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Need suggestion on budget CPU for gaming.

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January 12, 2007 1:46:05 PM

In short, I have $600 to spend to buy a whole packaged computer (integrated gfx for now and 1gb ram minimum, will get gpu at a later date). I'm not piecing anything together. This includes xp and a monitor (like I said, budget). So I'm wondering what is best for gaming. This comp is for my little brother and right now all he plays is WoW. He's not into FPS games, I think MMO's are more of anythign he'll be using the comp for, maybe some RTS, maybe.

So this puts me at something like pentium D 805 or some single core athlon 64's I think if I find a good deal. (i don't think I can get an AM2 in this price range, so I'll probably stick to 939, don't know a whole lot about this stuff) Single core performs better for gaming sometimes right? Just wondering what cpu people think I should keep my eyes peeled for in a packaged computer, or even what ones I should stay away from.

This something like what I had in mind.
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Gateway-Desktop-PC-GT524...

The guy at the store told me it was AM2, but I looked into it and don't think there are any 4000+ that are for AM2.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any advice.
January 12, 2007 2:22:11 PM

The system on your link looks pretty good for what you say it'll be used for. At $600 before taxes with a monitor included (after mail-in rebates which I hate), the system is a good deal. You'll have to live with integrated graphics for a little while, but you should be able to drop in a discrete graphics card later if you find you need it.

I also think a PD805 system would be a good option at this price point, since you can get one very cheap with a budget mobo and still get performance by overclocking it.
January 12, 2007 2:27:49 PM

Yeah, the mail in rebate sucks, and it also means you'll have to pay around $800+ first for the Desktop package, which blows the $600 budget. They are Circuit City discounts, though, which might help (or hurt, depending on the rebate center).

Otherwise, that's not a bad deal. Not sure if it's an AM2 system, but maybe a 939, which limits upgrades a bit.

*edit*
Looks like a 939 system, since it's using DDR memory.
Also, you might want to check more thoroughly if it has an AGP/PCI-e slot on the motherboard for GPU upgrade, before purchasing. Nothing in the spec sheet stating available video card slot. So, OP might be stuck with integrated graphics for that system.
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January 12, 2007 7:03:17 PM

it has a pci-e slot. The $ doesn't matter up front as long is long term is $600 before tax.

Does anybody know where the pd 805 ranks vs any of the 939's (for gaming)? I don't know if I can get the computer before that deal ends so I may be looking at under a 4000+ athlon 64.
January 12, 2007 7:12:13 PM

First, ask yourself what you want to get for what budget, and then see how you can reach that goal.

Intel is on top right now, but what are you trying to get objectively?

What I'm noticing is that you're going with an AMD set up even though you're planning to upgrade long term.

There's something you should know-

AMD is phasing out its socket 939 processors, so you have to get the best bang-for-buck 939 you can to last you until later on.

That set-up doesn't even include a monitor and it's 600$ after rebates.

I could probably get you a system pieced together for 600$ or so, that'd have an AMD processor, a stand-alone GPU that'd dominate that system in bench-marks without rebates involved.
January 12, 2007 7:41:16 PM

In my local ad, they have the same computer w/ a 17" monitor for $50 more I think. (I don't have it on hand)

I don't think I can get an AM2 socket for 600 or less and still get 1gb ram and a monitor. PD doesn't use a 775 I assume. Either way I don't think this computer is going to recieve a cpu upgrade ever. I've never installed one and this isn't even for me.

I probably have a month before he buys something, but I don't know enough about the computer market to know if anythings near the horizon to drive down the price of older technology.

I haven't built a comp before and since this isn't even mine I don't plan on doing it by piece parts, cheaper or not.

edit:
http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/oid/165325/bundleId/707...

printer+monitor and still under $600 but I only have until tomorrow for it

Need advice on whether or not I get it fast or let it go and wait for something else.
January 12, 2007 7:47:24 PM

No, don't get it.

It's not a great deal.

Look at what I put together for under $500.

500 dollar budget build

I'm sure you can find a monitor and printer for $100 or so, and this system is better. The processor is only 300 below, but the San Diego 3700 is a great processor. 1 gig of ram, more hard drive space, a WAY better video-card, better power supply, better motherboard and better case.

The ram is also 2x 512 (Dual channel) versus what is probably a 1 gb stick in that Gateway set up.
January 12, 2007 8:02:16 PM

I think you need to make that public wish list instead of personal.

I don't really want to get a non-prepackedaged computer because I don't want the responsibility of troubleshooting it. I don't know what's in the link, but i need windows xp as well =/.
January 12, 2007 8:11:44 PM

Quote:
In short, I have $600 to spend to buy a whole packaged computer (integrated gfx for now and 1gb ram minimum, will get gpu at a later date). I'm not piecing anything together. This includes xp and a monitor (like I said, budget). So I'm wondering what is best for gaming. This comp is for my little brother and right now all he plays is WoW. He's not into FPS games, I think MMO's are more of anythign he'll be using the comp for, maybe some RTS, maybe.

So this puts me at something like pentium D 805 or some single core athlon 64's I think if I find a good deal. (i don't think I can get an AM2 in this price range, so I'll probably stick to 939, don't know a whole lot about this stuff) Single core performs better for gaming sometimes right? Just wondering what cpu people think I should keep my eyes peeled for in a packaged computer, or even what ones I should stay away from.

This something like what I had in mind.
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Gateway-Desktop-PC-GT524...

The guy at the store told me it was AM2, but I looked into it and don't think there are any 4000+ that are for AM2.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any advice.

Bad deal IMO. first its not dual core and second its max RAM is 2GB's. Plan on buying again in under 2 years and moving up to 2GB's of RAM will requires you throw way the 1GB. This system will not be worth upgrading to dual or quad cores so really there is no upside. This is a better deal IMO due to it has the an X2 3800+ but it has the same limit of 2GB's of RAM. The Motherboard is an AM2 with a 6150LE GPU.
http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?pfp=BR...
January 12, 2007 8:15:33 PM

Not a bad deal, better than the OP's original choice, since it is AM2, and much easier to upgrade, CPU wise, anyway.

How would just having 1 stick of 512MB for memory affect performance on that system? Just curious.
January 12, 2007 8:19:13 PM

Okay my wish list has been made public.

You don't want to go with dual core AMD. It's not really worth it.
January 12, 2007 8:21:05 PM

Quote:
Not a bad deal, better than the OP's original choice, since it is AM2, and much easier to upgrade, CPU wise, anyway.

How would just having 1 stick of 512MB for memory affect performance on that system? Just curious.

On WOW, OP's main game, shouldnt be much but at a savings of around $90 the OP could just upgrade with another 512MB's. Dual core and a 1GB for the same price.
January 12, 2007 8:25:44 PM

I was under the impression that single cores can still hold a candle in gaming to dual cores. Again i've never upgraded a cpu and probably never will(especially if it's not mine) so it's buy the computer use it, buy another one down the road (gpu and ram i do upgrade). That's lacking 1gb ram. I need 1 gb ram for gaming.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

Shows the 4000+ beating the cpu you have. I don't know how to tell if the 4000+ is san diego vs clawhammer tho, I just know clawhammer is really old so I assume it's not.

I'm not multi-tasking here, just gaming.

edit: you snuck in your retort while i was typing mine, I still don't know about single core vs dual tho for gaming at my price range.
January 12, 2007 8:32:43 PM

Quote:
I was under the impression that single cores can still hold a candle in gaming to dual cores. Again i've never upgraded a cpu and probably never will(especially if it's not mine) so it's buy the computer use it, buy another one down the road (gpu and ram i do upgrade). That's lacking 1gb ram. I need 1 gb ram for gaming.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

Shows the 4000+ beating the cpu you have. I don't know how to tell if the 4000+ is san diego vs clawhammer tho, I just know clawhammer is really old so I assume it's not.

I'm not multi-tasking here, just gaming.

edit: you snuck in your retort while i was typing mine, I still don't know about single core vs dual tho for gaming at my price range.

Thats the 939 X2 3800+ but here is the AM2 X3800+ on the same chart.
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...
January 12, 2007 8:33:51 PM

I think they will perform about the same, since the memory isn't DDR2-800, on that CompUSA deal.
January 12, 2007 8:38:01 PM

Quote:
I think they will perform about the same, since the memory isn't DDR2-800, on that CompUSA deal.

True but your also getting the better GPU. The gateway has the 6100 and the Emachine has the 6150.
January 12, 2007 8:45:42 PM

Quote:

Bad deal IMO. first its not dual core and second its max RAM is 2GB's. Plan on buying again in under 2 years and moving up to 2GB's of RAM will requires you throw way the 1GB. This system will not be worth upgrading to dual or quad cores so really there is no upside.


I agree completely. Your best bet is to eBay it for the best deal. 800 dollars is absolutely not worth it for that system (not to mention on-board video forcing you to buy a half-decent vc). And if you want to play games, that 800 bucks is now around 1000$ all for a single core Athlon 64 4000.

Personaly, I'd buy your power first with that 600$ - look for a 975 or 965 mobo as it will have upgradable longevity, 200 dollar videocard, an E6300, 1gb DDR2 (to begin with) or sadly 512 if your budget can't handle it, a 80+gb HD (to begin with), and that 400watt PSU Circutcity has for 50 or 60 bucks. IMO your preferences should go, 1. mobo 2. ram. 3. videocard 4. cpu, and so on. An E6300 would be a good cheap starting point on a highly upgradeable socket. SATA hard drives are cheap and won't differ a whole hell of a lot in performance unless it's raid and your ram is going to factor highly into your gameplay as a stuttering game loading continuously from a hd is almost not worth playing.My 2 cents.
January 12, 2007 8:46:49 PM

ahhh I'm really bad w/ the model names.

thx for all the help guys. I like the compusa deal but do you think it'll come back in stock before it goes away? (not available in stores)

My only other thought is gateway > eMachines or is it all the same basically?

edit: in response to above. I'm not piecing this thing together, I'm going to a store or ordering it and plugging it in when it shows up. End of story. I don't OC I don't swap out mobos or cpus and I also don't trust ebay.
January 12, 2007 9:00:03 PM

Quote:
ahhh I'm really bad w/ the model names.

thx for all the help guys. I like the compusa deal but do you think it'll come back in stock before it goes away? (not available in stores)

My only other thought is gateway > eMachines or is it all the same basically?

edit: in response to above. I'm not piecing this thing together, I'm going to a store or ordering it and plugging it in when it shows up. End of story. I don't OC I don't swap out mobos or cpus and I also don't trust ebay.

gateway and emachine is the same more or less. gateway owns emachine and the parts are the same for around the same models.
January 12, 2007 9:03:10 PM

I bought an eMachine 2 years ago and have been very pleased with it. Never liked Gateway and don't mind Compaq. Dell isn't as bad as you'd think either. Just don't intend on understanding a word that customer service speaks.
January 12, 2007 9:49:26 PM

You can configure a Dell with a 17" monitor A64 3200+, 1GB RAM, a DVD-RW for $574. If you could stretch the budget to $800, there's a 20% off $999 coupon on Dealsea that could probably get you a nice machine.

Other than that, there are tons of deals for A64 powered Compaqs from best buy for less than $500. Emachines could be good too.

But here's a thought, have you looked for a local system builder (a store, not just a person) that might be able to custom build you something for a reasonable price?
January 12, 2007 10:00:14 PM

here's another alternative from iBuyPower.com which I hear is pretty decent...

Raidmax Ares Gaming Tower Case w/420W Power Supply
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ dual core
GigaByte GA-M55SLI-S4 nForce4-SLI Chipset w/7.1 Audio, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, IEEE-1394 Dual PCI-E MB
1GB RAM
Geforce 7300GS graphics, that has to be better than 6150
160GB SATA HDD
DVD-RW
onboard sound and NIC
keybd and mouse
even matching black optical and floppy. Plus the case looks cooler than Compaq or Gateway or Emachines.


Bonus:
3yr limited warranty and lifetime tech support


*** FREE STUFF (T-Shirt and GAMES!!!)***
[Free] Tom Clancy Rainbow Six Vegas Game must purchase with AMD Athlon 64 X2/Mobile AMD Turion 64/Turion 64 X2 Processor based system [+ $0]
[Free] iBUYPOWER Aegis Case - for your Games, Accessories, Disks, Manuals ... etc. --- $19.99 value [+ $0]
[Free] iBUYPOWER T-Shirt with AMD 64 X2 Logo on front and back with Archlord Game Graphic --- $19.99 value [+ $0]
Free Game - [Hero] [+ $0]
Free Games - [Age of Empires III] and [Rise Of Nations: Rise Of Legend] must purchase with AMD Athlon 64 X2/Mobile AMD Turion 64/Turion 64 X2 Processor based system

Total cost: $604. I'd rather have this than the Gateway you originally picked out. $4 over budget and shipping/possible taxes but no rebate hassles.
January 12, 2007 10:42:39 PM

While the computer you linked looks nice, no monitor or win XP so that puts me way over. Unfortunately 600 is the limit, 620 or something like that could be done but not really much more than that.

I will take you up on the local system builder idea though.

I'm still tempted to get one of the comps talked aobut earlier (the gateway i linked or the compusa emachines) but I'm going to wait for now.
January 12, 2007 11:20:23 PM

Shoot, sorry bout that, I assumed it had XP home...
January 12, 2007 11:24:39 PM
January 12, 2007 11:29:23 PM

The thing is, you said you wanted to game mildly, right? There won't be much of that on onboard graphics - unless you play easy graphical like WoW. Your options will be so limited in say Fear or CSS/HL2, you'l never get good gameplay or near half effect. If you get that Compaq, buy a 7300GS or GT. The GS is like 50 bucks right now and it will complement it 10x more than onboard.

I bought a Compaq this summer with a 64 3500+ and onboard 128mb x300 video. HL2 was difficult at 800x600. I was forced to turn most enhancements off. Bought a 256mb 7300GS and I was able to play at 1024x768 with a bit more eye candy. Overall, a seperate GPU is essential, unless you surf the web/listen to tunes/or check your email. :wink:
January 13, 2007 4:01:44 PM

Ok the thing is right now WoW is all that he'd be playing other than like old old games. So the onboard isn't bad, my other brother plays wow w/ an athlon 64 3500+ w/out a seperate video card and it runs just fine. I just want a good start on a good but cheap cpu for gaming and the gpu will come further down the road.
January 13, 2007 7:23:02 PM

I have been shopping for the past several months for a system for my mother. She's in NY and I'm in OR. I don't want to try to provide "technical support" for a built system. Here's what I've seen.

Dell is expensive and you have to wait too long.

OfficeMax has had some good deals WITHOUT rebates. They don't have any deals this week.

The rest, Office Depot, Best buy, etc, run sales all the time. Office Depot has this system for $550 after rebates (in my area) Office Depot It's an AM2 3800+ so future upgrades are possible. The monitor has a faily low resolution though (but it is a widescreen 19"). It also will upgrade to Vista, but wait until the first service pack comes out to upgrade.

As for the system at Circuit City, it might be a better gamer now, but its future is limited, other than upgrading the video card. As long as you understand that if you get it, there's no upgrade road other than RAM and Video. The office Depot system, on the other hand, has the POSSIBILITY of a CPU upgrade at a latter date as well as RAM and video. I have been impressed with the Gateway LCDs.

My recommendation: get a system that has a future. I don't like buying a dead-end product. We don't know what AMD is going to do for sure with AM2, but we do know that 939 is done. A socket 775 system would also have a future. Once your brother has a capable system, he's going to think, "Hmmm, what else can I do?" Very soon, all of the games will be able to use multi-cpu systems.
If you can get Sunday's paper today, you'll be able to see what's coming in next week's adds.

Hope this helps.
January 14, 2007 4:10:06 PM

I managed to get it bumped up to $700 (no exceptions) however this weeks ads don't look promising unless I want to get a PD 805 which I kind of don't.

I checked the office depot sales, their amd's are 939 this week.
January 14, 2007 4:44:08 PM

Wait for more $$$ and get a C2D E6300, then overclock the **** out of it.
January 14, 2007 6:27:38 PM

Oh sure. Sorry about that. It would work fine then.
Quote:
He's not into FPS games

The reason for my concern is that onboard uses resources in effect slowing. For easy graphics and XP use, a 6150 would be my choice too.
January 14, 2007 8:03:06 PM

Quote:
I managed to get it bumped up to $700 (no exceptions) however this weeks ads don't look promising unless I want to get a PD 805 which I kind of don't.

I checked the office depot sales, their amd's are 939 this week.



Yeah, I wouldn't want a 805 system either at a Core 2 Duo price tag.

You stated you would NEVER be swapping CPUs and motherboards, so what does it matter if it's 939? DDR vs DDR2 memory wouldn't effect you.


You should really think about building your own from Newegg. I recently basically gutted my 2 year old Compaq and placed in a new motherboard and Opteron CPU. Did a fresh install of XP. It was really easy. Extremely easy. Everything is basically plug-n-play now days. You're looking at the end of the week if you order tomorrow.
January 15, 2007 1:50:52 PM

Having only installed RAM/pci slot stuff I'm a little hesitant to try and build it from the ground up. I'm pretty confident I coudl mash everything together (minus maybe the cpu) but the real problem comes w/ the troubleshooting. If it doesn't work after the initial attempt I'm out of ideas and the comp isn't even mine. I kind of want to wash my hands once it's ordered in case problems arise down the line.

What if i start w/ like a barebones kit like:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1685...

It's really cheap but that'd do a lot of the initial work for me. Is that thing too crappy to consider buying? (Remember I'm not planning on OC'ing or anything like that)
January 15, 2007 3:20:38 PM

Its actually not all that hard.

Just follow the motherboard instruction booklet like a bible and not much can go wrong.

One of the biggest problems I ever had was a system wouldnt turn on...found out that I just hadn't plugged in the power switch to the motherboard lol.

If you do have problems, they are mostly easily resolved.
January 15, 2007 4:30:13 PM

It's still a build.

You said that the OD systems were 939 systems. Although the 3800+ system that they have is not a X2 (dual core), it is AM2 based and therefore future upgrades apply. That system is only $400, but it does have a CRT instead of a LCD. That may be good because of the slow response time of some of the cheaper LCDs. This system is only rated at 200 Mhz lower than the CC system but is $200 less and you can add a 17"LCD (16ms response) for $110 for a total price of $510. That would give you $$$ to get a video card such as a 7600GT (NOT GS) or, to stretch the budget, a X1950 Pro. (take time, look for rebates)

Another possibility is to stretch the budget and get a sweet system that Best Buy has on sale on its web site. E6300 system This system will cost more now but will be cheaper in the long run. For instance, it has 4 RAM slots so that IF you wanted to add more RAM, you could WITHOUT having to replace the existing RAM. This system has the horsepower to last a long time, and the Intel built motherboard's on-board X3000 graphics are supposed to be pretty good. And, it has a 19" widescreen. I can't find anything I don't like about this system. You could even watch movies on this system. BB also has the following that fits your budget with a X2 3800+ system X2 3800+ but the monitor has a 16ms response time.

Before buying, look into LCD response time and games.
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