Building A Computer

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Bassman_Spike, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Hey everybody

    I will be off to university next year doing a multimedia course so my parent said they would buy a computer (im very lucky!)
    This computer will be used primarily for the university course, so multimedia development, programing ect but i will also use it for games, recording, general.

    At the moment im stuck on some key desicions

    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 vs Pentium 4 w/HT

    PCI Express vs AGP x8

    and that will determine the graphics card

    nVidia vs ATI

    So if anyone some experience or just a personal preferance between these types of things let me know.

    Advantages/disadvantages between these would be nice

  2. Generally P4 is supposed to be more performant. However it's also more expensive, and so the trade-off. Generally you'd want an AGP video card because they are basically the standard for replacing and swapping out video cards. I think most, if not all video cards nowadays are AGP. AGP is supposed to be faster at retrieving information or something.

    I'm no expert but these are some generalizations that I know of. I don't know your budget and what specific requirements you have, and I'm not that knowledgeable on technology, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
  3. Sounds like to me that you'll need a high performance PC. Graphics work is hugely intensive on a PC and you'll need all the power you can afford. Rendering and multiple filters will show your computers true weakness if you haven't built one that's up to snuff.

    AMD vs. P4: Depends on what you'll be doing. If you find yourself using 64 bit applications in the future, than go for the 64 bit processor. But there aren't a great deal of them out there right now so a high grade P4 should do just fine. They're both high performing units and it comes down to personal preference more often than not.

    PCI vs. AGP: PCIX cards are just starting to flow into the market. There aren't many of them which makes the cards that are available super expensive. AGP is already established and there are many choices in what you're looking for. If you plan to buy only PCIX cards in the future and you want to spend the money, then go for it. But AGP cards are plentiful and so are the options right now. Either way, you'll need a high performance card because graphics development needs it. Especially if you are going to use games on it. Then you'll really need something nice. I would buy the nicest you can afford.

    NVIDIA vs. ATI: This is also personal preference. Once upon a time ATI had the worst drivers know to man. Fortunately they've since changed that and they're on par with NVIDIA. They both have some really high performing cards right now and it all depends on what your preference is. I suggest checking out the video card reviews on Very informative.

    You'll also needs gobs of memory, lots of hard drive space and a fast FSB (front-side bus) on your motherboard. So there are alot of factors to consider.
  4. Look for benchmark tests on this site

    Of interest are their tests of P4 vs AMD 64. People often say that the AMD 64 chips will only be good once applications are specifically written for them, but the benchmark tests suggest otherwise. For recent games like Doom 3 and Far Cry AMD64 absolutely wiped the floor with the P4 chips - and they are cheaper too. The only negative thing I've heard is that they run hotter than the P4 and so might be more likely to have technical issues. Still, I'd definitely vote AMD.

    As for graphics cards, PCI-E will not be faster with current graphics cards, but it will allow you more options to upgrade in the future. Motherboards that allow PCI-E will probably be more expensive though. For previous generation graphics cards, I think ATI has a bit of an edge with the 9600xt or 9800 pro. For current generation cards, while the top of the line cards are pretty close (GeForce 6800 and Radeon X800), Nvidia definitely wins in the mid-range category. I believe the 6600GT is probably the best bang for buck right now at about $200 US (which is probably what the 9800 pro costs, but the 6600GT is much faster). If I had to buy a card right now, that would be the one.

    Of course, buying a cheap premade computer that is perfectly capable of doing pretty much anything other than gaming will probably save you $500 or more - money that could easily be spent on an X-box with a few hundred to spare for games.
  5. Diowulf

    Diowulf Guest

    Aug 4, 2004
    San Rafael CA
    Im not sure about the P4, but I would go with the AMD because I'm a big time supporter of AMD. I heard the front side bus speed is the same as the processor speed, but I have not heard anything about P4. As far as video cards, I would say it's all preference, both companies are good though. But choose a motherboard with AGP.
  6. Thanks for the help so far guys.

    With the processor i have been leaning towards the AMD 64 mainly becuase i have an Athlon XP at the moment and its worked with out a problem for 3 years now. I like that it hasnt had a problem. Also its cheaper than the P4, and the 64 bit thing might work out nicely for the future.

    With graphics cards, if i get an AGP mobo the card i will get will be

    ATI Radeon 9800pro 128mb
    nVidia GeForce FX 5700 256mb

    If i go PCI-Ex I am looking at a
    ATI Radeon x700 Pro 128mb
    nVidia GeForce FX6600GT 128mb

    These are the cards in my price hoping that prices for AGP cards will come down a bit more later in the year.

    Let me know what u think about any of these cards
  7. sknkh


    Mar 21, 2004
    The x700 and 6600GT are fairly new cards, and as of such there aren't that many benchmarks avaliable for them.

    However as far as AGP cards go, I would recommend getting the 9800pro, currently the one of best 'bang for buck' graphics card out there at the moment IMO.

    Another option would be to wait for the 6600GT to come out in AGP form (Nvidia announced they would be bringing it out near the end of this month). An it's a safe bet, that the GT will be perform better than the 9800pro and it should be about the same price, the 98000pro is becoming fairly outdated nowdays anyway.

    edit: Here is a benchmarking test that you might find helpful when deciding: