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Seeking Advice on Low/Mid-Range Gaming Rig

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August 29, 2006 8:44:12 PM

Hello,

I'm trying to assemble what I'd call a Low to Mid Range Gaming Rig. In other words... what the wife won't kill me for ;) 

I'm currently running:

SeaSonic S12 430W PS (the original Antec died. >:[ )
Athlon Barton 2500+
Asus A7N8X
1 Gb Corsair XMS Ram (2x512Mb)
Sapphire Radeon 9700Pro
2x Hitachi 120Gb IDE Drives
SB Live! Value
Assorted drives & peripherals

This was a serious badboy when I put it together in March 2003 ;) 

I don't have a solid price range in mind - I want to get the most bang for my buck, on the cheap, as it were. I won't be getting an entire machine - I'll be reusing a lot, and I know I definitely want to stay below $1000, but $600-$800 would be nicer on the wallet.

I'm a web developer and a gamer. Here's what I run:

Apps:
Visual Studio 2003
Visual Studio 2005
Dreamweaver MX 2
Corel Paint Shop Pro X
Photoshop CS 2


Games:
Counter-Strike Source & Half-Life 2
World of Warcraft
Doom 3
Heroes of Might & Magic V
Warcraft 3

I'd like to have a shot at running Oblivion. Currently, all the above games run "ok". HL2 & Doom 3 have to be scaled down. HOMM V performs the worst (I actually stopped playing it for now because I like my games to run well).

Here's what I'm looking at (all prices NewEgg):

Conroe E6300 ($193) or E6400 ($243)
Asus P5W Deluxe ($270)
2 Gb Corsair XMS2 DDR675 ($191)
Gigabyte GeForce 7600GT ($170) or Sapphire Radeon X1800XT ($200)
2x Hitachi Deskstar 160Gb SATA II ($108)

This puts me in the $932-$1012 range, which seems pretty high to me.

I'd like to get some general feedback on this, but I also have a few specific questions -

I've bought AMD since my first Athlon 700. Mobos have always been like $100-$125 for SOLID boards. Why the heck are the good Intel boards over twice as much? Are there any good cheaper alternatives to the P5W? I'd like to stay with a decent name brand if possible.

Will my SeaSonic 430w run this setup? I was hoping that, since the Conroe power needs are much less, I might be able to skip upgrading the PS.

Thanks in advance. I know you guys get a lot of these posts... but hey... it should be a compliment to your knowledge ;) 
August 29, 2006 9:11:13 PM

Well, let's see... for starters, get the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe from mwave. It is crossfire ready, has an intel 975 chipset which has been said to perform the best so far due to it's maturity. The RAM is fine. I'm using 2 Gigs of Corsair XMS2 DDR 800 (and it overclocks to 900 MHz!) but it was $250. The Graphics card, I'd stick with the Radeon, especially if you get the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe mobo. Not sure about the hard drives. I use Maxtor, WD (both of these are LOUD!), and Seagate (personal choice, they're very quiet and run cool). Also, Newegg has an Antec 550 WATT PS for sale for like $65 after rebates with free s/h, but not sure after reading reviews. Do note you'll need a better power supply though ;) Other than that, AMD computers are easeier on the budget. But you get better performance from Intel (break through for Intel over the last 2 years! :p  ) Happy Hunting!

Note: Froogle <~ BEST FRIEND!
August 29, 2006 9:16:50 PM

If you're on a tight budget, then I'd go for a socket am2 Athlon X2 based system. You can get an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ for $152 from newegg. Most good socket AM2 motherboards are between $100-150, and you can keep that DDR2 RAM that you already mentioned. You can save some money by just reusing your current HDD's. I'd get this PNY GF7600GT for $125, rather than that Gigabyte one.

Quote:
Will my SeaSonic 430w run this setup?


What are the amps on the 12V rail?
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August 29, 2006 9:26:31 PM

Check out the Gigabyte GA-P965-DS3 motherboard for what you want to put in it. It's substantially cheaper and will allow you to do 2-drive RAID if that's what you mean to do with those 2 drives. As long as you don't need SLI or the absolute best overclocking ability, it should do you good.
August 29, 2006 10:39:00 PM

Get the E6300 and a big typhoon or some other good air cooling, you should be able to overclock it quite well.

Mobos dont have to be expensive, look at the DFI Infinity 975X/G or the ASUS P5NSLI. I recommend the DFI because it supports crossfire because itll also recommend...

the X1900XT! its about $270 (even $235 if youre lucky) on newegg after rebates but its a GREAT card, it outperforms a 7900GT and even a 7900GTX at times!

Go with OCZ for memory (unless you go for an asus board, then you might wanna double-triple check compatibiliy) its cheaper than anything else. But get the Corsair XMS DDR2 5400 cas4 and overclock it to 6400 if you want maximun speed.

Get a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320gb, its cheaper and faster than those two drives.
August 29, 2006 10:43:30 PM

Get the E6300 and a big typhoon or some other good air cooling, you should be able to overclock it quite well.

Mobos dont have to be expensive, look at the DFI Infinity 975X/G or the ASUS P5NSLI. I recommend the DFI because it supports crossfire because itll also recommend...

the X1900XT! its about $270 (even $235 if youre lucky) on newegg after rebates but its a GREAT card, it outperforms a 7900GT and even a 7900GTX at times!

Go with OCZ for memory (unless you go for an asus board, then you might wanna double-triple check compatibiliy) its cheaper than anything else. But get the Corsair XMS DDR2 5400 cas4 and overclock it to 6400 if you want maximun speed.

Get a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320gb, its cheaper and faster than those two drives.

The powersupply should be enough for this setup, ild be a slim chance that it wouldnt.
August 30, 2006 1:26:42 PM

Note: ATI X1900XT VGA Fan is LOUD! Other than that, very powerful! 8)
August 30, 2006 2:55:46 PM

well if i were you, and i was trying to save money and dont plan on upgrading in 2-3 years, id buy 939 system



you can reuse your ram , hdd's & power supply.

you can also run your harddrives in raid 0 to get some more speed out of them.

then all you need is (prices in Canadian)

Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (180 )
Motherboard of your choise9 i chouse DFI infinity ( less then 100)
1 gig memory kit corsair xms - 2x512meg ddr 400($135.00)
an ATI X1900GT or GE 7900GT ($340)

youll have a killer system for dirt cheap reuseign alot of your old parts.

thats all under 800 CANADIAN and your goona get over 20-25 fps in oblivian
!