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Need advice for a "cheap" build

Last response: in Systems
August 31, 2008 11:27:51 PM

Hi guys!

I am planning on building a cheap system this week, so any advices would be appreciated. I already have some components from an older system I could use (Case with PSU, HDD, DVD-RW Drive, Sound card etc...). I want to buy a new motherboard, CPU, Memory and Video card to fit in my system.

I have a Viewsonic VX2025WM with a 1680 x 1050 resolution and I am a moderate gamer.

Here is the case I already have: Antec NSK4480

The only drawback about this case is that it only has a 380 Watts power supply so it might be a little tight for the video card I am planning to buy:

- EVGA e-GeForce 9600GT 512MB
99$ (It is on sale this week, rebate expires on September the 4th)

- CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+

- Memory: OCZ DDR2-800 - 2x2GB - Platinum XTC

- Motherboard: ASUS M3A78-PRO AMD780G AM2+

The motherboard is the part I need most advice with... I picked up this one, but I am really not sure. There are so many different models and I only checked the ones from Asus! From what I can see I have the choice between nForce and AMD chipsets... but once again there are many different chipsets for each (AMD 770, 780G, 790 with SB600 or SB700? nForce 730A, 750A or 780A? etc...). So, which chipset is the best? I want to spend between 100$ and 150$ for the board.

Oh! And I almost forgot, I think it would be better to buy an aftermarket heatsink for the CPU. I guess the stock heatsink isn't good enough? Which heatsink would you recommend for this CPU? Let's say for 50$ or less?

And about the PSU, I checked on for recommended wattage for my build and it gives me 311 Watts. I've included all the components in my case (HD, DVD drives, fans, USB devices, PCI cards, plus a 20% Capacitor aging). As I expected, it might be a little tight for my system, but I think I will try it like that and if I run into performance/stability problems (a.k.a. crashes) then I could upgrade the PSU. Unless you guys tell me it won't do at all and I'd be better upgrading it now.

Thanks in advance for all your recommendations!


P.S. With Nehalem just around the corner, I know this is not a good time to upgrade. But I just can't stand my old system anymore! I am planning on building a more powerful system in a year or two and would be willing to spend between 1000$ and 1500$ for it. This upgrade is just a temporary solution to allow me to play games until then.

More about : advice cheap build

September 1, 2008 2:05:41 AM

Don't EVEN think about getting an AMD dual-core. A Core 2 Duo E7200 would be a far better choice - it will perform better at stock speed, and can easily hit 3.6 GHz with a decent cooler.

Grab a Gigabyte P45-DS3L to go with it.

Also, change the memory to a 2x2 kit from G. Skill or A-Data. As this will be a temporary system, you probably don't need top-of-the-line memory. A-Data and G. Skill both have great warranties and reliability, as well as decent overclocking headroom.

I would upgrade your GPU to a Radeon 4850, if you can swing the extra ~$60. If not, the ASUS 8800 GT 512 is only $120 on Newegg right now. If $20 is not worth it, I would get an 8800 GS/9600 GSO (try for a 768 mb) instead. The extra 32 SPs provide better performance in shader-based games, and it has absolutely amazing overclocking headroom (I got 724/1745/2084 out of it).

Get something by Corsair for a PSU - 450/550 VX.
September 1, 2008 2:27:32 AM

yeah also get 4850 and get cheap psu that has one 6pin pcie connection
Related resources
September 1, 2008 3:00:36 AM

I would agree with deadboots.
Your psu is a good quality one, and should drive any vga card which needs only 1 pci-e connector.

The stock intel cooler will do the job unless you need to overclock. It will just get noisier as the fan spins up under load.
September 1, 2008 4:01:33 AM

The E7200 is a superior CPU to the AMD x2 5600+ and really shines with an overclock. Unless you're an AMD fan i'd go with the intel build.
Trying to stay at about your budget numbers this Asus P43 motherboard $118
this CPU E7200 $127
or better yet if you can budget for the E8400 at $169
I couldn't find a 8800GT close to your budget price.
I'd use your 380w Antec Earthwatts.
Benchmarks for an overclocked 9600GT compared to other cards