Building a new desktop...


Tech Junkie
Folding Team
Alright guys, I'm going to need a bit of guidance here. My brother is planning to get a desktop (in a couple of months, perhaps), and I obviously suggested that building one would be the best way to go about it.

I'm leaning towards an Athlon64, after having Intel machines for more than a decade. :) Basically, his current maximum is set to US $900, but if we could work towards something lower, that would be nice too.

I was looking at the ASUS A8V earlier today, and it seems like a solid board to me. I have an ASUS P3B-f in the old Pentium-III desktop at home, and it's been an extremely reliable piece of equipment. What's the general opinion on the A8V?

I have already looked over Sazar's excellent thread, but basically what I'm asking here is if some of you can recommend a full system within the price range mentioned above. This will be built from scratch, so there are no old parts that I can re-use. 1GB of RAM, a large hard disk, and a good graphics card are pretty much necessary. I'm really not biased or loyal towards any particular brands, so any recommendations are appreciated.

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps. :)
I'd say take a look @ for pricing... they seem to be the best and they offer free UPS 2-day air on most of their products. I've heard the A8V is a great mobo and HardOCP uses it as one of their baseline comparison boards for the A64 platform. You can't go wrong with that board in my opinion. Zipzoomfly seems to have the best RAM prices around... Newegg is good too, but I like ZZF better. Also, were you figuring $900 including monitor?


Glaanies script monkey
Political User
I think if you need a monitor that could be pretty tough, rough prices:

AMD 3000+ 64 ~$140
ASUS A8V ~$150
1GB 2x512 dual channel, PC3200 ~$250
160GB+ HDD ~$100+
Decent Graphix, $150+
Power supply, Antec 430W+ ~$80

Thats $880 right there, plus you need a case, optical drives, keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc. I really think if you want a system like that, you would be more likely to spend about $1200.


Tech Junkie
Folding Team
Hmm, this could be harder than I thought. :)

I've been out of touch with the desktop systems market ever since I got my laptop, so I haven't really looked into all the necessary components yet. Thanks for that rough break-up of prices, j79zlr.

Ok, let's tweak the original question a little bit - what's the best possible system that you guys can recommend between $900-$1000, all inclusive? Also, the hard disk doesn't really need to be more than 80-100GB. He already has a laptop with an external LaCie firewire drive, which will be used for most of the storage.


Glaanies script monkey
Political User
well if you go with a different mobo, you could probably get a decent socket 754 one for less than $100, you could also get a WD 80GB HDD for around $60, you could get a Ati 9600 Pro for around $100, and a AMD 64 2800+ for around $115, so thats a savings of about $165 right there, putting my rough estimate at about $700, plus accessories, so that would be doable.

My problem with barebones, is that like Dell or Gateway, they use cheap products for the case, mobo, and power supplies, I would rather spend a little more, build it myself, and put quality components in from the start.
The 754 is probably the way to go. There's not THAT much of a performance difference and you can save a good bit of money going that route. AMD is still going to be releasing 754-pin athlon64's for a good bit of time, so it's not a dead-end route.


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Folding Team
Political User
what is he going to use the system for? and do you already have the software side all taken care of?

should be able to put a decent setup together for about $700 or so I reckon... if yer not looking for a gaming rig :) is my choice for hardware...

go sckt 939 if you can so you leave yourself an upgrade path.. amd seems to be ditching the sckt 754 setup unfortunately so by going 939 you won't have to replace your mobo as well as your processor...


OSNN Senior Addict
Folding Team
You could purchase just one stick of memory up front. On j79zlr's setup, that would save $125. The other stick could be added later. Going this route means that no you don't have to downgrade another component up front.


Glaanies script monkey
Political User
you need atleast 2 sticks to run a dual channel setup, and they should be a matched pair. There is no point in buying a mobo that would run dual channel if you are not going to use it, the memory speeds are greatly increased.


Time Dr. Freeman?
as far as reliability, zipzoomfly and newegg are great, but to find the lowest price...use pricewatch. zipzoomfly and newegg in my opinion are kind of expensive.

using lowest prices on pricewatch here are some approximates:

athlon 64 3200+ ~$200
1 gb pc3200 ram ~$150 (going for something like corsair valueselect)
any decent case ~$50-80
PSU (may i suggest a ttgi superflower) ~$60 for a 500W
gfx card (i'm pricing a geforce 6800 regular) ~$250
motherboard (definitely get an nforce4) ~$100-150
hdd (80gig) ~$40

that's a little over 900 there. so a decently high end system...not too bad on price. if you can't go over that price you should either 1. look into 32 bit, or 2. wait until you have more money. preferably the latter option because it doesn't make sense to spend that much money and get a 32 bit system. and i agree with definitely getting a 939 pin board with dual channel memory.


Tech Junkie
Folding Team
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. :) (Reps for all)

A little above $900 should be fine, as I said. He also says he might be able to get a monitor from uni, so the price doesn't need to include the display.

I did like the ASUS A8V, but I wouldn't mind going with another one that's reliable with decent expandability (RAM/PCI slots) if it costs significantly less than the A8V. If Socket 939 is the way of the future, I'd prefer to take that route too. In that case, do I need to go with dual-channel RAM? What kind of price difference are we talking about between single and dual channel and is the performance difference very noticeable?

Sazar said:
do you already have the software side all taken care of?

should be able to put a decent setup together for about $700 or so I reckon... if yer not looking for a gaming rig :)
Software-side should be ok. I have an extra retail box of XP.

I don't imagine a very high-end graphics card is going to be feasible anyway, but he'll probably be using it for a certain amount of gaming. Would a 128MB card be workable within a ~$900-$950 setup? What kind of setup were you thinking about for ~$700?


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Folding Team
Political User
going by proc and so on/so forth, you should be able to get a decent setup going with an a64 3000+ or something along those lines on sckt 939, a board should be around 100-150 depending what make you get, they are all pretty decent...

memory, I recommend 1 gig, quality is not that important as long as you don't get utter garbage, the on-die memory controller eliminates the need for top notch memory so you can save a little here...

psu, get a good one with a min of 20-25A or so on the 12v rail... antec or others are fine, the TTGI recommended in a post above is also decent (I have one right now powering my system)

you can get a decent case for about 50-60 bucks, you can acquire an antec case with removable mobo tray for about $120 or so if you have a little money left over...

hdd's, local pricing is the way to go... I would buy in bestbuy or Circuit city or fry's or something only because they usually have rebates...

all told when you scrounge round online, you should be able to get that stuff for about $700 or so... I'll make a list when I get home with some recommendations ;) but most people have already posted with links or products that are more than sufficient for you...

bush dogg

OSNN Senior Addict
Political User
Here's some ideas to look at. Microcenter has a nice sale on right now untill the end of the month for these parts.


229807>A64 3000+ $159.99
476432>K8n-MSI neo2 platinum socket 939 $135.99
731232>Pcmcis case $ 35.99
638049>Memory Centon $219.99
065144>Radeon 9600se $ 73.99
894840>Power supply 480W Antec $ 95.99

Officemax has WD drives on sale 160GB for $79.99
item #2068-3716


Total price for above $801.93

I've used this case and Centon memory for 2 years now with no problems.


Folding Team
I always get told im useless when it comes to choosing components... but here's my input if i were to build a A64 system. Parts were sourced from newegg, but you may need to select cables etc becuase i dont know how the us works :p

the above system comes to
$706.47 before tax... because your in California the estimated price would increase to $742.28.

The MSI board has 2 EIDE channels as well as 2 SATA channels which support Raid 0,1 so if you want you could upgrade to a nice SATA drive. I cant remember if the amd has included but if not there is plenty of spare dollars to get them as well as cables etc that may not be included in the items.

But look at this click ;)
hope this helps you a little :)


OSNN Senior Addict
Folding Team
The trouble with this thread is that I now want to upgrade my system. I bought a 17 inch LCD monitor a while ago and promised myself then that I'd wait a while to upgrade my Athlon XP2000XP. I'll just have to avoid coming into the hardware section for a while.


Dabba Dooba
Political User
I would like to recommend a power supply Modular :)

Will improve air flow cause you wont have a bunch of cords hanging. I ordered one myself for my current system i am building and all i hear are good things about it.
Well, shoot.. I might as well jump in on this one. I'll source from ZipZoomFly since no one else has. They offer free 2-day air on everything, basically.

A64 3000+ (skt 939) and Asus A8V-Deluxe combo pack: $279.99

Corsair VS 1GB Kit: $142.00

Sony Dual Layer DVD drive: $64.00

PowerColor 9600XT Ultra: $179.99

IBM Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 160GB SATA drive: $95.00

Aerocool Aeropower 550W PSU: $73.99

Raidmax Scorpio 868 Midtower Gaming case: $48.99

Grand total is $883.96... only the case doesn't include free shipping, so take off the $49 and source your own case, if you want my opinion. :p

You could skimp on the video card a bit and save some cheese... All in all, I think that's a pretty good system for $900. KB & Mouse aren't going to be that expensive so I didn't include them. Not to mention everyone has their preferences.

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