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1st time builder seeking advice on my budget gaming pc

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January 15, 2009 3:34:38 AM

I'm a long time lurker and geek wanna-be who is finally taking the plunge into the world of pc building. I want to test the waters by building a low end gaming system using reliable but inexpensive components that will run the games I play (Civ IV, Company of Heroes, Battlefield 2) and one that will hopefully play games that are coming out or have come out recently (Fallout 3, Black Shark, Starcraft II).

Any and all advice will be welcome. These are all Newegg prices as of 14 jan, 09. My buget is more than this but I am looking for compatibility and value advice more than anything. If this build is successful, I plan on giving it as a present to my nephew and will build a high end system later this year.

GIGABYTE GA-EP45T-UD3LR LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$119.99

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
$25.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$49.95

SAPPHIRE 100256L Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$89.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
$99.99

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5 - Retail
$54.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7300 - Retail
$119.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
$99.99

Subtotal: $660.88
January 15, 2009 4:01:07 AM

If gaming is the primary concern, I think you can save some money on the PSU for example. Depending what you want to do, maybe look at a PSU say like an Antec Earthwatts or OCZ, or even a cheaper corsair unit. Save yourself 50 bucks or so there. Also, consider a cheaper but overclockable cpu. Take the money you save, drop the 4670, get yourself a 4850. Then your rig would be midrange instead of low end for the same cash. Or save the money, and still get the 4670, spending less overall and be happy.
January 15, 2009 4:05:28 AM

You're missing the mobo, HDD and heatsink (only if you want to OC, otherwise stock cooler is fine).

Try to get at least a 4850 512MB video card if possible. In the budget range, 4830>4670>4650.

Mobo: Gigabyte EP45-UD3R for non-Crossfire, EP45-UD3P if you want Crossfire. Stay with a P45 chipset.

HDD: Caviar SE16 320GB is a good value.

RAM: G.Skill Pi Black DDR2-900 is the best value at $50.

Heatsink: Can't beat the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 for value. Don't forget the backplate.

If you're really on a budget, then Gigabyte EP45-DS3L and E5200.
Related resources
January 15, 2009 4:08:18 AM

The PCP&C 750W (in red) is $80 at Newegg--best deal on PSUs around.

EDIT: See post below.
January 15, 2009 4:11:45 AM

Thank you for the tips! I realized I left out the mobo just after I posted this thread - duh. I appreciate the feedback and will tweak my build accordingly.
January 15, 2009 4:28:09 AM

Sorry, there is a better PSU deal on. Look at the red PCP&C 750W at Amazon: link for $65 after MIR.
January 15, 2009 6:06:33 AM

I'm not sure my fellow advisors here realize just how much a large map and long game in Civ IV can stress a system.

It's not generally thought of as a demanding game, except by those of us that play it and know better ;) 

Intel is dropping prices next week. Look for an E8400. Also, get at least a 4850. Your list of games qualifies you for a better video card. You do not need a 1GB version of anything.
January 15, 2009 6:49:46 AM

Ah yes... Proximon is right. Never had the chance to play a long CV4 campaign myself, but I'll definitely have to put that on my to-do list.

I was too eager to jump on the "value" theme in this thread, but then knowing the OP's nephew, he'll probably be into shooter games and want to add a second 4850 in Crossfire right away, lest this box become a paperweight next to his PS3! :D 
January 15, 2009 7:55:37 AM

Hate that

double posting
January 15, 2009 8:50:38 AM

Get a better gfx card(HD 4830 / 50) and a cheaper P.S.U around 500W. How about the Antec Sonata III Case + PSU?
Of course after that you should wait for Westmere or Westmere mainstream....
!