ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Right now I am only planning the computer. I had the beta for windows 7 on this old computer (P4 3.0 ghz) that I build a number of years ago. The beta ran out (of course) but I really liked 7 so I am planning to buy it. I am also planning a new computer so figure why not buy both at once. I am planning to buy a very upgradable computer (hopefully) and there's where I have questions.
After reading both Techmo's thread (awesome thread btw) and the marathon build articles I am left with some thoughts on my computer. I will have around 6-700 when I wish to build the computer but will be adding 5-600 come fall/winter. I do not wish to spend money unnecessarily only to update it later if it can be avoided. Would it be better to buy a mid range GPU now (~150-200) and add another using CrossFire (if that is possible) or buy a low card now (~50) only to replace it with a top end (3-400) at a later date? Im not sure which road would be better here but thinking getting a mid card now and doubling it later would be best.
I have a 19" Hanns-G monitor now but would be upgrading to a ~23" when I upgrade again in the fall which is where Ild like to have the GPU power. I do play CoD4 (possibly 5 soon) and would like to have a computer able to run any new FPS and RPGs in the near future on higher levels (not looking for top level).
I will be using the same HDD I have now but will be replacing/adding to it with SSD in the upgrade. I have a 1tb external so space isnt needed that much and my 250GB work for me for now.
I hope I am giving enough information to give the picture of where I am at. Ive build many computers in the past but never had a very good computer. I am looking to build that this time but looking to do it in 2 stages. If you think I am crazy please say so. I am a starcraft addict so at the very least I MUST have a computer that can run it fully when it comes out (which wont take much I know) but Ild also like to get above 30fps on CoD as well. Thanks for any help and input you can give.
This is the basic low end gaming build. I would not get a lower card to start with. The problem with a $700 multi-purpose build is that you have a lot of needs and not a lot of money. You won't need to upgrade the GPU until you buy the bigger monitor. If you don't need Windows, get the biggest CPU you can afford (the X4 620 is definitely in range, and the X4 945 might be).
Total: $751. I know it's a tad over budget, but prices will drop, and combos will pop up. This same build was around $700 a week or so ago due to the combos.
@moopato: A little outdated. nVidia is currently being destroyed by ATI in GPUs. If you would check out the Best Video Cards for the money, you'll notice the list is basically a price listing of ATI cards...
Aritcle by a professional reviewer. In the $50 range (which is what the 210 costs), the best card for the money is the HD 4850. The GTS 210 isn't even in the charts any more because it's so old, not to mention poor performing.
Or from the complete ranking, organized by levels of similar performing cards, you will find it 9 tiers from the bottom. The 4840 is 17 tiers above it.
Thank you MadAdmiral. I forgot I will not include the OS in the budget for the computer as I am not certain which version of 7 I will get. I was a little afraid that 700 wouldnt be enough for my needs. Kinda why Im not so much looking for parts right now but just ideas of the directions I should look to go. Like should I go with 2 mid cards or 1 low to be replaced by high end. I realize I wont need the second card until I get the new monitor which is why I wasnt worried about getting a second card right away.
Will I get more bang for my buck with AMD over Intel? reading the main page article on their marathon builds it sounded like a i5 overclocked a lot better then the AMD did in their first build.
If I take their build and strip some of it (less expensive MOBO, your case combo, upping the RAM to yours, no harddrive, eliminate optical as I go through 2 a year anyways, and dropping down to your GPU) I come out with something in the 800 range.
Also would the money be well spent to go with their GPU for another 150 to have more longevity with the system then? Im pretty flexible with budget as I really am still gathering it.
Yes. You cannot even afford a current generation Intel build on $700. An i5-750 is better than any AMD CPU. However, it's $200 by itself. The boards for it are also $50 more expensive than equivalent AMD boards. Together, the board and CPU will run about $400. It would be hard to get a good gaming card and the rest of what you need for under $300. The case, PSU, RAM and rest will cost clost to that.
That article is gone, but I'm assuming it's a system builder's marathon. For the $800 range, you can have a future proof AMD build (able to Crossfire, USB 3/SATA III, quality PSU) with an HD 5850. I actually price it out to be $772 (no optical). If you've got $800, upgrade the X3 425 in the build above to a X4 620 for a new total of $798.
If you've got the extra $150, get the HD 5850 instead of the 5770. Crossfire is a good upgrade option, but it is a poor choice to start a build with. It eliminates an entire upgrade path, and ensures that the next time you need to upgrade, you will shell out a huge amount of money for a marginal performance increase.
Thank you for your help MadAmiral. I will follow all your advice. I will be going with the HD 5850 and will have to see if I can gather enough funds for an i5 or stick with the AMD x3/4. thanks agian for your input. I really just wanted to make sure what direction I could go in the future with which parts I put into it. thank you again.
Something else to keep in mind is that the LGA1156 socket will not be seeing more powerful CPUs than what's already out. Intel is making it the mainstream socket, and has already begun to introduce lower CPUs to appeal to the lower budget markets.
To have a truly upgradeable machine, you need either the AM3 socket (AMD's main and only current socket) or the LGA1366 socket (for the i7-920 and up). These are the only sockets that will see six core CPUs or more powerful CPUs than what is already out. An i7 build will easily cost $1,200 to get a decently balanced system, and much more for a gaming build.
In light of that, I would stick with AMD for your budget right now if you want to have a more future proof build.
that is great advice and the type I was looking for. I hadnt even though I would replace my CPU without just building a whole new computer but Im guessing with the type of mobo you are talking about I could potentially upgrade the CPU, get a second card (when I get another monitor) and add ram and just keep going with the system for another couple years.
talking about monitor would I necessarily be looking to add a second card with a new monitor right away (this fall) or would using the money for a SSD drive be better?
I don't know. If you were to upgrade the monitor, you would almost need to add a second card or at least upgrade it depending on what's out then. A SSD won't really help in gaming, and should be fairly cheap soon.
You would likely have a better gaming experience with the monitor/GPU upgrade, but without being able to predict prices and what's on the market in 6+ months, I can't really say what would be better.