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Building with a $500 budget

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April 24, 2009 8:40:02 PM

I'm building a PC for my brother. My budget is ~$500 after MIR excluding monitor and peripherals. He is a graphic designer and will be using Adobe CS4 Web Premium. He also likes to play MMORPG games (ei. WoW), and probably a few hardcore games. He will be hooking his PC to a monitor (undecided), and a wacom drawing tablet. Help me decide on what parts I need.

Motherboard
Processor
Memory
Hard Drive
Case
PSU
Optical Drive
Video Card
Wireless Card

The monitor should be around $1xx. Something good for a graphic designer and gamer.

More about : building 500 budget

a b C Monitor
April 24, 2009 9:02:52 PM
April 24, 2009 9:55:19 PM

Looks like Proximon did a good job finding components for a decent budget build. The Gigabyte board can add even more value in case your brother needs a little more horsepower. That board should be able to OC and push the e5300 to 3.4 GHz (13 multiplier X 266 fsb). I'd go with a 9800 GT. They're as low as $79 as open-box items on Newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I often buy Newegg open box items (3 video cards, 2 motherboards so far and no problems) and you'd know within the 30 day period if you need to return for a refund.

Related resources
April 25, 2009 1:14:54 AM

+1 Proximon
for the price i would go with that build
April 25, 2009 2:04:52 AM

Prices from Newegg.com

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail

$139.99

SAPPHIRE 100265HDMI Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

$84.99

Foxconn A76ML-K AM2+ / AM3 Ready AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

$59.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

$69.99

COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power RS550-PCARE3-US 550W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retailpply - Retail

$54.99

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

$39.99


OCZ Fatal1ty Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (The Official Memory of the Championship Gaming Model OCZ2F10662GK - Retail

$30.99

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-216DBK - OEM

$22.99

Total: $503.99
April 25, 2009 2:58:58 AM

I think he'd really need the 4 gigs
April 25, 2009 3:34:56 AM

BUY A USED SYSTEM OFF EBAY

THEN BUILD AROUND IT!
April 25, 2009 4:35:20 AM

Out of these 4 which memory is the best? Here
a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 4:59:07 AM

They are all good. The OCZ Platinum has a higher voltage and so can be thrown out.

I would probably choose the Corsair due to a slight reliability edge.
April 25, 2009 5:01:34 AM

Those are all good name brand memory, I personally have used Corsair and OCZ memory recommend either. If you want to get technical the Corsair memory has a slightly tighter tRAS timing (the 15 at the end) which is faster, but the 18 timing in the OCZ is more stable.

But that is really the only difference, and guess what: it doesn't matter because you will never be able to notice a difference. Any of those sticks will be ok, just go with the cheaper one.
April 25, 2009 5:10:36 AM

+ 1 to Proximon. I like his build, nice processor easy overclocker. Atleast that was the case for my buddy. Dont get that OCZ PSU, they aren't super reliable brands. Heard it runs loud.
a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 5:18:28 AM

Proximons build is good , but sassans is much better .

The cpu is much stronger , the gfx bit weaker , and the hard drive twice the size , the ram is adequate

but if the OP is desperate for 4 gig then scale back on the hard drive and spend that money on ram

April 25, 2009 5:30:47 AM

+ 1, If you really need 4GB of RAM then thats what you should do change the HDD to something cheaper, and use that to get RAM. But you'd need a 64Bit OS to recognize it all.
a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 5:48:24 AM

I like Sassans build better myself, except for the PSU. You should definitely not use the PSU.

Luckily, we have the whole "after MIR" thing to save the day:

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W


April 25, 2009 5:50:46 AM

+1 like I said, not the greatest PSU lol. Nice one tho. The Fatal1ty Edition.
April 25, 2009 6:05:14 AM

Updated Specs


Motherboard. This was chosen by someone from a different forum because this is the only unique mobo offering SB 710 and has gotten a lot of good comments from anandtech. Does this make it special?

Processor. Chosen by majority of the members.

Memory. Specs were chosen by majority of the members, pricing was chosen by me, and brand (corsair) chosen by proximon.

Hard Drive. Chosen by majority of the members

Optical Drive. Chosen by majority of the members.

Video Card. Chosen by majority of the members.

Wireless Card. Chosen by several members and no opposing views. I don't think it got a lot of attention (probably because any wireless card would do).

Power Supply. Spec (~550W) chosen by majority of the members, model chosen by proximon, and final decision chosen by me (because of the ridiculous discount, Winner of Anandtech's Gold Editor's Choice Award, and the 5yr warranty).

Case. Chosen by proximon and me (google yielded a lot of good reviews)



In the end after rebates it's $562 lol. Now if I can buy some of the parts used from FS forums or from an auction I can probably get it down to $500 more or less (or persuade my parents to bump up the budget). But before that anyone opposing this build?
a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 6:15:34 AM

I don't yet know anything about SB710. I only saw it for the first time today. I suspect it's a 55nm version of SB700, so it might be great.

Good for you. That's a solid build and I hope you get it built that way, will really be worth the extra $.
April 25, 2009 9:07:40 AM

the nvidia 9800 gt is cheaper now I think it will perform better under some game with a decent monitor like a 19 or 20 inch. and the price should be less then the ati 4850.

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

Check this ram out, same specs lower price.

If your router supports wireless N then get this adapter it's $64 a bit more but your speeds in gaming and everything would be smoother.

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

Overall great

also use bundle deals it will save you alot.

You can also order from www.ncixus.com and they will price match and you can get low shipping fees or free shipping if you buy a $10 giftcard, usually your entire order will be free of charge. Give it a try see what they offer you.
a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 2:26:31 PM

1) You mention Photoshop so 4GB DDR2 definitely.

2) on this budget, consider the HD4830

3) Do you need the wireless card, or can you run a RJ45 CAT5 cable to your onboard ethernet?

4) For WiFi you're looking at a PCIe (x1 but can use any PCIe slot), PCI or even USB. Draft-N gives better range but is more money. So a "g" version. Look at "network adapters" and read customer reviews. I had to run an RJ45 because my sister's card couldn't quite pick up the signal from the router in her own home.

5) Windows?


***
6) if you were in Canada I'd say pick up the following, use it for a while and put in another graphics card later (ensure an internal PCIe x16). Pretty nice specs for the price. This system would be close to $500 US. It's already built with Vista x64 installed. Pick up to save on shipping costs. Warranty. Media reader, WiFi.

http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&...

a b C Monitor
April 25, 2009 2:47:11 PM

Here's the same complete desktop at Walmart USA. Considering your price range, shipping costs, building headaches, warranty this seems awesome.

I CAN confirm an available PCIe x16 slot.

The PSU should handle the following card with peak power of roughly 59W, so with the onboard chip being turned off your tasking the system by roughly 40W more at peak. You may need an adapter like a molex->6-pin if your PSU doesn't have one. I don't know but those are next to nothing. Considering the 59W max power and the PCIe x16 should handle 75W it may not need a 6-pin at all. The sample was an engineering one.

Here's the upgrade card you should end up getting (coming soon):

http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/26/ati-radeon-rv740-pro...

The prebuilt system I recommend:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10...
April 25, 2009 4:10:26 PM

This is tomshardware photonboy we never recomend prebuilt :p 

But another idea is to get a refurbished pc from either bestbuy.com / .ca or your local walmart and then you can add stuff to it.
April 26, 2009 12:27:47 AM

cheap prebuilt = poor quality in my experience. I used to work at best buy but would never want to build a gaming rig around even the new PCs we sold, even the "high end" media center's we offered.

Building your own system, while more work, will ensure you get the best quality parts necessary for your target performance system.
a b C Monitor
April 26, 2009 2:20:19 AM

I normally don't recommend prebuilt either. it was mainly due to trying to meet the price and providing another option.

Once I started adding up all the prices including Windows Vista x64 and throwing in shipping it's pretty difficult to build a "half decent gaming rig" for $500.

Oh well, I'm sure it's been informative for him.
April 26, 2009 8:04:26 AM

If he needs an OS then:

AMD Anthlon 64 x2 7750 CPU - $60
Asrock A780LM mobo - $55
HIS Radeon HD 4830 512mb video card - $90
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800 memory - $40
Western Digital 320GB 7200rpm Hard Drive - $50
Antec NSK6580B Case with 430w PSU - $100
Samsung DVD+-RW Drive - $25
Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit - $100

Total: $515.92 with $10 MIR

While this won't run Crysis on the highest settings and anti aliasing, it will play every game, including Crysis on medium to high settings. I think a lot of people have become so brainwashed about buying the enthusiest level GPUs and triple or quad core CPUs because of how cheap and inexpensive they have become. My brother's PC has an AMD x2 6000+, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and an 8600GT and can handle anything out there no problem. The only two games he has that he can't play on full settings is World in Conflict and Crysis, but are very playable on medium to high and the games still look beautiful.
April 26, 2009 1:03:49 PM

For OS just get Windows 7 and get the cd key off of the microsofts website. Then eventually buy that.
April 26, 2009 1:24:06 PM

+1 to jtp709
excluding the psu
BFG Tech GS-550 550W fore $55
got the anandtech gold award
April 26, 2009 3:35:05 PM

I like the BFG 550w also, but its overkill for that system. The one that comes with an Antec case will do just fine and is reliable. However, if he wants to get a different case without a PSU, then I definately suggest the BFG GS-550 or an OCZ Fatal1ty 550w which is $50 after MIR.
April 26, 2009 3:37:15 PM

sassan said:
For OS just get Windows 7 and get the cd key off of the microsofts website. Then eventually buy that.


+1 Definitely agree, IMO the beta runs faster and more stable than Vista ever did.
April 26, 2009 4:03:33 PM

sassan said:
Prices from Newegg.com

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail

$139.99

SAPPHIRE 100265HDMI Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

$84.99

Foxconn A76ML-K AM2+ / AM3 Ready AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

$59.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

$69.99

COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power RS550-PCARE3-US 550W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retailpply - Retail

$54.99

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

$39.99


OCZ Fatal1ty Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (The Official Memory of the Championship Gaming Model OCZ2F10662GK - Retail

$30.99

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-216DBK - OEM

$22.99

Total: $503.99


+1 on this build - 4830 is fine for WOW and can be had for $75 after rebate
April 26, 2009 7:46:12 PM

sorry i missed that the psu came with the case
that would be better then
a b C Monitor
April 26, 2009 8:00:59 PM

No again on the PSU.

Cooler Master and Thermaltake both have a nasty habit of releasing one unit for review and then flooding the channel with a cheaper poorly made unit with a SIMILAR MODEL NUMBER. Don't be fooled. If it's not reviewed on one of the 3 main PSU sites, it's not worthwhile.

The EA430 that JTP709 linked is the better PSU. The OCZ is not well tested, but it's probably adequate.
April 27, 2009 1:35:39 AM

Ok change of plans guys. After talking it over with my dad, he doesn't appreciate mail-in-rebates because he asked what it was before rebates (didn't seem to care about the after rebate part), was surprised (despite getting a good deal after rebates), and didn't like it one bit.

I know it's a bit ironic that he said $500 "AR", but now he thinks it's a bit too much (the "before rebate" always frightens some people regardless if the final price after rebate matches your budget) My budget is $600-$625 and this includes the monitor. Keep rebates as minimal as possible please.

The PC will probably last 3-5 years I would say.
April 27, 2009 1:45:32 AM

how big would the monitor be?
April 27, 2009 3:48:47 AM

For something affordable I looked up newegg and found 19" (1680x1050) to be the best affordable price. You need a high resolution for graphic design and that's the best resolution I could find for the price.
a b C Monitor
April 27, 2009 4:55:04 AM

$625 gaming rig.

Note:

- what you ask can't be done for the price. close though.
- get Windows 7 RC 64bit on May 5th (free) then purchase the OEM version when released, I've listed Vista 64bit Premium here
- I have looked for inexpensive quality
- I am a retired radar tech and build pc's for fun if it means anything
- I'd wait for the approx $100 RV740 ATI card coming very very soon, but I've listed the 9800GT here for that price. You have onboard video so you could wait (only matters for gaming)

Parts:

$165
EVGA nForce 730a Motherboard CPU Bundle - AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Processor 3.0GHz OEM
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

EdpNo=4387067&CatId=2417

$35
LG GH22LS30 Super Multi DVD Rewriter with Lightscribe OEM
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

EdpNo=4266353&CatId=1624

$30
4GB Patriot Extreme PC6400
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

EdpNo=3166893&CatId=3412

$60
Seagate 500GB (or 640GB WD)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/catego...

Recs=10&Nav=|c:2459|lp:50:hp:99.99|&Sort=2

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

EdpNo=2245415&CatId=1842

$75
PC Power & Cooling / Silencer / 610-Watt / PCI-Express / SATA-Ready / Copper Power Supply,

80Plus
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

EdpNo=3247723&CatId=1483

$100
EVGA 900GT video card
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

EdpNo=4283352&CatId=3670

$100
Vista Home Premium 64bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(*go with Windows 7 RC 64bit as of May 5th instead.. )

*Price without tax, monitor or shipping is $620

Monitor: you can look around for a half-decent CRT monitor for $25-$60. they have
For LCD, I recommend 19" and spending at least $150. There are reviews.. shop around. look for sales.
example:
$120
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

Total without monitor:
$620 + tax + shipping

Total with monitor:
$740 + tax + shipping

*Other: need a 120mm rear low CFM fan mount to CPU, mouse/kybd, speakers, CPU HSF to replace stock are about $40 but consider later if stock too noisy. Make sure CPU fan is plugged in and working, BIOS has settintgs ..
April 27, 2009 5:58:04 AM

The mobo+cpu combo doesn't include a fan. Can you downgrade a few parts photonboy? $640 (excluding OS) is out of budget. The monitor should be about $125.

Forgot to mention, the budget is $600 or less (including monitor, no software or peripherals), the extra $25 is only necessary if it's really needed, though try not to exceed $600. Try downgrading the parts. It shouldn't be an ever-lasting computer, just "enough" to work on CS4. All he needs is 250gb-320gb of space, 4gb of memory, a decent graphics card (Crysis up to medium-low settings, WoW to max settings), and a decent processor.

I'm sorry for making it hard to meet that kind of budget, but remember this is a temporary solution. If two hardware have the same or similar specs, but with different brands (one costing more than the other), I'll have to go with the cheaper one. My brother will have to feel the pain of using subpar brands, but there's nothing I can do lol. If a pre-built system is the only way to go, then I guess I don't have a choice.
a b C Monitor
April 27, 2009 6:44:04 AM

The CPU will come with a stock Heatsink/Fan combo.

The only way to meet your price is to reduce the quality a bit, plus adding shipping will add up. The only way to meet your budget is this way (which isn't necessarily bad):

$350 (on sale) Desktop at Bestbuy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?type=category&i...

$140 monitor (1600:900, 20", good reviews)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9183297&t...

$110 (or so)
Buy the ATI RV740 (HD4750 ?) when it is released. It should be okay for your PSU. It'll give the most performance per Watt (max about 59W).
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-4750-rv740-revi...

Total:
$490 (before ATI RV740)
$600 or so (after the ATI RV740)
a b C Monitor
April 27, 2009 7:03:42 AM

Wireless:
You need to make sure you have Vista x64 driver support. You can look for a motherboard built-in, PCI or USB.
April 27, 2009 7:20:28 AM

When will the new video card be released?
April 29, 2009 2:46:54 AM

Updated Specs

BX80571E5200 CPU
TWIN2X4096-8500C5 Memory
WD3200AAKS HDD
CAC-T05-UW Case
GS-550 PSU
GH22NS30 Optical Drive
H483FN512P Video Card
ENLWI-G(2) Wireless Card
Hi-221DPB Monitor
Motherboard undecided. Prefer if it has free shipping.
April 29, 2009 4:14:35 AM

Hmm then which one is better? 4770 or 4850? Note that the sapphire 4850 is $10 cheaper than 4770 after rebate and applied promo code.

Edit: looking at some reviews, the 4850 is slightly better than the 4770. But since the 4850 is $10 less than 4770, why not? :) 
a b C Monitor
April 29, 2009 5:56:46 AM

There ya go.
April 29, 2009 6:37:32 AM

JTP709 said:
If he needs an OS then:

AMD Anthlon 64 x2 7750 CPU - $60
Asrock A780LM mobo - $55
HIS Radeon HD 4830 512mb video card - $90
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800 memory - $40
Western Digital 320GB 7200rpm Hard Drive - $50
Antec NSK6580B Case with 430w PSU - $100
Samsung DVD+-RW Drive - $25
Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit - $100

Total: $515.92 with $10 MIR

While this won't run Crysis on the highest settings and anti aliasing, it will play every game, including Crysis on medium to high settings. I think a lot of people have become so brainwashed about buying the enthusiest level GPUs and triple or quad core CPUs because of how cheap and inexpensive they have become. My brother's PC has an AMD x2 6000+, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and an 8600GT and can handle anything out there no problem. The only two games he has that he can't play on full settings is World in Conflict and Crysis, but are very playable on medium to high and the games still look beautiful.


I agree, I have been having the same problem. I asked the forum for help with my build;
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/264245-31-downgrade-h...

and here is another question I asked;
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/264628-31-what-differ...

When I first asked for advice everyone was advising me what to get, easily turns out to be 900-1000 when you factor in OS and monitor, decent keyboard and mouse, pci card etc. Really different from my 500/600 that I asked for. So yes, kudos to you for not buying into the hype, my new build will be a dual core for about 60 bucks pcu

a b C Monitor
April 29, 2009 7:20:14 AM

The green Patriot kit because of the lower voltage and great timings.

The combo link is broken.
!