Buying a new PC, suggestions?

Product… Price Qty
1YR ON-SITE PC WARRANTY (S2U)…£23.00 1
System Labour Charge…£45.00 1
AMD Athlon64 X2 4400 1MB Retail…£305.44 1
Gigabyte K8N-Pro-SLi Motherboard…£67.50 1
Ferrari Enzo Case Yellow…£36.00 1
Corsair 1GB XMS3200 DDR SDRAM… £83.00 2
300GB Maxtor D/Max+10 SATA[16MB]…£74.39 1
AOpen 16x DVD ROM Retail…£13.95 1
HP 840i 16xDVDRW±DL LightScribe…£37.95 1
Sapphire RadeonX1800XL 256 PCI-E…£219.00 1
Creative SB X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS…£126.20 1
19" Hyundai Imagequest Q995 Silv…£99.90 1
Saitek Eclipse Keyboard USB…£29.95 1
Logitech MX1000 Laser Mouse…£32.20 1
Microsoft WindowsXPPro 64bit OEM…£79.95 1
AKASA 859 AMD64/FX55 all copper…£17.79 1

Total System Cost = £1,374.22 exc £ 1,614.71 inc

06/12/05

I will buy it some time near the end of this month. Any suggestion on what to buy different/less/more?

Why a RadeonX1800XL based card instead of a 7800?

Get standard XP Pro instead of 64bit. You certainly don’t need to address larger capacities of RAM, and your build appears to be pointed towards general use/gaming. XP 64bit will introduce oddball softwall and driver incompatibilities with absolutely no performance advantage.

If he’s concerned about Anistropic Filtering… otherwise I’d agree with you.

Good stuff so far, sirrah.

Ferrari Enzo Case Yellow…£36.00 1

Uh…the gaudiness of those cases notwithstanding (to each his own, I’ve never been an exploding alien head with laserbeams PC case kind of guy), it doesn’t come in yellow, I don’t think. Only silver, black, and red. Just in case you were ordering it online site unseen, as it may either be not the color you want or a yellow non-Ferrari case. I could be wrong.

Corsair 1GB XMS3200 DDR SDRAM… £83.00 2
300GB Maxtor D/Max+10 SATA[16MB]…£74.39 1
AOpen 16x DVD ROM Retail…£13.95 1
HP 840i 16xDVDRW±DL LightScribe…£37.95 1
Sapphire RadeonX1800XL 256 PCI-E…£219.00 1

Someone else said it: get a 7800GT/X instead.

Creative SB X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS…£126.20 1
19" Hyundai Imagequest Q995 Silv…£99.90 1

Yeah, I wouldn’t. Save up for an LCD mon, and go for better than 19" if you can. Like, say, this bad boy. I mean, why bother with all the high-end stuff otherwise if you’re going to marginalize the whole point of it, visually-speaking?

Saitek Eclipse Keyboard USB…£29.95 1

FYI, there are two models of the Eclipse, a gamer’s version (with seperate gamepad) and another one (with backlit keys as well as backlighting for the whole keyboard itself, and two intensity settings as well as off). The gamer one is typically cheaper.

Logitech MX1000 Laser Mouse…£32.20 1

I use this and like it but if you find it heavy, you can splurge for the G-7 which has adjustable weights you can put in it.

Microsoft WindowsXPPro 64bit OEM…£79.95 1

Get the Media Center Edition! (just kidding)

AKASA 859 AMD64/FX55 all copper…£17.79 1

Total System Cost = £1,374.22 exc £ 1,614.71 inc

06/12/05

Why is this dated in June?

I will buy it some time near the end of this month. Any suggestion on what to buy different/less/more?

See above. More than anything else, ditch the CRT for an LCD monitor of equal, hopefully bigger size.

Also: speakers? You’ll get the least hassle if you buy from Creative, what with the X-Fi card and all. I wouldn’t sweat having to have 7.1, 4.1 or 5.1 will more than suffice.

I’d think about a stout Voltage Regulator/Battery Back UPS unit, like an APC 900/1200 maybe.

I have the X-Fi platinum (with the front panel thinger). I love it, great card. If you have the bucks to spare, splurge for 2 gigs of ram, it’ll complement your system nicely, since you’re going high end for everything. But if it was a toss between 2 gigs of ram and an LCD, go for the LCD, you’ll be thanking yourself profusely afterwards. I know I did, best damn thing I’ve bought for my computer in ages. You’ll never go back to a CRT ever again.

Thank you all for your replies, that includes you Bill.

I want to avoid getting an Nvidia card because I had lots of problems in the past with them and I am very satisfied with my current ATI card.
Still, I might get an Nvidia in the end, I haven’t made up my mind yet 100%.

I am having second thoughts about getting pro 64 too. I know I am not going to buy Vista, and that I want to use lots of 32/16bit applications/games, thus I might stay with regular XP.

I am thinking of getting the Asus A8N sli deluxe (I think that is the model), which is about 40 quid more expensive and it has some great reviews.

I have only seen small-ish photos of the Ferrari Enzo case and it didn’t look anything too much in your face case. Plenty of space, good materials and nice reviews. I would have prefered to get a cube/shuttle case, or at least a mini case but unfortunately I will have to go for something bigger.
Also, there is a yellow case, I have seen photos of it on the site, I can’t imagine why they would be lying, but, I will double check it, thanks.

GTX is too expensive anyway, I could theoreticaly buy it, but, it just doesn’t feel right giving more than double the money of the x1800xl for a card, when the next models (February I think) will fully support DX10.

I don’t want to get an LCD/TFT for a number of reasons.

  1. I don’t like the limitations they have for resolutions.
    2)They are like 2-3+ times more expensive
    3)I have still to find an LCD/TFT monitor looking (picture) in every angle as good as a good CRT.
    4)In case in about 2 years I manage to go to the USA for a job, it would be easier to just sell or something the 99 quid monitor than a 400 one, and instead get another monitor for less money there.

Do you find the MX1000 good for gaming? I am not very keen on getting a wireless mouse.

It is not dated in June. It is the other way around, 6th of December 2005.

I would like to get speakers but…I like music and sound loud often, and that would mean annoy a lot of people for no good reason. Since I have to stay together with other students, that could come back and bite me when I need some peace and quiet.
I already have an acceptable pair of wireless headphones, and I might go for a better pair if I find something good.

I have a surge protector that I will use, I am thinking getting a UPS, but I have zero knowledge on them so I will see.

Jiffy, I do get the 2 Gigs of memory, it is 1gig x 2.
I am using a TFT monitor (laptop) which is not bad, but for the reasons mentioned earlier I won’t get one (perhaps).

Previous problems with NVidia is a pretty silly reason to choose ATI. Depending on how long ago you’re talking about, and who made your video card, you may as well be talking about your great grandpa having a Ford that broke down a lot.

I don’t have any problems gaming with XP64, but some people certainly do. I haven’t noticed any improvements except in Far Cry.

For motherboard, I’d sugget either ABit or DFI. DFI is the best enthusiast NForce4 mobo, hands down. The A8N Sli-Deluxe has some issues that made me junk it for my DFI Lanparty UT4 SLI, and I’m quite happy with the change. I’m a big overclocker/tweak fiend though.

I also had an MX1000, and it was adequate. I got a G7 a couple weeks ago and I’m loving it. I didn’t like how the MX1000 would run out of juice at bad times, and I absolutely love the on-the-fly sensitivity settings on the G7. The weights are a gimmick. The corded mouse with a laser eye isn’t.

Yeah, you wouldn’t be the only one, either. Are you considering going dual video cards in the future? Not really a priority or Must-Do at the moment (unless you’re into crazy CG rendering software or something, which you might be with your current schooling pursuits), but a point to consider. As far as that goes, it’s easier to dual the ATIs than the nVidias in that you can hook up ATIs from any ol’ manufacturer and they’ll jibe (but if one is a better card, it will dummy itself down to the level of the lesser), whereas with the nVidias, if you don’t get the exact same card by the same manufacturer, you’ll be in for a world of hurt most likely. But Hell, you shouldn’t be too averse to buying another BFG 7800GT or Asus 7800GTX down the road, if the first one works out for you.

I am having second thoughts about getting pro 64 too. I know I am not going to buy Vista, and that I want to use lots of 32/16bit applications/games, thus I might stay with regular XP.

Easier to troubleshoot, anyway.

I am thinking of getting the Asus A8N sli deluxe (I think that is the model), which is about 40 quid more expensive and it has some great reviews.

Oops, I overlooked this. Yeah, that’s the one. I’d think about going for the gusto and getting that one.

I have only seen small-ish photos of the Ferrari Enzo case and it didn’t look anything too much in your face case. Plenty of space, good materials and nice reviews. I would have prefered to get a cube/shuttle case, or at least a mini case but unfortunately I will have to go for something bigger.

Ehhh, I’d avoid a mini if you’re going to throw in a high-end vid card and processor and all in it. Have you checked out silverstone or [url-http://www.lian-li.com/main.htm]Lian Li[/quote]? Cleaner lines, less falderall. My rig is in a Silverstone TJ06, which is a groovy case (but it’s silly tall, so much that some parts may need extension cables).

Also, there is a yellow case, I have seen photos of it on the site, I can’t imagine why they would be lying, but, I will double check it, thanks.

You’re probably right. I googled just to see what the Hell the thing looks like, and the only yellow reference I saw was a dude on eBay saying they come in yellow (the one he was selling was silver, though).

GTX is too expensive anyway, I could theoreticaly buy it, but, it just doesn’t feel right giving more than double the money of the x1800xl for a card, when the next models (February I think) will fully support DX10.

Yeah, I hear you.

I don’t want to get an LCD/TFT for a number of reasons.

  1. I don’t like the limitations they have for resolutions.

Uh…? I think you’re mistaken here.

2)They are like 2-3+ times more expensive

Yeah, but again: unless you want a mon as a placeholder until you save up again for a good LCD, you’re just wasting all that hardware to a degree on a CRT, in my opinion.

3)I have still to find an LCD/TFT monitor looking (picture) in every angle as good as a good CRT.

Uh, why? You plan on playing games sitting next to the thing?

[quote[4)In case in about 2 years I manage to go to the USA for a job, it would be easier to just sell or something the 99 quid monitor than a 400 one, and instead get another monitor for less money there.[/quote]

Uh, yeah, but I guess I thought we were talking about something else. Like, your rig’s specs are fairly top of the line. I’d not think much about resell value on a PC, regardless. They’re hardly investments.

Do you find the MX1000 good for gaming? I am not very keen on getting a wireless mouse.

I don’t blame you. Most of them suck. This one doesn’t. Update the drivers, put her on the charge cradle every so often, and you’ll be fine. Highly configurable. Stellar for gaming, too.

It is not dated in June. It is the other way around, 6th of December 2005.

I would like to get speakers but…I like music and sound loud often, and that would mean annoy a lot of people for no good reason. Since I have to stay together with other students, that could come back and bite me when I need some peace and quiet.
I already have an acceptable pair of wireless headphones, and I might go for a better pair if I find something good.

Right, gotcha. I’d see about getting a quality pair of phones, then. More wasted tech otherwise, again.

I have a surge protector that I will use, I am thinking getting a UPS, but I have zero knowledge on them so I will see.

Not having one is a great way to get progressive degradation of your system’s fidelity over time. Undervoltage is just as detrimental as overage in the long run, and having 10 minutes or so of battery power to shut down properly is key on a higher-end rig like that one.

Finally, a UK-based PC buying thread :)

I very recently was looking to get someone to custom build* me a new rig, so I looked at the reviews at romulus2 and so on and eventually I found this. Not my ‘perfect’ spec, and they don’t customise, but look at the price:

PCNextDay Zoostorm 5-7401

Athlon 4000+ (the fastest single-code one)
1G Ram
SLi two 7800GTs
19" TFT
Audigy 2
Creative 7.1 speakers

All for less than £1500 incl. I played with all the competition’s configurators that I could find and anyone else wanted £2000+ (my original budget) to get even close. I honestly don’t know how they have managed to shop a system with two 7800GTs for this price.

The build quality is excellent. I have no affiliation other than satisfied customer.

* I am a klutz and do not trust myself to mount a CPU/heatsink thing correctly on a mobo

TriggerHappy,
I had a Creative Geforce 256DDR which after one point the new drivers released by Nvidia would just make the whole system crash with a BSOD. I remember that I wasn’t alone on this one. BUT, it was a small percentage of people who owned the card that had the problem with the drivers. After several months nothing was done to fix it by Nvidia with a reply something like “we are sorry about it but it is just a very small percentage of people who has this problem” (don’t remember the exact words anymore). So basicaly they said “fuck you”. Later (6-12 months IIRC) the card just burned. No overclocking, nothing excessive in the case, everthing else was unaffected. That was my last NVidia card.
I am satisfied with ATI (I was satisfied with the KyroII I got as a replacement for the geforce too), so I see no reason to go for anything else. Even if I will not be able to play say Doom 3 at 70 instead of 40 fps, I will be ok with it. :-p
What ind of issues are you talking about with the A8N ? I am not interested in overclocking at all.

Bill,
I would like to get a motherboard that supports SLI for ATI cards but for some reason I can’t find one (at the online shop I got the above configuration or at other online ones I checked). I do not know how fast 2 x1800xl will run, perhaps faster than one GTX or one 1800xt? That would be cheaper than getting one GTX. BTW, any idea if two 256memory cards on SLI would be like having 512 or 256?
The Enzo ferrari is not the classiest case that is certain, it is cheap though and it comes with a 500W psu. Would be nice if it was orange or colour of rust (no jokes please), but yellow will have to do. I will check the silverstone cases available at the online shop.

Now, about the monitors.
How am I mistaken about the resolutions? From what they have a set resolution that is usualy lower than a similar inch CRT, over which you cannot go. Most 19" are 1280x1024. Also, if you want to run anything at lower resolutions (and I will), things get very ugly and blury from what I have been told anyway because I do not notice any such thing with my laptop.
The economic aspect behind it goes like this. Pay now 99 and sell it in about 2 years for perhaps 30. Loss of 70. Getting a 19" TFT would mean paying like 400, selling it in 2 years for 100 if I am very lucky. Loss of 300. Of course the good thing about a TFT is that I could actualy send it by post since it will not be as heavy, and keep the monitor. Hmm.
About the angles. Well, I do tend to lean on the left or right of the keyboard on the desk when playing some games or when browsing the www.
Then again (I forgot it earlier) there is the colours that are just not as vivid and accurate as in a CRT monitor. Or am I wrong?

I haven’t 100% decided on the mouse either. So I might not go for a wireless one. It will be a Logitech mouse no matter what though. I have a MX500 for a couple of years now and it has been the best mouse to ever use. Not as comfortable for me as a good thumb controlled trackball, but still excellent.

Speaking of headphones, are there any proper (for both ears) wireless ones with a mic? I can’t find one anywhere.

Yes, a ups is something that keeps sounding better.

LarryLard,
I usualy do not make such comments, but, what is it with that case? It is so bad it makes me laugh. It looks so fake even from the thumbnail.
PCNExtDay are good from what I hear.
I think you could get a better offer elsewhere. Perhaps you would like to try www.shuttle.co.uk (click on desktops—>Custom build)
Is that the regular Athlon 64? If yes, and with (what brand and speed?) 2 sticks of 512 ram, it might not be a great great offer. Still you could do worse. ;-P
The two GTs in SLI do look sweet I have to agree.

Though I used to build PCs often, and repair of friends etc, I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. I prefer to give 40 quid and have it ready than spend a couple of hours building it (if nothing goes wrong). Also, I HATE fiddling with all those cables, especially the small ones for the LEDs and Reset/power buttons.

They don’t get ugly and blurry – I do it all the time because my machine can’t push BF2 at 1280x1024. Also – you’ve got a laptop! You can see what happens! It’s the same thing.

As for the upper resolution, that’s why you get a GOOD LCD, not a cheapcheap one. Do not buy a CRT… buy the LD and keep it. You’ll be much happer when you get that monster off your desk.

I can’t agree more with XPav and the rest – get an LCD if you can. I still think the Gateway is the best affordable widescreen available under 24", it uses a newer generation of panel than the (probably near EOL) Dells currently available.

I’d pick the Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe version (that might be what you were referring to already), which is the latest and greatest, testing better even in single card than the 8X2 chipsets. It can be hard to find, though.

AFAIK, two 256 7800GT’s woul dbe far stouter than one 512 7800GTX, but for the near future, you might have more problems with the SLI config than benefits (games aren’t really making use of them, yet, but wow does your rig boot quick!). A GTX will play any dang thing you throw at it, and you can buy youself another one down the road (what I plan to do with the 7800GT).

The Enzo ferrari is not the classiest case that is certain, it is cheap though and it comes with a 500W psu. Would be nice if it was orange or colour of rust (no jokes please), but yellow will have to do. I will check the silverstone cases available at the online shop.

Do that. Make sure you get some good cooling action, Silverstones have heatsinks made for them that you can get, if you want.

Now, about the monitors.
How am I mistaken about the resolutions? From what they have a set resolution that is usualy lower than a similar inch CRT, over which you cannot go. Most 19" are 1280x1024. Also, if you want to run anything at lower resolutions (and I will), things get very ugly and blury from what I have been told anyway because I do not notice any such thing with my laptop.

You do know a 19" CRT and a 19" LCD are two different-sized viewing areas, yes? And from what I’ve seen, you need to look at price more carefully, maybe. There are some decent CRTs around, but they’re unwieldly and the ones that promise higher resolutions are barely cheaper than LCDs of actual viewing size similarity. And you can forget about widescreen, and I dunno what you’ve been led to believe about poor fidelity at lower resolutions, but it’s wrong as Hell. Dude, just get the dang Dell 2005FPW 21" widescreen. I have one next to a 21" Samsung CRT and the Dell points and laughs at the CRT’s feeble attempts to look high-res.

The economic aspect behind it goes like this. Pay now 99 and sell it in about 2 years for perhaps 30. Loss of 70. Getting a 19" TFT would mean paying like 400, selling it in 2 years for 100 if I am very lucky. Loss of 300. Of course the good thing about a TFT is that I could actualy send it by post since it will not be as heavy, and keep the monitor. Hmm.
About the angles. Well, I do tend to lean on the left or right of the keyboard on the desk when playing some games or when browsing the www.
Then again (I forgot it earlier) there is the colours that are just not as vivid and accurate as in a CRT monitor. Or am I wrong?

What? Yeah. What?

I haven’t 100% decided on the mouse either. So I might not go for a wireless one. It will be a Logitech mouse no matter what though. I have a MX500 for a couple of years now and it has been the best mouse to ever use. Not as comfortable for me as a good thumb controlled trackball, but still excellent.

Speaking of headphones, are there any proper (for both ears) wireless ones with a mic? I can’t find one anywhere.

Yes, a ups is something that keeps sounding better.

I would.

What everyone is saying is right; you definitely need an LCD. I had been foolishly clinging to a CRT myself, saying it looked better than an LCD, but once my 2005FP came in this September, and I saw how sweet everything looked, I never went back.

Oh, and if you’re just going to be using headphones, for the love of God, don’t bother with an expensive soundcard.

Bill,

do you mean that you are planning to get another 7800GT for SLI mode, or that you are planning to buy a GTX and have that on SLI?

I haven’t checked the Silverstones yet, but I do dislike noise.

Yes a CRT has smaller viewable area than a TFT.
I can’t find the 2005fpw 21" on dell’s site (UK). Perhaps they are not selling it here. The 2001 20" goes for 513 quid. Which is way too expensive for me, especialy for a 16ms monitor.
I have found a TFT monitor that looks very interesting.
Samsung SM930BF 19" I can find it for 250 quid inc. VAT.
BTW, looks aren’t that important to me, meaning, the fact that TFT monitors look way better than CRT, is not a factor for me choosing a monitor.

Moggraider,
though it would be cool to use some good speakers, I am not going to for the reasons mentioned earlier. I do not share you view that a pair of good headphones ruin a good sound card. :-) Also, it is not just how it sounds that is important for a soundcard.

NVidia SLI has to use the same model card. You can’t SLI a 7800GT and a 7800GTX. You’re supposed to use the same exact make/model, too, but I’ve heard of people mixing manufacturers with limited success. ATI’s crossfire solution is supposed to be free from this restriction, but I’m not sure when it’ll be out (if ever).

TriggerHappy,
I had a Creative Geforce 256DDR which after one point the new drivers released by Nvidia would just make the whole system crash with a BSOD. I remember that I wasn’t alone on this one. BUT, it was a small percentage of people who owned the card that had the problem with the drivers. After several months nothing was done to fix it by Nvidia with a reply something like “we are sorry about it but it is just a very small percentage of people who has this problem” (don’t remember the exact words anymore). So basicaly they said “fuck you”. Later (6-12 months IIRC) the card just burned. No overclocking, nothing excessive in the case, everthing else was unaffected. That was my last NVidia card.
I am satisfied with ATI (I was satisfied with the KyroII I got as a replacement for the geforce too), so I see no reason to go for anything else. Even if I will not be able to play say Doom 3 at 70 instead of 40 fps, I will be ok with it. :-p
What ind of issues are you talking about with the A8N ? I am not interested in overclocking at all.

Well, you already said you don’t mind getting half the performance, so I guess it’s okay if you go with ATI over a single bad NVidia card. ;) I had massive problems with my AIW 9700 non-pro though, so it’s not like ATI’s perfect.

The A8N was mostly stability issues with overclocking. For non-overclocked rigs (why!?!?) it should be fine. :)

I will probably order it today. I will (yeah yeah) go for a TFT monitor, Samsung SM930BF 19". I just hope it is good for gaming, plus all the above mentioned considerations for TFT monitors.

Adding another 300GB drive for storage, and not getting the 64version of XP.
Also going for a 512MB version of 1800XT that I found at better price.

One more change is that the system has slightly different components and I will build it myself, and from a different company. :lol:

I know this a bit off-topic, but I’d like to hear more from folks about this. I’m one of the people who have often said that LCDs’ interpolation suck for older games. I’m talking about games running max 800x600 or (gasp!) 640x480. On my LCD (Samsung 191T), games like Starcraft, Disciples, HOMM, and Xbox titles (run progressively through a VGA adapter) look like crap, especially any that have copious amounts of text. Jagged edges are plentiful and are hugely distracting (YMMV because I’m pretty picky about this).

Of course, the 191T is a few years old now, so perhaps interpolation has made great strides. However, reviews rarely mention how lower resolutions look, presumably because most people aren’t fuddy-duddies playing classics from gaming’s past.

Any thoughts from those playing lower-res games on more recent models? I’m especially interested in hearing from those who play on uber-monitors like the Dell 2405.

Since I am a fun of older games, I will let you know in a few days when I receive the previously mentioned monitor (Samsung SM930BF 19")