APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: See below BUDGET RANGE: See below
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: watching movies, playing music, gaming, general web surfing, occasional simple programming
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: See below
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: none strong enough to mention
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe eventually
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My goal is not to need to upgrade for a few years, but to be able to do so when necessary, without breaking the bank. I'm also trying to be reasonably energy efficient to reduce the need for noisy cooling fans, etc.
I'm currently using an old eMachines T6520 desktop and would like to replace it with a machine designed primarily as an HTPC, but also capable of decent gaming. (Dragon Age: Origins, for example) Being a student on a limited budget, I'm hoping to sort-of upgrade my current machine incrementally, as I scrounge up the money for parts. That's why I listed "see below" for purchase date & budget range. My budget isn't a set amount; it'll just take me longer to find the money for a more expensive part. I figure I can probably set aside about $20-$25 a week for parts and would like to have a complete new system by Christmas 2010. Am I crazy or does this actually sound feasible?
Here's the configuration of my current machine:
AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Processor (512KB L2 cache, 2.4 GHz, 1600 MHz FSB)
ATI RS480 Chipset (with integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics)
2GB DDR-400 RAM
200GB Segate Barracuda 7200.7 (P)ATA Hard Drive
Two optical drives, both of which are flaky and need to be replaced anyways
eMachines 15" (1024x768) LCD monitor w/ D-Sub connection
I do have one PCIe x16 slot free, as well as multiple PCI slots.
Windows 7 Ultimate x86 (RC1, not RTM)
I'm thinking of getting and installing the parts in several stages:
1st: TV Tuner, HDD, DVD/CD Drive, Power Supply, Monitor(?)
2nd: Video Card, Case, Monitor(?)
3rd: Processor, Motherboard, RAM
4th: Everything else
For the monitor, I'm torn between buying a TV and buying a regular monitor. I currently live in a studio apartment, where a huge screen would be absurd, and I do own a PlayStation 2 that I want to connect to the same screen. I'm currently leaning toward a 20 or 21-inch TV with several different inputs (including HDMI, VGA, composite and component), which can eventually move to a bedroom in a larger apartment and be replaced by a large LCD on my HTPC. Are there any significant drawbacks to using a TV as a primary monitor? I'd keep my old LCD as a secondary monitor for the routine surfing/admin type stuff.
I hope that I've provided enough information for you to be able to make sense of what I'm thinking. I'd appreciate any comments or recommendations on my proposed configuration, as well as thoughts on the feasability, advisability and/or sanity of my plan. Thanks in advance for your help!