What to buy for new gaming system

Within the next mont or so I will be changing most of the components in my PC.
The only stuff I'll keep is CD, HD, floppy and case (AOpen LX45).
In other words I will be buying, processor, mobo, memory, graphics card, ISDN card and PSU (my old one is 235 W).

The PC is mostly used for games, and mundane task that dont need a lot of oomph. Thus, you could consider it a gaming machine. I will not do any serious overclocking to start with as the machine should be hefty enough. I may do some later on.
I am struggling deciding what to buy, and hope to get some advice.

My alternatives are:

-Mobo based on SiS655 chipset, possibly MSI 655Max (or Asus P4DX Deluxe)
-P4 2,53 GHz
-2 DDR400 (PC3200) memory sticks. Either 2x256 MB or 2X512 MB. In doubt here due to price. Furthermore, someone told me I should get memory with/supporting cas2, recommending Corsair but this seems very expensive. Any ideas?
-Radeon 9700. Will keep an eye on prices as the FX is out, but this is my choice for the time being.
-PSU from Enermax or Antec. I have not looked at the various models yet, and would welcome suggestions.

-Mobo based on the nForce2 chipset, possibly Asus A7N8X
-XP 2700+ or 2800+
-I read somewhere that this chipset can only take advantage of DDR266. Is this true? If so, it would mean a decent cost saving.
Other as above.

It seems to me that the price/performance premium that AMD used to have is gone now, as a P4 2,53 is a bit cheaper than an XP 2700+?
I know that Intel are to drop prices towards the end of this month (and AMD will likely follow) and will of course take this into consideration when making my decision.

Any advice, tips, comments and experiences are welcome.
3 answers Last reply
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  1. All else being equal, both the Athlon 2700+ and 2800+ would be faster for almost all games than the P4 2.53. Now, regarding your question about the nForce2 motherboard and RAM, the nForce2 supports up to DDR400, so I'm not sure where you would have read that it only supports DDR266. In the latest benchmarks, the nForce2 runs fastest with TWO sticks (gotta have two to take advantage of Dual Channel Memory controller) of fast DDR333 CL2 RAM. The Corsair RAM you mentioned above in conjunction with the P4 would be great.

    Another advantage of the nForce2 is that the integrated sound is surpassed only by the Audigy 2 PCI card (and not by a lot, unless you had your heart set on mounting six or seven speakers in your office.) If you want excellent sound quality but not necessarily the most incredible sound quality, you won't have to buy an add-in sound card for the nForce2, which gives the AMD system an added value. (Now, with the money you save there, maybe the choice between a 2700+ or 2800+ is a no-brainer?)

    As everyone will tell you, if you buy the AMD board, invest a few extra bucks in a quality CPU cooler like the Thermaltake Volcano 7. This is a very sound investment for AMD systems, since they tend to run hot. Also if, by chance, you buy an ASUS nforce2 motherboard, run the ASUS drivers for it and not the nVidia drivers, as I've read in numerous places that the nVidia drivers are buggy on the ASUS board for some reason.

    As far as your question about power supplies goes: Both of the brands you mentioned have excellent reputations. I have never had an Enermax PS, so I can only speak from experience when I say I have an Antec 430W TruePower and it is fine. It also is pretty quiet compared to many I've heard. I know from reading THG that it was rated at the top in their most recent tests.

    The Radeon is probably a good choice at this time, unless you want to wait for the R350 to come out, or for nVidia to improve the cooling solution on the GFX. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place on that issue myself. However, the 9700PRO is an excellent piece of hardware, and I seriously doubt you'll have any regrets for buying it.

    Let me also say that no matter which system you decide to go with, you're probably going to be pretty happy, as either the P4 or AMD along with a high-end graphics card will run every current game flawlessly, and should give good performance in any titles released in the near-future.

    Good luck!

    I want to move to space, so I can overclock processors cooled to absolute zero.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Twitch on 02/19/03 04:42 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  2. Incidentally, the first nForce motherboard, (simply, nForce) supported up to DDR266 so I'm thinking maybe you were reading about an original nForce. However, the nForce2 boards support 333 FSB Athlons and DDR400, and the FSB can be incrementally clocked up to 200mHz. Just make sure the Athlon you're getting is a 333 FSB Athlon. Big performance difference. I know all 2800+ Athlons are 333, but I'm not sure if they made some 2700+ in the 266. I will find out if you're interested.

    And by the way...I hope you were planning on doing a fresh install of your OS. I have never been able to replace the motherboard in a system without reinstalling Windows. Maybe it's possible, but it sure hasn't worked for me.

    I want to move to space, so I can overclock processors cooled to absolute zero.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Twitch on 02/19/03 05:02 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. Aargh,
    I'll need to re-install the OS you say.
    I dont particularily want to do that but if I have to...

    Thanks for your advice. I'm leaning towards 'the AMD solution' now, probably 2800+.

    Fighting for peace is like [-peep-] for virginity
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