Critique my proposed new rig

OK, here’s what I currently have.

Athlon (Original) 1.4G
512M
7200RPM ATA100 HD
Audigy Sound Card
ti4200 128MB
I think it’s a Gigabyte MB but I forget…
CDRW
DVD

My proposed new rig (still up in the air whether I pull the trigger)
Athlon 64 3400 (Socket 754)
MSI MB KT800T (cheapest one, don’t need anything beyond LAN and Raid)
1G Dual 512MB Ram (PC3200)
2X 7200RPM 80G WD SATA Drives running in Raid 0
Audigy 2 (considering moving my Audigy 1 over and buying a cheap card for my old rig)
DVD -/+RW (Pioneer) Dual Layer
Move my DVD from old computer here
Nvidia 6800 Video Card (non GT / Ultra)

Total Cost about $1100 (thinking about selling my old PC)

The one thing I’m on the fence about is the video card. I think they are still a little pricey ($279). It seems like a decent choice to downgrade would be a 5900U ($179) and an Upgrade would be an X800 ($400!!! Ouch!)

Any critiques / opinions., especially on my video card.

Only comment I have is about the drives – wehat are you going to use as RAID-0 controller? I’m not a big fan of WD drives either (loud and have failed me several times).

5900U is a serious step down from 6800, especially in terms of shader performance. If you want a real deal, get a 6600GT, but it’s only about 75% as fast as 6800.

Also consider a Socket 939 Athlon, it’s more future-proof.

I would say buy an Nvidia 6800GT, which you can safely overclock to 1000Mhz.

I would also say that RAID-0 is useless for a general-purpose or a gaming computer. If you’re a film editor or recording artist, then it has some obvious benefits… But, for home use, a RAID-0 array just puts your data at risk.

The MSI motherboard supports it natively (seems like they all do nowadays). Or am I completely confused?

The problem with the 6600GT is that it’s PCIe only (for now), and I haven’t seen a Socket 754 (or 939 for that matter) that supports it. From the benchmarks I’ve seen, the 6600GT is almost equivalent to the 6800 vanilla (what I’m looking at). If the AGP one released or get’s r
eleased soon, I would probably go that route.

I priced out a socket 939 version and it doesn’t seem worth the extra money for the small performance increase. By the time I upgrade (2-3 years) I’m sure I’ll be tossing out the MB anyway.

  1. It’s an awfully big jump in price for that (about $150 extra), but I have been toying with that. [edit] my bad, I was thinking of the ultra. So you’re saying I can probably get ultra speeds out of the GT huh… hmmm

  2. Hrmph… I admit to not knowing much about raid, but I thought Raid 0 had some pretty significant effects on load times (starting windows, loading levels in games, etc…) Is that not true? You are correct though that I am taking effectively twice the risk of data loss…good point.

Nope, it has almost no noticeable effect on application load times. For example, a game that takes 25 seconds to load might only take 22 seconds with RAID 0.

RAID 0’s data throughput benefits only come in to play when handling a large amount of contiguous data (such as one would produce during film or audio recording sessions).

On a general purpose or gaming PC, the operating system and your programs are made up of many small files scattered around your hard disk. Thus, for general purpose and gaming, load times are affected more by the hard drive seek times then the raw data throughput.

Still, it’s there if you want to play around with it. If you have disciplined back-up habits, there’s no reason for you to not try it.

Two main things to consider:

  1. Go for a socket 939 CPU and motherboard. Yeah it costs more (the lowest-end socket 939 you can get is a 3500+), but late next year AMD will start to offer dual-core socket 939 CPUs. That’s the big upgrade path… in 2006 you’ll be able to pop in a dual 2.6-3.2 GHz Athlon 64.

  2. We’re right on the verge, and I mean just a few weeks, from a bunch of PCI Express based Athlon 64 boards. It doesn’t make a big deal over AGP right now, but all your future graphics upgrades are going to come in PCIe first (and eventually, only PCIe).

The combination will mean spending another 2-300 bucks, but if you want to be able to upgrade well in the future it’s worth it. If you’re planning on buying a PC, wearing it out, and then just totally replacing it, your list isn’t bad.

  1. The lowest-end socket 939 is a 3000+. It’s the 90nm winchester, so it runs cooler and overclocks higher. Mine overclocked from 1.8 to 2.6ghz. No, not a typo.

  2. PCIe is still more expensive, and by the time it’s reasonably priced and widely available (6mo to 1yr) a new computer twice as fast as your current one will be $299 from dell.

Raid 0 is worthless for a gamer.

olaf

It wouldn’t help with loadtimes for zoning in MMOs or map loading in FPS games?

It wouldn’t help with loadtimes for zoning in MMOs or map loading in FPS games?[/quote]
I rebuilt our computers at home about a year ago, and I decided to test the benefits of raid 0 while I was at it

It was using ATA-100, Athlon 1800+s and 512MB RAM, XP Pro. The drives I used were IBM Deskstar 40Gs, ATA100s. The mobo was a KT3 Ultra 2.

Almost everything was a hair slower using the RAID setup, not to mention the risk you are running splitting data across two drives (if one of the two drives fails, you are fucked).

olaf

1000Mhz (500*2) is not an overclock, it’s the standard memory frequency. The ultra runs at 1100Mhz, and both use DDR3. There are some cards called GT that use something else than 2ns memory, I’ve seen one with 2.8ns, so you should check carefully. I agree about the RAID though.

Ordered my Rig yesterday. Got what I posted above except swapped the dual drives for a single 120G and upgraded the 6800 to the 6800GT. Went against the idea of a socket 939, didn’t seem to be worth the extra $.

If I knew of an Athlon 939 with a pcie slot I might have gone that way but I didn’t want to wait.

Thanks everyone!