Creating a solid system here...

over_c

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I am putting together a pair of systems at work and would like some input. I have a $1500 price limit, and we already have monitors so I do not need to buy any of those.

Here it is:

Intel P4 3.2C GHz CPU
Intel i875P D875PBZLK motherboard. (This is the one with the Gigabit LAN southbridge right?)
2 x 512 MB PC3500 Kingston HyperX
ATI 9600 XT video card
Western Digital 40 GB 7200 rpm, 8 MB cache HDD
(LiteOn Black Internal DVD-RW/+RW Drive, Model LDW-811S/LDW-851S BLK. EDIT. Replacing this item with the one below)
Lite-On White DVD+/-RW Drive, Model SOHW-812S
Creative Labs Sound Blaster 128 PCI Sound Card, Model "CT4750"
Logitech Mouse and Keyboard.
(3.5" Floppy Drive. EDIT Removing this item. We can use old 3.5s that we already have.)
(Lian Li Black Mid-Tower Case, Model "PC-61" EDIT. Replacing this item with the one below.)
CHIEFTEC Server Chasis (Aluminum Workstation Tower with Plastic Front Cover), Model "AX-01SLD"
(Antec 430W Power Supply, Model "TRUE430" EDIT Replacing this item with the one below.)
Fortron 400W Power Supply For Intel P4 and AMD XP CPU, Model "FSP400-60PFN RET"

At newegg this comes to just under $1300.

A couple of things to note is that since this is a workstation, it does need much in the way of sound or hard drive space. We have a centralized data storage system.

If anyone sees any problems with this set up, please let me know. Any other comments, improvements, will also be appreciated. I will NOT be overclocking this system.

A question to get things started: While the i875P chipset supports ECC ram, it does not require it, right?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by over_c on 03/19/04 10:08 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

Carnivore

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My advice is mor ein the form of questions. :)

1. Why the huge power supplies? 300W will run all that and then some. Onlya couple bucks here and there, but it's money.
2. Why the 3500 Ram vice 3200 when your not overclocking? The board only only supports 333 and 400. Once again, only acouple bucks, but money is money.

3 And why the highend case. Enermax makes nice towers out of metal that are way cheaper. They weigh a ton, but your not going lanning with these so who cares.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by carnivore on 03/18/04 02:25 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

Spitfire_x86

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Look for LiteOn SOHW-812S DVD burner. It supports both 8x DVD+R/DVD-R burning

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TheRod

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it does need much in the way of sound
If sound is not important, use the motherboard integrated audio. I think every motherboard have integrated sound today.

...hard drive space. We have a centralized data storage system.

HDD are not only for starge, you should get a newer (bigger) HDD for performance. You don't want your worker to wait too for applications to load because you bought them a low performance HDD.

And I don't think it'S necessary to buy 3.2GHz P4C. there is not much difference in performance between 3.0 and 3.2GHz. You will save money.

ATI 9600 XT video card
Wow! Do your workers plan to play FarCry or Doom3? If not, you can get a lower priced card that will do a great job. Radeon XT and PRO are targeted to GAMER's. If DX9 and 3D support is not important for the job you will do on this PC, get a Radeon 9000/9200 that are les expensive and have great 2D output and signal quality.

--
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grafixmonkey

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Are you going to be installing applications to the network storage, using virtual memory to it, booting from it, and everything? If not, your workers would benefit greatly from a pair of drives (or even three) on a RAID-0 card. Everything will load faster, and anything caching data to the hard drive, using swapfile, or any local storage in any way will have that part of its performance doubled or more. (that means launching apps, booting workstation, etc.)

If your people are working with 3D apps like 3D Studio or Maya or Lightwave, they would probably benefit more from a cheap Quadro or FireGL than they would from a Radeon 9600. Well, maybe... you'd have to carry that debate with the people in the graphics card forum. Just don't get the lowest-end Quadro FX card, it's absolute junk.
 

Crashman

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I'm going to assume for a minute that your "heavy duty" apps don't require sound, and recommend you just use the onboard sound. Onboard sound only has a significant impact on performance when it's in use.

I'd save a bit of money and get some Chieftec Dragon cases, those are the same chassis as used by Antec for their 1080 series.

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grafixmonkey

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Agreed about sound - that sound blaster you were going to buy is probably worse than the onboard sound anyway. All it would give you is a more isolated Microphone input jack. (which could be nice if your employees use speech recognition, but that's it.)
 

over_c

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I am going to try and cover all of the criticisms at once.

First off, from looking at newegg.com, I do not believe that this motherboard comes with either video or sound onboard. I do not need much with sound, so I have added a very cheap sound card. As far as the video card goes, I am $200 under budget, so I figured why not? Also, I wouldn't mind the free Half-Life 2 coupon that comes with that card.

Second, my boss told me we only need one hard drive. Basically all it will do is run the operating system. Everything else will be run from user accounts that are not going to be stored on this system. The programs we run are probably not going to be big enough to over run the system memory.

Third, from the memory forum, I believe that I will be able to run PC3500 Ram at tighter timings with a stock 800 FSB. Also on newegg right now, it looks like PC3500 HyperX is a couple of dollars cheaper than PC3200.
 

Crashman

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Former Staff
heh, he said in the first post he wasn't overclocking...and the board would allow a small overclock if he was.

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Crashman

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Former Staff
I actually build systems, didn't notice the board having no onboard sound, did understand why you were buying 40GB drives, etc. I don't think you need an expensive power supply or an expensive case, just a good quality case and power supply.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you to take a look at the large Inwin and Enlight cases (in the classic designs), both come with high quality power supplies.

They don't offer pull out motherboard trays. I think that's great. You see, I had a case with pull out tray, I had to unhook the cables to pull it out of course, and if you're unhooking the cables...you have full access to the board anyway. So pull out trays simply cost more and do nothing in the way of convenience. I say that from experience, having built many systems. I think people are mostly in love with the IDEA of the pull out tray.

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Crashman

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Former Staff
I use whatever comes my way, 98% of my system builds are based on used parts. The other 2% of the time I pick the best performance value for my customer. I've never bought a new Intel board, I encounter them often in OEM PCs.

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P4Man

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you do not state what apps this workstation will be running. Much depends on that. For CAD/CAE, or software development I would definately look at an opteron (or A64) solution instead. For 3D rendering, video processing and similar things, a P4C might be a good choice. Also, even though you state you will be using external storage, its probably still a good idea to select a faster a disk subsystem for swapping, app launching, etc. Even using GB ethernet, a remote disk, is not nearly as fast as a local (RAID) HD subsystem, at least in my experience.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =