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  • jtr - Friday, February 01, 2008 - link

    Jarred and Jonathan,

    These buyer's guides are very helpful, especially since you give your rationale and alternatives. I wonder if you could also recommend what you would buy with just $100 more (i.e., what's worth spending a little extra for). Also hoping the next budget buyer's guide is on the horizon--I'm planning on building another rig soon. Thanks, again.

    Jason
    Reply
  • owend - Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - link

    I just completed my budget build on Nov 4th. Reading your article with many of the same components was reaffirming! Similar to the Intel builds mine was a Intel E2140, Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, and 2GB of 4-4-4 memory with a $40 MIB (one of the “nearly every major manufacture[s]”). With my sensitive ears I did opt for the $50 passive heatsink from Thermalright and a Corsair power supply, both of which you mentioned. Even the Samsung 20xDVD was the same (but I spent 2.5x $ on a retail <weep>). The only real difference was I used a $60 passively cooled video card, but my focus was the ears and not gaming.

    I think your article was spot on. I labored for a month researching my build but could have waited another few days and just read your article instead. You present a great budget build from which each individual can tailor to their specific needs. Thanks.
    Reply
  • JonathanMaloney - Friday, November 16, 2007 - link

    Good to hear that - and thanks for the positive comments :) Reply
  • Cignal - Monday, November 12, 2007 - link

    nt Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - link

    We just did a http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=312...">Midrange Guide a month ago, which is mostly current. You could change out the GPU, obviously, but otherwise the choices are pretty much the same. Reply
  • crazycarl - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    What exactly does the gigabyte have that the abit does not? Feature comparisons don't show any particular omission from one to the other, and I've heard the abit is a better overclocker, if more finnicky to get going. Can anyone clarify this for me? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Gigabyte has an extra x1 PCI-E slot. Other than that, the difference mainly is the "finickiness" you mention. The abit is a reasonable alternative and there is nothing inherently wrong with either board. Some people love abit, though, and others prefer some other brand. Reply
  • Polizei - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    After doing a little more research and pondering over the article, I did have a few questions if maybe the article writers could clear things up.

    1. Were these systems actually tested? Or is this just a conglomeration of parts that you have used in the past in various systems that all seemed to work well. OR, were some of the parts never even used before and just seemed like a good value for the money?

    2. I ask the above questions mainly because I was concerned about the Case and Power Supply combos you chose. While those deals always seem tempting, like others, I have heard horror stories regarding the power supplies in these combos and have seen pretty much no reviews for any of the mentioned models. The same rang true with the micro-atx gigabyte board you used in your budget Intel system; I've heard of the AMD one and it has gotten great reviews, but I haven't heard much of anything for the intel one except for a few negetive comments about it's failure to compete with G33 chipset boards. So again I'm just curious if these parts were actually tested.

    Again though I'd like to reiterate how appreciative I am that a review team finally stepped up and put together an article like this. I'm sure for the most part it is sound, and I agree with a lot of the part choices (not to mention they leave a lot of room to sub parts in here or their based on personal preference). Additionally, you guys respected various opinions by including both an AMD and Intel platform, while most reviewers would have said to forget about AMD even though they still offer a good value for the buck at certain price levels.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Gary has been working on testing the GB motherboard, and he was a major contributor in terms of the mobo recommendations. Most of the rest, brand isn't particularly important. So the motherboards are solid, according to Gary.

    For the case and PSU, that's always a huge concern for the elite people out there running midrange and high-end setups. We're talking budget rigs here, folks - though the gaming systems are of necessity closer to midrange than budget.

    Are the PSUs in either case great? Not at all. Could the PSU fail at some point? Yup. Overclock a lot and you almost guarantee it will fail. That said, power supplies really aren't a critical factor on low-end systems. Sure, these are rated at 400W, and if we put that sort of load on these models they would almost certainly have problems. (I don't even want to think of seeing Christoph test some of these!) But let's call it a 65% efficiency PSU - reasonable given these are practically free. Power draw on systems like this is going to be around 150W-200W; if you really try, maybe you can get it up to 250W (without overclocking). 250W would mean that the PSU is actually delivering ~160W to the internal components, well within the capacity of even a crappy low-end unit.

    I've had OCZ, Enermax, Antec, and various other brands fail on me - almost as often as the completely generic stuff fails. As someone above pointed out, I would be interested to see what sort of compromises people are willing to make to get a good quality $60 PSU into these systems. Or do we just forget about "budget gaming" and stick with midrange systems that cost $1250? We're already over the $1000 I would have liked (and $500 on the entry-level stuff).

    Want to post alternatives? Think you can come up with something significantly better that no one will have issues with? Hey, I've built a lot of PCs for people over the years. Fact of the matter is, I still don't know how to get someone shooting for a $500 PC to actually buy a decent power supply! I usually tell them, "if the power supply fails - perhaps even WHEN it fails - you'll have to buy a new one." (Note: I don't run a shop, so this is just helping people out with building a system.)
    Reply
  • Polizei - Monday, November 12, 2007 - link

    Thank you, I'm glad you took the time to respond to my questions. I realize you guys are trying to put together a good low-budget guide so that people can enjoy big-time performance on a small dollar, and this is necessary in the marketplace.

    I disagree a great deal with some of your points however. First off, it's clearly apparent from what you said that you guys didn't actually build these budget rigs and test them for part compatibility. It sounds like you've tested many of them independently, but not together, so you're basically trusting paper specs in terms of whether or not the parts actually work together. While that can work most of the time, there's so many finicky parts out there (i.e. motherboards and ram modules not liking each other, videocards not being recognized properly) that if an article like this is going to be done, you should at least put a disclaimer that the rig was not tested as a whole.

    Secondly, one of the issues you bring up about PSUs is a valid point; no matter what the company and the efficiency rating, a PSU can fail at random. I too have owned many PSUs over the year from big name companies and small no-name companies, and have had failures on both, but I'd like to say that the bigger names and supplies that review sites have ran through brutal torture tests are likely to hold up better. Do most of these cost more and make a budget rig difficult to fit in? Certainly, but there are still some that are slightly better than others for $50 or less. On top of that, you mention that these parts won't hit a full 400 watt, and while that's correct, I think the 8800 GT (even being a single slot, 104W TDP rated) will possibly up it a little higher then your estimations. Still, it should be more then enough, but if your going to stay cheap, might as well get a lower-wattage PSU from a bigger brand (i.e. a 360W PC Power and Cooling, or a 420W Thermaltake, or a 380W Antec) for a similar or slightly higher price.

    Furthermore, the tone of your response (and maybe I'm misinterpreting this) is that a power supply or a power supply failing is unimportant in a budget rig. I'm sorry but this is a ridiculous notion if this is indeed what you meant. Just because someone doesn't have as much money to spend on a rig, it doesn't mean they have to worry about a much higher chance of failure with their hard-earned money. It's true you get what you pay for, but it's still important to look at quality issues, numbers of owners who have had failed units, etc etc as best you can.

    Lastly, you mentioned to post something reasonable for the $$. I unfortunately am not a reviewer and also on a low budget, so I too did not have a chance to test this configuration, but this is just another possibility (again hasn't been tested so it's possibly just as good as yours)- (prices from newegg)
    Samsung SATA 18x lightscribe DVDR burner|Coolermaster Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP|Western Digital WD800JD SATA 3.0, 7,200rpm, 80GB| ASUS M2A-VM AM2 AMD 690G Micro-ATX|Coolermaster eXtreme RP-500-PCAR 500W|A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)|AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz AM2 65W|Sapphire Radeon HD 2600XT 256MB
    + keyboard, speakers, mouse, $550-570. Add Vista, $650-670. (you could do this with intel as well - also you never mentioned if you guys or "Gary" tested that intel board, I was curious about that).

    But anyways, I'm not trying to tear you guys or the article apart. I'm definitely a big fan of anandtech.com , I just wanted to see what all was put into the article because parts of it were vague, but you've been helpful in clearing some of it up.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - link

    Don't forget the display! That adds about $200 if you use the display we selected, so you save a bit of money but get a smaller HDD (1/4 the size), a GPU that's not half as fast as the 8800 GT, and I'd use something other than the ASUS M2A-VM if you're going to have a discrete GPU in there. I'm a bit confused as to whether you were shooting for "budget" or "budget gaming".

    I try not to repeat stuff on every page, as I assume (possibly incorrectly) that people will read the article as a whole. We do mention the option to get a better PSU on the Intel Gaming page. The reality is, all the good PSUs start at around $60 (PCP&C 360W is $58 shipped). I figure you either get one of the 80% Energy Efficient Certified models, or go with whatever comes with your chosen case.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit - we're not saying these systems are the *only* way to go right now, as individual needs will vary. If you're looking at gaming, though, I don't think I'd get anything less than the 8800 GT these days. You can cut corners elsewhere to your hearts content, but there are quite a few titles out that now require a lot of GPU power even at moderate resolutions. (Hellgate: London, for example, is pretty sluggish even on a single 8800 GTX! Same goes for the Crysis demo.)
    Reply
  • Crassus - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Just as an aside - I remember frequent references to the Anandtech Real Time Pricing (labs.anandtech.com) in the old buyer's guides. That seems to have completely disappeared. I wanted to look up something there and I only get error messages, both in Firefox and IE. Is it me or is it you? Reply
  • phusg - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the article. Just one grammatical mistake that really grates me:

    "Even though the Intel system comes in at a lower price" is fine.
    "Even though the Intel system is cheaper" is fine.

    quote:

    Even though the Intel system comes in at a cheaper price
    is not!

    Reply
  • Polizei - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Bravo, Bravo. I just wanted to say that I greatly appreciate this article. I'm an avid computer enthusiast and have followed Anandtech, HardOCP, and CPU magazine for years. That said, I've never felt it necessary to become involved in the forum thread posting until this article. Far too many websites seem to ignore the fact that stable, overclockable, affordable, and high-performing parts are available if someone needs to go that route. $2,000-$6,000 high-performance gaming systems are often regarded as a must-have for every enthusiast, which limits a great deal of modern society if they so choose to game, watch movies, or just want a faster computer. So again, my hat is off to you guys for finally stepping up and putting together a very good guide for lower-priced rigs that actually don't suck and crash every 5 minutes. Not sure if you follow competitors at all, but Maximum PC Magazine recently did a similar article and it was just atrocious as to how they approached it - http://www.maximumpc.com/article/the_500_pc_build_...">http://www.maximumpc.com/article/the_500_pc_build_... Reply
  • wjl - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    First: the Intel CPUs mentioned here are not able to support hardware virtualization, which is a major issue for me. You have to get a Core 2 Duo 6xxx for that purpose, and they are still pretty more expensive than AMD's offerings, which all (except the low-end Sempron line) support VT-X (they call it Pacifica).

    Second: As mentioned here before, considering and testing compatibility with Linux is especially with the low budget model a major issue as well. Integrated Intel graphics would be better in that regard, because they open sourced most of their graphics drivers. For an AMD system, open source drivers will be coming, but at the moment those from nVidia should perform better - and you can select whether you want to use the free nv driver or the unsupported but free (as in beer) proprietary driver from nVidia.

    Third: As of today, you should think a bit about the "green" factor. Most of todays CPUs are more than fast enough for any serious work we could throw at them, except maybe video processing. Selecting CPUs like the AMD BE series (with 45W max) or even lower level Intel chips (without virtualization capabilities, as mentioned before) should have been considered. There's also much to think about when it comes to power supplies and so on.

    Maybe it's interesting to look at the "Solar PC", built from the guys over at Tom's Hardware in Munich? They ended up with a systems which consumes about 61W when idle - including the monitor! Of course, here Laptops really shine.

    With low-cost NAS devices like the IcyBox (or MaPower) available, you could even have thought about thin clients or thin-client-like new offering like the Asus Eee PC (like Asus say, they are selling one each 6 seconds now). For 400$ or 300€, you'll get a neat little machine which can do most of what people want to do with their computers today. Add the same price for a RAID1 NAS, which can be shared within your household, and you'll have the perfect "green" setup.

    kind regards,
    wjl aka Wolfgang Lonien
    (you'll find more thoughts from me on the topic on my pages in the interweb)
    Reply
  • Calin - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Yes, the 800x480 pixels monitor on an Asus Eee will do great, especially in Windows with its fat themes (XP with default theme, Vista with default theme).
    Hardware virtualization might be a problem, though I hear it isn't much used for performance reasons.
    Low power processors? All the way. By the way, you could get low power from a normal processor by undervolting (and maybe underclocking). Not sure if it's possible on the chosen mainboards.
    Reply
  • wjl - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Who needs Windows to write a letter or surf the net? I hope that system will be history soon, like the dinosaurs... Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - link

    Considering that the average website these days is designed to target a minimum of 1024x768 resolution, surfing on a smaller screen can be a pain. Reply
  • tomoyo - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    A gamer would never pick a 5ms TN-Film lcd. Those have a lot of ghosting issues compared to 2ms TN-films. Reply
  • tomoyo - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    First of all, many components are completely unexplained. Second I dislike a number of the choices, the most major issue being the case/psu. Both case and psu picked are from very low quality makers. These are the types of psus that tend to explode with major load. They should never be recommended to users of anandtech. I'd like to see some more detailed research and explanations that go with a focus on good quality components, rather than trying to keep to some cutrate budget. Reply
  • Lunyone - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Are they kidding? This Apex case/PSU combo has got to go! I'd put in the NSK Antec Case/PSU combo with a 380w Antec Earthwatts ANY DAY over that piece of c##p! Who recommends that? It's like recommending a Rosewill/Broadway PSU (no offense) over a quality PSU. Did they actually boot these things up or was it just a paper launch? Hehehehe! Reply
  • Frumious1 - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Let's play a game: come up with the best system you can and keep the price under $600. Make sure you're including everything, like LCD, keyb, mouse, speakers. Guess what? It's damn near impossible to do if you're going to spend $50 on a PSU! I don't dispute that the cheap PSUs may fail, especially with overclocking, but I've seen a lot of lousy PSUs that are still ticking after four or five years. I've also seen plenty Antec PSUs fail within the first six months.

    If anyone knows a good way to get a quality PSU into a budget system, though, I'd love to hear it. I don't want to cut RAM, CPU, GPU, mobo, etc. any more than already done. So I'm left with spending $50 more just because cheap PSUs are going to apparently explode! Pardon me for being a sceptic. Sure, a capacitor may blow under heavy load, but the only way you're getting that sort of load is if you do some overclocking.

    I'd say that the gaming systems in this article are probably going to put out about 150W max without overclocking, and they can almost certainly do that for a long time. Sort of like my old overclocked Pentium D 920 (3.6GHz) is still chugging along with a $50 case+PSU I bought about two years ago. And I know for a fact that system is putting out more than 150W, yet it keeps running without apparent difficulties.
    Reply
  • wjl - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Right. The issue of power consumption isn't covered here at all.

    Following other tests as well, the Seasonic power supplies appear to be both cheap and efficient, tho they are at about 75% only. If you spend some 10$ more on a Silverstone PSU, you'll have about 85% efficiency, which pays back in the long run - plus helps saving the planet a bit.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Antec earthwatts 380w going for $30 AR at newegg. :) Reply
  • JonathanMaloney - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    First of all I just want to thank those who have taken the time to comment on my first article for Anandtech. I know there were a couple of issues that had to initially be ironed out along with some existing disputes over some of the hardware selection. Hopefully I'll be able to provide answers for these choices - please forgive me if I've left any out - I will get to them eventually!

    Standard or Widescreen?
    This was bound to cause some conflicts - undoubtedly at 20" and up, the choice is pretty obvious for most - widescreen makes the most sense, but at 19"? My original selection was for the same monitor but in 4:3 - but after some discussion we felt it was best to go with the widescreen option. Having the option to display in both landscape and portrait modes was a valuable addition, and we felt this was a valid alternative.

    X2 5000+ Black Etd

    My bad on this one - originally I went for an X2 5200+ but was recommended the Black Etd with the unlocked multiplier - in my excitement(!) I overlooked the fact checking process - I did check out the AMD site along with two other reviews for it but didn't find any mention of a heatsink being required. Being thorough is the key here and I let you guys down, so I'm sorry for that.

    2Gb RAM enough for Vista?

    Hell yeah! I'm only running 2Gb at the moment and am playing COD4, Gears of War, Crysis SP demo all extremely well on my Opteron 165 / 2Gb DDR500 / 8800GT. Of course I would prefer to have 4Gb for 64-bit Vista but for a budget of roughly $1000, 2Gb RAM was the baseline - 4Gb was an expensive luxury. Sure, if you have the cash, go the 4Gb route with 64-bit Vista.

    Linux for entry-level system

    A good point here - and it should have been mentioned in the article for those looking to save another $100 - and at a price of around $500 those entry-level PCs would have looked fantastic value. Only thing here was that we were accommodating for the wider audience, and one that undoubtedly be Windows based. Don't forget most entry-level systems are configured for the everyday office or home - a domain where Linux has yet to penetrate on a large scale. (Again, Linux vs Windows can be argued till the cows come home)

    Samsung hard drives

    A valid concern here, as Samsung are generally not a big player in the HDD market - not yet at least. If they continue moving as they are in the cell phone / RAM / SSD markets, they might just contend with the likes of WD, Seagate and Hitachi. Samsung produce some very reliable hard drives, and provide some of the lowest measured acoustics of any HDD, while also having a very low power draw. It was for these reasons I went for the Spinpoint series over the more traditional offerings from WD or Seagate.

    I'm sure I'm missing something here but I'll get to it once I read over the comments again. Thanks!
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - link

    Do the widescreens here rotate to portrait orientation? I love being able to rotate my 24" vertical to work on portrait oriented images, but I have noticed that a lot of the bedget 24" displays that have come out since I bought mine (February) do not rotate.

    Also, the guide mentioned Intel and AMD stock coolers using heatpipes. I have an E6600 and 2 Q6600 stock coolers sitting in their boxes here, as far as I can tell they are a copper core pressed into an extruded aluminum fin section with a fan clipped on top. Do higher-end processors come with better heatsinks?

    Finally, as far as Linux goes, my experience getting Ubuntu running on a few systems has been mixed. My desktop here at work (Q6600, MSI P35 Platinum, SATA optical and HDD, nVidia 7300GT, 2GB Corsair RAM) runs Ubuntu flawlessly, this system could be the poster child for everything working out of the box. My home system (E6600, Foxconn P965, SATA optical and 2 HDD, nVidia 7600GT, 2GB Corsair RAM) has been a major PITA. 6.10 ran well mostly, though there were occasional USB and sound issues and it did not like my Bluetooth keyboard. 7.04 would not run without some kernel options set, and would still freeze occasionally. 7.10 was completely unstable until I got rid of powernowd and added a few other kernel options. Then there are random issues like my MX1000 may or may not get all the buttons working each time I boot. So I would say the OS is certainly usable for common tasks (though gaming can be an issue), but the user should know they might need to tweak some things and should probably have another computer with internet access available when installing if nothing else in order to check forums and such for help in getting everything running.
    Reply
  • stmok - Saturday, November 10, 2007 - link

    I don't think it would hurt to mention Linux as an alternative if the person chooses to save $112.

    Hmmm, accommodate a wider audience?

    What does that entail? All they do is surf the web, email, maybe download a movie, music, and play an occasional Flash game or use some other Flash-based content. (Youtube works fine in Linux).

    All that is easily achieved with Linux.

    The issue arises when that much needed app needs Windows. Like Office 2007. (You can run Office 2003 with Wine).
    Reply
  • customcoms - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Glad to see even an anandtech editor is still gaming on a trusty Opteron 165. These processors are GREAT, especially since I only paid $150 for mine and its been at 2.7ghz ons tock air, UNDERVOLTED to 1.3v, since day one! Now its just time to ship my 8800GTS 320mb back to eVGA and get an 8800GT.

    One thing mentioned, but not in depth, is the overclocking ability of the cpu's. You mentioned it, but failed to point out that at 3.2ghz (which is reasonable for both AMD and Intel cpu's on air), the Intel cpu will beat amd's by up to 20% (which most everyone reading these comments knows). Also, the Intel cpu is more likely to reach that clock speed, and there isn't a plethora of knowledge on AMD AM2 overclocking since pretty much every hardcore overclocker is riding the Core 2 train right now. Which means for someone new to overclocking, the Intel platform is probably going to have better support at this point (as far as tweaking the motherboards etc.). Either system is still plenty fast, and it won't matter much unless you are benchmarking, but the Intel system gets the nod right now.
    Reply
  • piasabird - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I dont see many people using a Samsung Hard Drive in their builds on the website forums.
    Are they any good at all?
    Reply
  • Missing Ghost - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Yes they are good. At same capacity/RPM, pretty much any manufacturer gives you something relatively similar. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I don't know if the performance is as good in every area, but they are very quiet, cool running, and I have several that have not caused me any trouble. I have plenty of Seagate and WD drives as well. Outside of the Raptor drives (which are LOUD!) I couldn't tell which drive is which without looking at the case or running some sort of utility to look. Reply
  • Martimus - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Why was the display price $10 cheaper on the Intel build than the AMD build? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Jonathan originally selected a D-Sub only LCD, and we switched to a DVI model. Missed the price updates, though. It ends up being $20 more for DVI, but it's definitely worth the money in my book. Prices should all be correct now (I hope). Reply
  • Martimus - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    The display is still $10 cheaper on the Intel non-gamer build. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Ah... I updated the gamer builds and missed the base builds. Fixed. Reply
  • Martimus - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    Thanks. I was originally confused as to whether there was a rebate on the monitor if you bought an Intel chip with it or something. Maybe I should do something like this to update my old computer, because it doesn't really need to be top of the line or anything. Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Windows Vista Home Premium OEM costs $112 - that's over 18% of the computer's cost!

    You could cut the price of the computer down to $486 if you used Ubuntu instead of Windows Vista. If you were really cutting costs, you could also get away with 1GB of ram with Ubuntu, although ram is very cheap these days so it wouldn't save that much.
    Reply
  • stmok - Saturday, November 10, 2007 - link

    Yeah, agreed. Its crazy that if you drop Windows in the "Entry-Level PC" category, you can get a more powerful CPU or even a video card instead of an IGP. Reply
  • Zan Lynx - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I used to use Linux for gaming, until I decided to use Windows again on my newest system. So I can say that while id games are good, and Transgaming Cedega does OK, it is a whole lot easier to use Windows. $112 is 3 or 4 games worth of money. Well worth it to avoid the hassles, in my opinion.

    I also have an opinion on 1 GB RAM. The Linux laptop I am writing this on only has 1 GB and I often curse it for the slowpoke it is. Combined with a laptop hard drive, 1 GB RAM is not enough. Serious multitasking with many web browser windows, an email client, a RSS client, a NNTP client, 10 or 20 terminal windows, BitTorrent, etc, etc, and before you know it, that 1 GB is almost gone and it certainly reduces your file cache, forcing programs to read disk all the time.

    Get as much RAM as you can afford and will fit, I say.
    Reply
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    You can find the Vista Home Premium Upgrade edition cheaper than the OEM version. And it's better for anyone who builds, and upgrades their PC. Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I think the gaming config should include windows, but the basic non-gaming one with integrated motherboard graphics is definitely not meant for gamers. Reply
  • stapuft - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    AMD 5000+ Black does not include Heatsink/Fan, price goes up! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Text edited for purposes of addressing this. I actually didn't even realize the Black had no HSF. Then again, I have about a dozen extra retail HSFs floating around.... Reply
  • foofoo - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Thank you. Article came at just the right time. A few nit picks,
    Wrong heat sink and too many SATA ports (including RAID)
    Probably the P35-DS3R or a P965 series.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Fixed. :) Reply
  • Spacecomber - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Is 2GB of memory realistic on a Vista based gaming machine, especially with a 512MB video card and 20" LCD monitor? Reply
  • Parhel - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I'm running Vista 64-bit with 2GB, and RAM hasn't been a limiting factor for my system. 2GB is enough for now - even more so for a budget machine.

    If I were building a new system I might go with 4GB only because the prices are so low, but I wouldn't expect a big performance boost from that.
    Reply
  • Spacecomber - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Even though this is listed as a Budget Game System, it comes with a 8800GT and a 1680x1050 resolution LCD, and I would assume that these items will dictate the resolution and quality levels being used in the game's settings. My concern is whether the memory requirements for Vista and a high-end game might cause page file hits in order to keep up at these demanding settings.

    I'm sure the system will run as it is listed (especially with MS fix to deal with crashes previously seen on systems with lots of video card memory, while running memory hungry games and Vista); however, the stuttering caused when the swap file has to be used to supplement physical memory would be intolerable for most people when they are in the middle of playing computer games, especially online.

    These are the circumstances that I'm wondering about, since I think that most gamers would quickly find themselves going back to buy more memory, if this is what they ran into.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Yes, it's 100% fine in a budget build. Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Please fix the tables and page titles! I may have missed it in all the mixedup tables and titles, but I found no discussion about any of the case/psu choices. Reply
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I have no problem with using those ultra low end power supplies for integrated graphic solutions, there's no way I'd use a 400 watt Allied power supply for a gaming machine.

    The smell of blown capacitors and electrical shorts is non to appealing to me.
    Reply
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Allied is made by Deer; do you want to see another Deer psu in action? Here's a PowerTek also made by Deer.
    quote:

    Overall the load testing portion of the Powertek review was the worst seen to date. The unit proved to be incapable of even producing half of its rated output at 45c within the ATX12v specifications. In addition, when the unit failed it failed on the AC side damaging part of the testing equipment which is a mixed blessing since at least Kill-A-Watt's are cheap.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTMzOSwxMi...">http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTMzOSwxMi...
    Reply
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    quote:

    the Allied exploded. And I'm not talking about the quiet pop of a blown fuse either, this was something to make one holler things like, "Incoming!"

    http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=129...">http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=129...

    Reply
  • DeepThought86 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Am I the only one that yearns for more vertical space and hates widescreens below 20"?? Reply
  • Parhel - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I don't like widescreen monitors in general. For the type of work I do, it doesn't help at all. For my home PC, I bought a Dell 20.1" 1600x1200 LCD, and I'll keep it until it dies if I can't get 4:3 monitors anymore. Reply
  • neon - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    You are not the only one. There are plenty of 19" to 21" 4:3 monitors that look great, and require less scrolling in business/web apps. I disagree with the assertion in the article, "As far as we're concerned, the sooner 4:3 displays die out, the better." They still have legitimate uses.

    However, the widescreens do seem well suited for budget gaming purposes. They have lower surface area, and so are cheaper to produce.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    I'm not a fan of smaller widescreens either. The nice thing is you can put them in portrait mode to see more than one page at a time in word or adobe. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Agreed - at 22" and up, widescreen is superior, but a 19" widescreen is too small on the Y-axis. Reply
  • srenken - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Like the title says. The Intel entry level PC table is switched with the AMD gaming system table. Reply
  • soydios - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    yep, check the tables on pages 3 and 4 Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    Sorry about that - I paste the tables in after the fact, and unfortunately the order in the spreadsheet/HTML file was not the same as the order for the article. Worse, I lost power about 10 minutes after posting all this. I was giving it a final read at around 3:30am... then POOF! I had hoped all was well, but apparently not. Still trying to figure out what took down the grid for 7 hours. Reply
  • gaakf - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    The AMD Budget gaming table has an Intel processor listed as well. Reply
  • gaakf - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    ugh...read the first comment wrong. I wish we could delete comments Reply

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