Gaming PC Build for approx. $800

I'm trying to put together a decent gaming PC for a reasonable price.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:This week

BUDGET RANGE: US$700-900

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, emails, music

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (I have XP pro)

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: Open

PARTS PREFERENCES: Not sure here. I've been reading until I've frozen my brain! I'm thinking AMD from a cost savings standpoint. I have no loyalties, however!

OVERCLOCKING: Eventually

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Don't see the need

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024, although I'll upgrade in the next few months.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really don't care about wild looking cases and lights...I just want a decent functional case...cool and easy to access. I'm playing Crysis, Oblivion, Gears of War, etc. I know you get these questions all the time...I've been reading responses to everyone else. Since I have no preferences I thought you might be able to simply give me the "best bang for the buck." Thanks!

I put together a possible build. Please give advice!
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=11283566
24 answers Last reply
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  1. Looks really good,

    but why not add 50 bucks to your build and get the Phenom II 920? If you're not overclocking right away, it might be a nice proc for your build (6MB L3 Cache vs. 2MB L3).

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103472

    I like AMD because they've got a decent product without breaking the bank... and Intel fanboi dogma makes me ill.

    Do you already have an Optical (DVD) drive? I didn't see one in your list.

    The Antec 300 is a good case (I have one), not a great paint job, but great air flow, nice and roomie and has a cool cabling area on the right (from front) side of the case.
    I also have that Corsair Power Supply and it is very nice, I recommend it.

    For an add'l $10 I'd probably spring for 500GB HDD
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136149

    When you're ready for an upgrade to your monitor, these Samsung LCDs are great! I have the T260HD and love it! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001308


    Those are my suggestions... good luck!
  2. well, since you want the best "bang for your your buck" I'm going to suggest AMD.

    Processor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103649

    That's a AMD Socket AM3 Tri-core processor, black edition. Has an unlocked multiplier (overclock higher) and 45nm technology. This can be converted to a 4 core, too. 4 cores, for the price of 3!

    Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131366

    This board supports AM3 CPU, and also DDR3 memory. It has a built in ATI HD 3300 with dedicated 128mb memory, incase you don't have any money to get a video card. It supports only crossfire, if you ever decide to get a second card. Also has built in 7.1 surround sound, ethernet, E-sata, USB, etc...

    Hard drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073

    I have this drive, it's a 500GB SATA with 16mb cache.

    DVD/Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151171

    This is a DVD player/burner, pretty straightforward

    case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129058

    It's an Antec Nine Hundred Two. The revision of the best case ever made (I have this also)
    Has support for 6 3.5inch drives, 2 external 5.25, and an external 3.5. Comes with several 120mm fans, to keep this computer cool. Also, has a 200MM fan ontop! It has a fan controller switch on the back to control fan speed.

    Heat sink: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106069

    I have the cheaper version of this, keeps stuff cool. Mine is a 92mm fan, this one is a 120mm fan. This has 140 metal fins, to dissipate heat, mine has 62. The heat from this thing will get sucked through the top of your case, via the 200mm exhaust fan.

    Video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102770

    This is a 4850. It should accommodate your games just fine. 512GDDR3 memory.

    Power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341002

    It's a 700W OCZ Power supply, crossfire compatible incase you decide to upgrade.

    Alright that's that.

    Now, for a system subtotal.
    CPU: 144.99
    Motherboard: 139.99
    Video Card: 144.99
    Power Supply: 119.99
    Heat sink: 47.99
    Hard drive: 64.99
    Case: 159.99
    DVD drive: 24.99
    Subtotal*: 847.92

    *Subtotal means tax/shipping is NOT included in that price =/
    Otherwise I think I stayed in your price range pretty good.
    Any questions just ask me, message, write back, whichever.
  3. If you are just gaming and not a big multi-tasker you would be far better served by a dual core.

    E8400 165
    Gigabyte UD3R 120

    That's pretty much the same price as the quad/790GX combo.

    The cooler you selected may be large, but it's not really very good and is expensive:
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

    Here is a far better cooler for either platform:
    Xigmatek Dark Knight 40

    You can also save a bit on the PSU, if you need to. The 650TX is an excellent PSU and will last you a good long time, but at this budget level I don't usually recommend it.
    OCZ 600W SXS Not the same quality as the Corsair, but adequate for your build.


    Finally:
    G.Skill PI Black 4GB 800 MHZ Less cost, better performance.


    See my guide, stickied at the top of the forum or linked in my signature, for a discussion of quad vs. dual cores and what might be right for you. The current issue of CPU magazine also has a nice article from Anand on the same subject.

    As scatrdfew mentions, if you do stay with quad core a Deneb would serve you better. I've saved you enough that you could choose that route as well, although an E8400 will be faster in most games.
  4. Proximon said:
    If you are just gaming and not a big multi-tasker you would be far better served by a dual core.

    E8400 165
    Gigabyte UD3R 120

    That's pretty much the same price as the quad/790GX combo.

    The cooler you selected may be large, but it's not really very good and is expensive:
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

    Here is a far better cooler for either platform:
    Xigmatek Dark Knight 40

    You can also save a bit on the PSU, if you need to. The 650TX is an excellent PSU and will last you a good long time, but at this budget level I don't usually recommend it.
    OCZ 600W SXS Not the same quality as the Corsair, but adequate for your build.


    Finally:
    G.Skill PI Black 4GB 800 MHZ Less cost, better performance.


    See my guide, stickied at the top of the forum or linked in my signature, for a discussion of quad vs. dual cores and what might be right for you. The current issue of CPU magazine also has a nice article from Anand on the same subject.

    As scatrdfew mentions, if you do stay with quad core a Deneb would serve you better. I've saved you enough that you could chose that route as well, although an E8400 will be faster in most games.



    This is true, I'm new to recommendations lol
  5. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ATI-Radeon-Price-Cut,7141.html

    Looks like it's your lucky day (week)

    They'll be dropping the price of the 4870 to $149... that's great, but sucks for me, I paid more than that for my 4850s last November. Oh well, just goes to show you how fast things change in today's tech world.
  6. Thanks for your quick and thorough responses. Proximon, what video card would you recommend, or is the one I've chosen okay? I know the video card is going to be the most expensive component, and I'm okay with it. I want the best for the system you spec'd.

    Thank you.
  7. The news seems to argue that you would be better off waiting a few days. Looks like prices are dropping.

    This would be the card to get today:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102815
  8. Alright, I've taken pieces of all the advice and come up with three different builds. They are within $15 of each other, more or less.

    First, the Phenom X3 720: https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=9262245

    Second, the Phenom x4: https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=11283566

    And third, the Core 2 Duo: https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=9262265

    My brain is frozen! Gaming is my number one priority, but longevity and upgradability are both high on the list. I know prices are going to move and I can shop around as well.

    Which would you pick and why?

    Thanks so much.
  9. Your first two builds are pretty upgradeable and probably give better longevity, if you want the board to last 3+ years.

    The last build will be the fastest in almost all current games.
  10. Seagate 7200.12 is the fastest 500GB currently available and only $60.

    Edit: But apparently there are issues, so best to avoid Seagate for now.
  11. Just a quick question - Why DDR2 800 and not DDR2 1066? You can get 1066 for less than 60 bucks now.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231184
  12. 1066Mhz may make enough difference to justify the cost in an AMD build. There is no difference in performance on an Intel build.

    The gains are not huge in AMD, as far as I know, but somewhat higher than Intel.

    Also, 2.1V can be problematic for a new build, if the builder has no lower volted RAM to boot up with... just depends whether the MB get's it right first try or not.
  13. I have 2.1v RAM that was set to the auto 1.8 (w/ ASUS M3A79-T, have also used with MSI DKA790GX) and no troubles with booting during build, but works better after voltage is adjusted... so I don't think that is an issue.
  14. I say "can" not "will."
    Perhaps you have never had to deal with an irate poster who can't get their memory working.
  15. Of course, CAN (and not WILL) is a better way to put it... but hey if you're building your own PC you should know going into it the whole thing is a crap-shoot, nothing is guaranteed to succeed/fail. For my builds I've not had trouble with 2.1v RAM. I'm 3 for 3 since November, batting 1000 using that RAM. G.Skill DDR2 1066 Cas5 2.1v has been my DIMM of choice this year.
  16. What's the difference between the blue and black G.Skill Pi memory?
  17. Ha! LOOM was a cool game...

    Different colored heat spreader maybe?
  18. scatrdfew said:
    Ha! LOOM was a cool game...

    Different colored heat spreader maybe?


    lol fair enough.

    Yeah I grew up on LucasArts adventure games.
  19. Kinda like WD hard drives now, black for extreme performance, blue for upper-midrange. The PI Black DDR2-800 are very good modules, and I have had no issues pushing them to 1066 speeds.

    A note on your first build with the X3, youve picked a DDR3 motherboard and DDR2 RAM, you'll need to change your selection for one or the other.
  20. You can easily give this cpu a mild overclock and bump it up to 3.16GHz @ 1333fsb (9.5 x 333).

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119152 $59.99
    COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black SECC / ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341022 $79.99 Free Shipping*
    OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128380 $79.99
    GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - Product of preference with 2 Oz Copper PCB & DualBIOS

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115206 $119.99 Free Shipping*
    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=N82E16835233001 $24.99 ($19.99 after $5.00 Mail-In Rebate)
    XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019 $8.49
    XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 $44.99 Free Shipping*
    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=N82E16822136320 $74.99 Free Shipping*
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152 $22.99 Free Shipping*
    LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102810 $164.99
    SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020 $6.99
    ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

    Total: $688.39 (not including shipping and rebates)
  21. both are listed as high performance or gaming memory... It seems the Black PI has a lower cas latency verses the blue, but is DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 timing a better performer than DDR2 1066 5-5-5-15?
  22. They are the same RAM, just different paint job and one comes pre-overclocked.
  23. B-Unit said:
    They are the same RAM, just different paint job and one comes pre-overclocked.


    Well, they are very similar. Can't really say they are the same RAM, as G.Skill uses different OEMs.
  24. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147038 $59.99 Free Shipping*
    Rosewill R5601-BK 0.8mm Japanese Cold Rolled Steel Screw-less Dual 120mm Fans ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148395 $59.99 Free Shipping*
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434 $229.99 ($199.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate ) Free Shipping*
    EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152 $22.99 Free Shipping*
    LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005 $109.99 ($89.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate ) Free Shipping*
    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail (i prefer the 600-700 psu range allows for more ram, hdd's, rom-drives and changing of gpu without worrying about power and still allows room to overclock safely)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231226 $44.99 Free Shipping*
    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128380 $79.99
    GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037 $164.99 Free Shipping*
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118046 $74.99 Free Shipping*
    ZALMAN CNPS9900LED 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail

    Total: $847.91 Not including shipping and tax ionno where you live
    Shipping should be like 5 bucks though just for the mobo everything else is free via 3 day shipper
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