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Hardware galore

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superpig

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My uncle needs a new computer. I've offered to build one for him.

This will be the first computer I've actually built from scratch, so I'm slightly nervous about the spec - I've encountered problems in the past with not accounting for bus speeds, balanced RAM, power levels, etc.

I built a spec a couple of weeks ago and it looked ok but it seems that since then the impending doom of the Socket A platform has been announced and as such the Athlon XP series is proving hard to find O_O

So I guess it's Athlon 64 time.

Motherboard: Soltek SL-K8AV2-R1L. Socket 754, VIA chipset. FSB is "1600MHz Hyper Transport," whatever that means. Plenty of PCI slots, and AGP graphics (no PCI-e). DDR400 (or down to 233) up to 2GB. Onboard sound and LAN.
Processor: Athlon 64 3000+. Appears to support the 'HyperTransport' thing supplied by the motherboard.
RAM: 512MB of Corsair DDR400.
Case: '7210 style.' ATX, with a 350W PSU. And it has front USB.
HDD: ExcelStor 80GB, 7200rpm. I don't know if ExcelStor are any good.
Floppy drive: Standard Sony dealy. I think the color works with the case.
DVD Writer: Samsung, 16x. Does CDR/W as well, of course. It doesn't look like there's a region-free crack out for it yet, but I suspect my uncle doesn't need that anyway, at least not yet.
OS: WinXP Pro 64bit.

The only thing missing is a graphics card - I'm giving him my GF4 ti 4600, because I plan on buying some upgrades for my own machine. Something about a GF7.

So what do y'all think? Will it work? Is it solid for a person who will be using it mostly for MSOffice and internet browsing?

Edit: Akasa cooler (HSF). I already have thermal paste.
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Have you ever looked at PC Index? I find it quite useful for prices...

Quote:
This will be the first computer I've actually built from scratch

It's great fun - I've never bought stock computers, and built about 3-4 of them so far.

Last week I was helping my housemate put together a new machine, it was the first he'd ever chosen to build from scratch so I was there as "advisor". Assembling the core of the motherboard was a funny experience [grin]

If you've never installed a CPU it's a bit nerve-wracking.. the HSF's usually require high-pressure contacts to aid with heat transfer, such that pulling the clamps down feels like it's either gonna squash the CPU or snap the motherboard in half. Or both.

The looks on my housemates face was priceless as I was telling him "nah, you wont break it - it's supposed to be like that" yet he was convinced I was telling him to do stuff that'd break several hundred pounds of equipment [lol]

Quote:
So what do y'all think? Will it work? Is it solid for a person who will be using it mostly for MSOffice and internet browsing?

Looks good to me... two things I'd question:

  • The size of the HDD. I suppose 80gb is fine, but with the super-huge disks kicking around for very respectable prices I'd be inclined to go with something a bit bigger... especially if he ever moves into digital photography. My parents were happy on a 20gb drive for years, but moved into digital photography and filled the whole thing up in under a month ([rolleyes]).

  • The quantity of RAM... if you're gonna be using a lot of office related stuff then a GB of RAM is gonna be beneficial. The difference I find with RAM is in the number of programs I can run... on my system I can have several VStudio's, a few office programs, couple of PSP's, lots of browser windows and a media player... without breaking a sweat. I could never do that on my old 384mb job [grin]

    The final thing I'd say, which is my general rule of thumb when building "office PC's" is that you should save money on the performance pieces and invest that money in decent monitor/keyboard/mouse etc... because investment in those parts is more noticeable than 10-20% performance. But you haven't mentioned anything about the peripheral components [smile]

    hth
    Jack

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    He's replacing an existing machine, so he's got peripherals already. The only possible issue is that he's talked about moving to dual monitors like I currently have on my GF4, but I guess I can sort that out after getting the machine itself done.

    Similarly, I think that if he ever does run into space/memory issues, I can buy a second 80GB HDD / 512MB DIMM for £30 and install it alongside.

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    Quote:
    He's replacing an existing machine, so he's got peripherals already.

    Makes things nice and easy!

    Quote:
    Similarly, I think that if he ever does run into space/memory issues, I can buy a second 80GB HDD / 512MB DIMM for £30 and install it alongside.

    Good point, forgot about that obvious one [headshake]

    Jack

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