Hey all. So here's the thing... I looked at the "Recommended Builds by Usage" thread which was very helpful. For my build I already have
- hard drives (SATA and IDE)
- DVD drives (both IDE)
- tv tuner
- ATX case
- 550W power supply
- Samsung 24" HD monitor
What I'm looking to buy is the motherboard, the processor, a graphics card and system memory. I'd like to keep it around $300, is that possible? (board $100-$150, memory $100, graphics $70, CPU $100) Don't want cheap parts, however no need for quad core. I'm not an overclocker either. Not a heavy gamer, but definitely will be playing StarCraft 2 along with some other RTS's. Also will use the comp for Sony Vegas to edit video, some of it HD.
What I'm looking for with the board is a number of PCI slots, as in 3. Also firewire. Not looking for graphics on the board, as I've read and heard over and over that it's not as good as a dedeicated card. Is there no site that allows searching for boards by looking for the individual components? With Newegg, CompUSA Tiger Direct etc you've got to look at each one's specs, no searching feature.
Crossfire? Is it important?
(Background--- My original computer that I built about 5 years ago had an AMD chip at 2800 I think, and an MSI K8N Neo-V motherboard. Something seems to have died this past week. Did some trouble shooting and figured out that something is up with the memory, either the individual DIMMS or the slots on the MB. Either way it'll cost some $$$ so I decided it's time to upgrade. I need my computer up and running!)
Try switching to advanced search on Newegg. That will give you the search options you want.
If you want to stay under $300, your best option is to go with an AMD build using the Athlon II X3. I'll have a build in a few minutes.
If you're not a big gamer, Crossfire won't be important to you. It allows you to join 2 cards for better performance, but in my opinion, it should be used as an upgrade option from 6 months to about 1.5 years after an initial build. After that point, you're much more likely to get better performance out of a completely new card.
That's $305 already, but it's about as future-proof a build as you're going to get right now. The AM3 socket is alive at least through next year, and AMD offers better value right now. If you are thinking about moving to a larger monitor, I'd suggest going with an ATI 5770 (for SC2-level gaming), if you wanted to play FPS games at full-resolution, you'd want something bigger.
SC2 will benefit from additional cores, and the X3 is the best bang-for-your-buck processor out there. You could get a slightly less expensive X3 if it helps your budget, but I don't think that you'd see a useful price advantage in moving to an X2.
EDIT: Seriously, I can't get a build done without MadAdmiral finishing one and probably starting another in a different thread. It's convenient that we posted almost exactly the same build. I was looking for the UD3 but for some reason failed to find it. That with the 5770 in a combo is excellent.
Alright! Love the UD3 board. Also, I've read over and over that people are recommending the X3 as excellent performance vs the price. Thanks thanks thanks! (Also saw that there was no need to go to the Phoeom II unless overclocking)
Not crazy about that card though... it *does* seem a bit much... what are your thoughts on these cards?
It's a lot better. To be completely honest, I wouldn't get anything less than the 5770. Not only is it fairly powerful for it's price, it also has a lot of great features like DirectX 11 support, bitstreaming support, excellent abilities in Crossfire, and it runs very efficiently.
Any of those cards would be fine...at your current resolution.
If you decide to upgrade your monitor, as you seemed to indicate you would at some point, they would all be exceptionally weak for gaming, even for SC2.
As a point of comparison, I had until recently been gaming with an nVidia 8700 mobile card (a generation behind that 9500, but eyeballing this chart close to the same power), and in the SC2 beta, I had to set everything to 1280x1024 with low to medium details and I was still only seeing 20ish fps.
Bought everything a few hours ago, including the 5770... : ) [as well as some much-needed in ear headphones]
THANK YOU for your assistance! I'm a member of a bunch of different forums for cars etc, and can appreciate experts who know what they're talking about. Had to learn a whole new language over the past few weeks. When I initially built my comp a few years ago there was no PCI express, USB 3.0 wasn't even on the horizon, and firewire was the new thing. I'm really looking forward to putting this together!
I read in the newegg reviews that the memory is not specifically built for AMD builds and you have to adjust the settings in the BIOS. I'll be sure to do that: the reviews give good info on exactly what settings worked for them. Do you have any suggestions?
Question.... due to traveling, etc, I've only been able to intermittently work on the build. The computer hasn't been up and running since putting everything together. All is fine, processor, video card etc. The problem is I get stuck in an endless loop when Windows is loading: it stops on gagp30kx.sys. I've googled and read about this for months, trying everything, trying the memory in different slots, using my XP Professional cd to repair, running chkdsk, etc. Can't boot into safe mode, can't boot into last known configuration, just stalls on the gagp30kx.sys and then restarts.
The only thing I did was attach the old SATA hard drive to the new board. I have two SATA drives that both have the same error, probably because they were both used with the same old motherboard, which was a Via K8-M Neo-V. Thoughts? I'd like to USE the build that you guys recommended.... thanks! The laptop has been helpful, but I'd really like to get back on the desktop.
Have you tried verifying that all of the RAM is good with memtest86+? I have generally found that memory problems are the most frequent cause of issues while loading the OS. You'll want to run that for a minimum of 7 or 8 passes per memory stick that you test. Generally best to just let it run overnight.
EDIT: Buying a different/second kit of RAM might also do the trick.