Say you have $1700 to build or buy a new gaming computer

No upgrades, no left over parts, you have to buy everything for around $1700. What would you get? What parts would you spend the most money on and where would you skimp?

Thats around my budget. I want a dual core, 2 gigs of ram, a Wide Screen LCD monitor, and a fast pci express card to match the capabilities of the monitor. Have a bit of trouble getting it in budget.

20inch Dell ok? The 2005fpw that is. Also do coupons come in to play or list price?

Athlon X2 (speed dependent on the $$$ you have to spend)
Asus A8N32-SLI
GeForce 7800GT
2GB Corsair ValueRAM (I have XMS3500 in my PC and the difference in speed between that and the ValueRAM is NOT worth the price difference)
Whatever good hard drive is on sale at NewEgg
Pioneer DVD-R
Dell widescreen monitor
OEM Audigy2 card

That’s what I’d put in there… Should be able to do that for $1700, varying the exact CPU and monitor choice to fit the total.

I look forward to the day when the answer to this question will be “A G6.”

I think I have it nailed down. Here is the list of stuff I’ve selected on newegg. Any potential gottchas?

Some people have said that the music version of the new creative card is nnot the best choice for games, don’t know if it is true, but have that in mind.

What CAS is that memory?

Ditch the fan controller and the sound card (your onboard is not bad), and use the $150 you save to upgrade the LCD monitor.

Well, it’s an improvement from the Audigys and a markable improvement over the AC’97 omboard sound. Also in games.

But the “lowend” X-FI lacks the onboard memory and the drivebay control center (with headphone jack and whatnot). How important that stuff is, is really the question - but I wouldn’t ditch it alltogether and stick with onboard.

otoh, if you did ditch it with the useless for show only fan control, you could afford the Dell 20,1" Widescreen and save up for the gamers edition of the X-FI to add later.
Or ditch the ECS for an ASUS A8N.

Gonna be looking forward to that for a long time, mate.

The front plate you get with the primo X-Fi and Audigy2ZS formats is more a matter of convenience than necessity, for the most part. Like, when Sunday rolls around, and I wanna PiP the game on my Dell2005FPW (I still owe shift6 a beer or 3 on his tip for this last summer, the thing still isn’t as cheap as it was during that crazy “under $400 bucks total, including shipping” sale Dell had). I have a DVD player hooked up with cable in from the wall, and I just run video out of it into the Dell (which accommodates the yellow RCA vid cable, S and component) and audio into the the face plate on my rig (which accomodates RCA stereo, SPDIF, and optical), which is nice because I can just PnP more or less (just fiddle with some basic parameters in Creative’s Suround Mixer Config Software to enable the input you’re using) without needing any peripheral-to-PC adapters. The 2005’s on-screen menu lets you simpy push the PiP button to enable PiP, scroll down to choose video source, screen size (something like 4x3" increasing by 1" on each side in 3 different sizes) and placement (all 4 corners). Push the PiP button again for split-screen and a 3rd time to nix PiP. It’s hit and miss what kind of games you can get away with playing (I stick with pausable RPGs), since even the smallest PiP will eat up real estate on-screen (but the area underneath it is still active) - however the wide-screen aspect will attenuate that a lot oif you play in non-widescreen or resize your windows in nongaming situations.

That power supply may not cut it for an Athlon X2 3800+; check your motherboard specs carefully and make sure that you don’t need a 24-pin, dual-12v power supply. I got bit by that on my most recent upgrade.

Also, ditch the ECS and go for an Abit, Asus, or DFI board, IMHO. The ECS boards I’ve seen haven’t been nearly as nicely engineered as the brands I mentioned. Cheap noisy fans, etc.

Glad I held off… On another forum I stated that I was worried about going with a 939 socket because I knew AMD was coming out with a new socket and I didn’t want to be stuck without an upgrade path again like I am with the 754. I was told several time that AMD was going to support the 939 for a long time and I shouldn’t worry about it. Well, I’m glad I didn’t listen to them! From Anandtech’s review of the AMD FX-60 titled farewell to socket 939.

"Then there’s the issue of AMD’s upcoming Socket-AM2; due out in another few months, you obviously won’t be able to use any Socket-939 processors in the new motherboards and there will be no upgrade path beyond the FX-60 for current 939 owners

I was browsing this thread, I’ve got about $1200-1400 I can throw at a new system, and I’m not getting a new monitor, but this part caught my attention, about the upgrade paths.

For me this is just gut feeling and speculation, but over the course of about the 3 years I try to get out of a system, it seems like your upgrade path is always going to get hosed one way or another. between processor sockets, video card interfaces, changes in RAM, and who knows what else, it’s never seemed likely to me that you’d be hanging onto the same motherboard for more than two years, tops, if you wanted to start replacing parts that early. So is the lack of an upgrade path on the AMD really that big a deal if I’m already kind of resigned to another round of upgrading everything in 3 years?

Erm, I’ve never done a PC upgrade where I didn’t have to buy a new mobo as well. Are people really concerned with a socket standard that lasts? It’s not like I wait eternities before upgrades either – usually just a year before I make the next leap.

You can count on being able to increase the performance of a 3800+ by at least 30% by buying faster Socket 939 CPUs as they come down in price (and despite what they say, who knows what they may eventually offer), so it’s not a total dead-end. Given that the coming-soon socket isn’t even available yet, I can’t say it’s if it’s a huge deal or not.

The only throwaway moving to the M2 should be RAM and CPU.

I agree with ciparis. By the time you need more speed than an FX-60, you’ll be ready for another system upgrade anyway. In 12-18 months, a reduced price FX-60, coupled with the graphics cards that will be released over the next 2-3 years should serve you quite well. I wouldn’t wait on socket AM2 if I were looking to build a rig. Just turn over your parts on some hardware “For Sale” forum, and pick up the AM2 if you must have it before your normal upgrade cycle kicks in.