Intel-based DIY comp done!

As you may know, I’m building this machine for only one purpose: games.

Because of that, it needs to be, in order of descending importance:

[list=1]
[li]Fast
[/li][li]Inexpensive
[/li][li]Easily upgradeable
[/li][li]Stable
[/li][/list=1]

My budget is ~GBP£700, give or take a bit. This is excluding the monitor or case. I’ve found the cheapest overall supplier to be www.ebuyer.co.uk

The following is my list of components. Feel free to comment, criticise, suggest, etc.

Intel P4 system. Overall Price: £755.31

Motherboard - primary criteria here was a quality manufacturer + 800 FSB.
Asus P4P800VM SKT478 I865G MATX VGA Sound LAN USB2
Our Price £69.70
£81.90 inc VAT
39 in stock (Usually ships same day)
QuickFind code: 50157
Mfr part #: 90-M8LAR0-G0EAY

Processor - chosen for speed, 800 FSB, 512k cache
Intel Pentium 4 2.8ghz 800FSB SKT478 512k Cache Retail Box
Our Price £182.25
£214.15 inc VAT
108 in stock (Usually ships same day)
QuickFind code: 48688
Mfr part #: BX80532PG2800D

Memory - at least 1 GB DDR memory
Corsair Xms Extreme Memory 512mb Pc4000 Ddr 500mhz
Our Price £64.53
£75.83 inc VAT (X2)
ordered on request (10 days)
QuickFind code: 52058
Mfr part #: CMX512-4000

HDD - 7200 RPM, 8MB cache, large. Anything else can be burnt on a DVD :smiley:
Western Digital Caviar SE 120Gb 7200rpm 8mb Cache EIDE Hard Drive - OEM
Our Price £72.84
£85.59 inc VAT
90 in stock (Usually ships same day)
QuickFind code: 32012
Mfr part #: WD1200JB

Video card - gaming performance. Presumably higher FX numbers means faster?
Cheapest FX >=5600 with 256MB RAM.
Unsure whether to go for ATI Radeon or GEForce FX.
Gainward Fx 5600 Powerpack Ultra 780 256MB 8xAGP Video-Out DVI Retail Box
Our Price £97.66
£114.76 inc VAT
ordered on request (15 days)
QuickFind code: 49460
Mfr part #: 471846200-4943

DVD-RW - Something that allows versatile backups regardless of regional coding/copy protection.
Liteon 4x DVD+RW Burner Internal Ide Retail Box
Our Price £76.50
£89.89 inc VAT

38 in stock (Usually ships same day)
QuickFind code: 50925
Mfr part #: LDW-401S

Power supply unit - Adequate, stable, won’t fry comp.
Ebuyer 550 Watt PSU P4 ready
Our Price £14.77
£17.36 inc VAT

ordered on request (14 days)
QuickFind code: 44665
Mfr part #: EB550WPSU

I’ll be posting the AMD one with similar prices tomorrow. And maybe a Dell one :eek:

Would be interested to see which one is best for the same price. Dee-ehn’s sticky said that AMD is better for gaming, but a few reviews at Tom’s Hardware Guide said that equally rated processors (e.g. XP2400+ vs. P4-2.4GHz) had the Intel winning marginally for games. Would Athlon beat Intel for cost because (say) at similar cost of a P4-2.4GHz you could get an XP2800+, which would beat the Intel?

Yeah but Tom’s (very) biased towards Intel.

Sounds great and all but you don’t need the 533Mhz RAM, unless you can find a motherboard and chipset to support it. Most P4 compatible motherboards and chipsets only support a max of 400Mhz RAM so the 533Mhz would be goin at 400Mhz and might actually be slower. Plus it’s more expensive to get the faster RAM.

Sorry but I forgot to ask this in the other post. What the heck is VAT? Is it like a UK thing?

Man I just got finished lookin around that site and after converting some of the stuff you mentioned I have a better alternative for you. Try www.pricewatch.com they have a much wider range of products and many more places to buy them from. It might take you some time though if you are looking for something specific. You could buy your computer products at pricewatch and prolly save about £300 - £400, dead serious. If you are still lookin to get a comp around £700 you could prolly get a MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER one than that 2.8Ghz. Just thought I’d let you in on a little secret.

Alex, VAT is something the UK consumer has to fork out, its is “Value Added Tax”. Sucks, I know.

About the memory - how does a dual channel motherboard affect 500MHz FSB memory? Does it turn it effectively into 1000MHz FSB memory, thus making it a bit of a waste vs. a 800MHz FSB processor? Or is there an efficiency involved, like 80%, at which case it will be spot on 800MHz FSB :smiley:

For games, should I go for the ATI Radeon or the GeForce FX?

ATI Radeon 9800
no motivation needed :slight_smile:

Tyro, foryour question I may not be exactly 100% sure of this but the dual-channeling wouldn’t double the Mhz. The FSB is how fast the computer can access the RAM. With the dual-channeling it’s how much information is transfered is doesn’t affect the FBS of the RAM at all. This is from what I know and probably isn’t 100% accurate. Ohh, one other thing though DON’T LISTEN TO AIRHEAD. He obviously has no idea what he’s saying or he would realize that he’s being a complete moron about the Radeon being better than the GeForce FX for games. The GeForce FX would be a much better choice for playing games, seeing as how most games nowadays have the Nvida Logo on it “Nvidia the way it’s meant to be played” which means that it was designed using Nvidia products and is optimized for Nvidia products. Nvidia also has MUCH MUCH MUCH better drivers than Radeon could ever hope of creating. That is the only drawback for Radeon. Radeon looks awsome on paper but has lousy performance.

Originally posted by Tyro
[B]Alex, VAT is something the UK consumer has to fork out, its is “Value Added Tax”. Sucks, I know.

About the memory - how does a dual channel motherboard affect 500MHz FSB memory? Does it turn it effectively into 1000MHz FSB memory, thus making it a bit of a waste vs. a 800MHz FSB processor? Or is there an efficiency involved, like 80%, at which case it will be spot on 800MHz FSB :smiley:

For games, should I go for the ATI Radeon or the GeForce FX? [/B]

Dual Channel explained by Tom’s hardware page.

I read that article already, Mr. Belvedere :wink: That is how I came to the conclusion that it would be adequate to match >=1/2 the FSB of the processor with the lower FSB DDR memory instead of RDRAM.

@Alex…Tom’s hardware guide said (on the article link Mr. Belvedere gave) “But dual channel DDR400, in theory, offers the same bus speed as single-channel 800-Mhz DDRAM.” Now I’m confused as to whether my selection is adequate :confused:

I recall seeing the Nvidia logo on some games. What I found quite worrying was this from Tom’s:

Valve did not allow us to also run test with a new Beta version of the upcoming NVIDIA Detonator 50 driver.

Do you have any ATI Radeon vs. GeForce FX comparisons?

How does my computer look, btw? Could it be better for the same amount of cash? Few people have commented on whether it is good or not, I am unsure if that is because the rest are too polite that it actually is not :eek: or don’t know.

Any oversights like my motherboard not being able to support 500 MHz FSB DDR memory or something that will be a waste at some aspect of the machine?

Originally posted by Airhead
ATI Radeon 9800
no motivation needed :slight_smile:

Hehe, nice card, but £300 will cause me to run over my budget slightly :eek:

Quick question, was I correct in assuming the Geforce FX range > Geforce range? Why would anyone buy the normal Geforce range?

From the ATI vs. GeForce FX videocards below, only a few have 256MB memory, which I’ve listed. The ones in green are the ones I am willing to buy. Which is the best choice? Am I making a mistake by disregarding 64 & 128MB memory video cards? When would less memory be better?

[ul]
[li]Sapphire Radeon 9200 8x AGP 256MB DDR TV-Out Retail Box
[/li][li]Sapphire Radeon 9600 AGP X8 256MB DDR DVI TV-Out Retail Box
[/li][li]Hercules 3d Prophet 9600 AGP 8x 256MB Retail Box
[/li][li]Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 8x AGP 256MB DDR DVI TV-Out Retail Box
[/li][/ul]

[ul]
[li]GAINWARD FX PowerPack! Pro/680 TV/DVI, nVidia GeForce FX5200, 256MB DDR, …
[/li][li]Gainward Fx 5200 Powerpack 256mb Pro 680 8x Agp Tv-dvi
[/li][li]Gainward Fx 5600 Powerpack Ultra 780 256MB 8xAGP Video-Out DVI Retail Box
[/li][li]Gainward Geforce Fx5200 256MB AGP X8 Video-Out/ DVI /Nview Out Retail Box
[/li][li]Leadtek Winfast Fx 5600 AGP X8 MyVIVO 256MB DDR DVI Dual Monitor Out Ret…
[/li][li]3d Blaster 5 Fx5600 256mb Ddr - Agp8x Dvi/tv-out Vga Uk
[/li][li]PNY Verto Geforce FX 5600 256MB DDR 8x AGP Retail Box
[/li][li]Gainward FX PowePack! Ultra/1300 TV-DVI 256MB 2.8ns DDR FX5900 Chipset wi…
[/li][li]Leadtek Fx 5900 Ultra VIVO 8x AGP 256MB Video Card
[/li][li]PNY Verto Geforce FX 5900 Ultra 256MB DDR 8x AGP VIVO DVI Retail Box
[/li][li]3d Blaster GeForce Fx5900 Ultra 256MB DDR AGP8x DVI TV-Out VIVO Retail …
[/li][li]Gainward Geforce Fx 5900 Ultra 8x AGP 256MB Ultra/1600 Xp Golden Sample D…
[/li][li]Gainward Geforce Fx 5900 Ultra COOLFX Liquid Cooled 8x AGP 256MB Golden S…[/ul]
[/li]
Edit: Added GeForce range because I wasn’t sure if GeForce FX > GeForce or its the other way around. I could only find one GeForce card with 256MB memory.

[ul]

[li]Gainward FX Pro780XP AGP x8 256MB DDR FX5600 VIVO DVI nView Retail Box
[/li][/ul]

Motherboard: ok

CPU: ok

Memory: 1Gb of PC3200 is more than enough (games don’t need that much, faster than PC3200 is only necescary if you want to do some overclocking)

HDD: ok

Video card: get an ATi card: they are more quiet and the picture quality is better (2D: sharper image, 3D: better textures and AA). See if you can get a card like the 9700pro or 9800non-pro (should cost about €250)

DVDR drive: better get a dual format drive, like the LiteON LDW-411S, NEC1300a, Pioneer A06/106 or the Plextor 708A (if you want to go the 8x way)

PSU: get a good one. I never heard of Ebuyer. Might be good, might be crap… do some research :wink:

About the gaming performance on AMD vs Intel: for the time being, it seems like the latest AMD CPU’s (Athlon 64 FX51) beat the latest P4 CPU’s (Extreme edition). Also, note that the differences are often quite little.
When comparing performance to price, AMD still is the king…