Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New to system building. Is this a good ~$500 Build?

Last response: in Systems
October 26, 2008 2:02:25 AM

This is my first time building my own system completely on my own. Shopping around online and reading this forum and others, I'm looking at a rig that's around $500. I'm on a tight budget and would like to keep the price approx. the same. My build:

CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO E8500

Video Card: GeForce 9800 GT

Motherboard: MSI P43 Neo3-F LGA 775 ATX

Memory: G.Skill 2x1GB (2 GB total)

DVD Burner: HP DVD/CD Burner w/ Lightscribe

Case: Logisys XBlade (Power supply included)

I'm reusing an old HDD, sound card, and speakers.

How's this build look? Is there anything I'm forgetting? I'm the least confident on the motherboard choice; it's a little overwhelming with all the options and trying to keep the price low. I'd appreciate any help or advice you guys can give. Thanks.
October 26, 2008 2:51:44 AM

actually looks pretty good (PSU might suck a** though so beware that you may need to get a new one...)

if your not planning on overclocking the system looks fine... except for the fact you can lose 20 $ on the e8500 and pick up an e8400 instead

also i'd go for a 4850 over a 9800 gt... despite the fact they are 30 - 40 $ more

also for about 10 - 20 $ more you can get 4 GB now a days... its the sweet spot in terms of pricing/quantity/performance

You need an Operating system... vista 64 is recommended if you don't already have one other wise windows xp 32 or 64 bit will be fine

as for a motherboard if you do plan on overclocking... you'll want a p45 as the have better overclocking features

I hear this one is able to get about 500 FSB w/ almost no tweaking... on quad cores... so on a dual you could probably get mid 500s or something... on a e8400 that would run you 4.5 ghz... thats pretty nice...
October 26, 2008 3:05:38 AM

A Logisys PSU is a ticking bomb, maybe good for 60% of its labeled rating before blowing up.

The following build is a tiny bit over before a couple of MIRs, but could be brought down a little:

Rosewill R218-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R218-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147073

$29.99 -$8.00 Instant $21.99
Cheap case, but I've used it, and it has decent cooling and plenty of room.

BIOSTAR TForce TP43D2A7 LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #:TForce TP43D2A7
Item #:N82E16813138122
Mail-in Rebate

$89.99 $89.99
I would buy Biostar long before MSI. A coworker who had a computer store says MSI is unreliable crap. Other Biostar boards I've bought have been fine.

ASUS EAH4850 TOP/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #:EAH4850 TOP/HTDI/512
Item #:N82E16814121272
Mail-in Rebate

$179.99 -$10.00 Instant $169.99
I like the cooler on this card. It isn't too loud.

Antec earthwatts EA500 500W ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:EA500
Item #:N82E16817371007

$89.99 -$40.00 Instant $49.99
Good, efficient PSU. Great price on it too.

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale 2.53GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7200 - Retail
Model #:BX80571E7200
Item #:N82E16819115052

$117.99 $117.99
In this build, this might be the first thing to improve if the budget has a little wiggle room.

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
Model #:ADQVE1A16K
Item #:N82E16820211066

$31.99 $31.99
This RAM will operate on the JEDEC standard 1.8V, for no muss no fuss installation.

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
Model #:iHAS120-08
Item #:N82E16827106264

$25.99 $25.99
No lightscribe, but this Retail version includes burning and other software.

Subtotal: $507.93
Doesn't include shipping, but there are also a couple of rebates in there.
Related resources
October 26, 2008 3:11:42 AM

Really, the only bad thing in your original build is the PSU. Get a real one, and the rest comes down to personal preference and nit-picking over choice of benchmarks.
October 26, 2008 3:56:49 AM

Good suggestions by jtt as usual. You might also replace the Logisys case/psu with this Rosewill case/psu. The Logisys psu has 10 amps on the 12v rail (it's a very old and dated design) the Rosewill is a more modern design and while i wouldn't normally recommend it, it's far superior to the Logisys one.

Also if you get the E8500 go with the combo deal for the Biostar P43 motherboard, it'll end up cheaper then the MSI one you picked. + an additional $20 off

jtt RAM pick
October 26, 2008 4:08:16 AM

I think if you could up the budget a bit, you'd have a higher quality build.

I would dump the e8500 for an $80 and the e7200 will hit 3.16ghz on the stock cooler with a single BIOS adjustment. You lose some catch, but the $80 savings put into a better graphics card will do a lot more.

If you check and, you can now catch HD 4870's and gtx260's at about $200 with rebate. But you'd also need a decent $50-60 power supply (Corsair or Antec).

For another $20-25 you could get a top quality Asus P45 motherboard, $10-20 more gets you 4gb of RAM.

So, if you dump the E8500 for an e7200 (OC to's easy), buy a 4870 or gtx260, upgrade the mobo to a P45, add a better PSU and 2gb's more RAM = $605 and a much better gaming rig i my opinion. Once you have a 3.0ghz+ Core 2 CPU the limiter is really the GPU.

If you look at this CPU chart,[2184]=on&prod[2185]=on&prod[2186]=on
an e7200 @ 3.16ghz would perform between the e8300 and e8400. The e8500 is a little faster, but looking at this GPU chart[2114]=on&prod[2062]=on&prod[2074]=on
At 1280x1024 and 1680x1050 w/AA on the two better cards start to pull on the 8800GT/9800GT in most games.
October 26, 2008 4:51:09 AM

jtt knows his stuff. The only thing I would argue with is the case... just because I like Cooler Masters so much better. The Centurion (any of them) is a great case with excellent cooling and plenty of room. I really liked mine (the 534) for its all-metal construction and brushed aluminum front panel.

You should be able to get an E7200 to 4.0+ no problem. Get a Xigmatek HDT S-1283.
October 26, 2008 12:55:20 PM

Thanks for your help everyone. I don't want to overclock, so that's not a factor, and I'll be using a copy of XP that I already have. I changed around a few things based on jtt's advice:

CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO E8500 [...] 6819115036

Video Card: GeForce 9800 GT [...] 6814127379

Motherboard: BIOSTAR TForce TP43D2A7

Memory: A-Data 2x1GB (2 GB total)

DVD Burner: HP DVD/CD Burner w/ Lightscribe [...] 6827140030

Case: Raidmax Tornado

Power Supply: Antec earthwatts EA500 500W

I'm keeping the same CPU and GPU for now. I don't think there's that much of a performance difference between the GPUs for what I'll be doing (light gaming, I don't play cutting-edge FPS's), and I can always upgrade that easily later. I really appreciate the advice on the motherboard, I feel a lot more confident now. The DVD burner, I have software already, and $4 for lightscribe is a nice option. And the case, I'll spend a little more for something a little more stylish. What the heck, right?
October 26, 2008 1:40:20 PM

Nice job then.
I've also used some CoolerMaster cases, and inside they and the Rosewills look very similar; the Raidmax you've chosen also looks about the same, and already comes with all the fans.
Because of your light gaming, give the HD4670 a look. It uses a lot less power than the 9800GT and will run cooler. If you can wait a week or two, Cleeve will have updated his Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money article; I'm curious myself as to where the 4830 will fit in.
In any event, have fun with your build.
October 26, 2008 1:57:52 PM

If you are certain you want to stick to a card in the $100 range then don't go for the 9800GT. That model is a rebranded 8800GT, all that's changed is the sticker on it. You could get the 8800GT with absolutely same performance for a bit less. My suggestion to you would be to take an 8800GT to save $25-30 and use that to get better RAM.

Here's a great deal for arguably the best 4gb DDR2 800 RAM out there, $67 regular price, $47 after MIR.\
Remember XP recognizes a large part of it so it will not be wasted.

You could also go for the E8400 which is a bit cheaper and has no real performance loss, as the CPU will never limit you here. Just in case you want to squeeze another $20 cut or so.

Other people suggested the E7200 instead already, so I didn't bother to do that, but if this was my build I'd switch the CPU for the E7200 and take an HD4850 instead as GPU. With the Mushkin 4gb RAM. I'm fairly sure this would give you overall better performance, not that your current build is not good though.

This will work
October 26, 2008 2:00:22 PM

Combo deal on this EVGA 9800GT dual slot cooler with the antec earthwatts drops the price to $75 after rebate, A great deal

Theres's only a $15 price difference between the E8500 and the E8400 and the E8500 has a combo deal that drops the price of his motherboard $20.
October 26, 2008 6:55:32 PM

drop the e8500 get an e8400 and upgrade to 4gb of ram instead of 2