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Old 03-24-2008, 09:55 AM   #1
DaBlade
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Question Building a new computer, hardware suggestions


Hello
It's been a year since I last built a computer, because I've gotten a job and haven't had the time.
For that reason, I also haven't kept up to speed on the latest and greatest hardware, so I'm asking you guys for suggestions.


While I have no strict limit on my budget, I'd rather keep it under 1900 USD (excluding the monitor).
My intention is to use this computer for gaming and as a media centre.


The case I intend to use is this one:
http://www.microplex.no/product.aspx?pid=MISTDEFINE

And one of these PSUs:
http://www.microplex.no/category.aspx?cat=345&mcat=c345

CPU and graphics card:
So far I've always used AMD CPUs and nVidia graphics cards, but I've heard that AMD has gotten rather crappy lately, and that Intel's CPUs are much better. As for graphics cards, nVidia still makes excellent ones, but how well does the open source ATi driver work? I intend for this computer to be a gaming and multimedia machine, so I need mid-to-high-end hardware (such as the 8600GT - I don't need the very hi ). I have never used ATi on Linux before, and highest-end hardware, so long as it'll manage to run Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) smoothly now nothing about how it works and such.

RAM: At least 4GB DDR3 (brand name) RAM.

Hard drives: Already got enough of them.

Motherboard: Must fit with the CPU socket and RAM, have a lot of RAM slots, a couple of IDE slots for some older hard drives, etc...
Must have gigabit ethernet, and be ATX

Keyboard & mouse: Already got 'em

Remote: I was thinking it'd be useful to have a remote since I'm gonna use it as a media centre too.

DVD drive: Probably a very fast DVDR drive, I don't see any point in buying any HD stuff yet, though you're welcome to disagree
(If it costs too much, I'm not gonna go for it anyway)

Monitor: I want a somewhat cheap (not chinese-style-cheap, but not very expensive either) 22" or more monitor that fits the graphics card very well, resolution-wise.

If you have any other suggestions, I'd appreciate those, too.

Thanks in advance for any help you might give

Last edited by DaBlade; 03-24-2008 at 10:04 AM.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 10:21 AM   #2
BlueC
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Graphics: the open source ATI driver sucks, and the proprietary one is a pain too. stick with nVidia for your graphics. seriously, buy an ATI and you'll REALLY regret it.

CPU: its personal preference, but i'd tend to agree that Intel chips are currently better than AMD.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 10:34 AM   #3
v00d00101
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If you have the money go for a Q6600 on an ASUS P5K with 2-4GB ram. The board has 1x ATA slot so you can keep your old hard drive running and a dvd writer.

As for the graphics card, look at the new Geforce 9600GT's, they cost not much more than a 8600GTS and performance is aimed at being similar to a GF 8800GT.

SATA DVD writers are buggy at best, avoid or bear the problems until the kernel hackers fix the SATA drivers. Mine is sat on a shelf for now, as it has burned nothing but coasters in Linux.

Take your pick on the monitor. I run a 22" Acer AL2202W at 1680x1050@60Hz, and it does what i need, including ETQW, Wolf ET, Urban Terror, Quake 4 and Doom 3.

Dont know anything about remotes, but ideally you could get something Infra-Red and wire it in, or look into a USB version.

Last edited by v00d00101; 03-24-2008 at 10:36 AM.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
BlueC
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Oh, for remotes check out the lirc website and mailing lists and/or some of the mythtv fan sites.... they have lists of supported remotes and IR ports and you'll find tons of info on what works and what doesn't
 
Old 03-24-2008, 02:33 PM   #5
DaBlade
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I've looked around at various pieces of hardware and have come up with a preliminary list of hardware, what do you guys think?

http://xs225.xs.to/xs225/08131/nypc883.png

I haven't checked for remotes quite yet, but thanks for the advice, bluec
 
Old 03-24-2008, 02:57 PM   #6
stefan_rogin2000
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Unhappy any advice for a ati user

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueC View Post
Graphics: the open source ATI driver sucks, and the proprietary one is a pain too. stick with nVidia for your graphics. seriously, buy an ATI and you'll REALLY regret it.

CPU: its personal preference, but i'd tend to agree that Intel chips are currently better than AMD.
you don't happen to have any advice for a ati user?... what driver should be used... is there any chance to avoid problems?
 
Old 03-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #7
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBlade View Post
So far I've always used AMD CPUs and nVidia graphics cards, but I've heard that AMD has gotten rather crappy lately, and that Intel's CPUs are much better.
Not the way I read price and benchmark lists.

AMD seems to be having problems with quad core. Intel seems to be in much better shape for quad core. Each core in a quad core chip should be able to perform nearly as well as one core of some comperable dual core chip. I think Intel approaches that and AMD doesn't.

But I don't think you should be considering quad core. Some specialized applications and servers can get serious benefit from quad core, assuming a comparison in which each core of the quad is almost as fast as each core of the dual you compare it to and the quad cost around twice as much for the whole cpu (but much less than twice as much for the whole system.

But for ordinary users with that same comparison, the quad makes no sense. Your major cpu use will be single threaded, so quad being almost as fast per core means almost as fast (meaning slightly slower) overall. And you pay extra (even if not a lot extra) to get slightly slower.

Dual core can be very useful (in typical home use) to keep all the other nonsense (mouse, keyboard, network traffic, etc.) responsive while the main processing eats 100% of one core. It also keeps that cache local for that main processing rather than interrupting it a lot. But you'll rarely use very much of the second core let alone have use for a third.

Anyway, on that AMD vs. Intel comparison, I'm more impressed with AMD dual core price/performance than with Intel.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 03:30 PM   #8
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBlade View Post
have a lot of RAM slots,
If you have more than four that may significantly increase the motherboard price and it may keep the ram from working at its rated speed. The BIOS may automatically lower the ram speed.

It would be nice to be able to select a motherboard with significant room for growth in ram. But in practice that doesn't work well. Select a motherboard that does a good job with the amount of ram you want. There is a good chance that by the time you want more ram, there will be some other reason the motherboard is obsolete and you would replace that motherboard anyway, even if it wasn't limited in ram increase.

Quote:
a couple of IDE slots for some older hard drives,
I understand you don't want to discard old, working, large enough hard drives. But newer, better SATA drives are so inexpensive (under $100 for 500Gb) that there is no real value to the old ones, especially if they constrain your choice of motherboard. Two PATA (IDE) connectors isn't exactly rare, but one is more common.

Quote:
Remote: I was thinking it'd be useful to have a remote since I'm gonna use it as a media centre too.
A decent universal remote is more effective and less expensive than remotes designed/sold for computer control.

I don't know where you can buy a simple IR receiver for a Linux serial port, nor which if any IRDA ports are supported by LIRC. (All that as opposed to getting a custom, expensive IR receiver that needs its own remote instead of working with any universal). The simple LIRC serial port IR receiver is trivial to build yourself (if you can build simple electronics projects at all) from parts that are very low cost. That path to LIRC support is lower cost and more flexible. Of course, to use the simple IR receiver, your motherboard will need a serial port. Many have the header for a serial port without including the built-in connector nor the cable/bracket. I kept that cable/bracket piece from a few 286 and 386 computers that I threw out long ago and those still work. So before rejecting a motherboard for lack of serial port, see if it has at least the header and if you have that part left over from some junk computer.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 03:43 PM   #9
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBlade View Post
I've looked around at various pieces of hardware and have come up with a preliminary list of hardware, what do you guys think?
I have an AMD X2 3.2Ghz in my newest computer running Linux. I like it a lot. I got the version including fan/heat-sink in the same package. It is a very impressive heat-sink (much more so than the ones AMD bundles with lower speed versions of that CPU). I think it is a good idea to get that package rather than guess some third party heat sink that you hope might be better (I don't know by the model info you posted which you intend).

I got a Gigabyte GA-MA something (info not handly) motherboard. It works, but I consider it a big mistake. I would never buy a Gigabyte again. The BIOS is crap and the support from their website is crap.

I got four 2G sticks of DDR2 memory. I'm not really sure 8Gb is that much better than 4 for what I do at home on Linux, but the price was so good it was hard to resist. 8Gb certainly makes a BIG difference vs. 4 on my new computer at work running XP64 (which, BTW has been immeasurably more grief getting set up than my 64-bit Linux at home, even though I'm far more experienced with XP than Linux. I think the fault is Dell, not MS, but part of the grief is that there is no way to identify the real cause of any of the problems).
 
Old 03-24-2008, 03:50 PM   #10
DaBlade
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go for the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition (3.2GHz).
I'll take care of the remote control stuff later on, it's not a priorty.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 10:46 PM   #11
Mountain
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Here is a thread on video cards that might interest you.

http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthread.php?t=7447

I went with a MSI NX8600GT-T2D256EZ GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card. I like it. It is cheap and silent and it seems to fit your requirements.
 
Old 03-25-2008, 12:19 PM   #12
DaBlade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain View Post
Here is a thread on video cards that might interest you.

http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthread.php?t=7447

I went with a MSI NX8600GT-T2D256EZ GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card. I like it. It is cheap and silent and it seems to fit your requirements.
Nah, 8600GT is a tad too slow - I wanna run ETQW on high quality, but thanks for the suggestion.
 
Old 03-25-2008, 06:36 PM   #13
v00d00101
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Graphics wise for me was the 8600GTS or 8800GT. That was a couple of months back.

I now have a 9600GT in one machine and the 8600GTS in the other.

In game that equals about 70fps in ETQW, 120+ in Urban Terror, and no idea for the other games i play. That is for the 8600GTS. The 9600 is about 20FPS faster in both games.

Last edited by v00d00101; 03-25-2008 at 06:37 PM.
 
Old 03-26-2008, 02:46 PM   #14
DaBlade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v00d00101 View Post
Graphics wise for me was the 8600GTS or 8800GT. That was a couple of months back.

I now have a 9600GT in one machine and the 8600GTS in the other.

In game that equals about 70fps in ETQW, 120+ in Urban Terror, and no idea for the other games i play. That is for the 8600GTS. The 9600 is about 20FPS faster in both games.
But how does the 9600GT compare to the 8800GTS?

Never mind, after some IRC discussions, I decided on the 8800GTS.

Last edited by DaBlade; 03-26-2008 at 06:45 PM.
 
Old 03-26-2008, 08:08 PM   #15
Lsabella
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Hey DaBlade, I suggest that you get the intel cpu, they are more promising in the long run. And you can get a 8800gt card, their prices are quite nice now. As for the monitor you can have a look at the Acer AL2216Wbd 22" monior, I noticed a recent deal on it is $200, personally I think this can be a good choice for you.
 
  


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