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First Build: Sub $800US Budget for Computer Only (no monitor or OS)

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Last response: in Systems
June 8, 2009 4:18:00 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 weeks, although I can wait longer if given a compelling reason. BUDGET RANGE: Certainly not much more than $800. Less than $750 is what I'm really looking at. I'm not looking to spend for the sake of spending, so I have no problems going much less if I can.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming is most certainly not the most important use of this machine, but it is likely to be the most taxing. As a long time pc gamer I weep for the current state of things. They still make a few every year worth playing though, and I'd like to play them. Not the end of the world though if I have to turn the settings down from ultra high at times.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: To keep things simple let's say Newegg. I'll take other suggestions if it will save me more than $5 or so, otherwise I think simplicity should win out.

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD looks like the winner in the prices I'm looking at, though I'm not a partisan.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably a bit at some point. I won't be looking to set records though, and would just as soon stick with the stock cooler. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No real preference. Single card is better if all other things are equal, but I could go either way.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, maybe 1920 by something. Certainly no higher than that.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I actually will be needing a monitor at some point. I'll probably be looking to spend more than what is typically recommended here (monitors don't show up on benchmarks :) ), so I've just subtracted a decent amount from my budget to cover it. I'm looking for any advice I can get on other parts though. I'll post the build I'm looking at now, and then my reasoning for each part. This is my first build though, so I'm sure I've done something wrong. I wouldn't actually be shocked if I forgot an entire part.


COOLER MASTER RC-690 LINK $70, free shipping

Sunbeam RHK-BA Rheobus 5.25" Bay 4 Channel 20W Fan Controller Panel (Black) LINK $15

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Sata LINK $27

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB LINK $90, free shipping

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X LINK $125 after rebate

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz LINK $140, free shipping

Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 LINK $52 after rebate, free shipping, currently out of stock

POWERCOLOR AX4850 1GBD3-PPH Radeon HD 4850 1GB LINK $113 after rebate

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W LINK $90 after rebate, free shipping


If I did my math right (and didn't forget any major parts), that comes to about $660 with shipping and rebates. It wouldn't be that big a deal to tag on another $70-$80, but that doesn't mean I'm looking to if I don't need to.

Quick edit after I got off the road: I was using the Newegg shopping cart to quickly total up items. I think the memory had already gone on auto-notify when I made this post. The number I'm getting now is a little above $700, but still within my budget. Could still go somewhat higher if need be. I thought $660 sounded a bit low. I've also added the prices to my part list to make it easier on people.



Here are some quick thoughts on my reasoning for each part. Not THAT quick, so not the end of the world if you skip it.

The CM690 jumped onto my shortlist BEFORE reading all the good reviews, simply because it looks like a quality case with a bare minimum of bling. Probably one of the parts I'm least inclined to change, unless someone can give me really good reason.

The fan controller is cheap, and will hopefully work. From reading it looks like the fancier ones are either too bright or hard to read. The sunbeam is supposed to be brutally bright, but it's so cheap I don't mind defacing it to fix that.

The DVD burner is already back on auto-notify at the time of this post. I'm not going to bother changing it, as they seem to go in and out of stock constantly. I would love any advice on burners though. Nobody seems to bother reviewing them these days. They all cost the same, but I'm sure some are better than others.

I don't actually need a 1TB drive. It doesn't cost that much more than the 650 though, and everything below 500 seems to be a joke in price/performance.

I don't know that much about motherboards. The one I selected seems to have the features I need, and the price is about right. From what I've read the brand is fairly well regarded. I really don't know though, so I'm open to suggestions.

The 720be looks like it should be enough for me. I'm thinking it should be plenty for games, plenty for even multitasking non cpu-intensive tasks (what most people spend most time doing), and enough to not completely frustrate me for when I actually need to run cpu-intensive tasks. I'm open to other thoughts though.

I have no expertise on the current state of memory. I don't know if what I included is any good. I am open to any suggestions.

I'm open to suggestions on the video card as well.

I won't be replacing whatever power supply I buy for a long time, and I'm still thinking the 650 will be enough. I've considered the 750, but I worry that would just be kinda paranoid.



Wow. Thanks to anyone who even bothered to read all that, whether you have good advice or not. I've already been helped a great deal by the information on this forum, so thanks for that too. Also, I'll be away from a computer for 24 hours or so, so apologies in advance if I made any mistakes that just sit there.

More about : build 800us budget computer monitor

June 8, 2009 5:01:20 PM

This PC Power and Cooling 750w is actually cheaper right now then the Corsair 650w with code. Only good for a limited time, may be worthwhile to order the CM690 case and the power supply right now and take advantage of the free shipping and the deal.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I keep hearing rumors about problems with Seagate HDs, not too sure about the validity of them, but it may be worth your while to check out.

Solid build, looks good, great bang for the $$
June 9, 2009 11:58:34 AM

Just off the road, made some quick corrections to my initial post. The memory is currently on auto-notify. I'm not going to bother changing it though, as I don't really know what people recommend at the moment. Same for the dvd burner, which seems to go in and out of stock constantly anyway.

About the power supply: I suspect the coupon will have expired by the time I order anything. I'm not joking about being just off the road. Fourteen hour drive, I'm not making any purchases today. It's still an interesting option. From what I've read the brand is reputable, but they tend to be a good bit louder than the Corsairs. Anyone care to correct me on that?

Also, I'd obviously very much like to hear if the current crop of Seagates have real reliability problems.
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June 10, 2009 2:26:17 PM

Hopefully 24 hours is considered not too annoying a timeframe to make a single bump of a post. I didn't find any specific rules on the subject, and I don't think searching for "bump" would likely be all that useful :) .

I know my post was probably a bit too "verbose", but I did suggest people who wanted to skip everything after my build list.

Just to update where I stand: my first post had a couple small errors, mainly that the memory had gone on auto-notify between when I added it to shopping cart and when I posted here. The total I came up with was a bit low as a result. The updated total is still a bit below the $750 I wanted to stay under, and well below the $800 I really want to stay under. I suppose that means I could go forward pretty much as is (just replace the memory and dvd burner with something in stock). This is my first build though, and I'd really like a bit more feedback first.

Again, apologies if 24 hours is considered too short a wait to bump a post here. It's not something I'll be doing again.
June 10, 2009 2:32:57 PM

It's a good build, which is probably why not more posts on it. Good price/performance and everything is compatible.
June 10, 2009 4:46:01 PM

Thanks a lot for the responses. This is my first build, so I didn't really consider that people might just have nothing much to add.

That PC Power and Cooling 750 looks like a great deal right now. I'm really thinking about grabbing it today, ideally before the coupon runs out. I'm kinda worried though that just about every review describes it as being not all that quiet. Given that I mostly care about noise level at near idle, am I just being paranoid? Is it just being given a hard time because it's billed as the "Silencer"?