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  1. Member lumis's Avatar
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    Hello everyone.

    I'm going to be upgrading my computer soon and I thought I would seek the advice of our helpful forum.

    I have around $500 to spend, a little more, a little less, around $500.

    I'm not looking for a complete system, basically a barebones sytem. I already have the drives, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.

    Case, power supply, motherboard, cpu, memory, video card.. I'll assume sound & ethernet will come with the motherboard.

    1GB of memory should do me fine, I don't need a "gamer" video card, I dont' do PC gaming. I would like to get the most bang for my buck with it comes to cpu power because I do quite a bit of encoding.

    I am also interested in purchasing an HDTV capture card (ATSC tuner?), maybe something like an ATI All-In-Wonder card, I would like to be able to capture HDTV transport streams, along with regular SD content from various sources. This won't be a part of my $500 price tag though.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Do you have a preference for AMD or Intel processors? Most of the newer CPUs use PCI-E motherboards instead of AGP. For AMD, the Nvidia chipsets seem to be in the lead for performance. With PCI-E you might look for DDR2 memory, if it's available. The price is similar to DDR at present, but with much better bandwidth.

    I don't really recommend a bare bones as they always seem to be compromises. But you can try a vendor like Newegg and do a search for 'bare bones' and see what is offered. Probably better to pick a CPU, then look over the available motherboards, memory, case, PS and the rest of it.
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  3. Member
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    Question: are your drives ATA133 or SATA?

    You could order stuff from IbuyPower or CyberPowerPC or any of those online builders and you should get a pretty decent system for $500 or so, as you don't need monitor and all the other ****.
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  4. Member ViRaL1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    I don't really recommend a bare bones as they always seem to be compromises. But you can try a vendor like Newegg and do a search for 'bare bones' and see what is offered. Probably better to pick a CPU, then look over the available motherboards, memory, case, PS and the rest of it.
    I don't think he was being literal, just saying that he didn't need the whole shebang.

    It might be helpful if you laid out say the top 5 uses for your new PC so we know which direction to steer you in. There's a lot out there, but depending on your needs you might want to put the bulk into a CPU vs a faster video card, or a better motherboard vs more memory out of the gate.
    Nothing can stop me now, 'cause I don't care anymore.
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    lumis, I should have noticed you are already using a AMD CPU. Here's one suggestion:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ AM2 $195
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103747

    CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM $154
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145040

    ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI $145
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131013

    Those 3 are about $500US by themselves. You would probably want to scale back that selection if you still need a video card and a case.

    PCI-E video card. Single GPU or SLI card. Newegg has over 400 video cards available for PCI-E 16X. Just depends on how much you want to spend.

    But you might look into the AM2 CPUs. They have a lot to offer. I would definitely recommend the Nvidia chipset motherboards. And DDR2 memory is really nice.

    I put this system together recently for HTPC use:

    MB ASUS M2NPV-VM GF6150 AM2
    CPU AMD A64 Athlon 3800+ 2.4G AM2 512K
    MEM 512Mx2 CORSAIR TWIN2X1024A-6400

    About $315US.

    I use a MYHD PCI video card in that setup for OTA HDTV. But I have also ran a DVICO Fusion HDTV card. Both of them worked well, though there is not a lot of HDTV broadcasting available locally.
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  6. Member lumis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions given so far.

    I'm really not that particular when it comes to using AMD or Intel, whatever will give the best performance for video encoding would be optimal, but not if I'm making huge sacrifices in other areas.

    And I would like to go ahead and steup up to SATA on my motherboard, but I would like atleast one IDE connection on my motherboard for connecting my dvd burner and a hard drive.

    As far as the video card, I really would like to go with an ATI All-In-Wonder video card that offers OTA HDTV tuning and decent video card performance. I don't use photoshop or play games on my PC that require a great video card.

    I'm not going to include the cost of the video card (ATI All-In-Wonder) & an SATA HDD in the cost of my system, so all I'm really looking to get for around $500 is:

    Case & PSU
    Motherboard & CPU
    Memory

    Sorry if that complicated things a bit more.
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  7. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I understood you wanted the CPU, MB, case and PS for <$500. What I listed is more what I would get if I had $500 to spare.

    I see a lot of the newer MBs have just one IDE channel for 2 drives, so you would be fine with SATA for the HDs and IDE for the opticals. A lot have 4 SATA channels or more, and some, like the one I have in my HTPC has the possibly faster SATA II, which most newer SATA drives are anyway. I use SATA for my external HDs, which is really an improvement over USB or Firewire for fast transfers to an external drive.

    As mentioned, you will probably end up with a PCI-E MB. If you want future expansion, you probably want at least 3 PCI slots. If you decided to add more IDE devices, you could just toss in a PCI IDE controller card. One more slot would be your HDTV card, with one spare. That's a small problem with PCI-E that they don't have as many PCI slots available. But some higher end MBs have more than 3.

    Most everything is on the MB, though. I use gigabit LAN and a lot of MBs have that now. My on board audio can output S/PDIF, so it outputs digital audio to the amplifier. You may also notice the rear serial ports may be missing on some MBs. Though they may have a socket on the MB. Some have Firewire built in, and of course, a bunch of USB 2.0 ports.

    SLI is likely overkill unless you game, or possibly for some high end graphics. But most SLI MBs should have no problem with just using a single PCI-E video card. It depends on what features you need on the MB. Usually the higher end MBs will have SLI. I use an inexpensive ATI X300 PCI-E video card in my encoding computer. It was less than $40. I don't use it for gaming, so it has a minimal video card. But it has no problem with DVD video display.

    Cases, just find one you like. I always set up a front intake fan to blow across the HDs and a rear exhaust, but most SATA drives run cool enough even without the front fan. The biggest heat source is the Northbridge/Southbridge chips, and the video card. 120mm fans are nice, and usually fairly quiet.

    Power supply, 400W seems about minimum with PCI-E. 500W is often a better choice. Only name brand PS's if you want to protect your investment.

    First you have the hard part, CPU and MB choice.
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  8. I don't think you can go wrong with this deal. For $190 bucks you get a Pentium D 840 dual core power house. The mother board uses AGP graphics card. And if you have any DDR1 memory, you can use them too. Later you can upgrade the motherboard, the video card, and the memory. I think they have mispriced this deal. If you add up the price of all the components, it adds up a lot higher. There are some rebates offers included. They'd all expire by July 31st.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2368057&CatId=1911

    You can also get this AGP video card for free:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1755113&CatId=692
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