I have been looking to build a new system for a while now, one that can handle the latest games but not necessarily hardcore about it. I recently received an older MSI P6NGM-L mobo from a relative, and am wondering if I would be able to build a pretty good system out of this or would I be better off buying a new mobo+CPU combo?
The mobo's CPU support seems pretty decent. It is Intel-based, runs max FSB 1333 MHz and can support most of the latest Core 2 Duo or Quad. However the memory support on the mobo is a bit of a question. It only supports max DDR2 667 MHz, 4 GB max and single-channel only. From what I've seen online, this memory performance would not make much difference but it just seems like I should go for things more "up to date".
So based on this info would it still be wise to proceed and try to build off this? As said, the CPU support seems good, just the memory subsystem is a little flaky. I would like to use the PC to watch HD video and be able to make the latest games at least playable. Perhaps I would add a higher end Geforce gfx card down the line too.
I wouldn't waste money buying DDR2 RAM. You're going to buy substandard components to match a motherboard just to have it obsolete by the time you build it. A motherboard can be had for under $100 so your not really saving that much compared to the overall cost of the system.
Go for an AMD AM3 or Intel I7 based system that supports DDR3. Find your budget and build within it going for performance/value. In a years time when it comes time to upgrade, pawn the system off to a relative, sell, or replace a failed component, you'll be happy to have a modern system that is cheaper to work with rather than an obsolete system that is hard to find parts for.
Depends of the price of the ram. I got my PNY 2x2gb pc6400 for $27.99 after rebate a few days ago at Fry's. That's about half the price of some ddr3, depending on where you buy it. You can use low latency crucial, corsair, kingston, pny, pqi, or samsung pc5300 or pc6400 (will default to the lower speed), so get whatever is cheaper. For the cpu, I suggest the e5200 ($69.99 at newegg.com) for the retail boxed version with 3 year warranty. Read about installing the heatsink, which can be a little tricky on Intel's website.