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Discussion Starter #1
I told my parents that my project for part of this coming summer will be to build my own computer for when I enter college in the fall. I priced out everything I'll need (except a sound card and speakers - those can wait). I know the technology will change between now and summer, but I'll reassess the components I choose when it gets closer to the summer. How does this sound?
BCC ATX Mid Tower Case w/AMD Approved 300W PS
CP1-XP1800 AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Processor w/Fan
Shuttle AK11 Socket A Motherboard w/ Audio ATA 100
PNY 512MB PC133 SDRAM 64x64 168 Pin DIMM
Maxtor 81.9GB UDMA HD IDE ATA/100 9.0/100/5400/2MB
Creative Labs 8x4x32x CDRW with Software
ARTEC 16x DVD ROM W/WIN DVD
120MB LS-120 Drive Internal refurbished
nVidia Geforce2 MX400 64MB 4x AGP Video Card
Sys 17" TFT W/Speakers 1280x1024 .264mm LCD
D-Link 10/100 Ethernet Adapter W/Wake
A 5.1 channel sound card that is yet to be determined
A set of 5.1 channel speakers
Total price (with 17” LCD monitor) = $1379.89 from TigerDirect
I’ll eventually check out Pricewatch, but I just wanted a rough estimate right now, so I just did it at Tiger.
Also, do I need a DVD decoder card? The drive I want only comes with a software decoder, and while I know that the Athlon and the 512 MB would be able to handle it, I'd feel better having a dedicated card for the purpose. Is it absolutely necessary, though? And, would the DVD decoder card be compatible w/this drive?
Thanks.
Mike
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

i have an athalon 1600 and 512 ram and software decoding is absolutely fine... i use PowerDVD... i can run many things while a dvd is running...
also, why did you pick the AK11? i checked thier site, you should get the AK31 (on board audio as well) it supports DDR ram and you can get 512 of DDR RAM for about $60.... plus its ass fast...
edit: also try to get a 7200 rpm if you can.. and why did you choose the 8x cdrw? i got a plextor 16x for $130... i got my stuff from krex.com, newegg.com and crucial.com for the memory...


[Modified by turborave, 4:15 PM 11-27-2001]
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

Hmm. The only things I don't like in that setup are:
http://****************.com/smile/emthdown.gif PNY RAM (go crucial)
http://****************.com/smile/emthdown.gif Creative CDR (go Yamaha or Plextor)
http://****************.com/smile/emthdown.gif Geforce2 MX (um....I like my radeon, but there's other GeForce chipsets that are at least as good or better than the Radeon
Not sure about the Shuttle mobo's since I've never used one, but I just recently switched from Abit to Asus boards. Abit's usually cutting edge and Asus is usually more stable but maybe not as tweakable. Not a bad system, but I'd personally go with some different components.



[Modified by jerk, 1:20 PM 11-27-2001]
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (turborave)

Yeah, you're right - I'm not sure why I didn't choose the DDR-compatible board in the first place. New price w/new board + DDR 256MB x 2 = $1397.88
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

how about this for feedback: scratch everything you've mentioned because by next summer everything will be different.
good plan to build your own, though. and $1000-1200 ought to get you a helluva system, sans monitor. I recommend a 19" flatscreen (not LCD) monitor, though. can be <$200 if you shop hard.
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (bigelliot)

Different video card. The MX's suck compared to the gts. I'd by far rather have a 32mb gts than a 64 mb Mx.
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

Bah you can get a Real magic Hollywood PLus decoder card, the best there is i might add, for $40 off ebay, or hardforum i have 2 of them and they ROCK
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

I realize that everything will be different next summer - I just wanted to see what a basically top of the line computer would cost (and it will probably cost the same with new technology later this summer).
A 19" monitor will take up ungodly amounts of desk space. In a college dorm room (especially at the school I'm going to be at), you get one desk for both homework and computer. I want to be able to push back the monitor to the back of the desk when I open my books. A 19" won't let me do that. Plus, A 17" LCD gives you a full 17" of viewable area. A 19" gives you, what, 18.1"? Plus, they just look cooler!
I'm certainly not a gamer (although, that might change when I get to college and onto their ethernet connection
), so a graphics card isn't TOO important to me right now. But, I'm open to suggestions.
I'd rather have a bigger, slower drive than a smaller faster one. As long as it can serve up mp3s well, I'm fine.
That's it for all the concerns, I think. Let me know what else I can put in to make it better. Also, anyone know any good 5.1 channel sound cards/speaker systems?
Mike
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

Swap out the harddrive and cd-rw. Both of them are ass slow. I would be much more willing to have a 40GB fast HD than an 80GB slow HD. In fact I do have a fast 40GB hard drive, the Seagate Barracuda ATAIV 40GB. Get a 7200rpm drive, preferrably one which received good reviews at http://www.storagereview.com. Do not get a Creative CD-RW, get a Plextor, LiteOn or LG 16x. They are the best brands and 16x is the best speed to get right now. Get Crucial RAM. Get the Shuttle AK31 v3.1. Get an ATI Radeon 7200 or 7500 depending on which you can afford.
You didn't mention an OS, but I assume you will put on Windows XP Home??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (vwfus][on)

My dad gets XP home or pro at the same price ($45
) through educational discount. It will be XP Professional.
Mike
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (nokona)

I'll second the laptop idea. I'm in college and wouldn't trade my laptop for any desktop no matter how great. I can use it on top of the desk, on the bed, on the coffee table, take it to the library, and take it with me when I go home for weekends.
If you go with a desktop, do not buy that Maxtor hard drive. Junk! Maxtors fail too often. Buy Western Digital or Seagate. And get 7200RPM. The hard drive is the most common component to fail in a computer system. It's also the least easily replaced if you lose important data. Buy a good drive; you'll thank yourself later.
I know someone will jump down my throat and praise the wonders of Maxtor, but trust me, you've been very lucky. They really are crap.
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (ChrisMD)

P.S. If you've never built a computer before and expect it to be a "summer project" you're in for a surprise. It will take maybe a whole weekend and that's only if you have problems, which you most likely won't. I built my desktop in two hours and that included installing Windows and drivers and basic software.
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (ChrisMD)

Here is an email I sent him earlier while I was at school. Figured I'd post it for everybody now that I'm home
quote:[HR][/HR]I'd be posting this in the forum but I'm at school and
> somebody got my school's IP banned from the vortex so
> I can't post and I won't be home til very late tonight
> (I commute).
>
> Word of warning DO NOT BUY FROM TIGER
> DIRECT!!!!!!!!!!!!
>
> I myself have been burned by them with lasting scars.
> Quick summary is I ordered the parts to build a system
> for my grandmother. The monitor ended up being out of
> stock even thought the site said it was in. I said ok
> fine I can wait a bit. Two weeks later (they had
> already charged her for the monitor) I callup and say
> this is nuts I want to cancle the order for the
> monitor. They say ok and supposdly cancel. Two weeks
> later my grandmother gets a post card in the mail
> saying it's been a month or so do you want to keep
> waiting for this item she circled no signed it and
> mailed it back. Two weeks later I get an email saying
> the item have shipped!!! Now by this time I had
> already purchased a similar monitor at staples that
> was on sale for a good price. I called them back up
> again and said WTF. They said ohh it never was
> canceled I gave them the service numbers I had and
> they were like opps my bad. They said to refuse the
> recpet of the monitor which I did. Took about another
> 2 months to get a refund for it.
>
> Also the CDRom they sent was bad. I exchanged it for
> another it was also bad. They then refused to give me
> a different brand even though they had sent me two
> different bad drives, and they refused to take it for
> a refund. So I ate the cost of the CDROM.
>
> I know several other people who have been burned by
> them also. Do NOT do business with them!!!!!!
>
> Check their rap out at http://www.resellerratings.com/
> it was horrible last time I looked.
>
> Try http://www.mwave.com or http://www.newegg.com both are highly
> recommended.
>
> I'll post this into the vortex later so everybody can
> see it.
>
> -landrumdh
[HR][/HR]​
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (landrumdh)

Spend a little more $$ and go with DDR Ram from crucial.com
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (audiness)

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT BUYING A COMPUTER NOW!
Man, we were all in your shoes a few years ago, and everybody wishes they could change something when entering college. For example:
Why did I buy a 19" Samsung 955DF? Why did I buy that 40GB Hard drive? Why didn't I bring duct tape? Why didn't I bring brighter bulbs. Why didn't I bring more chairs, why why why?
My suggestion is don't order a computer until near the last possible moment. For example, buying a pre-built system, maybe purchase it 3-4 weeks in advance of starting school. You should really only bring the essentials. Don't buy too much before school. I wish I wouldn't have purchased all the clothes I had, I ended up just wearing clothes I wore my last two years of high school.
Also, make sure everything you have IS RELIABLE! Make sure you bring a STABLE backup system. I recommend a Macintosh, but they are very expensive. Buy fall of next year, TiBook 500s and TiBook 550s (Titanium Powerbook G4s) should be in your price range. They are without a doubt, the nicest looking laptops and also very powerful. They also have a 15.2" screen.
I highly recommend getting a laptop. You do not have enough time to tinker with a computer if it breaks down, and a laptop strongly discourages any form of tinkering. I guarantee your desk will be positively puny, and your room very cramped. I have a very large room compared to most dorms, but I am still craving more room.
OH...also make sure everything you buy is as small as possible. I wish my stereo wasn't so big. I can't mount them because of housing rules. I wish my TV was slimmer so it could fit on the base without being smacked by the door.
One bad thing though...regardless of what college you go to, a near by store is the worst place to buy from. Prices around a school and sickeningly high.

HOpe all goes well in school, but ixnay on thinking about the system now. I have already gone through nearly a semester of school and it's just now that I'm buying a new system. Why? Because earlier in the year I wanted a kickass desktop...seeing as though I cna't study in my room because I have no deskspace, I have to have a laptop.

Peace,
Paul
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (SuperGroove)

Because of this I suggest I NICE desktop and an OK laptop. The laptop will most likely be used for papers and surfing only.
I'm in college and craving a real desktop, of course now that I'm commuting I have slightly more space. But even with my kickass laptop I want / need a better system.
I say get the desktop if you want, but you may also want to hitup ebay for a Thinkpad A22 or T22 or even a 600X (I love those) if you can find one for cheap and use it as a secondary machine.
 

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Re: Building my own college computer - what do you think? (2Ksentra)

There are a few things I will suggest to change.
1. PC133 SDRAM - If you use a CPU which is faster than 1.2Ghz, DDR or RAMBUS RAM should be used. It is because the bandwidth of PC133 SDRAM too small to handle CPU faster than 1.2Ghz. (bottleneck will occur) Since RAMBUS is only for Intel CPU, so you should get a motherboard using DDR RAM.
2. Motherboard - Because I suggest you to use DDR RAM, therefore motherboard also need to change. The most important thing to consider for a MB is the chipset. For Athlon DDR chipset, there are ALiMAGiK1, AMD760, VIAKT266/266A and SiS735. You should get one either using VIA KT266A or SiS735 chipset. They are both fast chipset. (KT266A is the fastest) Be careful when you get a VIA chispet MB, make sure it is using KT266A chipset (not KT266) For example, Asus A7V266 is using KT266 but A7V266-E is using KT266A. KT266 chipset performance is second LAST and KT266A is the fastest in the bunch I had mentioned. Second thing to consider is the brand. They had their reasons why ASUS, ABIT, MSI... sell their MB more expensive. (The using of components (cab, IC...), BIOS support, warranty...) For AMD CPU, I "personally" like using MSI and ASUS.
3. Harddisk - In a simple word, most Maxtor HD suck unless the one use Quantum design (like D740X, AtlasIII). I would go for IBM Deskstar. They are quiet, fast and cool.
4. LS120 - Why waste $$ on LS120 when you already had a CD Writer. Be honest, how many times you would use floppy in a year. I only use it to format HD and update my MB Bios.
5. DVD - Again, it is waste of $$ in MY OPINION. First, r u really had that much DVD to watch? Second, you really like to watch movie on a tiny 17" even 19" monitor. I perfer to watch any format (VCR, VCD or DVD) or movie on my 32" WEGA. (even a non WEGA TV
) I won't spend a price of DVDROM just use it as CDROM. Again, it is only my opinion.
6. Graphics card - If you are only a casual gamer, then a Geforce 2MX will be enough. For GeForce 2MX 32mb or 64mb won't make much different. Amount of memory only matter in high resolution (1280x1024 and up). And since MX chip is suck in high resolution anyway. There is no point to get a MX with 64mb. For hardcore gamer like me, i would perfer the nVidia Ti series. GeForce 3 Ti200 is the best in price/performance.
7. Sound - Since I won't suggest DVD on computer, so 5.1 soundcard and speakers are not necessary. But for games, Turtlebeach Santa Curz soundcard and a good set of 4 point speakers will do the job. Most 5.1 or 4 point speakers are sucks because the speakers are so tiny!! Small speaker = suck with the exception of BOSE Acoustimass.
That's is all i suggest.
Avus
 
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