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May 31, 2001 4:01:37 AM

Any one have any comments on the following configuration. I will be building two of these. I will be running Office, Peachtree Accounting mainly. I am looking for something that will perform well for 3 years and be easy to set up. These computers will be added to a workgroup of 3 computers. Thank you for your input.

Case ENLIGHT 7237/3 MIDDLE TOWER W/300W ATX POWER SUPPLY 4x5.25" 2x3.5" 1x3.5"(hidden)
Motherboard Asus A7V133 (VIA KT133A Chipset, Rev 1.05)
CPU Athlon 1.2 GHz, 266 MHz, retail boxed
System Memory Mushkin 128 MB Mushkin High Performance REV2 PC133 222
Graphics Card ASUS V7100 PURE GeFORCE2 MX 32MB SDR VGA(Retail)
Hard Disk IBM 30.0GB 07N4774 EIDE ULTRA ATA/100 LP DESKSTAR 7200RPM 75GXP
Floppy SONY 1.44MB FLOPPY DRIVE
CD/DVD SONY 52X INTERNAL EIDE CD ROM #CDR5121
2nd CD/DVD YAMAHA 40X-READ/16X-RECORD/10X-REWRITE CRW2100E-VK EIDE INT REWRITABLE W/SW
NIC 3COM 10BT/100BTX FAST ETHERLINK XL 3C905CTXM PCI W/PC & NETWORK MANAGEMENT 1-PK (Bare card)
Modem USR 56K V.90 INTERNAL PCI FAX MODEM FOR WINDOWS
Sound Card Phillips, PSC70217, 3D PCI Sound Card
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (DSP)#Includes Service Pack 1
Software Microsoft Office Pro 2000 Professional CD (DSP)

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Anonymous
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May 31, 2001 4:15:08 AM

Well If you're using only for those programs, I see NO need for a geforce2. Why spend more money when you dont have to? You'd be better off buying another 128 meg stick of RAM.
May 31, 2001 4:45:16 AM

Hmmm...

300W might be borderline. You have rather more than the normal complement of devices.

3com 3C905C--make sure you <i>don't</i> get the version with the onboard boot ROM. It's more expensive, and the only thing that boot ROM is really good for is booting off the network (only good for thin clients). The last time I worked with that boot ROM, it was a major hassle--it would try to boot off the network even after I set it to boot locally.

For the record, I've found the Intel PRO/100 series adapters to be cheaper and less hassle. They perform just as well as 3com's and have a few more features for the price.

Modem--if these two are to be added to a workgroup, is there some reason to have modems besides internet access? In most office environments, one or two systems (the "gateways") have an internet connection, and the rest just access the internet through a network-connected gateway.

CD-RW--You can save a bit by simply having only one system with a CD-RW in it. CD-RW's spend so much time being idle in most environments that there's not much point in having more than one.

RAM--128MB might be enough for now, it might not. 1 year from now, I can almost guarantee you it will slow you down. I'd say start with 128MB, but monitor memory usage (Win2K Task Manager is good for this). RAM is cheap enough right now that there's no point skimping on it.

VIA KT133A--"Easy to set up" depends upon your perspective. The KT133A is generally stable but may be a pain in the arse. I'd be more inclined to get a motherboard with an ALi MAGiK 1 chipset--like the Asus A7A266.

Kelledin

bash-2.04$ kill -9 1
init: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?
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May 31, 2001 5:06:06 AM

I agree for 256 meg for 40$ that a good deal
May 31, 2001 5:55:48 AM

The vid card is $91. Not bad. If you have a model/brand that is less expensive that you would recommend please pass it along. Thanks.
May 31, 2001 6:09:08 AM

Thanks for the advice.

Regarding the NIC I don't need anything special, just something easy to install. The hub is 10 Mbs. This connects the workgroup and DSL. I have found the 3coms have worked without a hitch when less known brands had complications.

The modem is for dialup access to accounting systems with several vendors/customers not internet access.

Good point about the CD-RW. The problem is the boss wants one on his computer to burn copies of his music while the office manager/accountant (one who really needs a CD-RW) needs one for daily backups of accounting data.

Regarding the Asus A7A266 I have read that the performance is less than stellar and wasn't worth the extra money. I am also afraid of something that new. That fear may not be warranted. It just makes me nervous. Do you use the board?
May 31, 2001 6:16:06 AM

The memory I am considering purchasing is not $40 for 256MB. The Mushkin brand w/ 222 timings is not that cheap. I wouldn't want to buy generic memory that may or not be reliable. Perhaps I don't need the lower latencies. Anyone have any experience/input on the quality of memory used.
May 31, 2001 7:22:32 AM

I haven't used the A7A266 board myself. If public message boards are any indication, though, it's less problematic than the KT133A chipset. Its performance was rather sub-par when first released, but it has since improved to the point that it performs almost as well as the AMD761.

My first Athlon board was an EPoX KX133 chipset. It was generally OK but was finicky about memory (I ended up getting Mushkin RAM to make it happy). My brother now has it and is quite satisfied with it.

My current board is a GA-7DX, a combined AMD 761 northbridge and VIA 686B southbridge (the same southbridge you find on a KT133A chipset). The southbridge would not behave itself until I hand-picked IRQs for all the PCI slots. Now it's rock-solid.

Kelledin

bash-2.04$ kill -9 1
init: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?
May 31, 2001 7:58:51 AM

Thanks for your help. Any advice on a video card for my applications.
May 31, 2001 8:31:53 AM

Look at the ATI range, they provide better quality 2d/windows performance, and good enough for games too, if you ever want to play.


Beer is the devil's piss.
May 31, 2001 8:36:13 AM

Your choice of video cards is liable to come down to whether or not your co-workers like to have LAN parties after-hours :wink: . If they like to get together and hold Q3A/UT matches after work, they would probably appreciate the video card you've selected.

If they don't do that sort of thing much (or you just don't feel like paying more just so they can do that), you can instead go with an old Riva128, ATI Rage Pro (Xpert98), or ATI Rage Fury card for about a third of the price.

Kelledin

bash-2.04$ kill -9 1
init: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?
Anonymous
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May 31, 2001 9:53:25 AM

For your graphics an ATI Expert would do more than what you need for less money , and for your memory why not try Crucial.com you can actually buy DDR meme for teh same price as SDR...

M

if at first you don't succeed , destroy all evidence that you ever tried...
May 31, 2001 2:18:11 PM

Would you recommend the Asus A7A266 board? Do you use it?
Anonymous
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May 31, 2001 2:45:28 PM

I have a 1.2ghz on an A7M and one on the A7A and I can't tell the difference between them except the A7A Boots faster...neither have caused me any problems (the A7A is on 512mb PC133 and the A7M on 512mb PC2100) Both run dual boot win2k pro and Win98....

Hope this helps

M

if at first you don't succeed , destroy all evidence that you ever tried...
May 31, 2001 3:40:12 PM

It helps a lot actually. What type of configuration do you have on the A7A? Was it easier to setup than a A7V133? I was staying away from the DDR boards because I wanted something more mature that I knew would be fairly easy to setup. However the DDR boards would offer more of an upgrade path. Any idea what the upper limit for the processor MHz is on this motherboard?
Anonymous
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May 31, 2001 3:51:39 PM

I am not sure what the Fastest CPU is for them(Asus just say 1.2+) but the config was easy on both the A7M and the A7A the only MB I have had to really play with is the A7V that I have and that was only minor, although the A7V does not like the 512MB ECC reg dim I have in it at 133 FSB but it is fine at 100. The A7M still has a VIA southbridge onboard and this could still cause problems but the A7A is purley ALI.
The best thing about the A7A is the SDR/DDR Memory support.

if at first you don't succeed , destroy all evidence that you ever tried...
Anonymous
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May 31, 2001 6:26:40 PM

91 isnt bad for a vid card, but you can get way better 2d performance, and better gaming performance for less by going with the ATI Radeon LE... <70 at newegg.com

Old addage: "Users never prosper" :o ) Long live the tweakers
May 31, 2001 8:07:39 PM

Any compatability issues with the A7V133 or the A7A266? Do you use the ATI Radeon LE?
Anonymous
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June 1, 2001 8:54:18 AM

I use a 64mb Radeon vivo with my A7A and standard Radeon 64mb with my A7M with no probs...

M

if at first you don't succeed , destroy all evidence that you ever tried...
June 6, 2001 3:40:17 PM

How often will you upgrade your apps, and are you office 2000 -> planning to go to XP.

For a 3 year machine life in a corporate environment I would strongly suggest a lower spec Duron or PIII setup.

I doubt your office apps will ever take much advantage of a 1.2Ghz CPU - so unless you do VERY large database or spreadsheet accountancy work (I don't know anything about Peachtree) you may do well to reconsider. In most cases memory footprint will affect it more so get 512MB of Corsair Cas3 or Cas2 if you are feeling flush.

You'd probably get better results dropping your system spec (do you need a 52X CDROM and a CDRW wich will read at 40X? etc.) and spend the money on decent monitors and keyboards.

To be honest looking at this spec it is not a business machine, nor is it a games machine, but a combination of averages.

Sound card for instance - get a mobo with onboard sound - it's an office - not a home theatre!

I'd seriously recommend a re-think on this one. You should be able to trim at least $300 off this.

Just as a question - did this spec come from a systems builder - it just looks very neat, no typos etc? DON'T take their barebones offer - build what YOU need, not what they give you.

-* This Space For Rent *-
email for application details
June 8, 2001 5:03:05 PM

Thanks for your response. I have already reconsidered the system configuration and purchased the following parts. The systems are up and running beautifully and should suffice for more than 3 years.

Thanks again for your input.

Motherboard Asus A7A266 w/ onboard sound
CPU Athlon 1.2 GHz, 266 MHz, retail boxed
System Memory Corsair 256 MB DDR SDRAM
Graphics Card ASUS V7100 PURE GeFORCE2 MX 32MB SDR VGA
Hard Disk IBM 30.0GB 07N4774 EIDE ULTRA ATA/100 LP DESKSTAR 7200RPM 75GXP
Floppy SONY 1.44MB FLOPPY DRIVE
CD/DVD SONY 52X INTERNAL EIDE CD ROM #CDR5121
2nd CD/DVD Plextor 40X-READ/16X-RECORD/10X-REWRITE IDE INT
NIC 3COM 10BT/100BTX FAST ETHERLINK XL 3C905CTXM PCI W/PC & NETWORK MANAGEMENT 1-PK (Bare card)

This system is noticeably faster than another P3 system we have.

I realize the 1.2 GHz is not necessary it just postpones the next upgrade.

A 52X CD-ROM is not that expensive and I need the nice CD-RW because it is for my boss. He wants it because his brother has one. So I win brownie points if I best his brother. haha. A little politics there.

This system does have the onboard sound. However it comes out in mono (only one speaker). I don't know why yet. Still looking to see if there is a way to change this.

Neither my first system specs or the one purchased is from a system builder. I try to use correct grammer, spelling, and punctuation. I am a mechanical engineer and typos might mean someone dies. That is why you see few if any typos.

Thanks again for your input.
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