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First Build Budget Gamer PC ($650-800)

Last response: in Systems
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July 17, 2009 9:21:30 PM

Hey, guys! This is one of my first builds and I'm looking ofr some feedback. I plan to buy it soon-ish and have a list of parts for two builds. They share all but the RAM, CPU,and MoBo.
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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next 2 weeks
BUDGET RANGE: $650-800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: MMORPG/Moderate Online Gaming, Surfing, School/Work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, but open to others

PARTS PREFERENCES: Not picky

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, Later

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not sure

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Common Parts:
DVD: LG Black 22X DVD+R SATA 22X DVD Burner - Bulk LightScribe Support - OEM 27.99

Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout22X DVD Burner - Bulk LightScribe Support - OEM 99.99

HD: WD Caviar Black 640GB 74.99

GPU: XFX HD-489A-ZDFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 194.99

PSU: Corsair 650TX 650W PSU 99.49

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AMD PIIX2

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P 129.99

PCU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache 99.99

RAM: G.Skill 4GB DDR3 1600 (2x2GB) 64.99

PIIx2 Total: 792.42 (-15 MIR)
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Q2D
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P 134.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 119.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) 47.99

Q2D Total: 800.42 (-20 MIR)
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I've been researching parts and I've come up with two builds, an Intel with a Q2D and an AMD with the new PIIx2. I heard for months that Intel was the only way to go, so I was looking at the cheaper Q2Ds, but then heard that the PIIx2 gave better performance at a better pricepoint.

Right now I"m leaning toward the AMD because I've heard that the AM3 slot will be around for awhile longer with more chances for upgrades. There also seemed to be more boards that supported DDR3 at better prices. The possibility of 2 bonus cores is also attractive. On the other hand, it seems like there would still be plenty of room for the Core 2 Duo to be upgraded when the C2Qs go down in price and DDR2 will still be around for awhile.

Overall, I'm gunning for a reasonably good rig at a good price that I can upgrade later as needed. I think at some point, when the price comes down, I would want to do Crossfire or SLI to be able to play newer games at higher settings.

My only real dillemma is whether I want to take the newer parts or go down a grade to older ones to cut the price. I didn't really find any combos that were appealing and would make this build cheaper. The best way to cut cost would be to get a $50 case, but I've heard horror stories about ventilation and in the past, I've heard gaming cases suggested. I could also downgrade either mobo to one without a second PCIe 2.0, but then I would have to buy a new board if I ever wanted to Crossfire, which I expect I'll do around Christmas. I could downgrade the graphics card, but if it only costs 30-50 more, it seems smarter to get the 4890 than the 4870. Everything else seems to be relatively inexpensive parts that are highly rated and from quality brands.

I also need a monitor, but I'm leaving that outside of the parts budget, for now. I've been looking at an LG around 20" for $120 at a local shop.

Any advice that you guys could give would be great. Thank you!
Related resources
July 17, 2009 10:15:20 PM

There's so many great combo deals available right now from newegg and AMD CPUs that it's hard to make a choice. The problem with them is they are temporary and most likely won't be around in 2 weeks time. This one for the PhenomII 955 and a crossfire capable AM3 Asrock 780G/710SB for $235 is right in line with your original choices.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I would go with faster timings on your DDR3 RAM though. Perhaps this G.Skill DDR3 1333 at 7-7-7-18 for $67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 17, 2009 10:21:02 PM

The combo with the 720 and the ASUS 790GX board has been around for a few weeks now, it keeps disappearing during special sales but comes back a few days later. This combo has also been getting refreshed pretty often so i would bet on both of those combos staying around for a while yet as i bet they are boosting sales by a ton.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
July 18, 2009 4:34:22 PM


Alright, I looked over all of the suggestions and found a topic with a similar build with a lot of good ones, as well. I decided to go for sub-$700 after I looked around a bit more at MIRs and combos.
PSU & Optical:
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
LG DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS50 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
78.48 (Before $20 MIR)

Mobo & CPU:
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
204.99 (Before $15 MIR)

RAM:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600EB4GK - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
79.99
(Before $10 MIR)

Graphics:
XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
149.99

HD:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
74.99

Case:
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
54.99

Before MIR: 661.41
After: 616.41
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So two more questions...

Newegg has a weekend deal for a 23" monitor made by Asus for $179 with favorable reviews. Is it any good?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

How does the CM Centurion 590 compare to the Antec 300? I found a good deal on Centurions at a local retailer and it looks very similar to the 300.
July 18, 2009 4:43:05 PM

They are about the same the Centurion just provides options for 8 fans instead of the 5 that the antec 300 supports, but if you need that many you should move up to an antec 900 or 1200 anyway. that is a pretty nice monitor and its huge and not too expensive. It does have a 5ms refresh time so its not the best for gaming but it will still do quite well.

Nice setup, it should serve you well.
July 18, 2009 4:59:48 PM

My laptop's monitor is a 17" at a 6ms refresh, so it's still a respectable upgrade in my eyes. Would it be better to get a smaller monitor with a lower refresh rate?

One local store has these at $130-150 every once in awhile.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I wasn't really looking at the other case for the number of fans, I really just want a case with good ventilation. It seemed similar to the 300 and would save me about 20 bucks. Would unfilled fan holes cause any trouble?
July 18, 2009 7:52:28 PM

nope, the preinstalled fans are usually exhaust fans so the empty fan slots provide intake ports.

I would go for the larger one because it supports full 1080 resolution.
!