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Thread: Yet another first time builder!!

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    Yet another first time builder!!

    Having trawled through scores of web sites/forums for some direction I must admit I have joined this forum only to get ideas about my new build. However, it does seem to be that you all know what you're talking about so maybe I will be staying for a while after I have built my system

    Like TooNice and Rufusking (and no doubt many others in the past) I am looking for some advice on a new system.

    I have decided on a XP2500+ and 1x1Gb of PC3200 memory ( I am happy to forego the other 1 Gb for dual channel performance for the moment) but am currently undecided on the motherboard. The problem is that there is too much choice! I want to spend about £90-100 and have been considering the 8RDA3+ and the A7N8X-Version 2.

    Could anyone please reassure/warn me about these choices. I am looking for a solution that enables me to do some overclocking in the future and would like to build a system that ensures that I can enjoy my passion (Flight Simulation) to the max (although again I am happy to forego PCI card sound solutions for a while yet). I also like bells and whistles so expandability is important.

    Thanks

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    Wats ur tale mothergoose?
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    • Korky's system
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    Abit NF7-S v2.0 as your motherboard as 100000000001 other ppl will say when they see this thread
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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another first time builder!!

    Originally posted by AndyL

    I have decided on a XP2500+ and 1x1Gb of PC3200 memory ( I am happy to forego the other 1 Gb for dual channel performance for the moment)


    Can you find a 1 Gb stick of PC3200? I hate to think of the cost.
    I know that Il2, FB & probably LOMAC will benefit from 1 Gb but realistically do you need 2 Gb?

    Could anyone please reassure/warn me about these choices. I am looking for a solution that enables me to do some overclocking in the future and would like to build a system that ensures that I can enjoy my passion (Flight Simulation) to the max (although again I am happy to forego PCI card sound solutions for a while yet). I also like bells and whistles so expandability is important.

    Sorry to be repetitive but really an ABIT NF7-S V2.0 is what you want.
    It's a great board for overclockers & runs my flight sims very well.
    It has an excellent integrated sound solution, has plenty bells & whistles & it is very expandable (I haven't used any of the PCI slots yet).

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    Asus A7N8X Deluxe is still a VERY good mobo and in many ways superior to the very popular ABit NF7-S v2.0. In truth diffs are small, the Abit is a little stronger for o/c'ing but I doubt anything you'd ever truly need. Asus is quieter and better laid out, since both use the top nForce2 Ultra400 chipset there's no real perf diff. The Epox NF2 Ultra400 is also very good, very popular in the US. Buying any nForce2 that has MCP-T or Soundstorm totally negates buying a seperate PCI soundcard as it's better than almost all of the consumer level ones anyway.

    XP2500+ is a great choice, rem you'll want a decent HSF, Volcano 11 is great for a cheap price otherwise look to the more expensive MCX or SLK. As already covered 1GB is a lot of RAM, 2x512MB will give you 5% faster speed due to Dual Channel but if you really want 2GB RAM (2x1GB) in the near future buying 1x1GB now could save you some headaches (or cause more if you can't get a 2nd stick closely matched). I'd suggest 2x512MB and when that becomes limiting sell it and buy 2x 1GB sticks at the same time, prices are almost certain to be a lot lower.

    If you may want to game then rem the gfx card is THE most critical part.

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    Thanks for all the great advice. I know believe that I am on a road with an end to it.

    I will seriously look at the Abit now and will also go the 2*512mb route. On the motherboard issue, I was advised to stay clear of boards with integrated features where possible.

    Can anyone be more specific on the HSF side.

    I have also been told that for flight simualtors, specifically Microsoft FS, CPU and memory are more important than graphics cards.

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    Integrated parts on mobos tended to be really awful, not so anymore esp for sound & LAN. Gfx are still poor, nForce2's with IGP are about the best but still only offer DX7 and GF4MX440 (MX420 without Dual Channel). Sound (rem MCP-T / Soundstorm) and LAN on nF2 is absolutely top notch.

    I think for flight sims the CPU does play a key role unlike most other games. However I would seriously look at what AA (if not AA+AF) could do for you, still wouldn't need a top card of course.

    For HSF, the Volcano 11 is about the best you can get without paying lots more cash. The ones above this generally come with just the HS and you add your own fan. Good fans are TT's Smart Fan II (as also used on Volc11) and Vantec's Aeroflow which uses TMD technology. Zalman's Flower (all copper) is a very good alternative if quiet is a high priority, top design incs a fan. People seem to like Thermalright AX-7/SLK800, Alpha PAL 8045/8942 and Swift MCX462+. SLK-800 is easiest to mount of these pro HS, and known to be very good with a Smart Fan II.

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    Thanks Austin, lots of help.

    I was looking at DX9 on a motherboard and noticed that the Abit is only 8. How important do you think it is and will a BIOS update take care of it or not?

    Can you explain further - AA+AF ???

    Also, will it be okay to run some of my old memory on this board at the same time as my new PC3200. It is:

    1. PC133U 128Mb Synched 133Mhz CL3
    2. KTC 3088/128
    3. PC100 128Mb ECC Accer

    Sorry no more info on chips.

    Thanks again. I will be away now until Sunday evening so please don't think that I am ingoring this thread. It all helps and I will give you lots of feedback on my choices/purchases/setup/benchmarks.

    Andy

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    Originally posted by AndyL
    I was looking at DX9 on a motherboard and noticed that the Abit is only 8. How important do you think it is and will a BIOS update take care of it or not
    Basically all dx9 cards out use agp x8 which is the fastest they can do at the moment. Every pc can use dx9 software but won't be able to play the games properly without a dx9 card.

    Your mixing the dx9 (software) up with the motherboard in which is not the case as the max motherboards can go to is agp x8.

    Also, will it be okay to run some of my old memory on this board at the same time as my new PC3200. It is:

    1. PC133U 128Mb Synched 133Mhz CL3
    2. KTC 3088/128
    3. PC100 128Mb ECC Accer
    I don't think these boards will be able to use your current ram, the best ram to use is pc2700 / pc3200 for this board and have memory in the first and third slot for dual bandwith memory.

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    Scrap the old memory and buy some new stuff. 2 x 512mb pc3200 is definately the way to go if you want 1GB and will leave you with a third free slot if you ever find this is not enough (I doubt you will need anymore for a long long time ). You need not spend a fortune either. Twinmos is both cheap and pretty reliable.

    As for graphics card. Depending on your budget I would buy the 9800 non-pro then flash it to a pro. If you can't stretch to that get a 9600pro or if you budget is even smaller a geforce 4 ti4200.

    Surprised no one has mention the Aero Lite as the HSF. I have clocked my xp1700+ to 2.52 ghz using it and it only cost me £12!

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    Oh I forgot to agree with everyone else and go for the NF7-S v2.0. If you can't afford that get the NF7 v2.0. Same board but without mcp and sata.

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    Yep. DX8 and DX9 are to do with Windows and you gfx card, not the mobo. AGP8x as said is the gfx connection on the mobo (where gfx card plugs in) and AGP8x is currently the fastest (and overkill BTW).

    AA+AF. In the old days of 3D gfx cards it really just came down to pure speed. However work has been going on for some years now to enhance other elements of the 3D world, basically making things look better rather than just concentrating on raw speed. This is what AA (Anti-Aliasing) & AF (Anisotropic-Filtering) do, they make the 3D world look much better and now can do so with only sacrificing a very small amount of speed. Put simply AA removes the 'jaggies' or 'stair-step' effects. Any PC screen is made up of small squares called pixels, this is fine when drawing straight lines and edges but as soon as slanted lines and normal rough edges come in to lay things look jagged. Consider this | / - \ | . When you use AA you make it seem smoother so it looks much more like a true straight line.

    AF (again put simply) makes textures in the 3D world sharper and clearer, esp at medium to long distances. Textures are what make something look like rock, glass, stone, wood etc. You have to see it to really get a feel for what it does.

    All modern PCs use DDR now, PC133 and PC100 are SDR and will only be found on old mobos based on the KT266 and SiS730(ish) chipsets, certainly nothing later (AFAIK). The perf hit on an XP2000+ is in the region of 10%. Since you really want 333-400FSB you need DDR PC2700 (333mhz) and PC3200 (400mhz). So you'll need to buy new RAM.

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    Back again. Thanks for all the great feedback/IT lessons.

    I have decided to go with the Abit board but my questions about the old memory need clarifying:

    I intend on buying at least 512mb of new PC3200 (as Stylez reccomends) but I just wondered if I could stick any of the old memory in as well. Would it work? Or would all memory revert to the lowest spped.

    My budget for a graphics card is around £120. I am torn between going for a card with a lesser processor but more RAM (256mb) or a better processor and less RAM (128Mb). Anyone have any experience of the difference.

    Thanks.

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    I honestly don't think you can use your PC133 RAM on a DDR board. I am not sure if they run at the same voltage, so chances are, *something* will get damaged..

    For £120, I think the card that would fit the budget just right would be the Radeon 9600Pro. Don't worry about the amount of RAM on the video card.. I went through many reviews, and the difference doesn't become apparently until you up the details/resolution/AA/AF to something that is likely to be unplayable using a mid-range card (and the difference doesn't seem that great amongs the top-range either).

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    • Knoxville's system
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    best Graphics card for flight sims in that price range = radeon 9600pro 128mb.

    If you wanna play il-2/lomac at top quality you need at least a 9700pro and 1gb of ram

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    You won't be able to use any of your old RAM, it's physically different stuff and way slower than you need anyway. When adding RAM sticks the fastest speed you can run is always dictated by the slowest stick. Hence PC2100 mixed with 1 or 2 sticks of PC4000 would limit it all to PC2100 speed.

    Do rem you want 2 sticks of RAM for full speed although you could use 1 stick now with the idea of adding another soon but it's a better idea to buy both at the same time.

    For the gfx card the speed and technology of the card is WAY more important than the RAM it has. GF4TI4200_64MB would easily kill a 256MB GF-FX5200 or Rad9200 in EVERYTHING. For £120 you should either look to a 4200 (pref 128MB) and upgrade sometime in the next 6-12 months or else grab a Rad9600PRO now in order to have DX9 and top AA+AF.

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    Right,

    I am finalising my choices and have come up with the following so far:

    1. Abit NF7-s V2
    2. XP2500+
    3. PC3200 512Mb
    4. ATI 9600Pro
    5. Aero Cool 7

    Now, as you would expect, just a few quesitons:

    Is it necessary to have ECC memory when using PC3200 on this board or not.
    Which brand do people think is best for a 9600Pro. I would be keen to have some freebies in the package if everything else is equal.
    Does the mobo support a Game Port, if not is there a way of attaching one.

    I am also looking for 4 other items. Any suggestions would be appreciated:

    1. A showoff case around the £45 mark plus, if not included:
    2. A 350 Watt power supply - is 350 enough.
    3. An external temperature/fan speed monitor
    4. A multi card reader/writer with, if possible an IR window.

    Not much to ask !!!

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