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High performance 1st build for $400 bucks. Good parts??

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July 19, 2007 3:47:06 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm piecing together and researching parts for a custom homebuilt PC. I have a high end laptop but always wanted to build a PC myself.

So far the cost I have is around $400-$450 and lower if I get a case for free. Monitor, mouse, keyboard, and other small items I have.

Are there any parts that I should change? Will everything run smoothly together? (please keep in mind my budget of $400)

* I also have the option of getting a Seagate 500GB 7200RPM 16MB for around $60 (if rebate goes through) if not that $99

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB 4MB CPU

  • EVGA 122-CK-NF66-T1 LGA 775 nForce 650i Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard

  • OCZ Gold 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory

  • GeForce 7300GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card

  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive

  • Apevia X Dreamer II Mid Tower Case

    Thanks! :bounce: 
    July 19, 2007 3:51:51 PM

    I forgot to mention I will overclock, from what I've read the motherboard is good for OC.
    Related resources
    July 19, 2007 4:04:02 PM

    I can get it for $50 bucks

    It seems to be the best card for under $100 bucks...

    ** I dont think the $40 price difference to performance gain is worth it with that card.
    July 19, 2007 4:14:12 PM

    Are you partial to Nvidia, ATI or just the best for the money? This can narrow the search a bit.
    July 19, 2007 4:15:27 PM

    If this system is for gaming or graphic intensive apps, then it fails, because that card won't even get you around the corner. If its for something else like strictly video editing or photoshop, then I guess it'll do, but you still need a decent PSU.
    July 19, 2007 4:17:57 PM

    I dont have any brand in particular as long as it's well priced and a strong card.

    Q: Would it be better to have an Nvidia graphics card to match the Nvidia nForce 650i Ultra North Bridge in the motherboard?
    July 19, 2007 4:21:21 PM

    emp said:
    If this system is for gaming or graphic intensive apps, then it fails, because that card won't even get you around the corner. If its for something else like strictly video editing or photoshop, then I guess it'll do, but you still need a decent PSU.


    Emp which card would you recommend I get? Is the rest of the setup good?

    This PC will see alot of gaming (like Half Life 2), internet surfing, etc. No video editing.


    I want this desktop to be stronger than my laptop which has:
    -----------------------
    HP ZD8000 Customized
    3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 650 w/Hyper Thread Technology
    100GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
    1GB DDR2 SDRAM, 533Mhz (
    256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600
    17' WSXGA+ Brightview Wide View Screen 1680x1050
    DVD+/-RW/R CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer
    July 19, 2007 4:23:12 PM

    the 7300GT is not a strong card, it's the very low end of the last generation. That's why we need to know if you're doing graphical intensive apps/gaming or web surfing/video editing/photoshopping etc...

    The cards do not have to match the chipset and will not yield you any extra performance if they do.

    EDIT: Uff... $400... that's a tight budget, Let me try and build something decent out of that for gaming.
    July 19, 2007 4:30:47 PM

    emp said:
    the 7300GT is not a strong card, it's the very low end of the last generation. That's why we need to know if you're doing graphical intensive apps/gaming or web surfing/video editing/photoshopping etc...

    The cards do not have to match the chipset and will not yield you any extra performance if they do.

    EDIT: Uff... $400... that's a tight budget, Let me try and build something decent out of that for gaming.


    Thanks Emp. Here are the prices I have per item (all have rebates or savings)

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB 4MB CPU = $163
    EVGA 122-CK-NF66-T1 LGA 775 nForce 650i Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard = $77
    OCZ Gold 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory = $63
    GeForce 7300GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card = $50
    Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive = $55
    -- Total: $408
    July 19, 2007 4:32:30 PM

    Damn this is so hard, it's nearly impossible to put together a decent PC that'll handle any gaming for $400. Still trying though.

    Forget about that build of yours if it's meant for any gaming at all, the 7300GT won't cut it. Especially since you're STILL missing a PSU.
    July 19, 2007 4:37:46 PM

    emp said:
    Damn this is so hard, it's nearly impossible to put together a decent PC that'll handle any gaming for $400. Still trying though.

    Forget about that build of yours if it's meant for any gaming at all, the 7300GT won't cut it. Especially since you're STILL missing a PSU.


    I have a power supply, Cool Master 550w for $5 after rebates & coupon.

    What about a GeForce 8600 GT GDDR3? I could wait for a coupon or rebate. Newegg has it for $109 right now
    July 19, 2007 4:43:11 PM

    God I did it, but ONLY if you count rebates, otherwise it's impossible:

    Antec Basiq BP500U ATX12V Version 2.01 500W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CB, CE, CSA, TUV, FCC - Retail

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

    OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

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

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail

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

    GIGABYTE GA-MA69VM-S2 Socket AM2 AMD 690V Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

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

    EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card - Retail

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

    Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

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

    Total at $412.

    EDIT: And about the 8600GT, you're better off just sticking some dog poo in the PCI-e 16x slot than the 8600GT, that's how good they are.

    EDIT 2: And hell no to cooler master, they make crap PSUs, again you're better off trying to power your computer with a potato.
    July 19, 2007 4:43:26 PM

    Ditch the e6550.

    Setup:

    AMD Athlon X2 AM2 3600+ ~ $62.00
    ASUS M2N-E MB ~ $99.00 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131022
    Same RAM ~ $63.00
    Same HDD (or Seagate's Perpendicular drives) ~ $55.00
    ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W Power Supply ~ $100.00 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194003
    Total: $389 - $10 MIR = $379 (w/o GPU)

    Now you just need to find a decent GPU

    Upper segment:
    X1950GT ~ 140.00 - $20 MIR = $120 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102094
    Lower segment:
    or you can pick up a 7600GS for $75 - $10 MIR = $65.00 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102094

    Sorry dude, a $400 "gaming PC" definitely isn't really "future proof." You will have to spend a bit more.
    July 19, 2007 4:44:53 PM

    Dude he needs a GPU.... and it'll run for at least $110 more. Way overbudget... hard isn't it?
    July 19, 2007 4:45:58 PM

    The 8600 will be much better than a 7300, all in all it looks decent on the budget. If you can wait then thats important because a 7300 will merely disappoint. The rest of the stuff you are doing ok.

    Good call on going AMD with this one. CD2 will get you more FPS but with your budget then I would suggest going with AMD to spend extra on a graphics card. THats what will render you the highest FPS. Plus btw if you are a big half life 2 nut and are going to play counter strike lots then you want to think ATI over nvidia anyway. I was amazed to see my friends x800 pluggin away hitting great fps on amd 64 3200+ which is nothing crazy. I would tell ya think in the way of PCKID especially if you are going to do a moderate OC.
    July 19, 2007 4:48:56 PM

    the 8600GT is also a piece of useless silicon. Either go with a 7900GS or don't buy anything and save up.
    July 19, 2007 4:56:18 PM

    Thanks everyone!!

    Emp that setup looks really good!

    EDIT: lol ok no Cool Master for me

    Also will AMD be lowering the prices on their processors after Intel lowers them on the 22nd?
    July 19, 2007 5:04:24 PM

    The 7300GT be a good card or a crappy card. Some have 8 pipelines and some only have 4. Some have a 128 bit memory interface whereas some only have a 64. I got a gigabyte 7300gt with 8 pixelpipelines and 128 bit memory interface with a slight factory overclock that performs better than the 6600GT it replaced. So they are not all total crap, but not the greatest.

    I wouldn't have any problems recommending a 8 pipeline 128bit memory interfaces one for a budget gamer.
    July 19, 2007 5:07:36 PM

    AMD already lowered them, that X2 4000+ is about as good as an E4300

    EDIT: The X1950Pro is faster on stock, but a pretty lame overclocker, while the 7900GS is slightly slower but an amazing OC'er.
    July 19, 2007 5:12:46 PM

    Some good options on the cards then depending on whether or not OP is planning on overclocking. $400 for a gaming machine! I'm moving - anyone know of any cheap houses for sale - maybe newegg will offer me a mail-in rebate!! ;-)
    July 19, 2007 6:30:35 PM

    Bosrudorfer said:
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm piecing together and researching parts for a custom homebuilt PC. I have a high end laptop but always wanted to build a PC myself.

    So far the cost I have is around $400-$450 and lower if I get a case for free. Monitor, mouse, keyboard, and other small items I have.

    Are there any parts that I should change? Will everything run smoothly together? (please keep in mind my budget of $400)

    * I also have the option of getting a Seagate 500GB 7200RPM 16MB for around $60 (if rebate goes through) if not that $99

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB 4MB CPU

  • EVGA 122-CK-NF66-T1 LGA 775 nForce 650i Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard

  • OCZ Gold 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory

  • GeForce 7300GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card

  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive

  • Apevia X Dreamer II Mid Tower Case

    Thanks! :bounce: 


  • Drop the CPU to an E4300 or and E4400.
    Put the money saved into a better GPU.

    1) GPU is more important then CPU for gaming. A 7600GT is a bit step up and easily in reach with the money saved.
    Peraps even better could be had.

    2) This is not a good OCing CPU without highend RAM. With Very High End Ram it would be, but that is not in the budget. If you run an E4300 at 1:1 you will get 3.6Ghz, but the CPU likely cant run that fast. 3.0-3.2Ghz is the likely limit without serious cooling. The E6550 will only hit 2.8Ghz on 1:1 with your memory unless you OC the memory. While you should be able to OC your memory some, you will still be limited to the same speeds as with the E4300.

    The 1333FSB CPUs have a killer OC potential, but because the FSB is so high to start with, you need one that starts with a higher default speed and normally very good ram to meet their potential. Neither of these fit in a $400 price range.

    July 19, 2007 8:27:20 PM

    Bad power supply, those are another brand full of cheap PSUs. It's very difficult to find a good PSU that can power higher end components for less than a $100.
    July 19, 2007 8:56:49 PM

    I'm in the same boat at putting together a low budget decent performing system but it can be done. After I have my build together I will post it and also benchmarks.
    July 19, 2007 9:08:54 PM


    Mobo: $73
    MSI K9N Neo-F V.3 Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 560
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130123

    CPU: $169
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103773

    Memory: $89
    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098

    Video card: $105 (after $20 rebate)
    EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130056

    Total: $436
    July 19, 2007 9:23:35 PM

    Those are all cheap PSUs... I give up, if you want to buy a cheap piece of trash and having it take one of your components along to the grave when it dies then so be it, some people just don't get the importance of a PSU.

    EDIT: This was intended as a reply to the OP's last post.
    July 19, 2007 9:39:15 PM

    Emp the one you listed is at a good price of $60 bucks. Thats the one I'm going to go with.

    It will be about a month before its put together but I'll most pictures when its done!
    July 19, 2007 9:44:30 PM

    Motherboard: $50

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

    CPU: $65

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

    Memory : $63

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

    Video Card: $145

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

    Hard Drive: $68

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


    That should bring you to around 400, with rebates and shipping incl.

    and dont worry too much about the power supply, yes, cooler master isnt the best, but its not the worst either; and you really dont have to upgrade it; yes, you dont have the stability of a pcp&c, but then, you arent running the best components you can find either

    also, i used socket 939 because they are at the end of their life cycle, and thus, cheap to buy; it would be a good idea if you dont plan on upgrading this computer over time

    good luck with your build
    July 19, 2007 9:56:51 PM

    Wait, is it cooler master or coolmax? theres a difference
    July 19, 2007 10:00:47 PM

    Both are pretty bad anyway. Just that Coolmax is a lot worse.
    July 20, 2007 12:33:31 AM

    Recommended PSU brands: Seasonic, Enermax, Thermaltake (Toughpower), Antec (maybe), PC Power and Cooling, Corsair, OCZ, and any others.

    However, I highly suggest the Enermax Liberty 500W.
    July 20, 2007 12:52:51 AM

    And don't forget Silverstone!
    July 20, 2007 3:23:20 AM

    I still think a top of the line psu is way overkill for this build; if hes going to drop only 400 on a computer, whats the sense in paying a premium for a power supply?
    July 20, 2007 3:27:18 AM

    Ah, that processor is OEM by the way; so you'd have to pick up a cheap aftermarket cooler; get a good one and you can OC the processor to fully utilize the graphics card

    honestly, this could turn out to be a pretty good build; you might even think about looking into the newer AMD cards if you need DX10
    July 20, 2007 6:52:17 AM

    here's mine it was under $500Aus about 2 months so think about $350 USD

    Sapphire x1950 pro $137
    AMD X2 4000 + Coolermaster hypertx HSF still haven't had a chance to O/C been busy, $70 for the CPU and( $20 for the HSF which is optional)
    2x1 gig generic ddr2 800 say about $70
    Asus M2n
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $72
    Coolermaster igreen 500w $99(you may rip it but I trust the benchmarking of jonnyguru.com http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1460)
    though 500w is overkill this would probably do
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    or

    As for the case, well a cheapo case will do, as long as it's got decent airflow. there's plenty decent but plain one for $50 or less

    I think it goes slightly over $400, if you need a new case.
    It's not a cannon of a system, but it plays fear/oblivion smoothly at fairly high settings.
    July 20, 2007 10:16:31 AM
    July 20, 2007 10:56:55 AM

    the way i see it, don't get a psu for looks, they fill with dust and you find it hard to clean em.

    that amd 4000+ build looks awesome, might even be able to clock the cpu to 2.4ghz on stock cooler ;) 
    July 20, 2007 11:16:38 AM

    exactly, remember all those lights, bells and whistles need power too.

    what mine? I hope for a bit more than that, I managed to get my 3600+ to 2.4 stable. 2.6 was the ragged edge
    July 20, 2007 4:59:40 PM

    @malborosmoker, you got stuff from newegg here in australia? I didn't realise they delivered here. please, do tell... cos that'd be GREAT.
    July 20, 2007 5:43:55 PM

    It's also more expensive. I didn't choose the other one for being particularly awesome, but because of budget reasons. If you think you can stretch your budget WITHOUT sacrificing PSU or Graphics card, then go ahead.
    July 20, 2007 5:54:44 PM

    Cool, I'm going to go with it instead then and I'm leaving everything else alone.

    Thanks!
    July 20, 2007 6:33:21 PM

    Emp, I've got another question lol

    I want to build my brother a PC for Christmas. He doesnt do any gaming and just needs a fast computer for school. I'll OC this thing too.

    I'm thinking (I have case, power supply, monitor, etc.)

  • OCZ Gold 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane 1.9GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
  • GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    $240 dollars

    Thanks!!
    July 20, 2007 7:11:47 PM

    I'd get the build Emp posted with the exception of this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... instead of the 7900gs.

    Also, if you already got the coolmaster $5 power supply, just use that. I know the one you're talking about, and it should support the system easily.
    July 20, 2007 7:35:04 PM

    No I didn't get stuff fom newegg. We have our own version here, got to MSy.com.au. Although it's walk in orders only
    July 20, 2007 8:37:08 PM

    Bosrudorfer said:
    Emp, I've got another question lol

    I want to build my brother a PC for Christmas. He doesnt do any gaming and just needs a fast computer for school. I'll OC this thing too.

    I'm thinking (I have case, power supply, monitor, etc.)

  • OCZ Gold 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane 1.9GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
  • GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    $240 dollars

    Thanks!!


  • Also get him a cheap graphics card like 7300GS or X1300, just so he doesn't have to use onboard video, which feels overall slower. If he doesn't play you can maybe even drop the ram to 1GB unless he's using vista.
    July 21, 2007 12:37:39 AM

    I still think a top-end psu is way overkill for this; we all had gateways and HPs way back when with shitty power supplies, i've never had a problem with that, and its not like youre trying to protect a GTX here; youre trying to build an economy PC- take your money and invest in a better CPU or GPU
    !