TechSpot

Building a computer that will blow a hole through brand name computers

By SubKamran
Dec 14, 2003
  1. I've been researching, learning, and still learning and I have finally found a computer that's relatively cheap but will blow a chunk out of brand name computers.

    Here's the list I have and even now I'm starting to order some of the parts. Hope it helps!

    ----------------------------------------

    BAREBONES

    Raidmax Scorpio Aluminum Black/Red ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Price: $105
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=11-156-126&depa=1

    Asus P4P800 Deluxe i865PE P4 (800FSB) Skt478 DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, LAN, RAID/Serial ATA
    Price: $128
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=13-131-450&depa=1

    Intel Pentium4 2.6C Ghz 800Mhz FSB HT
    Price: $173
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=19-116-159&depa=1

    Zalman CNPS7000-AlCu Aluminum + Copper CPU Cooler for AMD XP Socket 462 & 754 and Intel Socket 478
    Price: $36
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=35-118-108&depa=0

    Corsair XMS3200 (DDR400) 1GB TwinX Ultra Low-Latency DDR RAM
    Price: $212
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=20-145-450&depa=1

    74GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM Serial ATA 8MB Cache (use for OS and progs)
    Price: $292
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?DEPA=1&sumit=Go&description=22-144-160&searchdepa=1

    Sapphire Atlantis ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB
    Price: $352
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=14-102-281&depa=1

    Lite On 48x24x48x16 CDROM/CDRW/DVD Combo Drive
    Price: $56
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=27-106-192&depa=1

    Logitech Elite Keyboard & Logitech MX310 Mouse
    Price: $29 + $23
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=23-126-114&depa=1
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=26-104-136&depa=1

    Power Supply Cable Splitter (x2)
    Price: $5 = $10
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=12-101-203&depa=1

    Total: $1416

    FULL

    Creative MegaWorks THX® 6.1 650
    Price: $330
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=36-116-127&depa=1

    Sound Blaster® Audigy 2 ZS
    Price: $88
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduct.asp?description=29-102-162&depa=1


    My Total: $1854

    ----------------------------------------

    Believe me, this is cheap compared to what performance you will get.

    Those speakers aren't what I'll be buying, I'll be buying the GigaWorks 7.1 speakers but NewEgg doesn't carry those yet.

    Let's go through the parts, shall we?

    Case
    This case is almost exactly like the Thermaltake Xaser III but without all the extra fans and comes with a power supply.

    Motherboard
    This motherboard is a 865P chipset motherboard. The latest is 875P but Asus provides a "Turbo" mode on the 865P and besides, the performance for both chipsets is almost identical.

    CPU
    Why buy a 3.2Ghz CPU for $500 when you can buy a 2.6Cghz for $173 and overclock it to 3.4Ghz?

    Fan
    This has the best reviews as a P4 fan and was recommended to me by a friend.

    Memory
    A little pricy, but you'll never have to worry about not having too little memory. If you're a gamer, it's a must since new games will be memory hoggers. If you don't like the 1GB idea, do NOT go below 512MB.

    Corsair was the cheapest and seemed to have the best reviews.

    Hard Drive
    You may opt for the smaller but cheaper 36GB version but the 74GB version is quieter and faster than its predecessor. Look at the reviews for the Raptor series, it is the fastest IDE hard drive and should be a requirement for high-performance desktop systems.

    The motherboard comes with SATA support so no need for a controller card.

    Video Card
    This is where your needs will differ. If you are a gamer, either go with the 9800 Pro 128 or the 9600 Pro 128. Don't bother with the overrated XT series or 256MB versions. This has been a dream come true for me, excellent performance and excellent quality.

    CD-ROM
    Why spend $40 for a CD-RW and a DVD drive when you can get both in one package for $50? The Lite-On version was the best cheap version. If you want the best of the best, go with the Plextor drives.

    Keyboard and Mouse
    Logitech is hands-down the best input device manufacturer. The Elite keyboard coupled with the MX310 is a dream come true for gamers.

    Splitters
    The case power supply has too few cables, and it was recommended to by two splitters.

    Speakers
    Gamers want the best. The 6.1 system is not the best but it's damn good. If you don't plan to watch THX DVD movies and play EAX 2 games, I'd recommend a cheaper solution.

    Sound Card
    The motherboard comes with a sound system, but if you need EAX 2, THX and 7.1 support, better go with the Audigy 2 ZS series.

    Other
    The motherboard comes equipped with GB LAN and SATA and RAID controllers plus a sound system.
     
  2. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,802

    Looks nice, and will definately cost less than a pre-built with the same specs...

    But then again, building yourself will allmost allways end up being cheaper (if you can do without tech support)...
     
  3. oouter

    oouter TS Rookie

    Dude... i'd go with a dell if i were you, they have awesmoe tech support, we have maybe 500 dells, and they work great, we never have hardware problems with them, and they have great deals on all the time.
     
  4. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    circuit city currently is selling ATI built Radeon 9800 pro online for 299.00 you can order it online and have it shipped direct to you or you can have it sent to a store near you for pick up.
     
  5. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 422

    That is a MONSTER PC!
    Love the sound system - makes my old Soundworks 4.1 look cheap and tacky (ok ok they arnt top of the range but they sound good)
    Good choises generally - great motherboard, good process, esp for overclocking, and VERY good harddrive - lots of upgrade potential to add a second in a RAID 0 array - that will be FAST!
    Very good choise of CPU cooler - i love my 7000a - i cant say about P4 performance but the XP cooling performance is incredeble & and SO quite.
    If you are determined to overclock it might be an idea to by higher rated PC3500/3700 RAM - it will overclock better. dont bother with those Low Latency sticks that are 20% more than the stardard sticks. the only difference is the way the SPD is programmed - it is programmed to agressive timings by default instead of the JEDEC standards but both types will do exactly the same speed with some tweaking
    i would comment on how you should be buying a Athlon (XP or 64) and a nVidia graphics card but you seem pretty much disided so i wont bother :D

    good luck with your new system

    Steg
     
  6. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    If this is your first build, I'd recommend having a look at this thread :grinthumb
    Looks like you did good on the parts, good luck on the build as well. :cool:
     
  7. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,268

    Mate...most branded PCs like Dell do not have much expandability. Hence, you need to take that into consideration as well. ;)
     
  8. muffen

    muffen TS Rookie

    I like to build my own over pre-build ones. I know what going in them.

    One thing I hate about the newer board, built in video/sound card that need to be disable and I not sure if they are still using power. Put these on a separd card so if you don't want them then you don't have to put them in. The video should have a slot to put memory because they are to cheap to put memory on the video card no matter how little it is.

    Your system seem to look good otherwise.
     
  9. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,212

    I'm not sure I agree with that. There are a lot of boards out there (I just picked up an ASUS K8V Deluxe with 6.1) that have some VERY good sound qualities to them. I agree there are some low-end boards that are lacking but for the most part, the quality has come up.

    Just my $.02 :D
     
  10. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 501

    Makes me wish I had the time to monkey with building my own pc. Alienware has served me well however....

    oouter- did you really recommend dell? I wouldn't buy a toaster from dell.
     
  11. Smactek

    Smactek TS Rookie

    Well, thank the electronic stars, that there are info web sites, and quality message boards where people who have always bought Dell's (or any brand for that matter) can get enough positive usefull information to assemble one for themself. Should they so desire. Its always fun to taste the sweetness of building a machine with what you want in it, as opposed to whats an available option. Sounds like the box should rock. Myself, I'm hanging tight a little longer till the 64bit AMD chips are a little more reasonable. That I hope will prove to be a real 64bit screaming adventure.
     
     
  12. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 359

    Why buy a brand name when they are overpriced and un-upgradable?

    I've had this HP Pavilion for like 5 years, it was a great machine in its time and was like the best you could get. Now its really crap and slow, I have a friend whos given me a new processor, and 4 sticks of RAM to try. The reason that it is so s**t is beacause the whole box is so damned crammed up and its like only 30CM front to back.
    'It took me like 2 bloody hours to get one stick of RAM into it, and tommorow i'm going to have to try the 4 sticks of RAM and the new processor which is mounted in a bloody slocket to make things more complicated. I mean who the hell would want a computer that you cant upgrade because its going to be compltly crap within the next year.

    However my computer genius friend has foun a good buy.

    It may not be the best processor but have a look at some parts:

    AMD Sempron 2400----$75
    Asus all in one M/b-----$65 (video,sound,LAN, Etc.)
    256MB DDR 333 RAM---$65
    Simple Housing--------$50
    Hard Disk Drive 40-80Gb---$50-100

    When you add it up, thats pretty bloody cheap --$300, for quite a decent little machine, and thats only approximate, its actually about $250, wiht the proper prices,

    Thats from the computer fair in Canberra every so often, and the prices go down pretty quickly.

    So why pay like $1000 for a computer thats equvelent??

    That question i put forward to you, my good people!!
     
  13. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,802

    Because not everyone know how to build a computer? Nor want to spend time on building one...
    Some like to have a tech-support center they can contact when something goes wrong.

    If you build it yourself, you pay less, but actually get less if you add in tech-support.
    Now add in that using a standard system decrease the chances of anything going wrong, the system is ready to go when you've connected the cables and you can surf/play/whatever from the get go.

    Also, sometimes you can get better package buying pre-built than you can when building yourself. (Some Dell offers spring to mind)

    Lastly, not everyone knows you can build one yourself...
     
  14. novicegamer

    novicegamer TS Rookie Posts: 119

    I did not see an O.S. in those prices,were you going to reuse your OS or buy a new one.XP pro 30-300 usd depending on where you go
     
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