Best Bang for the Buck

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Hi, I have been disconnected of the hardware industry for the last 3
years and I'm ready to throw my computer out the window. I need a new
BUDGET gaming machine. I have been playing games pretty much all my
life on low quality. Now I want to get a real gaming machine that will
be able to handle upcoming games and current ones at great quality.

I have been looking into tomshardware vga charts, and feel like I would
need a pretty decent video card like 7800gt+. I have been a customer of
ATI for pretty much all my life, and now i want to switch to nVidia..
because i have been fooled by my last card (radeon 9600 Xtasy -notice
that the Xt in xtasy doesn't mean XT).

So anyways, I also was deceived by my 2 last builds and want something
that will work right out of the box. My initial budget was around 1000$
for box + screen, but I've been stretching it all the way to now what
seems to be around CAN 1600$.

So here are my specs :
AMD Athlon64 X2 AM2 4200+
MSI K9N SLI Platinum Motherboard
Antec P180 Case
Enermax 535W/Mushkin 550W Power Supply
2 x 1GB Kingston PC2-4200 DDR2
Seagate 250GB SATA II Hard Drive
LG 16x16 Dual Layer DVD-Burner
e-VGA 7900GT KO 256MB
Onboard 10/100/1000 Ethernet
One Year Parts/Labour Warranty
(notice without windows.. I already have winXp Pro)

Picture here :

Also adding a $228.00 DELL UltraSharp 1907FP 19inch LCD...

Is that videocard too good for the processor ? is that too many RAM ? I
feel like everything is right, I have seen decent systems from MDG.CA
but seen a lot of complaints about that store too. Memoryexpress seems
to be appreciated by most, so is there anyone that think there is
something wrong with that system / Would you recommend a more budgetty
system that can provide as much graphics ?

Thanks for all the input !

Re: Best Bang for the Buck wrote:

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1) Have you priced the components out, to see what you are
   paying for assembly and test ? Perhaps a local builder
   could give you a competitive bid. If the local builder
   looks like they won't go bankrupt, you'll have the convenience
   of driving to the store to get service for the unit.
   (My two favorite local stores have closed.)
2) When the unit is shipped, do they use a custom box with
   foam padding to ship the system ? Or do they just use the
   box that the computer case came in. An improperly packaged
   and shipped product, can receive unnecessary shock and vibration.
   The bigger companies doing pre-built systems, will have
   spent more time thinking about this. Make sure it is not
   shipped by UPS :-)
3) You have a one year part/labor. If a single thing is not working
   on the unit, will MemoryExpress insist that the whole
   unit be shipped back ? That small detail may determine whether
   the warranty is worth anything to you, as the shipping costs
   will kill you.
4) The return rate on high end Nvidia video cards is higher
   than normal. Some of this is attributed to overclocking
   by the video card manufacturer, and some to the use of
   crappy RAM. I would research carefully, the reputation of
   whoever makes the video card, to see whether they cut
   any corners or not. You can use the customer reviews for
   products on Newegg, to get some idea how bad this is.
   While this is probably not your exact card, this will
   give you some ideas: Otherwise the box looks like a
   decent upper mid range gamer.


Re: Best Bang for the Buck

Great advice!

As far as shipping goes, their shop is right on my way to the job, so
shipping is not an issue.
However,you are scarring me with this whole "new nvidia cards have a
high return rate".
I really did not want to go back to ATI.. but I guess I'll have to shop
around a little bit more.
I'm also interested to know if the cpu might be a bottleneck with such
a high-rated card, same for the ram, do you think I should be getting
DDR2-667+ instead of PC-4200 ?

Thanks again!

Paul wrote:
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Re: Best Bang for the Buck

Did not know there was different models for the same video card !! Your
reviews on really helped me out figure if they put bad or
good videocards in their systems. Seems like I will be lucky. Also
great advice about checking individual parts, I will probably be
customizing my computer to get better DDR2 in there.

My only concern now is to know if that setup will bring me anywhere
close to those benchmarks i see on tomshardware where they use AMD
fx-60/62 processors. Those things are definitely out of price and it's
hard to figure what normal people with normal budget will get out of
these video cards using a mid-range processor (200-300$ processor)...
any clue would be appreciated !

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Re: Best Bang for the Buck wrote:
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You would be very stupid to buy anything other than Intel Core 2 Duo at
the moment for a new computer, they are easily the best bang for the
buck. Even the mid priced e6600 beats an FX-62 and they overclock loads
too, if you wanted to. Other than that it looks ok, I'd say get some 667
or 800 ddr2 if you want to overclock.

Re: Best Bang for the Buck

Lol yeah so true man

I did a lot of reading this weekend and came to the same conclusion..

My system is definitely a e6300 + DS3 mobo... and here comes the ~1ghz
overclock !

MadFox wrote:
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