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Old 07-07-2007, 04:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

I'm looking for the best value, so I've decided to go with a low-end X2 system. I'll be upgrading from an XP 2000+, so just about anything is an upgrade. Below is what I have planned. Please offer your suggestions:

MOBO: $69.99
Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TF7025-M2 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7025 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Someone else here mentioned the TForce 550. That was actually my first choice, but to save some bucks, I decided to go with a board with integrated graphics, but I intend to throw a nice PCIe card in once I get some more cash.

CPU: $59.00
Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane 1.9GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - OEM
Dual-core performance in a low-end single-core CPU price range. Perfect for my budget.

MEM: $109.98
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory - Retail (2x)
Cheap ram, lower latency, 2x 1GB should be more than enough, and will run nicely in dual channel.

PSU: $64.99
Newegg.com - Antec earthwatts EA430 ATX12V v2.0 430W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, FCC, TUV, CE, CB, C-tick, CCC - Retail
Build by Seasonic (I think). Equivalent Seasonic models are about twice as much, and are reputable as being very quiet and very efficient. I'm going to try reusing my new Antec case and PSU for the time being. 350W SmartPower should be barely enough until I get a graphics card, then I'll probably pick up this new one then. I'll save about $30 recycling my old PSU.

CASE: $0.00
Newegg.com - Antec Solo Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
My current case is an Antec Solo. I bought it locally on craigslist for $50 from someone who said their non-standard sized motherboard had trouble fitting in this case. It really is quite beautiful. Shame it's hidden away in a tower nook in my desk. So I can save about $50+ by recycling.

OPTICAL: $0.00
Newegg.com - Pioneer Black 18X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 10X DVD+R DL 18X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2MB Cache E-IDE/ ATAPI DVD Burner - OEM
I currently have a Pioneer DL DVD+/-RW. It's relatively new, and still works great, so I'll salvage it from my current system. I save about $25+ by recycling.

STORAGE: $67.99 + $0.00
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3250620AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 "Perpendicular Recording" ST3250820A 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive - OEM
I was thinking I could cut back on a major bottleneck by slashing my drive lag in half and opting for a 10,000RPM Raptor. But I had to remind myself that I must be budget minded. The SATA model is one I plan on buying. The PATA model is one I have now. I hope to use them both, and I save about $50 on a storage/backup drive by recycling my older one.

COOLING: $14.99
Newegg.com - ARCTIC COOLING ALPINE64 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail
I'm just as much of a Arctic Cooling fan as I am AMD, NVidia, and Seagate. I don't know why, I've just always been pleased with all of my Arctic Cooling purchases, they work well and are silent. And they have an outstanding 6-year warranty.

GRAPHICS: $124.99 - $20.00 MIR
Newegg.com - EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card - Retail
This is the best bang for my buck. Doesn't have full DX10 support, but it's still an able card. DX10 series cards in this price range are extremely low end. I probably won't be getting this right away.

I don't need any peripherals since I can reuse my current ones.

Altogether, with everything listed here (minus the stuff I already have), my system will run me just over $500 plus shipping. Without the graphics card and power supply, it runs just over $300 plus shipping.

Any suggestions on how I can shave a few bucks off this system, without shaving off too much performance?
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Old 07-07-2007, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

I am planning on building a new system very similar to the one you listed, you might want to check Pricewatch.com for Ram though, I think I saw Kingston 2gb for $89 or so.

The main difficulty I am having is with the Motherboard, I will have to check out that Biostar.
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

There's Kingston 2x1GB on Pricewatch (at PC-Infinity), but it's budget CL5 RAM. I would rather pay a few bucks more for lower-latency RAM and buy from a reputable dealer.
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

The CPU is ok for the money, but its sucks really "1.9GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache" at the moment though i hate to say it intel are the way to go until AMD pull thier finger out, mobo is good.

SERIOUSLY consider at least 2GB, nowadays 1GB dont cut it for games though that DDR2 will run nice id get another gig.

the case just make sure you have at least 2 case fans, one exhaust and one blowing air in for a nice airflow.

also i hear those baracudda HDD's 7200's run kinda noisy for some reason but i have no evidence of this.

cooling is good, dont need much with AMD they are cool as anything, my AMD is overclocked by at over 3Ghz and runs under load at 40 degrees celcius!

the GFX is ok, but not great considering your looking for a gamng PC this card is dating pretty quick, try n get a cad with GDDR3 512mb (i know that card has GDDR3), if you use linux DO NOT BUY ATI but if you dont then have a look around, this is due to ATI being *** hats with writing linux drivers. even though i hate the linux support i was very happy with my purchase of my ATI x1950, this card has a lot of punch for the price. these suggestions are me bearing in mind your on a budget but also want a decent gaming PC, but that GFX card isnt bad at all before someone flames me im just saying for the xtra money spent on a 8800GTS or something it will last longer instead of you buying that and a few weeks/months need an upgrade for a new game.

ALSO i live in the UK so i dont use newegg but i find Ebay very cheap for new CPU's
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

thta cpu doesnt quite suck, mine can run at 3.2ghz and stay around 40* loaded.
for a 60.00 cpu, it absolutely cannot be beaten. stock performance, now...meh. maybe good for a grandma, but thats not the draw of the 3600. the draw is that for 1/4 of the price you can have almost identical performance of amd top of the line processor. not the almost, because it does have half the cache...which will matter in some apps more than others.
consider the freezer pro over the cooler you have listed. it costs 10 dollars more i think.
never been a fan of onboard graphics in any sense, but if you need to use it to save money, so be it.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

Coming from a 2000+, you are going to be amazed.

Don't forget an OS and thermal paste.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trotter View Post
Coming from a 2000+, you are going to be amazed.

Don't forget an OS and thermal paste.
agreed... a better mobo would be a biostar tforce550
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

I found a better board for a better price:

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TF7025-M2 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7025 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

It's about $10 cheaper and has a newer chipset, and better integrated graphics.

As far as RAM, I'm getting 2x 1GB, that way I can run in dual channel. It's fairly cheap too.

I'll check with SPCR on the Barracuda. Back in the day, they used to be the most silent drive, but I'm not sure about now. I'm aiming for a silent system, so thanks for the advice.

About the GF 7900GS: My only DX10 alternatives in this price range were extremely low end 8000's (half the memory bus bandwidth as the 7900GS). Also, I really don't need 512MB VRAM. I'm coming from a 128MB 6800 NU, so 256MB should be plenty. Often, a lot of people will buy a card simply because it has a lot of VRAM, when in reality, this is just one of many things to look for in a video card.

When FX5200's came out, people were flocking to them because some were 256MB cards. It kind of gave me a chuckle seeing my previous generation ti4400 with half the VRAM completely outperform them. Heck, even low end MX440's were outperforming them.

Anyhow, I'm going to continue searching for better deals. I pricewatched all of my components, and found NewEgg had the best deals on most. The TFORCE 6100 was $15 more expensive at NewEgg, and when I searched for an alternative, that's when I found the TFORCE TF7025-M2.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trotter View Post
Coming from a 2000+, you are going to be amazed.

Don't forget an OS and thermal paste.
Yeah, I love not having any hesitation on my laptop (Turion X2) when multitasking.

I've got a legit XP Pro standing by and I think I can squeeze enough AS5 from my last tube. It's amazing how long a little tube lasts.

Thanks for the suggestions all!
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Old 07-08-2007, 05:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM2 Budget Gaming System - Critique Please!

whats up with the micro atx?{
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