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Need advice on building a pc

Posted on 1998-09-08
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I am willing to give a lot of points to the expert who can answer this and will take the time to give me a great deal of details on building a pc. I will be expecting at least the following details in your answer...
1) What is the best mother board to buy and why? Explain different types and give your opinion on brands.
2) What CPU is the best to go with and why? Again, explain the reasons for your choice.
3) ISA vs SCSI hard drive systems? Details on a good scsi board.
4) Operating system... Win 98 or Win NT ???  Opinions...
5) Bios?
6) Chip Sets?
7) Type of memory?
8) ETC. ETC. ETC>
Let me point out that I have repaired and modified a lot of systems in the past, So I do understand the basics. What I do not understand is the "fine" details of the hardware itself. For example: What are the different types of scsi (wide, ultra, etc.) and why one may be better than the other?
PLEASE ONLY "LOCK" THIS QUESTION IF YOU ARE SURE YOU ARE ABLE TO PROPERLY ANSWER MY QUESTIONS. I WILL FAIL ANY ANSWER THAT IS NOT A PRECISE AND DETAILED ANSWER. I WILL AWARD THE POINTS TO THE EXPERT WHO HAS THE BEST ANSWERS AND GIVES THE MOST DETAIL. SO GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COTACT ME DIRECTLY BEFORE YOU POST AN ANSWER, YOU MAY DO SO AT SCOOTER@GNT.NET
Thanks,
Scott


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Question by:drummers
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by:juggernaut
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first of all what do you want to use your system for, what is your price range, are your looking for speed??
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by:iceman_ai
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All I have to say is go for Win NT, it's lot more stable that Win98 and at least in my
opinion it's better in many ways. And it's common knowledge (well, rumors at least) that Microsoft will consentrate on Win NT - series and Win 9x series will not be continued...
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by:frache
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1)  Motherboard : ASUS. Good quality, Interresting web, good support. A model with BX chipset for PentiumII or with ALI chipset for socket 7.
ex : P2B-440BX   (PII) or P5A-ATX ( socket 7).

Abit : quality Ok.
Gigabyte : good quality, poor support.
2)
Socket 7 : Amd K6 - 300/333
Pentium II : All Pentium II with 100 Mhz ext clock.
New Celeron with cache : very interresting because L2 cache is as the same CPU speed ( ex 300 Mhz). Good price.
3) EIDE /SCSI
Interface IDE is free (on every motherboard) and now very fast.
SCSI is interresting to add external peripherals.
EIDE disk are cheaper.
SCSI could be more performant if you buy good quality product.
( high speed disk at 10000 rpm)
Card : buy an Adaptec. ex : 2940UW
IT's work with everything : hardware / software.
Best performance.

4) NT/WIN 98
Use multi-boot (partition magic) and try !
NT doesn't support some graphic card...
If you want to play with your PC, use Win 98..

5) bios :  Motherboard. No choice.
6) Pentium 2 : Intel BX / Socket 7 ( AMDK6) : VIA or ALI.Avoid SIS 5591 ( don't support 100Mhz).
7) SDRAM certified 100Mhz (8 ns)
8) etc  ..
Sound card : Sound blaster PCI
2D/3D card : Matrox G200  / ATI Xpert 98 AGP 8Mo
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by:wayneb
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Well first off I believe that the best motherboard is an asus or tyan, I have used these in my file servers for years and not one has ever missed a beat, ever. 0% failure rate, and I have used many boards from both companys.
I would go with a bx chip set with support for upto 450 mhz and a 100mhz bus, Intels best chip and newest chipset.
You can see a product list available at
http://www.asus.com.tw
http://www.tyan.com

Second the scsi card of choice is an adaptec 2940uw, not a cheap card but the best also used in many many servers with 0% failure rate. This card can support upto 15 devices on the one card, and is very fast and reliable, and always the best written drivers are available via the web.
Product info is here
http://www.adaptec.com/products/overview/aha2940uw.html

You are also going to need high quality pc-100 sdram, at least 64 megs and maybe even 128 megs.

The hard drive I have choosen is the seagate cheetah 10000 rpm ultra wide fast scsi, product info at
http://www.seagate.com/disc/cheetah/cheetah.shtml
these drives are the fastest and most reliable harddrives in the world and have 5 yr warrantys.

As for Cpu I would go with an intel pentium-II, the reason is that they are still the most powerful chips in most operations like floating point and such with 512k level 1 cache on board, you have to have at least a 300 to obtain the 100 mhz bus, Others are catching up but intel is still the king of the road. And the pentium-II is the best intel has to offer.
Product info is available here
http://www.intel.com/home/PentiumII/

With a system of the class it would be crazy to run an os like windows 95/98 Nt is my choice for stability and reliability and security.

For a video card I would go with a diamomd fire gl 1000 series video card, I choose this card because I was very impressed with the performance of this card as I have used one of these cards in the past with excelent results, I would opt for the agp card as this is a dedicated bus just for video.

I will tell you this if I was building a system tomorrow, this is the system I would want to have.

If you require any more info let me know.

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by:second
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If you understand bulgarian I can send you complete guide to building a PC.....but you sure don't.....

So for the CPUs: Celeron with 128K full speed cache(300A, 333) and K6-2 with 3DNow! technology(266,300,333,350) are as fast as PentiumII at equal speed but for less money (K6-2 is for more less than Celeron). So buying PII 233-350 is a bad idea. PII400 is faster than Celeron 333 and K6-2 350, but for the price it don't give engouf performance gain. So the only PII that is for buy is the PII-450MHz. K6-2 or Celeron are equal, but if you buy a K6-2 you should buy a Super7 board and in this design is the future: K6-3 will be with integrated 256K full speed cache (double the Celeron's) and up to 2048K 133MHz L3 cache at would perform much better than a PII or Celeron (both for Slot1) at equal speed.

the modem should be v90, the SB  - Live!, the video - G200, the RAM - min64MB, the HDD - Quantum or IBM - 12 resp. 14/16 GB. The mouse - with scroller.....
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by:drummers
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I am not rejecting "frache's" answer because it is bad... I wish to re-open the question for more input.
When all is done, I will award the points to the best answer. If the best answer is "frache's" - I will advise him to re-answer so that I may award the points.
I AM NOT LOOKING TO BUILD THE ULTIMATE SYSTEM... BUT AT LEAST A VERY GOOD ONE. I WISH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HARDWARE AND HOW THEY PERFORM WITH ONE ANOTHER. I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL THAT THERE IS MORE THAT CAN BE SAID ON THIS TOPIC.
At the point that no-one else has any further comments or answers to submit, I will close the question and award the points.
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by:mikecr
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Both Wayneb and Frache gave good details but the ultimate question is, how fast do want your system to be and how much can you afford? Wayneb was on the high side price wise but definitely a screamer with a good track record. Frache's gave the best of both worlds, but still? You need to decide what your going to use the computer for. If your going to do word processing then an PII 450 would be too expensive for that. If your going to do gaming, the Socket 7 AMD K6 2 with 3DNOW technology would be the best. If your going to play games, then you can't use NT. All Dos based games directly access hardware due to the sound card and you may as well give it a rest because NT is going to die on you. You'll get the Blue Screen of Death in a heartbeat.
My opinion would be to go with Wayneb due to the fact that your going to have the speed and reliability, but you'll be lacking a little if you decide to run games under Windows 95/98. This is one of those cost analisys things that could go on for days looking at all the pro's and con's but the decision is actually yours. Do you want speed or is price an issue?

Good luck!
Mike
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wayneb earned 500 total points
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Here are some sites that have step by step instructions on building a system with everything you asked for and more, as far as the components the list below is the system of choice.

http://www.verinet.com/pc/
http://sysdoc.pair.com/    
http://www.motherboards.org/
http://www.daileyint.com/build/
http://www.cam.org/~agena/computer.html
http://www.soton.ac.uk/~pelham/build.htm


Well first off I believe that the best motherboard is an asus or tyan, I have used these in my file servers for years and not one has ever missed a beat, ever. 0% failure rate, and I have used many boards from both companys.
I would go with a bx chip set with support for upto 450 mhz and a 100mhz bus, Intels best chip and newest chipset.
You can see a product list available at
http://www.asus.com.tw
http://www.tyan.com

Second the scsi card of choice is an adaptec 2940uw, not a cheap card but the best also used in many many servers with 0% failure rate. This card can support upto 15 devices on the one card, and is very fast and reliable, and always the best written drivers are available via the web.
Product info is here
http://www.adaptec.com/products/overview/aha2940uw.html

You are also going to need high quality pc-100 sdram, at least 64 megs and maybe even 128 megs.

The hard drive I have choosen is the seagate cheetah 10000 rpm ultra wide fast scsi, product info at
http://www.seagate.com/disc/cheetah/cheetah.shtml
these drives are the fastest and most reliable harddrives in the world and have 5 yr warrantys.

As for Cpu I would go with an intel pentium-II, the reason is that they are still the most powerful chips in most operations like floating point and such with 512k level 1 cache on board, you have to have at least a 300 to obtain the 100 mhz bus, Others are catching up but intel is still the king of the road. And the pentium-II is the best intel has to offer.
Product info is available here
http://www.intel.com/home/PentiumII/

With a system of the class it would be crazy to run an os like windows 95/98 Nt is my choice for stability and reliability and security.

For a video card I would go with a diamomd fire gl 1000 series video card, I choose this card because I was very impressed with the performance of this card as I have used one of these cards in the past with excelent results, I would opt for the agp card as this is a dedicated bus just for video.

I will tell you this if I was building a system tomorrow, this is the system I would want to have.

If you require any more info let me know.


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by:drummers
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I will be using this unit in both the gaming and business world. Price is not necessarily an issue but as I stated earlier - I do not desire to build the ultimate machine - just a very good one.
So price is not an issue but I do not desire to have the newest and hottest. I WOULD PREFER TO BUILD FROM PROVEN COMPONENTS THAT WILL BE WITH ME FOR YEARS.
So are your answers still the same???
Oh, one last thing... Are you saying Win NT is not the way to go if I will ever be running DOS based games???

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by:wayneb
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If you want to run games I would not change the hardware, but would change the os used, and not run Nt, If you want a relieable business system then Nt is the way to go, if you want a multi-media system then win 95 or 98 is the way to go.  All components I have selected a top notch parts with excelent warranty on all the parts, A system like I have discribed could run a high as $3000.00.  Windows Nt is not the way to go if you are running any dos based programs or games. But if you want the most reliable windows based system then win nt is the way to go. This system will continue to perform for many yrs to come without a hitch. This is why you should use the top quality parts listed because you do get what you pay for and this is why you are getting top quality parts.  You could also if you wanted to run a duel boot system with the best of both worlds, windows nt for business and then for pleasure run windows 95/98. You could have a boot menu when the pc boots that asks you what Os you want to run Nt or win 95/98.

I hope I have answered all your questions, if not then let me know.
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by:wayneb
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If you want to run games I would not change the hardware, but would change the os used, and not run Nt, If you want a relieable business system then Nt is the way to go, if you want a multi-media system then win 95 or 98 is the way to go.  All components I have selected a top notch parts with excelent warranty on all the parts, A system like I have discribed could run a high as $3000.00.  Windows Nt is not the way to go if you are running any dos based programs or games. But if you want the most reliable windows based system then win nt is the way to go. This system will continue to perform for many yrs to come without a hitch. This is why you should use the top quality parts listed because you do get what you pay for and this is why you are getting top quality parts.  You could also if you wanted to run a duel boot system with the best of both worlds, windows nt for business and then for pleasure run windows 95/98. You could have a boot menu when the pc boots that asks you what Os you want to run Nt or win 95/98.

I hope I have answered all your questions, if not then let me know.
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by:frache
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Hy Drummers,
Thanks, for your comment.
I give answer only for the fun..
It's difficult for me to give more details because my first language isn't English.
Win Nt isn't a good OS for gamer or beginner. When you have a problem with a driver ( ex hard disk controller,video,etc..), you could have a beautiful blue screen with many numbers... In this case it could be very difficult to access to your data. Very difficult if you use NTFS file system. Moreover many hardware card don't work with NT. If you want to buy an 3D card accelerator with Banshee chipset for example, you can't use with Win NT.
I think it's important to buy good quality for this product :
*Case - with a good power supply
*Screen - with Trinitron technology ( SONY). 17" -  refresh rate: 100hz.
*CDROM : take a SCSI model if you buy SCSI controller.
*Hard disk : large, very large
*SCSI controller : if you choice to buy one !

All others things : if you want to be on" top" you must change each year !! ( you sell, you buy !).
CPU...Motherboard..Memory...Graphic card...




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by:mikecr
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Frache is correct, NT is not a good operating system for gaming or a beginner. You cannot run DOS games under NT because the NT operating system will not allow them to access the hardware. This means if the game tries to access the sound card directly, which it's going to do, then your operating system will crash. NT was not designed with gaming in mind, it was designed as a secure and powerful operating system used for more business like applications. I personnally wouldn't put alot of money into a SCSI drive setup either. Don't get me wrong, SCSI hard disks can be the fastest around, but this is where the price becomes an issue. There are some good drives like the IBM Deskstar that are IDE drives and can match a SCSI is some cases but the price is alot lower. Since you want to use it for both gaming and home business then I would again go with Windows 95/98 on the system that Wayneb has listed and but I would go with an IDE drive like the Deskstar in the 10gb range running at 7500rpm and a 8.5ms seek time. You will be impressed, I assure you.

Good Luck!
Mike
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by:second
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NT or 9x ??????????? What is that for a question???????? Just run both OS on one system.....with boot manager like System Commander. And to mentition: K6-2 is the best CPU for both (3DNow! for games, the BEST 32bit performance between ALL x86 CPUs - even better than PPro.....so the best NT CPU)

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by:drummers
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Actually the points should go to more than one - but I have no way of doing this.
Thanks All!

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