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$600 Build for Second Life

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November 14, 2009 2:00:24 PM

Hello everyone, I'm wanting to build a system built specifically for Second Life, for about $600. For those who haven't played it before, it uses something called OpenGL which is apparently demanding, and there are 15-25, or more, people very near you at times, which makes lag a serious issue. All I want from this build, is lag-free gaming on my 37" plasma television.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: One Week

BUDGET RANGE: $600 before MIR

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Second Life mostly), streaming media/movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor (37" TV), speakers, OS (Windows 7 Pro)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, U.S.A.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Antec 900 case, that's all. Other than that, fastest I can get lol.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 37" LCD television, 1080p, if that's what is meant by resolution in this case.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Minimum System Requirements: http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/

Oh, and, combo deals are good! lol

More about : 600 build life

November 14, 2009 5:38:38 PM

For a 37" television, you'll need a powerful graphics card with plenty of VRAM. Do you have any parts or are you starting from scratch? If you're starting from nothing, I'm not sure if $600 is enough. I've never played Second Life, but $600 will get you a pretty budget computer. Maybe a Phenom II X4 or X3 with a 4890 1GB would be in your budget?
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November 14, 2009 7:15:38 PM

Agree with Dougx1317 that the plasma TV at 1080p calls for a good graphics card. 4870 may save you some money and still do the trick, though. A quad-core CPU seems like an overkill to me unless there's a lot of other stuff you want to do on the system in parallel. An Athlon II X3 or Phenom II X2 are plenty powerful for Second Life and would save you quite a bit.
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November 14, 2009 10:48:33 PM

An Athlon II x2 is probably plenty then, I will only be doing one thing at a time. So I should get that and a 4890 w/ 1GB memory? Could you guys give me some parts links for that and the other parts I'd need that would work with that, for a complete build? I'm not sure how to do all that to be honest.
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November 14, 2009 11:20:32 PM

Here's a list of parts that I just threw together. Everything is on Newegg. The total is $626.97 shipped. You can save $40 if you get the Antec 300 case. I went with the three core processor, because it was only a few dollars more ($18) and it should make the computer last a bit longer. I also chose the ATI 4890 over the 4870, because they were almost the same price after the rebate. You will also want to consider an after market cooler if you plan on overclocking. I don't know how intensive Second Life is, but this should be able to handle most games very well on your TV.

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $99.95

ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $84.99

HIS H489FN1GH Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card $179.99 ($159 AR)

Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC $79.99

OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK $82.99

AMD Athlon II X3 435 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX $89.99
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November 15, 2009 1:06:56 AM

Can't find anything to fault. Looks like a great build.
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November 15, 2009 1:38:56 AM

Quick question on the graphics option. I went to Nvidia's website and did "help me choose" and "play the latest games in extreme HD resolutions" and it recommended the GTX 260 line. How does this card look?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(MSI N260GTX 2D896-OC GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card)

...Or is the one you guys recommended going to perform better than this card?
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November 15, 2009 2:06:27 AM

The performance of those two cards is almost identical. However, the ASUS mobo Dougx1317 recommends is a better fit with the 4890 card. It even supports Hybrid CrossFireX.
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November 15, 2009 2:19:22 AM

Okay cool, I'll go with the 4890 then!
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November 15, 2009 3:27:50 AM

ATI's video drivers and Second Life do not play well together. If you are building a computer specifically for Second Life, get an Nvidia graphics adapter.
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November 15, 2009 3:53:01 AM

Ohh, thanks Jenn! Glad to hear from someone with specific experience on it. So I should go with the GTX260 in your opinion?
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November 15, 2009 3:43:32 PM

gtx260 does worse than 4890 in 1920x1080
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November 15, 2009 4:06:53 PM

Folks, the point is not whether nVidia or ATI is better in principle.

Jenn_D is absolutely right with the ATI drivers comment. Many Second Life users report having problems with them, so I guess the nVidia 260 is likely a solution that'll keep arkansas_guy happier. Go with it - but look for an SLI capable mobo if you might want to add more graphics power in future!
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November 15, 2009 4:07:34 PM

I don't know if Jenn_D is correct, but I do agree with ubernoobie. If it were me, I'd go for the 4890. It'll do better overall at high resolutions. And is Second Life the only game you play?
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November 15, 2009 5:39:10 PM

Doug, it mostly is, though I'm strongly considering buying Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the new game. That game looks sick.

And I'm thinking of getting this memory for now (specs at bottom), it will work right? And then adding another 2GB stick later, to lower the entry price. My dads words were "if you can do it for under $600", it was almost a bet type deal lol. I think, though, that if I get close enough he'll go for it, and that will save $40 and I can buy another stick later myself, or for my birthday that is just a couple weeks after Christmas.

Crucial 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model CT25664BA1067
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November 15, 2009 7:08:43 PM

That RAM will work. But for dual channel, you are best to buy it in kits of two. Also, 4GB is becoming more of the standard. If you need to some save money, the first thing I'd do is downgrade that case to an Antec 300. That'll save you the same amount without sacrificing performance. The RAM might be next in line to be cut, but it could affect performance.

You are good to price it out first. I told my dad that I could build him a computer for $350. I ended up having to use almost $100 of my own money to complete it.
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November 15, 2009 7:54:02 PM

Thanks guys, I'll probably go with the Antec 300 to save some cash then. That should put me at around $700, I'll see if we can swing that.
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November 16, 2009 3:45:57 AM

Yes, that RAM will work fine. My only advice is to focus more on the timings than the speed. Unless you're going to overclock, you can't use more than 1066Mhz. Any of the following will be better UNLESS you plan to overclock it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yes, it is all compatible with 64-bit Windows 7. It should make a fine computer.
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November 16, 2009 1:49:54 PM

Sorry, I just realized you didn't have a hard drive from an old build. Make sure you get one of those. Any SATA drive should work. It just depends on you in terms of size and price.
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November 16, 2009 4:20:48 PM

Yeah I factored in a hard drive, thanks for making sure though. I'm going to go with the Crucial memory, cheapest of the three lol.
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November 17, 2009 2:37:53 AM

Oh, almost forgot- my apartment isn't wired for ethernet so I need wireless capability. I'll buy this part myself, but can you give me a link to what exactly I need?
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November 17, 2009 10:30:36 PM

Ok I've Played Second Life before and every one of the listig for computer configuration are way more than powerful enough to play it it only requires a 800mhz processor minimum 1.5ghz recommended and dual core would be way more that enough to play it same with graphics card even to power the tv i have a 9800m gs on my laptop and it could play it easy so most of these systems are overkill but it still might be a good idea to get on listed because if you ever want to play other games more graphics intensive it would be a good idea
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November 17, 2009 10:48:35 PM

I'd say that for $600, it's worth it. You'll have the power to play new games when you get them.
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November 17, 2009 11:59:36 PM

Yeah, I'm definitely going with this build. I intend to buy Modern Warfare II soon after building it anyway :) 
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November 22, 2009 2:51:38 PM

I haven't heard of the brand, but it should work just fine with your setup.
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November 22, 2009 2:58:16 PM

Will the wireless data rate (in mbps) affect online gaming and such at all?
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November 22, 2009 3:41:16 PM

It does have a big effect in terms of sending the information, but 300mbps is plenty.
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!