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The inexpensive light gaming computer (Updated)

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February 11, 2008 12:16:42 AM

Hello all. I'm just to decide whether or not to build a new computer. I'm trying to decide what to do right now. I'm wanting to build a new computer now, but I'm wondering if I should wait a couple of months and wait for some newer stuff to come out. So right now I'm just pricing a new computer, and I need some opinions/suggestions.

Updated information:
AM2 Computer:
CPU- AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103191 $163.99
Fan and Heatsink - Ultra X-Wind http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3441097&sku=ULT33048%20AM2 $19.99 (Limited height due to case)
Motherboard- Biostar TA780G M2+http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en-us/t-series/content.php?S_ID=344# $(Unknown)
RAM- A-DATA 2GB(1GBx2) DDR2-800 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820211066 $45.99
Hard Drive- WD 160GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136075 $49.99
Video Card- ATI Radeon HD 3850http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814103049$169.99
PSU- Antec True Power Trio 550W http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16817371002 $74.99
Case- Ultra MicroFly Micro Tower Case http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1800612&Sku=ULT33117
$39.99
Total: ~$621.02 shipped

As you can see I've decided to spend the extra money for a overall better computer, and to make it last a little longer than my current one (Going on 2yrs). Does this setup seem future proof? Reason I'm going with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition is because for the price I feel that it is the best solution for me. Its performance seems to fall in between the Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 and the Intel Core 2 Duo E6750. Plus, if I can find that motherboard, then I'll have a AM2 CPU slot, so I'll be able to use all of AMD's new CPUs for the next year or so. By the way, does anyone know where I can find that motherboard, I've looked on Newegg, ZipZoomFly, Tigerdirect, and Compusa.

This would be about what fits into my budget, but I'm still thinking of whether to buy now or wait. If I were to buy today, which computer would you recommend, and what would you change? Also, I "would" like to be able to overclock.

Thanks for the help.

P.S. I'll be using this computer for daily tasks, media center (Movies), and light gaming (Battlefield 2, Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 4) on mid quality.
February 11, 2008 12:31:12 AM

if you can afford it...try to get an HD3850...i noticed you picked out an x1950 pro, which is a great card, but it's not as future proof as the HD3850 is...
I would also recommend an X2 5000+ BE instead of the X2 5200+...you will have to spend money on a heatsink, but it shouldn't be that much...the thing with the Black Edition is that its REALLY easy to OC...REALLY easy
February 11, 2008 12:35:15 AM

If money is an issue I'd go with a slower processor and upgrade that graphics card. Go with a cheaper AMD and pick up a 3870 or 8800 gt from newegg. You'll want a better graphics card for gaming.

Also this power supply is on sale at newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
February 11, 2008 12:40:20 AM

The 5000+ BE is onsale for $89 @ Tiger.
Get a MB with a NV590 chipset...they OC like crazy.
Get a Segate 500GB HD...they are $89-119.
ATI 3570 is $232,a 8800GTS is $258...both with 512MB ram.

I only use PC Power & Cooling PSU's the -are- worth the exta money.
The 610 is -contant rated- @ 49Amps on the large single 12V rail and with 40C air blowing into it.
$119 dirrect from them.
February 11, 2008 12:48:57 AM

Note: The savings above should give you the cash for a 3850 GPU.
February 11, 2008 12:54:21 AM

Wow, that's faster help than trying to get a call into order a pizza.

I see that some people are saying to go with the AMD computer, but with a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition, and a better video card. Will the difference in L2 Cache affect anything?

Some are saying to go with an Intel computer, different motherboard, and different video card as well. Zenmaster, that motherboard won't work with the case that I picked, and I really like that case.

But I'll look around to try to squeeze in a HD 3850.

Thanks for the quick replies everyone.

February 11, 2008 2:49:46 AM

The performance gained from OCing the Black Edition will heavily outweight the gain from the L2 cache on the 5200...the BE OCs like crazy...
Whichever way you go...try to at least get an HD3850 or better...
February 11, 2008 5:44:21 PM

Hello once again,

I'm starting to lead more towards the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition. I'm thinking that I'm just going to buy everything, but the video card (ATI HD 3850) and buy that in about a month or two at the lastest.

I need some help in choosing a budget fan/heatsink for the CPU, and remember I'm limited to height due to the case (Around 75mm tall at most). Also, I'm still looking for some suggestions as far as a PSU.

Thanks for the help thus far everyone.
February 11, 2008 8:51:48 PM

If you want something cheap that will gain you plenty of performance through overclocking go with an Intel E2160 and a p35 board like zenmaster said. I wouldn't buy AMD right(that hurts to say because I'm kind of a fan boy). Intel is just better right now. About your PSU, I would go with the Corsair VX550w. I think I seen somewhere that it's $69.99 shipped at buy.com. For only $20 more you get alot more PSU than you could get with only spendin $50 on a cheapy. It has a single 41A 12v rail which is more than enough for a HD3850, plus you have a plenty of headway to upgrade. the PSU also has a 5 year warranty
February 11, 2008 9:04:05 PM

Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136062
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy
Select An Optional Extended Warranty Plan 1 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $14.992 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $19.99 $59.99

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
$86.99
$46.99

GIGABYTE GA-P31-S3G LGA 775 Intel P31 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128077
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy
Select An Optional Extended Warranty Plan 1 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $14.992 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $19.99 $69.99

Intel Pentium E2160 Allendale 1.8GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E2160 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819116036
Return Policy: Processors (CPUs) Return Policy
Select An Optional Extended Warranty Plan 1 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $14.992 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $19.99 $74.99

HIS Hightech H385F256NP Radeon HD 3850 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814161211
Return Policy: Limited Non-Refundable 30-Day Return Policy


Select An Optional Extended Warranty Plan 1 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $29.992 Year Extended Service Net Replacement Plan -- $39.99
HIS Stereo Headphone with Microphone - Retail
Item #: N82E16800997024
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$5.00 Instant
-$19.99 Combo
$194.98
$169.99
Subtotal: $421.95


Add in the $40 for your case and the $70 Corsair PSU it comes to $531.
thats a pretty good pc for that price
February 11, 2008 10:30:08 PM

i don't really think he would be skimping with the Corsair VX550...Skimping would be what I did by getting the Mushkin 550
February 12, 2008 12:39:20 AM

Thanks for the help thus far everyone, but there is one small problem, the motherboard that jalpaugh1978 suggested won't fit my case. I need a Micro-ATX case. Reason is, I really like that case, and I was wanting one like it when I built my current computer 2 years ago, but I guess I might skip on it and go for performance.

P.S. Is this a good/decent fan/heatsink?http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3441097&CatId=2545
February 12, 2008 1:06:21 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-G31M-S2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Image Viewer

$66.99
3 Business Day Shipping $6.33
(Not available in HI, AK and PR)
In Stock

good reviews and looks cool too...cheap

not sure about a cooler. never built micro atx
February 12, 2008 5:17:28 AM

I like AMD myself, while intel would be faster, if you do AMD, make sure you pick up an AM2+ board, then you could still use that black edition, and after they get the Phenoms fixed, later on you can pick up a quad for your motherboard, and still have a good system. I personally don't have a 5000+ black edition, but I do have a 5200+, and it is great. Nice, snappy. Not as fast as an overclocked intel setup, but it would do fine for you and do all your games, whatever you want. The bad thing on intel is I think their newer chips will not use the socket 775 they have been using. However the nice thing on AMD is their new and current chips use a similar enough socket, like if you get an AM2+ board, you can use the AM2 series chips, then like I said, go up to an AM2+ socket Phenom when the bugs are worked out.
February 13, 2008 10:07:30 PM

Updated information in the first post.

Thanks for the help everyone, sorry if I keep dragging this out, but I really appreciate everyone's suggestions/comments.
February 13, 2008 10:48:10 PM

The g skill ram on ebay has free shipping. I think its same quality/better.
February 13, 2008 11:02:22 PM

The Mushkin 550200 is a Tier-T PSU. There are many better, but this is certainly a good one, and its modular cables are VERY nice in a micro-ATX case. I've installed two of them, with no issues whatsoever.
If, however, you want a higher tier that is modular, look at a Corsair HX.
The RaidMax PSU that someone listed is on tier-5 ("do not buy"). Jonnyguru (and others) have done reviews of cheap PSUs like those that typically feature nasty odors and/or pyrotechnics by the time the load reaches 75% of spec; some as low as 50%. That's why it is a bad idea to get a cheap PSU. Small is ok; a good 400 will outperform a cheap 680.
!