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Best computer for under $800?


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By the end of 2006, lots of options available. Pretty much the object is to get the best all-purpose computer for under $1000. It must be able to play games, watch movies (HD if you really want), listen to music, have lots of functionality, be useful for at least two years (my laptop with the FX Go5200 still plays todays games fairly well :) ) and of course, look good. The price limit is in Canadian dollars. Of course if you can get the equivalent of my setup (following this) for cheaper, that will count as well. I used tigerdirect.ca as the reference as I've shopped with them before and had good service. And it must also have at least 802.11b (G will work as well) wireless internet. I don't have any more ports on my router. Also stereostropic 3D would be a plus.

The reason I'm posting this is because I'm looking to build a new computer, and price really isn't an object but I would like to save some money for other things, so $800 is the limit. I will be buying it within a months time so that's lots of time to come up with suggestions.

Here's what I'm looking at currently:

Ultra Microfly mATX case w/ 400w PSU - $89.97

ASUS M2NPV-VM GeForce 6 mobo - $132.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ S AM2 - $146.99

1GB Ultra PC5400 (DDR2-667) RAM - $54.97

Western Digital Caviar 250gb 7200rpm SATA II HDD - $93.99

Trendnet 802.11g 54mbps wireless PCI card - $17.99

NEC super multi Dual Layer DVD burner - $39.97

EVGA GeForce 7600 GT PCI-E - $152.99

Ultra Floppy Drive w/ Multi Card Reader - $39.99

Total Price: $769.85

To help you guys out, the games I typically play are the Need for Speed series and other street racing games (SRS, Juiced, etc.), GTA San Andreas (I would also like to try GTA 4 when it comes out), Counter Strike Source (and a few other FPS games, such as FEAR, Half Life 2, Doom 3 and Far Cry), Sims 2, World of Warcraft, and due to my PS2 getting stolen a while back, a PS2 emulator would be nice if it could run full speed (so I can play what games I have left)

I could settle for a GF6600GT ($79.99 now) but to my knowledge, AF/AA suffers ALOT as well as newer games like NFS Carbon don't run at least 30fps @ max settings... I love high gfx settings while playing games. The best computer I've ever played games on was a Celeron 2.3GHz, 512MB PC2100 DDR RAM, BFG GF 6600GT AGP @ 4x AGP. Runs Most Wanted at 45 fps @ 1280x1024 all settings maxed except AA/AF and car reflection detail set to low (huge performance hit for some reason, same effect on my laptop's GF FX go5200) My planned gaming resolution will be 1024x768 with stereoscopic 3D glasses.

So remember: functionality, performance, and under $800 CAD. Thx for any help.

Edited by mew905
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Pretty much the object is to get the best all-purpose computer for under $1000

$289.50 - nVidia GeForce 8800GTS 320MB

$073.13 - Hitachi 320GB SATA2 7200rpm 16MB cache

$129.78 - Asus P5N-E SLI Quad-Core/ nForce650i SLI/ A&GbE&1394/ ATX Motherboard

$165.81 - Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6320 1.86GHz 1066MHz 4MB cache LGA775

$121.54 - DDR2 Kingston PC6400 800MHz 2GB Memory Kit

$779.76USD = $848.77CAD = ?577.26

$1USD = $1.0885CAD = ?0.7403 Exchange Rate May 18

$89.97 - Ultra Microfly mATX case w/ 400w PSU

$17.99 - Trendnet 802.11g 54mbps wireless PCI card

$39.97 - NEC super multi Dual Layer DVD burner

$39.99 - Ultra Floppy Drive w/ Multi Card Reader

$187.92

if it's in CAD dollars = $1036.69. It depends where you buy the parts so I think it's a very nice pc and very upgradable. I dunno exactly what you want. If $800 or $1000 but the $200 more will give you much more performance and it will save lots of money in future upgrades.

I hope it helps.

Edited by __-_-_-__
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Maybe I could up the limit to $1000, seeing as how for a mere $200 more I can get so much more performance. I think the GTS can be OC'ed up to GTX stock speeds, the memory shouldnt be much of a problem seeing as how 512mb is ususally way more than what's needed. A DX10 card would help alot too for future-proofing. I was thinking about the GF8500 but according to reviews its only about as fast as a GF6600GT... mind you being DX10 it'd perform much better when that comes out... or so I'd think.

the included PSU in the case I selected puts out 20A on the 12v rail, not sure if that will be enough for the 8600 or 8800GTS.

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512mb I think it's not enough because with windows xp+1 FPS game consumes more then 512mb. 1x1gb should be better. And 2X512mb it's much more expensive then 1GB. The price per MB it's much lower. And if you install vista, with 1gb will be slow, imagine with 512mb....

A 7900GT it's also good to be considered, it has a very nice overclock possibilities and a high benchmarks and it's cheap but does not support DX10.

In the DX10 cards, 8800gts 320mb version not the 640mb, it's a great choice and it's future proof. It's has the most high price-performance rate. and it just cost a bit more then 8600gts, it will save money in the future.

8600GT it's a bit cheaper then 8800GTS 320mb without the nice performance, but it still be able to play most of the recent games but it hasn't the same longevity and overclock capability. 8600GTS it's not worth compared with 8600GT. just a few more benchmark points for much more money and a 8600GT overclocked can easily have the performance of a 8600GTS.

I think when you buy a pc you have to think in the future, upgrade options etc. The possibilities in this case it's to get more ram +1GB (800mhz) or so and get a 8800GTS 320mb to put in sli with other 8800GTS 320mb or to substitute a 8500 or 8600GT. Later a quad core processor can be added too. The Asus P5N-E SLI supports 1333FSB and quad core processors and it's 650i have almost the same performance of 680i and it's about $150usd cheaper.

If you intend to overclock, the Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6320 1.86GHz has lots of room for you to play. a nice 8600GT can easily beat a 8600GTS but it will not go much far then that. a 8800GTS with a nice cooler can beat a 8800GTX, and if you are brave and volt mod it you can have very nice surprises. compare the prices on 8800GTS 320mb and a 8800GTX and think a bit. I don't known the overclock possibilities of 8500 but I think it's a nice solution to buy one if you intend to replace it later for a 8800GTS 320mb. the 7900GT it's an amazing card to overlock, you can get +60% in performance with just air cooling, I never saw something like that, the big con it's obviously not being DX10 capable.

Good luck for your choice.

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I meant 512MB on the video card. And Vista does just fine on my laptop with a 64mb GeForce FX Go5200 and 512MB PC2700 DDR RAM. Only problem is the drivers suck for Vista (alot of them leave my card retarded at 100MHz core and 200MHz memory, stock is 196/392) so gaming really isnt an option. Chances are I'll be playing games at 1024x768 with a pair of those stereostropic 3D glasses, however I may opt for 1280x1024. Problem is i really dont want to play games on a CRT just for the sake of using the 3D glasses, as my computer desk is very small (my I5150 runs the entire length of the desk, not enough room for my fan or keyboard. Wide though there's more than enough room for everything.

I want to go with DX10 but things are so expensive. I can go 2 gens old and go with the 6600GT for $80 CAD, or a 7600GS for $112. The only time I've seen an 8500GT come anywhere near the 7600GS is when its overclocked massively, otherwise it's right around the 6600GT. 16 shaders handicaps the poor thing, the 8600 has 32, and the 8800's have 96 and 128. I will be running a ton of air cooling through the MicroFly, 120mm exhaust fan in the back, 80mm intake fan in the front, 3x60mm fan memory cooler with memory heatsinks, HDD cooler, and a PCI slot exhaust fan. Think I'd have alot of room for overclocking with that? considering the way the 80mm fan is set it blows directly onto and under the motherboard. I'd also opt for water cooling but I dont really want to risk screwing something up, as I've never done anything but stock cooling before (say CPU fan and a couple case fans) plus its pretty expensive. I will be trying overvolting in addition to OCing.

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I meant 512MB on the video card

for example, 320mb are more then enough for the 8800gts, the only differences are when they run high resolutions +2048x the 640mb takes a SMALL advantage. 8800gts it's a powerful GPU. with other gpu's less powerful then 8800gts the difference between 256mb and 512mb versions it's the price. marketing... :\

I don't known anything about 3D glasses. Vista with 512ram with aeroglass can run fine but vista+other application=very slow. you have a decision to make. DX10 or not. Although there aren't many applications at the moment capable of using DX10.

I will be running a ton of air cooling through the MicroFly, 120mm exhaust fan in the back, 80mm intake fan in the front, 3x60mm fan memory cooler with memory heatsinks, HDD cooler, and a PCI slot exhaust fan. Think I'd have alot of room for overclocking with that?

Even with all that, without a nice vga cooler forget it, you can't do much without replacing the stock cooler. The price of a VGA cooler can be the difference between a 8500 and a 8600.

The same for the CPU. forget stock cooling if you want a nice stable overclock. I guess that with stock cooling you can get +10% without problems.

I'd also opt for water cooling but I don't really want to risk screwing something up

water cooling it's expensive but it's not very risky in my opinion. The risk of screwing something overclocking using air cooling it's higher then overclocking with water cooling. You should read more about watercooling. Although it's expensive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

DDR3 has been lunched, it's better to wait sometime before making new purchases

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