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ANOTHER newbie after opinions on HCPC build

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Quantum, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Quantum

    Quantum
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    I want to build a pc for DVD playback, Scaling Svideo input with descaler and powerstrip to a Panasonic AE100e, webbrowsing and playing some games( which I am willing to play at lower res if needed) on a second CRT monitor. I have never built a pc before, but want to try and would really like some of the wisdom around this place! I apologise for the dire layout of this message in advance!

    I already have an xcard purchased in the last month from the classified section of this forum. I am going to start off with the DVD-rom drive I already have (region free).

    For processor I am considering AMD Athlon XP 2800+ 512Kb SoA. Dabs have Box for £124.00 or £92.00 (for no box?!?). Is this a good processor to choose and what is the deal with the box?

    For Mobo I am considering A7N8X Deluxe SKT A NForce2 Chipset Motherboard VER: 2.0 £84.36 inc from www.ebuyer.com as it has 5.1 built in as well as LAN. According to Zalman it is hopefully compatible with their Super Flower Cooler (see below).

    For graphics Sapphire Radeon 9600 (non pro). Is there a good reason not to go for the 256mb model as its only £8 more. If I go for 128 how much will it affect games?

    Seagate ST3120023A 120gb 7200rpm - OEM ebuyer £75.19 as I read in a link form this forum that it has one of the lowest noise levels. Is there a good reason not to go for oem ?

    For memory Crucial do
    256MB £24.99 £29.36 CT3264Z40B DDR PC3200 o CL=3 o Non-parity o 5ns o 2.6V o 32Meg x 64
    512MB £48.99 £57.56 CT6464Z40B DDR PC3200 o CL=3 o Unbuffered o Non-parity o 5ns o 2.6V o 64Meg x 64
    Should I get 256x2, 512x2 or 512x1 now and 1 later when the price has dropped?

    Then I am considering the following from www.quietpc.com
    AcoustiCase C6606A Beige Super Midi Tower, no PSU - £89.00+vat
    Gyration Ultra Cordless Optical Keyboard and Mouse - £90.00 +vat
    Super Flower Cooler AMD and P4 CNPS7000A-ALCU - £29.00 +vat
    Zalman ATX Ultra-Quiet PSU 300W ZM300A-APF - £48.00 +vat
    Round floppy cable, 45cm, silver braided - £4.50+vat
    Round IDE cable, 45cm, silver braided - £7.00+vat
    2 Round IDE cable, 60cm, yellow, with power - £9.00+vat
    AcoustiFan Ultra-Quiet, Temperature Sensitive, Clear Computer Case Fans 120mm £17.00 +vat

    This means I would spend roughly £742 of which roughly £347 would be at quietpc.com and £395 for the real guts of the machine!
    With the other quiet fans, power supply and coolers is the acousticase overkill. Initially I will be linking it to my ae100 but plan to get an ae500 or z2 in the next twelve months so either way they each have some noise. Without the case would it be too loud? If I could do without this case which cheapo case would be suitable do you think?
    The gyration cordless looks wicked..I like the reduced keyboard. Is there anything similar with an ordinary cordless mouse either in reduced or full size keyboard that someone could recommend that would work well but be cheaper?

    I want to have 3 partitions ..2 for XP(one clean for HCPC and the other for everything else) and 1 for Win98(for compatibility with old games). I have been advised to install 98 first. Will it be ok with formatting this size of hard drive? Once I have 98 installed then I just boot off the XP CD do I? Will XP then partition the hard drive retaining win98 in one partition and allowing XP to be installed on the other two? And then it allows configuration of a boot time menu?

    Wow...lots of questions or what! Respect to the HCPC forum and much grovelling for some comment!
    Thanks Loads
    Paul
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    A good selection of hardware, much that matches my HCPC. :)

    For some gaming then the 2800+ is a good choice, DVD-only would use a lot less. Motherboard is my choice too, as is the video card. For games the non-Pro may be a little underpowered, depending on the games you play, but lack of fan is a good point.

    I use the original Zalman flower and its' fine. I have the AccoustiCase and 400W PSU, the 400W is preferable IMO 300W is a bit weak .. also the 400W has two fans which help extract air from the mobo part of the case.

    Get 2 x 256 memory, you need two strips to maximise performance with DDR .. and 512Mb is perfectly adequate for anything as far as I can see you're planning to use this PC for.

    IMHO you're better off with a 5400 Seagate Barracuda drive .. quieter by a lot than 7200 drives and performance is perfectly fine for HCPCs and games.

    Win98 is fine with 120Gb .. only format drive C: as FAT32, install Win98, then install XP, it'll detect 98 and set up a boot menu for you.


    Those are some thoughts .. your plans are very similar to my PC: I have a 2000+ with 2x256 on the ASUS mobo, 1 Seagate 120Gb 5400, a Sapphire 9600 non-pro, LiteOn DVD drive and Pioneear A05 DVD burner, TheaterTek, Powerstrip and MusicMatch.

    HTH.
     
  3. Quantum

    Quantum
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    Thanks KraGorn you've answered a lot of my questions, and thanks to you I now know what I am doing for Mobo, processor, memory and graphics card.
    Can you or anyone else tell me
    1. what is the difference between a processor supplied "box" or not?
    2. For power supply do you mean the QTechnology Ultra-Quiet ATX PSU 400W for dual fan? If I use this will it mean I still need the 120mm Computer Case Fan?
    3. wrt the gyration cordless keyboard and mouse, is there anything similar someone could recommend that would work well but be cheaper? Does it interfer with WiFi networks or RF remote extenders(Powermid)?
    4. I can't find any Seagate 120Gb 5400rpms at Dabs or Ebuyer...in fact even the one I listed at 7200 has disappeared!
    5 Is there a guarentee with oem hardware products?
    6 I have no XP experience. Is there a "trick" to getting XP to install twice on 2 partions?
     
  4. SimonInd

    SimonInd
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    I was looking at the Gyration combo but I'm going to try just using an IR remote for the time being ( as one came with my Nebula card ). Everything I read about it was complimentary and you can get it for £89.95 shipped from Maplin. If you don't need the keyboard then you could consider a remote designed for PC control, e.g. ATI's Remote Wonder ( http://www.remotecentral.com/ureview/59.htm ), it really depends what you're after.

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  5. Quantum

    Quantum
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    Thanks for the advice you two :smashin: . I have purchased:

    From Quietpc:

    Round IDE cable, 60cm, yellow, with power
    AcoustiCase C6606B Black Super Midi Tower
    Round IDE cable, 45cm, silver
    Round floppy cable, 45cm, silver
    Super Flower Cooler AMD and P4 CNPS7000A-ALCU
    AcoustiFan: 120mm Case Fan, Temperature Sensi
    QTechnology Ultra-Quiet ATX PSU 400W

    From Maplin:

    Gyration Ultra Suite

    From Crucial:

    2x256MB DDR PC3200

    From Dabs:

    AMD Athlon XP 2800+ 512Kb SoA
    SEAGATE Barracuda7200.7+ 120GB UDMA100

    From Ebuyer:

    A7N8X Deluxe SKT A NForce2 Chipset Motherboard VER: 2.0
    Sapphire Radeon 9600 AGP X8 256MB DDR DVI TV-Out Retail Box
    Microsoft XP Home With Service Pack 1A OEM

    When it all arrives hopefully I can figure out how to put it all together :) !
    Paul
     
  6. Paul Alamo

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    I'd watch out for the keyboard and mouse aswell, if you want to use it in a TV room away from the PC you should check the range as it is often only between 1 and 2m. I use a Bluetooth combo Kyb and Mouse which is great and works right across the room.

    I think you can get a bluetooth combo from Microsoft or Logitech.
     
  7. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Sorry Quantum I never saw you post this. :( Anyway, you seem to have made a good choice of hardware. :smashin:

    To answer some questions which are still relevant:

    5. Anything sold in the UK has a 1 year warranty by law I believe.
    6. Installing .. do as follows:

    a. Install Windows 98, I'm assuming you have the version that lets you partition it yourself rather than letting it do it for you. If not, use the XP setup CD and run it as far as setting up a C: drive, then RESET and re-start Win98 installation. Install Win98 to a FAT32 partition.

    b. Once that's done re-boot with the XP CD and install that to a new partition. Easiest thing is to put it into an Extended partition, say D:, this means it'll be able to 'see' the Win98 partition which will be useful for backups etc. If you want the Win98 system to 'see' the XP one then use FAT32 for XP as well, Win98 doesn't understand NTFS.


    I've been brief not knowing how much detail you need, be happy to go into more gory detail should you need it. :D
     
  8. Quantum

    Quantum
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    Do you need to let bios format the hard drive first?

    I think I follow you so far.....

    I put XP in and get it to format the harddrive for FAT32 and put in the partitions. Then reset
    Install Win98 next.
    Then install XP using FAT32 again
    How do I next get XP to install a second time (in addition to the Win98 and the first XP install) so I can have one XP version to use for general use and a clean version of XP for HCPC? Is this ok with a single legal copy of XP home?
    Paul
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Ah, oops, sorry :blush: ... hadn't spotted you're after 2 XP installations, that complicates things.

    First, I've never actually done it so I'm guessing here, but you'd have to activate it twice, once per system. Since the hardware config would be the same I THINK the second activation would be automatic, however there's a small chance I guess that it'll think you're trying to activate a second system on a different machine.

    It's perfectly legal to install the same O/S umpteen times on a single PC, after all you can only use one copy at a time, whether the Windows Activation detects this I don't know .. likeI say I haven't tried, I wouldn't expect you'd have a problem but can't say for sure.

    That aspect aside, and again I'm guessing based on experience rather than having done precisely whay you're doing, if you install Win 98 on C: you should then be able to install XP first on D: and then on E:.

    When you install on D: XP will create a boot loader and boot menu on C: allowing you to select Win98 or XP, then when you install on E: it should simply add another entry for E: This certainly worked for multiple installs of NT and a single XP, I have done just that in the past.

    There are third-party partition and boot managers, most notable Partition Magic, which can simplify things but there is a learning curve for that and I don't think it's probably worth you while going down that road unless you really want to .. it's complicated if you don't have a system at all to install it on to, at the very least you'd need Win98 already there.
     
  10. Quantum

    Quantum
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    If it thinks that I am trying to install XP on 2 identical machines rather than twice on the same machine is there any danger that it could stop me from using XP all together e.g. stop my CD key (or whatever the equivelent is ) from working again at all?

    Is it worthwhile having the 2 installs? How much does XP get affected by umpteen programs installed?

    Paul
     
  11. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    For me, at least, dual operating systems seems like a waste of time (literally) and resources, although others may disagree. My advice is start with one, and if you really find it being a problem, then consider dual installs. XP is quite versatile and stable at present (and I'm sure this will reman so, at least until MS release their next o/s, and XP gets neglected - which seems to be the pattern: new and unstable, then stable for while, then neglected and unstable, and finally, unsupported and incompatible with anything). I'm not bitter though, really ;)
     
  12. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    No, it won't stop you using it ever again.

    What happens is that each time you install you must activate it. That process involves XP generating a 'magic number' based on your hardware configuration and then contacting the Activation Server with this number. In return the server generates another number and that activates the installation of XP.

    The server records this.

    Now, if you change enought bits of hardware, especially your network card and video card, then the 'magic number' changes enough for XP to say it wants to re-activate .. it thinks you're installing on to another machines. In my experience this re-activation has worked automatically on one PC and not on another, I had to phone them to do it. No questions were asked as to why I needed to do this.

    I would fully expect a second installation to generate the same 'magic number' and thus activate the second copy with a problem .. I only mentioned it as a warning. Sadly, M$ are now so greedy they implement this sort of user-hostile mechanism.

    If however it doesn't auto-activate then you could always choose to abandon the second copy without it affecting your activation options later on, a failed activation may be recorded on the server but it doesn't stop later activations, I have found this personally to be the case.


    As to whether it's worth it, personally I would have said not. With Win98 a big YES, YES, YES :D, but XP is pretty stable and background tasks don't affect it too much. However, having said it's not worth it I probably would ;) .. because I like to keep machines clean and tidy and stuff like A/V, e-mail checkers etc. don't belong on an HTPC and so if I didn't have a separate HTPC I'd probably multi-boot this one.
     
  13. Quantum

    Quantum
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    Thanks for all your hekp KraGorn. Its reasuring to know Billy boy Gates won't take away his ball that I overpayed for. I think I will take MikeTV's advice (thanks) and "suck it and see" . If the first install dosn't behave I will do a second.
    Paul
     

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