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Please suggest components for my new computer!

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Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 12:39:24 AM

I'm picking out components for a new PC, and am going to have someone put it together for me. I'm thinking along the lines of:

*AMD Processor--XP 1900?
*Geforce 3 Ti 200 or Radeon 8500 Video Card (which to choose, any particular brand? Ever heard of VisionTek or Microstar?)
*Mobo--not sure. Heard the Iwill xp333 was good, but doesn't hold much RAM. KT266A boards? Suggestions?
*RAM--No idea. Is DDR PC 2700 worth the $$$?
*Hard-drive--7200 RPM, somewhere between 20-40 Gigs. Does the manufacturer matter? (Maxtor etc.)
*Sound card--Soundblaster Live! 5.1? Does it have D3D sound support? Any good.
*NCI ATX 18" Case w/ 300 watt power supply. That good enough?
*Asus CD-Rom player.

I guess I'm going for the good balance between performance and power. I might OC the video card a bit, but will probably avoid OCing the CPU/Mobo, if that helps.

Suggestions welcomed!!!

Thanks.
Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 1:28:40 AM

Well, here's what I know:

I'm getting at least a 1900, regardless of what it costs (I decided it was my minimum). Currently, the 1800 gives you much more bang for your buck, though. The 1900 costs almost 1/3 more and only gives about a 5% speed gain. But it will get closer in price to the 1800 in coming weeks.

Everyone likes Crucial RAM and they ship for free. I'm getting two 256 MB sticks of PC2100 RAM. I don't think getting PC2700 would be any better if you aren't OCing.

I have no idea about the mobo. Personally, I'm getting an nForce 415-D. I hope the Asus or a comparable model comes out in the next few weeks. Everyone seems to be saying to wait for the 333 boards, but again I don't know if this would help very much for someone who isn't OCing.

For GFX, I'm waiting for the GF4s to be announced. The lower end models (i.e., the MXes) are expected to be around $100, $150 and $200. But this is still speculation, and I'm not sure how they will stack up to a GF3. So for now I'd assume that a Gainward GF3 Ti-200 is what I will end up with. Spending $300+ on a Ti-500 is not advisable. I am not an ATI fan, so I'm not pushing the 8500 like most people are.

A 7200 RPM HD is a must. I keep my clean, so I'd save some money by getting a 20 GB (my current 10 GB never gets full). But to each their own. Supposedly Maxtor is decent, and a lot of people like IBM. Someone else could help you out there.

Since I'm getting an nForce, I'm gonna use that for sound. But if they don't come out in time, I'll stick my current SBLive! mp3+ in there. An Audigy would also be pretty cool, I imagine. I'm not a big audiophile.

As for the case, I already bought my Antec SX830. I don't know enough about different cases to tell you if the one you mentioned is any good.

I hope this helps, but it could just be the blind leading the blind ;)  It's often hard to get advice on some of these boards because even if you say you don't OC, people will still assume that you will, heh.
Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 1:54:05 AM

Thanks.

Is PC 2100 RAM DDR RAM?

I hope someone comes along who can help with the Mobo. I'm totally confused about that.
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Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 3:53:32 AM

Yeah, PC 2100 is PC 133 DDR. I really wish they had called it "PC 133 DDR" instead of PC 2100 :) 
Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 4:18:27 AM

Actually, I think I was wrong about something. Once the mobos that support PC 2700 come out, you should get some improvement in performance using PC 2700 RAM. What I'm not sure about is how fast of an FSB the Athlon XP supports. I'm sure someone else here can give a better answer regarding exactly what to expect from the XPs when the KT333s (or whatever) come out.
January 28, 2002 6:44:42 AM

I agree with what was said above about the ram. You 2100 ram will do fine and yes, pc 2100 is ddr ram.

I personally would go with a KT266a mobo. This site has a pretty good article about them. Also, you might want to check out anandtech.com if you want to read another article about those motherboards. It's hard to suggest a particular brand because everybody has different needs - if you are looking for stability, features, or price each brand has something different to offer.

Also, I would check out the Tom's articles on sound cards too. He lists all of the features and what each card supports in a helpful way.

Are you going to get a CD-RW? I would definitely look into it. If not, I personally wouldn't get just a CD-ROM. For 20 or 30 bucks more you can get a DVD-ROM that will read CD's and DVD's.

One more thing, personally I think one of the things that bugged me the most about the computer I built was the noise. I bought a very loud, generic heat sink/fan. I finally had to go spend a bit more and get a pretty good one. If you aren't going to OC the CPU then definitely get a quiet fan with a quiet case fan or two. The Alpha PAL-8045 is a good one that you can throw a low rpm quiet fan onto and it will cool very well but it's kind of pricey. I went with the ThermoEngine V60-4210 because I didn't want to pay so much for the ALPHA and it suits my needs.

Hope that helped and sorry for making it so long.

P.S. What about the monitor? Get a big one! At least a 19" It's worth the money. :) 

Happy Buying
---

As long as it's funny it's okay.
Anonymous
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January 28, 2002 1:07:15 PM

I think if you set the speed to 133, no matter u use 2100 or 2700, there is no difference. Except u oc it. See how much diff in $$. If it is the case like PC133 and PC100, you should get PC133.
January 28, 2002 4:32:35 PM

I haven't seen what others have said, so if I repeat them, I'm sorry.

CPU - XP1900+ will be ok, but the 1600+ and 1700+ offer better value for the money. The performance difference would be negligible. If you would rather have a faster processor, that's fine.

Video card - I recently bought a retail 8500, so you know my choice there. Visiontek and MSI (Microstar) both make good cards, BTW. MSI also makes good motherboards.

Motherboard - The Iwill XP333 is nice, the MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU is a nice board too, KT266a with USB2.0.

RAM - If you get the XP333, then PC2700 is worth the buy. Check Kingmax, it's supposed to be good stuff. Otherwise, get PC2100 from Crucial.

Hard drive - Manufacturer is pure preference. Some people hate IBM and love Maxtor, some hate Maxtor and love IBM. I have two Maxtor drives, and they both work fine. I'd recommend the IBM 60GXP if you have no personal brand preference.

Sound card - The Sound Blaster Live! is tied with the Philips Seismic Edge for the worst sound card ever. I've used both. I currently use a Hercules Game Theater XP, which is nice but a bit pricey. Try a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, I've never talked to anyone who has one and has a complaint about it. I've never used one myself, however.

Case/Power supply - I never recommend generic PSUs. If you can buy the case without one, do it. Then get a good Enermax power supply. Lots of people also like Antec power supplies.

Asus CD-ROM - They are a bit noisy, but no big deal.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
January 28, 2002 6:00:11 PM

I would definately go for a maxtor hard drive
i would like to know who hates maxtor ?!?!


Trying is the first step to failure
January 28, 2002 6:19:19 PM

Lots of people, nobody on this forum that I can think of.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
January 28, 2002 6:48:15 PM

hate maxtor , but why ?
i just like those drives, why would anyone hate maxtor?
i like maxtor - duh
January 28, 2002 6:48:15 PM

hate maxtor , but why ?
i just like those drives, why would anyone hate maxtor?
i like maxtor - duh
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 12:47:12 AM

Thanks guys. Taking your suggestions into account, how's this system (all prices Canadian):

AMD XP 1600-1900+ --$207-354
Mobo: XP333 or MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU (w/sound?)-- $184.30, $222.88
256 MB PC2700 or PC2100--$239.52, 171.56
Radeon 8500, G3 Ti200 VisionTek or MSI--$301.28, 295.68, 280
Case--NCI 18IN 300W ATX 802K CASE--$50
Asus 52X CDROM--$50
Creative Live 5.1--$55
HD: Maxtor 7200 RPM 20 Gig--$125

OK. A few questions/comments:

1) Turtle SC's are a bitch to find where I live, pure and simple. If I can get one at a reasonable price, I probably will.

2) What is the difference between the various types of RAM? Is it worth the expense in term of % performance gains for the price of DDR RAM (PC2100 or PC2700)? Not to mention the various manufacturers. Micron 256 MB stick of PC2100 is over $50 less.

3) Mobo's: The XP3333 is cheaper, but I heard you could only fit 256 MB RAM in it. That so? Big deal for upgrading? The Microstar Mobo said: "MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU ATX KT266A SOCKETA DDR AGP 5PCI ATA100 W/ SOUND & RAID". Does "w/ sound" mean that is has some cheap sound card installed with it? BTW, the only things I'm concerned about are performance, stability and price. Heard there were big troubles with VIA chipsets? I don't mind paying a bit more (I don't want a shitty mobo again), but I'm not looking for the best of the best despite cost.

4) Case/power supply--the one I mentioned OK? Is it a big deal? I don't care how it looks. The Antec cases were 3X as much, and the Enermax cases were 6-7X as much. If there is a compelling reason as to why I should pay that, please let me know.

5) Video card issue almost as confusing as Mobo's/RAM. I can get a 8500 for about the same price as a GF3 Ti200. From what I understand, the Ti200's OC easily to GF3 standards...which generally outperform the 8500, and appear to have better compatability. What about the OS you run on? Does that make a big difference. I'd likely be going with Win 98SE and/or Win XP.
Fatburger, why did you get an 8500 over a GF3 card?

6) More suggestions welcome.

7) Am I missing anything (that goes into the case)?

Thanks a lot.

PS: How upgradable would the system be?<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Decado on 01/28/02 10:28 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 3:04:45 AM

Do you need to bump on these forums? OR do people actually check the 2nd or 3rd pages? :) 
January 29, 2002 3:18:39 AM

No if your smart you use the show all.
January 29, 2002 3:19:50 AM

gheez, where are you buying those parts? they're all really overpriced.... look at newegg.com
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 4:54:19 AM

I buy them in Canada. Buying from the US is out of the question because of the Canadian $$$, shipping charges and boarder fees (if they're still around).
January 29, 2002 5:30:59 AM

Maxtor replaced my drive in 2 days (in canada), and in another 2 days they replaced the drive they just gave me. Somehow I received a reject one.

<font color=red>Handsome A7V133 looking for long term relationship with a XP CPU. Prefer non smoker.</font color=red> ;) 
January 29, 2002 6:53:18 AM

Quote:
Sound card - The Sound Blaster Live! is tied with the Philips Seismic Edge for the worst sound card ever. I've used both. I currently use a Hercules Game Theater XP, which is nice but a bit pricey. Try a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, I've never talked to anyone who has one and has a complaint about it. I've never used one myself, however



Have it, love it.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
January 29, 2002 6:55:57 AM

Quote:
5) Video card issue almost as confusing as Mobo's/RAM. I can get a 8500 for about the same price as a GF3 Ti200. From what I understand, the Ti200's OC easily to GF3 standards...which generally outperform the 8500, and appear to have better compatability. What about the OS you run on? Does that make a big difference. I'd likely be going with Win 98SE and/or Win XP.
Fatburger, why did you get an 8500 over a GF3 card?


The 8500 you can get is most likely a le or lele version, which means its underclocked. A gf3 ti 200 for the most part can reach FULL ti500 speeds. It is generally cheaper than the 8500. If you get an 8500 make sure its the FULL retail card@275/275.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
January 29, 2002 2:49:48 PM

Riftwing, prices are in Canadian.


1) You can get one online. Shouldn't be too difficult.

2) Just get PC2100 from Crucial, plain and simple. Crucial RAM is great quality, cheap, and they have the best customer service.

3) There is no way that the XP333 only takes 256MB of RAM. At least 2GB, probably more. The sound on the MSI board is pretty crappy, even a Live would be better (but not by much).

4) Find out what wattage and brand of power supply it is.

5) The Radeon 8500 is the best performing card on the market. Period. Look at MadOnion.com, you'll see that that's the truth. Yes, it's a synthetic benchmark. But it's run by normal people (for the most part), not some hardware reviewer with an ax to grind.

The GF3Ti200 can supposedly overclock to GF3Ti500 speeds, but that would still make it the second best card around. Get what you want, it was a tough decision for me. If I hadn't gotten the 8500, I would've gone with a Gainward GF3Ti200.

7) Hard drive, NIC, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, etc.


The system will be as upgradeable as anything else you could buy today.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
January 29, 2002 3:56:58 PM

xp333 supports 3gig ddr ram (3x1mb dimms)

...so i got that goin' for me
January 29, 2002 5:37:10 PM

Thanks

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 5:56:43 PM

Thanks guys, how does this sound:

CPU--AMD ATHLON XP 1700+ 1.47GHZ 256K FSB266 OEM
MOBO--IWILL XP333 ATX ALI MAGIK1 SOCKET A DDR333 AGP 5 PCI ATA133 W/ 5.1 AUDIO
RAM--CRUCIAL 256MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM CAS2.5
VIDEO--MSI MS-8851 GeForce3 TI 200 64MB DDR VGA/ DVI /TV OUT RETAIL BOX
HD--MAXTOR D740X-6L 20GB 7200RPM 2MB 8.5MS ATA133 INT IDE
CASE--NCI 18IN 300W ATX 802K CASE
CDROM--SONY 52X CD-ROM EIDE INT OEM
Floppy drive

Already have burner/mouse/keyboard/speakers

Few questions:
1) Do you think that system will come together well? Compatability problems there? I don't know about warranties. The person putting it together for me will likely give me 1 year labour, but since they aren't his products, that's it.

2) Crucial RAM cheap? Seems to be at the high end. Is it really worth paying $50+ more than for Micron or other brands? Money better spent on a better video/audio card or something?

3) The 8500 is probably the underclocked one, so I guess I'll go with a Ti200. Microstar or VisionTek? Couldn't find Gainward. Any other brands worth noting? Asus?

4) Anyone know what the XP333's internal sound card is like? Is it easy to replace it with a different one when should I want to get a Turtle Beach?

5) The case is by NCI, and it is 300 watts. I assume the power is by the same company. Any good?

6) What about cooling? Do the OEM AMD CPU's come with fans? Are they any good? Does the XP333 Mobo have that overheating/melting problem that the XP chips are said to have with most Mobo's?

Thanks a lot!!! Getting close :D 
January 29, 2002 6:07:37 PM

1) You shouldn't have any difficulties.

2) Yes, Crucial is comparable to generic RAM sold in local shops. Check their website.

3) Basically all brands are the same. Just get whichever you think looks the best (seriously).

4) It's onboard, not an actual card. Basically just a chip on the motherboard, and there are outputs by the other ports (serial, USB, etc). It's decent, but only you can judge whether it's good enough for you.

5) Probably not any good, but you'll find out one way or the other.

6) Get the retail CPU, and use the included heatsink. OEM does not come with a heatsink.
There are no overheating or especially melting problems with XPs. Whoever told you that is an idiot.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 6:53:10 PM

"2) Yes, Crucial is comparable to generic RAM sold in local shops. Check their website."

I don't get it. Then why would I pay $50 more for Crucial RAM if its the same stuff as Micron or the other brands?

3) Might as well get Microstar. Value board (about $40 less then the next cheapest GT3 Ti200 board).

"4) It's decent, but only you can judge whether it's good enough for you."

Give it try and I'll upgrade it later. :) 

"5) Probably not any good, but you'll find out one way or the other."

Hehe. Thanks. What will I find out? Will it effect performance/stability much? I just want a case that will do its job well. Nothing fancy.

"6) Get the retail CPU, and use the included heatsink."

"AMD Athlon XP 1700+ PGA CPU w/Fan (1.47Ghz)" Do you think that means that it comes w/ the heatsink? Doesn't say if its OEM or Retail.

"There are no overheating or especially melting problems with XPs. Whoever told you that is an idiot."

It was identified as a problem by AMD. You need some sort of Thurmal paste if I remember correctly (which is unlikely).

Thanks again!
January 29, 2002 7:04:53 PM

2) Comparable in price, I meant. If it's that much more expensive, look for something else.

5) The case doesn't matter, it's the power supply. You'll have freezes, random reboots, etc. But if you don't, then don't worry about it. I'm not saying you will, just that you might.

6) Yes, it comes with the heatsink. Most likely it's the retail version.


You should always use thermal paste or the included TIM (Thermal Interface Material, a little pad on the bottom of the heatsink). Overheating and melting has NOT been acknowledged as a problem by AMD, it's only when you don't propery install your heatsink.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
Anonymous
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January 29, 2002 7:46:40 PM

Yeah. Doesn't seem to be very common around where I live. I can get Micron DDR RAM for $50+ less.

Is it easy to replace the powersource if this one sucks?

I'm not putting it together...so maybe I'll mention it to the guy that is.

Do you have to buy "Thermal Interface Material" separately, or does it come with the Mobo or CPU?

Thanks!!
January 29, 2002 8:45:41 PM

Then go for Micron. Sorry, I thought you were just guessing at prices, not saying what they actually were where you live.

Power supplies are very easy to swap out, and not unbearably expensive, either. I paid $80 for mine, but it's way more than I need :wink:

The TIM comes attached to the heatsink. I recommend you use thermal paste like Arctic Silver (after scraping off the TIM), but it's not too big a deal.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
January 29, 2002 11:06:42 PM

Cool, nowhere in this thread do you say what you need your new computer for. I'm guessing (from what you are saying) you want it mostly for 3D gaming right? In which case buy a console - it will save you alot of money and bother -
- unless you wanna rip loads of games with your old CD-RW

Anyway, asuming you are determined to spend thousands of dollars just to idle away your precious free time, spend most on the video card. That doesn't mean waste good money on GF3, buy ATI Radeon 8500, cheaper, better and faster (compare the Ti200 vs Radeon 8500 at GamersHQ) - put an Orb on it for OC.
Then get a good overclocking MOBO (THG reviewed them recently so make up your own mind) and put in the fastest processor you can buy with whats left in your pocket. OC the FSB so the whole PCI bus is running 30% faster and then just by a WDx00BB hard disk. Buying expensive RAM won't improve your gaming performance significantly compared to a top 3D card. Oh, and buy a decent monitor, you don't even mention the thing you are going to gawp at for hours on end.
Anonymous
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January 30, 2002 1:28:41 AM

Thanks Fatburger. I don't know why Crucial RAM is so much more expensive, but it is.

LOL!-->sjonnie

"Cool, nowhere in this thread do you say what you need your new computer for. I'm guessing (from what you are saying) you want it mostly for 3D gaming right?"

Built for gaming, used for other things as well. Pretty obvious.

"In which case buy a console - it will save you alot of money and bother"

I already own a console (PS2). But I need a new PC anyway, and since I can get a relatively good deal, I might as well get a good one.

Also, consoles don't exactly have all the genres covered, and don't do some of them very well.

I already have a 19" monitor.

Thanks.
January 30, 2002 9:36:18 AM

Quote:
3) There is no way that the XP333 only takes 256MB of RAM. At least 2GB, probably more. The sound on the MSI board is pretty crappy, even a Live would be better (but not by much).


The bottleneck for sound on most pc's is the speakers IMO, you wont be able to tell onboard sound from a sb audilogy with 10 dollar oem speakers, wouldnt you agree burger?

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
January 30, 2002 9:37:19 AM

Quote:
2) Crucial RAM cheap? Seems to be at the high end. Is it really worth paying $50+ more than for Micron or other brands? Money better spent on a better video/audio card or something?



LOL, crucial IS micron LOL.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
January 30, 2002 9:38:49 AM

Quote:
Yeah. Doesn't seem to be very common around where I live. I can get Micron DDR RAM for $50+ less.



LOL

LOL

LOL

CRUCIAL IS MICRON, HOW CAN YOU GET MICRON RAM FOR 50 LESS THAN MICRON RAM!

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
January 30, 2002 3:34:58 PM

You know, I said that same thing (speakers being a bottleneck) a few weeks ago, and then started thinking about it.

There is no "bottleneck" as such in sound. The only question is how accurately the sound is reproduced. If you have crappy speakers and a crappy sound card, you'll have crappy sound. Good speakers and good sound card, good sound. But even with crappy speakers, if you improve the sound card, you'll see the difference.

I can explain more technically why that is if you like.


Micron and Crucial are not the same thing. Crucial is owned by Micron and uses Micron chips. However, lots of other companies use Micron chips as well, and typically it's advertised as "Micron" RAM, even though the brand may be Infineon, Kinston, etc.

<font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
January 31, 2002 10:11:44 AM

Quote:
Micron and Crucial are not the same thing. Crucial is owned by Micron and uses Micron chips. However, lots of other companies use Micron chips as well, and typically it's advertised as "Micron" RAM, even though the brand may be Infineon, Kinston, etc.




ahhhh ok.

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