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Impossible Dream? $300 First Build - Please Review & Critique

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April 14, 2008 6:37:04 PM

Hi all. I'm looking to roll out an inexpensive (<$300) replacement for my current system with good expandability options for the future. I'm currently running a slightly upgraded HP Pavilion A500n w/ 1 GB PC2700, an upgraded 500W PSU (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817255010) and a PNY 6800 AGP video card on XP Pro, SP2.

At this point, I don't do much FPS or gaming other than BFME2 and Pacific Fighters, but my current system sometimes chokes a bit on these titles. I'm planning on re-using the PSU I've got, I have a copy of XP Pro and Ubuntu 7.10 that I'm going to dual-boot on the system, and already have my keyboard and mouse.

Given the crappy budget, I'm almost stuck with integrated video for the near-term.

Intel guys, I've looked at implementing an E2160-based system, but am not sure that a 7-series integrated video solution will be adequate (is there a better integrated video solution for intel folks?).

Here's what I've selected so far:

MB - GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H
$88 - http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-MA78GM2
Is the built in video on this going to be comparable to my current 6800 in DX9 games, or am I smoking doobies on this one?

Memory - Super Talent 2x1GB DDR2-800
$36 - http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=T8UB2GC5

HDD - Seagate 80GB 7200.10 SATA
$38 - http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=HD-ST80SB5

CPU - at this point, I'm undecided as to whether I should slum it with an LE-16XX series ($30-40 retail) or get a low-end (x2-3800+ or 4200+); in either case, I'm open to a mild overclock and understand that the 780G MB is pretty good w/ o'c'ing. I plan on dumping in a tri-core or quad-core Phenom in a year or so once prices drop some more. Even an LE-1600 should be superior to my current 2800+ XP, correct?

Case - I have a couple ugly beige cases in the garage that might do in a pinch, but appreciate suggestions on a solid sub-$50 case.

Misc - Add $10 or so for a couple case fans and some Arctic Silver

What am I missing? Thanks for looking and for your suggestions.
April 14, 2008 7:22:04 PM

I don't think the 780G integrated graphics would be better than your AGP 6800GS. Perhaps you could build your system with integrated graphics and hold off for a while to save up for a decent video card. Sell your 6800GS on eBay and start a video card fund.
April 14, 2008 7:25:40 PM

if you're limited to integrated graphics, an AMD 780G based motherboard will be significantly faster than a geforce 7000. Then just pick up an athlon X2 4200+ or something like that and you'll be fine. i'm planning to do exactly that in the near future.
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April 14, 2008 7:36:12 PM

I built an AMD rig for $280 last month.


X2 4800+, Gigabyte mobo with 680G chipset (excellent onboard graphics), 2GB DDR2-800 memory, 160 GB Seagate HDD, etc.

Got a GREAT deal on clearance at Bestbuy for a case and 500W PSU for $20. After a few days tracking down the real manufacturer of the PSU included and reading reviews of their PSUs (even of the one I had) I was comfortable with using it in the system. The PSU turned out to be pretty solid and the computer runs great.

$280. Used an old 17" Samsung LCD monitor, old keyboard, old mouse, old copy of XP, and used an old IDE DVD burner. Can't beat that. Gave it to my Mom and Step Dad since their 10 year old Dell finally kicked. They cut me a check for $300. So I made $20 on the thing. :) 

If I wanted worse on board graphics and a 3800+ X2 cpu I could've had the computer for around $225. But at $280 I got a very solid computer with an AM2+ sockett and HDMI out onbard.
April 14, 2008 7:46:24 PM

If you play club live games and get vista for free, and watch your slickdeals.net then you could do like me.
*Edit* I see you have OS.
Also, no onboard will NOT be better then your prior 6800. For PCi-E pickup something on ebay for around $50 maybe a 7600-7900 or ati x850, x1800-1950.

Vista Free (club live games)
E2160 @3.0 $65
3gig of ddr2-800 $55
ip35e MB $65
x800xl on ebay 35
free case and power supply (8$shipping, 600watt)
dvd burner 25$
250GB HD 62$
=$315
!