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Last response: in Systems
July 27, 2006 9:57:14 PM

I was planning on building a Core 2 system for $1500.

But then I realized I'm poor and can only afford a $500 computer.

The good part is I already have 2GB of DDR400 from an old system that died. Thats one reason I'm gonna build a new cheapo system.

So I need a Mobo, P.S., CPU and Graphics Card, and a case.

I'm thinking I can cheap out here buying both a Mobo/CPU combo and a Case/P.S. combo for about $150 each, and get a decent $200 graphics card.

But all the Mobos/CPU combos I see on Tigerdirect are cheap on board video mobos with no AGP or PCIE slots.

So I would like some specific suggestions, Price Point leaders, etc.

July 27, 2006 10:28:23 PM

If you want to use your DDR400 ram then you're looking for a s939 system.

My suggestions are

Gigibyte GA K8N $70
A64 3000+ $77
Case w/ psu Antec Sonata II $100
Video card X1800XT $250 ($200 + what you saved on the case/psu $50)

Total = $482 after rebate.
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July 28, 2006 5:58:31 PM

Okay - here's the deal - I was in exactly the same boat as you two months ago.

I'm assuming the hard drives and DVD drive and so on are all working - so you just need a motherboard, CPU, and of course, the graphic card. Oh - and get a copy of WinXP Pro if you don't have it - it's great.

Motherboard - needs to be an Intel chipset and an ASUS motherboard. This combo with an Intel CPU makes for a very stable and fast system.

CPU - The Celeron D 356 is a good choice. Overclocks to 5Ghz quite easily if you want, or you can use it as-is. This is a cheap stopgap measure, afterall. The idea is to get a good working system now and later upgrade to a better processor if you want(as well as better memory and so on). $80.
You will need an aftermarket cooler, though, if you plan to OC it, and better memory, so I'd leave it at 3.33Ghz for now - it'll run about like a 3.0Ghz P4 Northwood.(512K cache - totally new Celeron design)

When you get better memory in a few months, drop this cooler on it and boost the clock to 200Mhz.(just over 5Ghz) - it'll get a 3dMark score of 8-10K quite easily.

The video card - the sweet spot right now is an ATI X850XT.
This is a stunning fast card for very little money. GDDR3, 256Meg, and all the goodies.

But it's loud. Loud as in B0rked to all hell loud. The solution is simple:
Solution of your dreams. Silent mode is maybe 25-30db - very slick, and about the same temps as the stock cooler.

So that's $280. That leaves $220.

Re-use your old case - $0. Spend the money on a good power supply.
That's a superb choice, IMO. 550W and built like a tank.

That leaves $140 for the motherboard.
Okay, you're $10 over, plus shipping. But you have cut no real corners and given yourself a good path for future upgrades.

- can install a better dual-core CPU later on.
- can install a better CPU cooler and OC the chip you have.
- can handle very fast memory later on.
- has one IDE connector on it - but can handle SATA later on as well.
- Video card is already taken care of.(grin)

EDIT: This appears as if it won't use your current memory(saw 400, thogh DDR2/400 - my bad. I'd just get a gig of cheap DDR2/400 for now and upgrade later if that's the case.
July 28, 2006 7:31:46 PM

1. i bought the exact same x850 xt not loud at all, i dont know why people complain. idles 40deg c at 5% fan speed, very quiet.
2. intels low end offerings suck ass, unless your going to oc a pentium d i suggest you stay away, a64 3000+ is a good choice. i mean cmon even the sempron pwns the celeron D. who wants a 100c deg idleing chip? with crap performance, at 5Ghz.

personally i love my x850 xt i just played throught and beat prey(insanely awesome game) 1280x1024 max details 2xaa 60fps the whole time, css 1280x1024 6xaa 16xaf, you cant go wrong with how cheap it is. Peace.