Pricewatch help...

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anneke
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Pricewatch help...

Post by anneke » Mon Mar 17, 2003 6:42 pm

I'm getting a new system, I know apx. what I want. I've been trying to go through Price Watch to get the system, but all those dang system configurators really mess me up. I'm afraid I'll get a Processor that won't work with a hard drive, or I won't get a fan that can handle the heat of the system. So I need some help.

Please post here the URL and specs you would recommend I use/get for my new system.

I want to spend $800 or less.

Some of the stuff I know I want/need:
Pentium 4
512 MB
Apx. 2.6 Gigbyte processor
Regular Floppy drive

I only need:
20 megs of Hard Drive space (however 40 would be nice). I have an 80 meg slave drive I'll be installing.

I don't need:
Keyboard, Mouse
Monitor
DVD Burner

I would like the following items already installed but I think I can transfer them over from my current computer...
Sound Card (I don't know what I have)
Video Card (I have an ATI Radeon 5000 card)
DVD-Rom
CD-Rom RW

So if someone can help me, it would be appreciated.

Anneke
http://www.bakadeshiproductions.com
(Stop by for a different Video each month...)

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dwchang
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Post by dwchang » Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:23 pm

First off, go to Fatwallet.com and go to "compare prices" I find this a much easier thing to use (and more vendors covered).
Some of the stuff I know I want/need:
Pentium 4
512 MB
Apx. 2.6 Gigbyte processor
Regular Floppy drive
-I'd say get an AMD Athlon XP 2400/2600+ instead of a P4. This will save you hundreds. Now I'm not only saying that because I'm an engineer at AMD (I swear). I'd say you should buy AMD regardless since they're cheaper and you get more performance for you money. I'm fairly sure most ppl would agree with me here.

-Depending on the board (and chip) the RAM could be more expensive. If you have a higher FSB (which is good), you may need to buy RAM that has a higher FSB as well to have the best performance. The only down-side is the higher the FSB, the higher the price (but you get performance).
20 megs of Hard Drive space (however 40 would be nice). I have an 80 meg slave drive I'll be installing.
-I think you meant Gigs instead of megs unless you're making realmedia files :-P. As for HDs, there are some nice Western Digital rebates going around. If you have a Fry's around, just go there. If not, go to Outpost.com since they carry the rebates (and are Fry's parent company). I got an 80 GB for about 80 bucks the other week. 20 should be a lot cheaper.

I guess this is what I'd suggest (VERY quick look at products):
-Motherboard: KT400 from Soyo (at 333 Mhz FSB) ~$100.00
-Processor: Athlong XP 2600+ (2.133 Ghz Socket A, 333 Mhz FSB, like motherboard) ~$234.00
-RAM: Corsair 512MB PC2700 (333 Mhz FSB) DDR-SDRAM DIMM w/ Heat Spreader ~$96.00 (Corsair is debateably the best)
-Hard-Drive: Western Digital Special Edition Caviar 80GB (EIDE, Ultra ATA/100, 7200 RPM) - You definitely want "special edition" since it has the 8 MB (instead of 2) cache. This makes for faster access times. ~$96.00
-Case /w powersupply - Perhaps an Antec with 300 (or more) W powersupply. Depending on how "aesthetically pleasing" you want it (like clear sides), this coule be ~$100.00
Total: $626.00

The CD-RW, Keyboard, Mouse, Graphics card and Sound card can easily be switched in from the old computer (unless they are ancient). Since you got the extra cash, I'd suggest getting a good GeForce4 card with Video-in/Video-out as opposed to a capture card. My Geforce 4 TI4200 captures 720x480 at 29.97 fps losing no frames and it's not a special capture card...just standard video-in.

Hope this helps (and makes sense).
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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anneke
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P4 vs AMD

Post by anneke » Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:39 pm

I don't know the difference between P4 and AMDs. Is there anything that getting an AMD may limit me from doing. Such as some software and such.

The information helps. I hope someone else will give me some other suggestions as to what to get.

Yes I did mean 20 gigs. Sorry. I get confused when it comes to computer hardware.

Anneke
http://www.bakadeshiproductions.com
(Stop by for a different Video each month...)

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dwchang
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Post by dwchang » Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:57 pm

I don't know the difference between P4 and AMDs. Is there anything that getting an AMD may limit me from doing. Such as some software and such.
Absolutely none. They will run exactly the same programs and so on. On a technical level, both are x86 chip implementations, except done differently. They are still fundamentally x86 (these are PCs) except designed differently.

In both cases, the same instruction set (things programs use), but those instructions are implemented differently. Effectively, two different (although very similar) roads to the same location. So, to you the user, there is no difference other than performance.
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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Post by TaranT » Tue Mar 18, 2003 4:06 am

Another viewpoint :) on CPUs: I think I'd recommend Intel for hardware noobs. Intel chips have less issues with heat (they run cooler and have over-temp shutdown) and it's too easy to crack an AMD chip when attaching a heatsink. Older AMDs were prone to overheating in dramatic ways - sometimes involving smoke - although I heard the later models appear to have circuit protection.

For P4's the price break is at 2.53 GHz...under $200. "Price break" means the CPU speed at which the cost curve bends; i.e. starts increasing dramatically. This is usually the model where you get the most bang per buck.

These are some sites that I've shopped at within the past six months and had no problems with:
http://www.googlegear.com/
http://www.newegg.com
http://www.mwave.com

Each of these places has a section listing what are called "barebone" systems. These are kits with a minimal number of parts; e.g. motherboard, cpu, fan, memory in a case. Typically, you get to pick which parts you want included in the package. They'll do a burn-in test of the setup before they send it to you. When it arrives, it's up to you to add the rest of the parts, install the OS, etc.

And I don't think you can buy a (new) 20GB hard drive anymore. Maybe, but it will cost more than it's worth. There's a $$$ per GB factor here, too, that's worth paying attention to. Red Wolf just posted a bunch of hard drive deals down on the "Heads Up!" forum. Usually I just buy hard drives locally. They're on sale somewhere every week.

As for a system recommendation...well, this is what I'm using now. It works :wink:.

2.53 GHz P4
1 GB DDR333 memory
80 GB hard drive (Western Digital w/ 8MB cache)
TDK VeloCD 48X CDRW
Matrox G550 video card

The audio is built into the motherboard (this is common these days) so I have no sound card.

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Post by Ashyukun » Tue Mar 18, 2003 8:57 am

Interesting, I didn't know about the FatWallet compare prices thing- something useful to keep in mind.

If you're in no hurry, troll around at places like FatWallet and Ableshoppers and look for really sweet deals on things like hard drives and memory. Yesterday, one place had a 256 MB PC2100 DIMM for like $5.

I think the Intel/AMD debate is pretty much purely a matter of choice. If you're not doing anything particularly insane with it (read: overclocking, which it sounds like Anneke wouldn't be doing anyways), there should be no more problems with the AMD chips than the Pentiums. I recently upgraded from a 1Ghz T-bird to an XP1800+, and had no problems whatsoever with the chip over the year or so I had it. Of course, I do have a fairly substantial HSF- which I would recomomend for whichever chip you go with. I don't work for AMD- I just find the value for the AMD chips to be better. Of course, I'm something of a tightwad, but it sounds like in this case that's not a problem.

I think for most of our applications, onboard sound should be good enough. At least for the time being, most of what we're working with is simply stereo sound, not surround. And nowadays, onboard sound setups sometimes have 5.1 capability as well. I would probably stay away from on-board video, though- if nothing else, it's much better to have the flexibility of changing video cards if you like.

On the WD Special Edition drives- they are quite sweet, I have one of the 120's myself. Just be slightly aware beforehand- mine died and had to be replaced (under warranty... grrr .. but my rant against Dell is available elsewhere) a few months ago, and I've heard that the SE's have a higher failure rate than other drives do (though that may just be the 120's). These days, you can get a 120 for about $1/GB. If you have a decent amount of money after getting everything but the drives- you might want to consider picking up a 40GB drive for your system drive, a matching 80GB drive (i.e., the exact same one you currently have) and a RAID card and RAID the two 80's.

Is it not possible to transfer your floppy drive from you old computer? That would save you a few bucks (Like, $10, admittedly) and as they are generally used less and less, it seems a bit of a waste to buy a new one if you have a functioning one you can cannibalize.

If you want video capture capability (assuming your Radeon doesn't have it, I don't know) getting another video card might be nice. But if you are going to be working entirely off DVD and don't need the serious graphics horsepower new 3D games take, your card should do just fine. I use a GeForce2 MX and an ancient generic, like, 4MB PCI card for my dual monitor setup, and they both work just fine.
Bob 'Ash' Babcock
Electric Leech Productions

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dwchang
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Post by dwchang » Tue Mar 18, 2003 11:50 am

Another viewpoint on CPUs: I think I'd recommend Intel for hardware noobs. Intel chips have less issues with heat (they run cooler and have over-temp shutdown) and it's too easy to crack an AMD chip when attaching a heatsink. Older AMDs were prone to overheating in dramatic ways - sometimes involving smoke - although I heard the later models appear to have circuit protection.
I'm fairly sure this is public knowledge (I sure hope or I could get fired), but newer AMD processors have more heat protection and are designed to run at lower voltages now (1.65 V_nom vs. 1.75 V_nom). The problems you are referring to are the infamous Tom's Hardware video where they take a heatsink off and it starts smoking. I would NEVER take my heatsink off while running. Also, the units were Thunderbird of K7 Classic which are known to run extremely hot (how else did you expect us to beat them to 1Ghz :-P). As for cracking dies, you're supposed to use those pads on the corners of the chip :-P. They help a lot!
I think the Intel/AMD debate is pretty much purely a matter of choice. If you're not doing anything particularly insane with it (read: overclocking, which it sounds like Anneke wouldn't be doing anyways), there should be no more problems with the AMD chips than the Pentiums. I recently upgraded from a 1Ghz T-bird to an XP1800+, and had no problems whatsoever with the chip over the year or so I had it. Of course, I do have a fairly substantial HSF- which I would recomomend for whichever chip you go with. I don't work for AMD- I just find the value for the AMD chips to be better. Of course, I'm something of a tightwad, but it sounds like in this case that's not a problem.
(nod nod) Fundamentally both chips are the same. Only differences are slight performance tweaks. We have a different more efficient pipeline while Intel opted for a large pipeline so they could increase Frequency/Mhz easiliy. We all know that Intel did this since there is a myth to the consumer that Mhz = performance. Very smart of Intel. Most tech people know this is only half the equation. From a design perspective, I would never make a bigger pipeline for Mhz and would've done with what AMD did (a more efficient pipeline), but I can see the point from a marketing point of view (and the people seem to be brainwashed on Mhz).

Oops before I got off-topic, I was basically getting at the fact that on average, you can buy an AMD chip for less than an Intel chip and get compareable (and some times better) performance. I know this is bias coming from an AMD employee, but even before I worked here I have always opted for AMD since they have a better design (reason I chose to work at AMD over Intel too). From the user's perspective, you will never see the difference in software since they are programmed in C, C++, etc. and are interpretted by either processor in the same instruction set (x86 Assembly). I apologize if this is too technical.
Cool a fellow googlegear customer. I bought quite a few components from my current PC there. Good prices!
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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Post by dwchang » Tue Mar 18, 2003 11:52 am

(random dual plug)
Somewhat off-topic (and can be seen as bragging :)), but if you wanna know how to build a KILLER set-up and got around $2,500 lying I can help too :). I built a dual-Athlon in October with just about everything and it is SWEET. I can render in about 5 - 10 minutes (even with heavy effects). I highly suggest a dual if you have the money and want to make your editing life easier. Then again, I don't *only* edit with it. It helps a lot with just about everything since I have two CPUs to divide tasks like render on one, play a game on the other, etc.
(/plug)
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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anneke
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Editing

Post by anneke » Tue Mar 18, 2003 4:21 pm

Just need a machine for faster editing/rendering. The price limit is because I'm using my tax refund.

I'm really thinking I want a P4 intel thing. I don't care if the new AMD chips don't over heat, etc... I don't like the idea that they could more easily.

As for the floppy drive, I could use the one from my system, maybe. However it's really crappy and since they don't cost much, may as well have one put in.

Anneke
http://www.bakadeshiproductions.com
(Stop by for a different Video each month...)

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Re: Editing

Post by dwchang » Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:39 pm

anneke wrote:I'm really thinking I want a P4 intel thing. I don't care if the new AMD chips don't over heat, etc... I don't like the idea that they could more easily.
I hope I didn't give you the impression that they overheat (or do so easily) because....they don't. We were talking about the past like...3 years ago. Things now are fine IMHO (crosses fingers).

Oh and trust me, you won't overheat your processors. Unless you were an idiot and decided to randomly take your heatsink off (mind you even a P4 would die like any other processor). If you have a heatsink and fans (which is normal), you'll be ok no matter what you buy...well maybe not a Cyrix :-P
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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Post by RadicalEd0 » Tue Mar 18, 2003 6:21 pm

Indeed, I've had said 1ghz Tbird for almost 2 years and I've been giving it hell ever since and it's been perfectly fine for me :\
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Post by SS5_Majin_Bebi » Tue Mar 18, 2003 9:44 pm

Dude, I have an Athlon XP 1800+ and it solidly kicks ass. AMD chips are more stable than their Intel counterparts. Probably because more time is spent on makin sure they work before they are sold. Intel just care about profits. They do rush jobs. Go AMD, you will NOT be disappointed.

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Post by jbone » Wed Mar 19, 2003 12:11 am

Um... I'm using a P3-733. I've been using it since before 1GHz+ CPUs were available.

The CPU doesn't matter. What matters is what you know how to do with it.
"If someone feels the need to 'express' himself or herself with a huge graphical 'singature' that has nothing to do with anything, that person should reevaluate his or her reasons for needing said form of expression, possibly with the help of a licensed mental health practitioner."

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Post by SS5_Majin_Bebi » Wed Mar 19, 2003 12:33 am

O...k....jbone, if you knew your computer history you would know that AMD have been making chips as far back as the 486!! Ever heard of the AMD K6-2? My dad had one, it out-performed his equivalent Intel chip in just about everything.

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Post by dwchang » Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:56 am

jbone wrote:The CPU doesn't matter. What matters is what you know how to do with it.
O...k....jbone, if you knew your computer history you would know that AMD have been making chips as far back as the 486!! Ever heard of the AMD K6-2? My dad had one, it out-performed his equivalent Intel chip in just about everything.
Not entirely true jbone. Although the instructions are the same and the software the same, you are buying slight performance differences (and obviously more expensive in some cases).

Take for example the P4 architecture vs. the K7 architecture. Mhz to Mhz, the Athlon architecture is FAR more superior than the P4. Any computer engineer (even Intel) will admit this.

Intel opted to add pipeline stages to the P3 architecture b/c without it they couldn't get THAT much higher of a frequency (which the uneducated consumer equates to performance). Some of these pipeline stages do almost nothing at that, but does allow for a faster Frequency. The Athlon pipeline is 12 (perhaps 11) stages while the Intel is 20. Now, Intel may be able to go through each stage in say...2.6 Ghz, but if I only have 12 stages to go through at around 2.25 Ghz, the one with less stages is more efficient.

As I said earlier though, Intel opted for frequency since the consumer equates higher numbers with better performance (makes sense right?). We opted for performance model numbers (since we can't drive our transistors at such a high frequency). Although people scoffed, after a few years, these model numbers have been accepted as fairly accurate when comparing P4 Freq. to AMD Model #. I might also add that I heard a rumor Intel will start doing Model #s too since they can't push their architecture much higher. But it is only a rumor.

The P3 on the otherhand, that's another story. Even myself (being an AMD employee) will admit the P3 architecture is a good architecture. It has no excess pipeline stages.

Now don't get me wrong, I see your point, essentially as I said earlier, both processors get you to the same point, but take different paths. I guess an easier way to digest is Athlon is: quickest way to a point is a line while Intel is a more roundabout way. Given, I can't say much more since Intel does have a much higher frequency at the time.

Perhaps I should've started a new thread on CPU history :-P
-Daniel
Newest Video: Through the Years and Far Away aka Sad Girl in Space

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