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  • ABRA's first gaming rig

    I rushed in a bit last time and just recently(and quite luckily) was able to get a refund on some stuff busted when it arrived. So now that I am getting a whole second chance at (online) life with that reprieve from owning a bunch of busted hardware so let me do it right. This is what I've got it narrowed down to, to get your opinion. This is my first home PC build so let me know if I'm missing something.

    All systems right now will come with this card:

    SAPPHIRE 100106L Radeon X850XT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail $119.99 I don't know what to say. Just seemed like a lot of bang for the buck when I looked at the Tom's Graphics benchmarks for it.

    This power supply:

    Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply - Retail $74.99
    I know nothing about power supplies but this one looked big and beefy and from a reputable manufacturer.

    And 1 GB of the appropriate ram for the MoBo and processor based on compatible clock speeds.

    The finalists are one AMD AM2 system, one AMD 939 system and one Intel LGA 775 system; all at near price/performance points.

    AM2

    ABIT KN9S Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 550 MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $84.99

    AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Orleans 2.4GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3800CNBOX - Retail $109.00

    $513.96 with attendant parts

    AMD 939

    ABIT KN8 Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $74.99

    AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 2.2GHz Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3700CFBOX - Retail $93.00

    $475.96 with other parts

    Intel 775

    ABIT AB9 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $130.99

    Intel Pentium D 820 Smithfield 2.8GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80551PG2800FN - Retail $118.00

    $556.96 with other stuff

    I compared the processors at Tom's CPU Charts. While the Pentium D is ahead of the AMDs(which are nearly identical in power) in some tests like benchmarking. In this F.E.A.R. test for instance is was considerably slower. This has me wondering how many games really will utilize the extra power. And if it is a down the road benefit, then I wonder if the AM2 system with the $45 savings would be better since that $45 dollars is already halfway to my next processor if I go dual core later. Plus with the on-chip AMD memory controller, the MoBo is less likely to show its age I feel.

    I''d really like to turn the corner and go Core Duo right now but financially that would be very tough. I'm buying straight ABIT boards across the board because I know nothing about how to determine if a given board is junk or not in terms of reliability and user-friendliness and ABIT is supposed to be the best safe bet. Similarly I don't have any idea how to compare the performance of different boards/chipsets to narrow my selection.

    End of the day I think I am getting hosed by buying more MoBo than I need. If I could get some saving in the MoBo department I might be able to jump up to the Core Duo 6330. But again being a first-time computer builder I am deathly afraid of putting it together and the MoBo not booting up and being at a total loss on how to trouble shoot something that doesn't boot. Just beyond my expertise so I've been on the cautious(re: expensive side).

    I plan on using my old ATX case, monitor and hard drives. Anything else I'll need besides some Medusa headsets for total gaming bliss?
    Xbox Live Gamertag: TG ABRA
    live.xbox.com/member/TG ABRA
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  • #2
    Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

    Just bite the bullet now and get 2GBs of RAM. You will need it.

    3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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    • #3
      Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

      Even for BF2:PoE2? Would GRAW or BF2142 require 2 GB of Ram in these machines? If not then trust me I've been eating lead salads at every turn in this computer build and if biting anymore bullets is avoidable, this toothless idiot will be avoiding them. Even just if it gets me to Christmas. I don't know since I'm playing all my gaming at a LAN center right now.
      Xbox Live Gamertag: TG ABRA
      live.xbox.com/member/TG ABRA
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      • #4
        Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

        No, 1GB will do for those games, just gotta tone down some of the settings to medium for it to play nice though
        |TG-33rd|Calvin

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        • #5
          Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

          Yeah that's the plan for now at least. Any mobo guidance/suggestions?
          Xbox Live Gamertag: TG ABRA
          live.xbox.com/member/TG ABRA
          Friend me!

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          • #6
            Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

            Well, I don't know what memory you're buying or what prices you're paying, but I can only go with my experience. Last year I built a system like yours and went with 2x512mb memory sticks, only to discover that was barely enough.. I bought 2x512 more and now I have 2 gigs.. I'm a bit happier, but now my memory slots are filled, meaning no more upgrades there without throwing out some of it, and (although this may not happen with you), my memory timings got slowed down due to some of the sticks being single density and others double density.

            BF2 does enjoy more than 1GB, and 2142 actually recommends 1.5.

            Anyway, here is some memory for $189.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148018

            3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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            • #7
              Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

              Originally posted by ABRA View Post
              I plan on using my old ATX case, monitor and hard drives. Anything else I'll need besides some Medusa headsets for total gaming bliss?
              Just a heads up, keep in mind most MoBo's come with only a single IDE connector on board, so unless your (plural) harddrives and CD/DVD players are SATA, you may quickly find that you need to buy new drives or more hardware to get them in.

              Keep an eye open for the combo deals on NewEgg, they've had several recently with just excellent prices on AMD CPUs. And with a combo from a known name you can be reasonably certain they'll talk to eachother OK. Here for instance you can get a free mobo with a $99 CPU. A bit less horse power than your other listed ones, but it's hard to beat the price.

              If you can find the room financially, I'd get 2 GB of RAM as well. I don't know that games require it, but it makes for an overall much smoother and more pleasant experience.

              How long are you planning to use this new system?

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              • #8
                Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                I recommend MSI or Asus over Abit.


                - -

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                • #9
                  Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                  Always had good luck with ASUS.

                  2 gig...you may need it if you upgrade to MS Vista.
                  The Old Guy
                  kin3
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                  • #10
                    Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                    sound card?

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                    • #11
                      Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                      My suggestion: pick a mobo that is Core 2 Duo compatible. Down the line, you can upgrade to one without having to buy a new mobo. I have an Asus P5NSLI. It was $112, cheaper than the one you picked out--although that's probably Core 2 Duo compatible too. But the ASUS is compatible with both the pentium D and Core 2 Duo as well.

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                      • #12
                        Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                        I wouldn't go with the Abit board just because of the board layout. The IDE connector is at the bottom left, practically the other end of your case from harddrives and optical drives. It'll make cabling a frustration. The Asus P5B and Gigabyte DS3 are about $10 more but have better board layouts. Dual core is a nice route to go. It's definitely handy outside of gaming. You'll notice exiting games is a lot faster and alt-tabbing is pretty easy.

                        I think you'll be ok with 1GB now. I've run BF2 on 512MB without much problem. It's just a little jerky at the beginning of a round for 15 seconds. Plus, RAM is expensive now so it's probably better to get another gig later.

                        - It's who you game with.

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                        • #13
                          Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                          Tempus-I am wary of the same problem which is why my first GB will be on the same stick at the optimal timing for the mobo/processor.

                          For the intel DDR 800 mobo it is Patriot eXtreme Performance 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $143.99.

                          For the AMD 939 DDR 400 mobo it is CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB 184-Pi DDR 400 (PC 3200) Model VS1GB400C3 - $112.99

                          For the AM2 with the DDR 800 friendly 2.4 ghz(re: the remainder issue) chip I went with G.SKILL 1GB DDR2 800 Model F2-6400CL4S-1GBPK - Retail $139.99 I

                          Posting those links, I did notice that I had some incompatible memory selected for the Intel mobo so that system's price went to $587.96, nearly $30 more.

                          That memory you linked looks good. But at DDR 500, I worry that it will bottleneck my processor for the AM2 system certainly and the mobo for the other systems. I realize that at present this is a larger gain from the 2 GB of memory than an unbottle-necked 1 GB. But seems like I would be consigning my mobo and processor to a lifetime of DDR 500 (233 mhz?) clock-speeds throughout its upgrade life until I through out those 2 GBs. Although maybe 2 GBs will out last these processors and mobos. I really am quite confused and inexperienced in this sort of forecasting and pros/cons analysis of my choices in gaming PC hardware.

                          Fallen-thanks for the heads up. I'll check my IDE situation on my components and on my purchases. Your point about sneaking a cheaper mobo in is very tempting. People seem to be either big name diehards ASUS, ABIT, MSI, etc. or they are like you and tell me a bargain mobo would probably work and allow me to get that Core Duo with the savings. I guess I just don't know the risks involved and what names have a good enough reputation.

                          WhiskeySix-Onboard 7.1 channel sound in most cases to power the 5.1 Medusa headphones I'd love to get soon. No SB products on this budget right now unfortunately.

                          sordavie-You're hit on my most fundamental point of anxiety. I don't think the Core Duo is quite within my grasp at this point, especially since most games I'm interested in play are utilized for dual processors yet. And the Pentium D is dual so I could multitask on my most expensive system option right now. And I selected the AM2 system for the dual AMD option if I want it later. I've been given the advice that there's no point really looking to deep into the crystal ball when it comes to upgrades though. If I don't have a dual core or an SLi graphics solution now, then I shouldn't bother paying for the capability now is what people are saying. Do you guys concur?
                          Xbox Live Gamertag: TG ABRA
                          live.xbox.com/member/TG ABRA
                          Friend me!

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                          • #14
                            Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                            Originally posted by ABRA View Post
                            WhiskeySix-Onboard 7.1 channel sound in most cases to power the 5.1 Medusa headphones I'd love to get soon. No SB products on this budget right now unfortunately.
                            FYI... Onboard sound uses cpu cycles to process which can decrease performance. The Creative sound cards use their own processor to handle sound.
                            |TG-12th| asch
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                            • #15
                              Re: ABRA's first gaming rig

                              That skt 939 3700+ chip is a great chip. 1 MB L2 Cache and very OC'able. I got it for my son when we did his first build.

                              Have to agree with the previous poster about 2 Gb's of RAM. In the long run you'll thank yourself. It does stink that RAM prices are higher now than 6 months ago. Whats up with that.

                              I just recently went from 4 sticks of 512 to 2 sticks of 1gb. Apparently there is a known issue with the memory controller being on the AMD Chips and with 4 sticks they automatically run at 333 instead of the 400 mhz spec. With just two sticks I now I run at the correct speed and at 1t command rate. Games load a little faster. Alt tabbing between programs is much faster and any multitasking is alot easier.

                              I have an Asus A8n5X. Check out the reviews at newegg. Stellar. Yet the board is very affordable at under 80.00. No firewire but I never used it anyway. This is my second build. I think the Asus A8V deluxe may have went south on me but I haven't finished diagnosing it. Lasted for only a year and a half but I wanted to upgrade up to PCIE from AGP anyway.

                              Some of those SB cards can be had for 30 dollars or so. Even one of those might fix you up better than on board sound. And using a sound card will free up your cpu a bit too.

                              I had the same fear...put it together and it wont work.

                              check this post from the corsair support forums...I found it AFTER I did my first build. Everything went according to plan, knock on wood, but I sure wish I had seen this forum first...

                              http://www.houseofhelp.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=46193
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                              |TG-1st|Grunt
                              ARMA Admin (retired)
                              Pathfinder-Spartan 5

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