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New budget GAMING comp help~

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July 30, 2008 3:13:35 PM

I'm looking to build a budget ($500-$1000) gaming and regular internet use machine after my 2-year old one just died last night. Mainly, I just want this comp to be able to play Starcraft 2 smoothly when it releases in the *hopefully* near future. I don't really play graphics-intense games nor do any video encoding etc. so I don't need all the hardcore stuff.

This is what I got so far, please make any recommendations as you see fit to make it cheaper and/or better :wahoo: 

CPU:

Q6600 or E8XXX? I'm still wondering on what to get.

MB:

Need some help here. I don't know if I should just get a single video card or get one that is CF/SLI ready. I was looking at this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics:

Need some advice, but I think the general consensus is the ATI (Sapphire?) 4850?

Memory:

Right now, I got the Mushkin 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 on the wish-list

Case:

Need recommendations. I just want a cheap decent case, not all crazy with the HUGE LEDs and fans. Right now I'm looking at this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:

Is 550W good enough? What's a good, cheap brand/product.

Hard Drive:

I've had a WD 74GB Raptor for like 2-3 years now so I'm contemplating on whether to get another HD or just keep using it since it's not dead yet.

Cooling:

Is this good? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or is there a better and cheaper alternative?

Essentially, I just want this machine to play Starcraft 2 and be able to multitask efficiently. However I'm pretty much on a tight budget so $500-$1000 (cheaper the better) is what I'm looking at.

I'm hoping I will be able to order everything this weekend sometime.

Any helpful recommendations are appreciated!

More about : budget gaming comp

July 30, 2008 4:27:09 PM

I would say for CPU, get a dual core, since all you're doing is playing games. E8400 is really nice or E8500 if you have a few more bucks.

Motherboard: If you're ever planning on slapping 2 video cards in there, get an x38 or x48 board. But if you're never planning on playing games above 1680x1050, you don't really need 2 cards, so that board is fine.

Case: Don't know a whole lot about, but you can get an antec 900 right now for $70 after rebate AND get leds and whatnot.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU, if you're planning on going with 2 cards, the safest thing to do is get a 750W PSU. Corsair makes a nice one. If you're only going with 1 card, I'm sure a 550W would be plenty.

Hard Drive: I would say get one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

They're about as fast as your raptor and hold 500GB. Or you could go with the WD equivalent.

Cooling: Just grab one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Top of the line cooling for $26 after rebates.
July 30, 2008 4:47:23 PM

Thanks for the reply atrain!

CPU:
I think I'm going to take your advice on the dual core since I think it's a cheaper option.

Case:
I'll do some more research and see what I can come up with.

PSU:
I think 550W will be fine, what brand/model is a good one?

Cooling:
1.) Will it fit that mobo and case? 2.) is $26 reasonable for that type of cooling?

Will update the first post.
Related resources
July 30, 2008 4:47:27 PM

If you're not a hard core gamer, you won't need crossfire or SLI. The same goes for a case, you won't need 6 120mm fans.
Motherboard- P43 single card at PCIex16 2.0 Asus P5QL $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU- Intel E8500 Due to price drop just $15 more than the E8400 $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case power supply combo Antec Sonata- a good quiet case with a energy efficient and quality power supply $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD- WD 640 plenty of space, good speed, SATA $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD/CD burner- SATA $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler- stock cooler that comes with the E8500, fine unless you're going to be overclocking, memory is fine, HD4850 is a good choice
July 30, 2008 5:01:46 PM

Thanks dirtmountain, I like the list. I'm gonna update everything and post it for a final review of sorts before I go ahead and buy it.
July 30, 2008 5:31:48 PM

Ok this is the updated list, please make any recommendation or comment on anything I should change or whatever:

CPU:

E8500

MB:

ASUS P5QL PRO LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Graphics:

Sapphire 4850 512 MB

RAM:

Mushkin 2 x 2GB DDR2 800

Case:

Antec Sonata III 500 w/ 500W PSU combo.

PSU:

Look above

Hard Drive:

None, I'll be using my old Raptor for now.. I think.. still deciding

Cooling:

Stock cooling or should I spend money on something like this? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And if I do end up getting this, is there any additional parts or things I need?

Right now the total (Not including the shipping or rebates) is: $672.90. What do you guys think?
July 30, 2008 5:39:12 PM

If you're going to OC at all, you need an aftermarket cooler and that one you have in your last post is great.

If you're leaving your CPU at stock, then the stuff that comes with it will work fine.

I would strongly recommend a new hard drive, but if you don't need that much space and you think 74GB is enough then don't worry about it.
July 30, 2008 5:46:52 PM

atrain:

I don't really plan to OC that much, if at all. So 500W is fine? I'll probably end up getting that HD though.

random question: I've always used XP Pro, but I'm wondering if I should upgrade to Vista. Is it worth it? If so, what version (32 or 64 bit) should I get?
July 30, 2008 5:49:29 PM

500W should be more than enough for that build. Although the PSU in that case isn't *amazing* it's still moderately good. That case is also pretty quiet but because of the high gloss finish it shows fingerprints easily. Since the E8xxx series overclock like beasts I don't really see the need to spend extra money on the E8500 vs the E8400 for a paltry 160MHz on a 3GHz chip. Either is fine but you could save a few bucks. You should get the aftermarket cooler if you plan on overclocking to any significant degree.

-mcg
July 30, 2008 5:53:57 PM

500w is fine for your setup.
July 30, 2008 5:54:27 PM

Thanks mcg and omicron for the info!
July 30, 2008 5:58:39 PM

Personally I'd avoid Vista for as long as you can. While the horror stories from early on are no longer the case, it will still be more resource intensive than XP and cause more overhead. Using the PSU calc at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/ I get an actual system draw of about 300W and with overhead for capacitor aging, a recommended rating of about 350W... so you're more than fine with that 500W (which *is* of decent quality). If it were a no-name 500W I'd say forget about it, but it's an Antec Earthwatts (Seasonic built) so you're fine.

-mcg
July 30, 2008 6:05:06 PM

MrCommunistGen said:
500W should be more than enough for that build. Although the PSU in that case isn't *amazing* it's still moderately good. That case is also pretty quiet but because of the high gloss finish it shows fingerprints easily. Since the E8xxx series overclock like beasts I don't really see the need to spend extra money on the E8500 vs the E8400 for a paltry 160MHz on a 3GHz chip. Either is fine but you could save a few bucks. You should get the aftermarket cooler if you plan on overclocking to any significant degree.

-mcg



15$ is not a whole lot of money on this issue.

there are no other chips where from a lower model to a higher model where 15$ would get you an increase of 160mhz, and an increase of a .5x multiplier. E8500 hands down.
July 30, 2008 6:08:34 PM

Go with Vista Home Premium 64, you can get it for about $100. I thinks it's a pretty nice OS, and is better than XP, plus you'll get DX 10. Most people on here who have made the switch like it.
July 30, 2008 6:12:24 PM

San Pedro said:
Go with Vista Home Premium 64, you can get it for about $100. I thinks it's a pretty nice OS, and is better than XP, plus you'll get DX 10. Most people on here who have made the switch like it.

Right, I knew I forgot something. DX 10 would be one of the largest reasons to get Vista, and with the x64 version you'll be able to use all 4GB of RAM. Since you're not planning on OCing you might as well skip the CPU cooler and get the E8500.

-mcg
July 30, 2008 6:18:45 PM

Yea, I think I'll go with the 8500 since it's just a $15 increase. I'll also stick with the stock cooler unless I see high temps. Speaking of which, what's a good normal idle/running temp for the 8500s? Also, do I need to buy thermal paste or fans or does the CPU and case come with that, it's been a while since I build a comp.
July 30, 2008 6:25:17 PM

if you choose vista 64 bit be ready for some compatability problems.
I like my vista but there's allways something about 64 bit version of windows on forums.
July 30, 2008 6:47:48 PM

My recommendations for your budget:

CPU:
E8400/E8500(gaming) Q6600/9450 (video editing,etc)

Motherboard:
P45-DS3L (if no CrossFire) or X48-DS4 (CrossFire) or ASUS X48 P5E Deluxe(CrossFire)

RAM:
2*2GB DDR2 800 RAM from a good manufacture like Corsair, Crucial, Patriot, G.Skill,etc. Be careful with DDR2 1066 RAM, they seem to have compatibility issues.

GPU:
ATI 4850/4870 from a good manufacture.

PSU(Never SKIMP on the PSU):

For single GPU:
PC Power & Cooling 610 or Corsair 650 (You can also get the Corsair 550, but it is about same price as the 650TX on newegg)

For CrossFire/Multi GPU:
PP&C 750 or Corsair 750

HDD:
500GB+ 7200.11 (possibly in RAID if getting 2*500GB)

HSF (mainly if OCing only):
XIGMATEK S1283 (+ bolt in kit)

DVD RW:
Get a good quality SATA DVD RW.

Case:
This is a personal preference but I recommend the good old Antec 900.

OS:
Again this is a personal preference. I personally take XP over Vista for most cases, but Vista is good never the less. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are getting Vista make sure your printer, camera, WiFi, etc has Vista drivers. The same case goes to Vista/XP x64 versions.
July 30, 2008 7:22:10 PM

If you buy a retail boxed Intel 8500 that includes a HS Fan the HS will have a thermal pad on it.
July 30, 2008 8:38:03 PM

going to your os if you want to have 4gb you need to go with vista 64 bit i am using windows vista ultimate 64 bit if you use a 32 bit it doesn't recognize the whole 4gb of memory
August 12, 2008 3:24:14 PM

Sorry for the wait, some issues came up and had to delay my order. Anyways, I few more questions popped in my head as I was about to order so I just wanted to ask and make sure everything is an OK :D 

1. On the mobo (ASUS P5QL PRO LGA 775 Intel P43) it says the RAM standard is DDR2 1066. Right now in my cart I have the Mushkin 4Gb DDR2 800. Is this ok? or should i get the "standard" with something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. Is there IDE support for that mobo? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I have a DVD Burner that is IDE that I want to use

3. Is the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 worth getting or no? And will it fit into this case? http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-sonata-iii-super-mini-tow... And if it is, do I have to buy additional stuff to install it?

I hope you guys can help me out, you've helped so much and it's appreciated! :)  I'll probably order the stuff tonight if my final setup looks good to you guys. THANKS AGAIN!
August 12, 2008 4:13:06 PM

1. DDR2 800 is fine. Just because your mobo can handle 1066 doesn't mean you have to waste the extra money on it. There's very little performance difference between the two.

2. Yes. IDE is just another name for PATA, and that board has a single PATA capable of running 2 devices.

3. If you're not OCing, or if you're only OCing a little bit the stock HSF if fine. You can always buy the Xiggy later if you decide you want to push your OC.
August 12, 2008 4:59:06 PM

Thanks wanker
!