Budget Gaming PC Guide

The Goal: To build a machine with maximum performance and minimum price. This PC build only includes the tower and everything in it. No peripherals or software included. The idea behind the parts I chose is a fairly basic idea, the one year machine. This is the kind of build you buy once a year, so the price is low, and peripherals aren't always replaced. Some times you can save certain hardware for an upgrade, but usually you'll need to buy new next year (Quad cores, DDR3, 2nd gen DX10 cards, etc...) if you want a near top-of-the-line machine. This machine aims for max quality in all games at 1280x1024 at the absolute lowest price.

CASE
CoolerMaster Centurion 5
$39.99 after $10.00 MIR
Summary: In building a budget gaming PC, you need to spend money where it counts. The case isn't one of them. That doesn't mean you need a plain beige box either. The Centurion 5 isn't exactly the best case you can find, but for 30$, it looks sharp, and has very good airflow, due to the front mesh, and rear 120mm fan. Installation is easy, and almost completely tooless, also if you are a fan of windows, their is an available model with just that
Why not spend more?: Well, that might be a good idea actually. It's all based on your needs. If you don't go out on LAN parties, or what not, and your PC just sits underneath your desk, then there is no need for something extravagant. You might want something with better build quality, or thermal properties, such as an aluminum case. While all those things sound nice, it costs money, and your case doesn't effect the performance of your components.
Why not spend less?: The 10$ special cases are cheap, flimsy, and are just pure garbage. They wont last, and it makes your PC look cheap, and most likely it will either be really loud, or really hot. Maybe both.

POWER SUPPLY
FSP Blue Storm II 500watt
$76.99 after $10.00 MIR
Summary: The power supply is the last place anyone should try to save a few bucks on, but this is a budget build, so we have to look for best reliability:price ratio, and this power supply fits the bill. It can deliver it's 500watts without failure, it's efficiency also sits around 78%, which is considerably high for it's price. It can, unlike most budget power supplies, deliver it's rated wattage. This PSU will have plenty of power for our needs, and leaves some room for future upgrades as well.
Why not spend more?: In fact, I encourage it. The power supply is something you really shouldn't be cheap on. Seasonic and Corsair (re-branded Seasonic PSUs) are excellent choices if you have an extra 50$ to spend.
Why not spend less?: Again, this is one component you don't want to be cheap on. Spending much less on a power supply wont guarentee problems, but it will increase the chances of something going wrong. I rather be safe then sorry.

MOTHERBOARD
Gigabyte 965P-DS3 V1.3
$99.99
Summary: The Gigabyte 965P motherboards are legendary for their overclocking. Of course Intel's 965P chipset is fast and stable. This is the perfect choice with overclocking in mind.
Why not spend more?: Sure, crossfire or SLI, heatpipes, 8SATA ports, dual gigabit ethernet, and other extravagant extras sound nice, but how often will you really use them? And these features come at a high price tag, where a top of the line motherboard now costs up to 300$.
Why not spend less?: There isn't many P965 or 650i motherboards that are much cheaper then this guy, and by no means should you ever buy an older chipset. The P965 is tried and true, and it's still one of the most advanced chipsets around.

PROCESSOR
Intel Core2Duo E4300
$114.50
Summary: This CPU is an obvious choice. With a little bit of overclocking, hitting 3.0ghz can be done. With that kind of CPU power, this computer will be lightning fast, plus clock cycles to spare.
Why not spend more?: If overclocking, the E4300 can out perform almost any stock processor, and the extra overclocking potential other conroe CPUs might have, it's not worth the extra 100s of dollars needed. Your better off getting a good HSF.
Why not spend less?: Easy, there is nothing that can compete with this processors performance per dollar. This thing is a monster, and I don't recommend saving money on the CPU.

MEMORY
SuperTalent DDR2 2x1024MB 667MHZ C5
$73.99
Summary: This memory is affordable, and stable. Even though this memory doesn't have the fastest clock speed or tightest timings, it is still more then enough for this system. Even if you decide to overclock, hitting 3ghz on the CPU wont even touch this memory (333x9=3ghz cpu 333x2=667mhz memory). But if you do decide to overclock this system even farther, I've heard this memory can go up and beyond 800mhz.
Why not spend more?: Memory performance is mostly derived from the amount of memory. The clock speed or timings of memory are important, but only give small percentage increase of performance.
Why not spend less?: With Windows Vista, and games like Rainbow Six Vegas, FEAR, STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl, absolutely must have more then 1GB of memory at high quality. Spending less here will cripple the system, especially this PCs longevity without upgrading.

VIDEO CARD
eVGA 8800GTS 320MB
$269.99 after $20.00 MIR
Summary: The 8800GTS 320MB is on fast card. You should be able to handle any game at 1280x1024, max quality settings. This beast does take in allot of power, and generates quite a bit of heat. But for 260$, you will be getting allot of power.
Why not spend more?: The only reason you might want a better videocard is if you run higher resolutions. If your run 1680x1050 or 1600x1200, then an 8800GTS 640MB would be more appropriate, as those resolutions eat up videomemory quick, and once the 8800GTS 320MB runs out of memory, frames start to drop fast. If you run at 1920x1200, or larger, then your reading the wrong build guide :P
Why not spend less?: If you need to save more money, this is one place that is possible. Or if you want to wait until DX10 becomes more mainstream, then maybe the Sapphire X1950XT at $179.99 after $20.00 MIR would be a better option if you want to wait. If you need to save even more money, the eVGA 7900GS would be a better option for $129.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate. But the 7900gs will have trouble most new games at max quality even at 1024x768. If you decide to save money, and get the 7900gs, you could also save money on the power supply. The 7900gs uses very little power in comparison to the x1950xt and 8800gts.

HARD DRIVE
Seagate 7200.10 320GB
$79.99
Summary: Not much to talk about when it comes to Hard Drives. It's got all the latest technologies, runs fast and quiet. And at 25 cents per gigabyte, it's one hell of a deal. Comes with a warranty that is longer then most, 5 years.

MEDIA DRIVE
LG DVD Burner
$28.99
Summary: It's a DVD burner. Thats about all there is to say.

Total: ~$711.00 after $40.00 MIR (taxes and shipping not included)
43 answers Last reply
More about budget gaming guide
  1. This is my recommended budget gaming rig for anyone who is looking. It's almost the same as yours with a different video, harddisk & case.

    Intel C2D E4300 $179
    Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 $109
    Cosair DDR2-675 2x512MB TWIN2X1024-5400C4 $100
    eVGA 7600GT 256-P2-N550 -T2 $120
    Seagate 7200.10 250GB SATAII ST3250820AS $75
    LG 18x DVD burner GSA-H42N-BK $30
    Rosewill Mid Tower R604-P BK $30
    FSP 450W AX450-PN $54

    Total $697 US before tax, shipping & rebates
  2. with the coming of dx 10, well one side already being out, the x1900xt will last much longer then the 7600gt, some things u shoudlnt cut bak in
  3. I personally don't think the 7600GT is a bad buy right now, especially for a budget PC gamer like myself. My mind set right now is going with a 7600GT for right now and then in a year upgrade to a DX10 card. If I wasn't planning oing wanting to upgrade to DX10 in the next year or so then yeah I defidently would go with the 200 dollar card recommended
  4. I believe that buying a 1GB stick of ram would be a better choice.
    My cousin recently bought 2X512 sticks of corsair and that only left him the option of upgrading to 2GBs total, which he did and now regrets because of the release of VISTA.

    List of GB sticks
    You can find some around the same price as the corsairs listed above.
  5. I realize DX10 is around the corner, but the 7600gt struggles with too many games. In fact, most new games can't be run with the 7600gt at 1024x768 max quality:
    NFS Carbon
    Gothic 3
    Oblivion
    Age of Empires 3
    Rainbow Six Vegas

    I believe it's worth the extra 80$. Keep in mind this is a gaming machine on a budget, so getting the most possible frame rates from little money is our goal here.

    Let me put it this way, spend 680$ and get a gaming machine that will get you by, or, spend 730$ and get 50-100% better performance.

    And looking at the previous generations of videocards, the current gen mid-range card is usually about as fast as last gen top-end videocard:
    ti4600-9600pro
    9800pro-6600gt
    x850xt pe-7600gt
    x1950xtx-8600ultra?
    (I said about, I realize that most of these cards don't line up perfectly in terms of performance)
    With that in mind, an x1900xt will perform about the same as a DX10 midrange card. And since no one should use a new Microsoft OS from day 1, buying a DX9 card is fine. Besides, it's not like you can't run Vista and game. And most games coming out that support DX10, will support DX9L so you can play Crysis and the such if you don't decide to get a DX10 card right away.
  6. is the 450 watt power supply enough for the next gen or two of video cards....for those not planning on SLi
  7. Quote:
    is the 450 watt power supply enough for the next gen or two of video cards....for those not planning on SLi

    It's hard to be sure, but my guess would be yes. While it might not be able to handle the high-end, it should be able to muscle it's way through 8600, x2600 series, and higher. I heard that the next gen (9800 (LOL) and x3800 series) will probably use less power then now. They will probably focus on cutting down energy while still delivering high performance (multicore GPUs?)
  8. bump
    updated
  9. Quote:

    Case & PSU:
    Cooler Master Centurion 534 $49.99
    While I believe case is probably one of the most difficult pieces to pick out for this build, I firmly believe this Cooler Master Centurion case doesn't get any better for the price. Cooler Master cases are easy to work with, they have very decent build quality for the price. And for the most part, they overall have a more professional look then some of those other 'cheap' gaming cases. This case is also virtually toolless, and is a joy to work with. Also, while you could easily spend 10$ on the cheapest case possible, it just defeats the purpose of spending a good amount of money on the inside components. Anyone who looks at the beige 'extreme performance' case is just going to think you got the 300$ special.

    Good ventilation & it'll be a good case. Nice choice. I think Rosewill has some cheap rebadged Antecs with free shipping right now. That shipping cost makes it a nice deal.

    &
    FSP Group 450watt AX450-PN $49.99
    As a countless number of people get told again and again, the power supply is probably one of the most important components inside your computer, powering all your expensive hardware. While a quality power supply is mandatory, you don't need to spend 100$ to get one. FSP (or Fortron) just make amazing PSUs. They are very affordable, they're stable, and best of all, you wont have any problems powering your system.
    OR
    Antec Sonata II w/ 450watt SmartPower 2.0 $99.99
    While the PSU unit in this combo isn't as strong as the FSP, it will still be plenty for the current build, however it might not be enough for some future DX10 cards. And since cases is more of a subjective look, I can't really say if this is a better looking case then the CoolerMaster. If you really favor the Sonata II, and your willing to lose some power, then this is still a strong choice.

    For a good "on paper" PSU e-Power has a PSU that is gaining interest. It is 550w with dual 12v rails and 20a on each rail. ePOWER ZU-550W ATX12V Version 2.0 / EPS12V 550W Power Supply (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817101021)

    How good is it, really? I'm not sure.


    Motherboard:
    Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 $107.99
    I already know everyone has a different opinion to what motherboard they should use, since it is the backbone of any system. Biostar and Foxconn both have excellent P965 boards, but considering the cost, and the maturity of this board, this board is just perfect.

    No objections here. This is a solid MB for the price.

    Processor:
    Intel Core2Duo E4300 $169.00
    High multiplier, low FSB, overclock central! And while this CPU is only a few dollars less then it's conroe counterpart, the price will get lower, and this will only become a better deal over time.

    Memory:
    Corsair DDR2-667 1x1024MB $69.99
    I can already hear them yelling and screaming at their monitors: "No you idiot! 2GB of memory." While I tend to agree, this is a budget build, and keeping prices low is my goal here. Remember, when getting more memory, it's not like you have to throw this memory out, just another 1GB down the road, and you'll have your 2GB of memory. And for the most part, 1GB of memory is enough for most people for now. And even when you decide to move on over to Vista, you'll still have the capacity to upgrade to 4GB of memory!

    Videocard
    Sapphire X1950xt $219.99
    OR
    Sapphire X1950pro $164.99
    OR
    eVGA 7900gs ko $159.99 (-$15.00 MIR)
    First, the x1950xt is probably the best valued card here. That card will be able to handle almost any game at 1280x1024 max quality. The x1950pro is a faster card then the 7900gs at stock speeds, but overclocking the x1950pro just doesn't shine. Considering with the MIR the 7900gs is 20$ cheaper, plus with a little bit of overclock can perform just as well. With the 7600gt only saving you about 40$ over the 7900gs, it's just not worth it.

    If the MB had SLI I'd ask about 7300 GT GDDR3 overclocking SLI.

    Hard Drive
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB $89.99
    Seagate hard drives are quiet, and fast. There isn't really much to talk about when it comes to internal storage at this budget, so, on to the next part!

    Optical Drive
    LG 18x DVD-/+ burner $28.99
    Once again this isn't a popular conversation piece when it comes to hardware.

    * This guide is NOT finished, I will want to hear from you guys on your opinions and suggestions! I want to make this a reliable reference for anyone buying a gaming computer on a tight budget. I will also be adding alternative hardware choices for certain components, and (hopefully) benchmarks one day! Thanks.


    Looks pretty good right now.
  10. Updated
  11. updated
  12. Although FSP is excellent, I would consider this unit if you are looking to shave $20 off the top

    HIPRO HP-E4009F5WR ATX V2.0 True 400W $29.99 ($37.11 shipped) @ newegg

    This is the same unit the Cooler Master eXtreme Power 430W RS-430-PCAR is based from (without the cooler master price & bloated 430w rating) and it has gotten good results.

    RS-430-PCAR review, Jonnyguru"]The load tester does not lie!! This power supply is solid all of the way up to 430W and then some. I was most impressed with the efficiency. It even passed the crossload tests, which were performed with the rails above label spec! Not bad at all!

    If you’re aesthetics aren’t high on your priority list, you don’t need a lot of connectors and you don’t need active PFC, this PSU is perfect for any non-SLI user on a budget. This PSU is efficient, quiet and fairly stable.

    I have used this unit in several budget builds it is arguably the best watt-per-dollar unit on the market at that price.
  13. Although FSP is excellent, I would consider this unit if you are looking to shave $20 off the top

    HIPRO HP-E4009F5WR ATX V2.0 True 400W $29.99 ($37.11 shipped) @ newegg

    This is the same unit the Cooler Master eXtreme Power 430W RS-430-PCAR is based from (without the cooler master price & bloated 430w rating) and it has gotten good results.

    RS-430-PCAR review, Jonnyguru"]The load tester does not lie!! This power supply is solid all of the way up to 430W and then some. I was most impressed with the efficiency. It even passed the crossload tests, which were performed with the rails above label spec! Not bad at all!

    If you’re aesthetics aren’t high on your priority list, you don’t need a lot of connectors and you don’t need active PFC, this PSU is perfect for any non-SLI user on a budget. This PSU is efficient, quiet and fairly stable.

    I have used this unit in several budget builds it is arguably the best watt-per-dollar unit on the market at that price.

    Thanks for your input, but that power supply looks a little bit on the weak side. It don't know exactly how many amps it can do on the 12v rail, but it's less then 20. Thats not enough for an x1950xt and an overclocked E4300. The FSP I originally picked out, is about 30amps max between it's dual 12v rails.
  14. you need to check out jonnyguru's load tests I think you missed the link in the quote above...

    +12v@28A/336w & 93W on the 3.3v/5v for a total of 429w
    +12v@32A/384w & 33W on the 3.3v/5v for a total of 417w

    All within 5% tolerance. I am probably going to use mine for a dedicated GPU PSU when I do my DX10 dual PSU mod it has been a while.

    edit:

    RS-430-PCAR review, Jonnyguru"]Breaking this down, we see we actually have a total of 29A we can put on the combined 12’s. Not bad for a $50 430W, IF it can actually do what it claims. Apparently it did and then some 8)
  15. you need to check out jonnyguru's load tests I think you missed the link in the quote above...

    +12v@28A/336w & 93W on the 3.3v/5v for a total of 429w
    +12v@32A/384w & 33W on the 3.3v/5v for a total of 417w

    All within 5% tolerance. I am probably going to use mine for a dedicated GPU PSU when I do my DX10 dual PSU mod it has been a while.

    edit:

    RS-430-PCAR review, Jonnyguru"]Breaking this down, we see we actually have a total of 29A we can put on the combined 12’s. Not bad for a $50 430W, IF it can actually do what it claims. Apparently it did and then some 8)

    My bad, after a little more research, that power supply actually looks like a good performer. I'll want to do a little more research yet before I'm confident to recommend it.


    I wish to here from anyone else who has opinions and/or suggestions about this build. Maybe even some strong points or weakness to the hardware I chose. All input is appreciated.
  16. Check the siggy .. :wink:

    I was lucky to get everything for just about $700.00 .. ha! ..
    I already had a harddisk, case, powersupply, lcd, etc. from my last computer ...

    Was actually cheaper than $700 when you think about it ..
    Always good to see those few who have the right idea to save money yet build a very powerful pc that can run with the more expensives ones ...

    Keep saving .. 8)
  17. Quote:
    with the coming of dx 10, well one side already being out, the x1900xt will last much longer then the 7600gt, some things u shoudlnt cut bak in
    The X1900XT doesn't support Direct X10... but yeah it is definitely a better card under Direct X9.
  18. I'd switch the RAM to a higher-quality "value" brand, like Kinston's ValueRAM. Although Corsair is tops for its premium RAM, it's bottom of the barrel for its ValueSelect.

    PS - You might also consider going with 2x512MB for this budget build. That should save about $70 that can go to the graphics card and/or PS. This also leaves a nice future upgrade route to 3GB total RAM by adding on 2x1GB. Since 32-bit OS's can't address more than about 3GB, there's no point in allowing for more, except for those people who are using 64-bit OS's.
  19. :) Agreed,Kingston Value RAM good choice,amazing warranty also,module goes bad and you ship out the old one and receive new one in 4 business days or less all paid for (there and back)by Kingston.
  20. Quote:
    Check the siggy .. :wink:

    I was lucky to get everything for just about $700.00 .. ha! ..
    I already had a harddisk, case, powersupply, lcd, etc. from my last computer ...

    Was actually cheaper than $700 when you think about it ..
    Always good to see those few who have the right idea to save money yet build a very powerful pc that can run with the more expensives ones ...

    Keep saving .. 8)


    Well, the build I listed, with no case, PSU, HDD, and peripherals, only costs 609$. Switch that out for an eVGA 8800GTS 320MB, total comes up to 679$. So it's under 700$, and has 2GB ram, compared to your 1GB. Thanks for the input though :P.


    Quote:
    I'd switch the RAM to a higher-quality "value" brand, like Kinston's ValueRAM. Although Corsair is tops for its premium RAM, it's bottom of the barrel for its ValueSelect.

    PS - You might also consider going with 2x512MB for this budget build. That should save about $70 that can go to the graphics card and/or PS. This also leaves a nice future upgrade route to 3GB total RAM by adding on 2x1GB. Since 32-bit OS's can't address more than about 3GB, there's no point in allowing for more, except for those people who are using 64-bit OS's.



    Thanks for the input, you too glopppp. Again, I did a little bit of my own research, and I seem to agree. Kingston stuff looks good, and it lowers the total under 800$!!!!

    I disagree with 1GB over 2GB. Yes, it saves some 60$, but 2GB is becoming the minimum. If S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl is any indication, that game absolute must have 1.5GB of RAM or it's not playable (at high quality). Games aren't going to start using less memory either. And don't even think about going into Vista with only 1GB as well. This build aims for best price:performance ratio, and you lose too much performance for only 60$.
  21. ChiefMax FTW ... LMAO ... Seriously, I'm using a ChiefMax 650W for 4 months now, and it hasn't failed. I'm looking forward to the day it fails, but apparently it hasn't ... :P
  22. Needs some pricing updates
  23. Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16811119106
    COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP
    $49.99
    PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817152028
    RAIDMAX Hybrid 2 RX-530SS ATX12V 530W Power Supply
    $59.99 - 10.00 MIR = $49.99
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145015
    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 (PC2 5400)
    $109.99
    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115013
    Intel Core 2 Duo E4300
    $125
    Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128042
    GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 (rev. 1.3)
    $109.99 - 10 w/promo code EMC424DGIGA = $99.99
    HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148140
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB 16MB cache Perp. Rec.
    $79.99
    DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827152079
    Sony NEC Optiarc Black 18X 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner
    $32.99
    GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102067
    SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 video card
    $199.99 - $20 MIR = $179.99

    OR

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143090
    BFG Tech BFGR7950256GTOCE GeForce 7950GT 256MB GDDR3
    $209.99 - $30 MIR = $179.99

    TOTAL w/shipping before MIRs:
    X1950XT - $788.66
    7950GT OC - $798.16
    After MIRs:
    X1950XT - $758.66
    7950GT OC - $758.16

    The X1950XT gives the best performance out of the box, but I've read that the 7950GTs (especially from BFG and eVGA) overclock to 620MHz+ core easily on stock cooling.

    I recommend the PSU since it has good reviews, amperages, and features (ie. modular, 2 x PCI express connectors)

    Hope that helps with some price updates as well as my 2 cents.
  24. What kind of overclocking can you expect from this build?
  25. about 2.4ghz with stock cooling, aftermarket HSF can hit 3.0
  26. Yah, getting some confusing feedback here.

    http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Overclocking-E4400-ftopict234623.html

    I based my build on this guide, with a few changes. I went with some corsair 800 ram, and an E4400. Should I have a problem here getting to 3.0?
  27. Sorry guys, I'll be sure to update the hardware and prices, and you can expect ~ 2.8-3.0ghz overclocking. I have been kept busy with... well, recovering. I had surgery a week ago. But as I said, I'll be sure to update all the information as soon as I can.
  28. Well, I appreciate your guide. Hope it was minor surgery.

    Thanks.
  29. Quote:
    Well, I appreciate your guide. Hope it was minor surgery.

    Thanks.


    It was minor, but it's still annoying. My house is my prison for the next 4 weeks... :(. I updated the prices. I still need to do some changes with certain hardware and comments. I'm not finished just yet.. :P. The total as is now, comes to about 690$
  30. Updated.
    With stock cooling you can expect up to 3.0ghz overclock
    With aftermarket cooling, you can expect up to 3.0ghz overclock.
    Link
    The E4*** series is hard to get over 3.0ghz, while the E6*** series can do up to 3.6-3.8ghz with proper memory, motherboard, and heatsink of course. If you went with an E6400, you could most likely hit 3.4ghz+ with this budget build. E6300 can't reach that high due to it's lower multiplier.
  31. Thanks Final for all the work you've put into this. I think I'm going to buy everything right down the line. Any recommendations for a Monitor and version of Vista? Hope you're not going stir crazy!
  32. Quote:
    Thanks Final for all the work you've put into this. I think I'm going to buy everything right down the line. Any recommendations for a Monitor and version of Vista? Hope you're not going stir crazy!


    Thank you.

    As for a version of Vista, depends on your needs. Almost everyone should be comfortable with Vista Home Premium.

    As for Monitor, depends on how much you feel like spending. As far as I know, Samsung has the best LCD monitors currently.

    For 300$, you can get this 22" (The 20" variation of this monitor is only 20$ cheaper). And after looking around, it's not worth saving 50-100$ for a cheaper monitor, you lose way too much quality. This monitor is an absolute bargain for this price as well.
  33. Check the 3GHz C2D Rig system I recommend ... the link is over my signature ... :)
  34. Quote:
    Check the 3GHz C2D Rig system I recommend ... the link is over my signature ... :)


    CPU: Core 2 Duo E4300 Allendale (Retail Box with HSF) - $117
    HSF: Stock HSF - $0
    -Same CPU and HSF as my build

    M/B: BioStar TForce965PT (Open Box) - $52
    -Now your cheating, open box isn't always available. And while this is a good motherboard, the Gigabyte ones are better, and it's currently only 5$ more.

    RAM: 2x 1GB SuperTalent PC2-5300 DDR2-667MHz CL5 - $83
    -I couldn't tell you which memory is better, but it looks like this SuperTalent stuff overclocks pretty well, and it's 5$ cheaper then what I have.

    GPU: 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 - $75 ($110-$35MIR)
    -The 7600gt is a joke, it is NOT a gaming videocard anymore.

    HDD: Seagate 7200.10 160GB SATA2 (3.0Gb/s) - $52
    -Your listed harddrive is about $0.33/GB, while a 320GB is $0.25/GB. While it's cheaper, it's not bang-for-your-buck

    DVD: 16x DVD Writter - $29

    FDD: 1.44" Floppy Disk Drive - $5
    -Floppy isn't needed unless you have raid, the Biostar and Gigabyte board both don't support raid.

    PSU: ChiefMax 650W $20
    -While I understand the need to keep a low price, I wouldn't buy this power supply, ever. Go wash some cars near a busy intersection and accept donations so you can afford something better. This is just asking for trouble.

    CASE: Generic Case (without PSU) - $12
    -Again, I understand the low price, but I personally wouldn't buy and beige computer case that instantly gives the impression that the computer is a pile of garbage.

    FAN: 4x 8CM Fan ($1.50 each) & 1x 12CM Fan ($5 each) - $11


    With all this, I know your going to argue your point that it is 450$ for the whole system. But my system is based on bang for buck, spending more or less will 'cause a decrease in overall value. And while less money is good, cheap isn't always better. My system vs your system 450$ vs 800$. 350$ difference is compensating for a videocard thats immensely more powerfull (The 7600gt struggles on new games at 800x600 max quality, while the 8800gts 320MB can run those same games max (0xaa) at 1600x1200). A much higher quality case and power supply that wont fail. I rather spend the extra money.

    However, I still appreciate your input, and it clarifies to anyone who is reading this guide for actual research into there new system, and your build brings in the super low budget aspect into view.

    Infact, I am going to update my guide with the memory you listed.
  35. What is the difference between the S3 and DS3, I haven't been able to get an answer to that. The spec's look the same, the same manual even comes with it.

    BTW, I believe this S3 does support RAID.

    I just got this setup last night, with most of the parts listed here. Trying to overclock with an artic pro 7, i'll let you know how it does.
  36. Quote:
    Almost everyone should be comfortable with Vista Home Premium.

    As for Monitor, depends on how much you feel like spending. As far as I know, Samsung has the best LCD monitors currently.

    For 300$, you can get this 22" (The 20" variation of this monitor is only 20$ cheaper). And after looking around, it's not worth saving 50-100$ for a cheaper monitor, you lose way too much quality. This monitor is an absolute bargain for this price as well


    Yeah I had my eye on that Samsung and I'm going to buy it. And since I am I'm upping the videocard to this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814122018 640mb 8800GTS. I think it's only around $80 more after rebate.
    Problem is I need to cut costs on something to do it and I think it's going to be the Power supply. Found a 500watter with high ratings and a slick blue LED for $50. It seems to have similar specs to yours minus the SLI support. Hope I don't regret it. If you really think I'm stupid to do it let me know. I'm going to sleep on it and click the 'buy' button tomorrow (about 12 hours from now). Keep up the good work!
    ps I think the mail in rebate is gone on the case...
  37. I don't want to repeat my argument here. Read through the whole thread, and you'll see explanations. The BioStar motherboard has been proven, to be consistently overclocking way better than the Gigabyte's lineup. All you need is to flash the bios with the latest version, or or hacked version. Besides that under the explanation of choice, I did address the problem of the availability of open-box motherboards, and recommended other motherboards as well. When have I mentioned buying a cheap casing has to be beige? Did you look at the picture I posted? The only thing that I might agree with you is your argument on the PSU, which I have even explained in my guide, if you read through everything you'd know I've made a note there. The HDD, it may not be the best $/GB, but let's say, if a 100TB HDD has the lowest $/GB, will you be buying it? There were many things to be considered within a budget system, the total amount to be spent, as opposed to $/GB, we need to consider what's practical for the price. 7600GT for $75 is a steal, and it's a pretty decent card in fact, and it can still be considered a gaming card.

    Again, the only concern would be the PSU, but I'm still testing it out, and I've got a 3.7GHz E4300 running for almost 4 months now, without failing. Once it fails, I'll definitely write a report about it and keep everyone updated. :)
  38. The difference is the "D" stands for durable, it uses better capacitors, which was a big problem about a year ago. They say it will last much longer. Most of the other features are the same.
  39. Quote:
    I don't want to repeat my argument here. Read through the whole thread, and you'll see explanations. The BioStar motherboard has been proven, to be consistently overclocking way better than the Gigabyte's lineup. All you need is to flash the bios with the latest version, or or hacked version.


    Can I get a link to show me that Biostar makes a better P965 overclocking motherboard then the Gigabyte variation?

    Quote:
    Besides that under the explanation of choice, I did address the problem of the availability of open-box motherboards, and recommended other motherboards as well.


    As I write this response, Newegg doesn't even have the Biostar motherboard listed at all, it's not even 'out of stock'. But when you make the recommendation to motherboards that are most likely to be in stock, the overall price of your guide goes up 50$. I'm arguing that your parts list isn't legitimate because all the parts aren't available, and in this case, not even listed.

    Quote:
    When have I mentioned buying a cheap casing has to be beige? Did you look at the picture I posted?


    I admit, I should of chosen my words more carefully. I also partly agree with the point that a case doesn't effect the performance of the computer either (except the cooling capacity, and thus the overclockability). When I meant beige, I meant just overall low quality. I bought a 20$ case once to save money, and it turned out the screw holes didn't even line up for my DVD drive. While this is only one experience, and by no means guarantees the same issue, chances are you will run into problems with a low priced case.

    Quote:
    The only thing that I might agree with you is your argument on the PSU, which I have even explained in my guide, if you read through everything you'd know I've made a note there.


    My apologies, I didn't read through the entire guide, but I have this time, and I'm making sure I give you all my information and reasoning behind everything I say here.


    Quote:
    The HDD, it may not be the best $/GB, but let's say, if a 100TB HDD has the lowest $/GB, will you be buying it? There were many things to be considered within a budget system, the total amount to be spent, as opposed to $/GB, we need to consider what's practical for the price.


    100TB drive comparison is an exaggerated comparison, were talking about an 18$ difference for 50%+ capacity. Although, when keeping prices down, ever dollar counts.

    Quote:
    7600GT for $75 is a steal, and it's a pretty decent card in fact, and it can still be considered a gaming card.


    Almost twice the performance for only 30$ more. I'm sorry, the 7600gt is just not a good gaming card by any standard anymore. If your buying a machine for gaming, then don't even consider that card. As I pointed out earler, the x1950gt is at least double that of a 7600gt, and it's only 105$ after MIR.

    Quote:
    Again, the only concern would be the PSU, but I'm still testing it out, and I've got a 3.7GHz E4300 running for almost 4 months now, without failing. Once it fails, I'll definitely write a report about it and keep everyone updated. :)


    I'm sorry... but you forgot to mention one important thing about your entire guide. The E4300 CPUs do not overclock nearly as well as the E6300. In fact, a 3ghz overclock on an E4300 is quite impressive from what I've heard. And posting results from your previous guide is misleading.

    Also keep in mind you posted your specs in my thread, and I feel obligated to defend my decisions. Your build might be suited for someone on a really tight budget without gaming in mind (rather photoshop, or such, with a Core2Duo processor and 2GB of RAM). But my build is better suited for someone who wants a serious gaming machine for a serious budget.

    P.S. I updated the prices on the guide again.
  40. Quote:
    Almost everyone should be comfortable with Vista Home Premium.

    As for Monitor, depends on how much you feel like spending. As far as I know, Samsung has the best LCD monitors currently.

    For 300$, you can get this 22" (The 20" variation of this monitor is only 20$ cheaper). And after looking around, it's not worth saving 50-100$ for a cheaper monitor, you lose way too much quality. This monitor is an absolute bargain for this price as well


    Yeah I had my eye on that Samsung and I'm going to buy it. And since I am I'm upping the videocard to this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814122018 640mb 8800GTS. I think it's only around $80 more after rebate.
    Problem is I need to cut costs on something to do it and I think it's going to be the Power supply. Found a 500watter with high ratings and a slick blue LED for $50. It seems to have similar specs to yours minus the SLI support. Hope I don't regret it. If you really think I'm stupid to do it let me know. I'm going to sleep on it and click the 'buy' button tomorrow (about 12 hours from now). Keep up the good work!
    ps I think the mail in rebate is gone on the case...

    I would really stay away from a cheap PSU if it can be avoided. If you absolutely must have a lower price tag, I rather get the 320MB 8800gts and a quality power supply, the 640MB with a cheap power supply.
  41. I've hit my target OC and used your guide for much of the build (at least what the build was previously). Greatly appreciated, it's doing exactly what I wanted it to do.

    Thanks again!
  42. Quote:
    I've hit my target OC and used your guide for much of the build (at least what the build was previously). Greatly appreciated, it's doing exactly what I wanted it to do.

    Thanks again!


    I'm glad all my hard work wasn't for naught. :)
  43. Updated. New prices, changed case.
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