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1st homebuilt in nearly 3 years...update me plz!

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December 30, 2008 4:10:27 PM

hi gents & dames. long time lurker, first time poster. i've been out of the loop on tech for quite awhile as you can see by the title of this thread. i've been building and maintaining my own systems since my first pc in 1999. i like to game, but it's been mmorpg's for the last few years. it's time for an upgrade.

here's my problem...EVERYTHING has changed this go around, whereas typically i've only had to buy a new vid card and/or some memory. now we're into 64-bit and dual-core processors, SLI and crossfire tech, and SATA peripherals. thus, i'm a little lost.

i'm looking for a dumbed-down primer on the current state of things. i'm looking for a $400 or less build leaning toward graphical power. aside from the few games that i'm interested in (City of Heroes 4Lyfe!), i'm a utilitarian user with a splash of audio editing. here are some specific questions that you may be able to help me with (please be gentle, as i could be considered a newb with all of the tech that i've missed over the years, and some of these questions may not make sense on account of my ignorance):

-is there any danger that a 64-bit processor running XP home will not run older games (sometimes i install Grim Fandango for old-school kicks)?
-will a mobo with ATI on-board graphics have any trouble running an SLI-equipped nVidia card that is running alone?
-is an air-cooled CPU a thing of the past, or still standard procedure?
-is the assembly of a CPU cooling fan/heat sink combo still the same procedure as it was 3 years ago? (read: arctic silver)
-do i NEED a psu larger than 400W?
-do these things exist: old style power connector-to-serial power connector adapter (do i need a new PSU because of serial power?), IDE-to-SATA adapter (my DVD burner isn't more than 18 months old)

i didn't want to post a 'how do you like this combo of hardware' thread, since i'm flying nearly blind. there are plenty of these threads, anyhew. i thought one like this might be helpful to another old schooler like me.
December 30, 2008 4:24:26 PM

Budget Build

Rosewill Case - $23
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Earthwatts 430W PSU - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabye DS3L Motherboard - $96
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 4670 Video Card - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel E5200 CPU - $83
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gskill 4GB Ram - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital 160GB HD - $42
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG DVD Burner - $23
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total is $426 and it is a great build. I would upgrade the Video Card down the road once you can save some more cash if you are serious about gaming.

To help answer your questions. 64-bit proc on XP 32 is fine.

ATI graphics mobo can run a single Nvidia card no problem, just disable onboard graphics.

Air cooling is fine, even when OC'ing you can get great aftermarket coolers.

The wattage rating on a PSU isn't as important as the brand. You can get this Antec PSU rated at 430 that you know is quality and has a high 12V rating, and get a 500W no name that is complete junk.

You can use adapters for sata power.
December 30, 2008 4:31:35 PM

vwmech said:
hi gents & dames. long time lurker, first time poster. i've been out of the loop on tech for quite -is there any danger that a 64-bit processor running XP home will not run older games (sometimes i install Grim Fandango for old-school kicks)?
-will a mobo with ATI on-board graphics have any trouble running an SLI-equipped nVidia card that is running alone?
-is an air-cooled CPU a thing of the past, or still standard procedure?
-is the assembly of a CPU cooling fan/heat sink combo still the same procedure as it was 3 years ago? (read: arctic silver)
-do i NEED a psu larger than 400W?
-do these things exist: old style power connector-to-serial power connector adapter (do i need a new PSU because of serial power?), IDE-to-SATA adapter (my DVD burner isn't more than 18 months old)


1: No, you will not have any problems running a 64 bit processor with Windows XP Home. The problem usually happens when you're running a 64 bit operating system compared to a 32 bit operating system with older games.

2: No, you will not have any problems running a ATI on board graphic mobo and a SLI Nvidia card. They will act as separate parts in your system working independently from each other.

3: Air cool is still the main stream for most users. Air cool is what you should do especially if you're not considering overclocking. Water cool is still considered enthusiast level though prices have been going down lately. Air cool is still the majority.

4: Yes, basic assemlty of CPU/Heat Sink/Fan is pretty much the same. Not much has changed.

5: No, for your needs you will not need more then 400W. You're not going dual graphic cards and you won't be buying he latest and greatest multi-gpu cards so you'll be OK.

6: Every motherboard that is selling right now still has a legacy IDE controller on board so you'll still be able to use your DVD burner in your new system. As for your power supply if it does not have the power connector for SATA drives then an adapter can be purchased. They connect to existing 4 pin molex plugs and are pretty cheap.

I think that's about it. Have fun buying your parts.
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December 30, 2008 4:32:09 PM

thanks serpent!

here's another question for you: what is the average operating temp of these newer processors? what is too hot to sustain for a few hours? i think this AMD Athlon XP I have now is running around 48C steady-state temp. no o-clocking.
December 30, 2008 5:17:13 PM

another question:

i've always been an AMD guy....intel vs. AMD...clock speed vs. cost...

GO! :) 
December 30, 2008 5:36:26 PM

There is a great guide on the forums regarding Intel's CPU Temps. Off the top of my head, Average E5200's will run about 30C idle and 50C under full load. They are safe all the way up to 70C, maybe even 75.

I was always an AMD guy, until Core 2 Duo's. The architecture is far superior than what AMD can offer currently. You can take a 5200 with a 2.5 gigahertz clock speed, and a similiar AMD with 2.5 gigahertz speed, and the intel will flat out win everytime. On top of that, the Intel chip can be OC'd up to 4 gigahertz on air alone. So you could turn this $80 chip into a powerhouse.
December 31, 2008 12:51:03 PM

thanks again, serpent!

here's another one for you (or anyone else with the info):

does a core 2 duo at 2.5 GHz indeed clock at 2.5 GHz? or is the true clockspeed the overall speed of 2 processors running at 2.5 GHz? how does clock speed ratings work with what seems to me to be more than one processor on board?
January 3, 2009 4:05:01 PM

bompadomp
!