Want new ($400) desktop. I have a Foxconn MARS: better to buildw/that or buy a Shuttle?


D

Dave C.

I'm trying to build a new box, and I have a 400$ budget. I currently
have a SATA hard drive, a SATA DVD-RW drive, and a Windows OS. I also
happen to have a new-in-box Foxconn Mars mobo.

I'm trying to decide whether or not I'm better off buying a Shuttle
barebones setup and equipping that, or building a new machine around
the Foxconn.

If you have a new-in-box Foxconn MARS, you'd be crazy not to use that. It's an older board, but you can build a decent (budget) gaming system around it.
Or heck, go into left field and just do something
different, or even buy a refurb.
(Or do I need to wait a couple of months; are we close to new
releases?)

What would y'all recommend, best bang for the buck? It's my home box,
and I'm looking forward to playing Arkham Asylum, Dragon Age, Mass
Effect 2, Brutal Legend, etc.

If your budget is a firm $400, you'll have to make a couple of minor compromises. First, you'll need a cheap case. Second, you'll have to start with 2GB of RAM. But with the MARS, you can add another 2GB or 4GB of RAM later, so no big deal. I'd suggest the following from newegg:

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

$39.99

XFX HD-477A-YDFC Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
-$5.00 Instant
$114.99
$109.99

BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
-$10.00 Instant
$59.99
$49.99

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK

$44.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E7600 Wolfdale 3.06GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7600

$139.99

Subtotal: $384.95

There ya go. HD 4770 is said to outperform more expensive cards on some games, and use less power, so it's the obvious choice for a budget build. 550W is about right for your hardware and you don't want to skimp on the power supply. BFG is making really high quality power supplies now. G.Skill is a great brand of RAM that will be around a while, so you can buy another pair later quite easily. That core 2 duo is cheap, dual-core and (most importantly) high clock speed. The case? Well, ya gotta have someplace to put it all. Not much to say, it's cheap...and that's what ya need. :) -Dave
 
Ad

Advertisements

D

Dave C.

I'm trying to build a new box, and I have a 400$ budget.

what abt this deal?
[/QUOTE]

Within the OP's budget, and yet way over-priced. First, there's no video card. The built-in graphics on the mainboard is OK, but games are going to run like crap on it. Second, the CPU is 1.8GHz. So even if you added a decent video card, the performance would be dragged down by the extremely low clock speed of the CPU.

Overall, I hate it. -Dave
 
M

M Bourgon

I'm trying to build a new box, and I have a 400$ budget. I currently
have a SATA hard drive, a SATA DVD-RW drive, and a Windows OS. I also
happen to have a new-in-box Foxconn Mars mobo.

I'm trying to decide whether or not I'm better off buying a Shuttle
barebones setup and equipping that, or building a new machine around
the Foxconn. Or heck, go into left field and just do something
different, or even buy a refurb.
(Or do I need to wait a couple of months; are we close to new
releases?)

What would y'all recommend, best bang for the buck? It's my home box,
and I'm looking forward to playing Arkham Asylum, Dragon Age, Mass
Effect 2, Brutal Legend, etc.


Here's what a friend bought last month, Shuttle-wise, for $400:
4gb RAM, 500gb drive, Phenom ii X2 550 3.1gHz, and the built-in
graphics are equivalent to an 8200 nvidia. I'd like PhysX support,
which this doesn't have, so I might need a better mobo in the
Shuttle. Not sure what that pushes the budget up to.

With the MARS, I'll need a case, CPU, RAM, and video card. I don't
know what the fastest CPU it will take is, though the box says it can
use Core 2 Duos/Quads at 45nm. (does the Crossfire support matter
anymore? Does that future proof me at all? Or should I just plan on a
new VG in a couple years?)

Finally, not terribly interested in overclocking. I've done it in the
past, but right now I want a stable, quiet machine.

MANY THANKS IN ADVANCE. Yup, all caps. I used to follow the sites
religiously, study specs, etc. Now I'm over 35, have a kid, and no
time to research stuff like this. I appreciate the advice.

M
 
D

Dave C.

Wow. MANY thanks, Dave! That looks great! My only question, mostly
because I watched a friend play Arkham Asylum this weekend: does the
Radeon support PhysX? Given the performance hit, if it doesn't support
it what card would you recommend instead?

OK, PhysX is an Nvidia proprietary technology. I doubt if any Radeon card would support it. I generally prefer ATI video cards, but there is nothingwrong with nvidia. To stay within your budget, you could try this instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130435

Evga is probably the best brand of video card that uses nvidia chipsets. EXTREMELY high quality. I think that, given your budget, a 9800 GT card is your best choice if you want PhysX support. It will be very slightly slower than a HD4770 of roughly the same price. Overall, I think you'd be happier with it, as you wouldn't give up any noticeable performance/framerates, but you'd gain PhysX support.

Or if you can scrape up just a little more money, you could go with a 9800 GTX+ which would gain you Physx support with no performance compromise.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130339

Good luck, -Dave
 
M

M Bourgon

There ya go.  HD 4770 is said to outperform more expensive cards on some games, and use less power, so it's the obvious choice for a budget build. 550W is about right for your hardware and you don't want to skimp on the power supply. BFG is making really high quality power supplies now.  G.Skill is a great brand of RAM that will be around a while, so you can buy another pair later quite easily.  That core 2 duo is cheap, dual-core and (most importantly) high clock speed.  The case?  Well, ya gotta have someplace to put it all.  Not much to say, it's cheap...and that's what ya need.  :)  -Dave



Wow. MANY thanks, Dave! That looks great! My only question, mostly
because I watched a friend play Arkham Asylum this weekend: does the
Radeon support PhysX? Given the performance hit, if it doesn't support
it what card would you recommend instead?
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

M Bourgon

I think that's a 65nm card judging by the 675 MHz clock. The GTS 250 has
the 55nm chip and is otherwise the same, except no 3D glasses, and is a bit
cheaper, to boot:

Depends on the brand, but from what I can tell the 250 is a gussied-up
9800GTX. My card brand of choice is XFX, just because their warranty
and support has been very good to me. Naturally, it's $30 more than
the XFX 9800gt ($125 vs $95), which is the difference between the
e7600 and e8400.

So I'm going to see if Fry's has any good case deals with a good PSU,
which'll hopefully save me shipping, and either get
9800gt + e8400 + RAM = $310
or
250GTS + e7600 + RAM = $310

Not sure which is the better deal. Thoughts?
(and if I can't find a good case deal, probably will go entirely with
Dave's original suggestion)

The nVidia website has precious little information on PhysX.www.nvidia.com/object/physx_new.html

Ageia's PhysX was around for a few years, and had really nothing going
for it short of a clever idea. Nobody wanted to support it because
you needed a separate card, and nobody wanted a $100 card for a
handful of games. Nvidia saw the promise of having something that ATI
didn't, and bought the company. I think that now it's finally
starting to hit mainstream, and given that my last machine lasted 3
(or maybe 4) years, I think this'll help future-proof it. Arkham
looks amazing with it (there are some videos online), but I think the
developer skimped on the non-PhysX version.
 
M

M Bourgon

Well obviously I think that would be a good idea.  (!)  But here is why I think it's a good idea... it is going to be tough to find a good quality power supply somewhere else for less money...or even at the same price.  And obviously, if your budget is strict and you spend more money on a power supply, that's less money for something else.

Right. In the past I've always just gotten a random, recommended case
(from Firing Squad, etc), and really haven't bothered much with the
power, since I'm normally not overclocking or anything like that. And
when I build the new one, I take the old one, case and all, and
repurpose or gift it. So it was one of those "wha?" moments when you
suggest spending 1/4th of my budget ($90+$15s/h) on the case. But to
be honest, you seem very insistent on a "real" PSU, so I'll get one.
 
D

Dave C.

Right. In the past I've always just gotten a random, recommended case
(from Firing Squad, etc), and really haven't bothered much with the
power, since I'm normally not overclocking or anything like that. And
when I build the new one, I take the old one, case and all, and
repurpose or gift it. So it was one of those "wha?" moments when you
suggest spending 1/4th of my budget ($90+$15s/h) on the case. But to
be honest, you seem very insistent on a "real" PSU, so I'll get one.

Well it saves a lot of headaches if you buy a quality power supply.
And "quality" doesn't have to be expensive...although lower priced
quality power supplies are sometimes hard to find, depending on what
you are building and where you want to source the parts from. People
never give enough thought to the power supply, but literally EVERYTHING
depends on it. IMHO, you should put as much thought into the power
supply as you do into other components like the CPU or Video card. Or,
you can just ask for a suggestion, like you did. Especially in a group
like this, if you toss out "Help, I need a power supply", you will get
lots of good suggestions. ;) -Dave
 
D

Dave C.

Hate to rain on your parade, but there is no such thing as a good
case deal with a good PSU. Any PSU included with a case is crap. NO

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112200

LIAN LI PC-61 COMBO Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 550W
(Seasonic SS- 550HT) Power Supply - Retail

You want some salt with that crow?

Holy shit. After following that link, I feel like I just spotted a
unicorn. A mythical beast I really REALLY didn't think existed. But
sure enough, you found it.

And yup, $150 seems about right. About half and half power supply and
case, both good quality.

I stand corrected. :) -Dave
 
F

Fishface

M said:
Finally, not terribly interested in overclocking. I've done
it in the past, but right now I want a stable, quiet machine.

Overclocking to the point of instability would be ludicrous.
An mildly overclocked CPU can be cooled very quietly.
I did read that the Foxconn Mars has some overclocking
ability.

I would hate to see you spend $140 on an E7600 when you
could have an E8400 for such a small amount more. eWiz
has a $15-off promotion with the code " SUPERSTEAL15 "
on an item over $100 until the 18th. But as an overclocker, I
would get their oem E8200 (2.66 GHz) listed for $114, which
also has the 6 MB cache. Of course, you would need to buy
a cooler for that-- preferably one without those abominable
push-pins.
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

M Bourgon

Overclocking to the point of instability would be ludicrous.
An mildly overclocked CPU can be cooled very quietly.
I did read that the Foxconn Mars has some overclocking
ability.

Yup. They're very proud of that ability - so I may give it a shot;
why not, as you say.
I would hate to see you spend $140 on an E7600 when you
could have an E8400 for such a small amount more.  eWiz
has a $15-off promotion with the code " SUPERSTEAL15 "
on an item over $100 until the 18th.  

Very nice! Thanks. Naturally, I now realize there's no way in hell I
can get it this weekend (duh?), next weekend is a datacenter move, and
the weekend after that is Halloween and all my daughter's Grandparents
are coming into town to see her. So I can't do a GD thing for at
least 3 weeks - at which point the specials and price points will have
changed. But hey, maybe some of it will have dropped in price.

*sigh*

Thanks again, all.
 
M

M Bourgon

One last followup - so I slightly changed things out, here's what I
got:
e7500 (yes, a little slower)
GTS260 (came bundled with a game I was going to buy anyhow, so I wound
up saving $10)
BFG550
Cooler Master 310
G.Skill RAM

Basically, all of Dave's recommendations. :) I love the system,
plays games great.

However, it turns out that by adding the 260, the PSU is now
overloaded - if I add a second hard drive, the system locks up while
gaming. Random freezes, reboots.... until I unplug the second drive.

So, I need to return the PSU and get a new one. It's either that or
buy a wall wart that provides power to parts of my system. I doubt,
somehow, that that's optimal.

Dave/all, could you please recommend a ~650w PSU, and one that doesn't
break the bank? Thanks.
 
P

peter

that card requires 2 6pin connectors and according to articles Ive read
needs roughly 182 watts of power..
or 38 amps on the 12v line....you BFG550 puts out 16amp on each 12 volt line
so even if you were to
make sure that each 6 pin connector for the Video card was on a separate 12v
power line you would still be a little short.
Corsair makes excellent power units and the TX750w would meet your needs and
then some
even the HX650 would be more than enough.
There are quite a few good PSU out there...Antec TruePower New, Enermax
Liberty, Seasonic M12
You just need to check the specs and pick the unit up.....heft is a good
indication of quality.

good luck
peter
 
F

Fishface

peter said:
that card requires 2 6pin connectors and according to articles Ive read needs roughly 182 watts of power..
or 38 amps on the 12v line....you BFG550 puts out 16amp on each 12 volt
line so even if you were to make sure that each 6 pin connector for the
Video card was on a separate 12v power line you would still be a little short.

Re: +12v, the sticker says 18 amps each rail, with a total wattage 432 watts
combined.
http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/17-702-010-S04?$S640W$

The Corsair 550 watt unit states 492 watts max. At least those numbers add-
up. My Antec NeoHE 550 watt unit's sticker says three 18 amp rails, but
the total cannot exceed 504 watts. That doesn't add-up! That would be a
maximum of 42 amps, still more than the previous two, but 3 x 18 = 54. The
Antec BP550 "Continuous Power" lists a maximum of only 384 watts! Very
misleading. It seems that you really have to read the fine print.

This page shows total system power with the GTX260 as 336 watts, but they
did come in 65 nM and 55 nM versions. It's an old article, so they probably
tested the 65 nM model.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-power,2122-3.html
 
P

peter

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-260-review/4

and its an old article as well

It's the AMP that count on the 12v line. So on that score you need to
check the power on the 12v line and see if each 6 pin connector is actually
on a different line. I remember a few years back where certain Nvidea cards
had problems with multi 12v lines because inside the PSU there was no
seperation
I am not a technical PSU person but common sense tells me your PSU is
letting you down.
The new Antec PSU are good...I've got one of the older good ones(
TruePower2.0 550) and it has been in use for about 4
years ...Socket 775/Intel core2 duo OC by 25%/2 DVD DL Burners/ 4 HD/ 8800GT
Video..at one time SLI
but I build another system/2 GB DDR2...........4 120mm Fans plus
Thermalright Cooler with 120mm fan
and I have no problems with power.

Good luck

peter
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

M Bourgon

It's the AMP that count on the 12v line. So on that score you need to
check the power on the 12v line and see if each 6 pin connector is actually
on a different line. I remember a few years back where certain Nvidea cards
had problems with multi 12v lines because inside the PSU there was no
seperation

"Dual +12V rails, over-volt, over-current and short circuit protection
provide rock solid reliability and safety"
http://www.bfgtech.com/bfgr550wgspsu.aspx

I am not a technical PSU person but common sense tells me your PSU is
letting you down.

At this point, I'm hoping that's what it is - because this stability
(or lack thereof) is driving me batty.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top