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Recommendations Needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by technonot, Sep 16, 2002.

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  1. technonot

    technonot Thread Starter

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    I've just been 'talking' extensively with the software side, & we basically came to the conclusion that my current ancient computer is on the outs & doesn't have long to live. It cannot be upgraded.
    I'd like to build a new one from scratch. Although I'm a novice & have never tried this at home, I did take an A+ course last year so am not totally unprepared.
    I've been browsing on Pricewatch.com...I'd like to buy a motherboard combo (P4, at least 2.0Ghz) w/ integrated sound (upgradeable), USB 2.0, DDR SDRAM, heatsink & fan, a case/power supply combo, a video card with at min. 64mb ram (I'm not a serious gamer) and a hard drive--at least ATA 100 & 40Gb. I'd just like any suggestions/recommendations/cautions from anyone who's done this before & really knows what they're doing, so I don't screw it up. I'd appreciate any tips anyone wants to give me on products, etc. Oh yeah, I'd like to keep my Win ME & load it on the new HDD, mainly because I resent the fact that Microsoft won't let me put XP on more than one computer (if this is a dumb idea, please tell me why) Thanks!
     
  2. plschwartz

    plschwartz

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    technonot:
    you neglected to provide the most important spec of all: money. How much do you want to spend.
    I could be more specific but let me give you some guidelines:
    1. Think amd not intel
    2. To start out think of a barebones system which is case, mb and ps. Some include keyboard,mouse and speakers. If you are with me so far you might check out the SOYO website. www.outpost.com has a good range of barebones.
    Another way, easier for a first-timer is to get a barebones + processor + memory already tested. So you know the basic system works. Thsi might be more expensive. www.mwave.com is one site that sells this type of product.
    3. Before I forget, remember to get fans for the case!
    4.If on a limited budget buy some components cheap for later replacement, and some. I would get an AMD 1800 processor and one 256mg memory stick. AMD currently does not support memory speeds above 266Mhz. Ditto for a mb. You might settle for a cheap mb for now, especially in a Soyo barebones.Get abigger HD for a few xtra bucks. Look at www.computergate.com for low cost video and sound cards+ odds and ends.
     
  3. technonot

    technonot Thread Starter

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    Hi plschwartz--
    Thanks for all your info re: hardware & sites. My one question is, WHY AMD vs. Intel??
     
  4. meowmints

    meowmints

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    The fastest CPUs are Intels, but price to performance ratio isn't worth it for them. The only reason you'd want an Intel is if you want top of the line performance, and better overclocking potential.

    Money is important, but so is need. Depending on what you will use it for, certain configurations might be more or less desirable. CPUs MHz can pile on, but for certain applications the gain is very minimal.
     
  5. lotech

    lotech

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    Hello technonot, I agree with the amd vs intell. Although, they both make fine products and offer strengths the other might not have, the amd is cheaper at the same capability. I have built 2 systems from scratch in the last week. The latest is the machine I'm on: ASUS 7n266vm/ xp1600 / 3fan mid tower case /( they like adequate cooling) 20gig samsung / 512mg ddr micron memory / floppy..cd.. etc.
    The mobo has nvidia chipset and decent onboard graphics and sound,lan,6usbs leaving the 3pci slots for future upgrades. I've spent just over $360.00 on the case,mobo, cpu, memory and hard drive. The floppy and 52x cd were salvaged from a 2yr old unit that I used until now. If I had shopped all of it on the net I could have saved another 15-20% (mwave, newegg etc). Just another opinion from someone who doesn't do this for a living. Good hunting!
     
  6. Suzie.D21

    Suzie.D21

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    well i'd go the other way and opt for intel. Sure it'll be more expensive but you know your going to get quality with very little problems. Intel is an established make where as AMD are fairly new. Ive heard no end of problems my friends get when buying an AMD processor, not as reliable, always crashing.
    AMD are like a budget buy, cheeper but in my opinion not as good.
    oh maybe im just talking a load of bollocks, in that case ignore.
     
  7. RandyG

    RandyG

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    Not bollocks at all! It's an age old debate, however I will point out that AMD has come a far way since their shoddy K5 chips several years ago.

    AMD are better for gaming machines, and Intel are better for heavy duty workhorses.

    Stability is not an issue anymore, except where AMD processors get overheated! they definitely need the extra cooling.BTW, AMD has been "established" for at least the last 4 years in making very good, inexpensive (not cheap) processors.

    Intel count on people buying their products cause of Brand recognition. that does not mean they are better.
     
  8. n2gun

    n2gun

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    I agree with the AMD choice. But I want to also mention something else to think about, get an adequate power supply. Many barebone systems come with a small power supply as well as some of the cases. Get at least a 300 watt and larger if you can.
     
  9. Gram123

    Gram123

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  10. Monstrous Mi

    Monstrous Mi

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    I have built several computers and here are some of my opinions:

    1. I agree that AMD gives better price for performance, especially these days.

    2. There are many parts you can buy separately, but sometimes, like car parts, the cost may add up to more than buying an IBM clone that is fully equipped in the first place. Pay attention to this unless you are building for the hobby of it.

    3. While it is possible to buy all the parts separately, I would recommend getting the MB, RAM and processor as a bundle. Almost all computer shops can verify the operation of this combo and will give something like a 30 day warranty. There is nothing worse that frying a CPU or RAM by something stupid like a static charge. I also believe most computer shops will give you a bundle price for this as well.

    4. Here is a big one. We all know what the cutting edge is. What is the fastest CPU available? Largest hard drive? Latest speed RAM? etc.... However, the price of the cutting edge is more using cost/performance evaluation. As we come down from the cutting edge prices drop drastically until you reach what I call "the sweet zone". For example, here is a list of CPUs and their prices ($Cdn):

    CPUIP418A Intel Pentium IV 1.8GHz w/512k Socket 478 w/Fan (Retail) $249.48
    CPUIP420A Intel Pentium IV 2.0GHz w/512k Socket 478 w/Fan (Retail) $286.20
    CPUIP424B Intel Pentium IV 2.40GHz w/512k 533Mhz s478 w/Fan (Retail) $335.88
    CPUIP425B Intel Pentium IV 2.53GHz w/512k 533Mhz s478 w/Fan (Retail) $422.28
    CPUIP426B Intel Pentium IV 2.66GHz w/512k 533Mhz s478 w/Fan (Retail) $739.80

    Notice the price jump from a 2.53GHz to a 2.66GHz. It is exponentially more than 2.40GHz to 2.53GHz. However, the 2.40 has the newer bus speed vs. the 2.0. I would say the 2.40GHz is in the "sweet zone" here in this example.

    5. The last issue is software. If you plan on transferring your software from your old computer, you are fine. But if you want the latest WindowsXP and Office2002, you will be paying a pretty price. A lot of package systems have software like this included. It's something to think about.

    My final opinion is the decision I use to build or buy pre-packaged is based on a couple of things other than the above. If I want the latest of everything, the fastest RAM, latest OS, latest CPU, then I buy a package. If I am building a secondary computer for a friend or for one of the kids, I assess the extra parts I have lying around and usually build one from scratch in these cases.

    I certainly don't want to discourage you. Apart from time and money, the very fact of assembling a complex electronic component and getting it to work can be very satisfying.

    Good luck in your endeavors.
     
  11. technonot

    technonot Thread Starter

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    To all who responded to my plea for advice, thanks!! I learned something from all your comments, & I certainly can use all the help I can get. Mainly I want to build a computer myself because
    1) with the parts I already have, I think I can do it cheaper than buying a complete system; and 2) it is the feeling of accomplishment I look forward to (as well as not seeing the 'blue screen of death' every day of my life!)
     
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