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Best high performance gaming build for under $600 (10/1/2007)

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October 1, 2007 9:29:10 PM

I thought I'd round up some good components for a high performing gaming build that would be able to "own" all upcoming titles for less than $600. (This does not include case, peripherals, or screen)

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This X2 4400+, albeit not being on the bleeding edge, stills packs quite a punch when it comes to gaming or just everyday tasks, I would recommend it to anyone wanting a CPU and cannot afford to pay more than a $100.

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This memory is not only an amazing high end performing product, but also on a killer deal, and I would recommend it to any price point that is not into extreme OC'ing (That's the DDR2 1066 job).

MSI K9N6SGM-V AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This board probably won't be known for it's OC'ing capabilities or insane cutting edge technology, however for only $50 it seems to deliver a stable platform with good enough features to make it a decent buy.

Antec NeoHE 500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply 100Vac to 240Vac +/- 10% UL, CUL, TUV, CE, FCC, CCC, CB, C-tick - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There's no way you can cheap out on the PSU, even if it's only a $600 build. I would recommend anyone this PSU not only for it's stability and high quality (I personally own this unit), but also for the impressive power it outputs on the 12V rails (38A on the combined rails), that's outstanding even for many other 600W units.

SAPPHIRE 100212SR Radeon HD 2900PRO 512MB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's what it's all about, at least as far as gamers are concerned, a brutally powerful graphics card for an affordable price, well Ati seems to have finally delivered (However it seems that it won't be around for long). After cheaping out a bit on components like the motherboard and and the CPU we had to put that extra money elsewhere, and this is where it pays off, with a high end GPU.

Subtotal: $595 before rebates and shipping.

This was intended for all the people that seem to want to get a system that won't break your pocket but will still be able to turn all the settings on max on current games, if you don't build your system exactly like it, you at least can see some good deals and what is most important on a gaming build.

Always remember... PSU > GPU > CPU > RAM for gaming.
October 2, 2007 12:25:17 AM

Spot on.

Too bad I'd been promoting the psu & some still missed the deal with rebate. it's back to regular price.
October 2, 2007 1:55:25 AM

yeah man 2900 pro FTW!!!! looks good
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October 2, 2007 2:24:00 AM

Well, you left out the OS, hard drive, and DVD-RW drive. You already mentioned the case. I would expect those to be included in a complete build, and that's gonna be another $250+

Still, your point seems to be that the 2900Pro is a great card and I would agree. I think it needs to be overclocked, however, to really shine. After all, Leadtek still has a rebate on the 8800GTS 320 that makes it $260. It's pretty much faster at stock.
October 2, 2007 2:30:26 AM

could anyone give me a list of other psus that would support that card?
for instance how about the 450 and 550 corsair units?
October 2, 2007 2:43:04 AM

qwertycopter said:
Still, your point seems to be that the 2900Pro is a great card and I would agree. I think it needs to be overclocked, however, to really shine. After all, Leadtek still has a rebate on the 8800GTS 320 that makes it $260. It's pretty much faster at stock.


The 2900Pro BEATS the 8800GTS 320MB at STOCK speeds. And it's cheaper.

You can overclock it to 2900XT speeds and get it to shine that way if you prefer, but as it stands its a better buy than the 8800GTS right now.
October 2, 2007 2:54:30 AM

qwertycopter said:
Well, you left out the OS, hard drive, and DVD-RW drive. You already mentioned the case. I would expect those to be included in a complete build, and that's gonna be another $250+

Still, your point seems to be that the 2900Pro is a great card and I would agree. I think it needs to be overclocked, however, to really shine. After all, Leadtek still has a rebate on the 8800GTS 320 that makes it $260. It's pretty much faster at stock.


The HD 2900 Pro is either on par or a bit faster than the 8800GTS depending on the test. Also 1.) You cannot hope to keep the performance of the system to these levels if you wish to include OS, HDD, and optical drives. 2.) The speed of the HDD does not influence in the gaming experience all that (Just longer loading times), and you can reuse optical drives.

esmith7075 said:
could anyone give me a list of other psus that would support that card?
for instance how about the 450 and 550 corsair units?


Units that I would recommend for the HD 2900 Pro: Corsair 520HX, Corsair 550VX, Antec NeoHE 500, Antec NeoHE 550, Seasonic M12 500, or Seasonic S12 550, since the HD 2900 Pro seems to be only an underclocked 2900XT, so it uses a lot of power.
October 2, 2007 1:36:37 PM

I'm at school so i don't have much time to give input.. But from this build i think you could future proof and give it a lot better performance with a Pentium Dual Core, P35 Motherboard, >450 Thermaltake PSU (which is cheaper but still a good PSU) and the RAM/Video card are good.. I like Patriot but I've got no cons against Corsair..

-Kohlhagen / IM: NonPhixion24
October 2, 2007 1:38:35 PM

esmith7075 said:
could anyone give me a list of other psus that would support that card?
for instance how about the 450 and 550 corsair units?




Thermaltake.. I like their Price/Performance..
October 2, 2007 2:14:02 PM

emp said:
The HD 2900 Pro is either on par or a bit faster than the 8800GTS depending on the test. Also 1.) You cannot hope to keep the performance of the system to these levels if you wish to include OS, HDD, and optical drives. 2.) The speed of the HDD does not influence in the gaming experience all that (Just longer loading times), and you can reuse optical drives.


Equal or better depending on the test? Then explain:




(However, an overclock brings it beyond 2900xt, which makes it a good value).

Also, I'm waiting for the AA tests. I have a feeling it won't do well.

1) Then don't constrict yourself to $600. If you're going to call it a build, than it had better be complete. Otherwise, don't label it a "build." It's just some parts that would work together.

2) HDD speed is irrelevant to my point. You need a hard drive to load the games on, right? Not a complete build without one. I wasn't challenging your point on performance.

3) Reuse parts? That's hardly a build, more of a "borrow," I'd say. :kaola:  You can't just assume that people have the extras. If you must, then don't label it a "$600 build."
October 2, 2007 3:11:02 PM

I would not purchase it as a $900 computer - not with a mobo that only has two memory slots and maxes at 2GB - and in that price range I would expect a C2D CPU.
October 2, 2007 6:26:34 PM

qwertycopter said:
Equal or better depending on the test? Then explain:

http://pclab.pl/zdjecia/artykuly/stolarczyk/2900pro/fear.png
http://pclab.pl/zdjecia/artykuly/stolarczyk/2900pro/prey.png

(However, an overclock brings it beyond 2900xt, which makes it a good value).

Also, I'm waiting for the AA tests. I have a feeling it won't do well.

1) Then don't constrict yourself to $600. If you're going to call it a build, than it had better be complete. Otherwise, don't label it a "build." It's just some parts that would work together.

2) HDD speed is irrelevant to my point. You need a hard drive to load the games on, right? Not a complete build without one. I wasn't challenging your point on performance.

3) Reuse parts? That's hardly a build, more of a "borrow," I'd say. :kaola:  You can't just assume that people have the extras. If you must, then don't label it a "$600 build."


Check out the review at TweakTown. The 2900 Pro is clearly faster than the 8800GTS 320MB.
October 2, 2007 7:07:48 PM

qwertycopter said:
Equal or better depending on the test? Then explain:

http://pclab.pl/zdjecia/artykuly/stolarczyk/2900pro/fear.png
http://pclab.pl/zdjecia/artykuly/stolarczyk/2900pro/prey.png

(However, an overclock brings it beyond 2900xt, which makes it a good value).

Also, I'm waiting for the AA tests. I have a feeling it won't do well.

1) Then don't constrict yourself to $600. If you're going to call it a build, than it had better be complete. Otherwise, don't label it a "build." It's just some parts that would work together.

2) HDD speed is irrelevant to my point. You need a hard drive to load the games on, right? Not a complete build without one. I wasn't challenging your point on performance.

3) Reuse parts? That's hardly a build, more of a "borrow," I'd say. :kaola:  You can't just assume that people have the extras. If you must, then don't label it a "$600 build."


I'm not bashing the GTS (In fact I have one on my PC), but as I said, it depends on the test. Those tests that you are showing are using 4x AA, however the tests shown in Tweaktown do not specify, which makes me think that AA was not used, hence the "Depends on the test".

The reason I didn't want to get technical behind this and say that this is a great "upgrade" is because it's nearly an entirely new system except for the lack of a few things like HDDs or Optical drives (Which can be reused from old machines), also if you are looking to get an OS too on a $600 budget then you might as well go buy a Dell, because it's not practical.

If I wanted to get REALLY technical then I'd also have to say that no new builds can be called "builds" unless you also a buy a new screen, keyboard, mouse, and speakers, after all... You do need a screen, keyboard, mouse, and speakers to use a computer properly.
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