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Thread: 1st Time Build! :)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Katy, Texas
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    1st Time Build! :)

    My rickety old Compaq died last week...bad motherboard so it would seem. I spent some time this weekend doing some research and visiting the computer shop near where I work. Based on the info gathered I thought the configuration I have below would work quite well and be within budget.

    I'll be using it to do a lot of graphics editing w/ layered images, AutoCAD (drafting and 3D solids rendering), Flying Model Simulator (FMS...radio controlled model plane sim) as well as office type stuff and internet. I'm also wanting to convert dad's LP collection to CD.
    My dad and sister will also be using it for internet. The typical games are Tetris, Mahjongg, Solitaire, etc.

    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Socket AM2
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G Nvidia GeForce 6100 + nForce 430
    RAM: Pair of Corsair DDR2 5400 512Mb
    PSU: Antec SmartPower 2.0 500W (bought it on sale hoping it was the power supply that was bad on the old computer)
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda (I think?) 200 GB (re-use from old computer, 6 months old)
    Video: Diamond X1300 Pic-E 512Mb
    Sound: Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1
    DVD Drive 1: Sony DDU-1632 DVD-Rom
    DVD Drive 2: Sony DRU-820A Dual Layer & Dual Format DVD Writer

    Opinions?
    Last edited by babyflitestreak; 11-13-2006 at 09:32 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Edmonton, AB, Canada
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    Okay...

    What are you looking for in terms of budget?
    For running AutoCAD you will probably want to have 2GB of RAM (depending what version, that is). If you have the money, go up to DDR2-800. I would drop that motherboard in favour of an nForce 570 or 590 (the one you picked has onboard video, plus you are buying an X1300).

    Do you have a case to use?
    Don't fear the penguin - www.slackware.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    I'm looking at spending no more than $900, $950 max.

    I've got AutoCAD 2000. For regular drafting it works great with 256mb. For rendering though 256mb is kinda slow. I would like to move up to the 800s, but I don't think I'll be able to squeeze them into my budget.
    I'll go ahead and switch motherboards since I don't want the onboard video. I was also considering this motherboard MSI K9N Platinum NVIDIA® nForce 570 Ultra
    The only case I have is from my old Compaq. I don't like the case because it's aa pain to open up. ....so I had this case (Aspire X-Discovery) in mind:

  4. #4
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    Dec 2005
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    Edmonton, AB, Canada
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    Okay, the case looks very nice. I've heard good reviews about that motherboard, too.

    I was basing my 2GB RAM thingy on what I've seen of the new version of AutoCAD. AutoCAD 2000 should work very well with 1GB.
    Don't fear the penguin - www.slackware.com

  5. #5
    I don't mean to hijack... but why don't you want onboard video. I am not arguing, i just need to inform myself. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Onboard video would be fine for things like Tetris, etc, but flight sims are pushing the limits of what onboard can handle. Also, so is heavy graphics work, for that matter...but not sure a gaming card is what would be best to handle the graphics work.
    AV, Anti-Trojan List;Browser and Email client List;Popup Killer List;Portable Apps
    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
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  7. #7
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    Aug 2006
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    Boulder, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjc View Post
    ...but not sure a gaming card is what would be best to handle the graphics work.
    Would you suggest something in the quadro series?

  8. #8
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Katy, Texas
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    Azzey: I've already seen the case in person at the store I plan on purchasing my stuff from. I didn't realize it had lights until I saw the pic.
    I would love to get ACAD 2007, but I need to win the lottery first!

    ulimatefighter: Don't worry...you aren't hijacking. I don't want onboard video because it is too slow for what I like doing. One thing I like to do on computers that I find relaxing is playing around with Paint Shop Pro 8 (haven't bought version X yet) and the graphics software that came with my Wacom Graphire tablet. I also like rendering 3D solids in AutoCAD. Rendering 3D solids is very time consuming for a computer that is not properly equipped, especially if you are rendering a complex scene complete with lights and reflections.

    mjc: I used to run the FMS flight sim on the old Compaq before it died. That computer had onboard video (Intel i810e), 512Mb RAM, 600MHz Pentium III. It seemed to run ok, but it would hang for split second every so often if there was anything idling in the background like a virus scanner or Yahoo! Messenger. The video card I've chosen is a Diamond X1300 with 512mb of memory. I think it would be more than enough for what I need. Is there some other spec I need to be looking at other than the card's dedicated RAM?
    Last edited by babyflitestreak; 11-13-2006 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Forgot to add some info for mjc about the graphics card

  9. #9
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    The newer flight sims are bit more than that....but the heavy graphics work is probably more important than that anyway.

    I probably would go for a Quadro card if I was doing a lot of Acad work...they have a bit more to handle the 3D solids than a gaming card. And working with things like that render time is everything.
    AV, Anti-Trojan List;Browser and Email client List;Popup Killer List;Portable Apps
    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
    Remember: Amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titantic."

  10. #10
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    Keep in mind you really need to get a new hard drive. Even though your current one is only six months old it's most likely IDE/PATA. You realy want an SATA hard drive. They are the standard now and much better than IDE/PATA drives.

    Also most new motherboards only have one IDE channel (up to 2 devices), which means if you need two DVD drives you will not have room for both of those and the hard drive. So if you really want to use it you need to either give up one of the DVD drives, or get a PCI IDE controller card to add more IDE channels. Only having one IDE/PATA channel is compensated by having at least 6 SATA ports.

    Or, what I have been recommending for those that have PATA hard drives is to put them in an external USB enclosure and use them for backups.

    Also are you going to need to buy a new copy of windows?
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  11. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    You guys are coming up with stuff that never occurred to me.
    The drive I just bought is IDE because it was for the old Compaq. I haven't priced SATA drives because I had planned on re-using my old one. ...so whether or not I buy a new drive depends on the cost of the controller card. I have the full version of XP Home and don't plan on switching to Vista anytime soon.

    Anyways...I think I'm getting way over my head in the expense department here. Looks like I'll have to rethink my computer plan. Right now I'm waiting on financing approval, bad move I think. Although it is the only way I will be able to buy all the pieces at one time. The alternative is to buy the pieces one at a time which isn't good because of how rapidly technology is moving. Rethinking my plan is ok because my dad and sister will be the primary users of the new computer build. My computer usage at home is pretty much limited to weekends anyway because of work and commute times. I've been using my laptop (2.4 Ghz Pentium 4, 256Mb RAM, XP Pro) for AutoCAD and graphics. It does ok, but is kinda slow for this sorta stuff.

  12. #12
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    The good news is that SATA drives cost the same as IDE. Although it is an added expense none the less. If you look around you can sometimes get a 160GB SATA 300 drive for about $55-$60 on a good sale. Although the sweet spot is $95 for a 320GB right now.

    Just so you know, all future hard drive purchases for any modern system should be SATA 300. Unless you are buying for an old system that only supports IDE there is no reason to get an IDE HDD these days. It won't be very long and SATA optical drives will be common and cheap as well, and IDE drives will only be around to support legacy hardware.

    265MB ram is very slim for any XP machine let alone using any kind of resource intensive programs like AutoCAD. When you get the chance invest in at least another 256MB. If you think the laptop will work for you for a couple more years I would recommend putting a gig in there. But if you plan on getting a new laptop anytime soon I wouldn't invest that much money in an older machine like that.
    8 Pro 64bit
    AMD FX 8350
    Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
    24GB GSkill/Corsair 1866MHz
    2x XFX 6870 1GB
    SSD - OCZ V4 128GB/Kingston 120GB
    HDD - 3TB/2x 750GB/500GB/250GB
    Corsair TX850M
    Cooler Master HAF 932 Red
    CM Hyper 212 EVO w/2x SickleFlow 120mm Red
    12x BD-ROM
    Logitech X540 5.1 Surround
    2X Acer 23" LED - Eyefinity: 3840x1080
    Microsoft Sidewinder x4 KB

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    The laptop is a Dell Inspiron 5100, it's 2 years old. I guess I should've mentioned that in my previous post...oops. It was purchased as a job related expense...potential business trips which never happened. I've been wanting to put more RAM into it, just never got around to it. The computer I'm building is to replace the dead 6 year old Compaq Presario. Until I get the new one built my dad and sister are using my laptop.

  14. #14
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    It is very possible to stay in your budget. I have been building some pretty decent AMD AM2 X2 machines for around $1100, but that includes a $200 LCD. So that puts you right in there if you don't need a monitor.

    Here is the core of what I have been using lately for AMD builds.

    ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz

    CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3160811AS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s


    That comes to around $485 +S&H. If you need a new copy of XP add $147 for a total of about $630.

    You already have an adequate power supply. So that leaves some decent room in your budget for a video card, DVD drives, and case. And possibly moving up to a Seagate 320GB. If you don't need a copy of XP then you are in very good shape.
    8 Pro 64bit
    AMD FX 8350
    Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
    24GB GSkill/Corsair 1866MHz
    2x XFX 6870 1GB
    SSD - OCZ V4 128GB/Kingston 120GB
    HDD - 3TB/2x 750GB/500GB/250GB
    Corsair TX850M
    Cooler Master HAF 932 Red
    CM Hyper 212 EVO w/2x SickleFlow 120mm Red
    12x BD-ROM
    Logitech X540 5.1 Surround
    2X Acer 23" LED - Eyefinity: 3840x1080
    Microsoft Sidewinder x4 KB

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein

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