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Opinions for new rig (yet another one)

Last response: in CPUs
November 17, 2003 10:18:26 AM

Hi guys, I need some opinions from you people. I'm putting together a new computer on the cheap, $500 or so, I'm willing to go a little bit above it if it's really really worth it. Please consider that right now I'm using a pIII450, tnt 16mb, 96 ram, 98se; so pretty much any upgrade would be a great upgrade for me.

My main concerns:

CPU/Motherboard/Hard drive:

2500 barton or 1700 tbred for cpu.
Right now I'll buy one single 80-120 gb HD but later on I'd like to add a second one and reconfigure the system with RAID0. Am I set on RAID0? yes, certainly. Where I work we have lots of hardware and I've conducted several real world tests and RAID0 is something I really want. Now, I'd like a motherboard that already has a RAID controller. I've narrowed it down to 2 options:

1-Epox Motherboard for AMD Processors 8RDA3+ Retail $90 at newegg. The plus is that I hear it's a good mobo and it overclocks fine, even though I'm not looking for any particularly crazy OC, a 200mhz fsb for a 166 cpu is fine with me (according to what I've read at newegg this is very feasible, specially with rev.2 mobos). I also like the round ide cables and included SATA power connectors. The downside is I'm forced to sata hd for the RAID later on. I'd like to get a WD hd, but the cheapest one is at ~$150 for 120gb. So that leaves me with seagate at ~80+ for 80gb. Personally I've never had a bad experience with seagate but these barracudas don't seem to be that fast, rather slow actually.

2-Gigabyte Motherboard for AMD Processors MODEL GA-7N400PRO2 - RETAIL $113 newegg.
It looks like a good mobo but the only real reason I'd like to use it is that it has an IDE RAID function, nice pluses are: 1000ethernet, dual bios chip. However I'm not sure how good it is, and I wonder if I'm better off getting a regular mobo (A7N8X-X @$73) with no RAID at all and buying a cheap RAID ctrler later on. However, the cheapest one I find is HighPoint RAID Controller Card RocketRAID100 Retail $44, so I don't know. What do you think?
What do you know of this A7N8X-X mobo, is it as good as the deluxe minus the extras? Will it OC to 200mhz FSB?

EDIT: I just found the AbitNF7-M, with integrated video, what you guys think of it? /EDIT


I think I'll get 2x256 chips, kingston probably. I also thought of getting 1x512 and adding a second one later on, however I might have problems finding the exact same RAM. I'm guessing I'll need PC3200 for OCing a little bit, or do you think 2700 will do 200mhz?

Anything is way better than my tnt. Actually, if I could find a good mobo with gforce4mx, I'd go for it, what do you think of the A7N8X-VM? @$98? something steers me away from microATX mobos though. Later on I could get a better card. But it looks like there aren't many choices there, so I was considering a 9100 or a ti4200. I even started pondering a 9600pro, but it depends on the final outcome of the rest of the parts. I'm open to suggestions.

Whatever comes in mobo is fine

I'd like at least a 2x dvd-r drive. I'm thinking of getting the NEC 1300 for $107. Do you think it's worth it to get the Pioneer 106 at $131?

I already have a 19" trinitron and my altec340s will have to do for a while longer. BTW, I'm not in the States, so I'll buy the case here. Also I probably won't buy from Newegg, for some reason they won't ship anything to the mailboxes address I have in Miami, so I have to try a diff. vendor, any suggestions?
Thanks a lot in advance,

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by xlodo on 11/17/03 07:57 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : opinions rig

November 17, 2003 2:27:08 PM

MOBO: Epox 8RDA3+ $89
CPU: OEM Barton 2500+ $85
RAM: 2xKingston 256Mb 2x$50 $100
HDD: Maxtor 80Gb SATA 7200RPM 8Mb $87
Video: (I'm not too good with Gfx cards sub - $100 or so, perhaps a Radeon 8500 for $78? IMHO though, get a 9600Pro or better (~$150) so you'll be ok, gfx-wise for a while)

As for DVD-R drive, I wouldn't bother yet myself, as the blanks are still comparatively expensive, and you can make DivX/VCD films on normal CDRs anyway, so slap in a Lite-on CDRW drive.

Another point - that's an OEM CPU I specced, so you'd need a HSF for it.

IIRC, the A7N8X-X is the nforce2 400 (non-ultra) chipset, so doesn't support Dual Channel RAM. In itself that's not a really bad thing, but you'll be missing out on a little bit of performance (<~5% on average I think, depending on the application)

<font color=red>The preceding text is assembled from information stored in an unreliable organic storage medium. As such it may be innacurate, incomplete, or completely wrong</font color=red> :wink:
November 17, 2003 3:33:56 PM

Well at the shop we offer 3 grades of computers low end mid range and high end with options for each of them for upgrades. It gets tricky as we warranty our pre-package systems even though we build them from scratch in house.
They come with all the hardware including a monitor.
We generally build with a P4 CPU and supporting motherboard and a Maxtor 30 gig hard drive at 7200 rpm the new motherboards work with those drives in UDMA mode 6 and you can see that in the start-up list of the computer.
The high end computers get a Radeon graphics card now in the 9800 range. As ATI the makers of the Radeon is local to us here outside Ottawa Canada we get good warranty and shipping from them.
That is about all you need for a really good P.C.

If you want to build a computer that will supply you with what you would ever need for the next 5 years you could go to the Athlon 64 CPU and a Radeon 9800 or the new FX9800 from Nvidia.
Up here in Canada the FX 9800 Pro/Ultra is $800.00 dollars before our taxes over the counter.
so already you are well above what you wanted to spend but if you are in the states perhaps you can wing for the graphics card and then drop another 500 for the cpu and motherboard.
If you want a good little system for $500.00 in cash you can some times find a computer shop that has used computers.
At our shop we are a recycle program and people can drop off used computers for junking so they do not go into the land fills.
After we get 20 of them in the back room we take a Saturday and yank them all apart for parts then we can build 2 or 3 good computers and we sell them for around $500.00 in cash, the majority of all computers we get go to schools and community centres and they are free to those organizations. The techs donate some free time to building those computers.
I walked out of my house last week and a neighbour had thrown a computer in the garbage it was just smashed to pieces and the hard drive was lying on the was wet as well, I let it dry out then plugged it in reformatted it and it works just great. A Quantum SE 3.5 Series FireBall @ 2111 MB AT.
Don't limit your self to new hardware shop around that example is just how tuff some computer hardware can be so shopping second hand can be an advantages way to go.
Now I have this little 2.1 Gig hard drive kicking around I can install Win 98 onto it and use an old 64 MB graphics card and have yet another little computer to muck around on. Or I can give it to someone who needs a computer for school work my son will let me know who needs it.

»§øЫÑighthåwk™ Don't get mad at the player get mad at the game. Hackers drool and Skill's rule.
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November 17, 2003 3:46:40 PM

That wasn't a particularly useful comment...especially with that graphics card info. BTW, may I ask what an FX 9800Ultra is?! I've never heard of it...I've heard of ATi 9800PRO and nVidia FX 5900Ultra, but never FX 9800Ultra.

I agree that finding used components may help, but he has a pretty usable system already, just wants an upgrade. I think that getting new and warrantied parts would be of use to him as well. I would go with what Chipdeath recommended, just with a Ti4200 and the Pioneer 106. Should come out to just over 500.

Damn Rambus.
November 17, 2003 5:14:29 PM

Yep you are right and sorry about the slip on the Ultra that was just my confudging brain so early in the morning.

»§øЫÑighthåwk™ Don't get mad at the player get mad at the game. Hackers drool and Skill's rule.
November 18, 2003 8:31:19 AM

Thanks for your reply.
You're completely right about the a7n8x-x, I hadn't noticed that. I guess if I was to go for that option I'd be better off with via600 chipset, as they're cheaper and have many more extras with similar performance.
I guess right now it comes down to choosing between a mobo with integrated video (abit NF7-M)and dvd-r or 9600pro+cdrw. The thing is that I'm not really satisfied with the quality of 1cd divx rips, so I usually go for 2 cds, which in the end became a PITA and I stopped doing it altogether. I like the idea of putting 5-6 divx movies on one DVD, no splitting. I think I'll leave the video card for later. If I can play Warcraft III on my actual system (except poor HD pages like crazy with 96mb of ram) I should be able to get by with the mx [-peep-] for now.
As far as the Maxtor hd, I didn't have very good personal experinces with those, so I think I'll stick to WD/seagate. I know those can fail too, I work as a tech support agent and have to replace a lot of those every week (specially seagates) and a WD every now and then, but no bad personal experiences. Thanks again
November 18, 2003 8:40:02 AM

COol, I forgot there was a lovely junkyard very close to home. I'm hoping to find one of those nifty wet 2.1 giggers and maybe I'll hook it up directly to my memory controller and use it instead of RAM.
BTW, maybe you don't have too much experience building pcs (30gigHD+9800pro?), but no PC will supply anyone "with what you would ever need for the next 5 years "
November 18, 2003 9:51:58 AM

Thanks for replying. I've been looking for a 4200. In newegg the cheapest I can find goes for $122. I think at that price I'd rather add the extra $30 for the 9600pro. A concern I have is that where I work we replace bad 4600s everyday, I'm hoping it's a vendor specific problem. I think I'll wait until the dx9.0 market settles down and then make a choice.
Do you guys think I'll need pc3200 to get a 400mhz fsb? Is it worth it to get 1gig instead of 512mb? In the machines we have here I don't find much of a difference, but I don't use them that much so...
November 18, 2003 11:18:22 AM

SoD's a total dumbass and has been repeatedly demonstrating it on the forums. Ignore anything he says generally or at least get colaborating opinions before you take anything he says as level.

November 18, 2003 1:59:24 PM

Yeah, the guy definitely has issues. It's a sad thing there's no IQ pre-requisite to post here. Then again, most of you folks know your [-peep-], and that really compensates for guys like him.
November 18, 2003 2:49:10 PM

Good idea about waiting for the DX9 market to calm down. Prices will crash (hopefully, at least) when R42X and NV40 are released--you should be able to get a good buy then. I have a Ti4400 that has been working fine, so I don't think your 4600 problem is 4600s in general.

Yes, you will need PC3200 to reach 400MHz FSB, or some VERY good PC2700. It is safer and more predictable to use PC3200, however. I notice a difference between 1gig and 512mb and think that 1gig is almost a necessity. Some people prefer to disagree. If you can fit the 1gig into your budget, then get it.

Damn Rambus.
November 19, 2003 6:11:43 AM

Thanks a lot man. I think I'll change the budget to $600 to include the gig of ram, mainly because I know if I don't get it know, I'll be too lazy to sell the 256 sticks to get 2 new 512s. I'm a bit concerned cause I went to Abit's site to check the nf7-m. It directed me to kingston's memory compatibility website which states that if I'm going to use ddr400 I'm limited to a single 512stick, it says for 2x512 sticks I need to use ddr333, I've never heard of this before. I dloaded the manual for the mobo and will read it just to make sure. Have you heard of this limitation?
November 19, 2003 9:11:57 AM

I guess if I was to go for that option I'd be better off with via600 chipset

Not really, given the choice between single channel Nforce2 and VIA I'd still go for the nforce, because of it's <i>vastly</i> superior overclocking capabilities. And For video encoding Overclocking will reap great rewards, and a Barton 2500+ will almost always have no problems reaching 2.2Ghz/200FSB. (3200+)

Plus if you want integrated video you <i>really</i> have to go nforce2, as virtually all other IGP solutions are truly awful. The Geforce4MX IGP solution is not fantastic, but it's reasonable for current games of the 'quake 3' generation.

<font color=red>The preceding text is assembled from information stored in an unreliable organic storage medium. As such it may be innacurate, incomplete, or completely wrong</font color=red> :wink:
November 20, 2003 12:09:05 AM

Just a thought, I'm in much the same position as you looking for a mobo/cpu combination that offers the most bang for the buck (in NZ there is a considerable price difference between AMD and Intel CPU's, so I am not endorsing any brand, I'm just cost constrained) After reading the advice here I have settled on eschewing the built in graphics of the Nforce2Ultra and going for the best mobo i can get for an Ath XP2600+ cpu, with suitible fsb speed to upgrade to 3200+ next year. In the interim I am putting in a budget(read $NZ150 approx US85) graphics card. The way I figure its a swappable component and I would rather have the option to upgrade CPU and use SATA...well...I would have If I had'nt spent 3K on a new bike (but its sooooo sexy)

Great boards, I have learnt a hell of a lot

Just thoughts, hope they make sense.
November 21, 2003 1:40:56 PM

Thanks for your input. As soon as mine is up and running I'll post feedback