First build, need some help

my parents demand that i leave my pc at home when i go to uni so they can (in their words) "download the interweb..." what ever that is. anyway that means i am forced to build a whole new rig. OH DAM :D :D . was gonna go down the path of a normal full size desktop when the Shuttle SN95G5 caught my eye.

small would also be very handy for taking back and forth to uni and LANs.

Socket 939...if i was building a desktop i wouldn't spec it as high as a 3500+ but to fit in with the SN95G5 this will have to do;
AMD Athlon 64 3500 (Socket 939)

RAM... gonna need a gig to go with that cpu but which brand/type i have no idea?

HDD... i never tend to use more than 30 gig but at uni with a fast connection will prob end up downloading lots.
Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM SATA 36.7 or 74 gig.
looks nice and fast but;
1) is it going to be very loud?
2) why does everyone recomend you get a second HDD when buying a Raptor. (guessing for extra storage?)
3) is it worth it over a normal SATA HDD?

GFX card... oh my giddy aunt, last time i looked there was only about 3 to choose from, now there over 20 different categories. i want to make sure that i can play the latest games, including HL2, well, with high fps.

Sound Card... would it be worth sticking a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 or maby ZS in there. its important for me to have accurate sound for Counter-strike but would the card it make much of a differance?

Monitor... 17" tft please... i think the Sony x-black SDM-HS74P is very attractive but their's more important things to consider than that for gaming so im not to sure. whats popular at the moment? (tho i would like one with a nice stand. unless you can buy stand separately that is?)

need a CD-RW/DVD Combination (black)

and a floppy drive, tho dont think i've used one for years?

Mouse + KB... Logitech diNovo Media Desktop would look amazing with the SN95G5 and a flat screen but;
1) how is the KB suited for gaming?
2) do the batteries in the mouse ever run out?
3) how do wireless perform for gamers?

err... guess i dont need heatsink or psu... got some Arctic Silver already...

Basically i need you guys to help me choose a SN95G5 system, £1500 to spend, for uni games and the internet. any spec advice welcome.

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  1. Corsair XMS memory is good. Very stable and fast timings for really good performance. You'll need PC-3200 memory for the Athlon 64. If you get 1 GB of memory, you'll want to get 2x512 MB sticks.

    Some recommend 2 HDs, one for the OS and one for programs. Usually a 10,000 RPM drive that is fairly small is used for the OS to make boot ups and OS duties faster, while a larger but slower (7,200 RPM) is used for programs and storage. The 10,000 RPM drive will be louder than a 7,200 RPM drive.

    Half-Life 2 performs best with the new ATI Radeon X800 cards, while Doom III performs better with the GeForce 6800s. But, both cards are so good that it is doubtful you will ever notice a performance difference between them. If you are concerned mainly about Half-Life 2, stay away from the GeForce 59xx line of cards because they really aren't playable in DX 9.0 mode compared to the Radeon 9800 line.

    Integrated sound is getting a lot better in todays motherboards. What it may be good to do is use your motherboards integrated sound first, and then see if it is up to your standards. If you don't like it, then upgrade to an Audigy. My brother's new computer uses integrated sound only, and he says it sounds awesome while playing Doom III.

    Why settle with a 17" monitor, when 19" aren't that much more. I recently picked up a silver/grey/black Samsung 19" CRT for $200, and really love the thing. Really nice picture on it.

    I am very happy with my Samsung 16x DVD 52x32x52x CD-RW combo drive. It is about $40, and it works great. It is very quiet and I have never had a problem writing CDs with it. I actually own 2 of them in 2 different computers, and my brother liked it so much when he saw it that he used it for his new system. I guarantee you that you will not be unhappy if you get that drive. But, if you get it try to get the retail version because it has an 8 MB buffer rather than the OEM versions 2 MB buffer. But, I'm not sure if they make the 8 MB version in black, so I think I actually bought the 2 MB version the second time. I don't notice any realy performance differences though, and it works great.

    I would go with wireless devices that come with rechargeable batteries. Logitech has a new mouse that uses a laser tracker, uses Bluetooth for transmitting, and comes with a dock for recharging. My friend uses a regular battery powered Logitech mouse, and the batteries go dead fairly often. It is annoying to be playing a game with him when he has to leave because he is out of batteries.

    Good luck with your system.

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  2. My Raptors are not any noisier than 7200 rpm drives.
    Actually, quite quiet. The 74 gig ones have command queing, and perform faster than the 36 gig ones.

    Try everything...
    Do not be afraid of failure, for this is how we learn and grow...
    Live life to the fullest...
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