Hello. I'm a spoiled Mac user that loves PC 3D gaming, I've run solid on an old dell for about 4 years and its being retired. I'm trying to build a low cost streamlined a$$kicking machine set up for ONLY gaming. I need advice on CPU, chipset, case, memory and GPU. I'm a huge fan of THC and longtime troller. I'm leaning towards an Anthon 64 set up and really like the SFF cases but would shy away only because of cost. Would like to start with a barebones setup. Any advice on getting the best blend of performance and price would be a huge help. I don't want to set a price limit but I definately want to build for around 600ish for case, mb, cpu, ram and GPU(flexible on this as I have a decent board dx9 board to run current game). I also plan on ganking the newish 120 gig ultra ata100 7200rp drive from my old mac but would possibly go with a cheap smaller cap sATA buffered drive. Im good on display, accessories etc.
please advise on:
best Anthlon 64 cost/perfomance
best Barebones/Mainboard to fit above CPU
best SFF option to fit above CPU
best cost/performance RAM - hoping to hit 1gig or shoot low and leave room to upgrade. 3 gig max systems?
I hope to run this machine for EverQuest, EQ2, Worlds of Warcraft, Vanguard, and Doom 3 hoping for at least 3 years, and will upgrade graphics card and ram if needed. I hope going 64bit will get me alittle more longevity.
Please feel free to email if needed. Loved the article on the SFF barebones, btw.
If you can wait a bit longer, Shuttle will have nForce3 250 based systems, but frankly, the nForce 150 is pretty good as it is; just a few percent slower than the other K8 chipsets, but nothing you are likely to notice while gaming.
If you don't like building yourselve, Shuttle is going to release complete computers in a month or so, based on their barebone SFF's.
Plug in a Athlon64 3000+ (best bang/buck) or 3200+ if you like, but anything faster is a waste of money today.
Plug in a Radeon that fits your budget (9800 PRo would be nice)
Plug in some RAM. Most SFF only have 2 slots, but 1 GB Dimms are really affordable these days, and since current A64's don't use dual channel anyway, just plug in a single 1 GB Dimm, and add another one later if you want/need to.
Get a big enough harddisk, SFF's don't have room for lots of additional harddisks (usually just one, or two if you omit the floppy), so get a harddisk that is bigger than what you think you'll need
Power on, and enjoy Make sure to let us know how it turned out once you have your setup assembled
= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
Since you've a very limited budget,let's start with when you should buy.Ram is going up in price fast right now and may or may not go down and the best might disappear with the intel's switch to ddr II.Mushkin,crucial and corsair all make great value ram,certainly worthwhile to buy a gig(2 512mb sticks) right now;but that will not be enough if you're really going to use it as a 64 bit system. New GPU will be released in april=time to start seriously selecting one.In may the mainstream amd 64 cpus for socket 939 will be released=time to buy a socket 754 cpu on a budget,by then you should be able to get a 3200 or 3400 cheap.
chipset: performance will be only slightly better on the nforce3 250;but it will have a locked pci bus so its the one to buy;but whatever you do don't buy a sis on an egc mobo.
Gpu:you need to consider future proofing and the software bundle,as well as price.Right now the best deal is a gigabyte 9600 pro(comes with 3 decent games) for about $138 or the asus 9600xt/tv,also with three decent games and a good software bundle,for $186-these prices will drop in april;but the software bundle should still be there-lol, one can buy the asus 9600se for less than the cost of buying the software with it.It looks like you plan on keeping your gpu for a long time,so you might want to checkout gpu with more than 128mb or ram.
Case:I know nothing about small form factor amd 64 cases.
PS read up on the ApeXtreme,a new console which will pyy all versions of windows games,will work on your tv and the $399 buck version will have a gpu equal to the 9600 pro.Its coming out soon and may serve you as a SFF "computer".