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Thread: Non SLI Gaming Rig

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    303
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    Cool Non SLI Gaming Rig

    lo all


    My tired old xp 2500 is slowly starting to fade and though my ATI 9800 pro still groans it's way through cs source and BF2, Methinks it's time to put this grandad of a machine to pasture.

    Like most people i've looked at most options ( ie buy new, upgrade or build new).

    i've settled on build new and having looked at current technologies and my bank balance i'm got to thinking can you make a serious non SLI Motherboard gaming rig cos quite frankly buying one graphics card is gonna cost me a kidney.

    Pls Advise on a total Non SLI or SLI Gaming Rig (ie cheap but powerful )

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    Flat cap, Whippets, Cave. Clunk's Avatar
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    how much do you have to spend?
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    stupid betond belief.
    You owe it to yourself to click here really.

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    303
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    £700ish for a cpu,psu,motherboard,ram and graphics that all lean towards the gaming side of things.

    i started thinking of AM2's then thought wait for conroe but budget leans towards opteron and very clockable motherboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 303
    opteron and very clockable motherboard.
    that would be an ultra-d and opteron 165/170, that should be about £250 for both now that conroe is on the horizon

    the board is non-sli but you can mod it fairly easily to an SLI board later, and its at the bottom of the DFI range now (everything else is sli/cf) so you wont get anything that clocks as well for less, although they are still fairly expensive (£80-90)

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    rad
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    Quote Originally Posted by -ChEM-
    that would be an ultra-d and opteron 165/170, that should be about £250 for both now that conroe is on the horizon

    the board is non-sli but you can mod it fairly easily to an SLI board later, and its at the bottom of the DFI range now (everything else is sli/cf) so you wont get anything that clocks as well for less, although they are still fairly expensive (£80-90)
    OK, so that leaves 450 to 500 pounds for Graphics card, ram, psu.
    I would recommend the nvidia 7950 gx2 (this thing kicks arse at stock but also overclocks really well) for 389 pounds.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    There was a time (6 months ago) when Opterons were very good value purchases. Now (as in, within the past month) that has changed.
    The Opterons are still at similar prices to how they were but the 939-based Athlon64's are down to silly money.
    Buy an Opteron if your primary purpose is to get an Opteron, but if you actually want to play games (and keep to a budget) with a decent machine, you honestly should buy A64's.
    Check out Scan here
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    Just speced this up at OCUK quickly:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4400+ (Socket 939)
    £209.95 £209.95
    Asus A8N-E nForce4 Ultra (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard
    £54.95 £54.95
    Corsair 2GB DDR Value Select PC3200 CAS3.0 Kit (2x1GB)
    £114.95 £114.95
    HIS Excalibur ATI Radeon X1800 XT 512MB GDDR3 AVIVO TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) -£174.95 £174.95
    Enermax Noisetaker 535W EG565AX-VE(W) SFMA ATX2.0 SLI Compliant PSU
    £54.95 £54.95

    Subtotal £609.75
    VAT £106.71

    Total £716.46

    Or you could save a little on the CPU, and get a 3800+ and get a X1900XT, which would probably be a better idea.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303
    £700ish for a cpu,psu,motherboard,ram and graphics that all lean towards the gaming side of things.
    I love Scan, Hexus posters get free postage, so I have specc'ed this up:
    CPU: Athlon64 X2 4200+ (Socket AM2) for £242
    PSU: 480W Tagan Quiet SLi for £58
    Motherboard: ASUS M2N-E NF570 (Passive cooled, not SLi) for £68
    RAM: Corsair VS, 2 x 1GB DDR2 sticks, 667Mhz, for £116
    Graphics: 7900GT for £197 Edit!! On Today Only offer for £184.

    Total = £671ish (approx as i forgot the change) inc VAT and free delivery. I also made a point of everything being in stock!

    I know that AM2 isnt much better than 939, but since the cost difference is minimal, you might as well go with it and get the latest chipset technology
    PS I hate SLi generally, but you may want a different motherboard.
    Last edited by MSIC; 04-07-2006 at 12:56 PM.
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    that would be a lot slower than an opteron system though

    the point of getting an opteron is that you can buy a chip for under £200 and make it faster than anything on the market

    if you dont want to OC then you have to buy higher models, and then the X2s are better value than the opterons but i dont think many people have bought 939 opterons and left them at stock

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Chem, i don't think that you are 100% wrong (I have an Opteron myself and love it) but there are a few points... at risk of this turning into a fanwar
    1) "Alot slower" - to get it in perspective, even a 25% increase in clock speed won't have a 25% overall improvement to the system. Overclocking the CPU does help, but it is only 1 aspect of 'speed'
    2) "Faster than anything on the market" - My point about recent price reductions was that Opterons are not that good value now. The cheapest dual core Opteron is the 165, which at 1.8Ghz and £222 would have to go some way to being better a better chip than the 2.2Ghz A64 X2 4200+ at £240.
    I'm not saying it can't be done, but you have to push the fsb that much further, which brings me to
    3) system stability. As i have learnt to my cost, you need a quality motherboard (and RAM and PSU etc) to push the FSB of a CPU very very far and still be stable. Not quite stable, or nearly stable, but 100% stable. The higher initial speed, the less required o/c'ing, the better general stability (and i'm talking for example about things like PCI frequency etc). Basically, if you want to overclock like a madman, you should plan for this from the beginning.
    4) No overclocks are guaranteed. This is, admittedly, the weakest point of my argument as most Opterons are generally very good. Provided that everything supporting it can do it too.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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    Yeah I'd actually advice against an opteron. Whenever you're going for maximum performance within a budget you have to evaluate each component in terms of how much you gain as you increase the budget - and importantly that gain has to be in the area you are interested in.

    For gaming obviously the no. 1 concern is the gfx card - this component should be maximised and the other components can be cut back as long as they are still allowing the gfx card to function unrestricted.

    By that arguement even an X2 3800 provides enough grunt to feed a non-sli system, and there's still room to get to 2.4ghz relatively easily - overclocking shouldn't be done just for the sake of it, but only if the CPU ever became a bottleneck with your gfx card/game combination.

    Motherboard layout and heatsinks are important - make sure to get a board with lots of room around the card slot, to allow for dual slot coolers and good airflow. If you're going to overclock anything to get better gaming performance it should be the gfx card. But even if you want to overclock the CPU, it's pretty easy to overclock with just about any m/board - it's only the silly heights of extreme overclocking that really need something that costs more (and this won't help you obtain best gaming performance/price).

    Likewise your PSU should have a bit of grunt to power the gfx card - preferably it should have dedicated PCIe cables, and certainly dual 12v rails with decent Amps.

    RAM isn't all that important - just go for 2gb of stuff with a lifetime warrenty. Again, better ram is only needed for non-price efficient overclocking.

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    well if you get an A64 freezer pro (£15-£20), DFI ultra-D (£80) or maybe an asus board (£60-£70??), 2nd hand corsair xms (lifetime guaranteed) and a decent 500-600w psu (£70ish) you should get to 2.6 with any opteron 165 you buy without spending much extra at all... to me it seems like better value to spend a bit more now on mobo/psu/cpu/ram rather than just buy something that is ok now but wont be good enough to compete in a couple of graphics card generations time

    if you are intending to cut all corners possible with ram, mobo, psu then that kind of system is expensive but otherwise you would presumably want a decent psu and cooler for the sake of the other components and fairly good ram like corsair VS so the difference in cost should only be another 10-15% to effectively get a cpu worth far more than that

    i would class the 3800 x2 in the same boat as the opterons... their respective OCs fit in quite well with the price now... i mean isnt the question really: get a slow chip to OC or get a fairly fast chip to run at stock for the same price as thats the only difference?

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    rad
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    If you can manage to fit this around your budget than I would be highly recommending the 7950 gx2 graphics cards.
    Awesome at stock speed, but also overclocks extremely well.
    No other card can touch this once overclocked.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -ChEM-
    get a slow chip to OC or get a fairly fast chip to run at stock for the same price as thats the only difference?
    Chem, you do make some generally valid points, but I disagree with the last part - I don't suggest either of those 2 options. I recommend getting a good value dual core CPU, and overclocking it a bit (but not at the expense of stability).
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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    rad
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC
    I recommend getting a good value dual core CPU, and overclocking it a bit (but not at the expense of stability).
    I think you may have misunderstood Chem. I don't think he was proposing overclocking a cpu till it is unstable.
    I believe what he is trying to say is make the most of your money.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    No no, I agree with that and dont want to 'have a go' at anyone, but my personal experience is that there is no hard and fast line of stability/instability that gets crossed. It seems to me to be more of a graduating process, and the generally more you overclock the riskier the system's stability.
    It comes back again to the idea that, particularly given Opterons and the idea of a minimum of 600Mhz overclocks (so FSB from 200 to 260 minimum = 30%) is possibly too much unless you get some good quality hardware. A 10% to 15% overclock seems to be easily tolerated in almost any system, but then that defeats the purpose of getting an Opteron.
    I must admit that this thread seems to be going back and forth and I recognise that I am not arguing from a position of absolute fact, but this is just my personal experience and opinion.
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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