Extreme Budget (Gaming) System Build

My college laptop is a two year old Compaq and takes 5 minutes to open Matlab 7 and VS 2005 (two programs I need), so I decided to get a new computer. I was looking at Dells at first but decided to build my own rig after advice from some friends...and it looked like fun! Frankly, being a college student I needed to stay at a budget so it isn't as "extreme" as some of your rigs. The PC will be used for mostly college work and light gaming. So no Crysis...sigh. Here goes:

- ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
- Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)
- XFX 8600GT XXX 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI
- Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC ATX 430W Power Supply
- COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower
- SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black PATA Model SH-S202G

The total cost is around $570 after MIR...which falls under my budget. I still need a LCD monitor and will probably go for a Samsung 19".
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  1. I recommend u getting an Intel E2xx CPU with a GIGABYTE P35 DS3L and OC
    If DDR2 800 doesnt have alot of $ difference with 667,then go for it, it OCs better than 667
    and also instead of 8600GTXXX, get HD 3850
    also change the PSU to CORSAIR 450 or 520 (if u can)
  2. agree with the intel recommend. it's intel's time in the sun. I'm not sure how much you are paying for the 8600gt, but the 3850 can be had for $150, so if it,s in your budget it would be worth a little extra money. that being said, the 8600gt is still a capable card. I had one and played crysis at 1024x768 with most settings on high. I would look for an antec earthwatts or fsp psu, quality cheap psus. I have the same case, love it. go with ddr800, worth a few extra dollars. never buy a pata drive. sata only from here on out.
  3. The 8600GT is $98 after rebate, so the ATI would be kinda high. I selected the PSU because of the cost ($35 I believe) and good reviews on newegg. What's better about the Antecs and is there something wrong with Thermaltake? About the RAM I read that there's not a considerable difference between 667 and 800 unless you are planning to overclock...which I am not. Is there any other major difference that warrants paying the extra money? From what I read there are some problems with SATA optical drives...why is buying PATA the wrong choice? lower speeds? I am afraid I don't know much about the difference between SAT and PATA. Thanks for the comments.
  4. FWIW, this is deal:


    You might as well get ASUS M3A since it supports Phenom & AM2 cpus out of the box. The same can't be said for many AM2 boards.

    No, nothing wrong with the 430W. It will work fine. For a while. We are always trying to suggest good psu's that last a long while. Yep, I would get something else like Earthwatts 380W or Fortron/Sparkle. The 8800gt recommends a 325W.

    I used to think PATA dvd drives had problems with Windows. Turned out it was just me. I'm using a SATA one. XP SP2 CD loads up just fine. SATA cables are thinner & not impeding airflow as much as PATA cables.
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