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$650 Budget Gamer to build w/ son

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March 10, 2009 8:53:54 PM

Hi All. :hello: 

My 14yo son is sick of the old e machines AMD 3500 and with it's psu apparently getting flaky wants to spend his soccer refereeing $ on a budget game build. I got him to do some research and he read the System Builder Feb $625 Gamer build. He used that as a basis for his choices. I wanted to post up here to get any additional suggestions/ alternatives.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now BUDGET RANGE: $600-$650

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (currently Warhammer, Team Fortress, City Heros but will expand with capabilities), Web Browsing, movie watching, music.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers,

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. Frys and Microcenter have stores under 10 miles away.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Fit in Mid Tower ATX case

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, hopefully 3.5gh range. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Current is 15" 1024x768. Planning on ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail
Full HD 1080P resolution 1920x1080. Cost separate from above budget.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Here is what he has, with any of my comment noted:

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E5200 - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail Currently OOS. The GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R can be had for the same price after MIR. Or go up to a board with 2 pci-e slots like the GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P?

Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PVS24G6400LLK - Retail Timing 4-4-4-12, 2.1v. I know he got this cause with rebates it was $19. But with the overclocking should he look at something better like the GSkill?

XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail plus the ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket; total about $27 after rebate.

LITE-ON 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS122-04 - OEM

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail A little worried about OCZ rebate redemption, but with free ship after rebate only $49.99. I have a Corsair 400W Model CMPSU-400CX with 30amps on the 12 volt rail that might squeek by, but I think it would be better to have some excess capacity for the future, or the crossfire setup mentioned below

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail I would think the extra $20 or so for a 4870 would be worth it?

Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AACS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
Is it worth the extra $10 to get the black version with 32mb cache?

NZXT Alpha Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Open Window - Retail Case already here. $49 after rebate, shipped.

Total $615 out of pocket plus shipping, currently in the $20's. After Mail in Rebates $535.

I am wondering if it would be good to enable future expansion to crossfire by upgrading the MB as mentioned above. I also wonder if right now going to a crossfire 4330 set up would give better than 4870 performance at a lower price? Listed psu should still be OK, just need the mb. Realize it would increase power use and cost more in electricity.

Whew, I'm worn out! Thanks for any help, suggestions!
March 10, 2009 9:09:01 PM

Quote:
SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail I would think the extra $20 or so for a 4870 would be worth it?
Yes.
Related resources
March 10, 2009 9:15:45 PM

This cooler is awesome for the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this PSU if you plan on xfire later with 4870's, that OCZ should be fine xfire'd 4850's:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

I recommend this ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good GPU option:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Go for the WD6401AALS, its worth the price difference.

If you go for those suggestions I made, your total comes to about $770 with shipping, then you get $100 MIR...Do you love your son enough to spot him $120, $20 after the rebate to get him a much better system that will last longer :p ? If you go with that OCZ PSU, it won't be as high quality...but will be much more affordable and be acceptable for 4850's xfired.
March 10, 2009 10:35:08 PM

Here's a build with some of the same ideas listed by xxthekidxx . Such as going with the Phenomll x3 720 and the 790GX crossfire capable motherboard that's a great combo deal right now. Tilted the build towards bling with case lights, fans for RAM, LEDs on the cooler fan. Also uses the Corsair 400w you already have with a HD4850 if/when you crossfire after getting the higher resolution monitor you can upgrade the PSU.

Case - NZXT Alpha Black - $50 after rebate. Good room at 21.5"x8.6"x 19.7"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU/mobo combo $212 Phenomll x3 720 Black Edition / Biostar TA790GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM/GPU combo deal - $200 before $60 in rebates OCZ platinum RAM with fan, MSI 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Cooler - Xigmatek HDT RS1283 $33 LEDs on fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - WD640GB SATA $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Burner - Liteon SATA $23
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$613 with $30 shipping to me, $80 in rebates
March 11, 2009 12:28:26 AM

stick with this E5200. on a P45 chipset (xfire) chipset and OC the E5200 to 3.6-3.8 ghz using a 120mm rifle from xigmatek.

E5200@ 3.6 beat any X3 @ gaming.

My point ...

Have fun !
March 11, 2009 12:39:33 AM

boulard83 said:
stick with this E5200. on a P45 chipset (xfire) chipset and OC the E5200 to 3.6-3.8 ghz using a 120mm rifle from xigmatek.

E5200@ 3.6 beat any X3 @ gaming.

My point ...

Have fun !

The PII can overclock too you know. I think its a better choice because it will require an upgrade later than an E5200 would.
March 11, 2009 12:49:52 AM

Antec Three Hundred $59.95

Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 32mb cache $74.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W $20.00 Mail-in Rebate $104.99 = $84.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 $52.99

ASUS P5Q Pro $15.00 Mail-in Rebate $129.99 = $119.99

E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz $72.99

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle $10.00 Mail-in Rebate $36.99 = $29.00

TOTAL without GPU : $507.89 BEFORE MIR

i listed ONLY the BEST rated parts on neweggs VS. price ...


For the GPU. CF 4830 right now. or 4870 for futor CF.My personal choice is the 4870 1gb.

sapphire 4870 1gb : $199.99
sapphire 4870 512 : $179.99
sapphire 4830 512 : $99.99

__________________________________________________________

With this 120mm or any other good CPU cooler you cant take this E5200 to 3.6-3.8ghz. EVERY E5200 build ive done are running 3.1xx on stock cooler @ stock V.
March 11, 2009 2:44:31 AM

Wow, Thank all of you for your suggestions. Definitely some angles I have not thought of.

xthekidx said:
I'd go with this as the foundation of that build:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
The PII x3 720 is a great CPU for the price, and that mobo is a super deal in that combo.

Are you including the OS in the price?


Hmm, that is a good price $211 vs around $195 for the Intel 5200. I had been thinking the same way as boulard83 that you can get a higher overclock out of the 5200 which results in better game performance. But at that price, considering the 3 cores and future games utilizing addl cores more effectively .... need to do some research! ;) 

The OS is additional ... counting on another $100, but does not impact the hardware budget.

xthekidx said:

I recommend this ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If you go for those suggestions I made, your total comes to about $770 with shipping, then you get $100 MIR...Do you love your son enough to spot him $120, $20 after the rebate to get him a much better system that will last longer :p ? If you go with that OCZ PSU, it won't be as high quality...but will be much more affordable and be acceptable for 4850's xfired.


That was the ram I was looking at ... is it the low volts with the good timing that makes it desirable?

I am fronting him the MIR (and crossing my fingers). I'm also contributing another $150 or so. But it is tight given my current state of unemployment :( 

dirtmountain said:
Here's a build with some of the same ideas listed by xxthekidxx . Such as going with the Phenomll x3 720 and the 790GX crossfire capable motherboard that's a great combo deal right now. Tilted the build towards bling with case lights, fans for RAM, LEDs on the cooler fan. Also uses the Corsair 400w you already have with a HD4850 if/when you crossfire after getting the higher resolution monitor you can upgrade the PSU.

Case - NZXT Alpha Black - $50 after rebate. Good room at 21.5"x8.6"x 19.7"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU/mobo combo $212 Phenomll x3 720 Black Edition / Biostar TA790GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM/GPU combo deal - $200 before $60 in rebates OCZ platinum RAM with fan, MSI 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Cooler - Xigmatek HDT RS1283 $33 LEDs on fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - WD640GB SATA $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Burner - Liteon SATA $23
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$613 with $30 shipping to me, $80 in rebates


Very interesting tangent ... he would love a little bling, but definately performance is #1. That gpu/ram combo is another great price ... how does that ram perform?

boulard83 said:
stick with this E5200. on a P45 chipset (xfire) chipset and OC the E5200 to 3.6-3.8 ghz using a 120mm rifle from xigmatek.

E5200@ 3.6 beat any X3 @ gaming.



Yeah, that was my initial take. Everything I read says the extra speed on a e5200 trumps amd for game pllay. But future game development may take more advantage of processors?


It sounds like everybody thinks spending a little more and getting a mb with 2x pci-e slots is worth it to keep crossfire options open down the road. Any input on putting 2 $80 4830's in crossfire right now?
March 11, 2009 3:22:43 AM

2 4830's will perform well, but only just better than a single 4870...And your extra pcie slot is taken up so if you want to upgrade in the future, you are doing a complete replacement of gpu's instead of adding another gpu to your current config...at $120, those 4850's I linked are a pretty damn good deal...and will offer a good performance boost over 4830's. Maybe get one now and one in a month, as prices on those GPU's should be dropping in the next few weeks. There isn't any point in getting two gpu's for that monitor you are using atm, a 4850 will be enough to run all games at highest settings I would imagine, even crysis. If you aren't going to get that monitor upgrade for a while, you can hold off on getting a second GPU too until you do.
March 11, 2009 3:40:55 AM

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

Here is my proposed build, after a little debating, I think the 4850 is the best bet for you at the moment because you can crossfire them with the existing components and get great performance. To crossfire anything more, you would need to up the PSU, further cutting into the budget. I chose the Gigabyte UD3P so you have the crossfire option. Also, the upgraded PSU will allow for comfortable crossfire of an additional 4850. The build has $70 in rebates, with shipping it puts you about $20 over the $650 budget. I feel this build gives you great expandability, and should you want to increase the video performance, you can upgrade the PSU and GPU later on.

March 11, 2009 7:54:16 AM

Transmaniacon, your item list link doesn't work.

I've posted elsewhere about this, and I'll mention it here again. 3 or 4 core processors will not be utilized in online gaming anytime soon, if ever. Carefully read this article for the latest strong proof, and consider the source (The guy designed stuff for intel!)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/killer-nic-network,...

Crossfire future-proofing a setup might seem like a good idea, but single cards are always very near the top spot in performance, and only are beaten by SLI/Crossfire setups by relatively small margins, ESPECIALLY when you consider the bang for buck, such as the FPS/$. I would go for the best single card you can afford now, and should it come time to upgrade in a few years, you'll want to consider changing out the entire card for whatever is cutting edge at the time. REMEMBER: SLI/Crossfire technologies limit the performance of the better card to that of the lesser card. Price it out, and think hard!
March 11, 2009 8:41:30 AM

It's always a good idea to check actual benchmarks when comparing performance. Here's some benchmarks showing non overclocked performance in 4 different games with medium settings with 1680x1050 resolution. Now overclocking would change things, as would different graphic cards and other variables, but at least these will give you a base idea about what each CPU would do.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=351...
March 11, 2009 9:07:25 AM

paniolo said:
Hi All. :hello: 

My 14yo son is sick of the old e machines AMD 3500 and with it's psu apparently getting flaky wants to spend his soccer refereeing $ on a budget game build. I got him to do some research and he read the System Builder Feb $625 Gamer build. He used that as a basis for his choices. I wanted to post up here to get any additional suggestions/ alternatives.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now BUDGET RANGE: $600-$650

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (currently Warhammer, Team Fortress, City Heros but will expand with capabilities), Web Browsing, movie watching, music.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers,

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. Frys and Microcenter have stores under 10 miles away.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Fit in Mid Tower ATX case

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, hopefully 3.5gh range. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Current is 15" 1024x768. Planning on ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail
Full HD 1080P resolution 1920x1080. Cost separate from above budget.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Here is what he has, with any of my comment noted:

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E5200 - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail Currently OOS. The GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R can be had for the same price after MIR. Or go up to a board with 2 pci-e slots like the GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P?

Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PVS24G6400LLK - Retail Timing 4-4-4-12, 2.1v. I know he got this cause with rebates it was $19. But with the overclocking should he look at something better like the GSkill?

XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail plus the ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket; total about $27 after rebate.

LITE-ON 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS122-04 - OEM

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail A little worried about OCZ rebate redemption, but with free ship after rebate only $49.99. I have a Corsair 400W Model CMPSU-400CX with 30amps on the 12 volt rail that might squeek by, but I think it would be better to have some excess capacity for the future, or the crossfire setup mentioned below

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail I would think the extra $20 or so for a 4870 would be worth it?

Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AACS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
Is it worth the extra $10 to get the black version with 32mb cache?

NZXT Alpha Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Open Window - Retail Case already here. $49 after rebate, shipped.

Total $615 out of pocket plus shipping, currently in the $20's. After Mail in Rebates $535.

I am wondering if it would be good to enable future expansion to crossfire by upgrading the MB as mentioned above. I also wonder if right now going to a crossfire 4330 set up would give better than 4870 performance at a lower price? Listed psu should still be OK, just need the mb. Realize it would increase power use and cost more in electricity.

Whew, I'm worn out! Thanks for any help, suggestions!


Beautiful build ! Someone has done his homework. :) 

A few changes is all I would make to that build of yours.

That mobo is cheaper than the one you chose, it's a decent overclocker....read the reviews on it. The OCZ gamestream and Modstream models have been a bit shaky at times, but this OCZ Fatal1ty series of psu's is suppose to be the real deal...it's new to the market. (read the specs on that psu down below). Also seeing how your son has an open window case, this would work out great. Also if you can fit a 4870 vid card in your budget that would be a big plus.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 ($49.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) 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=N82E168... $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=N82E168... $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
March 11, 2009 1:33:05 PM

my build, ASUS P5Q pro + E5200 and 1066 ram can lead you to 3.6 EZ and 3.8 with only a lil tweaking. + HD4870. (remember E5200 have 12.5 MULT. you can try 320x12.5, make it stable and you have a 4.0 GHZ proco ... and even more with decent cooling and tweaking. )

FUTUR ? stick a QUAD in this next year ... (Q9550 Q9650 will surelly drop in price in the next year .... )

NICE and EZ !

Have fun !
March 11, 2009 1:37:12 PM

tapher said:
Transmaniacon, your item list link doesn't work.


As long as you are logged into newegg, you can view wishlists that have been made public, like the one I linked.
March 11, 2009 7:33:02 PM

xthekidx said:
2 4830's will perform well, but only just better than a single 4870...And your extra pcie slot is taken up ...


Good points, I agree that a 4850 makes more sense now ... and will likely see some major price drops in the near future when the new amd chip launches so if he finds he needs more video performance an upgrade may be a lot easier.

tapher said:

Crossfire future-proofing a setup might seem like a good idea, but single cards are always very near the top spot in performance, and only are beaten by SLI/Crossfire setups by relatively small margins, ESPECIALLY when you consider the bang for buck, such as the FPS/$. I would go for the best single card you can afford now, and should it come time to upgrade in a few years, you'll want to consider changing out the entire card for whatever is cutting edge at the time. REMEMBER: SLI/Crossfire technologies limit the performance of the better card to that of the lesser card. Price it out, and think hard!


Also good points. I think with his current budget a 4850 is about as good as he can fit. But it sure seems prudent to pick up a mb with 2x pci-e's to maintain an easy SLI/crossfire path if that becomes the cheapest route. I am ruling out doing 2 4830's off the bat though.

dirtmountain said:
It's always a good idea to check actual benchmarks when comparing performance. Here's some benchmarks showing non overclocked performance in 4 different games with medium settings with 1680x1050 resolution. Now overclocking would change things, as would different graphic cards and other variables, but at least these will give you a base idea about what each CPU would do.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=351...


Good stuff. To summarize the stock clocked x3-720 beats the E5200 by 30%-50% at those levels on all games. I realize overclocking would change those and that the E5200 is going to overclock higher (fairly easily to just under 4ghz) But that same link shows the x3-720 getting to 3.36ghz with stock volts just by adjusting the unlocked multiplier. How easy is that! Adjust the core voltage and they got to 3.8 ghz. Thats pretty close. Combine that with real world programs in the background like antivirus, misc little tray aps, a web browser, voip, maybe some torrents or background music and that extra core could come more into play than at first blush. I may be leaning towards the x3-720 with those deals you and xthekidx found.

!