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Building a gaming computer

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October 12, 2008 2:04:10 AM

Hello, I'm going to be building a new computer, along with asking a lot of questions. I'm thinking of spending roughly $300. I will be using the computer for gaming.

I already have the following leftover from my old computer:
Monitor - Crappy old CRT, it works.
Case - It's huge! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811124121
PSU - Tiger Model: ATX-450W-P4
+5v -5v +12v -12v +3.3v +5vsb
35.0A 0.5A 16.0A 0.8A 24.0A 3.0A
CD/DVD - One DVD and one CD drive.
Hard Drive - 160GB + 40GB


I'm trying to figure out what my best bet to upgrade is. Roughly $300. I'll need a new motherboard, processor, RAM, and video card. Just a rough sketch of my thoughts:
Motherboard - I have no idea.
Processor - Athlon X2 3.0GHz: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103233
Video card - 9800GT: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150316
RAM - 2GB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098


Questions:
- Should I wait for the i7?
- Will I need a new power supply?
- What would be better price/performance? And Intel or AMD? Suggestions on a motherboard and processor combo?

Thanks for any help!
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2008 2:29:47 AM

The AMD dual cores are not really the good deals they appear to be, as they are fairly slow. However, the price is pretty good.

You will need a new PSU. The one you have is insufficient on paper, but is probably far worse than that. OCZ has a pretty good deal going right now:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2008 2:36:29 AM

I cannot readily find information on that PSU. It does not have anywhere near the power for a 9800GT. As Proximon says, it is probably even worse than the numbers suggest.
A $300 budget doesn't go very far.
The following list will START you toward a build. I am assuming you also have an O/S, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128352
-$10.00 Instant

$128.99

Antec Basiq BP500UB 500W ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
Item #: N82E16817371019

$39.99

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

$34.99

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

$59.99

Subtotal: $263.96

There is no video card there. The integrated HD3300 GPU will actually play some games. Guild Wars, for example, with good settings, will play at over 50 FPS on a 1440x900 monitor. When you can afford it, however, the PSU I have included can handle up to an HD4850.
Really, if you can get up to $500, you get into the realm of a much more satisfying Intel build.
Related resources
October 12, 2008 1:49:18 PM

I suggest this Intel build instead (i dont know alot about building computers so someone please check my build)

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total: 280 before rebate
total after rebate: 235

if you want to add a video card : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

im not sure how good that card is though since it has mixed reveiwes and ive never heard of the brand. that would make total : 295 after rebate
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2008 2:47:17 PM

That mobo is nice, except that he does need video, which then breaks the budget. In that case, the one I'd choose now is this 4670 for $70 after MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It's on the same performance tier as the 3850, but needs less power.
The memory needs 2.1V to achieve its claimed timings. I always get RAM that will work at its advertised timings on the JEDEC default 1.8V. Plenty of people are happy to tweak their systems to make the other RAM work, but there are a lot of threads where others have had issues that boiled down to non-standard RAM. If you want no-muss no-fuss RAM, sticking to the standard is the way to go.
Jonnyguru reviewed a 500W Rosewill and was surprised it passed all their tests well enough to be recommended, because the brand as a whole is considered crap (and that model isn't the one that was tested).
@OP, if you can stretch your budget to $350, the CPU/Mobo that Sable suggested, along with my PSU, GPU, and RAM choices, would get you a better system than the AMD. Stretch to $400, and you can include a more robust PSU as well.
October 12, 2008 4:58:52 PM

Alright, thanks for the help! So, the 600W PSU, and the Intel build sounds good. I may be able to stretch my budget to $350, if it will pay off in the long run.

In reality, I probably won't be able to buy it for a couple months anyway. Do you think prices will drop significantly after the Intel i7 comes out?
October 12, 2008 5:27:52 PM

there should be a price drop somewhere in the middle of October i think next week sometime but i dont know if it will affect the E5200. Thanks jtt283 for revising my build i wasn't to sure about the PSU or the gfx card.

So basically you should get this:

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory you could either get the a data or this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and GFX: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total: 330
to make it fit in you budget you could get this memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... it is 1.8v and you could get the 500 watt power supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total: 300

October 12, 2008 9:08:21 PM

Awesome. I don't know anything about ATI. Will the 4670 be good, or would it be worth the money to go higher for something like an Nvidia 8800/9800GT?

Also, one last thing. (sorry for so many questions)

I have Windows XP already installed on my current hard drive. Will the installation work with a different motherboard if I uninstall drivers?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2008 9:25:06 PM

For that budget I'd go AMD.

5400 BE $77 overclocking it will give you decent performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This board supports 140W Phenoms
ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G $76.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin DDR2 800 RAM 2GB (2x1GB) $44.69
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS EAH4670/DI/512M/A Radeon HD 4670 512MB $76.99 + 8.25 shipp
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Which will give you a total of $283.92. As long as your PSU can put out at least 70% of its rated power you should be fine with that setup. Of course the cheap PSU won't provide you with the same stable power that a quality one would so your overclocking efforts my be a little limited. Even so you should be able to overclock the 5400 quite a bit. While the motherboard supports the Phenom processor, and should have no trouble supporting the new Phenoms coming out in the coming months, you should definitely upgrade that PSU before putting in a better video card or CPU. If you plan to upgrade again in a few months then I would say spend a little more on the motherboard and get this

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 $109.99 + 9.39 ship
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This board will allow you to run crossfire graphics and by the time you get around to buying a second 4670 you should be able to get one for cheap. You can also go for a 790GX based board since the SB750 will help you overclock better. The new AM3 CPUs are suppose to be able to run on AM2+ boards. That should mean that you will have a good upgrade path going with AMD. We'll have to wait to see when they come out to know if this proves true.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2008 9:26:13 PM

Yeah you might be able to get that windows installation to work, but I wouldn't count on it. It's best to reinstall everything.
October 12, 2008 11:08:49 PM

that's also a solid build however you should never overlook a PSU as it is very important since its what powers everything in your PC
October 13, 2008 12:53:02 AM

So, with the AMD build, I'm able to save some money, and have future upgrade-ability? But the Intel processor is better?

I just had an idea. Wait until i7's come out. If I went for an i7 motherboard, but a lower end processor such as the E5200, I would have upgrade-ability. All of the other parts could be basically the same. Would that be a safer choice than the AMD?
October 13, 2008 3:23:27 AM

unfortunately i don't think the i7 MB will have the same socket so it probably wont work with the e5200 however im not sure. also the motherboards will be very expensive when first released so its probably better to go with the amd if you plan on upgrading later to another amd.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 13, 2008 4:28:46 AM

Sable's last build is good. It has a better upgrade path than the AMD, if only because you could eventually put a Q9xx on it and blow the doors off anything AMD has, and the 600W OCZ PSU can support a much better GPU without any problems. @OP, keeping your current PSU for a new build is asking for trouble. Since you say you have some time, perhaps your budget will grow a little, or prices will come down some.
I would also re-install Windows completely. You might get it working from your existing drive, but it will never be clean or optimal, even if it isn't outright unstable.
October 13, 2008 5:30:35 AM

A new PSU sounds good, I've had some problems with loose and too short cords on mine anyway.

I don't have any preference whatsoever as for AMD vs Intel. So it comes down to which will be more upgradable: An LGA775 or AM2+ socket. I know LGA775 currently has more powerful processors out, like Core 2 Quads. But the AM2+ socket will be compatible with AM3 processors. Which socket would be best in the long run? Is it a complete gamble? I'm so lost here, guys.
October 13, 2008 3:35:40 PM

to tell you the truth I'm not sure although even if you could use am3 cpus you would probable need to update your bios and then you would also have an out of date MB. I guess its really up to you although maybe someone else can tell you which is smarter I'm actually thinking of making a build similar to yours so hopefully i will be able to figure out which is best also.
October 13, 2008 9:49:05 PM

.....after doing some research
alright the new intel boards will use socket 1366 so you wont be able to upgrade to that but you will still be able to get like a quad core that will probally be just as good as AMD the AMD board you can use AM3 CPUs but you wont be able to use the AM2 cpus in AM3 motherboards. SO either way i guess if you want to wait for the Am3 come to come out and be affordable than get the AMD but if you want good performance now get the Intel.
!