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$300 Budget Gaming PC - Possible?

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August 5, 2009 1:12:21 AM

*Sorry for not using the template at first! I'm new here and hadn't seen the "How To Ask For Help" thread yet! Anyway, here it is:*

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ~2 weeks BUDGET RANGE: $350ish Cheaper the better

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Coding, Movies, Internet usage

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS, HD if the rest of the build is compatible with Ultra ATA.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.newegg.com or www.tigerdirect.com since I have accounts already and I am familiar with them, but I am open to others if the prices are better.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Most likely AMD processor and ATI graphics, but only because of price! If there is a good deal/price on comparably performing Intel or nVidia, I would rather buy those. Essentially, I have no preference.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (not a priority, but I could get into it in the future) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (not for the initial build, but I would like the capability there if it doesn't add to the cost)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 (for now, monitor will be upgraded in the future)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I'm in the process of reading through the "Guide to Choosing Parts" right now, but I'm still not sure where to start as far as processors/motherboards. I have found a graphics card and a few other parts that I would like opinions on for this application:

GPU:
ASUS EN9600GSO/DI/512MD3/V2 GeForce 9600 GSO 512MB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
VisionTek 900225 Radeon HD 3650 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
Rosewill TU-155 Black 0.8mm SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with 400W(20+4 pin) Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
LOGISYS Computer CS305BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Enhanced SOHO Computer Case 480W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
PNY 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model MD4096KD2-800 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Desktop+Memory)-_-PNY+Technologies++Inc.-_-20178219

None of these are set in stone!! I'm just looking for advice, how to get the best "bang for my buck" and some direction where to take this build.



Original Post:

I'm interested in building my first computer, and my budget is quite low. I currently have a Dell XPS M1730 laptop, with a Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz processor, 2 GB RAM, and an nVidia GeForce 8700m GT graphics card, but the computer is much too large, and not portable enough to cover my needs (computer science student, need a laptop to bring to class), but I love the gaming. As such, I have decided to sell the XPS, and purchase a used Macbook to cover my schoolwork and portability needs, and use the leftover money from this purchase to build a desktop for the occasional Windows needs and gaming. Because of this the budget will be quite low, and I'm just wondering if it is possible to build a desktop with comparable performance to my current laptop with <$350?

What I would like:
Processor - At least 2 cores, comparable performance to the T8300 2.4 GHz processor in my XPS
GPU - Again, comparable or better performance to the GeForce 8700m GT.
RAM - Probably 4 GB
HD - I have a 250 GB Ultra ATA drive laying around that I could use as long as everything else is compatible

Any direction/advice would be much appreciated. Like I said, this is my first build, so I'm not really clear on how to tell which components will be compatible with each other, and don't want to miss important parts. I have a monitor and mouse, and a keyboard will be no major problem. Thank you!

More about : 300 budget gaming

August 5, 2009 1:56:40 AM

Updated original post to match proper format - sorry!
August 5, 2009 1:57:18 AM

Honestly, for the best gaming at a $300 price point, you should be looking at getting an Xbox 360... Budget gaming rigs usually start around $500, and you will be making notable sacrifices. They handle current gen. PC games, though will have difficulty with next gen. titles without a few upgrades.

If you can get really nice deals on newegg or tigerdirect, you might just barely hit your $350 budget, but an OS disc will put you over budget unless you are fine with using an illegal copy. I guess you could use linux, and emulate windows under Wine, getting games to work will be a craps shoot, but you'll probably learn plenty for your comp sci major with all the effort that would take :) 

Another option that you can try, check fleabay for some damaged systems. If you're lucky, you can get a serviceable case with some cosmetic damage, a functioning PSU, a CD-ROM all for cheap relative to buying new. Be aware that these items may be very broken and you end up replacing anyway, so bid accordingly if you want to try for cheap essential hardware. A generic case, PSU, and CD-ROM will cost about $100 new, and you'll need those for any desktop you plan to build.

As for reusing that old HD, I'd actually say buy a new one. Even the cheapest $50 bargain bin drive you can find right now will be better for a gaming rig than that drive. Spend $20 more and you can get one with pretty decent capacity.

Another possible bonus to buying a parts computer off ebay is you might get a valid windows XP license key. I've bought 3 broken computers off ebay in the past, and two of them had keys I was able to reuse. The third was a busted up Acer, and the key must have been only usable for the motherboard it was installed on. Still, it could save you $60 or so on your OS if you get lucky.
Related resources
August 5, 2009 2:11:55 AM

Here's a try... It comes to $289 with onboard graphics, but I figured you could upgrade a lot of it later as needed i.e. add a graphics card such as the 4830/50, add two gb more ram, upgrade the processor, etc. But for now the onboard graphics, 4200, are quite good as far as onboard goes. If you add two gb more ram and throw in a 4670 then it comes to $368, so I'll leave that up to you. Anyways, here's the parts:

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI R4670-2D512/D3 Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Finally, add $25-$50 for a case that you can pick out. Hope this helps some!

Edit: Just noticed I posted the 4gb RAM, here's the 2gb if you want to save $25 for now:

OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 5, 2009 2:21:18 AM

jbakerlent said:
Here's a try... It comes to $289 with onboard graphics, but I figured you could upgrade a lot of it later as needed i.e. add a graphics card such as the 4830/50, add two gb more ram, upgrade the processor, etc. But for now the onboard graphics, 4200, are quite good as far as onboard goes. If you add two gb more ram and throw in a 4670 then it comes to $368, so I'll leave that up to you. Anyways, here's the parts:

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI R4670-2D512/D3 Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Finally, add $25-$50 for a case that you can pick out. Hope this helps some!


That's a pretty good start, since price is key on this build, I'd also keep an eye out for rebate items and the often overlooked free shipping. I know there's plenty of people who hate rebates and will choose different hardware so they aren't "loosing out" on the savings by not having to complete them. I've probably filled out 10 rebates since last year, and got back maybe $250 so they are worth it if you take the time and follow up on them. The rebates newegg gets have always gone smoothly for me, and I never had a problem getting my money back from any of them.
August 5, 2009 3:52:28 AM

Thanks so much guys!

jbakerlent: That system so far looks like exactly what I needed to get started - with plenty of room for upgrading later. A question for now - what caliber of games would the onboard graphics card be able to run? Any source-engine games? or would the computer be basically useless for gaming/video use until I put a dedicated GPU in? What performance level would the 4670 bring the computer to? Is anything missing that I would need to purchase separately (mounting screws, fans for the case, etc.)?

wathman: I considered just purchasing an xBox, but after online fees, and considering that most of the games I play are online, and steam-based, I decided that wouldn't really be a solution to losing my XPS. I definitely keep my eyes out for free shipping deals, but haven't had much luck as far as online mail-in-rebates go, though I haven't tried any through newegg before.

Thanks again!
August 5, 2009 4:11:40 AM

the 4670 would provide a huge difference in performance over the integrated chipset. It would probably be able to play most source engine games.

However, if you can wait until you have the money to buy a new card, it would be so much more worth it.
August 5, 2009 4:25:25 AM

dna708 said:
the 4670 would provide a huge difference in performance over the integrated chipset. It would probably be able to play most source engine games.

However, if you can wait until you have the money to buy a new card, it would be so much more worth it.

More worth it to buy the 4670? or something else?
I would definitely not use the integrated chipset for long, it would be a very temporary solution. I meant to ask about the 4670 compared to the others I found though because I was looking at cards that are cheaper, namely the nVidia 9600 GSO (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), and I'm not sure how they compare. If I went with the 9600, and got a smaller HD, I could probably go with a discrete GPU right away.
August 5, 2009 6:59:23 AM

Integrated certainly won't be amazing, but it will work ok on lower settings. I have never used a 4200 first hand, and they are pretty new, so I can't really say for sure. Here is one review: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd_785g_performanc.... I would say, stick with 2gb of RAM and use the money you save to help pay for a 4670. Also, if you have a ODD laying around you could save some money on that as well...
August 5, 2009 10:07:16 AM

Hmm if i understand correctly u have an operational HDD? If so consider reusing it and a suggested config :p 

HD 4650 = 9600GSO so can do on 1280 x 1024 i guess hehe
+1 on reusing ODD too - can slap on 2GB more RAM maybe ^^
August 5, 2009 1:22:26 PM

The HD3300 integrated video on a 790GX is a little better than the HD4200 on the 785G, but any IGP uses some of your memory, so you'll want 4GB rather than 2GB. If you pay for a discrete GPU, you can more easily get by with only 2GB of RAM.
The old Rosewill PSUs, and any Logisys, are utter garbage. Following will be a cheap build...
August 5, 2009 2:01:59 PM

This is the cheapest build I think I could do today. Since "cheap" is the #2 criterion (behind only a requirement for quality / fitness), it has plenty of room for improvement.

AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDX545WFGIBOX - Retail
Model #:HDX545WFGIBOX
Item #:N82E16819103694
Along with no discrete video, the most painful part of this build. You could save $10 and drop to a Regor 250, but I would find that excruciating, and not worth it. I'd really rather get a 720BE X3 here, but its price was just jacked to $125, putting it out of reach.

$89.99 $89.99

Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R102-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147111
I've had good results from every cheap Rosewill case I've ever bought.

$29.99 $29.99

BIOSTAR TA790GX XE AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:TA790GX XE
Item #:N82E16813138140
Biostar isn't my first choice (Gigabyte or ASRock/Asus), but it isn't my last either. This one should be sufficient. The integrated HD3300 graphics can handle some gaming, especially at only 1280x1024.

$94.99 -$10.00 Instant $84.99

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:EA380
Item #:N82E16817371005
To my mind, there is no excuse to accept less in a PSU than 80+ and Active PFC. Anything else is probably garbage, not suitable to power a computer. This one is able to power even a 4850, although for longevity, I'd look at getting a bigger one for anything more power-hungry than a 4830.

$59.99 -$10.00 Instant $49.99

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996557 - Retail
Model #:996557
Item #:N82E16820146692
The new AMD chips can run DDR2-1066 (or DDR3), but this is a budget choice. Look for other deals, and maybe save $5 or so, but I've had good results with Mushkin RAM.

$52.99 $52.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:WD3200AAKS
Item #:N82E16822136074
Sticking with an old PATA drive is a truly desperate measure with decent drives this cheap, but you could always get it later...

$54.99 -$5.00 Instant $49.99

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:SH-S223L
Item #:N82E16827151188
Eh. Samsung, LG, Lite-On; I don't see much different among any of the optical drives I've used.

$28.99 $28.99

Subtotal: $386.93
You can lower this some by deleting a couple things you may not need, but it may just be better to wait until you can afford this (plus some upgrades). First upgrade would probably be a discrete GPU. A 4670 is an excellent budget choice. Second would be a faster CPU, like a 720BE.

August 6, 2009 3:33:25 PM

Is the Callisto really that much better than a Regor? What would the main benefit be? Also, wouldn't this not work with the motherboard listed (AM3 processor vs AM2+/AM2 mobo)? I've just started getting into all of this so I really have no idea, just trying to be safe.

Thanks again so far!
August 6, 2009 4:45:30 PM

Right. I don't think that the CPU isn't compatible with the mobo. AM3 CPU to Biostar AM2+/AM2 mobo doesn't make sense.

For the same price range, should this be good.

ASRock A790GMH/128M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 6, 2009 5:34:06 PM

Either motherboard is fine because am3 CPUs fit in am2+ sockets although some may require an update first. Anyways the callisto's main advantage comes from it's l3 cache.
August 6, 2009 5:39:39 PM

jbakerlent said:
Either motherboard is fine because am3 CPUs fit in am2+ sockets. I honestly have no idea what udaman means by it not making sense. Anyways the callisto's main advantage comes from it's l3 cache.


Hey, it is from the lack of experience. Sorry for that. No intention to offend anyone.
August 6, 2009 6:11:25 PM

No worries were all still learning
August 6, 2009 7:32:30 PM

Ok, this took a while. I've trimmed it down as much as possible. Went through several configs to get the cheapest deal I could find. This is re-using your cuurent HDD, and does not include a keyboard or mouse.

Combo:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK - Retail
HIS H465FS512P Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-M61PME-S2P AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


LG 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...

That mobo should work with your current HDD. The total is $351.92 including shipping. Don't think it can get any better than that.

August 6, 2009 11:23:17 PM

No offense taken by me either, udaman.
AMDThunder, I'm not sure that ancient-chipset mobo will support the newest CPUs, even though it is AM3. It also only has 1000MHz HyperTransport, instead of the 2600MHz of more modern boards. The 4650 may or may not be strong enough. You've certainly got the price down, but I suspect the resulting system may offer too many regrets concerning performance. @OP, if the budget is that tight, maybe you'd like to wait until you can add another $100 to it if possible.
August 6, 2009 11:29:25 PM

Good catch, jtt. Didn't notice the HT on that board. Still, another $20 - $30 for a mobo and he's there. If he can come up with another $50, get a DDR3 mobo and upgrade the RAM.
August 7, 2009 12:07:52 AM

The actual budget depends on how much I can sell my current laptop for (Dell M1730 XPS) and how cheap I can find a Macbook Pro on eBay for. I was very close to getting one for $800 earlier today, which would have bumped the budget up considerably. Thanks again guys, there are a lot of good places to start from so far! I'm just waiting to see exactly how much I can spend on parts and then I'll start figuring out the final configuration..
August 7, 2009 12:10:05 AM

This sort of build IS the most challenging.
My own "Green Gamer" project has been largely a test of the minimalist approach. I recently decided that the 4850e in it was not enough CPU, but so far the HD4670 has been enough for my games, but I don't play any current shooters.
August 10, 2009 5:36:26 PM

That does look like a very good deal, assuming you will add a discrete GPU. Otherwise, the HD3300 IGP on a 790GX board will be stronger.
August 17, 2009 5:09:05 AM

Any thoughts on any of these combos as a starting point?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$225 - $35 MIR, for Mobo, HD, processor, and ram - but is the mobo compatible with the processor? (AM2+/AM2 mobo, AM3 processor)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$157 - $10 MIR for mobo, processor, ram

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$180 - $20 MIR for mobo, processor, ram

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$165 - $8 MIR for mobo, processor, ram

I got a Macbook Pro for relatively cheap, and will be selling my current computer within the next week, so I should be able to get started soon..
August 17, 2009 5:31:14 AM

ECS motherboards are complete crap. Let us know what that final budget is. I'd stay away from the 775 socket if you can.
August 17, 2009 9:18:36 AM

That particular ECS does have solid caps, but the reviews are all over the place, which does suggest quality issues to me.
August 26, 2009 10:01:44 PM

Just thought I'd update you guys with what I ended up going with (just ordered 20 minutes ago):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Recertified: XFX PV-T98G-YDL GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLMAX CU-700B 700W ATX 12V V2.2/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N800SR4GK - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XION Solaris XON-403 Black with Green LED Light Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail


Came to $480 after shipping - $30 MIR - $20 PayPal Cash Back = $430. Quite a bit over the $300, but I think it will work out. Thoughts?
August 26, 2009 10:16:36 PM

I lvoe it when people ask for help/opinions, then do something completely different. There were other builds spec'd for you for less money and probably better quality.

PSU, terrible choice.
Recertified 9800GT, fail.

Not bad overall, but I'm pretty sure you could have done better for the money you spent.
August 26, 2009 10:21:46 PM

A Chokemax PSU (blew up in this review: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=... )...a previous generation, hot-running CPU...RAM that won't run on the JEDEC standard 1.8V...
Well, the Chokemax won't be loaded at all by this rig, and the mobo and GPU are reasonable choices. I wouldn't have bought some of these parts, but I won't go so far as to say it will suck. It is upgradable, as budget allows.
August 26, 2009 10:29:43 PM

jbakerlent said:
Here's a try... It comes to $289 with onboard graphics, but I figured you could upgrade a lot of it later as needed i.e. add a graphics card such as the 4830/50, add two gb more ram, upgrade the processor, etc. But for now the onboard graphics, 4200, are quite good as far as onboard goes. If you add two gb more ram and throw in a 4670 then it comes to $368, so I'll leave that up to you. Anyways, here's the parts:

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI R4670-2D512/D3 Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Finally, add $25-$50 for a case that you can pick out. Hope this helps some!

Edit: Just noticed I posted the 4gb RAM, here's the 2gb if you want to save $25 for now:

OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Great build but the OP doesnt need a hard drive . The money saved can buy him a 4850 , and maybe updare the Regor to the 250 model , or the 545 Callisto?
August 26, 2009 10:46:53 PM

COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Comput
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE 100255HDMI Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX250OCGQBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Subtotal: $438.94
August 26, 2009 10:59:11 PM

is that ram compatible with that build? someone told me you need 4 ghz for 1066. not sure if its true or not...lol
August 26, 2009 11:31:38 PM

It's too late. He already ordered.
August 27, 2009 12:09:37 AM

You can cancel an order.
August 27, 2009 12:26:07 AM

Which part doesn't compatible with the ram?
August 27, 2009 12:26:17 AM

What's wrong with the recertified 9800? Everything else in that price range was either the 9600 GSO or a something along the lines of a 4650 from ATI..

I decided on that PSU because someone I know has the same one in an SLI build and said he has never had problems with it, and with the rebate, it ended up being one of the cheapest.

Will that RAM be ok? The MOBO does say "DDR2 1066" for the "memory standard," but I figured if it was DDR2 it would work anyway..

I can always cancel..
August 27, 2009 2:14:22 AM

Try this. $4 more than yours and a better rig overall. I don't normally do this stuff at home, but I think its worth it in this case.

XION Solaris XON-403 Black with Green LED Light Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI 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...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Combo:
AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDX545WFGIBOX - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Combo:
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Much better PSU and the 4850 will smoke the recert. 9800GT. You said in your orginal post you had a hard drive. Should be able to use it to save another $50. Use it to get the mobo you linked in your last list if you don't like the micro board. But the 785G gives a great combo for the 545 Calisto. Very worth it IMO. Total shipped is $484.91 minus $20 MIR and your other discounts. Well worth the extra $5.
August 27, 2009 2:37:12 AM

To start off, you're not going have a decent gaming PC at that pricepoint. You're probably better off with a console.

If you really want PC, just build something that you can upgrade slowly after time. Don't buy cheap parts as it will end up costing you more in the long run.
August 27, 2009 2:40:13 AM

mobo360 said:
To start off, you're not going have a decent gaming PC at that pricepoint. You're probably better off with a console.

If you really want PC, just build something that you can upgrade slowly after time. Don't buy cheap parts as it will end up costing you more in the long run.


Did you read the whole thread, or just pick and choose? He already bumped himself to $480. That's enough to get himself a decent gaming rig. PC > console any day.
August 27, 2009 2:52:50 AM

AMDThunder said:
Did you read the whole thread, or just pick and choose? He already bumped himself to $480. That's enough to get himself a decent gaming rig. PC > console any day.
I didn't really read through the whole thread no..Sorry about that. What someone mentioned up there is pretty good, better than what I'm getting for $570 CAD with no GPU... Ahh it's my first build so mistakes are okay!
August 27, 2009 3:35:19 AM

I cancelled the order - I won't know until tomorrow if the cancellation went through, but if it does, I'll most likely end up with the last configuration you listed, AMDThunder. Just a couple of questions - I'm already stretching the budget, and textbooks cost less than I expected this semester, so since that 4850 is $95, I can spare a little more $$ to just spring for a better one if it's really worth it, so would one of the other 4850's be a better choice? Specifically:

1GB Onboard, and OC'd to 640 MHz for $99 after rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1GB Onboard, with Glaciator Fansink for $105 after rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or maybe one of the other 4850s, or another card < $110 or $115? I don't know much about which brands have better reputations, or how to tell which individual instance of a GPU would be best.

Regardless, thanks a lot for the help!
August 27, 2009 4:05:50 AM

Also, it seems like people have run into some space issues with that Micro ATX board and a card like the 4850.. would it be worth a little more money for a non-micro just to guarantee everything will fit? And if so, what would be a decent pick (all of the combos with that processor and a non-micro atx board are ecs motherboards, and those don't seem to have the greatest reputation here. The other choices for the combo would force me to spend more on DDR3 RAM as well)?

I can't re-use that hard drive I had, I sold it to a friend because one of theirs went bad and they needed a quick replacement, but I'll end up even if I buy that 320 GB Western Digital.

Thanks again.
August 27, 2009 5:21:18 AM

I have no idea about the MSI vid cards. The Sapphire is good and about the same price, but no rebate. Its late and I'm tired. I'll look again in the morning.
August 27, 2009 10:14:02 AM

The only thing I don't like about the last build is the RAM. It needs a whopping 2.2V to operate at its advertised timings, which means it will run hot and need manual attention to set up after every CMOS reset. Good DDR2-800 that can be OC'ed if desired, but is stable with good timings on the JEDEC standard 1.8V (e.g. mushkin or g.skill) would be a safer choice.
August 27, 2009 3:01:43 PM

An ATX mobo is going to push you into the $500 range. I've not heard any issues about the 4800 series being an issue on micro boards. Maybe in a micro ATX case, but not if you're using a midtower like the Xion. I'll keep looking to see what I can come up with, but I think that's your best bet. G. Skill and Mushkin are both good RAM choices for as well.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$8 more but has free shipping.

Going with the faster 4850 1GB is up to you. It is your money. :)  But I'd recommend the Sapphire.

SAPPHIRE 100258-1GHDMI Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 27, 2009 3:41:52 PM

AMDThunder said:
An ATX mobo is going to push you into the $500 range. I've not heard any issues about the 4800 series being an issue on micro boards. Maybe in a micro ATX case, but not if you're using a midtower like the Xion. I'll keep looking to see what I can come up with, but I think that's your best bet. G. Skill and Mushkin are both good RAM choices for as well.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$8 more but has free shipping.

Going with the faster 4850 1GB is up to you. It is your money. :)  But I'd recommend the Sapphire.

SAPPHIRE 100258-1GHDMI Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I like the 2nd-slot cooling on that 1GB Sapphire card, but the memory clock is half of that of the MSI/ASUS cards - would that make a noticeable difference, or is Sapphire a solid-enough brand that it would be worth it to go for that card over the others regardless? Sorry for all of the questions, but I'm spending quite a bit more than I originally planned, and want to make sure I do it right now.
August 27, 2009 3:57:11 PM

All of those cards are basically the same. Someone else may be able ot get into the details of how the memory clocks are listed. I did notice on one of the ASUS cards, it listed to memory clock as 1993Mhz (effective). That leads me to believe its all in how you list your specs.
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