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Putting together a new system, need advise.

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December 27, 2001 9:19:25 AM

Completly off topic but I think the component board could really use a 'General' forum just for posts like these where people are trying to configure a variety of components to work out issues with them.

Anyway here goes.

Firstly I am a novice computer builder and while I do have a small grasp on 'how things work', but I am here to learn more right? I am trying to put together a new system to take to college with me in the fall and I think I have a general idea of what I want in it, but no way to tell what works with what. Heres what I was thinking about:

Mobo: A7A266-E (I am looking for a mobo that is stable, has plenty of room for expansion, and will stay 'competative' for atleast 10 months) Am I getting what I want? Is there anything better, why is it better?

CPU: Palomino Athalon XP 1600 (1.4Ghz, 256KB, 266Mhz, Socket-A, OEM) So this chip is fairly middle of the road but has a good price. I am staying away from the Pentiums just because they are so damn expensive. I understand that the XP chips can match the Pentium series. I also understand they need to be handled very gently.

Vid: Radeon 7500 64MB DDR 3D/DVD AGP 2x/4x & DVI (I can't afford the 8500. Also I can't say why I choose this over the Gforce3's other than the price. Should I buy a Geforce, and why if so?

Sound: Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+ (Tom gave this a really good review and it is fairly inexpensive. Am I on the right course here?)

RAM: I would like 512MB to start with (like i say I hope the mobo will be able to support more if I choose to add down the road.) I hear that 'Crucial' RAM is the best brand. About how much would two sticks of 256 cost me?

Case: One thing I know absolutely nothing about. What kind of cooling will I need? What kind of fans? Placement of the fans? What kind of case can I buy? I have no idea what the hell I am doing on cases (Also I want a 400w PSU).

Also just a few questions that may seem trivial to most of you but liek I say, I am new.

1) What is the difference between a 1.4Ghz T-bird and the Palomino?
2)What does 'Socket-A' on the Mobo and CPU description mean? What does that do? Also what does OEM mean?
4) On the vid card what does the '(2x/4x DVI 3D/DVD) mean?
5) RAM questions - Can anyoen give me the full names for DDR, DIMM, Rambus (I know Intell uses this stuff), and SDRAM are and thier differences. Also I have a sneaking suspicition I should be buying SDRAM for the system but I am unsure. Also does it matter that the vid card is DDR and my mobo is SDRAM?

Ok any help would be awsome, there are a plethora of questions here I am sure you guys know some of em.


~horizon

More about : putting system advise

December 27, 2001 9:28:55 AM

Quote:
Vid: Radeon 7500 64MB DDR 3D/DVD AGP 2x/4x & DVI (I can't afford the 8500. Also I can't say why I choose this over the Gforce3's other than the price. Should I buy a Geforce, and why if so?


You should get a gf3 ti 200 for 150, it is GREAT performance, and is relativly cheap.

The radeon7500 sucks, it is comparable to a gf2 ti(on a good day.) The gf3 ti 200 is way more powerful, and while its no ti500 or radeon8500 it is quite a nice card with all the gf3 features.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
December 27, 2001 9:29:47 AM

Quote:
RAM: I would like 512MB to start with (like i say I hope the mobo will be able to support more if I choose to add down the road.) I hear that 'Crucial' RAM is the best brand. About how much would two sticks of 256 cost me?


Prolly around 90 bucks, check www.crucial.com for more in depth pricing.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
Related resources
December 27, 2001 9:30:53 AM

Quote:
CPU: Palomino Athalon XP 1600 (1.4Ghz, 256KB, 266Mhz, Socket-A, OEM) So this chip is fairly middle of the road but has a good price. I am staying away from the Pentiums just because they are so damn expensive. I understand that the XP chips can match the Pentium series. I also understand they need to be handled very gently.


Good cpu choice, not too pricey and still as fast as the fastest available p4 currently.(2ghz non northwood) for much less cost.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
December 27, 2001 9:33:26 AM

Quote:
Case: One thing I know absolutely nothing about. What kind of cooling will I need? What kind of fans? Placement of the fans? What kind of case can I buy? I have no idea what the hell I am doing on cases (Also I want a 400w PSU).


If you do not plan to overclock, use the retail heatsink, which comes with a retail athlon, this heatsink blends cooling with noise level and does both adequatly. To ensure no thermal issues 1 case fan pulling out.(or pulling in if you have a 2 fan psu) will be more than enough. 400w may be overkill, 350 should be fine, enermax makes the best.

As for cases, the psu is the main part, if you buy them without psu's they are all the same.

Lian li makes some nice snazzy ones, but be prepared to spend through the nose for one of those.

a 25 dollar off the rack case is fine when equipped with a good psu.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
December 27, 2001 9:43:44 AM

Quote:
) What is the difference between a 1.4Ghz T-bird and the Palomino?
2)What does 'Socket-A' on the Mobo and CPU description mean? What does that do? Also what does OEM mean?
4) On the vid card what does the '(2x/4x DVI 3D/DVD) mean?
5) RAM questions - Can anyoen give me the full names for DDR, DIMM, Rambus (I know Intell uses this stuff), and SDRAM are and thier differences. Also I have a sneaking suspicition I should be buying SDRAM for the system but I am unsure. Also does it matter that the vid card is DDR and my mobo is SDRAM?


1. The tbird was the older core, the palomino has several enhancements, namely sse support, hardware dataprefetch, and 20% reduced heat level. All in all the palomino gets about 10-15% clock per clock more power than the tbird.

The 1600+ rating is how fast a tbird would have to be to perform the same as the palomino. The pr numbers are pretty accurate. So your xp 1600 performs about the same as a 1.6ghz tbird.

2. Socket a is the socket on the motherboard, socket a has been around through all of the tbird's time, and amd says it will last untill hammer is released sometime late next year/early 2003. With a socket a mobo you can use a tbird, an axp, a duron, and the next generation of amd chips. NO other type of chip will fit in a socket a board.


3. 2x 4x= agp speed, this makes little difference in modern games, all modern cards are 4x by default, but sometimes running at 2x increases stability. (performance loss in minimal).
DVI, is I believe digital video input, a videocard with this will allow you to hook video devices to it and record to your harddrive.
3d/dvd, I dont know what those mean, all modern videocards do 3d graphics. And dvd can be done in software.


4. DDR=double data rate ram, it is the new industry standard and its price is not much more expensive than sdram, depending on the chipset it can offer from between 5 and 25% more performance than sdram. For videocards it is IMPERETIVE, you get ddr because sdram videocards are not high end and will become obsolete very quickly.

Rambus is a type of ram that the p4 uses.
dimm is a memory module, the stick the memory comes on. I believe it stands for Direct Inline Memory Module, but I may be wrong.

A ddr videocard will run on an sdr mobo. However, if you are buying the system today you should get a ddr motherboard, the price difference in small but the performance gains(especially with a kt266a or sis735 chipset) are huge, upwards of 20%, thats almost 5 speed bins for a cpu.(the difference between 1ghz and 1.5ghz almost.).



Im tired, hopefully I answered all your questions.




"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
December 27, 2001 11:44:14 AM

DO NOT GET A CHEAP CASE. The case is one of few parts that will last for a long time. It is hard to work with cheap case.
December 27, 2001 2:45:52 PM

"Mobo: A7A266-E (I am looking for a mobo that is stable, has plenty of room for expansion, and will stay 'competative' for atleast 10 months) Am I getting what I want? Is there anything better, why is it better?"

I like the gigabyte boards. They are very stable and very fool proof. It has dual BIOS so you never have to worry about a virus attaking the BIOS or you screwing up the flash.

"CPU: Palomino Athalon XP 1600 (1.4Ghz, 256KB, 266Mhz, Socket-A, OEM) So this chip is fairly middle of the road but has a good price. I am staying away from the Pentiums just because they are so damn expensive. I understand that the XP chips can match the Pentium series. I also understand they need to be handled very gently."

Sounds good. Thats what i have.

"Vid: Radeon 7500 64MB DDR 3D/DVD AGP 2x/4x & DVI (I can't afford the 8500. Also I can't say why I choose this over the Gforce3's other than the price. Should I buy a Geforce, and why if so?"

Depends what you do? just email and web thats more then enough. Want video in and out, get ATI! want pure speed get the geforce3 ti500.

"Sound: Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+ (Tom gave this a really good review and it is fairly inexpensive. Am I on the right course here?)"

get x-gamer unless you don't play games and do mp3 stuff. Difference between mp3 and x-gamer is mp3 has mp3 type software bundle while x-gamer has games bundled with it.

"RAM: I would like 512MB to start with (like i say I hope the mobo will be able to support more if I choose to add down the road.) I hear that 'Crucial' RAM is the best brand. About how much would two sticks of 256 cost me?"

about 120 from crucial for 2 256 sticks of ram.

"Case: One thing I know absolutely nothing about. What kind of cooling will I need? What kind of fans? Placement of the fans? What kind of case can I buy? I have no idea what the hell I am doing on cases (Also I want a 400w PSU)."

Do yourself a favor and spend an extra couple of dollars and get the Antec SX1040B SOHO file server case. Has superier cooling and a decent power supply (400 watts). Ever since i switched to this case i haven't had a single reboot or lockup and my temps dropped 20 degrees celsius from my previous POS.

"Also just a few questions that may seem trivial to most of you but liek I say, I am new.

1) What is the difference between a 1.4Ghz T-bird and the Palomino?"

palomino (aka athlon xp or axp) is optimized. They retraced the wireing which added teh chip to run cooler by 20%. AMD also managed to squeeze SSE extension also. Pretty amazing accomplishment considering there was no die shrink.

Basicily the axp is an optimized version to that of the t-bird making the axp a better choice.


"2)What does 'Socket-A' on the Mobo and CPU description mean? What does that do? Also what does OEM mean?"

hey you cheated! thats 3 questions! lol!

It's just the name to coincide with the chip. This makes sure you buy the right chip for the cpu. It's just a safe mechanism to prevent stupid people from making dumb mistakes and blaming the company :) .

"4) On the vid card what does the '(2x/4x DVI 3D/DVD) mean?"

2x/4x is the speed of the agp port. Thats just a compatiblity measurement. Meaning if your board only supports 1x then that card will not work. It's an abstract safty mechanism.

DVI simply means it supprts them LCD monitors.

3D means it's a 3D accelerator. Back in the old days there were no 3D accelerators so when these came out they had to have some logo to destinguish the two.

DVD, you know what DVD is right? That just means it has hardware DVD decoding built in. Which accelerates your DVD enjoyment :) 

"5) RAM questions - Can anyoen give me the full names for DDR, DIMM, Rambus (I know Intell uses this stuff), and SDRAM are and thier differences. Also I have a sneaking suspicition I should be buying SDRAM for the system but I am unsure. Also does it matter that the vid card is DDR and my mobo is SDRAM?"

Just match the names with names. If it says DDR-SDRAM supported, then you need DDR RAM. The difference is very noticable. Sdram only has 164 pins while ddr-sdram has 184. So when you buy ram just match it up.

"Also does it matter that the vid card is DDR and my mobo is SDRAM?"

Absolutly not. Different entities entirely.

DDR simply means double data rate. It's "twice" as fast as sdram. As for performance mark it doesn't make your system run twice as fast. It's only theorhetical. But DDR is in fact faster.

RDRAM is a different architecture entirely and you cannot compare the two. Only in performance measurements.

If you want to learn more then i suggest to take a few classes. There is a lot more to this stuff then you may think. Lots of abstraction making a computer a philosophical masterpiece.


<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
December 27, 2001 4:16:46 PM

Quote:
dimm is a memory module, the stick the memory comes on. I believe it stands for Direct Inline Memory Module, but I may be wrong.

it's Dual Inline Memory Module...
and you were doing so well... :wink:

:mad:  <A HREF="http://gamershq.madonion.com/compare2k1.shtml?2096468" target="_new">P4 + SDRAM</A> = <b>BAD</b> :mad: 
December 27, 2001 7:44:08 PM

Quote:
To ensure no thermal issues 1 case fan pulling out.(or pulling in if you have a 2 fan psu) will be more than enough.

What kind of fans are good? How do I mount them? I am looking at the SX1040B 10 Bay SOHO case. Can anyone offer help there?

Also, will any of these cards give me problems if I plan to run under WinXp. What types of troubles can I expect with that OS and the current setup?


~horizon
December 27, 2001 7:48:49 PM

Also on the mobo question. Somone metioned gigabyte boards but I am unable to find any to price.

Could somone give me a small selection of good mobos to use with the Palomino chip and a XP OS?


~horizon
December 27, 2001 8:20:42 PM

All your listed components will love windows xp.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
December 27, 2001 8:21:59 PM

Get a CHEAP CASE, if when you look at it, it is easy to work with, a case is a case, the psu is what makes a good case.

As long as the CHEAP CASE, has enough space as not to be cramped and it opens easy and you like how it feels, there is no need to spend 150 on a lian li case.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
!