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Old 12-06-2005, 01:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Christmas PC for the kids

I'm tossing around the idea of building a PC for my two girls for Christmas. They are 6 and 8, so I'm not really in need of a monster PC... browse the net, play kid games, word processing, e-mail, etc. I'm also tossing around the idea of not using a floppy drive... been building PC's over the years... is it time to stop putting floppy drives in? With cheap USB storage devices all over, am I dating myself by even thinking about a floppy?

I'm looking at the Aspire X-QPack case, so I'm trying to research Micro ATX boards. Two biggies for me is SATA and onboard video. I'm not really to sure what SATA is, but it seems to be a new technology that has faster transfer rates over the IDE's I'm used to(ATA133). In short, should I go for a board and drive for a SATA device?

Secondly, many of the Micro ATX boards have onboard video... which would probably be fine for my girls. On the other hand the boards that have the SATA do not have AGP slots. I'd like to have an AGP just in case I find out the onboard video is truly not good enough. The board I'm considering at the moment is a BIOSTAR GEFORCE 6100-M7, which uses NVIDIA GeForce 6100 (North) and NVIDIA nForce 410(South). Can someone make some suggestions or confirm this might be a good choice?

Here is my build list at this point:
- Aspire X-QPack (green - older kid LOVES green)
- BIOSTAR GEFORCE 6100-M7
- AMD Sempron 64 2600 or 2800+ (retail)
- WD SATA 3.0GB/s 120GB HDD
- CORSAIR ValueSelect 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400
- LiteOn CD/DVD R/W/RW drive
- NEC Floppy (not sure why I still put floppies in PC's)

Again... comments, suggestions and etc welcomed.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A Graphics card now thats pretty cheap and will be good for some time is either a radeon 9600XT or a 9800 Pro, since they won't be gamming itll last a long time..

I would get a forton 450 Watt power supply, it will hold up for some time and have room for upgrading.

And try to get a gigabyte mobo, they are rock solid and very reliable, and Ive heard bad things about Biostar.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know floppies seem pointless but when you need them they really come in handy ie boot disks or raid drivers. for $5 bucks if I need to use the floppy one time it is worth it.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The best graphics card in this case would be a GeForce 6600GT. Dont get a 9800 Pro, they are overpriced, and the 9600XT doesn't have umph thats needed for today's games. And don't get a BioStar, like Ste said. I prefer Abit or DFI, but i've known people with gigabyte mobos and they seemed to like it well, so you would be ok there.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by beedubaya
The best graphics card in this case would be a GeForce 6600GT. Dont get a 9800 Pro, they are overpriced, and the 9600XT doesn't have umph thats needed for today's games. And don't get a BioStar, like Ste said. I prefer Abit or DFI, but i've known people with gigabyte mobos and they seemed to like it well, so you would be ok there.
They won't be playing any games that would require that card.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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But why pay more for less and get a 9800 Pro? For that price he could get a 6800GS which is twice the performance of the 9800 Pro. ATI cards aren't usually good price/performance value, especially in this case.
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pay less for less because they won't need it. Your a Nvidia fan boy, I am neither, its only natural for you to be biest and suggest a nvidia card, I suggested what I thought would do best for this situation. I bet the only thing they will play is online internet games, they do not need anything more then what I suggested, hell he could go even lower then what I suggested, But I suggested either of those cards to last awhile while not paying to much money..
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OK, get a 9200SE then. 9800 Pro is way overpriced for what you get.
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Old 12-06-2005, 02:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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if its for young children and going to be used for the basics, get a Celeron D processor, > 2.6Ghz (they're cheap), and get a decent socket 478 board + 128MB video card. That and 512MB RAM will be fine. Hard drive is up to you, depends on how much you'll be putting on. I'm guessing > 60GB.
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You're right... they don't really need a monster machine, my guess is the onboard video would be fine. As part of my getting re-aquainted with current hardware, the PCI X16 is actually better than the AGP's. I've also researched SATA some more and will definitely be going that route... as well as a new PC for me which I need to build sometime soon.

So... the board I am thinking about using has a PCI x16 just in case the onboard video does suck. I am a little unclear about the amount of memory the motherboard I noted above will allocate for video memory or if there is a sliding scale. Honestly I think I'm probably worrying about it too much since their video requirements won't exactly be pushing the technology envelope. The biggest issue with children's software is its quality IMO. Poorly written stuff... I digress.

Does Biostar really have issues? It seems the reviews I have read on the Gigabyte Micro ATX's has a lot of quality issues. My last few PC's I have build used Albatron boards, which as I understand is a company that formed from a guy who left Gigabyte. Personally I have never used a Biostar or Gigabyte.. but the reviews of the boards I'm looking at for both put the Biostar on top... am I just running into some poor reviews?
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