Could any of you gurus review this system and offer suggestions? :)

By Samantha C. ยท 19 replies
Jan 21, 2007
  1. Hello all, I could really use some help here....

    After having a bad experience with a budget system, I've decided to bite the bullet and build one from scratch. I need to keep my budget around $900 and would like to do some gaming. :)

    Here's where I am currently at. I've not decided on a PS, RAM, or video card - although I've included the basics of what I'm wanting for those below.

    It would be great if some of you could review this and offer up suggestions and alternatives. :)
    Case: $49.99 + $14.81 shipping
    Thermaltake matrix VD2000BNS Black/Silver SECC Japanese steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    Powersupply: ??? I would like 450-500 watts that will be compatible with these system components

    Motherboard: $72.99 + $6.13 shipping
    ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard

    Processor: $75.99 + Free Shipping
    AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 2.2GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor

    RAM: ??? I would like 1GB on 1 stick, but am unsure what would work well with that motherboard

    DVD-RW/CD-RW: $35.99 + $6.13 shipping
    LITE-ON Black DVD-RW/CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner

    Harddrive: $74.99 + free shipping
    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

    Video Card: ??? Would like PCI Express x16 256MB

    Operating System: Windows XP or Windows XPx64... Should I go with the 64bit version? And where's the cheapest place to pick up XP?

    Display: $214.99 + $11.98 Shipping ($40 rebate)
    SAMSUNG 941BW Black 19" 4 ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 500:1 1440x900


    Thank you so much for any insight you can offer up.
    Samantha :)
  2. Jesse_hz

    Jesse_hz TS Maniac Posts: 545

    If I did the math right, you've got 336$ left out of the 900$ and I'm not sure you can get a video card, a GiB of RAM, a PSU and Windows XP for that, but I'm not used to american prices so I might be wrong.
  3. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi Samantha!
    Might I may a few suggestions?

    I'd say go with this case as it has good cooling (120mm fan), looks VERY nice and slick, is DEAD quiet, and also includes an industry recognized Antec SmartPower 450W power supply.. all for $89

    Memory needs to be in pairs with these newer systems for the best performance. The motherboard you have chosen supports "Dual-Channel" which is a method of improving memory performance IF you install it in precise/identical pairs. So, for 1 gig of ram, I'd strongly recommend 2x512mb so you can enable dual-channel mode:

    Corsair 1gig dual channel kit (2x512) - $89
    OCZ 1gig dual channel kit (2x512) - $96 ($86 after rebate)

    Videocard, I'd recommend at least a 7600GT or X1800 series.. but the more, the better. If you are getting tight on funds, you might want to substitute this motherboard/cpu combo:
    Asus A8R-MX (Similar to the one you have pointed out, but also includes integrated 3d Radeon + PCI-Express slot for future expansion) - $59

    Athlon 64 3400+ - $55.99
  4. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks so much for the insight! I really appreciate it!

    I'll check that stuff now. :) Also, I can go up to $1000 dollars (shipping included). :)

  5. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

  6. whtddusy516

    whtddusy516 TS Enthusiast Posts: 113

    the XFX 7600GT XXX edition is 109 after rebates on tiger direct, and 114 on newegg until the end of january, I just picked up one of these and I heard these are really good for the price.
  7. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks guys! I just realised the cd/dvd burner isn't in stock. There's really not many SATA ones. Can I mix an IDE burner with a SATA drive?
  8. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Yes, you can definately match an IDE CD/DVD drive with SATA hard disks.

    In fact, that's usually how I set my systems up- no need to burn a SATA header on cd/dvd.. leaves them all open for HD's. :)

    Might I suggest the Pioneer CD/DVD combo drive? It's like $32-33 and easy to find as it has a Buyers Choice award on the unit. It reads/writes every format + Dual-layer.
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Try a Pioneer or any LG DVD rewriter. They're all pretty good. One question though: What will you be using this computer for? Coz if it's not gaming, then it's useless to get a powerful video card like a 7600GT or a 7900GS. But if u want one, I'd recommend the X1950PRO over everything else. It has the best bang-for-buck and is blazing fast for any game out there. If u want a cheaper option, try the X1800GTO (Newegg has one with a heavy $50 rebate, bringing the price down to $140) or the 7600GT(BFG has the cheapest one on Newegg, $90 w/rebates). Here are the links:
    GECUBE X1800GTOD-VID3 Radeon X1800GTO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 CrossFire Ready Video Card - Retail
    BFG Tech BFGR76256GTOCE GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
  10. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks so much guys! :)

    Skarkfood, I've decided to go with that Antec case/ps combo. Also, the matched RAM as you suggested. Oh, and the Pioneer drive too. :D

    Although one question about the case/ps... The case is beautiful! But is that PS included in the case is going to be fine? It seems it received some terrible reviews. And does it indeed have all the connections I would need for that mobo and my drives? I think it does but want to be sure I'm not missing anything. If that PS is no good, perhaps I could find that case sold somewhere without the PS included and I could just buy one separate?

    Rage_3K_Moiz... I want to be able to game, but it's not really a big focus for me (maybe 2 hours a week?). That said, I do want a decent video card... So it sounds like the 7600GT might be the way to go for a middle of the road card?

    What do you guys think of this 7600GT ($115 after rebate)?

    Also... do you think there is anything fishy about this? Windows XP x64 for $50 (and it states it is not merely an upgrade pack - it's the full on version!) (site takes a bit to load)

    Thanks again guys! :)
  11. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    The PSU that comes with the case is probably not very good at all. You should look into getting a better one from Antec, Enermax, Fortron, PCP&C, etc.
  12. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Actually, that PSU is just fine. It is not a knock-off or low-quality product. It's an actual Antec SmartPower 450W, the same as the SmartPower 450W people usually buy as upgrades to other systems.

    The reviews are due to an Abit/Asus problem that has long, long since been rectified. Many of the Antec NEO's also have a few bad reviews from this issue. Antec has fixed this issue for over a year now and older stock is gone with this problem. It simply has to do with some mainboards powering up the CPU on the 5v rail (such as the Asus A7N8X). While this is within the ATX spec, next to zero good quality, modern motherboards put this kind of stress on the 5v rail. This would cause the PSU to appear DOA, or finally stop working properly after a few months as the draw on the 5v was beyond it's rating, so it would eventually fail from the overload. They now have address this issue). I've deployed over 50+ of these post-fix without any hint or sign of problem and voltage/wattage is clean and perfect. I've only had to RMA one Antec PSU in the last 2 years, compared to dozens of thermaltake's, sparkles and others. PCC&C make the best PSU's, with Antec's PSU's (if you are aware of your system's needs in detail) being a close second.

    None of the motherboards you've posted here would even be effected by this so it's a moot point anyways. Newer motherboards all properly split a 12v connector to the cpu directly.

    Beware of that Windows x64 as it's more than likely a ******/non-genuine. I'd also urge against the 64 bit version as there is very little driver/software support. I'd instead recommend the XP Home 2P2b OEM at NewEgg with the free Vista Upgrade coupon. It may be another year or two before 64-bit windows is ready for primetime in the support aspect, and hopefully 64-bit Vista versions will push this even further.
  13. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I trust you Sharkfood, and that makes perfect sense... I'll grab that case/ps combo :)
  14. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Whoops, my bad, I forgot to look at the link to the case :knock:

    Looks like Sharkfood's getting the ladies :stickout:
  15. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Hey Sharkfood thanks for your explanation about the Antec PSU's, I've been wondering about that for a while now. A few months back, I considered getting an Antec SmartPower 2.0 500Watt. However, after much Google-ing and Newegg reviews, I decided not to. I was afraid of this "high-pitched squealing sound" reviewers speak of, and simply cannot be bothered to have to RMA a product after a few months of use, so I avoided it. It's good to finally know what caused such a reputable company so many conflicts with their product, and that it's finally resolved.

    That would be a superb choice. In fact, that's the exact video card I am currently using. I play demanding games with it at great settings. If you are not a hardcore gamer it would be perfect. Best bang for the buck.

    Also, that site you linked to would not be a trustworthy source for software methinks. Furthermore, that price is too cheap even for an OEM version of Windows. As Sharkfood suggested it could be a non-legit copy.

    Also, which processor did you decide on? The Athlon64 3700+ or the Athlon64 3400+ ? At just $20 more, the San Diego core of the 3700+ offers 512KB more L2 cache than the 3400+ Venice. They are the same clock speeds too, and the 3700+ includes a HSF since it's the retail version.
  16. Samantha C.

    Samantha C. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again guys! :)

    Grafficks, I ended up getting XP home from Newegg and I did indeed score myself the San Diego core 3700 retail version... oh and 2 pairs of matched 512mb corsair rather than one. :)

    I'll keep you posted how things go. :)
  17. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    Should be a good system. I would go with AM2. But that will make little difference, its just a little future proofed. Thats all.
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    If gaming isn't a big focus, maybe you should get a GeForce 6600 PCI-E instead. It's good enough to run most games on medium-high and pretty cheap at the same time. It's a decent enough video card for you I would think.
  19. whtddusy516

    whtddusy516 TS Enthusiast Posts: 113

    Actually, from my experience currently, I have a Biostar 6200LE that has played everything I've thrown at it [granted i did overclock it,but using the utility that game with it] and ofcourse it doesnt run fear or halo on HIGH settings, but so far it has played the lower games well with no problems. and its cheep [$30] haha
  20. Jesse_hz

    Jesse_hz TS Maniac Posts: 545

    Nah. Even for a non-gamer I wouldn't recommend anything lower in performance than a 6600 like R3M suggested.
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