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opinion plz on sub 400$ game box

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Last response: in Systems
December 5, 2006 9:00:36 PM

I've been digging for a week now on how to spend 400 bucks on a game box. Figuring I will be able to salvage my 80 GB IDE drive and my cd/dvd drive from old machine, I have run the gambit on how to get most bang for the buck. My goal is to be able to play Oblivion and half-life2 at decent settings on my 19" CRT. I need opinions though on if this truly is the most bang for my buck...

DYNAPOWER USA Titan C05.N63.M158 Black SGCC Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail

ASUS N7600GS/HTD/256M GeForce 7600GS 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Retail

Intel Celeron D 356 Cedar Mill 3.33GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80552356 - Retail

ASUS P5S800-VM Socket T (LGA 775) SiS 661FX Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

2 x 3DFuzion 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Desktop Memory Model 3DFRMD512400D3 - Retail

TOTAL: 381.94$

Is 430 watts enough power?
Is this processor/mb/ram compatible?
Is there a faster combination I can get for same money or still under 400?

I know AGP is a dead horse, but right now it's in my price range.. This will be the second computer I've built in the past .. 7 years? lol so any help will be appreciated. Thanks

More about : opinion plz 400 game box

December 5, 2006 10:24:10 PM

430 watts should be more then enough for the build you have put together. you will not be able to play oblivion on any decent resolution on a 7600GS (you will be lucky to get away with 800/600).

im afraid the bare minimum as afar as video cards go (gaugeing from oblivion) is 7600GT, and for a 19" screen something to the tune of a 7900GS or X1950pro is what i would recommend, on a budget.

as for your proccesser selection. i can see where your going if you want to get a core 2 later, which isnt a bad idea. just be aware a celeron will make you want to cry once you see how slow they really are. even if you prefer intel over AMD, if your not planning to get a core 2 later, then go for an athlon 64 (a 3500 or better should do fine) they are super cheap and way better then celerons. also a fast processor will make a difference in oblivion, it has a rather heavy physics engine that is doing calculations in every battle (the worst time for choppy frame rates, this is from personal experience)

your amount of ram is fine, but a single 1GB stick would be cheaper and have the same performance as 2 512's. simply because any processor at your price range wouldn't be able to take advantage of the extra bandwidth.

and AGP vs PCie, agp is both a dead horse and an expensive one. you will pay less money for a PCie card that is identical to its AGP varient i shall show you

your chosen card

price $130 (rounded off and including shipping)

its PCie equivilent (from asus as well)

$110 (plus shipping and rounded off)

plus the PCie one has a passive (and thus silent) cooler.

in all honesty, i would advise you to expand your budget to $600 and get a core 2 from the start (you will pat yourself on the back in retrospect) and a $200 ish video card. you should be able to keep all that in a mini PC as well, with no space or heat problems (i take it thats what you were aiming for with your case and motherboard selection)
December 6, 2006 2:24:51 AM

Thank you very much for the help, I went back with your suggestions, and have managed to make a new proc/mobo/ram combination fit under 400.

Do you think these will work OK again with same 430w PS?
Will cooling be an issue in smaller case with no fan on GPU while playing games? I could probably hack a case fan from my old PC to help too.
Again, I'm concerned if all of this will "run" together with my old IDE seagate HD and IDE/ATA cd/dvd drive.. any tips?

I could not find a single 1GB stick of ram for under 99.. unless I'm looking in wrong place..

DYNAPOWER USA Titan Black SGCC Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply

ASUS EN7600GS SILENT/HTD/256M GeForce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

Intel Pentium D 820 Smithfield 2.8GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80551PG2800FN - Retail

MSI P4M890M-L Socket T (LGA 775) VIA P4M890 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

BUFFALO Select 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model D2U533B-K1G/BR - Retail

TOTAL: $394.95

Do all these parts play nice together?
Related resources
December 6, 2006 2:42:52 AM

AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice 2.2GHz 79.99

MSI K8N Neo4-F Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 64.99

CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) DDR 400 103.99

eVGA 256-P2-N541-TX GeForce 7600GS 105.99

APEVIA (ASPIRE) ATXB2KL-BK/420 Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply - Retail 44.99

Total = 399.95
and hope newegg will ship it for 5 cents :D 

The motherboard will let you do ide or sata hdd's, you got pic-e. The socket type and memory is going to be a dead end because the am2/ddr2 will cost you more. This box will probably do a litte bit better or the same as my box and i get decent framerates in HL2 average 60, seen 80-100 in some areas.
December 6, 2006 3:44:06 AM

That looks like a great setup - but does the performance stack up? I was looking at the CPU performance guide, and the D820 seems to perform better then the ath 3500

But I really like that case/PS combo..

Was your idea to overclock it to increase performance?
December 6, 2006 4:00:30 AM

quake 4 is just one game, on that same chart, the 3500 beats the D820 on FEAR by 5-13 fps and Unreal 2004 by 18 fps and loses in cod2 by 26 fps.

and check out this:

the 3500 is a better bang for the buck over the D820.

as for overclocking, i have no idea, but you would have to spend more money on a cpu cooler if you plan on overclocking it i believe, plus you void warrenties when you overclock. buying a computer even with 400 dollars to 2000 dollars is hard enough cause of all the choices and factors you have to consider.

in the end, its really up to you on what you want to do.
December 6, 2006 4:20:23 AM

Thank you so much for showing me the difference, I'm a bit AMD gun shy, never having had one before, but it does seem to be more bang for buck. It's odd how the performance on different tests puts one on top of the other so dramatically. This is probably a stupid question, but if I go with the AMD, will windows 2000 and all my software/drivers work with it ok? (Adobe stuff, MS Office, Dx9, Games etc).
December 6, 2006 6:06:21 AM

it should, i got xp on mine and i play bf2, nfs, hl2, css, dods, sony vegas video, paint shop pro, and ms office, plus lots of other stuff. not owning anything newer than my sweet rig, i cannot tell you from personal experience, just what i have researched. might be best to find someone who has owned these parts. ive always been an amd guy but im looking at a core 2 right now and im a little lost.
December 6, 2006 6:33:38 AM

Is it worth skimping some on the processor + MB do you think so that I could fit into a 7600 GT video card? The price is about 30 different, and I could take a small hit on the CPU for the GPU and still bring it under 400$ Is the GS vs. GT card significantly different?

Foxconn 6100K8MA-RS Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - $53.99

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0GHz 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - Retail $61.00

eVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail $129.99
December 6, 2006 6:54:05 AM

is 20 dollars more for a video card that hard to come by? playing games at a lower resolution needs a good cpu, so i would have to say no, i would not downsize your processor
December 6, 2006 8:04:02 PM

i really think a 3500 is a bare minimum proc for oblivion, from personal experience i can say the difference between a 3000 and a 3700 is very significant in oblivion (with EVGA 7900GS KO) and a 3500 is identical to the 3700 except only having half the cache.

i have agree with bobfan, is it not possible to budget a bit higher? because while its good to set a limit, it is usually more useful to buy the parts with the most value per dollar, and currently the 3500, and 7600GT are definitely on top in the value department.

the difference between the GS and GT is significant, even tho the GS overclocks well on the core (can usually reach GT levels), its ram is different then the GT, and is much slower, and does not usually overclock to GT levels. or even close to them. (not counting GTS or GST variants that use an overclocked GS core and GDDR3 ram instead of GDDR2 or DDR)

the difference in price is definitely worth it.
December 6, 2006 10:49:48 PM

I'm afraid my budget was very tight - I even had to stretch to get shipping over 400$, let alone a GT. I decided to order today, and went with the 3500 and the GS.

I know no matter what, it will be an improvement over my old 1.4 Ghz P4 with 256 RAM and G4 MX 420 card... I should be able to play any game out now with at least some decent framerate if I tweak the detail settings some. That's fine with me till everything goes Dx10/vista and I'm out of luck again in a couple of years.

Now I pray that it will all arrive in working order, and that my old HD and CD/DVD will be compatible :)  Thank so much for all the advice!
December 7, 2006 11:56:01 AM

let us know how it goes

btw, start picking up cans now and keep doing it for a good 2 years and im sure you will have enough money to get a better computer, or better yet, get a part time pizza delivering job for like a summer, live with the long work days for a few months, but enjoy a awesome computer in the end :D 
December 16, 2006 5:54:18 AM

Got everything, put processor, ram and vid on motherboard, tried to boot.. but notta. Absolutely zero response.. not even a fan twitch. Fiddled with power connections.. replaced cords.. not much else I can do without other stuff to test it with. So.. RMA'd the case/PS processor and MOBO.. kept RAM and Video.. will let you know how round two works out whenever replacements get in... probably around christmas with shipping delays.

Any suggestions for round two? I was careful about how I handled things and avoided static and all that.. guess it was just something freaky.