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$500 moderate gaming build

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August 20, 2008 6:44:56 PM

Hey everybody!

I was looking into building a decent gaming computer for my wife.
She said she doesn't want anything fancy and to keep it around $500
All she does is mess around on the internet and play World of Warcraft with me.

after about 6 hours of off and on research and searching I've come up with this build

Compucase HEC 6K28BB8F Black 0.8mm SECC Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case $35

GIGABYTE GA-945GCM-S2C LGA 775 Intel 945GC Micro ATX $48

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English $90

Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC 430W ATX Power Supply $41

Intel Pentium E2200 Allendale 2.2GHz 1MB L2 Cache LGA 775 $80

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit $72

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s $60

SAPPHIRE 100173-2L Radeon X1550 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 $36

Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System $21

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R $27

Old-ish LCD monitor laying around the house $0

Total: $510 + $39shipping



So any ideas to increase the bang/buck ratio?

Thanks!

August 20, 2008 10:15:16 PM

Maybe look into Antec for the PSU. Possibly more stable for your money. Also, 2gb of ram is plenty on a budget. I run 2 gb and it's not bad. Take the extra money, pick up faster video card. Maybe something like this one....

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

Also, it's just a moderate build gamer build, I am going to recommend you go AMD here.

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

That is the AMD 5000+ x2 chip. Should be good to rock and roll. I've got a 5200+ myself, and I game and everything on it at stock for now, no complaints at all. Plus that is only 66 bucks vs the 80, giving you more leeway for other components like vid card or what have you.

Also on that, they've got a combo to get the Vista home premium 32 bit with that chip for 155ish. There's 10 bucks or so. Or looks like there's a combo to pick up a 500 gb hitachi drive as well for like 115 with the chip. If you go the AMD route, I think I would also consider an AM2+ motherboard that has the 2600HT speed on it, that way if you want to upgrade her system later, you can just toss in a quad and more ram and be set. Intel is the king in performance, but I think when you are on a budget, AMD has a good package to give some bang for the buck. Truthfully I think the 5000+ would be fine for a moderate game build, just pair it with a decent video card and should be no worries.
August 20, 2008 10:34:37 PM

do you know the size and resolution of the monitor?
Related resources
August 20, 2008 10:42:37 PM

Unless you have a need for Vista, you could buy XP and then reduce the RAM to 2GB. You could also save money by getting the E2160 and a suitable motherboard and overclocking it to 3GHz as many have done (myself included). With the change to XP, 2GB RAM, Gigabyte P35 mobo, E2160 and an 8800GT you'd be looking at about $575 and you'd have a substantially stronger system for games. If your current system has lesser specs than the new one, you could keep it for yourself and give the wife your old system!
Anonymous
August 20, 2008 10:45:32 PM

i would go win xp instead of vista....!
and 2gig will be plenty enough...
i would suggest amd too....

with the money saved... put it on the video card!
August 20, 2008 11:13:24 PM

I would NOT dump money into basically a dead OS. No way. I mean your paying almost the same, no directx10 which most decent cards should not have a big problem with anyway. I would not do it. You can tweak Vista down to use less resources anyway.
August 21, 2008 2:17:41 AM

:)  Thanks for all the help!

This the monitor I have for her:
17in 1280x1024 @ 60Hz
http://www.compandsave.com/Dell_E177FP_17_Flat_Panel_LC...

I was going to stick with Intel just because I don't know much of anything about AMD. Maybe I'll do some reading though.
Also, future proofing is a concern to some extent. Hence the Vista and the LGA 775 socket. So that maybe in a year or two I can drop in a cheap Q9450, 2 more gigs of ram, and a new video card.

Oh, one more thing, how much of a performance drop would I see if I went with 1x2Gig stick instead of 2x1Gigs?

August 21, 2008 2:51:35 AM

I would go with a better mobo, if you plan to upgrade to the q9450 in the future, as I believe the 945 chipset doesn't support it. You can get the Sonata 3, comes with a good quality psu.
August 21, 2008 3:10:25 AM

YOu don't need 2b of ram unless you plan to multitask alot, spend a bit more on the vid card, try to get like a 8800gs, they aren't too much under $100 and will work well with every game decent fps at decent settings dx10 compatible etc, it will be worth it.
August 21, 2008 3:10:58 AM

Girls dont play games. Pics or it didnt happen :p 
August 21, 2008 3:35:39 AM

Since it's a moderate build, may I suggest:

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$35
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60 (modular Antec)
MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60 (Built in 8100 GFX, combo SLI)(Biostar)
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60 (AM2 X2 4050e Retail)(can be upgraded to the tri-core, or Phenom later)
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$73 (4GB of DDR2 800 Kingston)
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$55 (WD 250GB SATA)
DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$28 (SATA 20x DVDR/RW Retail)
OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$90 (Vista home basic 32 bit)
Vid: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$47 (Zotac 8500GT, can be SLI'ed with onboard)


Total: $508 + S&H (don't really need the 8500GT)(not counting MIR, and rebate/combo deals)
August 21, 2008 4:31:32 AM

Actually, 2 gb is getting to be about standard. I think later you will see more folks move to 4 gb or more. To the op, do some research look at some performance charts. On the budget end of the spectrum, if it's staying at stock speed, AMD does do decently against intel chips in that bracket. It's in the higher performance brackets that they cannot compete. But I've been using AMD products for about 10-12 years, they are definitely a reliable product and would work fine for what you want to do.

Only thing about future proofing, with Intel's new stuff coming out, they are moving to a new socket, so not sure if you'll be able to get new chips for the 775 as easily as right now. With AMD, if you get an AM2+ mobo that supports the 2600 mhz HT speed, it is supposed to even be compatible with their new AM3 chips that come out later, at least that's the claim, again, do your research. But if you do go with intel, I don't think you will be getting a bad deal. Either way you can get a mean system for 500 if you are careful with what you are buying.

I would mention though, Now that I think of it, you may want to consider a 64 bit OS, as the 32 bit is only supposed to support 4 gb of memory. But the 64 goes a lot higher than that. If you decide to upgrade her to more memory and what not down the line, the OS should be able to handle it.
August 21, 2008 9:37:41 AM

well if i was gaming on the budget i would get a AMD dual core with a 780G mobo with 2gb ram and a 320GB HDD. that should save you alot of money.
August 22, 2008 12:01:05 AM

E2160 or E2180. Best budget CPU out there as far as I'm concerned. Can easily get 2.5 on stock cooling. If the case has good cooling 3.0 is not too hard to get on stock cooling either.

Also think that vista + 4gb ram is not necessary. Go with XP pro and 2x1 gb sticks of ddr2 800 and she'll be just fine.

Other than that... I wouldn't get anything less than 8600gt for gaming, I've used one in 3 computers for other people now and it plays CoD 4, Assasin Creed, Oblivion, and a lot of other high end games. She won't be able to max things out, but she'll be able to play/enjoy new games with it for sure.

I agree with the people who recommend Antec for the power supply. They have some great case+psu options available.

I know also that their earthwatts 380 can power an e2180 oc'd at 3.0, 8600 gt, dvd rw, 2gb ram, hard drive and 2 x case fans with no problems. So you don't necessarily need a big PSU to handle the task.

Only other thing I can think of at the moment, is that if you wanted to stick with ATI for the video card, you could look into the hd3850, since with rebates there are some for as low as 79.99 you really couldn't beat that performance/$. (if you can do rebates that is... I can't because I forget)

Good luck with the build, I hope my rambling helps in some way.
August 22, 2008 7:49:03 AM

if you want HD3850 might as well get the powerful 9600GT with rebate for similar price about $10+ difference and the performance is in a different league.
!