Need Help..Building A Computer for my family!!

Hey everyone,
My parents have asked me to build a computer for them over the summer with a budget of around $1000.00 and I haven't been keeping up with parts lately since I built my computer about 2 years ago. I was thinking with going with the AMD XP1800 or XP1900 and I was wandering what would be a good motherboard to go with that. I might overclock it a little but not to the extremes. Any input would be greatly appreciated. And if you have ideas for other components, feel free to add!!
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  1. YOu may want to look at the Leadtek Winfast K7N420DA review at <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> Acording to this review, it should be about the fastest board out there, and because your parents are not 1337 gamerz, the integrated MX200 graphics will be more than enough for them. Cheap, solid, reliable, fast. nVidia also has the best integrated sound, in fact it's probably better than the Creative Audigy.

    If you want to build them a cute, little system, Abit makes a similar board in the Micro ATX form factor.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  2. is it worthy to look for motherboard on-board chips. i am wondering because my previous motherboard had a poor sound quality chip as well as the lan chip.
  3. funny i stumbled upon this post, my parents just asked me to do the same thing and i ordered the parts for them yesterday, only difference is that i got them the best on the market so it would last them a while, although i'm sure they're not gonna use that Geforce 4, haha. You said your budget was $1000, well i'm assuming that does not include monitor or speakers since that would leave you around $300 for the actual computer, so i'll give you a run down of what i would get for that price.


    Samsung Original DDR333 PC-2700 512mb CAS2.5

    LEADTEK GeForce4 TI4400 128M TV BULK


    PLEXTOR PX-W4012TA/SW 40x12x40 CD-RW - RETAIL


    Teac 1.44MB 3.5 Inch Floppy Drive


    Guillemot Hercules GameSurround Fortissimo II 5.1 - OEM

    MAXTOP CSX-147K2F-GF-USB-GRAY **Cool Case** With 2 Additional Ball Bearing Fans

    ENERMAX EG365AX-VE (W)FCA. 350W Power supply

    Total = 1,118 so that's $118 more than your budget, so if they won't go for that just get a smaller hd, not as good psu, slower proc, really all up to you, just decide what you're willing to sacrifice. The things that i left out i would just head over to best buy to get, like network card, modem, mouse, keyboard, etc.
  4. a few things i dont like about your suggested setup...
    the can get the 1800+ for almost $100 less and there wont be a noticable performance difference...

    the gf4 ti4400...need i remind you that he asked for a family computer...not a gaming computer...i would think an oem R8500 (~$100) will suit him better...if not then a gf2 ti.

    hercules sound card because he doesnt need extraordinary sound...even the onbaord sound card will do...

    thats the only problem i see with your setup...everything else looks fine to me.
    lemme see what i can come up with.

    :eek: <b>Who fixed <font color=red>ATI</font color=red>'s leaky faucet??</b> :eek:
  5. Well, if I were building a family comp, I would think all that would be WAY overkill. I'd say get an Iwill XP333 or whatever that one is called with the the Ali chipset (has good onboard sound too, from what I hear), get a duron for 50 bucks or less, or a lower speed athlon. 128 mgs of PC2700 would do good for some OCing, or cheap out and get PC2100. Go ahead and get that OEM R8500 (great deal...easily overclockable too). Grab a 40 or 60 gig Seagate Barracuda IV (QUIET!) for about 80 bucks. Enermax PSU (always get a good PSU...and this one is quiet to boot). That's less then 450 right there for your main parts. Then of course all the other drives, etc. You should come in WELL under budget, and have a computer that will surf the hell outta the internet and send mad emails (what else are they gonna do with it?) and also fare quite well with games. And if you feel like dropping extra cash into it, move up to a XP 1700+ish cpu and some more ram...

    keep in mind what they plan to use this rig for...
  6. ok, lets see here, you tell me that the configuration i posted is overkill for the kids family and then talk about overclocking, haha. All i'm saying is that for that budget he might as well make good use of it. One huge thing to think about when you're building your parents a computer is longevity. You want it to last 4 or 5 years, and, i'm sorry, but 128mb of RAM is a joke, 256 at LEAST is what you should put in it. Granted some of the things his family would not use to their full potential today, but they will in a year or two. 800 mhz duron, common man, what the hell, he's building a computer not a toy, and for that budget he can get something very respectable, now if his budget were $500 or $600 then ok i'd understand, but he said $1000, so might as well by as top of the line as you can for longevities sake..........and maybe some overclocking, haha, who said he couldn't use it.
  7. First find out if your parents have entertainment needs. At the least do they download streaming movies and sound when they shop online (like for music) or visit movie trailer web sites?

    For high end, I myself would recommend Intel if you can afford it. Since it's for your parents be as careful as you possibly can. If you read about someone here who has a stable system, maybe copy his setup. The Athlons just run too hot for my taste. Obviously I just had one overheat on me so I'm biased but the problem is that if I had an Intel it wouldn't have happened. Or you can go with the two Athlon mainboards that currently support CPU overheating protection, I think they're Asus and Soltek.

    But better yet, I would be reasonable and at least try to save some money. Just because your parents gave you a budget probably doesn't mean you should hit the limit. And the fact that they <i>did</i> give you one means that they don't have unlimited money and will be very happy if the new computer only costs $600 as opposed to $1000. Do a few things:

    (1) reuse old components
    (2) use and judiciously
    (3) don't go overboard unless you expect to use the computer for yourself--A Pentium 3 system may be enough for them

    For lower end, I would recommend a Via C3. They only produce 12W of power output obviously and this makes them nice because you don't actually need a CPU fan to cool them, they run that cool. Just don't expect to be able to play games with it. Unless you plan to use your parent's computer for playing games, I think this is reasonable. The C3 runs on virtually any P3 mainboard. I wouldn't even think about overclocking. It's not about wearing your components out faster, which everyone says, but it's the fact that you run a higher risk of one of your components completely and totally breaking down. Overclocking usually messes with your FSB and that affects every single one of your components. Obviously I'm being conservative here, but based on my own (limited) personal experience with computers I think no hassle is better than a bunch of broken components that a company refuses to RMA. Another great thing about a C3 is that you can probably afford to get away with a lower output/quieter power supply of maybe around 150W or so. What all of this amounts to is an AMAZINGLY quiet system which I think your parents will love. If you don't use a high end video card (which your parents will never need anyway) the only fan running in your system will be a quiet PSU fan and possibly a 20dB cpu fan. Today's systems are like 40dB on average so that is something your parents will like--not being drowned out by noise or getting headaches from the roar of fans.

    Censorship makes us so much more creative.
  8. i did this really quick...but this is what i came up with (price are were taken from <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>)

    Enermax case w/ 300w PSU retail- $59
    2 enermax thermal controlled case fans 80mm - $12 (2 x $6)
    Lite On 32x12x40 cdrw drive retail w/ software - $63
    pioneer 16x dvd - $46
    sony floppy - $7
    maxtor quiet drive 60gb 7200 rpm ata 100/133 - $95
    Logitech Desktop bundle with: Standard Windows 98 keyboard & S48 wheel mouse - $14 (toss the mouse)
    microsoft optical wheel mouse - $16
    512mb crucial pc2100 ram - $118
    Creative modem blaster - $20
    Samsung 17" CRT monitor flat faced retail - $178
    abit kr7a-133 retail - $87
    D-Link NIC retail - $9
    Athlon XP 1800+ retail w/ fan - $107
    Hercules GameSurround Muse XL retail - $26
    altec lansing 3 piece 300W speakers oem - $25
    ati radeon 8500 LE oem (supposedly clocked at 250/275) - $99

    total: $982
    total w/ shipping: $1060 to $1100..depending on where you live (the farther you live from CA...the more you pay
    total w/ shipping and tax: $1148-$1200

    everything is oem...unless otherwise stated....
    i decided not to get you a different PSU because the enermax 300w is good enough for your needs...and since you wont be doing much wont need anything higher.
    the case fans...i got you thermal controlled ones because they make less noise.
    i didnt get you pc2700 ram because you simply dont need it...
    i included both a NIC and a modem because im not sure which one you will be using
    the CPU comes with a its own cooler...and as long as you're not overclocking...the stock cooler is fine.
    i had to get you a sound card because the abit KR7A motherboard doesnt have onboard sound.
    i think thats it...a whole system (computer, monitor speaker, keyboard and mouse) for about $ printer though...

    :eek: <b>Who fixed <font color=red>ATI</font color=red>'s leaky faucet??</b> :eek:
  9. I'm saying he dosent need to throw a whole lotta money on a processor (you cant really save money on too many other components...really just the graphics card). Along the same lines, overclocking is not only done for performance, but to achieve "expensive" performance out of inexpensive set-ups. So he could get one of the less expensive processors and have the option to overclock it up if he feels he needs some extra performance. And I don't really see why you'd need more then 128 megs of ram to surf the net. Also, ram is real tough to install so I'm sure he wouldn't be able to throw some more in their in 2 years when surfing the net suddenly requires more then 256 megs of ram to do.
  10. or he could spend $60 on a 256 mb stick of crucial pc 2100 ram, that seems pretty reasonable to me
  11. Or he could save 20 or 30 bucks (which is 50% on this item) and get a 128mg. I'm just saying, if I were building for MY PARENTS, I think they'd appriciate the lower cost as opposed to the few % higher 3dmark or sandra. It's small beans either a few bucks, or improve performance a little. If this dude's parents don't mind shellin out a few more bucks (I mean, they are probably below their budget anyway), go for more RAM (get 512, they'll still be below the budget). If they want this to be as low cost as possible, stick with 128. It's not the end of the world either way...

    Just realized all this dude wanted was a few mobo suggestions...whoops :-)
  12. im sorry...but i have to disagree...256mb of ram is the bare minimum you should have on any new computer...even if its just for web'll prevent the computer from using too much paging file so increase performance...i would only recommend 128mb on if the budget is really tight...but in this case...his budget was good enough to acomadate 512 mb of ram.

    :eek: <b>Who fixed <font color=red>ATI</font color=red>'s leaky faucet??</b> :eek:
  13. Getting back to the real world, the other guys are telling you what THEY would buy, based on the fact that they are 1337 gamer types, movie rippers, etc. Check it out, you can get the whole system for less than $1000, and those extreme parts they recommend would be useless to your parents. I would get:
    1: An nForce 420 motherboard, the video on these boards is GeForce2 MX200, which is better than your parents would ever use. The sound uses a super high power audio processor and may be the best you can get. As far as onboard LAN, your guess is a good as mine, but you've already spared the sound and AGP expense. $150.

    2: 512MB of PC2100 on two sticks, this is more memory than your parents will ever need during the lifetime of the system. Use 2 sticks of 256MB, around $150.

    3: An 80GB Maxtor Quiet drive. This is a reliable, fast, quiet drive, twice as big as your parents will likely ever need during the life of the system. Under $150.

    4: A Plextor 40x CD-RW, price: $150

    5: An athlon XP1800+ retail boxed (with cooler), under $150

    6: A Light On 16x DVD-ROM, under $50

    7: A nice case and power supply, nothing fancy: $50

    8: A Lucent 1646T00 modem if the need it, a keboard, mouse, some reasonbly inexpensive speakers $50

    9: A name brand 17" monitor $100.

    10: Grab a free flopy out of an old 486 or something, and you're at a max of $1000.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  14. nforce can suck it, but yeah, i'd say that 256 is bare MINIMUM, you won't find gateway or dell sending even their lowest budget pcs with a crappy 128 mb of ram, for god's sake i have a 256 mb compact flash card for my digital camera for $100, you could get a 256 mb stick for under $60 easy. Anyway, let me just show you what's on the way for my parents, overkill is an understatement, but they were pointing to $3000 gateway and dell systems so i did it for them in $2000, now i know this is overkill already, but a guy is coming in on monday to network the house so we'll have a family SOF2 lan game, i'm sure they'll appreciate that, haha.....

    teac floppy - $9
    amd athlon 2100+ retal - $195
    alpha pal8045u cpu cooler - $47
    enermax 431 watt PSU - $83
    maxtop case with fan on side and top - $32
    toshiba 16x dvd rom oem - $39
    leadtek winfast GF4 ti4600 - $328 (i think this one will run spades)
    512mb corsair xms pc3000 cas 2 ram - $195
    western digital 120 gb caviar 8mb cache - $180
    plextor 40x cdrw - $131
    epox 8k3a+ - $108

    well then, there you have it, that'll kick the sh1t out of the system i have now, with monitor and speakers it will come to just over $2000, $2047 to be exact, which is pretty damn good if you ask me, considering to buy a system like that from gateway or dell you have to shell out $3000 + and this way my parents don't have to deal with crappy tech support, they've got free lifetime tech support from me, the only thing the damn idiots at gateway know how to do is tell you to reformat, they can take their cow and bend it over.
  15. d00d, I recommended 2 sticks that size, total 512MB, twice as much as his parents will need. VIA can suck it, he'll get the most stability out of anything BUT VIA. And do you think his parents are hardcore gamers? Go away, you have no idea what his parents will even use in a system, everything I recommended was twice as good as his parents needed, except the monitor, which would be adequate.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  16. Actually there was only one person who suggested getting a system suitable for games. The rest of us have been fairly conservative. And I think we could be even more conservative. 256MB of RAM is probably best, and it's cheap anyway. I would go with a C3 and not anything else because you really don't need high performance and also because you don't need a super fancy copper heatsink and 3500rpm fan. Here would be my mock list of components to get if this computer is only used by your parents, and if you don't think you'll ever use it to play games or use it for other kinds of entertainment (for which you would need a faster computer):

    -Via C3
    -Some good P3 board, maybe just a brand name one like gigabyte, asus, abit, or preferably a nice stable oem P3 board with onboard sound and onboard video
    -one stick of PC100 256MB SDRAM because it only takes up one slot in case you want to upgrade, and get PC100 because it's more stable than a stick of PC133 in many systems
    -150W power supply from a good manufacturer like enermax or antec
    -40GB hard drive--you can buy a fluid dynamic bearing maxtor 740 drive at this size for $80 including shipping, and it's only about $10-15 more expensive than the 20GB version of the same model so thats why I think the 40GB is the better buy
    -if your mobo doesnt have a vid card reuse old components like an old PCI video card or get a good matrox card that costs no more than $70 (I say matrox because they have the best 2D image quality, you may not have any 3D but the 2D will definitely be good)
    -a nice aluminum case that does not come with case fans or power supply, as shipped case fans are very noisy these days and with the low heat produced by your system you won't need any case cooling at all, or if you can't find an aluminum case without this junk in it then just buy a steel one, I just say aluminum because it's lighter to carry and move around the house
    -Heatsink fan combo for $20, don't get a fancy $40-$60 Alpha because that's overkill, loud, and unnecessary

    ...Okay for all of this I will give a rough estimate for the cost (all prices include shipping cost):

    Mobo with PC100 RAM support=$50
    Crucial PC100 256MB RAM=$50
    150W power supply=$40
    40GB Hard Drive=$80
    Video card=$70

    I overestimated in some of these, so your realistic amount should be about 5% less than the total. The total is $525. Then there is the question: "Well you said to get a C3 but what about getting an Athlon XP? It's only about $30 more expensive." The problem with this suggestion is that while you gain speed for not a whole lot more money, you also gain lots of noise. If this is a word processing computer or web browsing computer, you want to cut back on power, noise, and all of that. Also, if you think about the long run, this computer will save your family money for your electricity bill.

    I think that all of us posting here are taking a risk that our suggestions are not what you had in mind for a family computer, because price and heat and sound may not be your concern. But you asked us what the state of the current computer industry is, and those are major issues. Computers these days are too loud. If you want to play soft music on them, you have to turn the volume up so the fans don't get in the way of the sound (not the case for Korn or Tool but I am guessing your parents might want to listen to softer music). Heat is also an issue. A couple months ago, THG published an article about Athlon CPUs overheating. The Intel Pentium 4 has CPU overheating protection built into the CPU itself, while the Athlon doesn't and must get protection from the motherboard. Only Asus and Soltek make top of the line mobos with Athlon XP overheating protection right now. The Via C3 excels in CPU heat management by using a less sophisticated but still fast design. Rather than use the 72W max (new thoroughbred uses 62.1W max) that the Athlon XP 2100+ Palomino uses right now, it uses only 12W max. It's the only reason why you can get away with just placing a heatsink on it and not even bothering to attach a fan on top. What else has changed in the CPU world from 2 years ago? Power supplies. There are more and more cheap power supplies on the market now that do not deliver full ouput or do not deliver steady enough output. 2 years ago, 300W was top of the line. Now most people building high-end PCs buy 450W and some get 550W. Perhaps now you can understand why a Via C3 system that works fine using only 150W is a GODSEND. Anyway, this is a system I would strongly urge you to create, something based around the C3 processor with a low watt power supply and cheap, stable, reliable working components.

    Censorship makes us so much more creative.
  17. you guys are all forgetting the single most important thing in the computer industry, longevity. As it is a computer is the worst invesetment you can make, even worse than a car. the max you can get out of a computer is 4 or 5 years before an upgrade is necessary, and that's pushing it starting with top of the line parts when you first purchase it. Now with a C3 processor, that might last his parents a year if they're lucky. I would say make the most out of the investment so that you're not stuck with a pile of junk that you wish you had made better a year or two later. I'm not saying get top of the line everything, i'm just saying get a good computer, which you can for $1000. Enough of this C3 garbage. If his parents really want to listen to "soft" music let them get a p3 or p4, those aren't nearly as loud as coolers required to cool athlons. I'd say get near top of the line parts, basically screw onboard components and get an athlon, p3, or p4. He's building a computer not a pocketpc. and he has already stated his budget is $1000, no need to suggest a $500 shitbox. The top of the line p4 costs $600 alone. The smart thing to do would be to ask his parents what they would actually be using it for, but even then, over the years it would change, and as they grew into the computer and new more demanding software was released, they're gonna need a decent computer to handle it.
  18. My mom is very happy with the Pentium 133 system I gave her 3 years ago because it has a large enough hard drive and plenty of RAM for her OS. OK so some parents are power users, that doesn't imply they are power gamers, they don't need lots of 3D power. And the nForce sound is top notch. So with the nForce they get better graphics than they will every use and better sound than you can find in a separate soundcard. Put the money to better use elsewhere, like the Monitor.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  19. haha, wow, your poor mom, common man hook her up, i'm sure she deserves better than a 133. That was my first computer i ever got, about 6 or 7 years ago. You must have payed $5 for it a year ago. To tell you the truth all i've heard from the nforce is that it didn't live up to it's potential and there are better chipsets out there, but that is of course from my power user point of view, never really looked at it from an economic standpoint. Plus i'm giving my rents my old sb live 5.1 xgamer, so that $80 is saved at least. One thing for sure though is parents will soon have a better computer than i do, they better enjoy that geforce4 dad does play unreal tournament occasionally, i mean he can't strafe, but still. And crash, why don't you invest $10 and get your mom a P2, haha.

    oh and on a second note, the system i'm upgrading from is a p2 450, anyone know if i can put a p3 or p4 on that mobo, not sure what mobo it is but i'll find out.
  20. Gee Crashman...all parents aren`t dyed in the wool fuddy duddies. Iam a parent...have been for oh...32 years. I run a XP333-R..overclocked just so I can game at those precious higher resolutions. :)

    I want to die like my my sleep...not screaming in terror like his passengers.
  21. d00d, the best thing I could do for her is upgrade her system to a Pentium 233MMX. It's already faster than anything she uses on it. And perfectly stable under Win95. It has like 48MB, Windows 95 runs perfect with 12MB, that extra ram is just for opening more webpages at a time. All she does is serf the web with it anyway.

    Depends on your board on how you can upgrade, but rest assured, you can upgrade.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  22. Not all. But most will never touch a 3D game. In fact, most users will never touch a 3D game. I speak to people all the time who bought Intel 810 chipset based systems who say "it was fine when I used it, I always liked it, but when my kid wanted a system I decided to give them my old one and buy a new one. But my kid said he can't play games on it..." I usually tell them to upgrade thier RAM, keep their old system, and get their KID the new system.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  23. Quote:
    You want it to last 4 or 5 years

    Somehow I doubt it would last that long.
    Granted some of the things his family would not use to their full potential today, but they will in a year or two.

    It would be obsolete by then (Of course, IMHO).

    :smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
  24. Kaliman.. I used to think the same way you do. But when my high end gaming PC broke 3 <i>months</i> ago I didn't have any problems running the applications I always ran. I've been using my old Pentium II 350Mhz system with a Rage 128 ever since with no problem or any need for anything faster unless I wanted to play morrowind or medal of honor, which I don't.

    I really don't think the C3 is crap. Having experiential knowledge of the decibel levels a cacophony of fans can produce, I think the C3 is probably the best thing that's happened to computers in the past few months. Also, recently I have become knowledgeable too in the overheating risk of high end CPUs.

    I don't think any of this stuff is really going to be "obsolete". Maybe in a few peoples' minds, and I understand how frustrating it can be to have a slow system, but why spend so much extra money? In the end, that's what I base my decisions on. There's so much money invested in computers for purposes that people forsee but never really use. Am I right? How many people out there today are buying systems spamvertised by Dell rated at 2.4Ghz only to use it for business, web browsing, e-mail, and the occasional little computer game or fun web site? There are lots. Ask any average person on the street who is a target customer of computer retailers, and at the core of it they want peace of mind. They want computers with the least amount of hassle. They don't want anything that's going to be the least bit noisy. They want something that the whole family can use, and if they come across something that doesn't work on their system, they find out how they can get it to work on their system, but that's as far as it goes. Once they get the new DVD or whatever in their system that allows them to play movies then they don't care about upgrading anymore. To them, the computer is a communications tool and an entertainment machine. To a knowledgeable enthusiast, a computer is something else, but generally it's something quite technical, fun to mess around with, and has to be fast. That's the difference.

    Censorship makes us so much more creative.
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