My current PC (AMD 2500+, 512MB RAM, Ti4200 video card) is getting a little dated, and I'm looking to replace it. I don't pay much attention to the PC world any more, and so am pretty out of touch and need some advice.
I do not like spending huge amounts of money for top-of-the-line systems. I use it mainly for Internet access, email, word processing / spreadsheets, etc. I play some games, but I also don't run out to pay $70 for the latest games, either... Half Life / TFC is about the newest I have right now I will probably get Half Life 2 once I have a newer system, and maybe the first Halo to play on-line with my brother. The only other resource-intensive task I do is video editing and burning DVDs. Oh, and this system will be a dual-boot one... XP and Linux, probably Fedora, so I want to avoid anything that may have any driver or compatibility issues.
I also don't like to upgrade PCs. I have a black thumb when it comes to hardware, and it gets difficult to find the right parts after a couple of years.
1) AMD vs. Intel - I've been a huge AMD fan for years, but I hear that the Core 2 Duos are a much better "bang for the buck". Still true?
2) Chipset - It seems like I'd have to pay about twice as much to get the newest chipsets that support 1033MHz FSB. At least looking at preconfigured systems in my area. If those chipsets include a lot of other goodies that will help to ensure some degree of future compatibility, that might be worth it to me.
3) Video card - I don't need the latest $400 card. I want something that will play my older games, have an S-Video output, and that has a DB-15HD as my current monitor is analog only, and I may not run right out for a new one. ATI vs. GeForce?
4) Storage - It looks like everything is SATA2 3.0Gb/s now. Is there anything else I should be looking at? I/O is a big issue with my video work.
5) DVD-R - Currently, I have a Lite-On SOHW-1633S which was, at the time, "the" burner to get... low price combined with good performance and lots of firmware upgrades and hacks. It's important to me to get a burner that is going to play along very nicely, as I burn a lot of DVDs. I'd buy a Plextor if I had to, but I've been very happy with my $30 Lite-On and am hoping there's a newer equivalent that uses SATA instead of ATAPI.
And if there's anything else I should be thinking about... I'll get a good case with a good PS, not the $20 special
I do not overclock by habit. I goofed around with that sort of thing years ago when it was a dice roll. Fine for experimenting or seeing just how far you could push your hardware, but I don't want a system to crash in the middle of an edit or writing a 4GB vide file I know that OCing is very different today, and if I wind up with a setup that will OC with zero problems, why not? But in the absence of a dozen people swearing that that particular setup runs perfectly, I'd just as soon run at the "normal" speed and not have to worry about any instability, or experimenting with different coolers, etc.
As far as a budget... let's say around $1G That's the most that I'd like to spend, as my home PC is just a hobby, really. If it comes down to it, I'll spend more, but I'd really like to improve what I have without getting crazy.
And on the video card... if the 8800 GT is da bomb to end all bombs, what the heck, I might get it. But if there's a $60 card that maybe won't run the latest games, but would work just fine for older stuff (like HL2), then I can find something else to do with the $200 difference.
Basically, I'm fine with my current system, except I'd like a little more horsepower for CPU-intensive tasks, some more RAM, and a better video card. I could get an AMD 939 based system for cheap, I'm sure, but it seems to me that since I'd basically be building a new system, spending a few more dollars will get me a much more current platform that will last further into the future.
I like Intel and AMD, I've used both. It seems that if you want a little more "horsepower", I'd go for one of the C2 Quads. Q6600 is pretty cheap now. The new Q9xxx are supposed to be better for video encoding. Expect to pay more though.
You could also try low latency ram (Patriot, Crucial, Corsair, OCZ), but I don't think you'll notice too huge of a difference no matter which you choose.
For video cards - You could run HL2 on some pretty low specs, just don't expect mind blowing performance. I'd almost say it's worth it to just buy the 8800GT as per "price vs. performance", but it's up to you.
I know that there are many individual parts that could be "much better", but I'm looking to keep the price low. Hence the $70 vide card, even though i know there are newer ones that'll blow it away. The point is that this card will blow away the one I have now, and for only $70
I'd love any input on any individual parts... if there's some other comparable part i should be looking at because of chipset, BIOS, capabilities, etc.
Super budget light-gaming build. The 8500GT has passive cooling. No noise. The Earthwatts 500W is plenty for even some modern video cards. It has about 34A or less combined on +12v. Behind the harddisk cage is a 120mm fan mount. You can mount an extra fan if you want. The case comes with every screw & standoff you'll need for full build. The external drive mounting clips hide behind the drive bay cover. I have a similar SonataII case as my family pc. It's very heavy & sturdy. Cleaning the front dust filter is a wipe away. Did I say quiet?