New computer for $500-600?

My friend wants me to build him a new computer that will run Everquest smoothly with maximum settings (but not high resolution, around 1024*768 to 1280*1024)on his computer(and *maybe* EQ2) for around $500-$600 dollars. He needs a motherboard, cpu, ram, a hard drive,a video card, a sound card, a dvd rom drive, floppy drive, and case with power supply. He already has a monitor(although old), keyboard and mouse. I've built 3 computers before, but I am not sure what will do him best in his price range. Also, he doesn't believe that he needs a new monitor, but I believe that he should get one.

Which side should I go AMD or Intel? What clock speed is sufficient? I am really unsure of which one is better in terms of quality vs. price.

Which motherboard should I get for him? I know that Asus, MSI, and Gigabytes are good motherboard manufacturers, but I am unsure which makes better budget boards for the best price.

What amount and speed of ram should i get? I was thinking of 184 pin 512 MBs DDR400 from either Kingston, Mushkin, or Corsair. But again price is an issue.

Which videocard should he get? Nvidia or ATI? Which has better overall performance in games and also keeps the gpu cooler and video memory from overheating better? I've read that ATI has better drivers than Nvidia, but which would be a smarter choice?

What kind of sound card should he buy?. I don't know much about sound cards.

What companies make good dvd/cd rom drives? Also, which companies make the best hard drives?

Finally, which case company should I go with that keeps all his components relatively cool, and includes a power supply?

I am sorry about this long post. I want to expand my computer hardware knowledge to build better computers in the future. Also, I love this web site, its very informative. Any tips or advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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  1. That's a lot of want's for a little money IMO

    Your going to have to go AMD on that budget. XP2500 for $90 is about it.

    MOBO, Nforce board, cheapest ASUS @ newegg with Nforce is A7N8X X $72.99. Someone else will know a cheaper board though. Don't need sound card, on board is great. Also LAN on board.

    RAM, I would get 2 x pc3200 Kingston Value RAM is $47 x 2 = $94.

    TI4200 is your card for this machine. 64 mg Gainward is $89

    HDD Western Digital 80 gig. JB $70

    DVD Combo Drive with CDRW Burner, LiteOn 48x24x48x16 = $48

    Floppy Drive, Sony $7

    Case, Antec Solution Series, w 350 w Smart power. $65

    That all equals $539.99 without shipping, & most is free shipping. All prices are Newegg. It's good I looked these up, I'm ordering for a client.

    Hope that gives you an idea. All good stuff there. All could be better as well.

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  2. RC put together a nice setup. I would suggest one upgrade. While the A7N8X is a nice board, the onboard sound does not have the nforce apu. I believe tha Abit NF7 does, and is generally as good or better than the asus board for about $5. more. I believe it also has the extra audio jacks as well.
  3. I would get a regular ati 9600 pro (either ati or sapphire technologies) or an nvidia ti4200 chipset card. Both will work fine. The ti4200 doesn't have agp 8x or directx 9.0 support, but will still work fine for your friend. Order them online from a place such as newegg, or check pricewatch. If your budget is really close, I would check newegg's refurbished section for an 8500LE card, which can run as low as $40 shipped. I've got 2 of them, and they both work fine with directx 8.1.
  4. That's one of my troubles, I don't handle enough different MOBOs. I've always built with ASUS, so I know them better. The next board up had the better audio & was only a few $$$ more. I've put several of these machines together & they are a great budget gaming rig for sure. Plus there's a good backbone for some upgrades.

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  5. It is hard to argue with asus reliability. I do have a couple of minor gripes with the nforce boards. The passive cooling is not great on the north bridge. I have seen temps as high as 60*C around it. The v-regs dont have as stable an output as I would like either. Just the same, the majority of boards I use myself will still be asus. Not like everyone else never had a problem.
  6. P4 2.4c HT 800fsb $164<A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    2x256mb PC2700 Geil $66 <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    Asus P4S800 HT, Prescott $71.99<A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    Maxtor 40gb $56.00 <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    EVGA Nvidia Geforce FX 5200 128mb $109 <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    Grand total; $466.99

    A great gaming rig which is highly overclockable and reliable! with futureproof Prescott support too.

    :evil: <b><font color=red>K</font color=red></b>anavit's Aquamark3 rig----><A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
  7. The 2500+ is a better deal, especially if OC'ing. I know the 2.4C is a good OCer, but you need much better memory if you want a good run.

    To the original poster:
    My advice is a 2500+, 400 DDR and a little OC to 3200+. Plus if you get a good nforce2 board, you'll have no need to buy a sound card.

    Don't get a 5200! A big waste of money.

    <b>wooooow <font color=red> Killer Klowns </font color=red> ... from <font color=blue>outer space</font color=blue>... HOLY SH¡T!</b>
  8. Kanavit dont give advice to anyone else ok?
    The pentium is almost twice as expensive and is about the same performance. You recomend ram that is NOT the right speed. 200 MHZ(PC 3200) is different than 166MHZ(PC 2700) DO YOU REALIZE THAT? That means async operation and the pentium 4 will perform lower that then 2500+ in every test. If the person is not knowledgable enough about computers to make make the list himself then he will NOT want to overclock. So the Pentiums only trump card is not valid. Also, the Geforce 5200 is the worst non-used video card out there. For that price it is RIDICULOUS that card will not run EQ1 fine MUCH less EQ2.

    For the original poster this is my advice.
    Buy the Geforce 4 ti 4200 as previously stated. I am almost positive that it will not run eq1 and NOT eq2, but eq2 will not be out until arpil-may season. By this time the new gen cards will be out and the 9700 pro will be CHEAP, possibly as low at 150. So at this time scrap or sell that old video card and buy one that is more capable at a better price.
  9. Thank you all for your tips and advice on this computer. I think that RCPilot has a good setup. One question though. I'm still unsure of whether or not the nforce onboard sound is decent. If he were able to not have to buy a sound card that would be great but is the asus nforce sound any good?
  10. If it's the Nvidia APU, then it is one of the best sound procs around. I'm pretty sure that Asus doesn't use the Nvidia APU in it's non-deluxe models. Someone should know which mobos have which onboard sound. Abit NF7 prolly has Nvidia onboard, but again I'm not sure

    <b>wooooow <font color=red> Killer Klowns </font color=red> ... from <font color=blue>outer space</font color=blue>... HOLY SH¡T!</b>
  11. Unless he has a VERY good set of speakers the nforce onboard sound should be fine. I would recommend the Radeon 9600/9600pro if your friend can afford it. They are much more future proof than the Ti's. Or do as they say and get the Ti4200 and upgrade it when he's got more cash.

    [Insert witty comment here]
  12. Funny how people are complaining about my Intel P4 advice, when my total system cost is less than the AMD one.

    A P4 2.4C will kill the Barton 2500+ in all scenarios, even with crippled DDR333 ram. Just run 5:4 cpu/memory ratio, and o/c the 2.4 to 3.2ghz easy on stock everything.

    :evil: <b><font color=red>K</font color=red></b>anavit's Aquamark3 rig----><A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
  13. SAPPHIRE RADEON 9200SE Video Card, 64MB DDR, 64-bit, TV-Out, 8X AGP -BULK

    - Specifications -

    Chipset/Core Speed: RADEON 9200SE/250MHz
    Memory/Effective Speed: 64MB DDR/333MHz
    BUS: AGP 1X/2X/4X/8X
    Ports: VGA Out(15 Pin D-Sub)+TV-Out
    Support 3D API: DirectX®8.1, OpenGL®1.3
    Cable/Accessories: 1 Cable
    Max Resolution@32bit Color: 2048X1536@75Hz

    Model#: RADEON 9200SE 64M
    Item#: N82E16814102298

    Rating: Vote(s): 2
    Free FedEx Saver Shipping

    Yes $49.00 -newegg,not great but is very cheap and will do the job.

    The biostar m7ncd for the 2500+barton is only $55 and uses single channel ram.I would use crucial or kingston if you're not overclocking the ram;but if you do mushkin,ocz or corsair.the samsung sm-352brn is a great gaming optical drive with a cd read time of 52 and a dvd of 16(both the fastest) all for $56 at newegg.Go antec for good cheap cases or chenming/chieftec for good and really cheap ones;but be warned the chenmings have two big defects (no filters on the front intake fans and use usb 1.1)
  14. And it would still be slower...especially with that crappy 5200 in there. XPs are the best bang for the buck in the budget section--especially for gaming. Also, running 3.2GHz on the 2.4C and DDR333 is simply not possible. DDR400 would stretch to the needed 213MHz FSB, even with a 5/4 ratio. Even in a CRIPPLING 3/2 ratio, DDR333 would need to stretch to get to 178MHz @ 3.2GHz.

    Even at those speeds, the 2500+ would still be faster...and could easily be OCed to a 3200+'s speeds (or greater) with some DDR400 (which would cost about the same [total] as a 2.4C with DDR333).

    If you had any common sense, you'd also recommend a 2.6C, which is the same price (give or take a few dollars, depending on retailer) as the 2.4C...which would work better with DDR333, but still nowhere near the performance of the 2500+ (after a crippling 5/4, 4/3, or 3/2 FSB/RAM ratio).

    Also, why did you recommend a 5200?? It's one of the worst gaming cards available today!

    Now stop being an idiot, okay?

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  15. Kanavit, I hate to argue with clueless rabid fanboys like you. But your post in this thread FORCES me. It's fine if your want to live in your own fantasy world, but don't try to screw other people.

    Have you seen any benchmark of your "DDR 333" crippled P4C 2.4 GHz? Are you sure every P4C 2.4 GHz "will" overclock to 3.2 GHz at stock cooling? Do you know that this guy also needs case, psu, optical drive? Do you know Ti4200 is going to kill your FX5200 in every game? Have you noticed rcpilot has suggested everything he needs, but you didn't? Do you understand that rcpilot has listed a faster and 2x bigger hdd?

    P4C 2.4 GHz is so wonderful, it doesn't need case/psu. It has built in power converter and self contained. It compresses things 2x more by default, so 40 GB for P4C is same as 80 GB for AXP. It doesn't even need optical drive to read/write cd, record dvd. Just place optical media on the mobo, and P4C magic will get your work done. And it makes FX 5200 (the worst graphics card in the world, next to XGI Volari) turbo charged, so it can kill Ti4200 in games.

    If you want to screw people, work in your local pc shops and screw the n00bs who will come to your shop and compeletey rely on your holy words to make their purchase decesion. Unfortunately, THGC is a place where people come here for good advice, not to get "holy words" from people like you.

    <b><A HREF="" target="_new">My Website</A></b>

    <b><A HREF="" target="_new">My Rig & 3DMark score</A></b>
  16. Follow RCpilot's suggestion. I have few things to add:

    If you don't overclock, then get AXP 2700+. It's a better choice at stock speed, due to it's much higer clockspeed.

    Personally I have very good experience with ABIT NF7 v2.0. So I recommend this mobo

    If you can spend some extra money for graphics card, then go for Radeon 9600 PRO. R9600 PRO is better in DX8 games (not much better), will play DX9 games with full eyecandy and at better fps, 2x better in Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic filtering.

    <b><A HREF="" target="_new">My Website</A></b>

    <b><A HREF="" target="_new">My Rig & 3DMark score</A></b>
  17. I garauntee that the 2.4c would easily reach 3.2ghz on stock cooler with stock vcore on a 400w psu. Plus you get hyperthreading support, something barton 2500+ doesn't have. PC2700 ram can be overclocked in most cases to PC3200 speeds with no problems mate, and if not, use the cpu/memory divider to keep ram at DDR333 speeds while overclocking the fsb @ 250mhz. It's routine to get 3.2ghz with Northwood core.

    The FX 5200 128mb is DX9 compatible and can run DX8 faster than a Geforce 4 ti 4200 64mb.

    :evil: <b><font color=red>K</font color=red></b>anavit's Aquamark3 rig----><A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
  18. You're an idiotic fanboy whose knowledge competes with SoD's.

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  19. 1) I bet 90% of Northwoods will reach 3.2GHz, but likely not on stock voltage if they were originally a 2.4C, 2.6C, or 2.8C.
    2) HT is good, but straightup performance needs to be considered in this price bracket. The 2500+ system (which is also a lot more complete) will dominate the P4 system you put out as a recommendation, especially in games.
    3) Budget PC2700 will rarely OC to PC3200 speeds. I'd bet 180MHz would most PC2700's max, let alone budget PC2700.
    4) Using a FSB/RAM divider destroys performance, it is MARGINALLY better than running the FSB/RAM in a 1:1 ratio, at the RAM's speed.
    5) In order to reach 3.2, the 2.4C needs to have a 267MHz FSB (not the 250MHz that you previously listed), something only PC4200 (or better) can provide. As I stated earlier, a 2.4C at 3.2GHz with an absolutely crippling 3:2 ratio has a 178MHz FSB, which, as I just said, would be a reach for most budget PC2700 RAM (especially with good timings).
    6) The 5200U can't even take on a Ti4200 (64MB or 128MB) in DX8, let alone a lowly 5200nu.
    7) The 5200 isn't powerful enough to run DX9 features, only compatible by design spec.

    Hope that clears things up :smile: .

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  20. HT support is useless. The best thing you could have commented on was the 800 fsb factor. ANd maybe said something about higher clock speed.
    Although in video gaming it hasn't proven [-peep-] to me.

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    Figured i'd do it too..reality my ass.
  21. I've oc'ed a 2.4c to 3.2c and you can't keep stock voltage.
    But i also haven't tried that with a fortron ps only antec.
    I had to have it raised to 1.6vcore for stability.

    *edit actually i think i have it higher than 1.6v, i was using 1.6 for 3ghz.

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    Figured i'd do it too..reality my ass.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by johanthegnarler on 01/25/04 10:42 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  22. Hmmmm, looks like Kavanit's stupidity is showing... :smile:

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  23. The only reason i hate arguing with an intel fanboy is it makes me look like an AMD fanboy.

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    Figured i'd do it too..reality my ass.
  24. I would rather have intel inside my respirator in the emergency room, not amd chip watching my vital signs. of course the P4 cost more, but it's worth more. why would you pay $50 for the most important part in your computer may I ask?! You pay for what you get. buy Intel, if you want reliability and good quality. buy AMD, if you want cheap stuff. That's your call, I know one thing tho, my P4 has served me well. And the value last longer too. :smile:

    Stick with Intel system , if you are going to use a lot of foreign hardware, they are bug free.

    :evil: <b><font color=red>K</font color=red></b>anavit's Aquamark3 rig----><A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
  25. The only reason I suggested the 3200 RAM is because of the XP3200 dropping in price. It's down to $217 for retail at newegg now. After the 2nd, I expect it to drop again. When it's cheap enough with the 3200 RAM on that board, you could just slap it in. That's what I'm planning on doing. I've ran my 2500 for a year now I believe & have been watching the 3200 come down. Granted, that's as far as you can go with that board though. Wouldn't be able to do that with 2700 RAM IMO

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  26. You could just up your FSB to 200MHz and have a free 3200+ :smile: .

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  27. I do that now, well 2800 with a 12.5 mutplier! I just haven't had the time to FSB OC yet!! I know I've had it a long time, but mutipalier OCing is so easy with the multiplier unlocked.

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  28. I wish I could multiplier OC :frown: ...

    Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
  29. Good grief. I was sure We'd seen the end of 'Intel is more expensive, therefore must be better' Arguments.

    And besides, as others have pointed out, your spec is too expensive. For a ~$500 'puter AMD is the only logical choice, unless you want a crappy celeron system.

    There is <i>no</i> 'reliability' argument between the two. Before the nforce2 chipset, perhaps, but not nowadays. (although I have no idea why I'm trying to convince you, I have the feeling that my attempts will be fruitless.)

    RCPilot's spec was a good one for the money - you wouldn't be dissapointed with the performance.

    If your buddy's old monitor can do 1024x768 at a half-decent refresh rate, then it won't be too bad... although even some cheaper 17" monitors today have decent picture quality for the money.

    I had the same situation, building for a friend who 'already had a monitor'.. It's almost heartbreaking to see him running everything @ 800x600 as the monitor simply won't go any higher. He could always get a new one a few months down the line though.

    <font color=red>Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.</font color=red> :wink:
  30. I'm locked after 12.5 though. Drops down to 9.5 or something if I try to take it higher. Nice feature of the early Bartons though.

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  31. There's a mod you need to do to unlock the higher multis.. Can't remember what it is (never modded a CPU myself), but I think it's got something to do with the L5 bridges.. I would have a go, but I've hit the limits of my 1700+ now I think (~2250Mhz) and I only need 11x for that.

    <font color=red>Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.</font color=red> :wink:
  32. I do know about that. I haven't modded a CPU yet either. It was nice selling a machine that I could tell people I'd get them 2800 speeds out of the box for $90 though. I wish they haden't locked them again myself. I jumped the gun on my 2500 soon after they came out & paid $135 for it!! I couldn't believe how fast it came down in price.

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  33. funny how they've stuck at ~$90 for what seems like ages now though. I bought my 1700+ when it was nice and cheap (UK£35 which was something like US$50 at the time IIRC). and at the time I think an XP2800+ was something stupid like £400.. so suffice to say I'm very happy with that purchase! :smile:

    on a completely unrelated topic, I'm jealous of all the snow you get to play in! Never really get any here, and never enough to do anything more than throw a couple of snowballs around :frown: .. Supposed to be getting a cold snap this week - went snowboarding last year & would like to have another go, but can't afford to travel somewhere snowy at the mo...

    <font color=red>Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.</font color=red> :wink:
  34. Yes, it is funny how it's been at $90 for so long. I'm thinking it might just stay there until they go out of production.

    I am lucky to have the snow to play in. I didn't always feel that way. I used to skate & sled when I was young, but for years I just stayed in the house & waited for spring. Then my son got me into sledding & I've never had so much fun in the snow in my life. It's been 5 years now & every year I can't wait for the snow to come so I can play. My goal is to stay in U. P. for the winter. Ride my sled out of the garage everyday & leave the truck parked until spring. One of these years!!!

    Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
  35. Quote:
    My friend wants me to build him a new computer that will run Everquest smoothly with maximum settings (but not high resolution, around 1024*768 to 1280*1024)on his computer(and *maybe* EQ2)

    The only way to get EQ to run smoothly is to uninstall it from your computer and never play it again...


    <font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
  36. Lol. Where does this AMD is a generic alternative to intel come from? There must be a gnome out there that says AMD's are cheap and they wont last as long as intel.

    Luckily for me i never was into David the Gnome.

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
    Figured i'd do it too..reality my ass.
  37. >I would rather have intel inside my respirator in the
    >emergency room, not amd chip watching my vital signs.

    Yeah, overclocked to remain within the hospital budget, and with unstable overclocked memory to boot.. and without case. I'm sure you'll live longer on your intel inside respirator.

    >Why would you pay $50 for the most important part in your
    >computer may I ask?!

    Why would you pay three times as much, and not get anything better for it, if I may ask ? If you think high price means better quality/performance/whatever, then I'll gladly sell you some $100 Celerons with crappy motherboards and matching SDRAM (way more expensive than DDR these days, so it HAS to be better). Get a clue Kanavit, man I sure hope your dad gets another job soon...

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  38. CPU speed doesnt matter that much in game. sure it helps, but a good video card is all it takes. so stick with the AMD 2500+ and nforce2 chipset. It will give you all the cpu power you need, dont worry. Get a good video card. That what drive the game. What you save on cpu, put it on the graphic card. anything above an ATI 9600 should be good, unless you want to play at very high resolution. 1024x768 is good for play, at high detail. 1280x1024 is plenty. anything above 30-40 fps at your prefered resolution and high detail is a waste of money for now if you cannot afford to spend more. so try to find the best combination price/perf. but remember that the video board is all the game

    -Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
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