Motherboard, CPU, RAM and $400 USD

High-end parts can last quite a while when keeping up in the gaming world - if you choose them correctly. Though, if you chose them so well that you didn’t have any need to tinker with your computer in, oh, say two years, you risk getting out-of-touch with the latest and greatest. Such is my case.

The budget is $400 USD. What is needed is a new motherboard, CPU and RAM.

The motherboard needs to be versatile. It has to be equipped with upcoming technologies, like PCI-Express, but also have an AGP slot and PCI slots for todays common parts (I do not know if the x# PCI-Express slots support this kind of backwards compatibility, I’m so out of touch). It needs to have IDE and SATA so I can use my existing drives. I need to be able to use all my current components (sans CPU and RAM) but have it expandable to what may just now be getting hot, or what be a year down the road.

I want the CPU and RAM to be high-end, performing excellently with today’s games while at the same time having a long enough life to be able to play tomorrow’s games for a year or two to come. I realize with this budget the most high-end will probably be out of my reach, but, if things haven’t changed much, a few notches down should be more than suffice.

I ask for your wisdom.

well for ram with my comp I’m going for 2 gb of ram, which should be more then you need now and should hold up nicely for awhile. I’m getting a coursir 2gig memory kit.

Now I’m not an expert but I think you can only have a motherboard that’s either pci or agp not both, but I don’t know more about that then you I think.
The motherboard I picked out was asus a8n premium. Cpu don’t have any idea but I don’t think you’ll be getting a high end processor for 400 dollars and a motherboard and ram.

The mobo I bought was I think $190 and the memory 2 gig I saw on zipzoomfly was either $193 or$ 233

“You require more minerals!”


$72.00 + s/h from Newegg.

1GB PC 3200 DDR SDRAM ~80-100 at Newegg.

That leaves you roughly 225 for a CPU which will get you
an Athlon 64 3700.

Meh. I might sell you mine.

Asus A8N32 SLI Deluxe (best on the market at any price)
Athlon X2 3800+ (probably best value on the market)
2GB Corsair DDR400/CL2 RAM (smokin’ stuff)

You’ll have to forgoe an AGP slot, but given the value you’d get out of these parts, I’d call it an investment. lemme know… the new intel Macs have me itching to switch again.

You can get 2GB RAM for $100 + S&H if you pull the trigger real soon (i.e. probably by tomorrow afternoon it will be dead)

Edit: Dead now.

DON’T DON’T DON’T get an AGP motherboard like the one mouselock presented. Just wait a little longer, finish all your current games or something, and save up til you can spring for a PCI-Express mobo with a videocard. An AGP motherboard will not meet your needs as it is not upgradeable anymore; AGP cards are dead, plain and simple. A lot of AGP cards are artificially kept high in price because they’re not being made anymore. I don’t see the point of spending so much money now just to have to do so again so soon, presumably sometime next year, or whenever UT2007 comes out. I got an AGP board, proc, and card last summer and am kicking myself over it.

The AGP motherboard might not be a bad idea actually. Depends on a persons upgrade habits. I myself never upgrade any facet of my system except in cases of component failure. I put together a system and use it for 2-3 years then replace it entirely. So if a person like me wants to put together an AGP system right now that isn’t really a problem.

Given that the original poster in this thread seems inclined to upgrade on the cheap and not at the cutting edge I would suspect that they aren’t playing the latest FPS games at 1900x1200 with 4xAA enabled. So an AGP mobo+vidcard would probably suffice.

It would suffice, but because Not One of Us wants versatility, it’s not really what he’s asking for. AGP cards are dead, so any such system would be unupgradeable. I heard once of an Intel mobo that combined AGP and PCI-E, but nothing on the AMD side. If you want to use your computer for a couple years, and have it stay decent during that time, PCI-E is the only option. With AGP, you’d at most get to install a 6800GS and then struggle along for a long while, because that’s the last AGP card that’ll ever be released. That may not make much sense at all, depending on what card he has currently and the economics of how much improvement he would get per the amount of money he spends.

Yo, brightbulb!

The one I linked to has an AGP slot and a PCI-E x16 slot. Like the original poster asked for.

As far as I recall from reading review on Anandtech, it didn’t suffer performance wise substantially if at all for offering this versatility.

Ah sorry, whatever user review that was up on the product page at the time said otherwise.

Trust the specs, not the users! :)

I have that motherboard. It can be a little finicky with the AGP port and video drivers. It took me some time to get them working properly, and there’s two sets of drivers, one for the AGP port, and your normal video card drivers.

Works well though, was just a little rough getting it working first time. It also has a slot for an M2 daughterboard.

Yeah, those product reviews are usually bullshit. Since it’s all people that have already bought the item, they all want to say it TOTALLY ROCKS! because they’re invested in it and have spent mucho $$$. A lot of idiots also factor in Newegg’s turnaround time in their review, giving virtually any item FIVE STARS!!!1 no matter what. Plus, I’ve actually given an item a bad review and had it denied for publication by Newegg, the lamers.

What’s an M2 daughterboard?

It’s a little addon with socket on it for processors using the new M2 socket. You have to change about 50 jumpers to use it, but it’s remarkably forward looking. Assumption is that it will also have 2 DDR2 slots on it, as I don’t think M2 processors will use DDR RAM.

There’s also no guarantee it will come out, just that it may. ASRock may decide not to bring it out if demand isn’t there.

Disregarding the price limit for the moment, for a high-end gamer, what would be some good cards that run on PCI-Express? Is there a new generation of chips coming out soon that might give reason to hold off? With that, if a PCI-E card was to be chosen to replace my current AGP card, what would be the better route to take in regards to the motherboard? (it must still contain at least one PCI slot so that it may run my Audigy 2.)

The X1800 replacement will be released the week of the 20th. It appears that the 7800 refresh is scheduled for sometime March. The next generation (DX10) cards won’t be on the market for some time yet, perhaps not till the end of the year.

While we’re on topic, can anyone here recommend a motherboard /w both PCI Express and AGP for a Socket 754 (Athlon 64 3000+) CPU? I want to upgrade my motherboard so I can stick more RAM in it, right now my ASUS K8V just ain’t cutting it.

I thought it was just a geek thing until I stumbled across mention on Anandtech of the fact that the new FX is the last socket 939. Didn’t socket 939 just come out like a year ago? Are the CPU manufacturers changing sockets to force a video-card like business model where you have to upgrade your friggin’ MB every time a new line of procs comes out for huge profits on the MB chipset sales? Not sure I’m going to bother building that X2 939 system now if it’s not upgradable in any way in the future, processor wise. :P

(Seriously, what’s with the seemingly much faster cycling through sockets these days? My GF’s computer needs fixed. It was built 2 years ago, and is a Socket A. In the meantime we’ve gone through socket 754 and by the middle of this year 939. That’s approximately 1 per year. Are die sizes shrinking that quickly?)