Building first computer... suggestions?

By Mohatu · 5 replies
Mar 14, 2005
  1. My current system:

    MSI KT266 Pro-2A Motherboard
    AMD Athlon XP 1700+ (1.47 GHz)
    Kingston HyperX 512 MB
    Win XP Pro (SP2)
    ATI AIW 9800 Pro
    Seasonic Super Tornado 400w psu

    Hi guys! First time poster here. Looks like a great community! :)

    First, my sob story. Late last year I bought the new ATI 9600XT, but took it back when it was having problems… or at least I thought it was having problems. In 3D games such as Neverwinter Nights, strange graphic anomalies would appear in the game. Such as rendered buildings and characters had random long polygons projecting out of them, sometimes making it difficult to see if there are too many that fill the screen. It does it in other 3D rendered games as well.

    But it wasn't just 3D games I had problems with. When I installed this graphics card, I also had vertical lines running down my desktop and corrupt looking icons where the lines were! After trying various combinations of resolution and refresh rates, what really fixed that problem was to tone down the hardware acceleration one notch which it says disables cursor and bitmap accelerations. I did that by going into Display Properties/Settings/Advanced/Troubleshooting where there is a slider bar to change the hardware acceleration. Still have the problem with 3D games though.

    I’ve loaded all the latest and greatest drivers, but still nothing. I took the graphics card back to exchange it thinking there was a problem with the card, but then I found that the ATI AIW 9800 Pro was on sale and so snatched that up instead! According to the ATI instructions, it says that if you have a non-Intel chipset, you need to load in what they referred to as a VGART driver. I’ve looked all around and don’t see such an animal. I figure this is built into my chipset’s driver that I’ve downloaded. Anyway, before installing this card, I decided to start from scratch and format my HD to make sure that ANY trace of the old software was gone. I had an nVidia GeForce 3 card before this installation. Again I loaded in all the latest drivers for the motherboard, graphics card and chipset. But guess what? I still get the same display anomalies! :mad:

    Perhaps my problem is the AGP slot which is only a 4X? People have said that it should be compatible with the 9800 Pro. Maybe the VIA Apollo KT266A chipset don’t likey? Has anyone else heard or seen such problems and more importantly… is there a solution?

    One thing does come to mind, though. Long before I got this new graphics card, my system kept on locking up and rebooting. After some diagnostics, I discovered that my psu had gone bad. After doing some research, I found a psu that had excellent reviews and was quiet and so I replaced it with the Seasonic Super Tornado 400w psu. It's been rock solid ever since. That is until I installed this 9800 pro card I started experiencing these graphic anomalies in 3D games. Which now makes me think that perhaps my old psu might have damaged my chipset or something else on the motherboard?

    Even after I fixed the psu problem, I didn't have these display problems with my nVidea GeForce 3 card with Neverwinters Nights that I do with the 9800 Pro (or the 9600xt when I had it). But now that I think about it, maybe my old psu damaged something on the motherboard that causes problems with this much more powerful graphics card?

    Well, after a lot of searching and experimenting I finally gave up and decided to upgrade my whole system. It needed it anyway. I had since got Tribes Vengeance and EQII and playing these new games made my computer show its age. :p These games also show these display anomalies!

    I really don’t want to spend a lot of money (who does?), but want to upgrade to take advantage of my new video card. So whatever I get it has to have an AGP slot. I was also thinking that maybe I should go with something that had an Intel chipset so I don’t have to monkey around with these additional drivers that ATI spoke of. Seems the i875P will fit the bill. But that is not absolutely necessary as I’ve seen other people with non-Intel chipsets don’t have these same problems. Since I won’t be upgrading to the latest technology (such as PCI Express), it will also cut down on the expense.

    This is my first attempt at building my own system. I’ve always wanted to make the attempt. I’m good with my hands so I’m not worried in that department.

    Going with Intel, I think I’m kinda stuck with the 478 socket, as I don’t see any socket 775 mobo’s with an AGP slot. They’re all PCI Express.

    For the Intel side, so far all my researching has led me to the following:

    ABIT IC7-G MaxII Advance Motherboard $137 Newegg
    Intel Pentium 4 w/HT Technology – 3.2C GHz $275 Newegg
    Kingston 1GB HyperX PC3200 DDR (Dual Channel) $219 Newegg
    (I may go with the equivalent Crucial or Corsair)

    I was also looking at the ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe, but from the comparisons, the ABIT looked like a better board.

    Was thinking of going with the Northwood version of the CPU instead of the newer Prescott as it runs much cooler. But maybe the extra 200Mhz in getting the 3.4E Prescott would be worth it? Might get a new case too… I dunno.

    But adding all this up, this is actually much more than I wanted to spend, but you kinda get caught up in it. I’m sure you know what I mean. :p I’m trying to save up for the extra expense and hope that my wife doesn’t kill me. O.O

    What I’ve wanted to do with my system is capture video from my video camera as well as from the TV part of the video card… strip commercials out and save favorite episodes to disk. It doesn’t matter to me if it takes a little longer to encode video, as long as it doesn’t drop frames when capturing video at a good resolution.

    Of course playing games is high on my list as well such as Tribes Vengeance and EQ II… both 3D games that with my current setup has that graphics problem I spoke of. To me this is far more important to achieve higher frame rates and try to get the games to run as smoothly as possible.

    Having said what my needs are and from what I’ve read so far, it sounds like going AMD is the better ticket. I dunno. I’ve only just begun to start researching an AMD version of this. It looks like going with AMD, I can go with the newest 939 socket mobo’s as they do have AGP slots.

    Any suggestions for an AMD system (or Intel for that matter as nothing is set in stone) to fulfill my gaming needs? For gaming performance, what CPU would the equivalent (or faster) be on the AMD side versus either the Intel P4 3.2c Northwood or the Pr 3.4E Prescott? And what would be a nice mobo for it?

    All my systems so far have been AMD. But I really don’t give a lick about getting either an AMD or Intel. I’m not loyal to either camp. Both have their pros and cons and both are good chips. What I want essentially is the best bang for my buck for my needs.

    I've also posted this in the video section in the hopes that someone has seen my initial problems before, but thought I should post this here as well for the rest of it to get ideas and suggestions for an upgrade.

    Eh, sorry for the long post, but anyone have any suggestions? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Fa.Tal

    Fa.Tal TS Rookie

    MSI "K8N Neo2 Platinum" NVIDIA nForce3 ULTRA Chipset Motherboard For AMD Socket 939 CPU -RETAIL
    AMD 64 3000+ newcastle
    PQI Turbo series 184pin
    Nvidia 6600Gt unless you can afford to get the ati x800

    This is a great AMD system with Awesome bang for the buck.

    I like the Msi Neo4 platinum better for the motherboard...but you said you wanted an AGP slot.

    The PQI some search for different reviews...its putting out awesome numbers and its half the price of some other brands...
  3. Mohatu

    Mohatu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    WHOOHOO!!! I got it to work… FINALLY!!!

    Other people and boards have never suggested this, but digging around on this board led me to try turning off the “fast write” which seems to have done the trick! (Thanks PreservedSwine!!) Going back into EQII, I don’t see anymore random graphic artifacts! I’m sure that it works now in my other games as well. Just hadn’t had a chance to tear myself away from EQII until this very moment. ;)

    One more thing I tried. I temporarily turned fast write back on just to test one thing at a time. I went back into hardware acceleration and turned it up all the way. I don’t see any vertical lines or corrupt icons on my desktop anymore! This I may attribute to perhaps the very latest drivers I’ve recently installed. This didn’t work out for me last year when I updated all the drivers to the “then” most up to date drivers. Even in EQII, my pointer is now rock solid!

    Well, even though its now working, I STILL want to upgrade my system. So please keep those suggestions coming! ;)

    Fa.Tal: The reason I wanted to stick with AGP was I didn’t want to spend the money for another graphics card. Just wanted to upgrade my existing system. But thanks for the suggestions! When I get the chance, I’ll look those over.

    This by no means is going to be my last system I build. Just wanted to upgrade this baby enough to take advantage of my existing card and get in some good gaming as well as capturing video. The architecture of the CPU’s, motherboards, busses and graphics cards are changing and so I’ll give it a couple years for it to settle down a little and for the next generation of goodies to come down in price. Then I’ll probably give this one to my son and network the systems together.
  4. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Well the AMD-vs-Intel is kninda out each has there propose

    Either a 64bit AMD or a Intel with HT will be good peosonally I play all games out now with the old socket "A" a great chip that socket A was any way if you like Intel I really suggest that you check out this motherboard the DFI lan party it is a great board.
    get yourself the new Prescott and you will be good to go for a while.. For AMD I lean more toward the Asus boards or MSI remember the final decision is yours..
  5. tchiseen

    tchiseen TS Rookie Posts: 45

    aye, i'd suggest against upgrading your computer around your graphics card. (not only because yours isnt that good, but because for the extra $ u can get a whole lot more value with the new stuff out) there's always ebay.
  6. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Without reading this whole post. The topic said "Building first computer, suggestions?" Yes. I suggest that you get someone with experience to help or at least watch you do it. Better safe than sorry and many people become sorry.
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