Ok, so I need to build a PC soon; I'll probably end up ordering parts and building it during the 2nd or 3rd week of August (around the time I leave home to head back to college).
I already own a mouse, keyboard, FDD, CD-RW, monitor, 80 GB HD in an external enclosure I'll use for backups, and of course those blue foam fan isolators. I'd like to spend roughly $1400, hopefully less, to put together the rest of the system (including the amp and speakers). That translates into hopefully not more than $600 for the PC, plus the sound card.
I'll use the PC for Word, Excel, internet, CAD, light gaming (Civ3, Q3A, RTCW), and for playing music through a stereo system that I'm also going to buy around the same time. I'm going to use the PC as a stereo preamp.
Here are my thoughts so far:
I'll still need a 120 mm rear case fan, HSF, and boot drive, which will probably be a *gasp* 10K RPM 18 GB SCSI drive. I'm sure that admitting to that is probably a bannable offense here at SPCR.
So I have a total of $436.50, plus the HSF, case fan, boot drive, SCSI card, cable, and terminator. So maybe I can meet that $600 estimate.
Motherboard: I just picked that one because I wanted to go with a cheap VIA system. Back when I owned an NF7-S, I wasn't happy with the low frequency of driver updates (Maybe that has improved?). Firewire would be ideal for my external HD for backups but USB 2.0 is good enough.
The KT600 seems to be like a good value relative to the KT880 or the various nForce2 chipsets, but I'd love feedback about the motherboard I picked, and also about what chipset would be best for my needs.
I think the KT600 is dual channel. But 2x256 costs a bit more than 1x512 and also makes it harder to run tight timings. Is it worth the benefits? Also, since the CPU is 333 FSB, and I don't care to overclock, should I try to save money by buying PC2700 RAM instead of PC3200? Also, it mentions the RAM as being "64M x 64 -Bit," a designation I don't remember seeing before; what exactly does that mean?
I think the video card I listed is probably overkill, considering my gaming needs. Mainly I just want a video card to be cheap, have some outputs that I can feed to a TV, and not generate too much heat.
Should I opt for a mobile XP instead of a normal one? Can I use a mobile XP in any normal socket A board, or do I need a special BIOS or anything?
I remember reading some complaints about recent Samsung hard drives being noisy; is that still a serious concern or has that problem been resolved?
For a soundcard, I'm looking at the E-MU 0404 and 1212M. For speakers, it's probably going to be a pair of Klipsch RB-35. I have no idea what kind of amp to get; my budget for that is $200 or so. I've been reading recently about using pro amps for home applications, such as Crown amps, and that seems like a good option. Would I be able to get away with disconnecting the fans in a pro amp? It's not like I'd be using it in a crowded rack with other amps... I would like for the amp to have a headphone jack too though... I know lots of hifi guys hang out here so maybe you can help me with this.
Or since I'm using such sensitive speakers, what kind of amps should I be looking at?
Sorry for some of my newbish questions. I've just been away from building computers for awhile so I forgot what little wisdom I had.
Oh, and one last thing. When all is said and done, I'll make sure to contribute to SPCR because my reading/lurking here has taught me quite a lot.
Thanks for reading!