Help with building a computer for college
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Figo

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hello,

I will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall and I need to build myself a computer


Here is what I am planning:

1) Antec Life Style SONATA Piano Black 0.8mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Retail Link
2) EPoX EP-9NPA+Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail Link
3) CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX1024-3200C2PT - Retail Link
4) AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice Integrated into Chip FSB Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3000BPBOX - Retail Link
5) [2] SAMSUNG SpinPoint P Series SP1614N 160GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive - OEM Link
(They will be run in a RAID 0 array)
6) Leadtek PX6600GT TDH Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 PCI-Express x16 Video Card - Retail Link
7) SAMSUNG Black IDE DVD Burner Model TS-H552U/RSBN - Retail Link
8) SAMSUNG Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model TS-H352A/BEBP - OEM Link
9) ALPS Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP - OEM Link
10) Fuji PLUS FP-768 2-Tone 17" 12ms LCD Monitor - Retail Link


Total comes to $1,109.43 including shipping after rebates. My dad gave me a budget of 1100, I think its close enough


I want this computer to be reasonably quiet, (doesn't have to be silent) be able to play games, (not hardcore - school first!) and to serve as a stable platform for schoolwork. Of course, I also plan to load as many cds as possible onto it and feed the digital out into my DAC


Any comments? Ideas? Compatibility issues? Better deals out there?

Thanks
 
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SDA

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Looks good, but I have a few minor questions..

Why the motherboard you picked? Not that there's anything wrong with it, just curious.

Are you planning to overclock?

Why RAID 0?
 
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Figo

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the mobo had decent reviews, was cheap, and had PCI-E. Any other suggestions?

I do not plan to overclock unless I get bored way in the future.

RAID 0 because I love a fast HD
and because no samsung drives come in > 200GB.
 
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Born2bwire

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If you're pinching your pennies, one thing to do is not buy your hard drives full price. They are almost constantly on sale with rebates and what not from one retail chain or the other. The downside being is that you'll probably will not get the Samsung series though. Usually I've seen Western Digital with the rebates while Samsung once in a while. Also, ditch the retail box fan and get a 3rd party one. I'm on a Zalman fix of late but there are other brands out there. Keep an eye on slickdeals.net for the best prices on drives and RAM, those are usually fairly common deals.
 
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Snake

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Hate to ask, but do you need the abilities of a laptop? Portability may be a great bonus for you.
 
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Figo

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I took a long hard thought on PC vs Laptop

on the one hand, I really can't afford a decent laptop. I'd also be afraid of losing it/theft, and laptops generally run much slower than a PC regardless.

on the other hand, portability is very nice indeed... I may be picking up a second hand crapo laptop and then just wipe the HD and use for word processing.

Any other students want to chime in on Laptop vs PC for college?
 
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BPRJam

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In building my own computer (which I only did once - I find pre-fab to be more convenient), I found the cost of software to be an unexpected surprise. Not that software was more expensive than I thought, but that it was something I didn't factor into my budget.

In any case, remember that you need at least an OS, antivirus, and word processor. All of these can be found open source for free, of course, but not if you want to be automatically compatible with most other computers.

Oh, and in my experience, a laptop that can tap into a wireless network is something wonderful. I can't think of a better opportunity to utilize such technology than college.

BPRJam
 
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ls20

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Figo
I took a long hard thought on PC vs Laptop

on the one hand, I really can't afford a decent laptop. I'd also be afraid of losing it/theft, and laptops generally run much slower than a PC regardless.

on the other hand, portability is very nice indeed... I may be picking up a second hand crapo laptop and then just wipe the HD and use for word processing.

Any other students want to chime in on Laptop vs PC for college?



do what i did... get both!


i have a 12" widescreen and i think its a bit small for practicality.. a good compromise is a thin 13 or 14" laptop (its ridiculous seeing people lug around 15 and 17" lappies).

as for laptop speed, i think that unless you play games, its absolutely a non issue. my PC is a XP1700+, 512mb ram, Radeon 8500 video card, and i've never ever felt the need for more processing power. 99% of my tasks is surfing web/photoshop/messaging/P2P/ms office with mp3 in the background.

i honestly feel that, for the past 2 years, manufacturers have been pushing overkill systems... like dell recommending 2.4Ghz for minimum "word processing" tasks. thats absolutely ridiculous.. but, hey, its your money


uh... what was my point again? oh yeah, get a thin 13/14 inch laptop with GOOD battery life and an external harddrive for storage (leave it stationary) and you'll be set.
 
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Dimitris

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It all comes down to what you want. I really found that my laptop portability was very useful during my studies. I dont think i will easily go back to desktops unless i nees some really amazing CPU power. But then again what do i know about your needs?
 
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wallijonn

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Whatever HD you get you want them to have FDB or Fluid Dynamics Bearings. So for me it's Seagate drives. You may want to stay away from WD as they are presently having reliability problems, even in the 10,000 RPM Raptors. Then there's the matter of a warranty, the Seagates are 5 year warranty drives, I believe. ATA-133 probably won't mean much to you but SATA-II and ICQ probably do.

With 4 SATA slots I'd also be thinking of the Gigabyte RAMdisk card. $90 and as fast as SATA-II.

You may want to reconsider that mobo. Have you checked www.amdmb.com and www.abxzone.com ? I think most guys are going with DFI or MSI boards. Check for types of memory which are certified to be used on the mobo and whether they should be Single Sided or Double Sided.

That case looks a lot like the LanParty Case which goes on sale at CompUSA for $49.99 every few weeks (like 2 weeks ago).

That power supply may not cut it. Look at PSUs in the 500w range, instead. Make sure it says that it is AMD certified; check the AMD website for full listings.

I suggest 2G of RAM. Some mobos cannot take 4 RAM sticks at full speed; they ramp down to PC333 instead if they are Double Sided. Check the mobo website for full mem specs.

I suggest the AMD64 3500+ in 90nm instead of the 3000+. Trust me on this. Cut back elsewhere to get the better proc.

Your DVD burner review: http://www.cdrlabs.com/reviews/index...ge=Performance
 
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Born2bwire

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I've got the AMD 3000+ 90nm, 1 Gig RAM, GeForce 6800 128 Mb and the combo is fine for the current generation of FPS (Doom 3, HL2, Far Cry, etc.). The next gen is probably going to choke the sytem and I'll have to be play on less than high(est) quality settings but for a budget it does really well.

Personally, I never needed the portability of a laptop. Most colleges, especially engineering departments, have plenty of computer labs and you'll also find that you'll have to use them anyway to run their software. In addition, as an engineer, I sometimes have to run intensive programs like electromagnetic solvers. I was given a laptop at work for this summer, but man, the productivity that I'm losing having to wait for my simulations to finish does not make up for the portability.

Also, you may be elgible for a lot of free or discounted software as a student. As an ECE major at UIUC, I got McAfee Virus Scanner and Windows XP Professional for free, and I bought another copy of XP for $5, in addition to a lot of other very expensive programs. You may want to take the time to see if there are any comparable programs offered by your own university.
 
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Snake

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Born2bwire
I've got the AMD 3000+ 90nm, 1 Gig RAM, GeForce 6800 128 Mb and the combo is fine for the current generation of FPS (Doom 3, HL2, Far Cry, etc.). The next gen is probably going to choke the sytem and I'll have to be play on less than high(est) quality settings but for a budget it does really well.

Personally, I never needed the portability of a laptop. Most colleges, especially engineering departments, have plenty of computer labs and you'll also find that you'll have to use them anyway to run their software. In addition, as an engineer, I sometimes have to run intensive programs like electromagnetic solvers. I was given a laptop at work for this summer, but man, the productivity that I'm losing having to wait for my simulations to finish does not make up for the portability.



You have to push the limits of the word "laptop".
My 3.4 P4HT, 1 gig RAM, GeForce Go5700 128MB and 17" widescreen might only get 2 hours on battery but everything else seems slow by comparison
Centrinos sure get nice battery life but I feel like I'm dying of old age just waiting for them to boot up.
 
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Talonz

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Why RAID-0?

The performance benefits aren't that great, since you gain a lot of access time. Also, if it's for college, believe me, you don't even want to chance the fluke hard drive crash.
 
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