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Old 12-09-2005, 11:12 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2001
Location: Boston, USA
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Building a Computer, Need Suggestions.


I plan on building a computer for the first time, and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or recommendations for hardware. I plan on using the computer for programming, and as a pvr/dvr and for music files. I don't plan on using it for any games. I currently have a Pentium III desktop, and a Pentium Laptop. I list some things I was thinking of and if anyone could add any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Processor -
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor

ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
I intend to buy two of these because I'll be using the system as a pvr as well. Does anyone know of a good Raid 0 controller?

Corsair XMS 2GB 184-Pin DDR SDram Timing 2-3-3-6
Is the timing feature crucial to the memory I buy?

Video Card-
What type of card would be suitable for playing back video? I'm not using the computer for games, and I intend to get a separate tv tuner card.

Any suggestions??

Thanks for any suggestions and help.
Old 12-10-2005, 12:55 AM   #2
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What type of card would be suitable for playing back video? I'm not using the computer for games, and I intend to get a separate tv tuner card.

If you don't need 3d acceleration then pretty much any card will do.
If you do, then the ATI Radeon =/> 7500 have free open source 3D drivers now that don't taint the kernel as the nvidia drivers do.

Both the ATI and the NV default 2d drivers are great.
Personally, I would go for either ATI or NVIDIA.

Nice specs, sounds like it'll be a lovely box.
Old 12-10-2005, 01:16 AM   #3
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You should not buy a dual core processor unless you want to use your computer as server or the programs you are runnung are multithreaded. Better AMD Athlon with San Diego core or Athlon FX.
Asus Board: OK
A Nvidia graphics card: A Geforce 6800GT or GS with 256 MB RAM.
I have two Samsung Spinpoint harddisks: they are very quiet and operating temperature is ~35°C

Last edited by Keruskerfuerst; 12-10-2005 at 01:52 AM.
Old 12-10-2005, 01:23 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2005
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For a case, it depends on where the PC will be located. For an office setting, try something like this one.. Look for cases with 120mm fans, they are quieter than comparable 80mm offerings. However, if you are going the PVR route, you might prefer something that fits in better than a mid-tower with your a/v equipment, like this one.
Old 12-10-2005, 10:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. Keruskerfuerst, the reason for the dual core is because I want to use the computer as a backend to a pvr as well as do work on it at at same time.
Old 12-16-2005, 09:35 AM   #6
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there are couple of issues with a8n series from asus as far as linux users are concerned. Especially with a8n-vm csm.

You'll still get a usable system, but still you may have better luck with the gigabyte. For video definietly get an ATI, x1300 or better (hopefully better). ATI's aren't typically better for gameplay, but tend to make up for it with better / richer features such as hardware decode / encode (more so than nvidia) and crap like that.

You gotta buy from the company that caters for you needs the closest.

Nvidia cater for gamers more (but ATI do a good job too, just not quite as good, and always a tad bit late). As such nvidia dont seem to have as many "cool" features on the cards as what ATI ones do (they gotta make up for it somehow right?). However the current x1300 - x1800 seem to be an intermediary stage, or so atleast says like all of the big news sites on hardware...

good luck on your new pc too BTW.

Last edited by mc__; 12-16-2005 at 09:41 AM.
Old 12-16-2005, 05:00 PM   #7
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For any multi-processor system, I suggest using ECC memory from Crucial or Kingston. You need to buy two sticks of memory for the system to work.

There are no problems using a multiple processor system. Linux is more responsive when using it on a multi-processor system. A program does not need to be threaded to make multi-processors look good. Running Linux is enough to make them perform well. Though you can get an Athlon64 X2 3800+ instead of 4200+.

If you are getting an nForce4 motherboard, you will have to worry about heat. An active heatsink on this chipset will not work for long, so you will have to invest another active heatsink. On some motherboards the chipset is near expansion cards, so it is impossible to find an active heatsink or use water cooling that will fit. I recommend buying nForce4 motherboards with heat pipe. Heat pipe will last for ever. Abit AN8-Ultra is good. I never had any trouble installing Linux on Abit boards.

There is no problems tainting the kernel. For the ease of installing and being reliable, I suggest nVidia video cards. ATI video cards lacks features when using them in Linux. Also ATI lacks writting reliable and stable software. You can forget using ATI All In Wonder cards because only video output will work not video input. nVidia supports HDTV and SLI for Linux. An nVidia GeForce6 6200 should be ok, but do not look at GeForceFX.

Samsung hard drives suck. Unless you need massive data throughput, Samsung are poor performers when it comes to accessing times. I suggest Hitachi or Western Digital. The noise comes from the computer case resonanting with the hard drive vibrations.

Stay away from RAID 0 unless you do not mind making backups every night. I suggest RAID 1. Use Linux software RAID or even better use hardware RAID controllers like 3ware.

Really 120 mm fans are not quieter than 80 mm fans. If you are saying that they move the same amount of air at lower RPM or voltage level than 80 mm fans, then yes.


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