View Full Version : Nickel & Diming a New System

03-02-2004, 09:24 AM
I'm trying to build a new VT[3] system for no more than $3000. So far, I've got

SuperMicro X5DAL-TG2 motherboard
2 Intel Xeon 2.4 Ghz processors
4 sticks of Mushkin 512mb nonECC nonRegistered ram
2 WD 80 gig ATA drives (system & data)
2 WD 74 gig 10k Raptors (video array)
Plextor PX 708A dvd burner
GAINWARD nVIDIA GeForce FX5700 Video Card
2 Samsung 173T LCD monitors
ThermalTake V2420U case w/power supply
cables as needed.

This comes out to a little over $3300 so far.

The options I've come up with so far are:
1. Substituting one Samsung 191T for the two 173T's, Cheaper, but there's only one monitor.
2. Putting a new power supply in my old ATX case. Would this be like trying to get modern "universal" plumbing hardware to work with 50 year old pipes?
3. Smaller drives. It doesn't seem to be that much cheaper.
4. CRT monitors. Much cheaper, but see all the CRT vs LCD threads.
5. 1 gig of ram.
6. P4 motherboard :eek:

Any feedback will be appreciated.

Jim Capillo
03-02-2004, 09:40 AM
That's a tough one - if you're down to only a $300 difference, I'd wait until I could round up the extra cash and go with the original spec list. If it were $1000, that might be a reason to reconsider the components, but if you scrimp with just a $300 diff, you might regret it later.

03-02-2004, 09:55 AM
I'm still running VT on a single P4, and that sounds like an excellent (not 5 & 10) system to me! :D

I'm with Jim - if you're that close, go the extra few feet. You especially want good power and cooling in this baby.

I recently upgraded to two monitors and won't go back. I do recommend that if you do ever want to go dual, don't get one monitor thinking you can always pick up a second one later... I tried this and they change monitor models and specs so fast that it was a nightmare trying to find a second matching monitor even a year later (it all turned out OK in the end thanks to Viewsonic's refurb store, but it took way too much time and grief).

Nice system, have fun! -MG.

03-02-2004, 10:14 AM
Have you thought about contacting some dealers like us or Jim Davis or Blaine and ask them about any Demo Systems for sale?

I remember Jim had a really nice one recently. We have a Dual 2.4 Xeon ourselves that I was wanting to sell also. As a dealer I like to always showcase the latest and greatest hardware combinations to our clients. We have a demo system that runs on a single P4 also so we can show them the difference.

Contact me offline if you are interested in that possibility.

jef at pizazzme dot com
409 860 9283 office

03-02-2004, 11:24 AM
Like Jeff, I'll second the "Demo" purchase if money is an issue.

I grabbed a really good one from Dan & Curtis from Professional Video & Sound, 209-543-9002.

The best part of this purchase was, it was thier premier demo unit, really fast, and there wasn't a bug anywhere in the system. All this and cheaper then new.
I added bigger drives but the system was solid!!!

03-04-2004, 02:21 PM
Hi Paul - that's pretty much a carbon copy of the system I built :)

How much is the Mushkin RAM? I put Corsair Value Select in my VT[3] system and it works just great - the cost came in much cheaper than most other branded RAM - just make sure you buy it from a reputable dealer just in case...

Failing that the VT[3] will be happy enough with 1 gig - you can always buy a couple of extra sticks later (make sure you buy 2 x 512 not 4 x 256)

The GeForceFX 5700U is a nice card (although the 5900XT/SE is much nicer and not much more expensive) but a GF4 Ti4200 will perform just as well - you may be able to save some pennies there.

Also, it probably won't save you much but maybe a smaller ATA system drive (I've got a 40GB in mine) will help the penny pinching (stick with the 74GB Raptors though - they rock!).

Lastly, shop around and see if you can get all (or most) of the parts from one dealer - if so, push 'em for a discount - that's not a bad order after all...

03-04-2004, 02:37 PM
One last tip - if you go with the X5DAL-TG2, make sure the first thing you install (after Windows) is the motherboard drivers - if you forget, your USB 2.0, ethernet and SATA won't work properly :eek:

Good luck! Feel free to email me if you have any questions about putting it all together...

03-04-2004, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by paulk
...2. Putting a new power supply in my old ATX case. Would this be like trying to get modern "universal" plumbing hardware to work with 50 year old pipes? ... Don't think the oversized server motherboard would fit your old case.

03-04-2004, 11:15 PM
Actually, the X5DAL-TG2 is an ATX (not extended) board.

03-05-2004, 09:24 AM
So, the X5DAL-TG2 would fit in my old ATX case. Would a modern ATX power supply? Standards are so great because there are always new, fresh ones to keep us on our toes.

03-05-2004, 11:49 AM
Well, if it's a "standard" ATX case then a "standard" ATX power supply should fit - make sure there's ample cooling though - a combination of dual-Xeons, WD Raptors and the VT[3] is sure to throw off some heat... A 450w + PSU sould do it (mine's a 470w HiperPower).