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 Post subject: Looking for advice on a new system.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:12 pm 
8086
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I am currently looking to build a new system. My needs include video/photo editing, office/productivity applications and gaming. I usually buy on the low end and upgrade when prices fall over time. I am looking at building something reasonably basic with a good probability of a longer future of upgradabity. Normally, I use the computer while doing other things (i.e. reading MPC - shameless plug), so I don't mind a slower system and cutting graphic settings for high end games.

I have not set a budget, but the PC is low on my current priorities. I was thinking around $1000 - $1500. Cheaper is always better if I can meet my requirements.

After reading reviews and posts I was leaning towards a NF4 Ultra (non-SLI).

Motherboard:
-Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE $107
-MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Motherboard $140
-Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-9 nForce4 Ultra $140
Anyone have experience and thoughts on any of there. All are 939 with PCI-E and SATA2.

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Processor $150

RAM - Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/1G 1GB Kit DDR400 PC3200 $109

GPU - MSI GeForce 6600 GT NX6600GT-TD128E $180

HDD
Main - Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6B250S0 250GB SATA 7200RPM w/16MB Buffer $161
Secondary (video editing) - undetermined

DVD-ROM - Liteon HD166S/167T 16X IDE DVD-ROM Drive $30

DVD Writer - NEC ND-3520A Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer $60

SC - Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS $87

Case - Thermaltake Soprano VB1000BWS Mid Tower Case (Black) w/Window $75

PS - Thermaltake W0014 Silent PurePower 480W w/Black Housing $65

I am unsure about the case and power supply. Will this PS work with this system? Is there a cheaper case with some style that isn't...well over styled?

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions are greately appreciated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:49 pm 
Little Foot
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
Mobo- DFI NF4 Ultra $140
CPU- 3500+ Winchester $275
RAM- Corsair XMS 44000C25PT- $275
GPU- ATI X800XL $299
HDD- Diamond Max 10 300GB $185
PSU- Fortron Blue Storm 500W $85
Case- Antec Super LAN Boy $80
Optical Drive- Lite ON Dual Layer X16 $60

Not too bad for $1300
If you got a board that supported SLI, then I'd recommend the 6600GT(for future upgradeability), but since you are looking at the Ultra, the X800XL is a much better way to go. I'm running that Corsair memory in my DFI with that processor, I'm sitting nicely at 2.72GHz, 272 FSB
I also think on board audio works just fine, and would recommend that be your last piece. the MSI board even has built in Creative Audio.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:17 am 
Folding Momerator
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I would go with either the MSI or the Gigabyte board, it depends what your needs are. I like the software that comes with Gigabyte.

What I would do is use the onboard sound for now and kick up your processor or video card. Do you really need that hard drive? You can save money by cutting that down a notch too. Go to pricegrabber to price the processor. You don't say where your getting the prices from (Newegg I assume)- processors can usually be had cheaper at Zipzoomfly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:35 am 
Little Foot
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Gigapoop? their boards are crap, bad O/Cers decent stability. I have heard MSI has gotten better, but I've had to many problems to trust them personally. Plus, the Neo 4 is an SLI board and he is looking at an Ultra rig.
As far as the HDD, part of the alure of the NF 4 is it supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing, and SATA II, which is perfect for that Maxtor drive (mine runs 138MB/S, the same as 3XHitachi 80GB HDDs in RAID 0).
All the prices are based off Newegg, but that was just for comparison, always check around. I persoanlly like the Egg as they are super fast and I've never had a problem with them


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:39 am 
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capper5016 wrote:
I have heard MSI has gotten better, but I've had to many problems to trust them personally.


MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Ultra - $140 shipped (ZipZoomFly)

If you haven't looked at or used their recent offerings, you owe it to yourself to do so, especially as a Product Analyst for a hardware review site (LegitReviews - free plug for ya ;)). I've personally had hands-on experience with their Neo2 Plat and was quite surprised. I generally favor Asus and DFI has gotten my attention, but MSI's Neo4 mobo is tearing up the nF4 territory as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:35 am 
Little Foot
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LOL...thanks buddy. i would love to try out the new MSI board....but i'm still trying to repair damaged relationships from before I took over. The person who did this before me really burned some bridges....as soon as I can afford it, I will buy one and review it...just for you.
Then again, knowing you, I'll take your word at it, you know what you are talking about.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:57 am 
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If you really end up doing that, let me know when you're done. If I'm still in the market for a board, I'd take it off your hands. I'm putting together an nF4 rig and the only parts I haven't bought yet are basically the mobo, PSU, and video card. At this point, I'm waiting on Kingston to quit pushing back the ETA on some HyperX RAM I ordered before purchasing the remaining pieces - I'll be moving my OCZ Plats R2's from my son's machine to the new rig and putting the HyperX in his. So far, the newest ETA for shipping is 3/28 (I placed my order on 2/26).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:01 am 
Little Foot
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If I were you, I'd look at a combo of the DFI NF4 Ultra, and some OCZ PC4000VX Gold...which is specially made for AMD and more specifically that NF4 board. It'll run 2-2-2-5 at 260FSB....the problem is not a lot of board will let you run the 3.3V through the RAM that it requires.....but 260 at 2-2-2-5 sounds awesome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:13 am 
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capper5016 wrote:
If I were you, I'd look at a combo of the DFI NF4 Ultra, and some OCZ PC4000VX Gold.


DFI was my front runner for a long time until I read Anandtech's nF4 roundup - the MSI put on a strong overall showing and only trailed the DFI by a hair in overclocking using the Plats I already own- Link.

Of course, had they been using OCZ's VX line, I highly doubt MSI could keep up - it just doesn't have the voltage options found on the DFI and I would expect a somewhat of a wide gap between the two. If I didn't already own my Plats, there's a strong chance I would go with that very combo (nice review on the site, BTW). To be honest, I change my mind so often while stuck in limbo that I might end up selling the HyperX or Plats and going with a DFI/VX combo still yet.

On a related semi-thread hijacking note, did you notice any longterm stability problems with the DFI or interesting quirks?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:35 pm 
8086
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Thanks to everyone for the replys. A couple things I should clarify. The items I listed were reviewed with pricegrabber. All prices listed are from ZipZoomFly which was the least expensive (with shipping) on most items and close enough on the rest to not warrant purchases from multiple vendors.

I did not originally look at the DFI motherboard because of ignorance. I have used products from Asus, Gigabyte and MSI but never DFI. Although this is just my opinion and not based on studies, I have a comfort level with Gigabyte and MSI even though many rave about Asus. I have this same biased loyalty towards AMD. I will take your advice and search out others opinions and reviews of this board.

With the 3500+, does anyone have a site that could show me comparable benchmarks. I am not adverse to pumping up the CPU, I just want to ensure a reasonable gain for the extra cost. I think MPC did a bar graph on this in the past. My original thought was to go cheap and hopefully dual cores would drop the prices and I could throw in a 4000+ or whatever exists in that $300 - $400 range. Perhaps misguided.

I forgot about the quality of onboard sound from reviews I read. I will take the advice to eliminate the sound card.

Capper, you are correct about the NF4 Ultra, Maxtor Diamondmax 10 relationship. All reviews I have read on this combination have been quite favorable. Many tests have shown it meeting or exceeding the 72GB Raptor and there is always that additional 178 - 228 GBs remaining. As for the size, the aerial density assists with the speed but it also affords me great flexability. My wife was thinking of ripping our CD collection in high quality and link it to the stereo. Also, I already have 60 GB in video and work related files.

It also looks like I need to research the memory side. I usually assist friends in building basic computers that lack the funds for higher quality components.

Lastly, is XP Pro worth the extra cash? And does anyone have a good place for a cheaper OEM? I am seeing aroung $120 - $140.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:00 pm 
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If you look up reviews for the FX-55, many will include benches from a range of processors (3500+, 3800+, 4000+, etc). Here's a couple such reviews:

Link
Link 2


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:29 pm 
Little Foot
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I think you should go for the MSI mobo, which would eliminate the need for a sound card(for the most part) and then drop the extra cash down on either an ATI X800 XL or an AMD Athlon 64 3200, but that's just me. BTW, after reading those benchies 0ne4yu2c posted, how the hell did the 3.4 GHz Northwood beat out the 3.6 GHz LGA 775? I'm especially interested because I was thinking about working on a project with a Celeron D and was originally going to go with the LGA 775 version, the 478 might be better now.(sorry for getting off topic but I couldn't help myself. :oops: )


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:33 pm 
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Depending on the task, 3.6GHz is really the minimum where the Prescott needs to be to start showing off. The Northwood was/is a killer chip.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:39 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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MC-Screwdriver wrote:
how the hell did the 3.4 GHz Northwood beat out the 3.6 GHz LGA 775? I'm especially interested because I was thinking about working on a project with a Celeron D and was originally going to go with the LGA 775 version, the 478 might be better now.


The northwood has a shorter pipeline, and smaller cache. That leads to less of a hit from branch mispredictions, and shorter latencies (the BIG killer for high clock speed - it doesnt matter how much faster you're chips getting after a while; if you're waiting on memory that's not a register, you're waiting). The 3.6 will only "take over" if there is - a long loop that has very predictable jumps(read:video), loops where the data can just fit in the cache, more threads(low), since with more stages, it can split these threads to run them concurrently somewhat easier. Maxx i believe has a bit of experience dealing with the current p4s and could verify the northwood's superiority at equal clocks to the prescott.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:49 pm 
Little Foot
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Since this is Celeron D we're talking though, would it make a huge difference, afterall isn't more simplified than it's P4 brother?(btw I chose a Celeron D for OCing)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:39 pm 
Sharptooth
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modern day celerons suck for oc'ing and anything that was just t he p2 celeron thats good for oc'ing.

absolute top o the line ASUS board:

https://host201.ipowerweb.com/~hwrebuil ... b2e7e518fb

it may be SLI which you don't need but it has so damn many feutures(i can't spell and don't feel like googleing words right now) that it is hard to resist.

can that DFI really pump 3.2v into the ram holy shit :shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:08 am 
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capper5016 wrote:
Gigapoop? their boards are crap, bad O/Cers decent stability.

Your entitled to your opinion. We have 3 of them here and have no problems with them. I haven't tried to OC any of them, so that really is not something I require in a board. Before buying, I did go over to Overclockers forum & saw that yes, people there do OC Gigabyte boards.

capper5016 wrote:
All the prices are based off Newegg, but that was just for comparison, always check around. I persoanlly like the Egg as they are super fast and I've never had a problem with them



Yes, Newegg is fast & relaible, but are not the cheapest for everything any more. Zipzoomfly has taken over on that with a lot of the big ticket items (processors, mobo's)


zposz wrote:
I did not originally look at the DFI motherboard because of ignorance. I have used products from Asus, Gigabyte and MSI but never DFI. Although this is just my opinion and not based on studies, I have a comfort level with Gigabyte and MSI even though many rave about Asus. I have this same biased loyalty towards AMD. I will take your advice and search out others opinions and reviews of this board.


The mobo really depends on what your needs are. Gigabytes have features that are really important to me, as well as one of the best web sites to get tech support. Gigabyte answers emails as well as picks up their phone, which to me is a big selling point. If I can not get tech support on a product, why waste my money? I also love the software Gigabyte gives as well as their dual bios.

zposz wrote:
It also looks like I need to research the memory side. I usually assist friends in building basic computers that lack the funds for higher quality components.


I have a post here, from when I was looking for memory for my son's system. Perhaps some of the recommendations will help you.

zposz wrote:
Lastly, is XP Pro worth the extra cash?


I run Pro on 1 machine out of 5, and don't use any of the added features of Pro.

dunn2953 wrote:


Those of you looking at Asus boards may want to give their web site a try. From what I've seen the last few weeks, a lot of Asus's site has been down. This includes parts of the tech support section of their site. If the site does not meet your needs, I suggest finding another brand mobo. I guess it's possible they are upgrading or changing, but there is no mention of that on any page I have looked at.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:49 pm 
8086
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Thanks Blondie.

Based on the posts and reviews I think I am sticking with the MSI or Gigabyte board with Windows Home version. The link on Ram was helpful and should point me in the right direction.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:54 am 
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zposz wrote:
Thanks Blondie.

Based on the posts and reviews I think I am sticking with the MSI or Gigabyte board with Windows Home version. The link on Ram was helpful and should point me in the right direction.


Your welcome. I just went to my ram post, most of the prices have come down pretty much. Newegg is out of the one we went with OCZ EL Platinum Revision 2 Dual Channel Kit. I see Monarch has it- for $279.00. Of course this is one of the two that went up :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:34 am 
Little Foot
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One4yu2c wrote:
capper5016 wrote:
If I were you, I'd look at a combo of the DFI NF4 Ultra, and some OCZ PC4000VX Gold.


(nice review on the site, BTW). To be honest, I change my mind so often while stuck in limbo that I might end up selling the HyperX or Plats and going with a DFI/VX combo still yet.

On a related semi-thread hijacking note, did you notice any longterm stability problems with the DFI or interesting quirks?


After DFI released their 217 BIOS I had zero problems. I've been using their 310 BIOS for a week and everything is smooth. I run stable at 2.72GHZ 24/7.


Blondie, I know everyone is entitlesd to their opinion, don't take offense, i just test review motherboards for a living....sorry.
their are different levels of boards.....
DFI- Stable, very good O/Cer, great bundle
ABIT-Not as stable, good O/Cer, but really hit or miss.
ASUS_ Excellent stability, avg O/Cer. they just sent me their new SLI board, should have it up for review next week, definitely a said to be a better board than their original SLI offering.
MSI_ Really making a comeback, still kind of hit and miss, but a good O/Cer, decent stability
Gigabyte_ Good stability, horrible O/Cer, overpriced.




As to the Egg, their prices are really comparable to ZZF's and everyone elses, i recommend them because of their shipping. I also used their link for pricing as it is a large site thats easy to find.


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