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Please critique, planning a (mostly) new build

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May 31, 2007 10:59:01 PM

Ok, a few details first. I am planning this build on an extremely tight budget. I will be using it for mostly home office and multimedia use, with some light gaming (I haven't played PC games for some time as my current rig hasn't been game worthy for a while, a new rig will rekindle the interest I'm sure).

With a tight budget in mind I will be canibalizing as much of my old system as possible.

The old rig:

CPU: Pentium 4 Northwood Socket 478 1.8GHz with a broken pin (been working with it's broken pin for 4+ years)

Memory: 512MB 800mhz RAMBUS memory (yes, I know, flame away)

Motherboard: ASUS P4T-E

PSU: Aerocool 420w

Video: AGP Matrox something something (just something I threw in after my old GeForce 4 Ti 4200 128MB bit the dust)

HDD: Western digital 80GB

Optical: 52x CD-Rom

Monitor: ViewSonic Z90 19" CRT

Case: Enlight 7237

Peripherals:

Dell Quietkey Keyboard

Logitech MX1000 Wireless Laser Mouse

She gave me a good run, but she's on her last leg. While she still runs, even with the broken pin on the proc, I'm not using this machine currently. My laptop has proven much more convenient for basic internet usage around the house.

Now to look at the new build I'm planning. I intend to use the HDD, case, monitor and peripherals that I have already. I will eventually upgrade most of those, but being on a budget it makes sense for me to keep them for now to save money on the initial build.

I'd like to keep the budget for parts on the initial build around $500, but I'm a little flexible there.

Ok, here's what I have so far, using Newegg for my baseline:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+(65W) Windsor 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADO3800CZBOX - Retail
$79.00

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model F2-5300CL4S-2GBPQ - Retail
$109.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-M55SLI-S4 Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$79.99

PSU: Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply - Retail
$69.99

Video: SAPPHIRE 100199L Radeon X1950GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
$134.99 (before $20.00 MIR, not counting towards initial cost)

Optical: Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Beige E-IDE / ATAPI Model 7170A-01 - OEM
$29.99


Total cost of parts: $503.95
Tax: $46.62
Shipping: $12.38
Grand Total: $562.95

You read that right, TAX. To further complicate things, I live in Memphis, TN and Newegg has a distribution center in TN so I have to pay tax if I order from them. I figure there's a chance I might have to bite the bullet and pay the tax, seeing as Newegg has some of the best prices, selection, and availability. That's why I'm here, to see if you guys can guide me in a better direction, maybe help me put that tax amount to better use on other sites.

I chose an AMD processor simply because it was inexpensive, I am not opposed to Intel by any means, and would have preferred a C2D but was trying to keep the cost down. My optimal setup would have been a motherboard with intel's new P35 and a lowend C2D so I could consider dropping in a Penryn later but that stretches the budget. By the time I'm ready to consider a Penryn I don't think I'll be worried about replacing the motherboard. The x1950GT seemed like a good value for the dollar, but I'm open to suggestions there also.

Thanks in advance for all advice, suggestions and flames. :D 
June 1, 2007 3:55:13 AM

i think you are going to want a bigger hard drive very soon if you plan to game and multimedia. As for everything else it looks ok, i would suggest you look at the x1950PRO it is also a card card when it comes to bang for the buck
Related resources
June 1, 2007 7:12:51 AM

Just 2 things
You should buy DDR2-800 RAM, AMD's memroy controller works differently and it uses the speed of the RAM more effiencicy.
The Smart Power is Antec's worse PSU. Get the True power or get a FSP for about the same price.
June 3, 2007 3:50:21 AM

Thanks for the recommendations on those sites, Ghostdragon.

By splitting between zipzoomfly and clubit I've been able to put together a C2D rig for less than I would have paid for the AMD rig from Newegg w/ tax.

Here's what I'm looking at now:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 Allendale 1.8GHz 2MB L2 LGA 775 Processor Retail BX80557E4300
$113.00

Memory:
OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

$99.99 (+$5.00 shipping)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-945P-S3 945P Core 2 Extreme/Core 2 Duo 1066FSB LGA775 DDR2 ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, Serial ATA Retail
$81.98

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-430 430W Power Supply
$56.99 (+$9.00 shipping)

Video: Connect3D RADEON X1950 PRO PCI Express 256MB DDR3 Video Card w/DVI-I + DVI-I + VIVO Retail
$136.99

Optical:
Sony 18x DVD±RW Drive - DVD-Writer (Double-layer) - DVD±R/±RW - 18x 8x 18x DVD+RW, 18x 6x 18x DVD-RW, 8x 32x 18x DVD±R DL, 48x 48x CD-RW - 40-pin EIDE/ATAPI - Internal

$29.99 (+$5.50 shipping)


Parts Total: $518.94
Shipping: $19.50
Grand Total: $538.44

So, I was able to move to C2D, DDR2-800 memory, and an x1950Pro all while coming in below the end cost of buying a lesser performing rig from Newegg with tax. Any further suggestions with this setup? I don't know about Connect3D, will I be ok with that card? What about the memory, am I going to have any problems there?

EDIT: Almost forgot, I changed the PSU from the Antec Smartpower to the Antec Earthwatts, which was listed in the PSU Reference List. Can anyone vouch for that PSU?
!