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Budget build: a few questions and opinions welcomed

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March 2, 2009 5:07:38 PM

I'm trying to price out a budget machine that will handle WoW, CoD4 and very mild photo editing (enthusiast/amateur photographer). I'm building two (one for me, one for the wife). Operating system is taken care of. I would like to keep the machine (without monitor) under $600.

Current build:

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042 $59.95

Antec earthwatts EA500 500W ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007 $79.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136074 $54.99

SAPPHIRE 100265HDMI 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=N82E16814102822 $99.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128372 $98.99

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 $46.99

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E5200 - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116072 $72.99

LITE-ON 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS122-04 - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106287 $21.99

Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009145 $169.99




I don't plan on overclocking the system at this time (might after I've read up on them somemore). That said, is there a benefit to sticking with Intel as opposed to AMD?

Is the 4830 strong enough to run medium to high graphics on a 22" monitor @ 1680x1050 (again, for WoW and a little CoD4, not Crysis)? My backup is:

SAPPHIRE 100245L 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=N82E16814102770 $144.99

I chose the 22" monitor because of the free shipping. It was actually cheaper in the end than going with the same res 19"monitor. Would a 1400x900 19" monitor be better for this build?


At $45 more per card, is the 4850 that much better or should I stick with the 4830? Is the 4850 that much faster that it would be worth the extra money?


Is the 500W PSU sufficient to run this? Do I even need this much? Would the 430W be enough?


Ideally priced, my build is $535.88 for tower, $705.87 with monitor before tax and shipping.

If I up the graphics card, I'm looking at $580.88 for tower, $750.87 with monitor before tax and shipping.


I'm a noob, so I apologize for the questions and appreciate any help.

Thanks,





Edit: just realized they replaced my original choice of graphics card.
March 2, 2009 6:26:59 PM

You put together a really solid budget build.

I will say though, you should consider OCing from the outset, the e5200 really shines when it is overclocked. The downside being that an aftermarket cooler will add ~$40 to the build price. And if i had to choose between an aftermarket cooler or the upgrade from 4830 to 4850, I would probably choose the 4850 and see if i could OC slightly with stock Intel cooling.

At 1680x1050 I think a 4850 would be nicer. You probably wouldn't see much improvement in WoW over the 4830, but in CoD4 and some newer titles you may be tempted by after you build your new rig I think the 4850 would be worth the 45 dollars.
If you decide to go with the 1400x900 then I don't see the 4850 being as worthwhile. So it is an all or nothing type of upgrade in my mind. 1400x900 with a 4830 or 1680x1050 with a 4850.
Your selected motherboard does not give the opportunity for crossfire, so the option of adding a 4830 to each machine later down the road is out. You could upgrade to the UD3P to allow for crossfire, but there is another $30 from your budget.

I think you will be happy regardless of which options you choose, just my two cents.
March 2, 2009 7:12:07 PM

battlemarz said:
You put together a really solid budget build.

I will say though, you should consider OCing from the outset, the e5200 really shines when it is overclocked. The downside being that an aftermarket cooler will add ~$40 to the build price. And if i had to choose between an aftermarket cooler or the upgrade from 4830 to 4850, I would probably choose the 4850 and see if i could OC slightly with stock Intel cooling.

At 1680x1050 I think a 4850 would be nicer. You probably wouldn't see much improvement in WoW over the 4830, but in CoD4 and some newer titles you may be tempted by after you build your new rig I think the 4850 would be worth the 45 dollars.
If you decide to go with the 1400x900 then I don't see the 4850 being as worthwhile. So it is an all or nothing type of upgrade in my mind. 1400x900 with a 4830 or 1680x1050 with a 4850.
Your selected motherboard does not give the opportunity for crossfire, so the option of adding a 4830 to each machine later down the road is out. You could upgrade to the UD3P to allow for crossfire, but there is another $30 from your budget.

I think you will be happy regardless of which options you choose, just my two cents.



Thanks for the reply. I'm going to look a little more into the difference between the 4830 and 4850 and limit the upgrades to that alone. As much as I'd love to drop more money into these machines, I just cant do it right now.

Thanks again.
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March 2, 2009 7:25:14 PM

Do both machines need to be identical? Could you have one rig for games and then the other for photoshop? You would get a better outcome for both these applications if you went with that approach instead. Gaming is a highly GPU intensive task, whereas photoshop is the CPU. If you wanted, you could go with a 4850 and e5200 in one rig for gaming, then go with an e8400 and a 4650 in the other for photoshop.
March 2, 2009 7:34:37 PM

xthekidx said:
Do both machines need to be identical? Could you have one rig for games and then the other for photoshop? You would get a better outcome for both these applications if you went with that approach instead. Gaming is a highly GPU intensive task, whereas photoshop is the CPU. If you wanted, you could go with a 4850 and e5200 in one rig for gaming, then go with an e8400 and a 4650 in the other for photoshop.


Man, I wish. Maybe someday, but the wife and I game together (better to have converted her to the 'dark side' than listen to her complain about me gaming) . :kaola: 

The PC she plays on is really crapping out on her, and I'm tired of trying to play WoW or shoot someone on low settings @3fps on our old MacBook. Just isn't cutting it anymore. LOL.

Edit: and yes, I'd prefer them to be identical, for the sake of a happy home.

March 2, 2009 7:54:26 PM

Since you say you are not planning to overclock, I think you will be disappointed in the e5200. It might be fine for just gaming, but not for Photoshop. I agree with xthekidx's comment on two different machines, but understand if both need to be identical.
There are about to be some price drops on ATI GPUs. Waiting until next week might make a difference.
Otherwise, assuming a 4830 is your baseline GPU, I would get a stronger CPU before spending more on a 4850 or 4870. Right now, an e7400 is $120, and an e8500 is $165.
I've read that Sapphire's cooler on their 4830 (and 4850) is loud. I just put MSI's 4830 ($5 less) in a rig, and it was not loud. I wouldn't buy one of their mobos, but their GPUs seem to have a better reputation.
March 3, 2009 2:46:14 PM

xthekidx said:
Read this, it may help you with some of your decisions:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-e5200-rad...


I used that build as a starting point. From what I've read, it's wise to stay away from Rosewell in general. I basically sacrificed the 4870 for an upgrade in tower and PSU.


JTT, I'm still waiting to hear from a friend about getting Vista before I order the parts, so I have a little time to see what happens on prices. Thanks for the heads up.

As for photoshop use, again, this will be minimal use. I'm using it now on my crappy build as it is and am having no issues. Basically one image up at a time for touch ups, save it, and move on to the next. Nothing fancy at all, and if my current machine is handling it, I'm sure the 5200 will do just fine. That said, I will keep an eye out on price drops on all upgrades while I wait.

Thanks again guys for the info.
!