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How does this homebuilt look--good for gaming on a budget?

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January 8, 2006 8:47:24 PM

Forgot to mention this at first, I will be using this for gaming hopefully on very high settings, not for video or photo editing, and does not need to multitask like crazy...just good graphics and a fast computer altogether. Have about a max out at $2000. Heres the setup:

Big questions are, in this setup, should I get a better HD, CPU or VGA than presented? My goal is not to overclock much if at all. Thanks a lot for suggestions!

Case: Antec Sonata-II Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 450W Power Supply

Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ / 512KB Cache / 2000MHz FSB / Socket 939 / Venice Core / Processor with Fan or do I spend another hundred or so for a 4000+??? OR look into dual core processors?

ATi x850 XT Platinum (I prefer ATi to NVidia for some reason)

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE 120GB 7200rpm Parallel ATA100 or a Western 10,000 RPM HD much better?

RAM: Crucial 512MBX2 (1GB) PC3200 DDR 400 Ballistix

Monitor: DELL Ultrasharp 1905FP 19-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor

Windows XP Pro Edition with Service Pack 2
January 8, 2006 9:06:28 PM

Depends, what are you using it for, and how much $$$ are you willing to put into upgrades?
January 8, 2006 9:56:56 PM

Sorry, forgot to mention: I intend to use this for gaming and that is it, meaning i dont necessarily have to be able to download a program while playing a game, or burn a cd, streaming video, and playing a game etc. Just 1 thing at a time, but I want that 1 thing to be fast and at a very high quality. Altogether, I am willing to spend a max of $2000, and everyhting I listed comes to about $1800 a bit less, so $200 or so more into improvements.

I want to watch movies on my computer and for them to look amazing, I want to play hl2 and Call of Duty 2 at the highest settings, and also the same with games like Black and White 2 and FEAR and Quake etc. I will NOT be doing any photo editing or video editing. Thanks
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January 8, 2006 10:14:49 PM

At this point your Case, Mobo, monitor, OS & CPU are fine. Not much point in dual core if you're gaming only on that machine.

HD: If you can stomach the $/GB cost of a Raptor, it is faster than any 7200rpm drive. Some of the newest 7200's get really close in some benchmarks & tests, but the raptor still holds the crown - in the end its all about RPM and data density, and RPM still wins. The new 150gig Raptor is nice, but I'm not sure the price is worth it... As long as you have enough RAM the only thing hard drive performance will give you is boot, game and level load times - once the level is loaded it won't have any effect.

RAM: If you have the money without downgrading the video card, get 2x1024 (2GB) you'll appreciate it in several months when you don't need to go buy more RAM.

Video: I'm not that well-versed in video cards in general and ATI cards in particular, but my rule-of-thumb is once you have enough CPU & RAM (3200+ & 1GB or better) the video card gets the rest of your budget until you get the 7800GT or equivelant (that would be one of the X1800's right?)

So my only suggestions would be maybe a less expensive mobo would serve - if it has all the features you want and is a quality mfg of course. Put any excess into a better video card up to the x1800-something (better ask in the video card forum which ones), then get the 2nd gig of RAM and then upgrade your CPU if there's anything left (I doubt it but maybe).

Hope I helped.

Mike.
January 8, 2006 10:39:05 PM

The best trade here would be to go with an X1800 (or 7800 NV) for gaming performance. This will work better than spending the $ on a faster CPU. The raptors are also fast, and 2GB of Ram is good. With limited $ go for the best video first.
January 9, 2006 12:27:26 AM

Consider these ideas:

ATI X1800XL $399 (AMR of $30)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102610

Gigabyte 7800GT w/Zalman cooler $325
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814125214

Corsair 2GB (2x1GB) TWINX2048-3200 $195
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145491

EpoX EP-9NPA3ULTRA $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123258

The MSI/Crucial/X850XT combo you listed costs about $608.

The EpoX/Corsair 2GB/X1800XL costs about $679.

Substitute an X1800XT adds just over $100 if you can stand the heat and noise.

The memory I listed assumes you don't plan to OC.

I know you want ATI, but I had to at least mention an excellent NVidia alternative...
January 9, 2006 12:55:42 AM

So instead of the mobo that I have listed there, would it be smart to take advantage of tigerdirect's eVGA GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCIe Video Card w/ Free eVGA 133-K8-NF41 Motherboard that way I save on the mobo because it is free, and get a kick ass videocard. I read it works well with ballistix memory, and I will be getting a SATA HD which works well with it as well. Anyone else heard about this deal and approve/disapprove? Thanks again
January 9, 2006 1:19:09 AM

If your building now get the nvidia, trust me, you'll be glad you did. Its faster and cheaper. There are some new cards coming soon from both companies. The ATI is allready known to be a 48 pipe card (up from 16 today!) Its the XBOX 360 GPU basically. The Nvidia is unknown but rummored to be similiar to the 7800 series but dual core so both are gonna be smokin fast.

Id get a dual core opteron for 939, say the Opteron 170. They are $400 to 450 (165's are $100 less) and are stock of 2GH (1.8 for 165) with 1MB L2 cache. They overclock to the 2.7 range often on nice air coolers and about 2.5-2.6 on the OEM coolers. Think dual AMD FX55's for 1/5 the price... Why dual core? Being able to game at high res and do other things is nice at the same time. YOu'll want some good ram. This is a good start http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682... or the Patriot 2.3.2.5 kitt for 3200 as well. its all about the same cost and usually very similar stuff.

Newegg has a MSI 7800GT on sale for $299 right now BEFORE $30 MIR too, that'll save ya some cash and blow the 1800 away
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

If you are sure ya want single core, the Opteron 148 is one killer buy in the low to mid 200's and you can get 144 or 146 cheaper. The higher mulitiplier is good for OCing. Starting with 2ghz core (146 or 170) is often recommended if you have a nice cooling setup cause ya just might run out of ram before ya run out of chip. These opterons are phenominal. With memory deviders you can use weaker ram and OC high, just using asyncroniss memory buss's. It'll work fine enough.

To finish, 150 to 450 for proc, depending on cheap single core or mid range dual core opteron

Mobo, well the BEST Ocing board is the DFI "expert" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... is the best OCing board there is, but there are cheaper acceptalbe alternatives. It is $200.

Ram is roughly $225 or so

Video card is $300 (just under after MIB)

Proc is 430ish (its worth it) Think of it as 2 x $800 procs for the cheap.

$50 for a GOOD heatsink fan in the 120mm variety if ya wanna really push the proc and keep it quiet while ya do it, or you can run the OEM heatsink. Its a bit louder and warmer but will still overclock a decent amount for no additional money. You'll gain about 200mhz often with a nice cooler, maybe 300 on the single core.

430 Proc + 200 MOBO+ 225 RAM+ 300 Videocard+ Case of your choice + HDDs and optical. the DVD burner is $45 so thats a known basically. Your case should be what ya want, but look for cases cooled by 120mm fans. They are quieter and often cooler.

The Raptor is a total waste. It'll make so little difference in gaming. Get a nice SATA Segate 250 or something like that (dont get maxtor right now, there is an incompatibility with the Diamond Max 10 and the NF4 chipset, its the NF's fault) and the segate has the 5 year warrenty, better than anyones. Thats the Low 100's. With a moderate case, your lookin at $1500 to 1600. No clue what your OS status is or keyboard and mouse or monitor. But this is a wicked fast system.

Hide

Oh ya, look at Mwave.com they have Opteron processors and some other stuff cheaper than Newegg.com does. On http://www.xtremesystems.org you'll find lots of people buying there...
January 9, 2006 9:47:33 PM

Ok, that set up is a bit more than I really need...meaning I don't know enough about computers to understand a lot of what you said, and also that I don't need a super computer, just a really kick ass computer...which means I don't want to overclock because I don't know enough so will probably fry my computer, and also since I have never built a computer before, simple is better.

From the set up I gave, I want it to play games at the highest settings with no hiccups. I really REALLY DO NOT CARE that I can install a game/program, and also play a game and multitask like crazy. I have the time to do things separately, and really do not need to pay extra money for those capabilities. So, taking this into account--a good computer that is powerful enough to run one application at a time VERY well, and thats it...is my set up good enough? Like I know CoD2 has high system recs. My goal is to play it at 1024 resolution at the highest settings and for it to look like real life essentially. My goal is also to have a computer that will be able to keep up with next years games as well.

So, is my set up good enough for that? Can I dumb it down, or is it fine what I have? Thanks again everyone, your suggestions are great for a newbie like me.
January 10, 2006 12:11:44 AM

Well use the cheaper Opteron 146 or similar and overclock it. It'll save you $200ish while giving you incredible performance. Overclocking is pretty easy as long as you get the right compnents. With what is posted there, it'll be easy. Your only issue will be setting up memory deviders and HTT (hyper transport) speeds. ONce you get these right, its all butta :D 

Hide
January 10, 2006 7:00:15 PM

Quote:
So instead of the mobo that I have listed there, would it be smart to take advantage of tigerdirect's eVGA GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCIe Video Card w/ Free eVGA 133-K8-NF41 Motherboard that way I save on the mobo because it is free, and get a kick ass videocard. I read it works well with ballistix memory, and I will be getting a SATA HD which works well with it as well. Anyone else heard about this deal and approve/disapprove? Thanks again


This looks like a good deal to me. While I have no experience with the eVGA parts you mention, I can say that 2 TGForum posters that I pay attention to have recommended it in the past.

What HideOut has said is correct. I just don't think he is listening to YOUR needs/wants for your first system build.
January 10, 2006 7:27:15 PM

The eVGA mobo is good for the money, and it OCs decently(~250HTT) for a $70 Sli mobo. But Tiger is known for charging heavily on shipping (like 26 bucks for a case).

Please note, the opty 146 will no longer OC nearly as much as it did before (AMD revised it a dozen times from its original FX-57 core). I would get a 3700+ for the proc instead. But people are saying the opty do better than athlon, i dono tho.

Yes the 7800GT is good for you. And did you say 1024? you can probably do 12x10 max with some AA and AF, but that's kinda pushing the GT. Consider some GTX for like $460 if you wanna do max on every single game for a long time. Note the 7800GT is the best price/performance card right now.

IF YOU DO GET ATI, make sure you get the SAPPHIRE X1800XT for $500. The price may not be worth it, but if you want ATi that's what you pay.

what did you decide on for the other parts after all this recommendation
January 10, 2006 8:20:56 PM

Ok, thank yu guys so much, your input has helped me out TONS. So, for any sort of reward, this is my revised list, which is of course open to more revisions (I will include prices as well this time). Note, I still hate the idea of overclocking, because it also means I need to pay a lot of attention to the heat in my computer, and perhaps buy lots of fans, which *gasp* might not even fit in my case haha, there is always something that will get you with computers. Ok, the list:

-Case: Antec Sonata-II Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 450W Power Supply $110 at amazon

Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum $118 at newegg and just pray that it works

-CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - Retail $282 newegg.com
AND look at what this guy wrote about it recently: "Amazingly fast, with EVGA nVidia 7800GT and 2MB Corsair memory, makes for very fluid 3D graphics. Boots XP in 35 sec. when just built, and under 90 sec. with all applications loaded.... "

considering GIGABYTE GV-NX78T256D-ZK Geforce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card -$325
or
I'll go nuts: 3D Fuzion 3DFW78256GTX Geforce 7800GTX 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - OEM $460
or
the ATI 100-435705 Radeon X1800XT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card $510

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $85 at Newegg

RAM: Crucial 1gbx2 (2GB) PC3200 DDR 400 Ballistix $300at newegg.com or if the corsair which is $100 cheaper, will it do the trick almost as well? if so then that kit instead (since I don't want to OC)
CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory -$195

CD/DVD: Sony DRU-810A Dual Format Double Layer DVD RW/CDRW $60 at amazon

Monitor: DELL Ultrasharp 1905FP 19-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor $399 (get much cheaper on eBay -$365)

Software: Goback 4.0 $43
Windows XP Pro Edition with Service Pack 2 $188 both at amazon (see my other post under software, can I put Windows XP Pro that came with my Dell on this homebuilt and also get sp2?)

Logitech BJ-69 Black Optical Wheel Mouse PS2/USB 830797-0000 – OEM $13 (Will I notice a difference getting a 1600dpi gaming mouse? I think this one is something like 800dpi, is that good?)
Logitech Black Office Pro Keyboard PS/2 (967453-0403) - BROWN BOX $13 both at dealsonic

Total Cost with the top of the line stuff listed counted (so theoretical max cost plus some shipping: $2037

For an entirely new computer that would cost $3000 from any computer seller like Dell, and that is including moniter and super expensive RAM...so yeah, thats pretty much my max budget there, and its where I am at currently in terms of building a computer.
Thanks again!
January 10, 2006 9:28:52 PM

I can tell you're really having fun with this! :D 

I'm certainly not an expert, so maybe the Forum Universe can help me with this...

A couple of thoughts:
1). The Ballistix memory you list will work just fine, but since you don't want to try overclocking there's no bang for the extra $. Most of these high-end memory sticks are rated 2.8 volts and up and command more $ because you can overclock them. The default voltage for DDR should be 2.6. I don't know if you will have to raise the memory voltage in BIOS for these to work well or if at stock speeds they won't care. You may be able to get a faster CAS out of these though even at 200 MHZ. When I was building my first system, I just wanted to put it together and GO. The CAS 3 Corsair gives you 2GB of stable memory at stock speeds. Without overclocking the whole system I don't think in the real world you will notice any difference.

2). I suggested the Gigabyte 7800GT in particular because it is the quietest killer-speed card around. Other brands using the same chip will perform the same (or slightly faster if factory OC'd). Other choices (GTX and X1800XT) put out much more heat and noise. Makes me wonder why you chose such a quiet case...

Anyway, all the items you list will make a killer gaming system. Enjoy!
January 10, 2006 10:32:59 PM

I chose the case because it came with a PSU with a voltage I liked, comes from a good manufacturer, and yes, for a bit extra, it seems to make things quieter, so it wouldn't be as annoying to put in noisy equipment. But yeah, I probably would just buy a computer if it wasn't fun to put one together...shopping is fun, and shopping around for something you will save money on, and is top of the line is even more fun.

The only reason I would shell out more money on a graphics card than the GT, is so it might stand up the next gen games, it would be more cost effective: 500 now, so I don't need to spend 350, sell it for 50 then buy a new one for 3-400 again. Thanks again
January 11, 2006 1:24:23 AM

Oh, I forgot 1 more thing:

Quote:
Logitech BJ-69 Black Optical Wheel Mouse PS2/USB 830797-0000 – OEM $13 (Will I notice a difference getting a 1600dpi gaming mouse? I think this one is something like 800dpi, is that good?)


Logitech G5 gaming mouse. Best $50 you'll ever spend. Check it out. 8)
January 11, 2006 11:32:31 PM

Quote:
I suggested the Gigabyte 7800GT in particular because it is the quietest killer-speed card around. Other brands using the same chip will perform the same (or slightly faster if factory OC'd). Other choices (GTX and X1800XT) put out much more heat and noise. Makes me wonder why you chose such a quiet case...

is that the gigabyte with the zalman cooler?

Quote:
RAM: Crucial 1gbx2 (2GB) PC3200 DDR 400 Ballistix $300at newegg.com or if the corsair which is $100 cheaper, will it do the trick almost as well? if so then that kit instead (since I don't want to OC)
CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory -$195

Save yourself some $$$ and get the corsair, you won't notice a thing

Quote:
considering GIGABYTE GV-NX78T256D-ZK Geforce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card -$325
or
I'll go nuts: 3D Fuzion 3DFW78256GTX Geforce 7800GTX 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - OEM $460
or
the ATI 100-435705 Radeon X1800XT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card $510

Get the GTX if you want it to last longer

Quote:
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $85 at Newegg

if you want, for $20 more you can move up to 250gb with 16mb of cache and it is SATA II
January 12, 2006 12:26:00 AM

Final (with RAM decided upon, new HD, and a new keyboard and mouse :-)

-Case: Antec Sonata-II Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 450W Power Supply $110 at amazon

Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum $118 at newegg

-CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - Retail $282 newegg.com

Video Card- 3D Fuzion 3DFW78256GTX Geforce 7800GTX 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - OEM $460
Or
eVGA 256-P2-N516 Geforce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card – Retail with Quake 4 for free $300

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 300 MB/s Hard Drive – OEM $107 at newegg

RAM: CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory -$195

CD/DVD: Sony DRU-810A Dual Format Double Layer DVD RW/CDRW $60 at amazon

Monitor: DELL Ultrasharp 1905FP 19-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor $399 (get much cheaper on eBay -$365)

Software: Goback 4.0 $43
Windows XP Pro Edition with Service Pack 2 $120 at eBay

Logitech MX518 2-Tone Mouse - Retail – OEM $39
Saitek Black Wired Eclipse Keyboard – Retail $47

Headphones/Headset: Plantronics Audio .90 Headphones $17 at amazon

Total Cost (with more expensive vga): $1946
January 12, 2006 12:44:49 AM

Looks good, just one more picky thing I wanna add. The 3800+ runs at 2.4 with 512k cache, the 3700+ runs at 2.2 with 1mb cache. According to this chart, both processor should perform on par with each other. Normally, the 3800+'s higher clock speed should beat the 3700's cache size, but if you were to do a tiny OC(3700+ from 2.2 to 2.4g, that is 200HTT to 220), with no extra cooling require and maybe a 1-3 degrees increase in temp, you can have a better processor. Personally, I think the 1mb cache will help you more down the road.

GT or GTX, $160 more for maybe 10-30% increase in performance and more longevity-it's your choice
January 12, 2006 1:10:50 AM

Quote:
3800+'s higher clock speed should beat the 3700's cache size, but if you were to do a tiny OC(3700+ from 2.2 to 2.4g, that is 200HTT to 220)


Newegg people say you can overclock it to 2.6 easily with the stock heatsink, and this is cheaper, so seems like an excellent suggestion. Plus, look at this comment!:
"Cons: None to speak of. For the price, using this on a MSI Neo4 Platinum (which works flawlessly despite all the DFI swingers) and a 7800 GTX 256 earned me a 7751 3DMark05 using 81.94 drivers"

Oh, one question: why is the san diego $100 less than the clawhammer??? Is that just newegg being lazy, because isnt the clawhammer not nearly as good as the newer san diego??? Thanks a ton.
January 12, 2006 1:38:43 AM

The Clawhammer is based on the 130nm process and was used for older socket 754 procs, which will not fit on your mobo. The smaller the process, the cheaper it is (San Diego is 90nm), which is why that Clawhammer is more expensive.
January 12, 2006 2:02:26 AM

HP Pavilion a1230n 2.2GHz processor 1GB RAM 200GB hard drive http://www.pcconnection.com/ProductDetail?sku=6067521&S...

Take a look at its specs, sort of funny
Comes with SATA HD, DVD and CD-RW burner, an OS, pc3200 sdram expandable to 4gb...my god
...I can buy that for $740...and just add ram, and add the NVidia and be off hundreds cheaper, isn't that just hilarious haha...I have a feeling there is a reason why getting that computer wouldn't be as good as building the one that I have painstakenly put together...is there?
January 12, 2006 2:34:43 AM

hehe, it is funny

That thing does have the socket 939 3700+, most manufacturers trick you with the older one....

well, the only things I wanna say are:
1)definitely won't OC cause the BIOS simply won't let you do that.
2) monitor sold separately-how much is that Dell costing you?-oh $400----not a real issue
3)a lot of nice feature, actually I've see this pc at Sam's Club. The entire front is taken up by the micro drive slot (x2)-so air flow is affected. But do you need all that multimedia bling-bling?
4) don't know if the PSU can deliver enough juice for your GTX or GT, most pre-made PC's PSU are kinda low on the ampage.
5)100 mbp instead of 1000 mbp ethernet, but nothing a $10 PCI card can't fix and that is if your cable-modem or router can deliver that speed.
6)99% problem free when you get it as opposed to 50% chance of problem free when you build your own.
7)windows media center is not the best OS for gaming.......Pro SP2 is.

basically a bunch of minor gripes

price count:
$740+$400 monitor+$200 ram+$400 average for video + $150 for other junks

$1890, how much did you save?
January 12, 2006 12:28:26 PM

Quote:
$1890, how much did you save?


Nothing I guess...haha, its still a nice deal for what it is, thats true
January 12, 2006 2:14:24 PM

Here are my two cents. You might want to think about Lite-On CD/DVD drives. They are a little loud, but much cheaper and just as good as the higher priced brands in my opinion, even the burners. I have had mine for a couple of years and they are still going strong. You can get a CD/DVD combo drive for $20 and a DVD burner for $30-$40 at newegg.com. And definitely go wtih the GeFore 7800 GT/GTX cards, I'm an ATI fan too but recently ATI has just been failing us with their crap cards, but I certainly can't wait til they pick up the ball again :D  And on one last note Corsair ram is the best choice they are excellent modules for the price. Good Luck and I hope that helped.
January 12, 2006 3:27:08 PM

Final build looks good!

My question, why Goback 4.0 $43? XP has System Restore.
January 12, 2006 6:30:58 PM

Ok, not final build yet, since I have actually made some corrections. On doing more research, I have discovered that GoBack 4.0 can really really mess up my Hard Drive, and I don't want that happening. I guess I will have to be content with Nortan Antivirus and Zonealarm firewall to keep my computer safe.

Ok, so no need for that program. However, there are changes I want to make. First off, after looking at this site: Pro to Home comparison from microsoft.com, it seems like Pro is completely 100% unnecessary for me, or really anyone who won't use their computer for buissiness. It doesn't seem safer, faster, or anything like that, just more ways to access it from other places...anyone have a response to that? I think getting home just makes plain old better sense.

Also, after donig research on the MSI K8N Platinum motherboard, it seems like a faulty product like the GoBack program...so, I have decided to shell out another 20 bucks to get this very well recieved motherboard:
EPoX EP-9NPA+ SLi Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $137

It seems like a really solid board. However, I know ASUS is a respected brand as well....well, I guess the work is not finished yet. I want to replace that MSI mobo. If people don't like the EPoX, or like something better, I would love to hear suggestions! Thanks
January 12, 2006 6:43:39 PM

Buy a box from Dell (or anyone) and there's a 15% or so chance something will need fixing. Consumer Reports has been doing surveys on this for years. Then you have to go thru Dell customer service for the fix. In the process YOU haven't learned a thing beyond maybe finding another way to get a computer...

Build your own box and I'd guess there's a 90% chance something will go wrong that you will have to figure out and fix. And you will. There's a very low % chance of getting a defective part. This is your first build, so:
Read those manuals/instructions carefully and follow them. This will keep you from actually ruining any parts. This way the "something wrong" you will need to fix ends up being part of the setup process that got left out, or some configuration issue in BIOS or whatever...simple stuff once YOU have gone thru it. That's the real "payoff" in building your own. You pick just the parts you want and will know your system inside and out (literally). It's really not about saving money, but you are likely to end up with a more reliable box, and be a lot happier every day you use it...
January 12, 2006 6:54:34 PM

The EpoX is a solid board. For $110 you could get the EP-9NPA3 Ultra which uses the non-SLI NF4Ultra chipset. I didn't know if you wanted to go with 2 cards.

{Note to GODLY... The Gigabyte 7800GT is the one with the Zallman cooler. See the 6th post for URL.}

Also, if I'm not mistaken, MS XP Home SP2 OEM will do everthing you want. It's $95 including shipping from NewEgg, even less elsewhere. No need to buy the retail version, go OEM.

Sorry about my post sequence not keeping up...
January 12, 2006 7:18:59 PM

Just buy an ASUS A8N-SLI mobo. Its about the same price as the Epox and ASUS is one of the best.
January 12, 2006 7:42:02 PM

Yup.
January 12, 2006 8:18:20 PM

GoBack is definitely ass now. XP Pro definitely doesn't offer any speed, performance or absolute needed features over Home. Three things I can think that Pro has but you don't need are: 1. You can't join a domain, 2. You can't edit group policy settings, 3. You don't get EFS.
January 15, 2006 8:05:55 PM

now that this forum topic is on the second page, not many people will look at it probably...but for any of you who have been adding to the 33 posts this topic has, thanks, and take a look at my final...also, perhaps to talk about another topic, m2....is it worth waiting, meaning will the money for performance be good? Here it is:

-Case: Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail $100 at newegg

- Motherboard: ASUS A8N-SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $122 at newegg

-CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 1GHz FSB 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor – Retail $210 at chiefvalue

-Video Card: eVGA 256-P2-N516 Geforce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card – Retail with Quake 4 for free $300 at newegg

-HardDrive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 300 MB/s Hard Drive – OEM $107 at newegg

-RAM: CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory (model# Twinx2048-3200c2) -$206 at newegg

-CD/DVD: Sony DRU-810A Dual Format Double Layer DVD RW/CDRW $60 at amazon

-Floppy Disk Drive: SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model MPF920 Black – OEM $10 at newegg

-Monitor: DELL Ultrasharp 1905FP 19-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor $360 at compudirectpc

-Software: Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 $88 at eBay

-Mouse: Logitech MX518 2-Tone Mouse - Retail – OEM $39 at newegg

-Keyboard: Saitek Black Wired Eclipse Keyboard – Retail $47 at newegg

-Headphones/Headset: Plantronics Audio .90 Headphones $17 at amazon

Total Cost $1666
January 15, 2006 8:14:45 PM

Quote:
...also, perhaps to talk about another topic, m2....is it worth waiting, meaning will the money for performance be good?
For the kind of money you're spending, there's no need to wait for M2. The main benefit of M2 will be new CPUs with DDR2 memory controllers. For the meanwhile, only the highest-end systems will see any benefit to DDR2.
January 15, 2006 9:34:52 PM

Smirkus your computer has a very similar setup to mine
we both have the same CPU
both have a 7800gt
and the mobos are pretty similar

now i have only 1 gig of ram and i can run cod2 on high at 1024-768 with no problems. so believe me you have a good solid machine. just dont break anything when you build it.
January 16, 2006 7:17:26 AM

Hey I see you're at about the same stage as me. Let me offer a few bits of advice that I've picked up while building my comp..

On the Asus A8N mobo, why do you need SLI? You can save money getting the non-SLI version. Also, make sure to get the Premium over the Deluxe. I dont know why, but that's what everyone is saying :) 

On the graphics card, I'm getting an eVGA 7800GT also, but I'm going for the slightly more expensive N517-AX, which comes with higher stock clock speeds. Its $20 more and still comes with Quake 4.

For your ram, grab THIS stuff. It's the same as what you have, except its a better version with lower timings, and with the $40 MIR, its actually cheaper too!
!