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Help w/ 'budget' game system that's upgradeable...

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March 20, 2007 5:01:49 PM

First, I haven't built a system in several years and it was never a higher end system so I need some input on brands etc...

Second, by budget I mean best bang for the buck. I don't want to go over about $1,200 and if I can go cheaper on something without hurting performance too much please let me know...

Third, I want to build this for games. The idea being it's a decent system now but can upgrade to a quad core, 4 gb ram, and dual sli graphics cards in the future. Will run XP for now, probably hold out on Vista for the first service pack...

Here's what I got:

ASUS P5N32-E 650i $190.00
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz $225.00
WD Raptor 36 GB for OS $110.00
2x 1GB ?G.Skill? DDR2 800 RAM $150.00
GeForce 7600 GT ?brand? $140.00
600 W SLI support PS ?brand? $110.00
New Case $100.00
19" Widescreen LCD $200.00
2x 160 GB WD for MP3/Pictures/games Have

Total: $1,225 estimate

What do you think? What brands to you recommend? Thanks people!
March 20, 2007 6:37:49 PM

I don't see the point of buying a powerful processor with a mediocre video card if the purpose of your system is gaming. A good rule of thumb is to spend approximately twice as much on the video card as on the CPU.

I would suggest getting an 8800 now and coupling it with an E4300 or even an AM2-based Athlon 64 X2.

Finally, don't bother with the 36gb Raptors. The low density on their platter results in mediocre speeds, barely above 7,200RPM drives. If you want a Raptor, get at least the 74gb version.
March 20, 2007 6:50:12 PM

Quote:
I don't see the point of buying a powerful processor with a mediocre video card if the purpose of your system is gaming. A good rule of thumb is to spend approximately twice as much on the video card as on the CPU.

I would suggest getting an 8800 now and coupling it with an E4300 or even an AM2-based Athlon 64 X2.

Finally, don't bother with the 36gb Raptors. The low density on their platter results in mediocre speeds, barely above 7,200RPM drives. If you want a Raptor, get at least the 74gb version.


Okay, removed the Raptor and added a 8800.

ASUS P5N32-E 650i $190.00
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz $225.00
GeForce 8800 GTS ?brand? $300.00
2x 1GB ?G.Skill? DDR2 800 RAM $150.00
600 W SLI support PS ?brand? $110.00
New Case $100.00
19" Widescreen LCD $200.00
2x 160 GB WD Have

Total: $1,275

I read a post w/ similar CPU/MOBO and the comment was there was no need for DDR2 800 ram with this combo. Is this true? What do you think about this setup?
Related resources
March 20, 2007 7:33:56 PM

DDR2-800 is only needed if you plan to overclock with any seriousness. DDR2-667 will perform fine for you. With the 8800, get whatever brand is cheapest since most out there are pretty good(BFG,eVGA,XFX). I was also looking at the 650i board for my next build. I like the features for the price. As far as PSU's, go with FSP fortron, Thermaltake, Corsair, or OCZ. Any of those are good quality and will provide plenty of punch for your system with room for upgrades. All told, its a very nice system. One last thing, you could save some money by dropping to the E6300 or E4300 and not be too worse off.
Case wise, go with the Antec P180 or the nine hundred. Both are excellent cases with good airflow.

Edited once to include case recommendation.
March 20, 2007 8:05:58 PM

You got pointed in the right direction. From what you have said, Get an e4300, ddr2-667 and a good PSU. Make sure it is SLI rated. You don't say if you plan to overclock at all. The e4300 is a good one to start with as it can be pushed up some on a stock cooler. What are you looking for in a case? You like to show off with windows and light or just a good solid case? $100 will get in a good case either way.
March 20, 2007 9:36:02 PM

Good motherboard choice; that board is a hybrid; it seems to be a 650i northbridge with full functions of a 680i northbridge (16x, 16x, 8x PCI-e) and has the previous-generation (reliable) southbridge. I heard it is the best-preforming nForce 600 for Vista; probably won't make a differance in a month or two but whatever.

Let's see...

Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS
G.Skill DDR2 667 RAM ($61/gig, get 2 or more cause they're inexpensive)
XClio Windtunnel Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Some good PSU, SLI
DVD Burner

You get the general idea...

I would build with the XClio Windtunnel or the XClio A-380; both have dual-25cm fans that will let your system stay very cool.
March 20, 2007 10:05:39 PM

You said you wanted upgradeable.. Id go for a mid range AM2 athlon x2 for a while and you will have an upgrade path to a new Barcelona, actually I think its Agena for desktop PCs.. And maybe a mediocre graphics card (7600GT) or maybe a (x1900pro/gt) and then get a r600 or 8900 later on.. If your in it for instant power and a great rig now C2D would be in order with an 8800, or maybe a Am2 AAthlon x2 and then have some upgrade ability. w/e u got alot of good suggestions here in other post...
March 20, 2007 10:18:11 PM

Quote:
You said you wanted upgradeable.. Id go for a mid range AM2 athlon x2 for a while and you will have an upgrade path to a new Barcelona, actually I think its Agena for desktop PCs.. And maybe a mediocre graphics card (7600GT) or maybe a (x1900pro/gt) and then get a r600 or 8900 later on.. If your in it for instant power and a great rig now C2D would be in order with an 8800, or maybe a Am2 AAthlon x2 and then have some upgrade ability. w/e u got alot of good suggestions here in other post...


The motherboard supports quad core so that's a future upgrade. The board will do SLI at 16x so 2 new DX10 cards in SLI down the road. I can bump up the ram from 2 to 4 gig if needed. Seems like a decent upgrade later?

I don't really understand the difference between the E4300 and the E6400. Is it just a 2.13 GHz to 1.8 GHz and difference in FSB? I guess running games will be about the same FPS?
March 20, 2007 10:28:50 PM

Quote:
You said you wanted upgradeable.. Id go for a mid range AM2 athlon x2 for a while and you will have an upgrade path to a new Barcelona, actually I think its Agena for desktop PCs.. And maybe a mediocre graphics card (7600GT) or maybe a (x1900pro/gt) and then get a r600 or 8900 later on.. If your in it for instant power and a great rig now C2D would be in order with an 8800, or maybe a Am2 AAthlon x2 and then have some upgrade ability. w/e u got alot of good suggestions here in other post...


The motherboard supports quad core so that's a future upgrade. The board will do SLI at 16x so 2 new DX10 cards in SLI down the road. I can bump up the ram from 2 to 4 gig if needed. Seems like a decent upgrade later?

I don't really understand the difference between the E4300 and the E6400. Is it just a 2.13 GHz to 1.8 GHz and difference in FSB? I guess running games will be about the same FPS?

E4300 == 200 * 9 == 1.8ghz
E6400 == 266 * 8 == 2.13ghz

Both are now Allendales.

There probably won't be a large FPS difference between the two.
March 20, 2007 11:16:28 PM

Quote:
You said you wanted upgradeable.. Id go for a mid range AM2 athlon x2 for a while and you will have an upgrade path to a new Barcelona, actually I think its Agena for desktop PCs.. And maybe a mediocre graphics card (7600GT) or maybe a (x1900pro/gt) and then get a r600 or 8900 later on.. If your in it for instant power and a great rig now C2D would be in order with an 8800, or maybe a Am2 AAthlon x2 and then have some upgrade ability. w/e u got alot of good suggestions here in other post...


The motherboard supports quad core so that's a future upgrade. The board will do SLI at 16x so 2 new DX10 cards in SLI down the road. I can bump up the ram from 2 to 4 gig if needed. Seems like a decent upgrade later?

I don't really understand the difference between the E4300 and the E6400. Is it just a 2.13 GHz to 1.8 GHz and difference in FSB? I guess running games will be about the same FPS?

E4300 == 200 * 9 == 1.8ghz
E6400 == 266 * 8 == 2.13ghz

Both are now Allendales.

There probably won't be a large FPS difference between the two.

Yep, from what I understand the 4300 OCs better. correct me if im wrong. but It has something to do with the multiplier I think... Well you may have upgrade path for a Qxblah blah intel quad.. but Im thinking that by the time you will want that upgrade from a C2D, that it will no longer be the new hotness and whether its outdone by Intel or AMD.. So an AMD barcelona seems to me the best bet.. but then again.. no benchies out for that yet...
March 20, 2007 11:20:17 PM

Okay, so lets say I get the E4300 and decide to do some over clocking. Should I still get the 667 ram or go for the 800?
March 20, 2007 11:26:52 PM

Quote:
Okay, so lets say I get the E4300 and decide to do some over clocking. Should I still get the 667 ram or go for the 800?


hmm sounds good... I don't think C2D benifit with 800 over 667.. but for an OC you might want the extra headroom to reach higher levels.. quality 667 would also work well but not quite as good.. hmm Id start with 800 in your budget and if you feel you need to knock off a few dollars quality 667 is still a good choice.
March 20, 2007 11:36:43 PM

About to pull the trigger. Here is the wish list on New Egg:

New Egg Wish List

I have a case to put it in for now. Going to take time to look for one or build a custom one. I also have the hard drives so I don't need them. What do you think about the RAM? I don't know much about ram...

I'm going to sign up for the New Egg credit card and get 1.1% discount and use 6 months to pay it off with 0% interest.

It seems like $100 isn't much more for the second system...
March 21, 2007 12:14:58 AM

Quote:
About to pull the trigger. Here is the wish list on New Egg:

New Egg Wish List

or for just a little more money...

Just a little faster...

I have a case to put it in for now. Going to take time to look for one or build a custom one. I also have the hard drives so I don't need them. What do you think about the RAM? I don't know much about ram...

I'm going to sign up for the New Egg credit card and get 1.1% discount and use 6 months to pay it off with 0% interest.

It seems like $100 isn't much more for the second system...


Seems pretty good... Alot of people would say that the e6400 isnt worth it because you can OC the 4300 and the 6300 easily to its speeds... If you are gonna shell out money for a faster proc at stock speeds Id at least go a 6600 that way you can have the 4MB cache to use.. But im sure the 4300 will perform great especially if u plan to OC it... RAM looks pretty good, Id go for some 800 if you are gonna OC that 4300 alot.. the PSU I own and its great, should power just about anything.. looks good, but u should wait for a couple more opinions cause im not sure about that ram.. looks good but idk much but corsair...
March 21, 2007 2:02:45 AM

Of the two lists, I would take #2. True you can OC the e4300 to the stock speed of the e6400, but you can also oc the e6400 with less effort past a e6600, and you will PC6400 if/when you got for a Quad.
March 21, 2007 2:36:04 AM

This is in that range and it is a much better system than the one you posted. I would suggest something more than a 7600gt...To be honest they suck. I got one right now and I can't play with 4xaa and 4xaf on 1600X1200 on high settings on Unreal Tournament...

MSI P6N Platinum
Core 2 Duo E6400
FSP FX700 700watt
Gskill 2gb CAS4 DDR800
Seagate 200gb Perpindicular Recording
AuzenTech Xplosion 7.1 Dolby Digital Sound card
EVGA 8800gts
LITE-ON DVD/CD burner/ROM
Thermalright SI-128
1 120mm Thermaltake RED LED fan
6 80mm Apevia Red LED fans
1 Scythe HDD cooler
March 21, 2007 5:35:56 AM

I think your wish list build is good, but what's with the doubling up on G.skill memory? Mistake in putting together the wish list I guess? So yeah definitely get rid of that extra 2gb :lol: 

Only one suggestion, if you're willing to spend another $100 above that build you should definitely grab a 22" monitor instead of a 19". They're very cheap these days and a decent one can be had for as little as $280 if you look carefully.

Looks good though, decent PSU, good motherboard, video card, CPU... not a big fan of G.skill memory (Kingston has 2gb DDR2 667 for $137 right now) but a lot of people seem to like it so it's up to you.

If you want to save $10 and get a slightly better quality PSU take a look at this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Might not be as SLI-ready for the future though, but then again I wouldn't SLI on a 600W OCZ either.

PC&P 610W is the only way to go if you really plan to upgade to SLI in the future.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 21, 2007 11:03:02 AM

Quote:
I think your wish list build is good, but what's with the doubling up on G.skill memory? Mistake in putting together the wish list I guess? So yeah definitely get rid of that extra 2gb :lol: 

Only one suggestion, if you're willing to spend another $100 above that build you should definitely grab a 22" monitor instead of a 19". They're very cheap these days and a decent one can be had for as little as $280 if you look carefully.

Looks good though, decent PSU, good motherboard, video card, CPU... not a big fan of G.skill memory (Kingston has 2gb DDR2 667 for $137 right now) but a lot of people seem to like it so it's up to you.

If you want to save $10 and get a slightly better quality PSU take a look at this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Might not be as SLI-ready for the future though, but then again I wouldn't SLI on a 600W OCZ either.

PC&P 610W is the only way to go if you really plan to upgade to SLI in the future.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I was confused by the RAM so I added both I was looking at.

I was reading the overclocking forums and just got more confused.

RAM: They say to get 667 in 4 4 4 X timings. But going from 5 5 5 15 to 4 4 4 12 looks like it costs $100 more. Or does that just suggest to run it at 4 4 4 X and buy ram you can overclock to that?

MOBO: The one I picked out wasn't in the lists of boards to use.

Say your goal was 3GHz, E4300, 2 GB Ram, with a mobo that could use a quad core and do SLI @ 16 X 2...what would you buy off Newegg today?
!