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New System - Please review it

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January 3, 2002 12:28:47 AM

I finally have some cash for a new system....I am currently driving a 266 with a 4.5 gb hdd and 128 megs of ram on Win98SE. In any case, I have been lurking around gathering tons of info, and have come up with the following configuration, and I would like some feedback (I also have a few simple questions):

PENTIUM 4 1.7GHz, RETAIL Box w/ fan and heatsink $210.00
Asus P4T - NO INTEGRATED COMPONENTS $160.00
Inwin Q-500 ATX Full Tower Case w/300W PS $85.00
Generic 2 X 256MB RAMBUS RDRAM (512 MB total) $160.00
Seagate Barracuda ATA IV ST360021A 60.0GB 7200RPM - OEM $120.00
Gainward Cardex Geforce2 TI 450 Fast 4.5ns 64MB - OEM $100.00
Creative Labs SB Live Value 5.1 - OEM $40.00
TOSHIBA DVD ROM 16X SD -M1502 - OEM $65.00
1.44Mb 3.5 Floppy Drive - OEM $7.00
2 Case Fans - OEM $14.00
Phillips PCRW1208,12X8X36X,CD-RW (Retail) $80.00
TOTALS: $1041.00

I am planning on running WIN2K Pro and will use the system primarily for internet (cable modem - Toshiba PCX1100U), dialing into work, web programming (Macromedia Suite), some photo editing (Photoshop), office, and a little gaming. Some points I am nervous about:

1. - Problems with Win2K and any of the hardware or software? Would XP be an improvement or abomination? I want stability.....I rarely shut down my system (that's not totally true with Win98, but I would prefer not to).

2. - How far off until RDR1066 and GeForce4 cards come out? I am planning on buying around 1st week of February......should I wait a little longer? I will be visiting a few computer shows in my local area (CT), and will solicit bids from local vendors. I expect the system may be as much as 10% more than what I have written down.

3. - I saw lots of dissatisfaction for the SB Live, which I thought was a decent cheap card....any better suggestions, give or take $20.

4. - Will I have enough juice with 300 watts?

5. - Any better suggestions for components within the price range I have spec'd out?

6. - I am also considering AMD or P4 w/ DDR333, but for a small amount more it seems I can have what appears to be a very stable platform, with the fastest ram. I was looking at the PC2700 and it isn't much cheaper than RDR, and it will probably be tough to get. I am also looking at the AMD's, but worry about some of the sofware I use, and possible problems......I borrow lots of sofware, and would hate to find out there were any types of compatibility problems.

Thanks ahead of time for all of your help and comments.



-Rick

More about : system review

January 3, 2002 1:23:46 AM

why intel?

I try to smile everyday but I can't... :smile:
a b V Motherboard
January 3, 2002 1:28:18 AM

The Aureal Vortex2 is a better soundcard, Win2k drivers for it suck, XP has built in drivers. Around $20 when you find one, I'm not selling any of mine.
Unless you want to wait and see how the Northwood does, I would consider an XP1800+ on an Iwill XP333 motherboard with PC2100.

What's the frequency, Kenneth?
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January 3, 2002 5:05:14 AM

Want some good advice? Wait for the Northwood and then decide on either a P4 Northwood or go for the AMD XP processor. When you do decide, NEVER buy generic memory. I realize that you have gathered a lot of information, but some of what you said above scares me so watch out where you are getting advice.

There are no compatability problems with AMD processors, so don't follow any advice from whoever told you that. What you need to do is buy the processor that will do what you need the best.

If you really only want to spend a grand, there are much better ways to go. The Pentium IV 1.7 Ghz is only on par with a Thunderbird 1.4 Ghz. Note the price difference of $70 there for the retail package. I know that memory prices have doubled, but if you go with AMD look at a DDR solution and you'll see that half a gig will only cost you $161 at crucial.com for good quality PC2100 memory. So basically you spend the same amount but get good quality memory. They don't sell RDRAM though. I would check out both crucial and Newegg.com since I just looked and their prices are cheaper than what you quoted by at least a few dollars for each component that they carry on your list. Their service is the best I've seen as well. As far as good quality RDRAM you'll have to spend a bit more, but newegg does carry it.

Also, make sure you don't get a crappy power supply. I don't know what comes with the Inwin case, but make sure it's recommended by Intel and if you go with AMD make sure it's recommended by them.

<font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America!</font color=red>
January 3, 2002 6:44:36 PM

If you are going to buy now then I suggest getting the P4T-E and a socket 478 P4. It shouldn't cost you much more (if any) and will allow you to upgrade your processor in the future. If you buy the 423 socket there is no upgrade path.

NB: Intel should be announcing the Northwood on Jan 7 with a raft of price cuts.

<font color=blue> Smoke me a Chip'er ... I'll be back in the Morgan </font color=blue> :eek: 
January 4, 2002 12:28:38 PM

Thanks all, for the advice. In case I mistyped or mispoke, I have every intention of getting the Socket 478 board. I didn't see a distinction on Asus's website between the P4T and the P4T-E, but I would like the expandibility (supposedly to 3.0+ Ghz). As for the P4S333 (SIS645), the price of PC2700 isn't substantially less than RDR, and RDR is still much faster. Additionally, it seems as if PC2700 is still tough to come by. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree; Is there even a noticeable performance increase between RDR (3.2 GB/s) as opposed to PC2100 (~2.0 GB/s)?? I am pretty sure I will pick up the Turtle Beach SC now, and will certainly wait for the Northwood. Also, what are the pros and cons of a Ti 200 vs a 64MB Geforce2 TI 450? Will it be worth it for me (limited gaming) to upgrade to the ti 200? Finally, Novice, I haven't ruled out the AMD's, I saw from a couple of websites, that the I850 might be the most stable platform out there, and this is one of the most important things to me, therefore, I am leaning toward intel. Anyone have an opinion on OS's....I am planning on getting Win2K Pro, but is XP Pro better, worse...... (I already have a copy of Win2K Pro, and would have to buy XP). Thanks again, I really appreciate your help, from the perspective of both a consumer and student.

-Rick
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2002 1:13:20 PM

While you're all at it (thought I'd save creating a new thread)

I've narrowed down my own new machine to be the following:

512MB (x2) Micron PC2100 DDR SDRAM
AMD Athlon XP 2000 +
Asus A7V-266-E Via KT266a
Asus GeForce3 TI-500 Deluxe
Coolermaster HCC 002 Delta Heat Sink & Fan (6800 RPM) upto 3.4GHz
61.5Gb IBM Deskstar 60GXP

Is this a GOOD gaming PC? I'm hoping you either say yes, or recommend what is best. I was thinking of the Asus mobo because it should work really nicely with the GPU.

?

-G

<b><i>I don't care about your roadmap, I just wanna know why we're not there yet</i></b>
January 4, 2002 2:44:42 PM

Well of course, it is entirely up to you. I have the KT266A chipset with an Athlon XP 1600+, overclocked to 1.47Ghz. Also have PC2400 memory overclocked, getting very nice performance and great stability from my Gigabyte board. Would save you a ton of money, but up to you :)  I'm also quite happy with my ATI Radeon 7500, handles dual monitor support with ease.

Anyhow, I picked up an Antec Workstation Tower from Best Buy one day with rebate for $87. You may be able to get this online for around this price. It is a VERY VERY nice case. It's large, supports 5 fans, and COMES WITH 2 ANTEC FANS IN THE BOX. Just an fyi on that.

<i> If you buy a pre-packaged pc, shame on you </i> :wink:
January 4, 2002 5:01:25 PM

Quote:
Also, what are the pros and cons of a Ti 200 vs a 64MB Geforce2 TI 450? Will it be worth it for me (limited gaming) to upgrade to the ti 200?

The GF2 450 is the gainward card correct? It's basically a GF2 Pro with fast memory that they were able to call a GF2 Ti. I'm going to assume that you meant a GF3 Ti200 for your comparison though and in that case there is a definite performance increase over a normal GF2 Ti200, but with the Gainwards fast 4.5 ns memory it's a pretty good card (especially compared to a GF2 Ti-200). If I were to chose though, I'd definitely get a GF3 or a GF3 Ti-200 since it'll last longer. Even with limited gaming you will still want the card to last you a few years. I was on a budget so I got the Gainward card though and I am very happy with it. It overclocks nicely.

As for the OS, just keep what you got. If you were going from 98 I would say XP, but 2000 is still supposed to be a good OS. I'm speaking from what I've heard though. I can tell you from experience that XP is an awesome OS though.

<font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America!</font color=red>
January 4, 2002 11:41:59 PM

Quote:
I've narrowed down my own new machine to be the following:

512MB (x2) Micron PC2100 DDR SDRAM
AMD Athlon XP 2000 +
Asus A7V-266-E Via KT266a
Asus GeForce3 TI-500 Deluxe
Coolermaster HCC 002 Delta Heat Sink & Fan (6800 RPM) upto 3.4GHz
61.5Gb IBM Deskstar 60GXP

The A7V266-E is a fine board, but since you are going with just one HDD, you have no need for the Asus' RAID controller, so why spend $50 more on a board than you have to?
January 5, 2002 2:46:44 AM

I agree, that Antec case you bought from best buy is excellent and keeps pretty cool.

I bought that Phillips PCRW1208 about a month ago after my HP burner died. It's pretty decent, but make sure you upgrade the firmware so you can get the BurnProof / SeamlessLink / I forgot which one it uses, and CD-TEXT support.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
January 5, 2002 8:48:17 AM

I'm not going with the RAID version. :)  I totally agree with you though.

-G

<b><i>I don't care about your roadmap, I just wanna know why we're not there yet</i></b>
January 5, 2002 7:32:18 PM

If gaming is the most intensive thing you will be doing I don't see the need for 1 gig of memory. I'd recommend 512mb (2*256) of CAS2 memory.

Haven't seen any reviews of the HCC 002 but if you are willing to endure the sound of 68K RPM fan why not go with a proven cooling champion, the Thermalright SK-6 with Delta fan. Check just about any review. The SK-6 is the benchmark.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 01/05/02 04:36 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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