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New PC for Yule! Thoughts and comments welcome!

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December 6, 2002 1:59:18 PM

If I'm lucky (as in somehow manage to <i>not</i> kill my PC budget like I have four times in the past two years with doctor/dentist/car/house bills) I just may <i>finally</i> replace my Celeron 500 with a new PC for Yule! Yipee!

The problem is, the budget is still rather low. :(  I think if I'm lucky I'll be able to scrape up $800 for the PC and a new monitor. Because of my price problems and because I don't want to OC (I may need this PC to last a long while, much as the Celeron 500 has and the Pentium 133 before that) and because of thoughts towards future upgradability, I'm thinking of an nForce2 mobo and a lot of retail parts with manufacturer's warranties.

The keyboard, mouse, floppy, CD burner, and retail copy of Win98SE I can scrap up from my dead Pentium 133. Various sets of old speakers can be scraped up from dead systems to hold me over until I can get a nice set. The monitor I'm thinking about just getting locally to save on S&H, but am thinking of spending about $200 there for a nice 17" CRT (19" if I'm lucky), leaving only about $600 for the PC itself.

So I'm looking at something like this:
Antec SX630II Mid Tower case with 300W power supply
(retail) Asus A7N8X Deluxe (nForce2) motherboard
(retail) AMD Athlon XP 1800+ with heat sink
2 128MB sticks of Micron PC2100, CL2.5
(retail) ATI Sapphire 8500LE 64MB
Maxtor 40GB 5400RPM
Compaq 8x DVD
(retail)Creative Labs Modem Blaster DSI V.92

It's definately not the most impressive. However, it should be a massive upgrade from a Celeron 500 PC. :)  More importantly, should I actually somehow manage to get money in the future, there's a lot that can be upgraded. (Like two 512MB sticks of DDR333, a Barton chip, a new video card, and a serial ATA hard drive for next Yule.)

That's my line of reasoning anyway. It has to be something that can last over time without upgrades if need be (in other words, no hardware failures and/or waranty if hardware does fail) but at the same time is also something that I could build upon later if I do manage to scrounge up the money.

Any thoughts on how to save a little more money are of course welcome, as are any suggestions on better parts for about the same money. (It's a tight budget and I've worked out cost of parts and S&H will be around $590.) So let me have it. ;) 

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More about : yule thoughts comments

December 6, 2002 2:58:37 PM

I'm not biased towards Nvidia or anything, but looking around, Geforce3 ti200's are around $69 or so now, and they overclock fairly decently. I admit, I like my Radeon 8500, but the drivers are sketchy in a few games, and i'm used to the stability of the Nvidia drivers. If you're looking on saving money, I know Newegg is starting to stock the 1700+ thoroughbred A AXP's, which probably overclock decently. Although the heat would probably drive up the cost for a decent heatsink and fan. Then again, you could just get a cheapie, like a Thermalright Sk6+ and any generic 80mm fan for $20 or so, and that is reasonable for a moderate overclock. If you're looking for a hard drive, I can sell you a used one cheaply (been trying to find a buyer).

Either a-
20gb Western Digital 7200 rpms
45gb IBM 75gxp 7200 rpms

both work, and currently they're setup in my RAID array on my compy, although they don't serve any real use

Soon enough, Intel will make the i845s...imagine dual channel Sdram...*shudder*
December 6, 2002 3:49:11 PM

Hmm... I had a cousin who got a GeForce3 and was very unhappy with it. It had a LOT of problems. Maybe that was just early drivers though, as he got it when they just came out. Can anyone vouch for the GeForce3 being problem-free now? If so, I might consider that.

And as I said, I'm not looking to overclock. I want the retail waranty, and thus to my knowledge, I'm stuck with the retail heat sink. Besides, for the cost of the heat sink and the TBredA 1700+ I could just instead get an AXP 2000+ retail and be assured of it's reliability and still have a waranty.

On to hard drives... Right now, I'm more concerned with longevity of the drive and with storage space than with speed. I've got 12GB on my current system and it's no where near enough. I've had to archive my MP3s onto CDs just to save space, which kind of defeated the purpose of ripping the MP3s off of my CDs in the first place. Heh heh. So the WD's 20 that you suggest definately won't cut it. Plus, I've heard pretty bad things in the past about both IBM and Western Digital for failure rates. I haven't heard much of anything bad about Maxtor though. (At least not anything in the past 6 years. I did see a whole bunch of Maxtor hard drives delivered that all but one failed within a two week time span, but that was 6 years ago <i>and</i> was a government contract. Besides, they replaced them all and the replacements all worked, so I'm guessing that it was a shipping and handling snafu.) <i>Right now</i> if I was going to spend any more money on a hard drive, it'd probably be to get one with more storage, not to get a faster one. In the future though, of course, I'll be looking towards a faster hard drive as an upgrade.

Thanks for the suggestions though. :)  Keep 'em coming.

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December 6, 2002 3:53:29 PM

Be sure to check out the office places (like office max and office depot) for minitors. Thats where sometimes find the best prices for them, as well as some other things like cd-r drives and such.

---------

If the Scatman can do it so can you...

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December 6, 2002 4:25:55 PM

I'm not sure I would waste my money on 128mb sticks of ram. Why not one stick of 256mb ram? Leaving room from future upgrades.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 5:33:10 PM

Because the nForce2 is a dual-channel motherboard. If I get just one stick, I get just one channel.

The memory that I <i>really</i> want are two 512MB DIMMs of Corsair XMS PC2700 CL2. However, at about $170 per stick, that's a tad out of my price range. :(  (And probably pretty wasted on an AXP 1800+ anyway. Heh heh.)

Even if I just got one of the above uber-sticks and ran it single-channel, the system would still cost $100 more, which is beyond my price range. So the two solid-but-slow 128MB sticks are a holdover at only $35 each.

I'm hoping that the nForce2 dual-channel's latency improvements combined with the fact that the AXP 1800+'s 266MHz FSB isn't exactly a high bandwidth need will allow the dinky holdover solution to be of acceptable performance.

And since the memory will probably be one of the first things that I upgrade if I ever find the money to later, it just didn't make sense to me to try to find a middle point between what I really want and what I can afford now.

That was my reasoning anyway. :)  Care to try and dissuade me?

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December 6, 2002 5:58:16 PM

I can vouch for the Geforce3. My friend (who I helped build his computer) upgraded from a Geforce2 Mx400 PCI to a Chaintech Geforce3 ti200, overclocks well, stable, and runs fast. I got Zyprd's Radeon 8500 from his classified, otherwise, I was going to just get a classic Geforce3 or Geforce3 ti200 in the end. As to your other comment, yes Maxtor hard drives are very reliable. I've had the best experience using Maxtor and Seagate

Soon enough, Intel will make the i845s...imagine dual channel Sdram...*shudder*
December 6, 2002 6:11:19 PM

I'm just thinking logically. I understand your upgrade strategy. From what I've read, the nForce2 board is comparable, speed wise, with 1 or 2 sticks ram. So the cost, performance wise, of running 1 stick of 256 on a 1800+, since you can easily move to dual 256(512) later, is less especially if you decide to hold off on a Barton/High end Athlon upgrade with 1gig 333c2 ram in the future. IMO.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 6:54:22 PM

I disagree, benchmarks have shown that there is a noticeable increase by Dual Channel operation despite proving unused bandwidth.

Additionally reports state that the nForce 2 unlocks AXP multipliers, therefore you can actually try running 200MHZ FSB with a lower multiplier and get much more performance with little heat penalties!

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December 6, 2002 7:08:35 PM

When you're running a system at 256mb, your HD is going to be your bottleneck in certain operations. So the minute benefit you get from running dual channel is practically nothing compared to the swapping saved by moving to 512mb. In the end, the real question is; do you really want to be stuck with 2 128mb sticks in the 512mb OS generation?

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 7:11:55 PM

It depends, what Windows is he using?
I think he said Win98. 256MB is much more than enough.
Whether he wants to go further later on, he can always grab an extra 256MB. Sooner or later the 512MB will become a standard so that 256MB will go down in price just like one day the 64MB was expensive.
IMO he should just stick with what I said for now, as later on 256MB will become cheap and migrating to WinXP or further will be a piece of cake for performance and usability.

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December 6, 2002 7:21:41 PM

Slvr, as far as I can surmise, is a programmer. The OS you run is miniscule, compared to the size of any modern compiler job. So you save $10, on a small stopgap measure, that buys you very little improvement, and ends up costing you $50 down the line when you decide to go with plan B.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 7:46:28 PM

Quote:
Slvr, as far as I can surmise, is a programmer. The OS you run is miniscule, compared to the size of any modern compiler job

Actually, at home I don't do much programming anymore. Granted, that's because I have crap for a video card (PCI Savage4) and want to do some major 3D programming innovations. Plus after a long stressful day at work, nothing beats coming home and blowing stuff up! :) 

So really, the computer is more 3D gaming oriented than compiling oriented. When you're used to the speed of a 750MHz P3 with 256MB PC100 compiling, an Athlon XP 1800+ with DC DDR266 is a big step up. :) 

The memory really will probably be the first piece to get upgraded though. (Probably it will happen around income tax return time.) So I really don't mind a cheap stopgap. Maybe though I'll see about getting two 256MB DIMMs because only having 256MB does seem weak, since my Celeron 500 already has that much and it's ancient. ;)  It just depends on how post-Xmas prices go and how much I can manage to save up.

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December 6, 2002 8:10:23 PM

how about swapping the radeon 8500 for a 9000 pro? if you can afford it i would go for the ddr333 now which u can run at ddr266 and tweak the timings which should give you a bit more performance. also when you upgrade to a barton you wont have to spend on ram as well. as for hard drives.. i have had nothing but hasle with maxtor! everyone that i have bought has died within 3-6 months and they were all bought new. on the other hand i have never had a seagate give me even the smallest problem. WD and IBM seem good too tho. also i sugeest a 7200rpm drive.. a 5400 will just be a bottleneck. xp1800 is a good choice if you know you're going to upgrade soon. an nforce2 from msi will probably save about £30(im english so thats the price difference here in england) over thye asus model...

I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
December 6, 2002 8:21:10 PM

Instead of buying Radeon 8500LE, buy the full Radeon 8500 64 MB.

Edit: And a 7200 rpm Maxtor HD is always recommended

Let us know <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/community/modules.php?na..." target="_new"> What File compression format you use? </A><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Spitfire_x86 on 12/06/02 05:23 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 6, 2002 8:27:21 PM

Most of my rational comes from the <A HREF="http://www.lostcircuits.com/motherboard/asus_a7n8x/" target="_new">LC</A> review <A HREF="http://www.lostcircuits.com/motherboard/asus_a7n8x/8.sh..." target="_new">benchmarks</A>. But, Can't you run the memory out of <A HREF="http://www.lostcircuits.com/motherboard/asus_a7n8x/7.sh..." target="_new">sync</A> with the processor? Thusly investment in a 2400 or 2700 DRAM may be desirable.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 8:45:01 PM

yes you can run memory out of sync but the latency penalties from doing so can actually decrease performance!! best to run in sync with the cpu and tweak the timings

I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
December 6, 2002 8:49:57 PM

My assumption was that that latency penalty was going from 333 to 400 because there are no 400cl2 chips available. Going from 266cl2 to 333cl2 your CAS latency is not going to go down. So you should end up with across the board improvements.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 6, 2002 8:54:51 PM

i believe you still get a latency penalty from running out of sync regardless of the ram being cas2 or not.. somebody tell me if im right ir wrong please

I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
December 6, 2002 10:36:03 PM

In terms of raw transfer rate based on 8 tick transfers

mhz cl2 cl 2.5 cl 2.5+
400 267 246 229
333 222 205 190
266 177 164 152
200 133 123 114
GB/s
3.13 2.08 1.92 1.79
2.60 1.73 1.60 1.49
2.08 1.39 1.28 1.19
1.56 1.04 0.96 0.89

The top matrix represents the actual throughput in mhz based on the cas latency. Column 1 would represent a latency of 0 or full page transfer tick count.

The second matrix would be the 64bit transfer rate for the above mhz.

So if the chipset can deal with the temporal differences. The above numbers should apply. Ironically, a 400mhz cas2 memory system runs like a cas0 266mhz memory system.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 7, 2002 12:39:15 AM

I just did some major calculations to figure out what benefits you could possibly see with overclocked ram. If you ran a 355mhz cl2 module, it would perform as if it was a 266mhz cl1.5 module. Further you would have to run a 444mhz cl2 module to act like a 333mhz cl1.5 module. Even further you would need a 444mhz cl2.5 module to act like a 266mhz cl1.5 module. A 417mhz cl2.5 module will act like a 333mhz cl2 module.

This is a 100% theoretical, real world performance beyond my grasp.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
December 7, 2002 4:16:00 AM

YOUR BUDGET: $800

Antec SX630II Mid Tower case with 300W power supply
(retail) Asus A7N8X Deluxe (nForce2) motherboard
(retail) AMD Athlon XP 1800+ with heat sink
2 128MB sticks of Micron PC2100, CL2.5
(retail) ATI Sapphire 8500LE 64MB
Maxtor 40GB 5400RPM
Compaq 8x DVD
(retail)Creative Labs Modem Blaster DSI V.92

MY IDEA: I'm including shipping prices.

CTX International 17" PL7C CRT monitor - Retail
<b>$125</b>, I bought this for my wife. It's not the greatest, but it's pretty good 17" nonetheless. If you're on a budget I'd recommend it.

LEADTEK Motherboard K7NCR18D-PRO Nforce2-ST for AMD Socket A Retail
<b>$120</b>, the review was good, and it comes with onboard sound and lan

ANTEC SX835II (BEIGE) w/350W POWER SUPPLY - RETAIL
<b>$86 +$15</b>, get more than 300W. I really like Antec. I have the 1040.

AMD Athlon XP 2000+/ 1.67GHz -Retail Box
<b>$93</b>, spend the extra $20 here.

Creative Modem Blaster V.92 PCI DI5652 Soft Modem - OEM
<b>$16+$5</b> - It's a modem, buy the cheapest you can find. I've actually had better results with cheap modems than expensive ones.

ATI OEM RADEON 8500 64MB DDR AGP BULK ,POWER by ATI
<b>$92</b> - Spend a few dollars here too.

TOSHIBA 16X DVD-ROM Model SD-M1712 OEM DRIVE ONLY
<b>$45</b> - I've had a toshiba for years.

Maxtor 40GB 7200RPM Hard Drive Model # 6E040L0 OEM, DRIVE ONLY
<b>$84</b> - Off all things, the hard drive is the biggest bottleneck. Don't make it any worse. Stay away from the IBM 75GXP and 60GXP in any case.

KINGSTON KVR266X64C25/128 128MB DDR PC2100 -OEM
<b>2x$39=$78</b> - Odds are you can find cheaper than this, but as an example...

<b>$759.</b> Spend the extra $40 on a better monitor. I can't remember if you live in CA, but these are newegg prices so tax might eat the rest.

<font color=red>
<A HREF="http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
December 7, 2002 4:53:37 AM

My picks-

CPU : Athlon XP 2000+ (boxed) $93

Mobo: ASUS A7N8X $155

Ram : 1 x 256 MB Kingston PC2700 CL2.5 DDR $75
Single channel DDR is enough for 266 Mhz FSB AXP's. You can add another module later for dual channel mode.

Graphics Card: BBA / Sapphire Radeon 8500 64 MB

Hard Disk : Maxtor 7200 rpm (D740X) 40 GB

DVD-ROM : LiteOn 16x DVD-ROM (LTD-163D or later model) $45
No other DVD-ROM is a match for this LiteOn drive.

Moitor: ViwSonic G75f $177

Modem : Any dirt cheap PCI modem. Spend as less as you can.

About Win98SE:

Original nForce had tons of problems with Win98. My MSI K7N420 Pro (nForce 420-D) give me all sorts of troubles in Win98, But it work 100% flawlessly in WinMe, Win2000/XP. I don't know about nForce2. It may behave same. So it's recommended that you use anything other than Win98.

Let us know <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/community/modules.php?na..." target="_new"> What File compression format you use? </A>
December 7, 2002 7:54:01 AM

hiya!
Get a Xp1600+ and overclock it to 166fsb :) 

<font color=purple><i>Let your heart guide you.
It whispers, so listen closely.
<b>The Land Before Time</b>
</i></font color=purple>
December 7, 2002 12:52:39 PM

Wow, melb_angel, welcome to our CPU forum! Or is this Poobaa again posting with angel's username?

Slvr, I'd like to add my monitor recommendation. Go for the Samsung 753DF 17". I'm about to get one today. This is a flat CRT, really flat, anti-glare with .20 dot pitch. And believe me when I say it, this is one of the cheapest most valuable monitors ever.
My cousin has it, my friend has it, the college near us has rooms full of them, the bank has them, this is a succesful monitor for the fact it offers an insane amount of value.
I've used it, it has very sharp image quality. You should go look for reviews on the web if not sure. Only thing is that since it's that cheap priced (it should be like 150$), it has a max 1280*1024 resolution, and 85Hz max for 1024*768. But to many, 85Hz is the sweet spot and is more than fine for the eye.

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December 8, 2002 2:27:14 PM

If you're a little short on cash to buy a new pc now, why not postpone this purchase, and either keep your Celly 500 or replace it's cpu with a Powerleap upgrade?

I replaced my PII-350 with Powerleaps Celeron 1200 upgrade, and man that made a world of difference!
Back then the upgrade was at $167, but now they have a Celly 1.4Ghz upgrade for $160. They still sell 1.2Ghz and 1.0Ghz upgrades which are cheaper.
Check it out at www.powerleap.com

Your mobo might not accept those cpus, but Powerleap makes no big deal about taking them back if necessary.

This way, you could save some more and then buy a much faster machine in 1 or 1.5 years.


Hope this helps.
Cheers;
Carl
December 8, 2002 2:35:12 PM

Are they really that expensive? Heck, you can get Celerons from 1.0Ghz to 1.4Ghz for $45-69 on Newegg, I can't imagine the Powerleap adaptor to be that much more expensive. You could PM Crashman, I know he mentioned before he has some of them. You know, Crash knows a lot more about Pentium 3's than I do, i'm sure he has something that Slvr could use to upgrade

Soon enough, Intel will make the i845s...imagine dual channel Sdram...*shudder*
December 8, 2002 5:08:42 PM

Yes, you could go for a second hand PIII cpu too.

The Powerleap adapters are rather expensive, I know.
But that is because they are more than just socket adapters.
See, todays Celerons of 1->1.4Ghz are based upon a redesigned core - called Tualatin - which uses another bus protocol.
So technically, it is simply not possible to plug them into your mobo. Powerleap adapters translate the bus-protocols in both ways, so that you can use one of these chips.

In short, my opinion is: Powerleap is not cheap, but it's the best upgrade available.
(Well: Evergreen also makes cpu upgrades. You can check them out at www.evertech.com. They currently sell cpu upgrades for as low as $90.)

Good luck in making the right choice;
Carl
Belgium
December 9, 2002 1:06:25 AM

The powerleap adapters are pretty good if you're the type of person who doesn't really want to build an entire computer.

However, I didn't get the powerleap adapter since for $170 I could buy a new motherboard AND CPU. I think silver is better off upgrading at least those two components for the same price. A XP 2100+ is $107, leaving you to buy a $60 motherboard. Something like the ECS K7S5A, uses both DDR and SDRAM and costs less than $60.

<font color=red>
<A HREF="http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
December 9, 2002 1:07:19 AM

Only problem with my plan is that the K7S5A requires a good powersupply.

<font color=red>
<A HREF="http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
December 9, 2002 9:41:26 AM

I would recommend using his current Celeron 500 rather than buying ECS K7S5A. ECS K7S5A = Headache.

If you are lucky to get a K7S5A working, then performance will lag behind of AMD 760. nForce2 + AXP 1800 will be equal or faster than SiS735 + AXP 2100 + DDR Ram. And nForce2 has much better upgradatbility.

Let us know <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/community/modules.php?na..." target="_new"> What File compression format you use? </A>
December 9, 2002 6:23:01 PM

Thank you everyone for your input so far. Let me try to respond to as many things as I can catch in one post since I don't have all day just to write replies. ;) 

I don't think I'm about to mess with a Powerleap adaptor. My motherboard only supports a 66MHz FSB, which pretty much limits my CPU upgrade options to didly and squat, even with a Powerleap. (Well, unless I want to underclock an expensive CPU that is. ... Which I don't.)

Besides, my power supply is probably close to the edge as it is. It's a very small power supply (not ATX or even micro ATX form factor) with only 200W. If I upgrade the processor too much, or even the motherboard and processor (and RAM), then I have to also buy a new power supply which also means a new case to fit the bigger power supply into.

As you can see, it's not very financially logical for me to do much of any upgrade to the old Celeron 500.

Now, onto the money. As I said, I only have 600USD to spend on parts for the PC. (I live in America, so at least S&H won't be murder.) So unless someone can find significant ways to save money somewhere or can find some deal that I missed, I can't do much better with parts. I certainly can't afford DDR333 right now. (Though thanks to dhlucke I can save money on the mobo and get a better video card.)

The RAM I would really want is Corsair XMS CL2 DDR333. (So that I could be <i>sure</i> to get really good timings.) I <i>definately</i> can't afford that right now. :(  If I ever upgrade my RAM though, that's what it'd be with. So it wouldn't really make sense for me to get cheap DDR333 right now, as cool as it'd be to have DDR333.

I'm <i>not</i> going to OC. I know that I could,(especially on an nForce2 mobo from what I've read) but I want to make sure that my parts last years in case I never get the money to upgrade again. My current Celeron 500 was only supposed to be a $300 and three month holdover until I got a nice new PC. However, that was a long time ago, and only now do I have even any money to purchase a PC again. That should give you an idea on how trustable my savings for a PC are, if the last time I even had a couple hundred to spend was to purchase a Celery500. Between doctors, dentists, car and house, money can get really scarce at times. So I want to make sure this system will last for years if it has to. I don't trust a hot-running OCed CPU to last years if it has to.

(I may however fiddle with lowering the multiplier and OCing the FSB to 166 on the AXP1800 if the mobo does indeed allow me to do so without unlocking the CPU and I get good RAM. Even then, that's still in the future.)

Also, yes, I know that the el cheapo 5400RPM hard drive is a bottleneck to the system. I do however plan on eventually adding either a WD800JB or a serialATA drive of similar or better quality in the future, and will be partitioning the 5400RPM for installations of at least Win98SE and Linux. (I'll probably also partition for a future install of either Win2K or WinXP Pro.. probably XP Pro, as much as I hate to admit it.) So I see the current hard drive as just for OS and misc. non-performance-intensive storage only. Once I get a better drive, there won't be any performace-hungry software on it.

Really I see almost <i>all</i> of this system as a holdover. The only parts that aren't are the motherboard and the monitor, and I'm really sold on an nForce2 with onboard USB2, Firewire, serialATA and LAN. I kind of liked the thought of dual-LAN, but dhlucke might be onto something with the LEADTEK K7NCR18D-PRO Nforce2-ST as it'd save me a noticable chunk of cash without losing much of any cool features.

dhlucke, as for an OEM modem, I used to have a Creative modem and I really liked the answering machine and fax software that had come with it. To my knowledge, OEM generally means w/o software. So I think the extra $8 for retail is worth it unless I can get the software another way.

Eden, thanks for the heads up on the Samsung 753DF 17". It sounds great. At work though I'm used to an iiyama Vision Master Pro 450 19" flat-screen set to 1280x1024 @ 85hz. So if at all possible, I want to get at <i>least</i> a 19" flat-screen CRT for home too. If I can't find any I like though, I'll be sure to keep your suggestion in mind.

So here's what I currently have from various distributers through Pricewatch. (S&H <i>is</i> included in these prices.):
Monitor = <font color=blue>$200</font color=blue>
Antec SX630II = <font color=blue>$79</font color=blue>
LEADTEK K7NCR18D-PRO = <font color=blue>$117</font color=blue>
Retail AXP 1800+ = <font color=blue>$74</font color=blue>
2x 128MB Micron PC2100 CL2.5 = <font color=blue>$78</font color=blue>
Abit GeForce4Ti 4200 64MB w/TV-out = <font color=blue>$121</font color=blue>
Samsung 40GB 7200RPM = <font color=blue>$75</font color=blue>
Compaq 8x DVD = <font color=blue>$26</font color=blue>
Retail Creative v.92 d/v/f modem = <font color=blue>$33</font color=blue>
<b>Total = <font color=green>$803</font color=green></b>

I'll worry about paying tax part when I file my tax returns. Heh heh. Hopefully my return will cover it for me.

Admittedly, I'd like a 350W power supply in there, but I'm already $3 over budget. Maybe with luck, some prices will go down a little more between now and January (or I can find a good 19" monitor for less than $200) and I can sneak in a quality 330W or 350W power supply, as well as perhaps a better DVD drive. (I'd love a slot-load DVD drive.)

Has anybody heard good or bad about Samsung 7200RPM hard drives? It surprised me to find that one at that price, so I'm hesitant. (That whole "you get what you pay for" thing.)

Thanks to your suggestions it's looking slightly better already. :)  So keep 'em coming.

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December 9, 2002 6:31:41 PM

Are you a student anywhere or do you have kids/friends, etc who are? If you do you can sometimes take advantages of killer rebate offers from Dell. I finally upgraded my old Athlon 950 (wayy overclocked and melty) with a P4 2.4Ghz 533 FSB, 256MB PC1066, 30GB HD, GeForce4 MX for a low $70 (yes, seventy US dollars) after rebates through their edu program last week. Shipped FedEx ground via my own account for $25. Tax was about $65.
December 9, 2002 7:03:24 PM

Just a student of life. I don't think Dell would count that.

Besides, I have to keep Old Cel. He's gonna be the wife's new PC. (She's currently on a Pentium 166MMX and is <i>dying</i> to be able to play 'The Sims' on her very own PC so that she doesn't have to wait for me to get off of mine.)

Plus I'm not so sure that Dell would appreciate a PC with a few pieces of plastic cut out and drilled holes added to the front panel for a front intake fan, nor with a hard drive cage duct-taped to the inside of the case (and preventing access to the ISA slots) because I wanted to mount a second hard drive but there was only an official mounting for one. Old Cel is a hack job worthy of Dr. Frankenstein. :) 

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December 9, 2002 8:17:39 PM

Maxtor D740X is the best 7200 rpm, 2 MB buffer HD in the market. I am using a 40 GB version of it. I am very satisfied with it's performance. Costs about $6 more than the Samsung drive.

I strongly recommend getting the LiteOn 16x DVD-ROM. It's the best DVD-ROM in the market. Can read movie DVD at 16x and DAE at 48x.

Let us know <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/community/modules.php?na..." target="_new"> What File compression format you use? </A>
December 10, 2002 1:58:56 AM

im thinking you could probably save a little money on that case if you are looking to go cheap...Might want to look around a bit more as an 80 dollar case on a budget system seems a little high to me. However, everything else looks okay.

<font color=blue> If it ain't broke, don't fix it...tweak it.</font color=blue>
December 10, 2002 6:17:21 PM

Quote:
im thinking you could probably save a little money on that case if you are looking to go cheap...Might want to look around a bit more as an 80 dollar case on a budget system seems a little high to me. However, everything else looks okay.

Yeah, but I've worked with some pretty crap cases in the past and I'd really like this to be a computer with a case I can trust for a change. I know I could get a case for a lot cheaper, but I think this is one area where I'm willing to spend a little extra. :) 

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December 10, 2002 6:38:52 PM

sure sounds good. Ive dealt with my fair share of crumby cases in the past too and I'll agree that they are a pain. At least you know you are getting quality if you drop a little extra cash for an antec.

<font color=blue> If it ain't broke, don't fix it...tweak it.</font color=blue>
December 10, 2002 6:59:18 PM

Yep yep. No more bent cases preventing cards from seating properly for me. Heh heh. No more drilling holes into the front panel to add a front intake fan. No more sliced fingers. No more struggling to get the darn panels back on once you take them off.

I'm really going to love having a nice case. :) 

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