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Gaming System - Please review and comment

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Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 11:52:00 AM

Comment please, on the configuration below. This is a "real" system, that we are going to put together for my son, not a "best of everything" item. I've listed what I have tentatively selected first, then some constraints, and then the reasons behind the choices (flame away!!!).

Mid Tower 430 watt atx case, with Asus A7 A266 ALI motherboard (Socket A) and a 1.3 Athlon chip. (510)

32 MG Radion V AGP Video Card (99)

Mag 796FD 17" Trinitron monitor (280)

Creative Sound Blaster Live MP3 - 5.1 Sound Card (99)

3 - 512 SDRAM 133 Chips (330)

30 to 40 gig hard drive (7200) RPM - Maxtor Probably (130)

CDRW - with 2 mb buffer (150)

DVD - (125)

modem (20)

Keyboard (15)

Intellemouse Explorer (50)

Speakers (50)

Windows ME (OEM) (95)

Constraints:
1). We have about $2000.00 (maybe 2100) + shipping available.
2). 17 inch monitor is the largest that will fit in the space available.
3). We do not want to overclock this system.
4). This system will be STAND ALONE for at least 1 year. If it does go online it will most probably have DSL.

No question GeForce 3 is superior - but it is too expensive. I tried to choose a good performing low end video card, with the idea of swapping it out in 6 to 9 months.

Ram is the one thing that may go up here - so buy the max now.

I wanted to get at least 400 watts so the chip can be upgraded later.

Can someone comment on using Windows ME as opposed to 2000 as a OS for gaming. I've read bad things about both.

Also, Comment on having DVD as opposed to a fast CD for the gaming end. My son wants a DVD player, but I think the CD would be better for the gaming end. (He is also "big time" into music, hense the CDRW).

My son is paying for this himself, so feel free to be "real critical" of these choices, because it will help me get the best I can for him.

Thanks in advance.

<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
April 27, 2001 12:23:31 PM

So far so good.. I like the fact that you've listed your constraints out.

Suggestions:
You're trying to use PC133 RAM with a DDR mobo.. don't think it'll work. Try using an A7V133 for your motherboard instead. Performance is nearly on par with DDR (considering that this is an ALi chipset too). DDR isn't worth the money right now. OR, if your son really wants the DDR board. You'll need to buy PC2100 DDR memory (consider it doubling what your budget is for memory)

You can buy a DVDrom which will run CDs at about 40x or higher. I don't think you'll need anything faster than that. I myself have a 6x DVD which I more often than not use as a 32x CDROM. Just a word of advice, if you're going to buy a DVD-ROM stay away from Pioneer. Their DVDroms emit this high pitch whistling noise and its driving me crazy.

For gaming stick with Win98SE it'll run anything you need and won't consume as many resources.

question about your memory too.. are you saying that you're going to buy 3 x 512MB chips for a total of 1.5GB? if so, it'll cost you way more than $330.

hope that helps

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by kurokaze on 04/27/01 08:26 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 27, 2001 1:22:50 PM

First off, I would go with a board that uses the AMD 760 Chipset, but in that case you must go with DDR. Not at all a bad idea. Also, the A7A does support both ddr and standard pc133, so if you're determined to go with that, it will work.

Keeping in mind that this is a gaming system, If you have to keep the cost down i would substitute less processor for more graphics.
withoug getting too costly i would go with a Geforce 2 GTS. stunningly outperforms all but the 64 meg radeons, and even then, competetion is pretty close matched.

Monitor is more personal preference. But whatever you get, i would avoid having it shipped, get one from a best buy, or a store like that. Ask to test it out for a bit, if you like the look and general feel, go with it. That's how i have choosen all of mine.

this about the soundcard is quoted, because it's a good explanation, and i don't want to type it out agian, from
chirsojeda:
I never try to tell people not buy something. Though when there are issues I do step up to the plate. I own a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Platinum. The performance of any of the Sound Blaster Live 5.1 cards are identically poor. If you search this forum, anandtech.com forum, and many others you will see evidence of this. It is NOT just personal opinion as review articles have been written on this. I have a 2nd computer with a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card and I would venture to say it is the best gamer sound card out there. Naturally there are many superior cards that professional musicians use but those cost in the thousands and above. I assume you just want a card for gaming, mp3, dvd play back, cd play back, and other non-professional usages. I hope that you don't dismiss this lightly. If you get the Creative you may also find that their "customer support" is pathetic which can be found by searching any pc forum.
end quote

Hard drive sounds good, hope you mean ATA-100 : )

Burner
you can pick up an AOpen 1232, i'm guessing for about 150 US, they're around 200 here in Canadian money. 4mb buffer, 12x10x32, if i were in the market right now, that's what i'd buy.

DVD... don't know.. never owned one, have yet to need to buy one. I do know that anything panasonic is very high quality, as long as it's made in Japan, and not one of their other mfg countries.

modem
haven't used a modem for years either.. wouldn't know where to start.

Keyboard
same as the monitor, don't waste extra money having one shipped, go to a store where you can test it out and see how it feels.
if you're buying it for gaming, spend a little bit extra and get a nicer feeling keyboard.

Mouse, have an intelimouse optical, love it.

Win98SE is probably a better platform for gaming.

400W is always nice

If you want to keep price down, i'd suggest going with less ram.

If anyone cares to add to this, or suggest something better than what i have suggested, feel free to correct me.

-Rob
Related resources
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 1:41:21 PM

The industry's distribution cost right now on a 512MB PC133 SDRAM module is 172$ USD to distributors...just a head's up
April 27, 2001 2:19:56 PM

If I understand it right, you are putting 1.5 GB of RAM in it. If I were you, I would put less RAM in it and put the money to upgrade your video card or some of the other things. With current software, and even future software, your kid will probably never use that much RAM unless he is running unigraphics or some engineering CAD programs. I currently have 256 MB in mine, and to fill that I have to have about 12 programs running at once. Even a game like Unreal Tournament only uses about 60 MB of RAM. You could save a lot of money scaling down to 512 without any performance loss to you. Just my opinion though.
April 27, 2001 2:43:07 PM

Make sure you get speakers that can benefit from at least some of the soundcard's extra features. It is for gaming after all, so you may as well add as much to the experience as you can.

I agree with others.
Forget about the Radeon. I would consider the Radeon as more of an all round Multimedia card. (Good for Video and DVD) Get yourself a Geforce 2. They're constantly upgrading their drivers, giving more performance with each release. Even Tom's recent review of the Kyro 2, shows it as a decent compromise. Definately if you plan on upgrading to a Geforce 3 down the line.

<font color=red>Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?</font color=red>
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 3:17:42 PM

As other people suggested do you really need 1.5GB RAM?
And if you really need it (running heavy Database/Web server or some heavy CAD/3D Studio Max) don't try to use it with Windows ME just because Win 98/ME does not support memory above 512MB - see these links:
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q253/9...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/14967.html

512 MB is more than enough for everyday application/games (even 256MB is enough now) but If you really need 1.5GB RAM get Windows 2000.
And if you don't need this memory I would recommend you to go also with MSI K7 Master motherboard and 512MB DDR PC2100 from Crucial - it is very fast and stable motherboard.
You may need also to upgrade video card - I would recommend Geforce 2 GTS(~$140), Geforce 2 PRO(~$190)/Ultra ($270) or Radeon 64MB DDR VIVO (Video In Video Out) ~$180.
Just be aware if you choose Radeon and Windows 2000 that there are still some problems with ATI drivers for win 2000 (which hopefully will be fixed at some point but..).
Reagards,
menads
April 27, 2001 3:21:34 PM

Go with an IBM Deskstar hard drive, better performance and quite a bit less noise. Good speakers do make a huge difference in gaming. And stick with winME or win98 for gaming. Win2000 just does not take well to games.
April 27, 2001 4:52:46 PM

Yep, gotta agree with the Deskstar, slightly more expensive, but definitely worth it. have a 30gig that has proven itself very well. Same with the speakers, with almost all the newer games, four point is very nice.
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 7:40:45 PM

kurokaze:

Thanks a lot for your input!!!! It is greatly appreciated.

You caught a MAJOR ERROR on my part. I did mean the A7V133 mobo. Thanks a bunch for catching that gaff.

Reference, the DVD - also many thanks - I was concerned about the speed of the DVD in playing the CD Roms .... I'll start digging for that one . .. and thanks for the hint on Pioneer - that's the kind of really good info you normally don't get in regular "reviews".

Reference - Win '98 SE - I suspected that '98 would probably be the best, and several others confimed this ... but not being a gamer myself, I wanted to check.

Reference - RAM - You are again correct - I took the price from pricewatch .... the "real" RAM (not no name) doesn't kick in until about $160.00. Had my vision and math been better, I would have limited this to 256 instead of the much large figure, and gone with the better video card as some others have suggested.

Others have recommended using the IBM Deskstar drive instead of the Maxtor. I have price it out (40 GIG) at $159.00, which isn't a problem. But we use IBM's at work (Not the deskstar), and I find them to be a bit "temperamental". Any input you might have on this would be appreciated.

Thanks again!!!

<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 8:39:56 PM

Rob:

Thanks a lot for your reply.

I do not disagree with you at all on the AMD 760 chipset. But I had to buy a new MOBO about 3 weeks ago, and could not find any of the "better" boards listed on Toms site from a vendor that I felt "comfortable" with. My MOBO choice was mislisted in my post, and is actually the A7v133 - I'm going to install one tomorrow, so I will definately know better about it in 24 hours. The choice of the A7v133 for the system I'm building now was a compromise "price/availablity/venor" choice, rather than the "best available" no matter what. I do intend to check out the availability of the 760's right before I order, however.

Reference your point on the Genforce 2 GTS - this was one of my "waivering" points. You, along with several others, correctly point out that the trade off is worth it. I'm modifying this item on my list of components (thanks a lot!!).

Reference the monitor - I totaly agree with your comment about the purchase of monitors locally. I've bought my last one mail order personally!!! I suggested this to my son, but he emphatically rejected purchasing where he is because he has no transportation. So I'm using alternative plan "b" here, and having it shipped.

Reference the Soundcard and the Burner - Great advise on the Soundcard .... I really was worried about that one. I've heard some bad stuff about the Creative, but didn't really know which other company to check out. I'll Dig into the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz item. Also on the CDRW - Thaks too for that one. I've seen some good stuff on Aopen for other products, but hadn't considered them for the burner. I've got that one noted too.

Reference - hard drive. Others are suggesting the IBM - Deskstar - your input would be appreciated. (And I was looking at the ATA 100's - but I should have listed that ... thanks for the correction here).

I've decided to go with much less ram, and 98 SE - I guess I just couldn't accept the fact that Microsoft would ignore the gamers with their new "advanced" OS's. (I am not a fan of Microsoft's products (except the Intellimouse Explorer) ).

Hey, you are fortunate about not needing the modem. I'm stuck on a 56k line because no DSL is available and my wife has the cable modem (it's down so much that we have to keep two IP's). I keep hoping for DSL ... or even more for the new SHDSL!!!! (or maybe even a hovering blimp!!!) ;-)

Thanks very much for your input!!!!





<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
April 27, 2001 8:46:49 PM

Well, here I my thoughts, and I'd like to think it is more than just an opinion.

1. 1.5 gb of memory. Do you really think you need this. 512 mb is more than enough for games. With Windows 9x/ME you can run into problems with more the 512 mb. Read about it at the microsoft site. Search the knowledge base for VCache problems. One poster, Cyberimage, points out that you can eliminate the problems by turning off Virtual Memory all together. Never had enough memory to try it, myself. $1000 for memory is a lot of money though.

2. As for sound cards I have read a lot of good things about the Philips Acoustic Edge. (Not the Seismic Edge. Don't get them confused).

3. If money is a concern (which I doubt if you are willing to buy 3 512 mb modules) sacrifice some memory or CPU speed to get the best possible graphics card which is the number one speed limiting factor in gaming today. You will get more performance for your dollars. I would prefer a Geforce 2 pro or Ultra 2 than a Radeon but they do cost more. If you prefer the Radeon give serious thought to the 64mb version. It's clocked faster and you CAN use the extra video memory.

4. As for monitors. This is very much personal preference. Don't just read specs. Go and look at one if at all possible. I like Trinitron monitors, as you have selected one (not that I am familiar with that particular model), but I don't like all of them. Some look better than others. Some people can't stand the shadow that crosses the screen caused by a couple of wires. (It's faint but noticible). Make sure the monitor you choose will handle the highest resolution you wish to use at acceptable refresh rates, usually 85 hz or higher.

If space is a concern, look at some of the shallow depth models. I think Hitachi makes some.

5. Pick a CD-RW with Burn-Proof Technology or equivalent. Plextor comes to mind. (After producing enough coasters I can guarantee my next CD-RW will have it).

Update:

6. One more point. Read the recent hard drive reviews here at THG. There are two drives that outperform the venerable IBM 75GXP units but then again the IBMs have good track record where the others are brand new with no track record. www.storage.review is great place to compare drives head-to-head using their online database.


Good luck.


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 04/27/01 05:00 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 9:00:59 PM

In regards to the temperature of the IBM Deskstar 75 series:

I personally own two of them (20GB and a 45GB) and neither one give me any trouble. And as far as preformance goes...they are def. the fastest out there, as others have commented. They also make very little noise...actually I don´t usually notice it at all...where as some other hard drives tend to make a lot of noise.

As far as the sound card..I personally don´t like the Turtle beach solution. The SB Live has always sounded the best to me...Especailly if you get the Cmabridge works speaker set (from Creative as well)

I also agree that its a bad Idea to have a monitor shiped! For one they usually charge you for insurance which drives your price up, and the other thing is you don´t know exactly what you are getting. I suggest going to Best Buy or Circuit City and find one with a low Dot pitch .24 mm or lower anything higher than .26 mm don´t get. And also look at the picture and quailty as they usually have them demoed this will save you time and money...There is nothing worse than trying to return a monitor (shipping).

The Explorer Optical mouse is an excellent choice I own about 8 of them and they work great not to mention that they since they are optical they have better tracking and you don´t have to clean them!

I personally would have to go aganist the fad of everyone with the motherboard solution, but of course that depends on when you are buying. I personally would get the
Abit TH7-RAID Which is a P4 system...but if you get a 1.5 or 1.7 and overclock via the bios (which is really easy and lots of the settings are listed on line that are stable) This will actually be faster than the AMD solution..even if you just get the 1.7 Ghz you will be faster...but it all depends on when you are buying because in about a half a month or month the prices are going to shoot down. This solution also requires RDRAM instead of SDRAM but the prices of this have also gone down and now its a little less than a buck a MB which considering that it has lower latency and a higher band with and that prices are going to continue to fall it is a better solution to DDR/SDRAM. This has been discussed in the memory forum quite extensively if you would like more information.

The GeForce 2 Ultra is by far the Best Video card available right now and its price is droping rapidly ($288 and falling) and as soon as the GeForce 3 is available next month its price will drop again not to mention that Nvidia issued prices cuts a few days ago on all their video cards (about 1/3 cut) I would suggest the Elsa Gladiac Ultra, becuase they have already adjusted to the price change by Nvidia as well as they always go a little farther with their design.

Also I don´t know where you are buying from but I always buy from this online store becuase every time I compare all the prices from other stores as a whole they end up costing more:

www.mwave.com
April 27, 2001 9:07:40 PM

I'm kind of unclear as to what you mean by using the dvd player for CD-Roms... Would it not be just as easy to use the cd writer for that purpose? If you get a 32x read, that is plenty fast.

I have both an older Maxtor 30 GB, 7200 rpm, ATA 66
and A 30 GB IBM Deskstar. 7200 rpm ATA 100. Both have performed flawlessly. except for a windows/linux dual boot issue a while back, but i think that was in software, not hardware. The IBM was a little tempermental to install, but now that it's in, i couldn't be happier with it.
Anonymous
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April 27, 2001 9:26:55 PM

Mid tower 430 watt-overkill, the CPU's of the future will use less power, 300-350 watts should be okay, but you might as well get it if it doesn't cost much more.

Radeon-If you want a budget graphics card, go with the Geforce2 MX (the 32 meg is around $75, and the 64 meg around $100) otherwise get a Geforce2 GTS or Ultra. The 64 meg GTS is 'round $200 and the Ultra around $250.

Monitor-go with high refresh and low dpi, I love my Sony trinitron.

1.5 gigs of RAM-MAXMUM OVERKILL. Unless you're planning on serving up a high traffic web site or doing huge mathematical calculations, 256 megs will be more than enuf, and if you have to upgrade in the future, don't worry, SDRAM will get cheaper as DDR pushes it out.

CDRW-Get as fast as you can afford

DVD-same as above

Modem-get a USRobotics hardware modem

Keyboard-Any will do, cordless is cool, though.

Mouse-Great Choice!

Speakers-Get brand name ones:Boston Acoustics, Bose, Altec Lansing is really good. Make sure to get 4 speakers + a subwoofer.

Get win 2000 Pro, or win98SE. ME stinks. XP will be good too, so just get 98SE.

Wish I could build this! ;) 
Aklein



Life is hard...Live with it.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 27, 2001 9:28:43 PM

I, think that your system is very powerful but the graphic card is not that good.
If you want a good card for less money go to the leadtek geforce2 gts, or wait for the hercules 3d prophet 4500 based on the kyro2 graphics.
Don't worry the dvd is very good and it runs cd's at 32x minimum, and the games doesn't want more drie speed.
April 28, 2001 12:09:58 AM

I'd love to find those Fujitsu's here in Toronto but I can't seem to find anyone carrying those models..
April 28, 2001 12:14:48 AM

Your welcome :) 

Here's my setup:
Athlon 1Ghz
A7V133
256MB PC133 CAS2
G400 32MB AGP (old card)
Pioneer 6X DVDROM SCSI
Yamaha 4416S CDRW SCSI
and a bunch of old HDs.. soon to be upgraded

This is a semi-gaming machine for me, while my video card isn't the latest and greatest I get playable frame rates in all of my games. Also, on a RAM note.. I've run SQL server on my system and not have the page file even used. A few times I've run both Oracle 8 and SQL Server 7 at the same time and only use 11% of my page file. So you definately should be ok with RAM. BTW, if you're concerned about future upgradability, get 1 stick of 256MB instead of 2 sticks of 128MB, you'll leave yourself with more DIMM slots.

<EDIT> one of my old HDs is an IBM Deskstar 10GB. It performs very well and very quietly. You can't go wrong with it though you might pay a little more for it </EDIT>

Cheers and have fun building it!

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by kurokaze on 04/27/01 08:17 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 28, 2001 12:19:46 AM

"Go with an IBM Deskstar hard drive, better performance and quite a bit less noise."
I have a Maxtor 45gig 7200rpm, and my drive makes NO noise at all. Even with the case off and my ear up to the drive i cant hear anything. And it performs like a dream, never had any problems with it.

<A HREF="http://synthetic.bsd-fan.com/pika.swf" target="_new">Hyakugojyuuichi!!</A>
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2001 2:57:35 AM

You may want to reconsider Motherboards now that VIA has announced a problem with their 686b southbridge chip.
Also consider a Western Digital hard drive.Yes the other drives are a little faster(a little)but they use 20% to30% more of your cpu time to do this.
Example when reading the disk in a game a Maxtor or Quantum hard drive uses 30% or more of your cpu.So if you have a 1 gig processor you drop to a 700mhz while reading the hard drive. A Western Digital only uses about 10% of your cpu to read.You can check it out here.
<A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/00q2/000602/hdd-20...." target="_new">http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/00q2/000602/hdd-20....;/A>

I aint signing nothing!!!
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2001 5:19:13 AM

There certainly has been a lot of contraversy regarding the reliability of the IBM 75GXP drives...from one side of the scale to the other.
As an example, check the following thread at StorageReview.com Forums:

"IBM 75 series recall maybe!"

under General Discussion Forum section.

Entertaining read...heh.

Cheers,

hell out
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2001 10:54:01 AM

Menads:

Thanks for your reply. I read with great interest the articles you pointed to in the ULR's provided. Sometimes my lack of knowledge makes me just plain feel "dumb". But no shortcomming of a Microsoft OS should surprise me, I guess. (I may resort to Microsoft bashing before this thread is over .... I will try to avoid it).

Reference the motherboard issue. One of the Motherboards I looked for before "settling" on the one in my post was the MSIK7T Master - and I could not locate a vendor for this board. I have re-checked pricewatch and did find several listings for the MSI K7 Master you mention in the $160.00 range, but none from vendors I know, so I will have to do some "background" work.

Stability is a major issue here, because it appears that I will need to step back to '98 SE as an OS. I do not find '98 a particularly stable OS, and I don't think I push this system as hard as a gamer will do, so if the DDR PC2100 would provide more stability .... then we will look at it in the context for the $$$$ available. But one item here that I would needs some assistance on. Microstar's page does not state what type of PC2100 is required. Crucial lists three types, Unbuffered non-parity, Unbuffered ECC and registered ECC. I am unfamiliar with which is required, though my feeling is that it would be unbuffered non-parity. I think I am going to look a bit more at the DDR issue. I had rejected it as being too expenisve initially, but stability is a major issue here.

Reference video card. The leaning now is to the Geforce 2 Ultra, but since I last posted a reply here, I've e-mailed my son to ask if he just wants to "bite the bullet" and go with the Geforce 3.

I'm a bit slow to respond because I'm looking hard at the great information being provided in your (and many other) posts.

Thanks for your help.

<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2001 11:34:25 AM

phsstpok:

Thanks for your input.

Reference the 512 limitation on 9x windows ram. I did read the section given by the previous poster on the 512 ram issue and the fix you indicate is definately the "way to go", but it boggles my mind that Microsoft can have an OS that give out "too little ram" messages when it is "too much ram" that is the problem. And my "micro" brain here wonders how well Microsoft's memory manager will handle more than 512 and a turned off virtual memory. It could very well not function the same. Just musing though, because we are going to revise downward, and stay at 256 probably.

Reference the Sound Card. The sound card info I'm looking hard at. I really needed some guidance in this area. Thanks.

Reference the Video card. Ultra geforce 2 right now is the card of choice based on the responses I've gotten.

Reference the monitor. I do need to look at the refresh rate. That was something I knew, and neglected to do. It's always good to have someone double check you. Mag's got a pretty good "mid range" reputation, but I'm also looking at the View Sonics. I'm making a final attempt to get my son to purchase the monitor locally .... and if he does he is going to be somewhat limited to what is available. But I think he will want me to ship instead, because of transportation problems.

Reference the CD burner. I knew there was a technology out there that did "what I wanted", and you provided the proper terminology. I reviewed the CDRW's last night and based a great deal on your input have chosen the Plexor - PX - W1210TA/SW which priced at 185.00 on the site I checked. BTW - my daughter has a large coaster collection because she bought a CDRW before the "burn proof technology" was affordable "price wise".

Reference Hard Drives - There is a post a little after yours that has some interesting items about Fujitsu drives. I had rejected Fujitsu because of some trouble I've had with the one in my system (much of my own making ... but I can't get my "gaff" corrected). I'm still thinking and working on this area.

Thanks for your help.



<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
April 28, 2001 2:41:53 PM

Glad you are finding adequate help. Sorry that much of my information was redundant. I neglected to read the other responses.

I just wanted to add that I am a big advocate of retail hard drives unless I really <b>know</b> the vendor will honor his own warranties. Just had too many hard drives fail over the years, some after a few months and some after a couple of years.

I personally, like Fujitsu drives because Fujitsu was the first to offer 5 year warranties. I've since decided that 3 year warranties are good enough because I'm likely to replace a hard drive well before 3 years have passed. Still, warranties are security blankets.

I failed to mention that I too like MAG monitors. I own an old DX-15T, great little monitor but it's time for something bigger. My eyes will thank me. I'd like to go with a flat panel display for browsing and a CRT for games but the flat panels are still too expensive.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 28, 2001 3:29:44 PM

Phsstpok:

Your information was very helpful, not redundant,... confidence building would be more accurate, I think. Re-enforcement is a confidence builder for the poorly informed, like myself ... and most people provide different "slants" on similar themes ...

My Fujitsu just simply refuses to give up it's position as my primary drive. So I spent a lot of time trying to get it to understand (unsuccessfully) the meaning of "secondary drive". Eventually I discovered the problem was actually with my Maxtor that I was trying to install as the primary drive. The Maxtor has a delay function that needed to be disabled ... but by that time the Fujitsu had won, and I had resigned myself to having it as my primary drive.

As to the Mag Monitors, if I have to get this one for my son, then it will probably be the Mag 16V 796 FD, which has a high refresh rate, and is only about $15 more that the 85 mzh refresh model. When I checked these, I was surprised about how low the refresh rates were on the Sony models that were on the same site.

Thanks again.

<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
April 28, 2001 7:54:32 PM

KUROKAZE, A company called OAGROUP deals fujitsu hard drives, retail, locally out of Toronto.
April 29, 2001 10:17:58 AM

17 inch monitor 130
abit kt7a raid mobo 150
512 megs pc133 cl 2 memory 220
2x ibm 75gxp deskstar 30 gig harddrives(for raid 0)280
geforce 3 videocard 400
case 80
plextor plexwriter 16x 220
dvd rom 80
56k modem 30
sb live(great soundcard) 40
amd 1.33ghz tbird c 220

1850 bucks, 150 to spare for mouse keyboard anything extra, that is a power system right there.

forget the ddr and DONT EVEN CONSIDER P4 SYSTEM
with the 150 extra to spare you can play around with extras or do upgrades on what ive listed.

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
April 29, 2001 10:29:25 AM

"DONT EVEN CONSIDER P4 SYSTEM"

Seems a little biased there. Wait until you see the price drops later today.

-Raystonn

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
April 29, 2001 10:57:04 AM

Unless intel plans to cut prices in half again, the amd will still be a better price vs performance chip, not to mention the additional cost of rambus(always a problem) and the p4 mobos, ADD to that the fact that amd will match any intel cut(they can go lower due to smaller die sizes) and you have one fact, DONT EVEN CONSIDER A P4 SYSTEM.

PS: I gave him the best system he could get right now, waiting for price cuts is irelavant, because i could say well wait till next year when x costs x less etc, right this second, amd is the better buy.

PPS: this is a gamer system, unless his son is gonna play quake 3 only, then the amd is a more powerful chip, even given geforce 3's bottleneck, all of toms bench's show the amd chip with like 1 fps lead (tiny and non important but a lead none the less)when the vid cards bottle neck is reached, that does that tell you?

PPPS: Thats a lot of ps's heh

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
April 29, 2001 11:04:11 AM

"they can go lower due to smaller die sizes"

Intel's using 300mm wafers. AMD's using 200mm wafers. The largers wafers allows more CPUs to be created with less cost.

Intel will be using 0.13 process as of Northwood. AMD is not yet using 0.13 either I believe. Both are using 0.18 process.

From where did your above statement come?

"not to mention the additional cost of rambus"

RDRAM is cheaper than PC2100 CAS2 DDR.

The P4 is actually a great buy after the price cuts today. It is designed to take advantage of the applications of the future, meaning your investment will last much longer. A P3 or Athlon system will go obsolete much more quickly as new applications are released. If he's the kind of person who upgrades his CPU every 6 months then I suggest waiting for the Northwood, otherwise it doesn't matter. Those who upgrade every 3 years or so (normal Joe) will always have to upgrade their motherboard with their CPU no matter what.

-Raystonn

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
April 29, 2001 11:10:05 AM

From what I understand of the cpu's die sizes, amd can fit almost as many die per wafer as intel can on its larger(and more expensive) wafers, but your point is well taken.

I was talking the price difference between my suggested pc133 cl2 ram and rambus, and the ddr cl2 ram will come down in price once its readily available.
The current crippled p4 is in no way a processor for the future, it is a stop gap which will not be supported once the northwood comes out. He also said that his soons computer was to be expected to stand alone for just a year, I highly doubt the tbird core will be obsolete in a year given the fact that software is always slow to adopt special optimizations such as sse2 etc.

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
April 29, 2001 11:50:14 AM

since i get such a kick out of pricing systems, here's my latest attempt, from mwave

Asus A7V133, w/o audio -137
AMD Tbird 1333 -238.50
Super Orb Cooling fan -15
Optiquest 17" -171
Elsa Galadic Geforce 2 Ultra -288
SB live Value -47
512mb pc 150 SDRAM -204
Panasonic 12xdvd/40x cd -69
Plextor 12/10/32 -169
1.44 Floppy -13.90
Mid Tower w/300w ps -69
us robotics 56k -35

grand total comes to -1601.40

That leaves you with almost 400 for shipping, a keyboard and mouse, plus a few games, since after all, it is a gaming system
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 29, 2001 12:34:10 PM

Rob:

The system you posted looks good. A couple of things.

Neither you or Matisaro who has also posted a "sample" system, are using trinitron monitors. Not being a gamer, I just assumed that the clarity and resolution of a trinitron would be a + on the mid/high end systems. Is this a $$$$ saving move, or does it not really make much difference to gamers?

Also - on the Plexor drive. That price is almost $20.00 below my quote on it. If that was from a site, could you please send me a link?

Finally - Matisaro suggests a raid - I have not really considered that .... but it is certainly possible in the price range we have here. Any comments????? (I still have to look at the Fujitsu solution that was posted yesterday).

Thanks

Graylocks

<i>If everything seems under control, you are just not going fast enough. </i> Mario Andretti
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 29, 2001 1:57:37 PM

Okie, the system looks quite fine BUT there are some changes that I recommend you to change...

Actually there's really no need for 430 watt case, u won't need to use that much. A 300-350 watt would be very good. Also, I would recommend that u get a better graphics card like the GeForce 2 Ultra since u have the budget. It would be a waste to accompany a 1.3 Athlon CPU with a Radeon 32MB. Yes the GeForce 3 is too expensive and it's everything but a must buy. It's a much better combination, in ur case, to get a 1GHz Athlon and use the remaining cash for the GeForce 2 Ultra. The 1GHz/Geforce Ultra combo will win over the 1.3GHz/Radeon 32MB combo. A good CPU is NOT the only determining factor of a good system. Memory and graphics card have a much better impact for today's system.

If I did not read wrongly, u wanted to get 3x512MB Ram??? That not a very wise choice. There's a 4% increase in performance level if the RAM is upgraded from 64MB to 128MB and for an upgrade from 128MB to 256MB, there's only a 2% increase in performance. From here, we can see that 128MB is normally enough but a 256MB is definitely recommended if u have the cash but further than 256MB is going to be a waste unless u do plenty of intensive 3D graphics, movie editing or imaging. For gaming, 256MB is heaven already. Buying more won't make ur gaming performance better than heaven... =)

For the OS, I would recommend u to get Windows ME. I am a user of Windows ME and a hardcore fps gamer except that I don't have the cash, otherwise I would have the GeForce 3 instead of my current GeForce 2 64MB Pro. Windows ME is built on the 9.x architecture and supports most game that runs on Win98 and Win95. I cannot deny that Windows 2000 is more stable because it is built on the NT platform, but it doesn't support a lot of games. New device drivers for Windows 2000 will also be much more difficult to find and have to wait longer before it releases partly because not many use Windows 2000.

Next thing is about the speakers, it's a much better choice to get a 4.1 point surround speakers or better still, the 5.1 surround speakers. The main feature of a Creative Sound Blaster Live! is its excellent 4 point surround sound and the EAX effects. It's best to accompany this card with a good speakers like those from Creative.

The whole idea of a good system is not neccessary based on it's processor alone. A lot depends on the graphics card, motherboard, sound card, speakers and the most important, software drivers. Do not underestimate the other components. They help a lot in performance too. A good lead actor without a good backstage support can't do anything. Try to find a perfect combination of all the components and form the "perfect" system!!! =)

Good luck in ur config... =)
April 29, 2001 10:50:57 PM

I've just gone that way because i don't know much about trinitron monitors, to tell you the truth. I do mostly Photoshop work though, so i'm used to mostly still images, I just like a good refresh rate, and something that doesn't hurt the eyes to look at for hours on end. lol, the most I can tell you about my personal preference and extent of knowledge in monitors, is that bigger and cheaper is better, as long as I'm not frying my retena.

the link for the burner, as well as the rest of the items included in my sample were from Mwave. It seems to be general concensus around here that mwave has the best all round prices of any mail order outfit around. you might find something cheaper somewhere else, but as a whole, Mwave is the best.
<A HREF="http://www.mwave.com" target="_new">http://www.mwave.com&lt;/A>
April 30, 2001 4:21:11 AM

Ok, here's my two cents:

Wattage: overkill. 300 should be enough. there's a hefty price premium over 300. Look at the Enlight 7237 300W case ($50).

CPU - good choice

Asus is a good choice, I'm not too sure on the model numbers and all that, but do get a DDR system, they're not much more expensive, and you'll get some extra (20%) performance out of it.

Memory. I recommend 512MB PC2100 DDR ($240). Yes, most things will run fine on 256 now, but especially with Windows XP coming out, you'll want the extra memory. I got 192mb 18 months ago when 64-128 was the norm, and now I'm suffering.

Video Card - Can't beat a GeForce 2 GTS. If you can spare the cash, get an ultra or a Ge3. I think the video card makes or breaks the gaming system. I have a friend with an 850mhz cpu (to my 550) but an SDR GeForce (to my DDR), and I get better framerates at everything.

Monitor - don't waste your money on trinitron. Instead of getting a 17" trini, get a 19" regular. Size does matter :-)

SB Live...unless you have 5 speakers, get a SB Live Value ($35). It's cheap and the quality is nice

harddrive. Maxtor does rule. Get size though, especially if your son is into mp3's and the such. I just bought a 60GB 7200RPM Maxtor drive from Best Buy for $250. And it came with a free controller card which I sorely needed (I already have 2 hdd's and 2 cd devices in my system).

CDRW. 2mb buffer is pityful. Get a decent 8xsomething plextor. It's better than any 12x10 AOpen or whatever else you can get. I have an AOpen, and trust me, it'd be faster overall if I didn't have to make a damn coaster every third CD.

Modem - hardware based

Keyboard & Mouse...get cordless! For about $70 you can get a logitech cordless keyboard and mouse combo. Stay away from the new cordless optical mouse. I bought one, and it sucks, especially for games.

speakers...don't know anything about those. Might want to get him some fat over-the-ear muff type headphones too, so he doesn't bother you with the constant bang bang :-)

CD or DVD....get a DVD drive, definitely. They're as fast, and some games are starting to come out on DVD now, just due to their size. If you plan on watching movies on the thing, get a Sigma Designs Hollywood Pro DVD Decoder card. It looks a LOT better than any software-based DVD rendering.

You seem to have left out one major component....the Network Card. I'd get one, even if you don't plan to use it...it'll come in useful eventually.

~Crapple0

"the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
April 30, 2001 11:48:42 AM

Personally I like the Quantum Fireball AS series of drives.

Wayne
January 4, 2012 1:03:35 PM

Your gaming pc can beat an overclocked i7 3960x @ 4 ghz even at stock settings easily
!