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first build: input, please.


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#1
howlleo

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OK: this is for my Computers class project. Purpose: to build a computer from scratch that will last a home user (not a heavy gamer) for at least 6 years, hopefully more. Not cutting edge people, but not too far behind either.

The budget is $1,100. Some of that has to go to other hardware, like a vidcam, headset, DSL Modem, etc. Some has to go for software, such as Antivirus, firewall, OS, office suit, etc.
I haven't figured out how much these items will cost, so I need to leave myself a buffer in the budget.

For processor and hard drive I chose 2 options, figuring that my user doesn't need the high end version, but if they have it, their computer will last longer.
There are two configurations, using the higher and lower end versions of the components, with two drastically different subtotals:

Motherboard:
1. Gigabyte GA-k8nf-9 ($76)
or
2. MSI k8n Neo4f ($70)


video card:
1. POWERCOLOR R96-D3G Radeon 9600PRO 256MB 128-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X ($79)
Or
MSI FX5500-TD256 Geforce FX5500 256MB 128-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card ($75)
Or,
2. should I spring for the more expensive Sapphire Radeon x1300, ($95) and if so, why?


Optical drive:
1,2. Sony DVD and CD burner: Model #: DW-Q30A BK NO/SW ($38)


Sound card: skip it unless there’s lots of extra cash at the end.


Case:
1,2. Antec Sonata II, since there is no significant price break from the Sonata I and it has a better power source ($98-$99)
(May shave money off by getting a diff. case. Can anyone reccommend one with a 450 watt power source for cheaper?)


Processor:
1. AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice ($156)
Or:
2. AMD Athlon 64 x2 38oo+ ($322)


Hard drive:
1. Western Digital Caviar SE 80 gig SATA ($55)
2. Maxtor Diamond Max 160 gig SATA ($90)


Monitor:
1,2. 17" LCD ($189)
May shave off here by using owner's previous monitor, be it CRT or LCD.


The total for version 1 is: $685, leaving me plenty for software and peripherals.
the total for version 2 is: $908, meaning that I may have to rely on freeware.


Or, I could combine the two, choosing the best for the more essential components.


Speakers, keyboard, and mouse I'm assuming my user has already and does not need to upgrade.

Thanks. :tazz:
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#2
warriorscot

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Well, in terms of applications freeware is probably the best, freeware alternatives in most of what you need are going to be just as good, open office is as good as word and doesnt cost a couple of hundre squid. Short of Nod32 and kapersky the free ones like Avast and AVG are some of the best you can get.

Dont know why you need the video camera and headset though the average home user wouldnt need them but they are cheap purchases so thats not to big a deal, DSL modems can be expensive depending on what you get but DSL modems are foten givento new users when they subsrcibe to an ISP.

The k8neo4 is an excellent motherboard its better than the gigabyte and has excellent reliabilty and quality, very easy to work with and the documentation is good.

I would go for the x1300 as its DX9 and they are going to switch to DX10 so the newer the card the more able it should be to handle DX10 applications, the cards you picked are ok but they arent DX9 so the x1300 would be a better choice in my eyes it also has some better features on the card in terms of multimedia and little things like that.

I would stick to the sonata 2 its noise reduction features and excellent cooling and build quality make a very good deal you arent going to get anything better.

best value for money in HDD is in the 200GB range and the amount of data people hold on the computers only increases so you might want to include the larger hard drive.

Sound card is unnecesary, so i wouldnt bother, for RAM you want at least a gig i would reccomend corsair value ram.

6 years at the rate technology eveolves now is a very long time even a high end system built now in 6 years will probably be considered very slow and single core may hold it back even further so i would go dual core if you can afford it but if not you might want to go for a san diego core cpu with the larger cache.

Best not to assume they have anything, and keyboards are pretty cheap a MS woreless keyboard and mouse doesnt cost much buts its a nice addition, and a cheap 2.1 speaker set again isnt much but is the kinda thing expected for a new system. When you are doing these kind of things you want to assume this is the users first computer or a replacement to something archaic and incompatible.
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#3
howlleo

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:tazz:
So everything is otherwise compatible and should go together just fine?

Great.
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#4
warriorscot

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Everything apart from the video cards that are AGP, you need PCI express. And you havent picked any ram.
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#5
howlleo

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x1300 is PCIe, right?

I think a gig in one module should do for starters. that's usually around the $70-$95 amount. Which brings me awfully close to the budget limit. Open Office, AVG, Ad-Aware, ZoneAlarms, Microsoft Antispy, what else? Also, how does the Kaspersky antivirus compare to McAfee?
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#6
warriorscot

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Yeah the x1300 is PCI-e, one gig stick is ok, preferably you want a matched pair but if you dont have the cash for it you neednt bother 1gig of corsair XMS in a matched pair is a $100 i think on newegg but i dont use newegg so that jus from a passing reference a while ago single gig sticks are cheaper than two 512s usually corsair value is the stuff you want to get i think. Kapersky is alot better than Mcafee mcafee is only a little better than norton you are still better with a free one like Avast or AVG both are better than norton or McAfee you also dont want to have more than one AV on the computer at a time otherwise they conflict each other. I also wouldnt bother with the MS antispyware its only a beta Ad-aware is better and combined with spybot is all you need to keep a system clean.

You also need to purchase an operating system.
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#7
howlleo

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presumably the OS would be XP-64.

Is there really a vast difference in speed between xp and xp-64?
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#8
warriorscot

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Xp 64 is a litte i buggier and the driver support isnt quite as good bu its btter than t was i ould stck to 32bit as its usully a little cheaper and if someone is going to have the PC for six years they will pobaly upgrade to vista at some point in the future.
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#9
howlleo

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I've been looking at RAM: how do I know how many pins my motherboard can take? I've seen 184 pin, 240 pin, SDRAM, DDRAM, etc. What's the difference, and how do I know what to get?
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