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Help get my started on a budget build

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June 25, 2008 3:46:19 AM

Hey guys, this will be my first post on tom's hardware. This seemed like a goldmine for good advice to help get me started on a extreme budget build. My current rig is almost as old as time...

AMD Althlon 3200+
Abit NF7
1GB Ram
ATI 9600XT
40GB Hard drive

As you can see im surprised all the components listed have lasted as long as they have but they are starting to become unreliable and fail so it's far past time to build a new rig. But being out of the loop on all the new technology for so long I just keep getting more confused the further I read into things. Ive come here to get a firm grasp on whats what For a build that will only ever play games or do video encoding.

I want to build a solid core of a system I can add to and upgrade rather easily as the money slowly slips in so I need componets which arnt top of the line but can be easily upgraded to keep me up to date. I just have so many questions on where i should focus most of my money on to make this the best possible build it can be before I put upgrades in down the road.

I want to go Intel but thats where it ends, I have no Idea if i should go Dual core or Quad core. From what I have read Dual core preforms better in games because todays games arnt built for multi cores and the duals have faster cores. but I know the Q6600 OC's very nice and might be more future proof. So if anyone could give me insight on which way to go with the CPU would be nice. I plan to run XP 32bit for now cause its what I have access to and cant afford to drop the money on Vista ATM.

Second is mobo's and chipsets. Motherboards confuse the hell out of me always have always will ALL i know is I want it to support RAID for futre Hard drive upgrades I dont know which chipset i should get but I will want to OC. I also cant afford to run SLI or Crossfire now but I WILL want to get a second card later on when money allows so it should support one or the other.

Video cards - I know NVIDIA makes the better high end cards but i dont know much about how they compare to ATI in the midrange or how crossfire and SLI compare. I do know I want a decent card in the 150-200 range that I can get a second of later on for SLI or crossfire. 55
I dont expect people to take the time to show me entire builds but if someone could link me good site so i can read up on exactly how to get the best bang for my buck while maintaing a strong core to upgrade upon would be nice.

Here is a sample build ive priced out on newegg but im not sure if these componets work well together or provide me with the best platform for future upgrades.

Case: NZXT Apollo 70$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 OEM 195$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASUS P5K DELUXE 170$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I sure there are cheaper boards but i think this is an area i should spend a little more so it can support future upgrades. I am not sure if this board support crossfire or SLI if it doesnt I will have to find a different one.

RAM:Crucial Ballistix 2GB 55$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I plan to get 2 more GB later on

Harddrive: Western Digital Caviar 250GB 60$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
was told I can get a second one later on and run them in raid for better loading times.

other then that im sure I can find a sata DVD burner but I am lost on PSU and Video cards. I want a Video card i can double up and use SLI and crossfire with later on and a PSU that will support that so i really have no idea here.

This build puts me at 550 or so and i wanna keep the build no more then 800 so i might have to switch out some stuff to get a decent PSU and Video card.


More about : started budget build

June 25, 2008 6:37:35 AM

My suggestions :

Case:Coolermaster RC-690 or Antec 900
CPU:Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 or Q9300
Motherboard: ASUS P5E X38 (bundled with a non-onboard hd-audio card) or Gigabyte GA-X38-DS4 (Both of 'em are crossfire mobo)
RAM:Crucial Ballistix,Mushkin, Patriot,Kingston or Corsair DDR2 2x2GB (direct purchase together with your system)
Harddrive: WD 640GB or Seagate 500GB 32MB 7200.11, get two or more , if you are going to RAID 'em. How, Risk and Benefits from RAID, I consider that you have already familiar with RAID.
GPUs : 2x ATI HD 4850 from HIS, ASUS, or Shappire (Crossfire)
PSU : Corsair 750W
DVD-RW : Samsung S203B
Proc Fan : Artic Cooling Freezer Pro 7, Xigmatek HDT-S1283, Scythe Orrochi or Zalman CNPS9700. (One of those is a must if you gonna OC)

This build suggestion will bring you to more than 800, so manage it and adjust it to your need, which one can wait to be bought, adn which can't.

June 25, 2008 6:55:13 AM

Well ive been trying to read into it more and have put together a system which will run me about 900 after tax and shipping. If someone could look at it and let me know what they think and what I can expect from the system as far a preformance goes...

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

Cooler Master RC-690
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 250GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NeoPower 650 Blue 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB (2 x 1GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Radeon HD 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think thats it please let me know if i forgot something...
Id like people to take a look at this and let me know if they feel this is a good system or not.

I am not an expert on motherboards so I would like some reassurance that this Motherboard will support a second 4850 in Xfire later on and possible upgrade to a quad core in the future. Also would like some one to tell me if that PSU is good as that is another area I fail in.

This build is about 100 bucks more then I want to spend but I cant figure a way to take off 100 bucks without loosing something major so if anyone of you guys can find a way to shave off some cash while not sacraficing any of my future upgrade plans PLEASE LET ME KNOW. My future plans for the system are RAID with a third storage drive for backups, Xfire with a second 4850, Quad core processor, and a sound card.

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS THINK
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June 25, 2008 6:59:00 AM

^+1
I suggest Coolermaster RC-690 or Antec Nine Hundred as well. Look at Antec Three Hundred too.
June 25, 2008 7:11:38 AM

hmmm..I have been thinking.
hmmm...Are you sure with those E7200? Can't you really really afford one of those quads?
hmmm...Your budget is really tight eh dude?
ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 is already one of the best on those price range.
hmm...those case....perhaps coolermaster centurion series is enough for you. But RC-690 or antec 900 is much much better.
hmmm...I don't have any idey to cut your budget specially beacuse of your OCing, x-firing, raiding-plans.
100 bucks away ? it is OK? do you think so?
June 25, 2008 7:21:37 AM

It all looks great to me. I don't think the P45 chipset supports full PCI express x16 2.0 pathways to both x16 sockets, so if the 4800 series is at all dependent on this bandwidth for performance (I haven't seen any tests of this, but I highly doubt it'll matter more than a couple of percent in performance at most), it won't perform as well as an X38 or X48 chipset board. Those are much more expensive, though, and probably not worth it.

If you're really sure about going in for two cards, stick with the P45, otherwise, consider a cheapers P35 board and just upgrade the single card later down the road.
June 25, 2008 7:29:40 AM

guanyu2103 79 I have a 690 listed their i dont know where you got the idea i was going to use something else.

zipz0p - your saying the p45 will bottleneck my preformance when using Xfire cause it cant use both PCIe at 12x? well jeez... i might have to look into this i hope it doesnt become an issue..

I might have to bite the bullet and spend the xtra 100 but i really wanna make sure i wont be screwing myself with that mobo when i wanna switch up to Xfire....
June 25, 2008 7:33:34 AM

mrecio said:
guanyu2103 79 I have a 690 listed their i dont know where you got the idea i was going to use something else.

I know that, but I have just about (as written above : coolermaster centurion series) to suggest the centurions series which are cheaper, but RC-690 is still better. But if you wanna to cut your budget desperately, those centurion series are still considerable.
June 25, 2008 7:38:10 AM

I know sometimes I suggest someone to go multiple GPUs, but that happends only if they wanna go SLI or x-fire. I myself am not a multiple GPU fan.
I think that if you buy 2 GPUs for 2x the price, and if you have also spent 2x electical power to get them functioning but if you won't receive double performance, and 2GPU won't give you double performance.
I say...that is a little stupid ...you know...I pay or give twice only if I get twice.
But it is your choice.
June 25, 2008 7:41:40 AM

Oh ok I understand now but i dont think I can afford to do it because from what I have read the 4850 run hot and only have single slot cooling so better airflow from the 690 I would consider a must...

I downgraded to a dual core because I Game almost 90% of the time and the other 10% is just email, web, video encoding and for gaming I read duals can preform better cause the clock higher... I easily be wrong but the Q6600 can only go to about 3.2 maybe 3.6 and the E7200 can hit 3.8 but I need to look into it more cause going from 2.5 to 3.8 seems almost impossible but then again I havent had any experience OC'ing any new CPU only old AMD's which would never OC anywhere near that much higher over stock.

I figured that Motherboard will last me cause Im sure I can upgrade to whatever the top of the line quad is before they switch to the new ones at the end of the year.
June 25, 2008 7:47:09 AM

guanyu210379 said:
I know sometimes I suggest someone to go multiple GPUs, but that happends only if they wanna go SLI or x-fire. I myself am not a multiple GPU fan.
I think that if you buy 2 GPUs for 2x the price, and if you have also spent 2x electical power to get them functioning but if you won't receive double performance, and 2GPU won't give you double performance.
I say...that is a little stupid ...you know...I pay or give twice only if I get twice.
But it is your choice.


Ive thought about this and I agree with you but I am not sure how much money I can save cheaper PSU... I consider the Motherboard already on the cheap end and not sure if I would go any cheaper...Also not sure if cheaper Mobos with support the newer CPUS with 45NM cores which i want to make a future upgrade easier...
June 25, 2008 7:56:06 AM

Your choice of coolermaster rc690 is already good or perhaps the best solution to your need. I just wanna tell you that HD4850 is the lowest power consumption new gpu series available (compared to gtx260 or gtx280). Lower power consumption comes also with the most likely logical way of thinking that it produces less heat.

If we put the limit without OCing the proc. The difference about quad and dual is only about their multitasking ability. Sometime for only 1 task, dual is faster than quad. Somewhere in the future, all games and programs would be made to take full advantage from quad or perhaps more than quad.

And if we put the OC potential also into account. It is not only about how high can it go, but it's also about future.

By buying quad..you don't thave to upgrade your system anytime soon, Most likely, it can last at least 3-4 years, untill you have decided to buy a totally new system.

Yup..then again...you can upgrade your proc sometime in the future, if you have a very limited pocket right now.
June 25, 2008 7:58:36 AM

Don't get a P43 motherboard because it's only 10-15 cheaper and has a lot less features and OC potential. Honestly, who buys a P43?
June 25, 2008 7:59:55 AM

guanyu210379 said:
Your choice of coolermaster rc690 is already good or perhaps the best solution to your need. I just wanna tell you that HD4850 is the lowest power consumption new gpu series available (compared to gtx260 or gtx280). Lower power consumption comes also with the most likely logical way of thinking that it produces less heat.
.


yea I would think that but every review ive read on the thing shows high temps but it seems its because the fan just doesnt crank up to full speed. reports say at idle it runs at 14% and only goes up to 50% under load which i assume is the reason for the high temps and I am sure will be fixed soon with driver updates for the card.
June 25, 2008 8:01:09 AM

EP35DS3L is one of my favs right now, baby! But without RAID.
But the hell with RAID. I don't use it very often too myself. HDDs are for me only, size does matter! Speed comes secondary.

Corsair is also one of my fav PSU brands! It'S one of the best there is one the market, and 550W is enough for 1 GPU.

+1 for zip0p
June 25, 2008 8:03:01 AM

pcgamer12 said:
Don't get a P43 motherboard.


that really doesnt tell me anything... why would you say that and not even give a reason why?
June 25, 2008 8:11:21 AM

Well reguardless of the extra 100 bucks do you guys feel that system would be a solid on performance? I like the idea that the PSU is a lil OP for the system and will be the least of my worries for future upgrades and maybe find its way into a future build(if i can managed the extra price) and as far as using Xfire or not is that motherboard still solid either way? I like the fact the MOBO will support the new 45NM CPU's that are comin gout and has raid support and Xfire support if i ever feel incline to use it. I know the 4850 will do me right and I can make the choice to go Xfire or just a single GPU upgrade down the road in a couple years once i see whats out there...

Overall I am feeling pretty good about this build just might have to wait an extra week or so to get the 100 more.
June 25, 2008 8:13:55 AM

Get a P45. Notice the lone 1 review on the P43? Even though it's new, 1 review?..

I thought the reason was obvious. Not my fault. Do you see many people recommending P43? Even for budget builds? P35 or P45. But since you want CF, get a P45 or X38 or X48. P45 if not 2 16x may bottleneck bandwidth. Probably not though. Geez, do some reading on motherboards.
June 25, 2008 8:16:37 AM

Off topic :
$100 for extra weeks? how long? 1-2 weeks?
$400? 1 months? Is it possible?
June 25, 2008 8:17:21 AM

If he doesn't OC, AS-5 with stock Intel HSF is fine. Maybe get ACF7P for $26.99.
GA-(E)P45-DS3( ) is nice. To hell with RAID. WD6400AAKS is a good performer. Get the RC-690 or Antec Three Hundred. Both are very good, I'd lean towards Antec Three Hundred though since it's a bit cheaper and to me it looks sexy.

Although the Energy Saving motherboards look nice. I like to skip those and get regular ones.
June 25, 2008 8:19:54 AM

Get 4GB RAM and 64-bit Vista for DX10. Performance of both OS are up to par. 4x 1GB will save you some cash, but it's safer to go 2x 2GB RAM.
I have same RAM.
June 25, 2008 8:22:41 AM

mrecio said:
that really doesnt tell me anything... why would you say that and not even give a reason why?


Calm down, I gave you plenty of reasons. Also, notice how it has 1 16x slot? Do some reading.
June 25, 2008 8:23:30 AM

mrecio said:
yea I would think that but every review ive read on the thing shows high temps but it seems its because the fan just doesnt crank up to full speed. reports say at idle it runs at 14% and only goes up to 50% under load which i assume is the reason for the high temps and I am sure will be fixed soon with driver updates for the card.


If you care to wait. Than wait untill HIS has modified the cooler. HIS VGA Cards have the best cooling system for ATI GPUs (My opinion). At this moment HIS is still using the standard heatsink.
June 25, 2008 8:27:20 AM

+1 for 2x2 GB RAM. I have bought my mushkin 2x2 GB only less than $20 different than mushkin 2x1 GB. So..look for the best deal! Keep your eyes open on those special sales!




June 25, 2008 8:27:36 AM

Probably drivers will make the card ramp the fan up at idle a bit more, I've read that it is silent. Although, the card does keep a ton of heat into your case. You need good airflow or you're gonna walk right into stability issues due to heat.
June 25, 2008 8:27:44 AM

The ASUS 4850 and the mobo are a combo deal on newegg right now so you have to keep that in mind heh
June 25, 2008 8:28:36 AM

^+1 for Mushkin RAM. Voltages are lower than Crucial Ballistix. Save a bit of energy, but most importantly run cooler.
June 25, 2008 8:29:34 AM

guanyu210379 said:
+1 for 2x2 GB RAM. I have bought my mushkin 2x2 GB only less than $20 different than mushkin 2x1 GB. So..look for the best deal! Keep your eyes open on those special sales!

the ram I was planning to get is 19 dollar after rebate im not sure anything can beat that...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but why is 2x2gb better then 4x1gb?
June 25, 2008 8:29:39 AM

Show us a link to the combo.
June 25, 2008 8:30:07 AM

mrecio said:
The ASUS 4850 and the mobo are a combo deal on newegg right now so you have to keep that in mind heh

Off topic :
Newegg again?!
I wish that I live in USA or that Newegg ships to europe or at least to germany.
Thins here are much more expensive than on newegg.
OOOO...Brother...
June 25, 2008 8:31:38 AM

You can always upgrade to 4x 2GB for 8GB total. With 1GB sticks, you hit 4GB and run out of slots. There is less chances of getting bad sticks. With 2x 2GB you gamble twice, with 4x 1GB you gamble 4 times. I don't know why I say gamble, I got 2 Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800 and they are perfect even for OC to DDR-1000 5-5-5-15. Also it takes up less space?
June 25, 2008 8:33:15 AM

Asus is a good company, stick with that motherboard and GPU. If you do go with 2x 1GB, it's fine. I have the same RAM you chose, but plan to get 2GB more. It's very cheap. It's a good motherboard, although I'd pick the Deluxe over it if I had the money.
June 25, 2008 8:34:17 AM

What is your final list? Or the one you have so far so we can help you more. Thanks for list. 30 off is nice.
June 25, 2008 8:36:32 AM

mrecio said:

but why is 2x2gb better then 4x1gb?

First and the most obvous reason is :
Your mobo has only 4 slot. right?
4x1 means that you have used all of em! If you wanna to add more, what are you gonna do?
2x2 means that you have only used 2 of 'em! You have still 2 slots more free to be upgraded.

Second, I know this is only a minor reason :
2 slot used draws less power than 4 slot used nomatter how big per slot.

Third, memory seek, write and send time, also minor reason :
Less slot is faster.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
June 25, 2008 8:37:14 AM

guanyu210379 said:
First and the most obvious reason is :
Your mobo has only 4 slot. right?
4x1 means that you have used all of em! If you wanna to add more, what are you gonna do?
2x2 means that you have only used 2 of 'em! You have still 2 slots more free to be upgraded.

Second, I know this is only a minor reason :
2 slot used draws less power than 4 slot used nomatter how big per slot.

Third, memory seek, write and send time, also minor reason :
Less slot is faster.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

June 25, 2008 8:39:01 AM



it has not changed from that and now the only thing im questioning is the need for that PSU I like the modular cabling but could probably get by with something less cause i know i wont go Xfire for a couple years IF at all... and i am thinking about taking off the sata burning and using the IDE i have in its place for now... what do you guys recommends for a PSU i prefer it be modular but eh.. i guess i shouldnt be picky with 800 huh
June 25, 2008 8:41:16 AM

guanyu210379 said:
First and the most obvious reason is :
Your mobo has only 4 slot. right?
4x1 means that you have used all of em! If you wanna to add more, what are you gonna do?
2x2 means that you have only used 2 of 'em! You have still 2 slots more free to be upgraded.

Second, I know this is only a minor reason :
2 slot used draws less power than 4 slot used nomatter how big per slot.

Third, memory seek, write and send time, also minor reason :
Less slot is faster.

Please correct me if I am wrong.


ok so it may be better but I CANNOT beat less then 20 bucks after rebate for 2 gigs LOL and i will be using XP 32 bit which i dont think supports over 3gb anyways
June 25, 2008 8:44:28 AM

It seems to me that you are good to go. Modular PSU doesn't make any big diffrences but a good room management in your case. I ignore this most of the times, but for my sister modular is a must.
So your choice.
With your budget? just ignore those modular PSUs.
June 25, 2008 8:44:47 AM

$909.70 is the price to my door and after i minus the 35 in rebates i get in the mail it comes to 875
June 25, 2008 8:45:36 AM

Go with 2GB RAM for price. What's your budget for PSU?
June 25, 2008 8:47:34 AM

mrecio said:
ok so it may be better but I CANNOT beat less then 20 bucks after rebate for 2 gigs LOL and i will be using XP 32 bit which i dont think supports over 3gb anyways

32bit-OS can only use up to 3.2-3.3GB RAM.
But 64bit-OS is the Future. I don't have any of those 64bit yet, but I am planning on it for next year.
June 25, 2008 8:49:03 AM

It's 4GB - other RAM (4850 has 512mb, any other expansion cards, etc.)
!