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Cheap Gaming Build - Update (old thread)

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November 5, 2007 3:41:06 AM

Hi all!

Ok, my old computer has had it (as, i'm sure most of these posts start) and it's time for a new one. I built my old one about 5 years ago. I don't really want to build another but it seems to be my only resort, once again. I'm very out-of-the-loop on the new computer technology now so i'm not sure what all is good or works well together. My old comp. is an Athlon 2200+, Gigabyte GA-7VA, WD 60G, Audigy, Win XP Pro, 768 RAM PC 2100, and formerly an ATI x1550 512 that went poof. :) 

My budget is real low (in comparison to others here) I've never gamed with full graphics so anything close or medium will be great for me. I don't understand the dual channel ram and AMD Hyper Transport enough to discern any bottlenecks that I might create with the different parts. So anything that could be reduced to save $$$ would be good. (ie. Do I need 800 Mhz ram, or just 667? etc.) And i'm completely lost as to which Mobo to get, and it's one of, if not the, most important parts.

So, here's what I have so far: ABIT KN9 SLI AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $99.99

Ultra 2048MB Dual Channel PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 1024MB) $69.99 + shipping = $77.48

Antec Sonata III Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail $148.94 (with shipping)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM 69.99 free shipping

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail $119.00 free shipping

I can use my XP Pro for now and would like to have the option for Vista in the future if necessary. The case appears to have a good PSU; efficient w/ 500 watts and 30a on 12v. But, i'm so new to this 12v rail business and having to worry about PSUs. :)  I have a Lite-On CD-RW and Toshiba DVD already that I could use to save more money on the build. I wanna trash my current Antec case due to low amperage on PSU and fear of damaged PSU, among other things. The motherboard above is SLI which i'm not really concerned with, unless it proves to be helpful at all in my future. Total of above with shipping (and Artic Silver, extra 120mm fan, and undecided good heatsink) is just below $700; about $680+

My other concerns are heat. It seems that the 5200+ is hotter than some of the lower ones, but has double the cache. My comp. is always in the hottest room of the house it seems, so will be over 72 degrees F. The motherboard above, and most others (if not all) have new systems without fans. Is this system more efficient than a fan, or will I run into trouble in a hot room gaming? And what's a good, reasonably-priced PSU heatsink/fan? And Do I need the extra core (or may need in the future) for gaming? Might be just as cheap as a single core - I dunno.

Opps, forgot to post the GPU:BFG Geforce 8500 GT OC 512 somewhere for cheap.
Thanks.
November 5, 2007 9:32:54 AM

Would go with an Intel based system
It offers better price/preformance at this moment
(there are lots off +/-800 dollar intel builds in the forum)

November 5, 2007 10:31:14 AM

8500GT isnt good for gaming, go for the X1950PRO/X1950XT, they are alot better
Related resources
November 5, 2007 12:55:06 PM

Yeah, I started to think about that after my post... to get a new PSU for my case to save money. I also started to think about an Athlon 64 4000+ Which seems nearly as good with only one core and is about half the price. And I can't see any intel that's cheap enough, I just don't see it.

The graphics i'm not sure about either. I did see a really cheap x1950 pro somewhere too. I don't know the heirarchy of the cards well.

Do I have any need for sata 2 or will my ata 100 provide enough bandwidth to prevent having a bottleneck there? Because the sata drives appear to run hotter (?) and my case only has 80mm fans and none in front of HD. I still am not sure if i'll need 800 Mhz ram or not.

With dx10, Vista, 64 bit OS's, SLI/Crossfire, dual/quad cores I have no idea where and when the market, and gaming market is headed. Might just throw together something for $400 or $500 to last for 2 years. Sure could use a new 22" monitor. :) 
November 5, 2007 1:20:06 PM

Honestly, single core CPUs are like the dinosaurs just before the meteor hit(doesn't really matter if you believe this or not -- just an analogy). They are pretty darn close to becoming extinct.
November 5, 2007 5:25:21 PM

If you get the Intel Core 2 Duo, it saves more energy over time in the long run compared the AMD's and is MUCH more powerful, hence more expensive.
Oh, and IF you want an AMD dual core, I recommend the 5000+ ($120) w/ a GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 ($80) for NON-SLI and read the review headline on overclocking it to 3.0/3.1 GHz by messing with the multipliers.

There is really no reason to get SLI unless you think you can save money by combining 2 GPU to run like 1. Thing is, this usually kills/requires more watts than 1 good GPU. Wait a while and check for either nVidia's 8800GT or ATI's HD 3800 for a "decent" GPU.

But for money saving, try to find either X1950PRO or 8600GT
November 6, 2007 5:54:51 AM

Ok, so if I follow the advice given so far (and thank you, btw) It would look more like this:



ASUS P5K LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6550 - Retail

Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU ATX 12V 2.0 500W Power Supply - Retail

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail

Leadtek PX8600GT 256MB Standard GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Not bothering with the individual prices :)  Grand total is $595.58

I worry about my old case, with the smaller case fans, getting too hot. The room for the computer is pretty warm at times in the summer. Right now with my Athlon XP 2200+ the case is at 32c and CPU is 38c, if that gives any idea of how well it might work with the new items. ?? I'm suspecting a major increase in heat from the more powerful items. I'm also worried about complaints of high stock temps on that GPU and if the HD will overheat (does it need cooling?)

Still need good heatsink, probably some new fans for my case, could use a dvd-rw drive maybe, and whatever else, adding another $100, maybe $200 if necessary. Would be $700 to $800.

November 6, 2007 6:58:57 AM

Wow! Okay here is what I'd get if I were you with a $600-700 budget.
CPU/mobo combo - $176 shipped! Cheaper than a e6750 by itself!!
Mobo: Check out all of the options on this Mobo! Even has HDMI output to a nice HD TV!!
BIOSTAR TA690G AM2 AM2 AMD 690G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Hard to beat at this price. If you don't OC, than this will do alot for you. It is also 65nm, so it won't generate as much heat as the 90nm chips.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Brisbane 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - $156 shipped - $20 MIR = $136! Nice solid FACTORY OC'd GPU. Pretty much on par with x1950pro, but will allow you to use Dx10 effects. This is by no means a screamer GPU, so don't expect the world from it, but it should serve you well until you can upgrade to something better (also when you can afford a better one).
MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory - $95 shipped - $40 MIR = $55!!! Simply one of the best DDR2 800mHz RAM out there. Will not let you down, even if you want to OC some!
Crucial Ballistix 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...

HD - $70 shipped. This one of the better performers out there for the $ in this size.
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - $76 shipped - $10 MIR = $66! Can run a single 8800gtx system easily! This will leave you some room to upgrade to.
CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W Active Power Supply Retail ***Free Shipping***
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

Case - $45 shipped!!! 2 fans included! 1 80mm in front and a 120mm in back.
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner - $28 shipped! This is a full Retail version, which will come with your burning software and DVD playing software. Can't beat it at this price!
LITE-ON 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM IDE DVD Burner included extra White bezel - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - ~$640 - $70 MIR's = $570!! Now you can buy that or upgrade the GPU to a 8800gt, which would cost you about $100 more or so and then your total would be about $670!!! That is still cheaper than your $700-800 limit you set on your last post. You could also upgrade the PSU more, if you wanted to, but it'll handle an 8800gtx easily, so why waste any more $ on it.

You can go the Intel route too. That would change your price (if you kept the e6750) by about $120 MORE. Now in all fairness, I wouldn't try to compare an x2 4800+ to a e6750, so I'd get at least a e2180 instead to make things more equal (price and performance wise). That would be about a toss up, as far as the prices are concerned. So you can decide which way you'd like to go.
November 6, 2007 10:20:00 AM

Drax,

If your worried about your temps, you should stick to the Sonota case you picked youreself. (Its a good case with a not to bad psu.)

The P5K is a nice and solid mobo

You can forget the thermaltake psu if you buy the Sonota

If youre going to OC, you will have to take DDR 800 ram
If not you can choose DDR 667 ram (you will save a little bit of money)

GPU: I strongly advice you not to buy the 8600GT.
If you want to buy something in this pricerange, you should pick up the X1950pro, maziar suggested
If you want to invest more in your GPU, you should take the 8800GT.

CPU: looks good

HD: looks good

You made the right desision to buy intel!

Enjoy your new comp
November 6, 2007 9:53:31 PM

Well, the reviews of the e6550 look nearly flawless to me. Also according to reviews it runs pretty cool with stock fan which would save money for an aftermarket fan.

I'm not really an overclocker, but if I could clock it to 400 fsb as stated in the reviews, with stock cooling would be nice. If not, then I would only need the 667 RAM, although i'm not sure that it's any cheaper than that Gskill that was recommended, i'll have to go look.

The x1950 pro's seem to be about $50 more than the 8600 gt recommended, i'm not really sure I need that much at the moment, but maybe; any cheaper cards will seem to sacrifice much power only to save $20 or $30 - not worth it. I'm quite happy playing with no shadows and no aa/ani, afterall, i've been playing on a 9200 radeon agp until a year ago. :)  So this is still an area that I don't feel to sure about. Also i'm currently only playing @ 1024x768 res on 19" crt. A new monitor is in the near future though - this one's had it too.

Unless the Earthwatts PSU is not good enough for me, i'm likely to just go with that case.

The HD can't be beat for it's price. Again, by saving $20 or $30 i'd lose 16mb cache to 8mb and lose 90GBs of space.

Hope I didn't miss anything.

I really could have used a serial port or IR on mobo for my HP Capshare (which costs more than this comp. i'm trying to build, lol) but it also has infrared red; does anyone know about IR that could be added to my computer for this purpose? I heard you could somehow. I need the Capshare for my business, and on this computer.

Thaks again, everyone.
November 7, 2007 1:45:45 AM

So this looks like:

Antec Sonata III Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129024
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$20.00 Instant
$149.95
$129.95

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822148262
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy
$69.99

Leadtek PX8600GT 256MB Standard GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814122024
Return Policy: Limited Non-Refundable 30-Day Return Policy
$25.00 Mail-in Rebate

$104.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007
$5.99

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231098
Return Policy: Memory (Modules, USB) Return Policy
-$40.00 Instant

$59.99

ASUS P5K LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131180
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

$126.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6550 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819115030
Processors (CPUs) Return Policy
$169.99

Scythe S-FLEX SFF21E 120mm Case Fan - Retail
Item #: N82E16835185005
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$15.00 Instant

$14.99

Subtotal: $682.88
Shipping: $30.66


Grand Total: $713.54


There are a few bad reviews about the Case: PSU and something about the legs breaking etc. Maybe no biggie. My current case has two 8mm in back for exhaust and one 8mm on the side: intake. I have another 8mm in front but it's disconnected currently. My case has fold-out legs that are sturdy and the case is great, so.... How can I enlarge my side hole to fit a 120mm fan? :)  then get a better psu and save $80 or $100.


Edit: And was wrong about my case, guess it's not an Antec, it's a Chieftech very similar to this one: http://reviews.pricegrabber.com/cases/m/1749671/ but white.

I found 80mm to 120mm fan adapters - something similar to this: http://www.crazypc.com/products/4033.html
$4.99+shipping This one's for CPU, may work (???) Can't seem to find one at Newegg - there must be one.

Also found an Infrared Adapter: SYBA SD-U1IRDA-NM USB 1.1 IrDA Infrared Adapter - Retail
Item #: N82E16833328201
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

$13.99

Take out the case and add the suggested PSU back plus my new items and I knock about $10 off shipping.

New Grand total: $645.73 And -$50 for mirb
November 7, 2007 2:39:50 AM

heres my current budget spec

x2 4600 65watt
sapphire x1600pro 512mb
3gig ram kingston value ram
asus m2a-vm
enermax liberty 500watt
win xp pro

plays all games at 1024x768 on my cheap 14 inch LCD with the rest of the settings at max. Only flight simulator X stutters a bit but still quite playable. BF2140 plays well at that resolution with all the other settings at max.

I think all my components can be bought for less than 100$ now. You can get a better vid card than mine for less than 100$. I would recommend the intel 2160 or 2180 over my AMD processor though along with a reasonable intel based mobo....If I could only go back a buy intel instead....oh well.

just my 2 cents
November 7, 2007 3:12:54 AM

Yeah, I loved my Athlon XP. It's still going, just not fast enough for gaming anymore. I can't believe it did so well for my first build (my only previous experience was taking apart a P1 comp. and reassembling it twice for fun. :) ) Still got that P1 proc. and a 386 too.

They've talked me into an Intel? What will my friends think?! j/k

While i'm here... I also need to get a routing system for my Laptop and Celeron computer that I have. The cable's coming this friday after i've spent a year on dial-up, the horror, I know, ( just after my computer died too, the luck) and I need to hook them all up to the internet. I have no clue how routers and such works so any suggestion on what to buy for that purpose would be very helpful also.

A new comp. AND cable again! Can't wait.
November 7, 2007 6:19:37 AM

Go with Intel. AMD's Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 series were great for their time. But Intel has the upper hand right now with Core 2 Duos.
November 7, 2007 6:40:33 AM

Routers are generally quite easy. If you doing it, they usually send you an instruction cd/manual with it. Just follow it and you'll be fine. I have 4 wired connections hooked up to my router and I don't have any issues. You should be fine with any router. If you can build a PC you can definately hook up a router. Most of them are almost plug and play these days :) 
You will be fine with the Antec EW PSU. If you don't want it, than by all means get the Corsair vx450w PSU. I found it here cheaper!!
$69 shipped - $10 MIR and $10 google checkout = $49!!! Now you can't beat that on this great PSU!
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-450w-power-supply/q/...

Here a review summary on UT3 with several GPU's that you've been looking at. The x1950pro is about 10fps more than the 8600gt that was reviewed. Here it is for $135 shipped, so only $30 more than your 8600gt and that is IF you get your MIR back.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU review of UT3 from anandtech:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3128&p=4

Here's a link that talks about the Antec Sonata III case and PSU
Conclusion:

The Sonata III is Antec's best "Quiet Computing" case yet. The case has great looks and exceptional quality. Even though the case is fairly simple, it still has some excellent features that work extremely well. The case is well vented, but nearly silent with the variable speed cooling fan and Earthwatts PSU. Speaking of PSU, Antec has spared no expense by going with the Earthwatts series. With a good quality power supply, this case is very appealing to system builders of all types. Normally I would say a case of this type is a "good starter case", however the quality build and features of this case place the Sonata III firmly in the mid level class and may even appeal to the enthusiast crowd. As for price, this case can be snatched up for about $150. At first glance this price may appear to be a little high until you read the fine print which states there is a 500w Earthwatts power supply included! Very nice case Antec...
http://www.cluboverclocker.com/reviews/cases/antec/sona...
November 9, 2007 4:01:18 AM

Thanks for those links Luny.

Well, I think i've decided on the final deal here, unless there's any qualms anyone can think of.

Intel CD2 E6550 Conroe 2.33Ghz
Asus P5k Mobo
G.Skill 2gb (2x1gig) dual channel DDR2 800Mhz
Leadtek px8600gt 256mb (I think this will satisfy my needs just fine for the time being.)
Seagate Barracuda 7200 sata 250GB
Antec earthwatts EA500 ATX12V v2.0 500W Power Supply

(This is an old house with not-so-great wiring. The Earthwatts seems to draw much less energy and less heat too, another worry of mine. It's a shame that the house and environment cause additional complexity in my decision, but I feel pretty good with these parts overall.)

Using my old case, and buying 3 new TT 80mm fans - 2ball with 75 max cfm. Going to try to run on the stock heatsink. Arctic Silver, wrist strap, and a USB IR adapter to try for the Capshare (if not there are pci cards for serial ports, one of the two should do it, and if that USB one works with my Capshare so that I can also use it on my laptop, finally, i'll be so thrilled.)


+$19.24 shipping = Grand Total: $675.62

Thanks for the help and suggestions, I hesitated to post here at first and would have regretted it, i'm sure. Special thanks to Slicesoul who basically suggested the whole system, although I did read extensive reviews of all of the products and, given my money limit, and house and environment situation and computer needs, I think this will do it.











November 9, 2007 4:12:00 AM

No problems seen here. I would've done it different, but that is my opinion, which I stated within my posts. Good luck with it and please come back and tell us your story on the build.
November 15, 2007 3:12:12 AM

Well... I was hoping to have a perfect success story and post this on my new computer, but instead i've run into a problem that has me stumped and i'll be posting on my laptop instead.

First-off the build went great. I bought my parts on saturday about 10:30 am. By saturday afternoon, Newegg had packed all of my items and given them to UPS. :)  They arrived today at about 4pm. I was mad all day thinking i'd miss the UPS man while working but somehow managed to catch him.

My first memory is thinking how incredibly small the CPU was compared to my old Athlon XP. :) 

So, I kicked the cats out of the kitchen, slapped some newspaper down across the table and got to work. I first had to dissasemble my old comp. which took all of 10 minutes. I had to take the case apart and remove 6 years worth of dust (thanks to the handy Dirt Devil). The case looks great now.

I've been scared to death of installing the CPU (just paranoid) and was like a surgeon with my installation. I was not enjoying the new snap-in heatsink as I couldn't tell if it was on good or not. After I thought I had it on well, i removed the Mobo once more to check for sure.

Installed all the other parts and my new fans and had it all together by about 7:30/8:00 pm

Cleaned up my mess and shook scared at the thought of hitting the power button. :)  Thought i'd better have a cigarette first and triple check everything. I hit the power and waited for one beep then killed it. I felt confident after that that nothing was smoking. Cleaned up my mess and moved the comp. to the room and hooked it all up. Fired right up into bios and my CPU was only 22C, so I felt good about the stock fan at that point.

I had forgotten how to format and install Windows, it had been so long. I finally got it going after getting a PS2 keyboard so I could install. Got Windows on and was in!

Next I had to start installing drivers. I started installing chipset drivers and Enet drivers from the Mobo CD and somewhere around this point is where my problem began. Windows (XP Pro) was working fine and so was my USB mouse and keyboard before. But right after trying to install some mobo drivers I encountered a problem. Now my mouse and keyboard work fine in bios but when the Windows screen appears (fades in, now????) my mouse and keyboard lose all power. I only have 'one' PS2 port on here, and it only works with a keyboard, not a mouse. I cannot find any of my PS2 to USB adapters and can't really do much. Thinking about just reinstalling windows, but I have no clue exactly what is wrong now or how to fix it.

So that's where i'm at now. The CPU sounds like a windtunnel with these TT fans in it now (but it was always loud, i've grown used ot it.) and the CPU has yet to break 25c on idle, but can't get any programs going yet to test it under a load. It's better after using the fan speed control oprtion.

Seems fast, but i'm going to need to get a game going to see what it can really do.

I guess I should say that i've tried: Restarting many times, changing options in BIOS, resetting factory defaults in BIOS, removing and replacing the battery, uninstalling the drivers I put on, and now i'm trying to repair Windows to see if that does any good. I can open the Mobo CD in Windows without a mouse but I can't select the USB drivers to install with only a keyboard, it doesn't seem to let me (arrow keys, tab, alt+letters, nothing)
November 15, 2007 5:20:00 AM

I repaired XP and said no to the drivers that I had installed earlier; same problem. I reset the CMOS by the jumpers; same problem. I proceeded to reformat and reinstall Windows, and while doing so, did some reading online and found that Windows defaults the USB root hub to "allow Windows to turn off this device to save power" setting. :)  It's working so far.....

--------------------------------------

Edit:

Alright, back in. Turned power saving off of the USBs; all is well. Installed the ethernet driver only from mobo cd, so far. Driver for audigy and NWN2 which put my net framework 2.0 back and Dx9. Played just a few minutes on high settings and seemed pretty smooth. It will be much better after I get my Windows back to the right settings and everything optimized.

Sleep and work calls. Thanks for all of the help, suggestions, and recommendations.
December 29, 2007 4:58:40 PM

Well, after about a month and a half, all is well. I absolutely love my new comp. Nothing is overheating, although I wish the GPU was cooler, but i've not experienced any problems out of it. (idles at 50 to 55c) The CPU still runs about 25c or less at idle. And the system temp is good, as well.

I haven't overclocked anything and I can play all of my games at maximum settings or very close - enough to satisfy me.

This is a great system if anyone else is looking to spend under $700.


Thanks again, everyone!
December 29, 2007 7:04:53 PM

Glad to here it all worked out and your happy with it. It'll serve you well until your next upgrade. Now you can rest and know that your money was well spent.
April 23, 2011 12:58:07 AM

Wow, found my old thread - necromancing!

It's been about 3 1/2 years and this comp is still going strong.

Intel CD2 E6550 Conroe 2.33Ghz
Asus P5k Mobo
G.Skill 2gb (2x1gig) dual channel DDR2 800Mhz
Leadtek px8600gt 256mb (I think this will satisfy my needs just fine for the time being.)
Seagate Barracuda 7200 sata 250GB
Antec earthwatts EA500 ATX12V v2.0 500W Power Supply


In the meantime i've bought an Asus 22" 16:10 1680x1050 monitor (About $180) and an ATI HD4770 GPU. ($119) The processor has been overclocked to 2.8g on the stock cooler for about a year and a half with no problems. About a week ago, I was in the middle of playing a game when the screen garbled, froze up and the computer locked up making some screeching noises through my speakers. I reset it and it turned itself back off. I turned it on again and it shut off again. I opened the case to find my heatsink hanging off of the CPU. All four clips had worn out and broke off.

Just installed a new Thermaltake heatsink w/ a backplate and screws this time - had to hacksaw it just a bit to fit over a chipset heatsink, and all is back up and running. I can't find any damage to the CPU or anything at all!

The CPU is still running fine at 2.8g and i'm thinking of going to 3.0 or more after the heatsink gets broken in. I also overclocked the GPU core to 800mhz for now. The CPU is idling at about 30c or less and the GPU idles at 45c. CPU hit 62c after a few minutes of the IntelBurnTest and the GPU hit 71c in a Furmark burn.

I have one new potential problem (which may require a new thread) and that's that my Earthwatts PSU fan does not seem to work... I figured it's automatically controlled, but now i'm afraid it may be broken! It's been this way for a long time too... If the fan is indeed broken I can't imagine how it seems to be working just fine...

Anyhow, that's the update on a good build thanks to the help of the Tom's Hardware community! I'm so glad that I asked for advice. I shall return soon for my next project - It's past time for a new computer! (Special thanks again to slicessoul!)
!