Advice needed on a system I'm building

8 replies [Last post]
Peter Barden
Joined: Sep 26 2001

Hi all,

I'd be most grateful if anyone could give me some advice on a new system I'm about to build. I've pretty much got together all the parts I want to buy, and am working on a pretty tight budget, but would be really grateful if anyone has any advice on the system, either other parts I would need or parts I should replace. The computer is going to be used predominantly for video editing using Premiere 6 through DV500 and occasionaly dvd production, probably through a programme like Adobe Encore (not yet purchased). Here's the spec:

Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2600+ 2.08Ghz SoA – 333FSB - OEM Price £49 from Dabs
CPU Fan: Cooler Master CP5-6J31C SocketA Upto XP3000 AMD Approved Price £6.08Ebuyer
Memory: ??? 512MB PC3200 DDR 400Hz DIMM Price £54.63 from Microdirect
Video Drive: Western Digital Caviar 120GB 7200 rpm EIDE Hard Drive – OEM Price £54.67 from Ebuyer
Prog Drive: Western Digital Caviar 40GB 7200 rpm IDE Disc Drive Price £36.34 from Ebuyer
Motherboard: Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe nforce 2 Skt A 8xAGP + Giga LAN + SATA + Firewire + 6 ch. Audio +USB2 Dual chan. DDR + WiFi Slot (up to DDR400) Price £68.14 from Ebuyer
Tower Case: JNC 4JA 8626 Blue ATX Midi Tower Case 350 Watt with Front Panel Audio USB & Firewire Price £14.10 from Ebuyer
Floppy: Alps 1.44 Internal 3.5” Floppy Disk Drive Price £7 from Dabs
Keyboard: ??? Keyboard Mouse and Speaker Bundle 180 Watt Price £5.87 from Ebuyer
Power Supply: Ebuyer 500w Power Supply Blue With Dual Fans Price £15.27 from Ebuyer
DVD Drive: Pioneer 106 DVD Burner Already have
Monitor: 17" Belinea Monitor Already have
Capture Card: DV500 Already have

I've also got a few questions:
1. What is the difference between the boxed and OEM Athlon XP 2600+?
2. Is it worth my while creating a RAID setup and if so how do I create one?
3. Would it make a big difference if I had two video drives instead of one?
4. Is the tower case I've selected okay, as I don't really know how you check suitability for the motherboard?
5. Which operating system should I go for? Adobe Encore only works with XP and I've been told conflicting things about which OS. I was told today that because I'm using the DV500 I should be using Windows 98 for stability. Be most grateful for advice on that one.

I really would be extremely grateful for advice on any of the above. I'm a bit worried to go ahead and buy all this stuff because I'm not 100% that it all works together. I would pay the extra and get a company to build it, but I'm on an extremely tight budget.

Thanks for your help in advance,

Pete Barden

Offline Television Editor, FCP & Avid

Editing at home: Quad Intel Core i7 Imac 2.93Ghz, 4GB RAM, Mac OSX Leopard, FCP 7

Camera setup: Canon 550D, Vinten Vision Blue Tripod, Canon 100-400 L, Canon 50mm Prime, Canon 18-55

Joined: Apr 24 2002


1. As far as I am aware the only diff is if the chip fails. With retail boxed AMD do a direct swop whereas an OEM goes back to where you bought it.

2. Remember that RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Devices. Devised as a way of protecting data in large server applications, the data was shared between various identical drives. The clever part was that if one drive went down the RAID system could rebuild the data.

There are differing versions of RAID, all we need to be concerned about are RAID 0 and RAID 1. RAID 0 creates one large drive (eg 2 x 60GB drives would be seen as 1 x 120GB by the OS). RAID 1 is as described above.

Having built a RAID 0 on my last machine, I wouldn't bother. I have an 80 Gb drive on my machine where I store video (note I do not call it a 'video drive') and that, when empty, allows 5 and a half hours of capture, I think 11 hours would be enough for your needs.

3. If you are using IDE you are really restriced to 2 HDD's because if you add a drive to the same channel as the DVD it will slow down.

If you are using SATA (which is a damn sight quicker) then you can only have 1 drive per connection and there are only a maximum of 2 (if any) on the motherboard.

You can add a PCI card if you really want more drives.

For the small price premium, I would go for an 80Gb OS/data drive.

4 I probably look at cases differently to you. Ease of construction is more important than looks. My own case is a 6 year old full tower by Chembro that literally comes to pieces. I've yet to find a better one, but they don't seem to be available any more.

On a more general note, size matters. You can fit a micro motherboard in a standard case, but you can't fit a large motherboard in a micro case.

I can't comment on your choice apart from it is the cheapest case I've ever heard of.

5 Wisdom says that XP is better than 98. However you can hedge your bets and load both and use the XP multi boot option. You could then use 98 for capture and XP for editing.

If you live fairly near the Watford area, I could give you a hand.


Joined: Aug 27 1999

I agree with everything David has already said, and have a few further comments

1 Often retail comes with an approved fan, and OEM is just the chip. Check to see if this is the case with you.

2 Theres little point in making a RAID setup as disks are plenty fast enough for DV. I have a 'mirror RAID' set up where one disk automatically copies the other, but that's only for storing backups of crucial data. Otherwise stick with plain disks.

3 Two drives is a good idea, just for file management mainly. I would highly recommend a removable caddy, as you fill the drives you can begin to put each project on its own HDD - this will happen much sooner than you think.

I have an HDD attached to a DVD drive and it doesn't slow it down enough for me to notice, so don't worry about using 3 drives.

I'd agree with going for the 80 gig drive, they're what? 30-40 quid? No point getting less.

4 Will the case fit the MB is simple a matter of measuring the dimensions... as long as it will physically go in, then all the I/Os etc are standard, and there will be a varity of backplates included in the case, one of which will fit your MB

5 Go with XP. If I were to retrograde a DV500 board it would be to Win 2000, not Win 98,having said that, the DV500 seems to work fine under my XP setup (caveat- Im running a completely different HW config though.) Also with '98 you'll run into the 2 gig file limit

Other thoughts:
You haven't mentioned video card at all, I'd recommend a dual card and another 17" monitor.

Also check your power supply is certified for AMD: find out the exact make and model and Google it- it seems far too cheap to me!

Joined: Apr 28 2001

Why not forget the floppy and add in an internal multi format card reader instead.
I have a floppy in my NLE machine and have never used it!
I do use the card reader though.

All sorts of kit....but never enough!

Joined: Apr 24 2002

If you are loading raid drivers, etc with XP you need a floppy.

You also need a floppy to load digital certificates, etc

harlequin's picture
Joined: Aug 16 2000
Originally posted by DD_UK:
If you are loading raid drivers, etc with XP you need a floppy.

You also need a floppy to load digital certificates, etc

the raid drivers for my raid card (promise) came on a cd and loaded from a cd after windows was installed.

i see no advantage in using raid for the system volume.

Gary MacKenzie ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Joined: Aug 27 1999

I haven't used the floppy drive for years, and in one machine I installed a drive but forgot to connect the IDE cable, and it was months before I noticed. Does anyone still have floppys in the house? When was the last time you bought a box of floppy disks?

I guess I'm putting FDDs in out of habit, when in truth leaving them out would be one less ribbon cable and slighty better air flow.

Card reader is a good idea, but then the USB PnP ones are cheap and only hog your resources when you want them (I don't like having half a dozen unused drives showing up in explorer)

I'd stick an ultra quiet fan in the space.

PS It sounds as if you already have one computer: if you find you're in desperate need of an FDD you can always yank it out of the old one, use it then stick it back in.

Joined: May 14 2004


A lot of good advice. Everyone has good ideas. Here are mine. Stick with faster sata, get a floppy( flashing bios, ghost ) , go with a 2 moniter set up. Make sure to get a good power supply. I can say 500 watts and still suck. Get a name like antec. components recomendation. Ati 9800 pro. It is approx 179$ It has dual moniter and can play games, santa cruz turtle beach soundcard is a non irq hogging soundcard. I also agree about removable caddie. I use them all the time. I have two system drives ( one for editing multi tracking, one fro gaming and porn ) and many export drives. Keep the system drive small. 40 gb. Do not load anything but system and programs on system drive. I also agree about xp. I would also up it to a gb of ram. Good Luck

asus p4533c@2.53 /4x512 1066 @533
40 gb system /240 gb raid /80 gb
dvd burner
Santa Cruz Turtle Beach
Aardvark 20/20 soundcard
matrox rt.x100
Ati Radeon 9800 pro
19" Nec crt / 17" cheapie / tv

Peter Barden
Joined: Sep 26 2001

Thanks for all your help guys. I've managed to get a system built which seems to be working fairly smoothly. Thanks once again.


Offline Television Editor, FCP & Avid

Editing at home: Quad Intel Core i7 Imac 2.93Ghz, 4GB RAM, Mac OSX Leopard, FCP 7

Camera setup: Canon 550D, Vinten Vision Blue Tripod, Canon 100-400 L, Canon 50mm Prime, Canon 18-55