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$500-800 gaming PC

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July 29, 2009 7:02:43 PM

I'll use the great template that was posted to make this easier. :) 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: tomorrow

BUDGET RANGE: US$500-750

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming (primarily Sims 3), image-editing (Photoshop or the like), surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, ncix.com, anything that comes highly recommended

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, if it's easy/safe to do

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: quiet would be nice, but not mandatory

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Parts I've picked out so far:

Antec NSK 4480 II Black & Silver 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case EarthWatts 380W Power Supply - Retail
89.99

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM
23.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
74.99

HIS H485QT512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported IceQ4 Turbo Video Card - Retail
70.00!? (in my cart there's $60 instant savings instead of 30)

OCZ Blade Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model OCZ2B800C54GK - Retail
49.99

ASUS P5QL/EPU LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
79.99

Intel Pentium E6300 Wolfdale 2.8GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E6300 - Retail
83.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
109.99

Tax: 45.00
Shipping: 29.89

Current total: $687.81

I'm building this as a birthday gift for my fiancée. I'm pretty sure the only PC games she plays are sims related, so if it can run the Sims 3 at top or near-top settings that'd be awesome.

Any comments or critiques of this build would be hugely appreciated! I'm especially interested in any incapatibilities that I've missed, or anyone's experience with these parts.

Thanks! :) 

More about : 500 800 gaming

July 29, 2009 7:27:22 PM

I think a triple core CPU would work better for her intended use, especially since she'll be doing image editing. You might even want to squeeze a quad core in. Here's a nice build that comes in considerably under your $750 - $800 limit:

Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P16004GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $208.99 (CPU + RAM combo)

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99

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...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (Includes free Windows 7 updrade coupon)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $179.98 (HD + OS combo)

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $26.99

Total - $675.93

A Phenom II X4 955 only raises the price by $61 if you use this combo:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $269.99 (CPU + RAM combo)

That would put your total at $736.93 and would be an excellent performer.
July 29, 2009 8:01:49 PM

I agree with shortstuff that your fiancee may appreciate another core (or two) for her intended uses. I'd even trust the Antec Basiq PSU in that case, even though Earthwatts are better. In your place, I think I'd use his build, but go with the X4 955 combo. If that's pushing your budget a little harder than you like, you can save $30 or so by playing the rebate game on a HD4670; it will be fine for her, although a 4850 for $90 is excellent.
July 29, 2009 8:07:32 PM

You're gonna be a great husband.

This totally beats any ring in my book (although I am a guy).
July 29, 2009 8:13:59 PM

lol@Bert R!
If you'd prefer the better PSU, get this Antec Sonata III case with a 500W Earthwatts: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It is $110, but the quality is superb. I used this case/PSU for my wife's PC (yep, me too!), and it is very solid and very quiet.
July 30, 2009 1:24:32 AM

Haha, thanks Bert!

And thanks for the replies so far, guys.

shortstuff_mt, how come you switched out my 4850 GPU for that one? There's a $20 price increase (keeping in mind that my card was only $70 in my cart, despite what it says pre-cart). I'm not trying to be snarky, though: I've always been leery of graphics cards, and yours could easily be better. There's so many different manufacturers and I can never tell the difference between cards with the same name.

Combining your guys's suggestions with some price saving measures of my own, how does this sound:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
$215.00

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

HIS H485QT512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported IceQ4 Turbo Video Card - Retail
$70.00!? (in my cart there's $60 instant savings instead of 30)

OCZ Blade Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model OCZ2B800C54GK - Retail
49.99 ($10 MIR makes it $39.99)

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...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (Includes free Windows 7 updrade coupon)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $179.98 (HD + OS combo)

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $26.99

Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
109.99

subtotal: $761.93

That'll cover both a CPU and case/PSU splurge, but hopefully it'll be worth it.
July 30, 2009 1:29:21 AM

You're also being charged for the game although it's "free" that's why the price discrepancy. That build will rock, well worth the extra $80 or so you spent.
July 30, 2009 1:48:25 AM

Aha! Wow, thanks dirtmountain; it's funny how many times I looked at that cart and never saw the game's price in there. :)  Since it's a game I don't want, that "extra" 29.99 in savings doesn't make much sense. In that case, is shortstuff_mt's version of the graphics card any different?
July 30, 2009 2:01:47 AM

where can I get a girlfriend who buys me computers?

+1 for the AMD builds
July 30, 2009 3:18:52 AM

Both are top quality cards, I really like the consistent quality i've seen in my XFX cards and their warranty, but the ICQ from HIS are also very good. It's a toss up. Between those 2 cards there isn't a bad choice.
July 30, 2009 4:38:09 AM

The DDR2 RAM you picked is not compatible with your AM3 motherboard. The "3" in the name indicates it requires DDR3 RAM.
July 30, 2009 5:15:54 AM

A possible config perhaps?
July 30, 2009 7:33:46 AM

Oh man! Thanks shortstuff_mt; I never would have noticed that, and that would have been pretty terrible to plug that in and not have it work.

I'm really liking the look of that build, batuchka. As far as I can tell, you swapped in the 4870 GPU by saving money on the CPU, and even more on that combo? If that's the only tradeoff that sounds great to me, especially since it's cheaper than my previous build (which wouldn't have even worked, haha).

And thanks for the video card info, dirtmountain!

Unless someone sees a strong reason not to, I think I'll be using batuchka's build. Missing the DDR3 thing means I probably shouldn't trust myself to make changes, haha.
July 30, 2009 9:51:28 AM

The only problem with Nolancamp2's build is it uses an old, inferior PSU. It isn't 80+, doesn't have Active PFC, and is probably overrated. As such, it won't be suitable for a 4870 for any length of time. Stick with the Sonata III. Batuchka's offering looks good.
July 30, 2009 2:40:38 PM

Yup, that POS Cooler Master PSU doesn't stand a chance of delivering clean power to that system. At best you would have an unstable system. At worst you'd have a quite impressive indoor fireworks show. :) 
July 30, 2009 2:58:03 PM

stick with batuchka's build. though I, personally, wouldn't trust just a 500W power supply with those kinds of amps. It should work.
July 31, 2009 9:06:09 AM

Awesome, thanks for all the help guys. :) 

I'm going with batuchka's, and it will be awesome. I do appreciate the suggestion though, nolancamp2, and everyone else that's shared opinions!
July 31, 2009 9:46:39 AM

Have fun with your build. Tell us how it goes.
July 31, 2009 9:33:37 PM

So I probably shouldn't have posted that until after I completed the purchase. Turns out I can't buy from newegg and ship to the US, since my billing address is Canadian (I thought Paypal would work, but unfortunately not). Since she lives in the US, this is a pretty key step.

That said, I believe I'll be able to have one of her relatives buy it for me and then pay them back when we head down there for my fiancee's birthday in a couple weeks. The problem now is that the awesome CPU/motherboard deal has disappeared. :( 

What kind of experiences have you guys had with newegg's shipping recently? From what I can tell it's gone from excellent to pretty bad in the last year or so, but I may be way off base here. When should I order so that this stuff is shipped to New Jersey by August 17th? (As that will give me a couple days to put it together and get it running.)

And since batuchka's deal is gone, it looks like I'll be going with shortstuff_mt's original plan, with the Phenom II X4 in it, unless more great deals pop up before I work out how to finally buy this.
July 31, 2009 9:52:03 PM

New deals will pop up, it just takes a few days to a week or so usually. I've had no trouble with neweggs shipping. There are a few single items such as hard drives or motherboards that if shipping solo i might opt for more expensive shipping, but usually in a full system order everything is packed and shipped in a larger box. Having friends that work for UPS i've heard enough stories about "package soccer" that there's always risks in shipping, but i'm not sure what, if anything, newegg can do about it.
!