New 8800GT: which CPU, Mobo and PSU?

By xRome
May 1, 2008
  1. Hey everyone, first time posting here. read around and saw some helpful posts for people so I decided to register and ask here ^_^

    Sorry for the long post, I'm pretty lost.

    So Here is my current system:

    - Asus A8N-E nForce4 BIOS revision 1005
    - 1gig of DDR RAM
    - MSI ATI x800XL 256mb 256-bit
    - AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2ghz
    - Raidmax atx12v 420w (came with the case)

    I've had this system since October 2005.

    I have decided to finally upgrade my Video card, and decided on an 8800gt after reading all the reviews I could. I found it on Tigerd* for $159 after rebate, and had a $50 gift card to TD so all in all the 8800gt cost me $115. I decided on this over the HD3870 that was the same price.

    My problems:
    1.) I do not think my PSU can handle the new vid card.
    2.) I heard that my 3500+ will severely bottleneck the 8800GT.
    3.) If I replace my processor, I might as well replace my mobo as well I guess, maybe one that supports SLI?
    4.) If I get a DDR2 mobo, I'll need to get DDR2 RAM, my A8N-E only supports DDR

    So basically, I have VERY limited money. I have about $350 to spend on the mobo, RAM, PSU and processor. I'm not even sure if thats possible.

    1.) I am looking for the best SLI capable PSU for cheap (at least 500w)
    2.) I am looking for the best SLI capable mobo thats compatible with 8800gt for cheap
    3.) I am looking for a decent processor (maybe C2D?) that falls in that price range. (Ever since my first computer i have had AMD. Would I get better price to perfoamnce with Intel?)

    Sorry for the crazy long post, and about whining for help. I just don't know what to get, or whats compatible with each other. My current rig I got off IBuyPower, so I didn't have to make sure everything was compatible, they did that for me.

    ANY help would be appreciated!!!
  2. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    SLi isn't necessary unless you want to have a dual graphic card setup, so unless your planning to get 2x 8800GT you won't need it. Anyway these bundles both have SLi and both support the memory and power supply.


    Intel (If its to expensive or want even better look for the core 2 duos.)

    Memory (Really any DDR2 667mhz or 800mhz will do you.)

    I don't know just how different the performance will be but even though the AMD processor has a higher clock speed the Intel on will still be very similar and in some cases faster.

    Power (Power supply you can look around as well, 500 or more should do.)
  3. xRome

    xRome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Secondary question. If I can find an extra 2 gigs of RAM, might it be better to just upgrade my power supply, beef up my RAM to 3gigs (the 2x512mb i have in now, and add 2x1024 to it, equaling 3 gigs...) The A8N-E mobo has 4 slots for DDR 3200 mem.

    Its ok to combine 512 sticks with 1024 sticks right? If so, If I up my power supply and get extra RAM, could my current AMD 3500+ and A8N-E mobo perform well enough to not hold back the performance of the 8800GT?

    If it would be ok, with a new power supply I could OC the 64 3500+ up from 2.2ghz to around 2.6ghz or so I have read. That plus 3 gig of RAM... might that be enough to save some cash?

    Only problem is that I'm paying extra money for DDR ram, which will be useless if I get a new board anytime soon.

  4. Zoatebix

    Zoatebix TS Rookie

    Just to clarify: are you asking about SLI because you plan to upgrade to two 8800GTs in the future?

    As far as your processor being a bottleneck, it really depends on what resolutions you game at and, perhaps more importantly, what games you want to play. If "CPU limited" means 50 FPS instead of 100 in a Source Engine game, you'll probably never know the difference. On the other hand, recent real-time strategy games want all the CPU you can throw at them.

    In general, Whiffen's picks look awesome. If you're going to run at stock speeds, I'd definitely pick up the AMD bundle.

    If you want to buy piecemeal, you can get an SLI compatible AMD board for $80 plus shipping (MSI K9N SLI-F V.2 at the Egg - you'll be able to upgrade to a quad-core processor eventually, too).

    You're really in luck because DDR2 is so cheap right now. I've had great experience with Patriot's customer service, so Whiffen's done some good shopping for you yet again. If you don't want to buy two of what he's picked out, consider buying two 1GB sticks or a 2 GB kit so you benefit from dual-channel memory performance.

    Consider looking at a Corsair-branded power supply, or a lower-capacity Seasonic S12 model. It'll cost a little bit more (69.99 plus shipping after rebate at Newegg, for a Corsair (no rebate on that Corsair at Tigerdirect), and even more for a comparable Seasonic), but getting a better product and a 5 year warranty is so worth-it, in my opinion. is a great place to read about power supplies and real-world power requirements.
  5. Zoatebix

    Zoatebix TS Rookie

    If you were buying last year around April to June, when DDR2 prices were still high and cheap dual core 939 processors were still around, I'd say upgrade your current rig. That's what I did - I bought an X2 3800+ for $81.00 and overclocked it to 2.8GHz (I'm still new here so I can't link to my OCDB entry over at DIY street).

    Today I'd definitely recommend making the move to a new platform.
  6. xRome

    xRome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I see. Let me first say thanks for making replies :)

    Well the biggest issue is currently money. So if I can get away with throwing an extra GB of RAM into my current system (and just eating the $30 if I do upgrade my board) and upping the PSU to something worthy of money, I might go the cheap route.

    I play Oblivion, Rome:TW, CS:S, HL:2, and I want to get Crysis if I thought my rig could play it.

    if I can upgrade the PSU (because I'll have to for the 8800gt) and get away with just another $30 for another GB of RAM, is that a terrible choice? Would that system have a hope of running crysis?

    I play my current games in 1440:900

    Asus A8N-E nForce4
    2GB RAM
    AMD 64 3500+
    EVGA 8800GT

    Also, because I'm very new at putting my own hardware in... I currently have 2 sticks of 512 ram. Can I add a stick of 1024 ram without any problems? The mobo has 4 slots for memory
  7. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    Yes, you can add different sizes of RAM. One thing is they have to be the same clock speed or they will both run at the slower RAM's speed. And they should be from the same manufacture to avoid any conflicts. If you can't do this it could still work but you want to try as best you can to match it up.

    That system has a chance at running it, your processor will bring you down though.

    I have

    Asus M2N-E
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+
    1 GB 667Mhz Corsair
    EVGA 8400 GS

    In this case my 8400 GS is bottle necking me , but with this rig I play Crysis with 800X600
    resolution, everything low with physics on, and I get a smooth 30 FPS lol.

    Its a very CPU and GPU intense game, the 8800 GT is a great card but your CPU will hold you back.
  8. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Posts: 244

    Hello xRome, I have a question, are you using XP or Vista? since you have it since oct 05 I guess XP and I guess is the 32-bit version.

    I mention this because I wouldn't recommend going higher than 2GB on XP, I mean is not bad (there's never such thing as too much ram) but you might want to use that money is something else since you are on a tight budget.

    if you buy DDR2 ram make sure you get a 2x1GB kit at PC6400 DDR2-800, from my experience is better to have paired sticks of ram rather than mixed up.

    I also believe your current PSU won't keep up with the 8800GT, specially if it came with case, but we might be wrong, check the label on PSU and let us know how many amps it has on the 12v rail, also check if it has a PCI-E power connector, you will need one 6-pin power connector for your 8800GT.

    The 8800GT is a very good card I have one and I can run Crysis on High settings, V-sync, AAx4 at 1680x1050 at a very decent frame rate (about 40FPS) which improves if I disable AA and v-sync, If Crysis runs, everything else runs, :p but the key is to choose a good CPU & Mobo.

    Right now there are very good deals on the Q6600 (the one I have) but probably still be over your budget, if you can I would say get at least entry level of Core2Duo, I have't tried any AMD lately so I can't say anything about them.

    About PSU I have an Antec Basiq 500W and it keeps up pretty good with my system, and this PSU is not so expensive even though I have 2 HDD 2 Optical drives and the 8800GT.
  9. xRome

    xRome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Again, I want to say thanks for the replies and help!! :)

    I am currently on XP 32bit. I have the capability of getting Vista 64bit through my school for free, although I'm not sure if the A8N-E even supports it?

    My case 420w PSU has 13a on the 12v rail (i don't know what a 12v rail is, but thats what you asked for :). I assume its the main line to the GPU?) From what I've read 13a isn't even terrible, especially for a stock case PSU, but I don't see a 6pin pci-e connector anywhere, so I guess i'll need a new one anyways.
  10. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Posts: 244

    Well, 13amp is not bad...when you have dual rails! but a single 12v rail with 13Amp is very low for adding any mid/high end video card.

    You assume correct, some devices on the computer requires 5v some others 12v, the Video card requires 12v, but in order to have enough juice from the PSU those 12V must be at 18amps as a minimum.

    I think the 8800GT requires at least 18A on the 12v rail, I might be wrong but if I'm wrong it requires more not less than 18A, it says on the box, I'll let you know later, but anyway I think you'll definitely need a new PSU.
  11. xRome

    xRome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    need a post before i can make links...
  12. xRome

    xRome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey again! Hopefully one of my last posts. Any of your feedback would be so greatly appreciated. I have narrowed down the CPU, Mobo, and PSU to a few choices each. Of course, feel free to add other suggestions :)

    Whatever upgrades I purchase, I would like them to last as long as my current system has lasted me (~3 years)

    That said, is the Core 2 Quad Q6600 really worth a full $100 more than the Core 2 Duo E 4600? I could pick up the Duo for 118.99 at newegg. I assume the big difference is the FSB speed, 4600 being only 800mhz. My current 3 year old AMD 64 3500+ is 1000mhz...

    Q6600 - $219
    E4600 - $118

    As for the mother board, I have been looking around at 680i boards, because they are 775 socket, and because of the price mainly. I have come across this board and am baffled at the low price? Does it really suck? Its $50...

    EVGA nForce 650i Ultra Motherboard - T1 Version - $50

    If that is not recommended for some reaon (please tell me what the reason is), how does this board look?

    XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard - $150

    If the main difference is a lack of SLI, its worth saving the $100 for me.

    Lastly, I'm still trying to find power supplies... I am thinking of one of these...

    Ultra / X-Connect V-Series ( XVS) / 500-Watt - $49 - Modular design price, 28a on 12v

    Apevia / 500-Watt / ATX - $60, sexy, 34a on 12v

    Corsair VX550W 550W ATX - $99 - Best reviews ever? 40 on 12v|c:1079|&Sort=4&Recs=10

    I would rather not spend $99 on a PSU, and the Ultra unit can help me get rid of all those extra wires (I only run mobo, 1 sata HD, 1 Vid Card, 1 CD-RW, and 3 fans)

    Responses would be greatly appreciated, I feel I'm finally close to making a decision.
  13. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

  14. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Posts: 244

    Well, if you ask my opinion, the $100 more are well worth a Quad core, is like getting two more CPU's and yes the FSB is better and what really matters is the cache the Q6600 have 2x4MB while the E4600 has only 2MB.

    Now researching a little bit I found this to be the best bang for the buck:

    For the speed, the FSB and the 3MB cache I think is a pretty good deal, however I don't know how good are these new 45nm CPU, and I'm not sure about this but I think you need a compatible Motherboard for 45nm CPU's.

    If you don't really need SLI at the moment get that EVGA, I don't see anything wrong with that Motherboard, I like eVGA for video cards however I never tried them for motherboards, but the specs and the reviews keeps telling good stuff, and for that price is a steal.

    But be carefull here: the E4600 is 800Mhz and that eVGA seems to be only 1066-1333 if you don't want to deal with issues there you might want to choose a compatible set on the FSB

    This is a great choice too, 1333 FSB, 4MB cache and 100% compatible with that eVGA motherboard,

    For PSU there's not much I can say except I've tried many brands, (however not the ones you select, my only concern on your selections is how efficient they are) and most of them dissapoint me, so, I always try to stick with the ones that never let me down: Antec or Thermaltake

    I found this, If I were building a system like yours I would buy this:

    It has triple 12v rails with 18a on each rail which is more than enough for the 8800GT, BTW the box on the 8800GT says minimum of 24A on the 12v rail not 18 as I mention before.
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The Corsair 550VX is overkill for your system. The best PSU for you IMO would be the Antec EA500W. Pair it with an inexpensive board like the GA-G31M-S2L and an E6550 (link posted by rmdl51) and you'd have a great PC.
  16. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

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