Building the Ultimate Athlon System

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  • Trevor Schell
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 10935

    Building the Ultimate Athlon System

    Hi!,

    I have decided, with the influence of Bing, to build an Athlon computer system.
    I want to use the best quality and fastest parts available to date since I want this one to last for a couple of years.
    I have parts picked out but need some advice on a few others.

    So far here is what I have come up with.

    Case--Still looking..May want the side window option possibly.
    Power supply--Not sure
    Cooling fans--not sure
    DVD Rom--Pioneer DVD-106s(already purchased)
    CDR--PlexWriter 16/10/40a(already purchased)
    Sound Card--Not sure but most likely the SoundBlaster 5.1 +MP3 or 5.1 Xgamer
    MotherBoard--ABIT KG7-Raid..(Not avaialable yet)
    Ram--1 gig of Crucial PC-2100 ram 4 256 meg simms (already have)
    Harddrive--Quantum Fireball 40 GB (already have)
    Graphics card--Not sure yet,,Gforce 3 though
    Speakers--Klipsch Promedia 4.1 (already have)
    Processor--1.4 GZ Athlon T-bird ..Will wait incase a faster one comes out soon.
    Operating System--Windows XP when it comes out.

    Any suggestions on what I should look at in the areas where I have not made a decision.
    Also is there anything I may have over looked.

    Thanks for any help here.




    Trevor
    My HomeTheater S.E.
    Sonically Enhanced
    C5
    Trevor



    XBOX 360 CARD
  • JonMarsh
    Mad Max Moderator
    • Aug 2000
    • 15213

    #2
    Hey Trevor!

    I'll always vote in favor of building new Athlon systems, but then I've only built one *ntel box in the last two years, and that was to put on the network in the office.

    What do you plan on doing with this system? That may have a significant input on some of your choices. Is this a general purpose do-all PC, or is it primarily dedicated to one purpose, with just a bit of cross functionality desired? (for example, workstation desktop, gaming rig, or HTPC?)

    The last box I built a few months ago is a "legacy" gaming system; legacy, in that I have a number of sims and other games which either have only 3DFX support, or the 3DFX support is so much better than D3D that it's not even funny. So, video is a late model high end 3DFX card, audio is an SB Live 5.1 platinum, MB is an MSI 266 DDR board, and CPU was the most powerful I could be for under $200 (what, me a cheapskate?!?), which was a 1.2 GHz at that time. RAM is 384 MB; even B17 and FLYII with high res textures work well with that. HD is a 60 MB ATA100 Maxtor, 'cause Costco had them at good prices. Chasis is an Addronics mid tower, that matches the height of my NEC XM29Plus, and includes a 300 watt supply, quite adequate to the task.

    What will work best for you depends on what you're going to do with the PC. My HTPC uses an aluminum case for looks and drive layout, an Antec 400W supply (loafs most of the time, which means fan speed is low), an MAudio 24/96 audio board (no EAX or wizzy multichannel digital voices, but 24/96 ADC and DAC, with very clean SPDIF outputs!), and of course, a 32MB Radeon DDR video card for DVD playback. It's got a measly 10GB disk, because it doesn't need anything more, afterall, for DVD playback and a couple of sims and games. More than 128 MB of ram isn't really useful, either, for DVD and RPG's.

    Now, my duaghters system is running XP, and it because a little snappier when I upgraded it from 128MB to 256 MB, but it's the "old clunker" of the house, a first gen 600MHz Athlon. My own desktop is a 750 MHz system, also with 256 MB, but running WIN2K, since I do work work, and "mission critical" audio design on it. SP1 and SP2 installed; only with the latter has it reached it's potential, since the earlier IDE drivers stank, quite frankly.

    BTW, XP at this state is quite glitchy, I'm hoping that the RC1 candidate due to ship shortly will calm things down without sacrificing performance. At least the error recovery is good- it does a lot of spontaneous re-boots some days, but never lost any data, so far.

    Let us know what you're planning for your system as it evolves, and have fun- it's a great time to get really good PC stuff really, really cheap!

    Regards,

    Jon




    Earth First!
    _______________________________
    We'll screw up the other planets later....
    the AudioWorx
    Natalie P
    M8ta
    Modula Neo DCC
    Modula MT XE
    Modula Xtreme
    Isiris
    Wavecor Ardent

    SMJ
    Minerva Monitor
    Calliope
    Ardent D

    In Development...
    Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
    Obi-Wan
    Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
    Modula PWB
    Calliope CC Supreme
    Natalie P Ultra
    Natalie P Supreme
    Janus BP1 Sub


    Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
    Just ask Mr. Ohm....

    Comment

    • SiliGoose
      Senior Member
      • Aug 2000
      • 942

      #3
      Trevor,

      If you're willing to wait for WinXP to release (October, I think) you should reconsider your motherboard option too. Mobo's based upon nVidia's nForce chipset should be released in September. If you're not familiar with nForce I suggest you do a search...it's memory bandwidth and sound capabilities (optional) are very impressive on paper.
      Nothing wrong with the KG7, of course, but you said you want the fastest. nForce looks like it'll put the AMD 760-based mobo's in second place. (possibly 3rd place if the new SIS chipset delivers on its promises)

      I just finished building a system that is pretty close to your specs.

      For cases I recommend taking a look at Antec http://www.antec-inc.com/ and Lan Li http://www.lian-li.com.tw/english/f.htm (aluminum...very pretty). Power supplies by Antec and Enermax are great (though look at PC Power & Cooling for the very best http://www.pcpowercooling.com/).

      Don't forget to investigate a good heatsink/fan for your investment. Before you buy a screaming fan I recommend going here http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/listeningroom.html to sample the sounds you'll need to learn to live with .




      -Sili
      www.campmurphy.net

      Comment

      • Trevor Schell
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 10935

        #4
        Thanks Jon,
        The computer will be used for just about anything from computer games, office, excel, photo enhancement, 3d, Web design, downloads, music, DVD's extras etc..just about anything that is available. However I would not use it as the primary DVD player for my HT (HTPC)
        I just want something that will be able to handle whatever I decide to try out. Owning a fast PC will assist in expanding it's usage.

        Since computer parts are so cheap right now it is a no-brainer to build a fast machine with some quality components.Even it is a little overkill.

        Thanks Sili for the links,,I have bookmarked all of them and will have a good look at what each has to offer.
        I had no idea about the Nvidea chipset. It does sound good.
        Not sure if I want to wait that long. We will see. You know I could always do some upgrading in a couple of months..




        Trevor
        My HomeTheater S.E.
        Sonically Enhanced
        C5
        Trevor



        XBOX 360 CARD

        Comment

        • JonMarsh
          Mad Max Moderator
          • Aug 2000
          • 15213

          #5
          SiliGoose's comments about the NForce should be given some careful consideration- I think this chipset will kick a$$, particularly if you want an nVidia video solution, and their audio (derived from/developed for Xbox) looks very promising on paper also.
          It's a little harder to say if the internal architectur and bandwidth improvements will pay off in appliation performance, but it's definitely one to watch. The chipset in my MSI board uses a special transport bus also, replacing the PCI connection between northbridge and southbridge, but I can't tell you if that is why it runs as well as it does- it's about twice as fast loading up save games and new areas in Baldurs gate II as the system it replaced- which was an ASUS A7V 750 MHz Athlon.

          Whether you wait or not, you'll wind up with a good system. But if you really don't want to put it together until XP release is out, then it may be smart to sit on the sidelines until October and see what your money will buy you then, as long as you have something to use for now. That's always an issue, it seems like, that there is something new and better just around the corner.

          BTW, XP is something of a code pig, so far, and benching a few things, I'd say going from WIN2K to XP you should plan on a 30% faster system just to have the same overall performance. It's very nice visually, and I've been able to get very good DVD playback by loading a codec into the system so that MM8 was enabled for DVD, but gaming performance is definitely a question mark with current drivers. If gaming is a very high priority, you may still want to consider WIN98SE. (I own copies of almost every non-server version of Windows that's ever existed, but don't really care for ME particularly).

          Regards,

          Jon




          Earth First!
          _______________________________
          We'll screw up the other planets later....
          the AudioWorx
          Natalie P
          M8ta
          Modula Neo DCC
          Modula MT XE
          Modula Xtreme
          Isiris
          Wavecor Ardent

          SMJ
          Minerva Monitor
          Calliope
          Ardent D

          In Development...
          Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
          Obi-Wan
          Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
          Modula PWB
          Calliope CC Supreme
          Natalie P Ultra
          Natalie P Supreme
          Janus BP1 Sub


          Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
          Just ask Mr. Ohm....

          Comment

          • Trevor Schell
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 10935

            #6
            How is this for a PC case.


            Thoughts?




            Trevor
            My HomeTheater S.E.
            Sonically Enhanced
            C5
            Trevor



            XBOX 360 CARD

            Comment

            • JonMarsh
              Mad Max Moderator
              • Aug 2000
              • 15213

              #7
              It looks nice, Trevor, but you know what they say about beauty being skin deep?

              Does it come with a std. power supply- if so, how many watts, and is it variable speed fan?

              What are the arrangements for internal cooling fans? The two cases I've been using the last two years have front screened air intakes with air flow right across the hard disks. I think this is an important reliability feature with the increasing speeds and operating temperatures of ATA-66 and ATA-100 drives.

              One has three 5" bays, a 3-1/2" front bay, and two internal 3-1/2" bays. The Addtronics 6896 (I think that's the right number) comes standard with a 300W supply. It matches the height of my NEC XM29 Plus. Also includes supplementary CPU fan, no tool disassembly, Price locally about $100.



              The other (ATC-201) has four 5" bays, two external 3-1/2" bays, and three internal 3-1/2" bays, with front panel USB connectors with a hinged cover. And it's no taller than the first system- it's the all aluminum case I used last Xmas for my HDTPC. No power supply std. in this one- I used a 400W Antec.




              Of couse, there are many considerations, cost certainly being one- there's a low cost "no name" supply I've been using for friends on tight budgets which I buy locally for under $60 which includes a 300W supply, in a mini-tower configuration.

              Naturally, you'll want to figure out *your* criteria for a good case selection, then maybe your friends here at HTGuide and elsewhere can make suggestions relevant to your needs.

              Happy shopping!

              -Jon




              Earth First!
              _______________________________
              We'll screw up the other planets later....
              the AudioWorx
              Natalie P
              M8ta
              Modula Neo DCC
              Modula MT XE
              Modula Xtreme
              Isiris
              Wavecor Ardent

              SMJ
              Minerva Monitor
              Calliope
              Ardent D

              In Development...
              Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
              Obi-Wan
              Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
              Modula PWB
              Calliope CC Supreme
              Natalie P Ultra
              Natalie P Supreme
              Janus BP1 Sub


              Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
              Just ask Mr. Ohm....

              Comment

              • Trevor Schell
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Aug 2000
                • 10935

                #8
                Hey Jon,

                That Aluminum one looks like the ATC 201 from Coolmaster. This was available at the PC mods Website.
                It is supposed to be an overclockers dream.
                I was looking at that one and printed out the order sheet.
                How tall is it in inches?

                I was going to sway away from any colored or aluminum units since I did not figure the beige DVD and CDR would not look very good in them,,However the picture you put up looks pretty decent.

                Let me know what other cases may be suitable.




                Trevor
                My HomeTheater S.E.
                Sonically Enhanced
                C5
                Trevor



                XBOX 360 CARD

                Comment

                • JonMarsh
                  Mad Max Moderator
                  • Aug 2000
                  • 15213

                  #9
                  Hi Trevor,

                  497 mmm tall.

                  http://www.coolermaster.com/home.html




                  Earth First!
                  _______________________________
                  We'll screw up the other planets later....
                  the AudioWorx
                  Natalie P
                  M8ta
                  Modula Neo DCC
                  Modula MT XE
                  Modula Xtreme
                  Isiris
                  Wavecor Ardent

                  SMJ
                  Minerva Monitor
                  Calliope
                  Ardent D

                  In Development...
                  Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
                  Obi-Wan
                  Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                  Modula PWB
                  Calliope CC Supreme
                  Natalie P Ultra
                  Natalie P Supreme
                  Janus BP1 Sub


                  Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                  Just ask Mr. Ohm....

                  Comment

                  • Trevor Schell
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 10935

                    #10
                    If my math is correct 497mm is equivilent to 19 1/2 inches.
                    My clearance is only 18 1/2 inches in my desk port,, So this one won't work.




                    Trevor
                    My HomeTheater S.E.
                    Sonically Enhanced
                    C5
                    Trevor



                    XBOX 360 CARD

                    Comment

                    • JonMarsh
                      Mad Max Moderator
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 15213

                      #11
                      Hi Trevor,

                      Get a new desk!



                      Best regards,

                      Jon




                      Earth First!
                      _______________________________
                      We'll screw up the other planets later....
                      the AudioWorx
                      Natalie P
                      M8ta
                      Modula Neo DCC
                      Modula MT XE
                      Modula Xtreme
                      Isiris
                      Wavecor Ardent

                      SMJ
                      Minerva Monitor
                      Calliope
                      Ardent D

                      In Development...
                      Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
                      Obi-Wan
                      Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                      Modula PWB
                      Calliope CC Supreme
                      Natalie P Ultra
                      Natalie P Supreme
                      Janus BP1 Sub


                      Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                      Just ask Mr. Ohm....

                      Comment

                      • Trevor Schell
                        Moderator Emeritus
                        • Aug 2000
                        • 10935

                        #12
                        LOL,,John,
                        Don't temp me like that because I probably would,




                        Trevor
                        My HomeTheater S.E.
                        Sonically Enhanced
                        C5
                        Trevor



                        XBOX 360 CARD

                        Comment

                        • Trevor Schell
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Aug 2000
                          • 10935

                          #13
                          Just an update as to where I am, at this point.

                          DVD rom--Pioneer 16X
                          CDR--Plextor 16/10/40a
                          Speakers--Klipsch Promedia 4.1
                          Soundcard--SB 5.1 Live
                          Gateway--3Com Home Ethernet
                          Ram--4 dimms of Crucial 256 meg pc2100 DDR ram
                          Motherboard--Abit KG7-Raid( Just ordered Online)
                          HardDrive--40 GB Quantum Fireball
                          Keyboard--MicroSoft Internet Pro
                          Mouse--Intellimouse optical
                          Fan--Thermal Take Dragon ORB 3

                          Assecories..(already existing)
                          -21" Trinitron Monitor
                          -HP 5370 Scanner
                          -HP K80 Office Jet Fax/Printer/Scanner/Copier
                          -HP Photo Smart P1000 printer

                          I hope that I did not miss anything.

                          Next on the list is:
                          -AMD processor
                          -Case..(Still haven't decided,likely the Addtronics 6896)
                          -GForce 3 graphics card

                          Then I can Build




                          Trevor
                          My HomeTheater S.E.
                          Sonically Enhanced
                          C5
                          Trevor



                          XBOX 360 CARD

                          Comment

                          • Bing Fung
                            Ultra Senior Member
                            • Aug 2000
                            • 6521

                            #14
                            Don't forget the 3.5 floppy Trev, while not really used, they come in handy




                            Bing
                            Bing

                            Comment

                            • SiliGoose
                              Senior Member
                              • Aug 2000
                              • 942

                              #15
                              Very nice indeed.

                              Don't forget cables, cables, cables...

                              May I suggest these beauts: http://www.plycon.com/silver.htm




                              -Sili
                              www.campmurphy.net

                              Comment

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