VOGONS


First post, by athlon-power

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As usual, while I have several other projects going, I'm working on a new one. This one isn't built yet, as I only have the processor and RAM so far. The case, motherboard, and graphics card are still in the mail system, and the HDD, CPU cooler, and TIM have not been purchased yet.

This build isn't entirely time-accurate, and is mainly just for Windows XP (and potentially 98) gaming.

Specs:

Case: Rosewill RANGER-M
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9
CPU: OEM AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Venice
CPU Cooler: Adaptec ACC-9520 AMD
TIM: Innovaton Cooling Graphite Thermal Pad
RAM: Super Talent 1GB (512x2) PC3200 Dual-Channel Kit
Video: OEM nVidia GeForce 6800 PCI-e
TIM: Corsair TM30 or Arctic Silver MX-4
HDD: Undecided, most likely a 250-300GB SATA HDD

The motherboard has the nForce 4-4x chipset, which only offically supports an 800MHz HT. This made my CPU selection a lot easier, because all I had to do was find the fastest Socket 939 CPU that has an 800MHz HT. The Athlon 64 3400+ Venice model fits the bill. I've read conflicting reports, but Wikipedia says it has a 800MHz HT (with citations that I didn't bother to go through), so I went with that. I went with it because it wasn't even $30 on eBay and is in excellent condition, and comes with the i/o shield, which is very important to me.

I had a hard time choosing a GPU for this system but it had originally come down between a GeForce 6600GT or a 6800XT (both were around USD $30) but then I found that OEM 6800's were around the same price and more powerful than the 6600GT and 6800XT, and as I personally felt the 6800GS and higher cards were a little fast for what I was doing, and the 6800GTO's didn't seem to be very widely available, the 6800 was perfect. Also, the version I found doesn't require thermal pads over the VRAM, which is a plus.

This system is meant to stand between where mid range and high end systems would've stood around 2005. Nothing too fancy, but a fully capable computer nonetheless. I have no doubt that it will run everything I plan to throw at it (Star Wars Battlefront II, Juiced, Half-Life 2, others I can't think of at the moment) in at least 1024x768, high details. This PC is also very similar to the PC my mom built back in early 2004 (S754 Athlon 64 3200+, likely ClawHammer or NewCastle, a red Micro-ATX PCI-e nForce 4 board, some kind of PCI-e GeForce card, etc.) but slightly faster and more efficient (Dual-channel memory controller v. single-channel, 89W v. 67w, DDR-333 v. DDR400, etc).

Lastly, this computer is the opposite of my dad's, as hers was. He had a Pentium 4 HT with an AGP Radeon of some kind, and argued with mom over her choices (PCI-E v. AGP, nVidia v. ATI, CPU brand), but mom's wasn't the PC that perpetually had to have the side cover off to prevent overheating, and was always highly unstable. Dad had a Bachelor's degree in CS, mom had nothing, but still managed to build a better system than him, and the irony isn't lost upon me. I also witnessed the building of mom's when I was three, all I can remember is the installation of the red motherboard, and I remember seeing the box to said motherboard a couple years later. Wish I would've saved both computers when the trailer was torn down, but I was 11 or 12 and didn't even know what that weird slot on the front of the computer was (turned out it was a 3.5" floppy drive), let alone cared for what those computers might be worth to me nearly a decade down the line.

Where am I?

Reply 1 of 2, by Namrok

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A lot of 2004/2005 Athlon 64 & Geforce 6800 builds lately! Well, this and one other by henk717.

I just finished mine. Well "finished". Still a few nagging issues. The decision between going Socket 939 and PCI-E, or Socket 754 and AGP was the most difficult part for me. At the time, the system I built was 754/AGP, so I went with that. But actually sourcing a motherboard that wasn't ruined by the capacitor plague proved more difficult.

Things worked out eventually, but I almost slid up to an AM2 socket with an Athlon 64 just to move further out of the capacitor plague era. Took me way out of my timeframe. But I figured if I kept the GPU and sound period correct it wasn't a terrible compromise to make. Here's hoping you have better luck finding a working motherboard than I did! Took me over a month.

Reply 2 of 2, by Joseph_Joestar

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Nice build! I had something similar in 2005 and I'm still using a slightly modified version of that rig as my main WinXP system.

You might want to throw in a Sound Blaster X-Fi for EAX gaming, if you care about that.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review