View Full Version : Building a new box from scratch - what would you do?
So my budget is about $1200-$1400. I need a new computer bad and I think know what's best... what would you do if you were me? FYI - I want to use this PC as an FTP server, a bit of gaming every now and then, MP3 server, watching the occassional DVD, and for normal everday use.
- A Nice Sleek Looking Case (the smaller the footprint the better)
- Massive Storage (redundancy - RAID/Mirror?), unless it's better to find another solution to backup data
- Ability to run constantly without overheating
- Good sound card
- Memory - please tell me whats good now
Can I do it in the cost above? I already have a monitor, speakers, mouse, and keyboard.
That's actually about it. I would like to take advantage of the fact that I already have a nice SGI 1600sw monitor with the multi-link adapter. I also have a Matrox G550 AGP card that I know works with the monitor. I also have a Maxtor 30GB 7200rpm ATA drive that I thought I'd use for the OS and applications.
btw thx in advance :)
07-17-2002, 11:39 AM
You can totally do it for that price. I just finished building a P4 1.9ghz machine with a GB of RAM, DVD-rom, 40xCD R/W, firewire, usb2, 64mb generic video card, ethernet, 5.1 soundblaster card, and a few miscellaneous other pieces of hardware, and it came out to just under $1200. I would recommend just finding a local computer parts store that is competing with other computer parts store to find your pieces. Or you can check out PCClub.com if you don't mind the shipping and handling. Their prices are hard to beat some times.
07-17-2002, 01:21 PM
You can easily do it for that price and using your existing hardware you mentioned.
If you go the Intel route, I would look at the following
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP or GA-8IGX with a P4 1.9A it has six PCI slots, FireWire and USB2, Promise IDE-RAID on the EXP, integrated sound system and an Intel NIC. I would look at the Western Digital 60 or 80 GB HD with 2MB or cache, they are quite, fast and don't cost a lot. Add in 512MB DDR333 RAM at CAS level 2 RAM. If you don't like on board audio(like me) you can easily get a SB Live MP3+ sound card for about $45 max. Look at a Lite On burner (copies everything!) and a Pioneer DVD drive. Windows XP Pro or 2000 Pro (NO XP HOME!).
If you go the AMD route then the Gigabyte GA-7VRXP(RAID) or GA-7VTXH+ with a Athlon XP 1900+ using all the same components.
Raid adds a fair bit to the cost with the motherboard and adds another drive but with the RAID controller you can setup a RAID 1 setup where your data drive is mirrored on another disk for backup. You may want to look at a Lian Li or Antec 1280 case to add lots of cooling for the drives.
Not sure which would be better, the AMD has a little more power than the Intel but one thing I always want is a quite PC. My AMD based systems have always been very loud and distrubs my neighbors. The Intel has better thermal management and runs quieter. Also look at a Enermax power supply for either the P4 or AMD systems, they have dual fans that are temperature sensitive and adjust their speed accordingly. The Intel system will cost about $150 to $200 more.
Don't know if this helps but have fun...
07-17-2002, 01:57 PM
I'm not going to offer you very much specific help since I'm not that up to date with mobos, cpus, and cases, but here goes:
Cases: Don't get a cheap case. Imho, a case is the most important part of your computer. Get a case that you'll keep for a while since i figure you'll be swapping parts in and out as you upgrade. Look for an accessible case, many bays, and enough places to put fans if you need them.
I suggest the Evercase at newegg (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufactory&catalog=7&manufactory=1470&DEPA=1). I'm using it now. It's screwless (almost) and has a lot of bays, especially for hard drives. It also has a decent amount of fans.
Sound card: Just get a creative sound blaster audiology. Good stuff
Memory: Get DDR 2100 or if you want, 2700. I don't know anything about the newer technology (DDR333, etc). Crucial, Micron, and Mushkin are good brands.
07-17-2002, 09:04 PM
Well, you've already done the first thing I do: figure out exactly what you want the box to do and what your budget is.
Since you want it as a server mainly, you should probably focus on the hard drives mainly. RAID 5 wastes some space, but if you are worried about backing things up, that is probably your best option. Depending on how much storage you think you need, you might want to go with the 80-100 gig range and try to get 4 drives... in RAID 5, that should get you between 240-300 gigs of space to work with.
I think it would be a great idea if you leave the RAID array for your storage, and keep your OS and programs on the Maxtor 30 gig you already have.
As for the rest of it, I would just shop around. www.compgeeks.com (http://www.compgeeks.com) had a pretty good deal on a P4 case the other day (probably around $45 shipped), and what was nice about it was that it had plenty of space for extra drives.
As far as processors and MoBo's go, I'd say either an XP or P4 would do you fine. You'll get a faster processor for the money with an XP, and since you don't sound as though you are planning to overclock, that might be your best option. Plus, if you are planning on still using your Matrox card, I'd say not to worry about it too much, because your video card will be the bottle neck on your system. Also, if you do go AMD, you might think about going with the nVidia chipset boards might be a better option--I've heard of a lot of flaky Via KT333 boards coming out.
Also, for ram, just make sure to get a DDR ram that is running at your bus speed, especially if you aren't planning to overclock...
That's what I would suggest... :shrug:
Some online retailers to think about:
Thanks a bunch everyone! I'm actually online looking up prices on components for items right now. When I have a compiled list, I'll pass it by everyone and see what you all think. If anyone else has done this recently - it would be great to see what you came up with including prices, specs, etc.
07-17-2002, 10:59 PM
It's easy to build a really nice box with $1200.
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