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 Post subject: Here's my budget, what should I do?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:04 am 
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Okay, I have a 4 year old P4 1.8 ghz and want to step up. This computer is a Sony OEM so upgrading is out of the question, I want to build one from scratch. Been saving for this project for 2 years and my little nest egg is $2500, so that's what I have to spend. I primarily do gaming on the PC but the wife uses it a small amount for photography work.
Thanks for the help.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:17 am 
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A budget of $2500 builds a monster rig. Here's a rough outline that goes a bit overboard in some areas:

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum - $139
AMD 3500+ Retail - $266
OCZ 1gb EL PC3200 2-3-2-5 - $149
OCZ Modstream 520w - $99
Leadtek 6800 Ultra PCI-E - $495
NEC 3520a DL-DVD Burner - $56
Lite-On CDRW/DVD Combo Drive - $37
Maxtor 250gb 16mb Diamondmax 10 - $155
Logitech MX1000 Wireless Mouse - $49
Dell 2001FP 19" LCD - $490-$590, depending on when you buy
Logitech Z-5500 Speakers - $284

That leaves you with just under $200 for a case and OS of your choice. As mentioned however, there's several places that can be trimmed to fit your needs - LCD monitor, speakers, video card, etc.

Keep in mind this is but a single outline out of many. With a budget of $2500, you're opening up quite a bit of options.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:21 am 
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Okay, question for you, does it make any sense to go with an AMD FX CPU? I won't be overclocking.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:32 am 
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janitor53 wrote:
Okay, question for you, does it make any sense to go with an AMD FX CPU? I won't be overclocking.


No. While the FX-55 is about the best all around desktop chip available, the money spent buying one ($811) could be far better utilized in other areas. It's too hard to justify the extra $545 over the 3500+, which if you're interested could be overclocked to very similar performance. If you're not going to overclock and you want something a little beefier than the 3500+, consider the 3800+ at $366.

Look at it this way - for $545, you could invest in an SLI solution and run two video cards.

Couple of comments on the above I neglected to mention:
1 - I should have included an Audigy 2 ZS soundcard.
2 - Monarchcomputer has some tempting combo deals. For example, instead of paying $405 for the CPU/mobo listed (bought separately), you can buy it for $409 as a combo on Monarchcomputer and they throw in Far Cry DVD, Half Life 2 Full Version Coupon, and 4 months of Napster. Not a bad way to spend $4 extra, and they'll pretest the components for you. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:56 am 
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What about waiting on a San Diego chip? They seem right around the corner and, correct me if I'm wrong here, have a larger cache? Will that improve performance at all?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:03 am 
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You know you could get Logitech Z-680 speakers. Sure they are the last generation of Logitech's speakers but you can get them for like $100 less than the Z-5500s, and they sound just fine.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:14 am 
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WizKid45 wrote:
You know you could get Logitech Z-680 speakers. Sure they are the last generation of Logitech's speakers but you can get them for like $100 less than the Z-5500s, and they sound just fine.


Link? Aside from a refurb for $40 less, I'm not seeing anything on PriceWatch or PriceGrabber.

janitor53 wrote:
What about waiting on a San Diego chip? They seem right around the corner and, correct me if I'm wrong here, have a larger cache? Will that improve performance at all?


Depends on how long you wish to wait and how far you want to play the 'waiting game.' And yes, the San Diego has 1MB L2 cache, as well as some other additions. You can read about Venice and San Diego here - LINK


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:26 am 
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I would recommend the DFI Lanparty UT Ultra D over that MSI board.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:34 pm 
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athlon11 wrote:
I would recommend the DFI Lanparty UT Ultra D over that MSI board.


The DFI board is a little pointless if you're not overclocking in my opinion, but it's performance is stellar from what I've read. You may also be interested in the Asus A8N-E, I know the DFI and MSI boards are getting all the hype, and there aren't any reviews (that I know of) on the A8N-E, but it looks like it could be a winner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:01 pm 
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p a r i a h wrote:
I know the DFI and MSI boards are getting all the hype, and there aren't any reviews (that I know of) on the A8N-E, but it looks like it could be a winner.


The A8N-E is the non-SLI version of the A8N-SLI, so the reviews translate over there. I'm a big Asus fan myself, but they've simply been outdone since nForce3/4. I'm also not impressed with their customer service, so it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to recommend them to others.

The DFI is indeed another solid offering, especially if using RAM such as OCZ's VX that can take advantage of the extra voltage offerings. I'm personally swayed by the all around goodness of MSI's Neo4, but I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for choosing DFI, overclocking or not.

MSI/Asus/DFI/GigaByte Roundup


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:35 pm 
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One4yu2c wrote:


With a gluttonous budget of $2.5k, I wouldn't want to just see some nForce4 Ultra board. No, I would expect a SLI board. :)

That said, my only beef with this setup is the mobo. Upgrade that to a DFI/MSI SLI (say that three times fast) solution and maybe downgrade the 6800GT to save a wad of cash, and you would be in upgrade heaven.

I do see why the 6800 Ultra was in there, making it fit in with all the other #1 parts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:38 pm 
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Well if we're talking about SLi boards, I'd skip over the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLi for the MSI K8N Diamond, which seems to be their "uber deluxe" board, if you will. However with consideration of the two slot cooler on the 6800 Ultra, you might want extra space so they don't overheat(even if they do have Leadtek's signature cooler). In that case you could wait for the Asus A8N SLi Premium, which has an extra slots-worth of clearence between the PCI-Ex16 slots. I guess I should also mention that I couldn't find the Diamond anywhere and the A8N SLi Premium isn't out yet. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:44 pm 
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:D I came this close ----> | | to spec'ing out the SLI version of that board, but changed it last minute (as well dropping some other components I had in there). Reason being I left a bit under $200 for both a decent case and an OS, assumedly Windows XP, as well as an Audigy 2 ZS card that I feel any serious gamer should be armed with.

Going with a 6800GT or ATI X800XL card is an excellent idea - quick way to shave $200 off of the tally and have either the same performance with a little overclock, or just shy of the Ultra at stock (or ahead of the Ultra on some benches if referring to the X800XL).

Have some fun, spec out a full system and give him some variety. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:55 pm 
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p a r i a h wrote:
two posts so far.


Off topic, but welcome to the forum. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:16 pm 
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AMD Athlon 64 3800 90nm Revision-$379
MSI K8N Diamond(When you can find it)-est. $200
BFG Tech. GeForce 6800 GT OC-$425
1 GB OCZ Value Premier-$82
200 GB Seagate 7200.8 Barracuda-$125
Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS-$70 w/ rebate
Pioneer DVR-109-$60
Antec Truepower2.0 480w-$89
CoolerMaster Praetorian(black)-$108
LG L1980U 19" LCD-$430 w/ rebate
Logitech MX518-$50
Logitech Elite Keyboard-$24
ZALMAN Surround Sound Theater Headphones-$47

All for only $2089. :D Of course some people may find my choice of RAM questionable, but it's more than good enough if you're not doing any overclocking. And for a future upgrade just add another 6800 GT. :wink:

EDIT:Woops, I forogt OS. :oops: Make that $2189 with XP Home picked up at your local Comp USA. :wink: Als try www.pricewatch.com or www.pricegrabber.com if you're really about saving money. Of course you'll need a floppy but you can always scrap it from your current computer.


Last edited by p a r i a h on Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:17 pm 
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One4yu2c wrote:
p a r i a h wrote:
two posts so far.


Off topic, but welcome to the forum. 8)


Thanks, glad to be here. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:21 pm 
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p a r i a h wrote:
Of course some people may find my choice of RAM questionable, but it's more than good enough if you're not doing any overclocking.


Anandtech had an interesting roundup of ValueRAM and the results were fairly interesting - Kingston, Transcend, and OCZ's Premier were low cost standouts that overclocked surprisingly well, especially considering that two of those can be had for under $100/gig.

Read Me


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:26 pm 
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One4yu2c wrote:
p a r i a h wrote:
Of course some people may find my choice of RAM questionable, but it's more than good enough if you're not doing any overclocking.


Anandtech had an interesting roundup of ValueRAM and the results were fairly interesting - Kingston, Transcend, and OCZ's Premier were low cost standouts that overclocked surprisingly well, especially considering that two of those can be had for under $100/gig.

Read Me


That article was exactly what gave me the idea for the OCZ Value Premier. :D , if he was going to overclock however, I would've gone for one of the NF4 DFI boards with some of the Value VX which gives alot of other RAM a run for it's money according to the article.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:54 pm 
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I don't know what process you folks go through when doing a build, but I am just having a heck of a time making a decision on some key things. DFI or MSI mobo? What brand RAM? What brand PSU? It seems like every product has its admirers and detractors and its really time consuming sifting through the loads of info the web.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:16 am 
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janitor53 wrote:
I don't know what process you folks go through when doing a build, but I am just having a heck of a time making a decision on some key things. DFI or MSI mobo? What brand RAM? What brand PSU? It seems like every product has its admirers and detractors and its really time consuming sifting through the loads of info the web.


Evaluate your goals and budget. Heavy overclocking? Solid stock performance? Customer service? Price?

With regards to the DFI and MSI, read the Anandtech article I linked (Here). These deal with the SLI versions of the board, but aside from the ability to run two video cards, the boards are basically the same as the non-SLI'd versions.

Both DFI and MSI are solid options and you can't really choose wrong. I give the edge to MSI based on features and stock performance, as they both overclock just about the same on most RAM. However, if you throw in OCZ's VX line of RAM that thrives on high voltages, the DFI pulls ahead when it comes to overclocking as it's the only one that can supply the extra juice.

As for RAM, again, it comes down to price and whether you plan on overclocking or not, as well as customer service. There are lots of worthy sticks to choose from. My preferences lean towards OCZ as they have the better enthusiast options IMO, as well as some of the best customer service I've had to deal with.

Finally, narrow a list down to perhaps 2 or 3 candidates in each category (RAM, motherboard, video card, etc) and then google reviews on each one. There's no shortage of information out there on the heavy hitters.


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