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Best CPU, Motherboard, and graphics card for under $500

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 27, 2006 12:25:18 PM

Okay guys, I am going to be doing an overhaul on my aging system. I need to know what setup you guys think will be the best for under $500. Keep in mind that I will be using my existing 1gb of pc-3200 so this can not be a DDR2 motherboard or CPU I am assuming.

As a side question: Would it be better to get a better video card and stay at 1 gig of ram, or get a lesser video card and increase the ram by say... 512mb?

More about : cpu motherboard graphics card 500

November 27, 2006 1:00:08 PM

Clinging to that GB of DDR RAM really limits your options... I'd say ditch that requirement and ask again.
November 27, 2006 1:36:16 PM

also knowing the specs of your current system would help too
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November 27, 2006 2:22:41 PM

I currently have:

Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Motherboard
Pentium 4 2.6 gHz Northwood
1gb Corsair XMS pc3200
120 gb Seagate 7200 HD
GeForce 7800GS 256mb


I know that holding on to my memory limits options, but if I can I would like to use it. I am thinking that a 939 pin Athlon 64 is going to be the best for the money with perhaps a BFG 7950 GT?
November 27, 2006 2:35:42 PM

well... a very viable option, considering what parts you already have, would be to get an AGP/PCIe motherboard (or just AGP), another gig of PC3200 ram, and an X2 dual core cpu

is the xms memory you already have, a single 1GB dimm?, or is it 2x512MB dimms? (just because of dual channel and 1T/2T timings, if you go for additional memory)

but, that will keep you under $500 (so you have a bit more leneancy in what you choose to purchase)

a tighter fit, would be to switch over to a PCIe gpu, PCIe motherboard, X2 dual core cpu, and possibly a single 1GB PC3200 dimm
November 27, 2006 2:39:51 PM

IMHO I would just goto Newegg.com search through countless reviews of 939 boards, AMD X2's or FX's, and some 7 series cards for the answer your looking for.

You can still get good performing hardware for what you plan to spend so long as you are not trying to break any records.

I could easily find a decent set-up for under $500. Especially since 939 is falling to the way side.
November 27, 2006 2:48:19 PM

Okay tell me how this setup sounds...

AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 1mb Cache - Retail
BFG GeForce 7950 GT OC 512 mb - Retail
Gigabyte GA K8N Pro - SLI

Total Price $440
November 27, 2006 2:52:33 PM

I pimp a Sandy and I'd say that as far as single core cpus are concerned thats a great one.

Overclocks well too.

But you may find yourself in trouble when trying to locate a retailer that still has those in stock. AMD stopped producing them and people quickly became aware that the retailers FX-57 just wasn't worth the $800 CAD price tag anymore when you could snag their $170CAD 3700+ and achieve the same performance.

Goodluck and godspeed.
November 27, 2006 3:34:35 PM

Yup...so does Newegg.com for $89.00.

Do you guys think the 7950gt will do fine...or is there an ATI card that would do better for the same price of about $270
November 27, 2006 3:51:22 PM

the mobo depends on if u want to OC or not, but as far as the CPU goes u can get an FX-55 amd for only $139 now and they used to be over $1,000. the graphics card just depends on what u play but i would look at a 7600 gt
November 27, 2006 3:55:14 PM

i wouldnt buy the 7950 only because the DX10 cards are out and you could buy a cheap DX9 until the 10's get cheaper
November 27, 2006 4:23:39 PM

Not Bad...

Heres a little more bang for the buck I think...

AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU @ 2.4Ghz
Paired with
DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR 939 Mobo ATI Radeon Crossfire
Combo Price: $174.00
ATI PowerColor Radeon X800GTO 256 GDDR3 PCIe X16 - $87.00

For a grand Total of $261.00 +S/H

Link:Newegg Combo Deal Here
November 27, 2006 4:31:53 PM

We now know who the professional shopper is in this thread lol


I would just add a HSF Artic Freezer Pro. Last one I bought from Neweeg was just under $30 and does a great job!
November 27, 2006 8:43:25 PM

Don't forget that you can sell your old RAM on eBay, which would lower the effective price of new RAM. Dropping $500 on a DDR system right now is pretty iffy, what with DX10 and Vista around the corner.
November 27, 2006 8:52:32 PM

The reason I am doing this now is becuase my MB fried. All things concidered, I won't be going for a DX10 card for quite some time. I finally decided to go with the following:

EVGA 7950 GT KO 512 mb
A64 3700+ San Diego 1 MB Cache
Biostar TForce4 SLI NF4 SLI 939


I think that should handle the games that I like to play (CS: Source, Quake 4, BF 2142) and do it with much higher framerate that I get now.

Thanks for the help guys.
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2006 9:51:15 PM

I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.
November 28, 2006 12:16:34 PM

I would suggest going with a motherboard that you can upgrade on further in the coming year or two. If you give up a little of your Graphics power, you can go with an AMD 64 X2 chip. This will give you a motherboard that can take a faster processor later, and you can always buy a faster Graphics card later as well. Take a look at this list:


ECS NFORCE4M-A (V3.0) Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce4 4X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #: NFORCE4M-A (V3.0)
Item #: N82E16813135028
$55.99

XFX PVT73GUGE3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
Model #: PVT73GUGE3
Item #: N82E16814150186
$137.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3800CUBOX - Retail
Model #: ADA3800CUBOX
Item #: N82E16819103735
$148.00

OCZ 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P8001GK - Retail
Model #: OCZ2P8001GK
Item #: N82E16820227082
$124.99

Subtotal: $466.97

That particular graphics card should do well for you. Looking at tests, in Prey at 1280x1024 with 4x AntiAliasing and max details you still get over 30 frames per second. This card would hold you until you can spend more later. More importantly, you can upgrade your processor later when prices fall even more. Think of the Multiprocessing capabilities you'd gain with the better processor.

There's still a little left over to go with a better motherboard or whatever.

Just my thoughts.
November 28, 2006 12:21:43 PM

Quote:
I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.


Where in the world do you see an X1950 XT that would fit into my budget? From what I can tell, they are all ~$400+
November 28, 2006 7:24:38 PM

Quote:
I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.


Where in the world do you see an X1950 XT that would fit into my budget? From what I can tell, they are all ~$400+

Newegg... $269
November 28, 2006 8:01:10 PM

Ahhhhh....

Well, I wanted to stay away from OEM products. I'm sure that it would have worked fine, but I have bad a couple bad experiences with OEM items.
November 28, 2006 8:59:05 PM

Quote:
Ahhhhh....

Well, I wanted to stay away from OEM products. I'm sure that it would have worked fine, but I have bad a couple bad experiences with OEM items.


Ok then: Retail
a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2006 9:43:56 PM

Sapphire's are out of stock but the reference HIS is $269 for a retail:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Or $319 for the IceQ3:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Good stable mobo, I've used many of them $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Pick your CPU:
3700+ retail: $89
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

4000+ retail: $128
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Anyway, the 3700+, that mobo, and the X1950XT total about $435 shipped, giving you room to pick a NF4U or SLI mobo if you want one, and/or the 4000+.
!