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Gaming Computer for $750 or Less

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July 11, 2009 6:05:38 AM

Hey all. So I'm planning on building my first budget gaming computer in the next month or so. I'm looking to spend no more than $750 (about) and would appreciate as low of a price as possible (of course :bounce:  )

Anyways, this is what I've got so far. I'm no computer expert, so I've kinda been playing this by ear. Any suggestions are extremely welcome:

Monitor: Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3160813AS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: HIS H487FN512P Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Memory: OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: AMD Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition Kuma 2.8GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As you can see, the build requires just about everything but a mouse and speakers.

So, compatible? Anyone have better/cheaper parts in mind?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
CF

More about : gaming computer 750

July 11, 2009 6:12:57 AM

do you also need a case?
Related resources
July 11, 2009 6:50:08 AM

Your monitor is $110
and Vista 64 bit [ with a windows 7 upgrade ] is $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That leaves $530
So these are my picks on how I'd spend that
Phenom ll X3 710 + ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $159 [ after MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

2 x2 gig of Gskill 1066MHz ram $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB $125 [ after MIR ]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive $20

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W $40 [ after MIR ]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All that is $499 so the total is $720 with OS and monitor

You get a Phenom 2 triple core which is faster and will use less power , better RAM , very good gaming case , the same gfx power [ which is plenty for a 19 inch monitor ] . Twice the hard drive size . Im unsure of the quality of the PSU because I have never even seen an OCZ psu but the specs are good

For a little more I think it might be possible to squeeze a Phenom X3 720 be in to a build like this , but I wanted to be sure to stay under budget
July 11, 2009 1:26:58 PM

Looks good, except the Antec case's shipping puts me over budget. Is it absolutely essential to get a gaming case like that, or will the cheaper case do the job? I'm not looking for anything fancy, and as for airflow, I don't intend to do any massive overclocking.

Could I just stick with the cheaper case?

Everything else looks great, though; thanks for the input!

CF
July 11, 2009 5:11:59 PM

How about this case?

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

I have one similar, Mine is a broadway com case, but still the large side fan. If you have a higher power video card, makes it nice because you can stick a pci slot cooler under the card and makes good airflow. My 9600gt has been running only around 40 degrees celsius.
July 11, 2009 5:25:26 PM

Hmm... that monitor looks good :) . Didn't realize I could get one that much larger for only 20 dollars more. Thanks!

See, the thing about the case is that I need a cheapish one with free shipping; it's the shipping that really adds on. Dunno why those things have such high shipping costs :??:  .

Thanks!

CF
July 11, 2009 11:18:16 PM

This acer gets rated very highly too but it is a little extra
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor $149
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With cases I think theres a lot of hype . The best gaming cases with huge fans cut temps by a couple of degrees compared to a decent ordinary case . On the other hand bad cases are still on sale too . They have small fans and sometimes they dont have air inlets so the fans they have dont do anything except push up your power bill .

I just found a combo with the antec 300 + RAM . The same gskill ram that saves another $15 .
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Does that help with shipping?

Another case i like [ and thats not important because you are the one that has to live with it , LOL ] is

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-WW $69 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 12, 2009 3:06:40 AM

Hmm... maybe this case?

Rosewill R218-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I really want to spend as little as possible on the case and its shipping; I don't need anything flashy or whatnot, just something to hold the computer parts and cool them adequately :) 

All the other suggestions have been noted; thanks a bunch!

CF
July 12, 2009 3:26:23 AM

It will work, but will definitely be basic. I had one of their cheaper cases once but don't expect much. But it should work. Also check out 3btech.net , I've never ordered from them, but have a friend who has dealt with them and seemed to do well. All of their orders I think are free shipping as well I believe, so you might be able to find a slightly nicer case there in your budget range.
July 12, 2009 3:29:50 AM

Thanks; I'll check 'em out.

I kind of want basic; this is my first build, and I don't know if I have the finesse to attempt anything to complex :na: 

CF
July 12, 2009 5:02:27 AM

I take a longer view with cases . I expect to replace the components inside it a couple of times as i make upgrades so i figure buying a good quality case is worth it

But if i had to choose a quality case or a 22inch lcd ... then the lcd would win beause no one really spends a lot of time looking at their case
July 12, 2009 6:36:41 AM

well how bout you save money on the OS for now and use windows 7 RC until it comes out...even after it comes out this year, you can still use it until June 2010 or something like that...
July 12, 2009 4:33:08 PM

I was actually thinking about doing just that, ahslan. The only reason I'm having doubts about doing it is I wasn't sure if the RC is stable enough to run my main computer, and I don't consider myself technologically capable enough to handle all problems that may come with it. However, if y'all consider the RC fairly stable, and it's easy enough to install on a newly built computer, then I will definitely do that!

CF
July 12, 2009 9:00:53 PM

The RC is perfectly stable and driver support is good . Games actually run faster on 7 than on Vista .

By march 2010 when the RC will turn off you would have to completely reinstall everything from scratch . You cant just do an update .


If i was building a gaming pc then I would use the RC , but if it was for my business and I was doing my taxes on it then its a bit of a risk .
DO NOT download 7 from a torrent
Only get it from Microsoft
July 12, 2009 9:28:59 PM

Keep monitoring newegg or other sites for free shipping on cases. They are heavy and cost about $20 to ship.

As an off the wall suggestion, why bother to even get a case initially? Just assemble the components and put them on some cardboard, like the mobo box.
It is a good way to initial test your build.
You have no space and cooling issues.
You have the ultimate window.

Seriously, if you order from newegg, they might combine some of the shipping costs, so it might not be the full $20 extra.

Or, look at amazon, they often have free shipping.
Here is the Antec 300 for $59.95 including free shipping:
http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Three-Hundred-External-Inte...

It really is a good case. Washable front air filters is a plus.
July 13, 2009 5:44:48 AM

I would definitely save my money by using the windows 7 RC...my friend just built an expensive ass i7 rig and decided to skip purchasing vista and use windows 7....so far hes said that hes been liking it...Ive been using windows 7 on my laptop since beta and have been extremely pleased with it (but not so pleased with Intel's horrific driver support)...my laptop is more than 4 years old and a simple 1gb upgrade in ram (from 512mb to 1.5gb) makes the computer run like new all the time in windows 7
July 14, 2009 6:21:23 AM

All right, then I shall definitely save money that way.

Now the only thing I need confirmation on is if that PSU is a good, stable one. If it's not a good, known company, can someone recommend another in the approximate price range that would be good?

I'm not well-versed in PSU companies, so I have no idea if OCZ is good or not, and I don't want anthing frying on me!

Thanks,
CF
July 14, 2009 8:06:10 AM

Here's something you might want to take some consideration into.
http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTYxNiwsLGhlbnR...

OCZ power supplies get a lot more credit than they deserve I think. You should probably be looking at models from Corsair or Seasonic.

Something you have to consider here is whether you want modular cables or not.
Check out the Corsair 450VX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It'll be plenty of power for the parts you have, if you intend to stay in the midrange cpu and gpu market in a single gpu configuration.
July 14, 2009 2:38:44 PM

Thing is, I'm not sure whether or not I'll want to try two cards in the future. I definitely don't have the cash for it now, but future upgrades are always a possibility, and I'd rather have some flexibility in that department. Of course, I could always buy another PSU if that ever happens.

Any other PSUs I should be considering with that in mind?

Thanks
CF
July 14, 2009 6:38:38 PM

I agree with outlander.
mobo supports am3, so it's a better long term choice.
Also, you sure that 160 gb of hard drive is enough for you?
July 14, 2009 9:44:18 PM

If you think you want the option to do a multi-card configuration in the future, you're probably going to be looking at the 550VX or 650TX from Corsair. The S12II 500 would be a fine choice from Seasonic if you don't ever plan to Crossfire/SLI cards that are going to be drawing close to 200w (which would be extremely wasteful).
July 14, 2009 10:47:28 PM

My thoughts on sli/crossfire:

SLI/crossfire has been a poor upgrade path in the past. It should be used only by
those who will not currently be satisfied by the fastest available single vga card
which is currently the GTX295. The 4890, or GTX275
offer very good performance for the money now.
To get SLI. you have to spend more up front for a SLI capable mobo,a
more powerful SLI capable PSU, and better case cooling. Upgrading a single card later with a
second equal card does not get you 2x increase, it is more like 1.3x to 1.8x depending on the game.
At that time, you will still be paying top dollar for a second card that is closer to
being obsolete.
It would be better to sell the old card and use the proceeds
towards a better new generation single card.
July 14, 2009 11:23:14 PM

In that case, I guess sticking with a single card is indeed the better choice.

Now my only concern is the fact that the HD 4870 requirements specify a 500W power supply. Is getting a Corsair 450W supply going to ruin the card's performance?

CF
July 15, 2009 11:58:56 PM

The Corsair 450VX is capable of putting out 33A on the 12v rail. That's more than enough for a 4870 and any cpu you throw at it-just be careful on high volt overclocks, as that will be pushing it a tad.
July 18, 2009 4:34:09 AM

All right. So I've decided on the 550VX from Corsair, just to put myself at ease with minimum power requirement advice.

I've also broken down and decided to splurge a bit more on the case, so I've decided on the Antec 300 :)  .

That puts me at $734.51 without MIR, $694.51 with MIR. This pleases me :D  .

I think I am all set. One last question: how much overclocking can normally be done on a stock heatsink and CPU cooler? I don't plan on overclocking a huge amount, nothing drastic, but I'd like to know.

Thank you all so much!

CF
July 20, 2009 1:44:27 AM

So I'm just about done; going to purchase in the next couple of weeks.

I just wanna run a couple of things by y'all"

First, I decided on the AMD Phenom II X3 720 instead of the 710, as suggested if given a larger budget. I kind of went over budget for it, but $20 doesn't seem too bad, and in the end it only ends up $15 overbudget anyway, and rebates bring it right back under.

Also, I read reviews on the suggested ASUS motherboard (ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard ), and there were many mentions of the board failing, or its Ethernet failing. That kind of scared me off :(  .

What do you guys think of this motherboard instead:
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The motherboard uneasiness is the only thing standing between me and my new computer (well, that and waiting for my final paycheck and eventual shipping :lol:  ). What do you guys think of the Gigabyte board?

Thanks!
CF

Edit: Okay, so I just realized that board requires DDR3 RAM. Switching to this RAM, then:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 29, 2009 9:50:30 PM

Ok, so I built this according to outlander's suggestions. This was my first computer that I have built for personal use, so I figure there may be more people like me who want to know what type of experience I had.

All of the parts assembled in the case nicely, cable management was not an issue at all. However, the video card is HUGE, it takes up its slot and blocks the one below it. The motherboard's manual is not good at all, so finding out where to plug in the front connectors took a few minutes (thankfully the connectors have labels printed on the mobo itself.) As for the issue with this mobo and ethernet connection, I have had no issues, and have been running for about 3 weeks now.

I really like the modular power supply, it lets you choose what type of connectors you have without having excess plugs you are not using lying around. However, my first OCZ power supply was causing strange issues after being unplugged from the wall, so I returned it with Newegg and got a new one, which works fine.

Overall this seems like a good build. I've ran some newer games (CoD 4, BF2) on max settings with no difficulties whatsoever. My windows experience index fwiw is at 5.8 with the processor being the low end, everything else is at 5.9.

For future plans, I am going to install 4 more GB's of RAM (unfortunately the mobo only supports two channels of DDR2-1066, the other two are DDR2-800 max), and a second hard drive for more space.

Hopefully this helps anyone who has questions about the ease/performance of this build. Thanks all!
July 29, 2009 11:07:11 PM

That's awesome!

I've finished my new (and first!) build, too.

I did end up changing the motherboard to the MSI 770-C45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard, which led to the use of Crucial DDR3 RAM instead of DDR2 RAM. I also opted for the AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor instead of the 710 processor.

Also got the COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB case, which ended up working out well.

Using Windows 7, I get a Windows Experience index of 5.9 as the lowest score, due to the harddrive. Rest of the scores are 6.8 for gaming and graphics, 6.7 for the CPU, and 7.5 for the RAM. Much better than my old laptop :D  .

Games are working great; all high details without any lag on Oblivion, The Hunter, etc.

The entire thing, including monitor, cost me about $748, without rebates. With rebates, it'll end up being about $703.

Pretty good, for my first try :wahoo:  .

Thanks, everyone, for the great advice!

CF
!