First-time builder, gaming PC, recommendations needed

Hey guys, I am trying to build a new gaming PC on a budget. My goal is to play games like COD 4/5, Left 4 Dead, Starcraft 2 (when released) look beautiful and run smoothly. I was originally considering an i7, but decided it was overkill for my needs. Here is what I came up with:

Gigabyte P45 MB: $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358

Intel C2D E8400 3.0GHz: $168
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037&Tpk=e8400

G. Skill 4GB DDR2: $59 (note: plan to upgrade in future)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166

Sapphire HD4870 1 GB: $190 (note: perhaps Crossfire in future)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801

Western Digital Caviar HDD 640GB: $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

Corsair 650W PSU: $109
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

I still haven't picked out a case, any suggestions would be appreciated (in the <$100 range)

Will this do the job nicely, I have done my research but still lack the confidence to know this is a good build. Thanks in advance for your responses!
28 answers Last reply
More about first time builder gaming recommendations needed
  1. What is your budget? Do you already own a monitor, mouse, keyboard, OS, ect?
  2. sorry, forgot to put those.....

    budget was $1000 for the i7, but when i realized Core 2 would be sufficient I was thinking no more than $900.

    I have a 22" Samsung monitor, keyboard, mouse, and OS

    Peripherals are a secondary thought, the actual computer is where I lack experience.

    Thanks
  3. will be using Vista 64-bit until Windows 7
  4. I think you would be better served going the Phenom II route, with a PII x3 720. Give this article a read concerning gaming and number of CPU cores: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/multi-core-cpu,2280-10.html

    So with that said, here is how I would probably build on that budget:

    CPU/MB: GA-MA790XT-UD4P and Phenom II X3 720 BE
    Ram: 4GB G skill DDR3 1333
    Case: Antec 300
    DVD Drive: LG SATA DVD drive
    HDD: WD6401AALS
    PSU: Corsair 750TX
    Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283
    GPU: XFX HD 4890 OC
    $896 with shipping, not counting rebates. This also leaves you the option of upgrading to a better AM3 CPU in a couple years if you wish.
  5. I like what you have suggested, I was just initially inclined to the Intel camp.

    Also, is it true about RAM only being beneficial up to 800 speed, i read that in another thread...


    And another thing, the article you recommended had a quad-core crippled to a tri-core, would this be the same as a native tri-core?
  6. Yes, there is no such thing as a native tri-core CPU. All the X3 Phenom's are really quad cores that have one core disabled, so their emulation is a very good example. Some of these chips can actually have their 4th core unlocked with the right motherboards, but often this leads to stability issues.

    It is true that Ram speed being beneficial up to DDR2 800 on the LGA 775 platform. But AMD chips have their memory controller integrated into the chip and so they can make use of faster ram up to 1066. DDR3 ram is different though, 1333mhz is the standard speed for DDR3, which is why I chose that ram. The AM3 chipset uses DDR3, AM2+ uses DDR2.
  7. Ok, now the memory suggestion makes more sense, I guess it was just my AMD ignorance.

    Is it also true that the AM3 platform will have more upgradability? It is my understanding that 775 is done for.
  8. xthekidx said:



    this ram is better

    or this and disregard the bad reviews for this, some people are idiots
  9. BUBrave said:
    Ok, now the memory suggestion makes more sense, I guess it was just my AMD ignorance.

    Is it also true that the AM3 platform will have more upgradability? It is my understanding that 775 is done for.


    This is correct, the AM3 socket was released in January if i remember correctly, 775 is 5 years old now and on its way out.
  10. yeah those are good deals.
  11. xthekidx said:
    yeah those are good deals.



    Yeah it's scary how much DDR3 dropped in price.
  12. I also found this ram lol.

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=W1333UX4GM

    Supertalent is also a good company, at least they were.
  13. would it be worth the extra $50 to move up to the Phenom II X4 3.0GHz, right now its $189 on newegg

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    Would it have more longevity?
  14. BUBrave said:
    would it be worth the extra $50 to move up to the Phenom II X4 3.0GHz, right now its $189 on newegg

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    Would it have more longevity?


    You would have to get the PII 945 or 955, the cpu that you speak of is the X4 940 is an AM2+ socket and won't fit in an AM3 board.
  15. Thanks, didn't notice that, in that case the bigger price jump is not worth it.

    Is there a maximum amount of RAM that is effective on the PII. Like does 8GB have an edge on 4GB?
  16. BUBrave said:
    Thanks, didn't notice that, in that case the bigger price jump is not worth it.

    Is there a maximum amount of RAM that is effective on the PII. Like does 8GB have an edge on 4GB?


    Ram is normally limited by the motherboard, but you will see no performance difference with games.
  17. yeah, am3 will be around for awhile. LG775 is pretty much done for
  18. 4gb is plenty.
  19. I have a question about PCI 2.0 slots: What should I be concerned with in regards to x16 vs x8? If I want to eventually do Crossfire, do I need two at x16?
  20. not unless you are using two x2 cards for Quad-fire (like 4850x2 or 4870x2). 8x slots provide enough bandwidth and won't really bottleneck your GPU's if they are single GPU cards. Having full x16 bandwidth will make maybe 1% FPS increase, and its not worth it IMO.
  21. Not to hijack the thread, but I'm looking at the same build and was wondering if it's worth the $3 in shipping to get This over This for the faster timings. (9: 9-9-9-24 vs 8: 8-8-8-21)
  22. bonanzaguy said:
    Not to hijack the thread, but I'm looking at the same build and was wondering if it's worth the $3 in shipping to get This over This for the faster timings. (9: 9-9-9-24 vs 8: 8-8-8-21)

    Absolutely.
  23. but if your spending that much already, i7 for 200 more (not dead) not 2nd best, no regrets.... think about it
  24. sharken said:
    but if your spending that much already, i7 for 200 more (not dead) not 2nd best, no regrets.... think about it

    $1k isn't enough to build an i7 for gaming IMO. The GPU is much more important for gaming than the CPU, so that is the best place to focus the heavy spending.
  25. macabre215 said:
    Yeah it's scary how much DDR3 dropped in price.

    Tell me about it. The ram I have now is $80 after rebate, I paid $180 for it back in January (and it was down in price at that point in time from like $230 if I remember correctly, it jumped back up right after I bought it and I felt like I had gotten a really good deal).
  26. Same for Corsair Dominator
  27. Like I said, I had originally said, I was considering an i7 build, but from what I could tell, the extra CPU power wasn't necessary for gaming. I agree with xthekidx about the GPU being more valuable. With the $200 saved, i could go Crossfire later on. Besides, $200 is still a good chunk of change (college student budget).

    And back to xthekidx's suggestion of a CPU cooler, I know it is a relatively cheap upgrade, but how necessary is it? Does this CPU run hot? or is it just a precaution?
  28. The CPU cooler I included was to allow for overclocking. Since this is a gaming system, you really should be overclocking this setup. If you will not overclock, then you can use the stock cooling, but overclocking unleashes a lot more power out of your CPU and the risks are not that great.
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