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computer component advice by frontal lobe
Started on: 04-03-2000 04:25 PM
Replies: 16
Last post by: RFMike on 04-05-2000 05:11 PM
frontal lobe
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Report this Post04-03-2000 04:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for frontal lobeClick Here to Email frontal lobeSend a Private Message to frontal lobeDirect Link to This Post
I know many of you forum members have great computer knowledge as well as great fiero knowledge. So let me run past you guys what I'm planning-tentatively-and then I'd love your input.

I just need a relatively low-end computer to be on the internet and run some of my daughters games (like American Girls DressDesigner). Wait, that came out wrong. For THEM to run their games. (OK, I'm caught, I design a mean gown, though).

Tyan Trinity 400 motherboard--about $90
Celeron 500--about $90
I have a 64mg stick of 66mhz ram
Enlight 7237 case with 250w power supply--$60
Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 40 30.6G HD 7,200rpm--About $200
Soundblaster Live Value sound card--about $50
AGP video--I can't decide but only want to spend about $100 Help me out.
Modem--again, help me out.

That should bring me in for around $650 for a decent system with all quality components.

What do you guys think? I value your opinions. Also, any opinions on a 17 or 19 inch monitor?

TIA. Dan

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Cliff Pennock
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Report this Post04-03-2000 05:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff PennockClick Here to visit Cliff Pennock's HomePageClick Here to Email Cliff PennockSend a Private Message to Cliff PennockDirect Link to This Post
If all you want to do is do some internetting, and a few (non-3D) games, this machine is actually a bit overkill. For instance, I have several machines at home ranging from P166 to P3/550 and I don't really notice that much (speed-) difference between them when I use them for the internet. Now high-res 3D games is a totally different story ofcourse.

So if you are not going to play any 3D games, you could even buy a used computer (from eBay for instance). Also, if you are going to buy a modem, look at the new USB modems. They are incredibly cheap and are just as good (perhaps even better) as serial modems.

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frontal lobe
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Report this Post04-03-2000 06:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for frontal lobeClick Here to Email frontal lobeSend a Private Message to frontal lobeDirect Link to This Post
Thanks, Cliff. What brought the new system up was that I have 3 school age daughters so I could use another system during the next 10 years for them. I'm currently only running a 233mmx (not a PII) and it does fine for the internet but is pretty slow for some of their programs. Man, can you believe how inexpensive tremendous processing power is now?? What I liked about the particular motherboard is I could just drop in a PIII 733 or faster processor in a couple years when they are giving them away, too. So I consider this a relatively inexpensive system that I could be happy with for 5plus years, which in human years is at least how long?

P.S. To Cliff. You may get sick of it, but I can't help but want to thank you for the forum about every correspondence, so here it is again: Thanks, again.

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Carolina 88GT
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Report this Post04-03-2000 08:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Carolina 88GTClick Here to Email Carolina 88GTSend a Private Message to Carolina 88GTDirect Link to This Post
I think I built a little bit of over kill ..

  • Epox Socket A
  • Athlon 700
  • 256mb RAM
  • 20gb HD
  • Internal Zip Drive
  • Internal 4X4X24 rewritable
  • 6X Toshiba DVD
  • Hollywood Mpeg Plus II Decoder card
  • Logitech QuickCam Plus
  • USB Epson 850 Inkjet
  • USB Epson 636 flatbed scanner
  • Voodoo3 3000AGP Video
  • Epson 750Z Digital Camera
  • Diamond SupraSonic II (dual modems)
  • also have a small home network so the kids and I can play head to head combat games while the wife surfs the internet.
  • OH! and I have my dvd decoder card sending output to my 46" bigscreen and sound going to the ol' surround sound Bose.

And the list goes on! ...... If you need it scanned, pictured, printed or burned Im your resource.
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fierospeeder
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Report this Post04-03-2000 10:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierospeederClick Here to visit fierospeeder's HomePageClick Here to Email fierospeederSend a Private Message to fierospeederDirect Link to This Post
OH MY.

Anyway, You wont need to build a computer for a while. Thats what i do, i build my own computers, and spend all my money for my cars. Then i dont upgrade for a few years.
Im running a pent II 350 128 megs.
10gig hard drive, i forgot. Diamond AGP video card, forgot what i had, but it was the expensive one.

Computers at these speeds can handle a lot of programs for several years. Notice on some games they require a pentium 75 computer.

For your video card, the newest video cards are AGP, the ones before were PCI slot.
AGP are faster data transfer on the bus. You can buy an expensive video card that has 3d acceleration. If you play games like NFS or microsoft monster trucks, etc... They need 3d accerlation for the graphics and it keeps the game playing at real time. If you can buy a diamond agp 3d accerlation card, then you will be able to play those types of games, otherwise, a simple video card is compatible with the internet.

Another thing i looked for on my video card was a video out. You can look for these on diamonds or other video cards. It lets you hook up a yellow RCA cable up to your TV so you can see your computer on your TV, the resolution isn't that great, but its kewl playing a game.

Modem, the fastest right now is 56k. You can buy one for 50 or 30 bucks. I have a cheap one. The more expensive modems have more features such as caller id, answering maching capabilites, etc.. Its up to you, if you want to use your computer for those things.

Monitor. I have a 14inch. I want to get a 19 inch but im not good at saving money. Around 300 bucks. Have to buy fiero things. Bigger is better. Look for a higher frequency of change. and also the dot pitch should be smaller i believe. Its like .34, you should see them advertised on montiors.

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jhogans
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Report this Post04-03-2000 10:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jhogansClick Here to Email jhogansSend a Private Message to jhogansDirect Link to This Post
lobe,

How much memory does your current system have? More memory can do miracles to your system. With more memory, you don't have to worry about the system using the hard drive to cache some of the memory

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frontal lobe
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Report this Post04-04-2000 12:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for frontal lobeClick Here to Email frontal lobeSend a Private Message to frontal lobeDirect Link to This Post
Carolina 88gt, you are driving a Ferrari. I was looking for something more on the lines of a Corvette!

JHogans, good point. I only have 32meg ram. I bought a 64meg stick and tried it on the total piece of junk motherboard I have to try to speed things up, but couldn't get it to work, with or without the other 32meg. The kids need a computer anyway, so I thought I would just do this one right, but still cheap. The more I spend on the computer, the less I have to spend on the Fiero!

fierospeeder, unfortunately instead of NFS or microsoft monster truck, this machine is going to be playing American Girls Dressmaker and Crayola Paint-n-Play Pony!

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Carolina 88GT
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Report this Post04-04-2000 08:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Carolina 88GTClick Here to Email Carolina 88GTSend a Private Message to Carolina 88GTDirect Link to This Post
Lobe....that memory you said you couldnt get to work....was it PC100/PC133 SDRAM....PC66 EDO SDRAM........72Pin EDO.....72FPM?????? Some motherboards only support certain types. Or it could be something as simple as slowing down the memory to match the system bus versus the cpu clock(If that mobo supports that feature). Tyan is usually a pretty good name brand....does the system work with ONLY that chip installed (in cases of SDRAM)??? ALSO, remember that the different types of memory require a different voltage! Could be your set for 5v and it needs to be jumpered for 3.3v or vice versa.
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DJRice
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Report this Post04-04-2000 09:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DJRiceClick Here to Email DJRiceSend a Private Message to DJRiceDirect Link to This Post
When you go shopping for a floppy drive (unless you are going to pull it from an existing machine), keep this in mind. A normal 1.44M floppy costs about $20, and for $70-$80 you can get one of those LS-120 1.44MB/120MB drives.

Thats just a thought considering that most people like the idea of a zip type drive nowadays. I prefer just to use a CDR because the CDs are cheap, hold more, and seem to be faster than the zip drives.

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post04-04-2000 09:46 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanDirect Link to This Post
I really need to learn a foriegn language like this one.
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frontal lobe
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Report this Post04-04-2000 11:44 AM Click Here to See the Profile for frontal lobeClick Here to Email frontal lobeSend a Private Message to frontal lobeDirect Link to This Post
Monkeyman, good point. To a non-computer person all these terms and abbreviations would seem like a foreign language. Just like to a non-car guy, a lot on this forum would seem like a foreign language. Or like in my work, the terms are so long (lots of latin derivations) that we use lots of abbreviations. Here's one. We use LOL to mean a "little, old lady". So when I got on the forum and read posts and you guys were often talking about LOL!, I was trying to figure out what little old ladies had to do with anything!!
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Raydar
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Report this Post04-04-2000 04:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarDirect Link to This Post
The only thing I can add is regarding the modem. If you want an internal modem, don't buy a WinModem. I understand it actually uses some of the system CPU to do it's thing. Can slow things down, quite a bit. I use an internal 56K Faxmodem. Never had a bit of trouble. (Still waiting for ADSL.)
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Raydar
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Report this Post04-04-2000 05:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarDirect Link to This Post
It's me, again.
Lobe, If you get a chance, grab "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" by Scott Mueller. It's published by QUE. Counting indices, it's over 1600 pages. Was about $36 at Sams. I've only been messing with computers for about 3 years, and it really answered a bunch of questions. Mine is the 11th edition. May be a 12th, by now.
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RFMike
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Report this Post04-04-2000 07:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RFMikeClick Here to Email RFMikeSend a Private Message to RFMikeDirect Link to This Post
FL,
You don't actually say if you are assembling a box yourself, but I think we are all assuming you are.
1) If you are, try to order all your hardware from the same location. I used to buy a lot of hardware from TC Computers, but their service has gone downhill since being bought out by Insight. They still have decent prices, though, and still offer a 3 year warranty.
2) Try to dicker. The first price you're given is rarely the best price, with most companies. gateway excepted.
3) You can probably get a low to mid end machine, completely assembled, with warranty, for close to the same price for one you assemble. But you won't have quite as much control over what goes into it. This really depends on what vendor you chose. Of the lower priced vendors, Quantex offers pretty good value (performance/quality), for the money spent.
4) Go with a 19" monitor. The price is not that much more than a 17", and this is a piece of equipment that you may have for 4 years. It's lifespan can be longer than the rest of the machine. One of my monitors is a 19" Viewsonic PS790. Costs about $500, and is very underrated. I sometimes draw at home on it, and I like it a lot.
5) Get 128 meg of memory, it will add a lot of system performance for the money you spend. Make sure the board you buy is compatible with the memory you have/ buy. Another reason for buying from the same place. If they sell you incompatible components, you shouldn't have a problem getting the right stuff.
6) Assembling a system should be very straightforward, and usually is. Sometimes, though, you run into something that snags you, and it can take days. I could tell you stories.....

Good luck,
Mike

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jhogans
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Report this Post04-05-2000 12:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jhogansClick Here to Email jhogansSend a Private Message to jhogansDirect Link to This Post
Lobe,

When you are installing memory on Pentium based systems, you will need to install them as pairs. If you want to add 64 megs of memory than you need to add two 32 meg sticks. Since you have a 64 meg stick, you will need to buy another 64 meg stick. Make sure you are using memory that is compatible with your system. Check your owners manual to see what is compatible. If your system is old, you are probably going to use EDO ram. But don't quote me on that.

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DJRice
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Report this Post04-05-2000 09:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DJRiceClick Here to Email DJRiceSend a Private Message to DJRiceDirect Link to This Post
Hogans, That used to be true of the Pentium MBs, but I am relatively sure thats not the case any longer. Most new MBs have only 3 Memory slots for the DIMMs and you can use just 1 if you want. My PC has 1 128MB Dimm in it.

Raydar, You are correct about the WinModems. They are considered "Host Processor Controlled" which means they have no real brains of their own, and it uses the CPU to do all of its major crunching. This is true of most USB products as well. Depending on what type of peripherial you have, this can be convenient (a scanner), but I dont like it for modems and other communication devices. Also, the WinModems dont work in MSDOS mode, hence the name.

Monkey, You'll get the language one day. The acronyms are the biggest thing. They are popular in the computer business and in the military because it just takes to long to have a coversation without them! Imagine having to say "Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line" instead of (ADSL) or "Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module" instead of "SODIMM"

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RFMike
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Report this Post04-05-2000 05:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RFMikeClick Here to Email RFMikeSend a Private Message to RFMikeDirect Link to This Post
DJR,
You are correct, current boards accept one, two, or three chips, and most accept differing sizes of memory. However, ram has diversified to the point that it is very easy to get ram that will not work with the board, or will not work with ram you have. That's why I suggested getting your gear from the same place. At least get the processor, board, and ram from the same place, as a good vendor will seat both the chip and memory and run it before sending it out. You probably won't have any problems with anything else, and if you do, we'll walk you through it.
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