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Neither - The best socket for games has proven to be the socket 939 athlon 64s.

AGP or PCI express is a personal question you will have to decide upon yourself. PCI express is the new technology and it is debatable as to how long AGP is going to still be around. It won't be dissapearing tomorrow but it will be phased out in a few months?years?

In my opinion it would be best to wait a little bit for an nForce 4 motherboard with PCI express as none of the current socket 939 motherboards have pci-express available. This way you can upgrade your processor and video card down the track and still have an up-to-date system.

As for video card, this is an even tougher question. Around the $400 mark you are probably looking at either an older 9800pro(AGP) or a 6600GT(AGP or PCI X). I would suggest the 6600GT and see how you go with overclocking as they tend to have a bit of headroom depending on what latency RAM they come with.

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Hey mate

Sounds like you are trying to do a bit of a beast on a budget.

My system all up has cost me under 2K and its definaly not slow.

Athlon 3000+ 64bit (754 pin)

Abit KV8-Max 3 (uses the Via K8T8000 chipset - I prefer it to the NForce)

GeCube Radion 9600XT 256MB

1GB DDR400 Ram

2x SATA 120GB Western Digital 8mb Hard drives (Running Raid)

Pioneer DVD Burner

1x IDE 160GB WD 8mb Hdd (Backup)

There is nothing that I am unable to run (HL2 runs perfectly)

The way I see it PC parts are becoming very cheap to buy. So I have purchased this setup and it will do me for next 6months - 1year. That way PCI X is not quite as new. This should give them some time to figure out the bugs in the setup. At the moment the x800 AGP is still apx 10% Faster than the x800 PCIX. This includes the fact that PCIx runs at 16x and AGP is still running on 8x.

Get somthing for now and upgrade it later on when it is needed.

I am going to start looking at bigger video cards now. Not that I need to. I just want somthing faster again.

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go the athlon 64 3000. if u can afford it get dual channel and dual ram to match.

Get RAM rated above the speed u need. Get a really good CPU fan, then overclock it to whatever the 3500 runs at (just watch the RAM speed doesn't exceed your rated RAM)

The 3000, 3200, and 3500 are essentially the SAME. They just change the mutliplyer in them, they are the same CPU, so if u get a 3000, u CAN go to 3500 without risking the CPU (Assumiung u have appropriate cooling) The problem is the new ones have locked multipliers, so you need to overclock via the system bus, so u overclock your RAM aswell, which is why u need to get fastter RAM.....

Of course if that is all to technical for you, just get an athlon 64, 3000 (or better) with 1gb of RAM and u'll be sweet.

Forget P4's for games. They still run everything, but the athlon kills them.

If you do alot of video editing etc however, I think it's the opposite.

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Riceline: some corrections.

Firstly the X800 agp is faster because the core(430 off the top of my head?) is native AGP technology and uses a bridge chip to convert to PCI-X. Absolutely nothing to do with the "limitations" of PCI-X. The reverse is also found to be true, native PCI-X cards are faster than the versions using bridge chips to AGP - case in point 6600GT.

Secondly, the 16x and 8x doesn't mean squat, as no card is even coming close to maxing out the bandwidth available on AGP 8x. Nor will any card in the forseeable future.

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NJR knows what he's talkin bout.

Also someone mentioned dual channel RAM. As a rule I always use that and try to get the biggest cache on the chip.

The thing to remember when peicing your system together is that the bottlenecks should be as close as possible grouped together.

That is there is no point having a super dooper CPU when your motherboard/ram sucks (like most package deals I see advertised).

Likewise with the video cards (and with most things), I will always opt for the best of the older generation than the first of the new. This is simply a general rule I follow because mostly as things are already on the market there will be more support (eg linux/overclocking/drivers etc).

There may an exception with the 9800 based cards vs the 6600GT but I can't comment on this exactly as I'm not up on my video cards. Gave up long ago :D

Good luck :D

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