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View Full Version : Building from Scratch; Recommendations Please


FrogEatFrog
09-25-05, 02:10 AM
Hi! I'm starting to build a computer from scratch, as I described in my thread in the nVidia 6/7 forum (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=57136). So with the graphics card out of the way (hopefully), I still have to worry about a CPU and a motherboard though.

To make it future-proof, I want it PCI-Express instead of AGP, and ready to accept dual-core AMD chips as well as two graphics cards (SLI in other words). I'm not necessarely going to take advantage of it right away, though, as I'm on a budget: I plan to spend between $1200 and $1700 on the computer. I also don't need to play the absolute, up-to-the-minute latest games at their highest frame rates; I just want to be able to play most games at reasonable settings. (As well as do software development, internet browsing, etc...) I'm willing to wait if that will help get a better value for the dollar, but would prefer not to wait more than 6 months before I have a functioning system.

So what would y'all recommend for a CPU and/or motherboard? Is it worth getting dual-core now (with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, the only one I could conceivably afford), or should I buy just a standard Athlon 64 (say, the 3000+ or the 3200+) and upgrade to dual-core later?

The motherboard is even more confusing; there are tons of vendors with a dazzling array of options. Should I go for the MSI K8N Neo4/SLI (Platinum) that the magazines seem to be recommending, would an ASUS be more hardy, should I just go for whatever brand is cheapest that has SLI support, or is there some other SLI-capable mobo that is good for nVidias?

Thanks in advance!

superklye
09-25-05, 02:17 AM
You know what? Get the 3800. It's definitely worth it. It's like $350-$370, and the 3000+ Venice is around $150. For what you're getting, the extra $200 is more than worth it.

The MSI Neo4 is supposed to be great. Check out MikeC's review of that board with dual GTXs...it's a great one. And the ASUS A8N Premium (correct me if I'm wrong on the model...they really confused me with the A8N and AV8 or whatever it was) just came out with convenient BIOS SLI functionality: no more annoying jumper to switch inside your case.

And I don't think you're going to find any non-nFORCE4 board with SLI capability since SLI is nVIDIA technology and as far as I know, they haven't leased it to anyone else.

Mr_LoL
09-25-05, 10:56 AM
If you want crazy overclocks and a mobo that smokes crack get the DFI LanParty UT NF4 SLI-D :headbang:

keith33
09-25-05, 03:18 PM
Agreed, get the UT SLI-DR (more features) or the Asus A8N-SLi Premium if you're not hardcore into overclocking. For the video card, try and spring for a Geforce 7800 GT. You'll need at least 2GB of ram for future proofing, try the Crucial value on a budget or the Ballistix if you're maxing it out.

mx125race
09-25-05, 04:05 PM
for RAM i recommend this, which is what i bought 2 sets of (4x512mb).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440
it works wonders on game likes Battlefield 2 for its price, and for great performance RAM, try the popular OCZ...
amazingly, this RAM got to my house in a day and a half :eek: it stays pretty cool, too. only 90 bucks for 2x512, buy another one and ur still under $200, wonderful value. overclocks good without messing with the volatages, too. its pc3200

how much stuff u got for ur pc so far? i recommend a antec psu or pc power and cooling deluxe. get sumthin between 400-600 watts and make sure it as good and enough rails. probably throw in some vantec fans by your graphics card(which one did u get, or getting, by the way?) and cpu. get a case with good airflow, too. good luck with your computer! i recently got into gaming a few months ago with that new RAM(link above) and my 256mb 6600, and trust me, you'll be VERY happy :). [make sure u get a 256 mb GPU :D)

FrogEatFrog
09-25-05, 05:35 PM
mx125race: As for how much I've got for my computer so far: nothing. ;) It's going to be my first computer I build completely from scratch (I've upgraded already-built computers though, so I'm not a complete newb), so I want to do it right. I'm going to plan it probably for a month or two before I actually buy anything (unless it's a killer deal; nothing wrong with getting something early if it's a great price). Thanks to everyone so far for all of your advice (and by all means keep it coming ;) ); I'm definately considering it all. :)

keith33: I'm not planning to overclock too much, if at all (although it may be fun to dip my toes into...); is there any advantage to the Asus over the MSI? The MSI is tempting with its onboard real hardware soundcard...

superkyle: Thanks for the recommendations! If there's $200 left in my budget, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ sounds like it's what I should spend it on!

Mr_LoL
09-26-05, 02:40 AM
mx125race: As for how much I've got for my computer so far: nothing. ;) It's going to be my first computer I build completely from scratch (I've upgraded already-built computers though, so I'm not a complete newb), so I want to do it right. I'm going to plan it probably for a month or two before I actually buy anything (unless it's a killer deal; nothing wrong with getting something early if it's a great price). Thanks to everyone so far for all of your advice (and by all means keep it coming ;) ); I'm definately considering it all. :)

keith33: I'm not planning to overclock too much, if at all (although it may be fun to dip my toes into...); is there any advantage to the Asus over the MSI? The MSI is tempting with its onboard real hardware soundcard...

superkyle: Thanks for the recommendations! If there's $200 left in my budget, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ sounds like it's what I should spend it on!

If you can get an athlon x2 3800 for 200 bucks please tell me where.

TierMann
09-26-05, 02:51 AM
You know what? Get the 3800. It's definitely worth it. It's like $350-$370, and the 3000+ Venice is around $150. For what you're getting, the extra $200 is more than worth it.


It was $200 more than his original idea of getting the 3000 venice. But yeah, I'll buy a couple of them for 200 each, heh.

FrogEatFrog
09-26-05, 10:33 AM
It was $200 more than his original idea of getting the 3000 venice. But yeah, I'll buy a couple of them for 200 each, heh.

Exactly; thanks for clearing up the confusion TierMann. One of the luxeries of starting from scratch is that I can toy with ideas for a while until I get a coherant whole system that makes sense. :) I drool over the possibility of having a dual-core Athlon 64 X2, PCI-E GeForce 7800GTX (ideally, two in SLI configuration :D ), 2-4 GB RAM, and a Raptor 74GB (as well as some >=300GB hard drive on the side); that would be a lean, mean, screaming machine. How much of it I can actually afford is the question... What I was saying was that if I could only have one "premium" item of the four (possible, but I hope I can get at least two), the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ sounds like it would be the most worthwhile upgrade, compared to my "base" (what I want at the very least) of Athlon 64 3000+ Venice, GeForce 6800GT, 1 GB RAM, and just a 7200RPM >=300GB hard drive, with no Raptor on the side.

What looks likely now is some kind of compromise; a 7800GT instead of either a 7800GTX or a 6800GT for the video card, and the Athlon 64 XP 3800+ (not really a "compromise", but the lowest-cost X2 I can get!). Whether or not I can squeeze in the Raptor or not is yet to be seen, and depends on how the numbers eventually crunch. And 1GB memory should be plenty for now I would think. Does that sound like a good upper-middle-of-the-road configuration?