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Building a budget PC


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#1
jw287

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I intend to build a budget PC around an AM2 motherboard with a Dualcore 3800+ CPU. I have a vague idea of what I want. When I play games I usually end up turning a few options off to keep the FPS up but I can't stand it when I can't even test them out in the first place. Even so I would accept the situation and play on low graphics rather than not be able to load the game at all as I experienced last time I built a PC a few years ago. I opted for power in the Geforce4 ti4600 then a couple of months later a load of games came out that needed the pixel shader found on the FX cards. It would have been cheaper to get a low end Geforce FX card in the first place and at least I would have been able to play DX 9 games on low settings. It looks like the same problem is going to happen again with the DirectX 10 cards coming out next year so I am wondering whether to bother getting a Geforce 7900GS or instead choosing a 128bit card like the 7600GT.

Knowing my preferences could you please answer a few questions about my setup?

Will a Geforce 7900GS allow me to turn on many more options than the Geforce 7600GT? If not I'll stick with the 7600GT even if it is only 128bit.

Is it absolutley proposterous to risk buying a 500W PSU below fifty pound if the customer reviews say it is ok?

Should I bother with a sLi motherboard? I won't be using it immediately anyway. Will I be able to put my new graphics card to good use in a few months time when I buy a DX 10 card?

Is it ok to put a DVD drive on the same IDE cable as my hard disk? I intend to use my old 7200rpm 8mb cache IDE drive to save a bit of money but I noticed all the new nForce 5 motherboards only have 1 ide connector.

Is it worth getting ram with speeds above PC4200?

Thanks for your time.

Edited by jw287, 13 September 2006 - 02:40 PM.

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#2
kidnova

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Here is an excellent article regarding video cards:
http://www.anandtech...aspx?i=2827&p=1
In the end, it depends on if you think the difference in price is worth it for you.

As long as the PSU is from a reputable company, such as Antec or Enermax, you should be fine.

Personally, I think SLI is a waste of money. You're better off buying a better video card. It can be useful, however for future upgrades, but you have to figure that you need to spend more money on a PSU to support it. Also, the card you buy now would not be able run in SLI with your DX10 card because to run SLI, you need two identicle cards.

The type of RAM you get will be dependent on the type of motherboard you choose. Always go with the highest rated RAM your mobo will support.

Edited by kidnova, 13 September 2006 - 03:21 PM.

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#3
Neil Jones

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Will a Geforce 7900GS allow me to turn on many more options than the Geforce 7600GT? If not I'll stick with the 7600GT even if it is only 128bit.


The 7900GS is a better card, therefore more options are available to you as the card can handle more data thrown at it.

Is it absolutley proposterous to risk buying a 500W PSU below fifty pound if the customer reviews say it is ok?


"cheap" PSUs that claim to offer 500w often break very quickly and closer examination reveals that they often don't provide anywhere near the amount of power printed on the label.

Therefore, a higher quality PSU that provides only 450w is better than buying a cheap and cheerful 500w one. Me, I'm running a Socket 939 64-bit processor on a 350w PSU, but it was a more expensive (and thus quiet) one, therefore I'm happy to use it over a 450w one that sells for £20 and roars like a hovercraft, and may again break pretty quickly.

Should I bother with a sLi motherboard? I won't be using it immediately anyway. Will I be able to put my new graphics card to good use in a few months time when I buy a DX 10 card?


Not at this time IMO, as they're more expensive and unless you're really heavily into high-end gaming, not worth the money either.

Is it ok to put a DVD drive on the same IDE cable as my hard disk? I intend to use my old 7200rpm 8mb cache IDE drive to save a bit of money but I noticed all the new nForce 5 motherboards only have 1 ide connector.


You can do it but the hard drive will only run as fast as the DVD drive, which is often only half the speed of the hard drive. Therefore your 8mb cache won't make much of a difference.

New boards are now disappearing off down the SATA route - the drives are faster, performance is better, one doesn't need to worry about jumper settings (literally plug it in and go) and generally becoming the standard. One can now buy SATA CD units as well, so I reckon in less than two years time there will be no IDE ports on a motherboard at all.

Is it worth getting ram with speeds above PC4200?


Indeed. PC4200 = DDR2-533. The 3800 is capable of running with DDR2-667 or DDR2-800. The faster the speed of the memory, the quicker Windows (and everything else) works. There is a real world of difference between DDR2-533 and DDR2-667, especially if you see a system running with the 533 memory for a while and shove a stick of 667 in it. XP literally flies.
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#4
jw287

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Thanks for the good info. Will I need an nforce 590 board or is 570 ok? Will it speed up my graphics card any?
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