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Building Ultimate $699 gaming computer... can you beat this one?

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May 28, 2009 12:29:51 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: About 2 months. BUDGET RANGE: $699 or under.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Web Browsing, Video/Photo Editing, Multitasking.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I don't need the OS; I do need the computer, display, keyboard and mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. If someplace else has a better deal, though, I can easily get a part there.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe. The budget does not allow for much cooling. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: See build.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: My build has a 1920x1080 screen.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My current setup is over by around $50... I need advice as to what I should change. I would rather not downgrade the display or keyboard, since to me it is not the best idea to run a gaming computer with cheap input devices... but if it has to be done...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE BUILD:


CPU/PROCESSOR: AMD Phenom 8650 Toliman 2.3GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Triple-Core Processor - Retail, $78.99, Free Shipping, $10.00 Combo Rebate.

GPU/VIDEO CARD: POWERCOLOR AX4870 1GBD5 Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail, $179.99, Free Shipping.


MOTHERBOARD: ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail, $79.99, $10.00 Combo Rebate.


RAM: OCZ Blade Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory - Retail, $46.99, Free Shipping, $10.00 Mail-In Rebate.


HAND DRIVE: HITACHI 0A38016 1TB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM, $79.99, Free Shipping.


CD/DVD DRIVE: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM, $26.99.


CASE W/PSU: Rosewill TU-155 II 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail, $74.99, Free Shipping.


MONITOR ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail, $169.99, Free Shipping, $20.00 Mail-In Rebate.


KEYBOARD + MOUSE: RAZER Arctosa Silver 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Gaming Keyboard - Retail & Logitech SBF-96 Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Mouse - OEM, $49.99 & $8.25.

SHIPPING: $13.57

COMBO REBATE: -$10.00
MAIL-INS: -$30.00

TOTAL: $754.73

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So what do you think, and, more importantly, what can I do to get it under-budget? I know I took some shortcuts (Namely the PSU) but I tried to make it a powerful computer that can be upgraded over time and has good value. At $699 INCLUDING the display and whatnot, that isn't easy.

Still, I need advice as to how to accomplish reaching my price-point, and I imagine that there are plenty of people who have better substitutions for my build.

I will check in and update the build often! Please post! Thanks; VGM.

More about : building ultimate 699 gaming computer beat

May 28, 2009 1:10:36 AM

AVOID Phenom I At All Costs!!!

Either get a Core 2 Duo or, best yet, up your budget to fit a Phenom II 720, the currect sweat spot for gaming.

Option 1.
Your build, except
XFX HD4850 $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phenom II 710 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could cut costs by cheeping out on your "hand drive" or monster, there aren't many other options. Or you could get an e5200.

Edit: Didn't see the HDD. Yeah... Get a Caviar or a Barracuda.
May 28, 2009 1:37:05 AM

Why do people always look at the phenom I cpu's?

And please don't buy the Razor KB...i mean read the first review on it...you can save 20-30$ on that right there....
Related resources
May 28, 2009 1:41:35 AM

First thing, avoid first-gen Phenoms. They're slow, inneficient and run quite hot. Either bump up your budget and get a Phenom II 720 or grab something like an Intel E5200 and an aftermarket cooler, and OC the hell out of it.

Second, ditch the Rosewill PSU. Rosewills have a tendency to turn themselves and half your rig into a plastic barbeque. I know you want to save money, but you're not going to do that if you have to replace a bunch of your parts because your PSU decided to go out with a bang. Buy something from a reputable name brand: Corsair, PC P&C, Seasonic, or Antec (not Antec basiq, those aren't very good, but ea and earthwatts are good)

Third, your hard drive choice is a bit poor, grab a Western Digital Caviar Black, they're faster and more reliable.
May 28, 2009 2:22:13 AM

It seems like I should change the processor, given everyone saying how bad it seems to be... The hard drive was a no brainer; I swapped a WD CAVIAR 750GM W/32MB cache for the same price.

As for the PSU, I am looking for some sort of solution, but it will probably come with a sacrifice somewhere else, which is what I am trying to avoid... still, the PSU isn't anything that should be skimped on.

I will post a new rig later tonight or tomorrow morning.
May 28, 2009 3:21:51 AM

Yeah, try to avoid bad PSUs, especially Rosewill :( .
May 28, 2009 7:00:43 AM

Alright, to reduce price lets take a look at the CPU and Graphics Card, while I know you want 1920 x 1080 gaming we have to make some sacrifices at certain places.

For CPU if you are going the AMD rout then look at either the Phenom II or the Kuma's as I see you rank multitasking and video/audio editing your two lowest ranks.
Alright we have the Athlon X2 Kuma 7750 and 7850 at 2.7 GHZ and 2.8 GHZ respectively.

Athlon X2 7750 BE $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Athlon X2 7850 BE $69
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want better multitasking and a better processor overall, then the two Phenom II X3 processors are a good pick.

Phenom II X3 710 2.6 GHZ $119
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phenom II X3 720 BE 2.8 GHZ $139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Two options reduce the price and actually might provide a slight boost in performance over your first Tri-core pick.
The other two increase price but will provide a leap in performance.

For graphic cards, I would direct you to the new Radeon HD 4770 but TSMC seems to have major supply problems with 40nm
Though for $99 these things are known to provide a really good gaming experience without breaking the bank.

Though the 4850 is just as good; it isn't as cheap as the other solutions I am going to suggest.

Now to suggest the green team.

A Nvidia Geforce GTS 250 with only 512 MB of GDDR3, but only $119 and I hear these are pretty decent.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Geforce 9800 GT 512 MB GDDR3 ram, only $99, decent mid-range vid card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now to tell you a decent gaming rig doesn't necessary need the best technical parts. Just ones that are sturdy.
Looking at mine that cost me around $435 - $465 with and 5200+ AMD proc, and a 9600 GSO vid card I can run Fallout 3 at 1680 x 1050 at max, so going for the best might get you a good future investment, Getting decent will last for a few years. You also said you would consider upgrading later, so getting a AM3 board is a good idea and you could go after one of the more expensive AM3 processors later, and getting a cheaper mid-range video card will let you wait for the graphics card refresh to see if today's high end card prices become a little more reasonable for those of us who can't afford them.

Sad to think a GTX 295 cost more than my entire rig well almost I think my 22 inch monitor might put it over but eh.

So take a look at some of the cheaper solutions for now. Just a suggestion or save up for the slightly more pricey ones which offer a leap in performance.
May 28, 2009 8:16:18 AM

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM $26
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail 170$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS ENGTS250 DK/HTDI/512MD3 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech Value 100 Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Standard Keyboard - OEM $7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft P58-00001 White 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB or PS/2 Wired Optical Basic Mouse - Retail $12
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $54
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Combo $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

subTotal:$742.85
Tax:61.29 (california)
Shipping:$12.79 (to california bay area)
Grand total:$816.93
- MIR
10 from psu
10 from ram
20 from monitor
25 from gpu
MIR Grand total:$816.93-65 =$751.93
Not 699 :(  but def a better quality build over all
May 28, 2009 9:35:54 AM

Ok here is my suggestion :p 

May 28, 2009 11:00:51 AM

Just some suggestions that come in around izzycraft's build price that are nice.

Sapphire 4850 Vapor-X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
139.99$

Corsair 650TX PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
94.49$ MIR~74.49$

LG 22x (CAV)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
23.99$

PSU will give you that upgrade path should you decide to go crossfire/sli or upgrade to a more power demanding cpu in a few years.
May 28, 2009 1:02:28 PM

Keep the suggestions coming! This is one of the best posts I have ever had in terms of responses... expect an updated rig in 10-15 mins from me!
May 28, 2009 1:24:03 PM

THE BUILD, TAKE 2:


CPU/PROCESSOR: 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, Free Shipping, $15.00 Combo Rebate. This processor is great for multitasking and can be overclocked quite easily. Although at this moment faster dual-cores run games better, that will change in a few years, which increases the longevity of the processor.

GPU/VIDEO CARD: XFX HD-485X-ZDFC Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail, $134.99, Free Shipping. This is the sacrifice I had to make in order to upgrade things like the MOBO and CPU. I previously had a 4870, and to say the least I wish I diddn't have to downgrade the most important area in a gaming computer... However, it performs relatively close to the 4870, and for much less. If anyone knows of a way to fit in better graphics, PLEASE POST IT!


MOTHERBOARD: ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail, $79.99, $15.00 Combo Rebate. With 2 slots for graphics, it cam be upgraded, and an AM3 board seems like a smart choice.


RAM: OCZ Blade Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory - Retail, $46.99, Free Shipping, $10.00 Mail-In Rebate.


HAND DRIVE: Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM, $79.99, Free Shipping. I really don't need a terabyte, I just wanted it... it was probably the best to switch to a better, more reliable drive, even if volume took a hit. I'll survive.


CD/DVD DRIVE: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM, $26.99. Same as before.


CASE: Rosewill TU-155-P Black 0.8mm SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail , $44.99, Free Shipping, $15.00 Combo Rebate. Same case as before, but without the PSU, which I switched out for a...

PSU: Rosewill Stallion Series RD500-2DB 500W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail, $49.99, Free Shipping, $15.00 Combo Rebate. Yes, it could be better, but I only paid a few dollars more, and looking at reviews, this one is better built and more reliable.


MONITOR ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail, $169.99, Free Shipping, $20.00 Mail-In Rebate. Same as before.


KEYBOARD + MOUSE: Logitech UltraX Silver/Black 104 Normal Keys 6 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Media Keyboard - OEM & Logitech SBF-96 Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Mouse - OEM, $18.99 & $8.25. You guys diddn't like the keyboard I chose out for some reason (I liked it from use of someone else's, which is why I chose it). Still, I decided to "downgrade" to a solid budget keyboard that for some reason gamers were attracted to.

SHIPPING: $12.50

COMBO REBATE: -$30.00
MAIL-INS: -$30.00

TOTAL: $751.66

Still $50 over... man, this is tough! Not to mention I have yet to get a CPU cooler since I chose the CPU because of it's overclockability.

By the way, I live in NH, so I HAVE NO TAXES! Don't worry about adding that to whatever you come out with.

I am looking through the builds manyt of you have made, and I see some great ideas as to how to stay within budget. I will update the build again very soon.
May 28, 2009 1:51:10 PM

You could save in a couple of places that I see,

Drop to a 500 GB WD HDD and that should save you $20
Drop to a P II 710 2.6 Ghz, while it isn't as easy to overclock as the BE it saves you another $20
May 28, 2009 2:09:59 PM

And to save another 5$ without losing performance look at the Geforce GTS 250, yes it only has 512 MB but that doesn't seem to really effect this card until it hit above 2560X1600 resolution
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
Here is a review of many different GTS 250's which also includes some HD 4850 cards in there as well.
Geforce GTS 250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Anything less than these cards and there is a noticeable drop off in the charts. Though the 4830 and 9800 GT are not bad cards just expensive for the 1 GB cards for there performance.
May 28, 2009 3:09:08 PM

Right now I am seriously considering raising the budget, since it could allow for a better graphics card and a CPU cooler, with at the most a slight downgrade in HD size. It would push the purchase date by a week or two, but I guess I can raise the budget to $799.

If you are in the middle of figuring out a ~$699 rig, post it because it could be the key for not having to raise the budget. Otherwise, I think adding $100 will give for a TOM more wiggle room.

I will update my previous posts! Sorry to change the budget, but it seems like a good idea to bite the bullet and raise the budget, esp. since it seems that the value of such a build would be better than that of a lower-cost one. And I am all for value.
May 28, 2009 5:43:53 PM

Wait if you don't have any taxes then mine is actually under 700 because i did a random NH zip code of 03102
$755.64 -65 MIR and that comes to 690.64 :) 
Also no taxes lucky. I pay high fees with electronics in Cali disposal etc i have to consider my budgets with a near 10% tax on it.
May 28, 2009 5:50:58 PM

Ill let yall enthusiasts and strangers figure it out, confusing people.
May 28, 2009 6:14:10 PM

IzzyCraft said:
Wait if you don't have any taxes then mine is actually under 700 because i did a random NH zip code of 03102
$755.64 -65 MIR and that comes to 690.64 :) 
Also no taxes lucky. I pay high fees with electronics in Cali disposal etc i have to consider my budgets with a near 10% tax on it.


You would think we are "lucky", but income and property taxes are horrendous!
Still, diddn't realize that it would go under! Maybe I can avoid stretching the budget. I am making a third build right now, it will be interesting to see if it can reach the magic $699 number.
May 28, 2009 6:16:55 PM

That goes to everybody! I see a way to combine 4 different builds on the thread to go under-budget (theoretically), so I am working on it now. Expect it to be updated in the next few hours!

Thanks, VGM.
May 28, 2009 7:33:49 PM

Just get the 640GB WD caviar black, it has 2x320GB platters. The 750GB has 3x250GB platters, this is why it's slower and more prone to failure. Why waste the ten dollars??
May 29, 2009 1:29:34 AM

I am making another version of the build at this moment... I am wondering what CPU cooler to use, however, as well as weather or not I should change it in order to get a better video card.

Thanks for the input, everyone! VGM
May 29, 2009 1:58:16 AM

The Xigmatek Dark Knight is one of the best air coolers around, and it's very pretty cheap.
May 29, 2009 2:20:07 AM

There's an epic MIR on the Sunbeam Freezer right now, $15 AR.
May 29, 2009 3:00:41 AM

Not the cheapest, but here is a really good cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you are looking for aftermarket coolers then it pays for quality, at least for Over clocking. Oh and I think almost anything from Zalman will be good, considering I have yet to see something aluminum from them, though I don't look at aftermarket coolers no need to as of yet.
May 29, 2009 6:01:15 PM

Thanks for the CPU cooling advice! I will post another build tonight... most notably, I am deciding as to weather or not to change the CPU+MOBO.

*EDIT: What do you guys think I should do for a graphics and cpu+mobo solution for about $300-$350?
May 29, 2009 7:29:11 PM

Antec Three Hundred

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

Earthwatts 500w

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

PII x3 720/Gigabyte MA790X-UDP4

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

WD Caviar Black 640GB/32MB cache

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

2x2GB G. Skill DDR2-1066

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

XFX Radeon 4850 1GB w/ free OCZ 4GB flash drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Acer X193Wb 19" LCD

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

Your choice of keyboard and mouse -

This comes out to $745 shipped with no rebates. You'll get a better chipset and PSU, and be able to add another 4850 later this way - whatever you end up deciding to do, please don't skimp on your PSU.
May 29, 2009 7:31:42 PM

Actually, the Silencer 500w listed above is an awesome deal. I'm not a big fan of MIRs; always forget to mail them in. I'd go with that instead of the Earthwatts listed in my build.
May 30, 2009 8:45:05 PM

This thread is dead, unfortunately... but it isn't that bad in that you guys have helped me find some incredible deals!

I have decided to bolster my budget to $799, only because I have come up with a rig that has little if any "compromises", and because I have stumbled upon some extra cash to help me pay for this when the time comes (about 1.5 months, now).

Thus, I am making another fresh post later on!

Thanks everyone for the advice! I really appreciate it.

VGM10000
June 26, 2011 9:30:16 PM

I would simply follow the most recent SBM for $500 and bump up the 6850 to a 6870 and (if you want to) get a Phenom II or improve your processor. Don't skimp on power supplies- ever. And just get a normal keyboard and mouse you'll thank yourself later.
!