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Nomad84
07-31-2005, 08:18 PM
I will be building a new computer very soon. It will be used for poker/casinos and the related software (PT, PAHUD, etc.), homework (word processing, spreadsheets), and general web surfing. I will also use it to copy dvds and xbox games. I may also keep some movies and xbox games stored on the hard drive, along with tons of media files. None of this should be too taxing on the computer. I won't be doing any real gaming. My goals are to have a computer that will run very quickly, process large PT databases as quickly as possible, not need to be replaced or significantly upgraded for at least 3 years or so, and to run quietly so I can datamine at night in my bedroom. Budget is around $1000, but is flexible. I am pretty comfortable with most of the choices I've made so far. I'm just curious what you would recommend that I do differently. I plan to buy everything from Newegg within a couple of weeks. Here is what I have so far:


$104 Antec Sonata II case and power supply (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155)
$164 Asus A8N-SLI motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131517)
$267 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor (Venice core) (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103533)
$84 Corsair ValueSelect 2x512MB Dual Channel Memory Kit (PC3200) (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820145440)
$61.50 Asus EAX300SE 128MB PCI-express video card (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814121537)
$166.50 Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 8MB cache 300GB SATA150 hard drive (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822148064)
$47 NEC IDE DVD Burner (dual layer, OEM) (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827152047)
$14 TRENDnet 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Adapter (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16833156141)
$30 Logitech X-230 2.1 Speakers, 32 watts (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16836121119)

Total cost: $927.97 + $36.04 S&H = $964.01



I already have 2 monitors and a keyboard and mouse. I am getting XP Pro from a friend. There is no real need for 64-bit Windows, correct?

I am pretty sure that I don't need that nice of a motherboard, so if you have other suggestions, I'm listening. I will almost certainly never have any use for SLI, but I like some of the other features of that board. Also, if I can spend an extra $50 now and know I won't have any trouble, it's worth it.

As far as video goes, I have absolutely no clue what video card I need. I am not necessarily trying to go as cheap as I can, but there isn't much sense in spending more than I need to either. I won't need to do anything more taxing than play poker on 2 monitors at 1600x1200, so what would you recommend? Also, will I be able to run 2 PCI express video cards in the future without using SLI on this motherboard? If I get 2 LCDs later on, I'd like to be able to add another similar cheap video card and just use the single DVI connection on each. I might even keep a CRT or 2 if I did that. Not sure just yet, but I'm curious what options I'll have available.

Other than video and motherboard, my only real question is about hard drives. Since I will be running PT and dealing with huge databases, would I see a significant improvement in performance if I ran 2 hard drives in RAID 0? If I did this, would it be advisable to use only these 2 drives, or should I get 2 smaller drives (in RAID 0) for PT databases and use a bigger drive for everything else? If that is the case, should I get get a 300GB main storeage drive and just get a Raptor 37GB 10k RPM drive for databases, etc.? Or is all of this just overkill?



Thanks for any input.

BBill
08-01-2005, 12:49 AM
Looks pretty good. I'm not sure about this, the processor authorities would know for sure, but with a 1GHZ FSB you might get better performance with faster RAM. Like pc6400 rather than pc3200.
I'd be interested to hear their opinion on this. Of course the price increase might put it above your budget.

Nomad84
08-01-2005, 01:23 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Looks pretty good. I'm not sure about this, the processor authorities would know for sure, but with a 1GHZ FSB you might get better performance with faster RAM. Like pc6400 rather than pc3200.
I'd be interested to hear their opinion on this. Of course the price increase might put it above your budget.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks for the input. From what I can tell, the motherboard only supports up to PC3200.

I am reasonably confident about my hardware choices except for the few things I mentioned. My biggest concern right now is the video card selection, since I know nothing about the various chipsets, etc. available right now.

tinga81
08-01-2005, 04:00 AM
you could drop down to the athlon 3200+ and overclock it (if you're not comfortable with doing that, then forget the suggestion). i have my 3200+ at 2.39ghz (stock 2.2ghz). and it's not even pushing it to the limit.

that may save some money for you, and you can put it towards a better video card. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814133129)

Isura
08-01-2005, 10:21 AM
I would suggest getting a case without a power supply, and buying a separate power supply. Most supplies that come with the case are not very good. The power supply is very important, and you don't want to ruin good hardware with a crappy supply that craps out. OCZ and Seasonic are excellent brands IMO. Get a good 400w+ supply.

[ QUOTE ]
I am pretty sure that I don't need that nice of a motherboard, so if you have other suggestions, I'm listening.

[/ QUOTE ]

The motherboard is the heart of your system. It's worth it to invest in a decent board. Your choice is good. Another suggestion is the MSI K8N Neo4 SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130492) board. AMD compatible, and an excellent board with SLI support for a regular user. The DFI boards are better for overclocking, but MSI is the best IMO for regular users. It's also only $127, and the sound card on it is the best onboard sound.

Finally, I think a 3500 Venice is overkill for your purposes. Just get the Venice 3000 , which is much cheaper and the performance difference won't be huge. You can always learn to overclock it later if you need to (you won't). here (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103537)

Your other selections look fine. Corsair ram is good, and Seagates are solid. Finally, you might have to invest in a new CPU fan and heatsink. I'm not sure how good the fans that come with the venice are. GOod luck.

Edit: If you want 2 monitor support, just buy a regular card (1 DVI, 1 analog video) or a dual DVI card (more expensive). No point in buying two cards unless you want to set up SLI support for games.

Nomad84
08-01-2005, 08:51 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I would suggest getting a case without a power supply, and buying a separate power supply. Most supplies that come with the case are not very good. The power supply is very important, and you don't want to ruin good hardware with a crappy supply that craps out. OCZ and Seasonic are excellent brands IMO. Get a good 400w+ supply.

[/ QUOTE ]

I haven't read a ton of reviews, but the ones that I've seen seem to indicate that the Antec power supply is pretty good. This (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103936) is the one that comes with that case. I really like that case because it seems to be one of the quietest cases available. I like the looks of it too. Reviews say that it's a nice, well built, easy to work with case. Do you think that this power supply will be OK?


[ QUOTE ]
I think a 3500 Venice is overkill for your purposes. Just get the Venice 3000 , which is much cheaper and the performance difference won't be huge. You can always learn to overclock it later if you need to (you won't). here (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103537)


[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks for the mobo suggestion. There is a combo deal right now at Newegg for $20 off of the 3500+ and the Asus A8N-SLI, effectively bringing the Asus price to $144. If that is still available when I order, I'll probably just go that route.

As far as the processor, I considered a cheaper one, but given my history, the computer probably won't be replaced for a very long time. (I am typing this from a PII 350 machine.) I am willing to spend a bit extra here and there. For no real good reason, I decided that the 3500+ was a good middle ground between cheap and expensive. I wouldn't want to spend much more than $300 on a processor, but I'm not trying too hard to cut costs either. I may eventually learn how to overclock it (mildly) but probably not for a while.


[ QUOTE ]
If you want 2 monitor support, just buy a regular card (1 DVI, 1 analog video) or a dual DVI card (more expensive). No point in buying two cards unless you want to set up SLI support for games.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not sure if I will ever spend the money for an LCD. If I get one, dual DVI will obviously be unnecessary. If I get 2, I'd prefer to run both off of DVI. Since I'm not planning on spending $900 on LCDs any time soon (maybe never, who knows...) I don't want to run a dual DVI card right now. I figure later on down the road, I can either get a dual DVI card or a normal DVI+VGA card if I ever do get 2 LCDs. I was just curious whether or not I'd be able to support more than 2 displays at once with 2 video cards. It isn't clear to me whether the Asus A8N-SLI supports 2 PCI-express video cards running independently. On the Newegg site, it says:

[ QUOTE ]
2 x PCI Express X 16 (*SLI mode : x8 , x8 *Default Single VGA mode : x16, x1)

[/ QUOTE ]

I just wondered if there was a x16, x16 option for 2 independent video cards. I will probably never need more than 2 displays anyway, but I was just curious about future possibilities. It would be nice to have a third screen for lobbies and PT related stuff.

Ignoring all of that, what card would you recommend for running 2 CRTs at 1600x1200 and no real gaming?

Hopefully I can get this sorted out by the end of the week...

I look forward to your opinions on the Antec power supply and video card. Thanks for your help!

Nomad84
08-01-2005, 08:53 PM
[ QUOTE ]
you could drop down to the athlon 3200+ and overclock it (if you're not comfortable with doing that, then forget the suggestion). i have my 3200+ at 2.39ghz (stock 2.2ghz). and it's not even pushing it to the limit.

that may save some money for you, and you can put it towards a better video card. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814133129)

[/ QUOTE ]

As I just mentioned in the above post, I won't be overclocking anytime soon. I'm pretty sure that video card is way overkill for my application (no gaming).

MyMindIsGoing
08-02-2005, 05:07 AM
"I would suggest getting a case without a power supply, and buying a separate power supply."

Maybe true for low budget cases, however for this case the power supply is just fine.

Isura
08-02-2005, 12:16 PM
[ QUOTE ]

I haven't read a ton of reviews, but the ones that I've seen seem to indicate that the Antec power supply is pretty good. This is the one that comes with that case. I really like that case because it seems to be one of the quietest cases available. I like the looks of it too. Reviews say that it's a nice, well built, easy to work with case. Do you think that this power supply will be OK?


[/ QUOTE ]

Sorry, didn't realize it was the Sonata II. That comes with the Truepower 2.0 430W, which is a pretty good supply. Your case choice is fine. HINT: Do not plug in the blue and black cables on your power supply. It is meant for monitoring, and will cause your supply fan to run at full speed and cause a lot of noise (this isn't mentioned in the antec manual). I'm actually thinking of getting the same case now. Seems like a great price/performance tradeoff.

[ QUOTE ]

I am not sure if I will ever spend the money for an LCD. If I get one, dual DVI will obviously be unnecessary. If I get 2, I'd prefer to run both off of DVI. Since I'm not planning on spending $900 on LCDs any time soon (maybe never, who knows...) I don't want to run a dual DVI card right now. I figure later on down the road, I can either get a dual DVI card or a normal DVI+VGA card if I ever do get 2 LCDs. I was just curious whether or not I'd be able to support more than 2 displays at once with 2 video cards. It isn't clear to me whether the Asus A8N-SLI supports 2 PCI-express video cards running independently. On the Newegg site, it says:

Quote:
2 x PCI Express X 16 (*SLI mode : x8 , x8 *Default Single VGA mode : x16, x1)



I just wondered if there was a x16, x16 option for 2 independent video cards. I will probably never need more than 2 displays anyway, but I was just curious about future possibilities. It would be nice to have a third screen for lobbies and PT related stuff.

Ignoring all of that, what card would you recommend for running 2 CRTs at 1600x1200 and no real gaming?


[/ QUOTE ]

An SLI board with 2 x PCIe x16 means you can fit 2 PCI express video cards on your motherboard and run them concurrently. But if you want to dual monitor, it's cheaper to get a dual video card. But since you are only using crt's, a standard AGP graphics card will be cheaper and jusst as good. PCI express is the new graphics technology, but at the moment, there is very little performance difference (except for in the newest and fastest games). But then you need to get an AGP motherboard, so you might as well get any decent PCI express card (your choice seems fine for poker). I'm pretty sure you can get 2 dual video cards and have 4-monitor support using the 2 PCI express slots on your mobo. Hope that helps a bit.

icepick
08-02-2005, 01:39 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I am getting XP Pro from a friend.

[/ QUOTE ]

Buy a copy.

JoePro
08-02-2005, 02:38 PM
I concur. Antec not only makes some fine cases, but their PSUs are also excellent.

Nomad84
08-02-2005, 09:40 PM
[ QUOTE ]
....so you might as well get any decent PCI express card (your choice seems fine for poker). I'm pretty sure you can get 2 dual video cards and have 4-monitor support using the 2 PCI express slots on your mobo. Hope that helps a bit.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks a lot. That's what I was hoping. I will be running 2 monitors right now, but I was curious what options would be available to me in the future with this setup. Since I am not sure about video cards at all, I may start a new thread in a little while for video card suggestions only, but I'm gonna do a little digging first.

Also, thanks for the tip on the power supply cables. Thanks to all of you for confirming the Antec power supply's capability too.

Looks like all of the componenents should be where I want them now except for the video. That should be easy to figure out too now that I have everything else configured.

I appreciate the comments from everyone. /images/graemlins/cool.gif

BTW, the price dropped $10 overnight after the first post, then it dropped again last night. Total cost for the same components listed above: $938.00 shipped.

bly
08-03-2005, 12:34 PM
Throwing in my $.02 here. I've built or had built over 1000 PCs for my company in the last 5 years.

You say you "Won't be doing any real gaming", so why are you going over kill on the CPU and chip? Why ASUS and AMD?

Nothing again ASUS or DFI, or any of the other good manufactures out there, but it'd be nearly impossible to get me to use any board but a true blue intel board and CPU combo.

For none gaming applications, the rock solid Intel boards just don't fail. I have over 500 running daily in my company and I've yet to have a single board or cpu failure over the last 3 years. I can't say that when I used to use DFI and ASUS, now and then Id get a board and chip that just refused to play well together.

I don't get funky software quirks with the Intel stuff either, it just always works. I can't tell you the number of hours I spent tracking down dumb issues when I used none intel boards and CPUs. The amount of time and money Intel spends to make sure it's boards don't have issues is second to none.

You can get a 3.0gig 800FSB with a true intel made mother board for under $300. 5 times the power you'll need for spread sheets or poker tracker.

I'd rather have a little slower however rock solid PC. Blue screens of death in the middle of a poker hand would suck. I'm sure lots of people have great AMD ASUS systems, I had many also that never game me a problem. But 5 to 10 problem PCs out of 500 vs. 0 out of 500 is a no brainer.

For my home machine I'm using a 3.4 800FSB on a 915 intel board and I love it.

As it's been said before go with a different power supply or try to have the one in your case upgrade to higher quality power supply.

Just my $.02. Lots of people are going to disagree. But you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Are you trips aces going to be busted by quad 10s on the river? Not likely, but it happens.

MyMindIsGoing
08-03-2005, 01:10 PM
"For none gaming applications, the rock solid Intel boards just don't fail."

I would say they don't fail for gaming applications either.

"I'd rather have a little slower however rock solid PC."

Me too, it is the way to go, Intels boards might be a tad slower in tests (a few %), but you wont notice it in real life. I am happy to trade those % for a much better system.

I myself use a 3.0ghz p4 and an intel "rock lake" mobo. Never ever did it crash or cause me any problems. I had a lot of other brands before like Abit and Asus. There were always something funny about them, not with Intel.

Isura
08-03-2005, 01:36 PM
[ QUOTE ]
You say you "Won't be doing any real gaming", so why are you going over kill on the CPU and chip? Why ASUS and AMD?

[/ QUOTE ]

Maybe because AMD is cheaper, and he's only building a poker computer.

MyMindIsGoing
08-03-2005, 01:56 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Maybe because AMD is cheaper, and he's only building a poker computer.

[/ QUOTE ]

A 3.0 ghz intel p4 is cheaper and fast enough for poker. How much use does a average person have of an athlon64, prolly none. If he is "only building a poker computer" it is overkill anyway and if the price is critical a cheaper cpu is a good choice. I would go with an intel mobo and intel cpu for stability. You wont regret it.

*edit*
I put together an intel system (3.0ghz) instead with about the same specs. $805+shipping from newegg. It is pretty much the same as above but with intel cpu and mobo, and maxtor 300gb hard drive instead of seagate. Also a pioneer burner instead of nec. I would chose that instead of the athlon setup, easy.

bly
08-03-2005, 02:10 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
You say you "Won't be doing any real gaming", so why are you going over kill on the CPU and chip? Why ASUS and AMD?

[/ QUOTE ]

Maybe because AMD is cheaper, and he's only building a poker computer.

[/ QUOTE ]

The AMD chip and ASUS board he's looking at $431, the intel combo can be purchased for $300.

The stability of Intel boards is second to none. A small performance hit won't even be seen in the real world unless you're doing alot of graphic gaming or 3-d modeling etc.

The capacitor issue on most generic (ASUS, DFI, and Abit all shared this problem) boards is enough to scare anyone away. ( http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2003Feb/gee20030207018535.htm ) The capictor issue has been fixed since 2003, but it highlights the issue of boards that aren't properly designed and tested like the Intels.

This comment sums it up best: "Intel components are still the pinnacle when it comes to building a problem-free system that we can rely on." from http://radified.com/Articles/stability.htm