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Semi-budget gaming build?

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April 18, 2008 4:29:34 PM

Just curious about opinions on this build. My aimpoint was a $1100ish gaming computer build that's not really state-of-the-art, but close enough to it that I shouldn't have to spend a lot of money on upgrades for the next couple of years. I've already got the case/power supply combo and the processors sitting here...the rest of the stuff has to wait until I get some more money in. I'm building two of them, one for me and one for my wife, identical except mine will have the card reader in it.

Case: Antec Sonata Plus (with two extra 92mm fans in the front)
PS: Antec Neo 550 modular
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0 GHz
Memory: 4x1GB Kingston DDR2 1066 KHX8500D2K2/2G PC2 8500
Video Card: MSI N9600GT OC 512MB PCI-E 2.0x16
Hard Drive: Maxtor L01F500 500GB SATA 3.0GB/sec 7200RPM
Optical Drive: Asus 20x DVD+-R DRW-2014L1T
Monitor: Chimei CMV221D 22" widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium
Card Reader: Sabrent CRU-UINB 65-in-1 internal USB card reader

Thanks!
April 18, 2008 4:48:41 PM

I like it.

I would change the hard drive to a Seagate 7200.11 though.

My personal preference for memory is either Crucial or G. Skill.

You might also consider an 8800 GTS (G92) or an 8800 GT as an upgrade; the GTS would last you a couple of years easily.

Looks great otherwise.
April 18, 2008 9:30:01 PM

Good choices.

But get the Seagate 7200.11 500GB hard drive instead. Its the fastest 500GB drive out there.

Also, the 8800GT is available for $159 at tigerdirect. Stellar deal.
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April 18, 2008 11:01:42 PM

i suggest getting 2x2GB memory sticks instead of 4x1gb. That way u can upgrade still in the future since your 64-bit os can utilize over 4gb of ram
April 19, 2008 12:32:55 AM

thisguyhere said:
i suggest getting 2x2GB memory sticks instead of 4x1gb. That way u can upgrade still in the future since your 64-bit os can utilize over 4gb of ram

To add to that, if you plan on overclocking then there will be less failure points to consider and will be more stable.
April 19, 2008 1:54:08 PM

Good point on the memory...unfortunately I went to Gigabyte's website, and there's no 2GB sticks listed on the DS3L's "approved memory list" except for one DDR 667 set. I had heard that the DS3L was somewhat picky about the memory it played nice with so I wanted to make sure I picked something on that list--that way if I had problems, that was one thing I could eliminate.
April 22, 2008 1:44:33 PM

Ouch. Turns out I was wrong on the memory...the Kingston I have on my "wish list" at Newegg is NOT on their approved list. Only the 512MB sticks are, not the 1GB sticks. Does anybody have any memory recommendations for 4 GB of memory on a Gigabyte P35-DS3L? This board seems to be awfully picky about what memory it wants, from what I'm reading. (I don't have these components yet, except for the case and E8400s.) I haven't built in so long, I'm a total noob when it comes to DDR 800 vs. 1066.
April 22, 2008 2:48:54 PM

you can get an 8800GTS 512 for that kind of money...
April 22, 2008 4:32:07 PM

So what's the advantage of going with an 8800GTS over a 9600GT? I know the 8800 has more raw speed, but isn't the 9600 better positioned for the future?
April 22, 2008 4:46:18 PM

^ ... NOTHING is better positioned for the future..... one buys a card, 6 months later he/she/it feels disappointed because theres a new shinier faster cooler card ....................(not counting the misbegotten 9800 though)

The advantage of 8800GTS over 9600GT is...its faster. Also gives better fps at higher res. Thats why its more expensive.
April 22, 2008 5:45:53 PM

and it has more stream processors, and a good stock cooler
a b 4 Gaming
April 22, 2008 6:03:06 PM

Yeah I say go for an 8800GT/GTS video card. They are much better and if you are starting from scratch you can play with your items a little more than someone who only have $150 to burn.
April 22, 2008 6:50:25 PM

Hmm. OK. Any particular preferences on dual-slot vs. single-slot? I am thinking dual-slot, because the case I will be using only has one exhaust fan (120mm) and no top or side fans, just two extra 92mm intake fans in front of the hard drive cage. If I can dump the hot air out the back instead of into the case, it might be better, especially since I am using the stock cooler on the E8400--I'm not planning to overclock.
April 22, 2008 7:17:48 PM

Answered my own questions with some research, and tweaked the build to look like this:

Case: Antec Sonata Plus (with two extra 92mm fans in the front)
PS: Antec Neo 550 modular
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0 GHz
Memory: 4x1GB G.Skill DDR2 800
Video Card: MSI NX8800GTS 512MB PCI-E x16
Hard Drive: Maxtor L01F500 500GB SATA 3.0GB/sec 7200RPM
Optical Drive: Asus 20x DVD+-R DRW-2014L1T
Monitor: Chimei CMV221D 22" widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium
Card Reader: Sabrent CRU-UINB 65-in-1 internal USB card reader

The 8800GTS drives the price up, but that's mostly compensated for by going to the G.Skill DDR 800 memory, which is considerably cheaper than the Kingston 1066 I had on the list. (I still can't find any 2 GB sticks that play nice with the P35-DS3L so I stuck with four 1 GB sticks.) And the 8800GTS cards have a $30 rebate on them, so after that, they're under $200...can't pass that up. Oh, the reason I went with the Maxtor instead of the Seagate Barracuda? I can't find any 500 GB Barracudas on Newegg that aren't open-box without cables. I need the cables since this is a fresh build, and I'm trying to get everything from Newegg to make the shipping easier.

Thanks for the help!
April 24, 2008 2:16:16 AM

The P35-DS3L is not picky at all when it comes to memory. I have the Patriot Extreme Performance 2x2 Gig Set, and it works just fine.

Link to the memory I got (It's 4-4-4-12) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm sure you can also find cheaper compatible memory. The sites list is not very comprehensive at all.
a b 4 Gaming
April 24, 2008 1:30:46 PM

Got a few suggestions to make this a winner.

I would replace the hard drive with the Seagate suggested. I'm not a fan of Maxtor. ... even though Seagate bought them, I still am not convinced. The 7200.11 is a proven winner.

The Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L mobo is a ROCK SOLID motherboard. I've never worried about "compatible memory lists" if that is where you are getting your info from. Since you are getting the e8400 you may want to get higher than DDR2 800 memory if you have any incline you are going to overclock. 800MHZ memory means that you can only overclock your bus to 400MHz giving you only an OC of 3.6GHz on that e8400. They can go SO much higher. I would recommend 1000 or 1066 memory. aka pc8000 or pc8500 memory. the 1000 would allow you to hit a 500mhz bus and a max OC of 4.5GHZ. I go for something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I can't comment on the Antec PSU cause you already have it so we have to leave that alone.

I'm glad to see people who post in here actually take advise. I've seen people post for comments and then don't listen to anything anyone says and they place another post saying, "help with OC: my parts don't play well" or something like that.

PS, You are building an identical one for your wife? How cute, does she game to? haha. Sorry i wish my GF did, she will play PS2 sometimes to beat me up in Soul Caliber III and Guitar Hero. I'm slowly working on her. haha
April 24, 2008 5:29:17 PM

Awesome advice, guys, thanks. I switched to the OEM Barracuda 7200.11, and Jay, I switched to the G.Skill DDR2 1000 you linked. The 1066 was so much more expensive, I didn't see where the premium would be worth it.

If I do overclock these systems, it'll be a small one, no higher than 3.6 or so, unless I get frisky and decide to replace the stock HSF assembly down the road. I'm already overbudget, so I really can't add anything else on.

And, yes, I'm building an identical one for my wife. Those are the rules if I ever want to...y'know...ever again. (Or maybe she'd just murder me in my sleep and take my computer.) I think she uses it to keep a brake on my upgrade spending. I have to think a lot more when I have to buy two of everything instead of just one!

She's a gamer, mainly RPGs--World of Warcraft and Oblivion. I'm heavy into MS Flight Simulator 2004 and probably Flight Simulator X once the new box is in place, as well as WoW, EVE Online, and HL2. Nothing too cutting-edge. But considering my current box is a five-year-old homebuild Athlon XP 2500 w/1GB and a 6600GT 128MB AGP? My cutting edge is pretty darn dull right now!

The tweaked build is:

Case: Antec Sonata Plus (with two extra 92mm fans in the front)
PS: Antec Neo 550 modular
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0 GHz
Memory: 2x2GB G.Skill DDR2 1000 (PC8000) F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ
Video Card: MSI NX8800GTS 512MB PCI-E x16
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Optical Drive: Asus 20x DVD+-R DRW-2014L1T
Monitor: Chimei CMV221D 22" widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium
Card Reader: Sabrent CRU-UINB 65-in-1 internal USB card reader
a b 4 Gaming
April 24, 2008 5:59:34 PM

moose004 said:
Awesome advice, guys, thanks. I switched to the OEM Barracuda 7200.11, and Jay, I switched to the G.Skill DDR2 1000 you linked. The 1066 was so much more expensive, I didn't see where the premium would be worth it.
It was just advice, but the PC8000 memory will be very worth it. That HD is awesome to, I have an ES.2 which is the "enterprise" version of it. FAST!
moose004 said:
If I do overclock these systems, it'll be a small one, no higher than 3.6 or so, unless I get frisky and decide to replace the stock HSF assembly down the road. I'm already overbudget, so I really can't add anything else on.
Oh shut it! Once you start to overclock you are hooked, it's like crack! You can get a decent cooler for like $30. Not super highend but it will get you a good OC

The Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro7 is GREAT at $32. I had one and sold it cause I started to need a BIG FAT cooler cause the first Core2's need the voltage bumped up pretty high to stay stable. But I got a great OC out of it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

moose004 said:

And, yes, I'm building an identical one for my wife. Those are the rules if I ever want to...y'know...ever again. (Or maybe she'd just murder me in my sleep and take my computer.) I think she uses it to keep a brake on my upgrade spending. I have to think a lot more when I have to buy two of everything instead of just one!
You can't just share? or are you gaming at the same time? That's actually pretty cool.

moose004 said:

Case: Antec Sonata Plus (with two extra 92mm fans in the front)
PS: Antec Neo 550 modular
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0 GHz
Memory: 2x2GB G.Skill DDR2 1000 (PC8000) F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ
Video Card: MSI NX8800GTS 512MB PCI-E x16
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Optical Drive: Asus 20x DVD+-R DRW-2014L1T
Monitor: Chimei CMV221D 22" widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium
Card Reader: Sabrent CRU-UINB 65-in-1 internal USB card reader

Yeah that's the best Mid range gamer you are gonna get without starting to throw a ton of $$$ into it. I mean you could cute a few bucks off by getting an 8800GT but thats just being picky.
April 25, 2008 3:35:12 PM

jay2tall said:
You can't just share? or are you gaming at the same time? That's actually pretty cool.


Yeah, at the same time. We tend to raid together in WoW a couple of nights a week. I realize WoW is not a very state-of-the-art graphic-demanding game most of the time, but my old clunker is getting ~7 fps in some of the areas when there's a big fight on, so an upgrade is needed. Plus my wife's still limping along on a seven-year-old Gateway 17" CRT--yes, I think I've got the only Gateway OEM monitor that's ever lasted that long--and I've basically forced a monitor upgrade to the 22" on her. We deserve it, dangit.

I appreciate the advice I'm getting on here. I tried another board (won't say which, but their mascot is an egg >.>) and I had people on there telling me that the Neo 550 power supply wasn't going to work because it didn't have the per-rail amps to run a 9600GT, and that I needed to drop another $100 per computer on a single-rail PS. Folks here have set me straight and saved me $200 in the process...which I've plowed back into 4 GB of memory per machine and going for 8800GTSes instead of 9600GTs.
a b 4 Gaming
April 25, 2008 5:46:19 PM

moose004 said:
Yeah, at the same time. We tend to raid together in WoW a couple of nights a week. I realize WoW is not a very state-of-the-art graphic-demanding game most of the time, but my old clunker is getting ~7 fps in some of the areas when there's a big fight on, so an upgrade is needed. Plus my wife's still limping along on a seven-year-old Gateway 17" CRT--yes, I think I've got the only Gateway OEM monitor that's ever lasted that long--and I've basically forced a monitor upgrade to the 22" on her. We deserve it, dangit.

I appreciate the advice I'm getting on here. I tried another board (won't say which, but their mascot is an egg >.>) and I had people on there telling me that the Neo 550 power supply wasn't going to work because it didn't have the per-rail amps to run a 9600GT, and that I needed to drop another $100 per computer on a single-rail PS. Folks here have set me straight and saved me $200 in the process...which I've plowed back into 4 GB of memory per machine and going for 8800GTSes instead of 9600GTs.

Dude, alot of those old CRT's just don't die. We buy new PC's at work and never order monitors with them unless it is requested. We have old NEC 17"ers that are like 10 years old. It's funny, they are all beige and faded plastic.

Wait they whaaaa? A 9600Gt's run on combustible cow farts if you can harness them in a jar. That PSU has 3 18A rails it is more than enough for a little 9600gt. Yeah buddy you saved $200 and throwing it back in the system. THAT'S What I like to hear. I see Evga has the GTS for $210 after rebate now to.
!