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Best CPU/Mobo/RAM for $200? (Micro ATX)

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March 27, 2008 10:27:36 PM

Okay, I am running a 3ghz Pentium 4 with an x800GTO AGP graphics card and 2 gigs of DDR memory. I am replacing my motherboard/video card/cpu/memory. I am already saving for a Nehalem build sometime next year before I leave for college, so this just needs to play Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Spore (and Starcraft 2 if it comes out this year) for a year. (When I rebuild again, I will put this system in a MicroATX case and use it for HTPC type purposes) I'm planning on grabbing an HD4000 series card (or gt200) this summer, so I'm not even asking about the video card at this point. (I've picked one out for right now and would like to leave it out of the discussion.)

This is the best I could come up with for around $200 after rebate:

ASRock ALive NF6P-VSTA MicroATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $51.99

AMD Athlon 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz Dual Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99

A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2) DDR2-800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 - $20 MIR

There is a combo deal on the processor and the memory (crazy cheap for 4 gigs! i was originally going for 2!) for $15 off.

Total: $213.64 shipped ($20 mail-in rebate)

But can I do better? Is the 5000+ a terrible processor not worth going for with the combo deal?
March 27, 2008 10:43:53 PM

Well, if you dont mind overclocking or going with a ATX motherboard, you can build a Intel based system for the same price that will blow the amd 5000+ out of the water. Watch:
Gigabyte p35 DS3L LGA 775 ATX Intel Motherboard, $89.99:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel e2180, 79.99:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
A-DATA 4 GB (2 x 2) ddr2 800 (same memory)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Then overclock the CPU to 3.00 ghz (higher with a better cooler). And then you will have a cpu faster than a 6400+!!
It well cost a little bit more money though :( 
March 27, 2008 10:51:20 PM

Well, that totals to $240.

But before I saw the combo deal I was thinking of a 2160/2180 overclocked, because that's a great value.

Problem is, I would much rather go MicroATX now and save having to get a new motherboard for this system later. I could get the GA-G31M-S2L for about $66 i think but I don't believe that board overclocks as well. I could be wrong on this.

Would it still be better with that board? Without the $15 discount I'd consider getting only 2 gigs, so the price would still be about right. I'm just wary of using such a cheap board with a potentially very high overclock...
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March 27, 2008 10:56:05 PM

Yes I agree with you on such a cheap board with such a high overclock. I think it would be better to have 4gb of memory with a amd 5000+ then a e2180 and 2gb of memory though, especially if you want this pc to be a htpc a year from now. For what your doing it sounds like a amd 5000+ would be adequate anyways.
March 27, 2008 11:47:38 PM

personally, I'd try to stretch the budget a bit and go for a 780G board, they seem to be the only boards that can handle HD playback smoothly, that way you dont need a dedicated GFX card for the HTPC, which will mean less heat in the case, which means less noise. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135075 is cheap at the moment, but its not in stock either.
March 27, 2008 11:52:44 PM

Well it's not exactly going to be a HTPC. It's just going to be HTPC-like. HD content is out of the question, as the projector it will be hooked up to we only have at like 1024x768.
March 27, 2008 11:54:29 PM

well get the 780g motherboard with any BE 5000+ and overclock get great result and feature with it in standard.im an intel fan never own a AMD system.but the feature set in the 780G chipset really impress me.and i just recommend them if you want cheap all in one solution thats the one to go for.
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