[guispeak] introduction and request for advice regarding new computer

  • From: "Missy Hoppe" <melissah@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 08:47:52 -0400

Hello. My name is Missy, and I just subscribed to this list. I'd like to 
appologize in advance for the length of this message, especially if any of 
you may have already read it on another list. I'm just hoping to get as 
much feedback as I can before I make my final computer purchase in a couple 
of weeks.
I'm a blind computer enthusiast preparing to buy a new system, one that I 
hope will last me for at least as
long as my current system has. The last computer I got was in 2002, and 
although it is still more or
less functional, I'm wanting to get a system that is not only more
up-to-date, but also more responsive. I do a lot of work with audio files ,
mostly mp3 and midi. I also do a lot of
web browsing, word processing, and I play a lot of text-based games both on
and off line. I've been trying to do my homework with regards to parts to
include in my dream system. I've decided that even if it might be a little
more expensive, I'd rather "hand pick" every aspect of my new system to
insure that I know exactly what I'm getting and also to insure maximum
compatibility with my screen reading software: the latest version of JFW 
professional.
I have several reasons for not wanting to buy a ready-made system from Dell 
or another similar company. First of all, i have a dell computer at work, 
and it's even more flaky than the computer I'm preparing to retire. 
Secondly, when I put together a hypathetical system on Dell's site that was 
comparable to the one I'm planning, it was over $5000; my current price 
from Newegg for everyting is around $3400. Finally, with Dell or another 
similar company, I'd be buying software and other stuff that I really 
didn't want or need, also a 20+ monitor which is completely pointless in my 
situation.
Now that I've hopefully answered that question, my goals for this system, 
in order of importance, are maximum stability,
maximum responsiveness and as much future proofing as possible. I'm
prepared to spend up to $3500 to get everything as nice as possible, but
naturally, if I could spend less, that would be really great. For numerous
reasons, I'm not planning to upgrade to Windows Vista quite yet; I'm
planning to run my new computer using Windows XP media center edition for a
year or so. Never-the-less, I'd like this new computer to be completely
ready for vista whenever I am.
With all that being said, I was hoping that I could get advice from you
with regards to my final parts checklist, and also a ball park figure of
how much it might cost to get this dream system of mine assembled. Unless I
can get the same parts I want for a better price elsewhere, I'm planning to
purchase all my parts from newegg.com some time next month, and then get
the system assembled by a store or local computer "expert".
Before I spend any money, though, I'm trying to make certain that I haven't
picked out any blatently incompatible parts, or that I haven't overlooked
anything. As much research as I've done over the past couple of months,
there are still a few  things that I don't fully understand. All I know is
that I have no plans to overclock my system, especially since JFW can't
access the bios, so I would have to rely on someone with vision to do all
the playing around, and nobody I know would even have the slightest clue
how to do any of that stuff. Also, I only have minimal understanding with 
regards to what rade is, but I do know that at least for now, I have no 
intention or desire to make use of it. I essencially want somebody to be 
able to put my system together, I install JFW, and then
everything will work together as harmoniously as possible. At this point,
my primary questions are as follows:
First of all, Is there better quality, more stable ram availible than the
brand/model I've chosen? I really would like to use Kingston ram if at all 
possible
because I use one of their cf flash cards in my bookport, and it's never 
given me a second's trouble. I've been
encouraged to get the hyper-x kingston ram instead of the value ran and
vantec heatspreaders, I've tried using memory configurators online, but
haven't had any luck making sense out of their results. As much research as
I've done over the past month or so, I still don't understand all that
stuff about timing, and as I've already stated, I have no plans to
overclock, as I wouldn't be able to do so independently. So, what I'm
looking for is maximum stability and responsiveness. I've read in
several places that motherboards with Intel chipsets specifically require
ram that runs at 1.8V, which is why I picked out the value ram kit, but the 
Kingston
hyper-x ram that other people are recommending me to switch to runs at 2.0 
V. So, in my
situation, should I upgrade to a different model of ram, or would I be
better off just getting the Kingston Value Ram and heat spreaders that I've
already chosen?
Secondly, I've got it narrowed down between 2 motherboards: the ABIT AB9
QuadGT and the Intel D975XBX2KR. I'm leaning towards the Abit board because 
it supposedly supports
quad core processors, which suggests to me that if I ever decide I need to
upgrade again in a few years, I will be able to do so without having to buy
another motherboard. On the other hand, I've read that the Intel board 
might be more stable, so would appreciate some
guidance regarding the best motherboard for my needs. In your experience,
which of these motherboards is more likely to play nice with JFW? As I've 
already indicated in my introduction,, I'm
looking for maximum stability and responsiveness. So, if anyone could 
please
provide feedback with regards to which of these two motherboards might be
best suited for my needs, I would really appreciate it.
My final concern, which is probably the most important of all when it comes
to JFW's stability is choosing the most appropriate video
card.Is the one I've chosen going to be adequate, or is there a better
option out there? Are there any brands/models of video cards I should make 
sure to avoid? When I contacted Freedom Scientific for guidance in this 
matter, the only advice I got was that Nvidia cards seem to be more likely 
to play nice with JFW these days, but am wondering if I should get a dx10 
capable card,
or just stick with the significantly less expensive model I've already
chosen.
These are the only questions that I can think of at the moment, but I'd
really appreciate any and all feedback you might be able to provide. This
new system is going to be a huge investment for me, so I want to make sure
I'm only spending what is strictly necessary to build the best PC I
possibly can. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide, and
I hope that everyone is having a really great day!
Sincerely,
Melissa J. Hoppe

APEVIA X-Dreamer II ATXB4KLW-BL Blue Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W 
Power Supply
Model Number: ATXB4KLW-BL

Thermaltake A1926 120mm Blue LED Case Fan
Model Number: Thunderblade A1926

Thermaltake A2387 80mm Blue LED Case Fan
Model Number: A2387

ABIT AB9 QuadGT LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model Number: AB9 QuadGT

Intel BOXD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard
Model Number: BOXD975XBX2KR

EVGA 256-P2-N445-LX GeForce 7300GT 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card
Model #: 256-P2-N445-LX

Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 MCE PCI Interface 1042 Tuner Card
Model Number: 1042

CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: CMPSU-620HX

Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 Conroe 2.93GHz LGA 775 Processor
Model Number: BX80557X6800

Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual 
Channel Kit Desktop Memory
Model Number: KVR800D2N5K2/2G

SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive
Model Number: MPF920 Black

Seagate Barracuda ES ST3500630NS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Model Number: ST3500630NS

SAMSUNG 740N-BK Black 17" 8ms LCD Monitor
Model Number: 740n-Black

SONY Combo Drive Black IDE Model CRX320EE/B2S W/O SW
Model Number: CRX320EE/B2S W/O SW

SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology 
Black SATA Model SH-S183L
Model Number: SH-S183L

Creative 70SB046A00000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi 
XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series
Model Number: 70SB046A00000

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2b
Model Number: M93-00439

Microsoft Office Professional 2003 SP2
Model Number: 269-13253

Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound
Model Number: Ceramique

VANTEC ICEBERG DDR-A1A Aluminum Heatsinks only
Model Number: ICEBERG DDR-A1A

Thermaltake CL-C0034 Copper Fan&Heatsinks
Model Number: CL-C0034

ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2  Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
Model Number: CNPS9500 AT

ZALMAN ZM-NB47J Aluminum Heatsinks only
Model Number: ZM-NB47J

ZALMAN VF700LED - CU 2 Ball LED VGA Cooling Fan with Heatsink - Retail
Model #: VF700LED - CU

VANTEC HDC-701A-BL Aluminum Aluminum Hard Driver Cooler
Model Number: HDC-701A-BL 

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