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New System Build - Sims 3 - $500

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June 10, 2009 9:08:01 PM

I'm looking to build a new system for my Mom to run Sims 3. I want it to have upgradability, but it doesn't have to be a monster right now. I'm trying to limit cost as much as possible. Looking at other posts, a lot of folks seem to think that an E5200 Wolfdale with a GeForce GTS 250 is a good budget gaming combo, is this too much video card? I will list my planned build below.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In the next week

BUDGET RANGE: US $500 or less

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Sims 3 is really about it right now. Would like the ability to upgrade later if Sims 4 or whatever requires it.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (I have XP home that I can use and save ~$80)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Processor

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768, 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Here is the build I came up with:

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$27

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$53

EVGA 512-P3-1150-TR GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$120

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$30

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

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

Antec Basiq BP500U 500W Continuous Power ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply - Retail COMBO
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail COMBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
~$100

Totals about $480

Am I missing anything? Is this too much or too little anywhere?

I'll post the Sims 3 Requirements below.
Thanks in advance for any help.

More about : system build sims 500

June 10, 2009 9:10:40 PM

The Sims™ 3 Minimum Hardware Requirements

FOR WINDOWS XP
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2
2.0 GHz P4 processor or equivalent
1 GB RAM
At least 6.1 GB of hard drive space with at least 1 GB of additional space for custom content and saved games
128 MB Video Card with support for Pixel Shader 2.0

FOR WINDOWS VISTA
Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1
2.4 GHz P4 processor or equivalent
1.5 GB RAM
At least 6.1 GB of hard drive space with at least 1 GB of additional space for custom content and saved games
128 MB Video Card with support for Pixel Shader 2.0

For computers using built-in graphics chipsets under Windows, the game requires at least:
Intel Integrated Chipset, GMA 3-Series or above
2.6 GHz Pentium D CPU, or 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo, or equivalent
0.5 GB additional RAM

Windows Supported Video Cards
NVIDIA GeForce series
FX 5900, FX 5950
6200, 6500, 6600, 6800
7200, 7300, 7600, 7800, 7900, 7950
8400, 8500, 8600, 8800
9300, 9400, 9500, 9600, 9800

ATI Radeon™ series
9500, 9600, 9800
X300, X600, X700, X800, X850
X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950
2400, 2600, 2900
3450, 3650, 3850, 3870
4850, 4870

Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA)
GMA 3-Series, GMA 4-Series

Laptop versions of these chipsets may work, but may run comparatively slower. Standalone cards that are installed in vanilla PCI slots (not PCIe or PCIx or AGP), such as some GeForce FX variants, will perform poorly.

Integrated chipsets such as the ATI Xpress and the NVIDIA TurboCache variants may default to settings that are higher than what would be optimal for them. Graphics settings can be lowered to improve performance.

Please note that attempting to play the game using video hardware that isn't listed above may result in reduced performance, graphical issues or cause the game to not run at all.

The NVIDIA GeForce FX series is unsupported under Vista.
June 10, 2009 9:33:41 PM

If the only gaming she wants to do is The Sims 3, that should be plenty.

You've got a 250GB hard drive selected for her (which would be plenty), but I did notice this:

Seagate 500GB $59.99 ("ShellShocker" today only price)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Double the space, which means more room for later. :) 
Related resources
June 10, 2009 9:42:15 PM

That's interesting, I don't know if I will be able to make a decision by today tho - heh.

The reviews on the 250GB are amazing and there are a million of them, the 500 GB only has a few mixed reviews... is it the same drive except double the space? Or is this 500 GB a budget model of some type?
June 10, 2009 9:55:58 PM

Another question about my build.

I could also make the following changes and still keep the cost around US $500.

Replace the mobo with a GA-G41M-ES2L (Gigabyte Micro ATX with onboard X4500 graphics)
Remove the Graphics card and use onboard
Bump up the Processor to an E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo
Bump up the Ram to 2x2 GB RAM
Install Windows Vista 64 rather than XP 32 home.

So I would have more computer, but much weaker graphics. Supposedly Sims 3 works with the Intel Integrated graphics cards 3x and 4x.

Would this be a better or worse setup? My gut tells me worse.
June 11, 2009 8:37:46 AM

Hmm this would be my idea of a sub $500 build
June 11, 2009 9:56:55 AM

You can also do this...

CPU + Mobo
That CPU is as good as the E7400 or maybe even better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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

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

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

Graphics card - Unbeatable deal - HD 4850 for about $89
10% off with promo code VGA661, ends 6/12
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Total - $490 and it would easily beat any of the above config (maybe will be similar with the X3)...
June 11, 2009 10:02:51 AM

JoseWaldo said:
Another question about my build.

I could also make the following changes and still keep the cost around US $500.

Replace the mobo with a GA-G41M-ES2L (Gigabyte Micro ATX with onboard X4500 graphics)
Remove the Graphics card and use onboard
Bump up the Processor to an E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo
Bump up the Ram to 2x2 GB RAM
Install Windows Vista 64 rather than XP 32 home.

So I would have more computer, but much weaker graphics. Supposedly Sims 3 works with the Intel Integrated graphics cards 3x and 4x.

Would this be a better or worse setup? My gut tells me worse.

Building a setup around the igp even for a game like the sims is such a bad idea....unless you are about to get that system the no money would be better spent on the dedicated gpu...as for os...any will work might i suggest you swab the deck....
June 11, 2009 10:14:11 AM

^+1 Actually you could have got away with the 780G/ 790G from AMD for onboard but the intel ones are not at all suitable even for modest gaming...
June 11, 2009 1:12:57 PM

gkay09 said:
You can also do this...

CPU + Mobo
That CPU is as good as the E7400 or maybe even better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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

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

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

Graphics card - Unbeatable deal - HD 4850 for about $89
10% off with promo code VGA661, ends 6/12
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Total - $490 and it would easily beat any of the above config (maybe will be similar with the X3)...


Wow the CASE + PSU combo looks nice.

Is everyone in agreement that I should go with AMD Phenom II over Intel for a budget gamer? Is it as upgradable? It looks like this setup would allow me to add another HD4850 later if I wanted to. Anyone else think this would be better than going with a GTS 250?

My last build was AMD, a long time ago, but I was partial to Intel for a budget gamer based on some other posts I had read.
June 11, 2009 1:21:22 PM

Also, on gkay's post, it has ram listed at 2.0 / 2.1 V. Do I need to modify the BIOS to handle this? One of the CON posts on the mobo says this:
Quote:
I have a feeling the bulk of complaints about the board can be attributed to using memory that requires high voltage which most budget minded boards generally don't like.
June 11, 2009 2:31:40 PM

To save Gkay from having to post this again, I found this in another thread:
Quote:
I had not suggested any intel machines because for that price range, you are limited to LGA 775 socket CPUs and intel has stopped making CPUs for that socket as it will be launching a new socket later this year...So it is not a better upgrade path...
And AMD CPUs especially that P II X2 and X3 are well known for their performance and are best value for that price...


So it looks like for upgradability and longevity, I am probably better off going with AMD. I will post my new build next - almost completely stolen from Gkay's suggestion. Any other ideas especially about the Video Card, CPU, and RAM are greatly appreciated.
June 11, 2009 2:42:35 PM

New Build - Sub US $500, Sims 3 Computer with longevity (Thanks Gkay09)

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$27

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$53

HIS Hightech H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$79

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
~$55

Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active ... - Retail COMBO
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail COMBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
~$105

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDZ550WFGIBOX - Retail COMBO
ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail COMBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
~$162

- $20 Mail In, -$10 Promo Code

Total: $492 + $24 Shipping = $516

Is this the way to go?
I'm running Windows XP Home, which can't utilize 4 GB of RAM, so is it worth buying the 2x2 GB?
Will this RAM work out of the box with the 2 V requirement, or do I have to mod the BIOS?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!
June 11, 2009 6:57:27 PM

Would this motherboard be a better solution than the Asus?


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
~$110

It is quite a bit more expensive ($30) than the Asus M4A78 Plus, but I'm a little concerned that I can't find this model on Asus' website.

Also does anyone know about the 1066 RAM issues with the ASUS which say you can only have one stick per channel?

Thanks
June 12, 2009 1:42:06 AM

I think a 4850 would be overkill if all you are doing is light gaming and Sims 3. I ran Sims 3 on integrated GMA 3100 w/ E8400 and 3GB RAM and it ran fine. Unless your mom is up all night playing Steam games, I think a 4650 or 4670 at most is enough.
June 12, 2009 2:07:35 AM

XP supports up to a maximum of 4GB ram so its well worth getting 4GB RAM.

Good build overall and like ^ says, 4850 is an overkill. However, no one knows what the further Sims 3 expansion packs will be like so you should definitely prepare for the future.

Good job.
June 12, 2009 2:16:37 AM

Windows XP 32bit will only utilize around 3.1GB of the 4GB. But with Windows 7 coming, and 64bit becoming more common, I would go with 4GB with the future in mind.
June 12, 2009 5:16:35 AM

fpoama said:
Windows XP 32bit will only utilize around 3.1GB of the 4GB. But with Windows 7 coming, and 64bit becoming more common, I would go with 4GB with the future in mind.


It will still be utilizing 4GB. Its just it'll be divided and applications can only utilize 3GB since the Kernel will be utilizing 1GB.

=)
June 12, 2009 7:38:14 PM

Thanks for the replies!

It doesn't look like the 4650 and 4670 will work with the Sims 3 tho.

Thanks for the thoughts on the 4 GB.

------------
ATI Radeon™ series
9500, 9600, 9800
X300, X600, X700, X800, X850
X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950
2400, 2600, 2900
3450, 3650, 3850, 3870
4850, 4870
------------
June 12, 2009 9:32:27 PM

HA!....going off info on the back of the box....thats smart....
!