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Old 03-02-2006, 12:33 PM   #1   [permalink]
raynebc
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What should I look for to build a modest gaming computer?

My current PC has some modern equipment in it, but the motherboard is a little behind the times:

ATA-100
400Mhz FSB
2GB max memory PC2100
1.8Ghz P4 (not horribly slow but still old)
I don't believe it even has AGP

I figure the best way to go is to just buy a motherboard+CPU combo. I was wondering if anybody has any specific ideas of what I need to look for?

I hear a lot of good about Asus boards, but even though they can have a lot of integrated video memory, apparently that still sucks for gaming, as would anything besides having a dedicated video card. Should I get a mobo that uses AGP, or should I try to get one that has PCI-E?

I'm less concerned about a sound card, as long as the sound is decent, I don't mind if it's onboard.

The only concern I have is that it has DDR slots, EIDE controllers, and at least one regular PCI slot so I can salvage everything else in the case and just replace the motherboard/processor. Having both USB and Firewire instead of just one or the other would be a plus.

edit: I found a wattage calculator, and even with the highest power video card (42 watts maximum for PCI), and allowing the following:

2 DDR sticks
Socket 478 processor (usually no higher than 100watts)
2 Hard drives
DVD rom
DVD burner
PCI wireless network adapter
One or two case fans

A 350 watt supply would be more than what I need, allowing a good 10% of wiggle room. The most important factor I've seen for PSU is a reliable 12V rail, most devices seem to use this voltage the most. Does anybody have suggestions for what brand/model I get?

Thank you in advance.
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Last edited by raynebc; 03-02-2006 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:21 PM   #2   [permalink]
fasad
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honestly, i'd buy an agp video card and leave it at that for now, assuming you have an agp port. your system is just behind in every technology, so upgrading isn't really possible - you'd find yourself buying outdated parts or needing to replace the whole lot.

agp has been around since the first pentiums. the bad news is that as far as i can see, all the new good video cards are pci-e. it would be a bad idea to buy a new agp mobo, if it is even possible. looking around the only agp mobos are in the same league as my ~20 month old one. cheap though : )

eide controllers are still standard, for optical drives.
afaik, a pci-e system has 1 or 2 pci-e slots, plus 2-4 standard pci slots.
i don't know anything about ddr2 vs ddr ram.
usb is on every mobo, firewire is less common (what uses firewire anyway?)

i've built two pcs in the past 2 years, both with asus motherboards, and both have caused trouble.

- a P4P800deluxe (i865) causes subtle ram errors when PAT (i875 feature) is enabled, and PAT can't be manually disabled is bios! this caused much stress to me and 3 sets of corsair ram getting rma'd. PAT was the major advertised feature of this board, although it is basically forcing a failed 875 chip to do something intel's qc says it can't (and all for 1-2% performance). otherwise it's a good mobo. i can forgive this mobo's fault.

- a A8N-SLI deluxe has a faulty raid controller/bios, resulting in mysterious disappearing hard drives. dodgey eide controller that locks the system. bios updates fixed the raid problem after months of windows corrupting itself. sli has failed twice since, requiring a re-install of windows. the a8n-sli deluxe is the most evil mobo ever created. sli is a total waste of money. it was the first sli mobo released. on the other hand, the on-board sound seems to be very good. don't buy this one!!!

i won't be buying asus for my next mobo. i hope this rambling mess makes sense...

Last edited by fasad; 03-02-2006 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:35 PM   #3   [permalink]
raynebc
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All the specs I posted were motherboard specific, so quite literally I can bring my computer up to speed with current computers on the market with a motherboard and processor upgrade.

Firewire is a little slower than USB 2, but the cool thing about it is you can hook one computer up to another with a firewire cable and set it up as an ethernet network. Think 400Mbps LAN party: good times. Gigabit ethernet cards are around, but most people don't have them yet. The Firewire 2 spec is still being worked on, but I think it is supposed to go over 2 gigabits per second, now that's something worth waiting for!

Cost is kind of an issue for me, so I guess I'll stick with AGP for now, I can always replace the motherboard again later, or throw some parts together to make a seperate computer. As more PCI-E video cards are released, the good AGP cards can only get cheaper.

Looks like I'll steer clear from Asus then, I don't want to have to deal with stupid problems, thanks for the info.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:11 PM   #4   [permalink]
fasad
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in my brief research, the best agp video card available is an nvidia 6600gt, which is at least 3 cards below top-spec now. agp cards actually cost more than pci-e, maybe because so many people still have agp and want to upgrade (myself included).

a new performance mobo will need DDR2 ram (you can't use your DDR ram), and use pcie. so you'll need a new mobo, cpu, ram and video card - the most expensive parts!

or you could buy an agp based board, use your current ram and buy a 6600gt. this might be cheaper, but can't be upgraded. tough call.

having said such bad things about asus motherboards, i do use an asus video card which is proven to be very stable and overclockable.
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:47 AM   #5   [permalink]
raynebc
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I was just browsing around on Pricewatch, and ran into a very interesting motherboard:

http://www.partspc.com/ProductDetail...3&ProdID=13477

Has AGP and PCI-E and DDR1 and DDR2

Now if I can find a similar board that supports my Ultra-ATA drives (instead of SATA) and regular PCI 2.2, I could make the most of what I have and keep the motherboard for a very long time.

edit: Found a compromise:

http://www.asrock.com/product/P4Dual-880Pro.htm

No DDR2, but it has SATA and ATA-133 support, and supports dual-channeling, so that could help make up for having to use DDR1.
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Last edited by raynebc; 04-02-2006 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 24-06-2009, 10:04 AM   #6   [permalink]
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Actually no raynebc, u can't upgrade 478 ... get rid of it and build a new system. With computer parts these days the newer parts cost a whole lot cheaper than the old. If I was u I wouldn't upgrade, I'd slowly build a new machine and then sell the old one to buy extra parts for the new p.c
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:47 PM   #7   [permalink]
Kurai Kodomo
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scrap the old one and build new. You might be able to reuse the case and some case fans but that should be it.

I have built several comps with asus boards in the last couple years and have had little problem with them.

I'll recomend you get these:
motherboard with SATA not EIDE
AMD dual core cpu
DDR2(it's cheep and good)
and you want PCI-E over agp

you can build a good dual core system for around $300. especially if you are resuing the case, monitor and OS.

I buy stuff off www.tigerdirect.com all the time. go there and look for a motherboard cpu bundle. If you really need EIDE most SATA boards have one in them, they will also have support for a floppy drive.

If you get a new board you might not need a sound or video card. the new boards are good enough to play most games, unless you are playing something supper high end.
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