Really Really Cheap Gaming Computer -- Critique welcomed

I'm helping my friend build a decent gaming computer that can play BF2142 and like games on high and used my computer to benchmark where this one would fall. I do realize that using a PSU that comes with a case isn't the greatest, but for budget's sake it is negligible. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please try to keep the total cost under $700 (not including shipping). All together this build below comes to $653.93

Case (w/ PSU)
APEVIA X-Dreamer II ATXB4KLW-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply
Link

Mobo
ASUS P5L-MX LGA 775 Intel 945G Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Link

Graphics Card
connect3D Radeon X1800GTO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16
Link

CPU
Intel Pentium 4 650 Prescott 3.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Link

Memory
Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) EDIT: This is 2GB (1 x 2GB) that's reflected in the price
Link

HDD
Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Link

Optical
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R Burner with 12X DVD-RAM write and LightScribe Technology
Link
74 answers Last reply
More about really cheap gaming computer critique welcomed
  1. A Pentium D 805 or 820 cost the same as the P4 use one of those.
  2. yeah that cpu is garbage a 3.4 single prescott is like as good as 1.6 ghz single core core2duo would be. in reality its worth about $50. spend like 1.5 times as much and get triple the performance.
  3. Blimey. That is cheap!

    You could get an ATI X1950 PRO for the same price. It's a lot better too. You should definitely do this regardless of the following paragraph.

    As other people have said, the processor is a dog, but you'd have to shell out $75 more for an E4300 ($175), and then you'd need a Gigabyte S3 mobo ($109) to overclock it properly. This would take you over budget by about $60. To say it would be worth it, however, would be a bit of an understatement: the performance would be miles better. It would be state of the art, not 2 years out of date.
  4. If you want Intel quadcore compitable for the future:
    A better CPU choice for the money:
    Celeron D 356, 3.33Ghz $55 Retail at E-wiz

    Mobo: Asrock 775 4COREDUAL-VSTA $55, where you can find it.
  5. Suggest you take a hard look at the manufacturer "Apevia". Their warranties are really squirrelly. I ordered an Apevia power supply and thankfully did some research on the product before the order went through. I could not find warranty information anywhere. Finally I called them and they told me the PS had a one month warranty, after that it's prorated for repair for about $30 bucks. I promptly canceled that order, as a warranty that lousy is typically a cost control measure for an equally lousy product. Buyers remorse is the worst feeling, do some research based on what's important to you.
  6. save up a few more $$$ and buy any Core2Duo you can get, a decent ASUS/Gigabyte motherboard and the rest is up to you - atleast you will have strong lasting performance and reliability there atleast
  7. Lose that graphics card. Remember when it comes to games, graphics cards are the most important part of your system. 1950 pro is the way to go!
  8. That CPU isn't worth nearly half of what newegg is asking for it. Go with a Core 2 Duo E6300 or E4300.
  9. This processor is 26 Dollars cheaper than the one you selected and will run circles around it. You may want to put the difference into your motherboard and you will really see awesome performance while staying within your budget.


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115005
  10. Definately no on that processor. $213 bucks for a single core, Netburst, Prescott, Pentium 4 is a shaaaam.

    Plus, you have a MicroATX motherboard with an ATX case. That won't work.

    Get a P965 board, something like this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128017

    And a Core 2 Duo E4300:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115013

    For the about the same price, and get a system that is twice as good and much more futureworthy.

    Edit:

    I also see no discernable difference other than model number between the RAM you selected, and this slightly cheaper Kingston DIMM:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820134045

    I would save the 4 bucks.
  11. get a dual core if you are going with the pentium 4, the pentium d 8xx is way better than the 6xx. and for the video card a x1900 will work better than the x1800 and only for a cuple of bucks.
  12. Erm... Is anyone hearing an echo in here?
  13. Screw that entire setup and go with a AMD 3800+ X2, that will smoke any pentium setup, there is no reason to try and reach to high and go for a core 2 duo since his budget is so tight.

    unless if you really think you can stretch the extra money try doing something like this

    GUIDE: 3+GHz Core 2 Duo Budget System for $631 (Overclock)


    just substitute the graphics card for a 7600GT, or unless you really want to upgrade go with the X1950Pro...
  14. Quote:
    there is no reason to try and reach to high and go for a core 2 duo since his budget is so tight.


    ...Core 2 Duo wouldn't stretch his budget, he's considering a P4 for 213 dollars, he could go with a cheaper E4300 for $175 and a $100 mobo, thus equaling the same as the current proposition. 700 bucks is very easily within range of of a good, Core 2 Duo gaming rig.

    Quote:
    Erm... Is anyone hearing an echo in here?


    I echoed, but with links!

    And again I stress the fact that your current motherboard won't fit in that case.
  15. Someone... PLEASE... stop this guy. He's looking at a single core Prescott for over $200?!? Hello?!? X2's and C2Ds can be had for under what he's looking at paying for that CPU.
  16. Thats why i gave a link to that $631 setup...duh...
  17. Quote:

    And again I stress the fact that your current motherboard won't fit in that case.



    Micro ATX motherboards fit into ATX cases.
  18. Hmmm, judging by the fact people earlier suggested spending more for a Core 2 Duo, I think Newegg may have done a little price changeroo in that past couple days.

    But even so, Core 2 Duo is still well in range of the $700.
  19. Quote:

    Micro ATX motherboards fit into ATX cases.


    My bad then, sorry.
  20. Quote:
    Core 2 Duo is still well in range of the $700.


    I agree.
  21. It's not even worth discussing prescott, or Pentium D. Get the E4300..it's only $177!! Do not listen to sirrobin !

    Intel Core2Duo E4300 $177.00

    Make sure your case is compatible with the motherboard. Juice suggest this..not bad:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128017

    I would also throw in an extra CD burner for $20. Won't break the bank (Especially after SAVING on your CPU) and makes the build that much nicer:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827106997
  22. Quote:
    Case (w/ PSU) APEVIA X-Dreamer II ATXB4KLW-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply Link

    If money is tight then take both a breath and a week or so to wade thru the muck and see if anything better pops up on a so-called "bargain site" like this one.

    FWIW, if you're willing to do rebates Fry's currently has a Antec P150 Mid-Tower with 450W PSU for $110 - $50 ~= $60 shipped after rebate. Might be worth considering.

    Quote:
    Mobo ASUS P5L-MX LGA 775 Intel 945G Micro ATX Intel Motherboard Link

    OK, why buy an integrated graphics motherboard when you know you're going with a graphics card? I'd suggest taking the money you save by making a rational CPU choice and throwing it towards a better motherboard. You'd probably do better going with any of the commonly recommended P965 mobos. For example, take a look at any of the top ones recommended in this recent AnandTech compilation.

    Quote:
    CPU Intel Pentium 4 650 Prescott 3.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Link

    Yes, everyone else has already said it. My personal vote is for an E4300 ... but whatever. If you're going with Intel just make sure it's some flavor of Core 2.

    Did you notice that newegg only had two reviews of that Pentium 4 650 since July? And BTW, both of those people are now medicated and undergoing intensive therapy for depression. Don't make the same mistake they did! 8O :!:

    Quote:
    Memory Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Link

    Are you expecting to do the "Buy 1GB now and then another 1GB for dual channel later when it's cheaper and/or I have more money" dance?

    There's no harm in trying, but there is a slight possibility that you won't get dual channel support if the RAM you pick up at a later date does not closely (enough) match the RAM you get now. I am not saying this will happen. Just that it is a possibility to consider when taking this path.

    -john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
  23. Quote:
    It's not even worth discussing prescott, or Pentium D. Get the E4300..it's only $177!! Do not listen to sirrobin !


    Uh.....? I said that he SHOULD get a Core 2.....


    Quote:
    Core 2 Duo is still well in range of the $700.


    I agree.


    As for the case, a MicroATX motherboard will be compatible with any decent case. This includes the X Dreamer that he's looking at. If you don't believe me look here.
  24. Ultra mid-tower case for free after a $40.00 rebate (and free shipping):
    http://shop3.outpost.com/product/5124886?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    Not as distinctive looking as the case you proposed, but you can't beat the price. I got the same one for a budget build for my sister and it worked fine (no sharp edges and both sides come off for easy installation of the drives) and I did get the rebate after the 6-8 weeks. You do need to buy a case fan separately, but I think that is a good thing as you can get something quiet.

    As to the power supply, Office Depot has an Antec 500w for $35 (incl. s&h) after a $25 rebate:

    http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?id=399292
    http://forms.young-america.com/60565_AN6207-4229983-01052007.pdf
  25. Definitely lose the Processor and that motherboard. Also I hear everyone clamoring for a core duo from Intel, you could buy and AMD64X3800+ and mother board for less than the cost of that Intel processor alone. Also you can get an ATI 1650 Pro which is just a repackaged x1900 and save a few more bucks.
  26. If you're trying to get a cheap gaming rig an AM2 system is definately the way to go. Single or Dual core you'll save a bundle and will still be able to play all the games.

    Do NOT get a Pentium4 single core. Not even worth considering unless priced under $60 and even then it would still be cheaper to get an AM2 Sempron system. Either get C2D or go AM2.

    Wow that is cheap RAM... I might have to buy some.

    Get a better PSU. I've personally had problems with 2/2 Apevia/Aspire PSUs I've gotten. First one had harmonics issues right out of the box, second one the voltages were all >+10% high. They don't make their own PSUs so if you really do your research I'm sure you could find one that didn't suck, but I wouldn't gamble on it. I buy their chenming-designed xqpack when it's a good price, but I wouldn't use their PSU on a valuable PC (I stuck one of them in an old Duron 1.6ghz rig though).

    MicroATX mobo will fit fine in ATX case.


    $169 AM2 x2 3600+ **Brisbane** + nForce 550 MCP Mobo combo
    +~$35 for HSF
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103036
    This is AMD's new 65nm chip and should OC well.


    Or

    $175.99 AM2 x2 3600+ Windsor + GeForce 6100 mobo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16813185093
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16819103760

    Performance is a little less but you get dual-core and save a bundle.
  27. These AM2 suggestions are fine if you want to cut costs way back, but if you'd like to get the best bang for your 700 bucks, Core 2 is still the way to go.

    And to be honest, a good PSU is important, but normally the one that comes with the case will often be adequate if even only for a little while. If it dies out/doesn't cut it, then you can replace it. No loss to give it a shot really.
  28. That is one ugly build my friend and a total waste of money. I sure hope you haven't ordered it yet
  29. @yquo

    You are not very good with numbers... Still an OKish example of the cost difference between an AM2 system and a C2D system.

    @Labar
    You'd have to OC an x2 3600+ brisbane by quite a bit to put a prescott "to shame" for gaming performance and you downgraded his ram. No need to exagerate. It would, however, run a lot cooler and give dual-processor advantages.

    @OP
    I really do think you're in the market for an AM2 system if you're trying to game for under $700, but this might not be the best forum to get advice about building one xD People here are a little zelous about the C2D.

    Also, if you're on a budget you might want to wait 3 more months and look at prices again (intel price cuts scheduled, AMD price cuts will likely happen as well).
  30. Quote:

    @OP
    I really do think you're in the market for an AM2 system if you're trying to game for under $700, but this might not be the best forum to get advice about building one xD People here are a little zelous about the C2D.

    Also, if you're on a budget you might want to wait 3 more months and look at prices again (intel price cuts scheduled, AMD price cuts will likely happen as well).


    Maybe you're the one that should look at prices and learn what he's talking about.

    If I remove the 1950 Pro from my "budget C2D gamer" build, I could probably hit a C2D build with good ram/motherboard and a 7600GT for around the same ball-park of $700.
  31. 135 usd AMD Athlon X2 3800+
    58 usd ECS ATI Xpress 1100
    80 usd Seagate 250 Gb 16 Mb SataII
    32 usd DVDRW Samsung
    150 usd after rebate XFX 7900GS
    40 usd after rebate SFC Silent 550W 12V1 20A 12V2 22A
    25 usd Rosewill generic case2x 12 cms fan ports + prescott ready(side tube)
    184 usd 2 x 1 Gb GSkill DDR2 800
    ------
    704 usd + s&h I'm sorry Flasher I'm 4 usd + s&h over

    Please feel free to submit better choices
  32. Haha, for the record that P4 processor was on a major sale at new egg (when I listed it on there it was only like $80 or that ball park). Trust me there would be no way that I would spend more money for outdated technology than a newer core 2 processor. Core 2 duos are nice but that's about $100 to strech that I might just have to go with, I'm definatally not going to get that E4xx seiries when the E 6300 is only about $10 more.
  33. Quote:
    I'm helping my friend build a decent gaming computer that can play BF2142 and like games on high and used my computer to benchmark where this one would fall. I do realize that using a PSU that comes with a case isn't the greatest, but for budget's sake it is negligible. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please try to keep the total cost under $700 (not including shipping). All together this build below comes to $653.93

    Case (w/ PSU)
    APEVIA X-Dreamer II ATXB4KLW-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply
    Link

    Mobo
    ASUS P5L-MX LGA 775 Intel 945G Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Link

    Graphics Card
    connect3D Radeon X1800GTO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16
    Link

    CPU
    Intel Pentium 4 650 Prescott 3.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Link

    Memory
    Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) EDIT: This is 2GB (1 x 2GB) that's reflected in the price
    Link

    HDD
    Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
    Link

    Optical
    LITE-ON 20X DVD±R Burner with 12X DVD-RAM write and LightScribe Technology
    Link


    E4300 or E6300 would be the way to go. Less heat, better performance, it's cheaper, and the mobo supports it.
  34. I've gotten similar scores between a G965 onboard graphics and a 7600 GS card. the G965 mobo isn't as OC friendly due to lack of voltage adjustment.
  35. 188 usd Core2 Duo 6300
    92 usd MSI P965
    95 usd 1 GB DDR2 800 GSkill
    80 usd Seagate 250 Gb 16 Mb SataII
    32 usd DVDRW Samsung
    150 usd after rebate XFX 7900GS
    40 usd after rebate SFC Silent 550W 12V1 20A 12V2 22A
    30 usd Rosewill generic case2x 12 cms fan ports + prescott ready(side air duct)
    ---------
    707 usd + s&h if you can pick a good case in a local shop the case if the most expensive part to ship
  36. Quote:


    Plus, you have a MicroATX motherboard with an ATX case. That won't work.


    Actually, MicroATX motherboards fit in Standard ATX cases. Just not the other way around.
  37. Quote:
    I've gotten similar scores between a G965 onboard graphics and a 7600 GS card.



    This can't be right.....?? (maybe on CPU tests??)
  38. Quote:
    135 usd AMD Athlon X2 3800+
    58 usd ECS ATI Xpress 1100
    80 usd Seagate 250 Gb 16 Mb SataII
    32 usd DVDRW Samsung
    150 usd after rebate XFX 7900GS
    40 usd after rebate SFC Silent 550W 12V1 20A 12V2 22A
    25 usd Rosewill generic case2x 12 cms fan ports + prescott ready(side tube)
    184 usd 2 x 1 Gb GSkill DDR2 800
    ------
    704 usd + s&h I'm sorry Flasher I'm 4 usd + s&h over

    Please feel free to submit better choices


    I already did... How will spending MORE on CPU and Mobo to get C2D make it any cheaper? All other components being held equal (you already included DDR2 800 for some reason, so even the "but AM2 needs faster ram" argument is irrelevent in this comparison) show me the cheaper C2D + compatible mobo than this X2 AM2 and Mobo. There isn't one, period, end of story. The mobos are more expesnive, there is no Core 2 Solo option currently available (one is supposed to be coming out), the CPUs are more expensive. You could argue cheap P4, Pentium D, or Celeron with the hope of a future Core2 upgrade, but you didn't.

    You could have easily $60 off your above build using products already linked to in this thread. I'm not doing extra research to make that number even bigger because a C2D build would be MORE expensive anyway already. YOu proved it yourself. You took out 1gb of ram to make a computer that is $3 more expensive. With an extra gig of ram the AM2 build in your first response would run circles around it in a number of situations.

    The e6400 allendale gets about 10-30% more performance in the games benched by THG here than the AM2 x2 3800+ when both systems have 2gb or ram in dual channel (they really need more games in their CPU benchmarks, buy the ones there show a favorable light on the C2D so I hardly expect you to argue with me about their representative accuracy). With 1gb of ram in single channel you're choking Intel's FSB architecture and possibly running out of RAM so the difference should be even smaller for memory and bandwidth intesive applications (like games) if both systems had 1gb in single channel.

    But what is completely obsurd is that you just claimed that a C2D with 1gb of ram in single channel could significantly beat an AM2 system with 2gb of the same ram in dual-channel. Unless you have some benchies to back that up with I'm calling bull.
  39. Quote:
    I've gotten similar scores between a G965 onboard graphics and a 7600 GS card.



    This can't be right.....?? (maybe on CPU tests??)

    Why can't it be right?

    between the stress test in CSS and pcpitstop.com test results, the numbers are very close.

    Do you OWN a G965 mobo?
  40. Quote:
    Do you OWN a G965 mobo?


    No, I don't own a G965 mobo....


    These reviews seem to disagree with your "similar scores" argument....
    G965
    Compared to the 7600 GS card....
    7600 GS

    At stock speed...that shows about a 2000 point difference in 3dmark 06.....
  41. If he wants the core2 so badly with a 700 usd budget he must sacrifice 1 Gb of ram.
    I did the stupid thing to buy a core2 6300, I wanted it so badly, that I ended buying it with a cheap sh*t mobo (ASRock 775i65G), the processor is great but a computer isn't just the processor.

    I realized that when I built my brother's last computer, an Athlon X2 3600(not brisbane), with a much better motherboard (for the price)than an 775 one.

    Give me 2 equally performing processors from intel and amd, and I choose Amd.

    I have had P2 350, P3 550, Athlon Xp 2700+, and I can tell you I'm kind of an amd fan, but I guess I always buy(or try to buy) the best performance/price part, in the end it is what keeps the computer industry alive.

    I have built many computers around low end, high end, amd, intel parts and until now with the core2 (processor wise) Amd was by some extent faster.

    To sum up if he buys a core2 all he has to do later is add 1 Gb more, if he buys an am2, he will have to change processor, motherboard, and probably ram, it will indeed give some juice with 2 Gb memory for 2 or more years.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/13/how_much_ram_do_you_really_need/index.html
  42. The the hell is your beef with the Asrock 775i65G? I have it and love it, with the exception that the damn thing can't do S3 (suspend to ram) standby, even though it is supposed to.
  43. Do you use it with a core2(1066 Mhz FSB) processor and a sata2 hard drive ? I can´t get it to startup properly, when I press the power button both lights (power and hard drive) remain lit but it doesn't boot up, I have to press the reset button to make it boot. The same if I try to restart from within xp, I have to press the reset button in order to make it boot.

    It comes with wrong Dram/FSB Ratio 4:6 instead of 3:4 for DDR400/core2 1066mhz and no way to fix or change it.
  44. Does that Sata 2 hdd have a Sata 1 compatibility jumper? If not, that's your problem. The ICH5 found on the Asrock 775i65G does not support SATA2 drives. If you would have had a pata drive or a sata1 drive, you would have been fine.

    On the dram ratio issue, it is a known issue for all Core2 duo mobos that use DDR ram along with Conroe (actually its the 1066 bus that's to blame, an E4300 would run 1:1 with pc3200 ram). Asrock's 775 Dual-VSTA also does this, and so does Asus's own board that uses the old 865G MCH with DDR ram and a Conroe cpu. In short, it's common for the scenerio, and doesn't really hamper your performance more than a couple percent. Small price to pay for getting to re-use your AGP card and DDR ram.
  45. Quote:
    Does that Sata 2 hdd have a Sata 1 compatibility jumper? If not, that's your problem. The ICH5 found on the Asrock 775i65G does not support SATA2 drives. If you would have had a pata drive or a sata1 drive, you would have been fine.


    There is no such thing as a "SATA2" device.
    http://www.sata-io.org/namingguidelines.asp

    His SATA drive should step down to 1.5gb without having to change any jumpers and disabling NCQ on the drive is likely as impossible as it is completely unnecessary as NCQ doesn't happen until the initiator sends queueable commands. If there is a problem with not negotiating the proper speed it's probably a problem with the drive, not the controller, as a 1.5g controller is completely indifferent to what a drive sends it until it negotiates to 1.5g. If the drive has jumpers you could try changing them, some drives don't though (and none of them are supposed to, there is nothing to "jumper" in SATA spec it's all negotiated on the wire). 3g and NCQ are both backwards compatible.
  46. We all know what I meant when I said Sata2. :roll: It is easier to type out than sata 3.0Gb/s. Lay off the syntax.

    And "not having to change jumpers" is complete BS. look it up. Some old sata controllers don't play nice with sata2.
  47. My best critique would be to never build a really really cheap gaming computer. Take shortcuts where you need it, but try to get solid components that will not crap out on you.

    A case should have at least 2 - 120mm fans for good airflow. They should not come with a power supply, as they tend to be lesser components than you will likely need.

    A PSU should come from the tier 2 (ok, maybe 3) list on the PSU 101 sticky (In the forumz). It should be able to power what you need now, with a good margin of flexibility for total amps on the 12V rail.

    Memory should be reliable and compatible with the MB.

    The MB should have as many modern bells and whistles as possible, should have good reviews for stability and over clocking, and should come from a reliable manufacturer.

    Arguably, you can probably cut corners or make concessions on the other parts.

    This might just be a 'what if' post, if so you are wasting your time and our time. If instead this is a real inquiry - and you bought what you listed, you would be wasting your time and your money. Buy quality - not top of the line - but quality. You will be much better off in the long run.

    I end my rant here.
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