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Advice for a $500-700 Gaming only rig

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June 10, 2008 1:24:50 AM

I am looking for advice on a gaming only rig in the $500-700 range(not including monitor). I do all my graphics work on my ppc G5. This will be my first ever ground up build. I think i am leaning towards an Intel Dual Core setup for the OC capability. I'm pretty sure i won't be going with 2 monitors. Probably one 19"... maybe a 22" if i can build up enough marital karma. Other than that i'm pretty open. I will probably run an old copy of XP that I have initially and upgrade to vista down the road. I'm looking for as much input as possible so lay it on me.

More about : advice 500 700 gaming rig

June 10, 2008 1:39:11 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252001-31-attention-computer-builders-ideal-build-updated

Read up :) 

But to give you an idea:

Middle Budget Build: Goal $800- Acutal Price- $789.69 shipped before rebates of $40

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E7200
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L
RAM: OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB DDR2-800 ($20 MIR) $20 RAM !
Video: SAPPHIRE 100225L Radeon HD 3870 512MB ($20 MIR)
Case: Antec Sonta III
Keyboard/Mouse: MS stuff
OS: Vista Home Prem
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner SATA
Thermal Compound: Arctic Cooling MX 2

Since you already have an OS- take out Vista which saves $94. So it is under $700 now.
June 10, 2008 1:50:59 AM

You won't do better than what shadowduck posted.

That's the Antec III w/the 500W Earthwatts PSU right? Great deal.

Since the OP mentioned overclocking, I'd probably throw in another 20-30 bucks for an aftermarket CPU cooler though - either the Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 or the Xigmatech mentioned in the link Shadow gave you.
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June 10, 2008 2:07:07 AM
June 10, 2008 2:10:27 AM

shadowduck said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252001-31-attention-computer-builders-ideal-build-updated

Read up :) 

But to give you an idea:

Middle Budget Build: Goal $800- Acutal Price- $789.69 shipped before rebates of $40

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E7200
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L
RAM: OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB DDR2-800 ($20 MIR) $20 RAM !
Video: SAPPHIRE 100225L Radeon HD 3870 512MB ($20 MIR)
Case: Antec Sonta III
Keyboard/Mouse: MS stuff
OS: Vista Home Prem
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner SATA
Thermal Compound: Arctic Cooling MX 2

Since you already have an OS- take out Vista which saves $94. So it is under $700 now.


^+1, nothing more to add, except you can afford a e8400 now? don't know how much those are. also the diamond hd 3870 is only 135 bucks after rebates
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

here's an even cheaper sapphire, for 130 but it's the single slot, without the blower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

June 10, 2008 2:11:23 AM

Thanks for the reply Shadowduck.
How much of a difference is there between the Sapphire 3870 and a 8800gt & gts. I probably won't be pulling the trigger on this immediately so can i expect pretty good price drop on some of the mid to high range cards?

I noticed you listed a Thermal compound and no CPU Cooler. Is this purely for price purposes or is the compound more effective?
June 10, 2008 2:12:53 AM

Wow. A bunch of replies while i took my time typing. Thanks for the replies everyone.
June 10, 2008 2:32:53 AM

The stock cooler is good enough, its quiet and will spin up if its needed. Mine idles at 22C, using AS5 thermal compound. You can always upgrade your cooler later if you want to overclock, no need really with these Intel Dual Core Processors, they plenty fast. I'd recommend any 3870, 3870 X2, 8800GT, 8800GTS 512MB, 9600GT. Any good graphics card with 512MB video memory.
June 10, 2008 2:32:59 AM

modode said:
You won't do better than what shadowduck posted.

That's the Antec III w/the 500W Earthwatts PSU right? Great deal.

Since the OP mentioned overclocking, I'd probably throw in another 20-30 bucks for an aftermarket CPU cooler though - either the Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 or the Xigmatech mentioned in the link Shadow gave you.


Yes sir, that case comes with the Earthwatts 500.
June 10, 2008 2:38:36 AM

If you want to swap the 3870 out for an 8800GT you can, but it is going to get you over your budget. I am running a 3870 and have yet to find a game outside of Crysis I cannot max out at 1680x1050. GRID looks AMAZING on my 22" monitor.

CPU cooler that comes with it will be ok, and comes with a crappy pad. Add the MX 2 thermal compound for $6.

+1 though is what modode says though with the Arctic Freezer. Only $26. Your system will run cooler. It will come with some thermal paste so that saves you the other $6.
June 10, 2008 5:05:31 AM

You will get considerably better performance than a 3870 with an 8800 GT. And they are available for ~$175 right now; it shouldn't put you over your budget with Shadowduck's build if you use your copy of XP.
June 10, 2008 6:14:49 AM

if you can wait...try waiting a month and checkout the new 4xxx series that ati is coming out with...
June 10, 2008 1:33:07 PM

What kind of price ranges are they talking about for the new ATI 4xxx series?
June 11, 2008 12:34:07 AM

abp667 said:
What kind of price ranges are they talking about for the new ATI 4xxx series?


4850 will be in the $200-250 range
4870 will be in the $300-350 range
June 11, 2008 3:06:20 AM

If i'm in no rush do you think the 4850 is a big enough step up from the current gen too warrant the wait? I'm guessing it is.
June 11, 2008 3:26:25 AM

Yes it sure is. 4xxx ATI cards are supposed to be awesome.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
June 11, 2008 10:46:41 AM

abp667 said:
I am looking for advice on a gaming only rig in the $500-700 range(not including monitor). I do all my graphics work on my ppc G5. This will be my first ever ground up build. I think i am leaning towards an Intel Dual Core setup for the OC capability. I'm pretty sure i won't be going with 2 monitors. Probably one 19"... maybe a 22" if i can build up enough marital karma. Other than that i'm pretty open. I will probably run an old copy of XP that I have initially and upgrade to vista down the road. I'm looking for as much input as possible so lay it on me.



http://z3.invisionfree.com/kips_corner/index.php?showto... <---You can always change the vid card on that build to a 9600 to drop the price on it.

That rig has decent cooling 3x120mm fans, side airduct, plenty of room to work with, and no cheap guady plastic window. The cpu is a great overclocker, and I even added thermal paste and an after market cpu heatskink/fan to that build.
June 11, 2008 1:13:13 PM

Thanks for the info Why_ME.

Whenever i do get Vista i'm assuming i should go ahead and get the 64bit version. Is that right?
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
June 11, 2008 1:20:50 PM

abp667 said:
Thanks for the info Why_ME.

Whenever i do get Vista i'm assuming i should go ahead and get the 64bit version. Is that right?



It's hard to say. Vista 32 SP1 see's all 4 gigs of memory, even though it uses only 3.8 gigs. Vista 64 allows you to use more memory if you choose to use more than 4 gigs. Either one is a good choice though seeing how they both use DX10 unlike XP.
June 12, 2008 2:02:09 AM

Is there any reason to stay away from the 64bit version since they are the same price?
June 12, 2008 2:16:39 AM

not realy...from what i understand the 64 bit is just a tad more stable...and u can use up to 8gig of ram instead of the 3gig on the 32bit
June 12, 2008 2:33:47 AM

x_2fast4u_x said:
not realy...from what i understand the 64 bit is just a tad more stable...and u can use up to 8gig of ram instead of the 3gig on the 32bit


Almost.

A 64-bit can address up to 17 Billion GB of RAM actually. Of course not computer out there on the non server level can accept more than 32GB.
June 12, 2008 3:48:16 AM

So with what i'm looking to do there is no reason to go with the 32 bit version? You guys have been a huge help
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
June 12, 2008 4:34:59 AM

abp667 said:
So with what i'm looking to do there is no reason to go with the 32 bit version? You guys have been a huge help


It depends...the "2fast4u" guy must use XP or something. I'l explain it simple like. I use Vista 32 myself becouse I had a disc for it. But again Vista 32 SP1 (Service Pack 1) see's all 4 gigs of memory and actually uses 3.8 gigs ......before SP1, Vista 32 only saw up to 3.5 gigs. Now with the SP1 fix it uses 3.8 gigs of dual channel memory, so your not really losing out on much (.2gigs).

32bit has more drivers for it, and more programs use it....sans the reason it's popular. 64 bit on the other hand is great if you plan on using more than 4 gigs of memory in the future.
June 12, 2008 5:02:23 AM

Ok. Thanks for the clarification. When the time comes down the road I may go with the 64bit version. For now i may go with the 32. I'd feel better going with the more supported version anyway.
June 20, 2008 5:42:37 PM

OK i've been able to increase my budget a bit and here is what i'm leaning towards doing

MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 (this has the best rebate offer)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
Antec Sonata III
OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro
--This brings my total to $679 at Newegg

I am still trying to decide on a Motherboard. Is P45 worth the extra cash over the P35? Thanks again for all your help. I'm looking to keep the total around $800 give or take a few $$$
June 20, 2008 6:31:26 PM

well so far, imo, that setup seems really, really solid (especially due to the price)...and about the mobo, im not really familiar with intel chipsets so i cant really give you and advice...sorry...
June 21, 2008 4:59:49 AM

No other thoughts?
June 21, 2008 5:51:08 AM

abp667 that totals without shipping and taxes right?
June 22, 2008 12:09:21 AM

Yep. That's right no shipping.
June 23, 2008 9:32:45 PM

I have a new HD Sony digital camcorder but have had to record in SD in order to work with the files on my PPC G5 (AVCHD format won't work on PPC macs). I'd like to be able to start recording and editing my videos in HD if possible. If the Q6600 has a big advantage in this area then i'd consider putting down the extra $30 to change from the E8400. Of course the main purpose of this machine would still be gaming.
Thanks
June 26, 2008 2:24:41 AM

I am trying to decide between the
GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard $89 @ newegg
and the
MSI P45 Neo3-FR LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $99.99 (after $20 mail in rebate)

This is most likely to go along with below setup
MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 (this has the best rebate offer)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
Antec Sonata III
OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro

Anyone have a recommendation or experience with either of those Mobo's?
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
June 26, 2008 2:29:53 AM

abp667 said:
I am trying to decide between the
GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard $89 @ newegg
and the
MSI P45 Neo3-FR LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $99.99 (after $20 mail in rebate)

This is most likely to go along with below setup
MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 (this has the best rebate offer)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
Antec Sonata III
OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro

Anyone have a recommendation or experience with either of those Mobo's?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail / Great value for OC performance w/PCI-E Gen 2
June 26, 2008 1:45:58 PM

Whats the difference between P43 & P45? is it much? Is one more stable than the other?
July 2, 2008 3:39:35 AM

Why_Me said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail / Great value for OC performance w/PCI-E Gen 2


I saw that Newegg is offering a $30 instant rebate if you buy the ASI Radeon HD 4850 & the ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard together. I'm leaning towards this as my final build now.

I may add Vista 64 on to this. I can't decide.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=6303974&WishListTitle=Final Gaming Rig?
Any final thoughts before i take the plunge?
July 2, 2008 4:31:58 PM

Personally, I would add Vista 64. I've been using it since near the start of '07 and haven't seen many problems.

From what I can see, that build looks fine right now.
July 2, 2008 4:47:30 PM

Thanks for the input sanjiwatsuki.

I just noticed that the Asus Board i added is for crossfire. I wasn't planning on doing crossfire anytime in the future. So now i'm trying to decide between the 3 following

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard $99

MSI P45 Neo-F LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $99

DFI BloodIron P35-T2RL LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard $114 (after $15 mail in rebate)

For a gaming only rig does one of these boards stand out above the other regardless of price?
I really appreciate everyone's help here.
!