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$900 build for gaming...Advice please!

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September 18, 2008 3:31:45 PM

I am trying to put a gaming computer together for my cuz. The things he will not need in this build are:

Mouse
Keyboard
Monitor - He has a 22' Samsung

He will need everything else including an OS and his budget is $900. What is the best he can do for that budget?
September 18, 2008 4:04:28 PM

Awesome!

I have never heard of the ram, that pretty good?
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 4:14:05 PM

Here's a list to give you some ideas:

Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail $130 - $50 MIR = $80
This case/PSU bundle is a good deal for quality parts. You can also shop for a PSU and case separately.

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $127 - $20 MIR = $107
Good brand, good chipset, good overclocker, and has everything you may need.

PALiT XAE/48500+T352 Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $170 - $30 = $140
This is the least expensive HD4850 card on newegg. The HD4850 is the graphics chipset to look for these days.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail $170
Very fast dual core intel. If you can stretch another 20 bucks, get the E8500 instead.

pqi TURBO 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PQI26400-4GDB - Retail $63
The least expensive DDR2-800 4GB kit with heatspreaders, decent brand.

Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $90
Seagate's latest, 32MB cache, large enough to last a while, 5-year warranty

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail $29
Least expensive SATA drive, retail comes with decoders and burning software.

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $100
64-bit will use all of the 4GB RAM and allow more in the future.

That all comes to $879 before S&H, but also before $100 mail in rebates.

*EDIT - WR2 beat me to it!

*EDIT #2 - great minds think alike, eh?
September 18, 2008 4:19:27 PM

Well you went with a faster CPU where he went with a faster GPU... :o )
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 4:28:08 PM

I had also chosen the E8400 and GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R until I found I was ending up over budget. The EP45-DS3R would be the first thing I'd upgrade if you want to spend the rebates before you get them [:wr2:5]

So I cut back a bit on the CPU and MB to keep the 4870 in the mix. The E7200 will OC to 3.0Ghz on the stock Intel HSF but to be honest in most games the 3.0Ghz won't make as much difference as the ~20-25% difference the 4870 has over the 4850.

pqi TURBO and WINTEC AMPX RAM are a good value for performance RAM. AMPX was in this THG review: DDR2-800 Goes Gold
September 18, 2008 4:34:08 PM

I think it would be better to go with the higher GPU for sure.
September 18, 2008 4:40:25 PM

With the Sonata case and PSU, might as well get the free X2 5400+ and sell it or give it away. :p 

I would go with the E7200 and get a 4870; since this rig is mainly for gaming, the 4870 will give it more longevity and he can upgrade to a quad when they're cheaper and more relevant.

a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 4:40:58 PM

Yeah, higher GPU/lower CPU is better in most games on a 22" than the other way around.

The HD 4870 is also better cooled, and that matters in the Sonata case.

WR2's list is very nice. I'd just upgrade to the DS3R if possible.
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 5:23:58 PM

Considering that Sonata practically comes with a free 5400+ BE I would build the system off of that so you can get a 4870 instead of a 4850. :bounce: 
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 5:39:09 PM

I think WR2's list is solid. You could change the RAM to this Mushkin RAM:

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

The Mushkin RAM has a little tighter timings at the standard 1.8v. This would cost a little more upfront, but has a MIR and free shipping making it cheaper in the end.

If you can squeeze it into the budget, upgrade to the DS3R and E8400 as mentioned earlier.
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2008 5:44:20 PM

This motherboard works with the 5400+ for example.

GIGABYTE GA-MA770-DS3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX $79+9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128081


Edit: the E7200 is a little better than the 5400+, but of course it's not free. The E8400 is a lot better. You can see some benchmarks here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2008/Quake-IV,389.html
The 5400+ and E8400 are there. The E7200 is not, but look at the numbers for E6600 because they are very close to the E7200.



September 20, 2008 8:25:36 AM

Sorry for asking a stupid question but... (i'm new to all this computer stuff)

the (cpu) E7200 has a fsb of 1066
while the (mobo) GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L has a fsb of 1600/1333

so how can the cpu and the mobo be compatible?

I would understand this better if the mobo fsb was 1333/1066.

sorry please explain.. i'm a newbie
a b 4 Gaming
September 20, 2008 3:17:12 PM

koontie said:
I would understand this better if the mobo fsb was 1333/1066.
The motherboard is 1600/1333/1066/800 compatible.

GA-EP45-DS3R website

The E7200 is 2.53Ghz which works out to be a 266.5Mhz FSB (1066 quad pumped) times the 9.5 CPU multiplier.
If you overclock the E7200 to 333Mhz FSB (1333 quad pumped) times the 9.5 CPU multiplier you'd have a 3.16Ghz CPU (roughly E8500 equivalent)
This would be about the max OC you could expect with the stock Intel C2D HSF. A good E7200 can reach this speed without extra vCore increase.
Taking the OC to 400Mhz FSB (1600 quad pumped) times the 9.5 CPU multiplier you'd have a 3.8Ghz CPU which is a bit more than 50% OC.
E7200 review
!