Need some advice on a cheap build.

My computer's 5-6 years old and I'm looking to upgrade it enough to last another year or two, so I can save up more money for a more modern build.

I'm looking at getting something along the lines of an X2 5000 CPU, 8800GT or similar video card, 4gb of DDR2, and I haven't decided on a motherboard. I've been out of the hardware scene for so long now that I've no idea which motherboards are good for my purpose. I don't need too many features, but I'd like a reasonably stable system that could be mildly overclocked.

The main reason for this upgrade is so I can play Fallout 3 (my radeon 9800 doesn't cut it). I don't expect to be playing anything like Crysis.

Any comments or advice is welcome.
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  1. * What is your budget?
    * What parts do you want to get, or do you think you need?
    * Are you re-using any existing parts? **remember that 99% of mobo's only have 1 IDE port to plug in older drives with, so keep that in mind.
    * Do you have an OS already? Vista Home Premium 64 bit would be one to consider, if you don't already have it or don't already have an OS to install on the new system.

    You want mildly OC'ing? Intel is the best at doing this, unless you get the AMD 5400+ Black Edition, but for less $ you can get the 6000+ (3.1gHz) for $76 shipped! The e5200 (2.5 gHz) should easily reach 3-3.4 gHz with the stock cooler and it's only $83 shipped!!
    If you stick with AMD (not a bad choice) the 780g chipset or the 790gx chipsets are the ones to get. The 790gx is the latest and will probably do you well. The 780g is a good chipset too and is usually about $20-40 cheaper, depending on which model.
    The Intel e5200/p45 based mobo combo is a good one. Most p45 based mobo's are around $100-$125, but they will easily OC your e5200, so there is a trade off in price. The Intel based mobo's are usually a bit more, but the CPU's will OC quite easily and really perform quite well. AMD isn't the king, but because of their prices on CPU's and mobo's they can compete quite well. Just don't expect the CPU's to OC like the Intels can.

    Intel build:
    CPU - $83 e5200 (2.5 gHz)
    Mobo - $110 p45 based one.
    RAM - $30-50 4 gb's of DDR2 800 mHz stuff will do quite well.
    GPU - $120 8800gt/9800gt (pretty much the same)
    or $120-140 for 4850, which a step up from the 8800gt/9800gt.

    Total ~$343 or so depending on options and whether or not you need more parts.

    AMD build:
    CPU - $60-75 5000+ or 6000+ either will do, the 6000+ is at 3.1 gHz, so it's a good buy.
    Mobo - $70-120 780g or 790gx. The 780g will be closer to $70 and the 790gx closer to the 100-120 range.
    RAM - Same as above
    GPU - Same selection as above

    Total ~$280 on the lower side of things and about $310 or so on the mid-upper side of things.

    So you can see there is a slight difference in price between the two, but if you can OC, which is pretty easy, the Intel build will out perform the AMD build. If you keep things at stock speeds, it'll be about the same and the AMD build will win, due to the lower price. You can decide what works for you, but if you answer the questions above, we can help you build a good rig for the least amount of $ and possibly headache!
  2. Thanks for the reply.

    I'm looking to spend around $350, so both those options would work.

    I'd like to get a decent video card, something that will run Fallout 3. For CPU/motherboard, I'm not sure what I need. I want something that won't be a bottleneck for the new video card, but beyond that, I'm not doing much that requires a strong CPU.

    I'm re-using a dvd drive and a cd burner, which I've got using 1 IDE channel at the moment. I'm also going to get a new SATA hard drive, since my current one is IDE, and I may need a new power supply, since mine is only 350 watts.

    I've got XP Pro right now. I just haven't found a good reason to upgrade yet.

    From what you suggested, the Intel build seems better for me, since I am planning to do a little overclocking, and it's still within my budget.
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