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Building a System, need to check conflicts

Old 06-02-03, 09:02 PM
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Building a System, need to check conflicts

Ok, I'm in the process of trying to build a PC. I have some experience (installing video cards, drives, etc.) but I've never actually built a computer from scratch, CPU, motherboard, and everything. So my eyes sort of glaze over when i'm reading about FSB, DDR, etc. I was tempted on several occasions to just get a Gateway or Alienware, but their prices are way too much for me, so I slogged on through here. I have done some research, and I hammered out a system here. It's a 3 GHz P4 w/ 2.5 GB of RAM and a Radeon 9800 w/ 256 MB.

NewEgg

I plan to use this system for digital video capture and editing, networking, CG rendering, audio production, and (of course) games. So, a few questions:


1. Is everything compatible? Are there no conflicts? I am pretty sure the motherboard and processor will work together, but the RAM is especially confusing me.

2. Am I missing anything important? The first run through, I forgot my Firewire card and a heatsink- I hope I'm not missing anything else. I know there might be a lot of little parts (like the heatsink) that could slip my mind.

3. Any better parts recommendations? I've done some scouring, and this seems to be the best I can get (I overran my budget by 500, but I can live with that.)

4. Finally, the way I gauge my computer's power is by how long I can run the latest games at the highest detail and quality. With this system, how long do you give me? 2 years? 1 year? 3 weeks?

Thanks, I hope someone replies

Last edited by RolloTomasi; 06-02-03 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 06-02-03, 09:15 PM
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Looks good other than the 5 sticks of RAM - you sure the mobo can handle that? It probably can since you specified 2.5 GB RAM, but it would be nice if Newegg provided a link to each part...
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Old 06-02-03, 09:26 PM
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Yeah, that's what I was wondering. According to this, the motherboard should handle up to 4 GB of RAM, but when I looked at the picture, I only saw four slots (I think). And I haven't seen 1 GB sticks of RAM anywhere.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:01 AM
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You should be able to find 1GB sticks pretty much everywhere - more expensive than 2 512, but they're out there...

I just did some searching and I don't think you can find 400MHz PC3200 1 GB RAM chips yet - however, you can find PC2700 (333 MHz) 1 GB RAM chips...

http://www.pricewatch.com/1/33/4922-1.htm
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Old 06-03-03, 12:15 AM
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First of all, 2.5gb of memory is WAY overkill, unless you know you need that much for some specific reason. If you're willing to spend that much on memory, just get two sticks of 512mb PC3200 DDR400. Whatever you do, for dual channel memory (which is definitely what you want), buy the RAM in pairs and always use the exact same kind.



Looks like that mobo only has four slots of memory modules; no point in wasting money on five.

And not that I looked over the case very much, but if you're going to be spending this kind of money, you might as well go for a better case. You might want to go for an Antec, and make sure to get one with a good star rating and lots of buyer reviews to check for common problems, etc. Don't underestimate the importance of the case and the difference a good one can make from a mediocre one. No sense in skimping on something like the case when you're splurging on everything else.

Last edited by tha_dvd_man; 06-03-03 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:32 AM
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I just took a cursory look at your system and found a couple of glaring wastes of money.

The 250GB drive is currently priced at a premium. You can regularly buy 120GB drives for under $100. (I just got one for $30.) How about getting just one 120 now and add another drive when you need it? It will be much cheaper and maybe even better by that time. You could even use the Serial ATA RAID ports to make a RAID 0 array with two 120s and have a dramatic increase in speed.

The Sony DVD burner for $300 is much more expensive than a single format drive and more expensive than the alternative dual format drives that are just coming on the market. Do you really need +R and -R? I found my $130 -R drive to be perfectly adequate and extremely compatible.

Misc:

You might want to get another fan for the front of your enclosure if it can handle it.

You might want to consider another brand than the Sony DVD-ROM. I never hear Sony mentioned when lists of good DVD drives are compiled.

Whoa, now that I got to your video card... Do those things really cost that much? Have you checked prices anywhere else? You're in big coupon range on just that one item if you can find it at a place that takes coupons.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:37 AM
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Totally agree on the hard drives. Not only would you be saving a ton of money by buying two half-sized HDs, but it's always good to have a second drive as a backup in case your primary fails.
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Old 06-04-03, 01:32 PM
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a $225 sound card? sweet holy moly.
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Old 06-04-03, 08:16 PM
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Only get that soundcard if you REALLY need the features. If you're just looking for an all-around great card, check out M-Audio Revolution's.. excellent audio quality(uses the ENVY24HT chip which is amazing from what I've heard)..

Also, get a Pioneer DVD-R/DVD-ROM, they're the only ones I trust with anything DVD

The 256mb 9800 might be what you need to run Doom 3 and Half-life 2 insanely fast, I say go for it :P

And X is right, you definitely need airflow. Get a nice big intake fan..

Oh yeah, get 1GB of RAM, only servers can efficiently utilize much over that.
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Old 06-04-03, 09:54 PM
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http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=323830

Thanks for all of the advice so far. I've looked at that, done some reading, and made a few more changes.


Got 2 120 GB hard drives - although I haven't found anyplace on the internet that even approaches $30, and those that were under $100 were 5400 RPM drives.
Switched the Sony DVD-R for a Pioneer.
Read some reviews on the Radeon 9800 256 MB, and decided the extremely marginal increase in performance didn't warrant an extra $100.
Read some reviews on the M-Audio Revolution, and decided to swap that in.
Got what appears to be a much better case, and I'll have 5 fans on that.
I believe I'll keep the extra GB of RAM.


So the price still hovers around 3000. I thought about getting a Dell, but when building a comparable system, it ended up being $3900, so I still think I'll build.

Any comments on this new iteration?
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Old 06-04-03, 10:38 PM
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Read some reviews on the Radeon 9800 256 MB, and decided the extremely marginal increase in performance didn't warrant an extra $100.
The thing is....and I'm not graphics card expert....that extra 128mb video memory might come in handy down the road with games that actually utilize it; today's games don't. It's not a WHOLE lot more, but it's a lot less than upgrading your card entirely which is something you might start thinking about doing when games your 128mb card can't quite handle perfectly come out.

Just a thought.

By the way, why keep the extra gig of RAM? Memory isn't that cheap, and it really won't do you any good now. Wait a couple years, then get an extra gig for much less money when your computer would actually need it. I think you'd get a lot more out of that extra 128mb video memory than you would out of an extra gig of main RAM.
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Old 06-04-03, 11:20 PM
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That sounds like good advice, I think I will do that.

Are there any benchmarks that show that doubling your RAM wouldn't impact your performance significantly?
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Old 06-05-03, 07:06 AM
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Well, extra RAM is only going to speed up your system if the system is going to use it. Generally, most systems don't use 2.5 gigs of RAM or whatever, so you would have a lot just sitting there doing nothing.

I don't know if there are any benchmarks that show doubling RAM to insane amounts does nothing. I mean, if you double it from 256 to 512 of course it is going to help you significantly. And you'll probably get some extra speed doubling from 512 to 1 gig, but past that, you're not going to get any significant speed hikes.
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Old 06-05-03, 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by RolloTomasi
That sounds like good advice, I think I will do that.

Are there any benchmarks that show that doubling your RAM wouldn't impact your performance significantly?
Not really, I don't think. I haven't seen any benchmarks where more than a gig of RAM is used. That should tell you something, I suppose. More than a gig of ram won't do you any good unless you're a graphics artist or are into heavy 2D image manipulation or something.
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Old 06-05-03, 12:10 PM
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since you're already spending a helluvalot of money, why not get the logitech z560s, or the z680s?
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Old 06-05-03, 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by tha_dvd_man
Not really, I don't think. I haven't seen any benchmarks where more than a gig of RAM is used. That should tell you something, I suppose. More than a gig of ram won't do you any good unless you're a graphics artist or are into heavy 2D image manipulation or something.
Yeah, that's the thing - I want this system to do semi-heavy 3D rendering (w/ radiosity calculations) and work with 2D broadcast effects (Adobe After Effects). With the system I have now (1 GHz w 384 MB RAM), it practically crawls, especially with After Effects. I'm not sure what the bottleneck is though.
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Old 06-05-03, 03:35 PM
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I think the system you have setup now looks pretty good. Asus is an excellent brand of motherboards. I have a case almost exactly like that Antec, except mine has a window. Good luck with it!
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Old 06-05-03, 09:00 PM
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http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=324740


I think this is it. I am buying this system tonight.

I did some more reading on mobos, and saw that while the ASUS might have a slight performance boost, it was lacking in some features, so I switched to the MSI, which has gotten many good reviews.
I dropped the extra GB of RAM; I'll probably get it in a year or so when the price goes down.
I switched the speakers to the recommended Logitech.
I did switch back to the 256 MB video card.
And I added a 3.5 floppy drive which I forgot.
I'll have to get the M-Audio Revolution from a different store, Newegg just sold out.


Other than that, I think I have a complete system! Any last words?
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Old 06-05-03, 09:52 PM
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How about divvying up all the money you saved to the people with posts in this thread
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