Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New computer! Please review....

Last response: in CPUs
Share
September 5, 2004 1:37:24 PM

OK, I was considering buying a new computer, and this is more or less what I thought of buying:
<b>
AMD Athlon 64 3000+
MSI K8N Neo Platinum
ZALMAN Cooler - CNPS7000A-AlCu (ultra silent)
1GB Corsair value select DDR400 memory (lifetime warranty)
LG DVD Recorder 4082B
Radeon 9600XT (128MB, VIVO-capable)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus (ST3120026A) 120GB PATA
19 inch LG T910B Monitor
Creative Inspire 5200 Speakers (5.1)
Creative Audigy 2 ZS
ZALMAN 400w ZM400B-APS Highly silent PS
Black Chieftec Case </b>(or something)
...eventually extra case fans...

However, I'm afraid I'll most likely not afford this solution in this form, so I'm looking for a way to reduce system cost. If I'm not able to do that, I won't buy soon. Also, I'm considering going with a current-generation video card if I can, like maybe the 6600 or 6600GT, if and when those are available and worthwhile. Also, I was kind of hoping I'd make a somewhat silent computer (which is the reason behind choosing zalman components).

Oh, and a S939 solution is completely out of my price league.

So here are the questions I have...

1) How good is the Neo's onboard sound compared to the audigy 2 ZS? Is the audigy sound board actually required? I know the Realtek hardware on the mobo actually suppots up to 7.1 sound, but is it any good?

2) Is there currently any measurable difference between PATA and SATA performance?

3) Which timings is this corsair value select memory capable of? Just out of curiosity. It's also quite a little more expensive than, say, generic memory....

More about : computer review

September 5, 2004 1:54:50 PM

Ouch!

I forgot to mention the most basic thing when buying a computer... So before anyone asks...

This computer will be used for a lot of video encoding, because it'll probably be connected to a TV cable. It will replace the very, very old and revolting video-cassete recording that we still sometimes do. (because this computer will probably be in my room, I'll be using it as a media center - I'll watch movies and TV - therefore, a 19 inch monitor and 5.1 sound and quiet operation should do fine for me......

However, I'm also planning on using this computer for gaming. Doom 3, of course, all the way (which is why getting a 6600 or 6600GT will be a reasonable choice). I also tend to use a lot of Coreldraw and 3DSMAX, because I like my computer presentations to be illustrated. :smile:

And finally, I'm also an enthusiast programmer and would like good overall system performance for whatever I program the computer to do. High FP throughput, for instance, would be appreciated. And I'll probably be interested in learning how to exploit the 64-bit extensions as well.

(for instance, I've had a program run straight for the last 15 days just for a simulation I was doing. Granted, it was a Duron 1.2Ghz... But at least I didn't have to pay its electricity bill... It's a university computer!)
September 5, 2004 2:27:46 PM

I think for what you currently want to do and for your budget, drop the Audigy for the time being. I did not see 5.1 speakers etc., so that might help.

Sreeni
Related resources
September 5, 2004 5:53:22 PM

Doing alot of video work The P4 is the better Cpu for that. Since we are not talking dual Cpus.
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2004 7:36:51 PM

I'll help!

-The onboard sound is fairly decent, you should be able to tolerate it with minimal bad feelings towards it!
-You could look around for a 9700 Pro, occasionally companies have new ones at great discounts (clearence), still carrying a full warranty and saving some money
-The 160GB drive is only a few dollars more than the 120GB drive, so even though it's more, it's a better value.

<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, 2004 8:55:45 PM

Since your computer will be used as a multimedia entertainement system, well, look for a Radeon 9800AIW. Maybe a bit more expensive but you'll get everything you need to watch, record, play-back and decent game playing. If it is too much, then check the AIW 9600xt. It even come with a FM tuner. And for sure get a bigger HDD. I would wait for the Zalman cooler. I would try the stock one before. It might be just adequate if you dont plan to overclock. As for your board, well, there might be better option out there. Be ready to update BIOS a lot if you get an older one, but newer should be ok.

I wouldnt call what you plan to do "video encoding". unless you plan to take DVD and encode them as DIVX or editing a video file with title and then reencoding it in mpeg2 for DVD authoring. But if you plan to do that, your system will be good for that too. But in this case, considerig RAID as an option might help improve performance. 2x 120 Gigs SATA in RAID 0 will hold a lot of file while being fast for video editing. And yes, I would try the onboard sound first. You could always add a sound card later if you dont like it.

I have a computer to do exactly what you plan to do. It has a 2500+ mobile (running 9x200 so I can drop the speed of my HSF to half speed and almost noiseless). 2 SATA 160 Gigs HDD and a n AIW 9600XT using onboard sound. Going to replace the CPU with an AMD64 3000+ and a Soltek K8an2e-gr motherboard while keeping everything else.




-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
September 6, 2004 2:54:29 AM

Thanks for the answers, everybody.

I'll consider the 9700 and the AIW as well. The video card is still subject to a lot of changes, in particular due to the launch of ATi's X700 and nVidia's 6600/6600GT - which brings me to a small dilemma: if given a choice of a more thoroughly featured 9600 AIW and a more technologically advanced X700/X600 for a comparable price, what would I do?... I want to be able to play Doom 3 well...

Also, I didn't know there was a superior barracuda model that is only slightly more expensive, I'll look into that and consider it... though I'm a bit skeptical... :frown: I was looking to cut costs, not add to the final costs...

And as for the Audigy, I think I'm going to dump it as of now. If I'm not too happy with the onboard sound in the future, I might consider an easy upgrade.

Oh, and pat,...
Quote:

I wouldnt call what you plan to do "video encoding". unless you plan to take DVD and encode them as DIVX or editing a video file with title and then reencoding it in mpeg2 for DVD authoring.

I'm not interested solely in TV and DVD playback, I'm interested in encoding DIVXs a lot! I plan, for instance, to keep some series as DVDs or CDs in DivX-encoded form! That's why I said that. Oh, and thanks for the RAID-advice, but I'm afraid I cannot afford another drive as of now. It's an option I might consider for the future, though.

Also, I was considering Zalman components because I intended this computer to be as silent as possible, not because I think the stock cooler would be inadequate... I could be wrong, of course, but I wanted to be on the sure side. Is the stock cooler a silent one?...
September 6, 2004 3:24:47 AM

A nice feature of nforce 3 250gb is the mix and match raid setups. When you get another hdd, it doesn't even matter if they are 1 sata, and one pata, you can set the two up as an array. ( up to 8 drives)
As far as sata/pata goes, Sandra says my pata drive is faster than any non-raided sata drive. Dont trust Sandra much, but it makes sense.
a b à CPUs
September 6, 2004 3:42:20 AM

Where I last looked the 7200.7 120GB was $96 and 160GB was $104. I know you're not interested in spending more, but 40GB for $8?

<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 6, 2004 2:21:16 PM

You convinced me, of course... I'd be a fool not to get the 160GB version for 8 dollars more! Thanks. :smile:
September 6, 2004 3:00:54 PM

Then dont worry, your system will be fast enough for your encoding task... I usually let it encode at night or get out to have a beer while it is doing that....And for the cooler, I would just check the stock one for noise, and move to the zalman if you dont like it.

-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
September 6, 2004 4:50:16 PM

Just out of curiosity, is this A64 3000+ OC-able? I mean, doesn't the ODMC make overclocking that much difficult?... Or dangerous?
September 6, 2004 6:24:12 PM

sure it is. I dont plan to overclock mine (yet) but if you are, I guess the overclocking forum could help you on that


-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
September 7, 2004 2:32:39 AM

In 9 months Intel launches dual core CPUs. Food for thought.
September 7, 2004 3:33:51 AM

Not the ODMC. My OC starts to go south at just over 10%. Doesn't matter if the mem bus is 166 or 200.
I suspect that at this close to theoretical max on 130 nanos, the binning is pretty tight.
September 7, 2004 2:23:39 PM

Oh well, I think I changed my mind. If I don't have the money to get this computer the way I want it, I'll wait until I do, even if it's another 6 months.

Oh, and I just saw the 6600GT scores from anandtech. Not too bad at all.

I wonder how much longer until ATi releases X700? Or possibly current-generation AIWs?...

I'm also keeping an eye on IDF, which starts today. Don't know if Intel will come close to AMD at all... I'm skeptical about buying Intel for the next several months, but why not just watch them trying to catch up?
September 7, 2004 4:39:19 PM

That's the fun of it. To sit back and wait. To see who does what.
!