Multimedia Machine Upgrade Help - $800 Budget

I recently posted two hypathetical crazy ass gaming/multitasking rig configurations. Facing reality, this is what I am looking at doing for an upgrade for my existing machine, sometime in the next 30-90 days. I am looking for a signifigant overall performance boost without overclocking, for no more than $800, plus or minus a few bucks. The machine is and will continue to be used for gaming (ie; oblivion, just cause, far cry, etc), internet surfing, newsgroups leeching (Newsbin and Newzbin), office productivity, photoshop cs2 and some video encoding (ie; dvd to xvid, xvid to dvd, dvd resizing, etc). I am not interested at this time in following the NVidia 8800 route due to cost. That is something I'll consider later in the year towards christmas or maybe in 2008. I am open to going Intel, as it has been years since I had an intel box (ie; early-mid 90's).

I hammer my system when it comes to file management; moving around thousands of files (small and big) at a time, archiving and ISO's, so I easily max out my existing hard drive rates. The existing configuration, to be upgraded, is summed up below...

Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (2500+ mode for stability)
Crucial 2GB (1GBx2) PC3200 Memory in Dual-Channel Mode
WD 120GB (2) ATA-100 Hard Drives (o/s, apps, games, large family photo collection, mp3 collection)
WD 200GB (2) ATA-100 Hard Drives (ftp server, cd/dvd images, large downloads)
WD 250GB (3) ATA-100 Hard Drives (usb2 external enclosures for downloads, backup and archiving)
ATI All-in-Wonder 9800 PRO 128mb AGP 8x Video Card

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer Edition <--- Still an excellent audio solution, no need to upgrade

This is what I am looking at buying for a base upgrade with "Phase I" being the hard drive first and then "Phase II" being the remaining components:

Phase I:

Hard Drive

Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB Serial ATA 10,000RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer - $223

Phase II:


Asus M2N-E nForce 570 Ultra Sempron/Athlon 64(FX)(X2) SktAM2 DDR2 ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail
<> - $100


AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3500+ Socket AM2 (62W) Retail - $90


Corsair VS2GBKIT667D2 2GB Kit DDR2-667 PC2-5300 Value Select Memory Retail - $200

Video Card

Asus EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M Radeon X1950 PRO 256MB PCI-Express Video Card
w/Dual-DVI & HDTV-Out Retail - $190


Phase I: Hard Drive

Cost: $223

Phase II: Motherboard, Processor, Memory and Video Card

Cost: $580

Total: $803

Again, I want the best bang for the buck here WITHOUT OVERCLOCKING. Thanks!

-- MaSoP
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  1. Quote:
    Raptors are overpriced for the performance they give. You can get performance similar with a 320gb sata 3gb/s seagate w/16mb cache for a good deal less money. Take the money saved and get yourself a dual core 3800+ at the very least. You will benefit more from dual core with your encoding as well. Also with Am2's you want to use ddr2 800. Another consideration is Core 2. Also what power supply are you using? Here is a possible core 2 setup.

    Seagate 320gb hdd

    X1950 pro

    Gskil ddr2 800 2x1gb kit

    Gigabyte p965 motherboard

    E6400 core 2

    Comes out to about $812 after shipping.

    Not bad. I am a WD fan boy, so I'd have to go with a WD counterpart. As far as the processor goes, they have 65w and 89w flavors of many of the x2 models. I presume that an 89w model would be better for a "warmer" environment and for over clocking versus a 65w model? My current athlon xp 3200+ averages around 58C with the case cover off and plenty of ventilation. I'm wondering how much of a difference an 89w vs 65w processor would run, temperature wise. Again, I've got no intention of OC'ing and I don't want the processor over heating, heh. Thanks for the input.

    -- MaSoP
  2. Quote:
    I presume that an 89w model would be better for a "warmer" environment and for over clocking versus a 65w model?

    ??? That doesnt make sense :?. the 65watt model will be better for ocing and for a warmer enviroment. the 6400 will run at much cooler temps than ur xp3200+ considering its at half the process size 130nm vs 65nm.
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