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Questions about Budget (800$) computer

Last response: in Systems
June 28, 2008 6:16:31 PM

I'm building a new computer on a rather low budget (800 dollars) Here's what I plan so far. I already have a hard drive, and case/power supply. So really its 800 dollars for Video card, Mobo/CPU and ram.

Intel Core duo E8400
ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
4 gb of ram (best deal i can find when i place the order)
BFG Tech GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB

This came to a total of 676$

I've built several computers in my time, I used to be quite the enthusiast, but I'm married now, and have a non-computer related full time job so I'm kind of out of the loop. So I have a few questions:

Is it worth upgrading to a quad core? i.e Q6600?

I chose the 9800 with the thought that when I had the cash again I could buy another 9800 for SLI? Do you guys have a better card you'd reccomend for this price range?

Lastly, I have a 500W power supply, is that sufficient?

Appreciate all the help in advance!


June 28, 2008 6:18:35 PM

Like CPU,

Get a P45 Asus or gigabyte board

and I think you can squeeze in a 4870. If not, just go with the 4850.
June 28, 2008 6:25:05 PM

Depends on the quality of the power supply, if it can hand out the amps or not
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June 28, 2008 6:29:17 PM

I dont have much experience with ATI cards... How does the 4xxx series rate against Nvidia... in your own experience... All the charts and research tends to be a little skewed.

I'll check out the P45 boards
June 28, 2008 6:32:59 PM

Well, The 4850 easily out performs the 9800GTX so the 4870 is definitely better.
June 28, 2008 6:42:25 PM

Did some reading... You're correct the 4870 seems to perform right up there with the 9xxx generation of nvidia cards, at a fraction of the price.

So here's how it looks now

Intel Core Duo E8400
ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 Intel Motherboard
4 gb of ram
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5

That put me to 750$
a b ) Power supply
June 28, 2008 6:48:33 PM

I would agree, ASUS' P5Q-E seems like a great choice.
With this Mb you can support up to 3 way CrossFire when/if you decide you need more GPU power.

The 4850 is easily the equal of the 9800GTX. In many cases it gives better performance. Another good thing with the 48xx series is it's excellent AA performance. There is a very minimal drop going from 2x AA to 8x AA. They really outdid them selfs with it. Personally I prefer the 4850 over the 4870 as the 4870 only performs ~15% better for a lot more. You can get 4850's from $169.99 or less. If you get more than one you get a $10/card volume discount from newegg.

The E8400 is a great CPU and can be overclocked massively if you have a moderate cooling upgrade. It depends on what you do if you should get the Q6600 which is also an excellent overclocker. If you are only playing current games, the higher clocks of the E8400 will give you more performance. If you are working with any multithreaded apps the Q6600 will destroy. If you are planing on keeping this setup for quite a while it may be prudent to get the Q6600 and take the *Free* overclock to 3Ghz as many future apps will be quad coded.

As for the PSU...
If it came with the case, dump it.
If not, post the make and +12V amperage so we can make a good recommendation to you.
June 28, 2008 6:54:53 PM

Intel Core Duo E8400
ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 Intel
4 gb of ram
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 x 2 in Crossfire

Gonna have to dump the PSU...

So that came to 740$ after mail in rebates. 816 w/o.

Should be a pretty huge Upgrade compared to what i'm running right now lol. I get 25-30 FPS in Age of Conan on a good day after a fresh Reboot

AMD 3400+ overclock with a aftermarket cooler
3 gigs of ram
7800 GT overclocked with a aftermarket cooler.

This machine has lasted me 3 years.... it'll be sad to watch it go... I'll probably turn it into a File server or entertainment center or something :-P
June 28, 2008 7:03:43 PM

For ram I would get 2 sticks of 2gb each as it will make it easier to overclock compared to having 4 sticks of 1gb each.
a b ) Power supply
June 28, 2008 7:15:28 PM

The HD 4850, GTX 9800 and the 8800GTS 512 run pretty close to each other performance wise. The 4850 still has some rough edges that will only get better as it's drivers mature and ATI smooths them out. If you are intending to go to SLI or Crossfire in the future i'd lean towards getting a X38/X48 motherboard and go with Crossfire instead of SLI. In a single card system i'd lean towards the P43/P45 motherboard. The P45 is crossfire capable, but only with 2 cards at 8X instead of full 16X bandwidth
Your 500w power supply should be sufficient for any single card solution, but will be too low if you Crossfire or SLI. Unless you are Video/audio editing or playing the 1 or 2 games that utilize quads then the core2 duo will be a better solution (my opinion only) Future games and applications will do a better job of using quadcores, but it's been slow coming.

a b ) Power supply
June 28, 2008 7:20:19 PM

Yes, that will be a massive upgrade.
You should greatly enjoy having all that extra power.
Now you just need to start saving up for a 24" monitor so it can really shine :D 

If you need a new PSU, here are some great choices I found on newegg.
Corsair 550W with 41A on the +12V for $79.99 after MIR.
PCP&C and Corsair 750W modles each with 60A on the +12V rail, $119.99 after MIR for either.
a b ) Power supply
June 28, 2008 7:34:47 PM

This machine has lasted me 3 years.... it'll be sad to watch it go... I'll probably turn it into a File server or entertainment center or something :-P

That is what I do with my old machines before sending them to the grave. Even an old system has more than enough power to do both. If you don't mind running double cabling, you can use a DVI => HDMI cable to get the best picture to your setup and an audio splitter cable to get the sound to your receiver. Works like a charm.
June 28, 2008 9:00:38 PM

Thanks for all the info guys! Plan on ordering my parts around July 4th... gotta wait for my stimulus check :-P