Decision Criteria - chipset, BIOS supplier, FSB speed, number of slots, number of peripheral ports, memory support, IDE support, bus speed, on-board sound, ethernet, USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, software and operating system support.
Amazing how much has changed in the last 12 months. Speeds have increased dramatically both for CPU's and busses. Memory is now DDR at 333mhz (PC2700). Serial ATA is available on the motherboard for the hard disk interface.
- As many interfaces and features on board as possible
- Use Intel Pentium 4 CPU at 2.8ghz or greater
- Need at least 5 PCI slots to handle specialized add-on cards.
The motherboard is the GA-8PE667 Ultra 2 It has a nice combination of on-board support with stability and performance. Supports 6 PCI slots, on-board Gigabit Ethernet, sound, USB 2.0, Serial ATA, ATA133, and RAID. Supports DDR333 memory.
The sound chip gives full 6 channel audio with the on-board interface supporting SP/IDF for digital connection to an out board stereo system.
With the declining availability of SCSI peripherals, the motherboard's ability to support fast IDE devices is important. The GA-8PE667 Ultra 2 has excellent support in this area. The primary two IDE interfaces support up to ATA100 devices, and in addition, there are a further two Promise RAID IDE connectors and 2 Serial ATA connectors.
This capability means that we can construct a PC with high availability RAID disk without spending a lot on a single function RAID controller card that occupies a PCI slot.
I used to like IBM hard drives, but my experience with the GXP75 failures and the difficulty in getting timely support from IBM has put me off.
Rather than have multiple brands in the PC, we are going with one Maxtor D740X 80GB drive for the system drive, and two of the same drives for the RAID array.
Maxtor appears to have two variants of the D740X - conventional bearings and fluid bearings. The fluid bearings are supposed to be better.
Decision Criteria - Need to have a fast read write capability to rip CD's and write backups. With large on board memory buffers, no need to use SCSI interface, so IDE will do. Driver and software support are essential..
Decision Criteria - The cost of video cards has now exceeded that of the motherboard. With memory and processing power larger than that of PC's of two years ago, these cards are now major components in their own right.
Since The Perfect PC is being built to handle video editing, playing of DVD films, and 3D gaming, we need to carefully balance raw 3D performance with physical interfaces necessary to support video manipulation.
We need a DVI interface to use an LCD display, and a SPDIF interface for connection to existing AV equipment.
Top performing video cards are built on chipsets from nVidia and ATI. Look for AGP8x, DirectX 9 support, and 128mb memory.
ATI make their own cards and their top chip is the Radeon 9700. Although you can get this chip on a pure 3D gaming card, the more interesting variant is the ALL-IN-WONDER® RADEON 9700 Pro
For integration with AV systems and video editing, the ALL-IN-WONDER® RADEON 9700 Pro is the top card from ATI. It has all the requisite ports, as well as 2 1EEE 1394 sockets.
To build a pure gaming machine, also go with an ATI based card. Current top chip is the Radeon 9700..
Rather than spend over the top for the fastest version, it is possible to get the same chip but clocked at a slightly lower speed. Cards are made by ATI and various OEMs, with the most interesting cards from
Decision Criteria - Although it is possible to have as much storage as we want internally, an external drive has merit as a way of moving very large files around, maintaining image backups physically isolated from the system, and providing a platform for fast external storage to a laptop.
Using the Fire Wire interface, it is possible to get a drive that is fast enough to support video editing and flexible enough to be used on desktops, laptops, and other operating systems.
Maxtor is again the choice with their Personal Storage 3000DV. This drive is a self-contained unit that uses the IEEE 1394 (Fire Wire) interface. It has the performance to handle streaming video. Capacities up to 80gb.
Decision Criteria - .While DVD ROM has been around for a while, there is a standards battle raging for DVD writing and re-writing. Rather than continue waiting, Sony has released a drive that supports all the current standards in a single drive.
It would be a nice bonus to get a drive that is "region free". .
Crucial is the trade name for Micron's direct selling site. Excellent quality, prompt service, and international shipping. No need to worry about getting seconds, or re-labelled product from the local PC mafia.
The part we need is the CT6464Z335 This is a 512MB 184-pin DIMM rated at DDR PC2700 .