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Budget System Build for $451, can you do better?

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February 9, 2009 8:54:13 PM

Hey everyone, I'm building my first system from scratch for doing CAD work and some moderate gaming and I'm interested in getting the best bang for the buck. Right now I'm biased towards AMD because I've been wanting to make an AMD system for some time but If you can persuade me towards getting an Intel if it has a better price/performance than I might reconsider but overall AMD usually has the better price/performance ratio.

This is my current selection after doing a few days of research here and elsewhere :

Case - Thermaltake VF1000BWS = $50 (refurbished) [http://www.thermaltakestore.com/lanbox.html]

Mobo - ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard = $79 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131324]
Update: GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard =$80 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128379]

PSU - OCZ StealthXStream 600W Power Supply = $68 - $35 Rebate [http://dealnews.com/OCZ-Stealth-XStream-600-W-Power-Supply-for-33-after-rebate-6-s-h/277254.html]

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400 Brisbane 2.8GHz = $68 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103289]
Update : AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz = $70 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300]

Cooler - Silent 939 CL-P0200 = $8 (refurbished) [http://www.thermaltakestore.com/silent-939.html]

RAM - Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) PC2-8500 Desktop RAM Kit = $78 - $40 Rebate [http://dealnews.com/Corsair-4-GB-2-x2-GB-PC2-8500-Desktop-RAM-Kit-for-37-after-rebate-free-shipping/277353.html]
Update: Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Desktop Memory = $75 - $25 Rebate [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220334]

Videocard - ASUS EAH4830/HTDP/512MD3 Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 = $95 - $20 Rebate [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121289]

HD - Western Digital 640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Internal Hard Drive = $65 x 2 []

Total = $577 - $80 in rebates = $497

Still can't really decide on getting a Kuma core for the upgraded stepping and other features[
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300] or going with the windsor (newegg has it listed as brisbane?). Either way I intend to overclock them to 6400+ speeds (3.2ghz) and I'm not sure whether the Asus motherboard I've chosen has the features necessary. I would like to know if there is another mATX mobo with good overclocking features or if I can workaround it with a software overclock. Any comments and suggestions you have are welcome.

Looks like I'll have the money for everything by 3/16/09 I'm considering getting the Psu and Case and anything with good rebates this month and wait for a potential price drop on everything else.

P.S. Why are the forum info strings in French? I selected North American english on the content bar.
a b À AMD
February 9, 2009 9:04:13 PM

mudanes said:
P.S. Why are the forum info strings in French? I selected North American english on the content bar.
No doubt it has something to do with the world economy. :sol: 
http://www.bestofmedia.com/qui.php
Related resources
February 9, 2009 9:38:04 PM

Look at what I just found :D 


I know it's a 5200 but the only difference between it and the 5400 is .1ghz.

Answers the cpu question I think.
February 9, 2009 11:15:01 PM

I'd ditch the video card and just use the onboard hd3200 of the 780G. The 4350 is not much better. Both are good for movies etc, and neither are very good for gaming.
February 9, 2009 11:29:09 PM

True, except for the SB750 which supposedly enables a greater overclock on the CPU, the only thing the 790GX has to offer is a 200MHZ stock overclock to the RV610 IGP. Too early to say what I will do as I am intrigued by the advanced overclocking capability of the SB750 and if the 790GX can run more Ati cards in hybrid crossfire since its not listed in this chart.


I'm gonna need some benchmarks cause I'm betting the 4350 is much better than the 780G given what
(this article) had to say about it and some comments I've read "4350 is almost 2x as fast as the 3450 (in benchies) and the 3450s are going for $20 AR... this is not bad at all." on newegg.
February 9, 2009 11:48:18 PM

The link you posted looks like it's talking about the hd4830 (640sp, ddr3) which is a very good card and can game well. The 4350 (80sp, ddr2) is much weaker. The hd3200 (40sp, ddr2 onboard) has half the stream processors, but neither can game well. From personal experience with a Foxxcon 780G board, I could overclock the hd3200 to 850ghz and it did well, but could only game on very low settings. I added a hd3450 for hybrid crossfirex, but although benchmarks increased, I still could only use very low settings for gaming. And the hd4350 can not be used for crossfirex. In other words, my guess you'd score around 3k in 3dmark06 with an hd4350 and around 2k with hd3200. But still low overall.
February 10, 2009 3:16:54 AM

Thanks I guess I got them mixed up. Although for only $20 what have I got to lose since i can't afford a better card. On second thought though I'll reconsider see how long I can hold out on the 780G till I can afford some muscle. Take into consideration that as of now I'm only working off of a monitor with a max resolution of 1024 x 768 and I don't intend to get a new one until after this sytem is built.
.
February 10, 2009 10:12:07 AM

$408.94 before $15 rebate:

Your casing + psu choice = $118 before $35 rebate
I have built off many T Series Biosta mATX and it's a pity you can;t get the 790GX XE in the USA but that 780G would do nicely for software OC with a BE hehe
February 10, 2009 3:07:48 PM

batuchka said:
$408.94 before $15 rebate:
http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q205/batuchka/combokuma.jpg
Your casing + psu choice = $118 before $35 rebate
I have built off many T Series Biosta mATX and it's a pity you can;t get the 790GX XE in the USA but that 780G would do nicely for software OC with a BE hehe


Ouch! nice combo. I think I realize now that I don't need that much power supply and that a core 2 duo 5200 can kick the **** out of a Kuma 7750 with the right overclocking and for cheaper too. Afraid it's not the right time to buy AMD except for Phenom IIs.

Again, much of my cost comes from the dual 640gb dual-platter hds I plan on putting in raid 0, as much as $120 extra. Going to update my selections for psu and hd. I feel pretty iffy on buying Biostar though because of some of the reviews I've read on newegg.

Question is, is that screen from a newegg checkout, or somewhere else? Cause if I'm gonna spend $200 on a videocard I'm getting this :wahoo:  [http://dealnews.com/Sapphire-Radeon-HD-4870-1-GB-PCIe-Video-Card-for-205-after-rebate-free-shipping-more/278862.html]
February 10, 2009 4:25:41 PM

Just did a recalc that 1066 rams gonna cost me but I hope its worth it.
February 11, 2009 4:14:42 AM

Funny how most system builders cut costs by getting a cheaper HD to get the best videocard but I do the opposite and cut the videocard and beef up the HDs.
February 11, 2009 4:34:29 AM

Just dun fall into the "i got more OCable chip and more storage" crowd with a lesser GPU hoping to get better frames in real world gaming is my advice ^^ That is how people end up getting an i7 rig with a joke of a GPU and call it a 'gaming' rig lol
February 11, 2009 5:10:45 AM

Yeah I realized that pitfall shortly into my research. I just think that the weakest link in a system is the hard disk speeds and I wanted to get mine pumped up with dual-platters in raid 0.
February 11, 2009 9:41:00 AM

Well it's gonna be hard juggling RAID 0 and great frames on a shoe string budget :( 
February 11, 2009 3:49:43 PM

>_> I'm gonna wait till april if I have to. I initially planned to spread it out over three months. That is to get the things that wont lose value now (e.g. case & psu) everything else to get it operational next month the videocard and a better monitor in april.
February 11, 2009 10:24:50 PM

I have the same budget, and nearly the same uses (design apps); what have you decided on?
You can see my post "$450 max, hardware only" somewhere around here.
February 12, 2009 4:00:17 AM

cdenny1 said:
I have the same budget, and nearly the same uses (design apps); what have you decided on?
You can see my post "$450 max, hardware only" somewhere around here.


Won't make my final decision till mid april, If you're talking software I'll be working with Solidworks and Autocad primarily, some 3ds max, Catia, and engineering software potentially as well. I'll remember to check out your topic too.
February 23, 2009 1:57:16 PM

Case = Antec 300 $40.00
http://www.provantage.com/antec-three-hundred~7ANTG050....

Motherboard = MSI K9A2 Neo-F 770g $65.00
Newegg

CPU = Athlon 64 x2 Kuma Black Edition $66.99
Newegg

CPU Cooler = Cooljag CJC689C dual heatpipe $37.00
Frozencpu

RAM = quality brand of 4gb pc8500 1066mhz dual channel ram $50.00 w/ free shipping--just google

Video Card = Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 Video Card 512MB PCIe $100.00.
Newegg

(2) 120mm Yate Loon fans $8.00
just google

(1) 120mm Gelid Silent 12 2c temperature control fan $10.00

PSU = BFG Tech GS-550 $45.00 (newegg) or Thermal Take Pure Power W0100RU 500W $40.00 after $20.00 rebate (do not buy cooler master extreme)

This is the system I am building right now. I'm spending a bit more than I have to strickly speaking, but sometimes just a few bucks more can give you much better performance and longevity. For example, the Powercolor radeon is now on sale for just $75.00 at newegg, but it runs hot and doesn't overclock well. The last generation of 48xx radeons were infamous for causing reboots due to overheating. Unlike europe, summers in the US are seriously hot and humid so I placed emphasis on a cool system.

Newegg is not always the cheapest, but they have more seriously good deals than anyone. Just keep yer eyes pealed.
February 23, 2009 7:40:17 PM

wuliheron said:
Case = Antec 300 $40.00
http://www.provantage.com/antec-three-hundred~7ANTG050....

Motherboard = MSI K9A2 Neo-F 770g $65.00
Newegg

CPU = Athlon 64 x2 Kuma Black Edition $66.99
Newegg

CPU Cooler = Cooljag CJC689C dual heatpipe $37.00
Frozencpu

RAM = quality brand of 4gb pc8500 1066mhz dual channel ram $50.00 w/ free shipping--just google

Video Card = Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 Video Card 512MB PCIe $100.00.
Newegg

(2) 120mm Yate Loon fans $8.00
just google

(1) 120mm Gelid Silent 12 2c temperature control fan $10.00

PSU = BFG Tech GS-550 $45.00 (newegg) or Thermal Take Pure Power W0100RU 500W $40.00 after $20.00 rebate (do not buy cooler master extreme)

This is the system I am building right now. I'm spending a bit more than I have to strickly speaking, but sometimes just a few bucks more can give you much better performance and longevity. For example, the Powercolor radeon is now on sale for just $75.00 at newegg, but it runs hot and doesn't overclock well. The last generation of 48xx radeons were infamous for causing reboots due to overheating. Unlike europe, summers in the US are seriously hot and humid so I placed emphasis on a cool system.

Newegg is not always the cheapest, but they have more seriously good deals than anyone. Just keep yer eyes pealed.


Thanks for the info but I'm building my configuration around a mATX case and I'm well aware that I can save money and get better performance going atx but it's a cut I'm willing to take. Another consideration I have to make is that the 48xx series doesnt have a working softmod to a FireGl/Firestream availiable so I think I will have to go with an nvidia card/board instead of the 4830/780g. I will update my selection soon when I decide on a nvidia card. Any suggestions on this are welcome I'm even considering going with an overclocked intel if the price drops a bit.
!