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PC for college student $750 budget

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June 29, 2007 12:37:54 PM

My newphew has asked me to build him a new PC that will last him through his first couple years of college, his budget however is $750, this is my first stab, comments welcome:

Usage: Gaming -- WoW, AoC, etc, Software Engineering assigments, writing papers, typical college crap.

Case: APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$69

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3250620AS 250GB 7200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...
$69

Video card: EVGA 256-P2-N761-AR GeForce 8600GTS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$164

PSU: Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$94

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...
$89

MB: ASUS P5K LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$149 -- I am a big fan of Asus, I have had great luck using their MB's.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 Allendale 2.0GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E4400 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$139

$778.94
- 25 in rebates
-------------------
753.94

We will reuse cd-rom/burner, etc from his old PC.

Another thing to consider is price cuts coming in July, but you know how impatient the young ones are =)

Comments welcome.
June 29, 2007 12:52:38 PM

Few things to look at are-

An x1950pro for $125 w/ a $20 rebate, an x1950xt for $180 w/ a $30 rebate, the same hdd only 320gb for $80, a different 550w psu for around $60, or a Cooler Master Centurion 5 case for $50 w/free shipping.
June 29, 2007 1:07:26 PM

Quote:
Few things to look at are-

An x1950pro for $125 w/ a $20 rebate, an x1950xt for $180 w/ a $30 rebate, the same hdd only 320gb for $80, a different 550w psu for around $60, or a Cooler Master Centurion 5 case for $50 w/free shipping.


I am trying to future proof it as much as I can, thats why I went with the P35 chipset and the DX10 card -- although I hear they kind of suck. The PSU was kind of pricy but I have read many times on these very forums never skimp on a PSU, I figured a 100 bucks for this build would not be skimping. The case has some "bling" factor so I thought he might like it, but if need be I can downgrade it. In any case thanks for the sugestions I will play with the numbers a little more when I get home.
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June 29, 2007 3:45:45 PM

Why buy a 8600GTS when the GT version is the same with lower clocks(talking about GDDR3 versions). With a little bit of overclocking you can save him a couple of bucks. Or better a 7900GS or a 1950pro.
June 29, 2007 9:11:41 PM

Get this Video Card instead:

SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 VIVO HDCP Video Card - Retail

and maybe a cheaper case.

No point getting an 8600GTS, yes they are DX10 capable, but so is a computer running vista with 512mb of ram if you catch my drift. The most he'll get out of DX10 performance with that is a slide show, if you can't get him the 8800GTS-320 (You probably could using the AMD route), then go for a better DX9 card.
June 29, 2007 11:48:47 PM

i would go with a x1950pro or x1950xt, as fro the processor if you got the e4300 and OCed a little bit you would save a few bucks
a b B Homebuilt system
June 30, 2007 12:07:22 AM

I agree with the people who are telling you to spend more on the Graphics it would help in the future and also wait until the Intel price cuts in July and get a better CPU if possible. Depending on if he would be able to do about a $300-400 upgrade in 1.5 years i would put in a DS3 and OC the CPU to hell. You can get a better motherboard in that amount of time. the DS3 will be able to last for 2 years.
June 30, 2007 12:29:39 AM

Since you have already stated that you want to make this computer as future proof as you can I would stick with what you have. As some have said the GPU is not as fast as some of the older cards out but it will however support DX10 if and when it becomes available. The Asus board is also a sound investment considering that if a few months down the line he decides he needs a little more CPU power he could always put in a Quad Core or Intel's next gen 45nm processors (Penryn) when it becomes available. The memory is the only thing I am not that sure about. As I am a Corsair kind of guy but building a budget machine you have to get what you can for your price range. I would just read reviews and make sure you find some good reviews.
June 30, 2007 12:46:21 AM

Quote:
As some have said the GPU is not as fast as some of the older cards out but it will however support DX10 if and when it becomes available.


There's no point in having DX10 support on the card because (1) no game will be only DX10 for a long long time and (2) DX10 games will look better running in DX9 on an X1950XT rather than in DX10 on an 8600GTS.

@OP: try to get a P35 motherboard (Gigabyte's is excellent), as it fully supports the new Core 2 Duo's and Penryn.
June 30, 2007 4:06:23 AM

Quote:
Since you have already stated that you want to make this computer as future proof as you can I would stick with what you have. As some have said the GPU is not as fast as some of the older cards out but it will however support DX10 if and when it becomes available. The Asus board is also a sound investment considering that if a few months down the line he decides he needs a little more CPU power he could always put in a Quad Core or Intel's next gen 45nm processors (Penryn) when it becomes available. The memory is the only thing I am not that sure about. As I am a Corsair kind of guy but building a budget machine you have to get what you can for your price range. I would just read reviews and make sure you find some good reviews.


You mean support DX10 as in a DX10 Waterfall particles slideshow in Call of Juarez? :roll:
June 30, 2007 6:23:54 AM

Well, after looking at benchmarks of the 8600 I would suggest that you go with a 1950xt or pro, for the fact you would have to turn down most settings just for it to be playable in DX10.
June 30, 2007 11:16:10 AM

Thanks for all the input, looks like the video card is the only point of contention. I will look into the other cards that have been mentioned. No sense in buying a "new" card that is outperformed by "older" gen cards. I doubt whether this build will last him 4 years, but with the motherboard, he has CPU upgrade options, and he can always get a DX10 card in a couple of years when DX11 is out :D 
!