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Gaming and multimedia rig : your advice please

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August 30, 2006 1:34:12 AM

Hi all,

How about another serving of noob-asking-if-his-rig-is-okay-before-buying for a change ? ;P I planned this as a budget computer for both gaming and multimedia multitasking (the likes of Photoshop CS2 and QuarkXpress running at the same time). As far as gaming is concerned, I'll probably stick with games 2-3 years old, so I don't need an over-the-top video card. Actually, if I can run Warcraft III at full detail I'll be more than happy. My budget is 1000$CAN, but I can go up to 1200$CAN. Here is what I got :

CPU : AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Socket AM2 Orleans 2.0GHZ 2000FSB 512KB L2 Cache
Mobo : Asus M2N-E Socket AM2 nForce 570 Ultra MCP Chipset
RAM : Corsair TWIN2X1024-5400C4
GPU : Asus EN7600GS Silent HTD nVidia GeForce 7600GS(400MHz) 256MB GDDR2(800Mhz)
Case : Thermaltake Armor Jr. Black
PSU : Enermax Liberty 400W ATX 12V
HDD : Maxtor DiamondMax 10 SATA (3.0Gb/s) 300GB 7200RPM 16MB Buffer
DVD Burner : LG GSA-H10N 16X 10x DL+R 6X DL-R 12X DVD Writer (Black)

Keyboard, mouse and speakers will be bought in-store as they are cheaper there. All in all, this amounts to 1119.84$AN, including taxes, shipping and handling and the MIR on the DVD. I left out the legacy floppy drive as the M2N-E's BIOS is flashable from a USB drive, though I would like some feedback about that feature. The monitor and OS are "being taken care of" so no need to care about them for now. My goal here is to the get the proverbial best bang for the buck, so if better and cheaper is feasible, I will be happy to here about it.
August 30, 2006 2:06:21 AM

If gaming and budget were the priorities I'd say go for the AMD2. However I've been building and selling systems specifically for multimedia/editing since 1994 and based on experience with both I'd say for multimedia you should (now) go for an Intel Conroe. Even in the days of the P4-HT Prescott the Intel has done most rendering jobs quicker than any AMD, and when it comes to fussy shareware utilities most (not all) little programs have run better on the Intel. Also the Nvidia chipset is not friendly to "foreign" hard drives, a Sata drive formatted on the Nvidia chipset may not even be recognized in any other system. Some Sata drives don't work on Nvidia sets whereas Intel never has an issue with any drive. - And for multimedia you WILL be swapping capture drives etc. Been there,.. Done that. Right now even a C2D E6300 will render a 720X480 Mpeg2 with HCencode at 36 fps or more. I know of no AMD system that can match that. I'd go for a C2D E6300 with a cheap motherboard. It will cost a little more but you'll save in rendering time and compatibility.
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August 30, 2006 2:18:44 AM

Thanks for the tip, but this way I'm over budget. Would there be a way to actually cut down on the VC (say with a 7300GT, or anything cheap that has good value for the money) so I can afford DDR2 800 ? Also, thanks for reminding me of this : I'll probably do some OC and do intend to upgrade next year when I have more cash. I'm hoping to add more RAM and get a new VC in september next year, and maybe a new CPU. I would like to keep this system for 3-4 years, upgrading when needed. Am I living in Utopia ?
August 30, 2006 2:30:35 AM

The video card doesn't matter for multimedia. Although I'm an ATI card user myself I'd say the Nvidia drivers have an advantage in that DirectX playback in an authoring program, PowerDVD, Media Player etc. can take over the second monitor and play fullscreen. The ATI drivers don't allow that. Get a cheap video card now and upgrade with a tax refund or something, then with a Conroe chip already in place you'll have a gaming machine.
August 30, 2006 4:21:19 PM

Quote:
The video card doesn't matter for multimedia. [...] Get a cheap video card now and upgrade with a tax refund or something

That's what I was thinking. Any suggestions on cheap video cards that will allow me to play WC3 ?

Quote:
If gaming and budget were the priorities I'd say go for the AMD2.

Actually, my priorities are as follow :

    [*:a68b60937b]budget
    [*:a68b60937b]multimedia (mostly 2-d editing, little or no animation)
    [*:a68b60937b]gaming

    I'm currently studying in graphic design, so I really need a comp. However, I won't be using it to full capactiy until next year. I expect to finish my degree in 3 years, so I expect my system to last until then, plus maybe a year or two to earn the money for a professional workstation. Until then, I need to keep it cheap and make some upgrades over time to keep the system competitive enough. The semesters will be pretty intensive, so I don't expect to have that much time for gaming outside of some weekends and during summer. Keeping this in mind, should I stay with AM2 or should I move on to Conroe ?
August 31, 2006 5:00:49 PM

Finally settled for the system and made it cheaper. I'm keeping CPU, Mobo, HDD, Case and PSU. Here are the new parts :

RAM : Corsair TWIN2X1024A-6400 - DDR2-800 - 2 X 512MB - 5-5-5-12
GPU : XFX GeForce 7300GT 256MB SLI Support
DVD Burner : LiteOn SHW-160P6S BLACK DVD+R/RW 16x8x DVD-R/RW 16x6x DVD+/-R DL 8x4x DVD Writer

Changes were made primarily to save money so I can get better RAM for OC and future dual core CPU next year. Any comments before I waste my money on subpar parts ?
!