Building a computer to last 5 years (with upgrades)

So, I am sure you have all heard the story of wanting to build a computer soon, and should you wait for the tech or not. I am building a computer with a strong backbone and cheaper upgradeable parts. This computer is meant mainly for gaming. I am curious what you guys think of my build and plans for upgrades.

First off, I plan to complete the computer November 23rd (black friday) where most the parts would be very cheap after a few rebates.

Second I plan on having it run quieter than most PCs. I will do this with the p180 or p182 case; the cases have decent airflow, while having padding that helps dampen noises. I am hoping this case hits $80 or less during the black friday sales (or earlier). *side note it was down to $40 to clear out inventories to make room for p182's (I just didn't find the prices in time)*

So the build with prices, I will estimate the sale prices too.

Case: p180/p182 - $130 standard hoping for $80 on sale (has hit $40)
PSU: Corsair 620 HX - $169 standard I will buy it for $100 or less when on sale (has hit $90) (will go for 520 HX if no sales)
CPU: e4300 I bought for $59 at Frys already; I plan to OC it to 3.0 GHz
Future CPU: 1-2 years later I will upgrade to the new 45nm CPU's probably a quad core; when they drop in price, perhaps one or two gens behind the current CPUs ~$200 for a good one
Ram: whatever is on sale with low latency/ OCable 2x1 GB chips; if really cheap I will get 4x1 GB.
Future Ram: when DDR 3 is cheaper I will upgrade to 2x2 GB modules, then eventually get 2 more 2x2gb to match them. ~ $100 is my goal
Hard Drives: smaller SATA drive to run windows/temp files on, and then 2x500GB SATA western digital or Seagate HDs for data storage/games. then eventually I will get a SSD for windows BF will have 2x500's for $50 each or less.
Motherboard: Asus high end with the new x38 chipset with PCIe 2.0 support, and DDR2/DDR3 support, I plan to spend $200-$250 on this part; this is the backbone which I won't need to upgrade it later.
Graphics card: I am waiting to see what the G92 chipset is. I will do a cost analysis of the performance vs price I will get the best bang for buck card, might be the new chipset, or might be the 8800 gts, or a 7900 ~$230 is the max I would go looking more for $80 ish (can even be used) to tide me over until 9800 GTX
Future graphics card: 9800 GTX when it comes out.
Keyboard: Razer tarantula, or the Logitec G15, whatever has a good sale. ~$60
Mouse: Whatever is the on sale and has a good response time ~$40
Monitor: 22"-24" WS monitor will be $180-$300 black friday.

*forgot the CPU fan* I was thinking either a tuniq or a GeminII

My goal for initial build is $1100 or less, if I get the right sales I can get it to $900 easily, then a year or two later I will get the new proc, then the graphics card, and finally the HD/ram which waiting until they have been out for a while will save more money.

I have thought about the differences of continuously upgrading, or building new computers every 2 years, but I think I can save money by having the backbone strong, and selling the other weaker parts off when I upgrade later.

BTW I will have Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows XP pro to chose from, I iwll test each for performance.

The only other thoughts where to say screw the later upgrades, and get a q6600, GF 8800 GTS, and 4 GB of high quality OC ram, which would push the price easily past $1400 each with the sales.

What are your thoughts? think this path is a good, one? what would you do to get the most out of the computer.


PS my old computer is a P4 2.4 GHz, 1 GB ram, and a GF 6800 (I upgrade that card a year ago)
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  1. u shouldnt have asked now

    , u want to wait for G92 which isnt 9800GTX, its 8700GTS

    and u want to wait for X38 , which isnt available here , and PCI-2 is backward compatible with P35 too , the main feature that x38 has is CrossFire in 16x mode

    here is a gigabyte x38 dq6 review :
    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/09/11/preview_gigabyte_ga-x38t-dq6_and_intel_x38/1

    Is X38 really that hot?
    Well, no, surprisingly not. We checked the temperature when the system idled on the desktop, during the 2D and 3D testing expecting to see some large temperature differences as the memory controller, front side bus and PCI-Express slots loaded, yet, it sat at a rock solid 52ºC.

    That's not even particularly hot, it's mildly toasty at best - the Nvidia nForce 680i SLI SPP typically sits at around 60-65ºC and we'll always remember the DFI ICFX3200T2R/G and the RD600 running at 116ºC. Or could it be just a testament to Gigabyte's heatpipe engineering?

    The northbridge heatsink isn't even that big and there are just a couple of heatpipes to the PWM heatsinks so it might be a combination of both. We'll have to wait until other boards come out for a comparison.


    AS U SEE , they tested Nvidia Geforce 7900GTX , which is PCI-E and its compatible with this Gigabyte board which has PCI-E 2 slot
  2. Ah, yah

    I know the G92 is probably a 8700 GTS, I will still see how that card performs, if it is cheap, and better than a 7900 GS then I may get it. but I will still upgrade to a 9800 GTX when they come out, even if it is in a year. The x38 is important so that the new 45nm processors will be able to run on my computer; when i upgrade to one.

    I will see how the prices of the x38 are during black friday, if they are way too expensives I will just have to find an alternative mobo.
  3. P35 boards :

    1_Support 1333mhz cpu :

    http://event.asus.com/mb/fsb1333/

    2_Next gen 45nm CPU :

    http://event.asus.com/mb/45nm/

    3_PCI-E 2 :
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mainboards/display/20070817093804.html

    Note that these limitations have been revealed only for the Blitz mainboard series that uses CrossLinx chip. Other Asus mainboards on Intel P35 chipset should have no problems with PCI Express 2.0 graphics cards support.
  4. I am looking for PCIe 2.0 full speed, not limited to the 1.0 standards, in a few years from now it may actually be needed and PCIe 1.0 might be obsolete. for the first few generations of PCIe 2.0 cards; of coarse they will be backwards compatible. eventually the cards will need the more watts, or will surpass the 2.5 GT/s barrier

    As for the 45 nm architecture I know most of the 1333 fsb mobos can handle it, I just like having the strongest mobo as a back bone.
  5. Before I built a new one I was on a P4 2.0 Ghz upgraded to 1GB RAM and an ATI X700 Pro 256MB vid card. The computer is over 5 years old now and still does fine as an internet machine, but it really began to struggle entering its 5th when it came to new games on minimum settings. Basically, the CPU was the bottleneck and upgrading to a 3.2Ghz P4 wouldn't have helped much, and another gig of PC2100 memory wouldn't have either.

    I think you can get 5 years out of a computer, but only 2-3 at good-decent settings.
  6. Sorry to say, I don't think your plan will work. Most computer parts will be economically obsolete in two years.

    There are a few exceptions, and there is where you should spend more up front:
    1) The case. I like the P180/P182. It is a nice, large, quiet, and well cooled design. You can get it direct on Antec "b" stock for $ 86 now. Because cases are heavy and shipping is expensive look for a sale locally.
    2) The monitor. This is one area where quality counts, and you can use it for several generations of PC. Get the best one you can afford up front. A Samsung 244T 24" is very nice. Do some research on LCD's, there are some major differences. Google "lcd dithering"
    3) Keyboard and mouse. You will use these every day. Go to a COMPUSA or such and handle some samples to see what feels good to you. If you can't, order from a e-tailer with a good return policy so you can exchange it if it doesn't work out.
    4) power supply. These seem to not get obsolete quickly. It is one component on which you should not go cheap. I would get a top tier unit with good amps on the 12v rails. http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon
    You can get the PC power and cooling silencer 610 directly from them for$120. They have a refurb section which might yield even better deals.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Penryn(45nm)is near, and nehalem(32nm) is 1-2 years out. While current mobo's should run penryn, nehalem will likely need a new socket, and certainly a new chipset. If you want to upgrade, x38 and p35 boards will be obsolete.

    DDR3 memory currently will cost $350 for 2gb, while ddr2 would cost $100. Will ddr3 prices tumble in 1-2 years? Perhaps, but I don't think so. Is the performance increase worth it? The C2D processors are not very sensitive to memory speeds. Real application improvements(as compared to synthetic memory benchmarks) show perhaps a 2-4% improvement with the fastest memory compared to basic ddr2-800. A combo ddr2/ddr3 motherboard is expensive, and if you upgraded ddr2 to ddr3, you would have some useless ddr2 memory left over. (you can't run both together) It would be cheaper to replace the motherboard later. I would just get 4gb of ddr2-800 now and not worry about upgrading.

    If your application is gaming, then get the best vga card that you feel comfortable buying. It is the critical component of a gaming system. Unfortunately, high end vga cards seem to get obsoleted every year or two. I would get the best you can on black friday, and plan on e-baying it in the future if something better later appeals to you. Don't worry about pci-e 2.0. Current cards do not make use of half the available pci-e 1.0 band width. Future high end vga cards that might have improved pci capability will also run well on pci 1.0, or they would not sell very many of them.

    ---good luck---
  7. Geofelt you do bring up some interesting points. I am well aware that the nehalem(32nm) is in the not to so distant future as well as the fact it will most likely result in a new socket. But my thoughts were that the nehalem(32nm) was going to be someing like the Pentium Ds, and improvement over the P4, but needing a lot of fine tuning until intel reached the core2 series. I would plan on upgrading the CPU when I hit a bottle neck, which whenever that happens will dictate what I get, what I hope would be to get the penryn after the nehalem is already out (so the prices are greatly reduced)

    The main issue I have been debating was if I wanted to do smaller upgrades here and there, or if I should just build a new computer every 1-2 years; saving the essential things like case, PSU, keyboard and mouse; maybe coasting on the current graphics card until they newest ones drop to a resonable price.

    When I get home I will do a cost analysis of the different builds I am considering.

    Your advise is very useful, thank you for your comments.

    I will post an update of prices, and builts when I game home.

    Peace
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