jthm

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Hey fellas got directed to this great community to seek advice on setting up my own PC. Anyways here are the specs I am thinking I'd love opinions and suggestions. Cost, longevity and quality are major factors. Please Help!

Case: Enermax Medium Tower(sexy looking, good for cooling and not overly bulky)
Processor: AMD(Not sure whether 64 or XP, I am a gamer though so it seems the best route, I heard however my regular winxp os won't run 64)
HD: A pair of Western Digital 80gb 8mb cache hard drives
Motherboard: Abit KV8 - Via K8T800
RAM: I know I'm think dual 512mb sticks but I'm confused as to how to judge what company is better
Video Card: All I know is I want 128mb and 256 bit, 256mb are too expensive and not worth the hassle
Rom: CD-RW/DVD player
Speakers: Creative Inspire 5.1 speakers
Fans: no clue where to start
Heatsink: do I really need one?
 

evulboo

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if u dont have a heatsink m8 ur pc wont last all that long :p

If u do things right.... People won't be sure you've done anything at all......
 

Tavelkyosoba

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thats a lot to swallow, *gulp*

lets start at the processor:

AMD is deffinatly better for gaming, so you got that part right. now the athlon xp or the athlon 64...go for the athlon 64. you get better performance, they run cooler and use less power. also they are more "futureproof", as some guys have put it, because socket 745 isn't going away anytime soon. also, windows xp will run on an ATHLON 64 because this chip has both 32-bit and 64-bit capabilities.(it will not work with say an opteron wich is a true 64 bit chip)

video card:

for a beefy system like yours, you should get a 9800 pro, however because i am ATI biased i might also recomend a GF FX 5900 ultra. the 9800 pro is a little faster, but its also a little warmer. decide for yourself <A HREF="http://[url=link" target="_new">here</A>

Memory: get some with low latency timings...the 4 digit number that accompanies the descrition(example: 3326) and i like corsair the best, but kingston, and OCZ are very good as well.

Fans:

your system will be very hot so it is important to have good air flow. i dont know what kind of setup your case has, but you definatly want to put the appropriatly sized fan in all available fan bays. also you may consider cutting out the fan grates if they are just stamped sheet metal, this will decrease turbulance.

heatsink:

HELL YEAH YOU NEED ONE! if you get a retail cpu it will come with a heat sink. if it does not come with one, something like <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=35-103-143&depa=0" target="_new">this</A> or <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=35-103-143&depa=0" target="_new">this</A> will suite you well.

if i forgot anything or you have any questions just ask

"Is it hot in here, or is it just you?" said the woman to the Athlon.
 
1. For gaming choose the Athlon 64. Since I don't know your budget ill must reccommend the 3200+
2. AMD Processors like low latencies with RAM so get a brand name like Crucial, Kingston, etc with 2 /2.5 CAS(look in RAM section). If your gaming Id reccomend 2*512Mb in dual channel mode. You probbably have no idea what i just said - Post a thread in the Memory section if you're still unsure.
3. Again, no idea on budget, but a ATI 9800 or ATI x800 are a good option. There are many veriations of the cards.
4. To keep your system quiet buy a min of 2 silent 80mm fans (below 25 Decibels). One needs t draw air in, and 1 needs to be the exaust.
5. Buy the retail version of the AMD 64, it comes with a stock heatsink.

Ned

AMD's dual-core sex fights due in 2005
 

Obtuse

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Run 2 X 512 in dual channel? Not if he's using a 3200+. That A64 has an on-die memory controller that supports single channel only. And from what I've heard, the on-board memory controller helps compensate for lower latency RAM. Just get 512 X 2 of crucial - it's pretty much guaranteed to run stable out of the box.

"If I owned this place and hell, I'd rent out this place and live in hell" - Toombs
 

Zeekfu

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A good 9800 pro card:
HIS exalibur ice q platinum 9800pro

I found it challenging to find HIS or "hightech" or "Hightech Information Systems" <A HREF="http://www.hisdigital.com/html/index.html" target="_new">HIS Intro page</A> It is listed on new egg as "hightech" <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=14-161-109&depa=1" target="_new">here</A>

<A HREF="http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=320913" target="_new">non ice q model</A>
In the Tom's article which gave it the editor's choice <A HREF="http://www6.tomshardware.com/firstlook/20031210/radeon_9800-01.html" target="_new">here</A>
the ice q platinum model performed a bit better than the reference ati model that is comparable in price. They now make the fan controller bracket (hot air exhaust and fan high low control) separate to alleviate the problem of getting the switch to clear when installing in some case/mobo combinations. This now-solved problem was noted on the digit-life review <A HREF="http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/radeon/his-1.html" target="_new">here</A> . The ramsinks are also now different, better looking, and better. They are larger heatsinks which bridge two ram chips rather than single individual ones.
I saw the editor's choice award article some months back and researched them more. I also saw the excellent faq guide <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=363095#363095" target="_new">here</A> and found that extremely helpful.


<A HREF="http://www.hisdigital.com/html/profile.htm" target="_new">HIS</A>
 

Tavelkyosoba

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i would recommend the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-102-281&depa=0" target="_new">sapphire</A> model instead, because i believe sapphire is the best at making ati cards. its really all up to you though.

"I see" said the blind man to his deaf dog
 

Zeekfu

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<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=403532#403532" target="_new">sapphire debacle</A>

you sure about that??!? :>)
 

zeezee

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also, windows xp will run on an ATHLON 64 because this chip has both 32-bit and 64-bit capabilities.(it will not work with say an opteron wich is a true 64 bit chip)
Tell me that this is a joke between you guys, otherwise we have a serious problem here. FCOL, what makes you think that Opteron can't run WinXP? Worse, why is Opteron a "true" 64 bit CPU but A64 which has the same core isn't?
 

jthm

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Okay well the Enermax Case apparently is quite good for cooling while remaining sleek and compact. It seems there is a consensus that I should go with an AMD64 processor. For RAM what I'm hearing is low latency dual 512s of either Corsair, Kingston or Crucial will do me good. I'm assuming the hard drives are a non-issue as long as I get an 8mb cache. The video card is where there is debate, I have been ATI loyalist for a while but if GF is competitive but cheaper I could go for it, Sapphire looks a bit shotty but there are many ATI video cards to choose from.

The one question people seemed to ignore was a motherboard. This is where I am completely lost! I'm assuming I will now need an AMD64 compliant mobo but are there ones that are good for whatever mobo's do and could allow me to avoid the hassle of getting a sound and network card?
 

Mode_Locrian

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Well, I just built a fairly similar system to what you're considering, at least, with respect to the proc and video card (Athlon64 3200+ and ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, respectively). In terms of motherboards, I would recommend a board using VIA's K8T800 chipset. You can look around for reviews, but I'm currently using an ASUS K8V Deluxe SE, which I am really happy with. Not the best board for overclocking (no PCI/AGP lock), but I don't think you'll be worrying about that anyway, so its a moot point. Another good choice using this chipset might be an MSI K8T Neo; I've heard good things about these. Also, I've heard that Nvidia's NForce3 250 chipset is pretty good (note, NForce3 250, NOT NForce3 150), so you might want to check out a board like MSI's K8N Neo using this chipset. In general, look for a good motherboard brand (ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte etc) that has the features you're looking for (e.g. IDE/SATA ports, USB connections, onboard Lan/sound etc etc ) and then find some reviews of it.

Finally, with respect to RAM, you might also want to consider looking into OCZ PC3200. I'm using 2 sticks of OCZ PC3200 single channel at 2336 timings, and I'm quite happy with it. It was also much cheaper than similarily performing Corsair memory, which I also considered. However, with all the price fluctuations in the memory market these days... who knows?

Finally, with respect to hard drives, a fast drive does make a difference. I would get a drive running at at least 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache, and ca 8.5ms seek time. Personally, I'm running a part of 74MB WD Raptors in RAID0 and they are FAST. However, this is a pretty big investment just for hard drives ($400-$450).

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Mode_Locrian on 06/18/04 11:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

endyen

Splendid
Most people here like the new nvidia chipset (nforce3 250), but boards are a little scarce. Most seem to like the MSI board, though I find the Gigabyte board a good value.
Asus is also putting out a new board with that chipset. It will probably become the top seller. I wish Abit would bring one out, but they still seem to be pissed at nvidia.
 

Cybercraig

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Here's my latest build. Garner what you can from this. Always shop for the best pricing.

Chaintech VNF3-250 Socket 754 MB - $69.00 @ Mwave
A64-3000+ w/ Heatsink/fan - $219.00 @ Mwave
Far-Cry CD - free
Sapphire 9600XT - New - $130.00 @ E-Bay
2 X 512 OCZ PC3500 Performance - $219.00 @ NewEgg
Samsung 120GB SATA Hard drive - $99.00 @ NewEgg
2 X 80mm black Top Motor fans - $5.00 @ E-Bay
1 X 80mm blue led fan - $10.00 @ NewEgg
Silver NEC-2500A DVD/CD Burner - $76.00 @ NewEgg
Silver Mitsumi Floppy Drive - 1.44mb - $11.00 @ Mwave
1 machine-rounded cable set - $9.00 @ Mwave
1 - Academic version XP-Pro - $84.00 @ NewEgg
1 - Dynapower Silver Mid-tower w/ Clear side window w/ center fan, rainbow front lights, front temp LCD display, 430 watt Award PS, 2 x front USB & sound ports
$39.00 @ Mwave
The smarts to make it work - priceless!

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
 

Tavelkyosoba

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In reply to:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

also, windows xp will run on an ATHLON 64 because this chip has both 32-bit and 64-bit capabilities.(it will not work with say an opteron wich is a true 64 bit chip)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tell me that this is a joke between you guys, otherwise we have a serious problem here. FCOL, what makes you think that Opteron can't run WinXP? Worse, why is Opteron a "true" 64 bit CPU but A64 which has the same core isn't?
get as technical as you want, but noobs dont care, they just want an answer that they can understand. we water it down so they can, they're still learning so be nice

"I see" said the blind man to his deaf dog
 

Tavelkyosoba

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Finally, with respect to hard drives, a fast drive does make a difference.
hes got a point, fast drives are important. when i upgraded from a fireball 3 to a diamond max, my boot time was cut by two thirds. this GREATLY effects the computers performance in general. so get a drive with 7200 rpm, the interface doesn't matter(ata100, ata133, or sata) because current drives still cant pull data fast enough to run at the predescribed bandwidths.

and yeah, 10k rpm drives in a raid is big investment for a first build :)

"I see" said the blind man to his deaf dog
 

jthm

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Thank you all for dumbing it down for me and helping out as I am indeed a newbie to pc building. Here is a revised version, again any tips or crtiques are welcome:

Case: Enermax Medium Tower
Processor: AMD 64 3200+
RAM: 512mbx2 OCZ 3200ppm
Motherboard: ASUS K8V Deluxe SE
HD: 7200rpm 8mb cache hard drive(s)
Video Card:ATI Radeon 9800 Pro or HIS Excalibur Ice Q 9800 Pro
Drive: CD-RW/DVD-ROM
Keyboard: Logitech
Mouse: Logitech
Speakers: Creative Imagine 5.1 Speakers
Fans: x3 80mm fans
Heatsinks: Coolermaster for Athlon64
Extras: Machine-Rounded Cable Set

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jthm on 06/19/04 01:32 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

zeezee

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get as technical as you want, but noobs dont care, they just want an answer that they can understand. we water it down so they can, they're still learning so be nice
I am sorry, I don't get it. Firstly, I am not being nasty with them in any shape or form (but with you if you will:) and secondly I am not talking about any technichality here but the fact that WinXP damn well runs on an Opteron system and A64 and Opteron both share the same instruction set and consequently one is not more real 64 bit than the other.
 

jthm

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Okay well I'm positive that an argument over the validity of those two 64bit processors can be done in another thread(not that I care much). Opinions on my specs!!
 

Zeekfu

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Have you checked out the free "far cry" game offered by serveral vendors when you purchase a a64 cpu+ select mobo from them? zipzoomfly, mwave, monarch, and others have it going. If you are getting cpu and mobo anyway...

There is also a nec dvd/cd rw that gets good user reviews on new egg if you don't have any particular one in mind. I got one for my new build I am planning on when I ordered my HIS excalibur ice q platinum 9800 pro. It is the same one cybercraig listed in his thread I think. It has gone down about $5 since I ordered mine.

Scott and others say the boxed cooler with the retail a64 does a great job, so you may not "need" to buy another heatsink unless you are really gonna heat it up or something. I don't know how much extra those cables cost but the motherboard likely comes with what you need. Check out the makers website and/or reviews to see what it is packaged with. Unless of course there is some moding, air flow, performance issue you have special cables in mind for.

<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-161-109&depa=1" target="_new">HIS excalibur ice q plat 9800 pro</A>
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=27-152-012&depa=1" target="_new">dvd</A>
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=21-103-116&depa=1" target="_new">floppy</A>
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=35-100-007&depa=1" target="_new">arctic silver 5</A>
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I'm sure that enermax case blows this away but since I cut and pasted these product links from another thread I'll leave it:
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I searched through alot of pictures, user reviews and descriptions to find what seemed the best decent looking case for the $. I wanted a case with a clear acryic side panel. My main requirement for the case was that it have a "decent" power source I could use to run the old comp when I built the new one.
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=11-156-133&depa=1" target="_new">case</A>


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by zeekfu on 06/19/04 03:37 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

jthm

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Yeah I'm hearing a lot of good things about HIS Ice Q so odds are that'll be the video card. I don't really intend to do any overclocking so scratch the heatsink. I think I'll stick to the Enermax because I love the look, it seems compact which I want and I've heard good stuff about how it cools. Do I really need more than a 350W power supply?