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Forget Conroe... Whats the Best Gaming AMD $900 can build?

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July 30, 2006 12:46:56 AM

Yes Conroe MAY be the future, but for now AMD is the value IMO.

Please recommend Tried and true Overclockable and Stable AMD X2 components to build a complete system.

I don't think LCD is worth it yet, will reuse a CRT here or buy one cheap.

All else needed.

Heavy Gaming Light Business :) 

Thanks for your input!
July 30, 2006 12:54:07 AM

A X2 3800+ is a excellent overclocker. A 7600GT is a great card, 7900GT might be too much. 2GB of DDR2-800..ASUS mobos are good overclockers, how about the M2N-E? OCZ memory is a pretty good overclocker. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro is a great cooler for a low price. At least 500W on the PSU, more than 25A on the 12V rail. Just a few suggestions.

~Ibrahim~
July 30, 2006 1:09:51 AM

Quote:
A X2 3800+ is a excellent overclocker. A 7600GT is a great card, 7900GT might be too much. 2GB of DDR2-800..ASUS mobos are good overclockers, how about the M2N-E? OCZ memory is a pretty good overclocker. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro is a great cooler for a low price. At least 500W on the PSU, more than 25A on the 12V rail. Just a few suggestions.

~Ibrahim~


Yup, thinking along those lines.

X2 3800+ $159

Asus M2NE $97 or something else?

7900GT (if I can afford it) EVGA good? $270
eVGA 256-P2-N583-AR Geforce 7900GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp?item...

OCZ 2 gig 800 $130 much better.... will it work??.
OCZ 2GB PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 - Dual Channel Kit - OCZ2P8002GK
http://shop2.outpost.com/product/4815800


Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-480 ATX12V 480W Power Supply $76
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Case -- How about this Centurian? $56
Coolermaster RC-541-SKN1 Centurion Micro ATX 541 Mid Tower
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...


All this comes to about $915 or so.. very good as long as it will run my games and business apps :) 

I am really hoping to be able to upgrade both the CPU and GPU but keep the reat of this system up to current games maybe 2 years or more is that realistic?

Is there a certain MB that I should be looking at for upgrading CPU from AMD next year M2NE take the next Dual & Quads form AMD?

Thanks
Related resources
July 30, 2006 2:10:36 AM

Quote:
A X2 3800+ is a excellent overclocker. A 7600GT is a great card, 7900GT might be too much. 2GB of DDR2-800..ASUS mobos are good overclockers, how about the M2N-E? OCZ memory is a pretty good overclocker. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro is a great cooler for a low price. At least 500W on the PSU, more than 25A on the 12V rail. Just a few suggestions.

~Ibrahim~


Yup, thinking along those lines.

X2 3800+ $159

Asus M2NE $97 or something else?

7900GT (if I can afford it) EVGA good? $270
eVGA 256-P2-N583-AR Geforce 7900GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp?item...

OCZ 2 gig 800 $130 much better.... will it work??.
OCZ 2GB PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 - Dual Channel Kit - OCZ2P8002GK
http://shop2.outpost.com/product/4815800


Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-480 ATX12V 480W Power Supply $76
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Case -- How about this Centurian? $56
Coolermaster RC-541-SKN1 Centurion Micro ATX 541 Mid Tower
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...


All this comes to about $915 or so.. very good as long as it will run my games and business apps :) 

I am really hoping to be able to upgrade both the CPU and GPU but keep the reat of this system up to current games maybe 2 years or more is that realistic?

Is there a certain MB that I should be looking at for upgrading CPU from AMD next year M2NE take the next Dual & Quads form AMD?

Thanks

ok..

1) OCZ + Asus AM2 = no go.. You need to get another brand of RAM. Look at the link at the bottom of the post.

2) X2-3800+ is a nice choice. However, I would get the 4000+ for a few dollars more which is 200MHz faster and has double the L2 cache.

3) Asus M2N-E is great board, and will accept 65nm/quad core CPUs with only a BIOS update or no action

4) I would get a 7600GT for now, especially if you plan on going to Vista in January. Get a DX10 card and 65nm AMD CPU in December/January.

5) Case is a no go. MicroATX case. Pick another one. THe case I would suggest is the Antec P180, but it is also $100.

6) PSU is ok, I would suggest the SmartPower 500W instead, because its modular.

Links:

RAM: G.SKill 2GB DDR-800 CAS 4

CPU:
X2 4000+ 2.2GHz 1MB cache AM2

Video Card:
XFX 7600GT 256MB

PSU:
SmartPower 500W
July 30, 2006 2:44:32 AM

umm i suggest the x1800xt for 230..remeber, pixelshaders and pixelpipelines isnt what really matters now (they mean something...but not a whole lot)
July 30, 2006 2:50:15 AM

Ok Thanks for pointing out the RAM problem Shadowduck.

I also like your suggestion of PSU.

Is the Cache increase on the 4000+ really gonna impact me?

I can see the drop down on the card, makes sense and pays for the CPU upgrade...

How about I scrimp on RAM, will the M2N-E run with only one stick of RAM?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Or is it still 2 banks required, then I would have to go 2 512's .... is Dual channel out with anything other than a 2gb pack?

If I drop down to 1 gb RAM I can afford a better case.
July 30, 2006 2:55:47 AM

Quote:
umm i suggest the x1800xt for 230..remeber, pixelshaders and pixelpipelines isnt what really matters now (they mean something...but not a whole lot)


I see your point, however I think Shadowduck is thinking why bother today... get a card that will get you by until the DX10 cards come out and upgrade then... most likely be dual cores around soon too.

I can see the logic of not spending more $ on a video card right now, and my $ is tight.

As long as the 7600gt can play stuff thats out this year acceptibly it makes sense.
July 30, 2006 3:18:16 AM

Quote:
2) X2-3800+ is a nice choice. However, I would get the 4000+ for a few dollars more which is 200MHz faster and has double the L2 cache.
The X2 3800+ and X2 4000+ share the same clockspeed.
July 30, 2006 3:30:08 AM

So that G.skill ram works with the AM2 systems? I often see "for intel platforms only" for most g.skill memory
July 30, 2006 3:48:27 AM

Quote:
2) X2-3800+ is a nice choice. However, I would get the 4000+ for a few dollars more which is 200MHz faster and has double the L2 cache.
The X2 3800+ and X2 4000+ share the same clockspeed.

You are right, my mistake. The cache is double though.
July 30, 2006 4:13:31 AM

Quote:

How about I scrimp on RAM, will the M2N-E run with only one stick of RAM?


Yes, It will just be a bit slower than dual channel with the same capacity.

Quote:

Or is it still 2 banks required, then I would have to go 2 512's .... is Dual channel out with anything other than a 2gb pack?

If I drop down to 1 gb RAM I can afford a better case.


Yes.
July 30, 2006 7:06:58 AM

Quote:

How about I scrimp on RAM, will the M2N-E run with only one stick of RAM?


Yes, It will just be a bit slower than dual channel with the same capacity.

Quote:

Or is it still 2 banks required, then I would have to go 2 512's .... is Dual channel out with anything other than a 2gb pack?

If I drop down to 1 gb RAM I can afford a better case.


Yes.

I am sorry I am still confused on the RAM configuration for Asus M2N-E, Will the board run with only ONE memory bank filled ie one stick of RAM ?

I remember in the old days you HAD to fill two banks.

AND if I do need to fill two banks, any real reason NOT to get 2 512's today and another two later for 2 gb (4x512) is there a performance penalty by doing this instead of two 1 gig sticks?

Thanks
July 30, 2006 2:09:42 PM

Yes, this board, as with all modern consumer boards, will function with only one stick of ram. This configuration, while valid, does not get the full performance out of your pc.

To get that you need dual-channel pairs.

About the penalty of upgrading later? If I am not mistaken, two sets of dual channel will cancel the dual channel, and you will have 2gb of single channel ram. For many, this would be fine, however, if you are gonna pay extra for dual, you might as well get it.

I hope I haven't confused you too much. Good luck with your build.
July 30, 2006 3:07:05 PM

Quote:
Yes, this board, as with all modern consumer boards, will function with only one stick of ram. This configuration, while valid, does not get the full performance out of your pc.

To get that you need dual-channel pairs.

About the penalty of upgrading later? If I am not mistaken, two sets of dual channel will cancel the dual channel, and you will have 2gb of single channel ram. For many, this would be fine, however, if you are gonna pay extra for dual, you might as well get it.

I hope I haven't confused you too much. Good luck with your build.



Ok thanks for clearing that up, isn't it always the way? remove one requirement but it creates another :) 

At least you can run with one stick now if you have too, it just doen't make any sense to do it :) 
July 30, 2006 5:26:32 PM

Thats right, at least there is some flexibility now...

On a related note, I have never had Dual channel memory in my systems and have been perfectly content with them. One stick, two, even three or four at times. I will note, however, with a similarly configured system with dual channel ram, I did notice a considerable difference in the overal "snappiness" and speed of the system, especially during gaming and such.

My recommendation: Get two gigs if you have the dough. If not, go with one gig. If you plan on throwing it away in the forseeable future, go with one gig, save your money and get something great when ddr3 comes out. But in any case, go with the dual channel varieties. You will not be dissapointed.

P.S.
With an AM2 System, go with the DDR2 800 with a cas latency of 4. Anything less than that can seriously hurt performance with the on-die memory controller. Yes, I know that it is in the "more expensive" category, but it WILL make a difference.
July 30, 2006 9:38:00 PM

All good choices. Nice find there Shadow, that is the Low-Voltage X2 4000+ at 65W...

Actually with DDR2 + AM2 it totally negates the point of dual-channel. Dual-Channel won't help much now, so says the Inquirer.

~Ibrahim~
July 30, 2006 9:40:16 PM

All good choices. Nice find there Shadow, that is the Low-Voltage X2 4000+ at 65W...

Actually with DDR2 + AM2 it totally negates the point of dual-channel. Dual-Channel won't help much now, so says the Inquirer.

It actually isn't SD fault, ZZF misquoted the specs.

~Ibrahim~
July 30, 2006 10:39:21 PM

on the dual channel i agree. ihave ran 2 512s in dual and single
and cant see any diff its just more memory the better.
July 31, 2006 12:21:45 AM

Quote:
All good choices. Nice find there Shadow, that is the Low-Voltage X2 4000+ at 65W...

Actually with DDR2 + AM2 it totally negates the point of dual-channel. Dual-Channel won't help much now, so says the Inquirer.

It actually isn't SD fault, ZZF misquoted the specs.

~Ibrahim~


I emailed ZZF about the specs, and they said they are going to fix it. Guess they didn't.
July 31, 2006 1:06:33 AM

I guess I stand corrected. I knew that the performance increases were like that with DDR, and figured that the same kinds of gains would be happening on DDR2. But if what I said isn't the case, then what is the reason for marketing dual channel? Is it just marketing mumbo jumbo?
July 31, 2006 1:09:46 AM

well this is on ddr.
i have no experience with ddr2

but i do know that adding 2 more 512s
made all the diff in the world
July 31, 2006 1:31:25 AM

Of course adding ram will always make a net speed increase, especially when you double it or so. What I was saying is that it doesn't allow dual channel with four DIMMS. Of course, I could be wrong, obvously this has happened before...
July 31, 2006 1:39:12 AM

i have 4 512s in my set up and it is in dual channel
but it is 2t timing instead of 1t timing

i was able to reach an overclock of 2630mgz with 4 sticks
and could go to 2730mgz with 2 sticks of ram.

but my machine is a lot faster with more memory.
as opposed to an overclock.
July 31, 2006 3:29:56 AM

Quote:
Of course adding ram will always make a net speed increase, especially when you double it or so. What I was saying is that it doesn't allow dual channel with four DIMMS. Of course, I could be wrong, obvously this has happened before...


I think it was Tom, maybe other site that showed DDR2 running in dual channel and single channel acheive exactly the same bandwidth. Now if could i could find that article...
July 31, 2006 3:32:30 AM

Dang, I must be striking out today. Sorry guys, but I must bow out of this one, as I have been shown that I know nothing about this. I will watch intently for educational purposes, though.
July 31, 2006 3:48:17 AM

Ok, so as far as we can tell Dual Channel is a NON ISSUE on AMD AM2 using DDR2 correct?


That's good news, one less worry, I can save some $ and just get the 1 gig I need now and get another in a few months and not worry at all about them being "Dual Channel" matched set.


Thanks!
July 31, 2006 4:04:50 AM

if you can pull parts from your older machine and use an old case (HDD, CDrom etc. Then you can probably just upgrade your mobo, gpu, cpu, ram and psu for a pretty nice amd machine. The best price/performance right now are the 4400+ and the 4200+. Although the 4800+ is at a very good price ($315) considering it was $600 not too long ago. You can get a 7900gt for about $250 which puts you at around $575. Buy a 500 watt psu for $50 and 2 gigs of corsair xms ram for $200 and you are at $825. That leaves room to get a nice case or something extra.
August 1, 2006 1:10:40 AM

Another question for everyone....

Am I going to crash and burn if I try to install an Old CD version of Windows XP (PRE- SP1 & SP2) ?

Do I NEED to have an Recent XP CD with SP2 slipstreamed to install XP on this AM2 system?



Thanks.
August 1, 2006 1:19:10 AM

You don't NEEEED IT. You WANT it. Having a computer without SP2 installed on it is NOT a good idea. At the very least, install SP2 from a disk BEFORE you get an internet connection. A computer without it can be infected within minutes of connecting (it happened to me). Best choice: get your hands on a SP2 disk. That is as far as I will go with that advice.
August 1, 2006 2:10:19 AM

Quote:
You don't NEEEED IT. You WANT it. Having a computer without SP2 installed on it is NOT a good idea. At the very least, install SP2 from a disk BEFORE you get an internet connection. A computer without it can be infected within minutes of connecting (it happened to me). Best choice: get your hands on a SP2 disk. That is as far as I will go with that advice.



Thanks, I do intend to update it Immediatly, but I am worried by another post in the forum of a guy can not even get XP to Boot on his new AMD system...BSOD :0

I am wondering if anyone knows for SURE if I can install OLD XP and then update it ... or is it not even going to have proper drivers enough to boot the system??
August 1, 2006 2:36:22 AM

Yes, you can. I have seen it done.

I believe that I have seen the post you were referring to, and he was trying to use his old XP installation and just changing the mobo/proc/everything else but the harddrive. His problem was he needed to format and reinsatall.

In your case, have the drivers ready for install as soon as you have windows up and running. It will make everything else faster.

When windows loads initally, if it can't find the exact driver it needs, it either disables the item in question (non-essential devices) or finds a generic one (ide, sata, vga, etc.). This often causes huge performance hits until the proper drivers are loaded. From experience I will say take the time to install and update your computer before you start installing any non-essential software. It makes the whole process take less time and turns out to be much easier in the long run.

Just make sure to install your pci-e drivers BEFORE the videocard drivers.
August 1, 2006 4:13:18 AM

Quote:
Yes, you can. I have seen it done.

I believe that I have seen the post you were referring to, and he was trying to use his old XP installation and just changing the mobo/proc/everything else but the harddrive. His problem was he needed to format and reinsatall.

In your case, have the drivers ready for install as soon as you have windows up and running. It will make everything else faster.

When windows loads initally, if it can't find the exact driver it needs, it either disables the item in question (non-essential devices) or finds a generic one (ide, sata, vga, etc.). This often causes huge performance hits until the proper drivers are loaded. From experience I will say take the time to install and update your computer before you start installing any non-essential software. It makes the whole process take less time and turns out to be much easier in the long run.

Just make sure to install your pci-e drivers BEFORE the videocard drivers.


Cool, thanks.

Just got concerned there that AM2 might be a different animal than I am use to with more picky issues XP wise, good to know it's not.

Also,

Thanks to all of everyones help & suggestions here is my current shopping list, hope to start ordering next weekend.



Case: Antec Performance I P180 $99.30

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA $94.99

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Motherboard: ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 $91.67

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100154SR Radeon X1800XT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 $247.39

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/Product_reviews.asp?...

Memory: G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Unbuffered System Memory Model F2-6400CL4S-1GBPK - Retail $96.49

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2000MHz HT Socket AM2 Dual Core Processor Model ADA3800IAA5CU - Retail $145.95

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/Product_accessoriesx...

PSU: Antec Truepower II 550 PSU $80

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...


Shipping $55 or so

Total around $910 or so, and I should be able to upgrade the CPU and GPU and add RAM next year and still be in good shape.
August 1, 2006 4:37:00 AM

Here's a system I came up with in the same price range that includes the 7900GT.

7900GT system

Bumped down to 677 and a better quility brand for memory. You can always overclock it if you need to.
Modo has IEE if that is important to you now or in the future.
250 HD instead of 320 should be plenty.
Diff. case and PSU.
August 1, 2006 2:23:17 PM

Quote:
Yes, you can. I have seen it done.

I believe that I have seen the post you were referring to, and he was trying to use his old XP installation and just changing the mobo/proc/everything else but the harddrive. His problem was he needed to format and reinsatall.

In your case, have the drivers ready for install as soon as you have windows up and running. It will make everything else faster.

When windows loads initally, if it can't find the exact driver it needs, it either disables the item in question (non-essential devices) or finds a generic one (ide, sata, vga, etc.). This often causes huge performance hits until the proper drivers are loaded. From experience I will say take the time to install and update your computer before you start installing any non-essential software. It makes the whole process take less time and turns out to be much easier in the long run.

Just make sure to install your pci-e drivers BEFORE the videocard drivers.


Cool, thanks.

Just got concerned there that AM2 might be a different animal than I am use to with more picky issues XP wise, good to know it's not.

Also,

Thanks to all of everyones help & suggestions here is my current shopping list, hope to start ordering next weekend.



Case: Antec Performance I P180 $99.30

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA $94.99

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Motherboard: ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 $91.67

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/product.asp?catalog%...

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100154SR Radeon X1800XT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 $247.39

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/Product_reviews.asp?...

Memory: G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Unbuffered System Memory Model F2-6400CL4S-1GBPK - Retail $96.49

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2000MHz HT Socket AM2 Dual Core Processor Model ADA3800IAA5CU - Retail $145.95

http://www.pagecomputers.com/store/Product_accessoriesx...

PSU: Antec Truepower II 550 PSU $80

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...


Shipping $55 or so

Total around $910 or so, and I should be able to upgrade the CPU and GPU and add RAM next year and still be in good shape.

Nice system! Make sure you keep your DDR2-800 RAM, 667 + AM2= no good.
August 1, 2006 3:48:03 PM

I'm with Shadow. I know most 667 memory overclocks very well, sometimes upwards of 800, but I prefer 800 to begin with. It might not be wise to use 667 stock on a AM2 machine as it negates the purpose of a AM2 machine in terms of performance.

~Ibrahim~
!