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First Time Builder wants cheap E8400 build

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April 1, 2009 6:16:39 AM

Hello, I am looking to build my first computer and I want to keep it cheap, around $700. I intend on doing some casual gaming on some of the newer games as well as play some of my older games, nothing too serious. I am not a big multi-tasker, the most I might have running at once is Mozzilla, Windows Media Player, Word and/or a game. Obviously if you can think of any substitute components that may cost only slightly more but perform significantly better please mention it. Also if any of my components are overkill (ie. much higher quality then the rest and wont be utilized to their full potential) please let me know of a suitable substitution. The components that need extra attention are the motherboard and the PSU. I know very little about MoBos and I used an online Power Supply calculator to figure my wattage. All of these components were found and priced at Newegg or TigerDirect. I look forward to your input, thank you.

Total: $672

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: XFX nForce 750i SLI Extreme $110
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

GPU: XFX GeForce 9800 GT - 512MB $100
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

RAM:Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB) $20
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

HDD:WD Caviar SE16 320GB $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

PSU: Corsair CX400W $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Optics: LG Black 22x DVD+R / 48x CD-R $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:Cooler Master Centurion 534 Black ATX Mid-Tower $55
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

OS: Vista 32 or 64bit $100

P.S. I was going to post a second build I was looking which used the same parts except an AMD Phenom X4 9950 and an ASUS MoBo. However I read that quad cores are generally not utilized to their potential in games and the power calculator I used also said I needed 600+ watts. If the AMD Phenom would provide a higher quality build or the 600+ watts is a miscalculation please mention it.
April 1, 2009 6:28:59 AM

CPU/Mobo: PII 720 BE and Biostar 790GX. This CPU performs very similarly to the E8400 in games, and more often than not performs a little bit better. This is also cheaper than the option you are looking at right now.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Better Ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Better GPU for the money:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or if you wanted to get a better gpu...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Better Case/PSU (also allows you to xfire 2 4830's if you were to get the urge at a later date):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
(if you wanted to xfire 2 4850's)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (with either case)

CPU Cooler (only necessary if you OC, but I suggest you do so you get the most out of your PC. Its fairly painless and safe if done correctly and is a free CPU upgrade):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get Vista 64bit
April 1, 2009 6:43:12 AM

vansic26 said:
Hello, I am looking to build my first computer and I want to keep it cheap, around $700. I intend on doing some casual gaming on some of the newer games as well as play some of my older games, nothing too serious. I am not a big multi-tasker, the most I might have running at once is Mozzilla, Windows Media Player, Word and/or a game. Obviously if you can think of any substitute components that may cost only slightly more but perform significantly better please mention it. Also if any of my components are overkill (ie. much higher quality then the rest and wont be utilized to their full potential) please let me know of a suitable substitution. The components that need extra attention are the motherboard and the PSU. I know very little about MoBos and I used an online Power Supply calculator to figure my wattage. All of these components were found and priced at Newegg or TigerDirect. I look forward to your input, thank you.

Total: $672

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: XFX nForce 750i SLI Extreme $110
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

GPU: XFX GeForce 9800 GT - 512MB $100
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

RAM:Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB) $20
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

HDD:WD Caviar SE16 320GB $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

PSU: Corsair CX400W $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Optics: LG Black 22x DVD+R / 48x CD-R $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:Cooler Master Centurion 534 Black ATX Mid-Tower $55
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

OS: Vista 32 or 64bit $100

P.S. I was going to post a second build I was looking which used the same parts except an AMD Phenom X4 9950 and an ASUS MoBo. However I read that quad cores are generally not utilized to their potential in games and the power calculator I used also said I needed 600+ watts. If the AMD Phenom would provide a higher quality build or the 600+ watts is a miscalculation please mention it.


Well I would think twice before going with the SLI mobo...they have incompatibility issues and are flaky...

Next go with xthekid suggestions...the X3 is the current best value processor ...
Related resources
April 1, 2009 6:57:11 AM

On the GPU (and also related to that is the PSU) the resolution of monitor you will use depends a lot on the GPU you need for your system. Larger resolutions require more GPU power to render those extra pixels. For a 19" monitor at 1440x900 res, then the 4830 would be fine for most games at highest settings, crysis and far cry might require you to turn it down a little. If you are getting a larger screen then look at the 4850.
April 1, 2009 7:31:13 AM

vansic26 said:
Hello, I am looking to build my first computer and I want to keep it cheap, around $700. I intend on doing some casual gaming on some of the newer games as well as play some of my older games, nothing too serious. I am not a big multi-tasker, the most I might have running at once is Mozzilla, Windows Media Player, Word and/or a game. Obviously if you can think of any substitute components that may cost only slightly more but perform significantly better please mention it. Also if any of my components are overkill (ie. much higher quality then the rest and wont be utilized to their full potential) please let me know of a suitable substitution. The components that need extra attention are the motherboard and the PSU. I know very little about MoBos and I used an online Power Supply calculator to figure my wattage. All of these components were found and priced at Newegg or TigerDirect. I look forward to your input, thank you.

Total: $672

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: XFX nForce 750i SLI Extreme $110
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

GPU: XFX GeForce 9800 GT - 512MB $100
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

RAM:Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB) $20
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

HDD:WD Caviar SE16 320GB $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

PSU: Corsair CX400W $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Optics: LG Black 22x DVD+R / 48x CD-R $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:Cooler Master Centurion 534 Black ATX Mid-Tower $55
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

OS: Vista 32 or 64bit $100

P.S. I was going to post a second build I was looking which used the same parts except an AMD Phenom X4 9950 and an ASUS MoBo. However I read that quad cores are generally not utilized to their potential in games and the power calculator I used also said I needed 600+ watts. If the AMD Phenom would provide a higher quality build or the 600+ watts is a miscalculation please mention it.


Nice build :)  Bet lets say we cut some off the price and balance that build out at the same time. :) 

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=CA-RC534KK $41.82
Cooler Master Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP No PS ATX Mid Tower Case (Black)

or.....

http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?pr... $22.99
Centurion 534 Black Mid Tower, W/O window, W/O PSU - Refurbished

With looking at your choice of vid card and what you do with your pc, that E8400 may be a bit of over kill. Try this one on for size...it balances that build and cuts the price.

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

Also to be honest, those Nvidea chipset boards like that 750 are crap...to put it bluntly. This mobo down below is the pefect match for that E7400.

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-43-UD3L $79.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L Core 2 Quad/ Intel P43/ DDR2/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <---same mobo as above but better pics, spec chart, and reviews on this link here.

Ok, now your set. :) 
April 1, 2009 7:05:07 PM

Kid, I think he was looking for an E8400 build

Besides that...

A motherboard with a P45 chipset would be better for overclocking, and stability, some 750i/780i's are not so great with stability or require really high voltages (1.4 for an E8400@4Ghz)
A good one is the Gigabyte EP45-DS3L

The ram will suit you well, I have atleast 3 sets of them in different machines they work nicely without a problem, but they did not seem OC friendly with my SLI mobo (XFX 780i) and E8400. I'm using OCZ's SLI edition now which works without a problem.

The 9800GT will suit you for mild gaming, it will do some at 1680x1050, but not extensively.

The hard drive is a bang for the buck area, if you drop the 320GB and get a Seagate or Western Digital 500GB drive they are only 10$ more at 59$-65$-great deal, and they work great too.

I'd say Corsair is the best PSU maker I've seen, great pick, although if you are considering SLI I had a rig with 2X8800GT(re-labled 9800GT) and an E8400, it started to push the PSU, but you should be alright if you don't SLI.



April 1, 2009 7:15:39 PM

brendano257 said:
Kid, I think he was looking for an E8400 build

I didn't see him say that. He said he was considering a Phenom 9950 build as well, so I see no reason why he wouldn't be open to PII 720. I would build a 720 if I was on a budget because you have more multitasking power than a dual core, and gaming benchmarks put the E8400 and 720 very close. Even if you don't use the mulitasking of a tri-core to its full potential now, you most likely will in the future as apps become more multithreaded.
April 1, 2009 7:25:07 PM

Phenom X3 is better than Core 2 Duo for less money.

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3533&p=1

It compares to the Q9550 in numerous tests.

Since the mobo/cpu combo kid posted is no longer available, I would recommend this combination:

Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Phenom II X3 720BE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.Skill 4GB 1066mhz DDR2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
April 1, 2009 7:35:49 PM

bmuell said:
Phenom X3 is better than Core 2 Duo for less money.

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3533&p=1

It compares to the Q9550 in numerous tests.

Since the mobo/cpu combo kid posted is no longer available, I would recommend this combination:

Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Phenom II X3 720BE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.Skill 4GB 1066mhz DDR2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

+1 too bad those combo's aren't available anymore, those are good options.

Or you could think about this...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
April 1, 2009 11:02:43 PM

Thank you for all of these quick responses! Sorry if i wasn't clear, I was looking at an E8400 build but I am open to anything. I did look at the E7400 but felt that the E8400 was more upgradeable in the future. That AMD Phenom II X3 720 also looks like a great choice. After reading your responses here is a quick update of what I am considering.

Total: $682 or $647 depending on MoBo

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115037

MoBo: Gigabyte EP45-DS3L $110
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...
OR GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L $75
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-43-UD3L
*please let me know which one is the more ideal MoBo for a budget build

GPU: Radeon HD 4830 512MB $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
*After reading your responses I decided to go with this GPU


RAM:Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB) $20
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applica [...] u=C13-6082
*Two of these for a total of 8GB and $40

HDD:WD Caviar SE16 320GB $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applica [...] CatId=2458
*Some posted that it is cheap to upgrade the HDD and I realize that as well and I may go up to a 500GB however I have never managed to come close to filling a 250GB, probably never broke 200GB.

PSU: Corsair CX400W $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applica [...] CatId=1078
*the online calculator (http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine) put this build at 294 watts

Optics: LG Black 22x DVD+R / 48x CD-R $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136144

Case:Cooler Master Centurion 534 Black ATX Mid-Tower $55
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applica [...] =C283-1123

OS: Vista 64bit $100


I am also considering the same build using the AMD Phenom II X3 720 ($145) combined with the GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P ($110). Total: $662

OK now some other questions and points to build on.
1) Some of you said to get better RAM and others said they used the same RAM and it worked great. The upgraded RAM mentioned cost $50. Is it really that much better to be worth 2.5 times the price AND would it not be better to just get 8GB of the cheaper RAM instead of 4GB of the more expensive?
2) According to the PSU calculator that 400W would cover either build with approx. 100W of head room. Does that seem accurate in your experience and is it enough to allow minor over clocking? I do not know how to OC but I have read that it is not too difficult so it is not out of the question and in that case I would have to buy a CPU cooler.
3) Some of you mentioned getting a different case, is this case poor quality or does it lack room?
4) Finally I was not intending to use dual GPUs although I realize that it offers a lot of potential. Would it not be easier to buy a better GPU later when the need arose?

Sorry if I made things complicated or if I didn't make much sense. I am, as some like to say, a "noob" to the computer building field. Also I hope to graduate college next year and enter the workforce so I see my time spent playing games dropping off in the next couple of years as life becomes more hectic. Hopefully however my budget should increase dramatically from that of a poor college student so my build is focused on the next 2 years of playability as i will be able to drop more money into computer components later if I continue playing games beyond that point. I look forward to your responses.
!