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Old 11-28-2005, 11:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey, I'm new here. My current machine is ancient and instead of buying one of the crappy premade machines that dell sells, I've decided to do some research and build myself a gaming machine for a reasonable price.

My goal is to create a PC where I'm getting the best value vs performance. I've been looking at the site mysuperpc.com and I've been thinking about making a machine pretty similar to the one featured on the site. Here are the specs:
Motherboard MSI K8N Neo Platinum
Processor AMD Athlon 64 3400+
Ram Crucial 1024MB PC3200 DDR
Video Card Chaintech GeForce 6600 GT 128MB AGP
Hard Drive Western Digital 250GB 7200rpm SATA
DVD RW NEC ND-3540A Dual Format Double Layer
Sound Card Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS

I have some questions..

Is a socket 754 mobo the way to go? The site says the performance is around the same as 939 and the price is lower. Also is a top of the line mobo really necessary? I just want one that isn't gonna be a bottleneck and will perform reliably. I don't need most of the extra features (I have a separate USB 2.0 card).

Is using RAID technology with your HDs really worth it, and do both HDs have to be SATA?

Do most motherboards offer good enough on-board sound that I won't have to buy a separate sound card?

Any other suggestions for a newbie?
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Socket 754 IS NOT the way to go unless you are VERY tight on money, you are NEVER (and I mean NEVER) going to upgrade again, or you don't care about dual core, SLI, dual channel RAM, etc.

A top of the line mobo (like the DFI LANParty) isn't really necessary unless you want to overclock a lot or have really, really good RAM.

RAID can be beneficial, but I've never needed to use it. You do not need SATA for it.

Most onboard soundcards work fine, unless you are absolutely obsessed with sound quality, in which case you may want to look into better sound cards.
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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2 more questions.

If I want to overclock am I going to have to buy a lot of extra cooling equipment? Is overclocking even worth it with a well built machine?

I've been looking into cases and it seems that Antec and ThermalTake are the most popular, but they're very expensive. I want a case that looks cool.. preferably one with the see-through side panel, has enough power supply and won't make too much noise. Are there any reasonably priced cases that meet those requirements or should I just stick with an Antec or Thermaltake?
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you're going AMD, go 939. 754 is dead, as in discontinued.

Unless you're into major overclocking, you can go with a Gigabyte, MSI, or Asus. Just be sure to get an nForce4 chipset.

Chaintech is not a name I'm familiar with. eVGA, BFG, Gigabyte, MSI are all solid graphics cards.

SATA drives are the way to go. Go with Seagate if you can (five year warranty), with Western Digital a close second.

If you go with RAID, go RAID0 with a couple of SATA drives with NCQ. Tie a couple of 80gig Barracudas together and you have near-Raptor performance for less than half the price.

NEC is a good brand, as is BenQ, LiteOn, LG, and many others.
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You can overclock some with stock (as in, the cooling that comes with the proc, case, etc.) but not as far as if you were to put in water cooling or special fans.

Antec makes good cases AND PSUs, and TT makes good cases. Some other case manufacturers (like Aspire) make nice cases too, but not as good as Antec and TT, IMHO. The Antec SUPER LANBOY is only $76 on Newegg as of the last time I checked, and it looks nice. It doesn't come with a PSU, so you are going to need to get one (Antec, Fortson, OCZ, and a few others are very good).
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