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Starting from scratch, ~$1800

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April 17, 2007 8:34:57 PM

Hi everyone. I was referred here by a friend and was hoping that I'd be able to get some help regarding a project I'm undertaking. Thanks in advance!

First of all, about 3 years ago, I fell into the "gaming laptop" trap and bought one for college. The specs are as follows:

Del XPS Generation 1

3.2 Pentium 4 with HT
1 GB Ram
60 GB 7200 rpm hard drive w/ external 160 GB 7200 rpm USB drive
ATI Mobility 7900 (256 MB) Graphics Card
Bluetooth, a/g/b NIC, etc....

For the most part, the machine is adequate, however, now I've decided that I need much more mobility than that hefty thing and I've decided to go the route of a gaming desktop with a small portable laptop instead of trying get both in 1. I have about $1800 (give or take) to work with for the desktop and would like some ideas on what you would recommmend.

I plan on using the desktop mainly for gaming, but also for multitasking. I do some recreation video editing as well. I'd like to future-proof as much as possible (given the money constraints). Speakers/Mouse/Keyboard and Monitor are already taken care of (currently I use my laptop monitor as a second monitor in a docking setup), so that's something less that I have to account for. This will be my first attempt at building my own computer, so any recommendations would be great. Thanks again in advance!

More about : starting scratch 1800

April 17, 2007 11:40:28 PM

First check out this CPU chart.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

I'd suggest looking at an Intel Core Duo 6400 and see what AMD gives similar performance and then price them at newegg. While Intel has better performance at the high end, AMD has reduced there prices so much you can get similar performance as Intel for less. After you decide on the CPU, you can look at motherboards. If you have a camcorder, you'll want onboard firewire. I really like the Antec Sonata II and it's about $90, really easy to work with, has a good 45Ow PSU but you might want to get a 550 if it fits your budget but here are a lot of nice cases. It never hurts to have a a back up PSU. You'll want 2GB DDR2 800 RAM regardless of the CPU. Usually what I do is set up a couple of Wish Lists at newegg to cost out alternatives. While I don't game, I understand that the video card is very important so you drop a bit on the CPU, e.g., an E6300 rather than the 6400 or the 6400 rather than the 6600, to afford a better video card This is definitely good reason to check out AMD.
Related resources
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 18, 2007 2:23:14 AM

For gaming, get the best vga card you are comfortable with.
For multitasking, get at least 2gb of memory.
Download the manual for any motherboard you may be considering. Read it carefully. If the instructions and illustrations are clear, then that is probably a good mobo for you.
Invest in a good monitor, it will outlast several generations of computers.
---good luck---
April 18, 2007 5:22:58 AM

Hi all, thanks for the quick replies. I've looked at a couple of sources and wanted your opinions on the current setup:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (can get for 279.99 @ TigerDirect)

Motherboard:GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard (122.99 @ Newegg)

GPU:EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card (Can get for 529.99 @ Newegg, I know it might be overkill, but with being so far under the 1800 cap, I decided future-proofing on the GPU would be a nice splurge)

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (Can get for 119.99 @ Newegg)

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3250820AS 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s (Can get for 67.99 @ Newegg, typically you'd have more than 250 GB, but I have an external HD w/ 160GB as well)

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 18X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 18X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2M Cache E-IDE/ATAPI DVD Burner (30.99 @ Newegg

Power Supply: Antec True Power Trio TP3-650 ATX12V 650W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, FCC, TUV, CE, C-tick, CCC, CB - Retail (129.99 @ Newegg)

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 (49.99 @ Newegg)

CPU Cooling: Scythe SCNJ-1100P ( 39.99 @ Newegg)

Total Price: $1371.91 (well under the 1800 target price)

What do you think on the specs?
April 18, 2007 6:18:09 AM

Looks like you get a promotion to advice giver rather than taker, that is one of the best builds I have seen in quite a while, great parts that all work, are proven winners and below budget! Do not change a thing! 5 stars! 8)
April 18, 2007 4:29:49 PM

will the gtx fit in that case? googled it and i came up with mixed results. maybe someone can verify it. link link
May 16, 2007 4:41:10 AM

Thank you all for the replies. In the last month or so I've been reading the forums trying to get a feel for what people think about components. After waiting for the new ATI card and not being impressed, I've chosen the following:

Case- Antec Nine Hundred (139.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard- Gigabyte GA-N65SLI-DS4 (139.99 @ Newegg)
GPU- PNY GeForce 8800GTX (579.99 @ Newegg)
PSU- Cooler Master eXtreme 650W (109.99 @ Newegg, but rebate available)
Processor- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (226.00 @ Newegg)
Ram- Wintec AMPX 2GB, DDR2 800 (89.99 @ Newegg)
HD- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB (69.99 @ Newegg, I have an external 160 GB as well)
Disk Drive- Samsung 18X DVD+R (32.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling- Scythe SCNJ-1100P (39.99 @ Newegg)
OS- Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit OEM (189.99 @ Newegg)

Total--> 1617.91 (still under 1800 budget, but starting to get up there)

A couple things to note: I've changed some components from the original post, I'd like to know if you see incompatibilities with what I've chosen.

Windows Vista- gotta have for DX10 later, I'll live through the problems that appear to be occuring at the moment.
E6600- I'd like to overclock it slightly, getting a little more performance for the price
Case- I stepped it up, hoping that the cooling would be better.
Motherboard- I changed this from the DS-3 mainly for the availability of firewire.

So what do you all think? Thanks for taking the time to help me out here.
May 16, 2007 9:24:01 AM

just a couple things that might save a few bucks and not effect the build.
If you are willing to O/C, the 6420 will run with a stock 6600, and you can get a 4400 just as high for $50 less?
You should find a better PSU at the price, Cooler Master is very low rated.
You can also get G.Skill RAM for that price, or for O/C, get the G.Skill HZ (black heat spreader)
Rest of the parts are great. G/L
May 22, 2007 1:00:20 AM

Ok, I've pretty much waited as long as I can and I'll be making the order first thing in the morning. I wanted to get your final recommendations before the order is complete if there is anything that is worth taking one more look at.

Case- Antec 900 (I like the look, and the cooling on it is great)
Motherboard- Gigabyte DS-4 (need firewire, has upgrade possibility to quad-core later)
GPU- EVGA 800GTX (switched to them due to their step-up program)
PSU- Coolmax 700W (modular design, good reviews on Newegg, I'm torn between this and the 700W OCZ GameXStream, what do you all think?)
CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (will not overclock immediately, but most likely will overclock to around 3.0 within the next few months)
RAM- G. Skill 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (plus 160GB external)
DVD- Samsung 18X DVD+-R
Cooling- Scythe SCNJ-1100P and Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
OS- Windows Ultimate 32 Bit (64 bit just has too many bugs, not to say the 32-bit is without its problems, but there are fewer driver problems in the 32-bit)

Thanks to everyone for the help!
May 22, 2007 1:34:55 AM

Quote:
Ok, I've pretty much waited as long as I can and I'll be making the order first thing in the morning. I wanted to get your final recommendations before the order is complete if there is anything that is worth taking one more look at.

Case- Antec 900 (I like the look, and the cooling on it is great)
Motherboard- Gigabyte DS-4 (need firewire, has upgrade possibility to quad-core later)
GPU- EVGA 800GTX (switched to them due to their step-up program)
PSU- Coolmax 700W (modular design, good reviews on Newegg, I'm torn between this and the 700W OCZ GameXStream, what do you all think?)
CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (will not overclock immediately, but most likely will overclock to around 3.0 within the next few months)
RAM- G. Skill 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (plus 160GB external)
DVD- Samsung 18X DVD+-R
Cooling- Scythe SCNJ-1100P and Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
OS- Windows Ultimate 32 Bit (64 bit just has too many bugs, not to say the 32-bit is without its problems, but there are fewer driver problems in the 32-bit)

Thanks to everyone for the help!



The OCZ GameXstream is a much better choice. Better brand, and higher on the Tier list than a pathetic Coolmax powersupply.

Everything else looks good.

Good luck. :D 
May 22, 2007 1:49:15 AM

just a note. the bearlake chipset is suppose to be out on june 2nd, and if u want a vaster route to upgrade, u should consider it
May 22, 2007 2:08:40 AM

Quote:
Ok, I've pretty much waited as long as I can and I'll be making the order first thing in the morning. I wanted to get your final recommendations before the order is complete if there is anything that is worth taking one more look at.

Case- Antec 900 (I like the look, and the cooling on it is great)
Motherboard- Gigabyte DS-4 (need firewire, has upgrade possibility to quad-core later)
GPU- EVGA 800GTX (switched to them due to their step-up program)
PSU- Coolmax 700W (modular design, good reviews on Newegg, I'm torn between this and the 700W OCZ GameXStream, what do you all think?)
CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (will not overclock immediately, but most likely will overclock to around 3.0 within the next few months)
RAM- G. Skill 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (plus 160GB external)
DVD- Samsung 18X DVD+-R
Cooling- Scythe SCNJ-1100P and Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
OS- Windows Ultimate 32 Bit (64 bit just has too many bugs, not to say the 32-bit is without its problems, but there are fewer driver problems in the 32-bit)

Thanks to everyone for the help!



The OCZ GameXstream is a much better choice. Better brand, and higher on the Tier list than a pathetic Coolmax powersupply.

Everything else looks good.

Good luck. :D 

Dont get the OCZ PSU and for gods sake dont get the Coolmax.

Get either the Corsair HX620 or the Seasonic S12 E+ 650w.
Silverstone is also good.

Also, does that Scythe HSF need you to add your own fan or do you need your own?,,,,
May 22, 2007 2:14:40 AM

also if you have money to spend you could get a bigger hard drive
!