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Please suggest for first build: Gaming PC for ~$350 USD

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July 18, 2009 2:11:30 AM

Ok, so I know this isn't a lot of money, but I've read some posts a while back that suggested it could be done. I have a hp pavillion dv2500 laptop with an NVIDIA MCP67M graphics card that apparently doesn't support great 3-D graphics. This laptop I bought 14 months ago new and it seemed like a reasonable deal. However I can't watch the visualizations on Winamp nor play CivIV comfortably because of the limiting graphics card. I would like to play other games: Crysis or any of the Prince of Persia titles or any of the current Xbox360 games, but play them on the PC.

Why not buy an XBox you may ask? Firstly it seems more cost effective building a PC piecewise as it will give nearly the same performance or better, dollar for dollar. Moreover, I'm looking to learn more about computer building and maintenance so that I can trouble shoot problems on my own whenever I run into them (with the help of friendly internet forums of course). Also computers can be upgrade-able while the XBox virtually cannot.

I know very little about building and which brand names are better than others. I'm aware of what over-clocking is and does, though I wouldn't classify myself as a hardcore gamer in the least. I can list the main parts that go into making a PC, have basic understanding of what their roles are, and feel pretty confident that I can construct a decent machine following the sets of instructions that I've found on various websites.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within next week is possible.

BUDGET RANGE: US $300-375

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor (AOC 17" WS) , speakers, OS (Vista Home Premium)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: n/a

PARTS PREFERENCES: anything trustworthy

OVERCLOCKING: maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900 (widescreen resolution)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: again, for such a small price I know I won't be getting the best graphics out of the newer, or even recently new games, but that doesn't really matter. I would like something I can tinker with perhaps, and will let me indulge in CivIV's map zooming more effortlessly without the massive lag due to a poor graphics card. Thanks!


ADDITIONAL ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'd like to create a home PC that is more of a gaming PC than my current laptop. My laptop's graphics card is what appears to be holding back its performance. It has an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 2.00 GHz processor with 3.00 GB Memory. Like I mentioned before the graphics card is NVIDIA MCP67M graphics card and it seems slow.

I'd like to keep the processor and RAM speed at least at this level if possible and boost its 3-D rendering capacity. Is it possible to make such a build that's reliable and within this price point?
July 18, 2009 3:36:02 AM

Wow, now that's a challenge.

CPU/MOBO - AMD Phenom 8750 + ASUS M3A76-CM Combo $135:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CASE/PSU - Compucase HP585D + Compucase 6C60BS combo $48:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD - Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB $50:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OPTICAL - Samsung CD/DVD Burner $25:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - OCZ Value Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 $24:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - ASUS 9600gso $55/ $35 w/MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total comes to $337 or $317 if you send in the MIR.

If you have any extra funds after shipping, I would consider getting a better quality psu. This system won't be able to run crysis well at all. You'll need to lower the graphics quality to get it to run smoothly.
July 18, 2009 3:53:27 AM

Thanks for the reply! I'm compelled to edit my post to clarify what I'm ready to spring for.

Let clarify some: I'd like to create a home PC that is more of a gaming PC than my current laptop. My laptop's graphics card is what appears to be holding back its performance. It has an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 2.00 GHz processor with 3.00 GB Memory. Like I mentioned before the graphics card is NVIDIA MCP67M graphics card and it seems slow.

I'd like to keep the processor and RAM speed at least at this level if possible and boost its 3-D rendering capacity. Is it possible to make such a build that's reliable and within this price point?
Related resources
July 18, 2009 3:59:07 AM

This is just enough to get this done after Mail In Rebates

E5200, antec 300 case with 430w psu $155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Gigabyte G31 $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 4gb DDR2-800 $55-$20 mir
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD 250gb HDD $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 4670 $60-$20mir
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total with shipping: $398 - $40 mir = $358

For this to be a decent system, you'll need to OC the Processor. You can get into the 3.0ghz range on the stock HSF, but if you want to push it into the upper 3.5+Ghz, you'll need a different HSF. This is one I use and its great for the price. $40-$15 mir.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or you can keep the stock HSF and put a little more into the graphics card and maybe get a 1gb 4670.
July 18, 2009 4:02:42 AM

The 9600 GSO is on par with the 4670. But the 9600 GSO comes with a free game, so that may make the value much better than the one I spec'd out.
July 18, 2009 4:15:27 AM

massivepepper said:
Thanks for the reply! I'm compelled to edit my post to clarify what I'm ready to spring for.

Let clarify some: I'd like to create a home PC that is more of a gaming PC than my current laptop. My laptop's graphics card is what appears to be holding back its performance. It has an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 2.00 GHz processor with 3.00 GB Memory. Like I mentioned before the graphics card is NVIDIA MCP67M graphics card and it seems slow.

I'd like to keep the processor and RAM speed at least at this level if possible and boost its 3-D rendering capacity. Is it possible to make such a build that's reliable and within this price point?



Well for reference, I run Phenom X3 8450 @ 2.3ghz with the 9600gt overclocked. The 9600gt is definitely bottlenecked by my cpu. Turn the performance in opposite directions, giving extra to cpu and taking a bit from gpu will give you a decently balanced system. At that price point, I can't imagine doing much better. Perhaps looking into the Athlon X2's with higher clock frequencies will give you more value for games.

Anandtech did a guide where the speced out some cheap builds: http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3563
Click around and see if you can get any ideas.
July 18, 2009 4:20:38 AM

skora said:
The 9600 GSO is on par with the 4670. But the 9600 GSO comes with a free game, so that may make the value much better than the one I spec'd out.



I like your build much better than mine. Those wolfdale cores overclock like mad and the 4gb will help out a lot in vista. I didn't think you could build a system around the e5200 for that cheap. kudos!
July 18, 2009 4:29:51 AM

skora said:
The 9600 GSO is on par with the 4670. But the 9600 GSO comes with a free game, so that may make the value much better than the one I spec'd out.



Overclocking is a new one for me. I think I'd rather not have to rely on it, if possible. Perhaps if I read more about it I'll feel a little safer about going there. For example: a reviewer for the MOB you listed mentioned having troubles with OCing after a cold start. This being a common feature of the Gigabyte boards.

The information surrounding OverClocking just contains too many variables that affect how it, and if it should be done; i.e. the brand name of the MOB, the amount of fans, size of the housing, core cooling/water cooling (unfamililar), and the oh-so-important power supply.

Quickly, my only experiences with computer building was with an old Micron a friend gave me after he graduated college (2000) that I opened up and put a new Cd burner in, replaced a burnt out fan, pulled out the RAM sticks to look at a couple times, and exchanged/added hard drives at one point--which I successfully failed at by bending and breaking some of the connecting pins.

-Eric
July 18, 2009 4:35:15 AM

Thanks Chowmanga, Skora for the info here. I'll look more into everything that you have posted yet. Thanks.
July 18, 2009 4:54:16 AM

I like Skora's build. You will be able to play every thing on your monitor at med settings. And after you get it and learn how to oc it, you can upgrade your GPU and get buy with it for a while.
July 18, 2009 5:01:11 AM

Both listed builds were good compilations but a quick note on the "better value than XBOX 360" piece you mentioned:

The consoles are always a better dollar value than a PC, that's unconditional. The problem with console gaming vs. PC gaming is that all console games are completely optimized for their platform since the hardware in it never changes, and they have a natural lifecycle. PC's do not. Infact tons of big titles these days are direct console ports which saddens and frustrates me, since it makes buying top notch hardware all the more important.

Prince of Persia is definitely doable on your build, Crysis is not (at least not on high settings, possibly medium). Also as I mentioned to another gentlemen building a $600 system:

Are you factoring in software to your price? Antivirus, Office Software (if used for productivity), CD/DVD burning programs or a new Operating System? And yes, I did see that you have Vista Home Premium, but I had two quick things to say about that.

You did not mention if it was Premium 32-bit or 64-bit. Theres a major difference between the two that can ensure whether you can or can't make use of 4GB of RAM. Reguardless, I'd find 2GB of RAM unacceptable on any Vista machine, gaming or not. Also, you should by now be aware that Windows 7 is due out October 22nd of this year, which will be a neat thing to be equipped with if you want to take advantage of the PC's jump start on Direct X 11 technology and true 64-bit computing.
July 18, 2009 5:09:40 AM

Another build idea.

CPU/PSU combo - 7850 Kuma/ silverstone 400w psu - $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

motherboard - Asrock 760G mATX $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - 2x2 GB DDR2 1066 G.Skill $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case - Rosewill $30 free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - Asus 9600GSO - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - WD se16 320 GB SATA - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Burner- samsung - $25 - IDE burner, SATA is better, but newegg is having trouble keeping them stocked
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$359 and $14 shipping to me

The 7850 outperforms the E5200 at stock clocks, but falls way behind if the E5200 is overclocked past 3.4 MHz (which is easily done) The motherboard will accept the newer PhenomIIs for future upgrade. Frankly all the builds are workable with decent upgrade paths.

in regards to imapc post
http://hardwarelogic.com/news/126/ARTICLE/1100/2008-03-...
July 18, 2009 5:37:59 AM

I'd highly recommend getting an XBox 360 or PS3 depending on games/Bluray etc.

Windows:
An OEM copy is still going to cost you $130 or so. Windows 7 x64 is what you want and it'll be out end Sep 2009 assuming OEM copies are available then.

I've never been able to scrape together what I consider a reliable gaming system for under $700 without serious compromise.

Anything you build under $500 isn't suitable for many of the latest games. If that's okay with you then fine. There are many games it WILL run if you look around SC2 and Diablo 3 will run nicely on a range of systems when they are released.

Benchmarks for the latest games are often done on the Intel i7 920, possibly overclocked to 3.2GHz. So a graphics card that you see in the benchmark might perform at only half that level on an older CPU.

Most people who spend under $600 are disappointed and unfortunately can't easily upgrade. For $800 you can usually get something half decent by sharing the extra $200 between your CPU, motherboard and graphics card.

If you can't budget for a good gaming PC it's better to get a console, however these ARE designed for HDTVs.

Tomshardware has lots of good articles on building PCs.
July 18, 2009 11:49:08 AM

massivepepper said:
Overclocking is a new one for me. I think I'd rather not have to rely on it, if possible. Perhaps if I read more about it I'll feel a little safer about going there. For example: a reviewer for the MOB you listed mentioned having troubles with OCing after a cold start. This being a common feature of the Gigabyte boards.

The information surrounding OverClocking just contains too many variables that affect how it, and if it should be done; i.e. the brand name of the MOB, the amount of fans, size of the housing, core cooling/water cooling (unfamililar), and the oh-so-important power supply.

Quickly, my only experiences with computer building was with an old Micron a friend gave me after he graduated college (2000) that I opened up and put a new Cd burner in, replaced a burnt out fan, pulled out the RAM sticks to look at a couple times, and exchanged/added hard drives at one point--which I successfully failed at by bending and breaking some of the connecting pins.

-Eric


Hey Eric, All the parts I spec'd out are quality parts and choosen with OC'ing in mind. The PSU is powerful enough and the case is known for its good airflow and fans included with it.. Not sure where you picked up the info on gigabyte boards having issues because they are one of the best. That gigabyte board has been listed by some of the more knowledgeable around here as a great fit for the E5200. OCing on it is simple because it is a basic board and doesn't have voltage control. That's automated for you. You can't damage the system unless you forget to put on the fan. All you need to do is set the FSB. You'd just increase the FSB by a small amount, run a program to see if it is stable and another program to monitor the temps of the CPU. If it is stable and you have more room for temps, you increase the FSB more. Repeat until you either fail the stability test and go back to the last good FSB setting or until the temps get to a max safe level. Theres are other tweaks that can be done, but are not required to get a good OC. What's listed here is all that NEEDS to be done. Also, all the OC info you could want is available around here and lots of people to help you with the learning curve as you need it. I have the E5200 and it was easy to OC.

With the experience you have, you'll be fine on a case up build. Everything has plugs that can only fit where they are suppose to. Just some basic precautions for static and you'll be good to go.

Especially if you do OC, this system will run better than others think. You should be able to play all the games out now. You won't be able to max all the visual setting, but they will still look good and be playable.

To the 32bit vs 64bit Vista and software questions: Both 32 and 64 bits Vista will work fine. If you have 32bit, you're system will only use 3.25-3.5 gbs of ram instead of the full 4. But that is still more than enough. Vista will use 1-1.5 itself. That's why 2 gigs isn't enough, you have less than 1 for programs to run. But even with 32 bit and 1.5 used by vista, that still leaves you with around 2gbs for programs to run. Again, very much enough. Antivirus, use AVG FREE, office software, use Open Office (Free), CD/DVD software, free. cnet.com has lots of reviews and free softwares.

Hope this helps.
July 18, 2009 12:50:30 PM

Now just for comparison and so Sighq2 doesn't blow a gasket, I've spec'd out an AMD system too in the name of upgradability. The CPU also starts at 3.0 ghz so if you aren't comfortable OCing, this is a better stock speed CPU than the Intel. I haven't overclocked and AMD system, so you'd have to lean on someone else to find just how easy it is. The same principles apply I think. Might even be the same process.

AMD Athlon II x2 250 and MSI 770 AM3 mobo $149-$15 mir = $134
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

4gigs OCZ DDR3 1600 (Cas 8) ram: $67-$20mir = $47
I know the ram isn't the best, but its the only way I could come close to the upper budget. Should be underclocked to 1333 with tighter timings.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 300 with 500w PSU $90
It was only $5 more than the 430w PSU giving you more GPU upgrade options later
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Asus 4670 w/ Free Call of Duty 5 Worlds at War $55- $20 mir = $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD 250 gb HDD $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD burner $26
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Delivered is $446-$55 mir. Final cost of $391.

While a few more bucks could be shaved off with the 430w PSU ($5) and an AM2+ ($15 tops, but at a serious quality compromise. MSI makes a decent mobo for middle of the road) and DDR2 ram ($10) system, I don't think it serves you well in the long run. There's no promise that future AM3 processors will continue to support DDR2 ram in the future so when you do get a new CPU, it might not work with the older boards. DDR3 doesn't provide much performance over DDR2 now, but that can change with optimizations and be free benefits later.

The only other upgrade that adds $20 is getting the mobo/ 710x3 instead of a dual core. Not as fast, but will last longer before having to be replaced.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
July 19, 2009 4:35:01 AM

My laptop is 32bit so I'm assuming the Vista package is also 32bit. This may seems like a stupid question, but I can transfer this operating system and office software I'm using correct? I did buy the new Home Office version (not I7) with this new PC because I wanted to fiddle with OneNote (which hasn't been as helpful as I've thought, initially). For anti-virus I've been using Avast and Spybot.

I'm not sure if I'd appreciate true 64-bit computing and from what I've gathered, besides the point you mentioned, Windows 7 doesn't seem to offer anything that seems worthy of an upgrade. The half-off special was tempting however.

As far as consoles go, as I stated previously, one of the reasons why I want to build a computer, especially a gaming computer, is for the games, but also for the experience that it will give me. Being able to hobble together a something that can access the internet, from a pile of parts seems like a worthy skill seeing as how our society is really beginning to lean more heavily on the interweb for a lot of things. I enjoy paying my bills online, looking at my bank statements, keeping in touch with friends and family, reading the news, etc. If a soda falls on my laptop and burns it out, I'm screwed. Know what I'm saying?

By all means, consoles are great though. A computer is both work and play for me at this time. I'm studying to earn a professional certificate online, and will feel safer owning a second computer. I'd definitely like to soak in some intense Blu-ray action with my PS3 after owning whatever gets owned on Bioshock for a couple of mind-melting hours. I do not hate on the hard-core gamers, though I can't justify playing 8 hour (or more) stretches more than once in a blue moon.
July 19, 2009 4:38:44 AM

photonboy said:
I'd highly recommend getting an XBox 360 or PS3 depending on games/Bluray etc.

Tomshardware has lots of good articles on building PCs.



Indeed, this site has an amazing, I said Amazing, amount of information and participants. Please read my last post concerning console gaming.
July 19, 2009 5:03:07 AM

skora said:


Especially if you do OC, this system will run better than others think. You should be able to play all the games out now. You won't be able to max all the visual setting, but they will still look good and be playable.

To the 32bit vs 64bit Vista and software questions: Both 32 and 64 bits Vista will work fine. If you have 32bit, you're system will only use 3.25-3.5 gbs of ram instead of the full 4. But that is still more than enough. Vista will use 1-1.5 itself. That's why 2 gigs isn't enough, you have less than 1 for programs to run. But even with 32 bit and 1.5 used by vista, that still leaves you with around 2gbs for programs to run. Again, very much enough. Antivirus, use AVG FREE, office software, use Open Office (Free), CD/DVD software, free. cnet.com has lots of reviews and free softwares.



I think you may have won me over. Considering what you've said, I'm leaning towards the build that looks to OC. From your's and others' posts it seems that I may have been a little premature in speaking out against this method. I am willing to give it a try. It seems that at my price range, the components I'm using are not that *new* and have thus been used and tested fairly thoroughly thus far. If I burnt out my mobo because I toasted it too much with pushing its limits, then I would grudgingly have to bite the bullet and buy a new piece. In the name of affordable computing/gaming I'm willing to take this risk though. It seems I am now prepared to absorb the kind of information that makes me informed and will let me exercise more of my money when it comes to computers. This laptop has served me well for the past year, though now I'm am quite excited at the idea of having entree to the next tier of great gaming, looking past Doom 2 which I've spent a good amount of hours recently mastering.

I'm not interested in so much being able to play the current games at high res, that I already know is very unlikely. I'm sure I will be quite satisfied with playing older games for the time being seeing as how I am trying to earn a professional certificate and won't be entering any hard-core gaming phase any time soon. Not to suggest that it isn't possible to appreciate great, fast-paced, highly detailed, explode-your-face, kind of gaming, casually, but just that if I ever do go there, I want to do it right. Perhaps I will get a gaming bug, and will redirect some of my professional pay (once, and if I ever get there) towards creating a high-performance system. Or then again, maybe the newer consoles will call out to me. Or, I might find that my life becomes so vivid, explosive, action-packed in whatever role I fill, I'll forget about all the promise there is for relatively inexpensive Great Gaming.

It's about the learning curve, y'all. It's sites like this, and users like yourselves that help a person get along, and get along quickly. I just saw an advertisement on Craigslist by someone who is offering to build computers (gaming or work, whatever) for the college students here and in the surrounding areas. His pitch seems quite reasonable, and I can't imagine any reason why he shouldn't receive a handsome amount of business. He is someone I would certainly give my business to now, if I didn't already feel that I can create a decent build myself, given the proper resources.

Well, back to turkey. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I am gonna move on creating a new system sometime next week. I'm pretty confident that this build you suggested will work fine, and that I can over-clock and not have to worry too too much. My burning question now is (and I posed this to imapc also) is can I port my vista Home Premium OS to this new computer? Ok that is all for now. And thank you again for your expertise.
July 19, 2009 5:34:25 AM

dirtmountain said:
Another build idea.

in regards to imapc post
http://hardwarelogic.com/news/126/ARTICLE/1100/2008-03-...


And thank you for the contribution and link, I will reference it again. I'm beginning to appreciate the vastness of this computing community and to find out that indeed, there are many of us on all the different locations on the learning curve. What's most amazing is how altruistic and giving you and other CPU gurus are. I wonder, "Has it always been like this?" I suppose that given the population curve, and the growing ubiquity and importance of using computers, learning how to make them (and at such cheap prices!) was only inevitable.
July 19, 2009 11:58:24 AM

Lumping me in with the guru's. That's so naive and flattering at the same time :p 

You won't blow up your mobo OCing. Much safer than the days of old.

Legally, you can NOT transfer you're OS from your laptop to your desktop. The license is for the laptop only. The install disk might not work either if it doesn't detect the laptop. As far as the Office software, since that was retail, that can go on any ONE machine at a time (legally.)

The 64bit vs 32 bit OS generally doesn't effect the home user as far as computing power, but mainly effects the ram limitation. 32 bit OS has 4 gb it can see and that is shared with the PCIe slots also. So with those there, they eat up a portion and the remainder is whats available for ram. Thus you can never fully use the 4gb on a 32bit OS. The 64bit OS has a larger limitation and doesn't come into play for home users, so you get to use all the ram you pay for.

Vista home premium with free Win7 upgrade is $110.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That really kind of blows a hole in your budget making it virtually impossible. If you need time to save for an OS but need something now, download Win 7 release candidate. It will work until March then until June, it will shut down every 2 hours. After June, it stops working. But it can delay the cost of the OS for now.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/download.asp...

On the E5200 build, check to see if the 9600 GSO has free games still. Gives you something to test the system with. Also, if you have a few extra bucks to spend this round, you can get a better HDD. The one there is older and you might find one on the charts that performs better for $10-$15 more. Depending on how much you want to push overclocking, you can get the aftermarket HSF too.

We will be here to help with other questions you have along the way.
July 22, 2009 2:52:52 AM

Vista home premium with free Win7 upgrade is $110.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


On the E5200 build, check to see if the 9600 GSO has free games still. Gives you something to test the system with. Also, if you have a few extra bucks to spend this round, you can get a better HDD. The one there is older and you might find one on the charts that performs better for $10-$15 more. Depending on how much you want to push overclocking, you can get the aftermarket HSF too.

We will be here to help with other questions you have along the way. said:
Vista home premium with free Win7 upgrade is $110.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


On the E5200 build, check to see if the 9600 GSO has free games still. Gives you something to test the system with. Also, if you have a few extra bucks to spend this round, you can get a better HDD. The one there is older and you might find one on the charts that performs better for $10-$15 more. Depending on how much you want to push overclocking, you can get the aftermarket HSF too.

We will be here to help with other questions you have along the way.



Hey again,

It sounds like the Intel chip will serve me well and introduce me to overclocking. Could you suggest an appropriate PSU for the Intel build you described. It seems that that is the only piece I'll be missing, as the promo package with the Wolfdale is no longer available. There appears to be more than one variety of 430 Watt power supply units.

Then again these links seem to be right?


Intel Pentium E5200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is this the right sized Computer Case?


And I think I'm going to go for the Vista 64 bit, upgraded to Windows7 because it sounds like I'll be able to run more programs, and benefit from a fuller use of the systems memory supply. Vista has a neat option of allowing users to bulk up their memory count by adding flash drives and using them as, essentially removable memory sticks. I bought a 2 GB stick thinking I would see some added improvement to my computing, but I really didn't notice much difference. Perhaps this is due to my machine being 32-bit and already having 3 GB already. I'll be curious to see if Windows7 continues to have that option and whether or not I can bump up memory performance this way.
July 22, 2009 3:02:23 AM

Oh, and by the way. I completely intend on giving back to this community and my supporters by posting pictures and commentary on the building process and of course the build's perceived performance.
July 22, 2009 3:43:55 AM

skora said:
This is just enough to get this done after Mail In Rebates

E5200, antec 300 case with 430w psu $155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Gigabyte G31 $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 4gb DDR2-800 $55-$20 mir
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD 250gb HDD $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 4670 $60-$20mir
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total with shipping: $398 - $40 mir = $358

For this to be a decent system, you'll need to OC the Processor. You can get into the 3.0ghz range on the stock HSF, but if you want to push it into the upper 3.5+Ghz, you'll need a different HSF. This is one I use and its great for the price. $40-$15 mir.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or you can keep the stock HSF and put a little more into the graphics card and maybe get a 1gb 4670.


Concerning this build right here, I believe it has received the most thumbs up from reviewers. Do you think there would be a significant increase in graphics if I put up for the 1 GB 4670? Which card would you suggest? Would it be better to invest in two 512 MB cards? Would this build be able to handle cross-fire if I did move to put in another graphics card? I think I'm getting sucked into a new hobby here.

And concerning the advantage of Intel's overclocking ability, is it wiser to stick with this CPU rather than the AMD, if the AMD supports DDR3 memory (i.e. not the old gen memory technology)?

I went to Staples today to buy a router. I don't really know much about them, but I know that there is different types, speeds, etc. Feeling that I would like one I was trying to think of whether or not I would sacrifice download speeds by connecting to a slower router, if I wasn't using it as wirelessly, but hardwired. This is what I was trying to ask, but the gentlemen seemed to be in a bit of a hurry and not wanting to lecture really (I can sympathize, it was close to closing). He mentioned three different boxes, each with increasing speeds and ranges, at increasing prices. I bought a Netgear RangeMax 150.

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

I mentioned Diminishing Returns, the idea that there is a certain point where there the quality of something stops increasing so much with respect to increasing input, or price. I mentioned that a twenty dollar bottle of wine might taste two-fold better than a ten dollar bottle, but that a forty dollar bottle isn't necessarily twice as good as the twenty, and so on. I'm not really sure what the diminishing point return is for wine, though I really doubt I'd ever spend as much as forty dollars. I'm curious what one would taste like though. Nevertheless, I simply want to play the last generation set of games on my computer when a 2.0 GHZ computer with 3 GB memory was fast. Maybe Skora, you are setting me up with something much faster and eye-popping than that, though I'm trusting my intuition that says that whatever it will be it will be at least what I originally asked for; I'm confident it will be just looking at the CPU, RAM, and graphics card model--they all being faster and better performing than the components in my year old laptop.

From this experience I hope to learn and gather a better appreciation for how to stretch one's dollar in the computer market. This first step I'm making seems pretty simple, yet will greater increase my experience. And as I mentioned before, I intend on giving back by sharing my impressions concerning the whole project, from opening boxes, to playing the first game :wahoo: 

July 22, 2009 4:16:20 AM

skora said:
Hey Eric, All the parts I spec'd out are quality parts and choosen with OC'ing in mind. The PSU is powerful enough and the case is known for its good airflow and fans included with it.. Not sure where you picked up the info on gigabyte boards having issues because they are one of the best. That gigabyte board has been listed by some of the more knowledgeable around here as a great fit for the E5200. OCing on it is simple because it is a basic board and doesn't have voltage control. That's automated for you. You can't damage the system unless you forget to put on the fan. All you need to do is set the FSB. You'd just increase the FSB by a small amount, run a program to see if it is stable and another program to monitor the temps of the CPU. If it is stable and you have more room for temps, you increase the FSB more. Repeat until you either fail the stability test and go back to the last good FSB setting or until the temps get to a max safe level. Theres are other tweaks that can be done, but are not required to get a good OC. What's listed here is all that NEEDS to be done. Also, all the OC info you could want is available around here and lots of people to help you with the learning curve as you need it. I have the E5200 and it was easy to OC.

With the experience you have, you'll be fine on a case up build. Everything has plugs that can only fit where they are suppose to. Just some basic precautions for static and you'll be good to go.

Especially if you do OC, this system will run better than others think. You should be able to play all the games out now. You won't be able to max all the visual setting, but they will still look good and be playable.

To the 32bit vs 64bit Vista and software questions: Both 32 and 64 bits Vista will work fine. If you have 32bit, you're system will only use 3.25-3.5 gbs of ram instead of the full 4. But that is still more than enough. Vista will use 1-1.5 itself. That's why 2 gigs isn't enough, you have less than 1 for programs to run. But even with 32 bit and 1.5 used by vista, that still leaves you with around 2gbs for programs to run. Again, very much enough. Antivirus, use AVG FREE, office software, use Open Office (Free), CD/DVD software, free. cnet.com has lots of reviews and free softwares.

Hope this helps.


Wow, I can't believe how much I learned from this one post, having read it again.
July 22, 2009 12:34:53 PM

I'll respond to the questions as I read through this and then more onto the next question, sorry if this isn't a well organized response.

Combos will come and go. Best to do a fresh thread a day or two out right before you buy if you want help with changing some parts for others based on better cost and current combos.

As for the antec 300 case with the PSU, the case is a great case. Good cooling and room enough for your setup. That link includes both the case and PSU. You can buy either seperate if you want or choose other compents all together. Cases are very personal choices, and as long as they have some build quality, they generally will all work. PSU should have better quality in mind. Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, and Antec are usually the big three. Silverstone I think makes a nice unit too. OCZ is probably more in line with your budget and it is an acceptable line. While you can use a 300w PSU, I'd say get at least a 380w from any of the brands listed.

For the GPU questions:
That mobo will not support 2xcards. And at your budget level, don't worry about a multi card setup. With your monitor, you won't see any gains that you couldn't get with a little better GPU card. But with the limit to your budget, the 4670 will be fine. Before I bought the 1gb card for an extra $20, I'd rather see you get a a good cooling fan for the CPU. Either of these would work great. The more expensive one has free shipping, so it would be less than $10 to do the upgrade. It comes with good thermal paste, so you won't need to buy that either.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The question of AMD/Intel DDR2/DDR3 comes down to budget at this point. Give us a $350 limit made these decisions for me when I spec'd out the E5200. If you have a different budget, then those questions can be asked. But not for $350. If you have significantly found more money, might be worth starting a new thread.

For the router,I'm guessing there's much cheaper solutions available. I have a cable internet connection and my OLD MS 802.11b 10/100 router is more than enough to keep up with internet speeds. Post in the networking section what you bought, the gurus there will be more than happy to steer you towards the correct solution if you didn't find it already. Also, if you're gaming online, you'll want it hardwired anyway. Wireless can't really be reliable or have the speeds to compete.

For diminishing returns:
This setup is far from hitting that point where you're paying for power you don't need. I'd put this in the bargin/budget range which is maximizing the dollar and getting as much power as you can. You're not going to find much better of a CPU for $70 when you OC the E5200. Personally, if you're building a rig to last for a few years, the AMD Phenom II x3 is the lowest CPU I'd go with, but that would require more money. The E5200 will hold its own though and you're not paying for power you' aren't going to use.

Hope this answers some questions and creates some more. I pick up bits of info too by looking up answers to these questions too. So its a win-win.
July 22, 2009 5:01:21 PM

Contents of my Shopping Cart at Newegg. I'm going to wait until later this afternoon to hit the purchase button. Perhaps a scout will catch something that's wrong and I need to spend a little time making sure this is what I want to do.

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...

Combo
Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5C - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX PVT96OZDFU GeForce 9600 GSO 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty-World at war w/ purchase, limited offer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Retail: 424.93
Mail in Rebates: $55

Total cost: $364.93

With only a operating system to buy early next month

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

for $110


A little more than my original quote, but not drastically.
July 22, 2009 11:40:51 PM

Awright, let's get this party started.

Oops! Forgot about a DVD burner *palms his face*.

The Sata burners have are better choice because their wiring is less substantial, but I don't see one that is as inexpensive as the IDE and support both DVD and CD-R burning abilities. I'll stick with your pick Skora,

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


It seems to burn in all DVD formats which I didn't know was in issue before doing some review reading on some of the different brands. The only reason I have to burn DVDs is for storage really, though I might want to make a DVD that I can watch on my t.v. and playstation2. Another thing I like about these burners is being able to burn Cds. I like to listen to the Grateful Dead or Phish concerts from time to time, and though I've been playing them through my computer, via Winamp and my home stereo receiver (the computer is connected via a mini-with-audio-ends cord actually lengthened with a 6 ft rca cable connected via two female/female jacks), I'd like to just be able to pop a cd in instead of fussing with playlists and all that. Plus discs are portable: bring them to work, play in a car, send them to a friend; while unplugging my laptop from the seven cords connected to it, and yadda yadda, is a chore--yet its nice to have all my music in one place...

I hope this will let me burn CDs that will play on my home stereo, though it might be the brand of cd that may be causing the issue.
July 23, 2009 2:47:51 AM

So, where it stands right now, I've placed an order for most of the parts (all but the OS and DVD burner) so things might get to me by Saturday. I lent my camera to a friend and hopefully she'll bring it tomorrow or by Friday--I might be able to resist opening packages though I won't be able to do anything besides put most of the pieces together. I'm pretty excited!

I'm going to return most of the stuff I bought from Staples ($110) so I can get the OS as soon as the money posts to my account. I should have enough to buy the optical drive during that same time, likely Monday or Tuesday. I think they ship out of CA, so shipments will probably take the full 3 business days to reach me in NH. So...I probably won't get things cranking until a week from this Friday probably.

July 23, 2009 2:55:37 AM

Uh-Oh

There seems to be an incompatibility with the vid card and the PSU

I went ahead and bought this:

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

and it says Under System Requirements it states clearly that a 450Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express power connector recommended.

Will this make any difference? Or is that quote just a guideline?

I can return the vid card and get another if I have to, or maybe I can stop it
dead in its tracks if I call Newegg before they send it.

Is this a real issue?
July 23, 2009 4:13:27 AM

Your fine, that card does not pull much power and the PSU has a 6 pin power connector, just take into consideration that if you decide to upgrade the GPU in the future you will need to upgrade the PSU as well......
July 23, 2009 5:07:18 AM

Hey thanks for the reply.

I shouldn't discount Skora's recommendation so quickly perhaps.

Seeing that Regular next to your name is really affording me some piece of mind.

Man, you racked up some serious posts in the past 3 weeks brah!
July 23, 2009 5:27:57 AM

Thanks man, I really try my hardest to help peeps out, and I learn something new everyday myself... Its kinda addicting to me, but I get the satisfaction from peeps when they say " IT WORKED" and that is what drives me to keep on helping...

Skora's recommendation is a good one as well, but the best thing you can do is save up as much as you can to get the best price/performance ratio available. It is hard to build with a low budget and be satisfied in the long-run. If you can wait a tad and get a GTS 250/4850 it will make a HUGE difference and you will end up with something that will really last. Let me know if you need any help with anything.... and thanks again.....
July 23, 2009 12:12:22 PM

Sata's just easier for cable management and who knows how long IDE support will be on mobos. They still offer FDD on some, so maybe in 2023 we'll see the end of IDE. But you'll for sure be able to use the sata drive in your next build and it will be able to burn CDs for you to use in any CD player.

NEWEGG has a warehouse in NJ also (Trenton?) So maybe you're parts will get there sooner than later. Do you have access to a DVD burner now? If so, you can get Windows 7 RC on DVD and then you'll have some OS to start playing with till your Vista gets delivered. You'd have to reinstall Vista and start over, but only your patience level can determine if its worth it or not.

OvrClkr said:
Thanks man, I really try my hardest to help peeps out, and I learn something new everyday myself... Its kinda addicting to me, but I get the satisfaction from peeps when they say " IT WORKED" and that is what drives me to keep on helping...

Skora's recommendation is a good one as well, but the best thing you can do is save up as much as you can to get the best price/performance ratio available. It is hard to build with a low budget and be satisfied in the long-run. If you can wait a tad and get a GTS 250/4850 it will make a HUGE difference and you will end up with something that will really last. Let me know if you need any help with anything.... and thanks again.....


I love the "IT WORKED" post as well.

This was a tough one with the budget. The future upgrade path was addressed and the OP was given an AMD build to consider too. Just came down to budget. It really helps (and kudos to MassivePepper) when the OP does a lot of research themselves and askes questions. I don't fault MP at all for asking for other opinions or questioning mine. I could be (and am by some accounts, are) a complete nut running my mouth. Or I miss something like I did on the 3870 watt requirements. I don't see there being any problems, but it should have been answered before MP hit the buy button. Sorry for that.

I classify builds into 4 catagories. This was more of a bargin build with some budget upgrades.

1. Bargin - Just build a box that turns on and runs programs. Gaming at the 1280x1024 or 1400x900 resolutions usually. I find the E5200 base build to be a bargin, along with the GPUs offered in this thread. The PSU included with the case is bargin.

2. Budget - Maximize the price/performance ratio and have some upgrade path. Gaming at 1680x1050. Right now, AM3 with DDR3 is a must for upgrading. While there isn't a performance gain with the DDR3, it could be used on the next gen AMD CPUs. If they continue with their backward compatible philosophy, then the AM4 cpus could have the next gen Ram and DDR3 controllers on the chip. If you spend a little extra now, then you have the ram for the next gen CPU if it does play out that way. So the AMD Phenom II x3 is the lowest I'd put i a budget build at this time. Also, the 4850 can't be stopped at $80 amir. The Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer is a great budget HSF. Even though the PSU was bargin, I put the Antec 300 case here in budget. Great airflow with the 2 included fans.

3. Gamer - With Price/Performance in mind, its more about getting great performance. Gaming at 1920x1050-1200. The upgrade path isn't as neccessary in this bracket. Gamers aren't usually early adopters of next gen tech, but willing to do a full platform upgrade instead of just a component or too.

4. Enthusiast - Whats price? Performance at most any level. These are the ones buying multi GPU systems and more CPU than they'll ever use. Gaming at 2600x1600.

Here's a side thought also, after 2 years, most enthusiast products would drop down into the Budget range for a few years to get some extra life out of them. But gamer parts would drop down to bargin parts after a few years since the tech will be below best price/performance by the time the gamer upgrades. Random thoughts that really don't have anything to do with anything.
July 24, 2009 4:30:50 AM

Quote:
NEWEGG has a warehouse in NJ also (Trenton?) So maybe you're parts will get there sooner than later


This would be just fine. I ordered the DVD drive just now--early Friday morning. There's no reason why I shouldn't run the Windows7 RC, it seems perfectly suited to my current situation. It will certainly hold me off until the beginning of August when I have money to spend again.

Quote:
I classify builds into 4 catagories. This was more of a bargin build with some budget upgrades.


I'm already wishing I hadn't gone full Bargain (lol), but I'm pretty sure I'm going to really enjoy this build and I may be able to use some of the parts if I want to move up into higher realms.

Quote:
2. Budget - Maximize the price/performance ratio and have some upgrade path. Gaming at 1680x1050. Right now, AM3 with DDR3 is a must for upgrading. While there isn't a performance gain with the DDR3, it could be used on the next gen AMD CPUs. If they continue with their backward compatible philosophy, then the AM4 cpus could have the next gen Ram and DDR3 controllers on the chip. If you spend a little extra now, then you have the ram for the next gen CPU if it does play out that way. So the AMD Phenom II x3 is the lowest I'd put i a budget build at this time. Also, the 4850 can't be stopped at $80 amir. The Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer is a great budget HSF. Even though the PSU was bargin, I put the Antec 300 case here in budget. Great airflow with the 2 included fans.


Good stuff. This kind of banter makes me want to investigate more. I'm being lured.
Are there any good tech magazines that cover this kind of info? Wired? PC-magazine? I'll have to take a look next time I hit up the grocer or bookstore.
!