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jat
11-15-2005, 05:09 PM
I am looking at building my own PC and wanted to spen $1500.00 max for everything. What do you guys suggest and should it be AMD or Intel. And what about this dual channel ram - pros, cons? Thanks

mattclary
11-16-2005, 05:52 AM
That's a loaded question, but here goes.

First of all, buy your stuff ay newegg.com. They have really good prices and excellent service. You might find stuff cheaper elsewhere, but in the long run, you may not save money due to poor service or crappy items. Newegg has several pictures of each and every item when you look at the details of the item, so you know EXACTLY what will be in the box.

You can spec out your parts there and add to a wishlist, this will let you keep track of how much the potential system will cost you.

Go AMD, preferably dual core. Your best bang for the buck is the AMD64 X2, probably a 4200+

I swear by Abit boards, but Asus, Tyan, and Gigabyte are all respected names. Look at the various boards and compare features you want. Most boards come with onboard sound and a built in network card. If you go X2, make sure the mobo supports it. Most do, but double check. The mobo you buy will probably come with PCI express slots for the video card.

Yes, dual channel memory is great, there are no cons. Just make sure you get two sticks of matching memory . DON'T waste your money on "Super XTreme Platinum HyperCalibrated Twin-X Matched Pair" memory. Just get two sticks of Kingston value RAM (or Crucial, Mushkin, other reputable company) and make sure you get it in the right slots on the motherboard, or you will have two sticks of single channel memory. I have been using a dual channel memory setup for almost 3 years with Kingston value RAM and it has been flawless.

Get the best consumer level nVidia video card you can afford. probably a 6600GT or above. Make sure if your mobo uses PCI Express that you get that kind of card and not AGP.

coremi
11-16-2005, 10:19 AM
get a good CASE, like Antec Chieftec with 120mm fan on the back and put an extra 80mm fan on front to push air in and the 120mm to take air out. If u go intel way check to if the case has a pipe wich comes directly on top of the CPU cooler so it will take air directly from outside, ANTEC Sonata 2 has something like this:
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15139#

i'm with mattclary for DDR, simple DDR from a good company is more than enough, there is no need for "turbo extra fast DDR etc..." wich will give maybe 1500 points more in 3Dmark 2005.

If u do RAID, be sure to have power, like at least 500W, otherwise u can use 425W or 450W.

About ABIT, it is a very very good board, but as an advice if you want to overcloack the system be very sure you know what are u doing, one downside for abit, the cooler on Mobo chipset gets dirty and start making noise, and at least in Romania it is pretty hard to replace. I will also consider for amd MSI boards, very good and reliable.

For Intel i'll get an intel board no matter how great looking other boards are, the most stable board so far.

mattclary
11-16-2005, 01:23 PM
For Intel i'll get an intel board no matter how great looking other boards are, the most stable board so far.

Agreed.

...............................

AbnRanger
11-16-2005, 02:42 PM
I personally like MSI boards because 1) they are rock solid and on the same quality/reputation level with Asus and Abit, and 2) they have a patented feature that none of the others have...which is very nifty for people who want to overclock, but aren't expert enough to know how to tweak every little setting in BIOS...it's called "Core Cell" and it Dynamically overclocks your system for you. You only have to select what LEVEL of overclocking you want in Bios (Private, Sergeant, Captain, Colonel, General), and it creates the appropriate settings accordingly. The best part about it, though, is that it senses when your system is idle or using very little resources, and shuts the overclocking off. As soon as you begin to start using a decent amount of system resources, it automatically starts overclocking again. It has a little monitor program that has an icon in the system tray in the lower right hand corner of your screen. When you open a program like Lightwave, you can watch the monitor as it starts cranking up the speed....as well as keeping a constant watch on your Temps.
This keep your system from running full-throttle all the time, and helps a great deal to keep your system cool.
If you go Intel and want to overclock any at all...then an MSI board would help a GREAT deal with it's heat issues.
Something to think about.

jat
11-16-2005, 03:39 PM
can you guys explain the dual channel ram thing a little more, thanks

AbnRanger
11-16-2005, 04:21 PM
Dual Channel is not a special type of RAM. It's just a method, if you will, used in more recent MB's and CPU's that allow 2 simultaneous memory streams (effectively doubling your bandwith), instead of the previous single stream. It alleviates the inherent bottlenecks.
Generally you have 4 memory slots on the MB. For the Dual-Channel process to work, you need equal-sized pairs of RAM modules. For example, if you have 2 sticks of 1GB RAM, you would need to pair them together in slots 1&2, for Dual Channel to work. If you had 3 sticks, Dual-Channel wouldn't work...but 2 sticks of 1GB plus 2 sticks of either 512MB or 1GB would work. They just need to be equal pairs.

jat
11-16-2005, 04:30 PM
I've seen MB's that have slots for different types of ram speed MHZ - like 2 slots would be for ddr2 533 then the other two would be ddr2 677 or something. I also believe I saw that having lets say two types or ram negates the other speed - does this make any sense at all, not sure if I'm explaining it right.......

jat
11-16-2005, 04:33 PM
sorry I think I meant to say that the motherboard ram thing I saw was that it supported ddr (2 slots) and ddr2(2 slots) - in this case what would the advantage be? Can ddr and ddr2 work together?

AbnRanger
11-16-2005, 07:50 PM
The different numbers, like 533/667 are simply a range of compatibility. If there is such a thing as a MB with 2 slots for regular DDR and then 2 for DDR2...that seems rather gimicky to me....sort of like one MB manufacurer that offered AGP and PCI Express on the same board. Sounds like the best of both worlds, right?....not so fast; when you read the reviews, you find out that it sucks, and is super slow in either mode....that approach never caught on.

Can you provide a link to where you saw that? It's a new one on me.

Oh, by the way, it may seem like Intel is out ahead of AMD in regard to RAM speeds. It doesn't amount to a hill of beans, however, because Intel has it's memory controller located on the MB and its front side bus (800/1000) is much slower than AMD's system bus (HyperTransport speed of 2000), and AMD's memory controller is built into the CPU itself (the CPU responds to memory requests much quicker and more efficiently! That's how they make up for CPU clock speed.

Did I happen to mention that AMD's the one carrying around the "Whooping stick" these days? :twak: Bad little pentium, bad. ...now go sit in the corner and think about what you've done

jat
11-17-2005, 04:25 AM
I don't have the link, sorry. Thanks for all the info guys. I was also reading about the new Quad G5 and it looks very fast (limited software options with plugins and such but seems very nice)

jat
11-17-2005, 05:13 PM
I'll probably go with the AMD 64X2 4800. I just need to find out which motherboard goes well with this. If I go ASUS then which should I get - I won't be getting two video cards and I won't do anything crazy with upgrades - just a very good board to do 3D work - any thoughts. thanks

AbnRanger
11-17-2005, 11:08 PM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131569

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127212

This is about the best CPU cooler there is...real quiet, performs like a champ, and looks good to boot.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118119

mattclary
11-18-2005, 06:28 AM
Maximum PC just reviewed this cpu fan this month, they said it's pretty good. (also a Zalman)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118223

http://www.maximumpc.com/this_month/

GregMalick
11-18-2005, 04:03 PM
So would this be a good combo for LW rendering?

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI Socket 939 ATX Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Processor

Costs about $635 at NewEgg. Sure would like to put those savings into RAM.

AbnRanger said some nice things about MSI (I'm no technical genius) but I'm also seeing a few bad reviews at newEgg about this one.

Comments/Thoughts?

Fausto
11-18-2005, 04:40 PM
I'll probably go with the AMD 64X2 4800. I just need to find out which motherboard goes well with this. If I go ASUS then which should I get - I won't be getting two video cards and I won't do anything crazy with upgrades - just a very good board to do 3D work - any thoughts. thanks

A8N-SLI Premium (http://usa.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=3&l2=15&l3=0&model=539&modelmenu=1)
This is a great board, I'm running it with a AMD 2 x 64 4400. It's fast, super quiet and actually blows cold air. It will accommodate two PCIE SLI boards as well. I have it running Nvidia 7800 GT's
It supports:

- AMD Socket 939 Athlon 64FX/Athlon 64
- AI Cool-Pipe
- AI Selector
- AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology
- nVIDIA NFORCE4 SLI MCP
- PCI Express Architecture
- SATA 3Gb/s

AbnRanger
11-18-2005, 04:51 PM
I saw that too, but if you look just below the last review on the front page, you can see that there are over 132 reviews on it. It had a handful of bad reviews, but the vast majority where very happy with it, and had no problems.
http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/FeedBack/CustRatingReview.asp?DEPA=0&Item=N82E16813130484&page=2

Asus has a great reputation and when I bought an AMD 64 18 mos ago, I got it with an Asus MB as a bundle. 3 times straight I had to send the board(s) back because they were bad. I lost money twice since I took it to have a diagnostic test on the components. I bought them from TigerDirect, and told them to forget about sending me another one...just refund the purchase.
Tom's Hardware guide rated MSI very high (actually it won the MB shootout with a host of competitors), so I just went to a local dealer that our network administrator recommended, and bought an MSI board for it. Worked great and has never let me down.
So, if you can, buy the MB from a local dealer, that way if it goes bad within the warranty period, you can take it back to them and swap it out the same day....without all the hassles of doing an RMA and mailing the bad parts back, waiting for the replacement part, etc. First price the items at Newegg, and ask your local dealer if they can match the price or come close to it; letting them know you'd prefer to do business with them if they can meet you at roughly the same price.

jat
11-18-2005, 06:20 PM
AbnRanger what MSI board do you have and hwat would be the same feature wise in the ASUS camp - thanks

GregMalick
11-18-2005, 06:54 PM
I saw that too, but if you look just below the last review on the front page, you can see that there are over 132 reviews on it. It had a handful of bad reviews, but the vast majority where very happy with it, and had no problems.
http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/FeedBack/CustRatingReview.asp?DEPA=0&Item=N82E16813130484&page=2
DOH! I didn't look past the first page...

I really like that throttle down functionality you described and User Simple over-clocking. I haven't done over-clocking yet. Old rikety PC. :jester:

Do you have one of those MSI K8N boards?

AbnRanger
11-19-2005, 03:57 PM
I have an MSI K8T Neo 2 on one of my machines (now using as a render node), running an AMD 64 3400. The Dual Core system I recently built has a Gigabyte GA-K8NS Ultra 939 motherboard only because I was trying to spend no more than $100 on a MB and this model had the most features for the money. I miss not having the Dynamic Overclocking feature though. Here's a couple of reviews on the MSI K8N Neo 4 Platinum (at the bottom of the first page it talks about the Core Cell/Dynamic O.C'ing feature)
http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NzE0
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1734&page=12

Jat, either of these 2 is roughly what you're looking for, seeing that you said you didn't need the SLI feature:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127207
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131530

jat
11-19-2005, 05:30 PM
AbnRanger, is there anything you don't like about your boards? I was probably going to go with MSI K8N NEo4 platinum and then there's the case. I was looking at the Kingwin KT424 black aluminum or the Cooler Master centurion 5 or the Silverstone Tejmin. Also do you guys buy your power supply separate ?

jat
11-20-2005, 01:08 PM
and graphics cards? Coudl it be anymore confusing? I am looking at the 6800 ultra 256 gddr3 pci express cause I don't really want to go to high in price, what do you guys think, is it worth it to move higher or what is the best bang for buck Nvidia card out there and does nvidia play the nicest with LW or is it Ati? So confusing...... :compbeati

AbnRanger
11-22-2005, 11:06 AM
Both MB's are pretty solid. It's hard to go wrong with either an Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, or MSI board. There's not a great deal of difference in them, except that some offer a few more features than the others in its class. There's nothing I dislike in the boards I have, except that I wish I had gotten an MSI board for the dual-core workstation that I currently do all my work on (for reasons previously mentioned).
As for Power Supplies; Some PC cases come with power supplies, but they often tend to be rather cheap in terms of quality . If the case you choose doesn't come with a P.S., then a 450W, or better, power supply would be preferable. One with modular cables like the model in the following link, helps to break up the clutter (spaghetti mess) inside, and allows you to use only the number of cables you need...so you are not having to hide excess wires and connectors. It makes the install much easier, in my opinion. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=874746&CatId=1079

On video cards...I have an ATI X800XT Platinum Edition and not even 6 months ago it was the just about the fastest card on the market. Both Nvidia and ATI have released a newer generation of cards. If you want to find a good card somewhere in the middle of the price scale, an Nvidia 6800 Ultra or ATI X800/850 XT gives you a lot of sizzle for the money. The extensions of a card are pretty important to remember. With ATI, "XT" means top of the line, with all the bells and whistles (has the maximum amount of pixel pipelines and the fastest GPU & Memory clock speeds). The other models generally have features clipped at the factory so they can sell them at lower price points. With Nvidia, the "Ultra" is the top model. Same thing applies with their cards as well, regarding the other extensions. Generally though...stay away from ones that have an "SE" extension. In reality, it means "SUCK EDITION." It's a Thoroughbred card that's been severely immasculated.

jat
11-22-2005, 05:41 PM
stay away from ones that have an "SE" extension. In reality, it means "SUCK EDITION." LOL LOL............LOL

Thanks for the info....