TechSpot

New System Ideas, any thoughts?

By moshambo
Dec 27, 2005
  1. I've been looking into buying a new computer for some time now and i
    think i have come up with something good. It will be mainly used for games ( Doom 3, Quake 4, MSFS2004) plus some dvd burning and all the other usual stuff. the system as specified will cost me £1250 ( approx $2750). Does anyone think i should have just one 256MB video card rather than 2? I was hoping to use two monitors at some time in the future but was thinking just to get a card with 2 outputs rather than using the sli setup. Any thoughts?


    CPU
    AMD® ATHLON® 64BIT 4000 (San Diago) 1MB L2 Cache (939 pin)
    Memory
    2048 MB DDR400 PC3200 WITH LIFETIME WARRANTY!
    Motherboard
    ASUS® A8N-SLI: DUAL DDR, S-ATA, 2 x x16 VGA, 3 PCI
    USB Options
    SIX USB 2.0 PORTS (4 REAR + 2 FRONT)
    Hard Drive
    SATA 160 GB HARD DISK @ 7200rpm 8mb cache (Special Offer)
    Second Hard Drive
    SATA 160 GB HARD DISK @ 7200rpm 8mb cache (Special Offer)
    RAID
    NONE
    DVD ROM/Combi Drive
    52 X 32 X 52 CD WRITER + 16X DVD ROM (COMBI DRIVE)
    CD/DVD Writer
    4x +R DUAL LYR DVD WRITER (16x +/-R) (& RW) + 40x CD-RW (£25)
    Graphics Card
    128MB GEFORCE 6600GT PCI Express + DVI + TV-OUT
    (SLI) Graphics Card 2
    128MB GEFORCE 6600GT PCI Express + DVI + TV-OUT
    Sound Card
    HIGH END ONBOARD 8 CHANNEL SOUND (RECOMMENDED)
    Modem
    NONE, I WILL BE USING BROADBAND
    Network Facilities
    ONBOARD LAN & WIRELESS 802.11G NETWORK CARD (£12)
    Floppy Drive/Card Reader
    1.44MB FLOPPY DISK DRIVE
    Case
    Stylish Black X-Plode Case + 2 Front USB
    Power Supply & Cooling
    550W DUAL RAIL PSU, 120mm fan & 19.2 dBA CPU Cooler - for SLI (£45)
    Operating System required
    MICROSOFT® WINDOWS® XP PRO (inc. original CD & licence) (£95)
    Firewire & Video Editing
    1 x FIREWIRE PORT ONBOARD
    Monitor
    17 INCH TFT SILVER/BLACK 1280 X 1024 RES: 12MS (£145)
    Keyboard
    NONE
    Mouse
    NONE
    Speakers
    LOGITECH S200 2.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM
    Printer
    NONE
    Anti-Virus
    NONE
    Office Software
    NONE
    TV Card
    NONE


    Many thanks

    Moshambo
     
  2. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy TS Rookie Posts: 121

    Hello moshambo, and welcome to techspot forums.

    I believe that SLi still has some quirks and bugs that nvidia needs to work out
    (So I have heard from readings.)
    Also, SLi can chew up a lot of power.

    So, I would reccomend that you buy a powerful single card, and a less powerful PSU.
    You can use two monitors with a single card also.

    I would chose an x1600xt from ATI. It has great core clocks and more pixel pipelines than some 6600gts. (and ATIs patented Avivo technology, and pixel shader 3.0 [better than the 6600gt's 2.0]).

    Hope this helps.
    mossimoboy
     
  3. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    looks like an awesome setup. I would actually recommend go for the dual core cpu instead of the 4000+, dual core might run a tad slower in single threaded apps (like games) but in the long run it would be a better choice given that you are going to spend a bundle on the setup.
     
  4. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks for the replies, Think i prob will go for a dual core processor as you said, may not be the quickest but at least my system will be future proofed. Am also still going to go for a single graphics card in an sli motherboard allowing me the oppertunity to stick another one in there when it gets a bit slow. The place i'm buying from has a special offer on a GeForce 7800GT 256MB.

    Another question, Would 1 gig of ram be enough for just now? I know people always bang on about having as much ram as is humanly possible. Doing this would allow me to go for a 4400 dual core rather than the 3800 or 4200. Would the loss in ram be compensated by the rise in processor or would you guys just stick with the 3800 dual core and 2 gig of ram?


    thanks again

    Moshambo
     
  5. Ruder

    Ruder TS Rookie Posts: 98

    Unless you will do graphics / video work, or have software that use MP systems stick to single core processor. Just buy a mobo that supports future Multi Core. Get a 4000+ or a FX if you have the cash.

    2 Gig RAM is better - 4 is too much.

    You will be unhappy with the gaming performance of the x2 3800.
     
  6. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    To sum up, you think i should go with my original system but with one 7800gt and a single core for just now but making sure the mobo can take dual core and sli for future proofing? Had sort of came to a similar conclusion myself but just wanted to check with people in the know. cant wait to take delivery in about 3 weeks( depends on when i get off my *** and order it!). Doom3, Quake 4 all ultra quality here we come!!!!

    Many thanks for all the input, have a great new year.

    Moshambo
     
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Yeah, an Athlon 64 San Diego 3700+ would be good. Even better would be the FX-57 or FX-55. Or otherwise, to save dosh, get a Venice 3200+ and O/C it. It can be O/Ced up to 4000+ speeds.
     
  8. Ruder

    Ruder TS Rookie Posts: 98

    Don't do OC to get the system you want - buy the system you want then OC it.
     
  9. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    personally, I think getting the 3800+ (USD 322) or even the 4200+(USD 400) would be a better choice than your original 4000+(USD 334). For single core, I wouldn't spend more than 200.

    You can always overclock your dual core to get better speed. I think most 3800 shoulld overclock to 2200Mhz from stock 2gig without much trouble and since venice is fairly cool cpu, the temp should be cool enough.

    I think getting single 7800GT is a better choice, unless you absolutely need the SLI.

    As for 1 gig or 2 gig. It really depend on your use. I think 2gig is nice as the price of 2gig has gotten to around 150ish-200 for teh value, while the 1 gig is around 80-100ish. Having that extra gig should help out in some games and memory intensive apps (such as photoshops). You can always upgrade the memory in the future but i think amd64 only runs at 2T speed, if you have 4x512 instead of 1T. Looking at the market trends, I think ddr1's price probably won't drop too much as the market is moving toard ddr2.
     
  10. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not to sure about overclocking, dont want to damage anything. Would just be my luck you see.

    So what is the consensus then? 4000 or a 2X 3800, the FX-55 is just too expensive.

    I'm sure i'll go for the 7800 with the sli mobo. Shouldnt be too hard to find a 7800 in a years time since its top of the range just now ( well from my perspective it is!) Still dont know what brand name my vid card will be i.e gigabyte asus ect... will be finding out tomorrow when there response to my email arrives.

    It seems like quite a reputable site though. Tell me what you think. The site im using is www[dot]pcspecialists[dot]co[dot]uk

    Many thanks

    Moshambo
     
  11. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    correction

    pcspecialist

    not

    pcspecialists
     
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    4000+ is best if u want good gaming performance. But if ur willing to sacrifice gaming performance for future-proof technology, get an X2.
     
  13. Ruder

    Ruder TS Rookie Posts: 98

    The fact is that games is rarely processor intensive - the GPU (vid card) is the one that matters most. Save on the CPU and spend on the GPU. Get a decent case and Hi-Q power supply. 1 Gig RAM will be sufficient. Again buy RAM before upgrading the processor. Again get faster hard disks before upgrading the processor.

    A 3000+ will give you the same performance within 10% of the 4000+ for the same vid card...
     
  14. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, final spec here. Many thanks to everyone who has helped me come to this decision.

    CPU - AMD® ATHLON® 64BIT X2 3800 512K L2 Cache
    Not the quickest but shouldn't matter too much for the next while due to my choice of vid card

    Memory - 1024 MB DDR400 PC3200
    Easily upgradeable in 1yr or so

    Motherboard - ASUS® A8N-SLI: DUAL DDR, S-ATA, 2 x x16 VGA, 3 PCI

    USB Options - SIX USB 2.0 PORTS (4 REAR + 2 FRONT)

    Hard Drive - SATA 160 GB HARD DISK @ 7200rpm 8mb

    Second Hard Drive - SATA 160 GB HARD DISK @ 7200rpm 8mb

    DVD ROM/Combi Drive - 16X DVD ROM WITH 48X CD ROM

    CD/DVD Writer - 4x +R DUAL LYR DVD WRITER (16x +/-R) (& RW) + 40x CD-RW

    Graphics Card - 256MB GEFORCE 7800GT PCI Express
    Best i can afford with this system setup

    (SLI) Graphics Card 2 - NONE
    Can upgrade to 2 in 1 year if neccisary.

    Sound Card - HIGH END ONBOARD 8 CHANNEL SOUND

    Network Facilities - ONBOARD LAN & WIRELESS 802.11G NETWORK CARD

    Floppy Drive/Card Reader - 1.44MB FLOPPY DISK DRIVE

    Case - Stylish Black X-Plode Case + 2 Front USB

    Power Supply & Cooling - 550W DUAL RAIL PSU, 120mm fan & 19.2 dBA CPU Cooler - for SLI
    Fufture proofing for a second vid card and a faster processor.

    Operating System required - MICROSOFT® WINDOWS® XP PRO (inc. original CD & licence)

    Firewire & Video Editing - 1 x FIREWIRE PORT ONBOARD

    Monitor - 19 INCH TFT SILVER/BLACK 1280 X 1024 RES.
    Hopefully will be 2 in a few months!

    Total cast inc tax and delivery £1284 ($2250)

    Not bad i think.

    Again thanks for the help, i'll let you all know how it performs once i've got it!!!

    Moshambo

    Happy New Year!!!!
     
  15. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    wow, that's awesome setup. If I am going to recommend anything, I would suggest go for creative soundblaster x-fi sound card or even the soundblast 2 zs for gaming, if you don't game, then the onboard sould be fine.

    BTW, don't forget that you should get 2x512mb for the memory.
     
  16. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Just checked it out. the x-fi is an extra £85 ( $120 ). I've spent my budget on all the other stuff!! i'll email them and check about the ram. take it 2 will perform better than 1 module?
     
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Standalone sound card is better. Upto 15% of loss in performance is observed in using onboard sound rather than a standalone sound card. An Audigy 2 Value is good enough for the job. A much cheaper alternative would be the Sound Blaster Live!, if ur not a serious audiophile.
     
  18. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    yeah, that's why I am suggesting the sound card:). The onboard will work fine, so if you don't have the budget for it, don't worry about it.

    As for the memory, 2 sticks will allow you to run at dual channel while 1 stick wil only run at single channel. Dual channle is better choice.
     
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I think one stick of 1 GB is better, because data transfer through the Northbridge will be faster with one stick of 1 GB rather than 2 sticks of 512 MB each. Putting it literally, would u like to search for a book in 2 bookshelves or in one? And it will also leave one slot free.
     
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Oh, I didn't see u have a Socket 939. In that case, buy a pair since ur mobo will support dual-channel RAM.
     
  21. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the tip. i'll make sure its 2 modules

    Happy New Year!!

    Moshambo
    (Paisley, Scotland)
     
  22. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok i know i;m now being a pain but i found another system for a bit cheaper and was just wanting an opinion on which you guys would go for.

    * AMD Athlon 64 4400+ X2 Dual Core Processor with 2000MHz HyperTransport Technology
    * 2x512MB (1GB) Dual DDR 400 (PC3200) Branded Memory
    * 256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7800GT PCI Express Graphics
    * 250GB ATA (133Mbps) 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive
    * 16X Dual Layer Mutli-Format DVD +/- Rewriter
    * Optional Digital and Analogue TV
    * Integrated 7.1 8 Channel Surround Sound Audio
    * Ultra-fast 10/100/1000Mbit Gigabit Ethernet LAN (Broadband Ready)
    * 2 Front, 6 Rear Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Ports
    * Carrera Coolermaster Centurion 530 Midi-Tower Case with 380W PSU
    * 19'' TFT Analogue Flat Panel Multimedia Monitor
    * Microsoft Basic Keyboard & Microsoft Optical Mouse
    * Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2
    * Microsoft Works 8.0
    * Panda Antivirus Titanium 2004 (1yr virus subscription)
    * Roxio Easy CD Creator Suite 7

    or what i specified at the wnd of the last page.

    Cheers

    Moshambo
     
  23. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Price is just about the same.

    Moshambo
     
  24. PUTALE

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    I didn't see the mobo being listed but I am assuming it's the same. I like this setup better (due to the dual core), but I would suggest go for sata HD ( not the ata, as the price difference is almost none).
     
  25. moshambo

    moshambo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The mobo is:

    K8N SLI-FI ATX 4xDDR400 LAN Motherboard

    again it is sli, as i want but i think i may have to upgrade the psu if i ever want to run a second card.

    think this one should be my choice.

    No one told me buying a new computer would be so hard. I'm just glad i never went to pcworld!!!

    Moshambo
     
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