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Posted: 6/17/2002 5:20:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/17/2002 5:25:43 PM EDT by Kevin]
A couple years back I was into homebuilts, I built 4 for family members with great success but the one I finally built formyself was a nightmare!!! Ever since I've been turned off by trying again but now I'm needing MORE POWER but want to be cheap. I would welcome any info on solid, reliable, affordable setups whether it be the homebuilt route or whatever. Things to consider: I don't need anything wild, I currently have a CPQ 475mhz AMD K6/3D (only because the homebuilt ticked me off so bad I just went I bought the closest $500 box I could find one afternoon). [i]Basically a hampster w/ a 9 volt battery connected to his tail would have more power than this PC! However, I must admit it has been trouble free.[/i] Not a gamer but will occassionally pick up something if it looks worthy (Delta Force 1/2 having been the latest). I hate new software so I rarely buy any of the hog programs out there. Would someone seriously let me know if a basic system can be built w/ good reliability using Win. 98 (new OS means $$). I would like as much info on reliable combos (processor, board, chipset, etc.). I know all about Pricewatch but know the s/h & other schemes some of the vendors play just tick me off all over again. Recommendations of reputable places w/ good customer service would be appreciated. I still have my ATX case & a new Maxtor HD so those would be two components I would not need. I still would consider a 'turn key' setup if somebody knows the right deal (good but cheap, older stuff ok).
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:29:30 PM EDT
Go to www.tigerdirect.com . They have barebones systems dirt cheap and you can build from there. Have not found better prices anywhere.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:32:14 PM EDT
well, personally, I'd build. I have 7 yrs experince. I have all the software. I only put on the software [b]I[/b] want. I can canibalize the parts I already have. I can make a system that suits my needs, not a "lets see what's on the shelf and throw it together, and market it" system. I have "free" 24/7 tech support and the technician is always on site! [:D] I CHOOSE everything! I most likely saved money, and I always have the satisfaction of building it myself....or I know who to blame IF something goes wrong :)
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:32:48 PM EDT
Yeah two words, Intel motherboards and Intel processors..... The Buzz Word during the 80's was , 100% IBM Compatible... But alas, they never achieved that... In that many mix's of processors and many motherboards do not function together very well... Cyrix and AMD had some problems years ago.... There was a bunch of problems during the AMD k5/k6 period... They may not be so bad now.... Stay away from SIS chipsets as they usta be and might still be complete and total S(*)T!!!! SIS sucks.... Don't go on the cheap...
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:40:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:42:49 PM EDT
Go to [url]www.ubid.com[/url] I just bought a HP 520N- 1.3G Celeron, 60g HD, 512mb RAM, CDRW, DVD ROM, 10/100 NIC,etc... running winXP with all the software on auction for $389. I couldn't build it for that. It arrived from HP factory boxed, and is 100%. How can you beat that. Just set an upper limit on your bids and be patient-worked for me!! [8D]
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 5:43:16 PM EDT
I just recently made a file server box for home. (You see, I had this router, and I felt silly with only one computer...) I also looked around on pricewatch, but I managed to get a really good deal at my local independently owned computer shop. The prices marked are %30-%40 higher than you can find online, but those are only for the uninformed. If you go in and politely act like you know what you are doing, they will give you prices comparable to those online. They still want your business, even if they're not making as much off of you as they do off of the averege joe. Definitely try your local shop first. I've been really happy with the performance of my system: Asus A7V333 motherboard (includes optional IDE RAID controller) 512 MB PC2100 DDR RAM AMD Athlon XP 1900+ 2 x 120 GB Western Digital drives w/8MB buffer (WD1200JB) in RAID 0 (striping) configuration 64MB GeForce2 MX 400 The Athlon 1900+ is at the sweet spot on the power to price curve right now. Go any higher and you're really paying for the extra MHz. The motherboard is great. Should be good for any speed improvements in the current generation of processors. Always pay a couple extra bucks for a good MB. I've torn my hair out working on too many PC [s]Shits[/s]Chips motherboards to go that route again. As the french say: I am not so wealthy that I can afford to buy cheap things. The video card isn't bad. I'm not a gamer, but it should be fine for any games you already own. I don't think there are that many games out there that really require a GeForce4. The RAID drives just rock! Amazing performance over IDE. I use this as my media box, so fast disks are a must. Regarding the OS, I would recommend XP. If you know someone at a university (like me), they may be able to hook you up with an educational version. The whole 95/98/ME series has caused me nothing but headaches. The NT/2000/XP series is much more stable, and XP will run pretty fast if you take an axe to some of its useless GUI components.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 6:08:59 PM EDT
I would not build from scratch if I were to purchase a new machine right now. There isn't much reason to anymore for casual users. Dell, gateway, etc. are getting so low in price that it is difficult to beat (especially if you want software). I recently ordered some new parts for my homebuilt, but the only reason was because only certain parts needed upgrading.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 7:14:21 PM EDT
Hey Kevin, Personally I think win98 is the weakest link in the system. A few years ago I had built an older Asus TX97-E with an AMD K6/2-300 that worked for what I wanted it to do (web design, image editing, basic office functions, etc.) just a general purpose machine. But I really tried keeping it 'clean' so Win98 wouldn't choke up like it always seems to after about 2 years. No success...it took about 2.5 years, but performance and stability gradually began to suffer and it just got progressively worse. I no longer feel like building a system totally from scratch, so I went to [url]www.project-ind.com[/url] and had a custom configured system built there. This is the 2nd system I've bought from them over 3 years and have been very happy with their service. Not the rock-bottom cheapest, but they know what they're doing and you can specify name brand components (mobo and vid card being the most important to me). Maybe go with one of their bare bones setups and add the pieces you need. I would recommend winxp (pro if possible). If you get it now as an OEM purchase with a system or system components (hd, mobo, etc.) it should be cheaper than buying it separately later. After my initial install (first one had a problem with logitech mouseware software that I aborted and restarted before getting too far along) I've been very pleased with the performance and stability of xp. Hopefully using NTFS will help keep the thing a little more stable as well. As for recommendations...I pretty much stick to ASUS or ABIT motherboards, but there are some new hot combos out there if you're more adventurous. Hope this helps!
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 11:46:03 AM EDT
Thank You for you time gentleman, all the comments are appreciated. I'm slowly heading to Pricewatch to take a look the latest [s]scams[/s] deals there. Any other advice would also be welcomed.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 12:02:45 PM EDT
If you build PCs, I strongly recommend a subscription to Maximum PC magazine. Check out their web site: [url]www.maximumpc.com[/url]. They don't have their hdwe reviews online yet, but should soon. Also, [url=www.tomshardware.com]Tom's Hardware Guide[/url] is an excellent resource for choosing hardware. I like to build my own PC because then I can decide where to save money and where to splurge, rather than letting a marketing dept. make those decisions for me. I would rather have a fast, 20GB HDD rather than a slow 80GB. Gotta have the best CD burner, but don't need a DVD drive (yet). I definitely recommend building your own; you will get a better PC (for you) for less $$ than if you buy some manufacturer's set of compromises.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 12:48:05 PM EDT
If you don't absolutely need a system right now, put it off for a couple of months when the new chipsets will be hitting the market (I think around August). However, if you want something now go at it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 12:58:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2002 1:42:22 PM EDT by Kevin]
Submitted for your review - [url]http://usa.asus.com/mb/socket370/tusi-m/overview.htm[/url] [img]www.ar15.com/members/albums/Kevin%2FasustusiM%2Ejpg[/img] This would be small & fast but if all goes well maybe it will get me back in the mood to be build again sooner rather than later. I know the onboard graphics would be a setback for some of you guys but I am fairly confident it would handle my minimal needs. [url]http://usa.asus.com/mb/socket370/tusl2/overview.htm[/url] The TUSL2 is also a nice board but am I correct that it DOES have on-board graphics also (which be disabled and then use the AGP slot)?? Please explain the optional on-board sound too? Something else I'd like to know is - Is it wise to go after the retail box items for the longer warranty? [i](A few years ago I'd have said no, but now??)[/i]
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 1:19:46 PM EDT
I have built several PC's with the following configuration for my work: Enlight 7237-0X3 mid-tower case Epox 8KHAL motherboard AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.53GHz) CPU Thermaltake Volcano 6Cu CPU cooling fan 256MB PC2100 RAM 20GB Maxtor D740X hard drive Mitsumi 1.44 floppy drive Sony 52X CD-ROM ATI Xpert 2000 32MB AGP video card Netgear FA311 network card Mitsumi PS/2 keyboard Mitsumi PS/2 scroll mouse Windows 2000 Pro / Windows 98 SE operating system All the components seem to be pretty reliable and that configuration runs me just over $600, shipping included. For my next PC, I'm planning to go with the MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard instead the older Epox mobo. I would suggest an upgraded video card from what I have listed above if you're going to do any kind of real gaming. Since it doesn't sound like you're a devoted gamer, it doesn't make sense to spend $200-300 on the video card. I'd recommend something like maybe the Abit Siluro Geforce3 Ti200, which runs about $120. You might also like to get a CD-R/W drive instead of the CD-ROM drive I have listed. If so, the Lite-On 40x12x48 LTR-40125S is a good choice and can be had for around $71. If you have Windows 98 [b]Second Edition[/b], you're probably fine to build another machine with it. Windows 2000 or Windows XP would be more stable, but considering you already Win 98, it would be okay, too. However, if you have the original Windows 98 (no Second Edition), I wouldn't recommend it. Win98 first edition was incredibly buggy. My favorite vendors for components are [url]www.newegg.com[/url], [url]www.allstarshop.com[/url], and [url]www.crucial.com[/url] for memory. They have good prices and I've had good customer service from them, too. You can check up on vendors at [url]www.resellerratings.com[/url]. Assuming you keep your monitor, case, hard drive, floppy drive, and OS, you'll end up somewhere in the $400 neighborhood for a pretty darn good system: already have case MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard: $81 from Newegg AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.53GHz) CPU: $99 from Newegg Thermaltake Volcano 6Cu CPU fan: $8.5 from Allstarshop 256MB PC2100 RAM: $44 from Crucial already have Maxtor hard drive already have floppy drive (I assume) Sony 52X CD-ROM: $26 from Allstarshop or Lite-On 40x12x48 LTR-40125S CD-R/W: $71 from Newegg Abit Siluro Geforce3 Ti200 64MB AGP video card: $119 from Allstarshop Netgear FA311 network card: $13 from Allstarshop Mitsumi PS/2 keyboard: $7 from Allstarshop Mitsumi PS/2 scroll mouse: $3.5 from Allstarshop already have operating system (assuming Win 98 SE) Shipping from Allstarshop: ~$20 Shipping from Crucial and Newegg included in prices
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 1:20:42 PM EDT
I forgot to mention: [url]www.newegg.com[/url] seems to be very popular and they have good prices. I have an order on its way from them. I also ordered some memory from [url]www.googlegear.com[/url] and it just arrived. They have great prices as well. Others on this board pointed me to [url]www.resellerratings.com[/url] which is a good place to go before purchasing from a vendor you aren't familiar with. Good luck!
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 11:38:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2002 11:39:48 AM EDT by Mute]
Truthfully, given the time you spend researching, buying the parts and putting the system together, you aren't going to save that much money. However, you will, as Burger King says, "have it your way." Something that can't quite be guaranteed if you buy a ready made system. Regarding the OS, if you're building from the ground up, I suggest Win2k or XP. Much better reliability and protected memory than Win9x/ME.
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