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  • Holyhandgren - Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - link

    where can i find the K11 case? i've looked around and havent been able to find it anywhere.. Reply
  • Holyhandgren - Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - link

  • computerfan - Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - link

    I am also looking forward to the SFF review. I am going to be building a system around the Antec Aria. I already have a good idea for most of the components except for the big question mark beside the motherboard. I want an AMD mobo that is fast, without IGP. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Reply
  • wardhand - Monday, June 21, 2004 - link

    Looking forward to your SSF round-up. I'm getting ready to build a budget SFF for my wife. I'm looking at the Antec Aria case and a Athlon XP CPU (probably a 2800). I have not decided on the motherboard, so I look forward to your review. Reply
  • Locutus4657 - Sunday, June 20, 2004 - link

    #15 Last maxtor I had was absolutly silent... As is the IBM/Hitachi deskstar I'm currently using as my misc drive. My new WD 120 however I can actually hear which makes it significatly louder than my Maxtor 40GB or my IBM 80GB. Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Sunday, June 20, 2004 - link

    Not a whole lot. Modern graphics cards do most of the visual work, anyway.
  • michaelpatrick33 - Saturday, June 19, 2004 - link

    i have a xp 2400 and i just ordered the x800xt platinum for $435.00 shipped online. How cpu clogged will i be until i upgrade to a 3500 or 3800 around september. I have a 9600 pro now. Also what power supply would i need minimum for the x800xt. i have a 300 watt now thanks sorry for a little off topic Reply
  • justbrowzing - Saturday, June 19, 2004 - link

    These are terrific guides & the idea to expand alternatives is a good one. But bang-for-buck performance shouldn't be the only criterion for selection.

    Component noise is important for many people, or should be, because you don't realize it until after you've bought & installed it that it's driving you crazy--those WD HDDs being a prime example.

    Also, flat-screen monitors just simply can't be ignored anymore, and a 17 in. lcd should be included as a truly alternative monitor, not just another crt. You're fighting a losing battle here: crts just hog way too much desktop real estate & look like tech dinosaurs, no matter how well they perform (though lcds have no image distortion).
  • Xaazier - Saturday, June 19, 2004 - link

    1200 is high end to me :( Reply
  • SKiller - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    "The Maxtor drive is the obvious choice as it has no whine thanks to its fluid-bearings"

    Hmm not sure which model of Maxtor you're referring to, but the recent models I've seen are pretty loud. Noticeably louder than WD (assuming they're not the defective "whine" ones) and a definitely louder than Seagate's.
  • SKiller - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    "Bottom Line $1592

    Ouch... a little expensive for a mid-range system, isn't it?"

    How so? Most people I know who have what could be considered a high-end system, have at least $2k worth of components (usually more). $1600 is well within what could be considered mid-range.
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    If you keep everything but the CL2 RAM recomendation, you could further reduce the price to under $1000. On the "upgraded" version, going with the OCZ 3500 and a more moderate Antec SLK3700-BQE case would drop the price under $1500, and the monitor and speaker upgrades could probably also go to get you a very good gaming system for $1265. In case anyone out there wanted a suggestion from me on that point. :) Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    And since you keep neglecting to put this in the guide, I'll keep posting it here. The Alternative system summary:

    P4 3.0C $224
    Asus P4P800-E Deluxe $112
    2x512 Mushkin Level One RAM $306
    128MB Radeon 9800 Pro $204
    NEC 19" Diamondtron $326
    Kingwin K11 plus 360W PSU $116
    Onboard sound $0
    Logitech Z-5300 $147
    Onboard Gigabit Ethernet $0
    Western Digital 1200JB (120GB) $87
    NuTech DVD+RW $70
    Bottom Line $1592

    Ouch... a little expensive for a mid-range system, isn't it? And since the CPU/motherboard could really still go either way, it's worth mentioning that the alternative system with the Athlon 64 2800+ would cost $15 less: $1577.
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    You made some really great improvements in a lot of areas with this version of the guide - congratulations! I like the mention of the WD whine in the hard drive section, as well as the suggestion of upgrading to 1 GB. Still, the memory choices are really quite odd, as the above posts agree.

    $120 for two 256 MB DIMMs on a single-channel RAM setup? WTF? How will the vaunted 64-bit of Athlon 64 CPUs be of any real use when you've filled two of your three DIMM slots and only have half a gig of RAM? (64-bit isn't all that great right now, and I don't think it will be for at least another year.) Once 512 MB DIMM would have been better, or even two 512 MB Mushkin 2.5-4-4-8 DIMMs for only $156.

    As for the recommended 1 GB of Mushkin on the alternative list, that's great RAM - I have it in one of my systems. I also paid $230 for it back in February and wouldn't dream of spending $306 on it now! You could get 1GB of PC4000 RAM for that prices - granted, not low timings, but if you're thinking of overclocking a P4, you would want better RAM than PC3500. I would suggest OCZ's PC4000 as the alternative for P4 systems at that price:

    For the Athlon 64, getting PC4000 RAM is overkill, as good PC3500 will likely perform just as well if not better. In that case, on the high-end, the Mushkin Level One is a nice pick. But that's really too expensive for any mid-range system, so why not stick with PC3500 but get lower timings while knocking off $76?
  • abravo01 - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Well, I was playing my klipsch promedia 5.1 on a sb live 5.1. Just got an audigy2 upon reading your may high-end guide and the difference is incredible: now I am truly in love with my sound!

    Thanks for the information.
  • glennpratt - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Well I would disagree... I prefer the higher end Logitechs over Creative no matter what the material. And the price makes me forget about Klipsch. Reply
  • GokieKS - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    "Why do they always recommend Creative speakers for "audiophiles"? Any "audiophile" would know that they are pure crap and would either use an HT setup with their PC or some Klipsch Ultra 5.1s."

    Most of them are, but the SoundWorks MegaWorks/GigaWorks speakers are excellent, and are really a better choice for music (as opposed to gaming/movies) than Logitech and Klipsch's high-end offerings.

  • WarmAndSCSI - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Why do they always recommend Creative speakers for "audiophiles"? Any "audiophile" would know that they are pure crap and would either use an HT setup with their PC or some Klipsch Ultra 5.1s. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Overall a very good recommendation and in line with what I'd go along with today for my next system, but with two important differences.

    Memory. A gigabyte is a must for this class of system but theres no way I'd spend over $300 on those 2x512MB PC3500 CAS2 sticks, when you could get some PC3200 CAS2.5 for little over half the price. The amount saved would be more than enough to up the processor from an A64 2800+ to a 3200+, giving you performance out the box equivalent to a decent overclock of the 2800+ with low latency memory. And you'll still have some left over to spend elsewhere.

    Hard Drive. The most GB/$ now lies in the 160GB to 200GB region, and 200GB SATA drives are only $129 from Maxtor and WD which is a reasonable price component to include in this kind of system (especially if you had been considering spending over $300 on memory). The Maxtor drive is the obvious choice as it has no whine thanks to its fluid-bearings, is of similar speed to the WD, and comes with a three year warranty. As to whether you need 200GB, its always nice to have the extra space and sooner or later you'll probably be glad of it. In the meantime the drive will be faster as all the data is towards the outside keeping seek-times short and transfer-rates high. The rest of the money saved on the memory will pretty much cover the additional cost of a 200GB drive over an 80GB one.

    So for the same cost, you could stick an A64 3200+ in and a 200GB drive, just by using 2x512MB PC3200 CAS2.5 modules instead of PC3500 CAS2. It may not have the same overclocking headroom, but this isn't the overclocking system guide anyway. And a larger (or faster if only partially used) hard-drive is always nice.

    Apart from those two very minor quibbles, an excellent article in a series which always makes me consider alternatives for my next box.
  • zyzzix - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Excellent article, Evan. My question is about the strength of the MSI mobo recommendation. While it's no doubt feature packed, the ABIT/VIA Pro offers an interesting alternative for OCers. Curious that some high profile names like Abit and Asus have passed on the 250, to date. Reply
  • gherald - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Hmm, in the article you say:
    "Recommendation: Western Digital 800JB"

    but then in the summary:
    "Hard Drive Western Digital 800BB (80GB) $67"

    I assume you meant to put the JB model in the summary...

    Well I think a SATA drive would be a worthwhile upgrade. I don't understand the use of 2x256mb DIMMs on a single-channel platform... 1x512mb would make much more sense. And the case selection could use some work as per usual but otherwise this system looks perfect.

    Good job Mr. Lieb.
  • Nighteye2 - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Why is there no mention of the possibility of using SATA RAID if you have a little extra money to spend on an extra HD? It would be a great recommendation for the load-time-conscious gamer.

    As to suggestions for future guides: how about guides for a Gamer System and an Office System, without specific budgets, aimed at getting a system that will 3 years after buying it still suffice for it's purpose at a good price\performance ratio?
  • mino - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    ehm, sory for some spelling mistakes, I wrote it in hurry. ;) Reply
  • mino - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Why the Hell have chosen 2*256MB memory instead of 1*512 when U are recommending Single channel CPU ???
    With 2 modules installed it it will be problematic to upgrade memmory in the future and 2 module provide no advantage here.

    Also for Storage I will go for at least 120G SATA drive, since price difference is negligible, but value much bigger. Also WD drives are the ones that nave BANN at me since it is not acceptable to end day with headache from their famous whine anymore.

    Last poit is that I see no reason to go for 3.0C, 2.8C will suffice and provide better OC if requested

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