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lamer goes w/ OEM (AMD1.2G /w 266FSB)

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February 2, 2001 7:53:43 PM

Yup, that would be me. I finally made a purchase and since I asked for a lot of advice over the past month I figured I'd just post what I bought (from Alienware). OK, and maybe gloat a little ;)  Yeah, people are going to bitch about the price but that was a known quantity because I was not going to do it myself (not enough time nor patience right now). Anyhow here it is... would love to get CONSTRUCTIVE thoughts (i.e. let's not turn this into a flame war like all you Aureal fanatics ;) 

Case: SPACE BLACK ATX Mid-Tower Case (300-Watt PS)
Processor: AMD Athlon 1.2GHz Processor 266MHz FSB w/Heatsink & Cooling Fan
Hi-Performance Heatsink/CPU Cooling Fan
ALi MAGiK1 Motherboard w/1AGP/5PCI for Athlon Processors
Standard 1.44MB Floppy Drive
Memory: 256MB DDR SDRAM (PC-2100)
Keyboard: SPACE BLACK 107-Enhanced Windows Keyboard
Hard Drive: 40GB HD 9.0ms seek time, 7200RPM, UltraATA
Video Cooling: KoolMaxx Video Cooling System $46.00
Video Card : NVIDIA GeForce2 ULTRA w/64MB DDR TV-Out 4X AGP
Sound Card : SoundBlaster LIVE! 5.1 X GAMER
DVD-ROM : Pioneer 16X DVD 40X w/Software MPEG-2 Decoder
Storage : PlexWriter 12X/10X Write 32X Read CDR-W Recordable-IDE
Modems : US Robotics V.90 56K Internal Voice/Fax/Data
Ethernet NIC: PCI Ethernet 10-100 NIC
Warranty: Aliencare Toll-Free 1-Year 24/7 ONSITE Warranty w/Drive Imaging Recovery System $39.00
Microsoft Windows ME Operating System
Performance Benchmarks Documentation
Personalized Technical Support Manual
Latest Drivers
Shipping Method: Free Fed-Ex 2nd Day Air w/insurance through January 31, 2001 (No Charge)

Final Tally: $2500

I probably could have done the recovery disk myself, but as you can tell, I AM LAZY. lol Anyhow, it has the 266FSB so we will have to see if it actually is an Athlon C or not.

More about : lamer oem amd1 266fsb

Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 2, 2001 8:35:32 PM

Constructive critism eh? 1. Well if you've read any of the reviews the ALI DDR chipset was one to avoid. You basically spent too much money because of the memory and didn't get any performance for it. (actually I think often less than the KT133A) 2. Video cooling for $46? I'm sure you could find a better use of $46. 3. I'm not a big fan of the GF2 Ultra. Obviously the performance totally rocks, but the Pro has a much nicer price/performance ratio. Not a big deal though. 4. AMD says that you are suppose to have 400W PS for a 1.2ghz athlon. It's true, but a bit of a joke. :) 

Regarding OEM stuff like you're saying; The price is a bit steep and it REALLY doesn't take long to put a PC together. 30 mins is a reasonable time. Quality/compatibility shouldn't matter much if you pick your parts intelligently. Hell you could just copy an OEM config if you wanted. I'm being pretty picky (accept with the ALI/DDR) so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. What sort of monitor did you get?
February 2, 2001 9:21:21 PM

dude, admit it...You are jealous because he can afford it and you can not! hahaha.

I like alienware, I like their style...cool!
Related resources
February 2, 2001 9:25:56 PM

i could have made you the exact same system for less than 2k. you've got to shop around more...

If you can't beat 'em kill 'em
athlon "SLOTA" thunderbird 700@1050mhz
February 2, 2001 9:57:14 PM

On price alone I don't think you did that badly. Here is my reasoning.

Not counting the memory, you have about $1800 worth of hardware at street price. I don't know how much DDR memory costs. I'll call it $200. Microsoft Windows ME adds what, $80. Let's call it all $2100. Now figure if you were buying all the parts yourself you'd spend about $150 in shipping charges. That brings the cost up to $2250. Now for an extra $250 someone built it for you and you get a 1 year guarantee and Alienware has a good reputation.

Congrats. Enjoy your purchase.
February 2, 2001 9:59:56 PM

Really??!? I'd like to see your vendor list and prices for all that stuff, flavio.
a b à CPUs
February 2, 2001 10:18:41 PM

Hey, it sounds like a great system. And the MAGiK is a great chipset. It may not give you the full benefit of DDR, but it still outperforms SDR and is almost sure to be more reliable/compatable than anything VIA comes up with.

Suicide is painless...........
February 2, 2001 10:38:49 PM

everything came out to roughly $1,700 bucks without the motherboard. and the price of the motherboad to that...
i overestimated everything and included the shipping and handling. i am going to list the whole thing. just look for yourself...

azzo.com
computersupersale.com
icompz.com

If you can't beat 'em kill 'em
athlon "SLOTA" thunderbird 700@1050mhz
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2001 12:06:59 AM

Yep Dude, I totalled it up, and from my favorite vendor, I could have built the exact same system for $1985.00, and chosen the exact brand of component I wanted as well, not the cheapest one of each. Nice system though, lets hope that no problems start appearing with DDR RAM and mobo's!
February 3, 2001 12:51:34 AM

the lowest recomended power supply by amd fo an atholon 1.2 is 250 not 400
February 3, 2001 2:07:13 AM

Here is the costs for the equivalent system that I come up with. (My original estimate with guessed prices was high by about $310). All prices are from www.pricewatch.com. Same brand and spec were used where possible. Brands and/or models listed otherwise or generic. For generic the the lowest priced item was taken.

Case: SPACE BLACK ATX Mid-Tower Case (300-Watt PS) -$91 Antec (black)
Processor: AMD Athlon 1.2GHz Processor 266MHz FSB - $269 w/Heatsink & Cooling Fan
Hi-Performance Heatsink/CPU Cooling Fan - $22 GlobalWin Fop38 w/ Delta
ALi MAGiK1 Motherboard w/1AGP/5PCI for Athlon Processors - $152 IWILL KA266
Standard 1.44MB Floppy Drive - $4
Memory: 256MB DDR SDRAM (PC-2100) - $294 Corsair CM64SD256-2100
Keyboard: SPACE BLACK 107-Enhanced Windows Keyboard - $18 Antec keyboard (black)
Hard Drive: 40GB HD 9.0ms seek time, 7200RPM, UltraATA $145 Western Digital 400BB
Video Cooling: KoolMaxx Video Cooling System $46.00 - $46 Don't know left as is
Video Card : NVIDIA GeForce2 ULTRA w/64MB DDR TV-Out 4X AGP - $335 Visiontek
Sound Card : SoundBlaster LIVE! 5.1 X GAMER - $72
DVD-ROM : Pioneer 16X DVD 40X w/Software MPEG-2 Decoder - $69 Pioneer 16x, $40 Sigma Systems Mpeg2-decoder
Storage : PlexWriter 12X/10X Write 32X Read CDR-W Recordable-IDE - $196
Modems : US Robotics V.90 56K Internal Voice/Fax/Data - $24
Ethernet NIC: PCI Ethernet 10-100 NIC - $33 3com
Warranty: Aliencare Toll-Free 1-Year 24/7 ONSITE Warranty w/Drive Imaging Recovery System $39.00

Total = $1710 + shipping ($150 est) + cost of Windows ME ($80 est) = $1940

Not much I would have changed from this list. Would have went with an IBM 75GXP. I like VisionTek vid cards (very overclockable). I don't know the specs on the PSU. I would want one with at least 25A/+3.3 volt and 25A/+5 volt. I don't know enough about DDR motherboards to make a decision.
February 3, 2001 2:18:52 AM

Why would we bitch about the price?! That's one helluva deal for a DDR 1.2GHz Alienware system! I though they were $5k! (they charge a lot).

----------------------
I hate intel
February 3, 2001 2:21:58 AM

Flavio, I can't seem to find an Athlon "C" on any of these sites. Can you help me out?
February 3, 2001 2:28:56 AM

All from one vendor? And who might that be, if I may ask?
February 3, 2001 3:06:56 AM

I'm not sure you're really equivalent, phsstpok. I didn't see any 1.2G 266FSB Athlons or Athlon "C" CPUs on pricewatch. Also, the Vision Tek cards that are comparable to Alienware's seem to be almost $500. Did I miss something?

And, there is some value in having an assembled system with a warranty as compared to a sack of parts.
February 3, 2001 3:10:44 AM

Where did you get a Pioneer 16X with decoding software for just $69? The cheapest I see is 74.

Also, we all know what happens if you actually buy from the lowest priced vendor on pricewatch. You get screwed. I think he got a farely good price with the DDR, athlon C, and all.
February 3, 2001 3:44:59 AM

Beans, tbfww mentioned himself that he didn't know if he has an Athlon C, in any case we already know that the original tbird can be unlocked and run at 133 mhz.

As for the Visiontek, $335 at Universal Computer Dist. Thats for Geforce 2 Ultra, 64 MB, tv-out. Search www.pricewatch.com for keywords: geforce ultra. It's the second hit.

Also my second message may have been misunderstood. I still maintain that even though my piecemeal system is cheaper than my earlier "guess", that the complete, guaranteed, pre-tested, Alienware system is one darn good value.
February 3, 2001 4:13:48 AM

Sorry, screwed up on that one. I read the wrong number. $73 for bare drive only. Didn't care about the software because I thought the system was spec'd with hardware mpeg-2 decoder which was about $40. It is on my list.

Oops, one accidental improvement.

$89 is the price for DVD with software decoder. I'd rather pay $73+$40=$113 for the hardware solution.

Also, the point of my messages were to affirm Tfbww's purchase. Any "improvements" in material, vendor choice, or buying retail parts for guarantees just raises the price and makes Tfbww's purchase look better and better.

He got a great deal!
February 3, 2001 5:21:11 AM

what's the fun in buying an assembled system. if you come to this forum, you do it yourself. and one rule for consumers, never buy warrenty or buy extra warranty. i used to work at gateway and they make you push the warranty on you. the commission for selling an extra 10 month warranty is 80 percent!!! they know that people are suckers.
even if you buy it yourself, all the hardwares come with a manufature warranty. so what's the problem? do you need someone else to install windows, or a program? only the AVERAGE consumers would buy an assembled computer.

If you can't beat 'em kill 'em
athlon "SLOTA" thunderbird 700@1050mhz
February 3, 2001 5:55:14 AM

Two points I have to disagree with.

One, this is not the overclockers forum so it is not given that everyone here is a hobbyist who wants to build his own computer.

Two, though I tend to agree with you on not paying for extended warranties and retail products do come with a manufacturer's warranty, the lowest priced items available for sale often do not. These items come under the general label of "oem parts". Generally, when buying oem hardware that is not part of a complete system one does not get a manufacturer's warranty. If the vendor offers a warranty then it is usually very short, like 14 days or 30 days, after which time too bad.

It all comes down to the consumer. Does he want to buy something that may have little or no warranty or does he want to pay for guarantees?

I happen to like building my own computers especially if I can save money. However one mistake, one crushed CPU, one zapped video card, one wrongly chosen part, how much have I saved? The experienced builder probably won't make those mistakes but a first timer might. So is the warranty worth it to that person? I'd say so.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2001 3:30:17 PM

Actually AMDmeltdown I could quite easily. :) 
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2001 3:31:48 PM

No, 400w is the "new official line."
February 3, 2001 3:33:23 PM

Meltdown, he's not the 13yr old in here. I doubt you could afford anything close to that alienware system.

----------------------
I don't hate Intel............ Do I?
February 3, 2001 4:28:37 PM

where did you find this at
the amd website say 250 is the lowest power supply that they approve for the 1.2
and it still there like last night
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2001 5:54:52 PM

I can't remember a specific link but I do know that's the official generic answer (just like for =<1ghz it's 300w). The receommended lists have specific PSs that will work, however it is by no means a list of every acceptable supply. Anyway, I was joking and trying to be incredibly anal.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 3, 2001 10:47:02 PM

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, I did not have sexual relations with that Power Supply! HaHa! Anyway, 250W power supplies will work fine with the TBird 1.2Ghz CPU, it just has to be the right brand. If you look on AMD's web site for the recommended power supply, you will see many non-400W units listed. All this shows it that you get what you pay for, as better engineered, better quality units can do great with total less power output! As for the 400W power supply being AMD's "new official line", all they mean by that is that if you purchase a unit rated at 400W total, you can't go wrong, otherwise you should be checking that recommend power supply list. I found my new 300W power supply in my new Antec Performance Series case not up to par, but my existing Sparkle FPS300GT 300W power supply as very capable. With the Antec 300W power supply I got a pause in the booting of the system, it just sat for about 4 seconds before listing the boot options of Windows, or Win2k, and speeds over 1200mhz were unstable, but with the Sparkle 300W power supply, I can run at 1333mhz just fine and the pause I got when booting is gone! You get what you pay for, period!
February 4, 2001 12:52:16 AM

It's true Alienware doesn't say Athlon C, but they do offer both the 200 and 266FSB on their configurator. In my opinion, it would be a deceptive practice to configure any CPU outside of its manufacturer's specs without disclosing the fact up front. I would be interested to know if anyone disagrees with that.

You made me work on that Visiontek card, and I still don't know if it's comparable to what Alienware is selling. I couldn't tell what card they are selling, so my frame of reference has been the Hercules 3D Prophet II ultra that gamepc sells. I visited both Hercules and Vision Tek sites trying to compare specs. They don't use the same specs, and I don't know enough about graphics cards to figure it out.

I'd like to know, too, because I plan to buy/build a sytem using an Athlon C and a card of this class. So, does anybody know if the Vision Tek at $335 is comparable to the Prophet II at $500+, or is it too good to be true???

Phsstpok, I think we're saying the same thing about buy vs build. And, thanks for the lead to Vision Tek.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by beans on 02/03/01 10:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 4, 2001 3:13:13 AM

beans,

I NEVER implied Alienware was doing any such thing! I simply provided the cost for the only 1.2 mhz Athlon available.

I misunderstood your first message. I thought you were saying that you could only find VisionTek Ultra cards at $500 and that you were questioning my $335 price.

As for the cards specifications, I really don't know what they are. I do recall reading an interview with an executive of VisionTek. That interview conveyed the intent of VisionTek to begin aggressively pushing into the retail market. Until now VisionTek was primarily manufacturing OEM memory and video cards. I own one of these OEM video cards, a Geforce256 SDR. I am very impressed with it. It has 5.5 ns DRAM. Without modification it overclocks from 120/166 to 145/210 (core/memory). Sorry, I got side tracked.

As for everything else, I think you misunderstood my intent of my messages. What I was trying to show is that even if one took the lowest priced items, listed at www.pricewatch.com, to make a system with "equivalent" specs one would end up with something not too far lower in price. I was trying to give Tbfww affirmation that his purchase was not unreasonbly costly.

I was NOT attempting to provide anyone with some kind of low-cost system guide. I also was not trying say that an indentical system can be built for a lot less money. My above intent was the only intent.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 4, 2001 4:10:22 PM

Exactly, you're reiterating the jist of what I was trying to say.
February 5, 2001 12:58:35 AM

phsstpok,

I know you didn't imply Alienware would do that, and neither did I. On the contrary, I meant to imply that since Alienware was offering an Athlon with the 266FSB, they MUST mean the Athlon C, even though they didn't explicitly say that.

Therefore, if anyone says they can build a system "equivalent" to the one tbfww ordered, in my opinion that system has to start with an Athlon C because there is no appropriate substitute that I know of.

Perhaps my interpretation of "equivalent" is not mainstream. It is a word that has been abused.


Unfortunately, some of Alienware's specs are a bit vague, at least to someone of my limited expertise. I can't tell what GeForce2 card they are actually shipping. Maybe it IS the Vision Tek. I assumed - jumped to the conclusion would probably be more accurate - that it's the Hercules because that's what gamepc is offering. And I still have no idea which is the better card, or which is the better buy.

At any rate, I'm here to learn. You and others in the community have presented valuable information, and I appreciate it. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your intent or appeared to do so.
February 5, 2001 1:22:44 PM

Wow, I was away for the weekend and never expected such a series of responses. Let me give you a couple of the thoughts I had going through this process (some context if you will).

1) Every review of Alienware I've seen has been top-notch. A couple of awards here and there. More interestingly, when reading those reviews, it *appears* that they OC your system as they build it. I believe it was CNET's (gamecenter) review that mentioned what the actual clocking of components was upon arrival. They seem to be a "trusted" brand so I wasn't worried about getting a compaq-ed system. And if I really don't like it, I can return it within 30 days.

2) I thought the 300W PS may be on the low side considering the 1.2 Athlon + Ultra BUT the fact that they build it, test it, and run it for a while before shipping it to me means that if this is a problem they will find out -- goes back to that trusted brand thing.

3) To build or not to build, it wasn't really a question for me. I really don't have enough time at home to deal with all the potential hazards for building what would be my primary sys. Having to reinstall Windows last month due to some corruption ate away at my patience lavel. What I AM doing, though, is gutting my old pii/333 and gain some experience by building that into a decent linux server (CS, most likely). If [-peep-] goes wrong here, oh well. I don't mind "frying" a new mobo or what not on that one.

4) Ultra brand. I wasn't sure what brand they were using and nor were their sales reps (one told me it was nvidia who actually built it). That being said, I have yet to see any performance difference in any of the Ultra's since they are all nVidia reference boards. So I didn't dwell on this too much. When I need to OC it, hopefully not for at least a year, then it becomes a greater concern but still not tremendously so.

5) ALI Magik mobo. This one worried me. I had read the review on Tom's and it put me off. Then I read a review on one of the overclocking sites (OC Club or max. OC (?)) that basically drooled over it. Then I heard from mpjesse who was using it and liked it. What ended up making my decision was that 2 liked it, Tom's review was still on beta drivers, it still outperformed the KT133A, it wasn't VIA based and a hope that the board would continue to improve. And if none of that was of value, at least I have PC2100 DDR sticks ;) 

6) I sincerely hope that Alienware is using an Athlon C and not just unlocking a B. I am hoping that it will give me some extra headroom. If they aren't, I'm going to call, bitch about it and get some price reduction since they are "sold me a different product." Plausible deniability is a wonderful thing.

7) The video cooling system for $46 is another fan installed in the side of the case, presumbably near the AGP slot. It was relatively cheap and I liked the idea of keeping the Ultra as cool as possible.

8) Hardware DVD decoder. I have a DVD player and a PS2 so I didn't think it necessary to spend any more than necessary on the DVD aspect of it (versus everywhere else, I guess). I did want to have DVD in case software really becomes available on it.

I think that's about everything. It seems like the "general" consensus is that it was a good price. No one seemed to have issue with the components.
February 5, 2001 4:34:37 PM

tfbww -

I wondered what happened to you - we did kinda hijack your thread, didn't we?

First, I don't know of any better choice that you could have made. Alienware's reputation certainly is solid, and if you did manage to beat their price for what I would consider an equivalent system, you would be lucky to make the minimum wage for the time required. Like you said, there's all the risks. Plus, no warranty and no support.

In fact, I almost made the same choice. Mrs. beans has a birthday coming up, she's a gamer, big-time, and her present system can't keep up any more. The Athlon C/DDR/GeForce2 Ultra is the class of machine she wants.


I have only built one system, and that was Intel-based for business. My personal game experience is Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing.

Building an Athlon-based system seems to me a dubious proposition for any but the technically most savvy, considering these systems seem to need a fan on everything from the north bridge to the hard drive. Even if it worked, I would be concerned that the MTM (mean time to meltdown) would be below the MTO (mean time to obsolescence). I think I would buy a bigger power supply just to make sure there's enough for the air handlers.

So, I'll build it if I have to, but buy it if I can.


All that said, I'm tempted by Alienware but looking for a better choice. Mainly I want to know, up front, exactly what I'm getting. I like GamePC because I can look at their configurator and tell exactly what I'm getting. I like their business model - see their web site under "About GamePC," the section "The GamePC Business Model." I like what I see on Resellerratings.com.

The negatives? Well, they don't offer the Athlon C yet. And the price SEEMS higher than Alienware's. That's why I really want to know what Alienware is selling.

So, I'm watching your experience with extreme interest, hoping that it will be very positive, and that you will keep us informed.


beans
February 5, 2001 8:56:20 PM

A problem with a Geforce card drew me into a discussion about PSUs. Did you know that the old Geforce card and an Athlon mobo, together, require up to 20 amp +3.3 V line? (You can read about it a www.geforcefaq.com?) Well my PSU is only rated at 14 amp on the +3.3 V line but my system is working where the person with the Geforce problem has a system that is not. (His drives and fans slow down). We both have 300 watt power supplies, mine is AMD approved his was not but it is on an Intel system, anyway. His PSU has the same 14 amp rating on the 3.3 v line.

Anyway to make a long story short (too late). The discussion got around to how can one choose a good power supply if a 300 watt, general rating, is not enough to go on. A third person (I warned him I would forget his handle. lol) pointed us to an excellent article at AnandTech.com. This person summarized the article by saying that the +3.3v and the +5 v ratings are the most important ratings. Incidentally, the sum of the power ratings on these two lines is called the Combined Power, which is what you see at in AMD recommended PSU list (e.g. My PSU is rated 14 A on the 3.3 V line or 46 watts approx. The 5 V rating is 24A A or 125 watts. The Combined Power is 166 watts). Even this Combined Power doesn't tell me that my PSU is inadequate for a Geforce256. This info is critical and I wish every vendor selling Cases and PSUs supplied the individual voltage and power ratings.

Anyway that third person recommended Fotron and Enermax power supplies, in general, and the Enermax 351 (something or other), in particular, because it supplies 30 amp on the +3.3 line. (Incidentally, the article mentions your Sparkle FPS300GT is identical to the Fotron FSP300-60GN)

What did I expect? I only paid $42 for my case and AMD approved PSU. Apparently it common to for vendors to skimp on the PSU, not just in cheap cases but also in some very expensive ones.

I don't how relevant any of this was but it is interesting.

Here is the review link. The review is a year old but the general information on PSU selection and trouble assessment is valuable.

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1128&p=3

Phsstpok

p.s. Does anyone know the power requirements of the Geforce GTS, PRO, and Ultra cards?
February 6, 2001 1:55:26 AM

I got recomended to this site for awesome PSU, but I really don't know much about the subject:

http://www.pcpowercooling.com/

Is it a "you get what you pay for" deal, or does anyone know where the best cases and PSU's can be bought? Is it best to get them separate since as I've read above, a crappy Powersupply means trouble. I have a dell 230W, so i'm just going to buy a new case and powersupply most likely.
February 6, 2001 3:47:25 AM

I've got a P300 system that I bought from Alienware a couple of years ago. I have to say I have been very happy. A very stable sytem that runs everything I throw at it. I'm getting ready to buy another system from them and have found that they have grown quite a bit. The video cards they sell with their systems are made for them by Nvidia, the salesman called them "tweaked". As far as the DDR system goes I have configured a 1.2ghz AMD with the Ali Magik board and 128 2100DDRam, 20GB ata/100 hard drive, Geoforce 64Mb video and nic, and the price is around 1750, not too bad. If you were too order the same system with the 1.2ghz athlon 100FSB it is only around 1600. Seems thaty charge quite a bit more for the Athlon type C chip. If you were to unlock the FSB on the Tbird you could have a DDR system for 1600 to your door. Still really curious to find out if Alienware is overclocking the type B athlon or if indeed thay have the type C.
February 7, 2001 4:44:19 PM

Mak -

Just checked Alienware's site and got a $121 premium for the 266FSB over the 200FSB, starting with their basic Aurora DDR and changing nothing else.

On the video card - do you mean the card they are using isn't available anywhere else?


beans
February 7, 2001 4:59:39 PM

Yeah, I checked out the same thing -- just in case they don't ship me a C I know how much to ask for back. ;) 

Mak, how do you get a $1600 DDR sys., regardless of the FSB speed?
!