lamer goes w/ OEM (AMD1.2G /w 266FSB)

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NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, I did not have sexual relations with that Power Supply! HaHa! Anyway, 250W power supplies will work fine with the TBird 1.2Ghz CPU, it just has to be the right brand. If you look on AMD's web site for the recommended power supply, you will see many non-400W units listed. All this shows it that you get what you pay for, as better engineered, better quality units can do great with total less power output! As for the 400W power supply being AMD's "new official line", all they mean by that is that if you purchase a unit rated at 400W total, you can't go wrong, otherwise you should be checking that recommend power supply list. I found my new 300W power supply in my new Antec Performance Series case not up to par, but my existing Sparkle FPS300GT 300W power supply as very capable. With the Antec 300W power supply I got a pause in the booting of the system, it just sat for about 4 seconds before listing the boot options of Windows, or Win2k, and speeds over 1200mhz were unstable, but with the Sparkle 300W power supply, I can run at 1333mhz just fine and the pause I got when booting is gone! You get what you pay for, period!
 

beans

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It's true Alienware doesn't say Athlon C, but they do offer both the 200 and 266FSB on their configurator. In my opinion, it would be a deceptive practice to configure any CPU outside of its manufacturer's specs without disclosing the fact up front. I would be interested to know if anyone disagrees with that.

You made me work on that Visiontek card, and I still don't know if it's comparable to what Alienware is selling. I couldn't tell what card they are selling, so my frame of reference has been the Hercules 3D Prophet II ultra that gamepc sells. I visited both Hercules and Vision Tek sites trying to compare specs. They don't use the same specs, and I don't know enough about graphics cards to figure it out.

I'd like to know, too, because I plan to buy/build a sytem using an Athlon C and a card of this class. So, does anybody know if the Vision Tek at $335 is comparable to the Prophet II at $500+, or is it too good to be true???

Phsstpok, I think we're saying the same thing about buy vs build. And, thanks for the lead to Vision Tek.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by beans on 02/03/01 10:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

phsstpok

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beans,

I NEVER implied Alienware was doing any such thing! I simply provided the cost for the only 1.2 mhz Athlon available.

I misunderstood your first message. I thought you were saying that you could only find VisionTek Ultra cards at $500 and that you were questioning my $335 price.

As for the cards specifications, I really don't know what they are. I do recall reading an interview with an executive of VisionTek. That interview conveyed the intent of VisionTek to begin aggressively pushing into the retail market. Until now VisionTek was primarily manufacturing OEM memory and video cards. I own one of these OEM video cards, a Geforce256 SDR. I am very impressed with it. It has 5.5 ns DRAM. Without modification it overclocks from 120/166 to 145/210 (core/memory). Sorry, I got side tracked.

As for everything else, I think you misunderstood my intent of my messages. What I was trying to show is that even if one took the lowest priced items, listed at www.pricewatch.com, to make a system with "equivalent" specs one would end up with something not too far lower in price. I was trying to give Tbfww affirmation that his purchase was not unreasonbly costly.

I was NOT attempting to provide anyone with some kind of low-cost system guide. I also was not trying say that an indentical system can be built for a lot less money. My above intent was the only intent.
 
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Exactly, you're reiterating the jist of what I was trying to say.
 

beans

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phsstpok,

I know you didn't imply Alienware would do that, and neither did I. On the contrary, I meant to imply that since Alienware was offering an Athlon with the 266FSB, they MUST mean the Athlon C, even though they didn't explicitly say that.

Therefore, if anyone says they can build a system "equivalent" to the one tbfww ordered, in my opinion that system has to start with an Athlon C because there is no appropriate substitute that I know of.

Perhaps my interpretation of "equivalent" is not mainstream. It is a word that has been abused.


Unfortunately, some of Alienware's specs are a bit vague, at least to someone of my limited expertise. I can't tell what GeForce2 card they are actually shipping. Maybe it IS the Vision Tek. I assumed - jumped to the conclusion would probably be more accurate - that it's the Hercules because that's what gamepc is offering. And I still have no idea which is the better card, or which is the better buy.

At any rate, I'm here to learn. You and others in the community have presented valuable information, and I appreciate it. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your intent or appeared to do so.
 

tfbww

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Wow, I was away for the weekend and never expected such a series of responses. Let me give you a couple of the thoughts I had going through this process (some context if you will).

1) Every review of Alienware I've seen has been top-notch. A couple of awards here and there. More interestingly, when reading those reviews, it *appears* that they OC your system as they build it. I believe it was CNET's (gamecenter) review that mentioned what the actual clocking of components was upon arrival. They seem to be a "trusted" brand so I wasn't worried about getting a compaq-ed system. And if I really don't like it, I can return it within 30 days.

2) I thought the 300W PS may be on the low side considering the 1.2 Athlon + Ultra BUT the fact that they build it, test it, and run it for a while before shipping it to me means that if this is a problem they will find out -- goes back to that trusted brand thing.

3) To build or not to build, it wasn't really a question for me. I really don't have enough time at home to deal with all the potential hazards for building what would be my primary sys. Having to reinstall Windows last month due to some corruption ate away at my patience lavel. What I AM doing, though, is gutting my old pii/333 and gain some experience by building that into a decent linux server (CS, most likely). If [-peep-] goes wrong here, oh well. I don't mind "frying" a new mobo or what not on that one.

4) Ultra brand. I wasn't sure what brand they were using and nor were their sales reps (one told me it was nvidia who actually built it). That being said, I have yet to see any performance difference in any of the Ultra's since they are all nVidia reference boards. So I didn't dwell on this too much. When I need to OC it, hopefully not for at least a year, then it becomes a greater concern but still not tremendously so.

5) ALI Magik mobo. This one worried me. I had read the review on Tom's and it put me off. Then I read a review on one of the overclocking sites (OC Club or max. OC (?)) that basically drooled over it. Then I heard from mpjesse who was using it and liked it. What ended up making my decision was that 2 liked it, Tom's review was still on beta drivers, it still outperformed the KT133A, it wasn't VIA based and a hope that the board would continue to improve. And if none of that was of value, at least I have PC2100 DDR sticks ;)

6) I sincerely hope that Alienware is using an Athlon C and not just unlocking a B. I am hoping that it will give me some extra headroom. If they aren't, I'm going to call, bitch about it and get some price reduction since they are "sold me a different product." Plausible deniability is a wonderful thing.

7) The video cooling system for $46 is another fan installed in the side of the case, presumbably near the AGP slot. It was relatively cheap and I liked the idea of keeping the Ultra as cool as possible.

8) Hardware DVD decoder. I have a DVD player and a PS2 so I didn't think it necessary to spend any more than necessary on the DVD aspect of it (versus everywhere else, I guess). I did want to have DVD in case software really becomes available on it.

I think that's about everything. It seems like the "general" consensus is that it was a good price. No one seemed to have issue with the components.
 

beans

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tfbww -

I wondered what happened to you - we did kinda hijack your thread, didn't we?

First, I don't know of any better choice that you could have made. Alienware's reputation certainly is solid, and if you did manage to beat their price for what I would consider an equivalent system, you would be lucky to make the minimum wage for the time required. Like you said, there's all the risks. Plus, no warranty and no support.

In fact, I almost made the same choice. Mrs. beans has a birthday coming up, she's a gamer, big-time, and her present system can't keep up any more. The Athlon C/DDR/GeForce2 Ultra is the class of machine she wants.


I have only built one system, and that was Intel-based for business. My personal game experience is Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing.

Building an Athlon-based system seems to me a dubious proposition for any but the technically most savvy, considering these systems seem to need a fan on everything from the north bridge to the hard drive. Even if it worked, I would be concerned that the MTM (mean time to meltdown) would be below the MTO (mean time to obsolescence). I think I would buy a bigger power supply just to make sure there's enough for the air handlers.

So, I'll build it if I have to, but buy it if I can.


All that said, I'm tempted by Alienware but looking for a better choice. Mainly I want to know, up front, exactly what I'm getting. I like GamePC because I can look at their configurator and tell exactly what I'm getting. I like their business model - see their web site under "About GamePC," the section "The GamePC Business Model." I like what I see on Resellerratings.com.

The negatives? Well, they don't offer the Athlon C yet. And the price SEEMS higher than Alienware's. That's why I really want to know what Alienware is selling.

So, I'm watching your experience with extreme interest, hoping that it will be very positive, and that you will keep us informed.


beans
 

phsstpok

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A problem with a Geforce card drew me into a discussion about PSUs. Did you know that the old Geforce card and an Athlon mobo, together, require up to 20 amp +3.3 V line? (You can read about it a www.geforcefaq.com?) Well my PSU is only rated at 14 amp on the +3.3 V line but my system is working where the person with the Geforce problem has a system that is not. (His drives and fans slow down). We both have 300 watt power supplies, mine is AMD approved his was not but it is on an Intel system, anyway. His PSU has the same 14 amp rating on the 3.3 v line.

Anyway to make a long story short (too late). The discussion got around to how can one choose a good power supply if a 300 watt, general rating, is not enough to go on. A third person (I warned him I would forget his handle. lol) pointed us to an excellent article at AnandTech.com. This person summarized the article by saying that the +3.3v and the +5 v ratings are the most important ratings. Incidentally, the sum of the power ratings on these two lines is called the Combined Power, which is what you see at in AMD recommended PSU list (e.g. My PSU is rated 14 A on the 3.3 V line or 46 watts approx. The 5 V rating is 24A A or 125 watts. The Combined Power is 166 watts). Even this Combined Power doesn't tell me that my PSU is inadequate for a Geforce256. This info is critical and I wish every vendor selling Cases and PSUs supplied the individual voltage and power ratings.

Anyway that third person recommended Fotron and Enermax power supplies, in general, and the Enermax 351 (something or other), in particular, because it supplies 30 amp on the +3.3 line. (Incidentally, the article mentions your Sparkle FPS300GT is identical to the Fotron FSP300-60GN)

What did I expect? I only paid $42 for my case and AMD approved PSU. Apparently it common to for vendors to skimp on the PSU, not just in cheap cases but also in some very expensive ones.

I don't how relevant any of this was but it is interesting.

Here is the review link. The review is a year old but the general information on PSU selection and trouble assessment is valuable.

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1128&p=3

Phsstpok

p.s. Does anyone know the power requirements of the Geforce GTS, PRO, and Ultra cards?
 

dhlucke

Polypheme
I got recomended to this site for awesome PSU, but I really don't know much about the subject:

http://www.pcpowercooling.com/

Is it a "you get what you pay for" deal, or does anyone know where the best cases and PSU's can be bought? Is it best to get them separate since as I've read above, a crappy Powersupply means trouble. I have a dell 230W, so i'm just going to buy a new case and powersupply most likely.
 

mak

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I've got a P300 system that I bought from Alienware a couple of years ago. I have to say I have been very happy. A very stable sytem that runs everything I throw at it. I'm getting ready to buy another system from them and have found that they have grown quite a bit. The video cards they sell with their systems are made for them by Nvidia, the salesman called them "tweaked". As far as the DDR system goes I have configured a 1.2ghz AMD with the Ali Magik board and 128 2100DDRam, 20GB ata/100 hard drive, Geoforce 64Mb video and nic, and the price is around 1750, not too bad. If you were too order the same system with the 1.2ghz athlon 100FSB it is only around 1600. Seems thaty charge quite a bit more for the Athlon type C chip. If you were to unlock the FSB on the Tbird you could have a DDR system for 1600 to your door. Still really curious to find out if Alienware is overclocking the type B athlon or if indeed thay have the type C.
 

beans

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Mak -

Just checked Alienware's site and got a $121 premium for the 266FSB over the 200FSB, starting with their basic Aurora DDR and changing nothing else.

On the video card - do you mean the card they are using isn't available anywhere else?


beans
 

tfbww

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Yeah, I checked out the same thing -- just in case they don't ship me a C I know how much to ask for back. ;)

Mak, how do you get a $1600 DDR sys., regardless of the FSB speed?
 

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