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Need Advice from the Experts in here...

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March 8, 2007 6:13:14 PM

Alright, I'll make this sweet and to the point: I have a home-grown system that I've maintained for a while, but I'm at the edge of a massive upgrade. Here's a break down of my system:

Athlon XP 3000+
Gigabyte motherboard (forgot what model)
1 GB (2x512) of DDR 400 RAM from Mushkin
1 80 GB ATA/100 7200 HD
1 120 GB ATA/100 7200 HD
2 250 GB SATA/150 7200 HDs
Audigy Soundcard
BFG GeForce 6600 GT OC AGP Grfxcard
Antech 480 Watt power supply
Plextor Plexwriter IDE CD-R/W
Sony IDE DVD-ROM

Okay, that's pretty much all the pertinent information. Anyways, as you can see, I am way behind the times, but that's never bothered me, while my uber friends tend to struggle with the new tech, I tend to be happy with my lesser tech but much more stable box. That's the key word: STABLE. That said, I really feel like upgrading to PCI-Express, and am sold on the Intel Duo Core chip and a Nvidia Grfxcard (just one). However, I am at a loss as to what motherboard to purchase, they say the 680i is great but plagued with stability issues. The other chipsets seem to have thrown IDE under the bus, which would require my replacing over half of my components. Can I get any advice from the experts? Anything will help, if you say trash the entire box, I'll take that into consideration.

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March 8, 2007 6:24:17 PM

It depends how much you want to spend. Most new boards only have one IDE channel so you'd have to toss a couple IDE devices. Some have two though.

So what's your budget? If it's low you could get something like the 775Dual board which would let you use your old RAM. But I get the impression you're not restricted by budget.

So I'd say get:
Asus P5N-E SLi or Asus P5W DH Deluxe (more expensive but has fancy stuffs)
Core 2 e6600
8800 GTS 320mb or 7900GS if the 8800 is too expensive
2x1GB DDR2-533 (if you're not overclocking. If you are, get 800)

Those boards have 2 IDE channels so you could use all your old devices. But another choice is to get a good board with only one IDE channel like the Gigabyte 965P/G DS3 and buy a DVDRW for like $30 that'd replace your two optical drives.
March 8, 2007 6:30:03 PM

Whats your upgrade budget? The only things in your current pc worth keeping are the optical drives, HDD's, the sound card, and possibly the psu, depending on the model and which gfx card you end up getting.

Most, pretty much all, current chipsets still support IDE, its the IDE hdd's that arent supported. Although that can be solved by getting a PCI hdd controller card for IDE drives.

The 680i chipset is good, but not one of my favorites. I would rather get a 975X or P965 based board, but thats just me. Most of the problems with the 680i based mobos have been resolved by know, i wouldnt worry about it.
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March 8, 2007 6:51:09 PM

Ah yes, budget, I forgot to include that. To give you an idea, I had picked out the following:

GeForce 8800 GTS ($400)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ($318)
Cosair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 ($370)

Total Cost so far: $1088

Those are the prices last time I checked, might have gone down since. I'll probably throw in another hard drive so I can get rid of the IDE hard drives. For mobo, I'm looking for somthing less than $200, around the $100 - $150 range. Again, I was "window shopping" so I'm pretty sure these are good buys, but I could be erroneous in the compatibility or capabilities of these parts. After all, I'm an enthusiast, not an expert!
March 8, 2007 6:57:22 PM

Ahha, a fellow Canadian. Good choices, though the RAM is unnecessarily expensive, especially if you're overclocking. You can get good DDR2-800 RAM for around $250 our dollars. If you're not overclocking, you can get even cheaper RAM without really seeing a performance difference.

For the board, it's kinda important to know if you intend to overclock.
March 8, 2007 7:10:32 PM

Quote:
Ah yes, budget, I forgot to include that. To give you an idea, I had picked out the following:

GeForce 8800 GTS ($400)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ($318)
Cosair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 ($370)

Total Cost so far: $1088



There are better prices to be had out there. For isntance, if you can buy from newegg:

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB ($270 after 20 dollar MIR)

Core 2 Duo E6600 ($313 Retail Box)

Corsair 2GB XMS2 DUal channel 800MHz RAM ($225 after 40 dollar MIR)

Total: $808. You just saved $280.

Then I would say get a decent midrange mobo, possibly a Seagate 7200.10 SATA HD if you want to get rid of the IDE ones, probably a bigger Power Supply, and either an IDE or SATA DVD Burner.

You can keep the sound card either way. If you get a board with IDE support, you can also keep the HDs and be fine with that for a while.
March 8, 2007 8:11:47 PM

Wow, this forum is even better than what I thought. Great information from everyone so far.

As far as overclocking is concerned, I really don't tend to do any overclocking so that's not a big deal for me.

Hergieburbur,

I noticed you opted for the 8800 GTS with 320MB, the one I listed had 640MB. Is the 640MB really not that worth it?

Keep the great info coming!
March 8, 2007 8:24:20 PM

To be honest, I wasn't sure which model you meant. At newegg, the 640MB version can be had for around $340-$360.
March 8, 2007 10:29:01 PM

What kind of games will you be buying? Are you going to Vista with this system? For most people the 320MB card is fine, I just got one. Future proof/High end Games/Vista go for the 640.
March 9, 2007 3:40:22 AM

I'm really iffy about going over to Vista, I probably won't switch over anytime soon. As for the type of games, the most demanding game that I have so far is FEAR and NFS: Most Wanted. I play a mix of games, but getting them to run at super-highest-maximum-ultra level is not that important for me, though I do want to be able to bump up my settings with the upgrade. My settings usually consist of AA 2x or 4x, med to med-high settings, and resolution at 1280 x 1024.
March 9, 2007 6:00:21 AM

I would say go for the 320 model.
March 9, 2007 6:47:30 AM

I would gladly suggest get a EVGA Superclocked 320 mb 8800 gts.

You can read the review on Firingsquad.com .

Its available on new egg for about 300-320 dollars.

I have this card but have not used it so far as i have been busy with work :(  .

Ill be installing it over the weekend. :D 
March 9, 2007 4:31:26 PM

Wow, I checked NewEgg to update my choices and prices, and following your suggestions here's what I picked out:

eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB PCIe x16 - $270
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 - $313
Cosair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 - $160
Western Digital 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 HD (OEM) - $130
Total - $873

Wow! I was able to cut my cost down big time, and that's with a hard drive thrown in. As for mobo, I was looking at this one:

MSI 975X Platinum - $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Your opinions?

Oh, and BTW, with these parts, will I be okay with a 480 W PSU, or will I need to buy a new one? Bear in the mind that my PSU is already a few years old (like 2 or 3 years old).

And thanks again for all the awesome advice. :D 
March 9, 2007 5:25:45 PM

Its probab;y safest to buy a new PSU in the 500 to 65o Watt range. Not sure if its newegg, but I hear there is an OCZ 700W out there than can be had for a pretty good price.
March 9, 2007 5:39:12 PM

Try the EVGA 680i
ASus Striker Extreme
Gigabyte Q6

:wink:

Nice mobo's for the c2d
If you are planning on SLI'ing, the Stiker and 680i are the only boards that I know of that will support tru 16x16 sli slots
March 9, 2007 5:47:14 PM

Remember though, true 16x16 isn't really needed, as the current cards can't saturate the x8 interface yet.
March 9, 2007 6:04:30 PM

I'm not really interested in running an SLI setup, so that's not really THAT important for me, though having the option available in case of anything would be nice.
!