The best machine with $2000 from

By fbliss ยท 21 replies
May 3, 2006
  1. Ok guys

    I'm going to build this one myself, but with so many choices, I need some experienced help.

    My old machine is a PIII 1ghz so there is no comparison - it's 5 years old. It's a Dell, and not a single component has died on it, so for that I am truly grateful. However, I simply can't game on it anymore!

    So, for $2000 (just under, remember shipping!) from, I want the best gaming machine with a monitor I can get. Here are my preferences

    Sli - 2 Nvidias
    19" LCD ala Viewsonic 8ms latency or less
    around 150-200gb

    no speakers for now, I'll be using headsets 99% of the time

    all around a great machine that will allow me to get back into games. Emphasis is on speed and graphics, not huge monitor. I would be happy with 1280x1020.

    I just want to be able to compete. I have a 4mb cable line that is really not being used the way I want it to be!

  2. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    you should probably wait a month or two for the new line of proccesors to come out, and by that time their will probably be a new line of graphics cards out to..
    right now i would probably reccomend a 3800+-4400+, 2 7900 gtx or gt in sli, and a gig or two of ram
  3. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So, you're saying it's an awkward time to buy & build because we're really close to a new line of AMDs?
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406


    Motherboard: ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe $185

    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ $460

    Ram: CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) CL 2, great deal at $140

    2 of these bad boys: ATI 100-435801 Radeon X1900XT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO (special combo price with motherboard) $463x2 = $926

    PSU: Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 $119

    Pick your own case, hdd, optical drives etc.

    So far $1830 bones.
  5. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    well, theirs two reasons..once the new am2's come out, the price of the x2's will you could save $100 or so on the x2, or buy a am2. also i think the 8000 series of nvidia is expected to come out within a month or two, so you might want to wait for that
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Of course we are all guessing at this point, but I don't think it will be true that prices will drop that much, if at all.

    The 939 cpu performance is not looking like it is going to be all that different from the AM2. It'll add support for DDR2 of course. But there are so many people out there using the 939 platform that the demand for CPU upgrades is still high enough to justify keeping prices where they are.

    I have a 939 motherboard, and an Athlon64 3700+ cpu. Since the AM2 systems are not looking like they are going to be THAT much of a performance increase, my next upgrade will likely be an AthlonX2 cpu. NOT an upgrade to the AM2 platform. That will be next year, and I think there are a lot of people in the same position.

    And then once demand goes down, so will supply (especially since they will stop producing the 939 cpus), which will also force prices to stay relatively high. Look at the barton (socket A) prices as an example.

    But I do agree with your main point, the one about waiting and getting the am2 system. That's what I'd do anyways if I was in the market to buy a whole new system.
  7. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well, two things that will keep me from waiting

    1 - I'm impatient
    2 - I'm not concerned with waiting for the top of the line stuff to drop in a couple months because to me, there isn't a huge difference between the two. I'm not *that* cutting edge, I just don't want to worry about FPS and drive space for a couple years. I don't see a major diff. between what is the $2000 last-gen machine now and what will be in a couple months - it won't make that much of a difference to me. I really just have a few games that I would like to play and the rest of the machine will slowly migrate to become my web design machine running photoshop and such.

    **NOTE** Should I be concerned with running 2 GPUs if I'm not going past 1280x1020 single monitor? Will the FPS increase significantly or am I wasting money in this case?

    I think I'm going to pull the trigger tonight or tomorrow based on what I've gotten from this thread.

    Thanks for the help guys, keep it coming!
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Me personally? I'd stick with one card. Any game played on a single X1900XTX or a single 7900GTX is going to look amazing and run very well.

    Two cards is for extremist who want bragging rights.

    Fun? Sure.
    Performance increase? Looks like it.
    Necessary? Not really.

    If you have the cash to blow and want the best of the best, go for it!

    Some good reading. It does seem to give significant performance increases, even at 1280x1020.
  9. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That is great information. There, I've already saved myself about $500 with that single article.

    I can tweak other items now, perhaps upgrade processor, hard drive, or memory.

    Thanks, DonNagual!
  10. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here she is...


    ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe Socket 939 ATI CrossFire Radeon XPRESS 3200
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core
    CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 433 (PC 3500)
    ATI 100-435801 Radeon X1900XT 512MB (1)
    Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W
    Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
    LITE-ON Combo Drive Black IDE Model SOHC-5236V BK RTL - Retail
    CHENMING 501AWBU-F-0 BLK Black 1.0mm SECC ATX Mid Tower

    Wise Wing W902DB Black 19" 8ms LCD Monitor DVI


    Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24bit 70SB041000000 7.1 Channels


    Saitek PZ30AU Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard - Retail
    Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 B7G-00004 USB Laser Mouse - OEM

    Total (with shipping): $1991

    Whaddya think? The best finds were the 160gb caviar vs. the 120gb for a measly $2 more, and the 19" LCD vs. the 17" LCD for $14 LESS

    I rely on reviews pretty heavily, so all these components have to pass muster with the users ;)

    Let me know your thoughts & thanks!
  11. lalo90e

    lalo90e TS Rookie Posts: 21

    Just a thought:
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

  13. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Good piont on the Mobo. I probably should have gone with the cheaper board in retrospect.

    Regarding the monitor, I could have considered going CRT too, but I hadn't heard anyone saying CRTs are better than LCDs, so I didn't even consider it. I guess that is one of the pitfalls of asking advice from bleeding edge gamers & OC'ers.

    I did scale down some other components obviously to keep it within the budget, but all in all, I think I did pretty good, plus, I managed to get AOE III in the bundle which I've been dying to try. I'm satisfied.

    Thanks for the input
  14. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Just to be clear, my suggestion on the cutting edge amazing motherboard was based solely on your budget. In otherwords, if my budget was the same as yours, what would I get? It would not be the budget level motherboard, it would be the one I suggested. It has much higher performance, power management, cooling, overclocking abilities, dual x16 slots (as opposed to dual x8 slots) etc.

    Now, if your wanting to spend LESS than the budget you originally came with that is perfectly fine. And the cheaper motherboard suggested above by Rage_3K_Moiz is an EXCELLENT choice for those who don't have the kind of budget you originally came to us with.

    And you'll note I DID steer you away from dual GPUs. To me, THAT would have been a waste of money.

    CRT monitors?
    -Bulky size / heavy weight
    -High power consumption
    -Not digital

    and the technology on LCDs has come LEAPS and bounds over the years. Amazing picture. My 19" is incredible for gaming. I'll never go back to a CRT myself.
  15. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    why not raid?

    it sounds like this order has already been placed.

    but with that budget, couldn't someone build a comp with a pair of scsi hard drives in a striping array, with a scsi 360 controller and the mb to run it all? or would the benefit of scsi 180 be enuff to beat the proposed system, whcih would make a wider range of mb and mb prices possible?

    raid w/ scsi 360 would really drop seek time. Then, figure out what processor, vid card, and ram would fit within the budget. wouldn't the the hard drive times be the limiting factor in the system proposed so far?
  16. fbliss

    fbliss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Good question indeed. It makes me wonder.

    But yeah, the rest of the components will be here tomorrow (Monday).

    I hope I don't see a big bottleneck in the HD, I did spend very little on storage. If I do I'll probably just get a RAID setup.
  17. mattw

    mattw TS Rookie Posts: 88

    me personnally i would steer away from RAID... if one of your HDDs on RAID goes bust then you are screwed.
  18. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Not quite accurate. There are many types of raid setups, but the majority of them do exactly the opposite of what you have said.

    For example, if one disk of a "RAID 1" setup fails, you still have all your data safe on the other hard drive. That is one of the basic purposes of this type of raid setup.
  19. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    btw..dont forget an O.S.
  20. pkroks

    pkroks TS Rookie Posts: 259

    Damn, that rig pwns.
  21. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 327

    ASUS A8R-MVPs are told to have problems, just in case you didn't know. Maybe they are fixed now, but at first they weren't that good.

    I went with the MSI RD480 Neo2 FI. Cheaper and not a lot of known problems.

    About the HDD, the HDDs that cost the less $$ per gig are 300GB ones.
  22. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 59

    First of all I am definitely against RAID.

    Reason: The concept is that 2 drives with Striping over 2 hard drives or more increases the chance of a Drive Failure, in which you will lose all of your files. It may be faster, but with raid you really need a backup system of Tape or a backup hard drive for safe keeping.

    If you spend an extra $200 on that second hard drive (More or Less) You can just spend that on the fastest video card system and faster processor.

    It has been said that DDR2 Is a waste of money, with the exception of maybe overclocking.

    If you are doing Dual SLI keep in mind that the X500 is due out soon. What happens is when faster video cards come out, that lowers the price of the midrange (Sometimes). I am guessing 2 midrange video cards in SLI Mode is what you are looking for.

    The newer AMD processors with improved Memory Controller are probably either available or will be available soon. Speaking of Memory 2 Gigs is probably a reasonable amount. You can get by with 1 Gig buy why try.

    Another option is a TV Card or an ATI All-In-Wonder Card. Some people like these but with dual SLI it is probably best to have a single TV Card or a Card With Dual Tuners, but that may not interst you. You could record video, which would mean 2 hard drives might be nice.

    I suggest you look at and a few other sites to see what they are reviewing. And budget for a really large Power Supply!!!! With one really good video card and a fast motherboard and processor they were recommending about a 480W Power supply. The faster you go it seems the more power you need. So 550-600 Watts seems reasonable. Maybe 500 will do. If you add extra hard drives and sound cards and other stuff, then 600w is not very much.

    The case should have good ventillation and a 120 mm Fan (or 2) that blows air accross the hard drives.

    As far as monitors go, I like buying mine at Best Buy. I like some place where I can see them running and shipping a monitor seems silly to me. Last one I purchases was A Samsung 19" Tube Monitor. For the price of a 17" Flat Panel you can get a really nice 19" Tube monitor. It is all a manner of taste and style.
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