Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

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jakemaheu
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Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby jakemaheu » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:26 pm UTC

Welcome, xkcdians. I present to you a challenge. As you may know, many of us build our own systems. We toil until we get it working, only to find that more issues have sprung up or that parts are out of stock.

That is where this thread comes in.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to create an ideal system from parts available online for a given price range.
Preferably, the parts come from Newegg.

It should start like this:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2600+
RAM: 1GB Kingston DDR400
HD: 80GB Seagate Barracuda
MB: TURD STRAPPED TO A FIRECRACKER...etc., etc.

You get the general idea. If you change a part, GIVE A REASON. Nothing would be worse than someone changing the architecture without giving proper reasons.

FIRST CHALLENGE: $500 +/-$50 COMPUTER
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby crzftx » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:49 am UTC

Hmm, you've only listed 4 items. Am I to only list those 4 products within that price range?
That would seem unreasonable. A list of CPU, GPU, HD, RAM, PSU, and cooling (maybe HSF to keep caps?) should be minimal.

I could see the case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, OS, and speakers being highly personal choices. There should be no budget on those items, but a lower bound could be kept in mind for someone looking to this thread for building advice.

To continue redirecting your idea until it is no longer yours, I propose that all sales be from any website but may not include on-sale prices, rebates, or other temporary prices. The temporary price can be placed in parentheses, or something similar.

Thirdly, no lower bound on the budget is necessary. If I can beat P(-1) using $50 less, I shouldn't have to spend some extra money (which may potentially weaken the performance).

It's late, maybe I'll try something tomorrow, and I don't know what rules you'll settle on for your game (challenge).
Something along:
CPU: $150
GPU: $100
HD: $70
RAM: $40
PSU: $70
aftermarket cooling: $70
$500

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mosc
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby mosc » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:25 pm UTC

"FIRST CHALLENGE: $500 +/-$50 COMPUTER" - Please Define.

Does it have to have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers? What about a case? Technically, you don't need a case. If I put in a shit PSU to save money because I'm chasing some imaginary benchmark, do I get some points taken off? What IS the imaginary benchmark I'm chasing?
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby BumpInTheNight » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:36 pm UTC

Is there a minimum FPS in Crysis we have to hit? Sorry but the rules are too undefined, computer built for browsing the web for under 500? I hand in: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834152093 and for 299$ hey it even comes with its own monitor and everything! Beat that.

Sorry but this sort of thing is like comparing who's got the best cat, which of course I do as well.

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Endless Mike
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:43 pm UTC

Does the cost of an operating system count? I mean, we can assume this is for use in Linux, but then why would I care about the video card beyond playing HD video?

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby jakemaheu » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

crzftx wrote:Hmm, you've only listed 4 items. Am I to only list those 4 products within that price range?
That would seem unreasonable. A list of CPU, GPU, HD, RAM, PSU, and cooling (maybe HSF to keep caps?) should be minimal.

I could see the case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, OS, and speakers being highly personal choices. There should be no budget on those items, but a lower bound could be kept in mind for someone looking to this thread for building advice.

To continue redirecting your idea until it is no longer yours, I propose that all sales be from any website but may not include on-sale prices, rebates, or other temporary prices. The temporary price can be placed in parentheses, or something similar.

Thirdly, no lower bound on the budget is necessary. If I can beat P(-1) using $50 less, I shouldn't have to spend some extra money (which may potentially weaken the performance).

It's late, maybe I'll try something tomorrow, and I don't know what rules you'll settle on for your game (challenge).
Something along:
CPU: $150
GPU: $100
HD: $70
RAM: $40
PSU: $70
aftermarket cooling: $70
$500

You are correct on your first point. A CPU, GPU, HD, RAM, PSU, and cooling would be a proper list. I would also include a case, DVD burner (?), and cables (if they aren't included). No lower bound is necessary either. As for parts coming from other sites, that should be alright as long as the website is trustworthy. The two main I'd use are Newegg and Tigerdirect.

mosc wrote:"FIRST CHALLENGE: $500 +/-$50 COMPUTER" - Please Define.

Does it have to have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers? What about a case? Technically, you don't need a case. If I put in a shit PSU to save money because I'm chasing some imaginary benchmark, do I get some points taken off? What IS the imaginary benchmark I'm chasing?

The idea is that you create a list of parts that create an ideal configuration for gaming. The price is that it should be roughly around $500 USD and not much more.

I'm thinking no on the additional parts (keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor). A case, however, is required. For a PSU, whatever. Just make sure it won't do stupid bullshit when it's asked for more than 300W.

BumpInTheNight wrote:Is there a minimum FPS in Crysis we have to hit? Sorry but the rules are too undefined, computer built for browsing the web for under 500? I hand in: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834152093 and for 299$ hey it even comes with its own monitor and everything! Beat that.

Sorry but this sort of thing is like comparing who's got the best cat, which of course I do as well.

No minimum FPS, but having a system that, for the price, would allow one to get the most gaming performance, is what I'm shooting for.

Endless Mike wrote:Does the cost of an operating system count? I mean, we can assume this is for use in Linux, but then why would I care about the video card beyond playing HD video?

The OS not counted. We all have valid licenses, obviously. ;D
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby Scoopster » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

FIRST CHALLENGE: $500 +/-$50 COMPUTER

Ok lesse here.. I've done this a few times for friends & fellow gamers.

Case: Antec 300 @ $60
CPU: Intel Pentium DC E5200 @ $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L @ $99
Memory: G.Skill 2x2GB Dual Channel DDR2-800 @ $40
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 3870 512MB @ $80
Power: Athena Power 480W @ $27
CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S233Q @ $25
~~ $401 + Shipping

Eh why not.. Keyboard @ 9, Mouse @ 10 and a 17" LCD Monitor @100 if you need 'em.

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby CortoPasta » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Ok lesse here.. I've done this a few times for friends & fellow gamers.

Case: Antec 300 @ $60
CPU: Intel Pentium DC E5200 @ $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L @ $99
Memory: G.Skill 2x2GB Dual Channel DDR2-800 @ $40
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 3870 512MB @ $80
Power: Athena Power 480W @ $27
CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S233Q @ $25
~~ $401 + Shipping

Eh why not.. Keyboard @ 9, Mouse @ 10 and a 17" LCD Monitor @100 if you need 'em.


No hard drive?

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby jakemaheu » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:05 am UTC

Scoopster wrote:FIRST CHALLENGE: $500 +/-$50 COMPUTER

Ok lesse here.. I've done this a few times for friends & fellow gamers.

Case: Antec 300 @ $60
CPU: Intel Pentium DC E5200 @ $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L @ $99
Memory: G.Skill 2x2GB Dual Channel DDR2-800 @ $40
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 3870 512MB @ $80
Power: Athena Power 480W @ $27
CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S233Q @ $25
~~ $401 + Shipping

Eh why not.. Keyboard @ 9, Mouse @ 10 and a 17" LCD Monitor @100 if you need 'em.


MASSIVE HEADDESK.

EDIT: Erm, I'll correct this.


Case: Antec 300 @ $60
CPU: Intel Pentium DC E5200 @ $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L @ $99
Memory: G.Skill 2x2GB Dual Channel DDR2-800 @ $40
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 3870 512MB @ $80
Power: Athena Power 480W @ $27
CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S233Q @ $25
HD:Seagate Barracuda ST31000333AS 1TB @ $89.99
~~ $491 + Shipping
Dauric wrote:Rent more backhoes and order more fill-dirt. This molehill needs to be a mountain by day's end.

sje46 wrote:It's not if when you get married the husband ceremoniously places his dick in his wife and a baby

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Axman
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby Axman » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:54 am UTC

3870?

Seriously?

This competition needs more definition. Can we assume two categories, gaming and workstation, maybe three with HTPC/media PC?

And a hundred dollars is a huge window that can too easily be filled with video cards. +/-$10 is even a stretch. Closest without going over would be better.

Core components are fine, p'raps including the power supply. Cases are irrelevant, so are hard and optical drives. You get what you pay for.

Actually, that's true for this whole thing, I'm not sure why I'm weighing in.

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:20 am UTC

Okay, Imma throw my go in.

Case: Rosewill R363-M-BK $49.99 (Small, but comes with a basic 400W PSU built in, enough to handle midrange components all round.)
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz $59.99 (2.5Ghz Dual Core Athlon, gotta love it.)
Mobo: BIOSTAR TA790GX XE $94.99 (An mATX board would be easier in the small case, and it OC's well.)
RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) $49.99 (Cheap, cheerful, more than enough for Vista, if you want it.)
GPU: XFX PVT96OSDFH GeForce 9600 GSO 768MB $77.99 (A damn good price for a powerful midrange card.)
CD/DVD: LITE-ON $20.99 (Again, cheap, cheerful, does the job.)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB 7200 $49.99 (Not the biggest, but quick enough, and cheap.)

Currently stands at $403.93. This is the best compromise I could find between budget and power. Now I'm gonna rack it to $500 to make it better.

Case: Antec 300 $59.95
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz $59.99
Mobo: BIOSTAR TA790GX XE $94.99
RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) $49.99
GPU: XFX PVT96OSDFH GeForce 9600 GSO 768MB $77.99
CD/DVD: LITE-ON $20.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB 7200 $49.99
PSU: Antec EA650 650W $79.99 (Fairly expensive, but efficient, and with plenty of W to boot.)

Which brings us up to $493.88. Just under budget.

As you can see, I tried to get an all round balance in price. Not one of my components comes up over $100. While this means there is a limit to upgradability, the challenge was for the PC as it stands. I think it's a good compromise with no major bottlenecks.

Thoughts?

Also: I wish components in the UK were as cheap as this. Seriously, this PC works out at less than £400 at the current exchange rate, but buying the components here will undoubtedly bring the price somewhere closer to £500-600.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby crzftx » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:34 am UTC

I wouldn't go with that card unless you're investing in aftermarket cooling. That fan is rumored to sound like an airplane taking off from your GPU.

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby Axman » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:16 am UTC

Yeah, that card's mad dated, and your build breaks the gaming rig spending rule:

$$$ GPU > $$ CPU > $$ Motherboard > $ RAM

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby majikthise » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:02 pm UTC

Where does PSU come in that system of inequalities? Between Mobo and RAM, I assume?
Is this a wok that you've shoved down my throat, or are you just pleased to see me?

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:15 pm UTC

Spending rule? I thought it was just a guideline. Anyway, as far as that card goes, it's powerful enough for most games, and noise (for me) isn't a huge worry.

Besides, there really shouldn't be rules on how much you can spend on each given component. You might, for instance, find a super cheap, decently powered CPU, and not be able to include it in the rig because it's too cheap. Which kinda defeats the idea. Man, this is like Formula 1. No single component can be lighter or heavier than X, the care needs to be no lighter than Y or heavier the Z, the engine can only have P power...
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby Scoopster » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

Ah jeez.. thanks for correcting me there. :oops:

And as to my use of a 3870, it may be dated but it's still a good enough card (mainly b/c it has a 256-bit memory interface) that it can be used for budget gaming builds. I would have used a 4850 or 9800GTX/GTS 250, but both those cards are over $150 and would break the bank. Likewise I'd have used a 8800GT but it seems their retail availability has dwindled.

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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:37 pm UTC

Scoopster wrote:Ah jeez.. thanks for correcting me there. :oops:

And as to my use of a 3870, it may be dated but it's still a good enough card (mainly b/c it has a 256-bit memory interface) that it can be used for budget gaming builds. I would have used a 4850 or 9800GTX/GTS 250, but both those cards are over $150 and would break the bank. Likewise I'd have used a 8800GT but it seems their retail availability has dwindled.
I still see 8800GTS cards floating around. The ones with 640MB of VRAM, and only run on watercooling. They aren't too pricey right now, but with watercooling as standard, not a budget option.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby mosc » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:57 pm UTC

Eh, I win because I can take a 4870x2 and surround it with an ever loving pile of crap and have much higher benchmarks. Wait, that's not the point?
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:08 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Eh, I win because I can take a 4870x2 and surround it with an ever loving pile of crap and have much higher benchmarks. Wait, that's not the point?
Really?

Because according to newegg.com one of those cards costs at least $430.

You can get the rest of the parts for under $120? $70 if you want to stick to $500. And ensure the parts will be able to run that graphics card, and not bottleneck? Also, keep in mine the 4870x2 requires a 650W PSU or more. That alone would take up most of your remaining budget.

No need to ruin a bit of fun with nonsense, yo. :wink:
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby GuitarFreak » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:10 am UTC

My entry:

Case: Antec 300
Mobo: Gigabyte DS3LR P43 mATX
CPU: Intel E7400
RAM: G.Skill 2x2GB DDR-1000
GPU: ATI 4830
PSU: Corsair 400CX
HDD: WD 320GB
Optical: LG DVD-R drive

Total is $531, $35 in rebates too :D
Last edited by GuitarFreak on Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:33 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:33 am UTC

That looks pretty good, although the case comes with a 400W PSU anyway. If you wanted to get another, I posted a 650W 80% efficient one for just $20 more than yours.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby GuitarFreak » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:35 am UTC

sleepygamer wrote:That looks pretty good, although the case comes with a 400W PSU anyway. If you wanted to get another, I posted a 650W 80% efficient one for just $20 more than yours.


I wouldn't trust the PSU that comes with the case as far as I could throw it...well, actually, that's not a good analogy since that psu is probably lighter than a paperweight. Either way, the corsair psu is great for it's price, and you wouldn't need anywhere near 650w with that setup.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby tryptanymph » Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:19 am UTC

Hee. Yeah, sound point. Although If you went to a more powerful graphics card, you might need something that gives out more than 400W. My listed system was a bit more power hungry. The CPU took more than yours, and the XFX 9600 needed a 500W or better (part of the reason why I had to adjust my build).

I would say that if you are going to get another PSU anyway, then something like the Antec 300 I listed would be better. Your system won't get too hot at all stock, but if you tried to overclock it, I can see it cooking in that little Rosewill case. An extra $10 for more space and hugely better cooling is not to be sneezed at.
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Re: Best Computer Configuration (Challenge)

Postby GuitarFreak » Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:32 am UTC

sleepygamer wrote:Hee. Yeah, sound point. Although If you went to a more powerful graphics card, you might need something that gives out more than 400W. My listed system was a bit more power hungry. The CPU took more than yours, and the XFX 9600 needed a 500W or better (part of the reason why I had to adjust my build).

I would say that if you are going to get another PSU anyway, then something like the Antec 300 I listed would be better. Your system won't get too hot at all stock, but if you tried to overclock it, I can see it cooking in that little Rosewill case. An extra $10 for more space and hugely better cooling is not to be sneezed at.


The 9600 doesn't need anywhere near 500w. They overestimate the power you need so much. SLI GTX280s will run on a quality 600w power supply. System draw is ~500w load with that.

Also, the 300 would be a good choice. Didn't see the price difference til now.
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