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Old 02-25-2006, 09:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default $600 To spend on components for silent PC

I've searched the forum but there's no thread that quite fits my needs.

I haven't built a PC in years. Fundage issues -- but the last one I did kicked patootie. Cutting-edge. Now, however, I find that I'm forced to go with a more moderate budget, and am looking for a spot of help. My local store is trying to shaft me by charging 20-50% more than the online vendors -- + tax. So..let's say I may drop by for a sale, but not for my main system components.

I'd like to spend less than 600 dollars, but it looks like I'll be spending at least 700, and I'm looking to build a bottom-end gaming computer. I'll be cannibalizing as many parts from my current rig as I can.

Primary use is of course gaming, but as I'll also be my home office computer it'll need to be fairly silent. I've read about a hundred reviews and comparisons and frankly, I'm lost.


I need a new case, probably with a new, silent PSU. I'd like it to have great airflow. I think I want one that is ATX 12V 2.0 compliant? The Thermaltake Tai Chi makes me happy in my pants but is waaay out of my price range. Is the Raidmax X1 a decent choice? Is there a better one available for under 150 bucks? I'd like to keep the case I purchase for at least 5-8 years, so I'm willing to spend a bit more on it. Suggestions?

I've selected an Athlon 3800+ X2 for my CPU -- do I need to worry about what kind of core it is? Manchester?

I've selected the following CPU cooler: http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/arcofr64pro.html
Is that a good choice?

Mobo: I'm completely and utterly lost here. I'd like a decent budget option with room for expansion and possible overclocking in about 6 months. PCIe preferred.

GPU: Again, I'm befuddled. I don't care about the brand, I just want one that works and is happy. Probably nVIDIA, because it's really easy to update your drivers, but if ATI has a swanky card for cheap I'm willing to investigate. I'd prefer a PCIe card, unless there's a really good reason for selecting AGP. Preferably Shader Model 3.0 compliant. I'd love to be able to run things like F.E.A.R, but particularly RTS games for years to come.

RAM: Whatever goes with the mobo and CPU. Probably 2 gigs of DDR, but as for the particular type and brand... :: Shrugs :: A value-conscious choice preferred.

Speakers, Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, Operating System, HDD & Optical Drive: I'll be cannibalizing these from my current system. Using old Boston Acroustics speakers that sound better than anything currently available for under $125, LaCie electron blue 22 Flatscreen CRT monitor, Logitech MX518 gaming mouse, a retail copy of XP I bought years ago, and the keyboard type I've been using for years, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro. My HDDs are a 200GB 7200 RPM drive for storage and a 36GB Raptor as main system drive. My Sony DVD RW +/- will also be used in the new system. I'm probably not going to bother with salvaging my 3.5" floppy.

Any advice is gratefully accepted, and I'd like to thank ya'll for your help.

Shandrakor
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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could you also canibalize the HDD and optical drives from your old comp?
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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:: Smacks his forehead :: Yup -- sorry about that. Main post edited.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz HT Socket 939 $168.00

I know you wanted a 3800 X2. With a slimmer budget like that with gaming in mind, an X2 isn't entirely feasible

MOBO: MSI K8N Neo4-F Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 $79.99

PCI-E as requested. Overclocking is available but not the greatest.

GPU: eVGA 256-P2-N389-AX Geforce 6800GS CO SE 256MB $169.00

I own one similar to this one. Has no problem with any game out there.

RAM: CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400 - Retail $67.98

HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3200826AS 200GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM $97.00

Sorry, not enough $$ for a Raptor for now (an extra $101 for a 36GB).

CASE: Thermaltake Soprano VB1430BWS Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window - Retail $96.00

Comes with a decent 430W PSU. Also uses bigger fans (2x 120mm and 2x 90mm) that help to provide good airflow with low noise.


TOTAL: $677.97

I would stay with the stock cooler from AMD. They are sufficiently quiet.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i think he meant those are the hard drives he has... so he won't need one... actually i'm not sure
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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ya i was just looking at parts... dual-core cpu, 2gb ram, silent psu... just not doable on that budget.

dual core cpu + 2 gb of good ram = $500

vid card + psu + case + cpu fan + mobo > $100

if you want all the good stuff you're lookin at $1000
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I meant that I have the HDs and the optical drives.

Sorry for the lack of clarity, and thanks for helping me out.

The thing is I run quite a few simultaneous applications, and I think the dual cores would really speed things up. So...Let's say I bite the bullet cost-wise. Elbatrop1, I really liked your layout, so I'll be usurping it here.

CPU: Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103562

MOBO: I really don't know. I got this far and then my lack of knowledge kicked in.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SubCategory=22

GPU: Would ya'll still recommend this one?

eVGA 256-P2-N389-AX Geforce 6800GS CO SE 256MB

RAM: It looks like all the AMD mobos take DDR 400 RAM. How important is the CAS Latency? Does 2 really provide that large a benefit as opposed to 3? What do you think of this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231047

If that's a bad choice, what would you recommend? I'd really prefer 2G of memory, even if I have to spend a little more.

HD & Optical Drives & Human Input/Output devices: Cannabalized from my current system.
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For mobos, I have personally used ASUS and Gigabyte, both worked great for me. From what I have read other overall good manufacturers seem to include: ABit, MSI, and DFI. Also, the best chipset for skt939, is undoubtedly NForce4 and it's multiple variants (Ultra, Pro, SLi, etc). For your situation, an NForce4 chipset without SLi seems to be your best bet. So that means that any of the following meet that criteria:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813127221
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813127222
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131530
Other than those, it's just SLi or sold out (on newegg).

As for the RAM, there is quite a few good manufacturers out there. G.Skill is one of them. The CAS doesn't really make a noticeable difference, but if it comes down to 2 kinds of RAM that are similar in price, you might as well get the lower latency stuff. G.SKill has a lifetime warranty, which IMO, is quite important with RAM.
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