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Help with new gaming rig for around $1300

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April 19, 2008 3:13:45 AM

I'm looking to build a new gaming rig to replace my aging P4 Northwood 3.0GHz machine that I'm using now. Here's the rig I'm currently eyeing on NewEgg:

Case: TT Armor Series
PSU: Corsair 620HX
Mobo: Asus P5E
Memory: OCZ Platinum 4G (2x2) PC8500 1066
CPU: E8400 Wolfdale
Soundcard: Auzentech Prelude
CPU Heatsink: Zalman 9500
Graphics card: EVGA 8800GTS 512MB
OS: Windows XP Pro w/SP2

So far with the above with HDD and DVD burner, I'm looking at around $1500. If anyone has any better suggestions, please let me know as I would like to shave a bit offa' that if possible. If not, then I'll just bite the bullet and pay it. At the moment I'm using a Viewsonic 19" LCD that does 1280x1024, so I'm not really going to push the graphics card probably, although I'm probably going to upgrade the monitor in the future. I'd like either a 22 or 24 inch widescreen possibly.

With that in mind, would it make sense to get a better graphics card like a 9 series or an 8800GTX? Perhaps also, the Auzentech is a bit over-kill?? I'm not a big audiophile, but I do like to listen to music and have great-sounding games. Any sound card suggestions are welcome as I've beat my head over to go with Creative or someone else. I'd also like future expandibilty, so any suggestions would be appreciated greatly! Thanks in advance!

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April 19, 2008 8:06:16 AM

Great choice on all!

I however would stick with 8800GTS. The 8800GTX is not faster by any means. The 9800GTX might be a good choice though. If you want a faster card go with 9 series not back to G80.

Also maybe opt for a nice cooler. You are going to be overclocking right? If you arent overclocking there is really no sense in buying that nice of a board. Since you are going to you should opt for a thermalright ultra 120 extreme. I got mine from directron.com, newegg was out of them.

I've always stuck with creative.... so I wouldnt be much help to you in that department.

Your gonna want a new monitor. You could get a less expensive board like ABIT IP35 and add monitor into budget. Also you could just get 8800GT. Just my opinion!
April 21, 2008 2:33:52 AM

No over-clocking, I don't push my systems enough to warrant it. I'm fine with stock speeds. I do, however, want a good motherboard for future expandibility. I've always used ASUS in the past and have never had a problem with them at all. I've always found them to be rock solid and reliable.

I'm thinking perhaps I can cut down on the soundcard to either a X-Fi Gamer Extreme ~$90 or even my old Turtlebeach SantaCruz which is still performing flawlessly to this day. :)  Anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!
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April 21, 2008 6:40:06 AM

Yes... other suggestions:

"no overclocking"... than that motherboard is overkill. The only reason to spend more than 100 bucks on a motherboard IMO is if you want to overclock... that way you know what product you are getting and the quality when it comes to stressing the FSB. If you dont want to overclock than dont waist your money on a board that is for "overclocking"!
April 21, 2008 7:43:10 AM

Since you're not overclocking, get a cheaper P35 board like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L. Even with that board, you can do some moderate overclocking in the future if you become so bold.

Also, downgrade your ram to 800MHz like this nice set of G.skill.

Ditch the aftermarket Zalman CPU cooler. Without overclocking, that 45nm die won't be producing too much heat, and the stock fan will be more than enough.

You can get the 620HX cheaper at buy.com without rebates. If you still need to get cheaper, you could stand to get the Corsair 520HX instead ($40 cheaper). If you don't mind nonmodular, the 550VX will get you $15 cheaper still.
April 21, 2008 8:46:06 AM

oushi said:
Since you're not overclocking, get a cheaper P35 board like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L. Even with that board, you can do some moderate overclocking in the future if you become so bold.

Also, downgrade your ram to 800MHz like this nice set of G.skill.

Ditch the aftermarket Zalman CPU cooler. Without overclocking, that 45nm die won't be producing too much heat, and the stock fan will be more than enough.

You can get the 620HX cheaper at buy.com without rebates. If you still need to get cheaper, you could stand to get the Corsair 520HX instead ($40 cheaper). If you don't mind nonmodular, the 550VX will get you $15 cheaper still.

Agreed... ditch the cooler, get the Gigabyte motherboard and downgrade the PSU. Dont need very much power for non-sli non-overclocking rig.
April 21, 2008 8:32:54 PM

Okay, perhaps I've given the wrong idea here. It's not that I mind spending the $1500, 'cause I might possibly try some OC'ing later on, it's just I like to get the best price/performance ratio for my hard-earned $$$. Heck, I've made due with the rig in my profile for the last 6 years and it's still working just fine today on most things. That being said, you can probably see why I'd want to upgrade! :D 

Quote:
Since you're not overclocking, get a cheaper P35 board like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L. Even with that board, you can do some moderate overclocking in the future if you become so bold.

Hmm...never really had much experience with Gigabyte before. I've heard they're sometimes hit or miss. I've always liked Asus though, never had a problem with them. I will, however, look into the Gigabyte mobo suggested above. Still out on mobo at the moment.

Updated: Was looking around on the Egg and found this Asus mobo: ASUS P5K PRO LGA 775 Intel P35 . What do you guys think? I like it better than the Gigabyte and don't mind paying the extra $40 unless someone can vouch for the reliability of Gigabyte's boards. Sorry, I've just never had a problem with Asus before and am a little reluctant to switch now. I've built two past computers using them and never had a problem.

Quote:
Also, downgrade your ram to 800MHz like this nice set of G.skill.

Would 1066 not be better for gaming or is there really not much of a performance difference? I plan to play things such as Bioshock, perhaps SupCom, Witcher, UT 3, and what-ever else happens to meander along and catch my eye.
Quote:
You can get the 620HX cheaper at buy.com without rebates. If you still need to get cheaper, you could stand to get the Corsair 520HX instead ($40 cheaper). If you don't mind nonmodular, the 550VX will get you $15 cheaper still.

Oh, nice find. Thanks for the heads-up! Wonder if my old buy.com account still works. Haven't bought anything from them in about 7 years or better. :D 

Also, bare in mind the fact that I may upgrade to Vista x64 later and also upgrade my monitor to a 22" or 24", but I guess that has no real bearing other than the fact that I'd need to plop in a better graphics card possibly; or would the 8800GTS 512 be enough to handle 1680x1050 or possibly even 1900x1200? Thanks again guys for all the suggestions so far, much appreciated!
April 22, 2008 1:47:02 AM

The Asus board you found will work fine. I listed the Gigabyte board because it is a very popular budget board with which I've had very good experiences. The most recommended P35 boards are usually the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L/DS3R, Abit IP35-E/Pro, or Asus P5K-E. As long as you make sure the mobo has everything you need, it's hard to go wrong with any of em.

With little to no overclocking, you won't be making any use out of the extra FSB from the more expensive ram. The ram you're looking at has a maximum rating of 1066MHz... an E8400 at stock clock speeds will only require 667MHz.

Getting 800MHz ram will cut down your cost without taking any hit in performance. In fact, it still leaves a good margin extra in case you decide to overclock in the future.
April 22, 2008 7:55:11 AM

Once again... completely agree with oushi.

Once you understand a bit of overclocking (not saying you dont) you'll realize why you wont need 1066 memory. This speed memory will only benefit you if you decide to overclock and stress the FSB. Only then will your memory require 1000mhz or above. So with the E8400 default clock speed of 333... your mobo at default will keep that memory running at 667mhz. Until you start tweaking (overclocking) around with your ratios or upping your FSB will that speed get higher.

I would opt for the P5K-E... It's more of an enthusiast board than the pro... and for only 10 bucks more. Just more support out there for that board than the later. Especially if you are wanting Asus.

Since the 9800GTX is dropping in price so rapidly you might want to consider. The G92 GTS wont be available for very much longer so if you want it you better "hurry up and buy"!

Stick with the 22 inch size of monitor... plenty big and still at the lower res compared to the 24 inch... However if you decide the 24 inch is the way to go than dont worry about your GPU... for the games you play the GTS or even a 9 series GT/GTX will suite you just fine and play it at max settings.
April 23, 2008 2:59:59 AM

Man, thanks guys. Good thing I asked around. I was almost up to $1700 at one point, and I figured I was going a bit overkill on things. I guess the only real thing that would tax the card would be Crysis, and I really don't plan on playing that, as I'm getting kinda' burnt out on FPS's.

As for soundcards, can anyone recommend a decent card that will work in either Vista 64 or XP (reason I ask for Vista is that I will probably upgrade to it at some point in the future)? Perhaps I should go with Vista now? Any suggestions there? Again, many thanks for the info!
April 23, 2008 3:04:33 AM

cool... no prob for the help.

For now you should probably stick with the onboard sound. The only reason I say that is because you may like the onboard sound and see no reason to upgrade.

My first rig I bought a Creative soundblaster 24bit live. It was nice but it couldnt play BF2 at full 5.1 settings at all. I eventually got a used Creative audigy 4. My new motherboard though plays BF2 at full 5.1 candy sound with no hickups. That's onboard... better than the old 24bit live! Point is... why pay for a sound card now when you are not even sure that you are going to need it. Give the onboard a shot and upgrade later.
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