I am going to build a computer for my 12 year old son for christmas.
He now has a newcastle 3000. agp card, 1meg ram.
I was thinking of amd 3700, 1meg L2 cache.
pci express video card.
I cant afford a FX processor. I have heard that a dual core processor isn't better than a single for gaming.
I would appreciate any input I could get.
I saw on ebay a FX processor used for $175.
Thanks; Mike

Hi Mike.

The gaming PC one of the priciest PC's you can buy. All I can tell you is how much I paid for my machine:

Mobo (ASUS A8N Sli) - $150
CPU (AMD Athlon64 +3700) - $300
Graphic Card (PCI-E GeForce 7800 GT with 512 MB ram) - $500
HD (Maxtor DiamondMAX 160 G) - $100
Memory (Geil Value ram 2x512 M) - $120
PSU (MS Industrial 550W) - $30
DVD Burner (Pioneer DVR 110D) -$50
Keyboard - $20
Mouse - $5
Casing - $40
Monitor (second hand NOKIA 447 Pro) - $40
CPU cooling (Thermaltake Golden Orb II) - $50
VGA cooling (ArticCooling NV Silencer) - $30
Windows XP - Had it before.
Speakers - Had it before
Floppy - Had it before

Gaming purposes only.
(add to this $90 for second hand Pinnacle PCTV Sat (satellite receiver))

All of this was in February, so CPU Mobo and VGA prices went down considerably. I don't really keep track. Also have in mind that my graphic card was the newest model I could find then.

That is similar to what I was thinking about.
Prices have gone down. Are you happy with the performance? Is youy HD SATA or IDE.
I have alse heard that SATA hard drives performance over the ATA 133
hard drives is small and not worth the expense. Any opinions.
I may drop down to the 6800 gt maybe not.
Do you overclock and need a special cooling fan.

Things I would change on my machine is memory. Go for the ones listed in mobo manual (they cost 10-20% more). My biggest mistake was letting the salesman convince me otherwise. And 2048 M would be a better choice for gaming. (4x512, not 2x1024)

My HD is SATA II. If you plan on OS older than Windows XP SP1 you will need to do some pre-installation things. And you will need a floppy drive. (f6 drivers)
I must say that nForce4 chipset has one debilitating bug with SATA II HD's. Had to flip the jumper on HD degrading it to SATA I. Even then I had ALLOT of troubles getting it even to format the HD. Turns out that there is a firmware upgrade for my HD to meet the nForce4 bug. So, I suggest you look up on the internet whatever you choose to buy.

And for the HD performance... it is really up to the drive's capabilities. In theory nForce4 SATA controller can transfer 3 GB/s total (SATA II generation - 4 SATA HD's + 4 IDE drives). But my HD can do 65 MB/s tops. I can't really see for what would nForce4 be capable of such high rates.

I don't overclock. I don't need to yet, and I find my system unstable enough as it is (memory to blame) and top CPU speed I got was ~2700 MHz. (default is 2200 MHz, AMD claims it can go up to 3700). Memory quality is the bottleneck.

But, think of quality memory as cheap "future upgrade" when the games become too CPU-power-demanding. In about a year or two.

The fan for the CPU and VGA.... You should see the retail ones.
Really, paying $500 hard-earned-with-blood-tears-and-sweat cash for the VGA and getting $5 worth fan? Same goes for the CPU. Fan is ridiculous! I bought bigger/better cooling just to protect my investment. Also I can OC without worrying about the core's temp.

These days you can spend enormous amounts of money just on perverted cooling solutions like Freon-cooling (refrigerator compressor) or even water-cooling (like car engine). I've even seen casing that is really one big heatsink ($1500). No fans nor extra cooling needed there. Looks like central heating radiator.

Simple heatsink-fan solution is what you need. Zelman is the quality product, Thermaltake is the Zelman's 1/2 price copy - I'm satisfied with it.