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Last post Author Topic: Please help me build my new computer, DC!  (Read 105804 times)

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #125 on: December 22, 2008, 06:55:36 PM »
Fry's has a sale for 4GB RAM, Corsair, DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz Twinx Memory.  $130
http://www.frys-elec...1600MHz-Twinx-Memory

Do i want this?

steeladept

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #126 on: December 23, 2008, 09:28:33 AM »
Now, I need help choosing a graphics card.

I currently have an ATI 9600XT, it's fine.  I'm looking, as usual, for a bang for the buck card here.  I'm not a gamer, but I'd like something decent.  I don't know if I need anything special for supporting two monitors, but if so, please consider that.  I don't know anything about graphics cards.

Also, maybe tv input would be nice, in case I live somewhere with cable in the room.
For a video card, I have always like Matrox cards (unless you are a gamer, in which case go NVidia or ATI).  The Matrox cards are usually cheaper and focus on 2D & 3D images rather than faster rendering.  In other words higher polygon count rendered slower.  They also were some of the first mainline cards with multihead support so it could be much easier to set up your dual (or more) monitor setup.  I don't know if they still have the TV tuner card, but if not, I am sure you can get separate ones.  Last time I looked, they called them AllInWonder cards (at least I think that was Matrox...)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2008, 09:30:46 AM by steeladept »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #127 on: December 23, 2008, 09:52:43 AM »
All in Wonder cards were from ATI (Radeon range).

I wouldn't recommend them though - drivers are rubbish and the TV stuff doesn't work well (at least not in my experience - and I have had 2 of them). One of the reasons All in Wonder cards have become rarer.

If you want TV you are better off buying a dedicated TV card.

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #128 on: December 23, 2008, 12:46:57 PM »
So what is a good dual-monitor card for my case?  I'm thinking ATI Radeon or Nvidia.  The Matrox look interesting, but I'm not familiar with them, so I don't know what to think.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #129 on: December 23, 2008, 12:54:59 PM »
Given that your choice of motherboard is specifically designed for ATI Crossfire I would suggest an ATI board is probably your best bet.

Lots of Graphics cards are dual head these days but they are often VGA and DVI on two channels.

You could go for lower power graphics cards and install 2 so that you can run both of your monitors on DVI interfaces. If you aren't gaming there isn't really a good reason to spend a fortune on top end graphics cards as they will mostly be wasted.

mouser

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #130 on: December 23, 2008, 01:11:44 PM »
Quote
You could go for lower power graphics cards and install 2 so that you can run both of your monitors on DVI interfaces.

there are plenty of dual dvi single cards from ati+nvidia.
my experience is that both nvidia and ati make very good dual monitor cards now.  i have used both and can't recommend one over the other.

just pay attention to the card and make sure it has a dual-dvi output.
and when you are ready to upgrade to 4 monitors just get 2 of those cards.

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #131 on: December 23, 2008, 01:13:43 PM »
and when you are ready to upgrade to 4 monitors just get 2 of those cards.
4 monitors?!  What do you do?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #132 on: December 23, 2008, 01:35:20 PM »
Or buy both cards now and use them in Crossfire (ATI's version of SLi) mode until you want to add two more monitors!

See http://ati.amd.com/t...ssfire/features.html
« Last Edit: December 23, 2008, 01:37:09 PM by Carol Haynes »

f0dder

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #133 on: December 23, 2008, 01:55:03 PM »
Carol: he isn't gaming, so he doesn't need the GPU power (or power consumption :)) of dual cards in crossfire.

I'm personally not too keen on ATI/AMD GPUs because their drivers have behaved very naughty (BSODs with data loss) when using the LargeSystemCache=1 setting. Nvidia drivers kinda suck these days too, the last couple I've tried have given boot-time BSODs, so I'm using older versions.

Matrox cards are way too expensive to even consider, imho. What about the ASUS EAH3650 SILENT/HTDI/512M? Looks like reasonable price, and has two DVI outputs (and can even do HDMI with audio via a DVI->HDMI converter). And it's passively cooled, meaning less noise... haven't checked reviews or benchmarks on the card, it was just what I found from "passively cooled, 2xDVI, reasonable price" criteria :)
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #134 on: December 23, 2008, 02:15:10 PM »
Anand Tech strikes again. Good year-end review and recommendations on GPU's

http://www.anandtech.../showdoc.aspx?i=3479

Quote

Holiday 2008 GPU Guide: Price Cuts Galore


 On each page we will make at least one recommendation based price, performance and features including rebates (both instant and mail-in). This is a little different from our usual recommendations we make based on the general positioning of a card. We normally do this because price fluctuations and overclocking make nailing down a definitive best option very difficult (if not impossible). Today, we are looking at ... well, today. While the general sentiments we discuss remain relevant, the actual recommendations are based on the absolute best price you can achieve today and we even give some leeway to overclocking in a couple cases.

Although we will recommend cards from all four of our selected retailers, we will highlight the one we think is the best deal among the four as well. As some people tend to have a preference for different retailers, we are still allowing for options, but our recommendations will be based on the best deal we can find period rather than something like an average between the retailers.

They seem to come down heavily in favor of Radeon cards. FWIW, they recommended two of my favorites:

ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB (approx $200) and the amazingly cheap ATI Radeon HD 4550 (about $50-60).

These are probably less capable cards than you're looking for however. ;D

All in Wonder cards were from ATI (Radeon range).

I wouldn't recommend them though - drivers are rubbish and the TV stuff doesn't work well (at least not in my experience - and I have had 2 of them). One of the reasons All in Wonder cards have become rarer.

If you want TV you are better off buying a dedicated TV card.

Ms. Haynes is spot-on, as usual.

The All-in-Wonder cards were a really great idea, done in by really lousy drivers and horrendous customer support. You can find them "brand new" at swap meets for around $20-$25. They're that cheap for a reason.  :down:

I bought a couple and wound up throwing them away. I didn't dare give them to anybody for fear of the inevitable number of phone calls I'd be getting asking for "a little help" in getting them to work right.


Carol Haynes

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #135 on: December 23, 2008, 02:38:13 PM »
Carol: he isn't gaming, so he doesn't need the GPU power (or power consumption :)) of dual cards in crossfire.

I agree - basically all graphic card drivers seem to be pretty bad.

Crossfire doesn't have to be a huge issue - just buy two cheaper cards with smaller memory footprints and running them in crossfire mode gives you a higher spec equivalent for lower price. They genrally run a bit cooler and don't need such massive fan systems that eat up neighbouring PCI slots. You also have the flexibility of how many monitors you attach and how you attach them.

I only suggested ATI cards because the Gigabit board he wants to use is actually a Crossfire board. It seems to make sense to go for ATI technology since the board is actually designed with ATI in mind.

Personally I would suggest that if a board is designed with ATI in mind it would be a point against it! But that is just from bad experiences with ATI in the past that have hosed my system on more than one occasion.

NVIDIA drivers are probably no better thann ATI but I do find I can uninstall and downgrade NVIDIA drivers if problems occur more easily than ATI drivers (as happened with the latest release of drivers which killed my TV card). In the past I found that even uninstalling ATI Catalyst drivers and installing an earlier version lead to a mishmash of files installed, and subsequent DLL hell problem solving, so I found it was best to be VERY conservative when considering updating drivers (i.e. only update when you have a known problem to solve and not just because there are newer drivers available).

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #136 on: December 23, 2008, 03:47:05 PM »
Thanks 40hz & Carol!  Should I spoil myself and get a $200 card?  Hmm....maybe.  One thing I noticed, the higher end cards have two dvi plugs and the lower end ones have one dvi plus one vga plug.  Is there a reason?  I remember one time I plugged one of those vga to dvi converters for a monitor and it didn't work well.  I'm assuming these are not a problem anymore.

f0dder

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #137 on: December 23, 2008, 03:50:02 PM »
Superboy: http://www.donationc....msg143660#msg143660 - the card I mention there is realtively low-cost and has 2xDVI.

DVI supposedly has somewhat better quality. You might not be able to spot the difference though, unless you're going to use KVMs. VGA/D-SUB signals are analog and often suck through KVMs, whereas DVI is digital.
- carpe noctem

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #138 on: December 23, 2008, 04:04:12 PM »
Superboy: http://www.donationc....msg143660#msg143660 - the card I mention there is realtively low-cost and has 2xDVI.

DVI supposedly has somewhat better quality. You might not be able to spot the difference though, unless you're going to use KVMs. VGA/D-SUB signals are analog and often suck through KVMs, whereas DVI is digital.
That's a cool card also, I'll have to consider it.  The only thing that concerns me is that on Newegg, the card is not selling, saying "deactivated".

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #139 on: December 23, 2008, 04:10:29 PM »
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB[/b] (approx $200)
There's a nice sale for this going on right now:
http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16814102810
Maybe I should decide quickly and get it, because it's only $180.  Good deal?  If I get a couple of affirmatives, I may order it tonight!

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #140 on: December 24, 2008, 09:18:10 AM »
So should I get the card above?  If I get it today, I'll save $20...no big deal.  Maybe I'll just wait and get it later, $20 ain't going to break the bank.

Cloq

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #141 on: December 24, 2008, 09:57:36 AM »
I would recommend ATI based cards. Their drivers are generally more stable and they actually tell you what they fix and if there are known issues.

My main issue with nvidia based cards is that they seem to F'up royally when it comes to 3D games or features, especially if that game or application crashes. ATI based cards/drivers seem to recover gracefully (no reboots needed). Note: Ati's lower priced/speed cards seem to have the most weird issues with drivers. Another thing to keep in mind, I think their driver software has an dynamic overclock feature, I turn that off by default. I haven't seen that option in their newer drivers so I am guessing they put that feature if you install they catalyst software.

I kicking myself atm for buying nvidia based video card (9600 gt 1gb displayport, hdmi, under $80).. especially after promising myself I would never buy their cards till they fix their driver issues/problems. I said the same thing about ATI many years ago (think *before* radeon 9500).

Post radeon 9500, their drivers have been pretty good (compared to nvidia) assuming you use their drivers and not the catalyst desktop or whatever they call it.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 10:00:13 AM by Cloq »

f0dder

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #142 on: December 24, 2008, 10:03:49 AM »
Apart from the boot-time BSODs on XP64 with newer nvidia drivers (I guess that's the price to pay for running a "niche" versions of Windows), I haven't experienced driver-related crashes for quite some years. Both of my brothers run ATI cards, and they have BSODs every now and then. *shrug*. And the LargeSystemCache=1 data-loss crash that ATI drivers had (or still has?) was nasty enough that I haven't run ATI cards for quite a while. I'm with Carol, they all make sucky drivers, in one way or the other.

The one advantage I remember ATI drivers having was that displays still had full acceleration when using screen rotation - with nvidia (at least 2 years ago, haven't used rotation for a while... back when I had a radeon 9600 and a 15" TFT that could rotate) the rotated display felt sluggish, as if acceleration had been turned off, or at least heavily degraded.
- carpe noctem

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #143 on: December 24, 2008, 10:23:56 AM »
OK, maybe I'll hold off on this...I'll put it in the list and get it later.

Next item to choose...the CPU!  What should I get?  Based on earlier posts here, the thinking was i7 would be too expensive and not worth it, so I'm figuring some kind of Intel quad core or something (yes I want intel).  I don't know exactly what to get, so please help.  THanks.

Lashiec

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #144 on: December 24, 2008, 12:23:27 PM »
How about a Q9400? It comes with a Intel water bottle :D. The most expensive Intel Quad Core offer I would get is the Q9550, from there, price increases exponentially and the returns of the inversion are much lower. The sweet spot should be the Q9300, but for some reason, it's more expensive than the Q9400 right now, although it runs at a few less MHz.

If you prefer a Dual Core, the E8500 is nicely priced.

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #145 on: December 24, 2008, 12:32:10 PM »
How about a Q9400? It comes with a Intel water bottle :D. The most expensive Intel Quad Core offer I would get is the Q9550, from there, price increases exponentially and the returns of the inversion are much lower. The sweet spot should be the Q9300, but for some reason, it's more expensive than the Q9400 right now, although it runs at a few less MHz.

If you prefer a Dual Core, the E8500 is nicely priced.
Sounds good to me, thank you...it's going in the list.

[Click here to return to first post and see updated system components & price]

My goodness, this is expensive.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 01:08:29 PM by superboyac »

superboyac

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #146 on: December 24, 2008, 01:10:18 PM »
I took out the printer.  I don't need one at home, and I can always print at work on better printer than I could ever get.

steeladept

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #147 on: December 24, 2008, 01:13:34 PM »
I agree with Lashiec on the CPU.

As for the AllInWonder, I recall that now.  Thanks Carol.  I suppose I should have looked.  I had heard they were not all that great, but all the people I had talked to that got them had no problems and loved them.  Of course they were IT/Engineering students at school, but I had hoped they worked out those issues or killed the line.  I guess neither is the case though. :down:

Wow, those new Matrox cards really HAVE jumped in price!  Again, I haven't priced them in about 3 years.  The G450's go for under $100 though (roughly equivalent to an NVidia 6800 series or ATI 9800 series), and their next one up (550) goes for under $150.  You can even get the P690 for around $200.  However, if you want any of their latest and greatest, you are right the prices get up there ridiculous fast.  That said, I would not be surprised to find NVidia AND ATI offerings that are equivalent or better at lower prices.

Edited for clarity and to correct a typo or two.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 01:15:44 PM by steeladept »

mouser

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #148 on: December 24, 2008, 01:18:35 PM »
Quote
I took out the printer.  I don't need one at home, and I can always print at work on better printer than I could ever get.

seems like a bad idea to me.  you can get a great laser printer for cheap these days.  the idea of getting a fancy new computer but not being able to print sounds insane.

here's a great rated brother *wireless* laser printer for $110:
http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16828113291

Carol Haynes

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Re: Please help me build my new computer, DC!
« Reply #149 on: December 24, 2008, 02:23:13 PM »
I agree - you can get really good printers very cheaply. Have a 3662 at the Canon PIXMA range. They are realtively cheap to run and produce excellent photo quality print. Some of the multifunctionals are also excellent and take up less space than scanner/printer etc.

I just bought an MX850 top office multifunction inkjet) which gives fantastic quality print, has a good qulity scanner and fax, can print direct from camera cards or compatible cameras via USB and works from the router (or USB) so can be shared easily on a network. OK it isn't the cheapest in the range but I have been using an ip5000 for years without problem and it too produces fantastic quality. The only reason for the upgrade was network sharing and fax and the ip5000 duplex has got a bit temperamental on the old printer (probably just dirty paper path but I haven't got the time or energy to take it all apart to attack it with cotton buds and alcohol!).

Re. ATI All-in-Wonder ... I think the fact that ATI have given up on AIW cards says it all. They still allow third parties to produce them under license (such as Sapphire) but ATI have washed their hands of them - and actually the choices are pretty limited if you want to buy an AIW card these days. (Actually just checked the ATI website and can't find any current AIW models even from third parties - I searched their product database on AIW, All in Wonder and All-in-Wonder and nothing showed up). Certainly my experience was that even when you did get AIW working the quality wasn't brilliant (Hauppauge TV cards is much better) and it was practically impossible to record anything without annoying numbers of dropped frames.