I'm from India. I'm a hardcore gamer. My current rig has a Duron 700 MHz, 3DFX Voodoo 3 AGP etc. (you must be wondering how hardcore I'm, please feel free to laugh). I've been itching to upgrade for a long time now (couldn't do so until now because of lack of cash). I'm looking at a high-end rig (not an extreme one). Here's what I'd in mind -
AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego
ASUS A8N SLI Premium
2x512MB (I can afford 2x1GB too) DDR400
nVidia 7800GT 256 MB
Western Digital Caviar 16SE 250 GB SATAII
BenQ 16X DW1655
Logitech G5 laser mouse
I'd initially considered getting all the components from USA, but RMA might just be impossible from here, if something goes wrong.
I want to stick with AMD for now having seen the performance charts everywhere and the prices over here. Unfortunately, I can't find a single dealer over here who has anything higher than 3500+ in the single core category. However, they've every model in the dual core category. But a dual core CPU doesn't make sense to me (I prefer performance to future proofing). I guess I won't be getting Vista even when it comes out. I'll wait till DX10 games start coming out in a furious fashion and then maybe upgrade again. For now, I can't wait to get trigger happy. So my questions are --
CPU: Is a 3500+ Venice enough? I've come across so many OCers using Opteron 144s that claim to have got 1 Ghz on stock with just air cooling. That's sounds so groovy! But is that achievable in every case? I haven't overclocked till now, but I'm open to it. A few revelations --
1. I can afford only 3500+/Opteron 144/Opteron 146. Dual Cores are TOO expensive here!
2. I can buy a motor bike for the price of a watercooling kit. All funky heatsinks from Thermalright etc. are unavailable here.
3. The worst part? Good memory modules are non-existent in these parts. Dealers haven't heard of Crucial, OCZ, Geil etc. The maximum I can get my hands on is DDR400 from Kingston.
Considering the above points, do you still think I could get a decent overclock safely? If so, I'm game to go the Opteron way.
Mobo: I'm not interested in SLI considering the price/performance factor and DX10's arrival. But I chose A8N SLI Premium as it had strong reviews. Actually ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe is supposed to be optimized for gaming. But I can't afford it. Is SLI Premium a good choice? Or is there anything else which is equally good in game performance but doesn't support SLI? If you recommend Opteron and overclocking, please do suggest which would be a good mobo in that case too.
Memory: I've quoted my woes already. And here's one more -- matched pair DDR kits are not available here! So should I risk getting two separate sticks and running them in dual channel mode?
Video Card: Considering the fact that 7900GT has almost the same price as 7800GT, I'll go for it if it becomes available here soon. But 7800GT is the bare minimum I'll settle for.
HDD: I wanted a Raptor, but my pocket isn't deep. So I guess I'll have to stick with this for the moment.
PSU: Is a 420W setup enough for this config as I'm sure I will NOT be running two video cards in SLI mode?
Monitor: I can get a 17" LCD with decent response for the price of a 19" CRT. But all I do is gaming. And sometimes, I play oldies with my friends (split-screen mode). So not sure if those 17" LCDs have good viewing angles. Plus, I would like to see the colours in all their glory, even though the CRTs are harder on the eyes.
DVD Writer: BenQ's DW1655 seems to be a very good model. Is this okay or should I be going for anything else? Other makes are avaiable too except the likes of Plextors and Pioneers.
Mouse: I hear this is a very gamer friendly mouse. Is it worth the extra bucks?
I haven't quoted the prices, as you might not be able to get the appreciate them as they're in a different currency than in dollars. But I've checked the prices and this is all that I can fit in (maybe just a tad more).
Again, I would like to re-iterate that I'm not interested in video encoding/decoding, music ripping, multi-tasking and such. When I turn my computer on, it'll only be to game until my tummy bellows. And I can't wait till GeForce 8 series/DX10 games come out. And I play anything and everything, especially the latest and greatest in graphics.
I'd say give it 450W or more for your psu, to give it plenty of headroom. You'll need a 450W or more for that graphics card, but its already outdated by a cheaper but better alternative, being the 7900GT. I would say go for 2GB (2x1GB) because then you get less bottlenecking. Also spend more money on a 17" inch monitor with a better response instead gonig all out on 19", but apart from that, excellent choice on products.