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Would around $700 buy a decent gaming computer?

Last response: in Systems
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Could I build a decent gaming PC with $700?

Total: 45 votes (14 blank votes)

  • Yes
  • 88 %
  • No
  • 13 %
May 28, 2008 2:38:49 AM

So I'm thinking about slowly saving up till the end of the summer, and buying myself a gaming PC before I go back to school. I don't have tons of money to throw around but I'm hoping to maybe have about $700 before the end of this summer. I don't have anything, monitor, keyboard, nothing. I'll be building a new PC completely from scratch.

I realize that this won't be able to play all the new games, but I'm just looking for a good system to start from, and then I can slowly upgrade. Right now I'm looking to be able to play games powered by the Steam engine, such as the upcoming Left 4 Dead, and older games such as Vampire the Masquerade- Bloodlines, and Counter-Strike Source. Would a $700 PC get me enough power to play these games?

I'd like to eventually upgrade the computer so that it is a fairly powerful rig. But now I'm going for the foundation. What do you guys think?
May 28, 2008 3:18:53 AM

700 really isn't a problem without the monitor. That makes it really difficult.

The Budget Build: ~ $700- Case has a $30 MIR on it.
CPU: Intel Core2Duo E2180 2.0GHz
Motherboard: ASUS P5KPL-VM (Intel G31 chipset)
RAM: G.Skill 2GB DDR2-800 5-5-5-12
Hard Drive: 250GB WD Sata2
Optical Drive: Lite-On SATA 20X burner w/ Nero
Case: Antec Sonta III w/ 500W PSU
OS: Windows XP Home (I don't much care for Vista- but you can sub Vista here if you want for $30 more because Home Basic is ripoff in every possible way)
Input Devices: MS keyboard and Mouse
Video: BFG Tech 8800GT 512

Maybe you can find a cheap monitor somewhere or pawn one off your friends lol
May 28, 2008 3:39:15 AM

Go with AMD on such a tight budget, the overall platform is cheaper and and better for what you would get with a similarly priced intel set. Especially because you don't have a monitor, but I think you could put something fairly fast together, at least for what you play.
Related resources
May 28, 2008 4:03:47 AM

Start looking for deals with friends/relatives/neighbors. Let people know you're going to be building a computer. You'd be surprised how many people have old monitors (like a 17 or 19 inch LCD) because they upgraded their monitor and the old one is sitting in the garage. I just sent off a DVD/cd RW and a dated, but decent video card to a friend. There's also student discounts for Vista home premium @ $80. I bet there's going to be a bunch of 3870s, 8800GT and other GPUs to be had for very reasonable prices once the next generation of cards come out. You might be surprised how much support you'll get from family in something like this.
May 28, 2008 4:04:34 AM
May 28, 2008 4:58:27 AM

I second the asking around for a monitor. Even check the newspaper or listings on craig's list around your area. The thing about a second hand monitor is that the first owner got rid of it for a reason. Most people don't upgrade a monitor just because they feel like it (I know I don't). If you do end up getting a "pre-owned" monitor, it'd be better if you could turn it on and look at it for dead pixels and such before you buy it, thus shopping locally (avoid ebay at all costs, imo).

Mouse and keyboard is easy to skimp on first time around. Buy something cheap that works, and upgrade them first.

The computer itself should be easy to build for sub $600 (assuming $100 for mouse, kb and monitor). While I'm an intel fan myself, you may want to check out AMD's 780G chipset, put a decent Phenom with it, and you have a sub $300 platform that can (supposedly) tear through the source engine. Add the new 4xxx series ATI card later on if you want.

Hope this helps :) 

edit: upon looking around, looks like $300 was a bit of an under estimate, but definitely for way under $400, then add ram and a decent PSU, and toss it all into a case. If budget gets tight, look into the Phenom x3 too. Or just go with a nice trusty Athlon, they're super cheap now.
May 28, 2008 5:03:58 AM

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

Here's something for you. If you are on a really tight budget if you have to buy monitor and all, that case could potentially be a good deal. It's got a power supply with it, and I know you guys are going to all scream don't get that PSU, but it is a dual rail PSU, rated at 20 amps on one 12v+ rail and 19 amps on the other. Myself, I'm actually considering a PSU from the same company for a small video card upgrade I'm doing. Antec or something would be nice, but my wife would likely be ticked if I spend too much. So for a 25-35 dollar power supply that's not bad ratings.

Also, depending on resolution, you may consider the 9600gt, or the 8800gs. Depending again on resolutions your playing at and how your budget falls. I'm probably going with an xfx brand overclocked 8800gs myself. The last time I looked at it, it was 150 but had no shipping cost, a free copy of call of duty 4, and a 30 dollar mail in rebate. They come with 384 mb of ram, but the overclocked 8800gs cards according to benchmarks I've seen place themselves somewhere between the 9600gt and 8800gt. So save some money there.

Also, maybe consider an AMD system. I know intel is the king in performance now, but if you don't plan to overclock and are on a budget, I'd suggest AMD. For example, newegg is running the Athlon x2 4600+ for 66 bucks. Or the 4800 x2 chips are like 76. So some good deals out there. Intel or AMD. Your choice. I've read on video cards though, the 8800gs is quite powerful if you play at lower resolutions. So you say your looking for a foundation, I say get something like that and spend your money on a better chip or more memory, etc.
May 28, 2008 5:07:20 AM

Oh, also do check at your University for a copy of Windows. My old university would sell you a copy of Windows Vista Business if you were a student or faculty for just over 20 bucks. Same thing on office programs and what not. Although for the office program, go to www.openoffice.org

There is a very nice Office program there called Open Office, will do pretty much what MS office will do, and will read and save to most of their formats. The newer version supposed to coming out in september is in beta as far as I know and is supposed to read and write to the newer Microsoft file formats. And it's free. So check into that, save some cash.
May 28, 2008 5:14:19 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Oh, also do check at your University for a copy of Windows. My old university would sell you a copy of Windows Vista Business if you were a student or faculty for just over 20 bucks. Same thing on office programs and what not. Although for the office program, go to www.openoffice.org

There is a very nice Office program there called Open Office, will do pretty much what MS office will do, and will read and save to most of their formats. The newer version supposed to coming out in september is in beta as far as I know and is supposed to read and write to the newer Microsoft file formats. And it's free. So check into that, save some cash.


Also check within your particular department. I'm a computer engineering student at the University of Arkansas and the engineering department GIVES us copies of Windows, almost any version you could possibly want. So that's definitely worth looking into.
February 26, 2010 5:06:17 AM

I just made a new guide to building the best gaming computer under $700 check it out on my blog: http://technomaniac.comze.com/?p=335 I hope at least to come out with an up to date build every few weeks. What good is a guide if it is out of date? If you search google for a guide on how to build a computer for the purpose of gaming you will find many old articles. This article is for those computer gaming enthusiasts who want to get the most bang-for-your-buck when buying computer hardware. The key to building the most optimal computer configuration for your dollar is balance. A gaming computer is only as strong as it's weakest link. One might ask "Hey Tech-O-Maniac, since I want emphasis on gaming, can't I just buy the best video card I can get and slack on CPU and RAM?" I would answer with a resounding "NO", Even though a computer is divided into parts information needs to travel to and from each part efficiently. Hence the phrase "bottleneck" was coined.

I chose this configuration based on several factors:

Gaming Ability - You might find a cheaper system but the point of this build is to play almost all new gaming titles with high resolution and quality settings and even Crysis at 1680x1050 on "high quality" (which is a feat for a budget system).
Value - Gaming technology and computer hardware makes leaps and bounds every year. Rather than spending $1400 on a computer every four years it makes more sense to purchase a good value computer with all the amenities that you are looking for (for example DirectX version, pixel shader version, a certain game, ect.) every two years. If you set the two side by side you will have spent the same in the long run, at the end of four years the $1400 rig will be much slower and have out of date technology, which will adversely effect the quality and performance of your gaming experience. Your needs might merit a $1400+ computer, but this guide is geared for those who want to play the most game titles well for the lowest price.
Your Budget - We all can't spend the same amount on a gaming computer. Keeping your system balanced will maximize gaming performance for your dollar.
Enjoy :) 
February 26, 2010 8:10:17 AM

Budget: $796.61


CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model HDZ720WFK3DGI - OEM
MOBO: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
HSF: Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... - Retail
GPU: XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Comes with heatsink.
This build will allow you to play games at mid. to max. settings at a monitor resolution of 1920x1080 or less

Budget: $771.90


CPU: Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80616I3530 - Retail
MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU ... - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "Compatible ... - Retail
GPU: XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Case: Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
This build will allow you to play games at mid. to max. settings at a monitor resolution of 1920x1080 or less

Gamer: $1,130.90


CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX - Retail
MOBO: ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU ... - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
GPU: XFX HD-585A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
This build will allow you to play games at mid. to max. settings at a monitor resolution of 1920x1200

Gamer: $1,136.89


CPU: Intel Core i5 750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU ... - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
GPU: XFX HD-585A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
This build will allow you to play games at mid. to max. settings at a monitor resolution of 1900x1200

Enthusiast: $1,421.89


CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU ... - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
GPU: XFX HD-587A-ZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card ... - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
This build will allow you to play games at max settings at a monitor resolution of 1920x1200 or higher...

Enthusiast - Extreme: $2,047.87 (Thanks for the feedback... saint19)


CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
MOBO: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998691 - Retail
HSF: XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
SSD: Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2XXX 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - OEM
HDD: SAMUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100280OCSR Radeon HD 5970 (Hemlock) 2GB 512 (256 x 2)-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported ... - Retail
PSU: Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC "compatible with ... - Retail
DVD: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM
Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
This build will allow you to play games at max settings at a monitor resolution of 1920x1200 or higher...

a b 4 Gaming
July 28, 2011 10:13:18 PM

CerebralJon said:
So I'm thinking about slowly saving up till the end of the summer, and buying myself a gaming PC before I go back to school. I don't have tons of money to throw around but I'm hoping to maybe have about $700 before the end of this summer. I don't have anything, monitor, keyboard, nothing. I'll be building a new PC completely from scratch.

I realize that this won't be able to play all the new games, but I'm just looking for a good system to start from, and then I can slowly upgrade. Right now I'm looking to be able to play games powered by the Steam engine, such as the upcoming Left 4 Dead, and older games such as Vampire the Masquerade- Bloodlines, and Counter-Strike Source. Would a $700 PC get me enough power to play these games?

I'd like to eventually upgrade the computer so that it is a fairly powerful rig. But now I'm going for the foundation. What do you guys think?

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
July 29, 2011 1:40:54 AM

nice necro
July 29, 2011 8:44:27 AM

*implied facepalm*
!