Middle tier gaming rig for ~$600, need advice!

Hey, i need your help deciding if the parts i have so far are good/going to work. I haven't built my own computer yet, so i'm pretty anxious and unsure if all the parts are compatible. That said, i'm looking for the cheapest quad core build that'll be good for gaming. I dont plan on expanding /upgrading it in the future much, but since i dont do very much graphics intense gaming, i figured i dont need to go towards the upper end cpus.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP, hopefully by the end of the week.

BUDGET RANGE: Anywhere from $400 - $650

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, progamming, movies, photoshop/editing, internet surfing, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, that's about it. I also need a 17" lcd monitor that i dont have listed below, but if you have a good suggestion please let me know!

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: probably newegg, but I am willing to buy anywhere, whatever is the cheapest.

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type Perferably stick to an intel chip.

OVERCLOCKING: For now no, not until I get a HSF, so its still up in the air.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, i dont know?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want to get the cheapest rig possible, without compromising too much. Obviously if there's a part thats significantly better than another for only $15 more or so, I'll get the better part, but I do want to minimize costs. Below is a preliminary build i put together from newegg. Please comment any ideas and suggestions, and also since i'm not 100% sure this rig is 100% compatible (this will be my first build) please let me know. THanks in advance!

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Combo Case and PSU

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
Intel Core 2 Quard Q8200 2.33 GHz

GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 G31 Micro ATX

OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
OCZ Reaper 4GB (2x2gb) DDR2 800
$57.99 - $20.00 mail in rebate = $37.99

Logitech Deluxe 250 Black 104 Normal Keys USB Standard Keyboard - OEM
Logitech Deluxe Keyboard

SAPPHIRE 100265HDMI Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retai
Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
$89.99 - $10.00 = $79.99

Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
WD 320Gb 7200 RPM 8MB Cache

LG DVD Drive

Subtotal = $564.87
Total = $627.32
Total after rebates = $597.32
16 answers Last reply
More about middle tier gaming advice
  1. This is a nice build...i know most people here will rant about how much the Q8200 is not adequate for gaming...it is. The only thing you will have to worry about with that CPU is cooling and i would recommend looking for a Zalman CPU cooler or Noctua even without an OC.

    The RAM, i would go for DDR2 1066 or 1200 for an overclock. DDR2 800 is fine if you won't overclock higher than 3.4GHz.

    You can also look into HD 4770 for $99. The HD 4830 is fine too if that is what you prefer...in performance and price. They are pretty much the same...

    The PSU is a little much for the price... You can get a Thermaltake 430W for $35. You really need about 450W-500W in this build at a sub $40.
  2. If you want the most out of your monitor in gaming...2ms 1920x1080 with HDCP...DVI/HDMI and VGA monitors are the way to go. I got a 22" Asus for $180.
  3. The Earthwatts 430W, with that combo, comes to $60 + shipping (no idea how much). I'd rather spend $70 and get a Corsair 650TX with free shipping. OK, $70 is actually $100 + waiting for a $30 rebate, but still it's a better deal.

    I don't like that G31 motherboard. I'd upgrade it to GA-EP45-UD3L for an extra $40.

    Or you could save $9 on MB+CPU and get this combo for $209 instead:
    X3 720 + Biostar 790GX

    If you follow Kill@dor's advice and get a monitor with 1920x1080, you will need Crossfire after all. A single HD 4830 or HD 4770 will do OK in some games at that resolution, but will disappoint you in others. The 650TX and the 790GX can handle two cards, but the 430W PSU and the G31 board can't.
  4. Not really, he can still play games with one GPU. I'm still running a 8800GT on that resolution with HDMI...the difference is seen in my OC.

    Also, he has the option to reduce the resolution from 19x10. He can still use lower resolutions...
  5. True. Even Crysis will work well at lower resolutions.
  6. For gaming on a budget, AMD is the way to go.

    The Phenom II 720 is among the best budget processors out, and will almost certainly smoke the Q8200 in almost every game, while being ~$30 cheaper.

    I'd grab a 4770 over the 4830, they're roughly the same price but the 4770 outperforms the 4830 and consumes less power.
  7. If I go for the Phenom II 720 with the Mobo suggested in the combo pack, what kind of cooler do you guys suggest?
    And I think i'm going to go for the 4770 as suggested, it just seems to run so much better even despite it being 128-bit.

    Also, if i go phenom II 720, should the RAM i have be sufficient for now without OC? I probably will upgrade eventually however.
  8. Well you dont need a 650W PSU for that setup...
    A good quality 450W PSU is more than suffice for that setup...
    And even you are not going to overclock or Crossfire, then certainly the 650W is an overkill...
    Get this PSU...Actually this 550W can even handle 2 4770s in crossfire...
    or even this Corsair 450W is more than suffice...if Crossfire not required...
  9. nolifeslacker said:

    That looks much better to me than the first in terms of performance for the money. Nice build!
  10. Looks great.

    Spend $5 more and upgrade the HDD to WD3200AAKS.

    The difference is that the AAKS has an average transfer rate of 87.3 MB/s
    while the AAJS only does 65MB/s. A faster HDD can prevent stuttering in games, and your program compilation will go faster too.
  11. I've decided to go with the 4850 instead of the 4770, since this 4850 has a rebate(i know it'll take forever to get).
    Also i've changed the HD to the one suggested by aevm.
    All that's left is choosing a good PSU, I'm not sure what I'll need for this rig, giving possibility for slight OC'ing in the future.

    Also, i'm not sure, but i might switch to this mobo combo.
    It's the same CPU, just different mobo, seems significantly better than the other one for only $10 more, but i dont know.

    Build so far:

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Re
    -$15.00 Instant

    Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

    SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    -$10.00 Instant
    -$15.00 Mail-in Rebate
    -12% off with promo code


    Logitech Deluxe 250 Black USB Standard Keyboard - OEM


    OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK - Retail

    -$2.00 Instant
    $20.00 Mail-in Rebate


    AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
    BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX 128M AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

    -$6.00 Instant
    -$40.00 Combo
    $10.00 Mail-in Rebate


    Subtotal = $523.89
    Total = $563.36 (with promo)
    Total after rebates = $518.36

    ** This does not include the PSU **

    These are some PSU's i've come up with that might be good, but i'm not sure exactly how much i'll need.






    Thanks for all your input and advice so far!
  12. nolifeslacker said:

    Since you are not going to crossfire, I say you don't need more than a 500W power supply. The 650TX is the best in my opinion out of the ones you listed above but you don't really need it for this rig and you can save some money by going smaller.

    The Fatality one looks good as does the 450VX, I would just get whichever is cheaper.
  13. The 650TX is the best of those. It would be plenty even if you add a second HD 4850 card later and overclock the CPU. The 550VX would handle all that too, just with less room for other upgrades (disks, fan, PCI cards, etc.). The others are underpowered for Crossfire and limit your future upgrades, so I'd avoid them.

    Another good option between the 550VX and the 650TX is the PC Power & Cooling 610W. ($80 after rebate and promo code)
  14. Oops, I saw the 790GX MB and assumed you want Crossfire because the MB supports Crossfire. OK, if you're sure you won't ever bother with a second card, the 550VX will do just fine and leave enough room for OC and extras.
  15. Lies aevm! Lies!

    +1 ^_^
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