New Computer Money just came in

Will Rickards

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My new Computer Money just came in
(big bonus and wife agreed that anything over 8000 was mine).

So now all I have to do is figure out what to buy.
I've got about $2000 to use and I want to get a nice LCD monitor with that too. I was thinking the Dell 2001FP but maybe the widescreen version?

Anyway, I was thinking laptop with an external storage array.
But I really want to get one of those dual core amd chips.
And I figure a laptop with those will blow my budget, or am I wrong?
So recommendations please if you will.
I'm really torn between laptop (desktop replacement kind) and just a desktop. I like being able to use the laptop upstair in bed or bring it to someone's house when I'm disinfecting their PC.

I'm thinking:
CPU: Dual Core AMD (anything less seems silly)
RAM: 1-2GB
VIDEO: Some decent but not gamer video card (as I don't really play games), DVI a must.
I'm mostly interested in text quality (I write code), color reproduction (I like to play with my digital images sometimes), and DVD playback.
SOUND: onboard will work
FIREWIRE: I have a PCI card that gives me firewire now but onboard would be nice.
USB2: I need at least three ports as that is what I'm using now. But the firewire card mentioned above also gives me the three usb2 ports.
DVD: A dual layer burner, quality of CD burns very important speed isn't as I usually burn at like 8x anyway and rarely burn a CD as is.

The new baby, Alex - real baby not the computer, will arrive on the 28th so I won't be able to spend it right away, so purchasing date figure mid august.

As to what I'm upgrading from:
Pentium 3 667, 512MB RAM, 120GB hard drive with 160GB external backup drive, 17" NEC monitor.
 

Buck

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On the desktop side of things, here are a few items to ponder:
CPU: Dual cores, like the 4400+ are excellent performers, but demand a premium price, so you can expect to pay $600.00 - $650.00 for one of these beauties.
MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-K8N ULTRA-9 should give you the necessary features (this includes a plethora of USB 2.0 connectors plus 1394b, Gigabit Ethernet & Sound) and plenty of SATA (eight) & PATA (two) drive connectors for around $125.00.
RAM: 1GB would be good unless you get into audio/video editing.
VIDEO: Matrox makes excellent 2D cards, and now their P650 variety comes in PCI-E.
DVD: LG GSA-4163B, although Anand recently had a head-to-head comparison that praised the ability of BenQ's DW1640. Particularly this addressed the quality of burns and the ability to read those burned disks.
 

Mercutio

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$2000 buys overkill on the desktop.
However, I think that if you bought a modest, $700 or $800 PC, and a nice 20" LCD, that you'd be just as happy as if you blew the whole two grand.

Something like a Venice core a64/3200
Gigabyte 939 board to taste
1GB RAM
200GB Samsung Hard disk ($89 at newegg today!)
Modest graphics card (X300, say, or a 9550)
Midrange case (I like Foxconn stuff a lot at the moment, especially the TS-1)
LG or LiteOn DVD Burner

Total should run to about $700. If you aren't playing games, I sincerely doubt you'll need more than that.
 

Fushigi

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If you're torn, do both. Build the desktop with the components that Merc suggested and remote-control it from a new laptop. After building, the desktop can run headless or with whatever leftovers you have lying around. The remaining $1300ish will get a pretty nice laptop nowadays. The desktop would makes a nice home server for music or video files in addition to being a powerful cruncher when you need to do something like process video.

Now, that does't get you the 20" LCD, but you can probably work something out to still get a decent laptop, the 2001 LCD, and the desktop. Dell has been running some $750 off $1499 laptop deals lately.
 

CougTek

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Get the Dell 2005FPW instead of the 2001FP. Ok, it doesn't display as many pixels, but the image quality is better (Higher contrast, faster mesured response time, more accurate colors and probably wider viewing angles too).

The 2005FPW was on sale just above 500$ lately.
 

Groltz

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Another very new display with great potential but no reviews yet is the Samsung 204T.

20"
1600 x 1200
Super-PVA panel
700:1 contrast
16 ms response time
DVI-D input
 

Will Rickards

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I agree with merc if I go desktop, except for the dual core.
Considering how long I've had my current computer (5 years or so?), I can't be sure how long this one will have to hold up. So I'd like to put a dual core in there as more of performance insurance then anything else.
 

Will Rickards

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What do you guys think of waiting for something like this
CLEVO D900K?
Dual core amd in a notebook. VoodooPC is preordering one based on it here. That one is out of my price range, way out like $4600. But somebody may be selling it for @2500 which is doable. Am I crazy?
 

Mercutio

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Yes.

You're talking about a laptop that can't run on a battery. That's not crazy, just stupid.

As far as dual cores go: I think it'll be three years or more before programs start to take advantage of the full capabilities of those chips. P4s have had hyperthreading for a couple years - a perfect excuse to do more multithreaded programmign - and it hasn't happened to any great extent.

You'd be paying a premium price to get that tech, when right now, there's no subjective difference between sitting at one or the other. You can buy the low-end chip, and maybe in a year, when dual cores aren't $700 processors, you can step up. A $150 upgrade has a much higher Wife-acceptance-factor than a $700 one, right?
 

blakerwry

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I just got a refurbished Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop... pentium-M 1.5Ghz, 256MB PC2-3200, 40Gb, chipset based Dx9 graphics, chipset based wireless G, etc, etc... pretty nice for $600+shipping.

I'm planning to add a stick of crucial RAM to bump the total to 768MB or maybe a bit over a gig.


This is the 1st laptop that I've used that actually felt fast... the Celeron and p4 laptops my friends own are putrid comparatively. Plus I've been getting over 4 hours on a charge, which sure beats anything else I'm used to.
 

Buck

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Mercutio said:
You're talking about a laptop that can't run on a battery. That's not crazy, just stupid.

As far as dual cores go: I think it'll be three years or more before programs start to take advantage of the full capabilities of those chips. P4s have had hyperthreading for a couple years - a perfect excuse to do more multithreaded programmign - and it hasn't happened to any great extent.

You'd be paying a premium price to get that tech, when right now, there's no subjective difference between sitting at one or the other. You can buy the low-end chip, and maybe in a year, when dual cores aren't $700 processors, you can step up. A $150 upgrade has a much higher Wife-acceptance-factor than a $700 one, right?

In general this is true, although I'm currently bidding on a niche audio recording and editing system that will benefit from a dual-core AMD 64 CPU.
 

Tannin

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The Pentium M is the best Intel CPU since .... hmmm ....

Coppermine P III? Celeron-A? Pentium MMX?

Nope: better than any of them. Guess I'd have to class it as the best Intel CPU since the 486DX/2.
 

Tannin

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Oh, and if we are going to talk broad families of CPU, then the P4 (and the various Celeron-labelled versions of it) is the worst Intel CPU family since ..... um....

I think I'd have to say since the 286.
 

blakerwry

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I'd have to agree. I'm also pretty impressed with the size and clarity of the screen. For a refurb, the only thing I can find wrong with it is a single dead sub pixel in the 1280x800 15.5" Samsung LCD. That excludes the one weak point in design which is the latching mechanism which secures the screen to the laptop base when closed.
 

mubs

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Buy dual core. You get most of the benefit at a much lower price and complication.

My slot-1 P3 machine mentioned above is a dual-cpu box; otherwise it would not have been usable this long.

And no matter that most programs are single-threaded; any multi-cpu capable OS will utilize both, running one program on each CPU. The net result will be a smoother multi-tasking experience.

You can buy a lower clock venus core and O/C it fairly easily. I provided a link to an article on this in one of the threads; can't seem to find it just now.
 

Will Rickards

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Okay put together a high-end estimate using Monarch computers build a system.

Code:
Component       Description                     Price
--------------  -----------------------------   -------
Case            Antec P160 NO PS                 125.00
Power Supply    Antec True430                     70.00
Motherboard     Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI        137.00
Processor       AMD Athlon 64x2 4400+            645.00
Heat Sink       Generic                            8.00
Memory          Corsair DDR400 2 pcs 512MB       134.00
Hard Drive      Samsung HD160JJ 160GB/SATA2      135.00
Video Card      ATI X700 256MB (sapphire)        117.00
DVD-writer      NEC-3540                          49.00
Software        OEM Nero                           6.99
Software        OEM Cyberlink PowerDVD             6.99
Build Fee       Monarch                           59.00
                                                -------
                                                1492.98

1. Case recommendations - this seems like a lot to spend on a case
2. I have to install memory in pairs, correct?

Any comments welcome.
 

Buck

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Nice system Will.

1) Yes, that is a lot of money to spend on a case; the P-180 is even worse. But sometimes, if the item fits your need perfectly, it's worth the extra cost.

2) Yes.

3) Just as a note, the HD160JJ is a 80-gigabyte per platter drive. Don't get me wrong, it's still a nice product, but if you're interested in purchasing a newer generation, pick the 200-gigabyte model.
 

Will Rickards

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Actually I'm not even sure I need another hard drive but the configuration thing didn't have an option for no hard drive. I have a maxtor 120GB PATA that is serving me just fine now. Do you think the current generation samsung 200GB SATA2 will be significantly faster to be worth it?

I'm concerned about sound with this setup. My computer sits in my living room on all the time. I don't hear it now but I've heard stories of GPU coolers that are really loud. Can an X700 be passively cooled? Or even the Nvidia equivalent? Maybe stepping down to an X300 would be called for to get passive cooling? I might swap the board with the non sli version to get a passively cooled southbridge.
 

Buck

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Will Rickards said:
Do you think the current generation samsung 200GB SATA2 will be significantly faster to be worth it?
Nope.

Will Rickards said:
Can an X700 be passively cooled? Or even the Nvidia equivalent?
Yep. Gigabyte has a variety of passively cooled ATI and nVidia cards, including an X800, X700, and a 6600GT.
 

time

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Speaking of which, what's the "generic heat sink" on the shopping list?

Small fans should be avoided at all costs, both from noise and reliability standpoints. :x

Your case and RAM both seem a tad expensive to me, but of course they pale next to the CPU ... You could buy a seriously fast single core CPU for less than that.

Based on my prices, there shouldn't be much more than $10 difference between the 160 and 200GB drives.
 

Will Rickards

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So I'm trying to figure out which heatsink to use.
And spcr forum members seem to recommend the scythe ninja or the XP-120.
Do you guys think these are overkill? The first one is $50 without the 120mm fan. And the nexus 120mm quiet fans they recommend are like $16 each.

Also they seem to love the Antec P180 case but aside from being a bit taller than I'd like, it seems that cables reaching from the Power Supply/Hard Drives is a real issue. Anybody here have experience with it?
Anybody have any case recommendations? I think I need a door that hides the power button as my 3 year old and new baby will around in the living room. I'd like a filter but if I have to tilt the machine or open the side panel to remove the filter it won't work for me. The P180 is easy change filter as you can change it by opening the door and then the plastice part that covers the filter is another door of sorts.
So I was thinking the Antec SLK3000BQE but some review didn't seem to like the duct thing in that.
 

Mercutio

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I thought the P180's weird orientation would present a problem, but at least on my Soltek board, it did not. In any case, a 24-pin ATX extension cable costs a whopping $3.
I see no reason not to use AMD's stock HSF. It's quiet and effective.
 

ddrueding

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The Ninja with a Nexus and a Zalman Fanmate is the most expensive cooler you can get short of water cooling, but it is absolutely silent inside a case. Hell, mine is OUTSIDE a case, inches from my ear, and completely inaudible. Keep in mind there's no point in going this nuts unless you put equal effort into quieting the rest of your components. THis would include a Gigabyte passive video card and a quiet PS from Seasonic or Nexus, or Antec's fanless Phantom models.

With that hard drive hard mounted, and that PS, the stock CPU cooler will be quiet enough. There's no way I would stand the stock coolers that come with most video cards these days.
 

Will Rickards

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I'm definitely going passive on the video card and south bridge.
This is why I'm concerned about picking a nice cool case and adequately cooling the CPU. I'm interested in quiet as it is on 24/7 in my living room but only used a few hours each day. (I think I just made jtr cringe but once built I'll put folding@home on it for you guys) The difference in 4400+ OEM and retail prices is a lot at newegg (615 vs 729) and the retail versions seemed to be out of stock more often than not (and not just at newegg). So $50 for a heat sink and 15 for a fan still leaves me ahead as far as price compared to retail.
 

Buck

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Will Rickards said:
I'm definitely going passive on the video card and south bridge.
This is why I'm concerned about picking a nice cool case and adequately cooling the CPU. I'm interested in quiet as it is on 24/7 in my living room but only used a few hours each day. (I think I just made jtr cringe but once built I'll put folding@home on it for you guys) The difference in 4400+ OEM and retail prices is a lot at newegg (615 vs 729) and the retail versions seemed to be out of stock more often than not (and not just at newegg). So $50 for a heat sink and 15 for a fan still leaves me ahead as far as price compared to retail.

Within the next week I'll be assembling a system with the P-180 case and a 4400+ x2 CPU. Customer specified both, and in this situation I think the P-180 case will provide what they need (although I wouldn't normally quote such an expensive case, nor one with a door).
 

ddrueding

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I'm really excited about the P-180. I can't buy one at the moment (I've already REALLY overspent on computer gear this month), but it is a no-brainer for my workstation.
 

Buck

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I received the P-180 case, and it's big. My delivery person thought it was a mini fridge. lol That is what I said the first time it was mentioned on this forum.
 

mubs

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Check out the X2 3800+. The Inquirer says "TECH REPORT benchmarks the AMD Athlon 64 3800+ processor and still could not believe how much value for money that little baby offers. With 512KB and 2GHz per core, it overclocks easily to 2.4GHz and almost matches a 4800+ for around 2/5th of the price. Single core are history. At less than $360, the reviewer can't find a fault to it."

The TechReport article is here.
 

Santilli

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Will Rickards said:
Okay put together a high-end estimate using Monarch computers build a system.

Code:
Component       Description                     Price
--------------  -----------------------------   -------
Case            Antec P160 NO PS                 125.00
Power Supply    Antec True430                     70.00
Motherboard     Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI        137.00
Processor       AMD Athlon 64x2 4400+            645.00
Heat Sink       Generic                            8.00
Memory          Corsair DDR400 2 pcs 512MB       134.00
Hard Drive      Samsung HD160JJ 160GB/SATA2      135.00
Video Card      ATI X700 256MB (sapphire)        117.00
DVD-writer      NEC-3540                          49.00
Software        OEM Nero                           6.99
Software        OEM Cyberlink PowerDVD             6.99
Build Fee       Monarch                           59.00
                                                -------
                                                1492.98

1. Case recommendations - this seems like a lot to spend on a case
2. I have to install memory in pairs, correct?

Any comments welcome.

Ok:
Being cheap is my specialty. First, you you changed to a PCI-E motherboard, that is good. I am typing on a machine very similar to what you want to construct.

Great case, same one I'm using.
Try and get a 400w or 500w, if you are going dual core, Seasonic power supply. More expensive, but great specs, and the 400W is silent, at least in my machine.

Drop the dual core cpu. They are WAY too expensive right now. They should drop considerably, and, it appears currently, the AMD 3000+ Venice core is the sweet spot for value and performance. You can always add dual core later.
Saves about 500 dollars.

Heat sink: Get a Swiftech heatsink. 55.00 with plate, and a 92 mm vantec silent fan. This setup runs silent on my machine, since the heatsink is so good, it passively cools the cpu, without need of a fan. The motherboard sensor keeps my fan off, and the cpu never gets over 105 F.

Memory should be cheaper. Course this cpu begs to be overclocked, so you might consider high quality memory. On the otherhand, my ATI 700 XL card doesn't like being overclocked, and I think the bus is currently maxed at 208, just a little up from 200mhz.
Your call.

I would get TWO of the NEC DVD burners, if I were you, since you are getting Nero...

Rest is very good, but, you might want to consider Windows 64 bit OS, and, since someone else is building it, you can make sure that it works.
My Nvidia 3 chipset, agp board, gigabyte, didn't like it, and my video card wouldn't work. Changed to 32 bit, and no problems. You shouldn't have problems with the Nvidia 4 chipset, I hope.

So now you've spent 900 dollars, instead of 1400, and, you have a machine that's as fast as your hard drive is going to take it. Your fixation with cpus is usful when doing multi-tasking, and maybe video editing, but,
I don't see much other use for the what is essentially a dual cpu setup, without a faster storage setup, read hard drives. With SATA, and ATA, your ONLY option is a WD 10k Raptor, if you want a snappy machine.
I keep waiting for Seagate to jump in, but, they haven't.

The same problem is what you face in laptops. You HAVE to get a 7200 rpm harddrive to make the laptop fast. I looked, and waited, and picked up a Panasonic CF-51 system for 1100 dollars, put a gig more ram in it, total 1.25 gigs, and bought another caddy for a 7200 rpm drive. However, they are currently much like the dual core cpus, in high demand, and WAY over priced, so I suffer with the 4200 rpm drive.

By the way, from your comments, I don't really see anything that would justify a dual core, or take advantage of it. To really stress it, you would have to use dual monitors, or triple monitors, burn or make movies on one screen, watch movies on another, etc.

The AMD 3000+ is going to be a huge jump in speed...

s
 

Will Rickards

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Santilli said:
By the way, from your comments, I don't really see anything that would justify a dual core, or take advantage of it.

I don't build a system very often (for myself anyway). The last one is old and I expect this one to have a long life too. To help ensure that and make the machine feel responsive, I'm going dual core. I know it doesn't economic sense but call this the irrational part of the new computer.

But something went funny with the money so to speak.
I went from a 8% federal tax rate to 22% on the bonus check.
Having something now like 1600 including monitor, your economic arguments may prove to win the day.
 

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I'd stay away from XP 64bit for awhile. I have tried both it and 2003 Server 64bit and drivers are almost non-existent. I could not find a driver for a 3Com 3C905C NIC. Pathetic.
Videodrivers are iffy....
I want to try a new Plextor SATA DVD burner with what ever software it came with, but I'm not going to get my hopes up :(
Maybe in a year or so.

Bozo :mrgrn:
 

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Santilli said:
Try and get a 400w or 500w, if you are going dual core, Seasonic power supply. More expensive, but great specs, and the 400W is silent, at least in my machine.
Ugly liar. You have the Seasonic S12-600HT, which is a 600W PSU, not the 430W model from Seasonic. I'll tell your mamma.
 
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