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Cheap But Powerful Pc Build


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#1 ubiquitously

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:17 PM

Hi, I'm new to this forum and would like to state first thing that after reading some posts you guys seem to be very helpful. I hope you keep it up because we need more people like that on the internet (and in person).
I am a poor guy with expensive hobbies. I compose music (I wish it was more than a hobby) and play some heavy games (I don't think there is such thing as a game out now that doesn't make the average compy pee the floor.)

Here's what I been looking at...

AMD 2x AM2 mobo (ATX, SLI compatible)
2gig Corsair RAM (about 200$)
A (practically priced) video card that can run 3d games on high settings /w no lag (SLI ready)
A fast hardrive (16Mb buffer SATA/300, or better)
I already have my audio card in mind (Mbox Pro... for music recording)

I have an INSANE number of questions but I'll try to compact them... please keep in mind that I'm poor so I want a meaty computer with none of the fat. (powerful and practical, not pretty)

Case? (Tooless entry, cheap, STURDY and portable) I'm thinking I might be using my computer as a recording studio that can "dock" in my car.

Best AMD Processor for AM2 mobo? I know 2x core isn't utilized at the moment, but is it an investment?

Best Video card (0 lag gaming. Music software also uses video card a lot.) SLI, will 1 $400 card be better than 2 $300 dollar card? Or can I buy one 400 dollar card and by the second one later on? OOOH! and the dual core video cards that are sli ready, will 4 video cores actually be running (efficiently)?

Hardrive... Is there a practical 10k that will significantly outperform a 7.2k 16Mb SATA/300? Is RAIDing worth it?

Okay with ALL of that crap in mind.... PC or Mac? Could I go Micro ATX and still be satisfied?
Sorry for all the different questions. I'm going to need a filing system for the answeres... :thumbsup:
TY for ANY help :huh:

Edited by ubiquitously, 01 July 2006 - 06:18 PM.


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#2 petocities

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:51 PM

I think that any decent VC should handle any gaming very well. Anyhow, if you really need more power on your VC, you can always boost it up a bit.

I think that VC is one of the parts where you can chop more budget out of the final price. Where I live, it can mean almost 20% more on final price between included graphics or extermal killer VC.

other than that, I'm not the right one to answer you ^^'
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#3 acklan

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 11:33 PM

I would recommend you put at least a 500 watt power supply. If you do not go with a high waatage quality power supply your computer may not even start. With the componants you want it will require quite a bit of power.
Just a thought.
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#4 ubiquitously

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 09:28 PM

Yeah, on power supplies...
I noticed that EVERY case that comes with a PS gets reviews on newegg that the PS sucks, even when they are 500+ watts. Are manufacturers putting lously high wattage PS in? I think (UPS) shipping is what is taking them out.

#5 ubiquitously

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 12:23 PM

:thumbsup: But seriously, any more input out there? :huh: I could use good advice on ALL components of a computer. I'm noob to this stuff. (i.e. Performance per dollar, overclocking, settings, etc... ANYTHING pls)
By the way, should I even go windows? Is there an OS out there that can be optimized for gaming and composing?(not browsing the internet with big pretty buttons.) Or should I just strip down windows xp?

TY for any help sirs and ladies.

#6 Ravenshade

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:47 PM

My 2 cents:

I built my home desktop, i used Newegg alot, and Frozen CPU. They seemed to have good prices and a good reputation for gettin orders right. I had no problem with either of these sites. For misc. things like custom cables, glowing fans, etc. i go to Fry's cuz its by my pad. They have lots of crap to choose from.

I'd go with a late VC, 200 bucks tops (get one with a fan on it!! and 264 megs min), i started mine with a 100 dollar one, 128 meg, and i think its burning out already: I played wow for like 1 year straight, lol.

Raptor HD's are awesome, but expensive, they have a really fast read time (like 2x as fast as other HD's)
cost a bit much tho, imo, but if it's performance you want, I'd go with the raptors.

Also, one huge thing i did right, buy a nice case, especially if you plan to keep building your systems, because a good case makes working on the thing ALOT nicer and easier.
I spent like 125 on my case, i think its a Lian-Li, its really nice (good looks too, lol)

Windows XP is what i run, maybe because i dont know better..?

Edited by Ravenshade, 06 July 2006 - 06:48 PM.


#7 Rabbuk

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 09:39 PM

lol it took me ten minutes to figure out wut the acronym vc stood for... lol been a long week
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#8 ubiquitously

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:11 AM

Don't feel too bad, took me a few seconds too.

#9 Klinkaroo

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 10:12 PM

Just so that people understand if they get stomped on this VC means Video Card... just for the people reading this and still haven't figured it out yet.

#10 ubiquitously

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 11:33 PM

I think we could all start a seperate thread about the people who still haven't caught on. But I'll try to be nice.

Let's move on to some of my other questions. Forget the VC's :thumbsup:

#11 Gothmog

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:39 AM

Here's what I been looking at...

AMD 2x AM2 mobo (ATX, SLI compatible)

AM2 mobos are a little more $ than the socket 939 breed. of course socket 939 will dead end at the FX-60 being the peak of procs it supports. meanwhile next gen AMD procs will be in the AM2 configuration. so if you plan on keeping this build for a while you could go AM2, spend a little extra on the mobo but be free to have a more open upgrade path than with 939. I guess that you would have to update the BIOS if you were to put in a next gen proc down the road(since I believe they are still a quarter or two away)

2gig Corsair RAM (about 200$)

2 gigs is the most you will need for a while IMO. I believe XP has issues with Ram amounts over 3 something, but for nominal game performance I would need to see proof that you REALLY need more. Dual channel is always a bonus for high speed gaming(don't get Value or bargain Ram if you are serious about no lag gaming, the performance will outweigh the cost, especially if you OC). also take care to notice what type of ram your mobo supports, b/c all the AM2 boards I looked at were DDR2, while I believe all 939 boards are DDR(1). Corsair is one of if not the best RAM company, I also see good reviews from OCZ

A (practically priced) video card that can run 3d games on high settings /w no lag (SLI ready)

anything in the Geforce 7 series will be good, but start looking at the 7600 GT line (runs $150-$200 on newegg). These give good performance to dollar and are sli capable. I read that they are also not required to have their own power off the PSU so you won't need a super PSU to run them(but you might want to invest in one anyway since it might save your system from a BBQ and you can upgrade with confidence later[$80 extra could save you $800 or more])

A fast hardrive (16Mb buffer SATA/300, or better)

I recommend any HD from the WD Caviar series I have one in PATA (320GB) and everyone else gives good reviews. WD has some initials at the end of the product name like "KS" noting warrantee length and the extent it has been tested so look close.

so my final product list is :
AM2 mobo or 939 mobo

RAM:Corsair XMS DDR(1) Corsair XMS DDR2 OCZ DDR(1) OCZ DDR2

Geforce 7600 GT

HD (pick your capacity

as to your questions :
best proc atm is the 64-FX 60 I believe. its a dual core

video cards come in 2 categories IMO 1. I can afford that and it will let me play at decent settings 2. Holy crap they can charge that much for a piece of silicone and actually sell more than one! Also the $400 card will be $300 in 2-6 months so plan for what you need and you could get a decent card now and get now's awesome card later when it is decent(and cheaper).
SLI will give you increased performance at HIGH resolutions and also when using shading features and Anti-Aliasing. I have seen tests and reviews that say the SLI performance gain is only seen once the settings are tuned up very high quality w/ AA etc enabled. I have read many people on this board that don't believe SLI is useful enough for the cost, but maybe buy 1 card now and get another for the holidays in 6 months as an additional add-in. Just keep in mind the cards have to be mates like dual-channel RAM sticks.

For HD performance I basically see the 10k drives as super fast low capacity, which is nice, but I prefer the extra storage. If you want to save in some areas to spend more in others this is the area I choose. Gaming is more about the proc and gfx than HD speed so those I would spend more on.

the case is important because you might find that you would rather bang your head against the wall than try and install parts in a poorly designed case. Micro ATX might give you a problem with the mobo you choose so look at its dimensions and buy a case based on that. Micro might also give poor airflow and cooling issues because of that. the medium tower is a good standard it gives good access w/ small footprint and average weight(its also the most common). If you are concerned about weight and carrying it everywhere make sure it is made out of lightweight material, it won't take a bullet but it won't break your back either.

power supply is one of the last things people think of when building(it seems so anyway) so they often go with what is bundled with the case, which can lead to bad things happening. check this thread Wondering About My Power Supply., power supply for some PSU banter. Antec TruePower 2.0 TRUECONTROL II-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply is a good PSU with good recommendations from other sites/sources and will give you lots of room to grow for ~$90.

PS i found this microATX mobo that supports SLI ( i dont know how well they all fit in there) If you were looking for those together, but it is socket 939 not AM2( all the AM2 boards seem to have last gen gfx integrated with only 1 PCI express slot)

Edited by Gothmog, 10 July 2006 - 01:09 AM.


#12 ubiquitously

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 12:52 AM

Well that all sounds about right. I've been talking to lots of people and that pretty much sums everything I've heard.

I have heard some people playing games /w 1 sli ready card and then buying the 2nd one and stating a significant improvement. I believe it was in this forum too.

Also, I have found at least one Micro ATX that, according to reviews, gives room for two sli cards without stealing any other PCI slots. (Newegg.) Sorry I can't remember the name/model. I could have sworn it was an AM2 though.

Thanks for everything. Keep this thread going if you want to. I think it would be a great help for people like me that don't know where to start. Plus I know I'm sure I'll learn something new. (That's pretty easy to do.)

#13 Ravenshade

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:04 AM

yeah thanks for the vc (video card) info, lol. very useful.

ima buy that one in last post, sounds good to me.

does it have a fan? nm, ill go look it up somewhere on newegg. thx!

#14 stevealmighty

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:39 AM

Not to butt in, but when looking at a psu, make sure that it has not only more than enough watts to run your system, but more than enough amps too. A lot of people overlook this, when it is very important. I bought a VC and it said it required a 400W minimum psu, which I had. Upon installing it, I couldn't get it to work correctly (artifacting and what not). I called the manufacturer and their 1st question was "how many amps to you have on the +12v line (rail?). I had 12 amps, and the card required 18 minimum, 20 amps recomended. I had to get a new psu....and was very careful to check for the amperage on it to make sure that it exceeded the cards requirements. It did, and when I installed it the card ran beautifully. Just saying, keep in mind the amps..... :thumbsup:
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#15 ubiquitously

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:43 PM

Wow, I never thought about that. I know it is important when buying power supplies for other appliences. You know those overprised universal adapters from Radio Shack that always burn out? Their amp rating is like 200mW... SUX. I use a lot of music gear. Guitar effects are what like to pop those not-so-cheapies.

TY for making me realize that. It's one of those "Duh, OMG I can't believe I didn't think about that."




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