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Discussion Starter #1
I think I'm finally ready to take on the task of building my first computer. I just need some help from some more experienced computer people on selecting the parts.

I found a motherboard/processor/ram combo that i think I'm going to buy
P4 1.4Ghz, ABIT BW7 motherboard and 512mb PC133 SDRAM for $346 (anyone know if thats a reasonble price?)

What i really need help on is sound and video cards. What brands are good, and which should i stay away from? And also, when buying a monitor whats the most important thing to look for? DPI, resolution, etc?

any help would be appreciated
 

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get a soundblaster Live! for sound,
Get an NVidia GeForce video card (get a 3 if you can afford it, a GeForce 2 Ultra is a little cheaper.both should have 64MB on em)

.26 or less for dot pitch, a 19" is supposedly the defacto standard these days. in my opinion Sony monitors are about the best (I have 3 myself)

if u do online shopping check out www.pricewatch.com as yer gonna find the best deals there.
 

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What do yo uwant to do with the video card? For general graphic and business needs with occasional gaming ATI makes great cards. Nvidea is the best for strictly gaming though. The GeForce Ultra can be bought for great prices.

Sound Blaster Live! is the way to go. My main system is running one with a set of Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 speakers (4 speakers + 1 sub) and the sound is incredible. Everything form MP3's to Need for Speed sound great on this setup.

What are you planning to run for a hard drive? Lot of good prices out there, but a lot of crap too. I always use IBM drives; SCSI for my servers, Deskstar 7200 RPM for all others, never had a problem.

Building your first PC is fun, but plan to spend more than you budget. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
here's what i've found so far, someone tell me if these prices are rip-offs....

the 1.4Ghz P4/motherboard/ram mentioned before for $346

12x10x32 CDRW - $80
Toshiba 16x DVD drive- $57
1.44mb floppy - $15
Jaton 3DForce2 MX-400-64mb NVidia Geforce2 $80

Soundblaster live mp3 +5.1 PCI w/ Mic $64

IMB 40GB Deskstar 7200rpm 60gxp ultra ATA/100 $109 (or $149 for 60 gig)

Zeus Compenents 17" (16" viewable) .25mm dot pitch $131

any recommendations for modems? I just need a cheap 56k to last most of a year when i go to college @ Iowa State they have T3 in all the dorms

Also, wheres a good place to get a tower/powersupply combo? and how would i make sure its the right voltage/wattage for the motherboard?
 

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Originally posted by JGarrett98:
here's what i've found so far, someone tell me if these prices are rip-offs....

the 1.4Ghz P4/motherboard/ram mentioned before for $346


This price for the P4, mb, and RAM is decent.

12x10x32 CDRW - $80

Make sure that your CDR/W has "Burn-Proof" technology onboard. If it does, this is a solid price. If not, don't bother. "Burn-Proof" reduces coasters.

Toshiba 16x DVD drive- $57

Good price.

1.44mb floppy - $15

These can be found for less, but only by $5 at most. Not worth the hassle of finding a lower price unless you have a ton of computer stores nearby.

Jaton 3DForce2 MX-400-64mb NVidia Geforce2 $80

If the Jaton is a GeForce2MX the price is average. If it is not an MX then the price is solid. The MX is basically their cheapo version...not bad by any means, but not as good as a non-MX. Realistic performance difference is 5-15% depending on the app.

Soundblaster live mp3 +5.1 PCI w/ Mic $64

You may want to look into Creative Labs' new card - Audigy. It smokes all consumer grade cards on the market and is made by the same company that makes the Live!. If you're not an audiophile, stick with the Live! as it was the best card available until the Audigy was release a couple of weeks ago.

IMB 40GB Deskstar 7200rpm 60gxp ultra ATA/100 $109 (or $149 for 60 gig)

These again are good prices. Make sure that you stick with a 7200RPM dive. IBM makes solid gear.

Zeus Compenents 17" (16" viewable) .25mm dot pitch $131

The price is right, but you will want to make sure that the quality is there. The monitor is the most important component of your interface to the computer and if it isn't as crisp as you'd like or is blurry, you may end up hating the whole computer or going blind. :D

any recommendations for modems? I just need a cheap 56k to last most of a year

If you can find a modem made by 3com or USRobotics (same company) for a decent price go for it. Performance isn't an issue when comparing modems as they are all slow to begin with. What you want is stability and customer support. Ask the guy you're buying the parts from what he recommends for a cheap modem.

Also, wheres a good place to get a tower/powersupply combo? and how would i make sure its the right voltage/wattage for the motherboard?

Go here for your case and power questions.
I hope this helps and have fun!
 

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only one mistake with the components selected so far: the processor. Athlon 1.4 is faster and MUCH cheaper. makes no difference about peoples' horror stories, both companies make crappy processors every now and then. the Athlon has tested faster over and over again. if you buy a P4 then you will indeed have a fast machine but you could have faster for less $$$.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
anyone else wanna get into the AMD/Pentium debate???

I can get a AMD Athlon 1.4ghz w/ 256mb DDR-SDRAM for $315

or

a p4 1.4ghz w/ 512mb pc133 SDRAM for $346

or

a p4 1.7Ghz w/ 512mb pc133 for $411

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

also, i found this tower/power supply i was thinking of. http://www.directron.com/colsertranpl.html

doesnt' say a whole lot about the power supply, but do you think it'd work w/ the P4 and/or Athlons?
 

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for anything running over 1Ghz, either company, i'd want 400 watts pushing it. especially if you plan to add a lot of peripherals.
 

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do not buy p4 with sdram buy the board that uses rimms it is much faster/p4 motherboards need special power supply with extra leads will not work with standard atx power supply.good luck ps do not buy on price alone because you always get what you pay for. buy intel it will not burn up, one reason amd prices are low they are not selling.

[ September 27, 2001: Message edited by: dodgeguy ]
 

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randy, that's because all the big manufacturers are in bed with intel. intel is basically a big giant slut. ask any serious gamer or power user and chances are they will tell you that the system they built is powered by Athlon.

or if you ask the right one, they might tell you it's powered by a P-51 Mustang Rolls Royce Merlin liquid-cooled engine....
 

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its funny how all the gamers have to have athalons, but they never complain about having to tweak everything to make it work and stability issues because of the via chipset and worry about overheating & blue screens, while the intel systems keep plugging away and will probably out last the amd by years
 

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My bro has an AMD going on 6 years old and is used about 6 hours a day extensivley and is powered on 24/7, and has NEVER had a blue screen.

Gateway dropped AMD...big frickin' deal, all Gateway computers are good for is paperweights.
 

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my 700 is overclocked and is stable and cool. i have a massive fan on it but still. it ran windows 98se and yes, it had problems. as soon as i put 2000 on it i had it on for weeks at a time without restarting it. it bluescreened twice during the 6 months that i used 2000. both of these occured because of incompetent users (other than myself). so far xp is more of the same: no instability, no excess heat, plenty of power for everything that i use it for. my roommate has a 1.4 running 2000 pro and has no problems whatsoever.
 

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I used to think like that...pro intel, intel this, intel that..blah blah blah...

I now run a tbird 1.33 ghz and i have not any kind of heat issues (my case has 11 fans, but it's been that way from '98 when i was overclocking celerons), or blue screens due to chipset issues.

I have not experienced these geforce/soundblaster live/AMD strangeness issues.

i think it boils down to buying quality parts. plain and simple...nuff said.

if anyone cares, I have 6 systems here, 5 intel, and 1 amd, which is my 'main' machine. yes, it's a gaming rig.
 

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and why do you need 11 fans? Is it because your athalon runs at 150-160f. that can't be it can it?Intel chips run at 100-125f working hard. Is that why asus put throtteling in their asus probe for the socket a boards, so you do not burn up the board if a fan fails? and a 6year old amd makes it a k5 oh my , if they did not have problems that chip almost put amd away,the only thing worse was the cyrix.
 

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what difference does it make how hot it runs? if you can keep it in check then it's moot point. if it takes 11 fans to keep the temp down, so be it. a 1.33Tbird cooks any P4 except maybe the 2Ghz. i'd put my money on a 1.4TB overclocked against a 2.0Ghz P4 any day. take the money you save from buying the TBird and buy a few MASSIVE fans and you will be just fine and have a damn fast machine to boot.
 

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but what your not considering the biggest cause of any electronic failure is heat, thus the hotter it is the more likely it is to fail.
 
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