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$1300 budget, new online gaming system, advice please

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September 1, 2006 6:33:11 PM

I am building a new system with a current budget of $1300. I have read through a lot of the forums, read up on the new Conroe's and have some questions about getting "bang for the buck"

I do not do video editing, run other cpu intensive programs, multi-task etc. This machine is going to be used for gaming, and specifically MMORPG gaming - WoW, DDO online, Vanguard etc. Vanguard is what this machine will ultimately be used for

1) My first question is do I really need a dual core processor to get the most out of my online gaming, or am I better off going with a single core processor and spending the big $ elsewhere (on vid card/memory)

2) I am not going to be overclocking much, perhaps a bit using the stock instructions that can handle it withought having to use intensive extra cooling.

3) I want to get an SLI board and use a single 7900 GTX and add a second one in a few months when I can afford to buy a second one. I know these are beefy vid cards, will I need to add in extra fans to keep my system cool doing this.

4) Is it worth it to get a 10 000 rpm hardrive such as the 150 gig raptor to load up my OS/games and then a 2nd 7200 storage drive for everything else. What I mean here is will the 10 000 rpm drive increase my online gaming? I know it is very effective for applications, but for MMORPG would it be worth my while to spend the extra $ there?

5) This ties in a bit to Q4, but would it make sense to have a RAID set up if I am using this mahcine for MMORPG gaming. From what I have read it does not seem like it would help me much, but want to make sure I am not missing anything.

6) Memory - Since I will not be overclocking, do I need to get the super high end memory, or will I be fine using a good brand such as Corsair, getting 2 x 1 gig of a mid end memory.

I know this is a lot of Q's and spans a lot of forums. I appreciate the input of the users in this forum and would love some advice from those of you who know this stuff backwards and forwards.
September 1, 2006 9:05:40 PM

I agree with prozac26, MMOs don't recieve the same kind of attention as single player games which are much more likely to be used as benchmarks, therfore, MMOs tend to lack the software and driver optimisations that make SLI worthwhile for more ubiquitous titles.

On top of that, SLI only start to shine at resolutions above 1600x1200 with high levels of AA, AF and eyecandies, unless your monitor can do better than UXGA, SLI is not for you.

Here, WoW & SLI shows absolutely no gains, I couldn't find any benchmarks featuring DDO and Vanguard but I wouldn't be surprised to see those two titles behaving just the same way.
September 1, 2006 10:35:11 PM

Thank you for the advice.

So following those suggestions:

Single "best vid card" (of course price is an issue) - 7900gtx
Dual Core - E6400 or E6600

MB/Memory - Any suggestions here? I have read about the P5W DH DELUXE, but wonder again if this will be too much board for my needs (not overclocking). Can I save some money here and get a lesser board that will be just as fast as this board (assuming no overclocking) and could you suggest the proper RAM to get with a suggested board.
Related resources
September 1, 2006 10:38:40 PM

Quote:
My first question is do I really need a dual core processor to get the most out of my online gaming, or am I better off going with a single core processor and spending the big $ elsewhere (on vid card/memory)



Let me just tell you, Dual core is pretty much the standard nowadays, even though software still hasn't taken full advantage of them.

And also, $1300 is definetly not a low budget computer


This is a list I made up about a week ago, prices may be lower now too/new sweet offers.

$242.99 E6400
$152.99 Gigabyte 965P DS3
$170 2GB OCZ DDR2-800 (Newegg, not sure if offer is still available)
$40 Case
$30 Power Supply
$220 Vid Card (Cant find any hot deals right now, wait a few days you might get a good one)
$49.99 200GB Hard Drive (http://shop1.outpost.com/product/3492233)
_____________
~$905.97


Many things I just mentioned have Free S/H. Get a case at local computer store.

You got about ~$400 more to spend if you want to. Hell, go for a e6600 and you got ~$280 left. I guess I would save that money, going for a better vid card is just a waste of money in my opinion (seriously, think about it do the extra FPS really matter when you are probably over 70FPS already. Now, dont be an ass and tell me you want to play Oblivion at 1600*1200 MAX DETAILS 8X AA 16X AF)
Save that money, get something better in a year.
September 1, 2006 10:41:33 PM

Crap I just noticed you are not OCing... I thought you WERE.
That'll save you money... I dont want to search for products and prices...see ya and good luck!!
September 2, 2006 5:37:26 AM

Quote:

...$30 Power Supply...


never skimp on the PSU, you'll regret it!

get something with at least 28 amps on the 12v for a single vid card and at least 36 amps 12v for SLI/crossfire, (one built by a reputable company is a plus too)

wattage ratings dont mean jack, a $5 600W PSU will get spanked by a quality 350W unit
September 2, 2006 6:09:35 AM

I don't know how much it would effect a core 2 duo, but using built in sound makes your CPU do extra calculations. Opt for a sound card, like an Audigy 2, I remember with benchmarks of HL2 when it first came out the boost was noticable when adding a sound card. As for MMORPG, who knows, but paying 65 for it results in great sound and added performance, things like EAX which I think WoW uses it, sis plays it so I am not sure.
September 2, 2006 6:46:13 AM

Quote:
1. I would say go for a dual core. Future games will surely use them, and you'll be ready for them. If getting a dual core will make you get a crappy video card, then go single core, but I would go for dual core.

2. You can do a 500MHz - 800MHz on most stock cooling, but stock fan will be louder than a jet.

3. In a few months, dual 7900GTXs will suck completely. Always get the best single card setup you can afford.

4. If you can afford a Raptor, then go for it, but you probably won't notice a worthy difference.

5. RAID 0 will improve load times, but you can lose all the data once something happens to one drive. Not worth it IMO, especially if you're on a budget.

6. Value RAM is fine if you're no overclocking. If you're getting Value RAM, make sure you get it from a good brand, such Corsair.



What Prozac said.

1&2. With the new Core 2 Duos, a new level of "over-clockability" has been achieved. You can easily overclock these on air, with the stock cooler. Something to consider when deciding between AMD & Intel.
Socket longevity is an issue for future upgrading, but with all the changes going on, your pretty much in the same boat with either company, which is to say the future is uncertain, regardless of enthusiast claims.

3. Yup. Absolutely

4. Yup. I wouldnt waste the money for a raptor.

5. Yup.

6. Yup. Somthing else to consider. Socket AM2 motherboards can be a little touchy with RAM CAS timings. So motherboard manufacturer approved RAM for AM2 will probably cost more than that for Core 2.

Peace
September 2, 2006 8:01:45 AM

I just finished building a new system. Look up Toms build on how to overclock the Pentium 805d. I build this system with
Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe
Pentium D 805 2.6gh duel proccessor
eVGA 01G-P2-N592-AX Geforce 7950GX2
OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W PSU
Titan VANESSA NK25TB/SC(RB) 120mm Cooling Fan with Heatsink
Antec P180 Midtower Case (the HS and case are critical)
2 x Western Digital Caviar RE WD3200SD 320GB Serial ATA 7200RPM

And a 120mm and 80mm fan. The CPU cooler and Antec case are critical. I have this configuration running at 3.8gh on air. I can run it at 4gh but it just puts out to much heat. It ran everything I tried on it except for benchmark programs. I backed it down to 3.8 just to be stable on everything.
With the 7950 I can add a second one sometime in the future and run quad SLI if I so choose and the duel 7950 isnt that much more than a single (at least not when I got it a month or so ago) Definately get a very good PS as someone said. And make sure your ram is going to work. I have the 800mhz ram OCed just a bit at 815mhz to match the 3.8gh speed used by the CPU. This cost me between $1300 and $1400 But should be closer to your price now. Its a rock solid system so far once I got it built and worked out a couple bugs. (had to reseat the heatsinks on the MB and turn the top fan on the case to blow in across the cpu cooler).

Ive not found anything that it would not run at full settings. Oblivion, EQ, EQ2 etc. Its an all around good machine, will do anything you want.

Seric
September 2, 2006 2:05:10 PM

This amounts to $1,286.95. However, it assumes you have a mouse, keyboard, monitor, and a case already:

Mobo --> ASUS P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe ($219.00) Link
CPU ---> Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 ($193.00) - Link
RAM ---> 2GB (2 x 1GB) pqi Turbo DDR2-533 PC4200 ($199.99) Link
Video --> BFG Tech GeForce 7900GTX ($469.99) Link
HDD ---> 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 rpm SATA 3.0GB/s ($94.99) Link
PSU ---> Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550W ($108.99) Link

But if it were me, and I had only a budget of $1,300 ... this is probably what I'd get for me:

Mobo --> ABIT KN9 ULTRA Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra ($109.99) Link
CPU ---> AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Windsor 2.4GHz ($253.00) - Link
RAM ---> mushkin eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800 PC6400 ($319.99) Link
Video --> ATI Radeon X1900XTX ($379.99) Link
HDD ---> 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 rpm SATA 3.0GB/s ($94.99) Link
PSU ---> OCZ GameXStream 700W ($159.99) Link

That comes to a total of $1,317.95. If you wanted to push it under the $1300 mark, you could stick to that Antec NeoHE 550W ($108.99), which would bring the total to $1,266.95. If I needed to fit a case in, I'd probably "downgrade" to Patriot 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800 PC6400 Cas 4 ($232.99) Link memory, and squeeze in an Antec PlusView II Tower ($93.99) Link.
That would bring the total to $1,273.85 ... respectively.

Good luck.


ArbY
September 2, 2006 11:22:18 PM

Quote:
1. I would say go for a dual core. Future games will surely use them, and you'll be ready for them. If getting a dual core will make you get a crappy video card, then go single core, but I would go for dual core.

2. You can do a 500MHz - 800MHz on most stock cooling, but stock fan will be louder than a jet.

3. In a few months, dual 7900GTXs will suck completely. Always get the best single card setup you can afford.

4. If you can afford a Raptor, then go for it, but you probably won't notice a worthy difference.

5. RAID 0 will improve load times, but you can lose all the data once something happens to one drive. Not worth it IMO, especially if you're on a budget.

6. Value RAM is fine if you're no overclocking. If you're getting Value RAM, make sure you get it from a good brand, such Corsair.


I agree with all of the above but I would,nt get anything else then a dual core. you,d get a cpu with a lower clock speed compared to a single core for the same money, but it will make it your system more future proof since new games being released will peform better alot better on a dual core.
September 3, 2006 1:39:11 AM

Quote:
Single "best vid card" (of course price is an issue) - 7900gtx


Single best vid card - MSI RX1900XTX: $277 after rebate

w00t! 2000 posts!

I would definately go with an ATI chipped card. The money saved on the card could turn the E6300 Arby priced out for you to a E6600
September 3, 2006 8:02:23 PM

My pricelist is skewed towards AMD? I'm fairly certain I was explicit in explaining that the AMD configuration is what I'd prefer ...
Some people might appreciate seeing an AMD vs. Intel comparison. I was only trying to balance things out a tad, which is more than most folks around here could claim.

Here's another option then:

CPU ---> Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz ($1,039.99) - Link
Mobo --> Intel "BadAxe" 975X ($269.99) - Link
Total = $1,309.98

The above configuration assumes you already have in your possession compatible DDR2 RAM, a video card, a sufficient PSU, a HDD, a case, mouse, keyboard, monitor, and a $10 Newegg gift card to drive the cost below your budget limit.


Mobo --> GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 Intel P965 Express ($149.99) Link
CPU ---> Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ($360.00) - Link
RAM ---> 2GB (2 x 1GB) pqi Turbo DDR2-533 PC4200 ($199.99) Link
Video --> ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MB ($379.99) Link
HDD ---> 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 rpm SATA 3.0GB/s ($94.99) Link
PSU ---> Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550W ($118.99) Link

The above configuration costs $1,303.95 ... without a case and without the Mail-In Rebates applied. There's a $30 MIR on the RAM. If you can go up to $1,400 ... you'll be able squeeze in a case -- that system is excellent.

Again, good luck.


ArbY
September 3, 2006 8:58:35 PM

I appreciate all of the input so far. I know that there are others in the same boat as me, and all of the advice and different viewpoints are sincerely welcomed.
September 3, 2006 9:15:09 PM

Quote:
My pricelist is skewed towards AMD? I'm fairly certain I was explicit in explaining that the AMD configuration is what I'd prefer ...
Some people might appreciate seeing an AMD vs. Intel comparison. I was only trying to balance things out a tad, which is more than most folks around here could claim.

Here's another option then:

CPU ---> Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz ($1,039.99) - Link
Mobo --> Intel "BadAxe" 975X ($269.99) - Link
Total = $1,309.98

The above configuration assumes you already have in your possession compatible DDR2 RAM, a video card, a sufficient PSU, a HDD, a case, mouse, keyboard, monitor, and a $10 Newegg gift card to drive the cost below your budget limit.


Mobo --> GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 Intel P965 Express ($149.99) Link
CPU ---> Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ($360.00) - Link
RAM ---> 2GB (2 x 1GB) pqi Turbo DDR2-533 PC4200 ($199.99) Link
Video --> ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MB ($379.99) Link
HDD ---> 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 rpm SATA 3.0GB/s ($94.99) Link
PSU ---> Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550W ($118.99) Link

The above configuration costs $1,303.95 ... without a case and without the Mail-In Rebates applied. There's a $30 MIR on the RAM. If you can go up to $1,400 ... you'll be able squeeze in a case -- that system is excellent.

Again, good luck.


ArbY


Arby listed a very good system. I would go for a different PSU though, in the 550 watt $80.00 range.

The thing to remember right now, is that the new Intel Core 2 Duos out perform the slightly older AMDs at a very good performance/cost ratio. As for the older Intels (P4/Netburst) I would avoid those completely.

THG has excellent interactive CPU & VC comparisons here:

CPU
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html

VC
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html
September 4, 2006 12:08:25 AM

The thing that has me thinking right now is that I am playing MMORPGs with this machine. I would love to see some benchmarks from WoW or EQ etc. Am I really going to see a big performance incrase using the top end card from a slightly lesser one, seeing as how MMO's are designed?
!