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First Time Build - $500-600

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June 8, 2009 1:10:00 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: by the end of the month (next two paychecks)

BUDGET RANGE: US$500-600 (the lower = the better)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: surfing the internet, music, gaming, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (vista ultimate 64-bit)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES:

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-UD4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW (SATA)


OVERCLOCKING: Maybe CROSSFIRE: Maybe? (not now. but perhaps down the line)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 (depends what monitor we end up with - for the time being we are hoping to run the video through the HDMI to a Samsung DLP which is 1920x1080)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: we would like a quiet, cool running PC without being flashy or bright ... will be running audio through a Onkyo 705 and Infinity speakers

Would like to try to save money on a case and power - looking at the Raidmax Smilodon (500W) and the Antec Three Hundred with EA650

This is our first build and we welcome all suggestions.

We were having a hard time deciding between the 6000+ or 6400+ Windsor, the Phenom II X3 720 and the 940 (above).

If anyone has any tips/tricks for first time builders (things that you wish you would have known to start with), please let us know.

(None of this is set in stone, except for the hard drive ... since I just clicked the purchase button)

We are trying to keep it as 'upgradeable' as possible. Our current computer is on its last legs, so we have to do something now and the rest when we can afford to.

More about : time build 500 600

June 8, 2009 1:39:30 AM

I see nothing wrong with your choices.
The quad core is the best choice to me.
With a 500W power supply, you will need to be very carefull with crossfire.
Two HD 4770 will likely work, but you will need to be carefull overclocking or adding additional hardware. Watch power requirements

Make sure your power supply has two high current 12V supplies and overvoltage and overcurrent protection on each output.
June 8, 2009 1:50:55 AM

stonebattle said:
I see nothing wrong with your choices.
The quad core is the best choice to me.
With a 500W power supply, you will need to be very carefull with crossfire.
Two HD 4770 will likely work, but you will need to be carefull overclocking or adding additional hardware. Watch power requirements

Make sure your power supply has two high current 12V supplies and overvoltage and overcurrent protection on each output.



I'd recommend a Corsair 750TX. Or 650TX if you're tight on budget.
Related resources
June 8, 2009 2:09:51 AM

The are two different paths you can choose when ordering parts. The first path will get you better performance now, but will be a less upgradeable platform for the future. The other path you can take will get you less performance now, but offers better upgradeability so you can have better performance later on.

If you want the best gaming performance now, get an Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 processor, a P45 chipset motherboard, an aftermarket cooler for the processor, and the best graphics card you can afford. I also highly recommend the antec case/power supply combo over the raidmax because antec is a much more well known and reliable company and the included powersupply is also very good.

If you want a better upgrading platform go with the AMD Quadcore you listed above and get the Corsair TX750W powersupply that raybob95 suggested and the Antec 300 case (without the combo deal). You won't be able to afford a very good video card with this setup which will hinder your gaming performance but you will have a very good upgrading platform for the future which will enable to to get a high end video card when you get more money.
June 8, 2009 2:14:57 AM

If you don't need the IGP, the 790X from Gigabyte is just as good for less.
June 8, 2009 2:58:45 AM

smithereen said:
If you don't need the IGP, the 790X from Gigabyte is just as good for less.


That is what made us lean toward the 790GX motherboards ... we were hoping to be able to wait a little while before we purchased a graphics card. For $130, we didn't find too many motherboard/graphics card combos that seemed like an efficient expenditure. However, we are all ears if you have a reasonable alternative.
June 8, 2009 3:03:42 AM

stonebattle said:
I see nothing wrong with your choices.
The quad core is the best choice to me.
With a 500W power supply, you will need to be very carefull with crossfire.
Two HD 4770 will likely work, but you will need to be carefull overclocking or adding additional hardware. Watch power requirements

Make sure your power supply has two high current 12V supplies and overvoltage and overcurrent protection on each output.


Our thought was: by the time we are looking to add a graphics card or two (or experiment w/ OCing), we would probably need to address the power supply.

At the moment, we needed something to get us off the ground and figured that we could start as inexpensively as possible so we would have more budget room for other components.

Like we said in the original post: this is our first build and we are kind of feeling our way along.
June 8, 2009 4:03:07 AM

Hmm maybe something like this less the GPU if still undecided?
June 8, 2009 4:06:56 AM

+raybobs recommendations. Power supply is very important. If u get the combo, like I've done before, and it comes with a faulty psu, it could fry your board or other components and you would be forced to spend more on fixing the problem than shelling out and extra 30-50$ now a good name brand 80+ certified supply. The 4770 is hard to find, sites like newegg seem to be offering 4850 for around the same price, possibly 10-20$ more after MIR.
June 8, 2009 8:14:06 AM

The Antec combo is the best deal pricewise and level of use. The 650 is enough for the 4770's and a little more later.
Case is all around champ in the under $70.00 range it really can't be beat for airflow and overall construction
June 8, 2009 11:55:12 AM

A good 650 is enough to power a GTX 295 (although might be cutting it a bit close).

Yeah, +1 to the antec combo deal.
June 8, 2009 4:34:34 PM

Thanks again.

If we go with a X3 720 and MSI 790FX-GD70, what would be a good (affordable = $50-$75; $100 max) graphics card to pair with it (again: with the intention of upgrading it when we can afford to)?

What should we be looking at as far as DDR3 memory is concerned? We would like to keep our memory cost between $50 and $75 ($100 max) - would it be better to get a higher quality 2X1GB setup or a more affordable 2X2G setup?

Is there a better AM3 motherboard that we should be looking at? Seems like everyone has good things to say about the MSI (unless they do not update the BIOS).

Saving the $120 or so by purchasing the 720 over the 955 allows us to be more flexible in other areas. Is this a good idea? Or should we go with the 955 and save a little more where we can (on other components)?

Are we being reasonable by choosing an AM3 setup over an AM2+?

Will 650W be enough or will we have to get a 750W power source?
June 8, 2009 6:27:32 PM

Anyone have any experience with either the MSI R4830-T2D512 Radeon HD 4830 or the SAPPHIRE 100265HDMI Radeon HD 4830?

Both seem adequate for the price, but the options and choices of video cards are something that we have zero experience with. We tend to rely on consumer reviews.

They are both in the neighborhood of the price we can handle right now. However, I am about to go meet with the boss and our budget range could improve by the end of the day. :sol: 
June 8, 2009 10:32:03 PM

4770s are better value.
June 8, 2009 10:36:39 PM

Yes I have the Radeon 4830 running in my moms computer it is an amazing card for the price (about equal to a 9800GT in performance, but cheaper). I can play WoW and L4D on it without a hitch at 1680 x 1050 resolution. Go with the Sapphire version as it is cheaper than the MSI and just as good.

The Antec 650W PSU will be more than enough for your setup.

And yes if you can find a 4770 for cheaper than the 4830 go ahead and get it but they are pretty much the same.
June 8, 2009 10:39:41 PM

Is there a better place to buy 4770s? Looks like newegg only has two (and MSI and a VisionTek).

I looked at the Sapphire 4770 on their website, but where can I get one?
June 8, 2009 11:01:23 PM

A quad core is a lot of over kill for a computer thats going to be used for web surfing almost all the time .

I like the first build but would save money on a new Phenom dual core instead of the 940.
Gaming performance is similar
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=357...
thanks to the high core clocks

use the money you save to help buy either a 4890 or a pair of 4770's for crossfire .
Either way a 650 watt psu will be enough if its good quality [ ie not raidmax ]
June 8, 2009 11:10:11 PM

Outlander_04 said:
A quad core is a lot of over kill for a computer thats going to be used for web surfing almost all the time .

I like the first build but would save money on a new Phenom dual core instead of the 940.
Gaming performance is similar
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=357...
thanks to the high core clocks

use the money you save to help buy either a 4890 or a pair of 4770's for crossfire .
Either way a 650 watt psu will be enough if its good quality [ ie not raidmax ]



That's just the thing - we think that once we have an adequate machine, our usage/habits will change.

Would the 720 be a good compromise? Seems like a good price trade off (relative to 940/955 on the high end and 550 on the other)

What would you recommend (brand) for 4770s? And where should we look?

Just wanted to add: this place is great - thanks to everyone for all the help you have provided so far
June 8, 2009 11:49:20 PM

For future proofing and price performance compromise I'd want to look at
720 be
AM3 mother board that uses DDR3
4 gig of DDR3

That gives you some future proofing for a few extra dollars .

A pair of 4770's in crossfire is going to let you game well at 1080p resolutions and theyre cheaper than a 4890 [ if theyre in stock ]


Dont pay a premium for DDR3 1600 . Buy DDR3 1333 with the lowest timings you can afford [ probably 7-7-7-20 ]. Its cheaper and system performance is the same


June 9, 2009 12:59:20 AM

Outlander_04 said:
For future proofing and price performance compromise I'd want to look at
720 be
AM3 mother board that uses DDR3
4 gig of DDR3

That gives you some future proofing for a few extra dollars .

A pair of 4770's in crossfire is going to let you game well at 1080p resolutions and theyre cheaper than a 4890 [ if theyre in stock ]


Dont pay a premium for DDR3 1600 . Buy DDR3 1333 with the lowest timings you can afford [ probably 7-7-7-20 ]. Its cheaper and system performance is the same


What motherboards should we be looking at? We would like it to have onboard graphics (790GX only?), but that isn't an absolute need.

ASUS M4A78T-E?

MSI 790GX-G65?

ECS BLACK SERIES A790GXM-AD3?

The GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P fits in that price range, as well, but the added expense of a graphics card (as an absolute need from the start) means we would have to sacrifice somewhere else.

A 790GX card (whichever one) buys us a little time, budget-wise.
June 9, 2009 12:51:42 PM

OK - how does this sound:

AMD Phenom II X3 720

(kept going back and forth between this and the 550, but it seems like it would be better to have the third core for another $30)

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3

(is this the best AM3 board with an IGP? is there something else we should be looking at?)

OCZ Reaper HPC 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

(everyone had good things to say about this brand/model - will it work well with this motherboard?)

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX
!