New Budget gamer build

Hello, I've lurked around these forums quite alot, and I see their are many knowledgeable people here so..I have some questions about a new gaming build of mine.

first, here's a list of the parts:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 Processor
Mobo: ASUS M2N Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 430 MCP
Power: Rosewill RP500-2 ATX 2.01 500W Power Supply
Video: EVGA 320 GeForce 8800GTS 320MB GDDR3
Mem: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 675 (PC2 5400)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1
OS: Windows Vista: Home Pro

I do realize I need a disk drive. However, the one I was looking at is no longer in stock at Newegg. I'm looking for a dvd burner w/ lightscribe that doesn't need to be SATA, but appreciated if the price is good ($50 at max)

Second: Fans. As of now, I have two 80mm fans in the back of the case one above the other. There are another set of holes for 120mm fans i believe. My question is: which way do I orientate the fans? Should the top one be a sucker and the lower one be a blower? Also, I have a side panel 80mm fan thats a blower. Is this correct?

Lastly: I am not a overclocker nor do I play games at high resolutions. (hell, thanks to Vista on my laptop, i'm just now going to 1024 X 768!!!)

oh, one more thing. Price: I don't like to spend more then $200 on one component though the video card I will make an exception.

Thanks for replying and I hope I get to make some friends on here! :)
36 answers Last reply
More about budget gamer build
  1. Ok, there are 3 things that need to be changed. The mobo, psu, and cpu.

    For the cpu, get an E6600. It doesnt cost that much more, and it runs circles around the 5600+. If you can wait until the July 22nd, get the E6750 instead, its even faster then the E6600, and it'll be $6 more then the 5600+.

    You'll obviously need a different mobo. The Gigabyte DS3R is a good board, and it's cheap too, $140.

    Here are some reviews.

    By far the biggest problem with that build is the psu. Rosewill's power supplies are horrible. Look at this list, they're all high quality power supplies. Anything with 30a or more on the +12v rail will work fine.
  2. get some ddr2 800, it'll run nice with your 2.8 i think... if not check the chart here on toms, it'll tell ya... but i think that's one of the x2's that'll run ddr2 800 at max speed.

    i'd personally stick with the amd build and the asus mobos... just make sure you read your reviews on your particular mobo... a lot of motherboards out these days are crap for some reason... (ahh, i miss the days of socket a... well, save for the crappy performance) :-p support the underdog too.. cuz those are always the winners in cheesy Sunday afternoon movies. haha.
  3. @apt 403: Sorry, i'm not an Intel fan anymore. They're waaaaay too expensive for me. Though thanks for the psu advice. I'll look into it.

    @ nachowarrior: i've been considering 800mhz ram..and will probably go with it. And yes the motherboard does make me paranoid...I hope I get the right one. I too had a Socket A! It was my first pc build. That gigabyte board worked like a dream!
  4. yeah dude, socket a was the sizzle... i mean, ddr voltages were basically not an issue... the motherboards all across the manufacturers were awesome... and they had the 8xagp pro...which rocked... and the ti 4000 series rocked! 150 bones and you could max out morrowind. :-p

    anyway, back to your mobo issue... i have a budget build that i'm buying piece by piece after much research and waiting for prices to hit rock bottom... ok here's what i've got and it works well....

    asus m2npv-vm

    1.9v wintec ampx ram (the one with the black heatsink) which is 45 bucks a gig now!!! ddr2 800... doesn't say it works with that mobo, but it works great....

    that mobo is socket am2... so you're good for a while...

    an amd socket am2 x2 2.4 hits 110 bucks on newegg... a 2.8 is like 160 or 170... but CHECK THAT CHART! otherwise your ram will lag behind... it's because of the integrated memory controller (which is better in the long run cuz intel is hitting it up too after amd schooled them back in the day on that issue, i think. :-p) and dude.. make sure your amps will support your vid card... watts are important, yes... but amps are MORE IMPORTANT... make sure the amps your vid card sucks down are less than the amps that your psu puts out on the 12v rail. :-p

    god i read too much crap... anyway, yeah, just lemme know if you need anymore help... just post it on this threat, i've got it watched, i'll check it every day, and if i have time i may look some stuff up for ya. :-p last thing before you go off and buy the mobo i bought... i didn't get the sound card to work with xp x86.... it was an older version of xp (like way back when, before sp2) so i dunno what your results will be... but the sound works with xp x64 corprate, and ubuntu, and well... just about everything else i've tried on it, and works great... but that was pretty much my only issue... (other than stupid windows bs... cuz after a week windows killed my onboard ethernet port... so i had to go through a headache to get it to work again, but it works fine... i havn't had a problem with ubuntu or with win xp x86...

    k, long post, time for the crazy one to go bed.
  5. My poor socket A Duron system blew up, twice... how i miss playing grainy counter strike on it. =\

    what kind of case you getting? make sure it's BIG. and get zip ties to tidy up the innards of your case. If you do put a fan at the bottom front of the case, make sure it actually has enough space on the faceplate to pull in air.
  6. that sucks about your duron... i guess that's why i didn't get a duron... i had an asus mobo and vid card.... so my system rocked... anyway, yeah 2 120mm fans should be sufficient for most systems.
  7. @ Remonster: I already have a case (i'm keeping). I'm going to sell my old parts to a local pc shop in town. I won't buy anything till the old one's sold

    @ nachowarrior: yeah..psu's arn't my expertise..could you recommend some?

    though could someone help me with the fan orientation issue? Thats bugging me.

    just for the hell of it, here's my specs of my current system. What do you think the sell price could be?

    CPU: AMD Athlon 3500 949 w/ high performance heatsink (the thing is tall!)
    PSu: 500W (dunno the brand)
    Mobo: Asus A8nE
    Mem: Consoar 1Gb dual channel (don't know the speed...)
    disk: TDK DVD-burner NOT DL capable
    Hdd: two western digital one 60GB other 80Gb.
    Sound: Audigy 2 zs w/ 5.1 creative (sbs 5 something..keepin these)
    Video: EVGA Geforce 6800 GS hooked up via dvi to a 27 in flat panel lcd tv w00t!! ( i'd be nuts to sell my precious screen!)
    tv: evga tv tuner + fm tuner (won't sell this)
    os: Xp mce (or this)
    Other: mce Remote, and a 120GB external drive (ain't givin these either!!)
  8. a picture of case would really be helpful

    i'm no PSU expert, but these 3 offer plenty of power, plenty of amps on the +12v and are closely priced, as well being name brand:

    80% rated effiiciency:
  9. That is actually a fairly good PSU and outstanding for the price.

    While Rosewill is generally known for poor quality PSU's, they do not actually make any themselves.

    This particular PSU has gotten many good reviews.
    The most important being from which specializes in PSUs.

    You should also seriously look at OCing.
    It's just plain silly not to do it with today's processors.

    Get yourself an entry level C2Duo or AMD and clock it to match the power of the CPU you are going to buy. Such modest OCs are not a risk to your system nor will they run overly hot.

    Just because you may have never done it does not mean you should not learn. It's simple, easy, and will let you put more money into other parts to make your system really shine.
  10. Regarding your fan question, both 80mm fans in the back should be blowing out while the side fan should be blowing in. you could also move the side fan to the front of your case and have it sucking in the air there. Having the two 80mm fans in the back as one blowing in and the other sucking out would not work well at all. They would effectively cancel each other out. The main idea is to have air flow over the motherboard going from the front of the case to the back. Hope that helps you out.
  11. I'd get dust clogged in the front of my old P4 2.8 Northwood, and they started making horrible noises three years later, so I unplugged the front fans on my RAIDMAX case and just use the side fan and the rear fan as exhaust.

    My X2 4600+ has a heatpipe over the CPU fan and a 120mm rear exhaust fan. I don't have one in the front and it's way quieter and cooler than the Northwood. That may change when I get the 8800 320 meg card I'm looking at by the holiday season when DX10 will be worthwhile.

    At any rate, I'm not sure I'd call his build a budget build. Compared to one of the Alienware's maybe, but it looks decent enough in specs. A budget build nowadays would be one of the 1.9 Brisbanes or the 1.6 "Pentium" Allendales with budget OEM RAM and a low end card like a 7300. I'd call that system midrange for a personal build.
  12. i've got a D805 with a 6600pro oc, do i get to be budget?
  13. Quote:
    i've got a D805 with a 6600pro oc, do i get to be budget?

    Nowadays yes. I just saw a Fry's ad in the paper and it had an 805 bundled with an ECS motherboard for $78. I admit, if you have something better than stock cooling and overclock it, it's a decent dual core for the money, but I never liked Prescotts, Smithfields or Presslers. I stayed single core Northwood because I hated all that heat and I went AMD because it was budget compared to the C2D and still had decent performance over the Northwood and the Netburst Pentium D's.

    Now, a Pentium Allendale is a decent dual core. At 1.6 or 1.66, it should beat an Athlon X2 3800+ by a slight bit. See if your bios supports it and consider the upgrade. The 2.66 gigahertz of your spaceheater just isn't worth it if you live anywhere hot.

    With two PCs on most of the time, and living in Texas with the high A/C bills, I go for as cool and energy efficient as I can afford. My barely midrange system cost the following:

    Athlon X2 4600+ 65 watt Windsor at stock 2.4 gigahertz $120
    MSI barebones: $89 at Newegg
    Antec Trio to replace the stock PSU: $59 at Fry's
    2 gigs of Kingston value ram $158
    MSI 7600GS to hold me over till that holiday season 8800 $105 at Newegg

    So, $531 is budget but it gets a midrange system for the upcoming games, and I don't think it will be CPU limited when I go 8800. What keeps the original poster's system out of the budget range is an 8800 320 meg card right off the bat. Those cost around $300 or so to begin with.

    The hard drives were legacy taken from the old PC, since my wife wanted the Seagate 400 gig SATA I'd spent a hundred on for this one. She owes me a drive, but she needs the storage more than I do! She wants a couple of terabyte Seagates when I cobble together her dual core system next fall.

    Do you have the 805 and 6600 in a gaming PC or in the Presario? Your specs on the Presario aren't clear with that second line.
  14. Wow...lotta people answering! Yes, well I don't think this is a budget build anymore..seeing as the price is going up.

    The corsair psu looks good. I've wanted to try out a modular one!

    btw, here's my case:

  15. I've used a couple of these Mushkin modulars:

    At $70 right now, they're not too expensive, but they're on mpilchfamily's "approved" lists. I like them. The cables are sleeved. Only downsides for some people are the cables are very stiff, and each SATA cable has four connectors on it (I suppose you could easily cut extra ones off). They also glow green, if you care one way or the other, and are a little deeper than many ATX supplies.

    I've also used three of these low-end 400w FSPs lately:

    They're also on the afore mentioned list, limited to lightweight systems. With an 8800GTS, you might want a bigger one if you go FSP.
  16. my 805 is from one of those fry's deals; the computer was built as cheaply as possible. The Presario is strictly as backup/websurfing.

    The case looks good, just be sure to tie off the extra psu cables so that they won't interfere with air flow. You could also take off the cover for those two 3.25's covers and stick another fan in there.
  17. oh good! that mushskin one looks perfect!!!

    update: I've looked into 2GB of mushskin 800 mhz ram..seems good, especially if i can get the $30 rebate. though doubtful considering how long it'll be till i sell the old pc.
  18. here is a few simple things to look for in a power supply because I'm gettin thrashed at work and for once in the past 6 months, I don't have time to look up parts (one of my favorite activities by the way)

    1) PRICE! - basically, you're only gonna have so much dough... so figure out about how much you wanna pay... if that doesn't fit with the criteria below, you're prolly gonna go up a bit

    2)watts - How many devices are you running? and about how many watts is this gonna suck down... I'd recommend at least 500... that's what i figure to be about standard these days for a pc that needs to play some games.

    3) amps - basically the only amps you're going to need to look at closely are your +12v amps... if you have dual +12v rails i'm guessing 24amps or more would be sufficient for most applications... but CHECK THE VID CARD OR AT LEAST THE SERIES FOR AMP REQUIREMENTS... this WILL kill your video experience if your psu can't put out the amps your card requires under load. this and price may be your biggest deciding factors for a psu... this all is basically based around your vid card requirements, because that's what's going to be sucking down the most power.

    4)size and modular - if you have a small form factor case... size is a huge issue, and modular cabling is just nice either way... allows you to expand when you need to and have a clean cut case (i think most of us geeks like a clean case free of excess cables)

    5) fans - this is important for noise and airflow... obviously 120mm fans are going to be quieter... although you can find psu's with relatively quiet 80mm or 90mm fans... 120's your best bet if you can't flip the thing on and test it in person. and keep in mind that most psu's that are going to have the specs you need for a good video card are going to run a bit on the hot side... 120mm fans look even more attractive.

    6) reviews - this is kind of important in the fact that a complete POS is going to be singled out by almost everyone... you can separate the ignorant reviewers from the good reviewers by what kind of details they put in.... some people are just dumb and/or lazy so if they don't sound intelligent enough to sway your opinion, they aren't. good reviewers will include as many details as they can, and possible reposts on fixes/corrections to their previous reviews. This is part of the reason I heart newegg.

    hmm... i tink i'm missing somthing but i can't think right now....

    anyway, you can get decent psu's for a good price... don't be afraid to go off brand because sometimes off brands have the best psu's or close to it (especially for the savings) and with a return policy and/or warranty, you should be ok if something goes wrong... but if no warranty... i'd be careful where you tread in the psu department. :-p

    k, that's all i can think of now... feel free to post links to any parts that you're considering or pm them to me and i'll take a look, and I'M SURE that others here on toms forumz will be sure to post their opinion as well... that's one thing that's not in short supply... opinions. :-p
  19. He wants an 8800GTS and that needs 29 amps, so 24 amps aren't enough. I think the biggest issue with power supplies is that even good brands made by reputable OEMs can have a bad run and a percentage of customers will get bad units.

    It's always better to have more watts and amps than you need so the PSU runs at a lighter load. That Mushkin would be good QCOM, but the sticker on the PSU at the Newegg site gives 28 amps on the 12 volt rail. I'm pretty sure an 8800GTS needs 29 amps.

    My favorites are Cooler Master and Seasonic, but be careful. In the past Cooler Master had fewer amps than the wattage indicates. My old 450 watt Real Power only has 22, good enough for the P4 with an X1650 Pro AGP and four hard drives, but that's about it. Yet, it's been going strong 24/7 for almost 3 years.

    I took a chance on the Antec Trio because it was made by Seasonic for Antec, and reviews did point out it had a smaller heat spreader. I'll never open a PSU as I'm not a trained engineer, so I never confirmed it. Some message board posts on the web said that Antec True Power Trios had a 30% failure rate after 6 months, but it was only $59, so we will see. I got it in preparation for getting an 8800GTS this September.

    I think the best out there are Seasonics overall, with Thermaltake and Cooler Master good and reliable. Other brands are listed as good with particular PSUs, but not with others.
  20. Wow nachowarrior..chill out and get your work finished first.

    That mushskin psu looks like it fits your specs. its 550watt, dual +12 rail, and at a good price.

    However, one thing bothers me, looking at the requirements for the Geforce 320, it says "Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 26 Amps."

    is this psu designed for that?

    one other thing, does a higher chipset number really mean anything? ie nforce 4 vs nforce 5
  21. My mistake. The Mushkin has 28 amps, it should be enough for one 8800GS.

    I'd thought the 8800GTS needed 29, but it needs 26. The GTX needs 28 and the Ultra needs 34. I'm still of an opinion that it doesn't hurt to have much more than you need so the PSU runs on a lighter load.
  22. sheesh! All this headache over one component! I'm starting to get a little confused...
  23. Quote:

    one other thing, does a higher chipset number really mean anything? ie nforce 4 vs nforce 5

    Presumably it does. The Nvidia 405 chipset on my MSI board clearly stated in the manufacturer's specs at Newegg that "due to chipset limitations, does not support ATI X700 and X800 GPUs". The manual I have said that it doesn't support an install of Windows 98 or ME (I used to do a dual boot for legacy games).

    Newer 4xx series Nvidia chipsets didn't have those limitations, which is probably why the 405 chipset boards are in cheap barebones. You'd have to read reviews to find out more. This is the first Nvidia chipset board I've ever had.

    Yes, it's a lot to do about a PSU, but if you don't have the amps on the 12 volt rail, then your PSU could die and take the GPU and motherboard with it, in a worst case scenario. The PSU is usually the component that most people take for granted. Most of the time, they get away with it, but anyone who's had a PSU burn out and take other components with them will never take them for granted again.

    Mushkin makes good RAM, they probably go for good PSU specs too. There are only a few OEMs who make the PSUs for all the brands out there. I'd like to know who makes Mushkins, but I can't see them trusting a budget OEM for their PSUs, because their brand means something in the marketplace. Corsair, ASUS and other companies who've recently gotten into the PSU business also have brands to protect.

    It's the Apeias, the Ultras, the Cool Max and the Vantecs I'm not sure about. Usually, the others are good based on general reputation and experience, but even a good company can have a bad production batch, that's why some PSUs in a series can have a stellar rep while others have a noticable failure rate, even if most do okay for years.

    I'll let ya'll know about my Antec True Power Trio if it doesn't last, and if it lasts a year, then I'll have gotten my money's worth. Ideally, I want it to last until the 42 amps on the 12 volt rail aren't enough for the card I want, that might be a couple of generations past the 8800GTS, unless they actually start treating GPUs like the overheating processors they are and design them cooler.
  24. Quote:
    unless they actually start treating GPUs like the overheating processors they are and design them cooler.

    True that! Its insane how hot and power hungry the processors are on the cards..

    In response on the psu...I think i'll stay with the muskskin. I just can't beat that price.

    However, I may change my mobo now as well and get a 5xx chipset.

    (by the time I'm done with this, my new config will be totally different from the original!!)
  25. That Muchkin is alright, but I hate how they report the Amps... 20 per rail, 28 max total. It's enough for an 8800gts, but not by much. I also bought the Antec True Power Trio, the 550w with 42a total. I'm running an 8600GT with it. I like going over the min. requirements, my PSU fan never speeds up from it's lowest speed, so it's completely silent. $65 at when I bought mine.
  26. Quote:
    I also bought the Antec True Power Trio, the 550w with 42a total. I'm running an 8600GT with it. I like going over the min. requirements, my PSU fan never speeds up from it's lowest speed, so it's completely silent. $65 at when I bought mine.

    Technically, I could go 8800 Ultra and I could just hold off till income tax time 2008 and do it, but the 34 amps it needs is way close to the 42 the Antec puts out. Would it hold up at load on Fallout 3? That would be the big question.

    I don't think the Antec True Powers handle heat well enough, one reviewer said they were so focused on silent that they risked heat failure, which seems to be the symptom when people report dead Trios. So, staying far enough under the amps makes sense, but an 8600 is just too slow. Maybe when an 8700 arrives, there'll be a decent midrange card, but the best bang for the buck with Nvidia right now is the 320 meg 8800GTS.
  27. Quote:
    an 8600 is just too slow.

    I wasn't trying to recommend the 8600, don't get me wrong. I was just showing an example of going overboard on power requirements, and the advantage of doing so. The 8600 isn't great for games, but it's passive cooling and HD accel. in my HTPC is perfect.
  28. The Antec is just overkill for the 8600. You did what everyone recommends, you got a PSU that was more than you needed to allow a margin of safety at full load. Besides, look at my signature. I got a 7600GS to stay in budget until I could afford an 8800GTS. Now, I wished I'd at least gotten a 7600GT.

    I was originally considering an 8600GTS, but it's not the improvement I'd expected in framerates in DX9 games, so how is it really going to do in DX10? All the reviews say the 8800GTS 320 is the best bang for the buck.

    Does anyone know a failsafe way to measure CPU vs. GPU? I'd love to see Tom's Hardware do a reliable CPU/GPU balance chart.
  29. lets get off the psu train for a second.

    Since chipset number appears to matter, i'm looking at this abit board.

    i've messed with Abit before, and they appear to be good. The thing though is the layout worries me. I don't want my 8800 blocking the way for my pci slots. I suppose it could block one, but I need two.
  30. My Abit board has been pretty reliable, but I'm not sure I'd buy another. Abit still wants that nearly obsolete -5V rail on a lot of their boards, including mine (confirmed with their tech support). I've read a lot about Abits being flaky without it. One reason I have been happy with the Mushkin PSU is because it has that rail. Some of the bigger Mushkins don't though.
    My next build, likely after the price cuts, will most likely have a Gigabyte board (-DS2R) in it.
  31. I don't know if I'd buy another MSI board either. I've had success with ASUS and Gigabyte in the past. The 405 chipset is my first Nvidia board, but if you can swing it, just go with the latest chipset. In fact, you might consider an SLI board, even if you don't intend on SLI right now.
  32. yeah, I don't think i'll ever get an sli setup. But i may get a board anyway...
  33. I didn't really look up any of the specs for what that card consumes... i thought i saw an evga that asked for 26 amps though... I still think the power requirements are ridiculous... anyway my post was meant to be a guide, not the actual solution. :-p
  34. Quote:
    I didn't really look up any of the specs for what that card consumes... i thought i saw an evga that asked for 26 amps though... I still think the power requirements are ridiculous... anyway my post was meant to be a guide, not the actual solution. :-p

    The power consumption of today's graphics cards are ridiculous. AMD started the trend towards power saving dual cores and Intel followed suit, but we won't see a similar shrinkage in die size and power consumption in high end graphics cards for a few years.
  35. i like your profile thing... "msi" mobo... "DON'T FLASH THE BIOS!!!" hahaha!
  36. Here's where the "Don't Flash the Bios" thing comes from. I wanted to upgrade everything using the motherboard manufacturer's "MSI Live". Everything included the bios. I trusted MSI Live to recognize their own boards correctly and I did it without making a backup of the old bios.

    Well, it served me right. I knew better, I've been building PC's since the 386-SX days and I work in IT. I've flashed the bios on older systems with a diskette backup, but this time I figured "What could happen, it's THEIR program?" Serves me right for not having a USB stick ready.

    Well, I saw "Via" flash on the screen during the bios update scroll and I thought "This is an Nvidia 405 chipset, not a Via". Well, the system didn't reboot. I will not trust MSI Live again, not on this model board.

    So, I got the board replaced, and I had a spare anyways, the barebones from Newegg had the same motherboard as the Fry's bundle with the CPU.

    You know, in the A+ study guide, the advice is "if it's not broke, don't fix it". That's what I go by at work. If it hadn't been 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I felt lucky, I would have been a bit more careful.
Ask a new question

Read More

Homebuilt Systems Product