Questions about buying/building new PC and SATA

  Solgoth 22:01 04 Dec 2005

I am considering finally getting a PC. I won't be playing games on it much but I want it to be fast with photoshop, data handling, etc, and I also want it to last me a while spec wise without needing an upgrade. My priority is speed in Windows. However, I'm finding it difficult to choose where or how to buy it. I have a list of components that I think I want to use in it but not very many companies allow me to configure the machines they sell to the spec I want. does but I've heard bad things about them. I'd appreciate any recommendation for cheap custom built PCs or barebones systems that meet what I detail below.

I am willing to build it myself but I am not entirely confident about doing so.

I specifically want an AMD 64 3200, with an ASUS A8 N-E motherboard (or equivelent) and either a 256mb ATI X700 or Geforce 6600 (any advice on which is better?). I'm not so bothered about the motherboard being the Asus but I want one with similar spec. The other stuff pretty much every manufacturer offers, yet it all adds up to quite a lot money wise. Large black case, dvd rom drive, fast Dual layer DVD writer, fast internal card reader and floppy drive (for drivers and technical problems), firewire, 512mb RAM, network card, usb 2.

Any comments on the spec? Should I build it myself or should I try and get a barebones PC or custom built pc from somewhere? I think it comes to about £500 for all those bits bought seperately, which is not that cheap considering I also need a monitor. Pc specialist want £539 for it. What would be the best way to get a PC of this spec?

Is it ususally necessary to buy USB, PCI and network cards for a case these days? I'm thinking yes considering they are sold seperately. What about cooling? Do CPUs come with a fan or do you need to put one in yourself?

One of the main reasons I need a new machine is storage. I want a machine with a huge amount of hard drive space for my digital photographs. I was originally planning getting a 300gb drive (with the intention of getting further 300gb drives when I filled it), but some people reckon that they are not stable? Other than that I want a 200gb Seagate, the plan being to add more as time goes on.

I also have a question about SATA vs ATA. My friend warned me that SATA is still dodgy to use with XP because of driver problems, a friend of his lost his stuff because of something to do with bad drivers and a SATA drive. Is SATA a dodgy technology less reliable than ATA at present? I would like a fast drive but not at the expense of stability.

  Devil Fish 08:01 05 Dec 2005

not to familiar with Amd i use intel in all my builds

Sata stability : have been using Sata with xp for about six months now not come across any issues with it

Usb : most motherboards come with usb intergrated so an addon card unless you want more ports should not be an issue

Network adaptor : again a lot of boards come with this intergrated wether you choose intergrated or an addon card is relly a matter of personal choice

Ram : I would personaly be tempted to stick 1024 meg in that should cover you for just about any eventuality

Firewire : again manymodern boards will have this built in

The Amd processor i will have to pass over to someone with more knowledge of them

Build youself not that difficult just be sure to follow manufacturers fitting instructions care fully and you cant go far wrong you will not gain any massive savings by building yourself these days but you will get a lot off personal satifaction seeing your creation whir into life

Also with self builds you are your technical support but im sure if you hit problems the dedicated army of users on this forum will help you out

  exdragon 09:00 05 Dec 2005

If you're going to be using Photoshop, I'd certainly advise more than 512mb RAM. My old motherboard couldn't take any more than that,so I've had a new machine put together with 2gb which can be increased to 4gb. It goes like a rocket when using Photoshop, whereas before it was a bit like wading through treacle.

  goonerbill © ® 12:57 05 Dec 2005

on the question off memory, 1gb would be better than 512mb and if you can afford it 2gb would be great.

usb/firewire/network adaptor most motherboards will have these built in already, usually 4 usb2 ports with 1 or 2 firewire ports and for networking a 10/100/gig port.

as for sata, yes with bad drivers and incorrect sata drivers, you will have problems any one would but if you follow the instructions in the mobo manual, happy days. (have western digital 250gb sata as master boot and my old ide/pata 40 and 80gb as storage drives at the moment which will be replaced in the future with sata drives). would recommend that you install 2 hard drives say 80gb for installing windows and programs on and a large drive (200gb+)for storing your photos on as they soon fill a drive up depending on the size of the photos.

as for which graphics card to go for, check out the site below, it has tested all of the new cards available and can compare the results, although it is hard to do direct comparison of the 2 cards that you are interested until the quake 4 tests.

click here

  woodchip 13:02 05 Dec 2005

You can configure your own from click here

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