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What's best to buy with $400 for gaming PC?

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December 24, 2008 8:25:37 PM

Hey guys, I'm new here. I'm pretty knowledgeable about PC components and whatnot but I haven't been around the PC scene in a loooong time. So now my current computer has seen it's father time and it's time to build a new one. Just curious what's the best I can buy talking about mobo/cpu/memory/case with $400 for a PC geared towards gaming? I'm going to get the video card about 2 weeks later while my friend lets me burrow his PCI Express card to hold me until then so that's not a concern yet for me. But for starters, whose been on top lately? AMD or Intel? Which do you guys recommend for gaming with the price I've stated? Thanks! :sol: 

More about : buy 400 gaming

a b 4 Gaming
December 24, 2008 9:19:22 PM

Intel has been on top for the last two years IMO, especially for the more expensive CPUs.

Your budget could buy you something like this:

I'm suggesting Q6600 and not E8500 because I expect you'll keep this build for a long time just like your old one.

Antec 300 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

GA-EP45-UD3P $117
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358

G.Skill 2x2Gb DDR2-800, $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209

Q6600 $185
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

Total $412 after rebates.
a b 4 Gaming
December 24, 2008 9:42:00 PM

Just curious about your other parts that your going to be adding to the parts that AEVM has listed. What PSU, HD, CD/DVD drives are you adding to the build. You will only be able to add 2 IDE drives to any current mobo, so keep that in mind. Also if you have an older PSU, your going to need to replace it, so that is something else to consider.
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December 24, 2008 10:14:18 PM

aevm said:
Intel has been on top for the last two years IMO, especially for the more expensive CPUs.

Your budget could buy you something like this:

I'm suggesting Q6600 and not E8500 because I expect you'll keep this build for a long time just like your old one.

Antec 300 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

GA-EP45-UD3P $117
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358

G.Skill 2x2Gb DDR2-800, $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209

Q6600 $185
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

Total $412 after rebates.


Awesome bro! Exact response I was looking for! Thanks! 1 question. So your saying go with the Quad over the Duo Core simply because it'll last me longer overtime even though it'll be abit more money? That's basically it right? I mean, I agree with that if that's why. Hehe.

lunyone said:
Just curious about your other parts that your going to be adding to the parts that AEVM has listed. What PSU, HD, CD/DVD drives are you adding to the build. You will only be able to add 2 IDE drives to any current mobo, so keep that in mind. Also if you have an older PSU, your going to need to replace it, so that is something else to consider.


Yeah, I'll end up buying a new PSU once I get the video card. I'm gonna bring over the DVD drive/burner, soundcard, 1 IDE and a SATA drive to the new rig from my old.

a b 4 Gaming
December 24, 2008 10:38:05 PM

Yeah. Right now an E8500 and a Q6600 cost about the same, and the E8500 is slightly better in games. However, as time goes, games will learn to use more than one or two cores and then the Q6600 will do better than the E8500, even if it runs at a lower clock, just because it has 4 cores instead of 2.
Don't worry too much about this decision, because both CPUs are excellent in current games.

LOL, actually, the Q6600 is the cheaper of the two a Newegg, by $5.
December 25, 2008 1:49:44 AM

Yeah that's awesome man, thanks! I ordered everything minus the case because it bumps shipping up by like 25-30 bucks. I'm gonna wait on the case because I have a local shop nearby that usually overcharges. But if I can find a case similar or that one there, I'll just pay it as long as it doesn't go over what the shipping plus original price would be from newegg. If not I'll get it off newegg probably when I get the card. Thanks for help with everything though!
Incase you were curious, I'm currently on a Geforce 6800gt oc 256mb, P4, 3.2ghz @800fsb(oldschool, was top of line when I got it about 4 years ago I believe). 1.5gb of I believe PC2700(Kingston valuram LoL), and other basic components that I will still use. The mobo has fallen to pieces pretty much over the years giving me lots of voltage issues with the memory and whatnot. The video card is nearly fried, and it's just real buggy at this point and unstable regardless of reformatting. On XP btw. I'm a huge gamer but haven't been able to play nearly any of the newest games out for awhile. The last game I played was Half Life 2. I'm dying to try out Crysis and Assassins Creed. Games like that. Hopefully this will be great for that and for the future. Thanks again!
a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2008 3:52:58 AM

dieseldre2k said:
i would have ordered this combo instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

i doubt that u need the extra video card slot because ur on a budget and it only runs at 8x (bottlenecked) anyway


True. He will probably have to settle for a HD 4850 with that budget. For example there's a Sapphire at Newegg for $135 after rebate, or an Asus for $120.
I actually recommended the GA-EP45-UD3P because it's a great overclocker, not so much for the ability to use two video cards. But, now that you mention it, it's worth keeping in mind.

The bottlenecks are not really that bad. Here's an example, with HD 4850 Crossfire in Crysis at 1600x1200: 38.64 fps on P45 (with bottlenecks) and 42.92 on X48 (without bottlenecks)
http://en.hardspell.com/doc/showcont.asp?news_id=3763&pageid=3088

@NewBitZu: If you care about the Crossfire thing, I'd recommend you get an HD 4850 card now and add another later. If they're $135 now, I bet they will be $100 in a few months. If you don't care, try for a HD 4870 or a GTX 260 Core 216. PSU requirements are 450W+ for a HD 4850, 550W+ for HD 4850 Crossfire, 525W for a single GTX 260, etc. There's a PC Power & Cooling 610W for $70 for example that can handle all that. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703005

a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2008 4:10:22 AM

NewBitZu said:
Yeah that's awesome man, thanks! I ordered everything minus the case because it bumps shipping up by like 25-30 bucks. I'm gonna wait on the case because I have a local shop nearby that usually overcharges. But if I can find a case similar or that one there, I'll just pay it as long as it doesn't go over what the shipping plus original price would be from newegg.


Ouch, $25 for shipping :( 

They sell it for $64.57 here with shipping included:
http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-three-hundred-atx-computer-case/q/loc/101/207906549.html
a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2008 4:12:41 AM

$65 shipped at Buy.com!!
Antec Three Hundred ATX Computer Case

P.S. I'm playing Crysis Warhead on a AMD x2 2.2 gHz s939 w/7900gs and 2 gb's DDR 400, so I'm betting you should have no problems!
December 25, 2008 1:09:57 PM

Awesome guys, thanks again! I'll probably order the case from buy.com. Yeah I'm not much into the x-fire thing. To me, it sounds like a hassle to have to deal with 2 cards, and then in future I'll have 2 outdated cards? I rather just put abit more money and go with a single powerful card. The GTX260 or the 280 is what I've been looking at. Didn't they just come out with a card that has nearly 2gb of vid memory on it?
a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2008 11:32:04 PM

Are you talking about the GTX 295? That one is not out yet. I'm kind of afraid to think how much it will cost too.

Crysis benchmarks:
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=4
GTX 260 < HD 4870 512MB < GTX 260 Core 216 < HD 4870 1GB < GTX 280

Assassin's Creed benchmarks:
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=8
GTX 260 < GTX 260 Core 216 < HD 4870 512MB < GTX 280 < HD 4870 1GB

I think you should pick one of the 5 cards in those charts. Don't take the charts too seriously because they are for very high resolutions. That favors the HD 4870 1GB and the GTX 280 because they have more RAM than the rest. If you play at 1680x1050 or less their advantage over the other 3 cards is less important.
December 25, 2008 11:41:40 PM

I think I'll be playing at 1280by1024. I prefer Nvidia over ATI no matter the marginal performance increases ATI might have over Nvidia in some areas than others. So I guess I gotta see between the 260 and 280. I'm not a SLI kinda guy so does that make any difference in which to choose between?
December 25, 2008 11:51:52 PM

if you have a microcenter near you, they are selling antec 300 @ $39.99

straight bangin deal!
a b 4 Gaming
December 26, 2008 12:44:20 AM

Let's see. Crysis, 1280x1024, 51.6 fps for GTX 280, 48.3 for GTX 260 Core 216, 45.6 for GTX 260. The difference is negligible so you might as well get a cheaper card. The GTX 280 is about $90 more than the GTX 260 Core 216, and it's not worth it for your resolution and favorite games.

I'd pick this BFG GTX 260 Core 216: $250 and you get a copy of Far Cry 2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143156

There's also an eVGA, same card, same price, also with Far Cry 2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130398

The BFG is better because it is factory overclocked. You can try overclocking the eVGA to the same clocks but you're not guaranteed to succeed.
Plus, my own 8800GTX OC2 is a BFG and I'm happy with it so I'm a bit biased in favor of BFG :) 

December 26, 2008 1:57:27 AM

aevm said:
Let's see. Crysis, 1280x1024, 51.6 fps for GTX 280, 48.3 for GTX 260 Core 216, 45.6 for GTX 260. The difference is negligible so you might as well get a cheaper card. The GTX 280 is about $90 more than the GTX 260 Core 216, and it's not worth it for your resolution and favorite games.

I'd pick this BFG GTX 260 Core 216: $250 and you get a copy of Far Cry 2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143156

There's also an eVGA, same card, same price, also with Far Cry 2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130398

The BFG is better because it is factory overclocked. You can try overclocking the eVGA to the same clocks but you're not guaranteed to succeed.
Plus, my own 8800GTX OC2 is a BFG and I'm happy with it so I'm a bit biased in favor of BFG :) 



Yeah I'm also gonna go with BFG. Been a fan of them for awhile now. My current card is BFG and the one before that was. I've also put their lifetime warranty to the test and it works without a hitch. I'm looking into the 260 right now. Seems like a nice choice and as I said, I don't expect to put resolutions super high. I'm on a 17inch LCD. Usually 1280by1024 is the best resolution for me. I just want to be able to put all graphic settings on high though. :) 
December 26, 2008 2:13:10 AM

personally, before i did anything, i would upgrade that monitor. all that mighty 260gtx potential is being wasted on a really effin tiny screen.
i suggest a 22" 1680x1050 monitor asap!

gl with your build also :D 
December 27, 2008 12:37:30 PM

eroc said:
personally, before i did anything, i would upgrade that monitor. all that mighty 260gtx potential is being wasted on a really effin tiny screen.
i suggest a 22" 1680x1050 monitor asap!

gl with your build also :D 



Well, I've had my 17inch for quite some time now and never had any problems with it. I think the size of it is just right personally, but I can see people going crazy now getting larger screens with the cheap prices out there. I might eventually do that, but considering it still works like when I first bought it around 5 years ago or so, and I really don't mind it's size, I don't see a reason to change it yet. My friend did recently get a Vizio 28 inch I believe it was and man it was nice, I have to admit. But that might be too big, no? Considering your closer to a computer screen than a TV screen, I don't see the need for such a huge screen in your face. But I might think about it in the future. :) 
December 28, 2008 2:11:08 AM

BTW-What does it means GTX260 CORE? Why they call it CORE?
a b 4 Gaming
December 28, 2008 11:18:05 PM

I guess it's a shameless attempt made by nVidia marketing people to profit from Intel's popular "Core 2" CPUs.

Anyway, the classic GTX 260 has 192 stream processors. GTX 260 Core 216 has 216 of them, and higher clocks. Think of it as GTX 270 if you want - that would have been a more appropriate name IMO.
December 28, 2008 11:49:52 PM

NewBitZu said:
Well, I've had my 17inch for quite some time now and never had any problems with it. I think the size of it is just right personally, but I can see people going crazy now getting larger screens with the cheap prices out there. I might eventually do that, but considering it still works like when I first bought it around 5 years ago or so, and I really don't mind it's size, I don't see a reason to change it yet. My friend did recently get a Vizio 28 inch I believe it was and man it was nice, I have to admit. But that might be too big, no? Considering your closer to a computer screen than a TV screen, I don't see the need for such a huge screen in your face. But I might think about it in the future. :) 


yeah 28" might be a little over the top, but the reason i brought it up is that running games @ 1280x1024 will in no way require a 260. so you can save yourself a little money there by opting for a less powerful gpu and putting the money towards a bigger screen :) 
December 29, 2008 1:03:29 AM

Yeah true, but I really just want to go almost all out, just so I don' t need to worry about any hardware for quite some time. I'll have everything tomorrow except video card. I'll do some last look ups and see which to go with. Thanks for all help. I think I'll be happy with everything as is. UT3, Crysis, Assassins Creed, GTA4, and many more...HERE I COME! :D 
a b 4 Gaming
December 29, 2008 2:36:46 AM

Yeah even a 19" LCD (1440x900) would be an upgrade, especially if you like watching HD movies!!
!