PDA

View Full Version : I'm building a new computer, horay!


DustinBrown
06-05-2006, 05:33 PM
I fried my motherboard and memory the other day. It was time to upgrade anyway. I don't stay on top of bleeding edge hardware like I used to in college. I just don't care anymore. If it works, great. I'll replace it when it bursts in to flame. So I poked around on the web a bit to catch up on what all the "kids" are buying. Here's what I ordered:

Abit A8N-SLI Premium motherboard with passive cooling
AMD 64-bit 3200+ (wich is supposed to run at a bout 2.0Ghz)
2GB of Mushkin PC3200 DDR Memory
Gigabyte GeForce 7600GT with 256MB, two DVI-outs, and passive cooling

She should be a good deal quieter than before, and I like that very much. My machine sounded like jet engine before and it drove me nuts. I have a good case so things will stay cool enough despite the passive cooling.

I didn't go dual core. I wanted to, but it's too expensive for me right now. My motherboard supports it so I can always upgrade later down the road.

So what's up with this 64-bit business? Apparently it's useless unless you first run a 64-bit operating system, secondly are able to find 64-bit drivers for all your stuff (which is apparently still kind of difficult to find in some cases), and thirdly you are using 64-bit software. In my case I'm only really concerned about my content creation software like 3ds max and zbrush and photoshop.

I guess a lot of companies are still scrambling to get 64-bit versions of their software out there, right?

- Dustin

lots
06-05-2006, 08:20 PM
That video card is pretty dated, And most likely wont even work in the motherboard you chose (PCI Express). I'd recommend at least an Nforce4 based motherboard. There are a variety of passivly cooled Abit boards out there. The AN8 or KN8-SLI come to mind.

Insted I'd recommend a Geforce 7600GT (at most if you want to save cash) its around $150, you could probably get a lower end one if you wanted, for less. Depends on how long you want to keep the thing.

As for 64bit, you really can't get around not having it these days. Every new CPU on the market (save for Intel's Core Duo) has 64bit abilities. The choice is yours if you want to use it though. You can stick to 32bit windows and software, and not worry about a thing. All the consumer 64bit CPUs are excellent 32bit processors as well.

SweetDreamz
06-05-2006, 10:04 PM
If you really want to go dual core now, Pentium D 805 is probably the best budget dual core out there.

The graphics card is ancient, consider choosing another one. Asus make some that are passively cooled.

RiKToR
06-06-2006, 03:42 AM
No, my Nvidia Vanta LT is ancient. Yeah you should at least get a 6xxx series or higher GPU because of the that 5700 will put you 3 generations behind. Though if you are tight on cash it will get the job done, my 5600 did well until I get rid of my laptop last year.

I had a stint with XP64, it lasted about a month, I found drivers alright and my wireless worked fine with windows drivers. I got tired of the BSODs and went back to 32bit. It is more or less the hardware you have, I expect Win Vista 64 will be better but I am holding off.

MadMax
06-06-2006, 04:38 AM
I had a stint with XP64, it lasted about a month, I found drivers alright and my wireless worked fine with windows drivers. I got tired of the BSODs and went back to 32bit. It is more or less the hardware you have, I expect Win Vista 64 will be better but I am holding off.


I've been running XP64 since day one. I haven't had a single BSOD ever.

lots
06-06-2006, 12:51 PM
I've been running XP64 since day one. I haven't had a single BSOD ever.

++

Apparently that was too short :)

DustinBrown
06-06-2006, 11:57 PM
No I got the 7600 GT, and I also got the A8N-SLI motherboard. However, I have zero ability to remember model names, but decided to go from my crappy memory when writing the original post. Lesson learned: Look before I write. Original post updated. Ginkgo Biloba bought.

- Dustin

DustinBrown
06-07-2006, 12:09 AM
From what I've read about 64-bit procs though, the biggest benefit most folks are going to get from them is the ability to use more RAM. I think it takes you from a 4GB cap to an 8GB cap or something like that. I'll grant you, that alone is a pretty enticing prospect.

Even still, don't you have to be running a 64-bit OS, using 64-bit drivers, and running 64-bit software before any of the benefits of a 64-bit chip come to fruition (including actively utilizing up to 8GB of memory)?

I mean, let's say you've got the 64-bit proc, but your running 32-bit Windows XP (or 32-bit Vista down the road). Your drivers will have to be 32-bit, therefore not using all of the chips potential. What about software? Will 64-bit software run in a 32-bit environment at all? Further, will it take advantage of a 64-bit chip if it is, in fact, running in a 32-bit environment?

Besides, I think Softimage and LightWave are the only 3D apps that have 64-bit versions available. I could be wrong about that though.


- dustin

MadMax
06-07-2006, 12:17 AM
So what's up with this 64-bit business? Apparently it's useless unless you first run a 64-bit operating system, secondly are able to find 64-bit drivers for all your stuff (which is apparently still kind of difficult to find in some cases), and thirdly you are using 64-bit software. In my case I'm only really concerned about my content creation software like 3ds max and zbrush and photoshop.


64 bit hardware worsks just fine and isn't useless without a 64 bit OS. If someone tells you this, ignore the rest of their advice, they are clueless.

64 bit OS. Damn son, I love XP64. I didn't have issues finding a single driver for anything. Name brand hardware really won't with rare exceptions, and I didn't even have to look specifically for hardware that was supported. My personal preferences were already supported. Epson Scanners, Epson Printers, Wacom tablets, M-Audio sound hardware.

Onthe nVidia nForce based boards, liek the one you list above, tons of hardware is built in and the driver pack for it supports 64 bit.

To date, I have not tried to install a single item that hasn't worked.

Software runs just fine, even those that are not 64 bit yet. Some apps will use the extra memory, even though they are not 64 bit. However, games are out of luck. Fortuantely my gaming is done on a nifty box I found at Walmart called a Playstation.

If you were to look at my machine, and software installed, unless I specifically told you it was 64 bit, you'd never know it wasn't regular XP.

MadMax
06-07-2006, 12:41 AM
A lot of misconceptions here.

First, lets just forget the term 64 bit for a sec. My Athlon XP or Intel P4 just died and I want to upgrade.

Lets say Lots here tells me to buy an A64 (Athlon 64) 3800+, and I listen to him.

I install Windows XP Pro (32 bit) and reinstall all my apps. Immediately I am going to see a number of things. It runs cooler. It's faster.

All around, it is a superior 32 bit platform.

Alot of those benefits come specifically from the architecture of the 64 bit CPU, even though I'm not using 64 bit apps.


Now I take that SAME system, and I listen to some assclown like MadMax, and install XP64, then reinstall my 32 bit apps.

SOME of them will take advantage of the extended memory. I won't notice any detractions from using XP64.

****You will not be able to install 32 bit drivers under XP64. ****

your 32 bit apps will not be able to use 64 bit plugins, your 64 bit apps will not be able to use 32 bit plugins.

For Lightwave, I have both versions installed, LW64 is runnign Vertibevel and a couple of other plugs that have come out so far, I keep the 32 bit version just in case I need one of the other various plugs that have come out over the years, but it's rare I use them.

extra memory alone isn't the only reason to like XP64. There are also some speed advantages involved as well. 64 bit just does things faster.



From what I've read about 64-bit procs though, the biggest benefit most folks are going to get from them is the ability to use more RAM. I think it takes you from a 4GB cap to an 8GB cap or something like that. I'll grant you, that alone is a pretty enticing prospect.

Even still, don't you have to be running a 64-bit OS, using 64-bit drivers, and running 64-bit software before any of the benefits of a 64-bit chip come to fruition (including actively utilizing up to 8GB of memory)?

I mean, let's say you've got the 64-bit proc, but your running 32-bit Windows XP (or 32-bit Vista down the road). Your drivers will have to be 32-bit, therefore not using all of the chips potential. What about software? Will 64-bit software run in a 32-bit environment at all? Further, will it take advantage of a 64-bit chip if it is, in fact, running in a 32-bit environment?

Besides, I think Softimage and LightWave are the only 3D apps that have 64-bit versions available. I could be wrong about that though.


- dustin

Myliobatidae
06-07-2006, 02:28 AM
Been using XP64 for 5 months, not a single issue or crash !!!

lots
06-07-2006, 04:23 AM
To add to what madmax said, using a 64bit system (hardware and OS), and having only 32bit software, should still see an advantage. Lets say for example, you have 16GB of memory (XP 64bit supports 128GB of physical memory, and 16TB in virtual, to correct an earlier statment). Not a single one of your 32bit apps will be able to use all 16GB. However, Windows can. Windows will assign a 4GB section of memory (combination of virtual and physical) to each 32bit app you start. So, even though your 32bit apps wont be able to run all 16GB, they will each have thier own 4GB segment of memory to work in. This is a much better position than they would be on a 32bit system, where they're pretty much capped at 2GB tops (3 if you throw the switch). And that is for everything running, not just your software. Already you can see the advantages, even if you're 32bit only so far. And to add on top of that, WoW64 (the emulator that 64bit Windows runs to run 32bit software) encapsulates 32bit apps in thier own protected world. Should the program crash, or become unstable, it will not affect any other 32bit software currently running in emulation, or the OS itself. This should add a layer of stability, on top of the already stable Server 2003 core.

XP64 bit is the most stable OS from MS I've used to date.

Then you move on to 64bit software. 64bit software has the added advantage of not having to be backwards compatible. Basically, all 64bit software is pretty much designed to run on "first generation x86-64 hardware" and as such, is not backwards compatible with any 32bit hardware, you can ditch support for all the old hardware. This allows for a leaner program with better optimizations for your hardware. This is why programs like C4D have such big improvements when moving to 64bit hardware.

Also, 64bit software cannot run on 32bit systems.

DustinBrown
06-07-2006, 03:11 PM
Everything is illuminated. Thanks for breaking it down guys. I do appreciated it.

- Dustin

vfxbaby
06-08-2006, 01:24 PM
Wow,

I'll be building my system too this weekend and although Ive thought about xp64, I wasnt sure yet. I ordered 2gig memory. maybe I should get 2 more gig and order xp64. I guess I got xp64 and vista confused to be the same thing, so aparently I thought it was not stable. Since I do not play games, I will typically run maya, photoshop etc. great thread.

At any rate, as I was saying, I will be getting the parts for my new rig in a couple of days and I have not put a system together in years (last system 486? maybe). So how should I prepare? what are the typical stumbling blocks and are there any good sites to go that will assist in first system builds. I a little worried about the bios stuff and things not working and not knowing what to do but my fingers are crossed.

here are my parts.



HD 320G|WD 7K 16M SATA2 WD3200KS % - OEM (Qty=1, Price=$119.99)
3.5"U2 ENCLSR |ROSEWILL RX350-U BLK - Retail (Qty=2, Price=$59.98)
MB ASROCK 939SLI32-eSATA2 M1695 939 - Retail (Qty=1, Price=$82.00)
HD 160G|ST 7K 8M SATA2 ST3160812AS - OEM (Qty=1, Price=$73.99)
KB SAITEK|ECLIPSE KEYBOARD PZ30AU - Retail (Qty=1, Price=$46.99)
DVD BURN SAMSUNG|SH-S162L/BEBN BK % - OEM (Qty=1, Price=$44.99)
VGA XFX|GF6800XT 256M PVT42EUDE3 RT - Retail (Qty=1, Price=$134.77)
CPU AMD|A64 X2 4200+ 2.2G 939 1M R - Retail (Qty=1, Price=$357.00)
MEM 1Gx2|COR TWINX2048-3200 184P R - Retail (Qty=1, Price=$179.00)

newman
06-08-2006, 02:24 PM
The config looks good. Here's my proposal, however by no means have you made a mistake so far - this is just a suggestion: instead of two standard SATA2 disks, I'd get 1 SATA 2 for storage and 1 72 or, if you can afford it, a 150 Gb Raptor (10,000 RPM, and the 150 Gb is the newest of these, with more advanced features). They're great for boot drives..
You haven't specified a PSU in that config, and it's one of the most important components of any system. Make sure you get a powerful and quality PSU.. I'm pretty happy with my Enermax Liberty 500W, I hear Silverstones are pretty good too...
As I don't know what your budget is it's hard to narrow down the most optimal components for you, but it does sound like a Quadro would be a more suitable graphics card for you... provided you can afford it at the moment, of course.

vfxbaby
06-08-2006, 02:42 PM
Yeah, I already bought the parts so right now there is no going back. The drive that you recommended, would this be for some sort of raid config?

as far as the power supply goes, I got it with a case so Im not sure how good it would be but im hoping it will be enough for now.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1800610&CatId=1507

DustinBrown
06-09-2006, 08:18 PM
vfxbaby -

You asked about websites. I was sorta in the same boat as you in the sense that I needed to do some catching up before I could buy with any degree of confidence.

Personally, I think Tom's Hardware is a great resource. Their coverage is very thorough (sometimes a little too thorough for my liking). You can always just go to the last page and read the conclusions :P

http://www.tomshardware.com/

- dustin

lots
06-09-2006, 08:37 PM
Toms is good if you want a bias approach to reviewing :) Thier reviews continually go against what other review sites post.

Its best to get your info from a variety of sources. Techreport.com, Anandtech.com, hardocp.com, xbitlabs.com, are a few other review sites that come to mind...

If you ever want a comprehensive understanding about technologies reviewed in these websites, arstechnica.com is a good place to get this.

vfxbaby
06-09-2006, 09:06 PM
Thanks fellas. Are these sites a good reference for someone like me who is going to put their pc together by themselves, as I will be in the next couple of days. I keep looking outside waiting for the ups truck to deliver my toys. "They never seem to come when you expect them too". LOL

MadMax
06-09-2006, 10:36 PM
Tom's Hardware is complete shit.

I wouldn't take advice from that dump if it were the last and only website on the planet.

DustinBrown
06-12-2006, 11:01 PM
Everyone's entitled to their opinion (albeit a strong one). I used to read Hard OCP every day back in college, but it just got really boring.

I don't care about modding my case so it looks like a glowing sci-fi disaster.

I don't care about squeezing every ounce of blood out of my CPU, therefore requiring me to Frankenstein some entirely-too-elaborate, arctic blast cooling solution to it just so my CPU doesn't melt.

And yet I don't just want to pop on to Dell's website and simply buy me a 'puter. I want to build one.

The challenge, for me, is finding a site that gives you the info you want and doesn’t make you sift through the uber-nerd stuff to find it. Don't start talking to me about frequency settings and shit, I don't care. Don't show me fifty benchmarks, I don't care. A site that can balance telling you what's good and what isn't without boring it's readers to tears would be a valuable resource.

I always thought Ars and Tom's were really similar. As for some sites being biased or whatever, there are a lot of heated politics behind that and this isn't the place for it.

lots
06-13-2006, 01:52 AM
Ars generally doesnt do reviews, but they do give good in depth coverage of varoius technologies behind the stuff out there (CPU architectures, GPU designs, etc.). So, if you're the type thats bored to tears by that, maybe ars isnt a good place to go ;)

Anandtech, is a good review site. From what you describe you want, it is fairly similar in style to Tom's. A good balance between techy, and thier recomendations. Techreport is also of similar quality.

I figure, in making choices about hardware, its best to look at more than one reputable source. Sure, you may like Tom's, but you do need other opinions, as this is the best way to avoid bias.

DustinBrown
06-14-2006, 04:27 PM
You are correct, sir :)

My new computer is getting along swimmingly, by the way. Horray for no DOA's.

- Dustin

CGTalk Moderation
06-14-2006, 04:27 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.