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Looking for Advice on inexpensive Gaming Build

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January 23, 2009 1:27:56 AM

Hey Folks.

It's been a while since I really paid close attention to processors and all the new equipment to go into a new computer. To clarify on the gaming part, the only game I really play is World of Warcraft and would like to play that stable. I also do some work in Photoshop, and other smaller tasks. So it doesn't have to be a powerhouse, just good enough to handle a few games and some video/image editing/dvd burning. Also, sometime I will want to upgrade to Windows 7 (Or whatever that will eventually be called) so I will want a CPU that can handle that with ease.

I want to keep the cost around $500, including a new case. I do have parts from my current system that will be swapped over, like the DVD drives and thermaltake PSU. I also have Xp Pro 64 bit that I will be installing as the OS, so no cost for me to add that in the budget.

I have always had AMD processors, but have heard more people talking about how Intel is lower cost and better bang for your buck. Is that true or is it pretty much a toss up?

So basically what I'm looking for is a case, cpu, mobo, RAM, Video Card and a 500GB-1TB HD depending on the cost difference. Is there anything I'm forgetting?

Thanks in advance.
January 23, 2009 2:03:38 AM

Have a look at the december system builder marathon $625 build . Prices are down since then on intel cpu's and the gear you have already reduces the cost too .
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-2-overclock,21...

The only thing in that build that isnt value is the hard drive . Too many of them are DOA or die shortly after . Seagate know its a firmware problem but the fix they released killed the drives instantly so buy a 640 gb western digital instead . 320, 640 , 1 terabyte hd's have 330 gb per platter and the higher data density makes them faster [ but not older 320's with double platters ]
Samsung are also good .

Intel cpu's have the performance edge , but AMD is price competitive . I went intel this generation but have been really happy with AMD in the past . See the performance charts on this site .

January 23, 2009 2:11:08 AM

I'll take a look at that and thanks for the advice.

Is it worth a shot to look at the quad cores? Or is that still pretty much overkill for right now?

To me, if the performance isn't noticeable I'm more about being more price conscious for right now. I saw a deal on Newegg of a combo with a Antec 900 Case and AMD Phenom 9950 processor for $199 including shipping, which seems like a really good deal. Thoughts on that processor?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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January 23, 2009 2:47:14 AM
January 23, 2009 3:01:33 AM

you realy need very little CPU power to play WoW.

I was running a 3600+ (the slowest brisbane they made when they first came out) amd dual core w/ a 4850. I ran full resolution 1650x1080 everything set to high except the anti-alias, at the middle. I got 60fps with vista64.

Windows 7 is suposed to be less of a resource hog than Vista is what I hear.

I'd get a good AM2+ ready mobo (790gx mobo is what I'd recomend), and stick a cheap dual core on it. you will be able to upgrade to the phenom2s and the first AM3s latter on. If you like uATX, DFI has a crossfire ready uATX board for $155.

look for a sale on good DDR2. I've seen Corsair Dominators go from well over $100 to under $40 in a week.

I think you can squeeze a 4850 in your budget.
January 23, 2009 3:13:31 AM

Thanks for the advice Groo. Currently I have a AMD X2 4800+ (939 board I am almost certain, got it shortly before the AM2's were released) 2gb RAM, HIS x1900 something video card) but when playing WoW, the FPS slows way down to 3-5FPS which it didn't do once upon a time. Once in a while I do a little programming on my PC as well as use it as a media server since it's within a few feet of my HDTV.

But it's been a while since I have built up a new system, and my current one is just loud. I put much of the noise blame on the video card and the case design.
January 23, 2009 10:31:02 PM

sounds like you built your system just a couple of months before I built mine. everything but the mobo and video capture card has been upgraded. the graphics, CPU, memory and HDD have ben upgraded at least twice. I started out with a semperon 2800+ (most people dont even know there ever was an AM2 so crappy), 6150 on-board graphics, and 2 gigs of ram the cost me $220 by themselves.

You have enough CPU for your needs. AM2 held such a small performance gain over s939 clock per clock, I don't understand the people going gonzo over overpriced DDR3. I would have got the Biostar T6100 (I think) and an opteron 165, but the mobo was constantly out of stock, so I said "heck with it" and went with a cheap AM2.

My guess is a fresh install of the OS would fix your problems, not the noise of course.

if you want to do it in steps;
a new case, psu, vid card, and CPU heatsink could all be carried over to a phenom 2 system. all but some heatsinks could be carried over to an Intel system.

for that matter, if you have a good heatsink, that could carry over to a phenom2 also. I got an ebay Opteron 165 heatsink for my 3600+. it is the exact same as the stock heatsink for my new 6000+. the new CPU didn't affect WoW play as far as I could tell. I get the same 60fps.

were I you, I'd get a quiet case like the Antec p182 (I have the mini P180. Its pretty good, but its size takes away the point of the uAXT) and a new vid card. reinstall the OS (maybe on a new HDD to keep the old files in tact)
and see if it does everything you want. your out nothing but a little time if you still want to do a complete new system afterall.
January 23, 2009 10:59:44 PM

I was thinking that I may be better off for the short term with just getting a newer video card as the X1900XT that I have is loud, and just doesn't seem to keep up with WoW for me. I have a Aerocool case that I've had since 2005, but it's getting to the point of replacing it.

I'm not opposed to reinstalling Windows XP on this machine and there really isn't much on it that I can't just reinstall. The biggest pain of reinstalling would be of course WoW and all the patches, but I should be able to just go and toss those patches on a thumbdrive and I'd be fine. (Not to mention my bookmarks in FF.)

I do have two older 75gb Seagate SATA HD's... When reinstalling would I be better off putting them in RAID configuration, and if so, what one? Or should I not even bother with that?

If I were to replace the video card, would an ATI 4830 be more then enough for my use?

And I have a DFI Lanparty RDX 200 motherboard currently. Money is tight right now, so if I can squeak by for the next 6 months to year by just upgrading the video card, and likely the case, I should be fine, shouldn't I?
January 24, 2009 1:42:48 PM

I told you what my 4850 did in WOW, is just a slightly slower version. it will do ya fine, just look for one with a good non reference cooler.

A raid0 will give you a 150gig drive that is theroreticaly twice as fast. many argue that the Raid controler causes enough slowdown that in many instances it is a wash. If you do a Raid 0, you can NOT bring it to the next mobo even if it has Raid0 also, because the raid controler chip is different.
I stuck a pair of 320s in Raid0, then had to buy a 500+ when I started moving around HDDs to back up the one big drive.
A newer drive would be faster than the pair of 75s. Tom's has a HDD speed chart on it someware that ranks them all. also remember a full drive is slower than a nearly empty drive because the computer uses the faster segmet of a HDD first, then the slower. (speed = alfa x radius, so the outer parts of the platter are moving quicker)
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