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
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.
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.
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) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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:
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:
41 max amps
ultra-high efficiency: 88%
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.
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.