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  1. #1
    Senior Coder missing-score's Avatar
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    Building PC - Compontents & Software Question

    Hello there, Sometime in the near future I am hoping to be able to build myself a PC. I have never done this before but I think i can handle it, I know someone that can help me out if I get stuck so hopefully I should be ok.

    I have a couple of questions about some of the components I am going to use and software I plan to buy...

    1. When choosing a processor, How much of an effect does the speed have on tasks that I will run. I am hoping to record and mix music on my pc. I have planned to get a 2800+ Athlon Processor (64 bit), coupled with 512 MB of ram. Is this enough? (does anyone know what speed in GhZ the 2800+ is?)

    2. Will a 64bit processor be backward compatable with older programs? Or would I be better off getting a more powerful 32bit?

    3. I was planning on buying Norton Internet Security to put on when I have built the PC. Is this worth it, or are there better free applications? I need a decent firewall and virus scan. If you have any links to FREE apps, please do let me know.

    4. Finally, due to the fact that i will be recording as well as playing back and listening to music, and possibly using microphones for chat, i wondered if you can get splitter switches to switch between inputs and outputs, so that I could have:

    Switch1:
    headphones
    recording mic

    Switch2:
    headphones
    chat mic

    Switch3:
    speakers
    no mic

    Or something like that. I dont know if its possible but i just dont want to have to keep switching around wires, id jus like a switch to choose between them.


    Sorry for all the questions, any help is greatly appreciated though.

  • #2
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    64 bit processors are capable of running 32bit software...a 64bit processor is capable of running a 32 bit OS as well. As for Norton Internet security, you might have seen some of my rants over several threads on CF about how I don't like it. There are a load of decent firewalls around, and anti virus suites such as NOD32 and AVG Free are IMHHO a heck of a lot better than the likes of Norton Antivirus.

    The AMD Athlon 2800+ 64 runs at 1.8ghz - http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=33.

    Jamie.

  • #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by missing-score
    1. When choosing a processor, How much of an effect does the speed have on tasks that I will run. I am hoping to record and mix music on my pc. I have planned to get a 2800+ Athlon Processor (64 bit), coupled with 512 MB of ram. Is this enough? (does anyone know what speed in GhZ the 2800+ is?)
    Music encoding is one of the areas where you might find that an SMT-able (HyperThreading enabled) Pentium 4 is better than an AMD. The AMD is a better performer in almost everything else though, and I doubt you will feel the difference unless you do a lot of multitasking. 512 MiB is kinda okay, and will probably be enough.

    Athlon 64 2800+ for Socket 745 is 1.8GHz. I would recommend you to get an Athlon 64 3000+ for Socket 939 instead. It's also 1.8GHz, but has a better memory system, is made on 90nm instead of 130nm process technology, consumes less power and thus runs cooler, and will be replacable in the future if you want a cheap update.
    2. Will a 64bit processor be backward compatable with older programs? Or would I be better off getting a more powerful 32bit?
    All x86-64 processors (AMD64 or EM64T, there's a slight difference but they're compatible) are fully backwards compatible with all x86-32 processors in legacy mode (fully 32-bit mode, apps and OS are 32-bit). They are not fully backwards compatible in compatibility mode (32-bit app on 64-bit OS) but they can run most 32-bit code. Long mode (64-bit mode on 64-bit OS) needs a programs to be compiled for 64-bit execution, but is otherwise pretty backwards compatible. You don't need to worry about hte last two unless you are planning to run Windows x64 or some other 64-bit x86 OS.
    3. I was planning on buying Norton Internet Security to put on when I have built the PC. Is this worth it, or are there better free applications? I need a decent firewall and virus scan. If you have any links to FREE apps, please do let me know.
    ZoneAlarm is a good, free firewall that is pretty much top notch, so don't buy something inferior when you get that for free. NAV is for all weazel's dislike for it second to Sophos and a step ahead of everything else in coverage, but is a heavy resource consumer and can make your system less stable. Not necessarily because NAV is the culprit, but because NAV makes the bad behavior of the culprits have worse consequences.

    AVG and Avast! are examples of free antiviri. They are not as well covering as NAV, but they should be sufficient for your needs.
    4. Finally, due to the fact that i will be recording as well as playing back and listening to music, and possibly using microphones for chat, i wondered if you can get splitter switches to switch between inputs and outputs, so that I could have:

    Switch1:
    headphones
    recording mic

    Switch2:
    headphones
    chat mic

    Switch3:
    speakers
    no mic

    Or something like that. I dont know if its possible but i just dont want to have to keep switching around wires, id jus like a switch to choose between them.
    Such switches exists, but a modern audio system for surround sound will probably allow for reconfiguration of ports so that you don't need the switch - you can have all of them connected and just switch on or off the devices you want to use when you need them.

    You might want to ask this question at YMF though, they will be pickier about sound than me and have greater knowledge.
    liorean <[lio@wg]>
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  • #4
    Senior Coder missing-score's Avatar
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    Thanks weazal and liorean for the valuable information.

    liorean, I am considering what you said about the 939 pin processors, means more money but hopefully should be worth it.

    I have another question.. I havn't yet chosen a graphics card, and i wondered if anyone had suggestions for an average card. One that will let me view good quality images and watch dvd's, but i dont want to pay too much.

    Thanks.

  • #5
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    You can get a decent 256MB graphics card for around £50 brand new on ebay, such as http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...183773615&rd=1.

    Jamie.

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    Senior Coder missing-score's Avatar
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    cool thank you... Whats the difference between 128 MB and 256 MB graphics, as one of the other cards I have seen was slightly less and 128 MB.

    Thanks. Matt.

  • #7
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    It's all for performace really..the higher amount of RAM you have in something, whether it be a graphics card or motherboard, the more memory you have, the more memory will be available to store data etc.

    When it comes to graphics cards, the faster the core of the GPU and the more memory it has, the faster the card will be in responsivness and you will have smoother game play etc.

  • #8
    Senior Coder missing-score's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for all your help. I have decided to go with the 64 3000 1.8GhZ, 939 pin that liorean suggested, and also i plan to go with 1GB of RAM rather than 512. Its not an awful lot extra money so I should have enough.

    Also, thanks for pointing out some good software to look into.

  • #9
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missing-score
    Thanks guys for all your help. I have decided to go with the 64 3000 1.8GhZ, 939 pin that liorean suggested, and also i plan to go with 1GB of RAM rather than 512. Its not an awful lot extra money so I should have enough.

    Also, thanks for pointing out some good software to look into.
    1GB's better than 512 in any case

    I was thinking of building a new system when I finally get the cash, but would probably get a 3.0ghz + P4. What would be overall faster? A 3.8ghz P4 or a 1.8ghz Athlon 64? I know it'd probably be down to core speed, but the processor architecture between a P4 and a 64 bit athlon is different by far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by missing-score
    I have another question.. I havn't yet chosen a graphics card, and i wondered if anyone had suggestions for an average card. One that will let me view good quality images and watch dvd's, but i dont want to pay too much.

    Whats the difference between 128 MB and 256 MB graphics, as one of the other cards I have seen was slightly less and 128 MB.

    Depends a bit on what type of graphics you want. If you want to play games, get a later card design. The nVidia6600 is a good but not terribly expensive card in the latest generation if you want gaming. If you on the other hand are not going to be gaming a lot but are running at a high resolution, a card from earlier generations but with a high VRAM will help. A far more important decision will be whether to get AGP or PCIe. PCIe is more expensive and only newer (and thus even more expensive) card are available for it. On the other hand, it looks like future cards will be released first for PCIe and then for AGP first when there are better PCIe cards. AGP will sooner or later be phased out and has poor upgradability, but here consulting your wallet is best.





    Quote Originally Posted by weazel
    I was thinking of building a new system when I finally get the cash, but would probably get a 3.0ghz + P4. What would be overall faster? A 3.8ghz P4 or a 1.8ghz Athlon 64? I know it'd probably be down to core speed, but the processor architecture between a P4 and a 64 bit athlon is different by far.
    When you count single threaded performance, the only area the Intel is going to end up on top of the AMD is encryption. The Pentium 4 is a better multi tasking processor if you set up more than one application running a heavy task at the same time, and will have less problems with things such as updating UI during heavy work, but otherwise the AMD speed rating is actually quite conservative.

    There are other reasons why you would like the Athlon 64 3000+:
    - It's cheaper.
    - It runs cooler and thus you don't need as loud cooling system.
    - It's less power hungry and thus gives you a smaller power bill.
    - It's higly overclockable and can be made run stable at up to 2.6 GHz with stock cooling solutions - a 44% speed increase! It's the single best processor for overclocking, ever. And that's AMD stealing the title from themselves.
    - It uses cheaper DDR memory at very low latencies instead of more expensive DDR2 memory at higher latencies. (Both cost and performance are in favour of DDR at the moment.)
    liorean <[lio@wg]>
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  • #11
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liorean
    There are other reasons why you would like the Athlon 64 3000+:
    - It's cheaper.
    - It runs cooler and thus you don't need as loud cooling system.
    - It's less power hungry and thus gives you a smaller power bill.
    - It's higly overclockable and can be made run stable at up to 2.6 GHz with stock cooling solutions - a 44% speed increase! It's the single best processor for overclocking, ever. And that's AMD stealing the title from themselves.
    - It uses cheaper DDR memory at very low latencies instead of more expensive DDR2 memory at higher latencies. (Both cost and performance are in favour of DDR at the moment.)
    Cheers for that. I'll look into it

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    While we're on the subject of AMD 64, which specific cpu is the most bang for the buck? I'm thinking of buying one, and was wondering if some of the upper-level processors are really worth it.

  • #13
    Senior Coder JamieR's Avatar
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    The AMD (Clawhammer) Athlon 64bit 4000+ offers some serious power, but it is expensive at over £300 from eBuyer. Also the AMD (Winchester) Athlon 64bit 3000+ is pretty cheap at just over £80 from eBuyer.

  • #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antoniohawk
    While we're on the subject of AMD 64, which specific cpu is the most bang for the buck? I'm thinking of buying one, and was wondering if some of the upper-level processors are really worth it.
    In difference to Intel, AMD mainly shrunk the core instead of redesigning it when going from 130nm to 90nm process technology; so the 90nm AMD processors have lower power consumption, run cooler, are cheaper to produce and are also slightly upgraded. Add to that the fact that they are all good overclockers. On the other hand, AMD are selling the 130nm Athlon 64 3500+ for less than the 90nm 3500+, probably as the first stage in phasing 130nm out. The Athlon 64 4000+ is the only one that has a speed rating that is optimistic rather than pessimistic - it's not that much better than the Athlon 64 3800+.

    All in all, the processors that I would consider best buys are the 90nm Athlon 64 3000+ and 3200+ and the 130nm Athlon 64 3500+ and 3800+. The Athlon 64 FX-55 is a good processor, but in the same way I wouldn't buy the 3.73GHz Pentium 4 EE, Pentium 4 570J or the Pentium 4 660 because they are way overpriced, I wouldn't buy the top of the line AMD either.
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  • #15
    Senior Coder missing-score's Avatar
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    I am going to look on eBuyer as you mentioned, but I wondered.. Have you bought anything from here before and are they a reputable company? If I made an order there would I get it sort of thing?


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