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Hardware shopping Q's from a newbie

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  • Hardware shopping Q's from a newbie

    Hi :)
    I'm building a system from scratch for the first time and I've been out of the hardware loop for a while.

    First off, this is what I've decided to get:
    MB: Soyo Dragon Ultra Platinum
    CPU: Athlon XP 2200
    Graphix card: Albatron or Chaintech Geforce4 Ti 4600
    HD: Samsung 80 gb 7200 rpm EIDE
    Ram: Generic PC2700 ddr
    Modem: 56k V.92
    DVD-R: Pioneer dvr 104
    DVD Drive: 16x
    Zip Drive: 250mb IoMega Internal
    Sound: Onboard chip on the MB
    Monitor: already have one

    I still haven't decided on a case or speakers but so far I've gotten the above products for around $1100 usd. The main questions I have are:
    Should I get another harddrive for RAID and if so what type/size etc would be most cost/performance efficient?
    Is the DVD burner really worth the cost and how good is it?
    Will I have all the wires and cables to connect all this and how hard will it be?
    What would be a good case for this?
    And finally, are some of these brands really ****ty or not, and am I leaving any parts out?

    The majority of my shopping has been on Pricewatch and reading reviews, but I'm still pretty much a newbie.
    I'd appreciate any help/advice anyone can give me.
    Thanks in advance. :)

  • #2
    I would go with a different HDD, but that's just me. Since you have a system built around some top of the line components, why not get a HDD that meets these same levels of performance? The Western Digital 8MB cache models are Kick-Ass all around and won't be the cause of system slowdowns.

    I would also stay away from generic memory. Again, since you have some high-end components, there is probably a good chance that you'll eventually try your hand at overclocking. Generic memory may or may not be able to handle the stresses of this, but a majority of the name brands go through a much more comprehensive testing process before they are sold. This will not only give you added assurances when it comes time to overclock, but will also give you a better quality memory module for normal usage.

    Be careful with DVD burners. I haven't kept up with the market for the past couple of months, but there were two big players vying for the industry standard for burning formats. Unless this has been narrowed down to one player, I'd wait a bit.

    If you decide to go with a RAID setup, then try to buy two hard drives that are identical. This will give you the nest chance at a speedy storage solution and cause the least amount of chances for incompatabilities in the array.

    Looks good so far. Just remember to have fun with the project. ;)
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
    My Toys


    • #3
      Basically i'd say the same thing. Replace that samsung with Western digital or seagate. Replace that generic memory with proper memory, even without overclocking generic memory can cause problems, basically i wouldnt use it under any circumstances. As for that DVD Burner, your fine with a DVD-R burner as thats the official DVD standard, so dont worry about all the DVD+R burners out there, and if you dont know what im talking about then just ignore


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ehhe Yebeb
        As for that DVD Burner, your fine with a DVD-R burner as thats the official DVD standard, so dont worry about all the DVD+R burners out there
        It is well that they finally standardized one of them. :)
        Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
        My Toys


        • #5
          Is the sound on the motherboard decent?? If not a SB Live 5.1 is pretty cheap.
          You may want to spend a little on better ram as people have said.
          Oh with the Zip drive theres 750mb versions out not so u may want to have a look at those to make your system a little more future proof :thumb:


          • #6
            Im pretty sure the sound on that mobo is six channel AC97. An SB Live will give you slightly better sound quality, although the difference is quite small. The SB Live will also use less system resources, yet again tho, the difference is quite small.


            • #7
              Thanks for the advice :)
              Btw the soyo mb comes with a c-media cm18738 sound chip which is supposed to be better than the a97 one.
              Which memory brand should i get btw and should i go for faster than the PC2700 ram?
              Also any info on a good yet affordable case for this w/ a power supply would be helpful.
              Thanks again :): peace:


              • #8
                PC2700 DDR is about $15-20 more per 256MB module than PC2100, so it's really a matter of choice, but the extra speed never hurts. :)

                As to which brand, there are several good ones. I generally prefer Crucial myself. It uses Micron modules (since Crucial is owned by Micron) and their memory also overclocks well. If you order directly from then it is likely that you can order it with free 2nd day shipping also.

                For cases, it depends on what you mean by "affordable". I like the Antec cases for personal use since they're sturdy, large and include top of the line PSU units. A decent seller of this line is since they have a huge selection and usually sell at about 1/3 off the retail price.
                Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
                My Toys


                • #9
                  mobo - lots of good features

                  cpu - good pick if that's what you're going to stick with for a while, if you're planning to upgrade to a faster one soon (as they become available) you might want to save some bucks now and go with an 1800+ or 1900+

                  vid card - since you list a DVD burner, are you going to edit video? Will you need an analog input or would it be all digital? Make sure the card has all of the i/o you think you might need.

                  h.d. - want performance from a single drive - go with W.D. w/8mb cache

                  ram - forget generic stuff - not going to over clock? use Crucial (there are other good brands, but many of them sell more than one quality level, and as you are new to this stuff, it can be hard to compare) - for straight up performance or overclocking, try Corsair or Mushkin cas2

                  modem - the only thing I would consider here is whether it will be your only connection - if it is a backup for broadband, consider a USB model, as you can simply connect and disconnect as needed

                  DVD burner - if you don't really have plans for putting one to use for a lot right away, I would probably wait and add one later - I believe prices will fall some more by Xmas and some more compatability issues may be worked out by then

                  DVD player - find a deal on a name brand (even a re-branded one i.e. Pine was selling re-branded Hitachi drives for cheap that worked just fine)

                  Zip drive - unless you think you really need a Zip drive (you submit files to someone who insists on Zip media) I would skip it and buy a cd/rw, I regularly buy blank cds at 10 cents apiece after rebate, even at $10us for a 250 meg Zip disk, I can buy 100 cds that each hold 700mb and everybody can use the media

                  sound - ok

                  raid - you have to decide whether you want to pay the extra money for the performance boost - read some benchmarking reviews on line and decide for yourself - size of the drives depends on your anticapated storage needs ( if you are going to edit video, consider a couple of 7200rpm 80gb or larger)

                  Get a case with enough bays to hold everything you want. Get a good power supply (350-450w), case fans, cpu cooler (if you buy an OEM processor). You should get enough cables for everything unless you buy all OEM drives which often don't come with cables (your mobo will come with 2 ide cables).

                  These are the things that I would consider, just my humble opinion.

                  Have fun on your project. May the Geforce be with you.


                  • #10
                    K, I stayed up all last night shopping and this is what I got:

                    Motherboard: Soyo Dragon Ultra Platinum
                    CPU: Athlon 2200 XP w/ heatsink & fan
                    Graphix card: Albatron GeForce4 Ti4600
                    HDD: Western Digital 80gb 8mb buf
                    Ram: Corsair PC2700 w/ heatsink
                    DVD-RW: Pioneer 104
                    DVD Drive: Lite-on 16x
                    Zip: 250 IoMega Internal
                    Floppy: TEAC 3.5
                    Speakers: Altec Lansing 820 2:1
                    CASE: ATX Tower , Neon Light , 400 W PS w/ 2 80mm fans

                    Got all that for a grand total of $1,359.90 usd. The hardest part was shopping for the case.
                    So any last minute opinions on what I got would be appreciated. Don't think it's too late to cancel or so I hope. Now I'm just lookin forward to putting this baby together, though I'm probably gonna hafta buy more cables/connectors etc that I'm sure I forgot to get.
                    Thanks for all the info