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Building 2nd Gaming PC - Center for Home Theatre System

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December 24, 2005 9:32:40 PM

Hi, I'm building my second pc that will be used primarily for gaming. (BF2, COD2, Fear, etc.) I learned alot from my first rig and that I should get as much feedbeck before I purchase. My first rig included a 2.53 ghz p4, 9700 pro aiw, via mobo, etc. It was top of the line 3 years ago...now its crap. I can only run cod2 at 1024x768 if everything is at minimum settings!!!
I'm only 15, but I do have a job and I'm working on building a new $1000 rig that will be the center of a media center for my room. I understand that NOTHING in computers is ever really futureproof, but I'd appreciate feedback as to whether plans for my new pc are pratical (seen below). I have a home theatre system 6.1 surround from onkyo already and a great sony trintiron crt for gaming, but I plan to get a multifunction samsugn hdtv next year for my ps3 or 360 (my room is small -10 x10 so an all in one flat screen saves ALOT of space). So if anyone could critique my specs for a new rig that I plan to use until 2008 without any major upgrades since I'll be leaving for college then (no more time for gaming once I'm at MIT, lol), that'd be greatly appreciated.

Primarily Gaming PC, want to use with hdtv in near future, occassional video editing, schoolwork, web, may possibly try overclocking with liquid coolilng in near future, but not neccessary

*prices from new egg

CASE (150): Thermaltake XASER, Armor Series VA8000BWS Black
Aluminum/Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
PSU (120): Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550
CPU (330): AMD Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego
GPU (370): eVGA Geforce 7800GT
Mobo (bundled with GPU): eVGA 133-K8-NF41 Socket 939 NVIDIA
nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

I know mobo isnt best but for my budget i thikn its good, plus Im pretty sure I'll see massive differences in this rig from my first one.

Plan to reuse:
RAM: 1 gib pc3200 patriot, 512 generic pc3200
HDD: WD 7200rpm 8mb cache 120 gb - primary ; WD 5600rpm 2 mb
cahce 160 gb -storage

I've done ALOT of research and I'm concerned about heat. I know this is a long post, but I'm a first timer for forums and I want as much feedback as possible. THANKS IN ADVANCE!
December 25, 2005 2:00:35 AM

Quote:
I know mobo isnt best but for my budget i thikn its good, plus Im pretty sure I'll see massive differences in this rig from my first one.

NO, it's a good mobo as it can push 250mhz FSB easy. Check around for the price on that combo, I think Monarchcomputer has it for $355.

NO, you don't get the 4000+, you get the 3700+ ($230) and OC it to save yourself a Franklin

Nice looking case and expensive..but cases are at your whim

The PSU you picked doesn't have good review but this one does and it is only $40. True the Neopower does have that 85% efficiency and 3x 12V rail, but do you actually need that?

Is the Patriot RAM dual channel? If yes, reuse it. If no, don't and get some Corsair VS 1gb ram for $76. It is better for OC'ing when you use 2x512 dual channel than a single stick of 1gb. Don't reuse the generic 512 ram.

The HDD are fine, just what connection do they use? Most mobo don't have more than two IDE connection and I only see two IDE connector on that mobo but it says supports up to four...

As for heat issue, the AMD won't have nearlt as much heat as the P4 you have. But, you still need two case fans(120mm preferred) and the stock HSF if you don go above 15% OC. I dono if your case comes with fans or what fans it can hold.

With the $$$ saved from chopping down stuff, $170 approximately, you can get a sound card since you're going surround sound. NF4 mobo don't have that great of sound onboard. Check out this one:

Audigy 2 ZS Platinum It has the 192 khz going and only $100 after rebate.

This should be about it. Now if your going to MIT you can probably make this computer from metals in the lab.....jk
December 25, 2005 2:22:04 AM

Thanks for your input.

About the 3700+, would a stock heatsink be sufficient to OC?
I've tried to oc my 2.53 p4 wiht a stock n the system just restarts
when I go past 2.6. I've heard teh zalman reserator 1 is a good
liquid cooling solution, but I dont think I really need that. Maybe
a copper heatsink? my case will hold 2 120mm and 2 90mm fans,
but after checking the manufacturers page, i still dont know if the case
comes wiht the fans or if i hav to buy it. according to newegg pics,
it only comes with one fan. would u know where i could get the same
exact fans. when i searched on newegg, i found thermaltake fans, but
they had higher decibal levels, etc. than the case fans.

As for the psu, i didnt know that the neopower did not receive good
reviews, but I do prefer something more than the one you suggested.
If i ever do get sli or upgrade later, I may need as much as 35a on the
12v rail. that one only has 34. plus i heard it extra power increases system
stability n overclcoking potential. maybe im wrong.

the harddrives are ide and i did notice too that the pic only shows 1 controller. since im reusing my 2 optical dirves, totaling 4 devices, that could be a problem, so ill contact evga. My only concern with the hdd is that the cables may be too short to reach the mobo in such a large case. is there such thing as an extension as i hav not been able to find one.

as for the sound card , i think onboard audio should be fine, since i have a receive that can decode audio to 6.1, plus im not huge on audio. i dont care so much about fine details, as long it sounds good to my ears.

thanks for your helpp

As for MIT, did u know they built the first $100 laptop. I'll take 10. lol.
Related resources
December 25, 2005 3:17:51 AM

yes, the 3700+ can do a mere 200mhz OC on stock HSF. I said above the stock can do 15% OC, more than enough to get the 3700+ to 4000+ stat. (e.g. 200x11 to 220x11). If you really need a good HSF, the SI-120 from Thermalright is a beast. It is huge so you wanna make sure the board fits, plus you can adjust fan speed to control noise. There's absolutely no need for liquid cooling right now. The reason why you can't OC much on your P4 is probably the stock HSF is not designed properly(a known issue) or some other component issue.

You increase the voltage to CPU(Vcore) not because the CPu needs more power(*voltage) but it needs more current. Ohm's Law i'm sure you've heard, V=IR. Also, you increase Vdimm(for memory) for the same reason.

The case comes with one 120mm fan i checked. let someoen else recommend a quite 120 mm fan for you. The thermaltake ones move alot o f air, but it's 21dB is not counting the air rushing noise thru the holes(very interesting).

for longer cable you can get some round cables for your drives. they are longer and is round in the middle as opposed to a flat band that takes up room. They are cheap and you can find them on newegg.

i'd say sell one or two IDE HDD on ebay and take the sell revenue combined with saving from CPU to get one/two SATA drive. SATA has no price difference from IDE. IF you are interested, get two SATA and go raid 0 for fast loading.

Definitely go for a better PSU, i was just trying to show the difference. Hear the Antec TruePowers are very reliable. Also look into FSP, Enermax, OCZ, etc... A good one runs around $100. However, GPU's are only gonna need less power with the GPU unit getting more and more power efficient.

Since you did say your room was small then a full size tower is.... But i guess with your massive amounts of drive you are fine in terms of air flow.

sound card no sound card, your choice. But you can definitely notice a difference between the stock one and the retail one.
December 25, 2005 9:01:20 AM

Quote:
Thanks for your input.


As for the psu, i didnt know that the neopower did not receive good
reviews, but I do prefer something more than the one you suggested.
If i ever do get sli or upgrade later, I may need as much as 35a on the
12v rail. that one only has 34. plus i heard it extra power increases system
stability n overclcoking potential. maybe im wrong.




12 * 35 = 420w How do you plan to draw 420 on the 12v rail? Thats a lot even for SLI!
December 25, 2005 11:57:46 AM

The question I have for you is how long you intend on keeping this computer? If you intend on keeping it as long as you have had that P4, the an A64 X2 3800 is a better solution. Check out this link:
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/quake_4_dual-core_p...

It clearly illustrates that CPUs are no longer the driving force behind gaming performance. GPUs are. It really doesnt matter if you have a 3500 or a 4000, once you go up to 1600x1200 res and 6x AA/AF, the GPU is the determining factor. BUT, there will come a time when your 7800GT will be limited to low resolutions and slower frame rates. Whan this happens (as it has happenedto your 9700 AIW) dual core can be what allows you to get past that. As the article points out, a simple patch can boost game play and extend the life of your computer by optimizing for dual threads and is much cheaper than boosting performance by buying another graphics card. Additionaly, you can easily boost the clock speed on the X2 3800 to 2.4 Ghz quite easily with minimal heat output and voltage increases by getting better RAM. You can get 1GB of DDR 500 RAM for less than 150 bucks. But if you are the type to keep p with the jones and buy again once you arent at the tip of the spear, buy an FX CPU and two X1800XTs while you are at it you know?
December 25, 2005 8:50:48 PM

A good point about the X2 3800+. Games and other application will definitely take advantage of dual-core later on(two to three years depending on how lazy the software weenies are) and the 3800 X2 is the same price as the 4000+. So it is an option to consider but personally I would wait a year or two cuz by then the dual-core won't be nearly as much expensive as it is now. Of course any AMD CPU at or above 2.0ghz will be fine for gaming. Ya, good RAM's are good for him too.
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