Advice on a build...looking to the experts

I am in the market to begin building a new pc and would like to get some feedback from the experts here.

I am an avid gamer (FPS/MMORPG), do minimal graphic design, and do quite a bit of MP3 work (encoding/decoding/ripping/burning/streaming).

I currently own the following but plan to still build a 2nd machine:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 SledgeHammer 2.4GHz Socket 939 Processor
MSI K8N NEO2 PLATINUM Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard
OCZ EL Platinum Revision 2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
2 - Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive running Raid 0
Antec TruePower TRUEBLUE 480 ATX12V 480W Power Supply - Retail
NEC DVD Burner Black IDE Model ND-3500A BK
Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000BWA Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT Video Card

I will toss out a few requirements for the new machine and coupled with what I have purchased in the past, that might help piece this monster together:

Core 2 Duo CPU (leaning towards E6600), no plans to overclock but will entertain tweaking the bios for maximum performance. I will not be liquid cooling, but will certainly upgrade stock hsf.

I would like at least 2 gigs of STABLE, solid performing memory.

I will be using onboard audio as I just can't really justify the cost of an external sound card at this time since most of my audio is through headphones.

All of my pc use is done at 1600x1200 resolution on a Dell 20" LCD and I would prefer Nvidia graphics as I have had good luck with their products but if it would make sense to use ATI, I would certainly be open to suggestions.

My budget will be between $1200 and $1500 for the motherboard, processor, case, cooling, power supply, memory, and video card. (excluding hard drives, optical drives, network, and other external peripherals).

The case I would like needs to have quality cooling throughput, silver or black (no beige please), and fairly high quality. I would also like a fairly organized power supply (modular) that's been rated highly by users.

Thanks all, I appreciate your suggestions and help.
5 answers Last reply
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  1. Just read any of the n+1 threads and make your purchase based on them.

    Though all will prolly be something like this:

    C2D 6600, you've already made your mind?
    Asus P5WDH Deluxe or the new Abit AW9D Max, the newer the better?
    Corsair 2GB PC6400 TWIN2X2048 CL5, or the faster CL4, reliable.
    Scythe Ninja Plus, great.
    OCZ Modstream 650W, modular cables.
    7600GT, or however much you wanna spend, your choice.

    Case pretty much anything you like, Antec makes good ones. So does Lian-Li. Expect to spend some 100$ on a mid-high end case.
  2. I haven't made up my mind entirely on the 6600, but I'm not too keen on overclocking since I feel as though stability is compromised for performance but from what I am reading most of the folks here seem to be oc'ing just fine.

    Perhaps then I should lean towards the 6300 or even the 6400?

    I've also seen alot of people talking about the X 1900 XT ATI cards and it's rather attractive at the moment. If I were to go that route, what board would be recommended then?
  3. It's not really improtant which you go with for a vid card re:mobo unless you plan on a dual-card solution for now or later. Radeon goes to Crossfire while nVidia goes to SLI and each only appears in certain chipsets (the P965 and 975X can support Crossfire for example).

    You are using 1 display of 20" so don't worry about dual cards - you won't see a difference, and some dual card solutions aren't cost effective vs. higher peformance single cards anyhow (like twin 7600GT vs 1 7900GT). Recommended cards for gaming run from the X800XL on up, depending on what you have planned and what you want to play. I like the 7900GT myself, but there are plenty of good cards out there to suit various budgets.

    The E6600 is a good choice, it does well on a power/cost relationship while having plenty of oomph for those not wanting to OC. The 6300/6400 chips are great for OC and/or inexpensive builds but the extra cache will give you that extra edge in the future and you can always OC that processor later too. It's no 6800, but it's loads cheaper.

    For memory, get 2 1 gig sticks of 800 PC6400 DDR2 memory. You aren't doing an OC build, so you shouldn't worry about latency or performance RAM. If you don't mind fiddling some, you can get cheap performance from 533 PC4200 DDR2s at 4-4-4-12 if you can get them cheap or have some already (which I doubt you do, but hey).

    WARNING: Robovski is not an "expert". He will express opinions that others may and will disagree with, mostly because the subjects are complex, sometimes because of faulty recall.
  4. Based on your budget and description of what you'd like something similar to this list should meet your requirements.
    NewEgg Wishlist $1215 . Here is a review of the case I suggested: ANTEC P160W CASE

    After you've looked at that wish list you can add it to a NewEgg Shopping Cart (use Select All and ADD TO CART options at the bottom of the page). You can then modify the list as you'd like and then save it to your own wish list. The wish list can be make public for sharing (as above). You can then add/substitute components till you're happy with the list. Even if you buy somewhere else its a pretty handy shopping list manager.

    Are you going to carry over any equipment from your current system? It would probably be a good idea to list those items if you are. Small details (like many new motherboards have limited ATA/IDE devices connections -i.e., 2-) can something alter what components get recommended.
  5. The wish list you posted WR2 does not appear to be listed.
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