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$380 computer for light gaming

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May 9, 2007 1:53:35 AM

hey rite now i have a p4 1.8 ghz 400 fsb, some crappy intel board, 1 gb ram, 80 gig harddrive, x1300 256 mb ddr2 agp 4x vga, all from a sony vaio from 2001, and well i can run half life 2 and all source games at 20 to 30 fps.
well i am looking for a cheap upgrade so here it is:
case
asus mobo
x1650xt vga
p4 3.0 ghz
1(512x2) gb ram
80 gb harddrive
cd burnerrouter
its about $375, the mobo has a 1066 fsb so i can upgrade it in the future, so could i get anything better but for less the amount of money i have now?
May 9, 2007 1:56:43 AM

might look at an AMD setup, 3600+ and biostar MB ~$150
May 9, 2007 2:00:26 AM

is it true that an amd athlon 64 3600+ is equivalent to a p4 3.6 ghz?
can you explain to me how amd works?
Related resources
May 9, 2007 2:09:20 AM

Great budget guild. Like that other dude said try the OEM X2 3600+ and overclock it even. I would just go 2gb and not fallow the 1gb recommendation but its a great guide.

LiFeWire
May 9, 2007 2:42:51 AM

but will i be getting a am2 mobo instead? becuz the motherboard i chose has a 1066 fsb so i could upgrade later to a core 2 duo
May 9, 2007 3:03:43 AM

That's not a bad idea...

But how many upgrades do you want to make? Gotta get a new one some day...

I could build a gaming computer for about $380.
AMD Athlon X2 3600+ or 3800+
1GB DDR2 RAM
160GB Harddrive
Motherboard
Cheap video card (7300GT or maybe even a 7600)

It's quite possible...a whole computer for about $400.
I personally am building a server for only $270, its about just as good as my current computer that I bought 3 months ago... 8O

I would avoid a Pentium 4 if I were you. Pentium D's too. Get a Core 2 Duo or an AMD Athlon X2. If your CPU budget is <$100, go with AMD..it beats any PD or P4 in the same price range.
May 9, 2007 3:35:03 AM

I would recommend looking at this setup:

mobo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

video card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1683...

ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hard drive:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

cd burner:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

total: $411.13 plus two $10 M.I.R.

with this setup, the only thing you will find that you need to upgrade first is the memory. possibly after that the video card. with this setup, you'd be able to get more out of your processor, and this processor is dual core. I hope you would seriously consider this setup. you could change the video card if you don't game that much.

Also, this power supply SUCKS, swap it out first thing.
May 9, 2007 3:40:50 AM

if you decide to go for the amd setup, it would be a lot better to get the x2 3600 for the extra 5 dollars.
May 9, 2007 4:44:38 AM

I would recommend the biostar T-force over that ECS board any day. If you can't get another $10 for that motherboard, sell your current system for $10 and get it.
May 9, 2007 7:18:36 AM

You can also save money by using your old HD, unless you are selling the old system :cry: 
May 9, 2007 8:15:14 AM

i agree with hashborwn.
the system he made wasnt that bad for the price range
stay away from the x1650 (DRR 2) it has lower clock rates
so the x2 3600 and gf 7600gt would be your best bet :) 
May 9, 2007 6:08:15 PM

alrite from what i have compiled from all your suggestions:
case
motherboard
amd x2
1gb memory
80gig hd
dvd drive
remember im trying to save as much money as possible, also i dont know how to overclock so ill buy the fan at a later date, i got a hard drive cuz im not selling my old system and im running linux on this hd and then later buying vista, finally i got a cheap quick fix video card until i have the money to buy a way better one.
video card
hows this setup?
May 9, 2007 6:27:29 PM

Excellent pics! I totally agree!
May 9, 2007 6:44:02 PM

Dood.. stay w/your intel setup. Buy an "ok" CPU right now, and then blow your system out of the water in Q3 when intel prices drop again you should have some money saved up:



Or you can listen to all the AMD fanboys and be stuck w/a mediocre machine... even into the future.
May 9, 2007 6:58:07 PM

Most rating #s are long since meaningless.
Especially since Dual Cores came out.

The old P4's are not very good CPUs.
In comparison to Athlon X2 CPUs they are slow and run very hot.

Any Athlon X2 will kick any old P4 CPU.

The Core2Duos are great CPUs and better than the X2s, but out of your budget.

Since the X2 cost about the same as a P4, there really is no point to them.
May 9, 2007 7:36:47 PM

AMD Athlon 3600 X2 @ 1.9Ghz (AM2 Socket) Will support AM3 Processors!!!
$70 Free Shipping (newegg)
G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667
$45 included shipping (newegg)
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner
$32 Free Shipping (newegg)
PC CHIPS A13G V1.0 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX
$57 included shipping (newegg)
SI-1 EagleTech Case with 400watt powersupply
$29 Free shipping (egalebit.com)
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express
$119 including Shipping (newegg)
250GB MDT
$52 free shipping (3btech.net)

Total $394 because you save about $10 off when ordering all parts at the same time from ther respective websites!!!

Let me know what you think
May 9, 2007 8:42:29 PM

i said the exact same thing about the DDR2 Saphire
May 9, 2007 8:51:20 PM

you do realize that he's using this build for gaming and a video card affects performance wayy more than a processor. the only time amd bottlenecks a video card is when its paired with an 8800. so the amd he chose is fine.
May 9, 2007 8:56:43 PM

He also makes it quite clear that he wants to upgrade in the future.... which poses 2 problems:
- The limited path of the x2 upgrade
- The limit of the x2 for GPU upgrades

With an LGA775 board, he can upgrade to something that will stomp all over any x2 for under $200 to upgrade, and after he does that, he can upgrade to an 8800GTX, because by the time he has money for both of those, I'd imagine that will be down to $200 as well.

Buy now, upgrade $200 in the fall, upgrade $200 at the beginning of 2008, and he's still got a machine that kicks ass on up and coming games...
May 9, 2007 9:34:52 PM

last time i checked am2 is still viable as barcelona-based processors will be backwards compatible to am2. so there still is an upgrade path. and going with an x2 now means that he doesn't have to upgrade to dual core later. the only reason he wanted an upgrade path presumably was becuz he chose a cheapo single core until he could afford a dual core.

EDIT:
Total Expenditure
3600 X2 =70 dollars
P4 + Core 2 Duo =200+ dollars
May 9, 2007 11:44:19 PM

alrite well i thought with my initial setup that i could upgrade later to a core 2 duo and i would later get a better vid card, i wasnt looking for huge performance in the beginning so i stuck with a p4 just to get by, but if the am2 core is just as upgradable with a future processor that would be better than or just as good as a core 2 duo then i will stick with this new setup, but im getting mixed feelings here, should i stick with my old setup and change some of the extra components around or stick with the amd setup and just have a nice processor now?
May 10, 2007 12:57:42 AM

alrite sounds good, but i think ill stick with what you said but get a core 2 duo mother board instead, ty
May 10, 2007 1:45:19 AM

Take it from me, I have an Intel setup and have used both brands before. The AMD setup will not dissapoint, and either system will be upgradable in the future. I think that the AMD is the better choice here as you can not beat the $60 for a dual core processor. It easily beats anything in its price range. The only place intel beats AMD is in the much more expensive high performance range. Also, the memory I suggested is DDR2 800 and is from a good company. Forget the PC CHIPS board, the Biostar board is a fantastic board with nothing that you don't need, like onboard video.

I think the first thing you need to be looking at upgrading is your powersupply. one that comes with a case for under $150 is bound to die on you in a short period of time and cause system instability due to 'dirty' power that isn't consistent or strong. Here is a really well put together forum explaining the importance of a good PSU.
May 10, 2007 2:57:44 AM

Note too that your case you originally chose was $15 to ship. I'd recommend checking out pricegrabber for some comparisons and I really like the CoolerMaster cases. I also have a couple of video cards I'm looking to unload due to my GF's recent job loss (although she's landed a new better one, we're tight on cash for a month or two because she's been out of work for a bit). The cards I have are the X1650XT and the X1950GT, both made by Sapphire. I can pretty much beat any price online, I tend to be about $15-20 less than new at the Egg, and both cards are pretty much new. I also agree that if you're building a new system you might think about going with a socket 939. The 3800+ X2's would do fine for you, probably if you're only planning on building a system with an X1650XT, plus you could maybe re-use some of the DDR ram you have currently? Just food for thought.
May 10, 2007 3:21:40 AM

I would not recommend this, as the OP had mentioned upgrading in the future so socket 939 would not be suitable at all. Besides AM2 are the same price, and he would most likely be looking to get more memory too.
May 10, 2007 5:38:17 AM

Quote:
Note too that your case you originally chose was $15 to ship. I'd recommend checking out pricegrabber for some comparisons and I really like the CoolerMaster cases. I also have a couple of video cards I'm looking to unload due to my GF's recent job loss (although she's landed a new better one, we're tight on cash for a month or two because she's been out of work for a bit). The cards I have are the X1650XT and the X1950GT, both made by Sapphire. I can pretty much beat any price online, I tend to be about $15-20 less than new at the Egg, and both cards are pretty much new. I also agree that if you're building a new system you might think about going with a socket 939. The 3800+ X2's would do fine for you, probably if you're only planning on building a system with an X1650XT, plus you could maybe re-use some of the DDR ram you have currently? Just food for thought.


The used card idea isn't bad as ATI/NVidia warranty their cards for 3 years. The 939 idea is no good. 939 CPU's are pricey and it offers NO upgrade path. Make sure you get a decent motherboard, I know they say AM2+ CPUs will run on AM2 boards, but I doubt they will work well on the really cheap ones. A few extra dollars would be worth the peace of mind. I think the C2D is out of your price range. Stick with ATI and get a computer you can use now, don't waste money on a CPU you will need to throw away as soon as you buy it.
May 10, 2007 1:15:46 PM

Quote:
alrite well i thought with my initial setup that i could upgrade later to a core 2 duo and i would later get a better vid card, i wasnt looking for huge performance in the beginning so i stuck with a p4 just to get by, but if the am2 core is just as upgradable with a future processor that would be better than or just as good as a core 2 duo then i will stick with this new setup, but im getting mixed feelings here, should i stick with my old setup and change some of the extra components around or stick with the amd setup and just have a nice processor now?


Well, what I said is going to work... I gave you a good idea of how your future upgrade path will look. If you don't mind sacrificing just a bit up front for the promise of a better computer (at a lower price) in the near future (half a year), then go C2D.

Th AM2 does (at this point) still have an upgrade path because the barcelona is *supposed* to be backwards compatible with AM2 boards, but you have to think about the company. Since AMD is floundering, when the barcelona comes out, it's going to be a TREMENDOUS amount of money. So basically, the only thing you really have to upgrade to is an am2 6000, which is already being beaten by a chip you can afford in half a year as per the upgrade path I laid out for you.

Now.. if you're going to get a lot of money in the future, then the barcelona may be a viable option. Of course, you could also go w/a higher intel chip as well, so you'd still be safe with my plan.

Either way, I think you're going to be safer with my plan (which was actually your original one) than to go with AMD - keeping your budgeting and future goals in mind. It's no secret... you're going to sacrifice a bit at the beginning by going with intel, but I showed you charts that should make you feel better, because you KNOW you're going to get what you need in the near future.

Choice is still up to you.
May 10, 2007 3:58:48 PM

I'm planning on building a similar computer (cheap, upgradeable, and used for light gaming), but I'm not component savvy and I could use some help.

What makes the BIOSTAR a better choice than any of the other mobos mentioned in this thread?

The 3600+ seems to be recommended by a lot of members. Why is that?

This G.SKILL RAM has better reviews than the Patriot RAM. Is there really any difference aside from the brand name? Which would be the better choice?
May 10, 2007 6:27:36 PM

Quote:
This G.SKILL RAM has better reviews than the Patriot RAM. Is there really any difference aside from the brand name? Which would be the better choice?


There isn't any difference really, the G.Skill is just as good and has a heat sink.

Quote:
What makes the BIOSTAR a better choice than any of the other mobos mentioned in this thread?


It's probably the best option for the money out there overclocking wise. A while back it was a combo purchase with the X2 3600 and did well with that. Otherwise, there are some 570 Ultra boards out there for like $100 that are pretty good. But the Biostar is just $40 cheaper or so.

Quote:
The 3600+ seems to be recommended by a lot of members. Why is that?


It's $60, it has good overclocking potential, but otherwise it will beat any other processor in its price range, and its dual core.



Quote:
Since AMD is floundering, when the barcelona comes out, it's going to be a TREMENDOUS amount of money.


AMD won't price it so that it is not competitive, that is just foolish. It's not like he's going to upgrade to a top of the line Barcelona. There will be dual core derivatives of it that will definitely be in his price range. Even so, the 3600 will last him a long time, and if he wants, he could look into overclocking to get an even longer life out of it.
May 10, 2007 7:03:44 PM

Thanks for the answers, hashBROWN. :) 
May 10, 2007 7:23:29 PM

Quote:
Since AMD is floundering, when the barcelona comes out, it's going to be a TREMENDOUS amount of money.


AMD won't price it so that it is not competitive, that is just foolish. It's not like he's going to upgrade to a top of the line Barcelona. There will be dual core derivatives of it that will definitely be in his price range. Even so, the 3600 will last him a long time, and if he wants, he could look into overclocking to get an even longer life out of it.

Yes, but you and I both know that "competitive" pricing is going to place it against the higher end Intel chip, which is out of the OP's price range...

Not to mention, Intel has been (and will be) able to take the wind out of the sales of AMD's "competitive" pricing when the barce comes out, just like they were able to w/recent AMD price cuts.

No one is going to be able to afford a high end AMD chip that will compare with Intel price vs. speed with the OP's budget for quite awhile.
May 10, 2007 7:35:58 PM

Why not just maximize what you have now? Put the fastest processor for your mobo (make sure the bios supports it too), and get a descent 128mb or 256mb AGP 8x Directx 9 card. Your ram should be fine, and your HD should suffice.
May 10, 2007 8:30:22 PM

looks fantastic man, good luck!
May 10, 2007 9:30:16 PM

very nice!
May 10, 2007 11:44:23 PM

I just sold my X1950GT for $115. I don't know why you'd go with an X1600 Pro. You guys are right about going AM2, I didn't realize the low end procs were so cheap. :-P
May 17, 2007 6:03:42 AM

Quote:
i think ive made my decision how does this sound:
rosewill case
biostar tforce 550
x1600 pro gddr3 256mb
coolmax 450 watt
x2 3600+ birsbane 1.9 ghz
wintec ampo 1 gb(512 x 2 mb) drr2 800
80 gig hd
dvd rom
so what do you think $380, i stuck with amd and got a low budget card with gddr3, and got some cheap ram, but this fits in my budget pretty well, any last minute suggestions?


I'm considering this build as well, but with some adjustments because of a combo deal ($182.98):

processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
motherboard: BIOSTAR K8M800
memory: SUPER TALENT 2GB

With these replacements to the quoted build, will there be any compatibility issues? Does this appear to be a good combo deal?
May 17, 2007 6:19:34 AM

Comment on your different combo
3800+ is ok, not as good an O/C'er as the 3600+, has to do with the memory multiplier
That MB is a mATX, if it matters
AMD builds really like DDR2-800, as they use memory differently than Intel.
May 17, 2007 6:39:35 AM

Thanks for the feedback, alcattle. I'm assuming dafunkmon's build is the better choice then.
May 17, 2007 6:53:47 AM

Well his MB/CPU are better, the rest is just budget level scrapings.
May 18, 2007 7:11:20 AM

Quote:
i think ive made my decision how does this sound:
rosewill case
biostar tforce 550
x1600 pro gddr3 256mb
coolmax 450 watt
x2 3600+ birsbane 1.9 ghz
wintec ampo 1 gb(512 x 2 mb) drr2 800
80 gig hd
dvd rom
so what do you think $380, i stuck with amd and got a low budget card with gddr3, and got some cheap ram, but this fits in my budget pretty well, any last minute suggestions?


Regarding this build, can anyone recommend a CPU cooler? If not, would the retail version be a considerable substitution?
May 18, 2007 7:47:25 AM

The stock fan is fine, if you are overclocking, depends on your budget. Build it stock, and when you have the money and want to O/C, maybe someone will point you to a good AMD HSF
May 18, 2007 3:38:18 PM

Thanks again for the feedback, alcattle. :) 
!