Building an all purpose rig...

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Building an all purpose rig...

Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 1:52 pm

Ok, I don't follow (nor can I remember) all of the motherboards and things out there, so I am asking for a bit of assistance. I need this box for not only gaming, but also engineering work and photo processing (which is where the dual processor ability comes in handy).

The machine will need to have at least the following:
Dual monitor capable video card, not the fastest needed, just something at the good price/performace spec. ATI cards tend to mess up on my Altium CAD software, so I cannot use those.
Prefer AMD64 X2 processors, they are too sweet to pass up.
DVD Writer/CDROM Writer
1Gig RAM
Large reliable HDDs, preferrably mirrored so if one bombs, I have a copy. (Can serial ATA do this?)
Windows Xp
Medium-tower easy to access case as I will be potentially working with specialized engineering hardware on occasion in the box. No Viewing Panels and specialized lighting desired. Just something that is nice.

Normally I am on top of this stuff, but I have been so busy at work and home I haven't had time. On top of it I wasn't expecting to need a new system until I ran out of disk space installing engineering software yesterday and have no room for a DVD burner. Plus my P4 2.4G is looking a little weak... I have an excuse finally so why not?

Keeping it under $2K should be easy... Hopefully under $1.5K

Thanks for any hardware suggestions!

I can at least give my dad the old box, it is still a heck of a lot better than his PIII.

-Mark
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:13 pm

Hey you got it pretty much right up above. Most s939 boards will be pci-express, so remember that when you buy your video card. If your running dual monitors it mite be worth it to spend the extra money on a vieo card with dual DVI ports if your using LCDs.

Yes SATA will do mirroring/raiding with ease, most motherboards have this basic functionality built into there SATA controller.

Pick a motherboard and your away!
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:15 pm

Does that price include monitors?
I'll give ya my personal suggestions when I get back home later tonight.
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:24 pm

Just a few preferences (not the whole system):

Crucial Ballistix DDR500 512mb X2,

the X2 4400,

the NF4 Ultra chipset,

the 6600gt video card.

I don't if there are any big compatibility issues but the winxp pro 64bit costs about the same as the 32bit xp pro.

Pick your powersupply with care.

Have fun and good luck!
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:43 pm

In a rush, no time for links... shouldn't be too hard to find these items on Newegg tho:

case: Antec Sonata II -- comes with a good Antec PSU, runs quiet, and is very easy to work inside of

RAM: 2 gigs, I'd say. photo processing and engineering work will be happier with the extra memory. Go for value RAM from a good company like Corsair or Crucial. No need to tweak a few extra ns out of more expensive RAM

HDD's: Any decent mobo will have RAID on it, and it not you can pick up a card that'll do it with ATA drives.

DVD-RW: NEC makes good ones. Fast, inexpensive, and more error free than almost anyone else. They're up to the 3500 model, I think
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:01 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:Does that price include monitors?
I'll give ya my personal suggestions when I get back home later tonight.


No, I have one 20" CRT, but planning on getting a Dell 20.5" as the primary.
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/Prod ... ry_id=4009
And using the older CRT as a secondary. After all it is nice to check images on both styles of screens.

I honestly don't know what a rig like this should cost, but obviously I want to keep it down.

-LS
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Postposted on Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:07 pm

I too like the nVidea MB chipset, but what MBs are good that use this chip set? This would be a large help here, as eveytime I have chosen a MB in the past, (read via 3in1) I have had pure hell setting it up.

I may go with 2G of memory if the price is right. I am using 512MB quite well right now without any serious slowdowns (except alt-tabbing games) so I am not driven to get 4x the memory.

Thanks again, as usual this website rocks, even if it isn't a political discussion ;-).

Oh, silence of the running box is a definite plus, any passive cooling yet powerful video cards out there?

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:12 am

Here is what I have picked so far....

Motherboard:
DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813136152

DVD:
NEC Black IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3540A - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827152047

Disks:
LEGACY 4.7GB 8X DVD-R 100 Pack Disc - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817131036

HDDs:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148065

Mem:
CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 550 (PC 4400) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX1024-4400C25 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145550

OS:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6837102153

Processor:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4200BVBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103547

Video card:
PNY VCG6600GAPB Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814133137

Case:
Antec SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811129155

Please advise if you see something I should or shouldn't do here, or if I am forgetting something stupid.

Also do the reatil CPUs come with the fan, or do I have to make a seperate purchase?

-Mark
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:26 am

this looks like a good video card if you are going AGP 8X

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125142
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:49 am

lethal wrote:this looks like a good video card if you are going AGP 8X

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125142


Tempting, but it doesn't have dual DVI. The passive cooling would be really nice for the quiet factor. It however may be a while before I get two LCDs anyhow so this option may be in.

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:58 am

Your motherboard has a pci-e slot for graphics, not agp.

HANCE is the defender of crucial memory, he has really gotten good results with the ballistix memory.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 5:19 pm

Ooo thanks for pointing out the AGP mistake... The Ballistix memory is fairly pricy and I am not overclocking. Is there something wrong with my choice? What PC rating should I be looking at?

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 5:42 pm

Ok, updated the video card to this, sounds like a nice card from the review...

Update BFG Tech BFGR6600GTX Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814143026

This is adding up to a lot of money...

Just realized I have a spare copy of Xp since I got it free for Beta testing. Cool.

I'm gonna give it a day, then order it. I will make sure to keep everyone posted that is interested.

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 23, 2005 8:20 pm

Looks good as far as I can tell. It's a shame to have that lowly GPU in there though :wink:
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 6:31 am

Well, if you are sure you are not going to overclock ever, you won't want to dump 216.00 on a gig of memory when a regular set of corsair goes for about 80.00.

http://www.newegg.com/OldVersion/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-145-440&depa=1
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 12:53 pm

Yeah, not much of an overclocker, then I have to deal with potential long-term failures and more heat. Got to keep it cool... I wil try this mem you suggest out.

-LS
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:11 pm

There is no point in getting ddr550 if you're not gonna overclock, instead of spending 200+ dlls on 1 GB, use that same money (or even less) and get 2 GB, your computer will thank you for it...
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:27 pm

Yeah, I switched it to the cheaper, lower speed stuff. I wasn't sure what the X2 required for memory. To tell you the truth, I would rather underclock a PC and remove the noisy fans and then go with something much closer to silent.

I will probably order this workhorse tonight.
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:40 pm

I was trying to decide between two monitors:

SAMSUNG 204T-Black 20.1" 16ms LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824001194

And Dell's
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/Prod ... l=en&cs=19

Dell costs less, but the Samsung has 700:1 vs. Dell's 400:1 contrast ratio. I figured with the money saved on the Ram (thanks) I can up the monitor a little.

I am saving my CRT for dual setup and gaming, the LCD for CAD and typing.

-LS
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:02 pm

what's wrong with this?
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:02 pm

up to yesterday (dunno about now) dell had some coupons on its FPW2005 model, it was going for a bit under $400 (what a steal), unless you have a problem with widescreens, i think this one's better than the 2001 version...
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 6:58 pm

I think, though I could be wrong, that the monitor is measured in the horizontal rather than diagonal. This means that 20.1 widescreen is not as tall as a normal 20.1" monitor, meaning less screen realestate.

1650x1050 for the widescreen (1732500)

1600x1200 for the regular (1920000)

So 187500 less pixels, plus a lot of it you cannot use in many games since they expect 4:3.

I can deal with letterbox on a 4:3 monitor.
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:24 pm

liquidsquid wrote:I think, though I could be wrong, that the monitor is measured in the horizontal rather than diagonal.

It is the diagonal. Always has been for TV's and monitors. Also, you'd be surprised how many games support Widescreen. I'd venture that any modern big-name game will have absolutely no problem with it.
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:04 pm

Why get Corsair XMS memory? Corsair ValueRAM is 95% as fast and 100% as reliable for half the price. Get 2 GB instead of only 1.
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Postposted on Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:38 pm

like alot of other people have said unless your overclocking there is absolutely no reason to go with UBER HIGH END RAM if you dont plan on overclocking .

Memory
crucial 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM System Memory - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820146541 good stuff and its only 40 bucks for 512 megs . I have never seen a stick of good quality memory go bad . doesnt matter who makes it . if you buy good stuff odds are its going to last .

Along with being the sites crucial defender i am also the boards Epox defender :wink:

Motherboard
EPoX EP-9NPA+ SLi ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813123246

I have never and i mean never had a problem with any epox board i have ever owned . thats way more than i can say for some companys cough asus cough
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Postposted on Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:51 am

Ah, too late to switch now, should be here Tuesday to Wednesday. Went with the less expensive RAM and the Samsung Monitor. I liked the idea of a fast and high contrast image on the LCD.

Aren't LCDs measured differently than CRTs?

I will keep you all posted...

Thanks a bunch! I was wondering about the RAM when I started looking as everyone said it was so cheap. It didn't look so cheap, but I must have searched wrong for RAM products and was listed all of the super-fast stuff.

I was hoping to beat NewEgg to the punch this morning and trade the one 20.1" for two 19" monitors... damn they are fast.

*update*
Ah, could still cancel the order. I think the 2x 19" works for me since they are 600:1 and 12mS refresh. Plus I can get two for the price of the one 20.1" + $20.
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6824001192

Now I have to figure out what RAM I need on the video card to support two monitors in thier native rez. Probably 128MB will still do it.

-LS
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Postposted on Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:27 am

Ok, again thanks for the help. Switched to Crucial Memory (Thanks Hance, though I will hold you personally responsible if it sucks ;-) ) And two 19 monitors rather than the one 20.1. At least this way I can have a matched pair and is what I really intended to do from the start. Plus the faster response time and ratings were quite favorable, though I always take sales site ratings with a grain of salt.

For $311 you can't beat the specs
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6824001192

Oh, and I decided to toss in another $10 to get the things a little faster. I always forget that they are based all over the country and I would like them all at once rather than scattered.

So for $2100, I have a complete new dual-core dual monitor system that will crank out folding units and my work at a decent pace. Oh, and probably play UT4 fairly well too. I am pretty pshyched as I haven't built my own system in about 5 years now, favoring cheap all in one boxes.

I wonder how much $$$ I should ask for my old 19 inch CRT monitor, $20, $30? Nah, probably going to give the whole system to my parents, I owe them...

BTW I shy from overclocking since in the not so distant past I had a processor and video card cook themselves over time. They were stable up to a point, and then just wouldn't post. This was after a year of continuous operation and cleaning, so I figured that overclocking was thermally stressing the parts and aging them too fast. I figure I will go for the good deals on price, although we have had this policy at work inthe past:

If you don't burn your finger on it, you are not getting your money's worth!
-John Ramsey

-LS
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Postposted on Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:57 am

It looks like those LCDs are analog connector, rather than DVI.

If I were you I'd wait at least a day before pulling the trigger on this thing to make sure everything is the best deal you can get and completely what you want.

The video card, though I haven't been looking lately, also looks a bit on the pricey side. Maybe it's because of the dual-DVI, though, but I'd make sure before I bought.

The main thing is the monitors. Since Dell is having a sale practically every week or 2, you may want to make sure they don't have one you'd prefer. Lots of people are very happy with this one, for example: Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW 24-inch Wide Aspect Flat Panel LCD Monitor with Height Adjustable Stand, though it's rather expensive. I don't know what kind of deals you can get on it (looks like it's $803 right now according to http://www.slickdeals.net), but it may be worth waiting for a better one. No matter, everyone here will advise you to get a DVI connected LCD rather than D-sub.
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Postposted on Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:58 am

Oh ****. Pulled trigger. Thought all LCDs were DVI these days.
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Postposted on Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:33 pm

Are you saying you can't stop it now? :o
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