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Gaming Component Priority vs Money-- which matters more?

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December 18, 2006 2:33:49 AM

I'm thinking I'd rather build a new $1100 every 18 months, than a $2000 computer every 24. I'll get 95% of the performance for much less dough, right???

According to some articles I vaguely remember, it seems I want to put the money into the graphics card and system memory, right? And a latest technology hard drive. And I guess the CPU doesn't matter much to final performance, so long as it's dual core, right? I mean, if I spend $200 more on the CPU vs instead doing $200 more on the graphics instead, putting the bigger dough into the graphics is a better value, right???

Help me modify priorities:
1. Graphics card $350+ or even an 8800 type
2. System memory 2GB $200
3. Fast hard drive $120
4. any dual core will do

Is this right?
If so, I want to look at the low priced dual cores, so I can get the 8800 graphics! Right?
Do I need to avoid a Pentium D because electricity here is about 22 cents/ kilowatt hour? For example if I got the same performance for 30 watts less on a low end dual core, that's about $20-$30/year here. Does that mean it's a no-brainer for me, I'd better go AMD, right?
December 18, 2006 3:30:23 AM

Mostly correct.

Your best option is to spend some decent money on QUALITY core components: a GOOD PSU, 2 gigs decent RAM, decent hard drive, decent dual core CPU.

Then you'll mostly just have to upgrade the video card. So in effect, you can actually upgrade every other cycle, so to speak.

Yes, the 8800 ;) 

And yes, the CPU dual core does matter....not so much in games, but it'll make a difference in most other things, including how smooth Windows runs. Definitely go with a C2D E6300. For the price and performance, it's second to none. It'll last you quite some time, then just upgrade the vid card later.

To recap:
-good PSU
-2 gigs good RAM
-E6300 CPU
-hard drives....you could get a Raptor, but Seagate Barracuda's in RAID will do amazing too on the cheap
-kick@$$ vid card

That'll give ya a great gaming rig. Then sell the 8800 later if you want and get the next best thing........
December 18, 2006 4:05:49 AM

Depending on your time table for building, you might wait on the 8800 card until the R600 comes out. Then you'll know which benchmarks are best, and with the competition, even if you still get the 8800, its price may drop. If you're in a hurry, then the 8800 is fine.

If you get an Intel cpu, I'd recommend the 6400 over the 6300, but that's a personal thing and everybody has their favorite. As Skyguy said, invest in a good psu, one with more power than you think you need so that it will last through upgrades into the future. Same with the hard drive and ram. If you get good stuff the first time, you keep it even though you may later change the cpu and/or motherboard.

AMD does have some power comsumption values in the lower end cpus, last I read, but they are not on the top end of much of anything else right now. The only reason I can think of to buy an AMD cpu at the moment is if you are just upgrading the cpu on a present system. Next spring, or early summer, that might change, but we won't know until then.
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December 18, 2006 3:34:49 PM

Ok, I hear ya'll but not convinced yet on the CPU choice part of it. If I can save $150 on a CPU, that's 2 games for me, or 3 dinners out on dates. Nothing to ignore exactly. If all the games are really limited by the graphics, and the cpus are just sitting there almost at idle, why would a little extra cpu power even matter?? Seriously? Also, it appears regarding upgrades, that it applies to cpus also....so....the logic is get the cheap cpu, and upgrade it latter also, same socket, same motherboard. Help me out if I am missing something here.
December 18, 2006 4:03:31 PM

Again, partly correct.

Yes, games are mostly GPU limited, that is true. But the issue is that why bother doing a half-@$$ed upgrade now and later, when you can simply get something very good at a great price now? So it's not like you're saving hundreds of dollars on a CPU. A dual core 6300 is $180. A single core is about $100 less. On the total cost of your system, that's peanuts. Yet, you will get a system that will destroy any cheap single core on anything. Don't forget, in order to run games, you're not just running games......your system is running Windows, background processes, other applications, etc........all on the same core. For example.......thinking about having XFire, Teamspeak, and a firewall/spyware/adware program running in the background, and then you wanna run Battlefield 2142? Good luck with that. My dual core can run Photoshop, Firefox, Teamspeak, Xfire, background programs, AND Call of Duty 2 with no lag. Is that worth $100 to me? YOU BET IT IS.

Remember, graphics quality in a game depends on GPU, yes, but a crappy computer will run everything crappy, including games.

Besides, looking to upgrade the CPU later on the same socket is rolling the dice. Look at 939, AM2, AM3. Where do you jump on the bandwagon and actually save money? If that's the case, then just get a $70 CPU, a $60 mobo, the cheapest RAM you can find, and get an 8800GTX and a 24" LCD. Can't say I've ever seen that setup, and I'm sure there's a reason for it, but it's your call.

So in essence, what you're doing is buying a Porsche. But then you're saying you want crappy tires, crappy octane gas, and you'll upgrade to a 4S model later. Why??!!?? A great car deserves great tires or it will drive like crap. Get the point?

But hey, it's your money. If you're looking for advice, you'll get some great advice from the people here. But if you're asking rhetorical questions, looking for validation of what you already want to do, well you won't get that here.......you'll get that in the mirror ;) 

Good luck either way, have fun with your build......as long as you're happy with it, that's what counts.
December 18, 2006 4:05:52 PM

I notice that your original post mentions the Pentium D. The 6300-6400 cpus are C2D and are more efficient, powerwise. Cpu power does count, especially on the newest gpu cards, though the gpu does make more difference overall. I suspect that later in 2007, there will be more computing power put on the cpu than present, but that's just a guess.

If you can build a AMD system, with the AM2 socket, for less money than a C2D, then do so and be happy with it. I do understand that money counts. I'm just thinking of overall money spent for the performance and future upgradability. By the way, I am an AMD owner, so its not that I have a particular thing for C2D. I just recognize a good cpu when I see it.
December 18, 2006 5:22:21 PM

thanks! Seriously. You've helped me know what to look for. I need to compare cpus at around $180 for performance, upgradeability, etc. I'll check if the socket will continue to be supported, becuase eventually, the top-of-the-line becomes the bottom-of-the-line somedays.
December 18, 2006 5:53:50 PM

That is true.

Most people here would suggest a Core2Duo 6300 CPU for excellent performance at a very affordable price. I'm no fanboy, I've recently owned an AMD X2 3800 as well, but the C2D 6300 will smoke an equivalently priced AMD now. And if you're into overclocking, you can even get 6800 performance for hundreds and hundreds of dollars less money. So, if you get some decent RAM like you were thinking, and a decent (but inexpensive) 965 mobo for $110-$125, and a 6300, then you'll have a KILLER system on your hands, no question. It'll last you for quite awhile....and for only $150 more TOPS. You'll NEVER get a deal like that if you go single core then upgrade again later. Trust me, this setup will kick @$$.

The other thing is that the 775 socket appears to be supported for quite awhile still, since Quad cores will continue to be supported as well. By the time they retire 775 socket, you'll be ready for a whole new system anyways. Sell this one, make some coin, and do that big upgrade in 2 years. Win-win situation for you if you ask me.
December 18, 2006 8:12:16 PM

yeah, you got it. that's a good plan. I was never considering less than a dual core btw. It was just a question of which one and what it was worth, and how it mattered. Since it matters less than the other factors, it's to be a low end one, upgradeable. We got a plan. Funny, I don't really want to be Intel, because I don't like the idea that AMD would get crushed and in 3 years we'd be back to paying $100 more than we really should for chips. As long as both companies are still in the game, I'll buy the underdog cause it doesn't matter performance wise, but it does matter $ wise. But thanks for helping me gel the idea the lower end dual core is the plan, with an upgrade to quad in 18 months probably.
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