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Approx. $600 Gaming PC

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October 22, 2008 8:39:04 PM

I started out a PC gamer, but about a year ago I got tired of WOW and my PC wasn't good enough to really play any of the new shooters (Athlon XP, ATI X800 GTO, etc..), so I bought a big ass plasma and a PS3 (mainly for movies) and have been a casual "thumbs" gamer ever since. I'd like to get back into PC gaming, but I don't want to spend very much because I don't know how much time I'll actually end up playing.

.....end of prologue Rolling Eyes

Here's what I'd like and what I'd like help with.

I'd like to run a Core 2 Duo and get a motherboard that supports Core 2 Quad so that I can drop in a new cpu in the future if I stick with the pc. I've never overclocked before, but if one of the Duo's overclocks better than the other that might be a possibility. I'd like 4 gigs of ram and nothing bigger than a 320g hard drive. I only have about 60 gigs of music and I don't really keep video on my pc. I'm running a 19" widescreen and a 17" regular displays, so a video card that would run those without a problem.

The only thing I really do on my pc besides gaming is ripping and burning a dvd or cd every now and then, but I doubt that'll make much difference in the choice of components.

Here's what I'm thinking about right now:

CPU: I'm torn between the
E5200 Pentium http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

E722 Core 2 Duo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is the Duo worth the $35? Maybe for overclocking?

Motherboard: I have no clue? Good onboard sound...good for overclocking?

Memory: Patriot DDR2 800 2X2GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: Seagate 250GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: Sapphire 4850 512mb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply: Antec Earthwatts 500w http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Black is the only think I care about and it can't be taller than 18". Cheap is fine as long as it won't fall apart.

Operating System: Vista Premium 64 bit OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This puts me at $555 on my wishlist before rebates, but without a motherboard or case. If you think I can "trim some fat" let me know. Maybe the Pentium processor instead of the Duo? or an older video card? maybe cheaper memory for 4gb?

Thank you in advance for all your help!!!!

More about : approx 600 gaming

October 22, 2008 8:54:38 PM

I'd suggest getting a better hard drive. The WD 640AAKS is worth the $20 IMO (and I've actually used both).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Unfortunately, the $20 (2x2)Gb Cruicial RAM deal seems to have passed. (2x1) is probably fine if you're on a budget, and that can be had for $17 or so.

I have a P182 (Antec case) that is nice. It can occasionally be had for $60 or so and is nice and quiet, but there are cheaper ones out there.

The E7200 has a larger cache size that mainly benefits games, but on a budget, I'd take the 5200 over reducing the graphics card. (as a note, I am using a E2180 and don't have trouble running games).

Find a P45 motherboard. Most of them will do. Asus and Gigabyte are commonly recommended. You don't need any bells or whistles, just buy an entry level mobo.


Just for the record, I'm using a 9600gso which handles most stuff pretty fine (15% slower than a 8800GT give or take). If you're just planning on gaming casually, you can try to pick up one of those (I got mine for $34 AR). You might also pick up this combo (HD3850 and 2x1Gb OCZ RAM) for $50 total (AR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 22, 2008 9:04:25 PM

The GA-EP43-DS3L is a great entry-level motherboard.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $86.99

I would look for RAM that runs at a lower voltage. The RAM you linked to requires 2.2v. Mushkin makes great RAM that runs at low voltage. This kit is a good example:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 - $20 MIR

The E5200 will be fine for your build to save a little $.

The WD6400AAKS drive mentioned above is awesome. I know you said you didn't need a large drive, but the main draw to the WD 640GB drive is its speed. It also has a 320GB little brother which is only $5 more than the Seagate you originally posted:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99
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October 22, 2008 9:19:48 PM

You might consider this pair of products:
EA380 :http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec 300: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$30 + $10 shipping + $50 - $10 (combo)

I run a 8800GT with a EA380; unless you're running dual graphics cards, you're probably not drawing more than 200-250W from the wall; the EA380 gives plenty of overhead since it's actually capable of running its rated wattage.

Also, The above-mentioned Mushkin RAM is a good option.
October 23, 2008 5:27:12 AM

You guys sold me on the Mushkin RAM and the WD 640gb hard drive.

I think I'm gonna switch to the Antec 300 case to get the $20 discount. Einstein suggested getting the 380 watt Antec psu instead of the 500 watt Antec. Do you all think that'll be enough power with an ATI 4850 and the dual core Pentium that I plan on overclocking?

Finally, after doing some reading I'm kinda concerned with the motherboard I picked. It seems there are several complaints about the ICH10 southbridge chip compared to the ICH10R. Do you think I should switch to a bit more expensive motherboard and get that southbridge? I'd like a motherboard that OC's well (north and southbridge don't get too hot). I don't care about 2 X16 slots as I don't plan on running crossfire later on, I'll just buy a new card in a year or two.

Thanks!!!!
October 23, 2008 6:04:27 AM

No 380W is not enough to reliably power the 4850. While it's true that you CAN do it, that does not mean you SHOULD. Running your PSU near max will shorten its life span. It will generate more heat and be less efficient. The heat in turn may effect other parts of your computer. The less efficient your PSU is, the more money you will lose from power consumption, quickly making up for any supposed savings.

Your GPU provider will likely specify 400W or 450W minimum PSU. I believe the minimum Corsair recommends is 450.

You can get an Antec Neo 550W in combo with the case for very little. $85.00 for the combo.
October 23, 2008 6:08:26 AM

A better reviewed motherboard would be the P5QL-E. It would likely handle moderate overclocks OK, not as good as a P45 board.

You'll have to pay a bit more for a good P45 board.
October 23, 2008 8:09:53 AM

Proximon said:
No 380W is not enough to reliably power the 4850. While it's true that you CAN do it, that does not mean you SHOULD. Running your PSU near max will shorten its life span. It will generate more heat and be less efficient. The heat in turn may effect other parts of your computer. The less efficient your PSU is, the more money you will lose from power consumption, quickly making up for any supposed savings.

Your GPU provider will likely specify 400W or 450W minimum PSU. I believe the minimum Corsair recommends is 450.

You can get an Antec Neo 550W in combo with the case for very little. $85.00 for the combo.

While I don't totally agree with you on the 380w PSU, it's not a bad idea to have a bit extra PSU power on hand. I personally have a X1800xt GPU (103w max) and a e6700 CPU on the 380w Antec PSU that you talking about. This system has no issues for about a year. The 4850 will consume about 110w max, see my link in my signature "GPU Power" link for information on power consumption. Even AMD's Certified PSU's list has a similiar PSU with 30A on the 12v rails, Seasonic SS-430GM Active PFC F3 (430W). This PSU is pretty much an Antec 430w Earthwatts PSU (30A on the 12v rail). I'm not saying to go with the 380w PSU, but it will work and shouldn't have any issues. If your going to upgrade the GPU later though, you should get a bigger PSU now, so you don't have to upgrade that too when you upgrade your GPU next time.
October 23, 2008 3:24:30 PM

+1 for the Antec Neo 550W PSU with the Antec 300 case combo for $85. There is no reason to overwork a 380W PSU. ATI's website lists the GPU requirement for the 4850 "450 Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express® power connector recommended". Why you would risk it with a 380W PSU is beyond me.
October 23, 2008 10:26:47 PM

Proximon said:
No 380W is not enough to reliably power the 4850.


Really? Do you have a citation for that??
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=22

Hey, look at that, it's actual numbers! Total system draw for HD4850 with Anand's test bed (almost certainly draws as much or more than a typical home user) is 227W. There is no risk as long as you are using a quality power supply, which the EA380 qualifies for. Now I'm not saying a beefier power supply isn't a worthwhile investment, but OP was trying to keep his budget down.

So, where exactly is peak efficiency for the EA380?
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i...
The EA430 achieves peak efficiency at around 300W. Typically, peak efficiency for systems is around 50% of maximum load. Since most of the time you won't be running at maximum load (227W) but at idle (160W), a 300-400W PSU is actually ideal, so long as it is high quality.


Quote:
There is no reason to overwork a 380W PSU. ATI's website lists the GPU requirement for the 4850 "450 Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express® power connector recommended". Why you would risk it with a 380W PSU is beyond me.


The 450W minimum "requirement" is calculated assuming a POS power supply and a lot of components so that people don't complain when their card doesn't work.

If anyone wants to talk about power supplies, please read a well-informed article such as the following:
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i...

(btw, Antec 300 + Neo 550 is a fine choice, just peeved at people who spread misinformation regarding power supplies)
October 23, 2008 10:46:12 PM

einstein4pres said:
just peeved at people who spread misinformation regarding power supplies)


Suggesting someone stay within the GPU manufacturers recommended PSU specs is not spreading misinformation. :non: 
October 23, 2008 11:55:23 PM

Sorry for causing a little fight with the whole psu thing :pt1cable: 

I think I'm gonna go ahead and get the Neopower 550 instead of the Earthwatts 500 or 380, because it's the same price as the 500 and it'll just "future-proof" my rig a bit more for upgrades when I make them.

The only thing left for me to decide now is which motherboard to get. I settled on the GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... when I made my wishlist, but after reading the (not always reliable) newegg reviews, I'm a little worried about overclocking my E5200 and the north and southbridges getting too hot. Also it seems that several people are having problems running memory in dual channel mode but it working fine if they stick with the same color slots and run single channel.

Any thoughts a more expensive P45 board that might be more reliable with overclocking and such?

Thanks again for all your help so far!!!!
October 24, 2008 5:31:43 AM

The idea that every PSU is exactly the same as every other PSU of the same model is wrong.

Just like the idea that every motherboard will have the exact same electrical characteristics as every other motherboard.

From the wiki article on engineering tolerances:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering_tolerance

"Considerations when setting tolerances

A primary concern is to determine how wide the tolerances may be without affecting other factors or the outcome of a process. This can be by the use of scientific principles, engineering knowledge, and professional experience. Experimental investigation is very useful to investigate the effects of tolerances: Design of experiments, formal engineering evaluations, etc.

A good set of engineering tolerances in a specification, by itself, does not imply that compliance with those tolerances will be achieved. Actual production of any product (or operation of any system) involves some inherent variation of input and output. Measurement error and statistical uncertainty are also present in all measurements. With a normal distribution, the tails of measured values may extend well beyond plus and minus three standard deviations from the process average. One, or both, tails might extend beyond the specified tolerance.

The process capability of systems, materials, and products needs to be compatible with the specified engineering tolerances. Process controls must be in place and an effective Quality management system, such as Total Quality Management, needs to keep actual production within the desired tolerances. A process capability index is used to indicate the relationship between tolerances and actual measured production.

The choice of tolerances is also affected by the intended statistical sampling plan and its characteristics such as the Acceptable Quality Level. This relates to the question of whether tolerances must be extremely rigid (high confidence in 100% conformance) or whether some small percentage of being out-of-tolerance may sometimes be acceptable."

------

It's true that every component purchase is a gamble. You can however, linit that gamble by saying no to close tolerances, especially when you are talking about a minimal investment.

There is no sport, and no adventure, in challenging PSU tolerances. Just say no.
!