$500 budget gaming pc

iAPPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime during the next week

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

BUDGET RANGE: around $500

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (i have win xp. havent decided if its worth upgrading to vista)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference

OVERCLOCKING: i dont know anything aout overclocking but would like to learn
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024, i dont think my current monitor can go higher than 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: im new to pc building but i do have some experience adding expansion cards, memory and such. after doing some research here is what i put together.

Case and psu combo:
COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS-500-PCAR-A3 500W ATX12V V2.3 Power Supply - Retail
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.231680

Mobo:
BIOSTAR TA790GXB A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138143

CPU:
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=N82E16819103773

Memory and graphics card combo:
OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK - Retail
EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.228301

Hard drive:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

Dvd drive:
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=N82E16827136144

i would appreciate any comment and suggestions.
28 answers Last reply
More about budget gaming
  1. I'm sorry, but I didn't see any parts that I would use in that build. This build comes in just over $500 and would be a much better machine.

    Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129065 $99.99

    AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103681 $79.00

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392 $84.99

    GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10660) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV34GB1333C7DC - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144264 $74.99

    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=N82E16822136074&Tpk=wd3200aaks $49.99

    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=N82E16814150337 $109.99

    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151188 $28.99

    Total - $527.94

    I would highly suggest considering getting 64-bit Vista with a free upgrade coupon to Windows 7 so you can use all 4GB of RAM. You can save $15 if you get the OS in a combo with the case listed above.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.235877.11-129-065
  2. shortstuff_mt said:
    I'm sorry, but I didn't see any parts that I would use in that build. This build comes in just over $500 and would be a much better machine.

    Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129065 $99.99

    AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103681 $79.00

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392 $84.99

    GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10660) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV34GB1333C7DC - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144264 $74.99

    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=N82E16822136074&Tpk=wd3200aaks $49.99

    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=N82E16814150337 $109.99

    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151188 $28.99

    Total - $527.94

    I would highly suggest considering getting 64-bit Vista with a free upgrade coupon to Windows 7 so you can use all 4GB of RAM. You can save $15 if you get the OS in a combo with the case listed above.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.235877.11-129-065


    Humm.... I don't know what happend to my text... but whatever... I'm saying ^+1 on shortstuff_mt's build. :D
  3. Since this is a budget build and used just for gaming, don't worry too much about the windows 64. You'll have over 3 gigs of memory from what XP will see and the XP memory footprint is small. My unoptimized 32 bit XP running a few browsing windows only uses 800 megs. That leaves 2.5 gigs for programs. I looked the other night out of curiosity, Fallout 3 only uses 500 megs. There's no games that will come close to using all that ram.

    Are you able to use your old optical drives also? Might be a way to save some cash and bring you back under budget.

    Also ShortStuff, Proximon has that basiq PSU as a tier 3 and has no faith in it. HardOPC didn't have a review on it specifically, but they did have the 500.
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2007/10/03/50_power_supply_roundup/17
    Not sure if the 430 is going to slip further or not.
  4. The EarthWatts series of PSU's that the EA430 belongs to are MUCH higher quality PSU's than the Basiq PSU's. I'm aware of the low quality of the Antec Basiq PSU's, but the EarthWatts are just fine.
  5. Thanks for the responses and i appreciate the input.

    Shortstuff just wondering why u wouldnt use any parts that i picked. Also in any build how do u know if all the parts are compatible with each other? ive read lots of reviews on different components where a mobo doesnt sit well in a certain case or a graphics card blocks other expansion slots on the motherboard.

    Skora i do have an old dvd burner but it doesnt write to any media unfortunately.
  6. enigma275 said:
    Shortstuff just wondering why u wouldnt use any parts that i picked.

    1. The majority of Cooler Master power supplies are low quality. The little red voltage switch on the back of the PSU you picked is a dead giveaway of a POS PSU that has no active PFC correction. A PSU with no active PFC correction should be avoided at all costs unless you want your new build to go up in flames.
    2. Biostar only makes OK motherboards. Antec and Gigabyte make higher quality boards.
    3. That 6000+ is an older generation CPU that's easily surpassed by the new chips.
    4. AMD chips have on-board RAM controllers that benefit from extra RAM bandwidth, so DDR2 1066 RAM would be a better choice for an AM2+ board and DDR3 1333 or DDR3 1600 RAM would be a good choice for an AM3 board.
    5. The 9800GTX+ is outperformed by the ATI HD4850 which also costs less.
    6. That 160GB drive is an older model. The current drives are considerably faster for not much more money.
    7. There is no reason to use an IDE device in a new build. SATA replaced IDE a long time ago. They just need to let IDE devices die.

    enigma275 said:
    Also in any build how do u know if all the parts are compatible with each other? ive read lots of reviews on different components where a mobo doesnt sit well in a certain case or a graphics card blocks other expansion slots on the motherboard.

    Being able to tell which components are compatible just takes time and research. I've been putting builds together for a while now and it comes pretty easy at this point.
  7. shortstuff_mt said:
    The EarthWatts series of PSU's that the EA430 belongs to are MUCH higher quality PSU's than the Basiq PSU's. I'm aware of the low quality of the Antec Basiq PSU's, but the EarthWatts are just fine.

    I agree with you 100%. the EA line is quality stuff. But the bundle with the case is the BP430 and not the EA430w.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371023

    enigma275
    As for the build, for the price you could get more computer than what you have spec'd out. Shortstuff has given a good alternative build and is correct for his reasons to choose other parts. I would tweak it a touch though.

    For $110 (Antec 300 + BP430 delivered), you can get a different case and better PSU. The big thing with both parts are they are big and heavy. When on the budget you are, shipping can eat 10% of the budget which is highly needed for better upgrades. So look for free shipping on both. I saw this case and it has decent buyer reviews (taken with a grain of salt.)

    NZXT mid ATX $50-$10 mir + free shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146055

    PSU
    I would pick any of these 3. All with free shipping
    OCZ StealthXtreme 500w $40 amir
    OCZ Fatality 550w $50 amir
    Corsair 450w $60 amir
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010320058%204808&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&CompareItemList=N82E16817341012%2CN82E16817139003%2CN82E16817341022

    For the CPU and Mobo, the AM3 770 is a great choice. Good upgrade path and does well for a first time overclocker if you want to learn on. I would pick the Regor 245 though. Its $11 cheaper for only 100 mhz speed difference. Won't miss it and should still OC well. With this MSI 770 mobo combo, you save another $10 and both with free shipping.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.216801


    ss_mt has good ram there

    Now the last two parts choices come down to budget.
    Both the 9800GTX+ and the 4850 are capable cards at 1280x1024 and perform similarly. If the free WoW is important, than the 9800GTX+ may be worth the extra few bucks for you. If that's the case, then the HDD that ss_mt has will fit the budget just fine.

    If you decide on the 4850 for $90 amir with free shipping, then you can get a better HDD like the caviar black 500gb for $70.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136320

    That will hit right around the $500 mark with the more expensive Corsair PSU. If you want the 9800GTX+ and the bigger HDD, then you'll have to get one of the OCZ PSUs.

    Hope this helps.
  8. $489.79 after ship less MIR
  9. I'm curious how the
    AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache
    compares to the
    AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache
    in terms of basic performance and overclock ability. There's just a $10 price difference.
  10. The larger cache makes the Callisto a better gaming chip The lack of L3 makes the Regor more power frenly though
  11. I think im gonna need an os after all. the win xp disk i have is a dell win xp restoration cd and from what ive read it probably wont work in anything but a dell pc. any way to tweak this to include an os and still keep the budget to about $500?
  12. Why not use Win 7 RC till u have more funds ^^
  13. This build requires you to OC to make it awesome!!!!!!
    GPU - MSI 4850 $90 amir w/ free game
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127414

    CPU - E5200 combo - $86 amir
    HSF - Sunbeam core contact freezer w/good goo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.234667

    Mobo Asus G41 combo w/ 4gigs DDR2 1066 OCZ ram - $83 amir
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.234510

    PSU OCZ 500w stealthxtreme $30 amir and Promo code EMCLWLT25 (must sign up for newegg newsletter to use.)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341012

    Case NZXT w/ Windows home premium 64bit w/ free Win 7 upgrade $135 amir
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.235877.11-146-055

    Sata DVD burner $29
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151188

    HDD WD caviar blue 160gb $39.50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

    Total amir delivered - $503!!!!!

    If you have another $20, this HDD w/ promo code EMCLWLT28
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136320&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL080609&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL080609-_-HardDrives-_-L0A-_-22136320

    WARNING PROMO CODES expire 3am EDT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. I generally prefer shortstuff's suggestions, with the exception of the case/PSU. As skora pointed out, your original one is a Basiq, not an Earthwatts. Currently, the Antec Sonata III case with an Earthwatts 500W PSU is only $100: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024
  15. My bad on the PSU in the combo. I could have sworn they had an Antec 300/EA430 combo at one point, but I probably just need my eyes checked. :(

    Even then, The BP430 would still be considerably better than the POS Cooler Master PSU in the original post.
  16. is amd the way to go over intel for budget builds???
  17. moomoopro said:
    is amd the way to go over intel for budget builds???

    There is no rule to say one way or the other. All depends on what the purpose and use of the build is. If you are doing a build, use the link on my sig for how to ask for advise. That will also link to Proximons guide to choosing parts. Start there, give a paper build a shot, and post it. We'll all be happy to take a look and give constructive feedback.

    I'd love to see the OP get a tri core setup too. But having to factor in the OS, I didn't see any way of it unless you drop the GPU to a 4670 or lower. Even then, the E5200, mobo, and ram is only costing $148. Spending $100 on the CPU alone and getting $30 from a lower GPU, ram and mobo for $78? I still don't know.

    The other option, is to buy a decently equiped pre-built and upgrade the vid card and probalby the PSU also. If you can get that OCZ 500w for $30 and a 4850 for $90, that will leave about $375 to get a prebuilt. The OS will be included, but you won't really have any overclocking options. Not sure where to look for decent prebuilts. Maybe someone else can entertain that idea.
  18. thanks everyone for your input it really helped.
    ok so here is what i have in my shopping cart now.

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

    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=N82E16814150337

    GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10660) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV34GB1333C7DC - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144264

    1. OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
    2. SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.237098

    1. MSI 770-C45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    2. AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX245OCGQBOX - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.216801

    1. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
    2. NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.235877.11-146-055

    all this comes out to $579.50 after rebates. its a little bit over budget but ill manage. maybe i wont eat for a week lol.
    as i should be able to purchase this later in the day i just wanted to know if anyone had any last minute recommendations or advice. also will i need any special tools.
  19. just came across this bundle

    ASRock M3A780GXH/128M AM3 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX245OCGQBOX - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.229024

    i was wondering what you all though about this motherboard. is the onboard video any good?
  20. How about this combo deal? About the same price with better spec. 6MB L3 cache looks awesome!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.237632
  21. udaman said:
    How about this combo deal? About the same price with better spec. 6MB L3 cache looks awesome!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.237632

    not sure about that mobo. doesnt look like it supports ddr3 (im a complete noob so maybe it does lol). but i did find this:
    AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDX545WFGIBOX - Retail
    ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.237631
    its a bit more expensive but without purchasing a separate gpu the entire purchase will still be within budget. how is the on board gpu on this mobo?
  22. haha dude , dnt tell me you're not going to buy a graphics card..your gaming you need one. but your budget is pretty tight because you need an O.S
  23. L4D will be just out of playable frame rates with the onboard video of the best HD4200.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-785g-chipset,2381-4.html

    I'd stick out with the 4850 and the cpu/mobo you have. You can see just how powerful the 4850 is in todays article with L4D benched.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/budget-radeon-geforce,2364-12.html

    Now if you want to turn off the eye candy and drop down to a 4670 like this $55 amir:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127415
    That cuts $55 out of your budget. That will let you get any of these with the MSI 770:

    x3 720 $120 ($5 more)
    x3 710 $100 ($15 less)
    x2 550 $103 (12 less)

    I'd opt for an x3, otherwise, you're not really upgrading the CPU much over the athlon x2.
  24. heres my revised build (managed to borrow some money from a buddy of mine so this build should fit my budget).

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136075

    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/Prod [...] 6814150337

    MSI 770-C45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130228

    1. OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
    2. SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.237098

    1. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
    2. NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] 11-146-055

    1. AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
    2. OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G16004GK - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.237833
    Total=$626.51 after shipping and rebates.

    what r ur thoughts on this ram? it got some bad reviews on newegg and their seems to be some issues with the timings. barring any changes to this build what r my overclocking capabilities?
  25. 3.4ghz stock cooler bout there been a bit higher tho an 3.8+ aftermarket cooler the ram is ok but you gonna have to set those ram yourself an one tip seems this board has acc so before you update your bios play round with that maybe you lucky an get a x4 out instead of a x3
  26. If the ram gives you trouble, set the timings to 1333mhz and then see how low you can get the timings. Running them under their rated speeds should allow for either less voltage or tighter timings at the same voltage. Once you hit 1333, its more about timings than speed anyway on the Phenom IIs.

    The build is very good. So good in fact, I'm going to link this in for my $625 price point. Great job!!
  27. Congrat!
  28. thanks all for your help and advice! just completed the purchase. hopefully i wont have a hard time putting it together but with the guides on this site i dont think that will be a problem.
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