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Budget build for a friend - any suggestions?

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December 10, 2008 3:20:04 PM

Well, I have a friend whos asking me to build him a secondary gaming pc (for his very occasional visitors). His primary rig, which I also built, sports a Q6600 (he wanted to future proof it) OC'ed to 3.4ghz on the 750i sli chipset, along with XP pro, and a single GTX 280 (he insisted, even when I told him all I had to do was get a 260 and OC it, darn stubborn people). Anyways, there's always someone at his house, whether visiting, or just staying for the night, so he wants a second pc, that can game crysis at least at mainstream settings (which is the overused medium). Anyway, he's set a budget of $550 (excluding shipping of items)(I know, I know...it's quite low, specially for something to be called a gaming rig). I've put the following together, so please tell me what can be improved upon, and still have it fit the small budget:



CPU:
1. Intel core 2 duo Wolf dale e7200, stock clocks: 2.53ghz - Price: $119 (free shipping):

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


Motherboard:
2. Gigabyte GA-EG31M-S2 LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - Price: $52.99

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

Ram:
3. Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail - Price: $24.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Desktop+Memory)-_-Kingston+Technology-_-20134117

HDD:
4. Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - Price: $41.99

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

CD/DVD burner:
5. LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM - Price: $20.99

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

Case+PSU:
6. HEC 6C28BBX585 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 585W Power Supply - Retail - Price: $59.99 (best value for the money I could find, and seems to have a reliable PSU, either way, I have a spare 600-watt , incase this one fails, so thats not a problem)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Computer+Cases+-+ATX+Form)-_-Compucase-_-11121002

Video Card/GPU:

So we get to the masterpiece of this budget system: the Graphics.

7. EVGA 896-P3-1260-AR GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free FarCry2 w/ purchase & register at Manuf. to qualify - Price: $219.99 (after MIR)

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



Total price: $531.00
THIS IS THE END OF THE LIST

( have 2 OEM copies of WinXP pro that are unused)


Ok! so the e7200 even at stock clocks can play most modern games, although I plan to OC that to 2.8-3ghz (to not risk stability, although I head it does 3.6 on stock voltage, so I might try going up to that point.

Do you guys think this can be improved upon, and still maintain the $550 budget?

Thanks for all help, and, er, for reading this far (unless you skipped the hardware list).

Thanks again and please reply,

Magicfreak123

More about : budget build friend suggestions

December 10, 2008 3:36:33 PM

I don't know that I've read anything remarkable about HEC PSUs, but I wouldn't buy one myself.
Right now, you can get an Antec Earthwatts EA650 PSU for $60 at Newegg. Get a cheap $26-$29 Rosewill case; they have reasonable cooling and layout.
Make budget by dropping the GPU down to a 4850 or even a 4830. That should certainly be sufficient.
December 10, 2008 3:46:46 PM

Thanks for the reply, and as I posted, I have a good Antec 600W in the closet. I'll take the advice and research the rosewill cases (one without a PSU ofcourse, I've had nothing but melting PSU's from them). Even with a 216 core GTX 260, I still make the budget, so I'm not sure why I would go for an ATI card, when all benchmarks, point to the GTX 260:

http://techgage.com/article/ati_hd_4870_1gb_vs_nvidia_g...

and:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-h...

Although I'll research a bit, and see what I can come up with....any suggestions on motherboard, or on the CPU?
Related resources
December 10, 2008 3:50:36 PM

Going to OC the CPU? A cheap after market cooler could get a bit more performance from the system.
Duno if that motherboards supports some oc at all...
December 10, 2008 3:53:36 PM

IH8U said:
Drop the Kingston RAM, Case, and PSU

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25 OCZ RAM DDR2 800 2x1GB, kicks the $hit out of Kingston for the same price
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50 Sunbeam Silent Storm (great cooling/airflow for the price)
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70 PC P&C 500W

and as mentioned above go with either a 4850, or 4830



Third Time I mention I have an unsued Antec 600W I got about 2 months ago, but never got around to it, its collecting dust (not literally, it's sealed in a box), in a closet and I would go over the budget if I went with your PSU. I like the look of the sunbeam case, and the ram is the same price as the kingston + you can't go wrong with OCZ (I hadn't seen it before!) Thanks. Any suggestions on the mobo, while keeping the same price?
December 10, 2008 3:58:57 PM

soark said:
Going to OC the CPU? A cheap after market cooler could get a bit more performance from the system.
Duno if that motherboards supports some oc at all...



Oops! sorry, I forgot to mention:

COOLER MASTER RR-LEE-L911-GP 92mm Sleeve X Dream 4 CPU Cooler - Retail - Price: $15.19

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 10, 2008 4:02:24 PM

EDIT: just got a call from him....He's willing to drive it (although it would be pushing, if we go further than) to $600. so now we have some wriggle room....what can we add for this price that would get good performance?
December 10, 2008 4:22:07 PM

Another set of the OCZ, and a 4870 possibly?



*EDIT* BTW the MB is fine, good choice on Gigabyte (if you had listed MSI, I'd have suggested something else)
December 10, 2008 4:26:03 PM

IH8U said:
Another set of the OCZ, and a 4870 possibly?


Agree with the OCZ, but again:

http://techgage.com/article/ati_hd_4870_1gb_vs_nvidia_g...

PS: I'm non-partisan when it comes to nvidia v.s ATI, I use both respectively, but I don't think techgage would put out inaccurate benchies...but I could be wrong...

Edit: Yes, gigabyte has always put out decent products, that's why I chose that motherboard: cheap, compatible with intel's entire desktop line exept for core i7's and xeon, and...meh, it's gigabyte!

I saw an asus board for the same price, but it wasnt compatible with the C2Q, which is always good when prices drop on the quads, or when games are more optimized for them, or both. Anything else that can be changed?
December 10, 2008 4:38:00 PM

the 260/216 is more powerful than the original 260 which you mention in your first post . The techgage comparison doesnt apply .

December 10, 2008 4:43:25 PM

Outlander_04 said:
the 260/216 is more powerful than the original 260 which you mention in your first post . The techgage comparison doesnt apply .



Since it doesn't apply, is it still more powerful than a single HD 4870 1gb?
December 10, 2008 4:48:43 PM

of course its more powerful as tested at techgage . I skimmed the article so more researched needed to say if its better than the 4870 at the resolution and quality settings games will be played at AND WITH THAT CPU .... and its also not in your budget [ so far ]
December 10, 2008 5:02:43 PM

Outlander_04 said:
of course its more powerful as tested at techgage . I skimmed the article so more researched needed to say if its better than the 4870 at the resolution and quality settings games will be played at AND WITH THAT CPU .... and its also not in your budget [ so far ]



Actually, it DOES fit into the budget, which everything in the list, including the things I've changed based on the advice given (now the E7200, OCZ ram, Sunbeam case, Western Digital 160 HDD, GigaByte mobo, CoolerMaster x dream 4, Liteon dvd burner, it comes to a grand total of $331, and since the budget is now $600, we can squeeze in a: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and still be $10 under budget. Any changes to the list above (for the better) is welcome! Thanks
December 10, 2008 8:43:56 PM

magicfreak123 said:
Actually, it DOES fit into the budget, which everything in the list, including the things I've changed based on the advice given (now the E7200, OCZ ram, Sunbeam case, Western Digital 160 HDD, GigaByte mobo, CoolerMaster x dream 4, Liteon dvd burner, it comes to a grand total of $331, and since the budget is now $600, we can squeeze in a: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and still be $10 under budget. Any changes to the list above (for the better) is welcome! Thanks


Actually, I'm beginning to have second thoughts on the motherboard. Even a good brand name can be deceiving, and after seeing it's got 4/5 eggs and after reading a few of the reviews on newegg (I know, I know XD), I'm not so sure any more. I see it has a few OC problems, where the settings go back to the original after reboot, along with DOAs and other things. Do you think I should risk it?

heres the link:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 11, 2008 2:26:29 PM

Well, I decided to keep the mobo, I can just return it if I'm unsatisfied.

But I was building a new system for myself (has nothing to do with this build), and was browsing NZXT cases.

NZXT Alpha Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Open Window - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Computer+Cases+-+ATX+Form)-_-NZXT-_-11146041

I fell in love with it (Yes, even more than the Khaos!). I just drool over it. And with MIR it's actually less than the Sunbeam Case! It look so darn awesome. and seems to be very roomy inside. NZXT has never failed me before. And I love this case. I showed it to my friend, and he really likes the way it looks (who wouldn't?). Is it a good pick?
!