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Discussion Starter #1
Okay.

For those who read the last thread on this topic. I'm looking to design a system for my boss when he needs to upgrade his office systems.

We need power, stability, cheap as possible, and hopfully a way to cable-connect them together so they can share the work files over a secure line.

We will be doing e-filing of legal paper in the near future, and that may call for broadband abilities, but we don't have that right now, and he may elect to stay on dialup for the amount of filing we actually do.

This is what I've hunted down. I'm sure I can pick a good video card, DVD unit, HD and so forth, but I need a good case that has (1) USB access on the front and (2) very good ventilation....I'm thinking of at least one spot to mount a fan that blows cooling air right onto the MB without having to cut holes into the case.

What do you think?

AthlonXP 3200 or 3000 (I'm inclined to go for the 3200)
Abit KV7 MB (sounds good and has built-in sound card)
DDR400 512MB RAM (maxes out the FSB of the motherboard)

I know Abit has a good rep, but how has the KV7 measured up? I'm sure the AthlonXP 3200 is more power than an office will ever likely use.
 

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For cases, look at Antec. They're not cheap (though not exorbitantly expensive) but they're very well-made, have lots of ports, are extremely well-ventilated, etc. Antec also makes pretty much the best (IMO) power supplies on the market.
 

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Here's the last case I bought. It's got a fan on the side and one on top. I'm running an AMD 64 and it works great. Doesn't come with a power supply, so you'll have to get one of those too. I paid $28, but it looks like it's $31 now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ohhh....I like that case. Looks just like what he'll need. :)
 

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Don't worry about cases with USB on the front. They tend to be somewhat more expensive in my experience and a USB hub or just a $5.00 cable is just as convenient.

I'm more of a MSI or Asus guy myself, but that Abit board looks reasonable. For networking get yourself a router with a 4 or 8 port switch built in. That way you've got networking ready to go adn can just drop in broadband if things go that way later on.
 

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Why in the world are you BUILDING a PC or server for a business? :confused HP/Compaq and IBM all have reasonably priced systems for less than the parts cost of a typical DIY system. Unless you have some specific graphics, RAM, or other performance need, its much better from a business perspective to get something that comes with (or is available at a nominal cost) a 9x5 Next Business Day onsite warranty for 1-3 years. :shrug

If you need a referral to a company & salesperson, PM me.
 

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JoshuaTree said:
Why in the world are you BUILDING a PC or server for a business? :confused HP/Compaq and IBM all have reasonably priced systems for less than the parts cost of a typical DIY system. Unless you have some specific graphics, RAM, or other performance need, its much better from a business perspective to get something that comes with (or is available at a nominal cost) a 9x5 Next Business Day onsite warranty for 1-3 years. :shrug

If you need a referral to a company & salesperson, PM me.
They are not going to be able to touch a <$400 system like what he is looking at putting together. Then add $200 for a 1-3 year onsite warranty..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I am willing to look at packages, but I need to see what can do myself.

The benefit of a "built" system is that you'd get the warranty and customer support. In all the years I've owned computers, I've learned they don't pay for themselves.

The benefit of a "home built" system is that you get what you want and no BS.

Dell threw in so much crap it made no sense. A powerful P4 with HT tech, and 800 mhz FSB but slower memory than is in my AthlonXP system at home (that I built about two years ago). An ATA100 HD when the interface is able to support ATA133.

Hello? This guy does not intend to replace this system until he OUTGROWS it. He would like that to be NEVER. If the CPU is not going to be matched with memory capable of holding up to the FSB of the CPU, why bother with such a fast CPU in the first place? They give you an impressive CPU then "dumb down" the system with cheap components to offer you that bargain price. They're building you a system you will likely want to replace in a few years. :(

Researching the CPUs on Tom's Hardware Guide, I can see that I'm looking at the FASTEST of AMD CPUs available at a reasonable price. The AthlonXP64 is not good for a business like his because there's not much 64-bit OS or software out there, and none will be likely in development for a law office environment. He's not a techno-geek, so he likely won't even play any games on his home system.

I'm not likely to ever use my current system to full capacity and what I'm planning on building him will be a little faster than my current system.

I know a USB link cable can be had cheap, but it would look cleaner if he could plug a USB flash drive right into the front of the unit.

I'm still gussing on video cards. A law office doesn't need anything superfancy, but I'd want to put in at least a 64MB video accelerator just so that he won't ever have video performance problems. I'm not sure what he has on his computer now (Voodoo?), but it sucks ass. I almost think he has no video acceleration at all. That, or it's an on-board card (likely from Dell), and by sharing system RAM, it works like crap. :(

As paperless filing is going to be the norm starting right now, he needs to be able to breaze through visual documents rendered on screen with no lag time.

Also, a custom-built system means you get quality parts you trust, not what someone else want's to pack in there. :p
 

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Baby Gorilla said:
Well, I am willing to look at packages

BG, I always wondered if you went that way....

But seriously, you have a good plan. Stck with it.

If I can make one suggestion, if the boss is not much of a techy, partition his HDD in half and once you get the image with everything setup to his needs, ghost the image to the second partition. use this process once or twice a month so that if he ever does muck something up, he can get it back...

just my .02 worth.
 

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Baby Gorilla said:
Well, I am willing to look at packages, but I need to see what can do myself.

The benefit of a "built" system is that you'd get the warranty and customer support. In all the years I've owned computers, I've learned they don't pay for themselves.

The benefit of a "home built" system is that you get what you want and no BS.

Dell threw in so much crap it made no sense. A powerful P4 with HT tech, and 800 mhz FSB but slower memory than is in my AthlonXP system at home (that I built about two years ago). An ATA100 HD when the interface is able to support ATA133.

Hello? This guy does not intend to replace this system until he OUTGROWS it. He would like that to be NEVER. If the CPU is not going to be matched with memory capable of holding up to the FSB of the CPU, why bother with such a fast CPU in the first place? They give you an impressive CPU then "dumb down" the system with cheap components to offer you that bargain price. They're building you a system you will likely want to replace in a few years. :(

Researching the CPUs on Tom's Hardware Guide, I can see that I'm looking at the FASTEST of AMD CPUs available at a reasonable price. The AthlonXP64 is not good for a business like his because there's not much 64-bit OS or software out there, and none will be likely in development for a law office environment. He's not a techno-geek, so he likely won't even play any games on his home system.

I'm not likely to ever use my current system to full capacity and what I'm planning on building him will be a little faster than my current system.

I know a USB link cable can be had cheap, but it would look cleaner if he could plug a USB flash drive right into the front of the unit.

I'm still gussing on video cards. A law office doesn't need anything superfancy, but I'd want to put in at least a 64MB video accelerator just so that he won't ever have video performance problems. I'm not sure what he has on his computer now (Voodoo?), but it sucks ass. I almost think he has no video acceleration at all. That, or it's an on-board card (likely from Dell), and by sharing system RAM, it works like crap. :(

As paperless filing is going to be the norm starting right now, he needs to be able to breaze through visual documents rendered on screen with no lag time.

Also, a custom-built system means you get quality parts you trust, not what someone else want's to pack in there. :p
All pc's and components are going to get old. Many buisnesses prefer to lease. That way you get near top line every year or two depending on the lease program. I would suggest Dell. Just because its a buisness and maintenance on built boxes that are not supported will cost way more than the lease with support. You should be running back ups, right. If you will do image backups you will be able to swap your boxes at lease time with little to no down time. Then your network will be all you have to worry about working on. In an office environment I would suggest you stick to p4's. p4 + 800 mhz bus. Thats still leaves your bottle neck at the RAM, but it will still be plenty fast. AMD for overclocking and gaming. Don't get me wrong AMD can handle a load but lets see you get one in a box on a lease...

On the video part. Just get boards with an express slot you can put whatever you want in there and take it out when the lease is up. Same with the ram if you need more.

PS. if you do go AMD and build your self go try to stay on the 939 socket. It will upgrade better, be better on upgrades. However you want to say it.:D
 

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I understand the concerns regarding parts quality, and choosing what you want. As a business owner (or advising the same), the primary concern should be reliablility, service, and O/S Version support. As for system pricing, you might be surprised - have you checked with someone other than Dell?

I have a small retail business here in Austin that I do computer support work for. Five years ago, I had them purchase a set of PII-450 systems to run Quickbooks. They've had two hard disk drives go bad, both of which were replaced under warranty the next day. The systems are still in good use today. Are they "instantaneously fast" - no. Do they handle having more than 2-3 apps open at the same well - no. Are they incredibly cost-effective over their current service life (the end of which could be another year or two) - YES, absolutely.

My point being, that it is rarely the case that for non-intensive computing applications, its better to have the O/S and warranty support than to have the best performance possible.

Also from your initial description, I'd think that you'd want to put as much of the "budget" into good LCD monitors, as it seems that you're going to be operating primarily a "visual" application. In addition, is the application (or should it) store the data/images to a server setup - one that has automated tape backup or even duplicate image drives (either JBOD "copies" or RAID drive setups).

Excellent suggestion on getting a small Firewall/Router with an integrated switch for networking. That way there's no need to go out and buy another device when you need to integrate broadband internet connectivity.

Leasing versus purchase is a financial (i.e. expense vs. capital) consideration. Building and supporting your own versus buying factory systems are an operational and business risk decision. Besides, do you want to be the object of rath if the systems start to malfunction - after all , you recommended the parts, you built it - why doesn't it work? :shrug

YMMV... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Leasing sounds good, but as my boss says, "We're about to be African American wealthy for a few months."

Last thing he really wants is a lease that costs one more check each month when the clients haven't paid up accounts.

Owning outright means you don't have to keep paying on it.
 

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Baby Gorilla said:
An ATA100 HD when the interface is able to support ATA133.
name one ata drive that can do > 100megs/sec. the closest is the 7200.8 that just came out (96). there's almost no reason to use ata133 over ata100,
 

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Baby Gorilla said:
Leasing sounds good, but as my boss says, "We're about to be African American wealthy for a few months."

Last thing he really wants is a lease that costs one more check each month when the clients haven't paid up accounts.

Owning outright means you don't have to keep paying on it.
First of all WTF does "We're about to be African American wealthy for a few months." mean? :mad

Second if your on a budget then leasing would be better in my mind. Lets say you build a system for $500 right now. You just put out $500 today. Now if you lease one you put out what? Maybe $10-20 per month? Thats $120-240 in the first year. So you had an extra $380-260 in your bank account for that year. Also Dell has a don't pay for 90 thing going on which means you have time to start bringing in money before you start paying for it.

You pay for in all in the end. You can throw down 100% right away or make smaller payments over X number of years. Also by leasing you can get a little better system and spread out the cost.

James
 

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Flexin said:
First of all WTF does "We're about to be African American wealthy for a few months." mean? :mad

Second if your on a budget then leasing would be better in my mind. Lets say you build a system for $500 right now. You just put out $500 today. Now if you lease one you put out what? Maybe $10-20 per month? Thats $120-240 in the first year. So you had an extra $380-260 in your bank account for that year. Also Dell has a don't pay for 90 thing going on which means you have time to start bringing in money before you start paying for it.

You pay for in all in the end. You can throw down 100% right away or make smaller payments over X number of years. Also by leasing you can get a little better system and spread out the cost.

James
+1 and you also get to make interest off the money you save in the first year. Not that we're talking about 500 machines but if one is going to nit pick you can do it both ways.

I think DIY computers is the wrong way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, my hard drives are ATA133 @ 7,200 RPM. If none of them are able to do better than 100 MB/sec, they are violating truth in labeling laws to sell them as being rated for faster speeds.

The term he came up with is definitely not PC, but it's reflective of what minorities in our area tend to do. Come into some money and in a few months it will all be gone.
 

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I doubt the word African American was even used :rolleyes

But, coming into a "some" money doesn't make you rich...so losing or wasting money would be a term for anybody losing "some" money after they come into it....So in turn it's stupid cause it can represent any group of people and worst of all this is coming from a business :shake

If these are terms flying around there I hopes it goes bankrupt :shrug
 
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