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First timer's Cheap(ish) Gaming Build

Last response: in Systems
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January 14, 2009 11:09:50 PM

Hello Everyone. I feel that I should apologize in advance, as I am a first time builder, for any misunderstandings I may have, or poor choices, etc. My Goal here was to build a computer capable of modern gaming on high'ish settings [or Even medium/moderate. I am not particular huge on the graphical performance of the game, as long as it runs well. In fact, I generally prefer the oldfashioned 1024*768 resolution.] with algorithmic side-work on a $800 budget. This is not including Monitor, keyboard, mouse, OS. Ideally I'd like to work the OS into the budget as well, but I can make do until a time in the future when I have some spare cash.

Case - Rosewill Wind Ryder RZLS142A-P BK Dual 120mm Cooling Fans and Mesh Design Front Panel Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $45
The Case was one of the more daunting tasks for me, as I simply don't know anything about cases. I wanted something that would allow airflow, and that everything could fit into. I don't know if I really accomplished that with this case.

PSU - hec X-Power Pro 650 650W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retail $55
I happen to also know little about PSUs. I know that rail amp matters more than what the advertised wattage is. In this case, it's 4 rails @ 19A each. I don't honestly know what that -means- though. Also, it contains one PCI-E 6pin connector, and one PCI-E 6+2 pin connector

CPU - AMD Phenom 9950 BLACK EDITION Agena 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 140W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $170
I realize that Intel has the cpu lead, but I'm working off of a budget, and this seemed like a decent quad. I recognize that duo's are better for gaming than a quad [at present], though that is something I suspect will change in the future. I also do not intend on overclocking unless I feel forced to.

MoBo [The Mother of the Hobos] - Asus M3A78-T Socket AM2+/ AMD 790GX/ Hybrid CrossFireX/ HDMI/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard $129
Went to ewiz for this one due to the cheaper price for the same model from newegg. The onboard GPU doesn't matter to me [if it's not disabled with a slotted card, I'll see about setting it up for a second desktop + monitor, but otherwise, no big deal].
It supposedily supports the AMD 9950 Quad, which is the important thing. It holds three PCI-E, which offers me room to better my video card, if I wish. I don't foresee that I will within the computer's gaming lifetime.
Alternatively, I could pick up the Asus M3A78 board. Is there any real difference, aside from the integrated graphics? If not, then is there any consequence to me picking up the M3A78 [for $70] instead of the M3A78-T?


GPU - Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4850 512MB 2DVI/HDCP PCI-Express Video Card, Retail $146 [pre-rebate]
Again, ewiz for price. Actually, the whole video card because of performance for price. It's relatively cheap, while still being able to do high-end stuff if I wish. I am considering the 4870, for $60 more than this, though.

RAM - pqi POWER series 2GB * 2 $42
Standard 800 mhz clock, DDR2. It's two gigs each, so four gigs total in the system [which supports up to 8gB... and let's face it, RAM is easy to put in and upgrade]

HDD - SAMSUNG HD642JJ 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (Bare Drive) - Retail $70
640 GB hdd... although it only has a 16MB cache.

DVD-drive - Going to be whatever I decide to plop in. Might just scavenge from my present antique system. They aren't honestly that big a deal.

Total cost: $657 [I think I'm missing something, earlier cost analysis put me at like $730ish].

Information concerning the OS: I intend to start it with XP 32-bit, but eventually a full-wipe and installation of Vista 64-bit once I can afford it.

I appreciate your feedback, advice, recommendations and criticism. Please try not to rip me apart too fiercely if I made some obvious mistake, I didn't mean to. Also, thank you for looking through this.
January 15, 2009 12:45:18 AM

I would suggest a better PSU - from brands like PC Power and Cooling, Antec, Corsair, etc.

Same suggestion for RAM - go for Corsair, Crucial, Mushkin, OCZ, etc - 2x2GB is pretty standard.

About the OS- if you have XP 32, go with it and wait for Windows 7 - it's just around the corner.

For the price of your motherboard, you could probably find a decent P45.

I would go with the Western Digital 640 GB HDD instead, but that's just me - I think it's worth it.

The rest of the build looks OK.
!