First time builder; a few hardware questions

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK

Video Card: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

DVD: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner w/LightScribe IDE Model DRW-2014L1

CPU Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler

Case: RAIDMAX SYMPHONY ATX-308 White SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM

Power Supply: Antec Neo HE 550w (already own)


I'm looking to build a computer for around $800-$900, maybe slightly more if I'd gain a lot. Everything I've listed totals $837 (with the exception of the PSU, which I already own) with shipping included, so it's right around what I'm looking to spend.

The system will mostly be used for gaming, but will also be used for word processing, internet, music, and watching video.

One question I have is about the RAM. Since I am probably going to go with the 32 bit Vista, because 64 bit just seems like too much of a hassle now, should I be going with 2 GB? Would it be better to go with 4 GB even though some of it wouldn't be used? The price difference isn't that high, so I'd be inclined to go with whichever would be better.

The second question I have is how much impact do sound cards have in video game performance (FPS, etc.), if any? I've always just used the onboard sound.

Any advice would be great. Thanks.
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  1. Looks good to me. If you want to spend a little more to get better performance, think about upgrading to an 8800GTS and a 7200.11 HDD. A 320GB version just came out recently which should work well for you:

    Even though all of the 4GB won't be used, considering how cheap you can get DDR2 ram nowadays it doesn't hurt to stock up. It all depends if you're willing to spend the extra money or not.

    Onboard sound will be fine. An extra sound card would give a negligible increase in performance and would be a waste of money if you're not getting a higher end one.
  2. Yes, the difference in fps is little between using a dedicated sound card and onboard sound.
    And if you can afford it, get 4gb of ram. It cost somthing like $80? thats so cheap, might as well shoot higher and get 4 gb.
  3. Thanks for the tip on that new HD, I didn't notice it.

    I was looking at this for a 8800GTS, but wasn't sure if my PSU could handle it. In the spec section it recommends a +12v @26 amps. My PSU has 3x +12v @18 amps each. I'm not clear on how that works.
  4. Get the 8800GT for $159 at ... best deal ever!
  5. Looking at for RAM. They aren't 1066, but they're one of the better reviewed pairs for the money.
  6. Your PSU will be more than enough. In general, For multiple 12V rails just add up the ratings for your total amperage. :)
  7. The Graphics card may not work with the motherboard, since the graphics card needs PCIe 2.0 and P35 chipset motherboards dont usualy support this feature.
  8. ^ Ignore him.

    PCI-e 2.0 cards are backwards compatible with PCI-e 1.1 boards. In addition, the bandwidth of 1.1 isn't being saturated yet by today's video cards, so you wouldn't really gain much, if anything, by having a PCI-e 2.0 board at the moment.
  9. sorry got mixed up
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