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Gaming Computer

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July 3, 2006 10:38:36 PM

I'm looking to build a gaming computer for $1000-$1500. I'm not interested in dual graphics cards or overclocking. Here's what I was looking at:

CPU (second-most important): AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 2.2Ghz 512KBX2 Dual Core CPU (~$350) --games are beginning to support multi-threading, and Windows Vista will be launching in a year
MOBO (main concern is PCI express compatibility): Motherobard:Asus A8N5X nForce4 GiaLAN PCIExpress Socket939 ATX Motherboard (~$50)
Video Card (most important): Radeon X1800 XT 256mb, perhaps from ASUS (~$260) --interested in speed but should also be quiet
Sound Card (uniquely important): Creative X-Fi (~$115)
Memory: any pair of 1GB PCR 3200 DDR 400 sticks (~$120 w/ rebate)
Hard Drive: any 2 250GB SATA drives (~$180)
Case: 400W Gaming case (~$60)
Speakers: suggestions welcome, willing to pay $100-$150, main interest is gaming in EAX/surround sound, movie/music listening is secondary
DVR-Writer/Reader + CD-RW/Reader: 16x (~$40)
DVD-ROM/CD-ROM: 16x/56x (~$20)--I like to have a cheap second reader since I tend to break CD-ROM's at the rate of one per year...the CD-ROM is broken right now on my current computer.
Total: ~$1300-$1350

My main concern is that the MOBO I have in mind has a nForce chipset by Nvidia, while the video card I want above all is ATI, and I hear there's often compatibility issues between components made by these companies. If push comes to shove, I'd change the motherboard, I don't really need anything fancy besides PCI Express, SATA, and a good integrated network interface for my cable modem. Any help or advice you guys could give would be great. Thanks in advance.

More about : gaming computer

a b V Motherboard
July 4, 2006 7:28:31 AM

The only problem with running an ATI video card on a board with an Nforce chipset, is that you won't be able to run a Crossfire setup (and I believe you said dual graphics cards was not an issue).
July 4, 2006 7:54:03 AM

id consider going AM2 with some DDR2 ram you should notice a significant difference but altogether very nice

as far as speakers go i love my z680's not sure how much they go for now you'll love them tho sound quality is fantastic and they are the loudest speakers you can get!

Edit: just noticed a major concern that power supply looks very dodgy try looking for a roughly 500w supply from a recognised maker such as seasonic i would never risk the power supply
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July 4, 2006 6:09:24 PM

Thank you for the replies. I was looking at the reviews on this site, and it seems that unless you go for a cutting edge (and wallet-slashing) CPU of around 4800+, the AM2 socket with its DDR2 RAM is not only pricey, but sometimes slower than DDR400 RAM due to the slow timings. Looking at the benchmarks for the 4200+, there's little difference in RAM speed, and DDR400 RAM is cheaper. Thus the decision to go with a socket 939 MOBO.

Did a quick search on the Logitech Z680, and they're $300. o.O

Is a 500W power supply really necessary for the setup I have in mind? Or is a reliable 400W power supply from a recognized brand sufficient?

That's good that there won't be a problem between the chipset and my video card though, as I've heard that the nVidia nForce4 is a good chipset.

I did some more research on speakers, and these fall in my price range and seem to get good reviews: Altec Lansing GT-5051 5.1 Speakers (~$100). The desk setup I have in mind would make rear speakers somewhat bothersome, and I don't really need room-shaking bass--I just want a good, normal volume, surround sound experience. I have Zalman 5.1 surround sound headphones which do the job nicely, but wearing headphones all the time is somewhat uncomfortable, and it's nice to be able to take them off when they're not needed.
July 4, 2006 6:29:01 PM

Hmm, on second thought, trying to get 5.1 sound without rear speakers might be wishful thinking. This site recommends the 2 following speakers at affordable prices ($60-$100): the Logitech X-530 and the Creative Inspire T5900. I care more about sound quality than volume, so that rules out the Altec Lansing VS.3151.
July 4, 2006 7:25:31 PM

i would honestly go with a 480W minimum but a recognised brand is an absolute must i have had an unrecognised one burn out on me in the past and it took the cpu with it i have learnt the hard way!!

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/

good psu calculator^

i would reccomend adding 10-20% for safety/upgrade options
a b V Motherboard
a b 4 Gaming
July 4, 2006 7:53:47 PM

The 4200 and 4400 are both dogs when it comes to dual core chips for gaming. The 4800 is much faster.

If amd does what it usually does, the 4600 should be a decent chip. AMD does a thing where, if the chips l2 cache doesn't meet specs, ( 4800 = 1meg l2 cache ), they test it to see if it will reach the 512 specs, ( 4600 = 512 l2 cache ), they rename it and sell it as such.

fx-53 and 3800, both 2.4 chips, and actully the same chip. The 3800 didn't make the l2 cache, so they renamed it.

Forget the sound card, save the money, invest it in the better chip, or better graphics card. Onboard sound will suffice until you can upgrade.

Memory, withou a doubt, ocz platinum, with 2-3-2-5 advertised

Also, crcial ballistix 512 sticks are very fast, but you need to buy 4 sticks of this. Better with the above.

And the "DOGS"....... I've seen them both in action.... single core chips with similar speeds blow them away.
July 4, 2006 8:06:23 PM

Quote:
I'm looking to build a gaming computer for $1000-$1500. I'm not interested in dual graphics cards or overclocking. Here's what I was looking at:

CPU (second-most important): AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 2.2Ghz 512KBX2 Dual Core CPU (~$350) --games are beginning to support multi-threading, and Windows Vista will be launching in a year
MOBO (main concern is PCI express compatibility): Motherobard:Asus A8N5X nForce4 GiaLAN PCIExpress Socket939 ATX Motherboard (~$50)
Video Card (most important): Radeon X1800 XT 256mb, perhaps from ASUS (~$260) --interested in speed but should also be quiet
Sound Card (uniquely important): Creative X-Fi (~$115)
Memory: any pair of 1GB PCR 3200 DDR 400 sticks (~$120 w/ rebate)
Hard Drive: any 2 250GB SATA drives (~$180)
Case: 400W Gaming case (~$60)
Speakers: suggestions welcome, willing to pay $100-$150, main interest is gaming in EAX/surround sound, movie/music listening is secondary
DVR-Writer/Reader + CD-RW/Reader: 16x (~$40)
DVD-ROM/CD-ROM: 16x/56x (~$20)--I like to have a cheap second reader since I tend to break CD-ROM's at the rate of one per year...the CD-ROM is broken right now on my current computer.
Total: ~$1300-$1350

My main concern is that the MOBO I have in mind has a nForce chipset by Nvidia, while the video card I want above all is ATI, and I hear there's often compatibility issues between components made by these companies. If push comes to shove, I'd change the motherboard, I don't really need anything fancy besides PCI Express, SATA, and a good integrated network interface for my cable modem. Any help or advice you guys could give would be great. Thanks in advance.


Your cpu is a good call, but are you overclocking? If not, I recommend the 4400+ as it has double the cache. If you are, the 3800+ would be fine, because it doesn't take much to push the clock high enough to make up for the lack of cache.

Asus board, Nforce 4 chipset. Not much can be said. Good choice

If you are getting an x1800xt, I definitely recommend the 512 version, you can find them for usually ~100$ less than the x1900xt, look around. Also that is NOT a quiet videocard. That thing will sound like a jet taking off, just so you know. If you do want quite, either get 7900gt, but I heard you saiyng you don't want an nvidia card... so then I recommend getting aftermarket cooling, the Zalman vf900cu, cools better and is super silent.

Your sound card is cream of the crop, I have the same one, you should be pleased.

Your memory shouldn't be just 'any' memory, pick brand name, if you don't overclock, some crucial value ram should suffice.

Also 'any' harddrives isn't necessarily a good thing either. You need to be particular. I recommend the same babies I'm using. I recommend the WD2500ks... NCQ, 16mb cache, QUIET, fast, 3 year warranty, 'nuff said.

As a few people have said already, power supply is now just as important as your motherboard or videocard. A cheap power supply = random crashes and other problems. If you are looking for quite the P180 is a quiet elegant case, and any enermax/antec psu with at least 450watt will be enough and those are the most affordible brands I can think of.

Speakers... I'm suprised no one has recommended these yet.... Z-5300 from Logitech. THX, 5.1. They will definitely take advantage of your soundcard. The X-530 are alright, but they are not comparable, nor are they to be used for gamers or watching movies with 'roaring' sound. I have personally listened to the X-530, Z-5300, and Z-5500. Let's just say you get what you pay for, the Z-5500 is superior to the discontinues Z-680s and are only 240$ from newegg. Those are the ultimate. Also for sound quality, the Z-5300 are just mini Z-5500s (sortof) And they will have amazing sound quality with zero distortion up to ~95db

As for media drives, get Lite-on. Cheap and fast.

I hope I helped, I'll be back if you have any more questions.
July 4, 2006 8:51:34 PM

no issues with most of what you have chosen, don't worry about the psu you should be fine with a good 400w but if you start adding more hdds and led fans and lights and ....etc then you may run into some trouble.

Also be carefull with the x-fi, there are known compatibility issues with Asus nforce4 boards and x-fi. i tried everything i could to get my xtreme music to work and couldn't, ended up trading it to my bro-in-law for his old audigy 2.
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