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Looking for some help on a new PC build

This would be my first solo build. I've posted on another board and was given some good suggestions, but I wanted to post here and get some other ideas.

My budget is roughly $1200. That doesn't include a mouse or keyboard.

I'm looking at this monitor, but it's not a part of the budget: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16824001070

I modified the suggestions at the other board and came up with this:

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131540

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103562

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820231047

Floppy Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101

Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822144129

DVD Burner:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827152058

As far as the video card is concerned, it was suggested to me that I wait for the 7900. However, I'm not sure if want to go that way yet. I came up with this card instead: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814130249

However, I've always used ATIs in the past and have been very satisfied with them. So, I'm very interested in the X1900 XT (or XTX). The problem with that is that I'm not sure if I should change motherboards.

So, please give me any suggestions and/or advice.

P.S. This is my first build, so I don't know what else (if anything) I'll need, i.e. cables and fans.

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cables with motherboard

In reply to: Looking for some help on a new PC build

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get SATA hard drive instead

In reply to: Looking for some help on a new PC build

Parallel ATA = PATA = UltraATA/100, UltraATA/133
Serial ATA = SATA

Common SATA hard drives are newer technology for about the same price for some models.

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How about this hard drive?

In reply to: get SATA hard drive instead

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that'll work

In reply to: How about this hard drive?

I purchase SATA when I want to build a new machine and try to maximize performance. The biggest reason for me, however, is that they connect to the motherboard with a much thinner data cable--allows for better air flow for case cooling.

PATA drives are not bad. I still purchase new large PATA drives and use them when the price/GB is really low. Nice inexpensive secondary drives and for popping into an external enclosure.

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Cool...

In reply to: that'll work

Thanks for letting me know.

So, what do you think about this build? Also, if I chose to go the way of an ATI card, do you think I should change motherboards?

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looks good but...

In reply to: Looking for some help on a new PC build

If you're near a Circuit City, I suggest you pick up the case there. The CC website has the Sonata II for $113 +tax so it should be about the same as newegg's $99 + $19 shipping. You can open it up right there and make sure there are no dents or dings. Best of all, its 0 days shipping.

I also suggest you spend $10 more and get a floppy with a media reader. Even if you don't need it now, they're handy to have for only $10 more...

newegg has a eVGA 256-P2-N516 (you spec'd the N517) for $285 (a $20 rebate makes it $265). It's clocked at 450mhz rather than the 517's 470mhz but it should OC just as well as the 517.

With the $30 you save with N516, I'd get a lightscribe DVD burner. Check out cdrlabs.com for some reviews.

Lastly, I recommend you price shop at zipzoomfly.com. Their prices are usually neck-and-neck with newegg but they typically have free 2-day shipping (rather than 3-day).

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I didn't even to think to check CC...

In reply to: looks good but...

But, yeah, I've got one near by, so I'll probably do that instead of ordering it. Thanks a lot for pointing that out to me. They just never entered my mind.

And I had looked at a floppy drive with a media reader. Particularly, this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16821104104. I haven't quite decided about that yet, but thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for pointing out the video card. I hadn't really considering overclocking, but only because I haven't had much experience doing so. Right now I have an ATI that I tried OC'ing with atitool, but I wasn't too successful. And I've never even used an nVidia card, so I'm a little hestitant in even buying one. In fact, I'm still kinda torn between getting an X1900 series card and an nVidia...especially with the upcoming release of the 7900 series. My current PC has an X800 XT, so as long as I can see a visible improvement I guess it just depends on the price. I guess I may just have to wait for the release of the 7900 before I buy a card. Especially if it's going to affect the price of other cards. Do you have any thoughts about that? My other problem about deciding to go with an ATI is that I don't know if I need/should change motherboards.

And I'll definitely check out about getting a better DVD burner. Thanks for the website.

And I was planning on getting some of the items from Zipzoomfly. It was just "easier" to list them all from Newegg.com.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.


P.S. If I decide to go with the video card that you pointed out (and overclock it), will I need to get any other fans or coolers?

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also trying pc build

In reply to: I didn't even to think to check CC...

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Could you explain...

In reply to: also trying pc build

what the term "CF" means? Sorry, I don't know.

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OC'ing nVidia is simple

In reply to: I didn't even to think to check CC...

A small registry tweak enables OC'ing in nVidia's standard control panel applet. There's probably no difference between the eVGA 516 and 517 except the 517 is factory OC'd.

Since you've got a x800xt now, you'll probably only see significant improvement with all the eye-candy turned on. If the 17" LCD you spec'd will be your gaming monitor, then 1280x1024 is your max res. But at that res, the x800xt is still a top-notch card frame-rate wise. (I've got a x850xt that I run at the same res and I run just about everything max'd at 2xAA). The newer cards will give you 8x-14x AA and HDR lighting effects.

BTW, newegg has a x1800xt for $350. Faster than the 7800GT, but dual slot cooling and supposedly a bit loud. If you switch to ATI, save some bucks and go with a non SLI mobo.

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Ok, so if I switch to ATi...

In reply to: OC'ing nVidia is simple

Would any of these motherboards work? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=ENE&N=2010200022+1070907495+1071017168+1071918586&Subcategory=22&description=&srchInDesc=&minPrice=&maxPrice=

Any particular one better?

And is this the x1800xt that you were talking about? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814161171

Compared to the other x1800xt's that are at Newegg, this one is only 256mb while the others are 512mb (of course, the others are more expensive). How big of a difference would that make?

And if I switch motherboards and video cards, would I be able to keep everything else that I spec'd the same?

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ATI just released new mobo chipset

In reply to: Ok, so if I switch to ATi...

If you want crossfire, ATI just released a new mobo chipset (xpress 3200) that fixes most of the shortcomings of the xpress 200 chipset. (see tomshardware.com or hardocp.com for more info). The new chipset will be in pricier mobo's initially. If you want to stick with the xpress 200 mobo's, I'd recommend ASUS (you can't go wrong). One big knock on xpress 200 is it's slow USB performance -- the ASUS corrects that by using a ULI southbridge.

If you don't think you'll every go crossfire, then I'd recommend an nForce SLI (not SLI x16) mobo. The nForce is a more mature product than ATI's chipset and still a top performer.

Yup, that's the x1800xt I spoke of. 512MB will future-proof you a bit more, but it will be able to handle any game at reasonable rez for the near future. (Now if you plan on getting a 24" widescreen that's another story.)

As for the mobo switch, everything you've spec'd will work just fine.

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One item to add

In reply to: ATI just released new mobo chipset

I'd just like to throw this out there:

Try a 4400+ for bigger cache and it is based on the same core used in the 4800+ and FX-60, Toledo...

~Ibrahim~

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One item to add

In reply to: ATI just released new mobo chipset

I'd just like to throw this out there:

Try a 4400+ for bigger cache and it is based on the same core used in the 4800+ and FX-60, Toledo...

~Ibrahim~

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Thank you, but...

In reply to: One item to add

that's a little out of my price range. Thanks though.

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Decisions, decisions, decisions...Let me ask you this:

In reply to: ATI just released new mobo chipset

If I stick with my original spec'd motherboard (the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium) and go with one of the 7800GT cards (either the N516 or the N517) and using that SAMSUNG 740B, would I be able to play my current games (like HL2, FarCry, and FEAR) at the monitor's native res. of 1280x1024 and at pleasant settings? If not, which card (either ATi or nVidia branded) would enable me to do that? If I can do something like that, I would much rather do so than to buy the latest & greatest card. That way I don't have to spend as much and would be able to save a little money. I will probably end up wanting to upgrade to a DX10 card whenever they come out anyway, so it's hard for me to justify spending a lot for the newest card now, ya know? I wish I could find a good chart that compared all the latest cards to each other. I have one, but it's a little dated and kinda biased.

Along the same note, when the 7900 series comes out, how do think that will affect other cards' prices?

P.S. By ''pleasant settings'', I mean at least the settings that I can get now (with my x800xt at 1080x780). If that makes sense.

Thanks again for all the help. I really appreciate it.

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Forgot to add this...

In reply to: Decisions, decisions, decisions...Let me ask you this:

If I stick with that mobo (the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium), will the x1800xt that you told me about work with that board?

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its all good

In reply to: Decisions, decisions, decisions...Let me ask you this:

Your originally spec'd mobo will work fine with either an nvidia or ati card. My suggestion for a different mbobo was purely cost-savings to 'make room' for the x1800xt (about $50 more than 7800gt).

A 7800GT will be a step up from your x800xt. You'll be able to run things at a bit higher quality, but I just don't think you'll see that much of a difference in speed.

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How's this for a final build?

In reply to: its all good

Antec PC Tower Case (SonataII)
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Antec-PC-Tower-Case-SonataII-/sem/rpsm/oid/143266/catOid/-13015/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Processor Socket 939 Retail
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=80721-1

Asus A8N-SLI Premium nForce4 SLI Retail
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=247010

HIS Hightech Radeon X1800XT H180XT256DVN Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814161171

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM System Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820231047

Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YD 250GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer - Bare Drive
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=101220-13

LITE-ON Black ATAPI/E-IDE 5X DVD-RAM Write DVD Burner With LightScribe Model SHM-165H6S - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827106015

MITSUMI Black Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101

SAMSUNG 740B Black 17" 8ms LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16824001070

Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16837102059

iCEMAT Black Siberia Headset - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16836508101

I decided to try going with the video card you suggested. Will I need anything else (like cables, fans, etc.) with these purchases? My biggest concerns are the OEM products and the hard drive. That one is labeled as a Bare Drive, so I'm just worried if that's okay and/or whether I need to purchase anything else with it.

Hopefully I can put the orders through later today. I really appreciate any help. Thanks.

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Also, about the SATA drive...

In reply to: How's this for a final build?

How hard is it to install Windows XP on one?

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nicer than lightscribe

In reply to: How's this for a final build?

The suggestion to go with lightscribe is OK I guess, but if creating cool and professional looking DVDs is in your future with your new system lightscribe won't do it, it is a brownish monochrome.

I have an Epson Stylus PHOTO R200 inkjet (~$100) that prints IN COLOR on inkjet printable disks. Very nice especially with imation disks that print to the center hole.

Also, though I have limited experience, XP Pro seems to have some worthy advantages. Get more opinions on that.

Good luck, I too am in the process of specing out a new build.

Brett

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everything looks good

In reply to: How's this for a final build?

your mobo box and/or case will include all necessary cables. if you want extra fans, you can pick them up at cc/compusa but i think the sonata comes with 2. bare drive just means it won't have rails (which you don't need) nor an install CD (which you won't need)...

as for installing windows on an sata drive, you have 2 alternatives. you can either configure the sata device as an ata controller or an ahci/raid controller. the ata controller won't need additional drivers. you only need to configure it as ahci if you want hot swapping (which you don't have the hardware for) or raid (which you haven't mentioned as wanting). either of those will need a driver which will be on a floppy with your mobo.

another poster suggested xp pro. that's a matter of preference... if you want to create a network with a pc acting more like a server, i'd suggest pro. but home is sufficient for most people. you might consider getting windows media center instead if you think you might want to add enhanced tv/video capabilities or if you have an xbox 360.

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Ok, thanks...

In reply to: everything looks good

After doing careful research into what every product came with, I had already ordered the whole thing Saturday. I actually ended up getting the case from Newegg, too. They had a weekend special, so I ended up saving a little getting it from there instead of CC. Of course, it ended up only being a savings of about $5-10, but every little bit counts. Ha.

About the sata drive, I thought I had read somewhere about needing additional drivers in order to install XP on one. But I think I should be able to handle it easily enough. I won't be configuring it for ahci (I don't even know what that means) or RAID.

And since reading more about Windows Media Center, I probably should have gotten that, but oh well.

Thanks for all the help.

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its all good

In reply to: Decisions, decisions, decisions...Let me ask you this:

Your originally spec'd mobo will work fine with either an nvidia or ati card. My suggestion for a different mbobo was purely cost-savings to 'make room' for the x1800xt (about $50 more than 7800gt).

A 7800GT will be a step up from your x800xt. You'll be able to run things at a bit higher quality, but I just don't think you'll see that much of a difference in speed.

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