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Thread: Looking to build a gaming computer on a starving student bud




  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    21

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    So here' s the list of what I'm buying:

    (1) case: Antec SX-635
    (1) mobo: Epox 8K3A+ w/Raid Socket A VIA KT333 DDR w/Audio
    (1) CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2100+
    (1) memory: 512MB PC2700 DDR-SDRAM DIMM
    (1) graphics card: Xtasy GeForce4 Ti4200 AGP 64MB DDR 2D/3D w/ TV Out
    (1) floppy drive: Samsung 1.44Mb 3.5 floppy drive
    (1) hard drive: 120GB IBM DeskStar 7200rpm
    (1) CD-RW drive: Lite-On 24/10/40 IDE CD-RW
    (1) DVD drive: 16x Toshiba SD-M1612 DVD-ROM
    (1) monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 753 DF 17"
    (1) sound card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy X-Gamer
    (1) speakers: Creative Labs Cambridge SoundWorks MegaWorks 510D
    (1) modem: Actiontec 56k PCI Pro Modem
    (1) keyboard: Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro
    (1) mouse: Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0
    (1) OS: Windows XP Home
    Cooling: (1) AMD/INTEL SOCKET 370/A ROUND ORB FAN & HEATSINK CPU COOLER
    (3) Antec SMART FAN 80MM

    Does this look good? I don't know very much about cooling at all. I just chose cheap fans with copper and a ball bearing system.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    1,297

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    For cooling, while the orbs look cool, they've been something that really wouldn't be appropriate for that Athlon. I'd suggest looking into a retail 2100+ instead, which includes the heatsink.

    2nd, IBM's hard drives have a bad rap for being failure prone. I'm not saying don't buy IBM, but I will say they seem to be a little bit riskier than other companies. Western Digital has served me well. I have only had 1 bad drive from them, and it's an old 4.3GB drive. They currently have 80GB and larger drives with an 8MB cache. If you can swing it, these would be rather fast from what I've heard.

    3rd, if you're open to another motherboard suggestion, I'd also look into the Abit NV7-133R. It's based on the nForce 415 D chipset, and it includes 5.1 audio, LAN, HighPoint ATA133 RAID (same as on the Epox 8K3A+), USB 2.0, and is a little cheaper than the Epox. I have been very happy with this board. You may find the on-board LAN useful if you're gonna be in a dorm with an LAN hook up.

    People might say that the nForce is slow, but it's not. The thing to keep it at the top speed is to use 2 sticks of RAM, as it has a dual memory controller to give it some nice bandwith.

    You'll hear a large vote for Epox here, but I figured I'd throw out another option that would eliminate the need for one item: sound, and give you some extras.

    The components look good though if you end up going with that rig (save the hard drive)

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Texas, USA
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    I'll split my decision with Morgan_Lander. It has to do with the IBM drives. I am one of the many who have had a DeskStar model drive go bad, and it had a fan behind it from the day it was installed. Western Digital drives with the 8MB cache have been burning up the benchmarks, so one of these drives should do very nicely. WD also has a reputation for long-lasting devices, so it won't be as likely to die on you in the near future.

    About the cooling, it's a good idea to stay away from the ORB style coolers. So far, there has only been one that has been worth anything and it's not really rated for the speed processor you're going to be running (Thermaltake Dragon Orb is the one I'm talking about here). Since you're going to be spending a goodly amount on a new system, don't cringe when it comes time to fork out $25-30 for a decent heatsink. It will pay off in the long run.

    Finally, I don't generally recommend nForce based motherboards. Even if you use the two memory module trick, their performance generally falls behind the KT266A and KT333 chipsets. It has never really taken off and there is a reason... poor price -vs- performance numbers. And while there is built in sound, you'll get far better from the Audigy card that you have figured into your buying plans.
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
    My Toys

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
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    Ontario, Canada
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    If you're getting a GF4Ti4200 - have a look at MSI or Abit they're the cheapest (brand name) ones I've seen @ ~ $160US

  5. #15
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    Jul 2002
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    After taking everyone's suggestions into consideration, and doing some price comparisons again, I've made a few changes which I'm surprised actually lowered the total cost by over $50...

    I decided to get the retail 2100+ like Morgan suggested, realizing I needed the box because I haven't dealt with processors/motherboards that much. Is it ok to just stick with the included heatsink, or do I need something else to cool the processor?

    I went with the Western Digital HDD, which turned out to be cheaper than the IBM one I had been considering, by a few dollars. And 80GB is as much as I need anyway.

    Thanks for the tip about the MSI GeForce4 card-- it was cheaper and the deal I found included some extras too.

    I also added a 3Com USB Ethernet Adapter, because I don't think the specs I had allowed for a LAN hookup, did they? And I'm considering getting a Logtech Internet Navigator Keyboard instead of the Microsoft one because I found one for a few dollars cheaper than the Microsoft one I found.

    Further opinions?:)

  6. #16
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    Nov 2001
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    Ontario, Canada
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    32x12x40 CDRW's are getting cheaper by the minute it may only cost $5-10 to upgrade from the 24X....I can pick up LiteOn 32x's for $92cdn (=less than $60US).
    even the 40x12x48's are pretty reasonable.
    Liteon is a good reliable/inexpensive brand to look at though :thumb:

  7. #17
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    Jul 2002
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    After receiving the very helpful advice of this forum, I think I'm finally ready to order the parts and start building.

    In a side note, I started this thread with the phrase "starving student budget." but I got a bit power-hungry... Seeing as every time I add or change something the total cost goes up (at least it's still under $2000), I think the phrase now means that by the time I have to upgrade I'll have a regular source of income and won't have to rely on graduation/xmas/birthday money.

    Thanks again for all the advice. :cheers:

  8. #18
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    Nov 2001
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    If money is even remotely an issue, please know that a 2000$ investment in that computer today will be worth 800$ in one year.

    So in one year, you will be able to recreate that compute piece by piece for 800$ and so therefore, a computer built today for 800$, you can replace for FREE with the money you save, at any point in the future. Just think, in two years for 800$ you will be able to get a computer that is FOUR times as effective as what you will be building.

  9. #19
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    Jul 2002
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    Hello, i'm new to tweekTown, found it while trying to work out which GeForce was for me. Might have already finnished your system but i thought i'd throw my two cents in. For your Keyboard and mouse i think you should concider Logitech as i have always liked their keyboards and mice. Also on the mouse front i would recomend a Logitech Dual optical, although the sensors and what not run at lower resolutions the inclusion of two makes it more presice and also i always found microsoft mice incomfortable.

    Also seeing as everyone is so helpful here can i ask if theres a massive quality difference between branded and unbranded cards. By this i mean i currently have a toss up between a GeForce 4 Ti4200 128mb by Abit and the same spec from albatron the difference is only ten pounds so its no really biggie but i was just wondering.

    sorry if i'm steeling your thread i'm new to all this and realy have no idea what i'm doing.

  10. #20
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    Nov 2001
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    There is are a few big differences, with a brand name you get a product of a company that has been around quite a while, which almost always means their stuff is better quality, and their engineers and designers know more about what they are doing and how to do it well.

    You also get a better chance of having it replaced if it turns out to be a dud.

    You also get a better resale value if at any time you decide to sell it to a friend, they are less leary about the item if it has a good brand name company on it.

    Thread stealing -- pff, not possible :D

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