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New Gaming System, First time builder, Please help

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April 20, 2004 4:47:03 AM

Hello all,
Been lurking around these forums for awhile, and I know you get dozens of these kinds of posts every week, but I cannot help but ask because your recommendations are so helpful. So here is the question. I have taken an ITI class at school and am working on becoming A+ certified, I am planning on building a new system for hardcore gaming. I have been saving up for almost a year now and have close to 3300.00 US to put into a new system, Monitor and all. So I guess my question is, What can you guys come up with to help me config this thing? I plan on purchasing in late May, so im trying to get a bit of knowledge about what im going to be dealing with. My expectations are to be able to play games like Half Life 2, Far Cry, Everquest 2, Doom 3 and all the rest of the new crop of graphically advanced games, flawlessly. Im not really sure whether Intel or AMD is better, My comp teacher is an intel fanboy so I tend to lean toward the AMD side, but basically I just want the best I can get. If any of you could help me out with this, I would appreciate it. Thanks for the help in advance.

Propagator



P.S- yes I read all the stickies and the guides as well. Just double checking on my intuitions.
April 20, 2004 5:14:05 AM

for gaming you are correct, the ahtlon 64 line will give oyu the ebst performance. if you can , id wait for the s939 to be out before building, itll give you a longer upgrade path and some extra features to play around with. plus it will open up the option of getting an ahtlon fx chip as well if your wanting that bleeding edge performance in gaming. pair it with either the nvidia 6800U or ati x880 XT and youll be set for quite some time. so waiting a couple months wont hurt, alot of new generation parts to come in the next couple months.
April 20, 2004 6:58:01 AM

*yawn*

"wait for S939".. which is due in may/june ? By that time, you're gonna say "wait for 90nm" and "wait for PCI-E", then "oops, issues with PCI-E, wait for PCI-E boards to mature", then "wait for upcoming A64 pricecuts", "wait for cheaper PCI-E", "Wait for nForce 350 with soundstorm", "wait for DDR-2", "wait for christmass pricecuts", .. wait, wait, wait.

Sure, S939 will have a better upgrade path for cpu's, but by the time a S754 A64 (up to 3700+ at least) is due for replacement, AGP will be obsolete anyway, so what is the point ? A S754 board should give you ample performance for a year or two at least, after which time, you'll want a new motherboard anyway, and with ~$80 prices, that really isnt so terrible either.

To the original poster: if you're a hardcore gamer, there is indeed no other cpu to consider as the A64. There is also precious little reason to wait, only the graphic cards would be worth waiting for ATI X800 / NVA 6800 to become available in 2 weeks or so. Unlike CPU socket changes or AGP/PCI-E transitions, the new generation of GPU's seems to offer a very significant performance boost

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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April 20, 2004 10:00:26 AM

p4man i like ure sig

:cool: <font color=blue><b>BAD ASS BOYS OVERCLOCK BAD ASS TOYS</b></font color=blue> :cool:
April 20, 2004 12:19:15 PM

Agree with p4man, you could be waiting forever.

With that in mind, I'd suggest the best A64 you can afford, with a gb of really fast ram, and just wait for the ati card to come out in a couple weeks. You may as well wait for that - the geforce may be bloody fast, but until ati unveils its challenger, who knows how fast it actually is. Plus a nice dvd burner, a good 19" CRT, Audigy 2, 5.1 speakers, 2x WD raptor drives in RAID 0 configuration, and you're set!

XP2000, 512 ddr 2700ram, GF4 MX440, XP Pro
April 20, 2004 12:26:01 PM

The new Prescotts should be out with the new DO stepping. Do you plan on OCing your Cpu.
April 20, 2004 5:06:54 PM

um well may is only 10 days away! you said it would make sense to wait 2 weeks for the new video cards but dont wait 3 weeks or 4 weeks, tahts just insane lol. no i think it owuld be ok to wait, becuase you know what, then s754 will be cheaper and he could save some cash and plus he could get access to an nforce 3 250GB chipset with possibly 1gh ht for the s754. ill agree those arent reasons to wait , but he is a hardcore gamer, i think s939 is worht his wait, if he will be wiating for the new video cards anyway, whats 1 or 2 more weeks?
April 20, 2004 6:42:13 PM

Agree with the conclusion, just not the reason :) 
If he wants to buy everything at once, I'd wait for the next gen videocards, not PCI-E/S939/nForce3 250/... though.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
April 20, 2004 10:37:32 PM

Thank you so much for the responses. I am definetly sure about A64 now. I beleive I will wait the extra couple weeks and see what ATI can put up against NVIDIA's new card, then make my decision for a GPU based on that. About Monitors, is CRT still the way to go? I have heard that LCD monitors are comming along quite nicely and may almost be able to give CRT a run for its money. Also, what is a good set of 5.1 speakers? I've heard that the Logitech THX Certified Z-680 5.1 Speaker set is quite good. Lastly what ratio of ram is best? Any thoughts? Sorry if im asking a lot of questions. I just want to be informed, when I choose the components for my system.

Propagator
April 20, 2004 10:55:35 PM

well for lcds, you can get 17'' and even a couple 19'' lcd panels that are fine for gaming. here are a few good ones:

Solarism LM1730 17in
Hercules ProphetView 920 Pro DVI 17in

IIYAMA Prolite 4821DT 19''
NEC LCD1860NX 18.1''

As for speakers, the one you chose will be fine, but for the best in 5.1, check out the Logitech Z-5300 5.1 or Creative Labs MegaWorks 550 5.1 set

Im not sure what you mean by ratio. If you mean how much, then id say 1gb is the perfect number for gaming today, you wouldnt need anymore then that.
April 20, 2004 11:01:17 PM

Ratio, i dont think thats the correct word. What I mean is the number, Example PC 4400. Is that the highest quality? See what Im saying?

Thanks,
Propagator
April 20, 2004 11:05:12 PM

aperently nVidia has some kind of trick up there sleve with the nforce3-250. It is suposed to add a noticable improvment for Nvidia video cards. What I am trying to say is make sure when you judge the 2 new cards that the nivdia is being run on a nforce3-250 platform. and if you get an nvidia card get the nforce3-250 mother board.

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
April 20, 2004 11:20:40 PM

For the kind of money you saved, and wanting the absolute best gaming system, a fast A64 is obviously the place to start. Luckily you have a month before needing to buy anything. Don't space your buying too far apart as prices come down, new options come out, and most important, you may find by the time you get it built you can't RMA anything that may be bad or incompatible - such as RAM (P4Man :smile: )

It seems you even have the cash to go with an Athlon FX53 or Pentium 4 EE chip. The FX53 would win most gaming tests unless you overclock the P4EE. But in other areas the P4 would win. Those two exotics would be the absolute fastest for the hardcore gamer. Although myself and most others think they are way too pricey to consider. Especially when Socket 939 A64's and possibly newer prescotts would someday steal their glory for less money. None the less, they are THE FAstest cpus right now.



Again, since you have until late May, no need to decide right now. And as everyone else said, definate look toward the 6800U or X800XT, whichever comes out on top.

Last, if you can spare the desk space and don't need to take it on the go, a 21" or 22" CRT is the ultimate for gaming. LCD's don't at all measure up for gaming, yet obviously have some size and weight advantages.


ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 512MB Corsair TwinX PC3200LL, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
April 20, 2004 11:24:33 PM

Good point Darko.

Definately make sure you are comparing the cards on the motherboard you are going to buy. It just may make a difference. Especially if nV tweaks for NV cards and possibly cripples ATI's cards.


ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 512MB Corsair TwinX PC3200LL, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
April 20, 2004 11:33:22 PM

would at least wait for the nforce3 250 mobos which are optimized for the geforce gpu and put it together with a geforce 6800.Cases:silverstone berserker B032fw;superflower/ttgi-tt-561;aspire x-super alien;enermax cs-318 series(very well cooled but flimsy) or the coolermaster praetorian.Twin 72gb raptors.
April 20, 2004 11:36:01 PM

he waited a year to get his money,a couple more weeks or months would not hurt him.
April 21, 2004 12:09:21 AM

dont aim for anyhting over pc3200 ram unless your going to try overclocking. just get the best timed pc3200 ram you can get, such as corsair or ocz brands
April 21, 2004 1:41:29 AM

People get so worked up about FPS, overclocking, memory timings, etc... I think a lot of people forget about the entire gaming experience. If your display or sound are lousy, you are missing out. (don't forget that building a <i>quiet</i> PC enhances your sound!!)

It's not as intriguing as trying to push your CPU to the limit, but I encourage you to spend a little time investigating a soundcard and at least 5.1 speakers.

As for your display... try them out! Run down to Best Buy or Circuit City and find the monitor you *think* you like. If it doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it within 14 days. I've got a Samsung 955DF CRT monitor which is relatively cheap these days... it's BIG, but it's sharp and can do the job (it was a new model when I bought it). My next monitor will be an LCD monitor.

Spend a little extra on display and sound.... the investment can easily last you for this PC as well as your next computer. You'll get more enjoyment from nice sound and display than you will an extra 10FPS.

My 2 cents.
April 21, 2004 2:03:42 AM

Along the lines of monitors, personally, I don't like buying an LCD screen when I can get a larger CRT for the same price. That is, if you don't need to transport your computer (LAN partys), if you do, CRT's are a pain.

"This means that you can play over a network, just not with each other."-PC GAMER review
April 21, 2004 3:20:38 AM

he asked me about ram so i told him lol

oh and i did give him options for good display and sound, so i think he has a good experience
a b à CPUs
April 21, 2004 3:33:00 AM

Wow, you could build nearly anything. Read Tom's latest article, nForce3 250 boards are in production NOW and should hit the shelves...who knows how long, but they aren't making money with them sitting in the warehouse.

Waiting for future tech is kind of weak sometimes when current tech is so good. I waited forever for companies to release better 755 chipset boards, but now the nForce3 250 is better yet and with the boards in production we at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact the boards should be out before you even finish making your other purchasing decisions.

Sometimes there is reason to wait for a short period of time. The GeFroce 6800 Ultra was just released but I don't know when you will see it in mass quantities. Considering it has twice the power of anything else on the market, a short wait could yield you huge performance gains.

I'd probably go with an nForce3 250 chipset board (mabye even the MSI board Tom's reviewed), a GeForce 6800 Ultra, 2 Western Digital Raptor drives in RAID0 and a third less expensive drive for longer term storage, Lite-On's latest DVD+-RW drive, A Fortron Source 530W power supply in your favorite case design (check Newegg's case selection, an X-Spider case in your favorite color, some OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2 (I overclock), an Athlon 64 3400+, and a cheap fax modem for sending faxes. That leaves you a bunch of money to buy speakers, a monitor, a printer, a scanner (handy for faxing when used with a faxmodem), a keyboard, and a mouse, all of which I'd try out at the local store before buying.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
April 21, 2004 4:19:51 AM

well dont forget about that ati offerings, the X800 Pro wil be released to retailers for sale about the time the nvidia 6800U is available anyway, so wait and see the numbers. the real battle though wont come till early june when the ati X880XT is out
a b à CPUs
April 21, 2004 5:39:44 AM

Yes, well, waiting a week isn't that big a deal for most people, waiting another month after that for the X800XT...heck you could wait another couple months for PCI Express boards, etc etc etc. I'm going by what's the best stuff we're seeing in reviews right now.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
April 21, 2004 6:04:48 AM

Re: well dont forget about that ati offerings, the X800 Pro wil be released to retailers for sale about the time the nvidia 6800U is available anyway, so wait and see the numbers. the real battle though wont come till early june when the ati X880XT is out

Maybe you heard this maybe you have not. But rumour has it the x800 pro will have faster frame rates then the x800xt. yes the x800 pro should have 12 pipes instead of 16 and slower mem and core clock. BUT... the x800 pro will only run 24bit 96 precision and the much faster (theoretical) x800xt will use 32 bit 128 bit precision thus slowing it down in frame rates to less that the pro.

I believe the 6800 ultra is full 32bit or 128 bit precision. but I'm not 100% maybe it still bounces around.

So if the rumour turns out to be true the pro will be faster but the xt will have higher precision. maybe the xt will be directx10 compatible. As I remember microsoft stated last year that they would incorperate something into the next directx version, to prevent a company from claiming it was directx whatever compliant, when it really was not. with directx 9 microsoft stated you need 24bit precision and nVidia bounced around with 32bit to 16bit and 16bit is not really directx9. BUT the radeon r300 and up used 24bit and was 100% directx9 compliant.


If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
April 21, 2004 6:34:55 AM

well i certianly hope your right, it just seems to me , looking at the specs, that the x800 pro wont give as much of a boost that the 6800U can, but maybe your right, this is just like an amd vs intel debate, ati has shown in the past to performe better with less so its possible. only 5 days till we all get to see for ourselves ^^

as far as waiting a month for the x880xt i guess your right crash, it is asking a bit much, but i just have a hard time buying a card knowing that in only one month a new one will be out that outclasses it lol, especially whne your spending 400-500 on it. its like i wouldnt touch an ati 9800XT right now, youd be crazy to buy one, or a 5950U.
April 21, 2004 6:42:36 AM

Re: well i certianly hope your right, it just seems to me , looking at the specs, that the x800 pro wont give as much of a boost that the 6800U can, but maybe your right, this is just like an amd vs intel debate, ati has shown in the past to performe better with less so its possible. only 5 days till we all get to see for ourselves ^^

Rumour out now and let me stress it's only a rumour... that the x800 pro will do 15000 in 3dmark 03. but that is only using 24bit ps 2.0.

I think the 6800 ultra came in around 12000 but used up to or 100% 32bit.

We won't really know anything till it's here... rumours more often turn out to be false.

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
April 21, 2004 10:21:31 PM

thanks so much for all the help guys, I think ill wait and do some research on the new ATI and NVidia cards, for me personally it seems to def be worth the extra week or month or whatever, in order to have better performance. If you have any other suggestions for a first time builder let me know. :) 

Thanks,
Propagator
April 22, 2004 2:41:28 AM

FYI the r 420 (X800pro) will have 16 pipes, and bothe it and the XT will not support ps3.
April 22, 2004 5:35:00 AM

um last time i checked the pro will only have 12, the xt will have 16, the ps 3.0 is true though.
April 22, 2004 5:57:14 AM

actualy no ps 3.0 rumour seems false yet again. just goes to show you don't follow rumous just wait and see the review.

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
April 22, 2004 1:26:20 PM

I havent read all the previous posts, but this is my opinion:
- S939 Athlon FX (wait for it)
- 2 GB DDR2 @ 3-3-3 latency
- PCI-EXPRESS video card (NV-40 or ATI equivalent -suggest NVIDIA) (wait fo it)
- NForce 350 chipset (wait for it)
- min 74.3GB 10000 rpm SATA HDD
- min 480W PSU
- CRT monitor 17" @ 1600*1200 resolution
- optical wireless mouse -perhaps Logitech
- 6.1 channel THX certified sound card
- 6.1 sound system AND BELIEVE ME 7.1 IS NOT AS GOOD AS 6.1
I dream of such a system, but money keep me away from this. You should have no problem with that, you might even have some left.
April 22, 2004 8:53:02 PM

when does PCI express come out? Does anyone think the next gen Vid Cards will be out by june ?


Propagator
April 22, 2004 10:06:34 PM

dont worry as much about pci-e it wont give you any performance boost in the short term, by the time it does, youll be wanting to upgrade anyway.
!