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System Buyers Guide

by David Ross on 27 August 2000, 00:00

Tags: HEXUS

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacz

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System Buyers Guide

Introduction

So you've decided that you're not going to give that hard earned cash to dell or gateway. Instead you want to build yourself your own computer, which is becoming more of the norm these days. But things aren't as easy as they seem because the first thing you'll be asking yourself is, what hardware should I get?

Well that's were we come in. In this article we aim to give you an idea of what the best hardware is at the moment based on your budget. You will find three types of example systems those being value, mid range, and 'screaming machine'. The following systems are only recommendations, you don't have to follow them exactly. All parts of the systems are covered from cases to monitors with prices. If you have any questions about the systems please feel free to email us or talk about them in the forum.

Each system will be released in turn one a week. This week its the turn of the :-

Value Gaming System

CPU - Celeron II 566

At first we were going to recommend the new AMD Duron but as they (and their motherboards) aren't readily available in the UK. Therefore a new Celeron II would be you best bet for a value system especially as reports have shown that Celeron II 566 MHz are reaching as high as 1 GHz with air cooling only. We recommend a Celeron II 566 (because of the overclockability) which are priced at around £90.

Motherboard - Abit VT6X4

Finding motherboards for Intel processors is no problem but getting a motherboard for decent socket 370 processors is. We therefore recommend the Abit VT6X4, priced at around £75. Abit are known for their overclocker friendly motherboards and this one is no exception. The VT6X4 uses the Via ApolloPro 133A Chipset. The 133A chipset has many advantages over the 133 chipset, one of them being the ability to change the Ram clock speed independently from the system bus speed. You will also need a slot to socket converter. The Abit Slotket III is available for around £12.

Memory - Crucial 128mb PC133

Memory is something that you cannot save money on by buying cheap generic stuff. We therefore recommend a stick of Crucial 128 mb PC133 ram, priced at £95 (online orders direct to crucial incur a 10% discount). Getting PC133 memory is a must as it means to can take advantage of the Abit VT6X4 memory features and it will help when overclocking.

Graphics Card - Annihilator PRO

Since Nvidia brought out the Geforce2 GTS the original Geforce prices are falling like stones. We recommend Creative Labs Annihilator range. The normal SDR memory version is priced at £115 and the DDR memory version is priced at £130. Either way you can't go wrong but the Annihilator PRO (DDR Memory) probably provides the best price to performance ratio.

Hard Drive - Maxtor 20.4Gb DimondMax Plus 40

Spin speed is paramount these days so its probably best to go for a 7,200 RPM beastie. We came across Maxtor DiamondMax 40 Plus range, which offers extremely good performance for the price you pay. Typically a 20.4Gb model costs £115 which with a specification that includes 7,200 RPM and 2mb Cache you can't go wrong.

Monitor - Belinea 10 60 20 19"

You probably want a 19" monitor but are thinking you can't afford it, right? Well that's where your wrong the Economy range from Belinea fits the bill perfectly. The Belinea 10 60 20 19" Monitor is priced at around £200. With a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1250 @ 75 Hz and a dot pitch of 0.26mm surely we've got the price wrong, but we haven't!

Sound Card - Sound Blaster Live! Player 1024

Although the Abit VT6X4 come with onboard sound you'll definatly want surround sound anyway. With Aureal no longer in action theres no question about going for one of the SB Live based cards. The Sound Blaster Live! Player 1024 is the affordable Environmental Audio card for the gamer, internet and entertainment enthusiast. Delivering the same unparalleled quality and sound performance as the Sound Blaster Live! Platinum It incorporates the powerful EMU10K1 audio processor, Environmental Audio technology, multi speaker surround sound with fantastic environmental effects. The 1024 is available for around £40

Speakers - Creative Labs FPS 1000

What better to complement the SB Live 1024 sound card than Creative Labs Four Point Surround 1000 speaker system. Available for around £35.

Case - Enlight 7237

A value system really can't justify anything bigger than a mid tower case. Therefore we thought that the Enlight 7237 fits the bill perfectly. Enlight’s popular ATX sized case line includes all the easy assembly features you have come to expect: huge selection of snap-on interchangeable front bezels, slide guides for quicker FDD/HDD installation, virtually screw less case assembly, universal I/O shields, more drive bay options than other cases on the market and more. Available at just £50

CD-Rom

At the moment it really isn't worth getting a DVD drive for a gaming system. You'll probably be safe getting a 50x CD-ROM drive, that are widely available, for around $30.

Conclusion

There you have it the Value Gaming System recommended by Hexus.com . Above are just the basics for a really good value gaming system of course you'll have to include the O/S, Keyboard, Mouse etc but those are really personal preference.

The above system totals at an amazing : £857

If you overclock the celeron to around 1 GHz you definitely will have a good system for the price.

Next week look out for the Mid Range System.