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budget game ystem: kickass or no?

Last response: in Systems
December 20, 2007 4:55:49 PM

This is the third computer im building. the first was a pentium 3 when i was like 10, the second used an athlon xp about a decade ago, and now im trying to build a good budget gaming system, and would appreciate any help. Here it goes...

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz <---edited :love: 
ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP LGA 775 Intel P35 <--- edited, recommended by ati, just a few bucks extra :) 
Antec NEO-HE 550 Watt <---not a scam
Patriot Extreme Performance (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) <---better deal methinks
SAPPHIRE 100226L Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express <---amped up to 512mb and 3870
Cooler Master Stacker 830 <---cooler than before :sol: 
Vista home premium
Samsung's SH-S183L Super-WriteMaster internal DVD burner
Western Digital Caviar 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste <---also edited :D

New price: $1001.47, including shipping and $190 in rebates. Woot :)  12/22/07
December 20, 2007 5:08:27 PM

Throw in some Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. I say it to everyone but it is worht it if you're thinking of overclocking. Overall a pretty sweet build, although I'd rethink the graphics card (simply because I prefer nVidia to ATI), however for that kind of price you'd need to shop around to find something as good bang-for-buck, but since you want Crossfire in the future, it's great.

Wouldn't go so far as to say kickass, but for that price it's a very solid machine.
December 20, 2007 5:34:34 PM

Just my two cents worth so take it as you will... however I would change out the DS3R for a DS3L unless there is a feature you REALLY need on the DS3R. Also as far as the processor goes; if you are wanting to overclock, I would go with an E2200 or a E4500. The E6550 is already at a 1333 Mhz FSB so probably won't be able to OC it as much as you could the E2200 or the E4500. The 800 Mhz FSB on these two processors is really what allows you the most flexability. Take the money you save from the cheaper processor and buy a 8800GT 256 MB for $210.
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December 20, 2007 5:42:51 PM

Or look at a Q6600...that is probably $100 more than the E6550, but it has plenty of room to OC and it will scream...

BTW, 2xHD3850 in Crossfire beat an 8800GTX in least, that is what I have read several times...
December 20, 2007 6:02:01 PM

I wouldn't go with that CPU, I'd either go down to the E2160 and OC that to the E6550, or I'd get the E6750 (Just a few dollars more than the 6550).

Going to the Q6600 wouldnt be bad either. Also, why the P35C-DS3R? That's been known as a bad board for OCing, well not bad, but more problems than the P35-DS3R. And the DDR3 capability isn't very good for it as it will only support up to 4GB of it. By the time DDR3 is affordable, you may want 8GB of it. Save yourself $30 and get the P35-DS3R or save even more and get the $90 P35-DS3L. I have the DS3R and love it, great OCing board.

The 3850 is a pretty good choice for a budget build. Especially if you go Crossfire later, although I think dual GPUs at this point are still a waste. (Although Crossfire is much better than SLI, but SLI is getting better)
December 20, 2007 6:09:58 PM

looks pretty solid. i like it as is, though i also like the suggestion about the q6600. i'm not sure what the DS3L does, though it sounds like it drops the ICH9R in favor of a ICH9 without raid support. if you do that, you'll gain some cash for the q6600. people said i was a fool when i went dual-core over single-core when it came out. i laughed at them when my system smoothly coasted by their single-cores which began to struggle. also, i was encoding dvd's while playing games, etc. i could multi-task like crazy. i think the q6600 will give you OC headroom, as well as future headroom, and multi-tasking like you wouldn't believe now.
December 20, 2007 6:21:54 PM

ok, thanks.
I'll definitely get the thermal paste, i completely overlooked that.
As far as the cpu, if the price of the quad processor drops a little in the future, ill definitely buy that :) 
For the motherboard i was looking at ddr3 ram in case it turned out to be a worthy investment in the future. Do you all disagree? I as planning on using almost this same configuration when the penryn comes out
December 20, 2007 6:24:24 PM

ps, will i need slower/faster ram for the Q6600??
December 20, 2007 6:27:01 PM

DS3L + E6750, clocks to 3.2 with OEM fan and no extra voltage.
December 20, 2007 6:39:30 PM

dump DDR3, dude. what a waste of money. no real speed advantage yet. also, even dual and quad core CPUs aren't maxing the bandwidth from dual-channel DDR2.
December 20, 2007 7:22:45 PM

Okay here's my tidbit for a "budget" gaming system.
CPU - ~$89
e2180 - OC on stock HSF to 2.8-3 gHz

GPU - ~$170
3850 - Good budget gaming card and when you add another later, you'll be close to current 8800gtx speeds!
$180 shipped - $10 MIR = $170
HIS Hightech H385F256NP Radeon HD 3850 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

Mobo - ~$90
DS3L/IP35-e/P5k-se If your sticking with 1 GPU and no RAID options
$90 shipped - Best buy right now for the $.
GIGABYTE Intel P35 + ICH9 Chipset DDR2 1066 ATX GA-P35-DS3L Motherboard Retail

Memory - ~$50-60 DDR2 800mHz CAS4, OC'ing friendly Crucial/Corsair/Patriot/GSkil are all good brands.
$49 shipped and is CAS4 !!! No MIR's needed!!!
Crucial Technology Ballistix BL2KIT6464AA804 1GB Kit DDR2-800 PC2-6400 Memory Retail

Case - $40 shipped - $15 MIR = $25!!! Can't beat this quality at this price!!
COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

PSU - $60-$100
$100 - $30 MIR = $70!! Nice PSU!
Antec NeoPower 550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, TUV, CE, FCC, CCC, CB, C-tick - Retail
$101 - $10 MIR - $10 google checkout = $81!! One of the best in this price range.
Corsair 520W SLI Certified Modular ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-520HX
$72 - $10 MIR - $10 google checkout = $52 shipped! Plenty of power for any single GPU setup.
Corsair VX 450w Power Supply - CMPSU-450VX

CPU cooling, if you want more cooling :) 
$22 shipped!!!
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail

Total ~$550 - $45 = $505!! just ad HD/DVD/Thermal paste. You have one nice rig and still be ready for more upgrades later when you can afford them.

I'd stick with XP pro, since it's the gaming king at the moment, but if you get vista, I might consider the 64bit version, since you'll be able to take advantage of 4gig's or more of DDR2 later.
December 20, 2007 7:29:19 PM

By the time DDR3 is affordable and worthwhile, you may be building a new computer again. At the very least you'd need a new GPU and CPU, so you'd probably want a new mobo for all that stuff.

DDR3 is pretty pointless right now.
December 20, 2007 7:33:53 PM

nice build, i have the same procesor, it runs sweet. I recomend it to you
December 20, 2007 8:57:01 PM

I would highly recommend that you invest another $30 or so and buy a 512MB HD 3850. They are faster and will have a much longer lifespan due to the larger memory size.
December 20, 2007 9:24:38 PM

Im going to be nice about this. If you plan to play newer games, not including crysis, then get a 512mb vram video card. 256 only goes so far. actually no, it doesnt go anywhere
December 21, 2007 4:01:34 AM

ok, so im thinking the q6600 with a SAPPHIRE 100226L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit and ddr2 ram at 800mhz. also, i think im gonna change my case to the antec 900, because i think things are gonna get hot.
Thanks for the advice all, it means alot.
December 21, 2007 4:03:42 AM

So what is your new budget, since your going w/q6600 and 3850 512mb GPU?
December 21, 2007 4:17:12 AM

my budget is 800-1000, but id rather pay closer to 1000 if it means better quality. I'm a complete noob at building gaming systems, My brother helped my last time, but hes moved on into the server realm now, and is forever lost :( 
December 21, 2007 5:06:14 AM

I'd go with the cheaper 4500 which will overclock easier, or step up to the q6600. money saved on cpu and mb (get the ds3l) should allow you to get an 8800gt 512. otherwise it looks good.
December 21, 2007 5:09:07 AM

well, seems you've already updated your list. now it looks excellent.
December 21, 2007 7:04:01 AM

That power supply is overkill for a budget gaming rig, crap, it doesn't even look budget anymore except for the video card. You got like 52A there pal, for a system that would draw around half that. Nice price on it though, but even the "lowly" corsair VX-450 that lunyone linked would suffice that system. Better to save the money and try and reach for a HD3870 to make your system shine.
December 21, 2007 7:29:17 AM

The 3850 will choke your system, you need something better.
December 21, 2007 12:35:39 PM

I'd go with the 3870/8800gt 512mb and even go with the Antec 550w or Corsair hx520w PSU's. Either one will me more than enough and allow plenty of upgrade path. Like Randomizer said, you could even go with the Corsair vx450w and have plenty of power for any GPU out there right now. It's up to you, but I'd save on the more expensive PSU and get a 3870/8800gt GPU.
December 21, 2007 1:05:20 PM

Agree with lunyone and randomizer ^^ for a budget gaming rig, you need a good powersupply, but no need spending money on overkill. Definetly get a 3870 or an 8800GT if this is gonna be a gaming rig.
December 21, 2007 2:42:45 PM

Good luck, let us know how it turns out once you get it together and how much you enjoy it :) 
December 21, 2007 3:14:10 PM

If you don't plan on using Crossfire, get a small PSU and spring for the 3870...
December 21, 2007 3:26:58 PM

For a gaming system, the key component is the vga card, not the cpu. Get the best vga card you can afford. If you can't get a 8800gts-512(g92), then get the next best card you can afford. With that card a E6750 would be fine. If you are comfortable with overclocking, then a lesser overclocked cpu is ok also. There are almost no games currently out that will make use of more than 2 cores. Get a quad only if you will be doing lots of multitasking, or if the programs you run are optimized for more than 2 cores.

---good luck---
December 21, 2007 4:05:59 PM

I certainly hope you are joking about that PSU!!!!

Not only is it not highly rated, review after review state they company is not honoring the rebate.

December 21, 2007 4:14:37 PM

ok, so i upgraded the video card, and got a better psu for free :) 
for the cpu, i understand that the quad core only makes sense if your multitasking, but wouldnt that make it easier on the system as windows drains power?
if i were to just use a lower duo and OCed it, which one do you all recommend?
thank you all so much, your great for helping me out on this one.
December 21, 2007 4:19:22 PM

well shiver me timbers, thats really sad, thought i had a good deal :( 
December 21, 2007 5:26:58 PM

i think ill go with the antec, because i've trusted them for years. anyone help me with a cpu choice? :) 
December 21, 2007 6:16:01 PM

also, is it better to get 4X1 GB of ram or 2X2 GB ??
December 21, 2007 6:16:08 PM

Q6600, unless you only want to run current games well with a higher clocked dual-core. I have a Q6600 running at 3.0 (3.2 if I want to push it more) and it smokes on every game. A lot of it depends if you want the power of more cores for coming games (and current) or a little more speed with a dual core. If you know what you are doing, that quad can get close to 4ghz...

Personally, if you have the ability to run the same games at about the same level, but have more cores in reserve, the quad is a good choice. I think you are going to get a lot of biased suggestions in forums depending on what people are using. The q6600 is getting into the range of very good price for the power it provides. Just depends on your budget and how soon you plan to time.
December 21, 2007 6:17:19 PM

also, is it better to get 4X1 GB of ram or 2X2 GB ??

2x2, unless you have the overwhelming need for tighter settings that 1gb sticks would provide.
December 21, 2007 6:59:24 PM

Unless you think you will ever go to 8gb on this computer, it does not really matter if you get a 2x2 or 4x1 configuration. Get a matched set from a good memory maker.

On the cpu, for the same $ you can get a Q6600 or a E6850. I would save a few $ and get a E6750 and spend the difference on a 8800gts-512-g92. Your gaming will be much better. By the time thare are significant numbers of games that can use more than 2 cores, nehalem will be upon us, and all the current hardware will be obsolete.
December 23, 2007 12:22:12 AM

agree with rubix why get 4x1gb when you can get 2x2gb it'll just save money when you need to upgrade to 8gb
use your loaf