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Need Computer Hardware Suggestions

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Bassman_Spike, May 29, 2004.

  1. My computer is starting to get old (3 years) and a lot of new games and software run to slow, so i am going to get a new computer or most likely build it myself.
    Here is my situation:
    -I want it made by the end of the year
    -Have a smallish budget
    -Want to do Multimedia/software development course at Uni next year
    -Want to do recording
    -Have a 40gig HDD, CD-writer, network card, mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer and stuff like that already

    So i need something that will last for another 3 or 4 years while im at uni. I have heard that there will be alot of new technology coming out soon (PCI-express) so i dont no if i should get that kind of stuff or stick with the stuff that is out now.
    Seeing im on a small budget i dont no which stuff to spend more money on and which to spend less. Like should i get a 64bit Athlon, or just get the old Athlon Xp's.
    I was thinking something like this...taking into account the prices are in Australian Dollars

    HARD DRIVE: 120gig $170
    CPU: ATHLON XP 2800+ $200
    RAM: 512mb $180
    VIA or Nforce 2
    VIDEO CARD: 256mb 128bit $250
    RADEON 9600XT or
    nVidia Geforce FX5700
    DVD ROM: Liteon $50

    The main thing im worried about that system would be the ram. I know stuff goes out of date and new technology comes out quicker but i dont no if that system would even last a year, especially if i bought it at the end of the year. So i put together another list of stuff...the only problem with this is it might be a bit out of my price range.

    HARD DRIVE: 120gig $170
    RAM: 1GB (2x512mb) $400
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 2800 $310
    MOTHERBOARD: Soltek SL-K8AN-RL $165
    VIDEO CARD: 256mb 128bit $300

    So what does everyone think?
    What are the good points i have and bad points?
    Any other suggestions?
    What about the new technology?

    There is a lot of stuff there so thanks for reading.
  2. I just have a few suggestions for your setup there...

    1) Since you're planning on Multimedia/development, you really need to look into getting more RAM...at least 1 GB. 1 1/2 Gigs would be even better....RAM's fairly cheap right now.

    2) No reason to get a DVD-ROM...if you can spare about $90 USD, you can get a DVDRW. They are really cheap right now.

    3) With the video card you've got listed...if you go the GeForce route, definitely look into the FX 5900 instead...costs about the same, but the 5900 has some extra features integrated into it.

    Other than that man...setup looks pretty good, especially since you're on a budget.
  3. Thanks for the suggestions, i will look into the 5900
  4. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Go the ATI route. Their cores are quicker, they render proportionally "faster," and you get more 3dmarks per dollar spent on ati cards accross the whole range than you do on the Nvidia cards.

    I implore you to get an Nforce2 mobo, there really is no contest over the via.

    And remember, you're gonna have to pay for the case, leads and PSU which could come to another $150-$200 depending on which case you get.

    Oh yeah, while im on about this, make sure you have good case cooling. You can have the bestest most powerful system ever (tm) and unless you have enough case ducting, and extraction / induction fans your PC will run like crap.

    You really need, one 60mm fan at the front that sucks, on 60mm at the back that blows, the CPUcooler ducted out to the back and one cooling your HDD :) (imo)
  5. I'd have to disagree with this. ATI and Nvidia are pretty much equal. One day, ATI will come out with a card that performs the best on benchmarks, the next day Nvidia will release one that blows it away. I've used both ATI and Nvidia, and really haven't noticed either of them being "faster" than the other.

    Besides, when you look at ATI...do you remember the sad days of the TNT cards??
  6. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I think its reductive to suggest that the new ATI cards are "worse" because of the TNT series that went out of production years ago.
  7. I didn't mean to judge the current Radeon cards based on the fact that the TNT card sucked...what I meant to point out is that there will come a day when ATI is considered the worst video card producer. Nvidia used to be terrible as well...back when 3DFX Voodoo cards were the thing to have.

    The video card market is always changing, and the "best" video card producer constantly changes as well.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I wouldn't spend money on 64 bits just yet. The systems are out there and they work, but the majority of the applications haven't been ported over yet. Audio stuff in particular uses rigid formats sometimes (internally). My buddy has the new Pinnacle software and it works fine on a 64-bit system, but Cakewalk won't work at all on his system. I'd go with the fastest 32-bit CPU I could find, and spend the extra money on RAM. The memory is critical for audio applications. Also, try not to load too much other junk on your recording machine. In particular try to refrain from surfing the Internet with it. You never know what kind of music-hating software you might encounter out there on the Web. My old ME system used to hang whenever someone pinged my machine (which I never knew about till I got ZoneAlarm and started finding out how many would-be hackers are out there, I was blown away when I first started looking at the log file). The other key factors in my experience are a fast bus and a fast hard disk interface. A SCSI/Raid controller would be a great investment for musical purposes. On my box, it increased my hard disk throughput about twenty times. I'm using a Pentium 4/2800 with a gig of ram, SCSI disk, and CD burner. There's nothing else on the machine except for a decent video card in the AGP slot. I record 8 tracks at once through my Delta 1010, and the system hasn't glitched once (yet). I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Oh and, Win2k Pro or XP Pro. Don't mess with the personal versions at all, use the Pro version of whatever operating system you choose, it's much more stable and reliable.
  9. The list looks fairly good, and I'd make some suggestions, but those prices look awfully steep: (specifically, the CPU and RAM) Do computer parts cost more in Australia? I wonder if places like newegg ship there? For those prices, it seems that you could get alot more.
  10. I have worked (got laid off last month) in the computer hardware business for the last few years, in RMA. Which means I have seen just about every piece of hardware out there and which ones work and which ones break. So here is my Opinion.
    First off get a SATA hard drive. You can’t beat the speed for the price now.
    Get at least one Meg of RAM and get DDR 3500 or better. Also make sure the board is expandable to at least 2 GIG. You should always get the largest single module you can get in pairs. Two 512s will allow you to expand to another pair of 512s in the future as opposed to four 256s which will limit you if you want/need to upgrade in the future.
    The board should support both SATA and IDE drives in various combinations including onboard RAID if you want to stick a bunch of drives in the future. It should also have Dual Channel memory to maximize the RAM you have.
    I am fonder of Intel CPUs then AMD but I do agree that overall they are better for graphics and music.
    Video cards are pretty even now between ATI and Nvidia, choose one with the features you need and try and get a wholesale pack which will save you money by not being burdened with the cost of all the silly games and such that come with it.
    DVDRWs are the way to go if you’re going to put a new DVD in. They are very cheap now compared to even a year ago. Just make sure you get a good brand that will handle all types of media. My personal favorite is the SONY one.

    I would avoid the 64 bit procesore as there is nothing much out there that takes advantage of it yet.

    and of course Win XP pro or 2000 Pro
  11. Mike brings up some excellent points about SATA etc.

    As for ram, PC-3200 is the highest official speed. PC3500 and higher is just easier to overclock. If you don't plan on overclocking your system, stick with 3200. Also, since you're on a budget, i would not recommend duel-channel memory; that would required an $800 FX CPU, which I would not recommend for that budget. And about the 64 bit processors--yes, their 64-bit capabilities will remain unused for a long time, but they still outperform the non-64 bit ones in clockspeed. (the AMD64 3000+ is clocked at 2ghz.)

  12. Sorry I meant 3200, been building too many overclockers lately.
    And I wasn't refering to Dual CPU boards just Dual Channel RAM support.

    My personal board is an ALbatron 865PE Pro II with a gig of 3200 running in dual channel mode with 160 gig SATA as my primary and a removable 80 GIG IDE drive for backup. I rum a P4 2.8 800 FSB.


    I am a big fan of Albatron products simply due to their very low failure rate.Of all the brands that my company caried it had the best record.
  13. Yea, but one of the problems with AMD is that only their highest end CPUs support duel-channel memory.
  14. It looks like I'm in the minority here but I would go with an Intel P4. AMD's run hot and excessive heat in a PC means instability. You can keep an AMD cool but having your PC sound like a wind tunnel just to keep your CPU cool is an annoyance.

    ABIT makes some very high quality MOBO's. ASUS does as well. If you're going to use this machine for multimedia, there are a few things you're going to want to make sure your system has, and then build from there.

    A fast FSB (front side bus)
    Alot of Memory
    A potent Video Card
    An 8x AGP Slot
    As fast a CPU as you can afford

    These are thing components that will make or break your PC. Bandwidth is the key in a multimedia/graphics PC. You're not going to want your FSB or your video card slowing you down when you're in the middle of a project. Most of the high-end video cards nowadays are 8x compatible. Look for a board with an 8x AGP slot and you'll make full use of the cards capabilities.

    I would suggest Corsair memory. Their XMS RAM is a consisten front-runner in memory shoot-outs. Get as much as you can for your money. You'll never go wrong with buying as much RAM as you can afford.

    Again, staying with the bandwidth issue, SATA hard drives will be a wise choice as well. Which has already been stated. RAID would be good too, but that's pricey. But hey, what in computers isn't?

    Also buy a large PSU. When you throttle up your PC for a large multimedia file and get your compenents sucking up a lot of energy, you'll see the difference that a high-quality power supply will give you. I would go with a 450 watt model. They're relatively inexpensive these days.

    As far as PCI Express, I wouldn't wait around for that technology. Waiting around for the biggest and best technology to surface, before you upgrade is a never-ending journey. As soon as one hits the shelves, they're already debuting another one. Just be sure to buy the fastest components you can at the time, and you'll be good. Often times, a new hardware standard also brings about higher hidden and associated costs. So that's something to remember.
  15. Wow thanks everyone...lots to take in there, so i will do some more research in the next couple of days in the things you have been talking about and compile a new lis of stuff i might get.

    Keep the suggestions coming though.

  16. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    Well sudjestions... fun fun fun

    i personally would wait because few things should be out in start of summer like PCI eXPress new video cards new sata system...

    With motherboard, first again i would wait for pci eXPress and equal to that video cards.
    Abit and Asus are great brands... MSI is decent... when biulding pcs for customers i put MSI in low budget ones they worked fine but for performance system abit or asus... they are not that much more

    Prossesors... dont let anyone tell you Intel is better then AMD or other way around... they are both good... I personally have p4 and like it... i also biult and had AMD and they are as good.. the diffrents is some are better for games other better for video music etc etc I really dont know if you can notice that much:] both are good

    RAM: again THE PRICE you have is INSAME!!! i would stay away from generic go with Kingstom is ok... corsair is greatest:] not sure but i think mushkin too

    Video: well this is intresting... people will never agree on it... some think nvidia some ATI both have problems and both have good points i would really wait to look what they will do with eXPress and see then who is better I perosnally went for nvidia because for a while ATI had driver problems... it looks like they fixed it now... both companies cheat in specs... With ATI is fairly easy HOWEVER with nvidia dont go for generic... asus is good abit is good msi is ok few others are good but stay away from generic...

    Harddisk: I would defenatly go for SATA (I think sata300 coming out soon...)
    I really sudjest staying AWAY from IBM/hitachi and (some might kill me but) maxtor is not too great... WD is so so i had saveral die on me with in 3 months... seagate is my personal choice never had problems with them (their scsi is greatest thing in the world)... SATA > IDE and costs about the same so go with SATA

    DVD-rom my dvd burner was 70$ (USD) my dvdrom/cdrw combo was 25$ (USD) (both liteon) I think you should look into dvd/cdrw combo they should be around 50AUD

    (power supply unit) not just power matters... if you have generic it can burn down whole system... unlikely but it will make your system unstable! antec is very good... ENERMAX too

    If you want i can be more spacific... i have not paid much attention to new news because i closed down my business (biuld/fix/repair/trash computers) i still do computer repair and play around with it but i have not been all in with new hardware so it will be intresting to me to look into it again...

    Acctually i will do that right now and add some stuff:p because i am insane and i dont feel like writing papers...

    EDIT: if you like i have friend in perth and i forget where i can ask them for few stores:]

    EDIT: i notice that it is AUD i wasent sure:] sorry