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Building 2 "budget" gaming rigs. $1500 Limit.

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March 24, 2007 6:16:19 PM

My wife and I are mmorpg fans. We play games daily and our machines are getting dated, hers being older than mine.

I have 3 builds under my belt, but its been around a year or more sense i've played around with stuff. Alot has changed and I would love some help. I have tried OCing, but only on stock voltage. And Im open to the idea as long as its not extreme. I need these rigs to last as long as I can.

I have Windows Xp home for both.

Am I overclocking? - Maybe as far as I can on stock voltage.

What is my budget? - $750

Usage of the Computer? - Gaming MMORPG mostly. (Not Vanguard)

What games do you play? - See ^^

What resolution do you use your computer at? - 1280x1024 Our monitors native res.

Do you use multiple monitors? - No

Im a fan of Nvidia, don't really know why. Would like to try an Intel CPU, the last 3 have been AMD. Just wanna get as much bang for $750 as I can of course. Open to all suggestions. Just keep in mind im a noob still. lol Thanks. :D 
March 24, 2007 8:40:07 PM

Whatever else you put into the PC - Golden rule is have 2GB ram - you will have issues without it, MMORPG's lag out without RAM. You can see my rig below - runs WoW sweet.
Related resources
March 24, 2007 8:50:03 PM

The idea behind my rig was to get high quality components to future proof, but I went cheap big time on the CPU, as I intend to get a core 2 quad for under $300 in Q3. The Celeron, buy over clocking the nads of it, it keeps up with low end stock C2D's in games.

Although saying that about my rig - I would not purchase the same now - as you can get P4 641 processors for next to nothing. If I were to get one now I would get the 641, OC it as far as poss for now, and then budget for a C2Q for Christmas.
March 24, 2007 9:24:19 PM



seconded

Sanji put together an excellent guide detailing several price points. Look it over to get an idea, and if you have more questions, fire away.

Good Luck :wink:
March 24, 2007 9:51:43 PM

For stock voltage, I'd say 2.5-2.8ghz is a good estimate on the E4300.
March 24, 2007 10:15:21 PM

keep in mind that you can still pull some parts from each computer and reuse them unless they are terribly outdated such as the harddrive and cdrom drive so your budget of $750 can stretch pretty far. Im just gonna up and say what everyone else has said: go with the e4300 because its cheap and can easily overclock. 2gb ram is great to have and as for overclocking youll want some quality ram such as corsair xms
March 24, 2007 11:45:17 PM

The 4300 for sure. Don't need Corsair for the 4300. Cheap G.Skill 800 will be more than enough. The FSB and 9x multiplier will get him 2.5 - 2.8 ghz without voltage tweaks. Aim for 350 FSB and you should hit it no problem without volt increase.

2 gigs RAM a MUST nowadays. Get the cheap G.Skill like I said, it'll do the trick nicely.

Graphics card is totally up to your budget and how hardcore you want to go. Mostly about budget. Set your budget and find the best card in that range. Nvidia has some very good GForce cards at various price ranges that will run 1024 or 1280 rez at high settings without much issue.....7600GT and 7900GS are very affordable and offer good performance.

I love Taco, but his suggestions are overkill. He likes power. You don't need anywhere near that horsepower/high end stuff to do what you need. Save some cash, go with a 965 motherboard ;) 

<3 ya Taco, but lower the horsepower to suit the OP's needs ;) 

:) 
March 25, 2007 1:48:50 AM

LOL. ;) 


OK, I think I made a BIG typo. I meant to say 310 FSB on a 4300 (310 x 9 = 2.8ghz) without voltage tweaks. I believe I mistakenly said 350.....which is incorrect. :oops: 

310 FSB for a 4300 without voltage tweaks is about the upper limit. Beyond that you're looking at big jumps in volts. Not worth the potential temperature issues in my opinion for only a couple hundred mhz of speed. The 4300 is probably the most "effective" at around 2.6-2.8 without volt tweaks and cheap RAM. That's where its beauty lies. If you wanna push an OC higher, go for a 6xxx series chip, that's what they're designed for.
March 25, 2007 2:50:53 AM

AMD Overclocking

More or less on budget at $725 plus shipping. Almost as good of an overclocking combo as the Intel version, and you get a much better video card, while saving $50. Of course, you don't retain the upgradability of LGA 775...

Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane with Biostar Tforce 550 combo
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Centurion 534
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skill 2x1gb DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

X1950XT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hiper 580W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Samsung 18x DVD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


AMD Stock

About the same price as the AMD overclocking build, but you actually get a warranty for your processor. Probably about the same CPU performance as 3600+ Brisbane overclocked on stock voltage, but it has a worse video card. Overall, this system will probably perform the same as the Intel build un-overclocked, and for $50 cheaper.

Athlon 64 X2 4600+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Biostar Tforce 550
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Centurion 534
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skill 2x1gb DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

X1950Pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hiper 580W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Samsung 18x DVD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...


Intel Overclocking and Stock

A little over-budget ($775 plus shipping), but that's what you get for going C2D. Too hard to get a solid, "faultless" gaming system at this price if you're set on LGA 775. But if you're willing to go a little overbudget and overclock, this is the best system you can build.

E4300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI P6N SLI-FI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 2x1gb DDR2 667
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

X1950 Pro
http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Shopping/ShoppingIt...

Hiper 580W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Centurion 534
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung 18X DVD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
March 25, 2007 3:17:02 AM

It'd actually be really cool if you got one of that E4300 build and one of the 3600+ Brisbane build and then compared them on stock voltage overclocks and overall gaming performance to see which ends up netting better frames.
March 25, 2007 8:16:59 AM

Define your rigs? Is the difference the CPU and MB or is it the whole build? The AMD build gets an 8800? We know who will win the overall game performance, 8800 Rule gaming!!
March 25, 2007 8:48:57 AM

I don't see the reasoning behind getting an 8800 for MMORPG gaming.

MMORPGs hog ram up more than Vista does so I'd go with a 2GB Processor heavy build.

Intel Core 2 Duo Allendale E4300 $169

Biostar TForce 965PT $104.99

Kingston Value DDR2 667 $120

Western Digital 160GB SATA $53

NEC 18x DVD burner $30

EVGA 7900GS 256MB $155

Rosewill RP550-2 $55

Cooler Master Centurion 5 $50

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro $22

Total : $759

Estimated performance: Will play any MMORPG you throw at it with max settings, absolutely no problem.

Can over-clock to 3.0 GHZ easily with stock ram settings and stock voltage. Added cooler will keep it below 40c temperatures at load. Every component is of high end quality.

The NVIDIA 7900GS will require mild over-clocking to put it at the performance of the 1950 Pro, but it can easily be done with the copper heat-sink EVGA provides with their KO cards.

Good luck
March 25, 2007 8:55:32 AM

I agree, the other poster was talking Sanji's $500 AMD build. I guess I got confused, The 8800 starts at the $750 build level. Yes the 7600 or x1650 would be plenty for the OP uses.
March 25, 2007 9:32:11 AM

Thank guys for all the suggestions. I'll look all this over when I get some time and try to put something together. :) 
March 25, 2007 2:19:12 PM

Very nice list there Nameless, will handle mmorpg's just fine.

One change though: ditch that NEC optical. Don't spec them anymore in builds. Crap and LOUD. A better choice: Samsung SH-S182. Same price, ALOT quieter, and good build quality. I put them in all builds I do now for mid-range rigs. Very good optical.

I really dig Nameless' list....very good balance between CPU power and gaming performance for your needs OP.


Oh, and to give proper credit where credit is due......both Nameless' and AeroB's lists are both very similar variants of Sanji's Guide......great minds think alike ;) 
March 25, 2007 4:34:25 PM

I like my Samsung, but it's IDE. Can't get SATA opticals here cheap in Canuckland.

Depends on the budget. Samsung in a pinch for IDE, SATA if you can afford it ;) 
March 25, 2007 4:46:52 PM

You KNOW you're all about the horsepower and speed. ;)  I'm about quality and balance for price. :) 

You know which one you're gonna get..........


8)
March 25, 2007 4:55:31 PM

Well, Samsung is better, fairly quiet (for a high-speed DVD drive, which aren't very silent anyways), quality brand, Lightscribe and SATA........I'd spend a bit more for that. If you're gonna blow your money on garbage, might as well spend just $20 more or whatever and get something good. Small cost for happiness ;)  Just buy one less pizza/wing combo this month to cover the extra cost.

I'm out, don't wanna take this important thread too much more off-topic...I think it deserves to stay on topic, it's too good a thread :) 
March 25, 2007 8:19:56 PM

Ok here is what I came up with.
Some of it is kind of a personal preference. I've had very good luck with MSI stuff as well as Nvidia chipsets/Vcards. But please critique. :D 

Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 Allendale
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$169

MSI P6N SLI-FI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$113

G.Skill 2x1gb DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$140

Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$53

SAMSUNG SH-S183L
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

EVGA 7900GS 256MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$155
-OR-
EVGA GeForce 7600GT 256MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
$110

Rosewill RP550-2 ATX 2.01 550W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$55

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

ARCTIC COOLING FREEZER 7 PRO
http://www.svc.com/acfzp7.html <----This thing looks awesome. LoL
$22


Total $797 x2 = $1594

Im $94 over but I think I can handle that. Im not sure on the video, I thought I could spend a little more there but oh well. Could drop the burner and add $40 to the video budget because I can get by on what I have for the moment. What do you guys think?
March 25, 2007 11:26:51 PM

Great specs, a bit overbudget but it's a heckuva system that handle just about anything you throw at it!!

Only one comment: Rosewill sucks. Cheap for a reason. Spending so much money......just drop another $50 on a good stable PSU. $50 isn't worth the risk of it crapping out and taking components with it. Too much risk in my opinion for $50....which only works out to less than 1% of total build cost. Less than 1% of total cost is a very wise investment in my opinion.

Other than PSU, great system.

Could save some more money by going with a non-SLI mobo.
March 26, 2007 12:22:53 AM

Don't use that power supply, it's terrible. Like Skyguy said, Rosewill sucks. Pay another $25 to get the Hiper I listed and you'll be all set.

You listed a 7900GS--it's a good card, but you should be aware that the X1950 Pro will outperform it in almost every situation for the same price.
March 26, 2007 1:21:07 AM

Logain, I have no doubt your Rosewill is fine. The problem isn't that Rosewill isn't good per se, it's that you never know what you're getting.

Rosewill is Newegg's rebadged "no-name" power supply. They get shipments from whatever manufacturer, and stick a "Rosewill" sticker on it. So you never know if you're getting a good PSU or a crappy PSU. It's completely hit-and-miss. You roll the dice. You're lucky you got a good one. Next guy could get a bucket of junk, but they're all "Rosewill". Not sure if you guys are aware, but Rosewill is outsourced no-names.

So I'd rather not roll the dice for just $40 more or so. Peace of mind and quality system is worth that extra bit of money. If I'm gonna take a chance, I'd rather drop that $40 on RED on the roulette table.....my odds are better than what I MIGHT get with a Rosewill. ;) 

Rosewill = roulette
OCZ, Seasonic, Thermaltake, FSP, Tagan, PCPW, Enermax = sure bet. At least you know what you're getting.
March 26, 2007 3:06:01 AM

The reason to suggest Hiper is because it can be had for $80, and it's a stable, reliable PSU. If you want to spend $50 more, of course you can have a better power supply--but in a $750 build, that may not be an option (or a necessity).
March 26, 2007 3:07:55 AM

The PSU fan is an intake fan, not an exhaust fan ;)  Exhausts out the rear of the case. So it's supposed to point downward, otherwise it would be pressed tight against the top of the case and would overheat in no time flat.

Enermax Liberty.....excellent choice there.


AeroB has a good point.....he's trying to stick to the budget. I guess my point was that breaking the budget a bit might be a wise investment of money in order to ensure quality system stability. His suggestion of Hiper is a good balance between quality and budget. So it depends if you can spend the extra or not really.
!