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Extremely low budget ($400) build for MMO

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August 29, 2008 6:37:18 PM

I am considering a build for a friend. Though the budget isn't isn't set in stone, cost is a primary concern if I'm to avoid grimaces from my wife. My friend is a Guild Wars addict, so the machine should handle that well. Any other needs he has would be very basic. He has a monitor, speakers, KB, and mouse. I have selected the following components, and would like some opinions.

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
Model #:ADQVE1A16K
Item #:N82E16820211066
$37.99 $37.99

Nothing fancy. Runs at 1.8V.

POWERCOLOR HD2600XT 512MB DDR3 Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #:HD2600XT 512MB DDR3
Item #:N82E16814131066
$64.99 $64.99

Should be sufficient for GW2 as well. I do not think he will be at higher than 1280x1024 or 1440x900.

ECS P35T-A LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #:p 35T-A
Item #:N82E16813135059
$79.99 -$15.00 Instant $64.99

I want it to be durable (e.g. solid caps). This one was the lowest price board I found that seemed to fit, and the reviews did not seem to point out fatal flaws.

Intel Pentium E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E2180 - Retail
Model #:BX80557E2180
Item #:N82E16819116052
Return Policy:p rocessors (CPUs) Return Policy
$69.99 $69.99

Certainly sufficient. This and the mobo were actually $5 cheaper than an AMD e4050 on a decent 780G board (although with same 2600XT GPU).

Rosewill R220-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R220-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147074
$29.99 -$5.00 Instant $24.99

Minimalist case with places to mount fans front and rear.

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:EA380
Item #:N82E16817371005
$59.99 -$30.00 Instant $29.99

Amazing price for this PSU.

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500AAKS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:WD2500AAKS
Item #:N82E16822136161
$59.99 $59.99

Yeah, I know there are better bang-for-buck drives, but this should be fine given the budget.

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
Model #:iHAS120-08
Item #:N82E16827106264
$28.99 $28.99

I've never had any grief from Lite-On drives. This one's Retail to include all necessary software.

Subtotal: $381.92

I'd consider the AMD build if it could play GW well with the IGP, as it would be cheaper without the video card, but I'm not sure the 780G would be fast enough. I believe he currently plays on a laptop with an 8600M in it.
August 29, 2008 7:29:42 PM

If you're worried about the HD3200 onboard (which is 4 tiers lower than the HD2600XT) with the 780G boards, jump up the a 790GX. The onboard for the 790GX is HD3300, so that's likely within the range where it's not really considered necessary to upgrade to the HD2600XT. And check out this combo deal...

BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz
Combined total = $145

That saves another $55. Swap out that $37 RAM for either this OCZ 2x1GB DDR2 667 ($16 after MIR) or this OCZ 2x1GB DDR2 800 ($20 after MIR) and now you're closing in on a $300 system.
August 29, 2008 8:18:35 PM

Interesting ideas. I do have a pretty strong preference for RAM that will run at 1.8V though. We'll see. This would probably run GW well enough, and a GPU could always be added later if needed for GW2.
Thanks Wanker.
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August 29, 2008 8:34:21 PM

I like ram spec'd at 1.8V, too. But that 667 is only spec'd at 1.9V, so that's still decent.

And if it's going to be running Vista, the ATI Hybrid CrossFireX will crossfire the integrated gfx and either an HD2400 series or HD3400 series descrete GPU. I have no idea how much benefit that would actually give (I'm pretty sure I read an article about that on THW, but I'm too lazy to find it), so for another $16 (after MIR) you could throw in this MSI Radeon HD 3450 (verify this will actually work with the crossfireX).
August 29, 2008 9:13:59 PM

Here's an interesting quote from a comparison review by hardware secrets about NON overclocked CPUs. Comparing (among others the E2160, E2180 and the Athlon 64X2 4600+)

"We came to several interesting conclusions during this review.

Athlon X2 4600+ achieved a higher performance than its main competitors, namely Pentium Dual Core E2180, Pentium Dual Core E2160 and Celeron E1400, in most scenarios. When it wasn’t faster, it achieved the same performance as these other CPUs. The only program where Athlon X2 4600+ was slower than its competitors was on Photoshop CS2. So if you are building an entry-level PC and want the fastest CPU available and want to spend only up to USD 70 we definitely recommend Athlon X2 4600+. "
August 29, 2008 10:30:17 PM

More good information. I will revise that build and repost later tonight. My friend might have a surprise on his porch one of these days.
August 29, 2008 11:53:49 PM

Revised bottom-dollar build

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5000DOBOX - Retail
Model #:ADO5000DOBOX
Item #:N82E16819103211
$66.00 $66.00

BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:TFORCE TA790GX A2+
Item #:N82E16813138128
$99.99 $99.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:ST3250410AS
Item #:N82E16822148262
$59.99 $59.99

Rosewill R220-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R220-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147074
$29.99 -$5.00 Instant $24.99

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:EA380
Item #:N82E16817371005
$59.99 -$30.00 Instant $29.99

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
Model #:ADQVE1A16K
Item #:N82E16820211066
$37.99 $37.99

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
Model #:iHAS120-08
Item #:N82E16827106264
$28.99 $28.99

Subtotal: $347.94

I may add a GPU, but initially probably not. I kept the 16MB buffer drive because according to that article, for Seagates it did not hurt, and the price difference is too small. The first 16MB buffer drive I owned, a Maxtor, seemed notably faster to me than the 8MB WD drives I had used previously. I may consider different RAM, but I really want that 1.8V spec.
Thanks for the good leads.
!