Help w/ system: $500 Budget

Looking for some advice. Building a new gaming tower for someone with a ~$500 budget.

Also, no gigabyte parts for this user. User prefers nvidia over ati.

Resuing case, need new PSU.
13 answers Last reply
More about help system budget
  1. $500 isnt much of a budget, you could do more if you went with an ATI gfx card. I dont think a C2D will be possible, so AMD is what you should get.

    Athlon 3600+ Brisbane $105
    7600GT $142
    450W FSP Group PSU $53
    GeIL 1GB DDR2-667 $74
    Western Digital 250GB HDD $69
    NEC 7170A $30
    Asus M2NPV-VM $89

    Total $562

    You cant do much better then that, the cpu is an OEM so you'll need a hsf.
  2. With a mere 500$ budget, I'd recommend shopping for openbox / refurbished items, and a 90$ mainboard is probably a bit too much for what he's doing, a cheapie ECS, biostar, pcchips or any other budget mobo would work about as good, for about 30$ cheaper..


    CPU - $122 (x2 3600 retail)
    RAM - $75 (1gig gskil, good warranty, good ram)
    MOBO - $51 (pcie, pcchips, cheap, no OC potential, but very budget oriented.
    VID - $80 (x1600pro, visually good, decent performance for price)
    HDD - $75 (perp recording, faster)
    PS - $37 (18A on 12v Rail, good manu)
    OPT - $30 (High quality known brand, very fast)

    total comes to 470+S&H.
    You could swap for a 7600gt, but they're about equal in performance, but with the X1xxx series you get AVIVO (ATI Video in video out) which makes everything brighter, and videos play much smoother. You could also go to say an X1900gt or an x1950pro, but you're looking at ~100$ more, but the performance is like going from a honda civic to an acura NSX, or say a ford pinto to a mustang GT, you'll notice the difference.

    If at all possible, have him save up an extra 150-200, you'll get much better quality products, such as a higher quality motherboard, and better performing video card.

    Good luck with the build in any case :)
  3. What about pitching this to him ...


    cpu e6300 (160 @ stalliontek), 340 left
    ram 1gb ... ?? (budgeting 80), 260 left
    mobo ... ?? (budgeting 80), 180 left
    vid 7600gt (95 @ the egg), 95 left
    dvdrw (30), 65 left
    psu (45), 20 left
    hd ?? (budgeting 80), ...

    This is only a $60 overrun.

    Or, if that's too much ... same setup w/ pentium D 805 OC'D ?
    Or, same setup and recycle IDE hard drive ?
    Looking at one-off upgrade-it-later type scenarios here.
  4. If you're going over budget already, I'd double check with him and find out his absolute maximum budget (S&H and all) and see what components he's willing to drag over to the new build (hdd, optical, etc)

    If we can re-use the harddrive and optical, you should be fine.

    Any reason he doesn't use ATI? I used to be biased towards Nvidia after 3 ATI cards (on a failing mobo) caused hive cluster crashes in XP, then went to Nvidia and had great luck, but my new x1900gt runs great, ATI really improved with their x series graphics cards, I'd recommend at least giving the options, because you can get a much quicker video card from ATI for the mid-range than you can Nvidia.

    E6300 is a great way to go, but on a budget system, I'd recommend 4300 instead. Look for the AsRock 775 C2D board, should be around 60$ newegg.

    If you go with a higher video card, or more devices internally (fans, optical drives) go with a power supply with a higher 12V line, or multiple 12V lines (2 12V 14A rails = better than 1 20/22/24A rail, more stability)
  5. lol how much of a profit are you trying to make here ?
  6. "If we can re-use the harddrive and optical, you should be fine."

    No burner =( ... I'll probably reuse the HD. Puts him at ~$480

    "Any reason he doesn't use ATI? I used to be biased towards Nvidia after 3 ATI cards (on a failing mobo)" ... same reason. He's had bad luck and I'm not going to force the issue.

    "E6300 is a great way to go, but on a budget system, I'd recommend 4300 instead."

    I would if he was willing to wait. As it stands right now I can't find an e4300 for even $15 more than I can find the e6300 for. Kind of defeats the purpose of saving $$ on ram.

    "go with a power supply with a higher 12V line, or multiple 12V lines"
    That $45 PSU has to 2 17A 12V rails.

    There is a free PSU (+ shipping) with 1 16A and 1 18A rail, but given the reviews I don't know if I should trust that thing to power my alarm clock.

    "lol how much of a profit are you trying to make here ?"

    profit? building computers? I've been going about this all wrong!
  7. Well, in either case, he'll have a good budget system. I still stress the point of finding out his absolute max budget. If he has to go mow lawns / shovel driveways, so be it, get him up to 650-700$, he'll be much happier.
  8. Considering the tight budget you are proposing, you may want to consider one of these two deals:

    An Ultra 500w PSU at Fry's for free after a $40 rebate:

    This is the same PSU I have in my system and it works fine. You also get a lifetime warranty once you register it. I did get the rebate after the usual 6 weeks.

    or Newegg has a Coolmax 500w PSU for free after a $28 rebate ($6.83 s&h):

    I do not have any first-hand experience with Coolmax, but while the newegg posters commented on its light weight, they all said it worked fine.

    Either one would free up some money to be spent elsewhere.
  9. Stalliontek is pretty much to be avoided unless you know what you are getting yourself into. It makes me wonder why people keep recommending them after any quick research on google or the like.
  10. There's plenty of places to shop other than Newegg for gear at lower prices but with a reputable buyer.

    ZipZoomFly I've heard is good, Mwave,

    All you have to do is double check a company's name with and make sure they're legit before you buy.
  11. I just put my new system together yesterday. My budget was a bit more than yours $700. But here is my suggestion based on my research from the last few weeks.

    I found MWave has some better prices and more options if you use their motherboard bundles.

    (Buy the cheap 3500+ now upgrade to X2 later)
    AMD ATHLON 64 3500+ Orleans $86.42
    AMD ATHLON 64 3800+ Orleans: $95.68
    AMD ATHLON 64 X2 3800+ Windsor(EE) $130.78

    ABIT Kn9s: 78.23 (I like the heatpipe)

    Kingston 1GB(512x2) DDR 667Mhz: 70.50

    PNY VERTO GEFORCE 7900 GS 256MB: 150.50
    (Get this at MWave, good card, cheap)

    With the X2 3800+ that comes to 430.01. That would leave you $70 for a burner, PS and shipping. You probably won't want to buy the burner or PS at Mwave those tend to cost more than NewEgg.

    This is the system I just put together.
    AMD ATHLON 64 X2 3800+ Windsor(EE)
    ABIT Kn9ULtra
    KINGSTON HYPER X 2GB(1GB x 2)PC26400 800MHZ

    It cost a total of 617.85 with shipping but I get a $20 rebate on the memory.
  12. ...
  13. Final build after looking around for speicals:

    Pentium D 805 @ 3.33Ghz w/ Zalman 9500 (got cooler 4 dirt)
    1GB DDR 667 Kingston
    Biostar P965 PT
    Foxconn Case
    Hiper 480W PSU
    Sapphire X1650XT HDCP compliant
    80 Gig IDE HD recycled

    and most importantly under budget and satisfied end user
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