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Building new rig Soon(TM)

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February 20, 2005 11:17:29 PM

I'm putting together a new system. The most important priority is gaming performance, though I'll be using it as my all-purpose, primary machine. I'd like to keep the total price around $1,000 US. I do not plan on overclocking, and based on reading many posts I've decided to go with socket 754. I don't need a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or speakers, just the case and everything in it.

Here is what I'm looking at so far:
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3400+, 2.4GHz, Socket 754 Retail $219.00
Cooler: Included with CPU
Motherboard: Abit NF8 nVidia NForce3 250GB Socket 754 $88.00
RAM: Samsung Original 184-Pin 1GB DDR PC-3200 - OEM $199.99
Video: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB, 256-bit $205.00
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS PCI, SB0350 - OEM $69.99
Case: Enlight 7237 without PSU $38.00
PSU: Antec 430W Power Supply, Model "True 430" Retail $79.00
Hard Disk: Western Digital S.E. 120GB 7200RPM IDE - OEM $83.00
DVD: MSI 16X DVD-ROM, Model MS-8216, Retail $27.50
CD/RW: Using part from existing system
Floppy: Sony Beige 1.44MB 3.5Inch Floppy Disk Drive $8.00
Total: $1045.48

I have a couple of questions about this setup:

Memory: I've read many great recommendations for Corsair and Patriot RAM for overclocking, but what about just solid performing PC3200 RAM that's going to be running at stock speed?

Video Card: I may want to upgrade from a 9800 Pro in a year or so. Does anyone have any idea how long AGP video cards are going to be availabe? Shouldn't the top of the line AGP cards today still be around in a year or so, but a lot cheaper?

Audio: How good is the onboard ALC850 sound chip? I have a 4.1 Klipsh speaker system and I'll pay a little extra for high quality sound. Is the Audigy2 ZS considerably better?

Power Supply: Is 430W overkill? Can I save money and get the Enlight case that includes a 300W PSU?

Overall: Have I got it all wrong here? Would my money be better spent on an NForce4 platform with PCI-e and socket 939?

Thanks in advance for all imparted wisdom.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by confoundicator on 02/23/05 05:42 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

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February 21, 2005 12:16:39 AM

IMO the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Patriot XBL</A> is one of the best ram u can ever get, a TCCD based ram module with an awesome overclockable potential, get these patriots and u'll be pleased big time.
nobody can really till whether AGP cards will still be available in stock in a year or not.
about the onboad sound, i donno really never tried`em but i can tell that FOR SURE Audigy2 ZS will perform better.
No the 430W is good for ur system, the 300W that's included in the case wouldnt be enough for you.
finally if i were u i'd spend the money on the winchesters 939 with nForce3 MSI K8N Neo2
good luck with ur new rig :smile:
February 21, 2005 12:19:35 AM

Dood, be the first guy on the planet to own an A64-3600+. You can buy it <A HREF="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=..." target="_new">here.</A>

Abit IS7 - 3.0C @ 3.6ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
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February 21, 2005 1:20:43 AM

If you're NOT going to OC, then you'll be fine with something like this
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Mushkin Dual Pack PC3200 2x512MB</A>. If you think that you will OC down the line, then spend a little extra now and get some better RAM like the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Patriot PDC1G3200LLK</A> ($183.07). $50 less than the XBLK, but is still very good RAM.

Antec makes great PSUs, but I would recommend something that is <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/20041223/index.html" target="_new">ATX12V v2.0</A>. Like the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Enermax Noisetaker 420W</A> or the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Fortron Blue Storm 500W</A>. Either of these PSUs would be a great PSU for your system. You can estimate your systems power requirements with this <A HREF="http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/" target="_new">Wattage Calculator</A>. Remember to calculate your requirement based on a max continuous load of 50-75% of the rated wattage of the PSU (i.e. max cont wattage should not exceed 60-75% of the wattage rating of the PSU).

There will be AGP video cards around for a while and you should be able to upgrade the card in a year. How often are you going to want to upgrade the CPU/vid card?

If you're going for pure gaming performance, then the Audigy will take a little strain from the CPU. I don't know if there is a direct FPS correlation. The 850 should give good audio for your Klipsch. I'd say try it with the onboard and if you don't like it, then borrow an Audigy to try or buy one.

The price difference between s754/s939 has significantly decreased, especially with the new nF4 boards on the streets. You could get a s939 system with <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">A64 3200+ (Winchester)</A> the Patriot LLK that I mentioned earlier, the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">DFI Lanparty UT nF4 Ultra-D</A> and a <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">XFX GeForce 6600GT PCIe</A> for less than about $24 more than the system you described. That 3200+ should be able to easily overclock to 2.4 Ghz - somewhere around 3800+ performance. This would allow you to easily/cheaply upgrade CPU and GPU down the line....Food for thought.

__________________________________________________
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February 21, 2005 2:16:58 AM

Quote:
There will be AGP video cards around for a while and you should be able to upgrade the card in a year. How often are you going to want to upgrade the CPU/vid card?

I plan on putting this rig together and upgrading the video card in a year or so if needed. Otherwise in 2 or 3 years any upgrade I make will be a whole new system.

Here's the results of my excel spreadsheet with the parts you recommended:

Component Product Price
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 512KB L2 Cache, Socket 939 - Retail $193.00
Cooler: Included with CPU
Motherboard: DFI "LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D" NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Chipset Motherboard For AMD Socket 939 CPU -RETAIL $152.00
RAM: PDP SYSTEMS Memory Dual Channel Kit 184-Pin 1GB (512MBx2) DDR PC-3200, Model PDC1G3200LLK - Retail $183.07
Video Card: XFX nVIDIA GeForce 6600GT Video Card, 128MB GDDR3, 128-Bit, Dual DVI, AGP 8X, Model "PVT43ANDFB" OEM (bulk) $199.00
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS PCI, SB0350 - OEM $69.99
Case: Enlight 7237 without PSU $38.00
PSU: ENERMAX Noisetaker Series 420W Power Supply, ATX12V Ver2.01, Model "EG425P-VE SFMA 2.0" -RETAIL $75.00
Hard Disk: Western Digital S.E. 120GB 7200RPM IDE - OEM $83.00
DVD: MSI 16X DVD-ROM, Model MS-8216, Retail $27.50
CD/RW: Using part from existing system
Floppy: Sony Beige 1.44MB 3.5Inch Floppy Disk Drive $8.00
Total: $1,028.56

For another $50.00, which is pretty much insignifigant compared to the total price, I might as well get the uber-l337 memory and overclock. I was kind of shooting for cheaper components overall, as I'd hate to waste the potential of gear that's just begging to hot-rodded, but I guess if the best bang for the buck is to overclock (as this system will actually be slightly slower and a little more expensive)... OK here goes. The reason I wanted to avoid overclocking is because this system is going to be my main computer for a couple/few years and I want it to be solid for the long haul. When you say a "safe" overclock are you saying that it should have no adverse effects on the life of the part? I'm not afraid to play with settings, but I'm also not made of money so I'm very cautious with expensive s<b></b>hit like my shiny brand new computer. :cool:

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by confoundicator on 02/20/05 08:19 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 21, 2005 2:19:18 AM

The board is great but- The bios often misreads the temp sensor. If it is showing 60c 0r higher, you can be sure it is really 1/2 of that. I say get the board anyhow. It is solid, and will last a long time.
For memory, you can just get the samsung oem brand. I use it all the time. Most of it has been the TCCD stuff that wusy loves so much. It will give you 2.5-3-3-7, which is pretty good, for ram that goes for around $65 for 512.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 21, 2005 3:57:55 AM

I would definitely go with the pdp systems memory, either the xblk or llkk series, and i also like that dfi lanparty board. quality stuff on both.

<font color=green> Woohoo!! I am officially a <b> Journeyman </b>!! </font color=green>
February 21, 2005 4:16:13 AM

Get the 2.4 GHz A64 3400+ instead of 2.0 GHz S939 3200+, unless you're dying for overclocking fun. With the second setup you'll have to compensate the performance loss with overclocking, and if luck's with you then you may gain little extra performance which may not completely justify the extra cost.

Why overclock an overpriced and underclocked CPU, when you can get a factory clocked 2.4 GHz CPU for less price? (considering the much lower cost of mobo and ram with the first setup)

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February 21, 2005 8:44:37 PM

Thanks for the info about that mobo. I've used Abit in the past and have been very satisfied.

As far as the Samsung memory, I looked <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">here</A> but didn't see anything for $65. There is some stuff listed as 3-3-3 for $80 - is that what you're talking about? Is there any reason to use this over the less expensive Mushkin (besides overclocking ffs).

Thanks to everyone for replies so for. :cool:
February 23, 2005 11:38:51 PM

Well I realized that mobo only has 2 DIMM slots - so I'm gonna get a single <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">1 GB Samsung DIMM</A> instead, and leave room for another later. From the looks of the reviews it's the same thing you were talking about.

I'm nearing order time - so the "Soon(TM)" will go away soon.

(TM) :cool:
February 24, 2005 1:24:49 AM

Funny thing is, I picked up 2X256 for a system, and it says right on it cas 2.5, even though the site calls it cas3. It is using TCCC chips, but can still get to 230 no problem @ 2.5-3-3-7 at 2.6v. The problem with buiding for someone else is you cant really push things too far.
February 24, 2005 8:58:29 PM

Your recommend an AGP GPU for a PCI-EXPRESS mobo!!! :smile:

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Athlon XP 1800+</font color=green> o/c to <font color=green>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
February 25, 2005 2:29:57 PM

Thx for pointing that out, you must be talking about the second setup I posted with the DFI Lanparty mobo. You're right that's an AGP video card alright. :cool:

After looking at the pros and cons of both setups I decided to go with the Abit board and socket 754, the setup in the original post (to which I made a couple changes and edited the post).

Once I get it all up and running I'll let you guys know how it turns out.
!