Budget Gaming Build -- $800

Hello! I've been out of the loop for a bit with this entire section, so I though I'd ask a good question. Here's it in short... I'm 16 and there's a high possibility that my mum will give me $500 (from the $1200-$1500 for a college PC) to help build a new computer. So, the budget is $800. Here's what I selected:

Transcend aXeRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800, $75
Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3, $100
Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB (WD3200AAKS), $75
Arctic Silver Ceramique, $5
Arctic Silver Thermal material Remover & Surface purifier, $6
Mitsumi Black 3.5" Floppy and Flash Card Reader, $19
Asus 18x DVD Burner (14x DVD-RAM) w/ Lightscribe, SATA, $33
XClio 188A ATX Midtower case, $50
Windows Vista Home Premium OEM 32-bit, $112

All of that for $27 shipping. Total price for all components is $474, making the final price at $501.

Ok I ordered two items on the list...

1) Thermaltake Purepower 500W W0100RU, $60
2) Scythe SCINF-1000 (Infinity), $38

Shipping: $11
Total: $109

These are already ordered, and thus non-changeable.

Ok I ordered two more items on the list...

1) Intel Pentium "Dual-Core" E2140, $75
2) Abit IP35-E, $120 - $40 MIR = $80

Shipping: $7
Total: $202

These are already ordered, and thus non-changeable.

My reasoning on this...
My current computer is horrible, compared to modern machines. It's nearing 5 years old, so it's past-due for an upgrade. Unfortunately, nothing is really salvageable, as it is now. I've filled the 80GB hard drive with about 65GB of stuff, so I definitely need to step-up to a larger capacity. My budget for the upgrade 12 months from now (well, actually 11) is going to be $800-$1000--more then enough to upgrade the components that will be sub-par then. My list for then is going to be an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, a new graphics card (DX10.1), and likely more DDR2 RAM (2GB more). If required, a new power supply as well.

So, what do you think of it? I'm willing to buy from one shop (NewEgg) and I'll be doing the entire system myself, as a truly new build. I would like compatibility with whatever Intel has out in a year. I'll be overclocking to at least 3GHz, hopefully 3.4GHz, and eventually upgrade the processor and overclock that as well. If the Q6600 is still a good deal, that's the processor I'll grab.

EDIT: I intend to do some gaming on this computer, as well as run Photoshop Elements 4, TrueSpace 3.2, Blender, eventually Milkshape 3D, and do a number of other 3D modeling programs. Primary is gaming, secondary is 3D modeling.
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More about budget gaming build
  1. That is a well put together system.
  2. Spend another $25 on Corsair XMS RAM, 2GB's isn't enough for Vista, besides VISTA sux
    I swear by Seagate HDD's, 320GB is ideal.
    A Tier1 PSU is recommended.
    You don't want to run games on a Burner, a CD/DVD ROM serves a purpose
  3. Thank you Zenmaster--I think so too.

    Mad-dog--I don't exactly have much money to spare... if I did, I'd be going full-out now. Give me one good reason to put out 33% more--I need fairly generic DDR2 800 for future overclocking. 2GB should be enough for a year... I'll bump it up when I have enough money to do so. I won't spend for XP because it's going to be discontinued, and I want DX10 to start with (I have a FX5200--earliest and lowest-end DX9 part). Tier1 PSU is simply too expensive--the Tier3 is the best I can fit in without the requirement to replace it for a Q6600 and better graphics card. I have another external DVD burner that I've run games off of (my internal CD-ROM has a mechanical defect). If you can convince me otherwise, I won't put anything down for a deticated DVD-ROM drive. Last thing--the 250GB drive I selected seems the best--I trust WD and Seagate for drives.
  4. mad-dog said:

    You don't want to run games on a Burner, a CD/DVD ROM serves a purpose

    That's a new one :o. Why would a DVD-ROM drive be better than a DVD burner? Just curious...
  5. I was actually wondering the same... maybe it's something like mechanical strain on the burner means it will not last as long...
  6. aevm said:
    That's a new one :o. Why would a DVD-ROM drive be better than a DVD burner? Just curious...

    It's not better, most DVD burners can also READ, but you wouldn't want to wear it out playing movies, then again maybe you would.
    I use a dedicated CD/DVD ROM for music, movies, games, and software...
    Then directly below lies a dedicated CD/DVD R/W just for burning..
  7. I don't really watch movies on my PC...

    Anyways--that sort of says that there's no basis on what you're saying, meaning I'll just have to tough-it-out or RMA the burner if it is worn out within a year (standard return policy--refund in 30 days, replace in 1 year)
  8. hmmm .....

    Asus 18x DVD Burner (14x DVD-RAM) w/ Lightscribe, SATA, $33

    at that price, who cares if you burn it out. It's cheap to replace.
  9. That's another thing--it's easy and pretty cheap in the way of burners. Besides--in a few years, HD (HD DVD or BluRay) will be replacing DVD drives.
  10. Anyone else have something else to add?
  11. Everything looks good except for Vista.
  12. Does the 2600xt have the power to really use DX10?

    Looking in the hardware VGA charts, the x1950pro absolutely stomps the 2600xt and can be had for about $120 with rebate.

    You may want to look through local ads for a copy of XP Pro, you may be able to find one for $20-30 from someone who upgraded to Vista.
  13. At 30 bucks who cares if you waste a dvd burner, but the setup ooks good, just kinda wondering why you didnt, go for a e4500(i thinks its only 30 dollars more), it would be better for game, in any case sounds like a good system, hope you have fun with it, and want to hear about your overclock when you get there.
  14. go for the vista 64 bit. And I if you aren't overclocking then tuff it out with the stock heatsink for now. Spend 15-20 more and get a 320-400gb hd more space for not much more money.

    bad choice of ram. Buy this for 2 buckeroonies less afte MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227231

    Spend the $20 for this hd, its highly worth it for the money: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152085

    As for a PSU go for this. It is $70 after MIB but I would highly recomend this. Highly!: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817226002

    Great choice for the motherboard though. You can tweak the other stuff but these are the components and suggestions that I highly recomend. Let me know what you think. Thanks
  15. I made a build for you. It comes out to 704.96 something. Much better than this mess. Below is my thread.

  16. You didn't make a new build --for me--, you did it for a little recognition. I have a few quips about your build and your behavior...

    1) Double-posting... don't double-post if your replies are within 12 hours of each other. Just edit your previous post.
    2) I've heard it was good from a few other people--I'll trust them on this.
    3) It's not a "mess"... I have a good idea of what I'm doing and what I want.
    -Subpoint a) I said I was overclocking it to 3.0+GHz (to rival the X6800--at a tenth of the price)
    -Subpoint b) I don't need a gigantic hard drive right now--I use about 75% of a 80GB drive, and if I need more in the future, I can buy another drive (it's not worth upgrading the nearly-5-y.o. computer).
    -Subpoint c) I have money up-front... MIRs will work for me if I can afford it in the first place. As in the selection of your RAM, I'm sure it's great, but I can't afford it up-front.
    -Subpoint d) I don't trust that brand--I would pay a bit of a premium for Western Digital or Seagate ($7 difference between lowest-price 250GB and the one I choose).
    -Subpoint e) I never heard of "Sigma Shark"--they're not on the XS PSU Tier list so I would never shell out for a brand I never heard of.

    Sorry if this seems offensive, if this seems defensive... I only mean to point out your errors in your approach.

    Noya--No it doesn't, I don't think. Even if it does, the PSU has a PCI-E cable. I would prefer to buy a DX10 part--even if there are no DX10 games really out there. I purchased a FX5200 back about 3-4 years ago... I wish I would have purchased the next generation, but I was too young and inexperienced to know.

    Recon--I would go with a Core 2-branded processor, but XBitLabs did a review of the E2140 and E2160--the E2160 looks to be the best value, especially as the Scythe Infinity is under $45 with AC5. I'll fix the power-draw problem (150+W TDP?!? at 3.4GHz) about a year after I do the build--with a quad-core processor. (70-95W TDP)
  17. In regards to Vista-64, you need to be a little careful with that.
    It contains no support for 16-bit applications.
    Many 32-bit programs until very recently used 16-bit installers meaning they would not be installable under Vista-64.

    If everything you want to use is very new you should be fine, but if you have alot of software lying around that is not shiny new, it may not install on Vista-64.
  18. If you're buying a DX10 parts, just try to keep in mind that a lot of reviewers have been less than impressed with the midrange offerings from either Nvidia or ATi. (8500 GT, 8600GT/S, 2400XT, 2600XT). A good DirectX9 card can be found for $120 and will hold you over for a year or two.
  19. buy a jesus

    save the world.
  20. looks good, if you can stretch you might want to consider a 320gb hdd and if you don't plan on upgrading the graphics card for a while get the x1950gt/x1950pro/7900gs/7950gt. also unless you plan on a cpu upgrade soon you might want to consider the amd x2s. a 4400-4600x2 is about the same price as the pentium dual core but faster
  21. hmm, get the x1950 pro for gaming without a doubt, best mid range card
  22. Looks like you've got a good system set up for yourself, there's a few changes that could be made here and there, but most of them that I could think of would be lateral moves, and just based on personal preference.

    I've never heard of that brand memory, I've got a 2gb G.Skill kit of the same speed that's about $10 more on Newegg and I've been loving it.

    I could also recommend the Gigabyte P35 DS3L ($100 on the egg) but you wouldn't get the rebates with it.

    Personally I'd recommend XP Pro over vista, especially with 2gb ram. If in the future you wanted to upgrade to vista 64 and get another 2gb that'd be understandable, especially because by that time they'll have better support and hopefully a service pack out for it.

    The video card you picked doesn't look bad, but I would honestly recommend one of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150229 if you can swing the extra cost. I know a lot of people will disagree, but I've got a friend with one down in TX that has one and he's currently playing Bioshock with no problems whatsoever.

    Best of luck with your build, like I said it seems like you know what you're doing and know what you want, I just offered a few bits of advice/possible changes that I would do if it were my money.
  23. Okay, thanks everybody. I don't think I'll change anything... I'm looking at ordering the power supply, heatsink, thermal grease, and motherboard on Monday or so (to get the MIRs on PSU and case--hopefully to get the Infinity with $20 instant). I'll get the rest after a little time passes (to make sure I get basically the best price--I have a computer that works).

    Anyways--hopefully I'll have a complete computer within the next two weeks. At that time, I'll post about my overclock and my first real experience building a computer from scratch.

  24. It is recommended you wait 2-3 months before overclocking to let the computer break in.
  25. Hey Bobsama,
    A few things that I wanted you let you know.

    1) the Arctic Silver Ceramique was tested against many other thermal compounds and even thought it didn't get first place, it came up better than Arctic Silver 5 so I'd recommed a tube of that.(its also cheaper :p )

    2) the Thermaltake Purepower may be reliable but the amount of amps on the 12V is quite low ~23Amps according to the info (280W/12V) available. There are other power supplies such as the FSP 450W Fortron Source($58) and the Hiper 480W($50) which supplies ~28Amps and ~29Amps on the 12V rail respectively.

    3) I've never used a Infinity before but I would recommend a Arctic Freezer Pro 7, it costs $20 bucks and is an awsome cooler.

    Other than that I'd say you have a nice set up man. Oh and the ram you've chosen seems to be a great deal along with a 2600XT, hope it kicks a 7600GT's a$$. GL man
  26. Evongugg--I have heard some stuff about "letting it break in", but I really don't buy it. I'll be doing some lighter overclocks over summer (right now), then gradually increase into Fall and Winter. If my luck holds, my room will average 65 Fahrenheit over winter. With any luck, that'll let me get to 3.6GHz (which would simply be awesome--a 100% increase).

    Gundam--Do you have a review? I've heard too many people swear by AC5--not enough swear by ACC. It sounds good otherwise--being non-electrically-conductive. I'll think about it. Next, will I really need the extra amps? I picked the Purepower because it's considered a Tier-3 power supply... I can't afford anything more. After that, will the Arctic Freezer Pro 7 bring a Q6600 up to 3.6GHz or so? I was aiming for 3.6GHz overclocks on both--according to my calculator, a 3.6GHz Q6600 will draw about the same as a 3.6GHz E2160 (a bit scary-ne?).

    That RAM looks golden, compared to most of the $100+ kits I've seen reviewed in DDR2 800 round-ups. I hope the 2600XT will kick some serious a$$--I'll be waiting for the latest Catalyst drivers to fix the AA problems... though I really don't use AA much.

    *Runs off to order the PSU, motherboard, cooler, and thermal grease*
    EDIT: Looking at the sticker seen on NewEgg, the Purepower has 29A over two 12V rails. It looks good to me, and, as said before, it's Tier 3.
  27. Get a DX9 card, there no point in getting an impotent DX10 card when you're planning on upgrading. It will have better performance now in DX9 mode than the 2600 in DX10 (and possibly DX9), and it'll have better resale value when you do upgrade to DX10.1. Other than that, everything looks fine.
  28. Ok I ordered two items on the list...

    1) Thermaltake Purepower 500W W0100RU, $60
    2) Scythe SCINF-1000 (Infinity), $38

    Shipping: $11
    Total: $109

    These are already ordered, and thus non-changeable.

    EDIT: Anybody have anything else to add? I'm pretty sure I want what I listed, and I'm still overclocking. I'll be waiting for the new power supply (will probably use it as a temporary power supply in my old computer until I get everything else, to see if it works properly and if my old PSU is dying) and heatsink tower.

    So, the build has officially started!

    Last thing... I'm pretty sure about everything that's still on the list for ordering... maybe I'll make up my mind soon about the hard drive, though--I'm seriously thinking about shelling out an extra $7 for a 320GB Western Digital drive. Also, I might drop the AC5 if the thermal compound on the Scythe Infinity is good--if it even has any compound! :P
  29. Just for argument's sake, I have a 7600GS (G73 Rev B1) card that is stock 1.1V core 400 Mhz. I have OC'd it without any voltage increase to 607 Mhz stable 10 hrs 3DMark06. The 7600GT has the same core but with 1.7V core (don't quote me on that, it's simply what I've seen on other websites/forums) and 560 Mhz stock. Think of the OC potential of that relatively inexpensive card (which also has DDR3 in most cases). That could be a pretty good performer on a budget.
  30. I can't say I'm a big fan on the power supply, mostly because if you intend to make a major GPU upgrade in the future, you're going to kill your PSU.

    At this point, an 8800GTS is really pushing it with the PSU. You've got 29A on the 12V, tops.

    Upgrading your video card to anything high end in the future is almost out of the question if power draw increases compared to the 8800GTS.
  31. You should reconsider Vista. It's a hardware hog, DX10 has not-so-great reviews (as does Vista), and the hardware requirements for good performance under DX10 are far beyond what you're building.
  32. nhobo said:
    You should reconsider Vista. It's a hardware hog, DX10 has not-so-great reviews (as does Vista), and the hardware requirements for good performance under DX10 are far beyond what you're building.

    He has another $800-1000 in the future to upgrade. I'd stick with Vista.
  33. You may want to drop the os and reuse you old one also you may be able to windows at low cost from the college
  34. At the University of Cincinnati Vista Ultimate is $13. Yes, you read that right, 13. And Office 2007 Enterprise is like 7 or something. Yes, I'm pretty sure we sold our souls to the devil for that one.
  35. No to Vista, unless you feel REALLY lucky. Is it worth it? Your call, but I say no thanks at least until 1Q2008 when official patches are due.

    PSU is a done deal; it will run this rig. You couldn't put an 8800GTX on it, but you're not buying one of those.

    Fwiw, I'll add my voice to those suggesting the x1950Pro. If you're not happy with it, get a DX10.1 GPU when you upgrade, but for now it is superior to the DX10 "midrange." A 7900GS would be another viable choice; weaker at stock but said to overclock very well.
  36. Bobsama said:
    I won't spend for XP because it's going to be discontinued

    that is your perogative, but it is going to be at least 2 years before that becomes an issue.
  37. I don't plan into putting a 8800GTX into the computer--that's just overkill. In 10-12 months, when I can get the other $700-$1000 to upgrade, I'll be throwing in a new processor, a better graphics card (maybe the G92 part that's supposed to be out for 2007Q4), probably more RAM, and evaluate if I need more space for storage and the suitability of the power supply.

    I plan on keeping this computer as it is for 1 year--upgrade, then keep it for at least 2 more years. With XP's discontinuation impending, I'll stick my chances with 2GB of RAM and Vista. Anyways--I can't reuse my OS (it's OEM, and has been tied to the same PC for the last 4-5 years)

    Anyways--I'll look into DX9 parts, just for the heck of it. If I can find a much better part for the same $100, maybe I'll do that. If not, I have basically no wiggle room anymore--my first order basically took all my wiggle-room.
  38. Updated--changed to an E2140 (3.2GHz at a 100% OC), WD 320GB Caviar SE16 drive, ACCeramique, and ACCleaner.

    Also, looking to order the Abit IP35-E tomorrow. I won't be grabbing anything else, I don't think.
  39. Ok I ordered two more items on the list...

    1) Intel Pentium "Dual-Core" E2140, $75
    2) Abit IP35-E, $120 - $40 MIR = $80

    Shipping: $7
    Total: $202

    These are already ordered, and thus non-changeable.

    Oh, and everyone... I still need some help! Installation tips will be welcome soon.
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