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Feedback on near-final build: sub-$900

Last response: in Systems
March 21, 2007 6:09:35 PM

I've done my research and I have everything in my newegg cart, i just want some feedback before i pull the trigger. This is my third homebuilt system in my life.

Primary use: GAMING. Eventually I plan to try to overclock if i can, but that's not my main goal.

*PROC: Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 ($169)
*MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 ($119)
*VIDEO CARD: Sapphire Radeon X1900GT 256MB ($130)
*RAM: 2x Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 ($126)
*HD: -Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD ($210)
-(I also already have a seagate 320 for storage).
*CASE/PSU: Antec SONATA II ATX Case with 450Watt PSU ($100)
*OS/ETC: I already have everything else such as XP (will upgrade to vista someday) and a monitor/etc

TOTAL: $853.94 + shipping (My BUDGET is ~$900)

So, my main question is the video card, although i welcome all suggestions as i am not married to the system. (i want to get the best gaming performance i can without going over budget.) can my psu handle that card? i could even go with a geforce 7600 or something, and upgrade later. (as it goes, i will probably upgrade the GFX and processor in just over a year or so, when new stuff is out.)

-i was looking for a good SLI motherboard for similar price, that might be good for future possible upgrades

-also, i know some people will criticize the raptor for price, but i've used the 75G before and i like them
March 21, 2007 9:51:42 PM

no thoughts?
March 21, 2007 10:14:15 PM

Appear to be solid choices, I don't think a small change in Video card would change things and $130 is a good price on a decent card.
If you went that way, you probably would want a crossfire board to use 2 1900 cards. SLI is same thing using Nvidia cards. I think the PSU will handle 1 card andthe other drives, but 2 would be pushing it. Depends on the specs, Antec has some good ones.
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March 21, 2007 10:22:16 PM

The Asus X1950Pro is only $165 at NewEgg
March 21, 2007 10:29:13 PM

Yep, x1950pro is faster at resolutions over 1024x768. If you play at that small res, keep the gt.

That's not the major concern. The psu is. It's bundled. & it's not as great as the case, sadly. Ideally, you get a case & a psu. Like Centurion 534 & any recommended psu over 450w 30a:

Almost forgot. The 667mhz ram you get will easily get you to 333mhz x 9 = about 3ghz overclock. 333 x 2 = 667. That's 1:1 cpu/ram ratio. If you want higher, get 800mhz ram, 2 extra 12cm fans for the case & an aftermarket cpu hsf. G.Skill is a good start. Coolermaster makes decent case fans. Scythe Ninja is a pretty good hsf.
March 21, 2007 10:49:19 PM

I have a friend with the Sonata 2 using the original PSU. Right now he isnt pushing too hard, but that PSU is infamous for its fiery blazes that consume all hardware in its path :twisted:
Seriously though, the stock PSU in the Sonata 2 isnt reliable. Just read any of the 1k reviews on Newegg. Also, that PSU may be pushed quite far with the GPU you selected.
For a good cheap very reliable psu with the same specs (definately dont upgrade the GPU on this)

For the best (without selling your soul):
my baby :p 

Personally for the price range Im getting the EVGA 7900GS for 135 after MIR. Good card, oc's well

March 21, 2007 11:12:11 PM

I would suggest considering buying the Ultra mid-tower case at Fry's, which is currently free after a $40 rebate (even has free s&h):

I have used this case in a budget build for someone else and it is a decent case ... no sharp edges, both sides come off for easy installation of the drives and it has front usb & firewire. I have also submitted a number of rebates to Ultra and all were paid without hassle (after the requisite 6 weeks). You do have to buy case fans, but I think that is a plus as you can get quiet ones.

I would do this and either use the money saved in a video card upgrade or buy a higher end PSU. If you upgrade the case down the road you are out nothing. If you decide to put the money towards a video card, Fry's also has a good deal on a PSU ... Antec Smartpower 2.0 500w PSU for $29.99 after a $30 rebate:

Same unit at Newegg is $69.99:
March 22, 2007 12:12:38 AM

Don't use that PSU. Get a separate one, preferably one that costs $80+. Even if you have to get a cheaper case to do it.

Also, why the X1900GT? How about an X1950PRO? They're only about $25 more expensive and are far better video cards.

Everything else looks fine.
March 22, 2007 12:25:15 AM

catberd has good suggestions.
March 22, 2007 12:56:05 AM

yeah thanks, im doing some re-evaluation. gonna wait a day or 2:

i am going to get a different case, psu, and possibly the 1950 instead
March 22, 2007 2:06:33 AM

The case isnt a bad deal for $50 after MIR. You also get a spare PSU in case, god forbid, yours pops, and it will take 2 weeks to get a replacement.

The Sonata 2 is a very good case with excellent build quality, cooling, and noise isolation. Get the case, throw out the PSU.

I have heard that the quality of Antec's psu's is not so great. Personally, Im going with Seasonic, but FSP, OCZ (fsp made), Corsair (SS made), PC Power and Cooling, Silverstone....... but a lot of those are $$$. On my 1K build Im including the SS 550w energy plus:
dead quiet
very reliable
41 max amps
ultra-high efficiency: 88% :p 

the drawback is that it costs $130 USD. But to me, its more important to have a strong reliable PSU than a powerful GPU.

I was just talking to my friend with the Antec Sonata 2 with the stock PSU yesterday. He finally admits that his PSU might need to be upgraded.

March 22, 2007 10:22:43 AM

*RAM: 2x Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 ($126)

I would definitely replace those with better quality Micron D9 modules.
March 23, 2007 1:38:31 AM

*RAM: 2x Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 ($126)

I would definitely replace those with better quality Micron D9 modules.

Yea, thats a great idea :roll: :roll: . Go put $275 of ram in a $900 build ...
Next you'll say he should be getting a 4gb Gigabyte I-ram kit so that he can get the best.

Budget is budget. Im getting the same ram for my budget rig soon.

dont dis the King
March 23, 2007 2:15:16 AM

I know you like the raptor, but you rarely find those in a budget machine for a good reason. I would get a cheaper drive and put the extra money towards the graphics card or a decent power supply.
March 23, 2007 3:14:35 AM

He has a 320 Seagate. I really feel that will be plenty to start.
March 23, 2007 3:56:16 AM

The Raptor is nice but it is pricey. On your budget, I would consider dropping the Raptor and upping the video card (then again, I freely admit I much prefer nVidia to ATI (bad experiences in the past)).

If you drop the Raptor or buy a cheaper HD, you could pick up a nVidia 8800GTS 320MB (great card for the price of around $300). The GPU really is the heart of a gaming pc.