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Building New Computer - Give Suggestions Here!

CPU's? Motherboards? Video cards? Talk about it here.

Building New Computer - Give Suggestions Here!

Postby Ian on Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:43 pm

It's been a year or two since I built my last computer and the one I use for gaming, etc. is showing its age. With that in mind, I figured its time to build a new one. Here are some of my requirements:

1. Gotta stay under $2,000US
2. Doesn't need to be bleeding edge
3. AMD CPU (dual core)
4. Not interested in overclocking or watercooling
5. I'd also like the video card to be HDMI/HDCP compliant

I'm kinda tempted to wait for AMD's new AM2 technology, but if I bought a system right now I'd probably go with a motherboard using an nForce4 SLI chipset and a Athlon 64 X2 3800+

Anyway, please give your suggestions.
Last edited by Ian on Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:56 pm

/me suggests you look at his sig. ;)

Seriously though, the more I look at it, the harder it is to tell people whether to go with Socket 939 or wait for AM2. Future proofing is good, and so far I've told people to wait if they can. But, it doesn't look like the first revision AM2 setups will have better performance than 939 (some reports like Anandtechs indicate it could be worse until high-clock processors are available, which you might not want to lay the cash out for), and that AM2 will not truly mature as a platform until sometime in late `07, even if it is released now. Whereas Socket 939 has become a very good platform already.

I've only had my dual-core CPU for a week now. I have found some interesting quirks (Thunderbird had a bug I had to download a patched .dll for, had to upgrade my xVid codec since the old one would bomb out at the end of a video so I couldn't close Windows Media Player), but overall I like it. I haven't done any video encoding yet with it, but it's supposed to be smashing at that. I've had to do less of that since I got a DivX-capable DVD player and a ReplayTV. :D

Buy lots of RAM so your cores don't have to fight over available resources. My 2GB upgrade is even more recent than the CPU; got a deal at Outpost.com.

Oh, just curious...sure you need an SLI board? I bought my board knowing I'd never need one, and I'm still very happy (it has every other feature). Though it is true that it's harder to find full-featured boards that aren't SLI. I'd make sure that whatever you get, it still has a full 3 PCI slots if possible (two of my three are full, and I like headroom, since there are so few PCIe expansion cards out there).
Last edited by LoneWolf on Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ian on Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:57 pm

Yeah, 2GB of ram is a given. I use that much at work. I wouldn't have any less at home.
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:00 pm

Getting 2GB at work in a week or two when my Precision 670 (Xeon 3.06GHz) tower comes in. :D
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Re: Building New Computer - Give Suggestions Here!

Postby Bhairav on Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:31 pm

Ian wrote:It's been a year or two since I built my last computer and the one I use for gaming, etc. is showing its age. With that in mind, I figured its time to build a new one. Here are some of my requirements:

1. Gotta stay under $2,000US
2. Doesn't need to be bleeding edge
3. AMD CPU (dual core)
4. Not interested in overclocking or watercooling
5. I'd also like the video card to be HDMI/HDCP compliant

I'm kinda tempted to wait for AMD's new AM2 technology, but if I bought a system right now I'd probably go with a motherboard using an nForce4 SLI chipset and a Athlon 64 X2 3800+

Anyway, please give your suggestions.


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Postby Ian on Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:12 pm

Just a note.. I'm not looking for a monitor.

As far as video cards go, I'd prefer to go nVidia so that I can take advantage of SLI eventually. I'm not against ATI (I have a 9800 Pro now and love it).. its just that their Crossfire technology seems inferior.

Does anyone have a motherboard with a ULI chipset? Some of their newer ones seem to have some pretty innovative features.

I'm not buying any more Hitachi HDD's either. Any company that makes you send in a drive before they send you a replacement can suck it.
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Postby Bhairav on Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:48 am

Ian wrote:Just a note.. I'm not looking for a monitor.

As far as video cards go, I'd prefer to go nVidia so that I can take advantage of SLI eventually. I'm not against ATI (I have a 9800 Pro now and love it).. its just that their Crossfire technology seems inferior.

Does anyone have a motherboard with a ULI chipset? Some of their newer ones seem to have some pretty innovative features.

I'm not buying any more Hitachi HDD's either. Any company that makes you send in a drive before they send you a replacement can suck it.


I have an Asrock 939 DualSata2 board, based off the ULi 1695 chipset. Okay board, crappy build quality. Good ocer as well.

nVidia HDMI compatible cards? No idea, maybe the new 7600GT?
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:30 am

Ian wrote:Just a note.. I'm not looking for a monitor.

As far as video cards go, I'd prefer to go nVidia so that I can take advantage of SLI eventually. I'm not against ATI (I have a 9800 Pro now and love it).. its just that their Crossfire technology seems inferior.

Does anyone have a motherboard with a ULI chipset? Some of their newer ones seem to have some pretty innovative features.

I'm not buying any more Hitachi HDD's either. Any company that makes you send in a drive before they send you a replacement can suck it.


Agreed 100% on the hard disks for the same reason. Seagate is my #1 choice with Western Digital second.

Not sure I'd buy a ULi chipset mainboard. Not because of the chipset, but because now that nVidia has bought them, there's potential for ULi to disappear within the giant, and support going away. Drivers for their chipsets that support SLI may also disappear, there's no way to tell, but tech websites are betting on it.

If I went away from MSI boards (who I've had great luck with in the past 2-3 years) I'd probably look at DFI for a mainboard. As for SLI, I'm much more a proponent of buying a single, powerful video card every so often, I think you save money in the long run. For that, the Geforce 7900GT is probably the best bang-for-buck right now, but I'm also waiting to see how the slightly lower-end 7600GT compares to high-end cards of the last several generations (i.e., x850xt, x800xl, x800xt, and the x1800xl).

Below is DFI's creme'-de-la-creme' model, expensive, but every feature in the book:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813136166

They have SLI models that are less expensive with a few less features, too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ategory=22[/url]
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Postby Ian on Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:34 am

I've pretty much decided to wait for AMD's new AM2 CPU's. While I always hate buying first gen stuff, the price isn't much more than the 939 CPU's.

What do you guys recommend for a case and powersupply? I'm thinking about getting a modular PS this time. That way I won't have cables hanging all over. I really haven't found too many cases I like either. Most are too damn gaudy.
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Postby LoneWolf on Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:25 pm

Power supply? Enermax Liberty, no question. Modular, and with Enermax quality/reliability. I've had very good luck with them. Available in 420, 500, and 600 watt versions IIRC.

Case is very subjective. I like my Antec P160 (which I custom-modded with a blowhole and some silencing materials) but to each their own. I like having 120mm fans only for airflow without massive noise, rubber mounts for hard disks to lessen vibration, a removable motherboard tray, front usb +firewire, and this case has all of that. Also stealths my optical drives nicely, without cumbersome case doors so I can buy whichever color I want. Antec was also very quick with support (asked for a small part, they shipped it free).

The Antec P180 looks great too, but it's harder to route the ATX PSU cable, and I'm not big on case doors.
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Postby bill on Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:42 pm

What do you think of this Coolmaster?

It's a tool free design and has front firewire, usb and sound inputs. NewEgg sells it for about $55 ( w/ shipping ) depending on how it's being discounted that particular day.

I've purchased two of them and the quality is decent.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:07 pm

nice case.

if i'd want a good no-frills case, i'd go with one of the Antecs.
SLK-3000 or something. i don't remember the model names.

some models already come with a good Antec PS, so if you're not looking for anything special (e.g. modular) that can be a good deal.
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Postby Ian on Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:59 pm

I'm thinking about this case:

http://www.thermaltake.com/product/Chas ... 000bws.asp

I don't know about the weird doors on the front, but I like the rest of the features.
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Postby aviationwiz on Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:39 pm

Looks like it would be a good case for you. The only Thermaltake case I had was a Xaser V, which met it's untimely demise when the cable that connects the power button to the case fell out, and there was no possible way to get to it to fix it due to the door system used. It was a very good case up until that point though.
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Postby Ian on Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:44 pm

I like the Thermaltake Matrix too but the Armor Jr looks cooler. I like the WD Raptor option. I wasn't going to get one of these but I might now.
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Postby aviationwiz on Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:57 pm

Yeah, like in my case for example, you couldn't see anything on the Raptor X more than you could on a normal hard drive. If I had that case, I would probably spring for the Raptor X, but no need to in my current setup.
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Postby Bhairav on Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:42 am

If you're waiting for AM2, how about Conroe? Better performance.. 21s 1M SuperPI!
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Postby Ian on Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:09 am

I've been running Intel for the past few years and I haven't been impressed. It's time to switch back to AMD.
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Get the Enermax Liberty 500W

Postby Alektron on Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:17 pm

I bought the Enermax Liberty a few months ago, and am very impressed.

-Attractive styling
-Modular power connectors for both SATA and conventional
-Quiet
-Over 80% power efficiency
-Supports SLi and dual core CPUs
-Also supports single core CPUs and both 20/24 pin motherboard connections

http://www.enermax.com.tw/english/produ ... asp?PrID=4
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Postby Ian on Wed May 03, 2006 11:44 pm

Has anyone found the Armor Jr. for a better price? Actually, this is the only place I've seen with it in stock so far. Not even Newegg has it yet. :cry:

http://www.xoxide.com/thermaltake-armor ... 00bws.html
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Postby bill on Thu May 04, 2006 8:18 am

Ian wrote:Has anyone found the Armor Jr. for a better price? Actually, this is the only place I've seen with it in stock so far. Not even Newegg has it yet. :cry:

http://www.xoxide.com/thermaltake-armor ... 00bws.html



How's that for NewEgg service-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811133017

Currently $120 shipped.. don't know how much Xoxide charges for shipping.

Did you get a mother board yet?
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Postby Ian on Thu May 04, 2006 9:50 am

Ack.. I searched on Thermaltake Armor at Newegg.. not the model number/name.

I haven't bought a motherboard yet. I'm waiting for AMD to ship their AM2 processors.
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Postby Alektron on Thu May 04, 2006 10:34 pm

Ian wrote:I haven't bought a motherboard yet. I'm waiting for AMD to ship their AM2 processors.


Me too.
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Postby Ian on Thu May 04, 2006 10:45 pm

Now I just need to find the Raptor kit for the Armor. I emailed Xoxide about it and they don't carry it. Hopefully Newegg will.
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Postby Ian on Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:19 am

Can anyone recommend a good 19" LCD? I'm thinking about ordering a Dell 1907FP like I have at work.
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