New desktop PC with a $2k budget

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Clinton McClure, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

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    I may build a new tower PC next spring to use solely for gaming and online functions such as the Forum, DVD Profiler, etc... I will not be doing any HTPC or online gaming (no broadband). Right now I'm researching all components.

    Given a $1000-$1500 budget (I put 2k in the title, but it will most likely be 1-1.5k), what would you recommend for the following? (For everything except the cabinet and modem, please be as specific as you can brand-wise and with reasons why.)

    cabinet
    PSU
    mobo/chipset
    processor
    HDD
    optical drive
    video card
    audio card
    56k modem
    RAM

    Thanks.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Antec Sonata Case w/ PSU - $109
    Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro-SLI ATX Motherboard - $101
    AMD Athlon64 4000+ Clawhammer core - $372
    Zalman CNPS7000B-CU CPU Cooler - $44
    2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB SATA 3.0Gb/s (put these in RAID-1) - $180 (total for both)
    Just pick any DVD burner with good reviews - ~$50
    Gigabyte Radeon X800 GV-RX80256D 256MB PCI-e - $185
    Audio on sound board will probably serve your purposes
    AOpen FM56-SVV Modem - $10.50
    2 x Corsair ValueSelect 512MB 184-pin DDR - $90

    Total Price = $1141 (all prices from NewEgg.com)

    Reasons:
    AMD better than Intel for games. Antec makes a good case and better PSU. Go with Zalman CPU cooler for a quieter and cooler computer. Seagate makes great SATA drives (from experience) and RAID-1 makes them even faster. X800 is about the best graphics set around for a reasonable price (GeForce 7800GTX is probably best, but about $500). Corsair makes very high quality RAM.
     
  3. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    I would change the Zalman to a thermalright XP120 heastsink fan and a nice big 120mm fan. They will move lots of CFM but do it quietly.

    How much harddisk space do you need? The seagate is a great drive, but just get one, and Raid 1 does not speed anything up, it slows it down actually as it is writing the data twice. (raid 1 is mirroring) Raid 0 will speed things up, but the only way you can tell is by benchmarks, everyday use you would not notice and Raid array's are not something a novice should get into.

    Nec, LG seem to be some top rated DVD Burners

    what games do you play? The x800 is a good card, if you think you need more power (BF2 comes to mind) maybe move up to the geforce 6800GT (any brand) like stated the 7800GTX is tops right now, but at a price.

    memory, again, depending on games played, you may want to move up to 2gb. 1gb*2 Corsair is a great brand.
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    My mistake on the RAID. I did mean RAID-0, not RAID-1.
     
  5. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    raid 1 does not slow anything down. the data is written at the same time to each drive.

    skip raid, buy a larger hard drive.

    CJ
     
  6. Anthony Moore

    Anthony Moore Supporting Actor

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    If you got the DEALS page on this site, the deal is back that I took advantage of about 2 months ago.

    Its a Dell Dimension 9100 with a 24" Widescreen LCD monitor for $1100 total. The monitor is regularly $1100 by itself.

    I had to upgrade the video card..but other than that, I couldnt be happier. I game with some highly graphic intensive software, and watch movies..

    Its awesome.
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Forget RAID unless you're doing 1. Data loss sucks, but Seagate offers a 5 year warranty.

    SethH- nice list but why the Clawhammer core? The San Diego is newer, cheaper, uses less energy, and supports SSE3 instruction sets as well. 98 user reviews vs. 30 for the Clawhammer on Newegg, doesn't say much other than how popular it is.
     
  8. JamesED

    JamesED Second Unit

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    I'd consider AMD's 3800+ X2 duel core processor, its about $350 from newegg.

    Also, if you intend to play the newest games and it's worth the extra money to you, I'd consider nvidia's 7800 GT (BFG, eVGA make good cards) for around $350 for your video card. If you would use the performance of the card, it's a good price. (eVGA's card currently comes with a free copy of Call of Duty 2 if you register on their site.)
     
  9. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - $168 on board 24 bit soundblaster audio

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor
    - $347

    OCZ Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) - $223

    Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 -$100

    Any Dvd Burner- I like the Liteon half size series - $50

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - $104

    eVGA 256-P2-N517-AX Geforce 7800GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - $369 make sure its the N517 it comes with the copper heatsink and is only 2 FPS slower than a GTX (even with the fewer pipelines)

    56k modem - any $20

    Total - $1381 nice dual core system, should handle anything thrown at it. 2 things to be careful with. 1 installing windows on a sata drive can be tricky, you might want to go IDE if you've never done a SATA install, 2 once windows is installed go download the drivers for the dual core processor.
     
  10. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    CPU cooler: The Zalman is a good idea. I loved mine.

    Ram: I'd go with Kingston or Mushkin. I would not trust Corsair ram at all. I know too many people that have used Corsair with Gigabyte boards and WAY too many issues.

    AMD processor: [​IMG] I loved my 3500+

    Video card: I'd go with a BFG6800GT or Ultra at a minimum.

    On board sound? Trash. Get atleast a Audigy 2zs. You'll thank me afterwards. I paid $50 after rebate for mine. Way better than onboard.

    Burner?: I'm using an NEC w/o an issue. I paid ~$45 for mine.

    Don't always trust Newegg to be the cheapest. I bought all of mine locally and beat Newegg on all of their prices. Shop Around.

    Given the way the PC gaming market is headed, spend your bucks on the video card, ram, and processor.

    Motherboard: I went with an Asus A8V deluxe but it's an AGP board. Whatever the PCIE equivalent is, get that.
     
  11. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Also if you go SATA on the hard drive, better borrow a floppy drive because you'll need it for that purpose.
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    not necessarily. i know some people have to use a floppy to get their sata drives recognized, but i never had to, in the 3 computers i've put sata drives into.

    CJ
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    For gaming, the X2 will likely perform worse than the normal, single core CPU. And Clinton said his primary use is for gaming.

    Now, if he'll be playing games while running other programs in the background, or does expect to do a lot of general purpose work, then the X2 would be a good choice.
     
  14. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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  15. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I based that on one of the reviews on Newegg. I couldn't find independent reviews, so I went with that anecdotal evidence. One reviewer claimed that the "Clawhammer Core performs better than the new San Diego at stock, way better" so it was entirely based on that. I did a quick search at Tom's Hardware, but didn't come up with anything, so I just went with that.
     
  16. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    The x2 might be slightly worse at gaming now but it loses to an FX-55 (an absolute beast) chip by 1-3 frames per second (based on the link provided). If he's getting a non FX-55 chip he should go dual core. For $1300 to be prepared for future games that support dual core is worth it. I know FEAR supports dual core and I expect other games to start supporting it more. Its not like using a dual core will bring games to a crawl. I'd rather be ready for the future.
     
  17. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

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    I would like to go dual core since I'm hearing that a lot of games will be set for it in late 2006 but I'm reading that single core does better on most games currently. I don't multitask so I don't need the extra computing power to run simultaneous applications. I'll have to think about this one. As far as brand, a good Athlon 64 proc should do just fine. (I'd love a FX-57 but all I can do is dream.) I do know I want a 939 socket for future upgradeability.

    The video card will be at least a geforce 6800. I just read a review of the XTX geforce 7800 GTX. Hubba hubba! But with a MSRP floating around $520 I'll most likely stick with a 6800.

    What makes a SATA drive so tricky to install Windows on? All I've ever used are IDE. (Oh yeah, the HDD will need to be about 300g.)
     
  18. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    It's not really tricky, it's just that sometimes they require you to use a floppy drive. It's worth getting SATA for a gaming system though because SATA doesn't have the same CPU overhead that IDE has.

    If you do what I suggested in my first post, your computer will recognize the two drives as one 320GB hard drive.
     
  19. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    If your not doing raid, and have at least a sp1 windows xp cd-rom, you do not need to worry about a floppy drive when installing on a sata drive.
     
  20. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    False. I had to have a floppy drive for mine.
     

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