Buying a new system - my first in years!

Hi everyone,

Not suer where to post this, but CPUs seemed most fitting! Apologies if it's in the wrong place.

I've currently got an Athlon 1Ghz with 256Mb RAM and a GeForce 3. After coming into a little money I'm looking to buy a whole new PC, primarily for gaming.

Although I built this PC myself, it's been a long time since I looked into updating my system and predictably I'm way behind on recent developments! After reading the articles on here I'm fairly certain I want to move to an Athlon 64 machine although this is where I get stuck! For example, the difference between socket 939 and 940 motherboards eludes me, as does the difference between Athlon64 FX and Athlon 64 3500+ (for example).

If I was to give my requirements, would anyone be able to suggest a good system for me (highlighting the pros and cons if possible)?

My current thinking is:

Athlon64 3500+
VIA K8T800 Pro Motherboard
1GB Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at 400MHz- 2x512MB (is 1 stick more expensive?)
GeForce FX 5900 or 6800 GT 256 - is the better one worth the cash? What about a Radeon?

60GB HDD (I already have one)
Creative Audigy 2 6.1
DVD-ROM (already own CD-RW)

My understanding, which may be wrong, is that the particular mobo and cpu combination is such that the motherboard will survive for a while yet, allowing me to get faster CPUs as and when I can afford to or need to.

In terms of money to spend, ideally I'd like to keep it around £700 (~$1200) but might be able to stretch to £1000 or even a little more for a monster system with plenty of options for upgrade later on.

BTW, I don't need a monitor!

I've come across this:

Although the case looks awesome, the price tag is less appealing and I think I could create my own for cheaper - is this true?

Thanks in advance for any help!


7 answers Last reply
More about buying system years
  1. Get a nForce3 Ultra based mobo like MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum

    6800GT is much better than FX5900. If you can't afford 6800GT, then get Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB. It's better than FX5900

    And finally, build your own rig. Stay away from overpriced Alienware stuff

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

    <A HREF="" target="_new">My Rig</A> & <A HREF="" target="_new">3DMark score</A>
  2. Cheers for that - after checking out that mobo on it seems fairly reasonable. However, what type of RAM will I need for this? I'm about to check out the reviews of this board, but faster advice here would be great :)

  3. Get standard DDR400 memory. You don't need to spend much on high-speed memory. Athlon 64 don't need low latency memory to works fine. If you have money to burn get 2-2-2 memory, but 3-3-3 will be a great choice. By the way, OCZ 3500EB or 3700EB are very good memory modules for Athlon 64 overclocking.

    A7N8X / <font color=green><b>AMD Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green>
    Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
    <font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290
  4. Does this mean I need CL3 memory? Also, what's the difference between unbuffered (and presumably you can get buffered?!?) and registered?

    Is the CL the speed of the RAM?
  5. - Would only be able to use unbuffered memory modules for this build.

    - Registered memory modules can present less of a problem than unbuffered memory modules for upgrading memory (adding more memory modules) and allow for very large memory configs - 8 memory modules on a single Opteron (requires registered memory modules), for example.

    - Can use CL3 (CAS Latency = 3) ram but CL3 wouldn't be a requirement. And some ram rated CL3 can run faster like 2.5, for example.

    - Some info <A HREF="" target="_new">here</A>.
  6. Quote:
    Is the CL the speed of the RAM?

    No, CL is one parameter of the memory specs.

    You can have DDR400 memory with a CL of 2.0, 2.5 or 3.0. Usually the lower CL modules are faster. But if you check OCZ EB Series, they have higher CL but optimized timing that make them faster than modules that have lower CL.

    But for AMD64 system CL 2.5 or 3.0 is enough. I doubt you could see the difference between DDR400 @ CL 2.5 and CL 3.0 unless you run specific memory timing sensitive benchmark.

    You can even use DDR333 with Athlon 64, you will only be about 3% slower compared to DDR400. Une review sites have done an extensive about this, but I can't remember the URL!

    A7N8X / <font color=green><b>AMD Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green>
    Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
    <font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290
  7. Hi David,

    Well Spitfire and TheRod pretty much summed it up.

    ATI Radeon 9800 pro is way better and you can get it nowdays for about 170$. 6800GT is of course great and significantly better then 9800pro but then again it is also about 400$.
    Personally, since gaming performance is about 75% about the card, I would honestly go for the GT.

    MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum seems to be very good and your processor is on the money. Socket 939 will probably stay for a while and is so the better choice then 940 which is going to be phased out sooner as I understand it.

    That said though, if upgrading is really important to you, then I am not sure that now it is a right time for you to buy. PCI Express is coming really soon (few months at most) and that will be the standard for the next 10 years or so. Also Nforce 4 will probably be out too, and the expectations are really high for it (Soundstorm 2 will probably be so good that you won't need the extra sound card)

    So my advice, if you can wait a while longer do it, otherwise go ahead now and you will still have a great, kick-ass machine.

    Ps. Forget Alienware

    I don't even believe in JEBUS!
    Homer, you are on the flight to a remote island where you will be doing some missionary work.
    SAVE ME JEBUS!!!!!!
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