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#115475 - 11/09/05 03:48 PM Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
OK...Roger wants a new computer. He's built his last couple on his own. Here's the plan so far.

new case with built in 400W power supply
motherboard
Intel P4 3.2Ghz processor
Maxtor 250gb SATA hard drive
NEC dvd/cd burner

We'll snatch the audio card out of his current computer, and likely buy an aftermarket heatsink & fan for the processor.

Our questions concern mostly RAM and video cards.

The video card budget is around $200. From what I've found this Radeon X800GTO seems to be the best bang for our buck. Does anyone here suggest something else for that price range?

Secondly is RAM. DDR400 (PC3200) seems to be the most popular RAM. Roger will be using this computer for about 99.9% gaming. (World of Warcraft being the #1 played game) What's the best/fastest RAM he can get (stability being a prime concern)? We've always only bought Kingston RAM in the past, but I see Corsair and OCZ being tossed around a lot on the "gaming" sites. He just wants to plug and play...not much of a tweaker. Budget for 1GB of RAM...$100 +/-. Can I get better than two of these?


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#115476 - 11/09/05 04:24 PM Re: Building a new computer
hashts Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 164
Excellent choices with using Newegg, great customer service.

Have you considered using the AMD64 platform instead of Intel? I feel they provide the best bang for the buck, again just like Axiom. I think Nvidia is about to debut a midrange card which will compete directly with the one you mentioned. I'm sure you can find benchmarks on the plethora of gaming sites.

RAM shouldn't really be a concern if you don't overclock. Kingston, Corsair or OCZ should be fine. I'd recommend the cheapest name brand RAM you can find.

Some friends have had issues with Maxtor, myself I prefer Western Digital but if noise is a concern then go for Seagate. I own the NEC 3500A and its one of the best dvd burners out there.

All in all, some good choices but definitely consider AMD64, I've had mine over a year now with awesome results.

Hash

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#115477 - 11/09/05 04:34 PM Re: Building a new computer
royce73 Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 170
Loc: New Jersey
Spiff -

I just built a new computer myself and I think I can steer you in a better path. If Roger is a gamer, than you should be looking at AMD processors and not Intel. AMD performs better for gaming apps and gives a little more bang for the buck (you can get a near top line AMD 64 3500 processor for the same amount as the Intel). As far as the motherboard goes, I went with the MSI Neo4 SLI board. This board gives you PCI-Express (important for using current and future video cards) and has the SLI feature that gives you the ability to use 2 video cards at the same time (NVIDIA cards only).

As for RAM, I would check out Crucial's website http://www.crucial.com , which has a very handy wizard which will recommend the best kind of memory based on your needs (gaming, value, graphics, etc). I also like Corsair and OCZ also. As for the video card, I would recomend either a Nvidia GeForce 6600GT (a good one would cost around $160), GeForce 68000 ($200), or the GeForce 6800GT ($285). The NVIDIA cards have been pulling away from the Radeons recently and Radeons do not yet offer you the opportunity to run two cards at the same time). I would also consider having a power supply of at least 450W. These new gaming apps are real power hogs. I went from 400 to 480W and saw a difference in my PC's performance. Hope this helps.

As far as the burner goes - I think the Plextor 716-A is the best one out there, at any price.


Edited by royce73 (11/09/05 04:36 PM)

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#115478 - 11/09/05 04:40 PM Re: Building a new computer
hopkinj4 Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 82
Loc: Atlanta, Ga
AMD64 is a great processor, however, I would not run the AMD64 unless you will be running windows 64bit version or a linux 64bit distro. The chip is fast but it will still only use 8 registers (not the 16 it has) when it is running on a 32 bit platform like windows xp home and pro.

If you want an AMD64 the way to go would be to get a dual core AMD64 which will act just like dual processors (still running in 32bit each)... but running a single core AMD64 will not give you better performance then a comparable Intel processor.

You might be able to find an AMD64 cheaper than a comparable Intel but dont buy it because it will give you better performance on windows xp because it won't.
_________________________
Denon 5803 Denon 3910 Axiom M80ti's, QS8's VP150, EP500's (7.2)

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#115479 - 11/09/05 04:48 PM Re: Building a new computer
royce73 Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 170
Loc: New Jersey
I should also add that the MSI Neo4 SLI boards come with an on-board Sound Blaster 64 bit card with Dolby 5.1 and the abillity to go 7.1 so you may not have to switch that older sound card out unless you have an Audigy 2 or better.

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#115480 - 11/09/05 05:18 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks for the tips.

The more I read about RAM, the more confused I get.

DDR400 (PC3200) vs. DDR2 ???

Which is better? Half the things I read lead me to believe that DDR2 would be better, but then I look at the specs, and it seems that all the numbers point to DDR400.

My brain hurts.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#115481 - 11/09/05 05:40 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
DDR is 184-pin. DDR2 is 240-pin. The "400" is the bus speed in MHz. You will also see "PC3200" and such in which the 3200=3200MB/sec bandwidth. So in the end you pick a CPU and compatible MB and get the ram spec'd highest according the the capabilies of the above. So if your CPU/MB runs a 266 bus you don't need DDR400 memory since it will simply run at the 266 speed anyway. If your combo supports a 400Mhz FSB then get DDR400.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115482 - 11/09/05 06:03 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
As far as brands go I use Corsair XMS Pro Low-Latency RAM in my gaming machines. OCZ apparently makes great memory for gaming as well. I would stay away from Maxtor and go with WD or Seagate or Hitachi/IBM. NEC makes great optical drives. I just noticed your motherboard has slots for both DDR and DDR2. Interesting. My guess is that for the same rating the DDR2 should be faster but who knows? DDR should be cheaper anyway.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115483 - 11/09/05 06:14 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks. I've kept reading and it looks like DDR2's full potential can't be reached without a FSB of 1067. I'm looking at getting a FSB of 800, so I think I'll stick with the HyperX DDR400 Kingston chips.

Thanks again everybody for the tips.

_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#115484 - 11/09/05 06:22 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
AMD is out, as Roger's been bit by them in the past and won't go back. He's also running WinXP, so if the benefits of the AMD64 go out the window (no pun intended) then that's twice the reason not to bother.

While I'm not opposed to an nVidia card, I've not found one with the specs to beat the x800GTO with 256Mb of memory at the $179 price range. If you do, let me know.

In trying to keep the cost down, I've downgraded the processor to the 3.0 vs the 3.2 chip.

Since I've also nixed the idea of DDR2, I found a different motherboard which has four DDR400 slots, rather than only two.

The Maxtor has sold out, and with the voices of concern over the brand, I found a nice Seagate for close to the same price.

Thanks for all the info guys.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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