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Need help building a gaming system. $1600.00 budget

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November 23, 2006 2:44:04 PM

I would like to build a gaming system and need some help finalizing my parts list. Here is what I have so far. I could be completely wrong on some combo's as I have little to no experience in building a system. I am worried about compatibility issues. Let me know what you think. Here is what I have so far:

Thermaltake Armor Black Aluminum case
Antec NeoPower 550
AMD Athlon X2 4600 65w
ABIT Fatal1ty AN9 32X mobo
Sapphire Radeon X1950XTX
Western Digital Caviar SE 16 250 GB
Lite-On Black DVD Burner Retail
ASUS CD -ROM 48x
2 x 1 GB Stick (Not sure what brand to get)
Sony Floppy Drive (Black)

I appreciate any input on this matter.
November 23, 2006 2:48:02 PM

nobody should even be thinking about getting a 1950xtx right now, there about the same price as a 8800gts, much better performance, dx10 support, its the only way to go right now if your looking to spend about $450 on a gfx card. and im sure everybody here will agree with that.

next, get a c2d instead, you'll see much better performance for about the same amount of money.

if you get a C2D then your obviously going to need to get a different mobo, the asus P5B deluxe is a good one.

you'll probably want to get a different psu, im not sure if that one will be able to handle a system with an 8800gts in it.

everything else looks good. I'll let somebody else point you the right way with the ram.

info is still valid.
November 23, 2006 2:59:57 PM

actually the x1950xtx is going quite cheap now! Having said that I still thoroughly agree with atp403, DX10 GPUs are the way forward and a C2D would increase your bang for buck no end, and the P5B would go well.

However, I think your choice of PSU is fine, and will be more than enough for a 8800GTS single card setup
Related resources
November 23, 2006 3:07:51 PM

I agree. Swap the X1950xtx for the more reasonable 8800GTS. Core 2 Duo + the EvGa 680i board is a really good solid base. 2GB of ram is recommended. Powersupply and case look just fine.
November 23, 2006 3:17:07 PM

I'm thinking maybe you should swap the Sony floppy for perhaps a Mitsumi or maybe even a Teac... if you're really going for a killer rig you'll try to find an old IBM 2.88 MB floppy drive... that'll really impress your gaming friends.
November 23, 2006 3:24:53 PM

This is what I recommend you

change the processor for a Core 2 Duo which is 100% better and for the motherboard the P5B Deluxe is a good one.

As the first guy who answered you, I wouldnt get the X1950XTX UNLESS its on sale for a REALLY (but I mean really) low price. Because as far as I know they are about $450 and you can get a 8800GTS with that money.

***if you get the 8800GTS get a better Power supply with at least 600 watts

I would change that Western Digital for a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 so you can have perpendicular technology which is perfoming great. The 320Gb in Newegg is between $90 and $100

For the memory, get Corsair which is a great one but a little expensive. You can also choose from OCZ which I heard is a good one too.
November 23, 2006 7:51:26 PM

Lots of opinions are out there on how to spend $1600 on a new gaming box.
If it were my money here's what I would do:

Intel Conroe E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $219+0 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 LGA775 965 Conroe $132+6 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128012

Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR2 2G 2.1v $300-40Rebate+0 11/23/2006
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145034

ASUS EN8800GTS PCI-E 640MB $450+0 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814121034

WD WD500KS 500GB/16MB 7200 SATA $170-10+0 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136014

BenQ DW1655 DVD RW duallayer Retail $47+0 11/20/06
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=173833

NEC 1.44MB Black Floppy $6+6 11/20/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16821152005

Chenming CMUI-P-601AEB-0 Blk SOHO Tower w/o PSU $58+16 11/20/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811125480
Same thing w/ more bling: Apeva X-Pleasure $90+16 11144128

(2) Scythe 3110KL-04W-B19-EB1 80mm 1400rpm Fan $9+4 11/20/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835185034
one for HDD, one for side door (both intakes)

Antec TruePowerTrio TP3-550 PSU Active $100-15+0 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817371002

Targus 104 USB Keyboard $17+6 11/20/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16823173003

Logitech G5 931376-0403 Mouse $46+6 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16826104191

This comes out to $1546. Let the games begin...
November 23, 2006 8:16:40 PM

Newf's setup is great except a few things:

CPU - Might want to upgrade to E6600 if you don't plan on upgrading for a while.

HD - Unless you need 500GB, you can get 250GB HD for $70

Case - You should go for the LIAN LI PC-7B plus II. It is a Mid Tower and has gotten really good reviews, not to mention Lian Li quality. $90

Fans - Stock fans are good with the case I mentioned so those aren't needed

PSU - Go with the OCZ 600/700W, Antec hasn't been reviewed that greatly recently
November 23, 2006 8:40:12 PM

At least you liked my choice for a mouse...
November 24, 2006 6:16:11 PM

After a lot of research last night, I believe I have decided on the E6600. Wont be upgrading for a while.... I think the 8800 is the way to go. 680 on the mobo? Bigger PSU for the 8800? Is 600 ok for that or 700+? OCZ for PSU...how do they fare against the competition?
November 24, 2006 8:20:28 PM

Quote:
After a lot of research last night, I believe I have decided on the E6600. Wont be upgrading for a while.... I think the 8800 is the way to go. 680 on the mobo? Bigger PSU for the 8800? Is 600 ok for that or 700+? OCZ for PSU...how do they fare against the competition?
The components I listed will also work just fine with an E6600. No need for more powerful psu. Spend some time looking through the power supply section of this forum. You will learn lots. If you really don't like the Antec, look at FSP units. No bling but solid performance.
680 mobos are high-end. Why do you need one?
November 24, 2006 9:23:32 PM

Quote:

WD WD500KS 500GB/16MB 7200 SATA $170-10+0 11/23/06
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136014


Get two of the 250 GB version and hook it up in RAID. :D  I have the WD2500KS and it is teh r0x. So yea. Get two of the WD2500KS and it will also be like 20 bucks cheaper. And very fast.
November 26, 2006 4:45:08 AM

Well....
Compare this with my first build up at the top and let me know if this is better.

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI ATX12V 700W
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz
GiGABYTE GA-965G-DS3
eVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB 7200 RPM
Lite-On Black DVD Burner LH-18A1P-186
ASUS Black E-IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM Drive Model CD-S520/A5
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4
NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5"
Microsoft XP Home
November 26, 2006 12:15:33 PM

NOW THATS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT!

Only with eye-looking, I can say that system will outperform the first one you built :D 

When are you ordering?
November 26, 2006 12:59:52 PM

i cant help but wonder why u still have a floppy drive there :p  and a cd-rom drive. there is very little point. i know if i was to build a new system it would include 2 dvd writers but thats cause i like to copy on the fly.
November 26, 2006 1:56:33 PM

Should be ordering within the next few days!
November 26, 2006 1:57:21 PM

thats great :D 
November 26, 2006 2:15:43 PM

Excellent system :!:

Add some UV reactive cabling and 2 UV lights, and you're all pimped and ready to rock! ;)  Seriously, it's a great setup, I'd get the same thing (except I'd need a mid-tower case due to space constraints) if I had a bit more money.

One thing you're missing: an aftermarket CPU cooler. Spend $40 and get one, believe me, you'll be happy you did.


Have fun, I would!
November 26, 2006 2:17:33 PM

Thanks for all your input guys! Cant wait to get this system up and running!!!!
November 26, 2006 2:19:21 PM

Case, I'd stay away from thermaltake. I hate them.

Take a look at Antec's P180 or nine hundred series. Lian Li are awesome but pricey. Any case is good as long as you like the look.

The NEO power supply is a good choice. Modular, quality, and 5 year warranty.

The fatality board is overpriced, but Abit rules. Nice choice. Abit rules.

The CPU may need rethinking. Intel has them beat at the moment. An Intel Core Duo is a better choice.

RAM go for a 2GB dual channel kit DDR2 800. ANy brand is good, as long as you get a brand. Don't get OEM RAM. Get the cheapest stuff out there which may end up being an OCZ kit. OCZ is my favorite. Corsair is viewed as the best. If you want to spend a bit of extra money look at the timings on the RAM. The smaller the numbers the better. If money is an object get the cheapest name brand kit out there. It'll have stability and a lifetime warranty.

Video card, ATI is the winner now according to Tom's Hardware. But the newer DX10 NVidia 8800 series would be my choice if you want to spend the money on a top card.

For the hard drive stay away form Western Digital. Go seagate. Make sure its SATA II 3GB/S and make sure your motherboard supports SATA 2. the 300GB are a good deal now as well as the 400GB. Get 2 smaller drives as opposed to 1 larger drive. Its the same price plus you have 2. If one crashes you have the second to bail you out until the broken one gets replaced on warranty.

DVD-RW, get a SATA drive. Unfortunately Plextor is the only company making them. Fortunately they are top quality and slot load. GO for it, why clutter the case with an IDE cable. The companies are retarded enoough not to make SATA drive sin this day and age why support them, go Plextor.

No need for a CD-ROM or a floppy. You will never need a floppy, well probably never. If you do take a look at a Mitsumi with a built in card reader. Might be worth it if you'll get use form the card reader.

make sure you get an aftermarket cooler. Check frostytech.com for reviews. I love Zalman coolers, great cooling, quiet, good looking, and a great mounting mechanism to boot. They also release kits to upgrade current coolers to new CPUs. Make sure you get some Artic Silver 3 compund. Don't use the stock stuff shipped with the CPU or cooler.

that should do it. Just my recommendation based on 20 years of building and selling PCs and gaming rigs.
November 26, 2006 2:35:01 PM

He has spec'd a C2D....a 6600 ;)  D'oh! LOL.


Why not Thermaltake? Personal preference or some objective reviews to support? Cases are often a combination of personal preference and some objective cooling/features data. Some are obviously better, but I can't see many reasons to hate Thermaltake. Sure, compared to Lian-Li they might not be the greatest, but for a reasonably priced case that offers decent cooling and good looks, I see no hard reason why Thermaltake would be a poor choice. Unless you just don't like them, which is understandable since everyone's opinion varies. Personally, I hate NZXT cases (except the Zero), but alot of people like them.......that being said, I can't argue with their functionality, but I still don't like them ;) 
November 26, 2006 3:39:20 PM

I have a thermaltake and they are great I dont know what he is talking about.
November 26, 2006 6:40:20 PM

We are talking about cases not Power supplies.

Cases I love thermaltake. power supplies not that much cuz they cost a lot. I think you forgot to mention Ultra PSUs, they are good too!
November 26, 2006 7:23:08 PM

Reason why I said I don't like thermaltake is they wait for everybody to do lighted cable, CCFL, CCFL fans, etc... then they come out a year latter with the same thing only 20 times more extreme and it looks like it came form the circus. And the use of a 92mm fan in some of their cases is rediculous. Why not use standard 80mm or 120mm fans that you can easily get aftermarket fans for.

At the lan we always laughed at people with Thermaltake cases who thought they where the shit and better than anybody else.

If you like your Thermaltake and have reasoning to back it up go for it and enjoy. If not, don't just buy it because you think its the best.

I like Antecs cause the cage releases actually work and slide in easily. Other cases are built crappy and don't fit properly. Those new NZXT in all the colors are garbage. They look hot for under $100 but the rails to hold the CD-ROMS are all plastic and snap off trying to put them in.

I've been selling and building computers for 20 years and doing gaming rigs since I first built a dual Celeron Abit BP6 into a bar fridge with a custom built water cooler and prestone. That was almost 10 years ago before case modding existed.

In all my experience I've never had a case fit so nicely together like an Antec. It's shame that only now they are making nicer looking gameing cases and I think they are a bit late in the market to have built a good reputation.

Coolermaster also makes a nice case, I prefer them over Thermaltake as well. Take a look around and buy what you like.

I'm not saying Thermaltake is no good, just that I don't like them.

And I'll give you all a modders hint. Consider a case without a front door. That way you don't have to open it to insert a CD. So no door, polish it off with a slot load DVD-RW form Pioneer or Plextor. Then you can show off some custom bay inserts such as a Matrix Orbital programable screen. A lot of people get a case with a door thinking it looks good but get upset once they try to add fan controllers etc...

Just a suggestion to think twice before choosing a case. Consider the door, the quality of the drive rails if they will break or not, the fan sizes (try to stay away from 92mm), and also consider a BTX case or one with the PSU on the bottom instead of the top.
November 26, 2006 8:18:50 PM

Everybody buys their cases because of its features :D 
The door is a problem but it makes it look more "elegant" when is closed.
November 26, 2006 11:10:48 PM

Quote:

And I'll give you all a modders hint. Consider a case without a front door. That way you don't have to open it to insert a CD. So no door, polish it off with a slot load DVD-RW form Pioneer or Plextor. Then you can show off some custom bay inserts such as a Matrix Orbital programable screen. A lot of people get a case with a door thinking it looks good but get upset once they try to add fan controllers etc...


Well, if your like me, you've made a bunch of Mini-ISO back-ups of your CDs so you don't have to deal with opening the front panel. Also a case with a door is no problem if you know what your doing. I.E. With my case Apevia X-Cruiser, I had to take out the front panel and insert my SB X-Fi Platinum Front Panel because it wouldn't let the door close all the way. It was a royal pain in the A$$. But the effect of the X-Fi Panel recessed about 1/2 inch is awesome. Also has lots of room inside. You may not like the front door, but I sure do. Also what is nice about having a door on the case is that when your at a LAN party or you have annoying brothers, no one can turn off the comp or reset it. Well with my case at least. Oh yea, and it looks pimp as hell. With... a 180MM Fan on top, 80MM on top, 2 80 MM in the front w/ two 6" cathodes. Also with 15" inch cathodes lighting up the whole case. Also got one 15" UV up top to light up all the UV reactive stuff. Like the fan duct, Red LightUp/UV Reactive SATA wire. PIMP as hell son.
November 27, 2006 12:01:14 AM

In the end it all comes down to looks. If a door gets the look your going for so be it. I just wanted to make him aware that a door can sometimes cause a problem.

I never use the ROM either, I just load the images in Daemon tools like everyone else.

But if you want to show off your bay inserts you don't want to have a door open at the lan.

Here's an idea, why not have a modular case with a removable door? Take it off when using your bay inserts. And insert when you want to cover up, such as hiding the lights when watching a movie, or protecting the buttons at a lan. Make an easily removable door. Not those cheap plastic molded hinges that seem to break. People would not turn your case down simply because it does or doesn't have a door, everyone would be a potential buyer.
November 27, 2006 12:54:06 AM

That's a great idea......I'm sure if some of us got together with case designers, some amazing things would happen. And I'm actually a designer in real life (not cases though)....but alas, no dice.

The Thermaltake Aguila is an example of (a Thermaltake ironically) that isn't too over-the-top, has a front door that is solid and can be opened from the left or the right side, clean lines, fair bit of room inside, good build quality, the curved front door creates enough space for fan controllers etc, the angular lines on the mesh creates space to show OR hide front panel stuff......all at an affordable price. I must say, it's a very good Thermaltake. Does it "beat" an Antec? Maybe, maybe not......depends on the criteria. True, Antec does make some GREAT cases, but unfortunately, their cases often seem "love em" or "hate em". It's a shame really, I wish they would market a complete line with something less........austere......or even radical.

It often *seems* that cases that are the best functional look awfully plain, and the ones that have a great sense of style work like crap. And the ones that even come close to having both in a minimal amount cost a fortune. Finding a case that has a combination of all 3 is like a needle in a haystack I think........
November 27, 2006 1:56:51 AM

Quote:
Does it "beat" an Antec? Maybe, maybe not......depends on the criteria. True, Antec does make some GREAT cases, but unfortunately, their cases often seem "love em" or "hate em". It's a shame really, I wish they would market a complete line with something less........austere......or even radical.


You have to admit, that Antec P180 is one hell of a good lookin' case.
November 27, 2006 3:12:03 AM

Quote:
Well....
GiGABYTE GA-965G-DS3


Don't go with 965G, it has onboard vido, you want to get the 965P series.
November 27, 2006 3:40:43 AM

Yes, the 180 is a good looking case. It's on a shortlist of about 3 for my next case. It may be a bit too tall for me due to space constraints around my desk though. I do wish an optional side window was available. The 180 is begging to show off some nice custom cabling work....this case is perfect for it. It's a shame, all that time and it's hidden away......oh well. Different strokes for different folks.

I wish Lian-Li would loosen the chains a bit and add some flair to some of their designs......they're beautiful too, but very......austere. I prefer something with a bit more......visibility and panache. Conservative, elegant lines are great....I'm a designer and I appreciate such things.......but there's also something to be said about a bit of flash or excitement :) 
November 27, 2006 8:00:38 AM

Quote:
It often *seems* that cases that are the best functional look awfully plain, and the ones that have a great sense of style work like crap. And the ones that even come close to having both in a minimal amount cost a fortune. Finding a case that has a combination of all 3 is like a needle in a haystack I think........


Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself.

And for the Antec P180. A side window is available as an option. Or you could make your own :) 

Nowadays you can dish out $50 and buy a window case with CCFL lights. And people think they have a modded case. In this day and age if you want a real modded case you need to buy a cheapo beige Acer generic case and mod it yourself. Either that or build your own case using metal, wood, or plexi. Whatever floats your boat. The days of adding a colored fan and being called a modder are gone.

My next project is a custom case build out of plexi. One box will house the motherboard, cooling, and cards only. A conduit will connect to a second box containing the drives and cooling. A powersupply will be connected to both using conduit. It will be easily disconnected into 3 seperate small units that are lite and portable and can be fit into a case or padded rubbermade tote of some sort. I will have the whole unit rack mountable since I have an 8' rack with my modem, router, switches, etc... I use my rack at home and bring it for lans.
November 27, 2006 2:43:38 PM

You're my hero :lol: 

I wish I were more "handy" with stuff like that. I'm a designer, but no space/tools to make my own. I sometimes wish I could though. Hell, I could even CAD it up to the 1/16"....but building it is another story :cry: 

For now, my friends that I do builds for enjoy my attention to detail in a case, trying to make it a bit unique, and hiding the cables, etc. I don't consider myself a true modder though. I think I'm just a conscientous PC builder that makes the average Joe gamer happy ;)  And if they're happy, then I am too.
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