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Need a "budget gaming" build

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August 11, 2007 5:41:12 AM

Right, first off i know im not being the most original of topicmakers but I'd really like some advice from the adepts here on my upcoming "budget gaming" computer :p 

The deal is, im a student and as such dont like to spend much (im talking 800-1000€ total) - but at the same time im a great fan and active player of games and would like my computer to be able to handle all the next-gen games coming out in the next year or two. I also dont fancy the idea of overclocking much as i like my systems to run for years and years (passing on to other family members usually).

I've been doing a handful of research lately and this is what my list looks like at the moment:

INTEL CORE 2 DUO E6550
Im thinking it should be enough for my needs and comes relatively cheap, 6650/6750 are the alternatives but is the difference notable enough for the extra buck?

ASUS P5K SE P35
I want a P35 motherboard. This one does well on charts and is from a solid manufacturer while still having a good price ticket on it.

2048MB OCZ PC2-6400 CL4 KIT XTC Platinum
I'm gonna stick with 32-bit for now so im limited to 3gb. Thought id start off with 2x1gb though and likely add a third one soon enough. OCZ seemed to offer the best value of the top brands.

ASUS EN8600GTS HTDP 256MB 2xDVI/TV
I know its probably skimping it a bit but i feel that anything more expensive is actually overkill for my needs. Am i wrong? Its a huge leap of price to go to the 8800 series and i'd rather take something "second best" and half the price... I wouldn't mind ATI either but i'd really prefer DX10 support, even if im not 100% sure why, jsut a gut feeling :p 

3.5" Samsung 320GB SATA HD321KJ 7200U/m 16MB
I dont need more space than that and the speedy ones are just too pricey.

Samsung SH-S183L SATA LightWrite DVD+-RW

Case/PSU:
Coolermaster Mystique RC631S Black Steel (I love the looks and seems a pretty solid choice all in all with 2x silent 120mm's and a CPU air tunnel)
600W OCZ StealthXStream (Best buy in the 500W+ range i believe? Only counting respected manufacturers of course... Or maybe 500+ is overkill for my build and i should let do with a cheaper 400W?)

Comes down to 832€ so far and i think i got most parts covered. I'll live with the onboard audio i believe. I wouldn't like to downgrade anything by the way, and i think the price is quite acceptable at the moment. I'd love it though if someone could point out to me if there's some bottleneck in my build somewhere, something that just aint on par with the rest - im thinking CPU/GPU balance and VALUE mostly as the rest is pretty solid i believe. I wouldnt like a processor that's too good for my graphics card or the other way around... Any other suggestions are of course welcome as well :) 

Its my first post here as well but i've been an avid reader recently and would like to extend my gratitude and hello to all the regulars here that have helped me so much

More about : budget gaming build

August 11, 2007 5:56:17 AM

And oh i forgot to mention something important - im not buying this all before october cause of holiday reasons and to be honest im not 100% into markets, so if anyone knows about something coming out in the next couple of months that would suit my budget and needs, that'd be a possibility i'd love to know about :D 
August 11, 2007 11:14:41 AM

Your bottlenecking will happen with that 8600GT Card. The rest of your parts are good but that card, though it's an 8600, was built to be a budget card and will perfom like a budget card. Spring for a 8800GTS card instead. Go with the 320MB version instead of the 640 to save on the $$$. The card will perfom 20X better than that 8600 and you'll be able to handle whatever games you want.
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August 11, 2007 12:19:15 PM

rather than 8600gt get either 8800gts 320 or x1950
August 11, 2007 2:32:23 PM

Yep, agree with Maziar. If you're going to use the PC for gaming, focus more money into the graphics card, and save money elsewhere in the build.

For example, you could buy value RAM rather than platinum RAM. Fast memory is nice, but won't affect performance a great deal.

Try and get an 8800GTS 320 if you can - they're great value for money.
August 11, 2007 3:00:49 PM

The e6550 also is not a great chip based upon price point.
It's Relatively low Default Clock Speed with it's very high Default FSB make it tough to reach the very high speeds it is capable of.

Try an E4400 instead which likely will OC just as high.
Take the money and get a much a better Graphics card.

The loss in CPU power will be minimal but the game in GPU power will be extreme.

Another place to cut some costs to add in other areas would be the PSU.

Checkout the review of the 450w Corsair on http://www.johnnyguru.com.

It has over 33a on the 12v and can power any non-SLI machine.
It has far more power than most 500+ w PSUs.

August 11, 2007 4:31:22 PM

Thanks a lot for the input fellas, i was afraid the 8600gts wouldnt cut it. But it looks to me that x1950pro/xt or so would be a much better value than 8800GTS, right? The only thing that worries me in that aspect is the lack of DX10 hardware, but to be honest im not 100% sure as to how big an impact that'll have in the next couple of years? I'd really like some clearing up on the DX10 issue, because x1950pro/xt is 50-100€ cheaper than the 8800GTS - then again if you tell me the 8800 is leaps ahead, then so be it and ill just need to spend more than id like :p 

I followed your advice and had a look at the 450 corsair psu, but even if it may be good enough, its only 5€ cheaper than the OCZ 600w, and i dont really care much about such puny sums and to me the OCZ still seems a more solid choice... (Cant hurt being able to SLI sometime later on, especially if i get a 8800GTS) But correct me if im wrong.

You're probably right about the valueRAM too, ill try to save some money there to put into the graphics card.

About the CPU, i said in my post that i both wasnt looking to downgrade any parts much and at the same time im not too fond of OC'ing, at least not more then a slight tweak. I think ill rather upgrade to 6650 than downgrade to 4400, as long as you think the 6650 is a better chip overall for its money than the 6550?
August 11, 2007 4:36:44 PM

And a funky thought to add, how would the x1950pro with an Ageia PhysX 128mb card compare to a 8800gts? Cause as far as i can see the combined price would be around the same :)  I've never seen the PhysX in action nor read too much about it so im shooting blind here...
August 11, 2007 4:45:24 PM

I'm sure you meant http://jonnyguru.com , right? (I guess the OP found it).

I'm no expert, but that won't stop me from chiming in. :)  So basically take anything I say with a grain of salt.

The 8800 GTS 320 would be much more capable than the 8600 GTS at DX10 games a year or two from now. But even it may be outdated in two years. Would a two years old card be able to play today's games?
I'd say buy the card you need for the games you want to play and upgrade when it is necessary in order to play the new games.
What's the price difference between the cards you're looking at?

Anyway, I think a lot can happen in two months. Why are you already looking for parts now?

I'm not sure when Intel will release their 45nm parts or when AMD will release Phenom, but both could shake up the current market a bit and make your current comparisons obsolete. (But interesting to look back upon, surely). Is October really a good time to buy stuff? Or should one wait until the next CPU generation arrives? (And then buy the previous one)?
August 11, 2007 4:55:13 PM

elvarsteinn said:
And a funky thought to add, how would the x1950pro with an Ageia PhysX 128mb card compare to a 8800gts? Cause as far as i can see the combined price would be around the same :)  I've never seen the PhysX in action nor read too much about it so im shooting blind here...



8800GTS wins
!