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upgrade questions: please advise

by Gumbril / January 19, 2006 11:52 AM PST

I am on the verge of completely renovating my current system which was the first system I built.

current system:
asus a7n8x deluxe
amd 1900+
(2)512 mb pc3200
soundblaster audigy 2 platinum
radeon 7500 all in wonder
40 gb maxtor hd 2 mb cache
120 gb western digital hd 8 mb cache
dvd rom
cdr
nice looking but inefficient case (not sure of make)

after several tedious days of research, I have tentatively decided on these upgrades:

Keep maxtor 40 gb and wd 120 gb (both ide 133)
keep dvd rom and cdr drive
keep both 512 mb pc3200 ram chips
keep soundblaster audigy 2 pl

purchase new:
antec soho II tower with 500 watt psu
amd 64 socket 939 3200+ venice
abit an8 nforce 4 mobo
hitachi 80 gb sata II 8mb cache
maxtor 250 gb sata 150 16 mb cache
and either a pci-express geforce 6200 or radeon x300se (of the many varieties of these two video cards)

so, question number one is:
based on personal knowledge, personal preference and known conflicts, does anyone have alternate recommendations for any of the afforementioned components?

question number two is:

I currently use my 40 gb drive for my win xp pro os and most executables, and my 120 gb drive holds all of my documents, pictures and music.

As I make my forray into sata drives, would I get more performance increase using my 80 gb sata drive for os and programs, or do I get more of a performance increase using both of the sata drives to hold my video, music, pictures, etc...? I understand (though not entirely) there are different raid arrays and some would suggest purchasing two same size sata drives and running them parallel or whatever the term is.

I am trying to limit my computer upgrade to around 600 US bucks and that is about where I am right now.

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated. Btw, I am not a hardcore gamer (currently playing railroad tycoon III) and mostly use pc for music recording/editing/mp3 storing and picture/video editing.


gumbril

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come on, someone
by Gumbril / January 21, 2006 10:56 AM PST

must have something to add, comments about the mobo or sata drives? or to tell me that the two video cards i listed are junk?

i am just asking for someone who knows more than me to share a little helpful information. is that too much to ask?

sincerely,

gumbril

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is this a second post?
by nerdyboy1234 / January 22, 2006 1:51 AM PST

i replied earlier...

i previously said to use both satas only... and scrap the ide...guess i could go more...

x300se and 6200 are crappy...and if u want to go low-end...go for the newer x1300 or x1300pro
the processor is fine.

the 2 sata drives u selected from hitachi and maxtor...y them? i would rather go with seagate and western digital

i would suggest getting a dvd burner drive.

and btw do u have an operating system?

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to answer your queries
by Gumbril / January 22, 2006 2:48 AM PST
In reply to: is this a second post?

the choice of hard drives is primarily due to bang for the buck, the largest drives I could locate online for the lowest prices. The maxtor and wd I currently have I have had no problems with, although I had problems with the first wd caviar drive I purchased and had to send it back to wd for a replacement, but I have had no problems since. Do you think seagate and wd are more reliable/better performing drives?

I am considering upgrading to a dvd burner, but I was also thinking about waiting until my cd burner burns out, which shouldn't be too long considering how many cdrs I have made from it.

I currently have windows xp pro.

I just doublechecked the specs of the mobo and realized that it supports 4 sata drives (for some reason I thought I read that it only supported 2.) I guess I could opt for 4 sata drives, but at present am only budgeted for 1 or two.

therefore, would you suggest something like two 40 gb seagate or wd drives in a striped array for my os and programs, then later ditching the ide drives in favor of a couple more sata drives to store my data?

also, it seems there are many mobos comparable to the abit an8 I am interested in, but what drew me to this board was the otes feature. is the otes very beneficial, or is there a different board I might want to consider.

lastly, thank you for the info on the video cards, I hadn't found anything previous to suggest they weren't very good (knowing full well they are on the lowest end of the pcie spectrum.)

thanks,

gumbril

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Suggestion
by VAPCMD / January 22, 2006 7:37 AM PST
In reply to: to answer your queries

Get all the RAM you anticipate needing upfront in the highest density possible. Reason ..some systems aren't stable if you popuplate all DIMM banks and if they work reliably...it may be at reduced speed. So if you're thinking about 2GBs RAM...do it now in two 1GB DIMMs vice four DIMMs at 512MBs each.

Forget RAID ... not much speed advantage for most users and you avoid a whole set of potential problems that you would never otherwise experience.

And by all means set up you system to separate your data from your OS and APPs. If you do that you can always reinstall the OS or format C: without risking loss of your data.

That said...get yourself a good backup routine. The numbers of folks I see on here with failed HDDs and no backup is unbelieveable.

Good luck on yopur new system.

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kindly taken
by Gumbril / January 22, 2006 12:26 PM PST
In reply to: Suggestion

thank you very much for your input.

as a matter of fact, I regularily backup my data on an external hard drive that I keep in a fire-proof safe.

the comments about the dimm banks is something I wasn't aware of, however, I already have two 512 chips and am not budgeted to add to or replace those anytime soon. I think that 1 gig of pc 3200 ram should be sufficient so as not to be a bottleneck, but perhaps I am wrong.

most of the comments/info about raid I have read seemed to paint it in a positive light, but you think it is more trouble than it is worth. I guess I need to look into it more.

I guess my biggest lingering question is my current choice of motherboard. The asus board I have has given me no problems, but some people I know swear by abit boards. If anyone has any comments about the an8, that would be very helpful.

Thanks again,

Gumbril

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well the an8 is good
by nerdyboy1234 / January 22, 2006 1:49 PM PST
In reply to: kindly taken

that otes thing is kinda iffy...supposedly helps cool your mobo better...but if u got a well ventilated case then shouldnt really be a problem

if it was me...i would get this board or the an8 boardhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131530

as to the hd, doesnt really matter....as long as the hds are still workin you'll be fine. but in the future u can upgrade to sata drives.

as to cd-burner...i usually use that but sometimes there is a call for some dvd burning and since the cost of a dvd burner is relatively inexpensive...i would suggest getting one.

the case...i am thinking it is so so...dont really like the soho case...as to the powersupply...if it is made by antec then it will probably be ok but if it isnt then i would suggest getting a better power supply

oh ya....1gb is more than enough for every day needs.

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so, so case
by Gumbril / January 22, 2006 2:37 PM PST
In reply to: well the an8 is good

is your opinion. Do you have any suggestions on an alternate case? I would like it to be roomy, well ventilated, preferably quiet, front usb/firewire ports are nice, but design-wise, a simple attractive case, no lights or temp gauges or any other bells and whistles are necessary for me.

reading reviews on the soho case, almost everyone was in total agreement that it was a great case except for the "flimsy front door." It does come with an antec 500 watt psu, which is nice.

I have only bought one case up to this point, and trying to compare all of the different ones online can be mind-numbing. So, any suggestions would be awesome.

Thanks again,

Gumbril

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