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sub-1000$ gaming pc

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Last response: in Systems
August 1, 2008 12:36:19 PM

Hey here is my new sub-1000$ system build.. i will be mainly using this for gaming.. so tell me what you think and give me ur opinion on the matter !!
Board intel X38
CPU intel E8400 3.0GHz
2GB DDR3 1333 PC3 10600 Patriot viper
Sapphire toxic Radeon HD3870 512MB GDDR4
Intel Enlight case
250GB Seagate at 72000RPM
550W power supply
as for cooling the GPU and CPU and case are each equipped with a stock fan..
i was thinking that maybe i would overclock the CPU but i don't know how and if i do, do i need bigger power supply or addition fans ?
would really appreciate your input on the matter
thanks guys !

More about : 1000 gaming

August 1, 2008 1:07:35 PM

Since running on tight budget, here is what I suggest:
  • Get a P43 board (look on newegg), you can get a good one for ~100$;
  • Drop DDR3, no real performance gain and certainly not worth the extra $$$, get 2x2GB of good DDR2-800 with CAS 4 (75-100$);
  • With the money saved with the 2 above changes, get a 4850(~200$) or, preferably, a 4870 (~300$).

    Gaming is much more GPU bound than CPU/RAM/MB bound.

    August 1, 2008 1:17:42 PM

    + 1 for Zenthar's suggestion
    Related resources
    August 1, 2008 1:21:46 PM

    Get at LEAST HD 4850. With your sys specs, you can cut the unnecessary fat and get 4870 easy.

    For starters get Gigabyte EP35 DS3R board that’s about 100$ now. You wont be able to tell the difference with the single GPU to X38. And I'd never recommend SLI/Crossfire, so you might as well forget about the second. If/when you have more money, look to upgrade to the next best single GPU. Maybe even 4870X2... but better wait for 5870. Single GPU over more lessers put together- less heat, less issues...

    CPU intel E8400 3.0GHz

    You might as well go quad core. Games are bound to utilize more cores soon, and c2q 6600 isnt that slower on stock. And you can OC it to 3ghz for “free“- ie no vold mod or need for new heatsink. And for the same money you get 2x more cores- I think it’s a sweet deal.

    Get at least 500gb hdd. They are like 10% more expensive and have 2x more space. Western Digital 640gb model, wd6400aaks hits the sweet spot with the lowest cost per gb and very high performance overall. That’s the one I’d get.

    I think you should have enough money for all this upgrades, just by dumping x38 board.
    August 1, 2008 1:24:36 PM

    Just read dilberts reply. I took my time writing, so he beat me to it.

    and I didn’t notice you put in dd3. its POS. get ddr2 PC-800 instead. Its best cost effective thing you can get right now. with it you can get FSB to a safe 400mhz and you wont need any more. I wouldn’t recommend OCing over 400fsb for everyday use anyway.
    August 1, 2008 1:30:26 PM

    yes i thought about that but my main concern is the long run.. wouldn't games be using the new technology DDR3 RAM ? i wanted a good build once and for all.. that i could upgrade onto.. but hey it seems that you're all unanimous on this matter..but how long will this system stay ? plus the X38 supports 1333Mhz CPUs but the P35 stops at 1066Mhz.. is there any difference ? if i do switch to P35, do i take DDR2 800 RAM ?
    one more problem is that i don't know how to overclock a CPU..and well i don't live in the US and here well let's say probably no one knows what overclocking is lol :p  hehe (would i be able to play crisis on above medium settings ? :p  hehe)
    thanks for your replies really i appreciate it..
    August 1, 2008 1:35:15 PM

    Also, Don't say "Motherboard X38" or PSU 550w.
    There are good Motherboards and Bad.
    There are good PSUs and Bad.

    Those parts are not generic.
    August 1, 2008 1:44:38 PM

    Software can never be optimized for specific kind of RAM so this clears the issue. The only way DDR3 can become better is if they release better DDR3 modules in which case your old DDR3 will be useless anyway.

    The P35 does support FSB1333, it just doesn't support RAM over 1066, I got one, I know. Still I would suggest a P43 board, that way you might have better Yorkfield (1333FSB 45nm Quad processor) for future upgrade AND get PCI-E 2.0 also for future upgrades if cards start to use more bandwidth.

    With the setup I suggested, you would probably be able to play Crysis at High with some AA and AF at 1680x1050.
    August 1, 2008 1:49:28 PM

    so my build would become somehow the following
    P43 board
    Q6600 probably oc to 3.0
    4GB DDR2 800 RAM
    Sapphire Radeon HD which one ? :p 
    Intel Enlight case
    500GB HDD
    Power supply 550W
    all for under 1000$ ? wow ! :p 
    would i be able to upgrade my cpu to lets say nehalem when it comes to the market ?
    a b 4 Gaming
    August 1, 2008 1:55:37 PM

    I agree with Zenthar too.
    P43, DDR2-800.
    And, as Zenmaster said, quality can vary a lot. If that PSU is a 550W Corsair, you're good to go. If it's a Raidmax, it will probably smoke and croak ten minutes into your first major gaming session. The following list is dated to the point where many current models aren't on it, but choose a manufacturer with nothing below Tier-3:
    August 1, 2008 1:58:39 PM

    For the CPU, either get a Q6600 and OC it to 3GHz or get an E8400 (that can be OCed to ~3.6-4Ghz), it's a question of choice and usage and how long you plan on keeping the CPU. Either choices will give you similar performances in FPS games; in RTS, the Quad will be better.

    For the GFX card, either get a 4850 or a 4870, I suggest the later, it is well worth the extra ~100$ (maybe less) over the 4850 if it fits in the budget.

    Nehalem will use a new socket, so nobody right now will be able to upgrade without changing MB. But, you would be able to upgrade to the latest Yorkfield like the Q9650 (45nm 1333FSB 3GHz Quad core) comming out at the end of the year.
    a b 4 Gaming
    August 1, 2008 1:58:45 PM

    No to the Nehalem upgrade. It will use a different CPU socket.
    August 1, 2008 3:12:06 PM

    so..if i understood correctly, if i'm a real time strategy gamer like world in conflict, red alert 3, command and conquer 3, the q6600 is better, and as for the other games they're both the same.. i guess i'm going with the q6600.. can i OC it to more than 3GHz ? and using the P43 MB, will i be able to upgrade to the QX9770 for example ?
    if i don't want to get a HD4870, what other graphic cards do you recommend me ? for the same budget max..
    thank you zenthar and jtt283..
    August 1, 2008 3:31:11 PM

    For FPS, the dual-core might be a little better (higher clock speeds), but for RTS the Quad will be much better, recent ones at least (multi-threaded). You can probably OC it to more than 3GHZ but it requires much more efforts.

    For the QX9770, I know the Gigabyte P43 set it as supported CPU, but to have the FSB1600 you will need to OC the FSB. For the price, the 4870 is the best, if you want to pay less, then the 4850 would be the best.
    August 1, 2008 3:32:47 PM

    BTW, can you buy from NewEgg just so we can double-check the prices to make sure we are on budget?
    August 1, 2008 3:40:01 PM

    yea sure i'll check the prices now and will post them.. so in ur opinion between E8500, E8400, and Q6600, with a "beginner's" overclock (ie without extra psu or cooling..) for all sorts of games RTS and FPS, which one should i get ?
    August 1, 2008 3:42:04 PM

    an... and BTW the P43 supports crossfire or sli ?
    August 1, 2008 3:58:58 PM

    p43 supports crossfire, but not at full 16x speed, your saving money by giving up 2x 16x slots for 2x 8x slots, it sounds like you want to upgrade your comp down the road, you would probably get more out of the upgrade by getting a new generation card that can be run in one slot at full PCIe 16x speed.

    August 1, 2008 3:59:40 PM

    It supports neither since it only has 1 PCI-E 2.0 16x, part of why it is so cheap. The E8500 isn't worth the extra $$$. Between the E8400 and the Q6600, I personally prefer the E8400 for the higher clock speed, but again, I planned on upgrading to quad in 1.5 year as I was buying the dual.
    August 1, 2008 4:00:42 PM

    omicron_15 said:
    p43 supports crossfire, but not at full 16x speed, your saving money by giving up 2x 16x slots for 2x 8x slots
    That's the P45, not the P43 ;) 
    August 1, 2008 4:07:33 PM

    so i get the p43 and not the p45 ? i have a 19" screen and i'm not planning on getting bigger.. as for resolution its 1280 x 1024.. so one GFX should do it no ? the 4870 ?
    zenthar did u overclock ur E8400 ? a simple question, is it hard to overclock ?
    August 1, 2008 4:07:41 PM

    Zenthar said:
    That's the P45, not the P43 ;) 

    doh, thats why its cheaper.
    August 1, 2008 4:17:19 PM

    ok prices from newegg give:
    Gigabyte P43 95$
    Q6600 195$ and E8400 175$
    Sapphire HD4870 285$ and HD4850 175$
    2 x 2GB DDR2 800 Patriot extreme performance 95$
    Case Enlight 70$
    DVD-R/RW 30$
    PowerSupply themaltake 600W 105$
    HDD Seagate barracuda 500GB 32MB Cache 85$
    so total of max 960$ :D  :)  hehe and min 830$
    August 1, 2008 4:22:42 PM

    I say get the P43, I know I would, I'm not a SLI/XFire fan. For that resolution, I think even a 4850 would be enough.

    I OCed it to 3.6GHz, but I didn't feel comfortable with the temps since I use stock cooler. If I remember correctly, it was a breeze, I just set the FSB to 400MHz instead of 333MHz in the BIOS and got it, I think I didn't even had to change any voltage settings. Look in the OC forums, people will tell you how to do it for the specific board you get.

    August 1, 2008 4:40:56 PM

    +1 for the PC Power & Cooling PSU :) 
    August 2, 2008 9:48:51 AM

    and which RAM brand do i buy ?
    August 2, 2008 2:02:51 PM

    I would say go for the P43, newer chipset might support newer processor better.

    For the RAM, get DDR2-800, you can OC you MB up to FSB1600 with that.
    August 2, 2008 2:48:16 PM

    any other opinions ?
    zenthar, whats the difference between ddr2 800 and ddr2 1066 ? cant i OC the MB to FSP1600 with the 1066 ? is the price difference worth the performance difference? ie is the performance difference noticable at all ?
    August 2, 2008 3:40:15 PM

    For chipset options, you could check the P45 or X38/X48, but the boards cost more (some only by ~30$ (P45)). You can check them out by chipset on NewEgg. But you have to know the performance difference is close to none. The X38/X48 might be 1-2% faster, but they cost about twice as much as P43/P45 boards.

    The DDR2-1066 "could" be useful if you want to OC the MB past the FSB1600, but if you get a good brand DDR2-800 it will be able to clock over its rated 800MHz. Moreover, I know some P35 boards (mine being one of them) had trouble dealing with RAM modules with native speed over 800MHz even if the RAM wasn't clocked at the rated speed.

    Another thing to know is that some performance is lost when RAM isn't running in-sync with the MB (round RAM multiplier like 1:1, 2:1, ...). For example, I get close to no performance difference between running my RAM at 667MHz (1:1 multiplier) and 800MHz (6:5 multiplier).
    August 2, 2008 7:40:11 PM

    if not what do you recommend me ?
    August 2, 2008 7:50:34 PM

    I got that exact memory and I have no trouble with it. I was unable to run it at specified timing (4-4-4-15), but I'm sure my MB is the problem, not the memory. You can take any memory module on this page without a 2nd though, except perhaps from the ReaperX (not the Reaper); it's bigger heat-pipe will make it tough to add 4 DIMMs later on if needed.
    August 2, 2008 7:52:43 PM

    If you get the Reaper (not ReaperX), make sure you press on the memory module to fit it into the DIMM slots or else you risk damaging the modules; the heat-pipe isn't designed to support too much pressure.
    August 3, 2008 8:43:39 PM

    P35 is an older chipset and I don't know much about Biostar. I would feel more comfortable with another brand the MSI P43 Neo3-F (saw the other P43 reviews and they weren't that great).
    August 3, 2008 8:49:05 PM

    and the RAM ? i can pay a couple of bucks more and get a p45 if it's better..
    August 3, 2008 9:57:38 PM

    If you find a P45 board with better review or that you find more interesting overall, it might be worth it, but the P45 isn't "better" it's just more "feature rich". Take a look at this for comparison.

    For the RAM, the revision 2 seem to be 1GB modules only, I would recommend you get 2x2GB modules so you have room for 8GB when the next Windows / Service pack comes out :p . Check for OCZ Titanium for example.
    August 3, 2008 11:02:06 PM

    i thought about making a new thread for this but it is in a similar enough vein that i thought it might be better off here:

    i am building a new budget gaming rig (broke college student) and i have a few dilemmas to deal with before i can figure out exactly what to do. my dad offered me his old processor (an e6550 2.33ghz). i have to buy a new mobo and was debating between the intel 975x chipset and the p43 mentioned earlier. if i get the p43 then it would be a lot easier for me to get a newer processor like an e6600/e85400/e8400. any recommendations?
    August 4, 2008 1:17:02 AM

    IMO when on a tight budget, there is no real reason to spend more than 100-130$ on an MB depending on features. Check the bards I suggested to C-J.