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Am I wasting money?

Last response: in Memory
March 23, 2006 6:08:12 PM

This would be my first time building a system by myself. I'm not looking to overclock, as I have little experience and don't want to fry my system. I would probably consider it as the PC gets older though. I'll mainly be using this rig for games.

I've done more than 60 hours worth of research into this system, but I'm still worried about my choice of RAM. For what I'll be doing (gaming, but not overclocking or otherwise pushing limits), am I wasting money by choosing the memory I chose? I value and am willing to pay for high performance, but I don't want to pay for overclockability that I will not likely use.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
Motherboard: Asus A8R32-MVP
Video Card: ATI Radeon X1900XT
Memory: OCZ EL DDR PC-3200 Gold GX XTC Dual Channel (2GB Kit)
Hard Drive: WD Raptor WD1500ADFD (150GB Raptor w/o clear cover)
Sound Card: Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty
Optical Drive: Plextor PX-760A
Optical Drive 2: Generic 16X DVD ROM
Case: Antec P150 (430W PSU included)

Thank you in advance for all your comments!

Quebec, Canada

More about : wasting money

March 23, 2006 8:44:40 PM

If you're not looking to overclock the OCZ Premier series is a great option. Don't bother getting the Gold series if you're not going to o/c.
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March 23, 2006 10:24:59 PM

ocz is a good company, I prefer corsair over them... crucial is also good.

yes, i think if oc'ing is not in your immediat future then it is a bit overkill. Try their value line (not sure what it is called) or corsair's "value series". You usually lose the fancy heatspreaders and sometimes a tic on the timings but for what you have it is plenty.

Of course, if you have the $ then it does give you some overhead for later when you DO start to clock it...

if you have the $, spend it... if you are tight then drop to the value option and enjoy what you get.

btw, good system choice!
March 24, 2006 12:44:47 AM

With the A8R32's Realtek ALC-882 8-channel High-Definition Audio onboard sound, you can most likely save the $$ on the Sound Blaster Audio card and not notice the difference.
March 24, 2006 2:10:17 AM

Like sojrner said just get the value ram now it will work just fine if not overclock. Then when your ready to overclock there would be new RAMs and it may cheaper then.

I did the same thing when I built my new rig, I waited for three years for the CPU warranty to run out.
March 24, 2006 2:27:00 AM

you seriously think ANY realtek codec is going to outperform an x-fi? wow... um... ya, wow...
March 24, 2006 3:03:56 AM

Get some OCZ Premier as you can do a little bit of oc with it ( mine runs @ 460mhz 2.5-3-3-6 ) nothin too extreme though. These sticks are cheaper than gold kits and perform really well.
March 24, 2006 4:07:38 AM

you seriously think ANY realtek codec is going to outperform an x-fi? wow... um... ya, wow...

He didn't say outperform, he said not notice the difference, and I'm inclined to believe him. I doubt the majority of computer owners without much knowledge in the field of audio or an incredibly high fidelity sound system would be able to notice the difference.

This isn't to say, of course, that there aren't performance disadvantages, there certainly are.
March 24, 2006 6:42:30 AM

:arrow: I'd drop the expensive Sound-Card, and just get a far more affordable X-Fi series card, the X-Fi Fata1ity is a total rip off unless you need every last feature it offers.

:idea: The X-Fi XtremeMusic will suffice fine, that is all I run and very few games take advantage of the performance X-Fi offers. The XtremeMusic is not going to be that much slower (under 1% difference) in games compared to the highest end X-Fi card.


8) With the money saved consider going straight for a cool 4 GB of the OCZ Premier stuff, for what it costs it performs/overclocks very well. (OCZ Premier is quite affordable and often overlooked - well spotted). If you don't get Windows XP/Vista x64 Edition expect to only be able to address 3.5 GB or so of it though, but that is still heaps of RAM for disk read cache / write back purposes. (eg: All the game resources, including audio, will be sitting in RAM vs just the audio resources, if the game supports it, on the X-Fi Fata1ity). The way games are going they'll benefit from 4 GB + WinXP/Vista x64 Edition (although many already do now) soon enough. Having heaps of RAM helps keep the 'minimum weighted' performance higher, eg: If the frame rate is limited to 40 fps maximum you'll get closer to a flat 40fps average/minimum by having RAM. God only knows what EA + DICE are planning for the next Battlefield. :p 

March 24, 2006 12:48:39 PM

totally agree w/ you on the extreme music vs. the higher ones... I love mine and according to tom's the top-end one has the better signal to noise ration (little better components) but all the others are the same (fatality has the extra ram but nothing uses it and no-one knows what creative will do w/ it).
March 24, 2006 12:52:45 PM

read tom's review on it... even w/ headphones you dont need any pro-knowledge to hear how awesome it is. The review is right, after using a soundstorm and an audigy i am flat amazed how "only" headphones sound! of course i have nice headphones (plantronics) so that does help, but you can hear it flat-out w/ no experience/knowledge of what or how it is doing it. Not trying to be argumenative here, just putting out what my experience has been w/ it.
March 24, 2006 1:21:22 PM
- InfraRed for high quality short range
- FM (in 1 GHz spectrum though) for longer range, also good quality.

8) Various models, at various price points, Good quality German audio engineering at work.

:)  I run the HDR-120 with my card, get the odd radio interference (like one hiss/pop every 5 min or so, nothing serious). Can wear even when far away from station. The cradle doubles as a recharger (for the batteries, which last ages anyway) and also as the antenae. The system they've developed is simple, very smary, and highly effective.
March 24, 2006 1:35:23 PM

I have sennheisers on my ipod and love them. Have used them on other systems... though not the wireless ones. As a headphone company they rock though. Currently I would almost say they are the best company to by from accross their whole product line... I like my plantronics, but not sure about all of their stuff?...

My only issue might be with what you call the "pops" and such on a wireless... I think that would drive me nuts regardless of how good they sound the rest of the time, but that is just me. ;) 
March 24, 2006 2:46:15 PM

I almost got the fatality, I just wanted to keep my costs down a bit otherwise my wife might have killed me! (I was a tad over budget as it was...) ;) 

I am interested in what creative is going to do w/ the extra ram...
March 24, 2006 3:01:33 PM

i suppose you are right on that one man... and prb true that if more sound cards had ram then more dev's would use it. I just thought that creative would have to "enable" it in the drivers so that the devs had access to it. I thought i read somehting like that in one of the reviews, that creative stated it was not used at all in the drivers yet, but ready for some "future" option... I have been wrong before though. ;)  All of the x-fi's have the x-ram, just that fatality has a buttload more, curious isn't it that even the top-end one doesn't have any more?
March 24, 2006 3:02:42 PM

I think Battlefield 2 can already use it (when set to X-Fi mode) for less latency on the sounds, and to reduce traffic to/from the card (yeah, because 2ms or so is such a wait and the sound card really needs the full PCI bus available to it :p ).

There is some framework / library Creative have for game developers, but the overheads / efforts involved compared to the benefits (what benefits ?) over the X-Fi XtremeMusic (card for card that is, not the full package) are minimal.... if any.

The money delta between the high end X-Fi cards, and the lower end ones is better spent elsewhere IMHO. (eg: 4 GB RAM will help WinVista x64 along nicely when released in early 2007).

As for the pops/clicks on the wireless, they don't occur when they have line of sight to the cradle really. When it does happen, which is infrequent anyway, (no cables so can move around heaps more) it sort of adds realism to war sims anyway. :p 

If concerned over the 'radio' (FM @ 1 GHz) quality, then just get the InfraRed ones anyway, there isn't much interference on the IR bands. (Most devices that use IR are beams anyway, so no interference, and only signal for < 50ms when interaction is required) :p  - The downside of IR sets is they require line of sight (via reflected beams at the least) to 'home base' at all times to get audio. However the quality is up there with the best wired sets, and you are more free to move.

Ask yourself, what is more annoying ?, (A) Cables connected to your body restricting movement, or (B) An average of 1-3 pops lasting 25 ms tops over a 300 second period (which sort of adds to atmosphere at times), or (C) Requring line of sight (reflected beams) with as close to wire quality audio as you can get, just without the wires.
March 24, 2006 3:08:31 PM

ya, i suppose that the wires are just as annoying to me as an occasional pop sound... I see the point. :D 

Man, I am still beholden to wired mice though, so maybe I am just an old-school junkie and dont like non 'o them new-fangled no-wirey thingies! :lol: 
March 24, 2006 3:23:21 PM

better check for tumors man being that close to the microwave! ;) 
March 24, 2006 3:55:56 PM

lol... yikes!

do you glow at night? that would be hard to get any sleep that way...
March 24, 2006 4:46:18 PM

as long as you can still operate a keyboard and mouse you should be ok... and at least you will always have your personality.