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Trying to build a budget PC with a little oomph

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July 13, 2009 8:10:46 AM

My ancient 7 year old computer is on its last legs and is dying on me, I've decided to go ahead and build a new comp. I'm on a budget that could be described as "almost literally 'a shoestring'" but I'd like to get the best bang for my buck that I can. I play a lot of games, especially TF2, and do a bit of coding. I've pulled some parts off newegg and am looking for a bit of advice regarding whether this looks like a good build or not. Alternative suggestions are welcome though I think I more or less have an idea of what I want. Discussion and pointing out of glaring errors/omissions most readily welcome.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime in the next few days

BUDGET RANGE: I'd really like to keep it under $550, and honestly lower is better if it can be justified.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, coding, music, net, maybe some movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, NIC, optical drives (cannibalizing all these from my old comp, they work fine)

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: newegg, maybe frys.com, though honestly a good deal is a good deal, but I'd prefer newegg if possible.

PARTS PREFERENCES: not much of one, though it seems to me that Intel seems like a better deal than AMD these days.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, leaning yes at least in the future. It'd more or less be my first time seriously overclocking a system if I did so. If anyone knows of a really good guide to overclocking I'd be rather interested.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future, don't really know if it's feasible with all of the parts I've selected (haven't looked much into Crossfire/SLI at all)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My last comp had a bit of a recurring heat problem that I could never quite resolve, I'm looking to try and make this one as 'cool' as possible. I'm also looking for parts that might be easily upgradable to higher range components once I've got a bit more zorkmid to play with.

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

Parts List:


Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7400

Kingston HyperX 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KHX6400D2LL/2G

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

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July 13, 2009 10:06:48 AM

Not bad, but you'll get better gaming performance from the X3. Plus that extra PCI-E slot to grow on. If it was just an office build or you were just doing coding and music maybe. I guess it boils down to how much of each you do and how much mullti-tasking.
July 13, 2009 10:41:22 AM

I love to build AMD when I can but if you intend to stick with Intel go with this same chip not moose found but a lot cheaper:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

If you can swing it, I would get a motherboard that supports crossfire and get a better psu that can handle the 2nd card once you get it later.

Newegg is a great site to buy from and I do it often myself but they dont always have the best prices on everything so dont limit yourself to newegg.

This would be a very solid psu for going SLI or Crossfire:

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

If you are intending on only going 1 card then get this one:

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

The Antec 300 case is awesome. I have 3 of these and use them when someone wants me to build a system for them. The only issue you may have is the front bezel cables. I cant remember which one is its off the top of my head but it may be the hard drive LED, if your motherboard has two pins close together, the case wiring is a 3 prong connector with the + and - on the outside pin slots and the center pin slot is empty. You will have to take a knife or other sharp object and lift the cable retainter tab and move one of the cables to the center to get it to fit correctly.

There are a few boards out there with a plastic retainer around the outside of the pins which wont allow a 3 prong connector to fit. You may have to rob your old case of a two prong connector to make this work. This may not be the case for you but I am only mentioning it because it can happen and it happened to me 1 out of 4 or 5 cases.

Dont let this stop you from using this case as it is a sleek looking case and super quite with the corsair psus installed. Get another 3 120mm fans as you can install 2 of them in the front of the case and one in the door. Keep in mind of the power conectors on the end of the fans you purchase. If they have the 3 prong connectors instead of the molex connector you will want to make sure the motherboard you pick has plently of them for this. It will be easier if you get molex ends on your fans instead of the 3 pins if possible.

July 13, 2009 3:01:34 PM

Even if not planning for SLI or Crossfire, don't get the Corsair 450w listed above - you can get its 550w brother for only $1.20 more - it has a bigger rebate -

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

If you want to keep the option of SLI or Crossfire open - it is best to decide now and not only get the larger PSU but also a mobo that supports it. Neither Intel mobos above - the P43 or P45 - support it but the ASUS 790GX does. To keep the option open with an Intel CPU, if that is what you want, I suggest moving up to an X48 board.

Most prices for X48 boards start at about $200, such as this one (comes with free 750GB while supplies last):

GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS5 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, here is an anomaly by Foxconn for only $120. I have to wonder about such a big price difference, although Foxconn makes reputable boards (I prefer ASUS and Gigabyte) and, as you will see, newegg reports that it is the "Anandtech Editor choice" - although of what I am not sure. Anandtech is a highly regarded sight tho - so you might want to check out that review - and the board has 3 x16 slots according to newegg spec.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 13, 2009 7:14:01 PM

not moose said:
Well, I was looking around and I found this..


Q8200 / UD3L / 4GB DDR2 1066 / 4850 1GB
Antec 300 / Antec EA 500W.
WDC SE 320gb

It came to $539.89 but thats without using the promo code VGA789 for the 4850, which drops the cost $13.


This actually looks fairly interesting, I'm giving it some thought, but I've never heard of Sapphire, so I don't really know their rep... that combo looks like a pretty sweet deal though, actually.
July 13, 2009 7:49:44 PM

The Sapphire VGA brand is generally considered run of the mill mainstream - maybe a hint above. Not as highly regarded as some like BFG, EVGA, and XTX. Carries a 2 year warranty I beleive, better than many, not as good as those with 5 year and even lifetime or double lifetime warranties. Many consider the mainstream brands so similar that they recommend focusing on price, features (e.g. over clocking, special HSF, or added game packages), and warranty periods.

The Antec EA 500w is a good PSU - in fact, I have one. But at the sale price I would still go for the Corsair 550w - which I think is a little better (tiny amount) in addition to being larger. You can buy the Antec 300 case and Corsair PSU for a few dollars less than the combo deal.

Still, whichever way you go looks like you are honing on a good package.
July 13, 2009 7:59:50 PM

ATI card brands are all very much the same except for cooling, warranty, price, overclocks, and software.

Take away the cooler and the cards are physically identical.

This means that there really isn't a bad brand. It's just that some are better with cooling or support.
July 13, 2009 11:14:17 PM

I think I've more or less decided to go with the combo not moose found. It seems like a phenomenal deal and I hadn't even considered a Quad feasible as part of this build. I think that's where I'm going with this, if I ever decide to go with crossfire in the future I guess I'll just have to do a motherboard upgrade. Thanks to everyone for the help.
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