Please help me build a new computer!

I'm about to finally buy a new computer, but I'm having all kinds of problems deciding what to get. Apologies if this post starts to go off topic.

Let me start off with the computer's purpose. I'm a gamer, but as much as I'd like to build a system entirely for gaming, the primary use will definitely be graphic design. In other words, Quark, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash will be used a whole lot. I will also be going into video editing and 3D rendering in the near future.

I've been reading that the Pentium 4 is the way to go for graphic design, but everywhere I go I see people going on and on about the 64-bit Athlon. I realize that there isn't much 64-bit support at the moment, but I don't want to be left behind when there is. Will 64-bit matter that much?

Not sure if it matters at all, but I am considering a dual monitor setup in the near future.

I multitask quite a bit. I have a horrible habit of leaving 15+ IE windows open, in addition to my other programs. Would HyperThreading therefore be a major factor for me?

I do not plan on overclocking. I need absolute stability. The last system I overclocked was a TBird on a K7Master, and I had to take it back down to stock after a few months because it started giving me all kinds of problems.

I don't plan on upgrading components. I was considering waiting for PCI-E, but I'm sick of waiting, and I'm assuming the initial boards will come at a hefty price. In any case, I'm hoping this system will last me at the very least 2 years. My current system is struggling to reach 2 years, but it was built as a budget/mid-range system.

At the moment I'm leaning towards a Pentium System:
P4 2.8C
ABIT IC7 MAX3 (is this overkill?)
Corsair TwinX 1024 (2x512MB) PC3200 LL (is dual channel really worth it?)
Seagate Barracuda SATA 120GB
Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro 256MB

I'll probably throw in a half-decent sound card and a DVD burner as well.

I'm planning on buying my system (tower, and everything inside) from, and I'm running a budget of about $2500 Canadian. $2500 is the maximum, so I would ideally like to spend considerably less.

Please let me know what you guys think!
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  1. If you're not going to overclock, go with the IS7 and a faster P4. The 3.0C Northwoods are in a nice price range now. I can't see going with the top board unless you are going to stick a lot of drives in it. The on-board sound on most boards today will be plenty good enough. I would wait on the sound card. Dual-channel & hyper-threading are a must for what you want to do with your P4. As far as the A64's go, I'm not sure you couldn't get equal performance with a ClawHammer (1mb cache) and fast memory. I have not compared the two in anything but gaming FPS so far. You will have to comb through the THG Benchmarks, but I would lean more toward an A64 on a 939 board if possible. I know it will be pricier than the P4 build, but you may not have to worry about ditching it in two years either. :smile:

    "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
  2. Go with the Abit IS7 Mobo. Yes buy the two sticks of ram.
  3. Thanks for the reply. I'm still rather confused... are you saying that I'm better off with an A64, even though the P4 has the benefit of HT?
  4. You can comb through the benchmarks <A HREF="" target="_new">here.</A> You'll have to weigh the pro's and con's for yourself. I know how tough this can be!

    "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
  5. P4 is better for the Graphic work you are doing. A64 better for gaming. You have to decide which you will do more of. Plus if you make money with the Graphic stuff buy P4.
  6. Thanks for all the help guys. Don't get me wrong, I've checked out the benchmarks, and I think the general consensus is that while the A64 is better for gaming, the P4 is the way to go for graphic design.

    My biggest concern has to do with what we (or at least I) still don't know: how will the A64 perform for graphic design once 64-bit applications are available?

    I haven't seen a whole lot of news regarding 64-bit software since the February preview of Windows XP 64-bit edition. Any predictions?
  7. I think we'll start seeing a lot of apps next year. I know MS has a push on it for next year's crop of OEM machines.

    "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
  8. Thanks for all the help Cybercraig. Man, I still don't know if I should go with a P4 or A64...
  9. Looks like your down to a coin toss. Intel will be releasing 64 bit Prescotts soon.
  10. How soon is soon?
  11. Not soon enough...

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  12. I here you there fob,

    the 64 bit relm kinda throws in a rench in to this.

    if its one more thing to help you conisider. the A64's apperntly run more quitly & cooly.

    Something that is somewhat important to where my Girl Friend will need, (living in a Small condo).

    Its a bit Frustrating for me too. I have More knowlege of the Intel PC world, little of the MAc world, but not so much of the AMD world.

    <b><A HREF="" target="_new">DigitalGunfire-Industrial EBM</A></b>
    ASUS P4S8X-P4 2.4B - 2x512M DDR333 - ATI 9500Pro - WD80G HD(8M) - SAMSUNG SV0844D 8G HD - LG 16X DVD - Yamaha F1 CDRW
  13. Looks like $2500 seems to be the benchmark lately.

    I need a new pc myself and have that kind of budget.

    And I'm having trouble deciding on my cpu/mobo combo.

    Never been a fan of AMD and I do both gaming and graphics.

    What bothers me is all the built-ins on the mobos. Since I intend to get ATI 9800 graphics and SB Platinum Pro, I have zero need for on-board graphics and sound. But it seems all the top end mobos have them. Sure I want the other extras, but having two sound and graphics systems seems redundant, a potential trouble source, and wasted money.

    To complicate my hunt further, I'm intrigued by the dual Xeon option. But I'm worried about software/gaming compatability problems. If need be, I'll settle for a single high end P4, like 3.2 or 3.4. Maybe even an Extreme.

    I'll probably go for 2 10krpm 74 gig SATA drives striped and add another 2 later when I start adding other programs.

    So what would you all recommend for a cpu/mobo combo?

    Is there a full featured mobo from MSI, Intel, or Asus that has all the bells and whistles EXCEPT onboard sound and graphics?
  14. I hate to make things worse, but it seems that win64 will have a serious impact on graphics rendering. I believe it was at Anand, that I saw some older benches that showed this.
    My main reason for sticking my 2 cents in here though, is to suggest you check out prices at <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> or maybe <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>. Ncix is quite expensive.
  15. Something that is somewhat important to where my Girl Friend will need, (living in a Small condo).

    DooD, if she wants to heat the place get a Scottie! I can't imagine any other MB/CPU making that drastic a difference in apartment temperatures! :lol:

    "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
  16. Thanks for the advice endyen. I'm definitely swaying towards an A64 now.

    While I originally intended on building a top-dog system, I'm now considering getting an upper mid-range system, saving my money for either future upgrades or a future system. What's really throwing me off is the whole PCIe and SLI thing.

    I know ATI is not currently offering an SLI solution, but if I were to get an AGP X800 now, I'm pretty much killing the possibility of running an SLI setup in a future system without having to buy two brand new cards. Perhaps I should settle for a 9800 Pro. What do you guys think?

    I do NOT want to wait until September to get a mobo that'll allow SLI. Realistically, I probably won't even run an SLI setup, but the numbers that NVIDIA are putting out for SLI are really impressive.
  17. Gotta tell ya... built this about 4 months ago with this combo (among other things)...

    Athlon64 3000+
    Gigabyte K8NNXP
    1GBCorsair XMS DDR PC-3200

    It really kicks for games. I run Illustrator & In-Design and it screams and.... stays cool as a cucumber.

    <font color=blue><b>just trying to put a little distance......
    ..... between causes and effects</font color=blue></b>
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