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How does this look for a budget gaming system?

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March 29, 2006 2:25:45 AM

What do you guys think of this setup? I tried to pick what I thought were good components.

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5
PS: Thermaltake TR2 430W
Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum
CPU: Athlon 64 X2 3800+
Memory: Corsair Valueselect 1GB
Video Card: eVGA 256MB P2 Geforce 7600GT
Sound Card: Creative X-Fi 7.1-not too sure on this, maybe Audigy2 ZS?
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 120GB Serial ATA 7200rpm. 3Gb/s
Monitor: ViewSonic VX922

Could anything be better/cheaper etc? What are your opinions on this setup?

Thanks,
Nathan

More about : budget gaming system

March 29, 2006 2:36:49 AM

That's a budget gaming system, jesus I need more money. Looks pretty good, if you are on a budget though, I wouldn't bother with the sound card. Also I can't say much about that MSI board, but I would recommend an ASUS A8N-E. That LCD rocks. Other stuff looks good, you might want to consider an Opty 165 instead of the 3800 if you plan to overclock at all.


ACTUALLY, if its mainly for gaming, I would strongly suggest getting a single core Athlon 64. Something like a 3700+, with the money saved you could get a 7900 GT. Those changes would make it a lot better.
March 29, 2006 3:04:13 AM

Okay, I did that, and it cut my price down too (Sweeeeeet duuuudddeee :lol:  ). I was wondering how big a difference there would be between the 7900GT and 7800GT? I'm looking to get it as close to 1,000 total as possible, right now I'm at 1266, and switching to the 7800gt could put me in the 1100 range which would be even better. Of course, I wouldn't be able to tell much difference, because either would be immensely better than my current system, P4 2.4ghz, 512 ram, Geforce 4 Ti 4200. Embarrassing I know, but it was pretty good when I first got it. My parents like to hold on to computers for too long. :x
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March 29, 2006 3:30:42 AM

Okay, I switched out the ram for some XMS stuff, it was only 20 bucks more.
March 29, 2006 3:43:05 AM

Dude, that's nothing. 'm still running a P4 1.6GHz, 512mb SDRAM, GF2 GTS Ti from 4 1/2 years ago. Only another $2000 (2 months of saving) until I can afford my $6000 dream machine I have planned :D  AU dollars, of course.

As for your rig, yeah, I'd go with an ASUS Mobo and use the onboard sound, rather tha the X-Fi. Also, opty 165 and overclocking, from what I hear. For a budget, DEFINATELY drop to a 7800 instead of 7900, you shouldn't notice a difference for a couple of years, at least. Like right now I wouldn't notice the difference between my GF2 and a GF3.
March 29, 2006 3:55:30 AM

The MSI Motherboard is good, I have one. I would dump the X-fi, just get a basic Audigy SE if you want to go away from the onboard sound, they are like $30 and are a lot better then onboard audio and not much worse then X-fi. The biggest jump will be from onboard to Sound Blaster, the smaller jump will be from Audigy (SE,2,4, whatever) to X-fi. Take the money you save and buy a 7900GT, they are very powerful.
March 29, 2006 4:09:32 AM

I have a soundblaster Live! Value that I've had forever. Would that be better than the built in? Or would I be better off getting a newer $30 card or whatever.
March 29, 2006 4:35:04 AM

Go ahead and spend the $30 on the sound card, it will most deffintly be worth it in your future, much higher quality over onboard. i am thinking of getting a sound card after i do a few more things on my new rig, meaning new heatsing/fan, another gig of ram, and a wireless internet card. but yes deffinatly worth it.
March 29, 2006 4:54:26 AM

Okay, would you go with that MSI, or the Abit KN8 Ultra? The only difference I can find is that the Abit doesn't have built in firewire, which isn't a big deal as I do video editing on my mom's mac. It's 20 bucks cheaper. Another thing I was wondering, the case I chose has a firewire port in the front. Does that need built in firewire to work, or does it plug in like a pci card? Another option is the SLI version of the Abit board, it has firewire, and is the same price as the MSI. What about the Asus A8N boards? It seemed to me you didn't get as much for your mulah with them.
March 29, 2006 5:10:50 AM

I'd just like to add my 2 cents to the discussion.

As for the onboard sound debate, the current generation onboard sound doesn't do as bad a job as it used to. From what I understand it will still take up CPU cycles, which isn't as much of an issue now, but worht considering. ABout the X-Fi, dear god its amazing. Blew the freakin hell out of my Audigy 2 ZS. Makes me wonder what I did before it... ok maybe not that but its still very close, especially if you ever plan on using headphones for surround sound. Hey, don't knock it, with a good set of headphones its top-notch positioning and sound (no bass of course).

I recently went home for Spring break and toted my huge ass tower home, but left the 5.1 surround sound at home and brought the E3C headphones to play BF2. Hmmm that was a good week. I didn't think I would be able to pinpoint an enemy just by listening but I could. X-Fi is well worth the money UNLESS your on a budget, which you are so I woudl avoid it.

I agree with going single core while on a budget, its not a bad decision at all. I just bought my rig and had virtually no price limit and I stuck with a Venice core A64. It gets the job done, and well, just 5 sec slower than a FX hehe (im exagerating the 5 sec butyou get the point).

If you do go with the 7800GT, go eVGA and take advantage of the StepUp program. From the date of the invoice you have 90 days to choose to steup to ANY graphics card released within that 90 window. Here is the best part, eVGA will give you credit for the exact amount you paid for the old card, assuming you keep the box and all the crap that comes in it. I just ordered 7900 GTX's for $30 because I paid 469 for my 7800 GTX's and 7900GTX's are 499 MSRP (now thats a deal).

All around a solid build.
March 29, 2006 5:18:58 AM

Well, I'm going to just get the audigy for now, until I hear an X-fi I won't know any better :wink: . Rant:Why the heck does no one have the 7800Gt or 7900GT?!?! It's maddening. I really wish I could get it all from newegg, but nooooooooo. And then I go look other places, and they don't have it either, or they have obscene pricing. grrrr. Any input on the motherboard choice?
March 29, 2006 5:26:49 AM

I have never had any experiance with MSI. My friend has an Abit mobo (i built it for him) and I've had an Asus and currently run a DFI.

Straight up Asus and Abit work, but they limit your OC potential. DFI is for the insane, and those who wante very last Mhz and are willing to spend weeks and weeks on an overclock. If you want a board that will work and give you good performance I'd shoot for Abit or Asus. Again, I don't know a thing about MSI, they may be perfectly good boards, I just dont know.

Your problem with video cards is that the 7900 series was released in the 2nd week of march I think? so supplies are still limited, but they were availible in volume at launch, so just hang tight they are coming :p 

Audigy will do you just fine, I had an Audigy 2 for 3 years, and still not one complaint about the actual card. I actually took it out of my old system (the audigy 2) and tossed into a POS system that now only serves as a file server and to play music via RCA adapter on a bedroom stereo and it sounds grand. So don't think just becuase its an audigy 2 it will suck, no no.
March 29, 2006 5:31:55 AM

Okay, so I'll go with the Abit board. Do you need built in firewire for the firewire ports built into the front of the case to work? Because I don't want useless ports...
March 29, 2006 5:36:38 AM

The firewire ports on the front of the case will have leads that will plug directly into the mobo itself, so if you want the ports to function you will need to have firewire on the board.

Edit: bedtime, Ill be back in 6 hours.
March 29, 2006 6:28:33 AM

Definately go for a 7900 GT over 7800 GT. A 7900 GT performs better then a 7800 GTX.
March 29, 2006 7:02:24 AM

Hi Ian... i think u mada a mistake about the 7900GT outperforming a 7900GTX.. a typo perhaps?? :lol:  ...a 7900GTX is definetely faster than a 7900GT.
March 29, 2006 7:03:08 AM

Woops, thanks. Fixed now.
March 29, 2006 7:21:15 AM

To correct something about onboard sound:
- onboard sound using AC'97 sound drivers indeed consume CPU cycles. However, Nforce integrated audio chips are dedicated audio chips (Realtek design) which allow hardware acceleration -> no more CPU hogs.
- onboard audio has increased quality tremendously: EAX 2 is not so rare anymore (I have it running smoothly on an Nforce430 mobo), and sound quality has gotten much better (I tested 24-bit, 48000Hz yesterday on a XM sound module on a pair of good quality speakers and some good headset): nice bass, good midrange, and good highs.

If you have good integrated audio (Nforce4x0), don't bother with an add-on card.
March 29, 2006 8:15:21 AM

'Budget' as in, no budget? I wish my idea of budget was like that :p 

Yeah, I've been using my nforce3 mobo onboard sound which can support EAX2 in the most recent driver update, and it sounds awesome - I'd say theres not really any point even spending anything on an additional sound card.

I recommend going single-core for gaming, with a something like a 3700+ San Diego - very nice pricing and still powerful - and then you can spend the cash on a 7900GT or just save it.

Gaming is muchmore dependant on the graphics card than the CPU these days, bear that in mind when allocating money.
March 29, 2006 8:29:27 AM

Agreed. For gaming, dual-core AMD can be a bit troublesome on a few games (mainly Unreal3 engine based, such as Painkiller). This can be 100% corrected with a small utility and a batch file, but then you're better off using a single core solution.
March 29, 2006 9:22:31 AM

OK , Here Is My Idea ...
1- Get An AMD 3200 or 3500 ( Less Money , Can OC :twisted: To 3800 Speed ...)
2- Forget About Sound Card & Use OnBoard Sound Card :twisted:
3- Get MSI K8N Neo 4 FI ( Same as Platinum But Without 1394 & 20$ Less Expensive :twisted: )
4- Save Some More Money And Then Get An ATI X1900XT , Awesome PerFormance , Can Beat Even 4x7600GT & Can Be OverClocked To X1900XTX Performance ... Even If You Cant Afford X1900XT Go For 7900GT Or X1800XT ... They Are Far More Powerfull Than 7600GT :twisted:
Any Way ... Its Your Choice :wink:
March 29, 2006 9:57:34 AM

Budget? Who´s your father? Roman Abramovich? Bill Gates?
March 29, 2006 10:28:29 AM

Yeah, I wouldn't recommend to get the soundcard unless you have a good set of speakers to go with it. It's better to spend that money and get a better card say 7900GT maybe. Go with dual core X2, trust me games are taking more advantage on this multi-core cpu thing. Love that choice of monitor, it's a super fast lcd and perfect for gaming. Good luck. :D 
March 29, 2006 11:14:27 AM

agreed
March 29, 2006 7:52:11 PM

Geez guys, too many opinions. I have two choices. Get the X2 processor and a 7600GT or similar vid card, or get the 3800 and the 7900GT vid card. Which would be better?
March 29, 2006 7:54:27 PM

For gaming, the 3800 and 7900GT, in my opinion
March 29, 2006 8:26:41 PM

I would tend to concur, but for a slightly diffrent reason. Go with the cheaper processor and better graphics card simply because: You will have hight frame rates (no real arguement there) and Second when it comes time for Vista or a new PC Socket 939 will be dead, and AM2 will be alive. Also your 7900Gt will still be b!tch slapping most games. So you can transfer your vid card to a new mobo but you cant transfer a old cpu socket design to a new one unless specificly told you can, which in the S939 v AM2 you won't be able to. So its a small difference but definately worth some thought.
March 29, 2006 8:37:52 PM

So what do you all think on the soundcard issue? and Audigy se is only $30, it's not a make or break deal. Also which Mobo, Abit or MSI? Or something else?
March 29, 2006 8:42:28 PM

I'd say hold off on the sound card and wait till you can get something more worth the money. your CPU will have plenty of speed to keep up, and you'll lose 5FPS or so, and on a 7900GT you will have plenty to spare lol.

I've noticed many people with MSI boards on these forums so I don't see a problem going with it, I just don't have any personal experiance with them. :tongue:
March 29, 2006 9:05:44 PM

I'd take this 30 bucks and spend on beer
March 29, 2006 9:12:24 PM

Quote:
I'd take this 30 bucks and spend on beer


Eh... Jack Daniel's please
March 29, 2006 9:22:50 PM

So will any of the mother boards mentioned do just as good a job as the other? Also, how much lower performance would I get with the 7600GT and the 3800?
March 29, 2006 9:31:10 PM

Okay, Would you guys suggest the Radeon X1800XT or the 7900GT? In the guide they tied for best 200-300 card.
March 29, 2006 9:42:01 PM

i would go nvidia... if they're tied i'd go 90nm (less power). besides, if you decide to go SLI you wouldn't have to change your platform, as Crossfire require an ATI chipset.

hey, i've seen some benchmarks showing a dual 7600GT setup performing the same as a single 7900, so if you're on budget you can pick one 7600 than buy another one when you have the money
March 29, 2006 9:45:08 PM

Oh yeah, I think I am going with the 3700, not the 3800. I thas a 1mb cache instead of 512, is 2.2ghz instead of 2.4. Good descision?
March 29, 2006 9:45:23 PM

Quote:
Geez guys, too many opinions. I have two choices. Get the X2 processor and a 7600GT or similar vid card, or get the 3800 and the 7900GT vid card. Which would be better?

Mostly gaming (if u want a little more eye candy):3800 7900gt
Do-it-all-pc: X2 and 7600gt.

So what's your problem? It´s your call. We are giving opinions here, but it was best that you open your mouth and say what u prefer; or graphics or a more "all-terrain" pc.
We can´t do it for you, lazy ass!!
March 29, 2006 9:46:28 PM

Any opinions on doing the dual 7600Gts? I can get an Abit Sli board for the price of the MSI non sli board I was looking at.
March 29, 2006 9:46:30 PM

yeah, i prefer 1mb cache instead of 200mhz more... if you really need the extra mhz just overclock it.

read my edited post above man
March 29, 2006 9:51:19 PM

YOu run into problems with SLI sometimes. Certain games don't support SLI and extremely few games perform worse in SLI. Having had SLI, I would really suggest getting a faster single card over dual cards straight up.
March 29, 2006 9:52:18 PM

Sorry, everyone was telling me get the 3700 or 3800, and then someone said get the X2 lol. Actually, I may go that route, as this will be a general purpose pc with a gaming focus. How much worse would it be as a general purpose with the 3700?
March 29, 2006 9:56:25 PM

Quote:
Sorry, everyone was telling me get the 3700 or 3800, and then someone said get the X2 lol. Actually, I may go that route, as this will be a general purpose pc with a gaming focus. How much worse would it be as a general purpose with the 3700?


From personal experiance with teh 3800+ (see sig) it does everythign I want to with out breaking a sweat. I can do virus scan, download crap, browse the net and everything w/o a problem. I would go with the X2 if you have the money... or does that conflict with the 7900GT? First thing first 7900GT then find a proc that fits in the budget. Thats jsut how I build a rig mainly because I game more than anything so I fufill that need first then ration my money on the rest of my system.

Just my 2 cents
March 29, 2006 10:04:12 PM

Do any of you have any opinions on motherboard choice? Or are they all pretty much equal. The asus is more expensive, the MSI and Abit are about equal.
March 29, 2006 10:05:08 PM

Yeah, totally agree. They say a dual core proc will perform better in a multi task environment, like runnin a virus scan while playing and encoding music/video... but who the hell would be that stupid to do such a thing? a single core and a better graphics card will show you much more impact in games with no noticeable lose of performance while doing other tasks.
March 29, 2006 10:11:28 PM

Quote:
Do any of you have any opinions on motherboard choice? Or are they all pretty much equal. The asus is more expensive, the MSI and Abit are about equal.


I don't have much of an opinion on mobo's. I have heard good things about most of those manufacturer's. I have a DFI because it offers the best overclocking performance bar none. If i wasn't overclocking I honestly wouldn't worry about whic manufacturer I used assuming the base chipsets are the same. I really like the stability of the NForce 4. Just read some of the user reviews on newegg.com and see which one seems to have the least problems.
March 29, 2006 10:24:50 PM

Okay, I'm going to get the Abit NForce 4 SLi board, as it is only 10 bucks more than the Nforce ultra, has the option for SLi in the future, has firewire ports, and has the Realtek audio so better quality, and no drag on the CPU.
March 29, 2006 10:29:44 PM

Sounds like a winner to me.
March 30, 2006 12:13:19 PM

For pure gaming? single core and 7900. For general purpose and good ass-kicking? X2 + 7600.
March 30, 2006 12:48:23 PM

I just purchased the following system all from newegg.

Centurion 5CAT T05 uw Case...... Great budget case with excellent airflow.
ASROCK 939 F4G SATA2 MB ......No firewire but I didn't need
EVGA 7800 GT OC .......Play everquest2 and HL2 on close to the highest settings with great framerates.
AMD3700....With the money saved here I reinvested into a better video card. I would have loved dual core but single made more sense.
Corsair XMS 2GB ddr400...middle of the road memory
Seagate 120 SATA HD....Plan on adding another in the future
ANTEC 500 PS ....Always had great success with ANTEC

Also picked up AG NEOVO 19's widescreen LCD and man I just love gaming on this thing.

I would agree with a few of the suggestions about putting more money into a better video card rather than adding dual core and a sound card. It will be money very well spent. Good luck building your new system!
March 30, 2006 8:22:17 PM

I'm kinda surprised noone has mentioned to get an Opteron and just OC it.

I mean you can get a Opty 144 for like 140 bucks which will OC from 1.8Ghz to 2.4Ghz(the speed of a 3700+) or even up to 2.9(2.8 is generally the stopping point for air cooling but I've seen 2.9ers)..which is like having a FX-55 or 57 at 1/4 the price, and faster than the 3700+. Sure it means either running the ram asyncronous or buying some nice PC5000 ram so that you can get away with the FSB speeds, but from what i've read and seen, this is a no brainer kind of OC.
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