View Full Version : Another build your own comp thread!

05-09-2003, 09:35:14
Alright you geniuses, I'm here for more opinions and ideas.

I want to build myself a new system. Right now I'm on a P III 1.0 ghz machine with 320mb of SDRAM. It has a GEForce Ti200 video card, a SB Audigy 2 card, network card, 100 GB hard drive, and a 24x burner that I will salvage onto my new machine. I am going to need a new motherboard, case, processor, and RAM. I built this machine myself, and it has treated me swell for the past two and a half years. However it's getting to the point where multi-tasking just isn't fast enough for me and my RAM isn't cutting it.

So in an effort to feel more comfortable, I have decided to upgrade. I am going to wait until Intel releases their new Pentium 5 processors so that the prices go down a bit and so I can settle on a nice P4 with hyperthreading - this part I know. I will not buy AMD simply because I have had bad experiences with them. I'm a penny pincher, so I don't want to go and purchase a 64 bit AMD or the new P5 when they come out.

Now I have two options I am looking at.

1. Go and purchase the motherboard, processor (boxed), DDR RAM, and case all seperately, and build my own system.


2. Order a custom base system through Dell, minus the monitor, software, and that unecessary stuff. Now the question here is this: Does Dell use quality brands for their peripherals? Do they give good motherboards and the likes? Is it worth it?

Right now I am leaning on option 1 because I will be able to customize it myself and it will most likely be cheaper. However option 2 appeals to me because I can get a secondary hard drive, along with customer support if something fails, and if I get the right deal perhaps I can get a cheap price as well.

What does everyone think? Also, what speed processor and mobo combo would you recommend? And does anyone know when P5s are projected to be released, because I can't find any publications on that.

Thanks for any input.

05-09-2003, 09:57:08
Time for your medication, young man
*Sherley, bring me the seringue*

No longer Trippin
05-09-2003, 12:23:28
AMD chips are solid chips now and were before - infact the current Intel chips run hotter than the AMD chips and both overclock excellently. The Prescott (P5) may not even be released. They've already scrapped the mobile version due to heat issues and it's way to late to do a whole new core revision since they are working on the Tajoas P6 or whatever they will call it). Intel is installing "overclocking software" in the near future to combat the issue of the prescott's happily eating up 100 watts at .09 micron process. The software actually just downclocks your computer and when you need perfomance it will behave like a Geforce 5600FX blowdryer. Fairly quiet one moment, loud as hell the next. Think of a Vantec Tornado or a 60mm Delta Screamer for the fan on that thing. The A64 - the WEAKEST of AMD's 32/64 platforms beats the 3.2C rather well. The Athlon FX will most likely murder it. Already supercomp manufacturers are going to the Opteron. The two fastest systems ever are expected to come on next year, both powered by Opterons. Hell, I have a Barton 2500 that I can get to 2.4xx ghz - which makes it faster than a P4C at 85 bucks. Add in a 90 dollar Epox board and some Corsair XMS DDR 3200[b]PT2[/2] unless you have money then go for the LL 3200 as the default timing are tighter and you have some headroom to go up without having to drop your latency.

The P5 was supposed to be released for this holiday season a LONG time ago, now it's been pushed back until Q2 at the very earliest due to heat issues (more likely later though) and power demands - it's killing the mosfets on the board. Intel isn't going to drop the price of the P4 that much for the first year or so that the prescott is out. You might get 10 to 15 percent off and eventually have it drop to a reasonable price, but Intel is going to market the Prescott right now it seems as more of a single chip workstation CPU and the VERY high end consumer machine. The 3.2C will see the biggest drop. From around 650-700 to 450-500 I'd venture to guess. Also by the time you get it, all the good MSI 865 (IIRC) boards will be at intels standards, which means they won't perform as well (as they were beating the new boards). 100 watts is water cooling with a whitewater or a cascade waterblock or a TEC. Aircooling is just too loud for that without taking up the whole case for the heatsink and fan assembly unless they get really creative. Hell, an SLK can't even dissipate that unless you have it jury rigged to a 120mm HO fan, nor can a Vantec Aeroflow. Henec the "overclocking software." I'm avoiding Intel like the plague right now. They have to chipsets which were supposed to suppport the prescott but can't as they can't push 100 watts without dying so if Intel released the chip and don't fix the heat issue, they are looking at a huge court case in which they would clearly lose. Now if they don't release it, then they are in the clear. From everything I've read, Intel hasn't been able to cool it off at all. Shrinking the die, removing the crush plate (heat transfer plate as they like to call it, but it actually increases temps), and even ripping out the 64 bit FSB - though the inards are still 64 bit, it just can't truly use them as it doesn't have the front interface, so it's a 32 bit chip still - if al you do is game, that is fine. If you do anything that is a workstation app, you'll notice a difference with 64 bit processing once AMD gets it going if Intel fails to cool the prescott down.

My recommendations

P4C 2.4 or 2.8 and overclock with DDR 3700 (500) ram 2 x 512 from Giel IIRC from Anandtech.
MSI 865 mobo or Asus Psomething, I'm tired and haven't slept all night, been studying - I'll try and look it up.
Aeroflow heatsink if overlcoking (30 bucks, so why not?)
BBA 9700 Pro or Saphire 9500 Pro flashed with a 9700 Pro bios (very risky)
WD JB series HDD

Barton 2500+
EPoX 8RDA+ (Soundstorm beats the regular audigy 2 IMO, though the platinum edges it out - and the EQ actually works and works well on soundstorm - and drains the fewest resources of all audio devices / codecs). Not certified as soundstorm, but it is, just doesn't have the optical out, but you can buy it for rather cheap from their site. Not many people have an optical in for their speakers anyhow.
WD JB drive
Corsair XMS 3200PT2 or LL depending on how much you want to spend, 2 x 512 - matched pair
BBA 9700 Pro
Samsung Monitor
Antec case and PSU - can order direct from antec, a 400 watt PSU is what you need.

Yes, some of the components are pricey, but since you mentioned Intel, I figured you had money to burn as those prices aren't dropping. We are in a drought. A lot of new technologies are coming out. 64 bit computing, 0.09 micron process, DDR 2, onchip mem controllers, a complete revision of the bios as we know it, PCI-Express, 600 mb/s SATAm etc (bye bye SCSI). So for the next solid year for sure, all the good stuff will be VERY expensive as it's completely new technology instead of revised tech.

So I'd buy a cheaper system that will last. Hyperthreading doesn't give the performance boost intel claims in the vast majority of applications. Lack of SSE2 isn't hurting AMD as they are running at 2/3rd's the clock cycles for the same performance (until th 3000 and 3200 which are off a bit, the 3000 is a little weak against the 3.02C but the 3200 matches it and a barton running at 2.4 ghz will beat a 3.2C in all but heavy duty multitasking. Like workstation type stuff like processing huge spreadsheets or using a couple graphics apps at the same time. The hyperthreading only excells at the the spreadsheet work generally though and only if you pay for a board that will let you enable it.

The Prescott is going to be Intel's Thunderbird (AMD's old heatercore) though worse due to the lack of surface area). I'd just upgrade the system to get it to where you can run it nicely for the next two years then go for the full upgrade. Either of those setups will allow you to do that. As you get slowdowns, you can just overclock - or overclock from the start. It's not like your keeping the comp forever, so why treat it like you are.

Sir Penguin
05-09-2003, 16:48:55
A lot of people are getting the P4 2.4C. It overclocks well, and it's at the P4 price point right now. Make sure you get a P4 with the C after the speed rating, because they have an 800 MHz front-side bus, instead of the 533 MHz FSB of before. Also, make sure you get a motherboard that supports the 800 MHz FSB. :) The Asus P4C800 (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=9646) looks like a nice board, if expensive, and facilitates upgrading if you don't plan on moving on to a P5 any time soon. It's got gigabit LAN and IDE/SATA RAID and some kind of audio, so if you're not going to use those I guess it's better to get a cheaper board. Look at the Soltek SL-86SPE-L (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=9666) and the MSI 865PE (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=9788) for cheaper alternatives. I can't really give definite recommendations, since I've never owned an Intel processor (well, I use one as a comb, but never as a processor).

The case choice is mostly up to personal preference. Do you want a quiet case? A portable one? One that will keep cool? Black? Silver? A window? I can recommend the Antec LANBoy (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=9262).


Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
05-09-2003, 19:29:19
Man, that's an ugly case.

Sir Penguin
05-09-2003, 19:35:16
Fuck off. :)


No longer Trippin
05-09-2003, 20:05:31
The MSI beat out the latest (though the Asus was released after Tom did his review IIRC) of all P4 motherboards. I know quite a few who are going/have the Asus, and I know quite a few who are going/have with the MSI. I'm pretty much fed up with Intel so AMD is getting my money unless they produce a VIA cpu.

05-09-2003, 21:38:41
The Antec Sonata is what I'm looking at for my next PC. There's also the P160, but it's not even on Antec's website. The Sonata gets the nod for now. I just wish they would offer it in the traditional Antec white matte instead of glossy black.

06-09-2003, 07:53:33
Christ I love you guys - such thorough responses, and useful as well :)

One problem is that I have so many choices, I don't know what to do. In my case it's a damned if I do, damned if I don't scenario. I'm damned if I upgrade bc it will get cheaper and better stuff will eventually come out after I upgrade, and if I don't then I'll be trapped in my current situation.

Thankfully I'm in no rush, so I plan on waiting until December or January for the actual upgrade, but I want to keep an eye out for certain products to see how their prices will go.

I'll consider an AMD chip, but I still prefer Intel. Overclocking is not something I am cofortable doing - mainly because I like to stay on the safe side when it comes to my hardware. Even with the proper cooling I just don't feel right about doing it for some reason. Thank you all for the recommendations, and if you guys have any more, please let me know :)

06-09-2003, 10:55:24
I was going to post a thread similar to this. :D

I've put together a spec for a new pc, let me know your thoughts on this one!


Simply www.simply.co.uk


64979 512MB DDR PC3200 x2



49371 MAXTOR PLUS9 160GB <9.4MS 7200RPM 8MB SATA150




Quiet PC www.quietpc.com

AcoustiCase C6606B Black Super Midi Tower, no PSU

Radial Fin Cooler (Small)

Ultra-Quiet 92mm Case Fan, 3 pin connector




905It's sans DVD/CD-RW at the moment, I might get a new CD-RW but my DVD-ROM drive is fine.

No longer Trippin
06-09-2003, 16:53:30
As most Tech sites with real junkies and people in the know are looking at it, the affordable new technologies will be beaten by the older technologies of the same price, or they will just edge them out in some instances. It is going to take a solid year meaning next december most likely before you see any real price drops on DDR 2, boards with PCI-Express, AlthonFX's (64 hybrig with built in dual mem controllers (not 64's, those are single channel), Intel's upper end of chips, 2.8 to 3.2C, the 3.0 and 3.2 aren't going to fall unless the A64 has the stomping power it has been said to have - if it doesn't, well count on those prices to stay VERY high.

DDR 2, about 50% more than regular DDR on release
Motherboards will be a tad more expensive - add PCI-Express and/or 450-600mb/s SATA and add a bit more to the bill.
The Prescott - HARR HARR HARR
P4's - should drop a bit after the A64 has been out for awhile unless until just drops the prices like a rock to kill AMD's market - though that doesn't fit with Intel - so highly unlikely.
A64 - Even the "crappy" versions aren't going to be cheap on lauch nor anytime soon afterwards.

My recommendation.

Pick a side, AMD or Intel... then get a solid motherboard that will last you through 2 years - AMD, EPoX 8rda+, Intel, ASUSP4C800 - then add as you go after putting the rest of your system in... as processor power if your at 2.4 to 2.8 ghz or AMD marking will be enough to last you until the price drops your really wanting it sounds like (believe me, there are tons of overclockers throwing shit fits at the prices of all this new stuff, as they want to buy cheap to get something expensive, not buy expensive to get nothing in return for technical reasons - namely perfecting the process, which takes several runs at least). So if you need more ram, drop another 512 module in... need another HDD, drop another harddrive in. That should last you until the prices come down by next december to reasonble levels for fairly well performing stuff for the new whiz-bang stuff on the market.

07-09-2003, 02:38:42
I couldn't be bothered to read all this, but...

If you are needing the case, mbd, cpu, and ram then...

You can often find a local shop that will put that together for you, and they will offer some labour warranty for if something goes wrong. So, you get them to do the problem stuff, and then just add your own cards and drives. Pffft.., done. When you have a problem later, just remove your stuff, dump it on their counter, and let them fix what went wrong. That covers most of the voodoo to solve issues.

07-09-2003, 02:40:11
Originally posted by Nav
I was going to post a thread similar to this. :D

I've put together a spec for a new pc, let me know your thoughts on this one!

It won't quote, but that's good stuff.

07-09-2003, 02:44:49
... well except the RAM maybe... be careful about RAM. A few more bucks for Kingston or Crucial or what-not is often worth the money in performance, and sometimes reliability, over the cheap shlock. Can't tell what they use, so it probably isn't a big brand. That doesn't mean it's bad, just no assurance that it's good.

07-09-2003, 10:44:14
And also spend money on a really good power supply. Thats nice equipment, you'll want to keep it that way. :)

07-09-2003, 11:40:07
As long it's not noisy, I'll take any RAM that works. :)

Zmama, I have a new one in my current machine that I intend to use (only bought it a few months ago).

Now am I brave enough to build a PC from scatch? any tips? I've never done it before!!

Sir Penguin
07-09-2003, 16:41:44
Yes. If the motherboard doesn't contact the standoffs evenly, don't screw in a screw between the motherboard and the most distant standoff. Unless the place you bought from has an RMA policy and didn't check the board before shipping.

In other words, make sure that there aren't any unwanted electrical contacts being made; especially check the motherboard.

Also, always ask for more motherboard standoffs. They almost never send enough.


07-09-2003, 18:20:18

07-09-2003, 18:54:05
A standoff keeps the motherboard from touching the case. The bottom end screws into the case wall or motherboard tray. The top end has a hole for you to screw the motherboard into. ATX boards have 6 holes, so they need 6 standoffs.

07-09-2003, 18:58:00

Little brass doohickies (or nylon like in the pic) that keep the motherboard from shorting out due to contact with the case.

07-09-2003, 19:06:31

Heres a pic of the brass ones

08-09-2003, 20:56:21
Is there a website dedicted to these standoffs?

only kidding...

08-09-2003, 22:09:00
Thanks - far more information on this than I ever imagined existed. :)