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Building or buying a new computer?

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Building or buying a new computer?

Postby NuGuy on Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:15 pm

I had been considering building a new computer. I recently bought two rather expensive books to inform and help me do this. I was in a book store again last week and saw a special issue magazine, "355 PC Answers" published by Maximum PC magazine. Here's an excerpt; some info that's making me put my plans on hold:

"Question: What features will the next generation of motherboads have?

Answer: A slew of important new technologies will appear on motherboards in 2004. In the first half of the year, PCI express will blow away the 133MB/sec transfer rates of the erstwhile PCI bus with a bandwidth cap of up to 4GB/sec in each direction. Also keep an eye out for PCI Express Graphics, a high-bandwidth variant of PCI Express destined to replace the AGP bus. Meanwhile, DDR2 memory should emerge around the same time as both of these new data buses. You'll find all three of these technologies in new Pentium 4 chipsets from Intel (Grantsdale) and VIA (PT890), and as-yet-unannouonced AMD64 chipsets from nVidia and VIA. Aside from that, look for next-generation motherboards to be offered in the new BTX formfactor, timed for release in mid-2004."

If you're a guy like me who buys a computer every few years, you might want to wait for all these new (and significant, I think) features. If you're always upgrading, then you might also want to wait, as prices of current components will go down in price.

Just thought I'd mention this. That magazine issue is pretty good; comes with a disk of utilities also. "Spring 2004" edition, US$9.99, CAN$12.99. As a novice, I found it very informative.

PS - The books will be obsolete the moment I decide to build with these forthcoming components.... :(
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Postby CowboySlim on Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:17 am

Yes, NuGuy, I've heard that from several sources and accept it to be true. My machine is now a year old and I've been advised not to even think about upgrading six months from now as it will all be obsolete.

About books, this is what I use. They have a very good forum over here.

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Postby Morpheus on Fri Mar 26, 2004 8:37 pm

I sort of disagree. My computer has been really screwed up for almost 5 months now. :evil: It's driving me insane to the point where I want to take a sledge hammer to it. :evil: I was planning on building a new computer anyway, so I used this time to do research and picking out the new parts. I have only a VFD module and soundcard left to pick out. I figure I should have it done by the end of May.

Recently I started reading articles on Cebit etc, about the new motherboards, etc and looking at the pictures. They have a PCI-Express x16 slot instead of a VGA slot for the video card (no problem since I'm getting a new video card), however they have 2 PCI-Express x1 slots and only 3 PCI slots - big problem! I need 5 or 6 PCI slots. Add to that, apart from the new video cards which should be out in April-May, I have not heard of any other card being made for the PCI-Express slots. So what are you going to put into those 2 PCI-Express slots if there are currently no cards for them? I do have PCI cards that I can use immediately so I think that feature is just plain stupid.

Other features: CPU 775 socket - ok since I'm getting a new CPU, but DDR2 ram? No way. I've read info that it is SLOW compared to DDR at the momment with high latencies [ie. DDR-400 is faster then DDR2-400.] As for the BTX formfactor, it requires a new computer case and new power supply. I just got my new case - Lian-Li PC71 which I have already started to mod it. I haven't even heard of any BTX computer cases or BTX power supplies being out yet.

The only new features that are worth it are the 775 socket and the PCI-Express x16 slot. Add to that these are new technologies that require a "breaking in" period to iron out any problems. From other forums that I read, alot of users have said they're going to wait about 1 year before upgrading. Personally, I can't wait, I need a new computer now. So, I'm sticking to the top-of-the-line parts now (875P motherboard, 3.4Ghz P4, GeForce FX5950 ultra, etc.) and use it for the next 1.5 years before I upgrade again to the new technologies which should have all the bugs out by then.

PS. I do buy Maximum PC (for about 3 years now, its the only mag I get regularly every month). :D
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Postby Morpheus on Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:01 pm

I just read today that the 775 socket processors won't be available for sale until July. Which in turn puts the motherboards on delay since you won't have cpu's to plug into them, which also puts the new video cards (PCI-Express) on hold as well. It looks like DDR2 ram won't be ready until much later (probably the Fall). So, in the long run, I still think its better to get the current stuff (which the prices should be comming down) now. :wink:
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Postby NuGuy on Wed Mar 31, 2004 1:54 pm

Morpheus -

I guess if I were in your shoes I'd be assembling a computer with current parts. But, I can afford to wait a while, and will keep an eye out for developments.

Keep checking back in here once-in-a-while. Seems like you are really on top of all this.
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