PC build...

This is a discussion on PC build... within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; I think I am finally going to take the plunge and build a desktop pc besides its a good excuse ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Bajanine's Avatar
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    PC build...

    I think I am finally going to take the plunge and build a desktop pc besides its a good excuse to tinker!

    How do you pro's do it? Pick a motherboard that will do what you want (32 or 64 bit, sata, raid, lan, OS, etc) and build from there?

    My second question is how much percentage wise of your budget do you spend on the motherboard versus the other components? The boards I am currently looking at run form $95 to $250.

    I think I would like to build off of a ASUS board with a Athlon 64 X2 / Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64. I was given an Athlon XP and I am really impressed so far.
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    Lean Mean Coding Machine KONI's Avatar
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    For the last three PCs I assembled, I used a German PC configuration assistant. He is able to resolve dependency issues and only assemble pieces that work together. I usually start with the processor, then pick a motherboard that goes well with it. Depending on what I need/want, I usually pick ethernet adapter and soundcard onboard, so while the motherboard is a little more expensive, I don't have to buy the other cards. The next important thing is the graphic card (I play a lot). From there, it's the RAM (Dual Channel freaking expensive, lowest latency, rocks your socks RAM), the tower, the hard disk and the rest.

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    Registered User Bajanine's Avatar
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    I am a little confused Neweggs configurator says that the G.Skill 4GB 2 x 2GB ddr2 800 is compatible with the ASUS Crosshair but ASUS doesn't list it or any 2GB RAM modules for that matter. If you can't user 2 GB per stick how are you supposed to be able to use 8 GB of RAM?
    Last edited by Bajanine; 05-19-2007 at 04:18 AM. Reason: Typo's and it's 3 am.
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  4. #4
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    What I do first is pick the necessities that meet my minimum greatest needs and budget, starting with the most expensive things - the CPU, video card, and RAM. I actually have the motherboard as last. The reason is that there are so many varieties and variations of motherboards that, as long as the parts you get are from the same era (give or take 2 years at most). I'm not familiar with 64-bit CPUs since I've never had one nor do I need one any time soon. A 32-bit CPU can only handle up to 4.294 billion bytes of memory (2^32). That doesn't mean you can have 4 GB in RAM though - it's actually less since some of the other memory is used for video memory, some buses, and a few other things. Much beyond 2.5 GB is not recommended on a 32-bit processor. A 64-bit processor, however, can handle nearly 18 4/9 quintillion bytes of memory (as from 2^64). Yet, even to today, there's not much sense in going beyond 2 GB of memory unless doing very memory-intensive programs or working with huge images, audio files amounting to hours (at CD quality even), or various other things like that. I have more knowledge with computer hardware than I currently do with C programming.
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    Registered User Bajanine's Avatar
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    I do large digital image editing with files and I get real frustrated waiting around for my pc. So I just want to make sure this will keep me feeling fast for years to come! I would like my new pc to handle 2 concurrent users. Like me using OpenVPN over my wireless connection to copy files etc. while my better half is doing book keeping or browsing on line without any noticeable lag.

    So, my question is shouldn't I get 2GB sticks of RAM so next month when my pc is obsolete just throw more RAM into it? Or are you saying 4-1GB sticks will be more than enough for the life of my machine?

    Thanks.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KONI View Post
    For the last three PCs I assembled, I used a German PC configuration assistant. He is able to resolve dependency issues and only assemble pieces that work together.
    alternate's config assistant isn't that great.
    It also doesn't really assemble pieces that work together (ok it won't offer AMD cpus if you pick a motherboard for an Intel).
    Example:
    SilverStone NT01 V2 (CPU cooling)
    SilverStone TJ06 (PC case)
    You won't be able to choose the NT01 V2, ever.
    Even if you pick the TJ06.
    And according to the official TJ06 product page the NT01 is recommended for that case.

  7. #7
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    Think of it this way. How much space is needed to store an image? A 4096x3072 image, which is about 12.6 megapixels, only needs 36 MB of memory at 24-bit color (width*height*bitdepth/8). That's hardly anything to today's 1 GB recommended minimum. Given Moore's Law, it'd be another 3 years before 4 GB is a recommended minimum. 3 years seems like quite a bit. 8 GB will last quite for about 4 1/2 years. For 8 GB of memory, you'll definitely need a 64-bit CPU.

    If you use Vista, add another 512 MB to the memory usage which makes 1.5 GB the recommended minimum and even then, 4 GB would still last about 2 1/3 years and 8 GB lasts 3 1/3 years and by then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    A 32-bit CPU can only handle up to 4.294 billion bytes of memory (2^32). That doesn't mean you can have 4 GB in RAM though - it's actually less since some of the other memory is used for video memory, some buses, and a few other things. Much beyond 2.5 GB is not recommended on a 32-bit processor. A 64-bit processor, however, can handle nearly 18 4/9 quintillion bytes of memory (as from 2^64).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension
    Who doesn't recommend more than 2.5GB?

  9. #9
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bajanine View Post
    So, my question is shouldn't I get 2GB sticks of RAM so next month when my pc is obsolete just throw more RAM into it? Or are you saying 4-1GB sticks will be more than enough for the life of my machine?
    What is the life of your machine? My guesstimate would be that 4GB of RAM will suit you fine for another 5-6 years, even under Vista. At that point, well... you'll probably looking to move to a newer system and more than likely DDR3 (or DD4 or 5 or whatever it will be in 5 years) SDRAM.

    Secondly, you said you were given an Athlon XP... do you mean that's what you will be using for your build? If not, I'd definitely go for the Core 2 Duo line of CPUs... there really is no point in going any other way unless you want to wait on the next AMD CPUs to see their benchmarks which won't be out for quite a while.

    As for the price ratio of motherboard to other components, I'd say that completely depends... there really is no point in going very expensive on a motherboard unless you want something specific (an advanced IO panel (eSATA perhaps), some good for overclocking, SLI/Crossfire capable, etc)... otherwise for home usage, you can get by on something <$150, easily. Also, it depends on what you want in you Video Card, RAM, or CPU... you can easily pay 3-4 times as much as your motherboard for any of those components.

    I'd say tell us what you want to use this for and I'll start throwing parts in your face. Also tell us what components you have already... it you have something good laying around maybe you might not consider upgrading that component.
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  10. #10
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    The motherboard is the most important part of the system, and it is where failures would happen most of the time. Before you buy that motherboard, you should visit newegg and look at customer's review of the motherboard and look at the worst or average reviews, cause they will give you some problems that u might have to face. My suggestion is pick the type of cpu that you want, then pick the motherboard which have specifications that most suits for you.

    Stuff that you might consider maybe the type of memory it supports, types of sockets, on board devices, overclocking abilities, bios safety mechanism (what i believe to be most important).
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    Been doing this stuff for 27 years.

    Have you any interest in overclocking? Lots of enthusiasts squeeze the last drop out of their investment by running the CPU at higher speeds that rated. It's a tad on the iffy side sometimes, you can end up with some really significant learning experiences, but if you get it right, the results are just wonderful. Some overclocking enthusiasts will overclock anything, even that older XP, just to see how far they can go.

    I'm to recommending it, but, I bring it up because for those that choose to do so, the motherboard is without doubt the most important component. Stability and features for overclocking all come from the motherboard and it's bios.

    I've owned overclocked systems that I ran for 4 years without stability issues. If you do it right, it's fine. Many people paid $65 for the Brisbane X2 and overclocked it to 2.8 Ghz (it's sold as a 1.9Ghz chip), which puts it in the performance range over the stock speeds of some of the Core2 designs. On the other hand, $120 on the Intel E4300, a 1.86Ghz chip (or is that the 1.80?) - and it has been pushed to 3.0Ghz, nearly matching the stock level performance of Intel's $500+ top of the line.

    If you'd rather spend a few more bucks to get absolute stability with little or no hassle at those levels of performance, the trick is to decide the 'sweet spot' of the two major chip vendors on a price/performance judgment. Intel is currently the 'sweet spot' winner, even though the little Brisbane X2 (Athlon 3600 X2 65nm) at $60 at newegg is the cheapest dual core solution I've ever seen.

    For most photoshop operations you'd see only incremental differences in the AMD/Intel comparison of machines set side by side. They are there, but it would be on the order of Intel doing something in 2 seconds whereas the AMD took 2.5 or 3, depending on the actual comparisons. At this point, price to price is about the only way that makes sense, and for novices it's hard to judge, because the actual performance characteristics differ depending on what the chip is doing (that is, there are some things where AMD is actually faster, but not much, and not BY much).

    Factually, the time it takes to load a large photo is mostly about disk speed. Decoding speed is such that most of these chips, save for the very slowest chips, are quicker than the drive can provide.

    I highly recommend you NOT be induced into RAID 0! RAID 0 can theoretically double read speeds, but if one drive has even minor errors (which they do), the entire RAID volume is lost, and your whole system is gone.

    The Raptor drives are about the fastest at reasonable price points. You pay more for a particular volume of storage, but the speed is just incomparable. Next down from that are any of the high density drives. Some like WD brands, others have a history with WD of drive failures. I have a 320G WD that's smooth as silk.

    Don't be tempted toward the bargain 160G drives. For you purpose, you want read speed. As platter density increases, the read speed increases. Jumps occur at about 250G and 400G or more. That is, the density of the data on disk is about the same for the 250G and the 300G drives, but much higher than that of the 160G drives. You also want to get drives with the fastest access time you can afford. Raptors have twice the speed of access as other drives, hence the cost (in the region of less than 5ms). Many of the Seagate drives (long considered the most reliable) are rated at 11ms, but that's a bit pessimistic. In fact, most drives ranged at 8.9ms or 8.5 ms only reach that under ideal conditions - most speed ratings will estimate an 8.9ms drive closer to 12 or 14ms. The most recent 500Gbyte Seagate drive is rated at 8.5ms, which promises to be one of the best performing Seagates we've seen, but check the reviews (I've not had the pleasure of test driving one myself).

    Two drives are better than one! However, not in a RAID 0. RAID 0 is fast, but like I said, you'll get bitten and won't like that. Still, two drives (non-RAID, just two drives) can still offer speed improvement. Install the OS on one drive, put your paging file and temp files on the other. If you can manage it, put your image files on a third. This means your drive heads don't ALWAYS jump from one end of the drive to the other to find data.

    You don't need to spend $200 on a graphics card for 2D work like photoshop! A recent $50 card may do just fine, unless you insist on Vista Aero 'experience' points, which require the 3D services of the high end cards. If you're staying with XP, and you're not doing much in the 3D gaming or other high performance stuff, go with a medium to lower priced brand name card (you're looking for various resolution support, clean output signal, etc.)

    Two monitors is better than one! Oh man, once you get used to it, you feel like you're on a unicycle without them! Many low end cards support dual monitor output, so plug in a second monitor, tell XP it's there, and.....put all those photoshop toolbars and navigation windows that usually obscure your image editing on the second monitor! Check on a webpage, leave the IM up, move the Virtual OS console to the second monitor - it gets to be such a great thing, you'll want 3 monitors!

    For the 32bit versions of Windows, heck any 32bit OS, 4Gbytes of RAM is all there is. Even if you install more, it's just not there when windows runs. You have to have a 64bit OS to get to more RAM than that, and as of yet, 64bit OS is not really all that great (that is, drivers can be scarce, and the 32bit applications will run inside a WOW module that slows that down a little).

    Just a few of the things I've picked up over the years I didn't see mentioned above.

    Best of luck configuring!

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    27 years and you've never heard of PAE?
    No 32bit OS can handle more than 4GB?
    Heh, any *nix and even Win2k and Win2k3 can handle more than 4GB.
    3 harddrives because of minuscule access time improvement that you'll lose anyway once you actually fill them?
    I wouldn't buy from you.

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    Your attitude sucks. Keep away from me.

    In fact, I'm off the board.

    If this is the kind of welcome I get, you can count me out!

    Barely 2&#37; of the world ever bothered with PAE (36 bit addressing).

    It's like bankswitching from 1978 on a Z80.
    Last edited by JVene; 05-22-2007 at 08:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JVene
    pjeremy:

    First, you're incorrect about the 4Gbyte limit.

    32OS = 32bit memory pointer, that's 4Gbytes of RAM. Can't be exceeded.

    Read the DOCs

    Second, try it before you act like you know. I've done it, compared, timed it many times. 2 or 3 drives, much better than one. Not as good as RAID, but certainly helpful. Widely known and recognized practice, not my invention.


    Third, your attitude sucks. Keep away from me.

    In fact, I'm off the board.

    If this is the kind of welcome I get, you can count me out!

    Good riddance, I guess.
    I already posted a wikipedia link to PAE

    FreeBSD handbook:
    Large memory configuration machines require access to more than the 4 gigabyte limit on User+Kernel Virtual Address (KVA) space. Due to this limitation, Intel added support for 36-bit physical address space access in the Pentium® Pro and later line of CPUs.

    The Physical Address Extension (PAE) capability of the Intel® Pentium Pro and later CPUs allows memory configurations of up to 64 gigabytes. FreeBSD provides support for this capability via the PAE kernel configuration option, available in all current release versions of FreeBSD. Due to the limitations of the Intel memory architecture, no distinction is made for memory above or below 4 gigabytes. Memory allocated above 4 gigabytes is simply added to the pool of available memory.

    Note: The PAE support in FreeBSD is only available for Intel IA-32 processors. It should also be noted, that the PAE support in FreeBSD has not received wide testing, and should be considered beta quality compared to other stable features of FreeBSD.


    http://www.spack.org/wiki/LinuxRamLimits a link from 2001 regarding the 2.4.x linux kernel and PAE


    Nice try editing your post and claiming now you knew about PAE all along.

  15. #15
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    Look at the Windows documentation!

    XP, all versions, 4Gbyte of physical RAM limitation

    Same for Windows server 2003 Standard edition

    Besides, how's that going to do THIS OP any good?

    It slows things down, complicates the drivers most of the time - WOW 32 bit applications on 64 bit OS are actually faster.

    How can any 32bit application access more than 4Gbyte of RAM?

    It can't.

    The OS can, but to no decent effect. Only a few servers have ever bothered.

    Netfinity series did that with the P4's.

    This guy's not running applications that would work this way, and unless it's turned on, it doesn't just work automatically.

    People ask me all the time "I've got 3Gbytes in my machine, why can't I create an array more than 2Gbytes?"


    Have an answer for that smart........!?
    Last edited by JVene; 05-22-2007 at 09:04 PM.

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