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Thread: Building new PC advice please :)

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    Building new PC advice please :)

    Hi all,

    New to the forum, but been reading Hexus since back when I used to write reviews for LegitReviews.com (going back years now...). Anyway I used to be into PC's, quite heavily I might add, even had a Koolance EXOS that I loved OC'ing. Then I found MAC's... Needless to say all the novelties of OC'ing and gaming died and I'm attached at the hip to OSX.

    Well, as all things, I've come full circle and have decided to go back to Windoze, although more specifically GAMES! Therefore I'll be selling my lovely 12" PowerBook and getting one of the new Intel Mac Mini's... when the price goes down... In the meantime I want to build a machine that will be dedicated purely for games and the odd movie encoding for DVD's and ripping. Coz I'll have a Mini I don't want this baby to take up space and at some point I'll have to research into a KVM switch to flick between the both, dual screens is a no no. So this comp has to sit side by side on my desk with the monitor in the middle and the Mini on the other side. So below is a list of hardware that I'm tinkering over but any advice would be greatly appreciative.

    As for budget, I'm fortunate in that I don't have to pay VAT as I'll be putting this through a VAT registered company. That's saving me a couple of hundred! And of course my powerbook sale will factor into this too. So I'd say I'm around the £1200/£1300 area...

    Case - Silverstone Sugo SG01 Aluminium Mini PC - After consideration, I am after saving space. And decided with a Micro ATX form factor.

    CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+ (Socket 939) - Retail (ADA3800BVBOX) (CP-134-AM) - The OEM is certainly an interesting prospect but then am I right to assume I've got to pick up a cooler? I have no idea what the restrictions are like in that case so I decided to opt with retail. Any recommendations on that would be nice.

    Memory - Corsair 2GB DDR XMS3500LL Pro TwinX (2x1GB) CAS2 (MY-093-CS) - I love Corsair. It's the only memory I've ever used in PC's. I doubt anybody will be able to sway me on this brand, but am I buying the right spec here? Why am I not seeing anybody using DDR2 in their systems yet? On that basis, I chose this model.

    PSU - Antec NeoHE 430W Modular ATX2.0 PSU (CA-044-AN) - Don't ask me why... Does what I need I guess?

    Samsung SpinPoint P HD080HJ 80GB SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM - Revised based on recommendations below.

    Sound Card - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music - Retail (SC-034-CL) - I like my sound in games. I've always been heavy into tweaking sound to make the gaming environment as rich as possible. I use Sennheiser HD650's for when I'm listening privately and so I'd like a good card to compliment. Now my only question here is what's the difference with this card and the Fatal1ty one? Is it just the 64MB Ram? If so, what difference does that make? If I'm going to pay more for that, I'd might as well go all out on the X-Fi Elite Pro. I'd really like opinions on this, from people who have used the hardware. Looking at spec sheets doesn't seem like it offers much of a difference, so can anyone voice one?

    Display - Viewsonic VX924 19" LCD Monitor (MO-040-VS) - Moving away from a laptop I've got to buy a new screen. I've tinkered with the thought of a widescreen 20", but my thoughts on how good they are in comparison to 19's are simply stick to the 19's if you want better quality. That being said, is this model the best on the market? I'm not sure where to begin with LCD's but I'm assuming response time is a key factor, in which case this is very very low, the lowest I could find. Any input would be great and if you know a great 20" model that can rival the 19's I'd love to know, thanks.

    DVDRW - Plextor PX-716AL Dual Layer Slot Loading 16x4x DVD±RW ReWriter - Retail (CD-030-PL) - I'm drawn to that purely because of the 'wow' factor and since owning a Mac I love slot-loading drives. I simply dislike trays. Again though, it seems that removing the tray makes this player significantly more expensive than competitors. Shall I ditch the vanity and get an equally good, if not better drive? I will be burning a few DVD's.

    Motherboard - Asus A8N-VM CSM Micro ATX - Based on recommendation below. Certainly looks good enough for my needs too.

    Graphics - I really am unsure. 7800/7900 or X1800/1900... I'll have a look into it and see how it affects price. I'm not after the fastest stuff, so XT-X etc is a waste on me...

    Thanks for all the feedback guys!

    Revised Based On Answers Below
    Last edited by vespr; 16-03-2006 at 04:03 PM.

  2. #2
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    Wow. Very nice setup indeed. You also clearly know your stuff, so not too much I can say, at least not with much authority.
    I have 2 thoughts however. (Not generally, but with regards to the above )
    1) Widescreen. A tough call, since you specify gaming as your priority. I'd argue that in games that do support widescreen, it is by far the better option - they just look "cooler" as well as sometimes offering more practical view (ie Quake 4). The major downside is that still, a number of current games do not properly support it (BF2 - DICE you idiots), so you either end up 'stretched' or running with black bars down the sides, giving you effectively a 17" 5:4 ratio monitor. Check out widescreen gaming forum for loads of really great help on this.
    As you see in my system spec, i am a widescreen gamer, and love it. It IS the future, the only question is, "Is it the present?". They also clearly cost more, although if you do a search in this forum you'll see lots of references to getting new Dell 20" monitors for not much over £300 (inc vat and 3 year warranty).
    2) heatsink & fan - Zalmans are just great. Yes, lots of others are too, but i recommend what i know. The 9500 is great for £35.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

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    hey dude cheers for the reply. Yeah I'm definitely partial to the widescreen. I used to own a 23" apple display to partner my pbook (since sold), and it was gorgeous. But I doubt I'd go that route for games with it...

    The ones I've looked at are the following...

    Belinea 102035W 20.1" Widescreen LCD Monitor

    BenQ FP202W 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor

    Viewsonic VX2025 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor

    But I really don't understand the garb on it when it comes to the specs so I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Thanks for the compliment, I wouldn't say I know my stuff, just got some reading in when choosing the pieces to find compatible stuff. But what do you think of the whole nvidia/ati thing? ATI certainly seems the cheaper option... But you know what they say, you get your moneys worth!

    Thanks again for the reply, I'll look into the widescreen gaming board

  4. #4
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    Couple of things spring out:

    1/ You have specified a micro-atx case, and a choice of full size ATX motherboards. You need to re-think your motherboard choices, and probably drop the SLI/crossfire idea. I think that SLI uATX boards do exist, but you really limit your choice for something that, by the sounds of things, you will never make use of.

    2/ I gather the low capacity raptors don't have fluid bearings, and so make a lot more noise than the bigger/newer ones. Given your comments on sound quality, you probably don't want a noisy HD close to head hight.

    3/ Nice RAM if you can offord it. The reason that you don't see DDR2 in Athlon systems yet is that the CPU drives the RAM directly, and the current generation don't support DDR2. That support will be in the next generation of processors and motherboards, due on the 6th of June.

  5. #5
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    I can't really comment on the ATI/nVidia thing, as I only like to talk about what I really know, and they are both fairly closely matched. My nVidia graphics card is great (well, i want a new one, but i mean for the money) but it's not really in that league above.
    I suppose, reading various reviews, that'd you will get a kick-ass system with either. I'd rather someone else who has one posts an opinion though.

    As for the monitors, my experience is that despite all the rave about "sub 8ms required for gaming", i'd disagree. Anything uder 16ms response is fine for gaming, but get something with a) good contrast and b) good brightness.

    I'd probably spend more time choosing the monitor than anything else, as these will de-value alot slower than internal components and as such will stay with you alot longer. Hence the comment about widescreen being the future
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

  6. #6
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix
    1/ You have specified a micro-atx case, and a choice of full size ATX motherboards.

    2/ I gather the low capacity raptors don't have fluid bearings, and so make a lot more noise than the bigger/newer ones.
    1/ Nicely spotted.

    2/ Agreed. Most hard drives are fairly fast these days, and although Raptors look great in reviews, the Samsung Spinpoints are really fast also, but super-quiet. The last 3 builds i did used Samsungs and i have no regrets.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

  7. #7
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC
    Agreed. Most hard drives are fairly fast these days, and although Raptors look great in reviews, the Samsung Spinpoints are really fast also, but super-quiet. The last 3 builds i did used Samsungs and i have no regrets.
    Have to agree on the spinpoints for quiet. I am a bit of a hard drive tart, but currently flip between Western Digital for speed+quiet, or Samsung for storage space+really quiet.

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    ahh thanks for that. Totally didn't see the whole Micro ATX thing. Hmmm... That changes things, looking at Micro ATX boards I'm not fancying that route.. Guess I'll look into a new case. Really didn't want a bloody great big tower! Doh...

    Yeah I'd heard the Raptors were a bit noisy, might back away from that too... (Would save money!)

    About the RAM, I'd like to think when it all comes down to it I would be able to afford it! But I guess we'll see...

    Cheers again for the updates, I'll have look at what cases are out there..

  9. #9
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    I wouldn't throw micro-atx out that fast. You sacrifice SLI, but for example the Asus A8N-VM CSM looks pretty decent, is passively cooled and the benchmarks when using a plug in video card are basically the same as a straight Nforce-4 board.

    Do you really _need_ the ultimate in upgradability?

    Will you really buy a second graphics card when you can sell the one you have and buy the latest generation for generally the same performance but the latest features?

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    lol, you've left me with a dilemna! Ahh well, something to think about at work - I do see your point though... And the money I'd save on a board I could spend on a better vid card...

    You're right though, I do not need that option for upgradability. And the option of selling and buying a new one, in most ways do outweigh adding a second card of the same spec. Considering when it comes to upgrading again, the value of those two will have decreased even more so! Space is something I'm certainly looking to save... Damnit I've changed my mind again! LOL
    Last edited by vespr; 16-03-2006 at 03:30 PM.

  11. #11
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    Why don't you consider something like this? It's nForce 4, supports the X2's, and although it comes with onboard VGA you can disable that...
    EDIT : Danceswithunix, we seem to think alike!!

    As for non-tower ATX cases, have a look here at what Scan offers in desktop mode:. I personally like the look of the Silverstone LASCALA.
    2nd edit: Just re-looked, that PSU would be totally unsuitable for your needs. Sorry.

    That said, these are only tower cases on their sides
    Last edited by MSIC; 16-03-2006 at 03:36 PM.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

  12. #12
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    That Silverstone Sugo....nice choice!
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

  13. #13
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASRock H170M-ITX
      • CPU:
      • Core i5 6500
      • Memory:
      • 2 x 4GB Corsair Veng DDR4 2666
      • Storage:
      • 240GB SSD (boot) +1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS GeForce 750Ti
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W ST455F
      • Case:
      • Silverstone SG06-450
      • Operating System:
      • Win10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell S2309W
      • Internet:
      • PlusNet FiberTTC
    Quote Originally Posted by vespr
    PSU - Open for suggestions...
    I actually wouldn't recommend my Tagan Easycon PSU for your needs. It works largely well in my machine, and i loved the idea of plug-in, plug-out cables that you use only as needed, but the cables themselves are very well wrapped...so well in fact that they are not very bendy, and don't easily allow for good positioning in small spaces.
    You're best off getting something with thin cabling, although the modular aspect is still a nice principle.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
    - Another poster, from another forum.

    System as shown, plus: Microsoft Wireless mobile 4000 mouse and Logitech Illuminated keyboard.
    Sennheiser RS160 wireless headphones. Creative Gigaworks T40 SII. My wife.
    My Hexus Trust

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