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400 dollar build

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January 13, 2010 6:15:45 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Soon.

BUDGET RANGE: 400ish.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing, writing, gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, case, OS, Power supply, GPU.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Parts found.

PARTS PICKED OUT AND OWNED:

This mobo combo: Biostar board, Phenom 945 95w edition: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

This ram: Dual channel, G.Skill 2 x 2gb: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This hard drive: 500gb Western Digital: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have a working 630 watt psu, a 1950 xtx crossfire edition 512 ddr3 (no second card for crossfire yet), a cd r-rw, a vista 32 home premium OS, and a full size case.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe crossfire with the board. Can you sli on a crossfire board?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Just want to put this together right. I read the pc building thread here, and another article all the way through. Will be ordering the anti-static mat and wristband with parts, and planning to use the thermal compound that comes with the processor. Not planning to overclock. Other notes:

The 1950 xtx has the same clockspeed as an also owned 8800gt alpha dog edition 256, and outperforms it in most cases. Possibly due to extra ram.

I already own a few computer games. Oblivion, Bioshock, Crysis Maximum, Spore, Civ 4 and others. I was able to play all but Spore and Crysis at max before the upgrade with minimal lag in Oblivion. How much of a performance boost will I see in Crysis over the Pentium 4 3.0 I was using?

Final note:

I know I won't be able to get all four gigs out of that ram. But the two sticks were the quickest way to 3.5.

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January 13, 2010 7:33:15 PM

That graphics card is so old and outdated that you may not see much improvement due to the CPU increase. I havent seen crysis benchmarked on a new quad core with a graphics card that old or a resolution that low (1280x1024 is the lowest Ive seen) so I dont have much basis for a definitive answer. One thing for sure is once you have the new CPU/motherboard you will be able to later replace the graphics card and get good play on a newer 1920x1080 HD LCD monitor/TV.

I would recommend you reconsider the motherboard/RAM choice unless you got it really cheap. DDR2 RAM is slowly disappearing and can be more expensive than DDR3 at this point. There probably is not much price difference to change to an AM3 motherboard and DDR3 RAM, which will leave you in a better position for the future.

Upgrading to windows 7 64bit might also be a good idea as it is a much more efficient OS than Vista
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January 13, 2010 8:52:20 PM

Get the Samsung F3 500GB drive in place of the Western Digital. It's faster and cheaper.

I agree with dndhatcher in that you should get DDR3 RAM instead of DDR2.

The ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX is a decent mobo. And you might want to consider going to a Phenom II x3 720 for $20 more (but you'll have to get a cooler for it, which you'll need to get anyway if you have plans to overclock it).
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January 13, 2010 9:38:55 PM

The processor listed is as fast or faster than the phenom II x3, and has four cores. I did get a good deal on the mobo/processor. The option of upgrading a video card will still exist in this case, and I've heard DDR 3 isn't a big difference performance wise.

As was mentioned above, the 8800gt alpha dog edition I own is bested by the radeon 1950xtx quite easily. The older card is still strong. Switched to the Samsung.
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January 13, 2010 11:07:55 PM

My apologies. I was thinking x2 545 when I wrote my response.

Going with DDR3 is likely to give you a better upgrade path for future processors (unless AMD continues to support DDR2 and DDR3 for future processors). Also DDR3 RAM is getting cheaper while DDR2 is going in the opposite direction. So if you ever need to expand your memory to more than 4GB in the future, you'll want DDR3.
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January 13, 2010 11:30:10 PM

Thanks on the Samsung recommendation. I'm not too worried about ddr2 going out of style for several years, at least until consoles themselves go to the next gen, which is several years off.

I'm noticing a lot of static around the house. . . Not wearing socks. Will the anti static gear be good enough to keep parts safe?
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January 14, 2010 12:56:48 AM

I've never used anti-static gear so someone else may need to chime in. I do my builds on the kitchen table and the floor is tiled. I touch the case to discharge any static before touching any components (and I handle everything by the edges). Never had a problem.
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January 14, 2010 1:08:05 AM

Awesome. I'll do the same on a hardwood floor.
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January 14, 2010 4:14:08 AM

Okay, decided to follow you guys advice. Could you look over these three parts to replace the others and move toward ddr 3?

Mobo/processor: 630 propus x4, 2.8g and asus 790x
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Ram: G.skill DDR31600 (2 x 2gb)

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

I know the processor took a hit but it'll be easier to upgrade a processor and gpu later then take apart a pc just to upgrade the ram.. And since the processor upgrade won't offer a huge performance boost, might as well keep the quad core 95w and lose the .2ghz and L3 cache for now. AMD will launch faster processors for cheaper than the phenom II's are now by the time I'll want to upgrade this set-up.
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January 14, 2010 5:50:47 AM

lonema said:
I've never used anti-static gear so someone else may need to chime in. I do my builds on the kitchen table and the floor is tiled. I touch the case to discharge any static before touching any components (and I handle everything by the edges). Never had a problem.


i flirt with disaster. ive worked on dozens upon dozens of machines ungrounded, wearing socks, on a carpet floor, with 2 cats and a dog walking around :)  never had an issue. my .02

i remember a time that i rubbed processors clean on cloth like i was polishing an apple (non-mac) :pt1cable: 

at any rate, id say its safe to assume he/she would notice an overall system speed increase...even if that ATi card is old as dirt, though 10x7 res isnt terribly taxing.

i worry about that 630w PSU, though. specs? age?
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January 14, 2010 4:44:09 PM

Static charges below what you can feel (as little as 30v) can damage components. It's no longer a risk I'm willing to take, so I wear an anti-static strap when building; I can't avoid carpet (unwilling to build in the throne room), so I've got bare feet.
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January 14, 2010 4:50:38 PM

I see a video card upgrade in your future.
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January 14, 2010 7:14:49 PM

The power supply isn't crossfire certified, and it's an offbrand. I will upgrade my gpu one day, but not for quite a while if I can still play current gen games at 360 quality graphics (higher on Bioshock and Oblivion). I wouldn't recommend anyone buy a 1950 xtx at this time, but for it's time it was a beast. 650 core clock, 1800 mem clock, which is faster than a lot of 8800's. You can get better with a 4870 for about the same price now as the 1950 was when I got it, so I'll be waiting for a while incase such a drop should occur again.
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January 26, 2010 4:27:31 PM

Best answer selected by learningonestep.
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January 26, 2010 4:28:31 PM

The build went flawlessly. Considering the windows 7 upgrade.
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