Not really a gamer but would possibly like the option.

I'm upgrading my system. I'm not really a gamer but would like the option to play some of the newer games if I wanted(I hear Oblivion is great). The app that taxes my system the most right now is Microsoft's Visual Studio and that's because I've only got 512MB of RAM. The only things I keeping from my old system are the 2 hard drives. They're not that old(the system drive is only 4 months old) and plenty big for my purposes. After reading some of the discussions in the forum. I've come up with:

CPU:AMD Athlon 64 3200+ $154.00

Video:eVGA 256-P2-N553-AX Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 $179.00

Memory:CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) $77.00

Case:Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 $99.99

The problem I'm having is with deciding on a motherboard. I need something compatible with my CPU and memory. I don't know what SLI is, but from what I've read, if I don't have a high-end vid-card it's point-less. I also don't need fancy RAID support. If anyone can make a cost-conscience suggestion for something that would get the most performance out of my CPU and vid-card w/o the extras I don't need, that would be really appreciated.
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  1. BioStar K8T890-A9 is the most inexpensive motherboard I would go with. Since you are not going for a SLI setup this mobo should be fine. Since it uses the VIA chipset, it doesn't get as hot a nVidia's chipsets so it doesn't need a fan. Very basic, but very good.

    EPoX EP-9HEAI I never had experience with EPoX but a lot of people seem to like this inexpensive motherboard ($10 instant rebate right now). It too is based on a VIA chipset so a fan is not necessary to cool it.

    Asus A8N5X At $80 this is the most expensive of the three, but it is also a good board from a premium namebrand. It has a fan because it uses a nVidia chipset. It also has a few more features than the other two mobos that are more budget oriented.
  2. For an nVidia GeForce seriers video card like that, and the AMD Athlon 64 you are looking at, I would pair it with a board sporting a nVidia nForce 4 series chipset.

    Consider a board similar to:

    Epox nForce 4 boards:
    http://www.epox.nl/products/?product_cat_id=1&product_type_id=2

    MSI nForce 430 boards: (these are more cost effective)
    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=702
    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=723

    Make sure to get a board based on the nForce 4 or nForce 430 chipset, and not the older (AGP) nForce 3 chipset.
  3. "I would pair it with a board sporting a nVidia nForce 4 series chipset.
    "

    I formally 2nd that!
  4. I'd give serious consideration to getting 2gb of RAM in a 2x 1gb config....even due to cost you only get a single 1gb stick for now, then you can simply add the other later....

    (socket 939/NF4 rigs are able to run better mem timings with two sticks than with 4 sticks, with the latter config sometimes requiring knockng the mem clock down to PC2700/(DDR 333) speeds...
  5. DFI nF4-DAGF, 3700+ Sandy, 1GB DDR400, X600, 250GB SATA, Audigy 2, Cooler Master Cavalier
  6. Radeon X600 ?, You gotta be kidding.

    The ATI Radeon X800 XL is the minimum I'd recommend to anyone 'considering' getting into gaming a little bit.

    The XFX 7900 GT, if cost justified, is a far better choice. (Now that I've said that, They'll sell out)
  7. Thank you for your suggestions. I think I found a MB that fits the bill. It has an NVIDIA nForce4 chipset. So the current setup is.

    MB: ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX $79.99

    CPU:AMD Athlon 64 3200+ $154.00

    Video:eVGA 256-P2-N553-AX Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 $179.00

    Memory:CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Kit $103.00

    Case:Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 $99.99

    I changed my memory from what I had in the original setup to something w/ Cas Latency of 2 rather than 2.5, but what is the difference between the one I chose and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145449. The only difference I see is the model number TWINX1024-3200C2PT vs. TWINX1024-3200C2.

    I'm debating the extra memory(2GB vs 1GB). With all the other stuff I'm up to $700.00 when I count shipping, which is more than I was planning to spend, but I'd only get the extra memory if I get the impression that my current investment would be wasted w/o it. Meaning, given the components that I already have, would I be seriously curtailing the performance that I could be getting from them, if I didn't get the extra memory. I know it's probably somewhat of a subjective thing. But these are the judgment calls that I currently don't have the gaming experience to make.
  8. Quote:
    Thank you for your suggestions. I think I found a MB that fits the bill. It has an NVIDIA nForce4 chipset. So the current setup is.

    MB: ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX $79.99



    Spend $13 more and get the Asus A8N-E. You gain the Ultra NF4 chipset which performs better than just the plain NF4 and you gain SATA II (3gb/s) which that board lacks.
  9. The ultra version of the nForce4 is of little advantage unless you are going to use the active armour firewall to protect a large LAN. In the ultra configuration the firewall has its own engine, but this engine is not needed on a single home computer or a modest home LAN.

    The plain nForce4 firewall splits protection between the native XP firewall and itself, and does a good job.

    As far as SATA II (3 gb/s) is concerned it is merely a gimmick for now at least. No HDD manufacturer in the world even approaches that transfer rate. My SATA 1.5 gb/s provide a sustained read of 60 mb/s, using the nForce4 test feature.

    So my opinion is save the $13 and spend it on something actually usefull.

    -Bob
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