Doctor, what is your prognosis?

I bought my System in late 2005:
Motherboard: Jetway 939GT2-STD-G, nForce4, 1 PCIe x16 and 1 PCIe x1
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 2,2 GHz
Video card: MSI GeForce 6600GT 256 MiB GDDR3

I am starting to notice a need for more resources in order to enjoy the newly released games.
I am a very poor student so my capital is very constrained. From the research I've done on the latest technology, what I possibly want to consider for purchase would be:
4 GiB of RAM
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3,0 GHz

I have no idea what chipset would be appropriate on the motherboard nor what Video card to acquire. At first I had gold fever and thought that 2 GeForce 9800GX2 using SLI manufacture overclocked would be of my interested and a motherboard with nForce 780. But then I remembered I got no money :pt1cable:

GeForce 9800GX2 seems to be a nice though overly overpriced card. So maybe I should stay away from that one. I am not in a position where my finances allows me to buy the system at this very moment so possible upcoming releases might be recommendable over something else.

So doctor, what is your recommendation?
21 answers Last reply
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  1. My recommendation is write a bucket list. :D

    What's the uses of this build? Is there any overclocking? What's your budget?
  2. I don't intend to overclock. I have never been a big fan of overclocking. Too much hassle and uncertain results.

    I do play games, although I wouldn't say excessively so. A lot of my time is occupied with even more useless occupations such as browsing the inter-networks, consuming an awful lots of visual media and reading and writing text articles, studying, developing software/games and creating artistic **** and what not artistic. All the above except for gaming I can do on my current system so the purpose of buying a new system would be to play games.

    I am probably restrained to something around 500 to 600USD
  3. A 9800GX2 are for large monitors at high res. If you are at or below a 24" monitor I don't think youll need it.
  4. Ohh, I am always running quite low resolutions and isn't so much concerned about extreme resolutions even though I got a 22" CRT.

    May a 9800GX2 be capable of running on very high detail for Crysis on low resolutions in a playable pace. If it can do that shouldn't it be logical to conclude that it can be playing newly released games for some time. Or will I be forced to rebuild three years from now even though, like I am doing now?
  5. I don't know how much you have to spend, but you should consider:

    cheap motherboard
    9600GT or HD3850
    2GB RAM (unless running Vista, in which case you should go for 4GB)

    Big step up from your current system, and shouldn't break the bank too much.
  6. Upgrade in pieces. Install something like an 8800GT in your current system. You will see immediate improvement, at minimal initial cost. Later, you can upgrade to a new mobo, CPU and RAM and just move that card, so it isn't money wasted.
    Although you'd probably see some improvement by adding another 1GB of RAM, that would be money wasted, as you won't be able to re-use DDR memory.
    What PSU brand and model do you have now? If you don't need to upgrade that, you should be able to get all the rest of the pieces you need with a budget of $600.
  7. The PSU is the one that came with the chassis, a chassis I really like, it is lightweight and small with an easy to remove perforated side cover and has two smaller fens on the back. Plenty of airflow.

    The PSU is a CODEGEN 350W ATX2.03(P4) MODEL:200X
  8. Actually I would recommend an AMD rig with socket AM2, spring for an AM2+ board though for a little bit of upgradeability. Intel is the king of performance now, but with no overclocking and your on a budget, I recommend AMD. Get a dual processor, maybe like a 4800+x2, 2gb of ram and reuse as much as you can, but for video consider maybe a superclocked 8800gs or 9600gt. Then with AM2+, you can go to quad core later if you feel the need. But lower-midrange and not overclocking,that's where I'd look.

    Antec Sonata with Antec 500 watt PSU=130

    EVGA 8800gs superclocked 384 mb video card=105 after 30 dollar mail in rebate

    Wintec AMPO memory with heatsinks=37.99

    So far 265 after rebates

    Athlon 5200x2 Windsor=109.00 This is the chip I'm running and it's fairly quick.

    Biostar T-Force 770 board for 80 bucks

    Putting us to 455. Plus if you want vista figure bout 100 bucks or a little more for home premium. So say 550ish before shipping so right at 600. Or save your cash and keep xp. However, also check with your university. My university had a deal where you could get software like say an OS for about 20 bucks, office software about the same.
  10. Codegen is not on the tiered PSU listing at, but since it is a low-wattage unit that came with a case, there is no way it could be safely used in your upgraded or new rig. Choose one from tier-3 or better. For a single video card, on a system you don't intend to overclock, 450W-500W should be sufficient.
    If you get 2GB of RAM, get two sticks so you can run in dual channel mode. If you think you might want 4GB, then a pair of the sticks that ohiou_grad linked will do.
  11. I am going to get an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3,0 GHz... That is for sure and amount of RAM is so important that 4GB is a steal for the price available.

    So what about GPU? What would in your opinion be affordable and still get to play the new cool games such as Bioshock, Crysis, World in Conflict, Gears of Wars and upcoming must haves?
  12. Well, Crysis will strain anything. My niece says she has been enjoying Bioshock with a 3850. I'd start there at a minimum, and go as high as your budget allows...8800GT if you can swing it.
  13. ohiou_grad_06 gave good advice. Either the energy-efficient 2.5ghz $100 chip or the tri-core for about $150 which beats out most chips in the same price range.

    Any modern card can play new games at good resolutions, but not max out Crysis. The newer the card, the higher the max resolution.

    $600 for the whole build or just the gpu?
  14. In total about 500 to 600 USD for CPU, GPU, RAM and Motherboard. As I already have chassis, HDD, FDD and Optic Drive.

    Though if I'll purchase a GeForce 9800GX2 I would need a new PSU as well. Probably ain't going to do that as it seems way to expensive and probably to long in size for my chassis. As of lately I have been considering GeForce 8800GT or possibly 2 GeForce 9600GT SLI
  15. Id delay the Purchase of a GPU till the end of the month when (supposedly) the 4870s should be released. The 4850 will be retailing just outside your price range, and should bring the price of other graphics cards down.

    What is your budget?
  16. After the many days of reading articles and research of what components would be adequate to satisfy my urges of gaming. I believe I got a build I am contempt with. What ya think about this system:
    Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L, P31, 1 PCIe x16
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, 3 GHz
    2 slips of 2 GiB DDR2, PC6400 800 MHz
    Gigabyte GeForce 8800GT 512 MiB
    About ~675 USD, somewhat more expensive than what I aimed for at first. However I am hoping it will be able to run the new hip games at sufficiently pleasing eye candy with lower resolutions. Would this be a correct assumption?

    As I will not have money for the components for a while, maybe the price will come down or some new revolutionary component will be released in the meantime. So much better but that isn't what I am waiting for.
  17. I doubt your little Codegen PSU is up to that system. If you drop the GPU back to a 9600GT, you will be so far beyond your 6600GT that I think you'll be pleased, and you may be able to find $75 for a stronger PSU.
    I'm not sure about the P31 chipset. Before someone else frowns on it though, I think this system is well beyond what you've got now.
    If your budget is too limited to get what you want, buy a PSU and mobo that will support later upgrades, and start out with a lower GPU. Yes, the GPU is the most important component for gaming performance, but almost anything you choose, even for $75-$100, will be a leap above what you have; you can sell it on eBay later (for not too much less, or put it in your old system as a backup), when you have another $200-$300 to spend on a high-end GPU.
  18. How would I be able to calculate the amount of work that the system craves from my PSU?

    Spending money solely on a PSU and a motherboard doesn't feel all that tempting. I would probably need to replace it all again when times come to upgrade again. Which I suspect would be about when Nehalem would be affordable.
  19. I'm not sure I understand that translation, but I will guess you are asking how much power the system needs. There is a power supply calculator at that should help you.
    If you choose one large enough and of sufficient quality now, you will not need to replace it as you upgrade, so you will not have wasted any money.
  20. The list looks fine. You're not overclocking. Spending more for P35/X38/X48 will mean nothing to you other than a waste of money. Heck, you can stick that gpu in an matx board & it will run at the full speed. Just get what you need to get the job done.
  21. Thank you all for your help, really appreciate it. :love:
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