Because of lockup problems I was having with my aging (probably 5 year old) PC, I recently bought a bunch of upgrades for my gaming PC (which is my only PC.) I’m also a cheap bastard so, inspired by an article I read on Tech Republic IIRC, I only spent $526 at NewEgg.com. My old system was an Athlon XP 2400 with 2GB RAM and NVidia 7600GS, upgraded from a 6600GT, upgraded from a 4200. It still ran most things pretty well. I reused my old pre-Windows-key IBM keyboard, MS Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 mouse, ViewSonic 24" LCD, wireless network card, DVD burner, and 3 existing hard drives.
These were the parts:
ASUS M2N-E SLI NF500 SLI AM2 Motherboard - $86.99. This is a SLI motherboard so it will take another video card for extra performance. Onboard 7.1 sound, gigabit ethernet, Firewire, etc. Also takes up to 6GB of memory if ever necessary. I found the RAM location got in the way of sliding hard drives into their bays, but that’s partly the fault of the case I suppose. Another thing that is ASUS’s fault is the row of capicators right along the back edge where the slots are, while trying to remove a slot blank plate I kept bending over one particular capacitor.
CPU AMD|A64 X2 3600+ 1.9G AM2 1M - $61.99. My first dual core CPU, should help keep system performance high even while doing CPU-intensive tasks. And it’s only $62!
CORSAIR VS2GBKIT667D2 R (2GB RAM) - $79.99.
EVGA 8600GT 256M - $114.99. Good price/performance ratio for an 8-series card, 256MB of memory too.
HD 500G|SAMG 7K 16M SATA2 HD501LJ (500GB HD) - $109.99. Big hard drive for a not so big price, I partititioned it into 2 250GB drives. Got great reviews on NewEgg for being quiet and reliable, I gotta agree with the quiet part. Reliable we’ll see.
CASE ROSEWILL|R604TBLK-N BK RT - $44.99. This is a decent case with a 450 watt power supply included, but I don’t care for the tool-less drive mounting things, they basically aren’t usable. Also I never figured out the clip thingys that hold the sides of the case on, I prefer simple thumbscrews. Worth the money overall though.
Everything got along together and is working great. With some arcane magic I even got my existing XP to boot up on the new computer. I tried out Test Drive Unlmited with all the settings cranked up, looked great and ran smooth. Next I’m going to crank up Oblivion, that should stress things a bit.
And of course on the same day that I ordered the new computer I figured out that a wireless ethernet card was causing the lockups on my old computer. Oh well, you gotta upgrade once in a while. I usually just get a new video card every few years, and I added a gigabyte of memory. That same ethernet card isn’t causing problems on the new computer (so far.)