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A $1k system, advice needed

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February 16, 2007 3:55:04 PM

Hi,
I'm planning to buy new system. I have a $1k budget, so here I go (I live in Europe, so the components have to be available here). Also, I don't plan to overclock:

usage: gaming and work (30:70)

case: thermaltake mambo with a 450w LC Power LC5450 v2.2 power source for $100 (anything better welcome, want a simple black case (take mambo as an exception to this rule))

processor: AMD 64 bit X2 4200+ BOX (BOX or not?) AM2 for $220 (want a AMD unless someone proves me totally wrong)

mainboard: dunno, any ideas? $100-$150 (ATX) What chipset to use? Obviously an AM2 with onboard soundcard and network card

RAM: 1 GB, not sure about which

disk: 320 gb seagate baracuda for $160

graphic card: maybe a GeForce 7600GT? not sure whihc, but the max price is around $200... I prefer nVidia, but willing to discuss ATI. DX10 support welcome, but I guess it's out of my range, maybe a 7600GS and upgrade later?

$100 case + $220 CPU + $150 board + $160 disk + $200 gfx = $830... add to that around $150 for RAM (I expect) = $980..

And I need to buy either XP Home OEM (for $130 here) or some Vista (I'm mainly looking for DX10 support for the future, so if DX10 support will be available on XP, then I'd go with XP), for which I haven't been able to find the pricing yet.

what do you think? I guess I lack some concept on cooling the system.. thanks a lot

More about : system advice needed

February 16, 2007 4:55:53 PM

I just build my AM2 rig a few weeks ago. I spent around $800. This is not including a HDs, ROMs, Monitor, etc.
$75 Sunbeam Transformer - The case came with a 450w psu, but I used a 500w I already had. Also this is a loud case!
$140 ECS KN3 SLI2 - I went with a cheap 590sli mobo and opted for 2G ram. Decent onboard sound, dual lan, and 2 ide ports. Most of the mobos (atleast the 570-590sli) only have 1 ide port.
$140 X2 3800+ - Which i have oc'd to 2.4ghz. This seems to be my limit on this cheap mobo. If you get the Box you get the stock cooler which you can use until you either decide to oc or simply want a quieter rig.
$240 ($200 with rebate) 2x1G Corsair XMS2 PC6400 - I got the C5 because it was cheaper at the time, but the C4 is cheaper than C5 now!! :oops: 
$140 Leadtek PX7600GT - not DX10, but I decided to get a cheaper video card for now then possibly add another, or 2 8000 series (dx10) when the price drops.
Soo thats around 735..you have 265 to upgrade to a 4200+ or better (since you dont want to oc), buy your HD, and shipping.

This is a sli rig, you didnt mention if you are interested in running sli or not since you only use it 30% for gaming. You could get a better name brand board thats not sli for the same price.
As far as Vista or XP, personally im sticking with XP for a few. Ive read too many horror stories about Vista.
Oh and I get most of my gear from the Egg! Hope to have helped.
February 16, 2007 5:28:46 PM

www.sharkyextreme.com has pretty solid 1k USD gaming systems.
Look for the "Guides" section and "Value" under that.
Any "Gaming" system should excell for work, unless that work involves heavier graphics than your budget allows.
Note that the Sharkyextreme builds include inputs, speakers and monitor.
Not knowing what is available where you are I don't know what else to really say, or how it converts to Euros (which I'm just guessing that you're using) exactly.

Vantec makes a solid case in (at least in the US) with a good 450w SmartPower psu. One of the very few "comes with case" psu's I'd ever recommend, see if you can get there. I think it's one of the Sonata IIs or something. 450w is more than enough for any modern cpu and mainstream card. I wouldn't recommend it for an X1900XTX + or 7950GX2+
But for a 7600gt or 7950gt it's plenty.
Related resources
February 16, 2007 5:58:55 PM

Quote:

case: thermaltake mambo with a 450w LC Power LC5450 v2.2 power source for $100 (anything better welcome, want a simple black case (take mambo as an exception to this rule))


You can do much cheaper I think... CoolerMaster Centurion is Half that price.

Quote:
processor: AMD 64 bit X2 4200+ BOX (BOX or not?) AM2 for $220 (want a AMD unless someone proves me totally wrong)


I realize you are not overclocking. But perhaps you could revisit the idea if you purchase an Intel E6400 @ 2.13GHz it will achieve 2.4GHz with great ease and stock cooling. It has a larger Cache (Double) than the AMD
and without getting into too much about comparisons, you should read up on Intels Core 2 a bit more. You will definately be sold on it. I too was an AMD Fan for 5+ years, but now it is almost impossible to consider AMD unless they figure out how to compete with Intel.

Quote:
mainboard: dunno, any ideas? $100-$150 (ATX) What chipset to use? Obviously an AM2 with onboard soundcard and network card


Unless your decision is final, I will leave this one alone

Quote:
RAM: 1 GB, not sure about which


I would spend the extra money here... you would be much happier with 2 gigs. G.Skill, SuperTalent, Corsair, it doesn't really matter... DDR2 667 or 800 is the Key... just don't go generic.

Quote:
disk: 320 gb seagate baracuda for $160


That price sounds really high... are you against going with 2 smaller HDDs and putting them in a RAID array? HDD pricing seems to favor the 80Gig to 250Gig range. In the States its $140 for Two 250Gig WD drives.

Quote:
graphic card: maybe a GeForce 7600GT? not sure whihc, but the max price is around $200... I prefer nVidia, but willing to discuss ATI. DX10 support welcome, but I guess it's out of my range, maybe a 7600GS and upgrade later?
Decent Card

$100 case + $220 CPU + $150 board + $160 disk + $200 gfx = $830... add to that around $150 for RAM (I expect) = $980..

Quote:
And I need to buy either XP Home OEM (for $130 here) or some Vista (I'm mainly looking for DX10 support for the future, so if DX10 support will be available on XP, then I'd go with XP), for which I haven't been able to find the pricing yet.
XP will not support DX 10

what do you think? I guess I lack some concept on cooling the system.. thanks a lot[/quote]
February 16, 2007 6:27:33 PM

That case is much more expansive here. Not an option for me.

As for the motherboard, I'll prolly choose between MSI K9N SLI and ASUS M2N non SLI. I don't plan to use SLI, so it's just a matter of which board has better quality. This would speak for ASUS, but I haven't been following the industry so I dunno.

still looking on RAM and GFX... you like that Leadtek?
February 16, 2007 6:50:47 PM

analyst:

as for the CPU, I'll read more on that, in the mean time, for the sake of argument, let's say it'd stick with AM2.

coolermaster centurion is nice, yet is about $100 w/o pwr supply. (btw. Vantec, as suggested elswhere, is not available here). For a list of available cases, take a look at http://casemodding.cz/index.php?pg=vypis&kat=6 (divide prices by 21 to get USD). Or http://www.alza.cz/EN/18842849/cases-pwr-suppl-.htm which has better prices.

HDD: good point, two 250gb are $200 though, will take a look around if anybody has better prices around here.

any particular gfx manufacturer/model you'd recommned?

thanks for RAM hint, what I needed to hear exactly.
February 17, 2007 5:06:32 AM

Quote:
analyst:

as for the CPU, I'll read more on that, in the mean time, for the sake of argument, let's say it'd stick with AM2.

coolermaster centurion is nice, yet is about $100 w/o pwr supply. (btw. Vantec, as suggested elswhere, is not available here). For a list of available cases, take a look at http://casemodding.cz/index.php?pg=vypis&kat=6 (divide prices by 21 to get USD). Or http://www.alza.cz/EN/18842849/cases-pwr-suppl-.htm which has better prices.

HDD: good point, two 250gb are $200 though, will take a look around if anybody has better prices around here.

any particular gfx manufacturer/model you'd recommned?

thanks for RAM hint, what I needed to hear exactly.


AM2 will suite your needs I have no doubt. But even an E6300 (Intels Base Model) outperforms the X2 4200... especially in Gaming.
Intel Core 2 vs. AMD AM2 article

If it is merely budget constraints I understand... it is however difficult to reconstruct a system based on price alone and to disregard what I have come to understand about Core 2 Architecture.

With that said... I should correct myself from earlier posting. I mentioned the RAM as the only place to consider for spending a little extra.

You mentioned the case without a power supply... This is a good thing. Case manufacturers (99% of the time) use low grade PSUs. Buying separate PSUs allows you to know you are getting enough AMPs on the 12 volt rail. The 12 volt rail is where you need the most quality power since it powers most of the components in the system.

I would recommend you look at Antec true power, Enermax Noisetaker/whisper/Maximum Plus, Fortran(FSP), Thermaltake Purepower/toughpower... These are Teir 3 Power supplies and will be the best for the money for your system.

As for Graphics cards... If you are going to go with the 7600GT then they are all relatively the same regardless of who slaps their company Logo on it. Find the cheapest and go with it.

AMD without overclocking doesn't need aftermarket cooling solution... the stock cooler will be fine.

If your going to save money then I suggest doing it in the Case... I mean WHO CARES what the box looks like. Get the good components and stick it in a $60 - $70 case.

I am going to build a system on Newegg site and post the components that I know will work together. So you can compare and see if it would be doable on your end.
February 17, 2007 5:39:48 AM

Since you don't need SLI... why get SLI motherboard. This board will suit your needs.
ASUS M2N-E NVIDIA 570 Ultra $95USD

I would recommend using this CPU. I have it in one of my systems and it is quite good. This way you can spend a little extra on other components and still have a great system.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz $110 USD

Kingston Makes good stable RAM and is the largest most distributed manufacturer which translates into one of the cheapest... this RAM would do the job well.
Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 $170 USD

Western Digital is good quality and these are Server Edition quality Hard drives (YS)= Excellent and for $63 USD - 2 of them should put you around the same as the single 320 gig you had originally chose.
WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0

This is a great little PSU with plenty of power on the 12v rail for your needs.
Antec True Power Trio TP3-430 ATX12V 430W $70 USD

eVGA is a great brand and has good customer service. They also have the step up program that lets you upgrade in 120 days I think to a better card if you want.
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT $120 USD

You only need one burner.
Lite-On CD/DVD combo burner $32 USD

That would be under $800 USD with a case. You could lose one hard drive and just use 160gig for now and save $63 USD. The fact is you can always add another harddrive later and it is going to take a while to fill up 160gigs.

Let me know what your thoughts are about it...
February 17, 2007 5:42:50 AM

Well you should get C2D 4300 and 320Mb 8800GTS. Good for Vista and DX10 support.
February 17, 2007 5:54:13 AM

get core 2 e6300 newbie!!
February 17, 2007 6:33:54 AM

The OP is thinking about a C2D so we can show him good reasons and good deals to change his mind from AMD.

In the OP, he asked for 1 gig of RAM. We all know that 2 Gigs are better but maybe the RAM is hia area costs a lot more and he can only fit 1 gig in has budget.

Exchange rate is 28 Kcz=1 euro.

You are right, cheaper thing I found was 1400 Kcz ~$75 w/no PSU (I think, I can't read czech. 8O )
February 17, 2007 10:59:11 AM

to PCAnalyst:

I've read thru the article you posted, and must say that considering the possible overclocking, Intel seems the better choice. I've done a lot of reading yesterday and was able to come up with this so far

case: Sharkoon Rebel 9 for $50 (or any, this has a 14 day delay)
PSU: Fortran FSP400-60GLN for $70
320 gb Seagate for $130 (dunno where I got that original $160 figure, sry)
any 7600GT for $165
2x 512 GEIL/Kingston/Corsair/GSkill for $165, A-data has cheaper chips

= $580 i guess

to that either

E6300 C2D for $238 and a Gigabyte 965p-DS3 board for $157 for a total of $975

or AMD X2 4200+ for $209 and ASUS M2N-E AM2 for $123 for a total of $912

PSU, Case, GFX we've already discussed and it's what you recommended and what I like.

I could get 2x 1GB a-data chips for $180 (corsair/kingston has equivalent for $285). I'm also happy with the disk and can't get same or near capacity for the same price with two separate disks. So now it's intel vs AMD. I've read somewhere the E6300 has excellent OC potential and pc analyst has also pointed that out. So what do you think? Right now, I'd go for an intel, although I'm not 100% happy with the mobo (read the BIOS chip couldn't be replaced if something goes wrong during flashing, if I ever needed that)

thanks!
February 17, 2007 11:11:32 AM

nice system.. the only problem is the prices are much higher here (don't let me even start about car fuel ;) ). But I guess I still could fit into the $1k budget. I'll see if I can get that EVGA card around here, so far only found it for $238 :-/

thanks for that effort very much!
February 17, 2007 4:23:53 PM

I am glad to see you reconsidered... The Core 2 E6300 is a mean little bugger. I too would personally take the lower speed Intel vs the higher stock clock AMD X2.

The DS3 Mobo is very good as well... I see you have done some reading.

There are 4 slots for RAM... you could always add another 1 gig (2X512) later.

Also are you absolutely certain on the Kingston? Don't want to sound like a pest, but make sure you match the serial numbers for the kinstons I posted... they are Mainstream RAM modules so they should be relatively cheap there as well.

ChuckShissle also noted getting the 8800 GTS 320mb version card... right now it is the low cost DX 10 card. It does cost a hundred or two more than the 7600GT, but it will future proof your rig.

If you can make the stretch... that will be your best bet if you are planing to do some next generation gaming. Although you would have to get Vista... which I have avoided for many reasons.

Your system is going to run like butter....
February 17, 2007 6:43:34 PM

Quote:
still looking on RAM and GFX... you like that Leadtek?


PCAnalyst is right, the brand of video card is trivial. I always choose Leadtek only because they seem to bundle a couple decent games with their cards! :D 
February 17, 2007 7:53:32 PM

ok, I'll take leadtek then :)  passive or active cooling? and intel...

Quote:

Also are you absolutely certain on the Kingston? Don't want to sound like a pest, but make sure you match the serial numbers for the kinstons I posted... they are Mainstream RAM modules so they should be relatively cheap there as well.


what you mean? Your recommend them and then say I should watch out :)  I can take kingston, geil, anything on this page except the last two, they're too expansive already (last two on the second page that is)

http://www.czechcomputer.cz/cat_tree.jsp?bpath=Opera%C4...

they sell in pairs, so I guess they'll be maching series. Can check before buying though.

done some reading, yes :) 

as for 8800 GTS, I'd gladly take it, but it's over $470 here, which is way too much. I guess I'll wait till the prices drop, maybe a year or two. DX10 - I've read somewhere about DirectX9.0L, which should make DX10 run on XP (not sure I got it right though!).

That leaves me with Vista vs. XP... I'd say XP and since I don't have a DX10 card, .NET3 and similar being XP compatible, I'd stick with them.
February 17, 2007 8:04:58 PM

Quote:
ok, I'll take leadtek then :)  passive or active cooling? and intel...


I always go with active cooling on video. I'm not real concerned with a super quiet computer. Not sure if Leadtek makes a passive card.
February 18, 2007 3:25:30 AM

Quote:
ok, I'll take leadtek then :)  passive or active cooling? and intel...
Active
Quote:

Also are you absolutely certain on the Kingston Pricing? Don't want to sound like a pest, but make sure you match the serial numbers for the kinstons I posted... they are Mainstream RAM modules so they should be relatively cheap there as well.


Quote:
what you mean? Your recommend them and then say I should watch out :)  I can take kingston, geil, anything on this page except the last two, they're too expansive already (last two on the second page that is)


Not what I meant... I wasn't sure you found the right Kingstons that I posted... there are very many modules that look alike from kingston so you have to match the serial numbers. And I only mentioned that because the modules I suggested were the CHEAP kingstons that would still do the job. You posted some that sounded too high even at your pricing... thats all I meant.

Quote:
That leaves me with Vista vs. XP... I'd say XP and since I don't have a DX10 card, .NET3 and similar being XP compatible, I'd stick with them.


Since you are not getting a DX 10 card I see little reason to go to Vista. --One argument I could mention is that if you are concerned about cost issues, and you want to minimize your spending as best you can... then maybe Vista would be a more economical choice... and only because eventually Microsoft will have the bugs worked out... DRM will be worked around better... and proper driver support should be in place... but it isn't yet... and not for a while I imagine.
February 18, 2007 5:27:06 PM

all seems settled then. thank you all (especially PC Analyst) for being so helpful and supportive, I really appreciate your advice and effort!
February 18, 2007 10:57:16 PM

Your Welcome... it was fun.
!