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Roughly $1200 - $1500 Cdn budget for a gaming system

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September 16, 2006 6:22:06 AM

I'll also use it for some graphics programs like Adobe Creative Suite 2.

I live in British Columbia, so there is no Newegg or amazing deals here. I'll select components from Atic or NCIX and have them build it.

I'm looking for the best value in that range and it doesn't include a monitor. Are there network cards that allow you to have both wireless and wired high speed Internet access (I likely start with the former then go to the latter when I move).

The starting point is probably a Geforce 7900GT or Radeon X1900XT. I was looking at an AMD64x2 3800 but something called Conroe seems to be popular.

Are video cards and surround sound a big deal in PC gaming right now?

Help would be appreciated. Particularly with the CPU/Motherboard and type of RAM (I suspect I'll get 2 gigs).

Thanks!
September 16, 2006 7:35:48 AM

It's better to base a rig around a CPU platform than a graphics card.

Tips for selecting the parts you want -

1) Get 2gb RAM
2) Conroe is Core 2 Duo - and it's the best you can get at the moment
3) Motherboards come with ethernet on-board now, almost without exception
4) There is a range of ASUS motherboards that come with wireless LAN on-board. Plus they're supposed to be pretty good boards too.
5) If you want to spend a whole lot on graphics now, then go ahead, but a lot of people are selecting 7600 (or equiv.) cards now, and are going to upgrade to a DirectX 10 card when they come out.
September 16, 2006 8:42:10 AM

Conroe is the way to go but it's a bit expensive but if you get the E6300 you should be ok (around 180$)
2GB RAM watch for compability with Asus mb (Geil,Corsair.Ocz)
the mb already have on-board lan
the video card is your choice,i think you should get a cheaper video card (7600GT-7900GS)and wait for DX10 cards
Related resources
September 16, 2006 3:31:39 PM

How much are DX10 cards going to cost and what type of power supply will it require? I won't spend a fortune on a video card so I'm not sure how long I'll have to make due with the one I put in this system.

Beyond the brand of ram/mobo, what should I look out for? I don't 'know what most of the crap beside the brand means (there are tons of Asus/Gigabyte mobos and Corsair ram).

thanks
September 16, 2006 6:19:30 PM

When you want to buy a component and you have made up your mind wich one you want to buy you should look for reviews about the part and decide if it's ok to buy it.DX10 card will be a bit expensive when they come out but the prices will drop and the will be at the same price as today's video cards,you just haev to wait 5-6 months till they are here along with Vista or sooner,i dont know any thing about the power demands,any way if you want to buy a part just post that parts you want to buy and i will help you
September 16, 2006 6:39:49 PM

Thanks. I decided to get a quote for this core system:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 ATX LGA775 Conroe P965 DDR2 PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 GBLAN Audio Motherboard

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Dual Core Processor LGA775 Conroe 1.86GHZ 1066FSB 2MB Retail

Video: Sapphire Radeon X1900 XT 620MHZ PCI-E 256MB 256BIT 1.4GHZ GDRR3 Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card

Case: Antec Sonata II Black ATX 16IN Mid Tower Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 450W Air Duct 120MM Fan

HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2 3GB/S 7200RPM 16MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive

RAM: Corsair Value Select PC2-4200 2GB 2X1GB DDR2-533 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit

DVD: Pioneer DVR-111D Black DVD-RW 16X6X16 DVD+RW 16X8X16 DL 8X IDE OEM DVD Burner

Not really sure if I need that type of RAM or if I need a sound card. Is it worth it to go for surround sound? Or just a decent pair of speakers?

EDIT:

The guy at the store recommended that I replace the RAM and MOBO:

Corsair Value Select PC2-5300 2X1024MB DDR2-667 240PIN DIMM

ASUS P5B ATX LGA775 Conroe 965P DDR2 PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI 6 SATA2 Sound Motherboard
September 16, 2006 8:21:41 PM

OK it's all perfect,if you want a good sorround sound get a Creative sound card(Audigy etc.).All the mobo's have integrated sound and it's good as long as it's Realtek, no ADI or some thing else,and i would not recomend a 5.1 for gaming ,just for music,if you want a good 5.1 logitech z5500 and a creative sound card is the way to go,if not get a some decent speakers.

RAM-get the one the store guy suggested,they are better ,but ithink they will cost extra
Mobo-stick with the original one the Gigabyte it's better and cheaper and the rest is ok,hope you have a good build :wink:
September 16, 2006 8:37:38 PM

Thanks.

He said the Asus board was more stable (*shrugs*). Oddly enough, the 667 RAM is a bit cheaper (a sale or something). $310 CDN for 2 GBs.

Strangely enough, I'm seeing RAM on another site for around $120 Cdn for 1GB.

"Kingston 1GB DDR2-667 240pin Kingston 1GB 667MHZ DDR2-67 PC2-5300 NON-ECC CL5 DIMM 240pin 1.8v "

Is there anything wrong with that picture? They all mention NON-ECC. Is that significant?

Cheers
September 16, 2006 10:09:32 PM

:roll: no ideea about the RAM prices they diff. from store to store but i know that Corsair is better than Kingston ,you can look in all the hardware reviews they have Corsair RAM so ...

Asus MB can be more stable but the ASUS costumer service is very bad-your choice

EEC- Error-Correcting Code memory is important becose it means that the RAM module has a aditional chip to prevent errors and to check the state of the module, it's not all that vital,but it's better to know that you have EEC,right?
September 16, 2006 10:50:03 PM

Big price difference for it, though.

Anyway, will I need additional cooling if I want to overclock? I don't generally like to overclock, but it seems that is where the value of the E6300 is (I didn't realize that when I started putting a list of components together). I don't touch hardware, so if I actually have to mess around with the chip or motherboard, maybe this chip isn't for me (unless it is insanely simple).

thanks,
September 17, 2006 12:37:33 AM

Is this a local store you are going to?

310CDN for that ram is pretty expensive, does that include labour? I'm 100% sure you can get faster ram at around or even below that price (got mine for 300-40 rebate), ask they store guy again.

You will want additional cooling if you get faster ram (800mhz) but if you just want minor OC, for 1:1 without OCing the current ram the guy is suggesting, you would have 333FSB @2.34ghz and stock cooling would be just fine and dandy.

I'd like to know what prices you are getting for this stuff. Apparently, 2 stores in T.O. are selling X1900GTs for $230 while other stores are selling for $300, shop around a bit.

The sonata comes with a PSU?
September 17, 2006 1:25:37 AM

Quote:
Is this a local store you are going to?

310CDN for that ram is pretty expensive, does that include labour? I'm 100% sure you can get faster ram at around or even below that price (got mine for 300-40 rebate), ask they store guy again.

You will want additional cooling if you get faster ram (800mhz) but if you just want minor OC, for 1:1 without OCing the current ram the guy is suggesting, you would have 333FSB @2.34ghz and stock cooling would be just fine and dandy.

I'd like to know what prices you are getting for this stuff. Apparently, 2 stores in T.O. are selling X1900GTs for $230 while other stores are selling for $300, shop around a bit.

The sonata comes with a PSU?


Assembly/testing is $50. I cut and pasted the quote (from NCIX.com):

PC ASSEMBLY AND TESTING (PRE-CONFIG OS IF PURCHASED) [Reg. $50.00] $50.00

19142 Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Dual Core Processor LGA775 Conroe 1.86GHZ 1066FSB 2MB Retail [Reg. $259.98] $236.98

20648 Sapphire Radeon X1900 XT 620MHZ PCI-E 256MB 256BIT 1.4GHZ GDRR3 Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card [Reg. $316.92] $298.98

15422 Antec Sonata II Black ATX 16IN Mid Tower Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 450W Air Duct 120MM Fan [Reg. $119.14] $109.99

18409 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2 3GB/S 7200RPM 16MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive [Reg. $129.40] $109.98

18584 Corsair Value Select PC2-5300 1X1024MB DDR2-667 240PIN DIMM [Reg. $166.75] x2 $309.98

6526 Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition OEM *IR-$10* [Reg. $96.43] $96.43

19635 Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 ATX LGA775 Conroe P965 DDR2 PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 GBLAN Audio Motherboard [Reg. $188.10] $173.99

10787 D-LINK DWL-G520 Wireless Xtremeg PCI Adapter 802.11G 54MBPS 2.4GHZ [Reg. $56.45]
$54.98

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments:
*** Assembly Note *** Please update Motherboard BIOS, and all drivers.
Shipping & Handling: $0.00
SUBTOTAL: $1,441.31
GST(6%): $86.48
PST (7%): $100.89
TOTAL: CAD $1,628.68
ALL PRICES IN CANADIAN DOLLARS BALANCE: $1,628.68

_________________________________________________________________

I live in Vancouver. I noticed a place that has PC2 4200 stuff for $204 or $240 for the next step up. It's a bit of a pain since I'm getting it built.

I'll take nearly a 0.5ghz increase with no cooling. Seems you can only go to around 0.85ghz anyway.

"X1900GT"...don't you mean X1900XT?

Anyway, let me know what you think.
September 17, 2006 1:32:31 AM

Looks good to me...

I'm kind of confused about the RAM. DDR2-667Mhz is best for Conroe, IMHO. Whatever.

Mobo is considered highly, the DS3.

No way to squeeze in a 7950GT? X1900XT is great, though. 512MB version is best, but this is good.

Good luck!

~Ibrahim~
September 17, 2006 2:03:29 AM

Quote:
Looks good to me...

I'm kind of confused about the RAM. DDR2-667Mhz is best for Conroe, IMHO. Whatever.

Mobo is considered highly, the DS3.

No way to squeeze in a 7950GT? X1900XT is great, though. 512MB version is best, but this is good.

Good luck!

~Ibrahim~

I'll probably stick with the 667. We were just referring to the prices.

If the power boost is significant enough I guess I can look at (roughly $40 more):

EVGA E-GEFORCE 7950 GT KO 560MHZ PCI-E 512MB 1.45GHZ GDDR3 Dual DVI-I HDTV HDCP RoHS Out Video Card

Clock speed is 60MHZ slower than the X1900XT, though.
September 17, 2006 2:26:33 AM

Thanks for the idea. I saw that, but had never heard of the ram brand.

If I get that type of ram, does that mean I need better cooling (to OC)?

As for my budget...I was thinking before taxes. Honest ;) 
September 17, 2006 1:42:51 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by better cooling? Do you mean the ram? If you do, then a good airflow in the case would be enough. They have heatspreaders on them already from the factory.

Don't forget to buy some case for your case also when you order.

HAHA, I had a $1800 CDN budget and went over because of tax also :o  , 14% is a killer man (OMG 1% less). 8)
September 17, 2006 2:06:04 PM

OCZ Ram is da best choice if you are going to OC . Hey try ATI X1900XT it has good frame rate. But remember CASE airflow is main thing otherwise you can't OC much
September 17, 2006 2:25:40 PM

Just adding another idea for you. Consider selecting a cheaper video card and use that $100 to upgrade to the Conroe 6600. Then upgrade your video card in 6mo-1 year after DX10 arrives and the cards mature.
September 17, 2006 2:27:30 PM

Hmmm ..Good idea.
September 17, 2006 3:29:53 PM

If you're spending in that range, I would recommend 4 gig of ram.

Is asus the best kind of board or are the Intel boards the best for intel processors? What about DFI boards...some please comment

waiting on the video card seems like a good idea, however if in a year's time you will have more money to spend, then just get a good video card now. Besides, the next best video card might require a new motherboard...
September 17, 2006 3:31:41 PM

Conroe is not only the best cpu, its the best value as well. AMD cpu's are now the expensive ones when looking at price/performance/energy usage.
September 17, 2006 4:16:11 PM

Hmm. I don't think I want to spend $130 more for a better CPU when I can overclock the one I have and the video card makes a much larger difference when it comes to performance.

I simply don't know how my rig will fit for DX10 cards, how much they'll cost, how much power they'll require, whether my mobo will work with them and too many other factors. It seems premature to lower the performance of my PC significantly to save $100 when a quality DX10 card may not be reasonable for 1 1/2 years, IMO.

So OZC ram is better?
September 17, 2006 4:20:26 PM

Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean by better cooling? Do you mean the ram? If you do, then a good airflow in the case would be enough. They have heatspreaders on them already from the factory.

Don't forget to buy some case for your case also when you order.

I don't know what you mean by that.

Better cooling: Additional fan, heatsink, whatever. Is the stock CPU & video card fans good enough? I'd like to overclock (not to the max or anything, just to what was mentioned already in this thread...another 400MHZ or something).

How do I get "good airflow" in the case?

Someone recommended I get this:

Thermalright HR-01-775 LGA775 Fanless Heatsink Heatpipe Cooler W/ 120MM Fan Duct $65

BTW, will that PSU (450) be enough for the system and OCing?

thanks 8)
September 17, 2006 5:02:09 PM

Quote:
If you're spending in that range, I would recommend 4 gig of ram.

Is asus the best kind of board or are the Intel boards the best for intel processors? What about DFI boards...some please comment

waiting on the video card seems like a good idea, however if in a year's time you will have more money to spend, then just get a good video card now. Besides, the next best video card might require a new motherboard...


Why are you recommending 4GB of RAM? Right now, RAM prices are nuts (up here in Canada, anyway). And even with 2GB of RAM in my machine, I don't think I've exceeded that in the last 6 months, running Oblivion, Civ4, VS2005, SQL 2005, etc. Not all at the same time, mind you. :) 

I'd recommend getting 2GB of RAM, with the thought of upgrading in 6 months or whenever you need to (Vista upgrade time?).

Clint
September 17, 2006 5:07:33 PM

i agree wit you.Getting 4GB mem is nuts...If you have idea to go to vista 64bit edition try 4GB,If not 2 GB is good choice(you can save $100-200).
September 17, 2006 5:40:19 PM

crap man, i meant dont forget to buy some case fans for your case :oops: 

For slight OCing (around 333FSB) you will not need a new HSF but if you are going to try to get to 400FSB with that OCZ memory I pointed out to your earlier, you are better off getting a new HSF. The thermaltake big typhoon works well and should be about 55$. It is one of the best HSF you can get.

I personally would get a new PSU instead of the one that comes with the sonata. something around 500W and a good brand.
September 17, 2006 5:56:52 PM

I've got the same Sonata case, and I'm using a Scythe Ninja cooler on an Intel D 830 processor. Not sure how things will line up with the Gigabyte board, but on my Asus P5LD2 board, the heatsink lines up directly with the case fan. So I've been able to set the heatsink fan and case fan at the lowest speeds, both of them blowing out the back.

This configuration dropped my CPU temps by about 10 deg C, and is virtually silent compared to the stock Intel HS/fan.

I would agree that the PSU in the Sonata is not up to some of their separate purchase PSU standards, but it hasn't caused me any grief that I know about.

I have the same HD you're looking at, and I'd say that while the performance seems to be ok/good, it's not a terribly quiet drive.

Clint
September 17, 2006 7:24:38 PM

If the SONATA II case doesn't have a good enough PSU, is there any point in getting it? What case + cooling combo do you recommend for 333 OCing and 400 OCing?

Should I still go for the OCZ memory if I'm only overclocking at 333?

Thanks
September 17, 2006 8:17:29 PM

You've got a lot of questions, my friend. No worries, I'll try to answer them all.

Oh! If the 7950GT is more, do NOT buy it. The X1900XT is slightly faster. If it was cheaper, as it is slower, then yes.

Yeah, stick with the X1900XT.

RAM is confusing. If you are OC'ing, Value Ram is the Grim Reaper. It absolutely is horrid at OC'ing. A few times, it'll get an OK OC, but you want something a bit better. XMS series from Corsair is good, but a tad pricey. OCZ is the best. Aim for lower latencies, like 4-4-4-12 instead of 5-5-5-15.

The X1900GT is OK, but the X1900XT is a good bit faster.

Unless you are trying to hit 1GHz on your memory, no additional cooling is needed specifically for the RAM. It'll do 800+ with standard cooling.

Ouch, 15% tax?!?!

Now onto DX10. They should fit perfectly into your system. A PSU upgrade may be the worst thing that could happen. But I would wait for the 2/3 Gen of DX10 cards.

@Smelly Feet

I prefer DFI, but an new thread my be in order.

Conroe owns at everything right now. A price increase is justified. Remeber the P4 D 805? That thing retailed for below $100 sometimes, yet people STILL went for the $300 X2 3800+ because it was FASTER.

That 450W PSU is OK. The low-power C2D helps, but that X1900XT eats power, and lots of it. Maybe a 500W PSU. That would future proof you for good.

Good AirFlow=You have an intake fan in the front, an exhaust in the back, an intake on the side, and an exhaust on the top. Case restrictions may limit your choices, same with noise.

You will want a better fan for the CPU, the one you mentioned owns, but MAKE SURE YOU GET A FAN WITH IT. IT DOES NOT COME WITH ONE.

The X1900XT has a noisy a$$ of an fan. But it cools it fine.

2GB is enough, for now.

Pick whatever case you like, just try to stay away from no-name companies. Poor quality. Thermaltake is good, just throw out some cases and we can decide.

That 667Mhz memory will get you that 1:1 ratio, meaning GOOD FOR OC'ING.

Once it is built, try opening a new thread dedicated to OC'ing it, but for now:

Lower RAM ratio to 1:1. OC slow. When you hit 333Mhz for the FSB, you're memory will be running at its stock 667Mhz. So in essesence, YOU DO NOT NEED OC'ING RAM. Value should be fine. Unless you want to OC the memory. It helps some.

~Ibrahim~
September 17, 2006 8:57:28 PM

Quote:
You've got a lot of questions, my friend. No worries, I'll try to answer them all.

Yeah, buying a system is painfully complicated. I'm not building it, but I suspect NCIX won't care too much about cooling or whether or not I'm going to OC it, so I need to tell them every little thing.

I just want to know what components I need with the Conroe E6300 and Sapphire 256MB X1900XT as a base. Everything else just needs to support those things for gaming and creative suite.

Jesus. The place I'm probably going to buy from has 80 RAM products from OCZ.

How about this stuff, not sure if it is 667 (OCZ GX XTC PC2-5400 2GB 2X1GB DDR2 CL4-4-4-12 240PIN):

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17671&vpn=OC...

Quote:
Good AirFlow=You have an intake fan in the front, an exhaust in the back, an intake on the side, and an exhaust on the top. Case restrictions may limit your choices, same with noise.

You will want a better fan for the CPU, the one you mentioned owns, but MAKE SURE YOU GET A FAN WITH IT. IT DOES NOT COME WITH ONE.

What about that "thermaltake big typhoon" someone mentioned?

So I should ask them to install 4 fans?

I just want a case that is reasonably priced and equiped with the proper PSU and ventalation. Don't care what it looks like.

It's a little more than I was hoping to pay, but what about this Antec Performance case w/ 500w PSU:

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=16405&vpn=TX...

As for OCing...I'd like to be able to do is safely (as long as I can do it through software or the bios), but I won't be pushing the system to the max.

And thanks for your help.
September 17, 2006 11:32:35 PM

get the previous ram i told you before, its a couple dollars more but its 6400 and dont get fooled by the timing, 5-5-5-15 is for 800mhz, you can easily do back 4-4-4-12 at 667mhz with those. It gives you a lot more head room to OC with that ram.

Get the big typhoon.

read around the boad for OCing the DS3, there are a lot of them.

case seems to be ok, comes with the SP500 i believe which is decent for that price.
September 20, 2006 11:53:57 PM

Agree with trixst4r.

If you are scaling down to 667Mhz, that 800Mhz will suit you well.

The Gigabyte DS3 is good, get the DS6 if you have the cash.

No need to ask them for 4 fans, just ask for some intake/exhuast fans. One intake/one exhuast is perfectly fine.

~Ibrahim~
!