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hey! i have to build a new pc, and there are some basic limitations.
1. It must run DOOM 3
2. It must be under $1200.
3. It must have W!N XP, and W!N only. (not my pc, i tried to negotiate for slack dual-boot.)
4. It must run Doom 3.
5. It has got to be decent for gaming, (not on high quality at 1600x1200, but medium at maybe 1024x768)
a Nvidia will be much better for doom III and linux, so i would say that if you go that rout. for pure windows i don't really have a prefernce in vid cards, currently have a ATI 9600XT. runs doom III fine.
my rig for that is
1024MB DDR 2100
windows 2000 pro
i would get a AMD athlon64 if you want power, P4 is also good. Not sure about sempron and aviod celeron
building you own is always the rout to go.
anything you build will run with windowsXP, well unless you buy wierd and off the wall parts.
Currently ATI is a bit faster on DX but it changes all the time:
sometimes ATI is faster, sometimes nVidia. What doesn't change
is the fact that ATI Linux drivers suck AND they cheat on
benchmark tests. Ive had an ATI card before and i wish i would
have bought an nVidia instead. Go for nVidia, the small DX
advantage of ATI doesn't justify all the other problems with ATI.
Distribution: K/Ubuntu 10.04/12.04, Scientific Linux 6.3, Android-x86, Maemo
My feelings mirror what everyone else is saying.
You can get a decent P4 2.4GHz system with 512 MB RAM, and a medium end nVidia card for under $1200.
If you keep the HD size reasonable (not over 100GB) then the price shouldn't be bad. Also, to keep the price down I would suggest a build your own, or no-name system. You pay like $400-600 for the name plate on the box...
6800 GT is the best bang for buck card out there but still pricey. However the 600GT whoops even the 9800XT and costs only 225 for the agp version so that may be worth a lookign at. I prefer AMD as well over Intel its cheaper and faster.