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Help. Too many choices!

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December 11, 2002 3:55:40 AM

Hi. Long time tomshardware reader, first time poster.

My question is this. I finally got some money together and want to build my own machine. The machine I have right now is very slow and out dated. I use my computer for games mostly. I am into preformance.

I was wondering, what should I look for in building my new gaming powerhouse. Whats the best cpu and motherboard. What should I look at?

What would help me get the best preformance possible, and keep my machine 'high end' for the next few years or so. Just so I dont have to upgrade soon.

Any thoughts would be great!

More about : choices

December 11, 2002 4:22:29 AM

What games do you play? Do you play first person shooters and intensive graphics games? Do you want to play games like DoomIII?

Do you want to do anything else like DivX encoding or 3D Rendering?

What's your budget?

<font color=red>
<A HREF="http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
December 11, 2002 5:05:40 AM

Yeah. I wanna be able to run doom3. I want to be able to run it well. I love fps.

HMMM....My limit for what I want to spend is around $2000 or less.
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December 11, 2002 5:22:31 AM

well, you have a pretty decent budget there my friend, if you are building it yourself here is what you can go with:

Nforce2 motherboard- 125$
AMD XP 2700+ - 330$
Maxtor 60gig X 2 - 160$
Lite on 52x Burner - 66$
Lite on DVD 16X - 45$
256 Corsair XMS DDR 3200 X 2 - 200$
Radeon 9700 Pro - $400
Chieftech sweet looking case - 100$
17" LCD - $500
Mouse/keyboard/modem- 150$

That should come in around 2000$ and you will be in gaming heaven !

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by heero on 12/11/02 02:27 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 11, 2002 8:47:55 AM

go with heero's spec.it is amazing.some guys have all the luck!

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
December 11, 2002 10:39:18 AM

If I had money I would go with heero`s specs too. But I would NOT get the LCD monitor if you want games. They arnt good enough yet for that use. Get a Magview 19" CRT flat screen monitor or maybe a Sony Trinitron 19". Other than that I would go with heero.
AREA_51
December 11, 2002 10:41:18 AM

BTW the machine heero has described there is a pretty mean machine. Absolute crap laod of RAW power there. You will love that machine if you get it. :) 
AREA_51
December 11, 2002 11:20:41 AM

Hello.

Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard $150
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ processor RETAIL $200
Hitachi CM721F 19" Flat CRT monitor $270
Western Digital 80GB Special Edition Hard Drive $115
Lite-On DVD 16X $45
Lite-On CD Burner $60
Sony Floppy Disk Drive $10
Two Corsair 256MB XMS DDR400 SDRAM Memory Modules $200
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro - $310
Microsoft Optical Intellimouse $20
Microsoft Internet Keyboard $26
Enermax EG465P-VE(FMA) 431W Power Supply $90
Chieftec Case (No power supply included) $50
Logitech Z640 5.1 Speakers $70
Windows XP Professional Edition OEM $130

Excellent overclocking potential. Future upgradabiliy - 400MHz DDR FSB Barton Processor. Good mouse for games. LCD monitors are not good for games. Even with better response times, dead pixels are probable and it looks like a giant laptop screen. Get a CRT monitor like the one I listed above. Pick a LCD only if you have serious deskspace restraints. Ditto on the chieftec case.

<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Official Asus A7n8X Thread</A>

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i>
December 11, 2002 11:50:44 AM

you can get chieftec cases for $50?! i really need to go to the US.i am in uk and here you can only get a crappy case for the equivalent price.

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
December 11, 2002 12:05:13 PM

For sure. currently NewEgg.com has a $50 chieftec case (no power supply) with free shipping.

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i>
December 11, 2002 2:27:57 PM

life isn't fair.i await the day when newegg starts shipping to the uk.

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
December 11, 2002 5:39:43 PM

Yeah, a flat screne CRT is better for games, some people thing LCDs are easier on the eyes though.

It's a matter of preference.
December 12, 2002 4:54:31 AM

I'd go with halkebul's choices except I would get a dvd burner as well. this is a very good <A HREF="http://www.computerbrain.com/cbisys/buy.asp?main=Drives..." target="_new">sony for $330 shipped</A>. Blank DVD discs have dropped to <A HREF="http://www.allmediaoutlet.com/Princospecial.html" target="_new">60 cents each</A> and it take nearly 60 CDR's to back up my computer. Besides, with a fast computer like that, there's side benefits to close by to pass up, like copying dvd's.

Also a 21" monitor looks huge to everyone except those who use them, and to us, everythign else looks small. My dream is to have 3 of them with a surround gamin as in offered with the matrox not that I am reccomending that one. but on that point, you could buy 3 19" for only <A HREF="http://www.techsavings.com/ProductInfo.asp?v=F8&idProdu..." target="_new">$144 more than the $270</A> he listed and get the Parnhelia instead. Granted its not as fast, but likely it is fast enough, and three monitors has got to be a cool factor worth thinking about.

I'd also consider the Klipsch Promedia speakers. Seriously worth it.

<font color=blue><i>On Company time... :cool:
December 12, 2002 6:10:06 AM

umm dont u guys think 512 Mb RAM would be better?
also is tha Gigabyte Ga7vxp out? i believe its better than the one the heroo mentioned

ERROR: BAD MOUSE OR MOUSE NOT FOUND ...SPANK THE CAT?
December 12, 2002 3:18:28 PM

Quote:
umm dont u guys think 512 Mb RAM would be better?

uh jay, read halkebul again
Quote:
<font color=blue>Two <font color=black>Corsair 256MB XMS DDR400 SDRAM Memory Modules $200

and of course the reason for two 256's in lieu of one 512 is to take advantage of the dual channel ram feature of the nforce.
and I think I have purchased my last VIA chipset. I have here right with me a gigabyte kt333 that crashed a lot in the last two days and finally died this morning. i know its the mobo as I swapped it wiht a kt266 shuttle laying around and magically everything works again. i think halkebul picked it right. my a7n8x-dx is on its way.

<font color=blue><i>On Company time... :cool:
December 12, 2002 3:23:12 PM

All of the standard suggestions that I could think of were already taken. So I decided to go another route:

Antec SX1040BII w/400W ps = $91
LEADTEK K7NCR18D-PRO mobo = $99
AMD Athlon XP 1700+ 266FSB = $57
ALPHA PAL8045 heat sink = $35
Enermax 80mm speed adjustable fan = $7
256MB Corsair XMS PC3200 DIMM = $92
256MB Corsair XMS PC3200 DIMM = $92
ATI Radeon 9700Pro = $305
Maxtor 60GB 7200RPM = $84
Adaptec 2100S SCSI RAID 32bit = $262
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45
HP DVD 200i DVD R/RW = $299
Encore/Intel v.92 modem = $9
black keyboard & scroll mouse = $20
MS WinXP Pro OEM CD = $132
Logitech Z640 5.1 speakers = $58
Viewsonic E90FB 19" flatscreen (black) = $225

To save money we're taking an AXP1700+ TBredA and upping the FSB to 166MHz. I figure it should be possible, because this brings it from 1.47GHz to 1.8GHz, which is the speed of the AXP2200+ (the first official launching of the TBredA). With a 2x166MHz FSB though it should rock.

Then with the money saved, we're getting a SCSI 10,000RPM RAID-5 array with 3 drives. That should kick some arse. (We toss the OS and inconsequentials onto the 60GB 7200RPM Maxtor drive.) So not only do we have great bandwidth and excellent memory timings for the speedy Athlon, but we're also negating that pesky hard drive bottleneck. :) 

And because life isn't complete without going a little crazy, we toss in a nice DVD burner as the system's CD ROM.

And since everything external has to match that handsome black case (the bay door should hide the CD ROMs and such) we make sure to get a black keyboard, mouse, and monitor. :) 

Yeah. I know. It's nuts. But then ... why not?

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December 12, 2002 3:53:34 PM

Quote:
We toss the OS and inconsequentials onto the 60GB 7200RPM Maxtor drive.

why? isn't os file retreiaval a constant batter on the hd? I am in the unusal position of wokring on a fairly up to date computer (1.2,ddr333@266) but am runnig of an ancient hd. id don't know how old - but it is like 4g and is paintakingly slow. anyway, this is a temp setup and i have the hd out of my norm pc, an 80gb 120gxp, runnig as slave b/c it wont boot due to the differences in the mobo dirvers (was installed on kt333)

anyway, I have evrything i can running on the faster hd (autosaves, paging, files used) and still every time I do a winows based maneuver (explorer, IE, file transfers) I get severely slowed down by the very slow hd. I know because it also happens to be pretty loud too.

why not just go through the hassle and install the comp to boot on the raid array? its what i have done on my other comp with two IDE 45gxps and it works great. also, why not raid 0? i mean, how often do scsi drives really fail?

<font color=blue><i>On Company time... :cool:
December 12, 2002 5:47:18 PM

Quote:
why? isn't os file retreiaval a constant batter on the hd?

It depends on what you're doing. If you're running through the OS's utilities (such as for Windows Exporer and Internet Explorer) then yes. However, I do believe that even then a 7200RPM drive will suit those OS utilities just fine.

Meanwhile, for things that don't use much of the underlying OS (like games) they won't be 'hindered' by having a seperate slower drive for the OS.

And the array only has so much space, so you don't want to go filling it with things where redundancy or speed aren't important. Hence the OS drive.

Quote:
why not just go through the hassle and install the comp to boot on the raid array?

Because then you have to put the OS onto the raid array.

Quote:
also, why not raid 0? i mean, how often do scsi drives really fail?

How often does any hard drive really fail? The answer is a mystery. Sometimes they fail quickly. Sometimes they last for a decade. The question is really, do you want to lose the data on all three drives should just one of the drives fail? I sure wouldn't. In fact, when given the opportunity for redundancy, I'd never pass that up. It's a personal preference really based on how important is your data is to you.

Besides, the PCI bus has only so much bandwidth. A RAID 0 array of three 10,000RPM drives would probably be bottlenecked by that factor. This is why most SCSI cards are for 64-bit PCI slots, so that the SCSI RAID arrays aren't bottlenecked. Since this is only 32-bit PCI...

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December 12, 2002 5:50:19 PM

But really most of us do have other backups and such. Myself I have 3 different back ups of my data so the issue of drive failure isnt a big one.

-Jeremy

:evil:  <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=5303982" target="_new">Busting Sh@t Up!!!</A> :evil:  <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by spud on 12/12/02 02:55 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 12, 2002 6:30:01 PM

But why even take the effort to back things up when you can have your hard drives do it for you automatically? :)  Plus you get extra speed for it. To me, personally, it's a win-win situation. To anyone that buys this hardware, it's up to them what to do. I'm just <i>suggesting</i> things here after all. It isn't like this is a pre-configured system.

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December 12, 2002 7:33:28 PM

if all you do is gaming then one might not care about anything else, but nobody i know uses their comp exclusively for gaming - they actually use apps like IE and windows explorer quite frequently. imho where i see the problem isn't where things are tested and we all kno are plenty fast like your games fps. where i get slowed down is during heavy muultitasking: opening and closing apps, bouncing back and forth through a dozen+ apps through the day.

I am all for partitioning for an os. i have done so for many reasons. but i say if you are using a raid array - go for it and use it for what slows you down. the os disk usage is a bottleneck of time to load apps. their instructions etc are typically in the programs files directory right along with the os on the same partition. these are files i want fast access to.

are you actually worried about losing your data? Not counting those you met in forums, do you know anyone personally who has had a SCSI hd crash during and exclusively from home use? I dare say not. Besides, are you telling me that if your hd crashes, you lose everything?? you don't back up? I think having a sidekick ide for archiving and bu is perfect usage for the super cheap storage it is. plus, if you need to in a fix, you can quickly move and access your data in a non raid/scsi/(64pci if thats what you wanted) comp.

I can't imagine 3 disks bottlenecking the pci. whats the real world trasfer rate of a scsi drive? those 64bit pic's wre made for a lot heavier usage than just 3 drives. Besides, i would love to work on a comp where the limfac of data transfer was the 133 pci bus.

<font color=blue><i>On Company time... :cool:
December 12, 2002 8:31:36 PM

Quote:
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45
Seagate Cheetah 18.2GB 10000RPM = $45

What is the noise and speed of those drives? Would you want to consider a more active cooling solution with 4 drives in the case? And that wouldn't exactly be whisper quiet. But that sounds like a fun setup. Just store your computer inside a small ice box with holes drilled for the cables. That would take care of both sound and heat. You would just have to worry about condensation when it wasn't running and you opened it up to use the DVD burner.
December 13, 2002 11:02:15 AM

Hey, and to Spain. Let's make our voice heard! :mad: 


Still looking for a <b>good online retailer</b> in Spain :frown:
December 13, 2002 11:38:57 AM

Quote:
What is the noise and speed of those drives? Would you want to consider a more active cooling solution with 4 drives in the case?

If you notice the case picked out, you'll see that it has plenty of room to mount a large fanned 3.5" drive cage into the 5.25" bay area and still have plenty of room left for 5.25" devices. :)  Granted, I didn't put that on the actual list of hardware, but then that's really a matter of personal preference to use something like that anyway.

Someone paranoid about noise could even fill the gaps between such a 3.5" HD cage and the 5.25" bay area with sound dampening material. It'd help to cut the noise.

Besides, the case itself has plenty of fan mounting points. Just fill it up with low RPM fans and you'll have good air flow with little sound. Again, not on the list, but also really more a matter of personal preference than necessity.

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