Another 'what componets are best' thread.

  Dark Knight 19:26 04 Nov 2005

Hi there,

I am looking to build my first computer. It will have multiple uses. Primarily it will be used for games (such as Football Manager), Photo Editing and the occasional video editing. It is also my main music system.

1) processor - I have been looking at basing it around the Athlon 3500. Would I see a marked increase in performance by going faster i.e. Athlon 3800 X2? would you recommend this step up?

2) Motherboard - One of the Asus A8-SLi's? Are the Deluxe or Premium versions worth the extra money?

3) Graphics card. Is it worth going for SLi? would two Gigabyte Geforce 6600GT's out perform a single Aopen Geforce6800 or a Sapphire Radeon X800XL? of these which would would you recommend?

5) Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS Platinum? other suggestions?

6) Hard drives - is it worth buying something small and quick i.e. 36mb 10k? or would a 200/250 mb 7200 be OK?

Thanks in advance

  woodchip 19:31 04 Nov 2005

Well at the moment you are better getting the Motherboard that supports the Single Athlon64 and will also take a dual Athlon chip in the same CPU slot

  Dark Knight 19:36 04 Nov 2005

The motherboard should have been Asus A8N's not just A8! Doh!

as in 'Asus A8N-SLi nForce4 SLi'

  hzhzhz 20:06 04 Nov 2005

My friend has athlon 4000, a8n SLi deluxe with 2x 6600gt's. Its a superb system. The speed and level of detail with this system is wonderful. Multi tasking is a breeze.

  hzhzhz 20:07 04 Nov 2005

and 1gb of Ram.

  Dark Knight 10:16 05 Nov 2005

an Athlon 4000 would be nice - but I don't think my bank balance would agree.

I was thinking of 2GB ram - two sticks of 1GB

  joseph K 12:22 05 Nov 2005

It may not always be true, but I've found that it usually pays to buy the best you can afford when it comes to hardware. Though I would certainly stick with AMD, in most people's experience I think, certainly my own, they are slightly better than Intel. As you obviously know, you get more for your buck as well.

  gudgulf 12:39 05 Nov 2005

An Athlon 3500+ on an SLI motherboard with 2GB RAM is an excellent starting point, with plenty of upgrade potential when dual core cpus drop in price.

On the graphics card front,why not go for a single 7800GT which will cost about the same as 2x6600GT and will outperform them easily.

You could then add a second 7800GT later for truly outstanding graphics performance.

  PaulB2005 12:42 05 Nov 2005

Overkill for now.. XP runs very well on 1Gb - get a GB now and another later when you need it.

'Asus A8N-SLi nForce4 SLi' Lovely boards. Got the Deluxe. The premium might be better as it has a BIOS option to switch the SLi mode rather than a physical switch card on the baord and also has a beter cooling system for the Northbridge chipset. Already replaced the fan once because they can get very buzzy....

  Dark Knight 21:15 05 Nov 2005

I thought it was beneficial to have excesses of RAM. And do the Athlons not work best with two sticks of identical ram? (not sure where I have heard it though). If I were to get 1gb to get best performance it would need to be in two 512 sticks.

  gudgulf 22:15 05 Nov 2005

The latest Athlon motherboards support dual channel two matched sticks will give better memory performance.

If I were you I'd stick to your original plan and put 2x1GB sticks in when you build the system.

Two reasons for this....the first is that using two sticks of RAM will let you run the tightest memory timings.If you put in 2x512MB and then later add another 2x512MB as an upgrade you might find the memory timings will need relaxing a little bit.

That's what happened to me when I upgraded to 2GB of RAM (4x512MB sticks).

The second reason is that whilst it is true that 1GB will be fine for most are not most applications.There are plenty of reports on the web with games such as BF2 needing 2GB RAM for smooth gameplay.On my own system when playing Doom3 at ultra-high settings my pc was using almost 1.7GB of its 2GB of RAM.

Understand that going over the 1GB mark wont give you higher FPS....what it will do is improve the smoothness of your gameplay and when you are done the game will shut down to the desktop quicker.You are doing this by providing enough RAM to cope with Windows,all your backround running programs and your games without heavy usage of the(much slower) virtual memory.

What you are putting together is a very powerful gaming machine capable of playing at high resolution and detail/effects don't skimp on the RAM

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