Recommend a bare-bones PC


Established Member
Hey guys,

I need a better machine to use as a server. The pentium 166 I'm using isn't cutting it.

CPU isn't that important, anything more than 1 ghz should be great. I need lots of ram, a network card, and that's pretty much it. I have a hard drive. If the motherboard has ata100 or higher connecters, even better.

I've been checking pricewatch, but I'm a little uneasy using it.
I've been checking pricewatch, but I'm a little uneasy using it.

Just go to newegg then; they seem to be pretty much the de-facto "good discount dealer" of the moment. They tend to do a good job of showing up within the first page on Pricewatch, and I've never heard anything particularly bad about them. I have done business with them myself, but not enough to form an opinion on the company in general.
I second Newegg.

Have bought from them a couple times and have tried out their customer service. They impressed me.

If you want to make sure you're getting a good deal, use to compare. It will calculate in your shipping and tax costs.
I built my computer from all newegg parts except my psu. From what I can tell it works fine (Dont have windows yet) But it all checks out in the bios. I highly reccomend them.
My last computer was built with all newegg stuff as well (except for the CDROM drive). I've ordered a bunch of stuff from them with no problems. One time they sent me a video card that seemed to work fine, and then fried itself within a day. Newegg gave me a refund, no questions asked. I just recommend you don't buy that particular brand of card (Albatron). ;)
Crucial is great for RAM -- lifetime limited warrenty

Fast, free shipping as well

Just curious, what's the actual use going to be for the server?

How many PCs connected to it?
Crucial is reliable and they stand behind their RAM 100%.

If it doesn't work right, they'll make it right one way or another.

Very easy to deal with directly.

Fast, free shipping.

They may not be high-end like Corsair, but for the money, they can't be beat
Geil I've heard is decent too. Good price, good chips. They sell more standard stuff as well as performance chips with ultra fast timings. Anyway, you could just pick up an integrated Nforce2 board with everything onboard (and yet without being crap). Slap in some inexpensive Athlon XP and some RAM, etc, and you're good to go.

Newegg is excellent. I've bought (either for myself or shopping for others) thousands of dollars of merchandise from them. No problems on their end at all. Once a case manufacturer made a significant revision to their cases without telling them, I called them and showed them the new pics on the manufacturer's website (which matched what i recieved, but not what they had pictured on newegg), and they RMA'd it immediately. They even covered shipping cost. Picked out another case from them, still using it.
A couple of months back I ordered a bare bones system from access micro. They have drop down boxes so you can select all the hardware, amount of ram, motherboard, etc.. So far my PC has been perfectly reliable.

Heres the link if youd like to check them out Access Micro
Okay, newegg is what you wanna do for your pc. Get an abit motherboard of either cpu flavor that you prefer. Crucial is great cause they'll replace ram no questions asked.
You're aiming for a budget box right? You could save some cash and get a KT400 based board at newegg for 55-63 bucks (including shipping) depending on what you get. I see that Asus A7V8X for 63 with free shipping. If you wanted to step up a bit you could get an Nforce2 with integrated video (which could actually save you money vs a seperate card) like the Shuttle MN31N board. Both of those choices have onboard ethernet and audio as well. Add some DDR333 (there's some Apacer 256MB PC2700 going for a decent price, maybe pick up a pair of those) and a processor.

Get like an Athlon XP 1800+, if you trust the retail HS/fan to do the job in your situation get that one for $56. They have a bundle special with the Biostar Motherboard Model M7VIZ if you wanted to go that route instead of getting a motherboard seperate like I recommended above. Although I don't really favor a micro ATX board like that for this sort of issue. If you feel that you're going to run into heat issues with the stock HS/fan (which you SHOULDN'T, but I've seen it happen when the ambient temp is pretty high), get the OEM 1800+ for $50 (or 1900+ for 52) and get a Speeze Model 5F263B1M3 or 5F286B. The are both very quiet and provide good cooling performance at a reasonable price. Though at $56 I think the retail box 1800+ is an excellent deal.

The rest of the components are easier to pick out, I think. Inexpensive case, decent PSU (maybe an Allied 350w, or Fortron 350w unit), HDD, etc. You have to make the end decisions on what components you need, after all its your money.
I would highly recommend going for at least a Athlon XP 2500+ (with Barton core at 166FSB). A processor with a 166FSB versus the slower 133FSB Athlons would give you a significant boost in memory speed. Something that a server needs badly. On my system going from a 2400+ (133FSB) to the 2500+(166FSB) gave me almost a 30% memory bandwidth boost. I looked on newegg and the retail box (which saves you the trouble of finding a heatsink) costs $90. Well worth it.

When it comes to memory PC3200 ram isn't that expensive anymore and if you don't plan on overclocking you can get any brand really. Getting extrememly expensive branded ram will at most give you a 2-5% speed increase and not something that's worth the cost. If you are overclocking though high quality ram will really help.

As a note I have my 2500+ overclocked to 3200+ speeds with a Thermaltake Volcano 9+ heatsink on it. Run very stable and cool. But I do have really good ram in there to which helps the stability.
I'd recomend going with like a athlon xp 2100+. As I recall it's the fastest cpu you'll get without having to go with ddr333 ram. Having that speed of cpu you won't really find anything except a state of the art game that won't run. In fact, with a good video card you should be able to run pretty much anything on that. At the same time, the cpu should be cheaper than a barton (not by much) but the ram and motherboard will be cheaper too (since price seems to be an issue). As for ram, go crucial, they'll take any ram back no questions asked and replace it. If you don't care about running the newest games, you could go with onboard video (which sucks of the balls, but it's cheaper that way). I'd suggest getting video out onboard if you do, that way you can make a true set top box. A lot of onboard sound will have optical audio out now, if you have a surround receiver you may want to look into that too. Otherwise if you don't have a surround receiver you may want to look into getting a sound blaster audigy platinum (either 1 or 2 ... 1 will be cheaper) they are pricey and the drivers suck, but it would give you surround sound on movies and sound you have on it, as well as giving yout he optical/spdif in to have surround sound on your dvd player or video game consoles you have hooked to it. Asus seems to have a few motherboards with everything onboard as I recall, and I've had a lot of people real pleased with their motherboards.
Originally posted by racketboy@Sep 24, 2003 @ 01:21 AM

I thought he's building a server???

He's not gonna want gaming/sound stuff

That's what I was thinking too... I was thinking even what I recommended was semi-overkill since he is moving from a P166. But they don't get much cheaper on CPUs without moving to outdated stuff, so the 1800+ retail for $56 looked great to me.

Also, what is scared rabbit talking about? Won't have to use DDR333? If he goes with the Nforce2 board, that may be true since Nforce boards like to be run with FSB and memory sync. But if he gets any other chipset, he's going to be able to run DDR333 (which isnt much more) with a FSB at 266. Also as Gameboy pointed out, they have up to 2400+ that still use the old 133 bus (but I wouldn't get one!). If you're going to bother getting parts as fast as that, you might as well get the 2500+ like Gameboy recommended, you could still use an affordable integrated Nforce2 board like the one I recommended and some DDR333. After all, the Shuttle MN31N has audio/video/LAN and is at a reasonable price point.

Anyway, just look over my prior suggestion. If you feel you want a faster CPU, you could take my recommendation for parts and plug in a retail model 2500+ as gameboy said, or an OEM 2500+ and use one of those HS/fans I recommended, they should handle a 2500+ quite well and again, they are very quiet.

Edit: I should clarify that an Nforce board can run memory async, meaning faster than the FSB, just like any other chipset such as the VIA KT400. However, what I meant was that the Nforce boards are very optimized for synchronous operation, and that even if I had DDR333, if my CPU was running at a FSB of 266 I would run my DDR333 at 266 - and in the process gain speed. Yes, that's right, an Nforce2 is generally going to perform better at 266/266 than at 266/333. Confused yet?
How is that better than buying parts? 300-400 can get an entire system, if you don't care about gaming.