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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it looks like I'm going to have to build a new box. The e-machine that I'm currently using will be going to my mother, and since I prefer building my own custom system rather than buying a pre-packaged system. Since it's been a while I need some recommendations, and I'm going by Pricewatch prices...

Here's what I'm looking at so far:
CPU: Looking at spending ~$150. This gives me a Athlon XP 2100, MP 1600, or a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz
Memory: probably 2x512MB sticks
Drive Allocation:
Primary Master-I will be reusing an old EIDE hard drive (Quantum 13 GB) until I can upgrade to a larger drive. I think it's a ATA/66 drive. However, the drive will be located in a removable drive bracket for other OS experimentation.
Primary Slave-None
Secondary Master-LG Electronics GCC-4120 Combo-Retail package.
Secondary Slave-CD-ROM drive that I have laying around
Motherboard: Any recommendations? No on-board video, maybe on-board sound if it's good. I should be able to upgrade the CPU when the prices drop. Legacy support for Printer and modem. Have had good experience with ASUS motherboards.
Video Card: MPEG-2 Decoder for DVD playback. Possible video still capture. Possibly some game playing.
Soundcard: Playback of MP3 files, audio from DVDs.
Monitor: Will use existing monitor.

Help!!!!
 

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God Bless America!
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2,538 Posts
"CPU: Looking at spending ~$150. This gives me a Athlon XP 2100, MP 1600, or a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz"

The Athlon XP 2100+ by far!

"Memory: probably 2x512MB sticks"

Nice, get DDR2100 for the best deal

"Primary Master-I will be reusing an old EIDE hard drive (Quantum 13 GB) until I can upgrade to a larger drive. I think it's a ATA/66 drive. However, the drive will be located in a removable drive bracket for other OS experimentation.
Primary Slave-None"

If that's enough space for you. With that much RAM, you might as well drop it to 512 and put the money towards a decent sized drive.

"Motherboard: Any recommendations? No on-board video, maybe on-board sound if it's good. I should be able to upgrade the CPU when the prices drop. Legacy support for Printer and modem. Have had good experience with ASUS motherboards."

MS K7T266Pro2 (I think that's the model). It's nice. Very nice. No onboard video. Crappy onboard sound, so disable it and get a real sound card (they all have onboard sound these days, but it's easily deactivated in the BIOS)

"Video Card: MPEG-2 Decoder for DVD playback. Possible video still capture. Possibly some game playing."

For capture, get an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 (I LOVE it!!!), for cheap, get an ATI Radeon 8500

"Soundcard: Playback of MP3 files, audio from DVDs"

Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. No choice. It's cheap ($79) AND the best sounding.
 

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New Texan
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11,465 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, some of the stuff is compromose. I really DONT want to skimp on some of this stuff, however, this came all of a sudden. Rather than try to patch my mothers Pentium 200 machine, I'm going to let her have my e-machine. (Long story, I prefer to build my own boxes).

You're absolutely right. 13GB will not be enough long term, but will get me up and running in the short term. I will need to upgrade the hard drive.

So far, I've read some good reviews about the ASUS A7S333. It includes on-board sound (C-media, not AC97), and has no on-board media, plus can handle practically any processor that AMD puts out. Still looking at a few other manufacturers.

Still looking.... I've got a few weeks.
 

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Banned
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FWIW, I have a 13GB HD and have only used 4 gigs, 1gig of which are MP3's. But it all depends on what you do and what you save to your HD. I save hardly anything to my HD but rather I packet write on CDRWs.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Go for the RAM initially and do the HD later. Wait a month or two and you'll get another 40 gigs for the same money. :D
 

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God Bless America!
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"C-media, not AC97"

Even the Cmedia is processor intensive and bad sounding. Put out the $79 for a Santa Cruz, you won't regret it (it's an awesome card). Just know the vXd drivers are terrible, but as long as you're using 2000 or XP (WDM drivers, and a far better OS) this isn't an issue.
 

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New Texan
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11,465 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anyone got any suggestions for Socket A motherboard that also has serial, parallel, and PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports?
 

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New Texan
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11,465 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm doing some more research. Fortunately, I don't have to rush on this....

Tom's Hardware gave very high marks to the Gigabyte GA-7VRXP. Once again, it has a on-board sound, but it's a Creative CT5880 audio. Motherboards.org also gave the board high marks. ExHardware also gave it a good review. Tweaktown said the same thing. Any comments about this manufacturer?

What makes it annoying is that, unlike video card reviews, it's harder to find reviews for motherboards.

I also did some looking around. So far, I like one mid-size case that not only has enough drive bays, it also has a detachable door which is lockable and two additional fans in the back-a must.
 

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God Bless America!
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Don't worry about onboard audio. They almost all have it, but it just takes one click in the BIOS to disable it, and you can use a real card like the Santa Cruz.
 

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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just because it was the fourth of July was a good excuse to do some looking at the computer stores....

What I'm upgrading from: A Celeron 566 eMachine upgraded from 64MB to 256MB of RAN. It has both a regular CD-ROM drive and a combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. However, it doesn't have enough omph for what I need it to do. Since my mother's Pentium 200 is starting to fail, I'm going to five her the e-machine and build my own box. The parts from her old box will give me yet another box to play around with for networking.

Case: I saw a NICE mid-sized ATX case with a 300W power supply at a computer shop. It has four 5" slots and two 3-1/2" slots for drives, plus two internal fans to keep things cool. After 15 years of unscrewing cases, this one has a nice removable side panel.

Motherboard:
Primary choice: Gigabyte GZ-7VRXP (http://www.mbreview.com/links.php?op=viewslink&sid=156)
Secondary choice: ASUS A7V333 (http://www.mbreview.com/links.php?op=viewslink&sid=158)
Both motherboards seem to be top-ranked motherboards, and have RAID support as well. Slight edge to the Gibabyte because of the internal Creative audio chip rather than the C-Media chip and a on-board LAN. If worse comes to worse, I can always disable the audio and go to a secondary audio board.

CPU: Probably Athlon XP 2100 (~$167). However, if things prove tight, I can downgrade to a slower processor and upgrade to a faster one later.

Memory: 512MB PC2700 $93. Looks like I don't need a pair of memory sticks unlike previous motherboards.

Video: Probably a Retail Boxed ATI Radeon 8500. $194 according to Insight. Tempted by the GeForce 4 cards, but I'm not a hard core gamer. The Radeon should provide omph to play back DVDs plus be powerful enough for some game playing.

Hard drive: Will reuse a Quantum 13GB ATA/66 HD for now, upgraded to a faster speed drive later. Will mount drive internally.
CD-ROM: Will reuse a 50x CD-ROM drive. Will add a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive.

OS: Windows XP OEM, probably Home Version. Heck, I might as well get familiar with it if Microsoft forces it down our customer's throats.

Monitor: Will reuse a MultiSync M500.

Future upgrades:
* CD-RW/DVD ROM combo. LG electronics seems to have a good drive.
* ATA/133 removal HD drive bracket. I fully intend on working on Linux, and I prefer drive swapping.
* Soundcard? Lets see how the internal one works first.
 

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God Bless America!
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"Case: I saw a NICE mid-sized ATX case with a 300W power supply at a computer shop. It has four 5" slots and two 3-1/2" slots for drives, plus two internal fans to keep things cool. After 15 years of unscrewing cases, this one has a nice removable side panel."

Cool

"Motherboard:
Primary choice: Gigabyte GZ-7VRXP (http://www.mbreview.com/links.php?op=viewslink&sid=156)
Secondary choice: ASUS A7V333 (http://www.mbreview.com/links.php?op=viewslink&sid=158)
Both motherboards seem to be top-ranked motherboards, and have RAID support as well. "

You really should check out MSI - awesome performance, great service, low prices. WWW.MSI.COM.TW

"Slight edge to the Gibabyte because of the internal Creative audio chip rather than the C-Media chip and a on-board LAN."

The C-Media is a lot better than that Creative.

"CPU: Probably Athlon XP 2100 (~$167). However, if things prove tight, I can downgrade to a slower processor and upgrade to a faster one later."

Good idea. The 2000+ is almost as fast, and a large amount cheaper

"Memory: 512MB PC2700 $93. Looks like I don't need a pair of memory sticks unlike previous motherboards."

No, of course not. You only need pairs with SIMMs, not DIMMs (and DIMMS replaced SIMMs a LONG time ago - your eMachine don't need pairs either, the Pentium 200 MIGHT)

"Video: Probably a Retail Boxed ATI Radeon 8500. $194 according to Insight. Tempted by the GeForce 4 cards, but I'm not a hard core gamer. The Radeon should provide omph to play back DVDs plus be powerful enough for some game playing."

Good choice. That Radeon is as powerful as a GeForce3 Ti500 for games, has better quality DVD and 2D video than any nVidia-based card.

"OS: Windows XP OEM, probably Home Version. Heck, I might as well get familiar with it if Microsoft forces it down our customer's throats."

Good choice, XP is significantly better than 2000 (and if you're still using 9x/Me it's infinitely better). One thing, the Pro is better, but not $100 better for most people. (I have pro though, and I'm glad)

"Soundcard? Lets see how the internal one works first."

Go all out, spend $79 on the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. It's THE best sounding card available (though it doesn't have as good of on-the-fly positioning for games as the Creative crud (Creative cards have a lot of distortion), but it does have it).
 

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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Hall Of Fame/Supporter
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You also get a nice sticker (and a logo box).....
 

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God Bless America!
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2,538 Posts
Correct. For the CPU you might as well get a boxed one unless you want to overclock (need a bigger fan)
 

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God Bless America!
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"MSI KT4 Ultra - Can't find the exact motherboard match" That's because it's brand new. It's the KT400 chipset for 400MHz DDR SDRAM (which is why I said if you want to go all out)
 
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