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Looking to build a new system for gaming...(around $500)

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January 22, 2009 1:21:05 PM

Hey all,

I have not built a system in about 4 years so I am out of the loop on the latest hardware. What I do know is my PC is REALLY starting to show its age. I'd like to stay close to $500 and can keep my current PSU and case. The OS will be XP SP3 and I have no allegiance to intel or AMD.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 1:23:01 PM

What model are the case and PSU you plan on re-using? If it's a cheap, no-name PSU, you shouldn't re-use it or you run the risk of blowing up your new rig.
January 22, 2009 1:38:39 PM

I am not sure...I'd have to check. People can definitely suggest PSUs and I'll look when I get home.

Thanks
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 2:14:38 PM

Are you planning on re-using a monitor? $500 for a tower only is doable, but if that price includes a monitor also, you're probably better off getting a Dell. Either way, a $500 computer isn't really going to be considered a "gaming" computer. If your PSU is a quality unit, then this build would work:

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 - $15.00 MIR

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 - $10.00 MIR

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $25.99

Total - $495.94 - $25 MIR's = $470.94
January 22, 2009 2:40:03 PM

Sorry I forgot to mention I already have the monitor.

Also I know I will not be getting a top-of-the-line gaming PC with this, but I am currently running an AMD XP+2400 with an AGP card. And the real limit is the AGP card and more recent games (NWN2, FarCry etc...) I know these aren't the latest and greatest games but the AGP card cannot run these well. I am looking for something that will be able to grow a bit with time, yet run most stuff out today.

Thanks again for your time.
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 2:50:48 PM

I still recommend the above build for your intended use. That's about the best your money can buy in that price range IMO.
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 3:52:32 PM

A 4850 would be a nice upgrade, but you don't need the 1Gb version. Since you're using a 32-bit OS, you won't be able to fully use all 4Gb of RAM. A 32-bit OS has a limit of 4GB of RAM, but the GPU ram is subtracted from that total. If you get a 1GB GPU, you'll have less than 3GB available for the OS. I'd check out this one:

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $144.99 - $15 MIR

Most games only use two cores, but there's certainly nothing wrong with the Q6600.
January 22, 2009 4:07:02 PM

I guess I am looking forward on the video card. I think I am skipping vista but win7 may make better use of the RAM. With my current system I have mostly only added ram and upgraded the videocard. So I am looking to but once for a while and just wonder if getting a better card now will save me from buying a new one in the near future.

Also just in case what PSU do you suggest. And I know this seems crazy but I have $125 ni Best Buy gift cards. Any chance I could snag some equivalent components from there (RAM, PSU, DVD burner)?

Thanks again for your time you have been great and I appreciate it!
January 22, 2009 4:10:47 PM

i would sell the gift card on fleabay or exchange it on one of the gift card exchange websites for some other gift card. best buy is expensive for components
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 4:12:21 PM

CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $68.99 - $10 MIR

You could check out Best Buy. I actually haven't been in a Best Buy store in over two years, but you could probably pick up something useful there.
January 22, 2009 4:42:17 PM

If you are spending $105 for the Antec EarthWatts 500W, check out the 650W for $113, both are on the Best Buy link you listed. A little more room for expansion.
January 22, 2009 6:10:02 PM

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] &Tpk=e7400 $119.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -ep45-ud3r $119.99 - $15.00 MIR

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231209 $49.99

SAPPHIRE 100258-1GL Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102802

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136319 $79.99

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827151171 $25.99

Total - $626.93 - $35 MIR's = $591.93

Any other thoughts??? Do people think this GPU is too overkill?

and do people expect prices to drop-off anymore since intel's price cut?
January 22, 2009 8:03:29 PM

depends on the monitor size and rez and what you like to see.
That card is plenty for a 20" @1440 x 900 with most everything maxed on all but the most demanding games

The 512 version with free shipping is so close to the same card and will save about $20 bucks on top
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 8:34:35 PM

+1 for NOT getting the 1GB version of the 4850. I explained my reasoning in an above post, so I'm not going to type it again. You're just going to cut into your usable system RAM by going with the 1GB GPU on a 32-bit OS.
January 22, 2009 10:17:11 PM

So, your budget is $500 and you have a monitor, mouse and keyboard? I suppose you may also have a case and DVD Drive that you may be able to harvest, in case you plan to scrap the system you have now.

The suggested system above seems good to me, although I might go with a quad core because the extra cores will be used more and more by new software. +2 for 512MB HD4850

I think if you shop around a bit you may be able to upgrade a bit from the suggested system and still stay within $500. For example, I purchased a HD4850 for $169 from Best Buy when they sold all over the internet for $199.

THG had an article talking about Core 2 motherboards for less than $100.
That's a good place to look.

When looking for a power supply, 450 to 500 Watt is a reasonable place to start, although a 400 watt may be enough depending on what components you choose. Other specifications to watch out for are dual +12V supplies with about 15A output each and output overvoltage protection.
January 22, 2009 11:55:04 PM

You can do Spidey/Dragon Setup if you want. Then you can upgrade to AM3 CPU without the hassle of buying a new Mobo down the road, and since you're not OCing then AMD is darn good set up too.


AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $147.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103249


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166


SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $199.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102810


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX Ultra Durable II AMD Motherboard - Retail $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128075


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218


SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X 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 with LightScribe - OEM $26.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151154

-Subtotal: $614.94

You can Downgrade the 4870 to 4850 and save ~$50
January 23, 2009 3:33:27 AM

The monitor is a Samsung SyncMaster 941BW 19-inch LCD Monitor (1440x900) and the PSU needs replaced...

I have an IDE DVD Drive I could use for awhile.

Any other thoughts on a price drop? I am not in a BIG hurry.

Also which of these do people think is better the AMD or Intel setup? I like the AMD being flexible enough to just upgrade the CPU down the road...

Thanks again everyone!
January 23, 2009 3:54:45 AM

Yeah, the amd does have great options for future upgrades(u could even get the PhII later). Also, for the amd build i think amd X2 7750 is a good cpu(performance between e5000 and e7400) and costs only 80$. So you can get your ati 4850 too :) 
a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2009 4:54:46 AM

Well for a budget build I would go with this

AMD 7750 and BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX Combo deal $152.99 $10 mail in
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 $36.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB 89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON 22X DVD Burner Black SATA iHAS322-08 Retail $25.49
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS Radeon 4850 512MB $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAIDMAX SMILODON Extreme Black 500W PSU $79.99 $30 main in
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a total of $532.44 - $40 mail in is $492.44. The only thing with this setup is that it would probably best to upgrade the PSU if you ever put in two Radeon 4850s. The Smilodon is a good case and cools well. The newer versions have the light up PSUs but those are less reliable which is why I put in that version with the older non LED unit. Not only that it has that $30 main in rebate.
January 23, 2009 1:38:37 PM

Right now I am thinking...

AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $147.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103249


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231166


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX Ultra Durable II AMD Motherboard - Retail $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128075


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136218

HIS Radeon 4850 512MB $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814161259

CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] &Tpk=450vx $68.99 - $10 MIR

I'll reuse my DVD, monitor, keyboard, etc...

Total: 596.94 - 20 MIR + 15.43 S&H = 592.37

Do people think this will run most games out as well as give me reasonable upgrade options in the future? Is this HIS Radeon 4850 a good swap to save ~$20?

Thanks!
January 23, 2009 1:45:32 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
A 4850 would be a nice upgrade, but you don't need the 1Gb version. Since you're using a 32-bit OS, you won't be able to fully use all 4Gb of RAM. A 32-bit OS has a limit of 4GB of RAM, but the GPU ram is subtracted from that total. If you get a 1GB GPU, you'll have less than 3GB available for the OS. I'd check out this one:

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $144.99 - $15 MIR

Most games only use two cores, but there's certainly nothing wrong with the Q6600.


A 32 bit OS does not support 4gigs of ram and a 1gb gpu is not going to take up 1gb of system ram. Either way you are correct in saying he will not need 4 gigs of system ram for a 32 bit OS.
January 23, 2009 1:48:11 PM

wrazor said:
Yeah, the amd does have great options for future upgrades(u could even get the PhII later). Also, for the amd build i think amd X2 7750 is a good cpu(performance between e5000 and e7400) and costs only 80$. So you can get your ati 4850 too :) 


There are some very cheap MBs that do no support SLI/xifre that are perfect for the OP. You should be able to pull off a 4850, 2-4 gigs of ddr2 1066, a MB(AM2+ and a budget cpu like the new 7000s for under 500.
January 23, 2009 1:50:55 PM

I figured I would add my $.02. I just recently purchased a system for around $680 with $90 of MIR and I wanted to mention my build. I used an E8400, Sapphire 4850, 4 gigs of OCZ Reaper X ram, and a 640 AAKS. I couldn't be more impressed with all of the components. It looks like the last build you have come up with is good, but I think you could get a Gigabyte P45 DS3R and a E8400 for the same price. My personal opinion is that gaming makes better use of core clock then it does number of cores. It's really up to you, but I just wanted to mention that I love my computer and can play any of the latest games with high - very high settings on my 24" Samsung. Either way, it looks like you have a quality build.
January 23, 2009 1:51:38 PM

Here are a few desktops in that price range that are already assembled:


2 choices from NewEgg.com:
Gateway DX4200-09 Phenom X4 9100e(1.8GHz) 4GB DDR2 640GB ATI Radeon HD 3200 Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit - Retail $509.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CyberpowerPC Gamer Infinity 4411 Core 2 Quad Q6600(2.40GHz) 4GB DDR2 500GB NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit - Retail $649.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 of my choices from CompUSA.com:
CybertronPC X-Cruiser 3600BK AMD Desktop PC - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.60GHz, 2GB DDR2-667, 160GB SATA2, 22X DL DVD±RW, NVIDIA 8500GT, 10/100 LAN, Windows Vista Home Basic $549.99
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

Visionman GMI-1NG701 Intel Gaming PC - Intel Pentium Dual Core E2180, 2GB DDR2-800, 500GB SATA II, DVDRW -LS, 9600GT 512MB, Media Reader, KB/Mouse, NO OS $599.99
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

Also, Radioshack sells Dell computers at a kiosk in store, the XPS430 can be configured as a good gaming system.


January 23, 2009 2:03:19 PM

Keep in mind that pre-built systems usually lack graphics power. As seen above, the best video card is a 9600 GT and the 4850 is HANDS DOWN better. If this computer is for gaming, you can't beat building it yourself.
January 23, 2009 2:04:05 PM

Thanks for all the input...

In trying to get rid of the S&H I came up with this:

AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $147.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103249



G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231166


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX Ultra Durable II AMD Motherboard - Retail $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128075


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136218


MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU comes with free 8GB SDHC card:
Transcend 8GB Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Flash Card Model TS8GSDHC6 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I'll reuse my DVD, monitor, keyboard, etc...

TOTAL: 635.94 - 40 MIR = 595.94

About the same as above (592.37) plus I get a 8GB SDHC card and a better PSU.
a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2009 3:27:18 PM

Yup, good choice of components. The Corsair unit is a good choice. If you wanted to use your Best Buy Cards for the PSU instead you can choose an Antec Earth Watts Unit. The only problem with those if that you wanted to use crossfire you would have to use an adapter for the second card as they only have one PCI-E connector. The BFG 650 wouldn't be a bad choice as it has two PCI-E connectors and good quality, just not as good as Antec FSP or Corsair.
January 23, 2009 3:35:46 PM

What would people change If I used win xp 64 bit? and is it worth it?
January 23, 2009 4:33:30 PM

You wouldnt have to change anything if you wanted the 64bit OS , that build is already 64bit ready so its up to you if you want the 64bit OS.

Take a look at this Graphics card its the same brand except its a dual slot, means better cooling and more quiet compared to the one that you have picked.

Its only ~$5 more so i think its worth it and your Mobo has 2 PCI-E 2.0 slots so you have plenty of room to fit that dual slot Card.


MSI R4850-512M OC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $154.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127401

I have Nvidia MSI 8800GT dual slot, its the same exact dual slot cooling design as the 4850, hence the reason of telling you about the dual slot.

Other than that I think that set up is banging.

January 23, 2009 4:52:55 PM

@trencin: Thanks, but I think I may stick with the original card for a few reasons, sound isn't too big a deal to me, the side of my case is open so hopefully heat won't be too bad, also this isn't shipped free so it ends up costing an extra ~$14...
January 23, 2009 7:22:14 PM

haha I didnt notice the free shipping. good point but when you are ordering all of them the shipping charges dont add up together only if you buy them one by one.
you are building the computer so you know what will look best in that case of yours.
good luck m8 :D 
January 24, 2009 7:15:18 PM

If you are gonna play games and such it will load slower and your OS boot time. you could still use the IDE as slave and put games on SATA. I would just get SATA HDD youll have 640 GB which is much more worthwile while trying to use an old IDE hdd. up to you :) 
January 29, 2009 11:06:03 PM

ok all this is on the way I have one more question. I am going to make 1 system out of my 2 old ones which agp graphics card do i use my radeon 9250 128 mb or my geforce 3 ti 200?

thanks!
January 30, 2009 7:28:29 PM

if you are making another low end pc then i would go with the radeon 9250 but its just old it wont make much of a difference between those two.
!