hi, this is my first forum post here so please be gentle
ok my situation is, i built a gaming pc a couple years ago (parts list provided by a friend). now a friend's son is 14 and wants a gaming PC. i was going to give him some of my parts and upgrade my system. but the motherboard market is so complicated that i don't know what to get.
here's my current box:
motherboard: asus p5w dh deluxe
ram: crucial ballistix ddr2-6400
video: ati x1950xtx
cpu: intel e6600 dual-core 2.4GHz
i'm going to give him those and build the rest of his box with spare parts i have.
now here's what i need help with:
my budget will be $800 +/-$200
planning to do this in june/july
so far i plan to get:
8800GT 512MB $250
4GB ram (i have no idea what kind/speed) $150
that leaves about $400 for mobo and CPU both.
for my motherboard i need (at least):
3 sata (for my HDD, non RAID)
1 IDE (for my 2 DVD-RW)
i do NOT need built-in audio, video, scsi, RAID, and i don't overclock because i don't like to mess with stuff i don't fully understand.
i prefer asus only because my last 3 motherboards were asus so i feel comfortable with that brand.
my main priorities for a motherboard are STABILITY, RELIABILITY, QUALITY. i want a board that will never ever give me any kind of trouble.
it would be nice to have a cpu upgrade path. i read about intel's upgrade path and "45nm" and "penryn" are mentioned but i don't understand how that will affect my options for cpu upgrades in the future. how long until they start selling cpu's that won't fit in my motherboard? i don't even know the current intel cpu's would work in my asus p5w.
i'll spend whatever i have left (hopefully about $250) on the best intel cpu i can get.
so now my questions:
a) does my budget plan look ok? ($250 gfx, $150 ram, $150 mobo, $250 cpu). obviously this is an estimate
b) what motherboard should i get?
c) what ram should i get? i don't really understand what DDR2 and DDR3 are or what the various specs mean. i just want some stable name-brand ram that won't be a bottleneck for my system. no overclocking necessary.
d) is the 8800GT 512MB still the best price/performance card to get for a gamer?
e) any other comments welcome please
i have a creative x-fi xtreme gamer sound card so i don't need onboard sound (and would actually prefer a motherboard without built-in sound)
i don't ever plan to get a 2nd video card for SLI so that's not a requirement. if i ever have the money to burn on a 2nd video card then i'll upgrade the motherboard again if necessary.