PC Rebuild - Advice Requested SVP

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mattie, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. Mattie

    Mattie
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    I have the chance to completely rebuild my PC. Currently it isn't involved in my HC setup but I'd like it to be since my aging Pioneer 606 keeps locking up. I want this to be my last major expense before buying a projector (which is a couple of months away).

    Until now I've been using an Abit BP6 motherboard with dual celeron 400s o/cd to 500, 256Mb and Diamond V550 Graphics (=TNT1). The options I particularly want advice on are:

    1. SMP or not? I see Spectre's just gone SMP with dual PIII-800s. My choice is against that same combo or a single Athlon 1.2GHz. Do _any_ dvd software players take advantage of SMP? Does it negatively affect them somehow? My other uses (60% or so) of this PC will greatly benefit from SMP.

    2. Graphics Card. I planned on a Geforce 2 MX but many posts here seem to rate the Radeon. I need output suitable for TV as well as projector since I won't be buying that just yet, and I'd like this PC to be able to cope with a couple of "projected" (pardon pun) projector upgrades - if you see what I mean.

    3. Any problems with an SBLive Platinum? I'm thinking re the remote control (which I would only learn into my Pronto anyway). Or would I be better off looking at a cheaper card and a different remote solution.

    I deliberately haven't specified budgets since I've tried to make each point an either/or choice: Athlon 1.2 or 2xP3-800, Geforce or Radeon, SBLive or other.

    Many thanks,

    Mattie. :confused:
     
  2. Guest

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    I have the radeon AIW and SB Live 5.1 (not platinum). Radeon is OK but:
    ATI renowned for poor integration with other products. I use it for Video capture and making of SVCDs (ie home video on DVD player). And it has been a real pig to set up. ATI Mpeg files dont seem to work with any package so everything has to be in AVI which creates massive files blah de blah. If you are not using it for Home Video then the image quality of the TV is fine however I seem to have to readjust the settings when ever I swap from using it with the TV to an OpenGL game. Not a major fault just an inconvenience. Wiring up is a piece of cake.

    SB Live 5.1: No problems here. very impressed with the product.

    I have a Panasonic DVD RAM player and have had problems with Lip Synch on 5th element and Lock Stock. There are many ways to wire up the DVD sound card and graphics card. have yet to find the best combination. Im sure the lip synch is simply because by default I use the Radeon for the sound source on the card instead of the DVD player.

    I think the general consensus (did a lot of research) is that ATI is great for all round gaming, to TV and capture but not great at any particular one. I suppose an all in one is bound to have comprimises. Still beats the Matrox eTV but you may be better going for the best Game card, the best TV card and best capture (if you are into it) as separate cards.

    However I am still a newbie at this so I may be talking out of ignorance!
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff
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    For htpc you need reliability and compatibility. So here are a few recomendations;

    ASUS CUSL2 mobo, P3 933 flip chip, 512 MB PC133 cas2 memory. SB Live 5.1 player (only go for platinum if you really want the IR drive), Geforce 2 based video card, if you need TV out go for the ASUS or Hercules models. Hitachi DVD player (quiet), new Fujitsu ATA100 IDE HD (very quiet).

    Things to avoid, AMD based solutions (compatibility), ATI products (drivers) and probably at this stage Windows 2000 due to spdif out problems (so dual processor solutions not a good idea)

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. ReTrO

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    I am too upgarding my PC at the mo.

    I needed too cos I bought a new TNT2 PCI graphics card and my MB circa 1995 doesn't support PCI 2.0 which it needs.

    I have just ordered, from dabs.com, a new Socket A MB, AMD Duron 800, 64mb SDRAM PC100, and fan and big case. Total cost £240.


    Ok it's not totally relavant, i just wanted to see what no. I am!

    Rick

    [ 04-04-2001: Message edited by: ReTrO ]
     
  5. Mattie

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    Just bumping this thread coz I'm buying tomorrow and would really appreciate any further advice.

    Thanks to those who have already replied,

    Mattie.
     
  6. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Jeff im not really sure what you mean by compatability issues with AMD processors, I have builts loads of machines over the years and have installed just as many AMD as I have INTEL processors, and have to say that each and every time AMD gives much more performance on similar clock timed chips for lot less money.

    Get over to www.overclockers.co.uk and have a look at some of there bundles.

    If you want pure speed for a cheap cheap price go for an AMD 1GHz CPU, an ABIT KT7 motherboard ( probably THE best you can get at the moment ) and at least 256MB of 133MHz RAM.

    In gaming terms a set up like this can give you around 61.5fps in QUAKE III ( 1280 x 768 x 32 bit ). A similar set-up with a 1.2GHz chip gives only 62.0fps so its best going for the cheaper cpu and maybe overclocking as performance gets cheaper.

    Graphics card wise you should be fine going for any of the newer cards that are availbale that offer TV out but one of the cheaper cards ( PROPHET MX2 ) give very good performance for a very good price.

    Soundblaster do make the most supported and probably most widely regarded sound cards but do have a look that you get the bundle which is best for you.

    Dont forget a good speced hard drive, you can now get 15GB ATA 100 drives for under £100.

    If you are hoing for a more powerful CPU make sure that you get a 300W power unit fitted inside your case and also add some extra cooling
     
  7. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    I agree with Duncan.

    I'm running a 1GHz Athlon.

    To date I've had one issue which was USB related. Doubt it had anything to do with the choice of processor.

    Never had a single compatability problem (also using the Platinium Live card) with games or DVDs.
     
  8. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    I bought an IBM 30.7Gb drive, in the 75GXP range, for £99 + vat!

    Rick
     
  9. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    MATTIE ? what did you end up getting ?
     
  10. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Duncan,

    Have you fixed your Athlon /ATA100 fault yet?
     
  11. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    well I think so

    I had a big accident about two days after fitting the new drive which resulted in friend mobo and processor. thankfully the insurance company paid up for the damaged parts and I put a bit extra on top and now have a 1GHz based system.

    I have just this minute actually put the drive back on as ata 100 and it seems to be working great, winme now laods in around 15 seconds from power on
     
  12. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Just a snippet i overheard at Microdirect:
    There is a incompatibility issue between the Abit "RAID" motherboards and Geforce cards, and Creative cards!. Just shows you that if these components can't work together, what chance do we have with less well known "bits"?
    Also i had no trouble with compatibility using the Athlon/Durons chips, but you must make sure your power supply is 250 watts "output" minimum. In fact winDVD uses the 3Dnow instrutions.....Paul ;)
     
  13. Mattie

    Mattie
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    Hi everyone, thanks for all your contributions. I've only just had time to build the components I bought last Saturday (at Bowlers, in Manchester, if you know it, where you can buy R1s direct from Ringos et al).
    I bought:

    :) Abit VP6 Dual FCPGA Mboard
    :) 2x PIII 866 (133FSB, cC0 Step)
    :) 256Mb PC133
    :cool: SBLive 5.1 Platinum (for the Remote)
    :confused: Chaintech Generic GForce2MX
    :cool: IBM 30G 72.k ATA100
    :cool: Bright Yellow Round Ide cables!
    :) Full tower case

    All other necessaries already owned.

    I will post more later, but suffice it to say I got very good prices on all the above (used to buy £3K worth of components a month at Bowlers when I was a self-employed system builder), am aware of the problems with SBLive (but just love the livedrive / remote), decided against using this PC for Home Cinema for now (just can't afford a good enough projector, and TV output from PCs has always been pants to me), and SMP was really an essential for my other uses.

    Thanks again, will let you know how it goes.
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Dual processor setup, you must be a sucker for punishment. Good Luck! :D
     

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