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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, this is a a follow up to my previous thread. I've been looking into building a new machine to try out PC gaming for a while now. I'm running currently on a laptop, and laptop only. Yuck. It's a 1.8GHZ Mobile Sempron, with 3GB of DDR2 RAM running a Radeon Xpress 1100 Mobility card. Yeah, it's not the best gaming PC. It was an okay schoolwork PC when I got it 2 years ago though.

So! Upgrading time, that it is. So first of all, a budget. I'm looking to spend around 600CAD/529USD or so. I can go over if needed, or if the performance is going to be better by a fair margin. Preferablly cheaper if I can and it'll meet all the things I wish to do. So, what does it need to be able to do/what am I looking for?

I'm looking for this PC to last me the next few years, at least. 1-2 years? I don't mind mind longer if I can just occasionally toss in upgrades. I like to play fairly high defintion video, 720p at the most anywho. (Mostly anime, trailers and whatnot). I'll be playing these off of a CRT monitor however. I want to be able to play fairly high end games such as Oblivion, Fallout 3 perhaps. Preferably on the more higher settings. Now, the main concern I have is emulated games. I want to be able to emulate my PS2 games and possibly Gamecube. I know emulators exist for them, and I'm aware they're still under constant development. I'd like to be able to surf the internet and possibly use Windows Live Messenger in the backround.

What parts would I be looking at? At first it seemed like an overclocked dual-core was a sure win. Then I saw that a quad-core would allow for even more intensive multi-tasking. On my current computer, running Firefox, MSN Messenger, playing music, and running an other misc. application pretty much maxes me out.

Can anyone reccomend a good starting point?
 

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Opensource-spice
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Pick out the video card first, then the processor then the RAM; then work everything around those three items. This guarantees a good running start on the essentials so you might be better off cheating out on just a few of the other items via price.

A good amount of decent motherboards are selling for around 50 dollars; thanks to the fine people at Gigabyte these days that work on socket 775 processors. This is good for going budget.

As for a PSU; you want to make sure you do lots of research if going budget but don't be fooled by people telling you not to cheap out on one. Read customer reviews; check to see the ratio of satisfaction over dissatisfaction. Sometimes the price cannot judge the quality. Also check to see if any of the reviewers run systems similar to the one you are building. This will give you an idea on how the PSU might perform for your needs.
-Make sure that if your video card calls for a 6-pin plug, the PSU has one ready.
-Ditto for Sata plugs for the HDD.


A Hard Drive is a neccessity but not something that needs to be ultimately cashed upon. Good $50 500mb HDDs are selling now that perform well by companies like Samsung and Seagate.

DVD-ROM drives... get one for $20 bucks and enjoy.

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EXTRAS::

Coolers can be a bit tricky; although there are some fine coolers under $40 dollars that can do a very good job at letting you overclock your new processor. Pick one out the same way as you did your PSU.

Fans can be a dime a dozen depending. There's a company called ICQueen that is a subsidiary of Evercool. They sell decent 120mm fans for under $10 a pop. I'm running two of them on my case for intake.

A case can be a blessing or a curse. If you're going cheap; make sure that other people are satisfied with what they bought. The last case I cheaped out on was molded terribly.



Happy trails, bub.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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Don't you consider it contradicting to say "don't be fooled by people telling you not to cheap out on one" followed by all of the advice to research and read reviews and check this and that?

You're misinformed. People who say not to cheap out on one don't only or mainly mean to buy an expensive one. They simply mean don't either just toss in anything as an afterthought that doesn't matter, or check the watts and buy it on that alone.

You're right though. Do read reviews (Jonny Guru, and possibly others, and not just Newegg, since the more the better) and check your needs.

I also agree with most of your post. That line just really stuck out.
 

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Actually a dual-core would be optimum for emulation. An E8600 overclocked to, say, 4.2GHz is un-matchable. But of course a quad-core is better for multi-tasking.

Weigh the odds and decide which one to go for.
 

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Opensource-spice
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Don't you consider it contradicting to say "don't be fooled by people telling you not to cheap out on one" followed by all of the advice to research and read reviews and check this and that?

You're misinformed. People who say not to cheap out on one don't only or mainly mean to buy an expensive one. They simply mean don't either just toss in anything as an afterthought that doesn't matter, or check the watts and buy it on that alone.

You're right though. Do read reviews (Jonny Guru, and possibly others, and not just Newegg, since the more the better) and check your needs.

I also agree with most of your post. That line just really stuck out.
I think i just typed it wrong. :p

I meant don't listen to people who say not to cheap-out depending on the satisfaction factor of the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I realize a Dual Core is optimal for emulation right now, but will it be in the future? I suppose I could always just upgrade my CPU at a later date though... also.. what is an optium clock speed for PS2 emulation then?
 

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From Love and Limerence
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There's alot of misinformation going around about PSUs on both ends of the spectrum.

Some say "cheaping out" is okay since it worked for them (best not to risk others' entire builds over one's own experience though).

Others say you have to buy this brand, this many watts (or as today's people think, this many +12VA), and spend this much money.

PSUs are way too confusing to be sure about for most people, sometimes even if you read up on them.

Edit: It's not just for Playstation 2 emulation that a dual core CPU may be a better choice. The benefits of quad core CPUs are very vastly overstated all of the time. Some people would like you to think dual core CPUs are past their time even, when this is very far from the truth.

How heavy do you multi-task? Those four tasks you listed would honestly be fine on a single core CPU (I know your experience is otherwise), let alone a dual core CPU choking on them, as you're fearing.

Besides, PCSX2 will almost certainly take advantage of quad core CPUs soon enough. The benefits will likely be pretty small though. A Penryn at 4.0GHz and above really flies for PCSX2, let me say that much.

What will the future hold? Nobody knows! Future proofing in the world of PCs is almost futile. Well, obviously, things are going to move beyond dual core CPUs, but by that time, I expect most current quad core CPUs to be pretty slow, or almost getting to that point, anyway. Even if they last longer than a dual core CPU of today, the speed loss you trade for it now only evens it out in the end.

In other words, it's your choice.

I'd recommend a faster dual core CPU myself, but my opinion is biased, of course.
 

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Opensource-spice
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I realize a Dual Core is optimal for emulation right now, but will it be in the future? I suppose I could always just upgrade my CPU at a later date though... also.. what is an optium clock speed for PS2 emulation then?
That is all relative to the program emulating the system. The current emulation generation(which is PS2, Gamecube, and X-box) performs perfectly fine on Dual-core systems that can hit at least 3-3.5ghz.

Hell, even I can do fine on most games on 3ghz despite having a quad-core.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So... picking up a 3ghz proccessor would be my best bet, and overclocking it to 3.5? Also, I'd let to mention 99% of the time all I'm running is Firefox and Windows Live Messenger and some sort of music application. Typically, VLC Media Player. I also have Visual Studio running quite a bit, this really takes its toll on a single core PC such as mine that is weak... I obviously wouldn't be running that while gaming though. Windows Live Messenger would be the only real thing running in the backround with the game.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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I'm pretty sure a dual core CPU would handle that fine. I'm unsure of how demanding Visual Studio is (which potentially might change things), but as for the rest, a dual core CPU would handle it, and easily.

As for what's your best bet, well, as I said, that's up to you to decide. If you want a dual core CPU, go for it. If you want a quad core CPU, go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dual-Core is looking mighty fine. Now, let me just get some things straight. On my last thread, we aimed for a 400$ build and suceeded. I see the above one is listed about 550. Now, I know this might sound a bit of a cheapskate move.. but if I waited say.. two months do you think prices would drop drastically? The economy isn't the best down here, as other places so I'm really looking for the bang for my buck.
 

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Opensource-spice
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Dual-Core is looking mighty fine. Now, let me just get some things straight. On my last thread, we aimed for a 400$ build and suceeded. I see the above one is listed about 550. Now, I know this might sound a bit of a cheapskate move.. but if I waited say.. two months do you think prices would drop drastically? The economy isn't the best down here, as other places so I'm really looking for the bang for my buck.
There's no guarantee but Nvidia and ATI are planning a price drop soon... when is anyone's guess.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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I noticed that the build given above is from the US Newegg site. If you buy from Newegg, make sure all parts are available. I know the Canada Newegg site typically seems to have different, and less, options than the US Newegg does.
Joy, it's going to be fun to pick out a PSU then...
Newegg.ca - CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies

If I was budget oriented, I'd go with that (or the Corsair VX450 optimally if funds allowed).

If I was really strapped, I might look into some FSP or SeaSonic PSUs (note that I'm not suggesting that those brands are low end, as the opposite is true, as that's why I'd trust buying a cheaper one from them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hm.. looking good... well my main emulated games I really wanted to play were:
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy XII
Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts II

I heard XII, and X-2 had some performance issues though. What kind of specs would I be looking at get decent speeds on these games? I'm looking for the high 50 FPS range if possible.. willing to spend a bit of extra money if that's what it'll take.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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I'm not sure about the last three, but I played almost all of the way through Final Fantasy X on PCSX2 and got full speed almost all of the time (this was at 3.6GHz on an E8400 and without speed hacks), and I tried Final Fantasy X-2 for some minutes, and it played fine too.

As I said, a Penryn at 4GHz, or maybe even 3.6GHz or so, would be the sweet spot.
 
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