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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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#115485 - 11/09/05 06:56 PM Re: Building a new computer
James_T Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/03/04
Posts: 715
Loc: Seattle WA
I just built a new machine myself. I am also running XP and can only highly recommend AMD, but if Roger says no, then no!
I also agree with Hashts. If you are not going to overclock the machine then just about any name brand RAM will be fine. PC3200 will be fine and if he is going to play WoW (I'm still single because I'm addicted to it) then I would recommend trying to get 2 gigs of ram. It makes a very big difference when changing zones and entering instances. I still have trouble with Iron Forge (he'll know what I'm talking about), but I don't fall down into things anymore.

-j

_________________________
"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." C Hitchens

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#115486 - 11/09/05 07:15 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I know about Iron Forge. At this point he simply avoids the place all together. What video card are you using?


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

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#115487 - 11/09/05 07:22 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
AMD has been hit occasionally with some compatibility issues. I'm not so sure they haven't been caused more by third-party chipsets (SiS in particular) than problems with the procs or their microcode. The result has been that many people have sworn off AMD chips forever, price/performance ratios be damned. I have a mix of Intel and AMD at home. As an aside, I personally am a big fan of Asus motherboards and have gotten burned by MSI MB's in the past (not literally, althought I have had procs go up in smoke before).
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115488 - 11/09/05 07:31 PM Re: Building a new computer
hashts Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 164
Craig/Hopkinj,

The 64 bit capability for an AMD64 processor is only a secondary tangential benefit. As I stated in my posts, the AMD line offers a price to performance ratio which cannot be beat by Intel. The REAL benefit why AMD64 trounces an Intel is that they include the North Brigde chipset on the CPU die itself. This is exactly why an AMD running at ~2Ghz can outperform an Intel ~3Ghz cpu in most real world tests. Besides, the actual benefits of a 64-bit platform are few and far in between in the consumer arena, but they are getting better. For example, Farcry has extra graphics in their 64-bit version which are not available in the 32-bit binary (last I checked).

I understand Roger's reluctance for AMD, but I've been using them for about 8 years now without any problems what so ever. Me, I still play War3 DoTA

PS-But don't get me started on Opteron vs Xeon...its like comparing Axioms to Bose

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#115489 - 11/09/05 07:47 PM Re: Building a new computer
hopkinj4 Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 82
Loc: Atlanta, Ga
In reply to:

PS-But don't get me started on Opteron vs Xeon...its like comparing Axioms to Bose




I totally agree!!!
_________________________
Denon 5803 Denon 3910 Axiom M80ti's, QS8's VP150, EP500's (7.2)

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#115490 - 11/09/05 10:00 PM Re: Building a new computer
James_T Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/03/04
Posts: 715
Loc: Seattle WA
hehe. Lagforge we call it. I purchaed an eVGA Geforce 6800GT from newegg. I would also recommend trying to get Roger to read this forum and heed our advice about AMD. Even if you are not using a 64bit OS they still out perform intel CPUs for gaming. And cheaper! He can get a faster CPU or spend the money on more RAM or a faster Video card! Then he can play WoW and HL2 and F.E.A.R at a good resolution with all the pretties.

-j


_________________________
"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." C Hitchens

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#115491 - 11/09/05 11:35 PM Re: Building a new computer
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17695
Loc: NoVA
What Royce said. Also look at case reviews; there's actually a lot of differences in them.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#115492 - 11/09/05 11:57 PM Re: Building a new computer
hopkinj4 Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 82
Loc: Atlanta, Ga
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying don't buy the AMD64, I'm saying dont buy the AMD64 just because it a 64bit processor. Go with the best bang for the buck, no matter if thats AMD or Intel. I don't know if you have checked out Toms Hardware or not, but give it a try. www.tomshardware.com
_________________________
Denon 5803 Denon 3910 Axiom M80ti's, QS8's VP150, EP500's (7.2)

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#115493 - 11/10/05 12:08 AM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I spoke with Roger...AMD ain't happening.

We're also on a budget. Those Geforce cards are nice, but dang pricey. Compare the specs to the x800GTO...am I missing something? $179 seems like a bargain for that card. I've found a mother board with has PCI Express 16x, so at least we're helping to future proof that end of things.


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

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#115494 - 11/10/05 12:24 AM Re: Building a new computer
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17695
Loc: NoVA
[H]ard|OCP is also a good place to look at reviews and comparisons. Look here for video card comparisons.

and

AnandTech also has very good comparisons and reviews. I'd look there for memory and processor reviews.

Tom's has the best case reviews, or at least the most complete ones. And don't go cheap on the power supply, especially if you're getting a high end video card.

Hard drive, well, get what you want, but make sure it's SATA. And not Maxtor.


Edited by kcarlile (11/10/05 12:28 AM)
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#115495 - 11/10/05 01:43 AM Re: Building a new computer
Haoleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 1488
Loc: Maine
I like seagate myself. Just had a WD take a dump on me, and have heard that they arent the best around. We get a ton of older computers in my shop and most of them have either fujitsu or maxtor drives. Some WD's. Seagates i think are the best and that seems to be something everyone i am around agrees on. Not to mention seagate now carries a 5 year warranty. Which, if the WD had that i would have gotten a new one.


Edited by Haoleb (11/10/05 01:45 AM)
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#115496 - 11/10/05 01:51 AM Re: Building a new computer
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17695
Loc: NoVA
Yeah, I tend to go with Western Digital or Seagate. But I've had every brand of drive crash on me--that's a hard drive. It will happen.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#115497 - 11/10/05 10:04 AM Re: Building a new computer
royce73 Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 170
Loc: New Jersey
Spiff, the GeForce's major advantage is the SLI technology where you could link two cards together to run at the same time. From the specs I have seen at Tom's Hardware, the results are impressive. The Radeons have been slow to adapt this technology and their version is quite dissapointing from what I read. You can buy a $179 GeForce 6800 now and upgrade with another GeForce 6800 down the road (at which time the card will definately be less than $179) instead of buying the new $250 card and get almost the same performance.

It's too bad Roger won't budge on the AMD thing. I have been using AMDs for 6 years now and I never look back.

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#115498 - 11/10/05 12:26 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
Yes make sure to get a good PS. An extra $50 to $75 is worth it for a gaming rig. It will ensure a good, well-regulated supply of clean power to the system. As far as cases look for a tool-less design with a slide- or swing-out MoBo tray. Any "P4" capable ATX/ATX2 PS will fit in an ATX case.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115499 - 11/10/05 12:52 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
I've had extremely bad luck with Maxtor drives. I have replaced countless drives during my time in the industry but Maxtor has by far the highest failure rate amongst desktop IDE/SATA drives in my experience. As far as SLI I'm not so sure of the current cost/benefit ratio. I would leave it to the early adopters to work out the kinks and pay the high prices. The motherboards with 2 16x PCIe slots and the proper firmware are expensive. 2 SLI-capable cards (and not all PCIe cards will do SLI) are expensive. High frame rates are impressive but after around 70fps the human eye can no longer discern a difference. Ray-tracing, fill rates, etc are more important in presenting that "real-life" look. Plus if you're on a budget it's just out of the queston anyway. As far as AMD/Intel: I was an Intel-ite for 6 years before moving onto a less stressful environment. There's nothing actually wrong with their procs and they are as stable as they come. AMD also makes a great product. I won't recommend either proc over the other. The on-chip memory controller of the AMD vs. the Northbridge-based MCH of the Intel design is less of an issue with single-proc machines. It becomes an issue with multi-proc systems where say 4 Intel procs will be using the same MCH, causing a bottleneck, while the 4 AMD procs will be using their individual on-chip MC's. On the one hand you have the price/performance benefit of the AMD (although the price part is narrowing slowly but surely as AMD realizes it can't continue to undervalue it's chips). And the chances of an unstable/incompatible system is getting to be slimmer and slimmer as time goes on and the chipset makers' products mature. On the other hand if you use an Intel proc and a quality motherboard based on an Intel chipset you are almost guaranteed a rock-solid platform. But you get a less efficient chip (for now; my buddies in Hillsboro tell me the next-generation chips are looking like world-beaters). So blah blah AMD/Intel this or that. It's not like you'll end up with a POS because you are "forced" to go kicking and screaming down the Intel path.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115500 - 11/10/05 02:01 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks again for all the info. That Tom's Hardware site is a godsend.

With all the horror stories regarding the Maxtor drive, that's off the list.

I'll look into a MB that supports SLI with an Intel based system. If it's not outrageously priced I'll go that route, and try to find a GeForce card that won't also break the bank.

Future proofing is pretty dang tough with PC's. Every time I've ever wanted to upgrade my PC, I end up pretty much building a new computer. For example...the last upgrade I wanted to do was simply buy a faster CPU. But alas, my motherboard, though P4 based, couldn't take the faster CPU, so I had to get a new MB and processor. OK fine. Oh, wait, the new motherboard doesn't use the same RAM as my last one. OK...new MB, new CPU, and new RAM. Sucks.




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

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#115501 - 11/10/05 02:06 PM Re: Building a new computer
hopkinj4 Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 82
Loc: Atlanta, Ga
Actually, http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20050525/index.html is a really great read. Its very interesting... running an intel pentium m can be quite fast.

Direct link to charts http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20050525/pentium4-10.html
_________________________
Denon 5803 Denon 3910 Axiom M80ti's, QS8's VP150, EP500's (7.2)

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#115502 - 11/10/05 06:14 PM Re: Building a new computer
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
OK...another question.

What's the difference between the Intel 3.0Ghz P4 530j processor and the Intel 3.0Ghz P4 630 processor?

I see on newegg that the 630 has a 2Mb L2 cache (whatever that is) vs the 530j having only 1Mb, but never the less, the 530j gets a better customer rating.

???


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

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#115503 - 11/10/05 06:48 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
The 630 also has the 64-bit extensions. The 2MB cache can make a big difference. I would put more credence in the HW websites listed earlier than online customer ratings on these types of sites.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115504 - 11/10/05 06:57 PM Re: Building a new computer
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
As far as the 64-bit thing goes, you can completely ignore that as a reason to buy or not buy any processor at this time. The extensions do not add appreciably to the price. The difference in the price of the procs you list above is mostly bacause of the 2MB L2 cache. Full-speed cache memory is expensive. As far as the 64-bit extensions (AMD64, x86-64, EMT64- they're all the same thing. You will not use them in the near future. There is almost no software available for home use on Windows XP 64bit (which in hard to find). Now of course if you want to use Linux you have some options. Most games are not among those options. All of the 64-bit consumer processers run just fine in 32 bit mode. So essentially just ignore the 64-bit line when comparing processors for now.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#115505 - 11/13/05 01:54 PM Re: Building a new computer
leaf Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 64
I haven't looked in a few months but I'd recommend an Nvid pci express vid card over any ATI card. Mainly due to their history of Driver issues...but that may of changed. I don't recommend worrying about SLI I don't even think WOW supports it. And all the reviews/tests I've seen show negligible return.

I have to join in with many who say go with AMD for gaming and bang for the buck. If your gonna do any kind of video work then a P4 is worth the extra bucks. If your going to go Intel get the one with the largest cache you can afford.

Memory... regaurdless of what brand you get you can have issues do a google for Memtest. In budget machines I use Geil.

Case go name brand I use Lian Li and put a good quality power supply in it.

Since your building a WOW machine don't over look the internet connection. Many times online lag is blamed on everything else Many onboard Nic's are just terrible as are modems supplied by isp's. Oh and get a good router SMC comes to mind.

Been building PC's for years.

Leaf
PS Hehe I'd look at the samsungs with 8mb cache fast quite and cheap.



Edited by leaf (11/13/05 01:56 PM)

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