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<$400 general use/gaming computer

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July 22, 2009 5:51:19 AM

Sup. I'm gonna be building my first computer and need some help choosing parts. So:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime next week

BUDGET RANGE: ~$400 (USD)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: general use, gaming, a bit of audio editing, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: my loyalties lie squarely with whoever can get me the biggest bang for my buck

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (never have before, but willing to try)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: not necessary

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768 atm, but planning to upgrade the monitor later

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm hoping to be able to upgrade this computer and keep it for a good while. Also I'd like to have a window in the case (and preferably blue lights), but that's just aesthetics.

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here's what I've found:

AMD Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition Kuma 2.8GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail

XFX PVT96OZDFU GeForce 9600 GSO 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM

RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power Supply - Retail


so that's what I've found so far. What do you guys think? thanks in advance for the help :D 
July 22, 2009 6:31:32 AM

Looks good to me... though I don't know if it will provide maximum gaming performance. Have you also checked your motherboard's QVL, to see if the RAM is fully tested and thus compatible with your mobo.
July 22, 2009 6:43:01 AM

Everything looks good but I don't suggest going with a Raidmax PSU. Try to pick something from Antec, PCP&C, Corsair etc.
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July 22, 2009 7:35:16 AM

thanks for the quick replies.
@r_manic : yeah, I'm not looking to run Crysis with max settings, if the copy of COD World at War that comes with the graphics card runs well, I'll be a happy man :)  I hadn't though to check the mobo's qvl, but if I read it correctly just now, the RAM should work fine.
@AKM880: thanks for the tip. One question I have is how strong of a PSU do I need. The Newegg PSU calculator suggested 380 watts, but is 400 watts enough, or should I go for a ~450-500 watt psu? (I'm looking at this psu if 400 watts is enough)
July 22, 2009 3:16:15 PM

One more thing you can change is the graphic card.
Yours is a DDR2 card.
The 1GB memory sounds good but is not useful.
Get a 512 MB DDR3 card like HD 4670 or 9600GT.
They will perform much better than That 9600GSO.
July 22, 2009 3:19:56 PM

The thing about psu's is not the wattage, but the amps the +12 rails provide...and also the quality of the product...some of the cheap psu's are made out of crappy materials that dont last long, and in the end can end up damaging some computer components...

I personally decided to go with a Raidmax PSU and havent had any problems with it for over a year now (*knock on wood*) but that was because I really couldnt afford anything else and at the time and the PSU I got was on too good of a sale to pass up...
July 22, 2009 3:45:05 PM

The 400CX is fine, I have one in my rig which is similar to yours. And +1 to getting a GDDR3 card. 1GB is a waste at this price point.
July 22, 2009 3:55:54 PM

I suggest you checkout this combo deal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.212284

getting this combo not only gives you a beefier processor, but also gives you the chance in trying to unlock the other two cores the X2 550 has (although it isnt guaranteed that they will work)...even if the extra cores dont work, you will have a better gaming processor anyways...I just wanted to throw that out there...
July 22, 2009 11:01:06 PM
July 23, 2009 4:59:36 AM

+1 to the CPU upgrade to the Calisto. It'll be worth it. If you need to save a few dollars, wait a week. Do it right the first time, or you'll be looking to upgrade later, which means buying new parts.
July 23, 2009 2:52:08 PM

^exactly...the X2 550 is definitely worth it
!