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Help with new mid-price gaming machine for FSX

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March 11, 2009 3:53:49 PM

Son is not happy with his current PC, and wants to be able to run FSX better, as well as other current games.

Have a compaq SR1710 NX base to upgrade.
XFX GeForce9800GT 512
Corsair 400W PS with 32+ 12v
19" Viewsonic LCD, 1600 x 1024 I think.

Please recommend MOBO and processor and anything else necessary to upgrade this box, or if need be a completely new build taking advantage of the recently purchased video card and power supply. I will by everything online ASAP, and would like to spend $400. SLI would be nice to have for the future. Not sure about dual vs. quad core. I have the OS and can load either XP or vista.

Thanks in advance!

March 11, 2009 4:09:16 PM

hmm, idk what to tell ya, 400 could buy you the memory/mobo/processor.

was that a computer you bought from a company or a home built?

Didnt think you could upgrade many things from a company bought product like compaq or dell.
March 11, 2009 4:24:26 PM

FSX is very cpu dependant so you'll want a 710 at least which would be $255 inc 790 mobo or $285 for a 720 + mobo. it would probably make sense for him to get a new PSU as well which would be about $100 so thats $355 or $385.

You wouldn't get SLI but ati cards generally perform better for the money (4870 =$150 or $10 than the 9800GTX+ which performs slightly worse than the 4850.)
Related resources
March 11, 2009 4:30:39 PM

Fullmetall - Yes, I figured at least the case is re-useable.
Helloworld_98 - We already bought the video card, so trying to stick with it. I think its OK to forego SLI.
March 11, 2009 4:31:39 PM

For games like fsx and gta 4, Quads are really useful in the situation. nvidia mobo products are really high priced in your matter of gaming material. You'll have to spend a little more than what you expect.

with $400, you can end up with a p43 or a ud3r at $104?? i think.

a nice 4870 for around $150.00 and still have money for a good psu and nice memory thats cheap.

in Nvidia, yea 7XX is the series to go which are IMO over priced.
March 11, 2009 4:45:20 PM

For FSX, I'm thinking something like GA-EP45-UD3R + Q9550. Total $100+$275 at Newegg right now. Get 2x2GB DDR2-800 if you have less than 4 GB now.

If you can also upgrade the video to HD 4870 like Fullmetall said, then the other games will get a major improvement too.
March 11, 2009 4:50:58 PM

... wondering why the heck I bought the 9800GT... oh well.
March 11, 2009 4:56:17 PM

aevm said:
For FSX, I'm thinking something like GA-EP45-UD3R + Q9550. Total $100+$275 at Newegg right now. Get 2x2GB DDR2-800 if you have less than 4 GB now.

If you can also upgrade the video to HD 4870 like Fullmetall said, then the other games will get a major improvement too.



Can I do that combo with the Corsair 400W PS, or do I need to bump that up too?
March 11, 2009 5:08:57 PM

aevm said:
For FSX, I'm thinking something like GA-EP45-UD3R + Q9550. Total $100+$275 at Newegg right now. Get 2x2GB DDR2-800 if you have less than 4 GB now.


+1 to the UD3R and Q9550, FSX utilizes the multiple cores so if he wants to run it well, go with the quad. I dont think you need to upgrade the 9800 right away, the CPU improvement will help greatly, and the new components will let you upgrade in the future.

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $99.99 w/ MIR

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - $274.99

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail - $19.99 w/ MIR

Total = $394.97

If I were you I would also pick up a new case, I am not sure if that Compaq case supports full ATX motherboards, and I am betting it does not have great ventilation. With a better case your components stay cooler, last longer, and allow for further upgrades.

This is a solid case for a fair price:

COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $39.99

This would bring your total to $434.96



March 11, 2009 5:10:48 PM

sringer said:
Can I do that combo with the Corsair 400W PS, or do I need to bump that up too?


The 400 watt corsair is plenty for your current video card and new CPU. For a HD4870, you would probably be alright because the Corsair is a great PSU.

Edit: The HD4870 requires 2 6+ pin connectors, and that Corsair 400CV only has one, meaning you would need to purchase a converter plug.
March 11, 2009 5:17:01 PM

if he is gonna get a case, might as well just get one that you can depend on, the rc-690 is a good case.
March 11, 2009 5:18:32 PM

Yea or the Antec 300, I was just giving him a suggestion that doenst ruin his budget.
March 11, 2009 5:38:19 PM

how much of a step down would the Core2 Duo 7400 be?
March 11, 2009 5:43:40 PM

from a Q9550? i would say its a big step, if your gonna get any dual to match a Q9550 in gaming its a E8400, the 8400 i think, still out rates the high end Quad. or compares to it atleast.
March 11, 2009 5:45:32 PM

getting the high end dual, will allow you to get a good airflow case. sticking with the Q9550 will run your budget by a bit but, will allow more things a dual can't do in later games.
March 11, 2009 5:50:54 PM

Keep in mind he wants FSX. In that game the E8400 does not compare with the Q9550 at all. In other games, yeah, the E8400 might even win.
March 11, 2009 5:53:40 PM

I'd like to make sure this build lasts, so I'll stretch the budget to include a good airflow case as suggested. FSX is the priority, so it sounds like a quad is needed. Can a lower end quad work, like the Q8200?

And thanks for all the input so far. It is a great help!
March 11, 2009 6:26:56 PM

idk about the Q8200, haven't really spec'd one out, its a cheap one though. Yea, thats why i added the last sentence in, it will allow more things a dual can't do in later games. Q9550 is recommended:


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$274.99 = free shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$114.99 without rebate, $99.99 with.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PI Black $44.99 = free shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sapphire HD 4870 512 $179.99


Looking in the $600 range




March 11, 2009 6:29:15 PM

Theres things you would have to do to get a 4870, that psu will only have 1 pci-e connector for this card. you would need to buy a convertor to make 2x6pin connectors, or buy a newly psu. Now you see that build didnt include a case..
March 11, 2009 6:30:48 PM

adding the case will be $90.00 more dollars.. so your looking at around 670+
March 11, 2009 6:32:07 PM

fullmetall said:
Theres things you would have to do to get a 4870, that psu will only have 1 pci-e connector for this card. you would need to buy a convertor to make 2x6pin connectors, or buy a newly psu. Now you see that build didnt include a case..


for now, let's stick with the 9800GT I already have, and go with a new case.

What's on the short list for optical drives? I think the one I have is kinda slow, and FSX takes minutes to load.
March 11, 2009 6:46:38 PM

fullmetall said:
So, if you wanted to keep it lower than that, would like to see the Q8200 perform, its more than $100 cheaper.

so Q8200 - $165.00

keep the graphics card : 9800GTX - $0.00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EVGA 780i $170.00 = free shipping + Rebate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PI Black G.skills memory. $ 44.99 = free shipping.

thats $385+... minus rebates



Just when I gave up on the SLI? Q8200 saves $100, but the mobo is $50 more than the Gigabyte UD3R.

How about the Q8200, UD3-R, PI Black, and an Antec 300, and LG 22x DVD? $385 after rebates
March 11, 2009 6:54:14 PM

fullmetall said:
So, if you wanted to keep it lower than that, would like to see the Q8200 perform, its more than $100 cheaper.

so Q8200 - $165.00

keep the graphics card : 9800GTX - $0.00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EVGA 780i $170.00 = free shipping + Rebate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PI Black G.skills memory. $ 44.99 = free shipping.

thats $385+... minus rebates


That nVidia motherboard is not something I would consider, first of all it is expensive and not very reliable. The Gigabyte UD3R (linked earlier a few times) and Gigabyte UD3P (similar to the UD3R but with crossfire option) are some of the best P45 boards available. SLI-ing that 9800 is not worth the money, its an old card and there are much better price/performance GPUs out there. My advice:

Stick with the Gigabyte UD3R, its a great board, and is only $99.99 after rebate.

For FSX, go with the quad-core. The Q8200 would be a fine choice, overclocking with that motherboard and CPU can achieve the performance of a more expensive CPU with relatively little effort.

For good reliable RAM, go with the G.Skill PI Black DDR2 800, if you would like to save a little money, the Corsair RAM I linked earlier is only $19.99 w/ MIR and is still very good RAM.

I would say keep the GPU you have now, its still a decent card and comparable to the HD4850. There is going to be a price cut on ATI cards soon and I would wait for the prices to drop before making a GPU purchase. The HD4870 is a good card, and there is also the new GTS 250, which from recent benchmarks seems to outperform the HD4850, making it a good second choice should you want to spend less.

Your current PSU will be fine in combination with the UD3R board. Since it does not support crossfire or SLI, you only need to power 1 GPU, allowing the Corsair 400CV you have to be sufficient. Should you want to move to a more powerful GPU like a GTX 260, a better PSU would be needed, but for now the current PSU is plenty.

I definitely think a good case is needed, the Antec 300 and Coolermaster RC-690 are great choices, the latter being a little more expensive. I hope this has helped.
March 11, 2009 7:00:56 PM

IDK why i was being stupid thinking outside of the box on a 780i just was like hmm, check that out but na, UD3R and the Q8200 would be your best bet, keeping your card.

it would be cheaper than the $385+ so getting the case will bump it a little over the $400 budget, now its about the antec 300 vs rc-690.

March 11, 2009 7:13:43 PM

RC-690, $56.62, BUY THIS NOW!

http://www.provantage.com/cooler-master-rc-690-kkn1-gp~...

Normally this case is $30 more on Newegg, this is a steal being the same price as the Antec 300.

Comparing the two, the RC-690 is bigger, and has more space for more fans giving you better airflow. Should you ever purchase a large card like an X2 ATI card (HD4850X2), the extra space will be wonderful.
March 11, 2009 7:16:31 PM

Yup, we're down to the case...

Antec 300 - $59
Coolermaster Elite 330 - $39
Coolermaster RC-690 - $89

March 11, 2009 7:19:34 PM

Rc-690 is the way to go sringer.

March 11, 2009 7:27:52 PM

Yes but, WR2 on another site that RC-690 is the same price just about.
March 11, 2009 7:50:12 PM

Thank you all for your help today! Now I've got a solid platform to move forward with.

Any overnight thoughts on this one will be welcome.
March 11, 2009 7:51:08 PM

Transmaniacon said:
RC-690, $56.62, BUY THIS NOW!

http://www.provantage.com/cooler-master-rc-690-kkn1-gp~...

Normally this case is $30 more on Newegg, this is a steal being the same price as the Antec 300.

Comparing the two, the RC-690 is bigger, and has more space for more fans giving you better airflow. Should you ever purchase a large card like an X2 ATI card (HD4850X2), the extra space will be wonderful.



Nice find!!!
March 11, 2009 7:51:29 PM

@ Fullmetall - Did you also check the shipping charges?
And it looks like its out of stock.
March 11, 2009 7:53:51 PM

Okay - it looks like the shipping charge also included taxes to certain states. So its not that bad a shipping charge as it looked.
Its a genuine good deal.
March 12, 2009 2:44:23 PM

I've been doing more reading on the forums and checking the budget builds, and I was having second thoughts about the processor. Looks like the I7 gets rave reviews and wins most benchmarks over the Q9550, and the I7 920 is the same price as the Q9550. Then I checked motherboards, and the cheapest 1366 was double the cost of the 775's.
March 12, 2009 2:47:38 PM

do I need to add a CPU cooler like Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ?
March 12, 2009 2:49:03 PM

Also, the i7 920 requires DDR3, which costs more than similar amounts of DDR2.

On the other hand, I've seen FSX benchmarks like 25 fps for Q9550 vs 40 fps for i7 920 (both overclocked), so yeah, go for the i7/x58/DDR3 if you can afford it.

Edit: but then don't expect the machine to be "mid-price" any more :( 
March 12, 2009 2:51:38 PM

sringer said:
do I need to add a CPU cooler like Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ?



Absolutely. Overclocking does wonders in FSX, and you need a good cooler for that. Get the Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V, because that one works with both Q9550 and i7 920.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029
March 12, 2009 2:52:22 PM

aevm said:
Also, the i7 920 requires DDR3, which costs more than similar amounts of DDR2.

On the other hand, I've seen FSX benchmarks like 25 fps for Q9550 vs 40 fps for i7 920 (both overclocked), so yeah, go for the i7/x58/DDR3 if you can afford it.

Edit: but then don't expect the machine to be "mid-price" any more :( 


Thanks for confirming my initial thoughts. And the more builds I checkout, the more I see this build is on the low end of "mid-price".
March 12, 2009 3:04:12 PM

aevm said:
Absolutely. Overclocking does wonders in FSX, and you need a good cooler for that. Get the Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V, because that one works with both Q9550 and i7 920.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029


added bonus the Dark Knight comes with the additional mounting bracket included. Its an extra for the HDT-S1283.

Thanks for all your help.
March 12, 2009 3:10:43 PM

Yea, well you can't do a whole lot with 400 dollars but, what your doing will be a big upgrade then from what you were playing on.
March 12, 2009 3:17:56 PM

Have you though about the Q6600? They oc to about 3.6ghz on air and only have 8mb of cache but it would save you $80 and they perform guite well for the price from what i've seen.
March 12, 2009 3:26:52 PM

My uncle has the Q6600, he runs age of conan on all high settings, same as cod 4 and 5. its not a bad chip even though he does that and video stream and online work. But, now the Q8200 is the price the Q6600 was a month ago and the Q6600 went up in price.
March 12, 2009 3:34:21 PM

fullmetall said:
My uncle has the Q6600, he runs age of conan on all high settings, same as cod 4 and 5. its not a bad chip even though he does that and video stream and online work. But, now the Q8200 is the price the Q6600 was a month ago and the Q6600 went up in price.



The Q6600 is selling at somewhat of a premium these days, due to its reputation as a great overclocker.

I think I can overclock the Q8200 just as easily, and even quieter with the 45nm technology, for less money with today's prices. The Q6600 does double the cache over the Q8200 though.

I have to see if I can swing the Q9550, but if not the runner up on value will be the Q8200 given today's prices.
March 12, 2009 4:16:09 PM

Right on, well, whatever works out for your budget.
March 16, 2009 5:42:57 PM

what's the golden i7/x58/DDR3 setup? which mobo/mem model and brand?
March 16, 2009 5:59:41 PM

i7 920 is by far best bang for the buck of all i7 CPUs.

P6T Deluxe V2 is a very good overclocker and versatile (both SLI and Crossfire) and has a good layout.

As far as RAM, there are lots of good 3x2GB choices. I guess the best one is whatever is on sale when you place the order.
March 18, 2009 2:24:52 PM

Here is the final build folks !

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $49.99
LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM $23.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $114.99
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM $99.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $79.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler $39.99
Intel® Boxed Core 2 Quad Processor Q9400 $179.99
Three Hundred Case $49.99
UPS Ground $11.63
Tax $13.79
Mail in Rebate $15.00
Order Total $649.34
March 18, 2009 2:32:00 PM

Good job but, wheres the PSU??
!