I am looking to build a system for around $600, and I already have a DVD+-RW, Case, and CPU heatsink w/fan. I've asked my brother in-law about of lot of this stuff, but you guys on the boards just seem so brilliant, I had to see what you thought too.
Mainly, this will be used for gaming. I plan on upgrading the Video Card once the new GeForce 9xxx comes out (and the 8800GTS's fall in price). I also plan on overclocking the Allendale to around 3.0 Ghz.
As far as the OC'ing goes, I have heard that stock cooling can get the job done, but has anyone here had more experience/better advice?
Here is my $.02. If you are planning on upgrading and just need a card to hold you over, I would stick with a DX9 card. The x1950Pro's are still being sold and you can get one for like $20 more than a 8600GT. They also perform much better on DX9 games. Even if you want to run DX10 games, if that is what you plan to do, you won't be able to boost the settings high enough to see the difference from DX9 to DX10 anyways on a 8600 anyways.
Other than that I think you have a pretty decent and economical little gamer going. It won't run everything cranked up, but a good builder will get you the most for your money. I built mine for about $1400, well $1700 with the monitor, a year ago and it still flies. The ATI x1900 and x1950 chips were just AWESOME. The only thing that killed them were the 8800's from Nvidia. If you look at low and mid range cards go with ATI, they seem to focus more on that.
I agree with the DX9 card. I don't use ATI because of Linux, but it is a good card. Sapphires are especially good. You could also switch to Corsair XMS2 or OCZ Platinum Rev. 2. I do not recall seeing Patriot on the approved list over at Gigabyte. Does not mean it won't work. Could just mean that they never tested it.
G.Skill seems to work well with Gigabyte boards. DDR2 800 modules tend to not have many problems. The worst case I have had so far is that I needed to manually enter the timing. May want to check them out. They are rapidly becoming popular. Just stick with something 4-4-4-12 or better.
What size screen are you looking at? I'm assuming a wide screen since I'm seeing fewer and fewer non-ws lcd's. I would suggest looking at new-egg. I hesitate to buy from other places because either the shipping is a rip or if you have issues they give you more problems. Samsung makes a great lcd.
Go amd you can get a faster cpu and nforce 570 or better for the same price.
Honestly I would have to concede and go with Joe...Enter the Dragon. Unless you are looking at an e6XXX core2 or get an e4xxx and overclock it, your better bang for your buck is going to be AMD. You can get an 4600+for like $90 and it put you in the performance range between the e6300 and e6400's. An AMD 5000+ would be even better.
I agree about the G.Skill RAM... I'm running 2gb of their DDR2 800 with my Q6600 and I'm loving it. (On the Gigabyte P35 DS3R).
As for CPU choice... if you go with something like an E2160 or 2180 you can get the Arctic Freezer 7 and OC them up to 2.8-3.0 pretty easy and from what I've read at this site: http://forum.ncix.com/forums/index.php?mode=showthread&... and a few others it's stable at that speeds with that cooler. I guess it's up to you and how comfortable you are with oc'ing.
I also agree with what everyone is saying about the video card situation, overall you'll be more satisfied with the ATI unless you want to step up to the 8800gts 320mb.
Good luck with your build either way.
What I was trying to get at with the CPU idea was the cost... the 2180 is roughly $95 and the Arctic Freezer 7 is about $20 I think with current rebates (last time I checked anyway)... so for $115 you'd have a 2.8-3.0 ghz cpu... I think that's pretty good.
Again just trying to help, good luck with your build.
Are you indeed planning to OC your chip? I can tell you from my own experience that the stock cooling is fine untill you have to raise the voltages. Then you need some good cooling. I had the Arctic Freezer 7 (actually still do and is yours for $10 if you pay shipping), but I got a Thermaltake 120-Ultra. That thing did the trick but it was $50 plus a fan.
the Core2's can overclock well and will beat out a good portion of the AMD x2's but stock for stock get an AMD if you aren't getting a 6XXX series core 2.
I am planning to try my hand at OC'ing...thanks for the advice. I'll be sure to pick up a new hs and fan. I'll take a look around and get back to you on the AF7. Where do you live so I can guestimate shipping?