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First Time Builder ~$500 semi-gaming rig

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May 15, 2009 8:46:50 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 2-4 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $500-$600

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: moderate gaming (WC3, TF2, Diablo 3 someday), surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: mouse, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, Nvidia Graphics

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Decently Quiet, with Future proofing, Probably going to run Ubuntu (I'm a kinda newbie linux user also)

PARTS:

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

Tuniq Potency PSU-POT550-BK 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

SPARKLE SFPX94GT1024U2 GeForce 9400 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

ASUS Black 22X DVD+R

Logitech Deluxe 250 Black 104 Normal Keys USB Standard Keyboard

Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

Replacing my 5 year old dell, currently living with a P4 2.66GHz processor and an FX5200 128Mb vid card so anything decently modern will be a huge upgrade.
I appreciate any tips or suggestions as this is my first from scratch build.

Trying to stay within budget am I stupidly throwing money away anywhere?

Thanks for looking!
May 15, 2009 9:06:46 PM

I would really recommend not getting that psu. That is the worst place to cut corners.

That's a great cpu for OC'ng. You may want to look at some cpu coolers.
If you need to cut somewhere, you could drop down to the p43 chipset.

If your monitor has built in speakers, you could use those instead of getting add on speakers.

most importantly though, CHANGE THAT PSU!!
May 15, 2009 9:09:44 PM

The 9400GT is not a gaming graphics card. If you want to play games, I would suggest getting at least a HD 4670 (about a 9600 GSO if you must get Nvidia graphics).

That PSU will probably work for that setup, but its not the greatest, and I would go for this instead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You are spending more on the MB than you need to. Something like this would work for you fine:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your other selections look fine. You should probably overclock the CPU some, since at stock its sorta sluggish, and when overclocked it will beat out the better Core 2 duos (I have heard stories of that chip at 4.4ghz on air cooling). The 12.5x multiplier can make for some very high speeds. Its almost like having an EE processor. Coolers that you might be interested in:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Related resources
May 15, 2009 9:11:04 PM

That MoBo is very overkill for your build in my mind. You're probably better off with a p43 mobo since, judging by your video card selection, you aren't the type that would sli/overclock much.

Also, I wouldn't go into building a new system with a specific name brand preference since that just limits your options greatly.

For $500, you can build an AMD Phenom II build that obliterates this current build.

Phenom II 720BE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.00

Biostar 790gx mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99

For around $30 more than the e5200 +p45, you're getting a hell of a lot more performance.

Also, that video card is pretty underpowered. I'd go for a Radeon 4670 for $10 more at the very least.

May 15, 2009 9:17:46 PM

@poopoohead
An OC'd e5200 can keep up with the phenom. I wouldn't say the phenom will obliterate it.

I would also take that gigabyte board over a biostar board everyday of the week.

dropping the board to the p43 chipset will free up some in your budget to up the video card.
May 15, 2009 10:20:32 PM

You could just as easily OC the Phenom II though and the performance gap is re-established. If he's going to keep his new build for another 5 years like he did with his previous one, I'd imagine the extra core would come in handy down the road. Yes, there won't be much of a real world difference in gaming as both will most likely be gpu bound, especially if it's a 4670 or 9400 but people usually upgrade graphics cards more so than their cpus and I think it's more likely that the op will have the cpu longer than his graphics.

If the 720 + 790gx board seems too steep, the 710 + 760 seems decent too. That'd be at a closer price to the e5200 + p43 mobo but you still get the triple core.
May 15, 2009 10:22:41 PM

Good choice on the psu.
May 15, 2009 10:52:14 PM

p00p00head said:
You could just as easily OC the Phenom II though and the performance gap is re-established. If he's going to keep his new build for another 5 years like he did with his previous one, I'd imagine the extra core would come in handy down the road. Yes, there won't be much of a real world difference in gaming as both will most likely be gpu bound, especially if it's a 4670 or 9400 but people usually upgrade graphics cards more so than their cpus and I think it's more likely that the op will have the cpu longer than his graphics.

If the 720 + 790gx board seems too steep, the 710 + 760 seems decent too. That'd be at a closer price to the e5200 + p43 mobo but you still get the triple core.


The e5200 & p43 board would be ~$150. The phenom 710 & biostar 760 would be ~$200.

For the current budget build the OP is looking to build, this is the better option IMO.
May 15, 2009 11:07:54 PM

Heres something I put together for another poster in your situation a few days back :


Heres a quad core AMD for around the same price .

Use the case you have . Use the dvd you have . Sell the rest on ebay and maybe get some money back ... but it wont be much .


COMBO
AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDX920XCGIBOX - Retail
ASUS M3A76-CM AM2+/AM2 AMD 760G uATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.191007

$219.98

G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231219

$49.99

SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102835

$99.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139008

$39.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136074

$54.99

Total $464. 94

Some compromises with the case , and dvd but a much more powerful system than the e5200 suggested above



I bet prices and combo deals have changed in the last few days so some work by the OP checking prices and you can have a system thats at least twice as powerful as the e5200 for around the same price . At a later stage you can replace the dell case , or buy the antec 300 and only push the budget a little beyond $500
May 15, 2009 11:46:14 PM

^ Didn't see that one, thought you were still talking about the biostar board.

May 16, 2009 1:39:46 AM

p00p00head's 720 be combo

with the rest of the kit from my copy and paste

will kick sand in the gaming face of an e5200 rig
May 16, 2009 1:43:56 AM

Outlander is a well known AMD supporter :) 

May 16, 2009 2:14:36 AM

aford10 said:
Outlander is a well known AMD supporter :) 


Outlander is a well known supporter of value for money who runs a business, CAD design and games on a computer with an intel cpu and chipset because that was best value when I bought it

and a be 720 could probably kick sand in the face of my computer too

May 16, 2009 7:50:02 AM

I hate it when people are like making you choose the brand names.. really - why does it matter? He's going to go with the shittiest video cards (nVidia) when he could get a better video card from Ati for a cheaper price. Really... I don't understand. When you don't thousands to spend, don't pick the more expensive brands. Go with the 720 combo and what Outlander said and you will have a great system for that price, a case to consider is the Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 16, 2009 8:58:15 AM

philipV said:
I hate it when people are like making you choose the brand names.. really - why does it matter? He's going to go with the shittiest video cards (nVidia) when he could get a better video card from Ati for a cheaper price. Really... I don't understand. When you don't thousands to spend, don't pick the more expensive brands. Go with the 720 combo and what Outlander said and you will have a great system for that price, a case to consider is the Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GAWD DAMN!

What is that smell....smells...smells like fanboy...damn what a stench

I also recommend that 940 build...awesome...
May 16, 2009 11:49:06 AM

Haha I know I wanted it to look like that, really I don't have a problem with nVidia, hell I'm using them now - it's just when you don't have the money, don't pick the more expensive brand.
May 16, 2009 11:54:56 AM

^ especially since the 4890 exchanges blows with the GTX 285 which costs $115 more.
May 16, 2009 12:09:40 PM

philipV said:
Haha I know I wanted it to look like that, really I don't have a problem with nVidia, hell I'm using them now - it's just when you don't have the money, don't pick the more expensive brand.

Bingo....i just hope by the time i upgrade to a new cpu/mobo sometime soon i can get to try out a nice ati card...may want to make a test machine with some 4770's...

Heh i have no bias as well...i like ati's website more....and my nvidia card has some horrid looking orc instead of a 3d rendered babe....you can see i really wanted an ati card...iv got the msi red pcb card :na: 
May 16, 2009 12:16:19 PM

Yeah I'm planning a build with 2 4890s, can't wait to see how it comes out. But yeah - nVidia is fine.. if you like being a show off and waste money.
May 16, 2009 12:27:06 PM

philipV said:
Yeah I'm planning a build with 2 4890s, can't wait to see how it comes out. But yeah - nVidia is fine.. if you like being a show off and waste money.

Watch out....you have any idea how f****** fat and heavy my gtx 260 is....just imagine...your turning in for bed...your ati cards have just spun down for the night....all through the house not even a mouse dare stir....and than WHAM WHAM WHAM NVIDIA BIATCH!!!!!

I dunno if i could get away with it...i would be leaving a bit of a dna sample on your ati cards *wink*

For some reason i can't get the image of my gtx 260 and 9800gtx+ on a chain swinging like nunchucks out of my head....
May 16, 2009 12:36:15 PM

+1 on a better psu

stick with the e5200 unless you want to try to run with the 790gx graphics then buy a card soon after. if you do want to do this then go 720

anandtech just wrote a builders guide fore $825 but the boxes ended up in the$500 range so ceck it out
!