some advice, skimp on card or case?

Hi guys. I need some advice, as this is really been giving me a headache.

I planning to build my own system, around the Jan 18th mark. I plan to get an lcd with max of 1650x1050 resolution.

I have a tight budget, and so im presented with the following situation,

1- Either I can get 8600gts with a antec p182 case and a decent psu.


2- I can get an 8800gt/gts (512mb or 320mb) with antec sonata 3 which comes with 500watt psu.

I do plan to overclock my system (intel e6550, gigabyte p35-ds3r) and also the nivdia card sometime down the road (so worried if the antec sonata 3 wont cool enough). So, you can see headache here. If I stay with option 1, maybe I could later get a new 9 series nvidia. If I go with option 2, i wont be changing the 8800 for at least more than a year.

Also, even playing at 1440x900 resolution is fine, but weather its this or 1650x1050, i would like fairly near high settings. So would a 8600gt 256 mb be enough?

Thanks guys, appreciate your input.
42 answers Last reply
More about some advice skimp card case
  1. What games are you playing?
    Ok, I would get a 3850 256mb instead of a 8600GTS and the antec P182. Don't get a 8600GTS, it is a horrible card. The 3850 walks that card by so much. And then you can get a R700 or Geforce 9. IF your a nvidia fan boy, let yourself go for once.

    And meanwhile you'll be enjoying yourself by playing games maxed out. :D (except crysis).
  2. you should put alot into your gpu and psu - the 8800GTs 512 is a great card. i do have a some 8800gts if like one cheap - email me though my website. i can hook you up with 320 or 640

    skip on the case and cpu

    get $50 ram - 4-4-4-12 ddr800 is fine
  3. get the **** case. The 8800gt murders... the 8600- the two are not even comparable beyond the fact they are both from nvidia
  4. Never use a power supply that comes with a PC case, there so cheaply made that they have been know to fry an entire computer! The 8600 series doesn't cut it for gaming, mainly used for HD DVD playback. Either get an NVidia 8800GT 512MB or a ATI 3870 512MB or don't get one at all if you want to play games smoothly. I would save up a litle more money and wait till Feb 19th. Down below is a list of power supplies that you should have a look at, tier 3 being the lowest one would buy for your safety.
  5. @ anzstriker

    lol, im not a nvidia fanboy, just alot of talk about nvidia, thats why. Havnt done any major gaming in like 3-4 years :I. Ill be playing like rts games, company of heroes etc, etc. also games like cod2,3,4, lol, only played 1, and that too on a 950gma. was shocking haha. I guess i might play crysis, but u know no emergency, still have alot of old games to catch up on. So, u think based on this, 1440x900 or 1650x1050, that that 3850 would be good for now? I dont plan on sli or crossfire, dont see any point.

    did i mention that im in australia :). i do plan on getting that ram, just have to decide between corsair or kingston, i think corsair is fine, as might oc some.
    THank you for the gt offer, btw, where are u located?
  6. Hell' I'd take the Sonata III 8800GT....more then enough power(34 on the combined 12 volt rails) for the system anyway. The Earthwatts 500 is also 80+ certified so it will consume less power(AC) and run cooler....

    Sonata III will not cool like the 180, but should still keep your parts stable....if you are worried mod a side vent(or even a bottom vent if its not on the ground) on it....the biggest sonata problem is lack of intake air(vents on the front. they want it quiet, as such running the fans above min speed gives little in the way of extra airflow due to a lack of vents to let air in, Also take out the air filter....cuts air for nothing...).....

    The front fan option will help cool the hard drive....
  7. @systemlord,

    what is on 19th feb?

    just a note, that that gigabyte motherboard, p35-ds3r, does it have onboard graphics. I dont mind waiting a bit if it means i could save up to get a better graphics card. So u know, i could run the system on the onboard gprahics, then just buy a new 8800 series card when i have more budget?
  8. @ nukemaster,

    I did read some reviews of the sonata, was good. BUt again, i do plan to overclock, and later down the road maybe plan to have raid, or at 2-3 HD's. hmmmm. Also, im a bit sensitive when it comes to heat :P.
    Man, it sure sucks when ur fallin short from a couple of hundred bucks :I
  9. The sonata III case w/PSU isn't a bad option. Like Nukemaster said, you have 34A on the 12V rails combined and it's an efficient PSU to boot! I'd love to get a 8800gt w/the Sonata III case/PSU combo. If your really worried about heat, you could even go with the AMD 3870, which is pretty damn near the 8800gt on most benchmarks and runs cooler than the 8800gt stock. :) Your Gigabyte DS3R doesn't come with onboard graphics, but is pretty well decked out with decent options. If you aren't going to use RAID, than the DS3L would be a good mobo to consider, especially since it's generally about $30 cheaper here in the US. :) Just make sure that you get the mobo with the features that you want. Most people have been using DS3L/Abit IP35-e/Asus P5k-se for budget OC'ing mobo's based on the p35 chipset and have been getting good results. You can decide, but if you can get a 3870 cheaper by about $20 or so, than I'd get it. If they are close in price than the 8800gt would be the better buy. If you do some more research you'd find out the the only real issues that people have been writing about is the temps on the 8800gt, due to the single slot cooling solution. There are some companies (forget where I read this) that are offering Dual slot cooling solutions on the 8800gt and that would be the best way to go, as long as it isn't too expensive.
  10. The earthwatts 500W PSU is a high quality unit. Though it does lack the power of other ~500W units, it make up for it in efficiency and low price if you are talking retail for the PSU only (no bling). It is about as good as you will get for a case/PSU combo.
  11. windie said:

    what is on 19th feb?

    Something that will look alot like this early design, when it comes out it will have one 8Pin and one 6Pin connectors.>>>>>>>

    By systemlord at 2007-12-24
  12. Whoa!, that seems really high tech = more money :I.

    @lunyone, randomizer
    There is only about 17-19 AUD difference between p35 ds3l / R version, dont know why its more expensive in the US though. So, I thought its best that i have the extra couple of options.
    Ill for sure check out the ati cards. I dont really mind a small drop in performance, if the price is better. The nvida brand aint that appealing to me now :P

    There were good reviews on that psu/case combo, i was only a bit worried if I contect maybe 2-3 HD's, with a normal dvd drive, with a graphics card. I still dont get all the volts terminology 34A, 12v rails etc etc. Have to read up on that.
    Even with the graphics card, gigabyte, xfx,asus,etc etc and the small variations between the cards, boy does my head spin lol.

    Oh, just for some clarity, gaming at 1650x1050 or 1440x900 with near high setting, min of 512mb latest cards is needed, or maybe 320or 256mb latest cards? as my screen will max go upto 1650x1050. Because, there is also a 256mb 8800gt.
  13. 1440x900 is the borderline res between really needing 512mb and being able to stick with 256mb. But considering some of the newer games (cough, crysis) are ridiculously taxing, 512mb is a better option. That borderline will soon shift down towards 1280x1024. Avoid anything with 320Mb VRAM, that is just Nvidias old (now outdated) poop. The HD3870 would be nicer for running 1680x1050, but the HD3850 should handle it except in Crysis if you run above medium settings (blame crytek for taking bribes;)).
  14. thanks. I still have a couple of weeks before I have to build my system, hope that maybe the 8800gt 512mb prices will come down, else will just be checking out the ati's for now. I guess I could go with the sonata case if I cant dish a little extra money for more, I really did like the p182 more.
    you know any sites where it explains about the psu, like what connectors it should have, so i dont have to change for a couple of years. All the volts jargon also?

    Oh btw, I just noticed, that my profile is 'newbie', how do i upgrade [:)]
  15. You upgrade with more posts, which doesn't mean spamming ;)

    PSU standards change so much that upgrades are inevitable, although adapters can extend the life of a PSU. Jonny guru's rundown here is very good. His site is one of the best (if not the best) PSU sites on the net.
  16. lol, i guess have to upgrade the right way then ;).

    thanks a bunch for the links, will check them out. Just have to take a break, going blind with all this reading :I
  17. Just for your information i ran my P5W DH + 6600 @ 2.93 + X1900XT and 4 hard drives in the sonata II with its psu without problems....Its better if you have a tower style heatsink to get rid of heat quicker...

    The 2 lower fans get rid of built up video heat. The vent above is taped shut...
  18. I have the P182. Nice? hell yes. Necessary? no. Only get the p182 if it doesn't restrict your other choices.
  19. OP
    Nevermind don't get a 3850, it looks like you'll do some serious gaming.
    Wait for either 3870X2 or G92X2 coming in about a month.
  20. systemlord said:
    Something that will look alot like this early design, when it comes out it will have one 8Pin and one 6Pin connectors.>>>>>>>
    By systemlord at 2007-12-24

    Early design?
    When did the 7950GX2 come out?
  21. systemlord said:
    Never use a power supply that comes with a PC case, there so cheaply made that they have been know to fry an entire computer!

    The Sonata III comes with an Earthwatts 500W made by Seasonic. It's a quality PSU totally fine for running a C2D and 8800GT. I've used many of these without an issue; plus they are very quiet too.

    Check out a review:
  22. Sonata III and 8800GT for sure, it will way outperfom the other option. BTW, I am running dual 8800GT's in a Sonata II(Antec TP Trio 550W) with the rig in my sig. I have not OC'ed yet, but considering dual cards that both vent the air into the case, the Sonata is doing well. It's not the max airflow Antec 900, but it's quiet and working well for me.
  23. Sonata III is a good choice.
    The "Antec EarthWatts" is a good PSU.
  24. Another vote for the Sonata/Earthwatts with either a 8800gt or a hd3870. Then again it never hurts to wait.......

    Do not get the 8600 or the 8800GTS-320!!! The 320 is obsolete (yes I have one, pout).
  25. I'd vote for the Sonata/Earthwatts too. In fact, I think I'll get one myself for my next build. I'm quite happy with the 550 watt Antec Trio and 550 watt Antec Neo in my two main PC's.

    I'm not familiar with the Intel processor board, is it single or Crossfire? If it's Crossfire, I'd go with an ATI card. That way, you can upgrade later. Don't even consider an 8600GT or 8600GTS, or an X2600 class either (unless it's a kid's PC or dedicated HTPC).

    If you want Nvidia, they're supposedly coming out with the 8800GS very soon to compete with the 3850. Even with a 3850, I wouldn't get the 256 meg version, but the $199 (at Newegg) 512 meg version. I don't know if the 8800GS will only have 256 like the lower end 8800GT, but 256 megs on a graphics card is entry level for DX10 games.
  26. pauldh said:
    The Sonata III comes with an Earthwatts 500W made by Seasonic. It's a quality PSU totally fine for running a C2D and 8800GT. I've used many of these without an issue; plus they are very quiet too.

    Check out a review:

    You know what I meant, those cheap tier 4 and 5 PSU's that still come in some PC cases.
  27. but this is not a cheap tier 4-5 psu....

    Even with all the TP2.o problems i never had any with my Sonata II....
  28. Thanks everyone. I like the p182, the design and everything, but costly with no psu. The sonata 3, well im glad u told me the specs nukemaster, cause i was worried that there would there a heat buildup for adding a few additional drives, with everything else there.
    I guess the sonata is the way to go, will save me at least 120AUD, where i can spend on the graphics card.

    I guess I could wait a bit more for the newer ati and nivdia cards coming, might be out of my range, but means other prices like the 8800gt might go down. Even the ati 3780 price is spiked up quite a bit over the holidays. The penryn chips im hopin will further reduce the E6x50 cpu price.

    I had to ask, that in gpu's, there are like so many manufacturers, gigabyte, asus, xfx, Inno3d, Powercolor, Sapphire, eVGA, Leadtek, a few others. There are even generic ones, which are like 40AUD cheaper (but iknow those must be poorer ones). Among those manufacturers, any one better then others in terms of quality or warranty offered, or all pretty much the same?
  29. I would personally skimp on the case a little. How about this option guys? He could get a little less on the case, get an EVGA video card, even if it's not great for games, it still would be better than onboard of any kind. Also.....With EVGA don't they run the 90 day step up program? Which means he could trade the 8600 series in for a better card in a couple of months. I think that's the route I'd go.

    How about this for a case?

    Looks like you could mount 2 side fans and one in the rear, which should give you excellent cooling. Mount another up front, and if that's not enough, get a PCI slot cooler. Plus I hear cooler master is supposed to be very good for a cooling solution. If I'm not mistaken, it seems to be half the price of the antec you are wanting. That being the case, you could either upgrade the PSU or go for a better gfx card than the 8600, so it's your call.
  30. thanks for the link. Even with the sonata 3, I do have the budget then for a radeon 3870, and 8800gt (provided that the inflated price drops a bit). But again, as was mentioned by other members above, the 3870x2 and the g92x2 is coming in about a month, which I can wait for. So hoping the prices do stabilize and all. I guess im a bit too paranoid about heat issues, my room remains pretty cool even though its the middle of summer here down under. Ill install the optional fan behind the HD case. I dont plan to oc anything right away, maybe later down the road, and by that time, winters will be here ;). So could get a better case when i eventually upgrade to nehalem in 2009, or wait, maybe Westmere :D
  31. Well the 8800GT may drop in price a bit as Nvidia is apparently pushing it's partners to use cheaper PCBs.
  32. im glad i dont need a pc right away, gives me time to see how the market smooths out, hopefully. Btw, i think ur from australia right? I dont remember the store here in nsw, but they had inno3d 8800gt for only 375aud as a christmas special, they must have got extra stock or something, must be finished by now though.
  33. Yes I am from the great southern land :)

    Don't forget
  34. very nice . better get my glasses out now :). thanks
  35. Is a computer case going to give you more frames per second in games?
    Hell no, so the hell with the case just get some lunch box ;)
  36. A lunch box with fans :)
  37. I use sonata cases at work (think its sonata 2) and the p180 at home, given a choice between the p180 and a 8600 or a sonata and 8800gt, the 8800gt wins hands down no problem at all.

    Dont get me wrong the p180 is a nice case its super quiet its cool etc etc, but when the budgets tight all that stuff is just luxury, I only got mine because I could afford to get that AND 8800 GTX's if it came down to a budget choice of graphics card or case the case would have been dropped in a heart beat and the sonata would have been my second best choice! get the hardware sorted first and worry about luxuries later.
  38. systemlord said:
    You know what I meant, those cheap tier 4 and 5 PSU's that still come in some PC cases.

    Actually I didn't know what you meant as the only discussion of a bundled case/psu in this thread was the Sonata III and Earthwatts 500W. That's why I posted. Yeah, Had the discussion included cheap cases with bundled PSU's I would agree with you for sure.
  39. pauldh said:
    Actually I didn't know what you meant as the only discussion of a bundled case/psu in this thread was the Sonata III and Earthwatts 500W. That's why I posted. Yeah, Had the discussion included cheap cases with bundled PSU's I would agree with you for sure.

    Its nice to see that case makers are including good quality PSU's for a change.
  40. Agreed. And you can find them at a decent price. The Earthwatts 500W was a nice addition to the Sonata III, and better than the SmartPower 2.0 450W that came in the Sonata II. Although that one was still a huge step up from the Powmax, turbolink, etc that came in el cheapo cases.

    Sidenote: I have used dozens of Antec SP 2.0 PSU's and found them just fine, but have now had 3 of them fail. Also found it was incompatible with the Asrock 939 Dual SATA II mobo as the system had random reboots with a SP 2.0 despite a puny 7600GS, 1HDD, 1 optical. Switching in an earthwatts 500W solved that systems stability issues. Google led me to read about some people that couldn't even get that Asrock mobo to boot in the Sonata II or with the 450w SP 2.0.
  41. Keeps fingers crossed for my Sonata II system :)

    When it goes i will get a Earthwatts. My EA430 is dead silent....but the system takes 100-150 watts so i guess its to be expected :)
  42. thanks guys, appreciate all the advice given. Due to some changed circumstances, actually can easily delay my system build to the first week of feb. So, prices will be hopfully dropping in a few sectors by that time. So cpu E6550, Gigabyte p35 ds3r. 2x1gb corsair xm2 pc6400, seagate 250gb. Oh and Sonata 3 :). With expected drop prices in some areas, gives me more flexibility for the GPU, and also a better quality LCD :D
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