Sweet spot gaming rig suggestions?

I'm still using a system that I built back in 2003. At the time, it was actually pretty hot. Now.... not so much. Actually, I'm amazed it still works pretty well with it's ASUS 800 Deluxe mobo and AGP Radeon 9500 Pro. But, now I want to play some of the newer games like Bioshock, The Witcher, Crysis etc., and I don't think the old rig is going to cut it. With 2 kids and a mortgage, I can't really build what I'd like, but I want to get as much bang for the buck as possible. I figure I could drop $600 -$700 dollars, but I'd rather keep it around $500 if possible. I would like to save money by using my humongous Antec case and power supply (I think the case came with an Antec 450w, but I'm at work and can't check now), my SATA hard drives, Hercules sound card and opticals. If necessary, I could replace some of those parts. So, I figure we're basically talking about replacing the motherboard, CPU, memory and graphics card. I haven't really followed hardware much since I built the system back in '03, so I'm kind of at a loss.

Guide me, oh great ones!
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More about sweet spot gaming suggestions
  1. Motherboard: GA-P35-DS3L or R ($91.00)
    *DS3L is out of stock on newegg - the DS3R is $129 and in stock.

    CPU: Intel E6750 ($189.00)

    GPU: ATI HD 3850 ($179.00)
    *The HD 3870 is more powerful, as is the 8800GT, which are both about $270 if you want a more "cutting edge" card.

    RAM: 2x 1GB DDR2 800 Gskill ($46.99)

    PSU: Corsair HX 520W ($99.00 after MIR)
    *I know you want to keep your current one, but I think 450W will be cutting it kinda close if you go for a newer card - You can provide us with the Amps per rail (should be on the sticker on the side) or the exact model number / name, and we can be more sure whether or not it can handle a newer card.

    This should turn out to be a pretty nice machine while keeping you under your $700 budget.
  2. Mobo - $80

    CPU - $80

    Grapics Card - $180

    I really like that Mobo and that CPU for that price.

    Excellent, Excellent value and can easily provide outstanding horsepower.

    The GPU listed, is a decent card.
    You could upgrade to the 8800GT 512mb, but that will cost you about $100 more. Depends on your budget.
  3. If you're comfortable with OC'ing, you can go with zenmaster's suggestion since that 2160 can be bumped up to speeds similar to the E6750.

    And :O!!! That's a great deal on the motherboard. It's even in stock! I'd jump on it while it lasts. :D
  4. Is the E2180 worth it and wouldn't you need a separate fan and heatsink to take it to the limit on air cooling ?
  5. From what everyone says, you can take the E2140 / 60 / 80's up to 3.0Ghz on stock cooling. I'll try to find some evidence to support this statement.

    *edit* You could just nab an Arctic Cooling HS for ~$20. That would ensure you have nothing to worry about.

    ...Stock cooling will get you to ~3ghz, after that you probably want to look into a 3rd party cooler (ie - you mentioned artic freezer, there is also tuniq tower, thermalright utra's etc)...

  6. Would the stock cooler suffice or does it require third-party cooling solutions ?
  7. I'll have to check my PS when I get home and post the Amps per rail later tonight. I'm thinking, if I went with zenmaster's suggestions I could afford the better graphic card, which would give me more bang than the CPU anyway, right? With that motherboard he suggests, could I go with the E6750 later if I wanted to?

    Never tried overclocking. If I remember correctly, there's a guide somewhere here for doing it.
  8. Quote:
    I'll have to check my PS when I get home and post the Amps per rail later tonight. I'm thinking, if I went with zenmaster's suggestions I could afford the better graphic card, which would give me more bang than the CPU anyway, right?
    Yeah, the E21xx series are some of, if not the best "bang for your buck" CPU's when over clocked.

    With that motherboard he suggests, could I go with the E6750 later if I wanted to?


    Never tried overclocking. If I remember correctly, there's a guide somewhere here for doing it.
    There is a wealth of information all over the internet containing overclocking guides, etc. for this CPU.
  9. Thanks for the reply rgeist :s sorry didn't see the edit
  10. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/pentium-e2160_14.html

    For those looking at budget systems, this chip can't be beat.
    3.0Ghz is a very easy OC and 3.2->3.4 are quite common w/o really pushing this chip too hard.

    It has less Cache so it will lose about it will run about 10% slower clock for clock for a 4mb chip, but still with it breezing past 3.0 Ghz it still pretty much rates the same as one of those chips running at or near 3.0Ghz.

    Also, when looking at gaming, the most important part is the GPU.
    As a result, if you are tight on funds, the first place to skimp is the CPU since it does OC so well.
  11. So is it the 2160 or 2180 that seems more price worthy considering they both probably end up at the same clock speed after overclocking ?
  12. Looking at the graphics cards, both MSI and Asus offer the 8800GT for about $290.00. Is one better than the other? I see the Asus says the interface is PCI Express X16, while the MSI card says the interface is PCI Express 2.0. Again, being out of the hardware world for 4 years, I don't know which is better.

    Do you need Vista to take advantage of DX10?

    I looked at the RAM suggested and I find it hard to believe you can get 2GB of RAM for $46.00! Can that be correct? Never heard fo the brand though.
  13. I think the E2160 should reach the same speeds as the E2180.
    I don't see the point for the more expensive one.

    The next chips I would look at after the E2160 is the E4500.
    It's only $125 and has twice the cache of the E2160 and should clock to the same speeds.

    After that, I would look at the E6750.
    (The E6550 will have a hard time OCing for a lot of folks due to FSB limits.)

    The Q6600 is the final chip I would at as being the most expensive that is still a good deal. I don't see a point the higher priced chips.

    On Jan 20th of next Year, Intel will be releasing a new set of chips that will be nice upgrades. However, They will be starting at the E6750 price point and up. I don't think it will be until later that they will be introducing the cheaper chips. However, I'm not 100% sure that they won't do that on the 20th. They just have not yet been announced as one of the chips releasing that day.
  14. All 8800GT cards are PCI-Express 2.0 that run in PCI-E x16 slots on a mobo.

    I would just on that P35-DS3L mobo for $80, that is a great deal. If you don't want to OC, get the E6750, that CPU is truely the 'sweetspot' for price/perfomance in CPUs right now w/out OCing. If you OC, I'd get the E2160 since it has more cache.

    To be honest, I would suggest getting the ATI 3850 instead of the 8800GT. The 8800GT should only cost about $250 but the prices are inflated due to low stocks. You will see similar performance for $120-$140 less ($150-$170 card instead of $290).

    Then any 2GB memory kit with Cas4 timings for $50 out to set you up.

    Be sure you PSU can handle your new graphics card.
  15. $80 for that Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L mobo is a fantastic buy. jump on it before they sell out like newegg did.

    if your power supply is less than 450-500W, another fantastic buy at the moment is this PC Power and Cooling Silencer 610Watt, normally $199.99, on sale for $118.99 ($81 off):

    i wrote this note just to chime in that the mobo is a good choice and the PSU is on sale. While I am here though I will mention something else: another good reason to go with the $80 mobo+$90CPU now is that in 6 months or so, when the next generation of intel CPUs, the penryns, have driven the cost of previous generation CPUs down by 75% and all but made them obsolete, and future mobo advancements make them better at taking advantage of those CPUs than what is available now, you won't be kicking yourself for spending $299+$279 for what has become little more than an expensive doorstop. It is like buying the last model year of a car before the manufacturer changes the model.
  16. Okay, I just ordered the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L mobo and the E4500 processor. I went with the E4500 for the extra cache. Now, to get the video card and memory. I'm going to check out the Gigabyte site for tested memory. Memory is the one thing I had problems with when I built my last system It took me forever to get it straightened out.

    Cracked open the case and found I have an ANTEC True 430 power supply. Here are the specs:

    DC Out +5 +12 +3.3 -5 -12 +5SB
    Max 36a 20a 28a 0.5a 1.0a 2.0a
    Min 0a .8a 0 0 0 0

    Sufficient power?
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