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build on a budget: high spec box for $1000?

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March 23, 2006 12:41:53 AM

Working on a budget here.....about $1000-1200 to build a box, but any money that I save I can use to put toward a new 19" LCD monitor
Focus on being future proofed and upgradeable
Vista friendly?
I multi task a lot, but don't think I can afford dual-core right now...so plan to start with just amd64 and upgrade later

Case & PSU: how much required? is 350w enough?
Mobo: socket939, amd64x2 compatible, SATA2...what boards do you recommend?
Graphics: don't think that I can afford much more than a 6800GS, maybe a 6800GT.
Ram: 1gb or 2gb, dual channel?
DVD writer: any suggestions on a good unit?
Wireless: PCI cards? are they any good...what to look out for?
March 23, 2006 1:19:19 AM

Quote:
Working on a budget here.....about $1000-1200 to build a box, but any money that I save I can use to put toward a new 19" LCD monitor
Focus on being future proofed and upgradeable
Vista friendly?
I multi task a lot, but don't think I can afford dual-core right now...so plan to start with just amd64 and upgrade later

Case & PSU: how much required? is 350w enough?
Mobo: socket939, amd64x2 compatible, SATA2...what boards do you recommend?
Graphics: don't think that I can afford much more than a 6800GS, maybe a 6800GT.
Ram: 1gb or 2gb, dual channel?
DVD writer: any suggestions on a good unit?
Wireless: PCI cards? are they any good...what to look out for?



Lets address each point one by one:

Case/PSU No, 500W is what I would recommend. Antec makes a 550W PSU for like $90- good buy.

Mobo: Asus A8N-E or DFI Lanparty board (if you want to overclock)- Around
$90

Graphics Card: 7900 maybe.. if not 6800GTX.

RAM: 2GB dual core (2x 1GB) Get the XMS memory listed below, greating timings, $40 MIR.

DVD Burner: NEC- $38

Wireless: PCI card or usb adaptor... try to match brands with your router around $60- go wired if at all possible, wireless is still a pain.
With that in mind- lets build a system for between $1000-1200. All prices are from Newegg.com

Case: Antec Performance TX TX1050B w/ 500W PSU- $125

Motherboard- Asus A8NE- $94 (appearantly this is like TV ads, but $95 is the magic price instead of $19.95)

Wireless- ASUS WL-138g 32bit PCI2.2 Wireless Network Card- Wireless card combo with the Mobo- $32 or combo with mobo and save $5

RAM- Corsair XMS 2GB (1x 2GB) - $198 with $40 MIR.

CPU- Athlon64 3200+ - $158

Graphics Card- XFX 6800 Xtreme 256MB - $135 ($99 after MIR)

DVD Burner- NEC Internal Dual Layer- $38.99

Monitor- Viewsonic VA1912WB 19" digital LCD- $289.99

Hard Drive- Seagate 300GB SATAII (3Gb/s) with 16MB cache- $120.00

Total- 1238.43 with shipping (to NC should be the same to anywhere)
March 23, 2006 1:34:36 AM

PS: Go for at least 500W and 600W will cover you off for SLI on the highest end graphics cards. I have an Ultra X-Connect 500W - works well and I it for a good price. The power the better as the case and PSU are probably the only things you will buy whether eth basic technology won;t be out of date in 2-3 years.

MOBO. You'll get as many different opinions as there are boards. You can spend a lot on things you'll never use so decide what you want to do with your system. I have a MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum that can accomodate more drives in RAID than I'll ever buy. It does not have SLI but I figured I'd never spend $1200 on graphics cards so it was not an issue for me unless I won the lottery in which case I'd have enough money to dump my existing rig and buy the best of whatever is out there. ASUS is also good SLI-Deluxe or Premium. Do consider that AMD's next generation of chips due out in the summer will not use S939 so maybe hold off a while if you really must have the latest stuff.

RAM: See article in THG on how much you need. 1 GB is okay for 90% of what's available today and 2GB will handle pretty well anything with room to spare. I went for 2 GB OCZ EL Platinum dual channel DDR400 as I figured it was either spend money on RAM or on a couple of WD Raptors in RAID 0. I don't really get any HD activity during gaming so there is no lag there. Decide what games you want to play and there's usually enough information on the internet to figure out what works with different games. Hard drives for RAID 0 can be added later.

DVD: Most $70+ DVD-R drives are okay. I have a Pioneer and its fine. Look on the Tigerdirect website for reviews of different types Whatever make you get buy a dual layer drive.

Wireless - I have a Linksys WRT54G Router which works fine but I hook-up my desktop via ethernet cable as cables are still faster than wireless connections. Most of what you can buy should work pretty well within 30-50 ft of the wirelss hub/router. Again reviews on Tigerdirect are a good source of information and THG reviews.

Good luck
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March 23, 2006 1:35:15 AM

That gives me a fantastic starting point.
could you explain:
Quote:
RAM- Corsair XMS 2GB (1x 2GB) - $198 with $40 MIR.
Graphics Card- XFX 6800 Xtreme 256MB - $135 ($99 after MIR)

not familiar with the terminology sorry "MIR"?

Unfortunatley I live in New Zealand :wink: so prices are a little different...perhaps 10-15% more expensive. But still all works the same.

Does the Asus A8NE support dual core?
March 23, 2006 1:48:31 AM

Quote:
Quote:

Graphics Card: 7900 maybe.. if not 6800GTX.


My fellow duck: I'm afraid to say that there's no such thing as a 6800GTX. And a 7800GTX is a ripoff considering that a $300 7900GT beats the living $hit out of it while using less power and making less heat.
March 23, 2006 1:48:57 AM

MIR is a mail-in rebate
March 23, 2006 2:11:13 AM

I know you said you can't quite afford a Dual-Core Processor quite yet, but if you get a cheap Opteron, you could OC it A LOT, and you'd still save some money. You'll definitely want at least a 500W PSU, as if you plan on upgrading video cards in the future, you're going to need the power. Get a 1GB of dual channel RAM, as 2GB is still pretty expensive. Use an ASUS or Abit Mobo, you could get one with SLI if you want, but those are pretty expensive too. As for DVD-Writers, they're all good, as long as you make sure they burn at top speed. (Make sure the color matches your case too). I'm running on a Linksys Wireless PCI Card, and it's nice, but you have to be sure to update the drivers.
March 23, 2006 2:44:51 AM

Here are my two cents

Proc: AMD 64 3500+ $201
MOBO: a8n5x $81
VID: 6800gs (xfx pvt42guad3) $199
RAM: kinston value ram(2gig) $150
(KVR400/1gr)
HDD: WD sataII 250 $90
PSU: thermal take 500w $80
(w0093ru)
LCD: veiwsonic 19" va902b $250
Wireless: Dlink DWL-g510 $36
__________________________________
Total 1087


Thats what I would build but its just my opinion.
!