video card came to mind too. It was actually my first thought. But then I have to wonder if the 380W power supply will be enough and all that. More than power supply concerns though is just that I'm really looking forward to seeing how the graphics companies handle GDDRII and all and seeing what the releases that they do in time for Yule will be. So I'd rather wait until after Yule to decide on an uber-top-end video card and stick with the ti42008x for now.

Anywho, talk about a long ramble. Too many choices = brain overload. And darn Newegg for running out of stock on my preferred keyboard/mouse combo. Maybe I'll just order the cheap set and order the Logitech set once it's back in stock. It never hurts to have backup keyboards. (Backup mice are less important since Windows can be nagivated by keyboard and can also emulate a mouse with the number pad.)

"<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>
July 10, 2003 7:39:22 PM

(My personal opinion)spend some extra money for processor and ram.You can add a DVD burner later.Is it looking wise?
July 10, 2003 8:02:43 PM

Hey, thumbs up on the HDDs. Save for the Raptors, they are KATN. Silent and cool, too (relatively).

Also I read an article today that suggests RAM prices will be going up soon, so that's something you need to jump on. . .NOW.

__________________________________________________
<b><font color=red>Three great virtues of a programmer are: laziness, impatience, and hubris.</font color=red><b>
July 10, 2003 10:24:42 PM

You can't go wrong with that Ti4200, it looks like it comes with nearly 128 dollars worth of software! It's like you're getting a free video card.. or free software :eek: 
July 11, 2003 3:17:34 AM

Why not use your old keyboard an mouse? Than when New Egg has the ones you want buy them. That way you have a few extra bucks for who knows what. I'm waiting for my credit card date to close sometime this weekend. Than I buy in July pay in Sept. Since the money is in the bank. Not burning a hole in my pocket.
July 11, 2003 1:56:01 PM

Here's a mass-response since I'm too lazy to click on the reply button a bunch of times. Heh heh. :) 

<i>varghesejim wrote:</i>
Quote:
(My personal opinion)spend some extra money for processor and ram.You can add a DVD burner later.Is it looking wise?

Yeah, I decided that the state of DVD burners just wasn't quite where I wanted to go yet. There's still a compatability fight between -r/rw and +r/rw. I could spend the extra to get a drive that can write both standards, but I'm still not too impressed with the CDR capabilities of DVD burners yet either. In the end I decided that I could still burn a video CD that'd play on most DVD players. It just woulnd't be as much video time. But then who has 2-hour home movies anyway? So I looked at a 52x burner from Lite On. Not the most silent of burners, but then I have a silent dvd/cd reader and that'll get used more than the burner will. So the 2.4C went up to a 2.6C and the RAM is still 1GB, but I upgraded it to Corsair XMS for the heat spreaders. (And it's silly, but because the black heatspreaders look cool.) In the end I chose to save money.

<i>dwellman wrote:</i>
Quote:
Hey, thumbs up on the HDDs. Save for the Raptors, they are KATN. Silent and cool, too (relatively).

Yeah, I've read a lot of good reviews on the 180GXPs. I liked the idea of even more silent hard drives, but their performance generally suffers for that silence. Sometimes even to the point of barely being better than 5400RPM. Doh! So the 180GXPs looked like a good balance between noise and performance.

Quote:
Also I read an article today that suggests RAM prices will be going up soon, so that's something you need to jump on. . .NOW.

It wouldn't surprise me. The whole XMas season is coming up (which means "sale" prices that are 20% above what they were during the summer) and on top of that DDRII should be making an appearance shortly after. I just can't justify getting much more than 1GB though, so I think I'll stick with that.

<i>markgun wrote:</i>
Quote:
You can't go wrong with that Ti4200, it looks like it comes with nearly 128 dollars worth of software! It's like you're getting a free video card.. or free software

I know! It was the software that really sold me in the end because I wanted to buy some of those games anyway.

I've read though that a few people are having problems with the heatsink not being fastened correctly on those cards. It really looks like MSI is cutting quality control to bring those low prices. (It <i>is</i> a 128MB GF4 <i>with VIVO</i> at entry-level plain-jane 64MB GF4 prices. And then there <i>is</i> that big stack-o-software.) But hey, It isn't like man didn't invent epoxy for a reason... Heh heh. Or I could just RMA it, which'd be fine too. And a lot of people are still in fact getting good ones. It's probably the biggest gamble in my whole PC though.

<i>HardwareBoss wrote:</i>
Quote:
Why not use your old keyboard an mouse? Than when New Egg has the ones you want buy them. That way you have a few extra bucks for who knows what. I'm waiting for my credit card date to close sometime this weekend. Than I buy in July pay in Sept. Since the money is in the bank. Not burning a hole in my pocket.

My wife will be using my old keyboard and mouse, which will still be connected to my old computer. :)  That PC will eventually get replaced with a cheap little AMD number for her too, but that'll be a little more in the future. (Like maybe tax-return time.) So what I'll just do is order the good Logitech set once I've saved up the cash transfer the crappy keyboard and mouse with this system into the stockpile for my wife's budget-PC replacement come tax-time.

<b>And I <i>did</i> buy the parts last night! Yay!!!</b>

Well ... almost all of the parts. The 120mm smartfan wasn't available (I think because Antec is switching smartfan product lines from a black plastic fan to a clear plastic fan or something stupid), nor was the 16-bit PCMCIA ethernet adapter that my wife will need to transfer her files from her laptop to my soon-to-be-ex PC in stock. I'll order those in a couple of days when they're in stock again.

In the end I went with the Sonata case (of course), the P4P800 Deluxe, a P4C 2.6GHz, 1GB (2x512MB) Corsair XMS 3200, MSI's VIVO GF4 Ti4200, 2x60GB 180GXPs for RAID1, MSI 16x DVD, Lite On 52x CDRW, Floppy, Altec Lansing 251, NEC 19" Flat CRT, and Win XP Pro. Oh, and picked up the cute little Newegg black and silver sticker since that square for the OEM's brand sticker would have just been empty and funny-looking without <i>something</i> there. Heh heh. Oh, and all components (monitor, speakers, faceplates on drives, keyboard, mouse, etc.) are black to match the case. :) 

I can't wait to assemble this system! I have to admit though, I'm a little nervous. I even ordered an anti-static wrist thingy because I'm so nervous that I don't trust just grounding myself before I touch anything like I've always done in the past. **ROFL** Even though I've never fried a component yet, I just really don't want to screw this one up.

The end total for my actual PC will be around $1600. (Though misc. extra parts like a USB ethernet for my old PC and a PCMCIA ethernet for my wife's laptop and a crossover cable and such are costing almost an additional $100.)

And just in case anyone thinks that OEM PCs are priced at nearly the same as what it's cost to build yourself, I went to Dell and configured a Dimension 8300 to as close to my system specs as I could get (but it won't have things like a UPS, the cool Antec case with two 120mm fans, or my hoard of games from the MSI video card) and it costs $<b>2</b>667. That's a grand more folks. Ouch. I'm glad that I'm building my own PC. I can guarantee a better quality for all of my parts <i>and</i> save litterally a thousand bucks at the same time.

Just say no to OEMs.

Well ... unless you're just not any good at building a PC. I have to say if I'd never built a PC before (or even worked on one before) then I'd sure be ten times more nervous about building this one than I am now. I have to admit that a grand <i>might</i> be worth the peace of mind.

Then again, that <i>is</i> a rather steep markup.

Oh, and here's one for you folks to laugh at. In the process of configuring this Dell system to compare the price to, the automated online configure software <i>wouldn't</i> let me pair a 5.1 speaker set with the onboard 5.1 sound. It kept giving me an error saying that the onboard sound isn't compatible with the speakers and suggesting that I upgrade to SB Live 5.1. How stupid is that? Since when is 5.1 not compatible with 5.1? On top of that they also suggest "The Altec Lansing ADA995 Surround Sound 5.1 Speakers should be purchased with the Dell® Enhanced Multimedia Keyboard." Since when do you need to upgrade your KEYBOARD to use 5.1 speakers?

I think that Dell should be taken to task for this misrepresentation of compatability problems just to encourage people to spend more money on 'upgrades'.

"<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>
July 11, 2003 4:05:39 PM

AHHHH $hit, yeah my suplier just hiked RAM prices 10$ overnight, that sucks. Hopefully that was it.
July 11, 2003 4:25:51 PM

No, tehy'll be going up... until maybe next Janurary

__________________________________________________
<b><font color=red>Three great virtues of a programmer are: laziness, impatience, and hubris.</font color=red><b>
July 11, 2003 4:27:07 PM

'Tis the season to hike prices.

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

"<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>
July 11, 2003 4:29:13 PM

Ha!

Good one!

Did you get your stuff?

__________________________________________________
<b><font color=red>Three great virtues of a programmer are: laziness, impatience, and hubris.</font color=red><b>
July 11, 2003 4:50:55 PM

Well, I ordered most of the stuff last night. (My smartfan is out of stock and has an ETA of Sunday of all days so that'll have to wait.) It's Newegg, so it should be pretty quick. I'd say that my system will probably be fully assembled by the end of next week if all goes well. After all, it shouldn't take me more than a few hours to assemble. The real XXXXX is loading on all of the software and doing the burn-in testing.

Which reminds me, I should download as much as I can from work and then burn a CD because at home I just have a modem connection...

"<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>
July 11, 2003 6:46:20 PM

Quote:
I should download as much as I can from work

That is an excellent idea. Latest drivers and such. Manuals. Benchies. BIOS.

__________________________________________________
<b><font color=red>Three great virtues of a programmer are: laziness, impatience, and hubris.</font color=red><b>
July 12, 2003 3:11:48 AM

Looks like your going to be busy this weekend. Have loads of fun putting your new toy together. I see your giving your wife your old puter. I'll be doing the same with mine. At least they will not be collecting dust. Still lots of life in the ole puters. For our wifes to play with.
!