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Help me build a barebones system please

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September 4, 2003 8:32:33 AM

Okay, I've been looking (for my friend, as I already have my dream computer) to purchase a barebones system.

My budget is "under" $400, closer to 300 best, but if close to 400, better be much faster than current system.

We will need a case, psu, ram, mb, hd, cpu, and video.

Currently they are running windows 98 on 333mhz P2 compaq presario 4860. Not sure its mb, but its running at 66fsb, ram is at 96mb and running at 100mhz (I think), how the heck do you get to the bios on these things?!? It has a 8gig hard drive and a dvd drive.

It takes this quality ($2500 machine) literly 3+ minutes to fully boot up. Not to mention what a waste of high speed internet...It has built in video, not sure what, but its been suffice for their web browsing and papers (this machine will never be used for any games beyond the scope of solitare)...yes very sad.

Anyway, OUR goal is to make a machine which boots much much faster than that and of course can do everthing else a bit quicker too. (all for under 400 bucks)

I'm thinking this could be done with the folling parts:
1. 256 mb ram speed depends on mb choice, 256x2 if nforce is chosen.
2. 40 or 60 gb (any more would be a waste) hd with 8mb cache and 7200rpm
3. Possibly a mb with build in video, because video is a very low priority, just enough to watch a dvd on a 15" dispaly at 800x600
4. Any case is fine, any psu which "works" is also fine as they will not need much power ever.

I'm looking for any ideas, combinations, web sites, etc which could help. Ideas for GOOD combinations of mb/ram etc. I'm an AMD fan boy, but bang for buck is going to beat out here, remember fast window loading time is the primary goal. I was thinking somewhere around 1.5-2.0 ghz would be just fine.

So We need a MB(possibly with video, needs a lan, possibly usb 2.0 but optional)/RAM/HD(small but fast, no sorry raptor is a bit too expensive)/CASE/PSU.

Heck I don't even care if its a ECS mb with built in processor ram video sound lan etc etc, just as long as its reliable.

I priced a super budget computer:
ECS 266FSB, 64MB AGP, 3D, XP 1800+, 128 DDR, 40GB, FD, 10/100, 400w USB for $213 shipped, but everyone one of the parts are pretty low quality.

I also priced a a7n8x w/video:
Complete sys - AMD Athlon XP 2400 256MB DDR, ASUS A7N8X-VM, 60GB HD,Integr. LAn,Audio,Video Geforce4 w/TV encoder AGP8x, Asus CD-Rom 52X. For $359 shipped. I like Asus and have always used them, not sure if the low quality parts used along with this system are going to destroy the mb benifit though.

Again this isn't for me, its for my friend, My system; an overclocked 2500+ puts out 17087 in 3dmark2001, 5134 in 3dmark2003 (worthless benchmark though). Anyway, this new system will be priced significantly under that I paid for mine and *that* type of performance is obviously not going to be expected.

It will need a fast bootup, be able to run ms word and surf the internet on a high speed connection.

PLEASE HELP!, Any ideas are appriciated, links to sites are good, exact MB product names etc are also helpful :) . Maybe you know a online site that has a good system configuator where you can select anything and everything you want and don't have to select anything you don't want and they actually have a decient selection of products???

Thanks,
Dink9

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%

More about : build barebones system

September 4, 2003 8:55:16 AM

You should find a good motherboard cheap, I'm in Australia and i know that for about 70 - 80 US you can get a good mobo, 333 fsb supporting 333 ram. I recon this coupled with a 2.5, which prob get for the same price should be fine. Donnt go over the top on RAM, Maybe juust 256 to start with to keep caost low. Also a 40 gig 7200 getting very cheap. I'd also find a nice cheap case and get a good power supply to go with, cant go wrong this way. I personally would stay away from onboard video even if it meant getting the cheapest video card possible. I'm sure if you hunt around you'll be surprised what can be achieved on that budget

If he doesn't die, he'll get help!!!
September 4, 2003 9:58:40 AM

Well with that budget you're definitely looking at an AMD rig...

A quick browse around newegg.com:

Epox 8RGA+ - $103 <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">5th item down the list</A>
Athlon XP1800+ Retail (so you get a fan) $57<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?catalog=343&D..." target="_new">2nd one</A>
ENERMAX CS-5018SNFS-B (BLACK) ATX w/ 350W PSU $39<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">1st in list</A>
CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x64 PC 2700 DDR RAM - $49 (x2)=$98 <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">5th one down</A>
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 7200RPM 40Gb - $60.00 <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">Second in the list</A>
Total: <b>$357 </b>

Of course you could lose 256Mb of Ram to get the price down nearer $300, but then you don't get dual channel.

You'll be able to mildly OC with this setup, but if a reasonable OC is likely, then get the OEM XP1800+ (save $6) and buy a half-decent HSF, for like $20 or so... I went for PC2700 as it's only $2 more than PC2100 stuff, and gives that little bit of OC headroom if you need it.

The 8RGA+ has the built in Geforce4 MX, so he'd be able to play some games, but nothing too fancy.. although he's got an AGP slot should he want to upgrade in the future..

Just a few suggestions....

[EDIT]
I'm bored so I added some links... I'm just too damn kind.. :smile:
[/EDIT]

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The end is nigh.. (For this post at least) :smile: <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ChipDeath on 09/04/03 01:59 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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September 4, 2003 12:42:59 PM

Well gee, if all that you want is for Windows to load faster then just get a PCI P-ATA card and an 8MB cache 7200RPM hard drive. Why build a whole new computer just for that?

<font color=blue>If you look <font color=purple>The Devil</font color=purple><font color=red>®</font color=red> straight in the eye and only see yourself then you must be standing in front of a mirror.</font color=blue>
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2003 3:22:18 AM

Chipdeath offered a superior solution, although I'm not a big fan of those cheap cases. An Inwin mid tower would be better, but cost 50% more with power supply.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
September 5, 2003 3:51:10 PM

Get them a dell dimension and call it a day....They'll get support, faster loading times, WinXP, and you won't have to mess with it if it breaks...

Also a coward...pass the nachos
September 5, 2003 3:57:45 PM

for 300-400Bux? What sort of P.O.S would DELL sell for that?

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The end is nigh.. (For this post at least) :smile:
September 5, 2003 4:05:12 PM

Actually I even saw a dirt-cheap PC at Wally World (AKA Walmart) a few days ago running an Athlon. I was stunned. I mean monitor included and all for like $600 or something like that. (I don't remember the exact price now.) The quality of most parts is probably cutting more corners than a first-grader making a chain of paper men, but all considered it was still impressive.

Maybe OEMs are finally tapping a clue.

<pre><A HREF="http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030905" target="_new"><font color=black>People don't understand how hard being a dark god can be. - Hastur</font color=black></A></pre><p>
September 5, 2003 4:14:18 PM

hmm.. if they start building XP1700 rigs, with some cheap-a$$ VIA mobo w/integrated Sound/graphics... with their bulk-buying power, they could put together a base unit for $150-250 bucks... throw in a nasty blurry monitor, cheap mouse & Keyboard, and they could make <i>some</i> profit on a machine sold at around $400-$450... It would be awful, and probably have windows ME on it or something, but it would be <i>very</i> cheap... certainly cheap enough to attract idiots...

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The end is nigh.. (For this post at least) :smile:
September 5, 2003 7:55:12 PM

Or perhaps more kindly put: adequate for most home users who only surf the internet and use office-type software. (Okay, and occasionally let the kids play a game or two.)

Frankly I see it as a positive change in trend that the 'average Joe' no longer has the uber-PC being pushed upon them. Us enthusiasts can still easily get what we want, as can people who have the money to blow at an OEM.

<pre><A HREF="http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030905" target="_new"><font color=black>People don't understand how hard being a dark god can be. - Hastur</font color=black></A></pre><p>
September 5, 2003 8:23:07 PM

Quote:
Frankly I see it as a positive change in trend that the 'average Joe' no longer has the uber-PC being pushed upon them. Us enthusiasts can still easily get what we want, as can people who have the money to blow at an OEM.

My thoughts exactly...Most people see a computer upgrade as something to dread, rather than something that excites them (like us). You can buy a bare bones P4 3.2 Ghz with canterwood MOBO from dell with case, PS, memory, and hard drive for 465.00. I guess you could call that a POS, but I wouldn't.
linky
<A HREF="http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/23663" target="_new">http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/23663&...;/A>

update...looks like they sold out of 3.2s but you can get the 2.8 for 100.00 cheaper.

Also a coward...pass the nachos
September 6, 2003 7:41:10 PM

Thanks, but your response is pretty much just regergitating what I was asking in my post :) . I'm looking for specifics.

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%
September 6, 2003 7:43:21 PM

:) , thanks for the awesome response, very helpful. I do like newegg too, bought from them many times and NEVER had any problems with them. That system looks pretty good too, for a few hundred bucks. Thanks for the research.

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%
September 6, 2003 7:47:02 PM

I'm not sure if that would help, this system is SOOOO old and outdated that simply adding a ata-100 card and a good hard drive would probably not be benificial. I do agree that it would load windows MUCH faster, but if they are going to spend more than 100 bucks, they are going to expect that overall the computer goes a bit faster too. Its a tough call, i was thinking of maybe just spending 56 bucks and throwing a p3 866? in there, but not sure if that would help much with the computer being so old also.

Hum, maybe a new hard drive and p3 close to 1ghz? for 150 or so? would that make for noticable speed increase???

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%
September 6, 2003 7:52:38 PM

I'll forget you even mentioned dell. I want to help them not curse them dude :) . Even if dell was a viable solution for superlowend machines, their bottom of the crap shoot still starts around $450, which is well over my budget and i don't need a 15" monitor, a keyboard mouse, etc...).

I used to love dell, don't get me wrong, but they have gotten so big and started using crap parts, their systems are TOTAL crap, oh, wow they will fix anything, bid deal, still a waste of time, my company bought like 200 of dell dimention 933p3's a while back, i had to set up 50 of them in my office, in the first month we had 3 monitors die, 4 hard drives had to be swapped, and even a few motherboards went south. THAT is an unacceptable amount of $hit when you are losing about 2000 a day each day for each one of those machines that wasen't working. Sure dell came out and fixed it, a few days later...

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%
September 6, 2003 9:02:13 PM

Agreed, for a lot of people number one on the list is good customer support and warrenty. So Dell etc is what they want. It saves e'm calling you when they have a software problem etc.

If he doesn't die, he'll get help!!!
September 6, 2003 9:19:10 PM

Teach them to keep the shet on the start menu under control. A friend of my daughter's was in the same boat, so I >run, typed msconfig, clicked start menu, and unclicked everything. (30+). Boot time was 1/3, everything ran faster, they thought they had a "new" machine for free. So long as they keep crap off the start menu, they will be ok. Teach your friends to do this, after you build the new rig. The biggest resource user is msn mess-anger, bet it's adding 1.5 minutes to thier boot time!!
a b à CPUs
September 7, 2003 2:06:47 PM

Could you give me a ballpark figure what its bench mark score might be with 3Dmark2001se?

Thanking you in advance,
Art just an old jarhead
September 8, 2003 9:40:08 AM

Boy, don't I know it. That is one of the biggest time wasters of them all. No computer I use has anything under start and I use a small little program which also limits some window drivers and apps to start too. I did take about 5 things off the startup folder, which did drop loading time ALOT, however, they have this stupid omega zip drive installed and it has 3 different things which *must* start up for it act like a drive, stupid and it takes up like 30 more seconds., And i guess antivirus is good, but it also takes a heck of a long time to initialize (they use norton).

Your idea was great, specially on older machines which might not have alot of ram, less startup items = more free ram = faster performance, not to mention faster windows load time.

Too bad alot of users don't know this, my friends are hopeless, "start menu?" "but i need to use msn messanger..." very hopeless.

"sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick"
*grabs a stick and places it into the flames; mmmm, smores*
%Think before you act would be a good motto%
September 8, 2003 9:57:17 AM

Assuming it's overclocked to a 166FSB (should be perfectly capable), to give a 1.9Ghz speed (XP2400+ ish), it should score somewhere in the region of 4000-5000 3dMArks I'd guess, probably ~4400... depends on many factors really..

Of course if you shoved a Geforce4 Ti4600 in there it would get around 12500-13500 though, just to give an indication of what difference even a middle-tier graphics card can make over an IG solution.

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The end is nigh.. (For this post at least) :smile:
September 8, 2003 4:12:22 PM

go with the 256, upping to 512 isnt worth the money and dual channel with an nForce2 is incredibly pointless

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Vapor on 09/08/03 12:17 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 9, 2003 1:03:09 PM

I would disagree, 512Mb DOES make a difference. (at least I've noticed one)...
And although DC is fairly pointless for the XP, it does still benifit from reduced latency, therefore faster performance. the feature is there, so why not use it? maybe do only get 256, but you may as well get 2x128 if that's the case...

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The end is nigh.. (For this post at least) :smile:
September 9, 2003 6:32:35 PM

I agree with you that 512 is better, but he's building a barebones with little money, for someone that seemingly isnt a poweruser.
good point about the reduced latency, i've been building pretty much only p4 systems where latency is much less of a factor and i often forget about it. but alas the decision is his whether or not he wants a single 256 or 2 matched 128s, and which is cheaper...
September 9, 2003 6:40:36 PM

Latency is a big factor for the p4...it is effected by it more than the K7 core, this is because the P4 is just so bandwith hungry


Proud owner of DOS 3.3 :smile:
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