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January 25, 2002 8:51:36 PM

Hi all,

I intend to have a system build for me and need help choosing its components.
It will be based on an AMD Athlon (probably 1700+).
What would be the best quality/price motherboard, cd-rw, 40Gb hardrive and midi case (I already have a 17" iiyama monitor, a keyboard, trackball, and internal floopy drive and modem).
It will run Windows 2000 professional and will be used with softwares like Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Flash 5, as well as Apache/PHP/MySQL to test sites; I normally use games consoles to play but wouldn't mind being able to play on the pc too.

My budget is about £500 ($700 usd).
Thanks in advance for your suggestions. :) 

ddlooping

All that is not given is lost!

More about : expert opinions

January 25, 2002 9:56:26 PM

I'm no expert but i'll post anyway..
IMO best quality for price is ecs k7s5a from ebuyer <A HREF="http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti..." target="_new">here</A> you can get some cheap vid cards from there too like the super grace gf2ti. they have got some cheap cdrw.
get <A HREF="http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/PartSpecs.asp?imodule=C..." target="_new">this</A> memory from crucial.
Choose a case but make sure your psu is amd approved and at least 300W.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 25, 2002 11:40:50 PM

Thanks for the info, monkeyspank. ;) 

From ebuyer I have so far selected:
.AMD Athlon XP 1700+
.ECS K7S5A
.DDR PC2100 256Mb
.NVidia Geforce2 MX200 64Mb (tv out)
.Yamaha 2200E-VK 20x10x40 CD-RW
.Hardrive 40Gb 7200rpm (not decided on the brand)
.Nokia style 300w case

And the total comes to slightly less than £500 inc vat. :) 

What do the experts think of this system?
I welcome any suggestions as to alternative hardware or where to buy online.
P.S: could someone put the system together for me, and if yes, how much can I expect the cost to be? (UK/Essex/Chelmsford area preferably)

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
Related resources
January 25, 2002 11:48:02 PM

Whatever you decide on, try some of the UK computer fairs. I need two new motherboards (Asus AV7266-e) to replace to junk MSI Boards, and I'm heading into Stratford tomorrow for them. Know competitive prices before you go, and you can do extremely well. If your not near London, check out http://www.computerfairs.co.uk/ for a local fair.

As far as a suggestion, go with a Asus board. I just built 5 different systems in the last month, and the 3 Asus systems are running great and happily overclocked. The two MSI systems died (K7t266 Pro2 - looking at the MSI website, there is an inherent problem with the board, and MSI support refuses to respond to cries for help - including mine).

Last month in Statford, I purchased a AV7 266-e, AMD XP1800, 512MB DDR, CoolerMaster Fan, Plextor 24x10x40, 40 GB Drive, and case for just under £500.

Good Luck,

JCC
January 26, 2002 12:19:15 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, oilybohunk. ;) 
I had a quick look at the Asus A7V266E board, and it looks quite good; it is almost 3 times the price of the ECS though. :( 
Although I will look into your "computers fair" idea, I was wondering if the difference in quality really justified the difference in price.

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 26, 2002 12:24:28 AM

Don't get the memory from ebuyer. They sell cheap generic rubbish. Pay the extra few quid and get it from crucial. Shipping is free from them and the quality is loads better.
Also, you might want to pay a little bit more for an mx400 video card. the mx200s are a waste of money. Better still, it really would be worth getting <A HREF="http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti..." target="_new">this gf2ti</A> if you can afford it. It is very cheap for a card this fast.

If you can wait a few days for stock, have a look at the liteon CDRWs. They are really good and a fair bit cheaper than the yamaha one.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 1:11:23 AM

Thanks again for your suggestion, monkeyspank.
I did get the price of the DDR from Crucial though.
As far as the graphic card is concerned, I hear you, but would really prefer one with dual monitor capacity.
I'll look into the MX400 (it wasn't listed at ebuyer, hence it not being in my previous list).

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 26, 2002 9:37:47 AM

no worries.
From what i understand ATI make the best dual display cards. I dont really know a lot abut ATI's cards but lots of people here do.
dont think the mx400 has dual display, it's just faster than the mx200. <A HREF="http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti..." target="_new">here is an mx400 at ebuyer</A>


-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 1:09:46 PM

From what I have gathered, all GeForce2 MX are dual display.
The MX 400 seems to be the one to go for; keeping in mind I'm not a PC gamer, I can always upgrade to a better card if I become one; I'd rather spend more on a good motherboard. ;) 

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 26, 2002 3:28:13 PM

by dual display, do you mean having a display on two screens at once, like a split desktop for example?

with these geforce 2s you can get a tv-out option, which allows you to have a tv as your display, but not at the same time as your monitor.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 3:35:04 PM

Here's the NVidia page about the MX "Twin view" feature. ;) 
www.nvidia.com/view.asp?IO=feature_twinview
Having 2 different applications running, each in its on monitor is what interests me most.

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 26, 2002 5:19:41 PM

it thought that's what you wanted.
The geforce 2 chip might be capable of this but the cheaper video cards do not have the connections needed.
will you be using two crt monitors?

I'm told ATI's dual display is much better than nvidia's (haven't seen either myself so i'm going on other peoples comments)

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 5:36:23 PM

I will be using my 19" iiyama monitor, and will probably buy a cheap 15" in the near future. One for graphics, the other for text related applications (website preview / website code).
As you know, my budget is fairly limited, and not being a PC gamer, I really think the MX400 would do the trick (I can always upgrade it later if need be).
Back to the subject of motherboard, I had another look at TOM's review, and found the Soltek SL75DRV2 for £82; it looks like a good one to go for. What do you think?


ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 26, 2002 7:31:48 PM

~I'm pretty certain you will be pushed to find a gf2 with dual display connections at a reasonable price. I'm no expert though. Just make sure you are getting what you want when you order. ebuyer are buggers for customer service.

If i was you i would definately go ATI. this card looks like it will do what you want: <A HREF="http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti..." target="_new">radeon ve</A> and it is cheap.

I think you should start a thread in the graphics card board to get the opinions of the people who know.
Sorry I can't help you more.. :) 

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 7:39:54 PM

In fact, i think what nvidia mean when they say twinview is that you can have your display on a monitor OR a tv, and not a monitor and a tv, or two monitors at the same time.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 26, 2002 8:21:26 PM

monkeyspank, you probably missed a previous reply of mine. ;) 
<A HREF="http://www.nvidia.com/view.asp?IO=feature_twinview" target="_new"> Click here </A> to go to a page describing the "TwinView" function featured in the NVidia MX series. :) 


ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 27, 2002 12:28:57 AM

sounds good. you;ve got me interested in one now.

let me know how you get on..

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 27, 2002 10:34:38 AM

I've got a 40 gig 60GXP.
They are nice. It's quiet, fast and shiny!

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 27, 2002 3:23:13 PM

It has top spot on my short-list :) 

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2002 6:37:52 AM

You can try going for the Ricoh 20x CD writer. Its as good as the Yamaha and should be cheaper.
January 28, 2002 1:39:29 PM

you might find this site interesting. This page is updated daily. Sometimes they have some really good deals, other times not so.
worth a look every day though : <A HREF="http://www.scan.co.uk/today.htm" target="_new"> today only </A>

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 28, 2002 2:02:37 PM

very interesting, thanks. :) 

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 28, 2002 6:22:04 PM

de nada.
while you are checking out new hardware, it might be a good idea to have a look on microsofts website to see if it is compatible with windows xp, even if you dont plan on running it yet. You might want to get xp in the future (or now!)

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 28, 2002 6:28:33 PM

That's an issue that worries me a bit, as I saw that some motherboards (using the VIA thingy) can have problems with Windows 2000 too.
I will have to check and make sure. ;) 

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 28, 2002 7:19:42 PM

i'm using an epox 8kha+ in my rig, it's got via kt266a chipset. i wont say i havent had any problems, but nothing that i couldnt sort out with newer/different drivers. Win98 was fine, winxp took a little time to get to grips with (about a week) but it was certainly worth it.
my board cost me £100, its fast, very overclockable. you can probably get one cheaper now.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 28, 2002 7:42:00 PM

Well, I think I'm gonna stick with the Soltek SL75DRV2; it looks like a good board, overclockable too (from what I've read here), and only £82.
Let me know if you've heard bad things about it. ;) 

ddlooping :) 

"All that is not given is lost!"
January 28, 2002 9:11:18 PM

i've not really heard anything about it but it looks good to me.

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
January 29, 2002 4:07:49 PM

check this review out.
It clears up a lot of your video questions.
The mx400 is avaialable as a dual display model, but you need to hunt one down and it wont be cheap.
the radeon ve i mentioned earlier looks good : <A HREF="http://www.gamingin3d.com/articles/sis315_radeonve/" target="_new">sis 315 vs radeon ve</A>

hope this helps

-- There are no answers to find in the bottom of a glass. But you can have fun looking for them.
!