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Looking for low-cost gaming overhaul

Last response: in Systems
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November 3, 2008 9:45:37 PM

Hello all,
I'm wanting to upgrade my existing rig to better accommodate new games and games a little way into the future. I'm presently running the following:

Mobo: K8N SLI-FI
CPU: Athlon 3700+
Video: Geforce 7800GT
RAM: 2x1GB DDR
PSU: OCZ 450 or 520W, can't figure out which

Obviously I'm a little outdated. So here's what I propose as replacements for some of my components:
Mobo: Asus P5QL
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
Video: Radeon 4850
RAM: 2x1GB DDR2

Now, I have a friend who is telling me to go with DDR3 RAM and the Asus P5Q3 to accommodate it. I don't know if I can justify the added cost, however. Would it be better to double my DDR2 or is even that unnecessary? I started out wanting to stay sub-$500 (CDN), but see that I'll be about $50 over with this configuration. That I think I can handle, but another $200 seems excessive. What do you think?
Thanks in advance.
November 3, 2008 10:20:36 PM

Core 2 cpu's are not very sensitive to ram speeds.
If you look at real application and game benchmarks(vs. synthetic tests),
you will see negligible difference in performance between the slowest and fastest ram.
Perhaps 1-2%. Not worth it to me.
Don't pay extra for faster ram or better timings unless you are a maximum overclocker.
I would also get 4gb of DDR2-800 ram in a 2x2gb kit. Ram is cheap, and here is why 4gb is good:
http://www.corsairmemory.com/_appnotes/AN804_Gaming_Per...
November 3, 2008 10:23:57 PM

Here are my recommendations:

BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Chan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And i would stick with the E8400.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This comes out to total $489.96 - $20 mir = $469.96
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November 3, 2008 10:38:42 PM

Thank you geofelt, for the clarification. I'll probably pick up 4GB in that case.

Slomo4shO: I'm in Canada, so it looks like I'd have to go through newegg.ca, though it will be a little more expensive there than exchange rates would dictate. Still, pretty close to buying from my local depot: http://www.otvtech.com/pricelist/otvpricelist.pdf
I'm guessing you picked the components you did for a reason? I'm new to this insofar as I haven't learned the differences between Asus and MSI, Sapphire and Palit.
November 3, 2008 10:44:12 PM

I picked the components based on price, quality, and potential for future upgrades. I apologize, I didn't realize this was for Canada. I will try and compose a new list through newegg.ca


The same parts end up being $600.12 CAD!
November 4, 2008 5:50:06 AM

Thank you for your research, Slomo. Given the current exchange rate, the newegg.com total would work out to $582.35 CDN, so there's not too grievous of a difference from the $600.12 on newegg.ca.

Looking locally, I can get this (from here: http://www.otvtech.com/pricelist/otvpricelist.pdf ):
Asus P5QL
4x1GB OCZ2G8002GK PC6400 800Mhz
Powercolor OR HIS Radeon 4850
and the E8400
for $565.

Would it be worth it to pay an extra $35 (plus about another $20 for shipping) for the brands you flagged? The only brands that give me pause are those on the Radeon, though really that's only because I haven't heard the names before.

Based on geofelt's comment earlier and the RAM you selected, I'm assuming it wouldn't be worth the extra cash to get DDR2 1066MHz? Locally, it would be $28 more for some 7-7-7-20. But when I'm overbudget, every dollar needs to show an appreciable increase ;) 

Thanks again; I really appreciate your help.
November 4, 2008 7:09:14 AM

The Asus P5Q-E or P5Q Deluxe are also good motherboards, as is the MSI P45 Platinum that the vendor provides but these might be a little over budget. I would go with the Asus P5Q SE over the P5QL

Either of the graphic cards are fine. I prefer the HIS brand over the Powercolor brand but I would recommend looking up customer reviews online and deciding for yourself.I am unsure which model that vendor is offering but here is a list of those GPUs with similar specifications for comparison purposes:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

Also, stick with 2 sticks of 2gb ram instead of 4 sticks of 1gb. 800MHz ram is all you need(PC6400) so go with the OCZ OCZ2V8004GK PC6400 800Mhz 4GB Kit (2x2GB, 5-5-5-15, Lifetime)

Btw, do you plan on overclocking?
November 4, 2008 7:24:46 AM

Thanks a lot for all your knowledge and advice. I really appreciate your spending the time to help me out.

I'll take what you've said into consideration and hopefully be back on this forum bragging about my sweet new rig before long.

Thanks again.
November 4, 2008 7:30:22 AM

Good luck with your build :) 
November 4, 2008 3:13:41 PM

Whoops, totally missed your question about overclocking.
I never have, though whenever my computer's getting on in years (ha! months...) I consider it. Maybe on a rainy day I would try it.
Would it be viable given the discussed selection of parts?
November 4, 2008 3:45:33 PM

It would be, only addition that would be needed is a better CPU cooler than the stock heatsink and fan that comes with the CPU.
November 4, 2008 8:54:59 PM

Okay, great! I could potentially sub those in later, then. You wouldn't think, then, that the memory speed would limit OC potential?
!