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PC Build Advice


Donster

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I need to build a new system while I am stuck here in PA. The new owners requirements are that they download full release motion pictures online, and then burn them to DVD. Also some gaming, but not to the extreme that most of us do. Sim City builder games, that kind. My questions are as follows:

1. Is a 250 GB Harddrive enough?

2. Is 1 GB of RAM enough?

3. Would a Geforce 7 series PCIe card say 7800 or 7900 be good enough?

4. Going with an AMD processor more than likely due to price. But opinions would be helpful on processor too.

Other than the above, this system is going to be used for kids homework, mom's word processing stuff for work etc. It will use XP Home edition.

Thx in advance. I have to get this built by the 30th. And it is one of just two I have to build while I am here. :huh:

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Donnie regarding ram , most people i see on the net forums are all talking 2gig , but i think that is for gaming , but with Vista i have heard its a glutton for ram so mabey 2gig to be sure................eait for Stans he is the guru on this , im just relating what i have heard

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Concur with Rjel.

I have a pair of 250GB SATA drives, and am glad I do. At 8 GB's a pop, DVD video can stuff that space most ricky-tick.

1GB of RAM seems to be the bottom end any more, even my workplace shipped our systems a year ago with 1GB.

I sure hope they aren't on dial-up... :lol:

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I'd look at 2 GB of system RAM, the GeForce 7900 or 7950 should be more than enough video card. As for CPU, I'm off the AMD bandwagon and on the Intel Core2Duo party. The Intel CPU simply eats AMD's lunch. The hard drive, well, 250 might be ok, but a better bet would be 400 to 500 GB for full length movies. Probably the absolute best set up would be two hard drives, one small one for the OS, and then a whopper drive for storing the movies.

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Well if the intention is to burn the movies rather than keep them on the HD, then you don't need so much storage.

However, if you're going to store them on the HD, think tera-bytes.

Depending on the degree of compression, movies may only be maybe 300 Mb to as much as 4 Gb. On my HDs, typical size is about 1.5 Gb per.

Do the math. :)

My next machine I'm planning for 2 x 750 Gb, plus my 300 Mb external I have now.

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For DVD playback, almost any video card will do. The Nvidia 7800/7900 should do the job and even let them play the occational game if they want. I second the opinions on memory, get a 2GB kit if it is in budget.

The sweet spot for disk price/capacity is 320GB drives. I suggest that as a minimum. Consider two :)

AMD vs Intel. Sure Intel win in benchmarks, and if they re-encode DVD when burning it can cut the time down a bit -- but if they just encode a movie a day, do they care if it takes 2 or 4 or 6 hours? AMD still gives excellent performance per dollar. I would rather have AMD + 2GB + 2x320G disks than Core2Duo + 1GB + 1x250G. Check prices.

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Thanks guys. The dollar factor is a key thing. Everyone wants it all but doesn't want to dish out the $$$ to get it.

1 - ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

Model #: M2N-E $92.99

1 - BFG Tech BFGR79256GSOCE GeForce 7900GS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

$179.99

1 - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Windsor 2.2GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA4200CUBOX - Retail

$169.00

1 - G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail

$204.99

1 - Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500JS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Model #: WD2500JS

$69.99

1 Microsoft Windows XP Home Sp2b 1pk w/Upgrade Coupon for Vista - OEM

$89.99

Subtotal: $806.95

That is what I have as a possibility now. It will shoot over $1000 if I go with the new Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

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That's a pretty solid system, but what about sound? Onboard sound often sounds poor. I'd recommend a Soundblaster, preferably the Audigy 2ZS since it has it's own processor, the SE version does not. Make sure you get the most up to date BIOS as Nvidia chipsets and Soundblaster cards often don't get along, but the new BIOS updates usually correct the snap, crackle and pop sounds.

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1 Microsoft Windows XP Home Sp2b 1pk w/Upgrade Coupon for Vista - OEM

Now there's a nice idea. A ticket for an option to buy. Options are always a good thing.

You don't need alot of horsepower to play movies, although I think RAM comes in to play. 2 Gb should be quite sufficient. However, if you want to manipulate the flicks, then the cpu might matter. But then again, it depends on how patient you are. An operation that may take 20 minutes with one cpu might take 25 minutes on another. Those extra 5 minutes might drive some crazy. :rolleyes:

Amazing how technologies have reduced our patience.

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I play movies fine with 768 megs of RAM so that shouldn't be a problem either, but like Stans said don't forget the sound card.

I think I'll just build my next PC too, when the time comes (sometime around the time the sun burns out most likely) I'll pester you for help picking stuff out Don. :lol:

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My new machine has 2 Gig of RAM and a Dual Core 3.2 Gig CPU. Video came with it and it is an ATI 512MB...I don't recall exact model. It came with a 300 MB HD which is sufficient for me up from a 27 and a 30MB. I always ran 2 HDs before with 2 different OSs so I could boot in either and run older softwafe but have not done that this time mainly due to the archetecture of the ribbon, plus and etc for the new stuff.

The above specs are what I had in mind before I purchased and found one already built for a good price. I woulda probably done a GeForce card but so far so good on the ATI.

As I've mentioned all the extra hardware power doesn't seeming make any other software run better/faster. Movies and moving image files don't seem to do any better than my old 2 Gig with 500MB RAM and the cheezy built in 64Mb video. Maybe, just maybe the extra juice helps on movie files but I'm unconvinced.

Certainly multitasking as I scan images for my screen saver and manipulate them in an image program and move them around is no faster. It doesn't open image files any faster. I also can't see any diff while on the web with upper end so called pro-speed DSL.

I'm not that big on sound and really any good card will do.

I would stick with XP Home edition as the Media Edition has been sticky in comparison to Home which was crashproof for 4 1/2 years with a handfull of needed reboots.

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Donster, just make sure their old computer case and power supply can run that baby.

She bought a new case a few months back thinking that was going to fix her troubles with the old PC she had. :blink:

But I will have to get a bigger PSU, cuz it only has a 350Watt in it. As for sound that mobo has built in onboard 8-channel HD audio, which I seriously feel will be just fine for them. Price is becoming an issue and I need to find ways to make it as affordable as possible.

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A 350 watt PSU was great in 1990, but yeah, with the hardware you are planning to use you will need a bare minimum of 500 watts, maybe a tad more. Make sure the 12v rails have sufficient amperage for that video card.

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Well...the "Uber Pooter" build just came to a screeching halt when I informed her how much. Now she wants "Just a surfin' and e-mail and kids homework" system. Priced out with shipping at $535. :rolleyes:

Back to shopping on the eMachine aisle. :rolleyes:

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