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Tom's low budget gaming build - and my new machine

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October 5, 2007 6:00:30 PM

Ok, so after years with my Athlon XP 1800, I finally conceded to the fact that it was time to put another machine together - the fact that I could only get 10fps in Half-Life TF2 precipitated my making that decision. So, naturally, I jump on Tom's Hardware and start doing a bit of research, and I came across the low budget gaming system (http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/17/sbm_low_cost_sys... )...I liked a lot of the components that were selected, but chose to upgrade a few others as I can be somewhat more liberal on my build. I'm looking to stay in the range of $1000 - $1500, and I was hoping some of you guys that are more in tune with current technology could give me a bit of advice on:

Compatibility issues
Pricing
Overall expected performance
And how well the machine will OC

I've picked out all of the parts from ZipZoomFly.com - those guys blew away just about every other tech retail site, with few exceptions.

Machine:

ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP 1333MHz PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066) ATX Motherboard - $155
INTEL Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz FSB1333MHz 4M LGA775 - $193
CRUCIAL TECHNOLOGY Ballistix 2GB PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066) DDR2 Memory - $150
XFX GeForce 8800GTS 320MB XXX DDR3 PCI-Express (overclcocked) - $277 after rebate
edit*Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250620AS 250GB Serial ATA (3.0Gb/s) 7200RPM w/16MB Buffer - $74
edit* Enermax ELT620AWT Liberty 620W Power Supply - $120
ASUS DRW-1814BLT-BLK-OEM 18X SATA DVD Burner Black DVD±RW Bulk - $39
ANTEC P182 Aluminum Mid Tower Case Retail - Gun Metal - $150

Puts me at a grand total of $1158.00(no shipping charges), with only my cpu cooling system still to buy...

Well, I look forward to hearing some feedback...I don't want to feel any cognitive dissonance on this baby!
October 5, 2007 7:17:58 PM

Looks good.

Should serve you well for the next couple of years.
October 5, 2007 7:32:09 PM

It depends on how serious you are about overclocking. If not very serious, save $100 by getting this memory instead:
OCZ OCZ2P800R22GK 2GB Kit DDR2 PC2-6400 Platinum Revision 2
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=85264&ps=ho1
and use the stock cooler. It will be fine for a mild overclock.

If you do want to overclock a lot, the memory you picked is a better choice, and get these too:
Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835109140
Scythe SFF21F fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185006&Tpk=SFF21F
That's a total of $71+$30 for the cooler and fan, but it's the best combination I've seen so far. It allows the highest overclocks with a very low noise level. This cooler fits in the P182. It also fits on the P5K Deluxe (not sure about P5K-E though).

I'd get a 500 GB disk, at current prices. The 500 GB Barracuda costs $130 so it's cheaper/GB.

Maybe switch to Antec 900, but only if you will overclock a lot. The P182 is quieter and excelent for stock or mild overclocking, but the 900 cools better.

I like all the other parts.
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October 5, 2007 7:32:48 PM

Why are you going with DDR2-1066? From what I hear it doesn't give you much difference in performance than DDR2. And you can save $200. Spend $25 more on hard drive and get WD5000aaks. See Tomshardware High-End build. They said it is faster than Raptor. And 250GB is not that much these days. You may regret getting it down the road. Case seems way to expensive. I got a great case for $50. And you are paying 3 times that. With only one 8800GTS you can get a cheaper power supply.
October 5, 2007 7:48:27 PM

He's paying $150 for the memory. How the heck would he save $200???
:lol:  :pt1cable: 

Agreed about the wd5000aaks, that's what I'm using and it's good. It's not faster than the Raptor though. Maybe two of them, in RAID, that would be nice.

Yeah, a Centurion 534 case for example...
October 5, 2007 7:48:49 PM

I agree with the getting DDR2-800, for like 55$ after rebate for 2gb kit. Especially since many of the 800 kits have low timings you can open up a little and get to 900+ speed anyway. Also, I would definitely get a WD hard drive that ends in "KS" they seem to be much better in everyones tests like nick said.
October 5, 2007 8:19:59 PM

Yeah, I'd go with the DDR2 800 low latency memory - 50 or 60 bucks. I got the Patriot 2GB low latency kit.

I'd also go with a cheaper case - I picked up blue CoolerMaster - not super fancy but worked out well.

I also went with the 250GB seagate and really like it - quiet and fast.

I just built a very similar rig for $850 (recycling my optical drive) and it fired up right off of the bench and is a great performer.
October 5, 2007 10:46:41 PM

Thanks for replies everyone!

I'm still looking for a bit more info on a cooling system, I want to do some moderate OC'ing, but not push the limits or anything. Do I need a watercooled system, or will a hs+fan be enough?? I'd prefer the latter, and if that's enough, anyone have some other suggestions? aevm posted a couple of links up there that I took a look at, but the fan was a case fan I believe.

I looked at the OCZ ram package that aevm posted a link to and it seems like too good of a deal to pass up. I was going with the crucial just for the Overclocking potential, but in a modest oc that OCZ ram looks like it will perform well.

HD, well, honestly I have a 100g drive right now and only utilize 20% of it. I'm not big into d/l'ing movies and mp3's(and I don't know what the hell else will fill up that drive) so I'm probably just going to stick with the 250; it performs well on Tom's harddrive comparisons.

As for my case, I'm just going for a bit of style on the case...I had a hard time when contemplating whether or not to spend as much on a case as my mboard, but overall, cooling capabilities, noise reduction, and general style led me to choose the p182 - and I love that gunmetal color.
October 6, 2007 6:24:38 PM

You don't need to bother with a watercooled system for moderate OCing. A hsf+fan will do. You can even use the stock fan for that.

Yup the Scythe S-Flex can also be used as a case fan. Read this: http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling/showdoc.aspx?i=2943

Nexus fans are also a great choice, apparently. I haven't tried them but reviews and people on this forum say they're extremely quiet. I went with the S-Flex because it was the quietest fan I could get where I live, by the way.

I suggested the best air cooling combo I know (the TU-120-Extreme+S-Flex), but on second thought, for moderate overclocking, it's a bit weird to spend $100 on it. Sorry, that was dumb advice. Get a $40 Scythe Ninja instead, it even includes a fan. (It's regular $60, move fast)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185038


October 7, 2007 1:21:40 AM

oddyssie said:
aevm posted a couple of links up there that I took a look at, but the fan was a case fan I believe.


Just so there's no confusion, many of the modern air coolers for processors (like the one aevm linked) are designed to use "case" fans, as opposed to the "cpu" fans that used to be the norm. It's nice having a cooler that can use any "case" fan for a particular size (60mm, 80mm, 92mm, 120mm etc). This gives you a great deal of control over the noise level to cooling performance ratio, and there are some very good fans now that perform very well yet are very quiet.

Using the term "case" fan begins to lose it's accuracy now that the mountings for these fans are used on other components. The smaller "cpu" fans are now used mostly on video card coolers (and HDD coolers I believe).
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