ADVICE: 400$ Budget for Mobo, CPU and Case

By dbeanerz · 21 replies
Dec 15, 2005
  1. "I guess I'm just looking for expert advice on the best I can do.."

    I'm going to have 400$ to spend after holidays, and decided I mine as well upgrade as I've been wanting to do for awhile now. All I'm going to need is a case (ATX I assume), motherboard and processor.

    Currently have:
    Antec 480-W 12V PSU
    WD Caviar 300GB HD
    Radeon 9800 PRO 128 MB (Does fine for now, thank you :)
    DVD-RW Drive
    M-Audio 9268 Sound Card

    Currently need:

    So - I'm thinking of a mobo with AGP and PCI-E, which I did find the ASROCK for 70$, which features that, 1000mhz FB, and up to 4Gig of 3200 Ram. I'm liking that. Also leaning towards AMD 3500, found that for about 200$.

    I guess I'm just looking for expert advice on the best I can do, any help is truely appreciated.

  2. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    The aspire X-Navigator is a really good case. There are two versions, an aluminum one, and a steel one. Steel is $99 and Aluminum is $150. The Steel one is better. It doesn't have a good psu though you said you didn't need one. The athlon 64 3700 is a really good cpu. And the Asus A8N-SLI is the best motherboard out there. Here are links to all items.




    Total, these will cost $450, but you will have a really upgradable path. The CPU has more built on Ram then the 3500. Good Luck.
  3. dbeanerz

    dbeanerz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I noticed too that the 3700 was definetly worth the upgrade.

    Though the mobo is very nice, its definetly needed that I still have an AGP 4x/8x in there, which was the only flaw. Basically the reason I suggested the mobo in my first post. I'm comfortable with the video card I have now, and won't be upgrading that until summer. It's my current setup now which is actually being the bottleneck.

    And that case looks very nice, thanks for pointing it out.

    PUTALE TS Rookie Posts: 126

    if you plan to keep your 9800, then you would be looking to upgrade mobo with agp slot, which means that you have no option of upgrade the gfx for the future (as all new cards comes with pcie slot).

    For 400, I would suggest get a nf4 mobo, amd64 3200+ or 3500+.

    I guess you plan to upgrade to this board:

    then I would suggest getting this cpu:
    amd64 3500+ or 3800+

    To be honest, if I were you, I would spend like around 100 on a good mobo and spend like 200 on the cpu (3500 or $150 on 3200) then spend the rest of the money on a gfx card, like 6800gs (~200). This setup would be much better and you would gain more performance compare to your 9800. YOu can sell your 9800 and add that funds to the new gfx card.
  5. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    I agree, get a PCI-Express mobo, a new cpu, and a PCI-Express graphics card. You can always get a case later, or look for one on extreme sale. PCI-Express is the way of the future.
  6. dbeanerz

    dbeanerz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I completely understand what you guys are saying - that mobo has the PCI-E and AGP. So I was just hanging on to the Radeon 9800 until the next wave of extra cash comes in.

    So the ASRock MOBO with the AGP 4x/8x and PCI-E 16x, the ADM 3700 and a decent case for now, video card 4-6 months down the road. Reasonable?

    I should say, I'm not really measuring for 70FPS on average or anything, I mean obviously it would be nice. But something that will measure up for the next 16 months or so would be nice.
  7. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    I have the AsRock Dual Sata2, I realy like it. Very stable with my 3200+ Venice (mine is clocked at 2.68ghz, he, he.) A good choice, uprade to PCI-E later, and M2 aswell--unbelievable. If you can fine a 144 or 146 Opteron it's alot like a slower 3700+, I mean same cache, great performers.
  8. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    No NO NO NO NOOOOOO! No Motherboard in the world has AGP and PCI-Express 16x. You have to choose one or the other.
  9. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    oh yes, yes, yes.
    Full speed, both slots, even at the same time. M2 upgrade on the way. Awsome.
  10. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    WHAT! When did that come out? I've searched for those things forever and never found one! Well, I still would get a PCI-Express mobo and a newer PCI-Express Video card.
  11. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    Like august, I've had mine sence october. Nice mobo, just want more voltage. 2.7v on Vdimm, 1.45 on Vcore. Mods are at OCworkbench. Look there,, or Alot of talk about this board. Cost less and works better than that Nforce junk. But Nvida just bought ULi, so I gess I have a nvidia chipset now. :mad:
  12. dbeanerz

    dbeanerz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ha! Glad I could help YOU out :grinthumb
  13. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    The ideal setup for a new pc is:


    Athlon 64 (3500-4000).

    Geforce 6800 (GT or GS).

    Aspire X-Navigator.

    With these components you can upgrade for years to come.
  14. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390


    How about lowering ur budget to about $300 and saving some money for ur video card upgrade in the summer?

    I suggest getting the ASRock Dual 939 board.
    ur CPU could be AMD64 3000+
    and case could be the thermaltake soprano
    it comes with 2 120mm fans and a side fan.. my friend has it and its very quiet and has good air flow.

    this totals up to: 292

    if ur gonna get the 3500+ think about getting an opteron 148. same price.. i stil have to review the main differences. . maybe someone here can tell u :)
  15. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    AMD has cut the 3000+ Venice, the 3200+ is the bottom now. And gess what? Raised prices too. In October I bought a 3200+ for $156, now it is $174. :eek:

    Opterons are just like San Diegos, but seem to be slighly higher quality. But gess what? CANCELED! You may find one somewhere, 148's are still at newegg. If you do find a 144 or 146 939, jump on it, I wish I had one.
  16. flavin

    flavin TS Rookie Posts: 91

    the navigator case is the one im thinking about getting (im on expert) here is the psu it comes with

    my suggestion would be to get that agp/pci-e board. that way u dont have to buy another board later.

    the one thing about that board though is the north & sough bridge i dont know the importance of them but most mobos use the nv4. can some1 tell me and him
  17. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    The north bridge goes to the PCI buss, the soulth bridge goes to IDE and SATA.

    This board is a NON-plug and play nightmare, XP sorts it out fine. This goes from the north:

    one PCI-E16x slot
    two PCI-E4x slots, one has onboard SATA2 controler
    one AGP 8x/4x slot
    firve PCI slots, one with 5.1 sound (not very good eather,) and one with 10/100 ethernet onboard
    two serial ports
    one paralel port
    two ps2 ports
    one game port
    eight USP ports

    I had some problems porting an old install or Windows 98 to it. Had to mess with IRQs but got it to work.

    The south:
    Two IDE 133s, four drives
    four SATA 150, raid is supported but I hear drivers use alot of CPU.
    (I might have missed some)

    There are jummpers connecting the north and soulth bridges to the CPU or the Upgrade CPU slot. It will have a M2 slot and DDR2.

    It has a regular 20 pin power connector(but the 24 will fit, spilling over a little) with a four pin CPU power connector.

    This is the most upgradable mobo ever, and it works AWESOME. My 3200+ is at 2.68 ghz and folding(for team 11314.)
  18. dbeanerz

    dbeanerz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Im sold on the Mobo. Been reading as much as I can about it - the availability of the AGP and the M2 upgrade option are the clinch factors for me.

    Now I'm onto either getting an AMD 3700+ or the Operton 148 (that might be the wrong one...) - they are both the same price, same FBS, same Mhz. Operton, though made for servers, seem to perform faster, and are more open to being overclocked.

    Besides the CPU, biggest obstacle is now the girlfriend. I'm supposed to be saving for a ring. :blackeye:
  19. Mirob

    Mirob TechSpot Paladin Posts: 478

    Get the optie, everyone with one loves'em. OCs like mad on low volts. People say the first ones where realy locked FX-57s!

    edit; Maybe get a ring, girls are more important...
  20. dbeanerz

    dbeanerz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ha. I'm still young. I got time. Besides, that's what
    credit cards are for.
  21. balzi

    balzi TS Rookie Posts: 21

    my advice.. ditch the computer and get married.. go on a holiday/honeymoon.. discover that games aren't the only thing in the universe..

    when you get back you've had such a long break from gaming that wolfenstein 3D and street fighter 2 seem fun to you.. eventually you are sick of them and want to play the latest games again..

    BUT, by this time your $400 buys you a quad-opteron 6500+ with triple-decker PCIultra, (and AGP), wireless RAM links, and hyper-mega-grand-poobah-transport AND it all fits in a funky aluminium match-box.

    so you see... this is the perfect compromise, I challenge anyone to find flaws in this game-plan.

    Balzi - master architech of lasting relationships involving significant PC hardware upgrades.
  22. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    LMFAO!!! ur a funny guy balzi
    cannot agree more *sigh*

    anyway go for the opteron 148 along with ur ASRock mobo. i think u will really like the CPU :p and the mobo of course. FYI, ASRock mobos are made by ASUS.. =] i like ASUS hehe

    and oh yea.. JUMP the opty before they sell out.. i dont think ull ever find these again. OC that to about 2.8ghz and yea.. wow =]]] aww then ull need a new video card.. well by then u'll have enuf money.. considering u didnt spend a grand on ur gf's ring hehhehehe
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