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My ever evolving computer. Help me choose hardware

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Anonymous
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November 22, 2000 5:04:21 PM

Here are the stats of the custom computer I will build soon. This is the hardware. I want suggestions.

Motherboard - Asus A7V - $146
CPU - AMD Thunderbird, 1 GHz - $282
Hard Drive - IBM 45.0GB, 7200RPM - $197
Sound Card - SoundBlaster Live! Value PCI - $47.90
Modem - 3Com 56k V.90 PCI Performance Pro FaxModem - $67.50
3¼ - Panasonic 1.44MB Floppy Drive - $13.90
CD-ROM - Creative Labs CD-RW Blaster 8x4x32 - $146.00
Monitor - ViewSonic 19” PF790 .25 1600x1280 - $426.00
Speakers - Altec Lansing ACS45.2 - $58.00
Mouse - Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer Optical - $59.00
Keyboard - Microsoft Natural Elite Keyboard V2.0 - $32.00
Video Card- Creative Labs GeForce 2 GTS 32MB - $221.99
Memory - Crucial 128 Meg PC133 SDRAM - $91.79
Case - Addtronics 6890A, Full Tower - $134.00
Heatsink - ALPHA PAL6035 Heatsink w/ 38cfm 60mm Fan - $32

Do you think this is a good setup. I am on a budget so I don't want to spend much more money than this.
November 22, 2000 5:27:19 PM

mine is really similar,
i'm sure you'll like it

ps, don't forget about case fans... if they aren't already in the case :) 
Anonymous
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November 22, 2000 5:36:00 PM

This computer is going to cost more than I really wanted to spend. It's about $2,000 right now. Do you see anywhere that I can cut the cost down?
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Anonymous
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November 22, 2000 7:05:18 PM

Do you really need a 1 Ghz? You could save about $100 if you get a 900mhz and OC if you want.

Do you need 45 gig? Might wanna save about $50 by going to the 30 gig model.

That modem seems a bit overprice. Where are you buying this from?

Visiontek is selling GF2 GTS for about 150-200 dollars.
Anonymous
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November 22, 2000 8:46:29 PM

Most prices are from www.mwave.com

The price for the modem is normal. It's not a cheap software modem.

I need help with my monitor choice. I am looking for a 17-19" for around $300, I don't think I need the expencive monitor I posted.
November 22, 2000 9:20:03 PM

Don't cut corners on the monitor it is the one peice of hardware that will give you the most enjoyment bar none. You also left out a second cd-rom which you will need to make copies and 32 speed play may not cut it for some of todays games.

I suggest the following:

smaller HDD but still 2 meg cache 7200 RPM
slightly cheaper case one for around 75 bucks
an 900 mhz t-bird
a 4x4x24 speed burner
then add a nice cd-rom like the kenwood true 72
Also, the prices you quote can be beat by quite a bit by shopping around try pricewatch.com
I know some people will scoff at the burner but lets face it how often do you really spend burning cd's? If it is all that often do what I do but the burner in another system, that way you can be playing quake3 and burning at the same time, something you can't do on any burner regardless of the speed on one computer....and it doesn't have to be a fast system either.
November 22, 2000 9:38:40 PM

not that i want to put down the A7V, but i have an epox 8kta+ and it's great. it will save you about $40 and you can overclock with it. also, like another person mentioned, i would save $100 and get a 900. even if you don't OC it i don't think $100 for 100mhz is good value. i also agree with the person who recomment\ded a 30gig 7200rpm drive instead of the 7200rpm. again, like somebody said, you can get a visiontek vid card for around $160-$170. personally,
with the $100 you could save on the cpu alone, i would get a pioneer 16x dvd drive. either way it looks like you'll have a rockin system...
Anonymous
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November 22, 2000 9:41:26 PM

I think you could make an effort and look for this hardware in other stores. Why don't you buy a cheaper Geforce2 GTS, a smaller hard disk drive (you will fill it anyway), and purchase the monitor you wanted?. You could also buy a cheaper flat screen (not LCD) 17' monitor, and buy a Toshiba DVD drive, they are the best when it comes to burning exact copies with CloneCD, I recommend you the Plextor 12X10X32XTA if you want to burn a lot of CD's, I just love it, not a single coaster and it has 24X audio extraction.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 23, 2000 2:38:19 PM

I am definitly getting a 17" flatscreen monitor rather than the 19". This will save me about $100. I will also get the 900 MHz rather than the GHz. I doubt I could notice the difference anyway.

Do I really need 2 CD-ROM drives? Couldn't I just copy the entire disk to my hard drive. Then stick a blank CD-R in and burn it? I think I could make due with just the CD-RW drive now, and in a few months when i have a bit more cash I could add a DVD-ROM with hardware decoder. I don't have the money for both at the moment.

Thanks for your help.
Anonymous
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November 23, 2000 2:48:07 PM

Nice setup ,the only thing I would suggest is more Ram .. if you can stretch to it 128mb not enough really....

M

one of the first UK T-Bird users....
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 23, 2000 3:00:11 PM

I agree with the RAM. Personally I run 1Gb but it might (!) be viewed a tad excessive... 256Mb probably better.

===
Do unto others before they do unto you...
Anonymous
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November 23, 2000 3:43:29 PM

Hey Daddy Geek.
I shop at Mwave, when I'm in a hurry (I live near their shop). If you're buying online & having them ship it to you, you may want to look for other vendors. Mwave isn't always the cheapest.
As far as good montiors... Mwave had a good price on the Viewsonic 773. 17' with .25 DPI, and very light weight about $225.
The only thing I'd change would be the CDRW. Plextor has a very nice 12/10/32 Burner out for about $250.
MWave's Case prices are generally astronomical. I picked up my Full tower (nice looking) for $55 -- w/ 300W Powersupply. Awesome case.
As far as saving money -- a 900Mhz processor wouldn't hurt. Saves you $90 and the system will still fly.

Enjoy the new system :) 

-Ryu
Anonymous
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November 23, 2000 6:01:04 PM

Get a different CD-R/RW. Get an HP or a Plextor. They are far and away the best.
Anonymous
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November 23, 2000 6:47:14 PM

What is going to make the Plextor burner any better than the Creative Labs drive?
Anonymous
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November 24, 2000 12:13:23 AM

Check out the CDRW forum in the community for many happy people with the Plextor IDE 12x burner. I hope that I will be getting the SCSI version around Christmas..

I'm pretty sure that Creative don't make CD recorders and never have. I've seen them before...rebadged, overpriced, and really unreliable. All that I've seen do not support decent features such as reading/writing raw which is esscential for backing up games/software titles which you bought ligitimately..
Anonymous
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November 24, 2000 5:48:31 AM

Don't get the intellimouse explorer optical. They suck for resolution. Get a nice quality roller ball from Logitech. That should knock about $30 off.

I agree with cutting down your price by lowering the hard drive capacity. You only really need a fast hard drive on say about 20 gigs where you store all your programs and OS. If you use the rest to store stuff like MP3, you don't really need the speed. So I would buy a superfast smaller hard drive and then add on one later if you need the space.

I don't understand why people want to get the Geforce2 chipset with only 32 meg. It's already limited by memory bandwidth with 64 meg of 7.5 ns DDR memory. I think the Geforce 1 with 32 megs of DDR is the way to go if you don't want something in the "Ultra" range. They have Geforce 1's with 32 meg of DDR for $130. Paying extra for the Geforce2 chipset and then giving it anything less than 5.5 ns ram is like buying a porsche 911 and putting anything less than Z-rated tires on it and only driving it around town. You got the bad boy, now drive it like you mean it. (MHO)...

If your getting something new in terms of a CD-burner and only getting one drive, I would follow what other people have said and get a brand name drive that can read sub-channel data and write in RAW mode. The HP's and Plextor's are going to do this, but if you check out clonecd, they recommend as one of their picks the 12x10x32 from plextor for the most reliable reading and writing from a single drive. You gotta love that BURNproof too...

Don't pay the premium for the fast processor. If I was to build a system today, I would consider seriously getting even a Duron 700 or 800. I'm running a PIII 600EB right now and everything I do with it is acceptable so I imagine going for a faster proc at a Duron level I would still see about equal performance. Maybe even better since I would be getting better memory and have the potential for overclocking..

Bottom line is there are some items you can skimp on and recover from like hard drives, amount of memory, and even processor if there is a decent upgrade path as there is with the socket A platform. (Duron 600 to Athlon 1.2!!!). Also, if you know what you want out of your video card you don't have to pay for what you aren't going to use.

With other items like monitors, cd-rom/recorder/dvd, case, and power supply, you're going to kick yourself later on if come to find out they don't do all that is expected. I'd almost put speakers in this category also, but they are more like video cards in that if you know what you want out of them, then you don't have to pay for more than what you will use. Speaking of kicking yourself, I'm kicking myself now for getting my $300 8x4x32 SCSI when I could have gotten the HP 9210i for $400. Sure I saved a $100, but now to do what I want to do with my current drive I'll have to toss it and buy the Plex 121032 ($250). So instead of spending $400, I'm going to have to spend $550, an extra $150 to fix my error (not counting the supposed interest return on the $100 I saved of course).

I agree with what others have said about monitors. I paid $650 about 2 years ago for my current Hitachi 19", but despite that high price, that is the only thing that has kept constant about my system and will stay with me for a long time to come. Off subject...I can't really seeing my self justifying a $2000 monitor purchase for an extra 2" of real estate. Hell, if I'm going to do that I might as well go for the $7000 Infocus projector and use it as an HDTV, and a monitor that I can blow up to 4ft x 6.5ft on one of the walls in my house. I can't really see myself falling back to 17" either though. Maybe it's one of those things that once you have it, you can't go back to way it used to be (like cell phones and DSL?).


- Every private citizen has a public responsibility
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 24, 2000 7:22:59 AM

I disagree - a 56k modem in the UK I can buy for 8 pounds over the counter, about $14 ?

===
Do unto others before they do unto you...
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 24, 2000 12:18:15 PM

Man....you're in a budget when planning on building that machine?.....pffffff.....*#@ªº!!! then what the hell am I in? I wish I had the cash now to buy ONE of those parts. Anyway, we all know it's never a good time to buy a PC since this things evolve so fast so far, but we're so close to the release of DDR boards that, why not wait a little and gain quite a quantum?

Saludos a todos
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 24, 2000 4:46:49 PM

Updated stats. I am now using this.

Motherboard - Asus A7V - $146
CPU - AMD Thunderbird 900 MHz w/ Cooling Fan - $205
Hard Drive - IBM 45.0 GB 7200RPM - $197
Sound Card - SoundBlaster Live! Value PCI - $47.90
Modem - 3Com 56k V.90 Performance Pro FaxModem - $67.50
3¼ - Panasonic 1.44MB Floppy Drive - $13.90
CD-ROM - Aopen CD952E 52X EIDE Internal CD-ROM - $37.00
Monitor - ViewSonic 17” PF775 .25 - $314
Speakers - Altec Lansing ACS45.2 Speakers - $58.00
Mouse - Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer - $59.00
Keyboard - Microsoft Natural Elite Keyboard - $32.00
Video Card- Annihilator2 GeForce2 GTS 32MB - $221.99
Memory - Crucial 128 Meg PC133 SDRAM - $91.79
Case - Addtronics 6890A, Full Tower - $134.00

The CD-ROM I have chosen only supports up to DMA-33, I am going to run it on a DMA-100 Controller. Where can I find a CD-ROM that will support the faster controller?
Anonymous
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November 24, 2000 7:49:48 PM

That's a nice setup, a shame that you don't have an Ethernet NIC to hookup to Cable modem or xDSL.
Anonymous
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November 24, 2000 8:05:35 PM

DSl nor Cable is available in my area. So, there is no use adding something I won't use? Once DSl or cable becomes available in my area, beleive me, I will be the first to sign up. But, at the current time, there is no need for me to have a NIC.
November 24, 2000 11:04:56 PM

Did you delete the cd-burner from your system? Currently, there are no Cd-roms that are faster than ultra 33, however they are all cross compatable and will run on the ata 100 controller. I just picked up a nice Quantum 30.0 gig ultra ata/66 drive with 2 meg of cache and 100 tdk cd-r's for 96 bucks delevered. While agreeably your IBM drive is faster, the difference is hardly noticable. don't be taken in yet by the new ata100 drives yet. While the controllers are cabable of transmitting at this speed, there is not a drive out there yet that can even do 66 meg/sec let alone 100. This is why the cache is more important.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
Anonymous
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November 27, 2000 2:18:42 PM

Excellent choices overall! There are some ways you can stretch your budget further and get almost the same performance.

1. Keep the motherboard. It's worth the cost.

2. Go with a mid grade duron or thunderbird cpu, rather than the 1ghz. You can save $150 there easily and it can be upgraded without having to change your software configuration down the road. Also, you can overclock pretty easily with the above mentioned motherboard. I've followed your posts, and from what you've probably picked up, all you need is a gorb and some arctic silver compound to go to 1ghz with a $100 cpu.

3. Keep the hard drive. It's worth it for the best.

4. Keep the sound card. This one is an amazing value. (as the name says) Have used 2 myself.

5. Might be cheaper to go with a standard us robotics faxmodem. The performance pro is optimized for online gaming if I'm not mistaken? It would be better to invest in cable or dsl if you're really serious about online games.

6. Keep the floppy. Never know when you might need it. I think I used mine at least 3 times this year! :) 

7. Stay away from the CL burner. I have read bad things about them and have had personal nightmares with them too. That company should stick to sound cards, as listed above. Best bet would be to go a few extra dollars and get a plextor burner and a good cd rom or dvd rom to copy discs on the fly. If you don't think you'll make many disc copies and will be only backing up data, a burner made by hp is a good, cheap investment. They're priced pretty low and are reliable.

8. Good choice for a monitor. I would not suggest scrimping and going with a 17". The sweet spot for pricing is at the 19" level, and a 17" would not be worth peanuts when you try to sell it when you upgrade to a 19" down the road.

9. The speakers are good, but if you can, forego them all together and use your home stereo. A $100 home theatre receiver and speaker set will sound way better than these. If you're into mp3's or are going to get a dvd rom, it's worth it to go this route.

10. Not a bad mouse. I have personal tastes, so buy one locally. If you don't like it, return it and get a different model. Try as many as you like until you find one you like best. I'm biased because I like opticals, but I hate anything that is not cordless. Logitech makes ones that are precise, but the scroll wheels suck. Microsoft makes theirs kind of flimsy, but with good scroll wheels. Try them all out and keep the one you like.

11. Same goes for the keyboard. I prefer a cordless model, but like the layout of the natural elite for typing. Buy locally so you can return what you don't like.

12. Go with a geforce 2 mx model if you're not totally serious about gaming. It will do fine with current and next generation games and it's cheap. If you are a serious hardcore gamer, spend the extra and go with a geforce 2 or geforce 2 ultra card. Unless you play 6 hours a day, the extra cost isn't worth it. The video card will have to be upgraded in 6 months anyway to stay state of the art. If you're serious with DVD, go with an ATI raidon instead. The dvd playback with this card is better than any other manufacturer.

13. Stay with 128mb of ram for now. Make sure it's cas 2! Prices went low about 2 weeks ago, but are on the rise again. I think you can get by until after christmas, when prices should drop again. This way you can add more without having to change your software. However, if you're going to use any memory intensive apps off the start, like photoshop, go with 256mb right away. Minimum! If prices don't drop again, you're ahead anyway.

14. This is a dream case! Are you sure you need it? Unless this is a show computer, or you're going to pack 6 hard drives or 4 cd rom drives in it, it's not worth the extra cost. Best bet is to save and go with a mid tower and spend an extra $30 on case fans and a hard drive cooler. Just make sure any case you buy has a least a 300W+ power supply.

15. A good fan choice. Just be sure to use a silver transfer compound.


If this is a family computer, you'd better budget a little on the side for extras if you don't have them. Leave extra money for a printer, scanner, keyboard and mouse wrist rests, blank cd's, floppies. Also, make sure you have a decent desk to work at and a good chair!


Also, I've noticed that most of your prices are a little above market. If this is the pricing a local dealer has given you, shop around town and see if someone else can save you $100 or so. If you order the main components online, you should be able to save $300 to $400 off what you have here. That will make the $100 shipping charge worth it.

Either way, this is one hell of a christmas gift. Whether it's for you or someone else, it'll be fast!


Blaine
Anonymous
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December 3, 2000 4:56:00 AM

Another point about the ram, as was told to me if buying from crucial.com. Go to crucial.com/webpromo/ for another 5% off on that memory.
Anonymous
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December 3, 2000 4:58:26 AM

You already look like you're going to get the ibm gxp hd. Might as well get the mobo you can RAID if you want built-in.

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