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home built gaming pc for $560 =Success!

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August 15, 2009 2:18:03 AM

Hey guys,

Just here to say that I have come pretty far with building the new computer from the suggestions that I've received on this website. It has been running pretty smoothly, without encountering much trouble, and I'm pretty pleased with having a desktop again--my laptop screen was just a little limiting, as was its vid-card.

As a recap here's the specs:

64-bit Win7 RC

Intel E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GH Dual-Core
Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Corsair XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM 800 (PC2 6400)
Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB HDD
Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB HDD
Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 512 MB 256-bit GDDR4 Video Card
Samsung IDE DVD burner
Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Heat Sink Fan
Antec BP430 430 Watt Power Supply Unit
Antec 300 Case


Total cost for all these components was $533.

*note: I originally set out to keep my expenses below $400, but got a little swept up in the moment and pushed for a better video card, HSF, and upgraded to a better HDD after I received a DOA with the first shipment.
**Since I am using Windows 7 RC, I stand to pay for a new operating system, unless I want to dabble in Linux or the like.

I'm using an AOC 19" widescreen monitor set to 1440x900 resolution and everything looks pretty great. I've been enjoying the improved performance this computer has shown when compared to my year old laptop:

HP Pavilion dv2810

32-bit Vista
AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 2.00 GHz processor
3.00 GB Memory
NVidia MCP67M Video Card
2.6 Windows Experience Index


The Windows Experience Index for this desktop is a 5.9--pretty nice.

The speed of this computer is pretty phenomenal comparatively speaking. The fast CPU, memory, being 64 bit (vs. 32 bit), higher performing HD, and definitely the better vid-card is really blowing me away. I must say, that so far, Win 7 is pretty sweet though and I'm not encountering as many issues as I have with Vista.

Now...now..now....now, I am looking to learn how to OC this processor as it is just begging me to do it. I've been playing Diablo 2 for the past week, looking to break into Crysis: Maximum Edition discs, but I want to OC to get better frame rates and whatnot. This is one of my projects and I hope it won't be too hard to do. Sometime in the near future I'd like to understand why my laptop was getting so HOT and perhaps see if I can't switch out its crappy vid-card for something more bad-ass.

Thank you to OverClkr, Skora, dirtmountain, and all the others who gave me much advice. I've been so busy playing my new games, enjoying this PC that I haven't had time to thank you all yet, and have even lost all my original threads that I might use to reference that other person who was so helpful. Anyway--THANKS!!! :love: 

And wouldn't you know that I might come up with some more dough in the near future, enough that would have let me push my budget into the 1k range and maybe a little more. Go figure. Before I cook up any schemes, I want to take care of at least these two projects I've mentioned :D 


Here's some pictures that I promised to share.

picture of the first set of packages--oh yeah!


a collection of some the boxes I first received


picture of the Hard Drive packaging


picture of the guts of the computer


a picture of where you can collect some of the cables on the Antec 300, providing better air flow in the case


more guts


and just one more to look at that mean-old HSF that just about killed me to install


isn't she sweet?


mobo pic



picture of the tower sitting on the brand new desk I bought (Z-line, Staples), the white there is a piece of paper I taped to the inside to prevent dust from collecting--I haven't installed a fan there.


although I received a bunk HDD, these guys seem to be on top of it


Ok...so I want to overclock....
August 15, 2009 2:34:47 AM

Nice job. I'd like to help you OC and install OSX on that bad boy. If your interested and live in the USA shoot me a PM with your phone number and I'll walk you through it.
August 15, 2009 4:02:54 AM

da PM, da sent, daship :hello: 


I would gladly appreciate any help you can afford, via phone or what-not. :D 

It's currently 23:46 EST time here in New Hampshire or nearly midnight this Friday night. Perhaps you will be free to talk sometime tomorrow? All I have planned is church between 4-5 tomorrow afternoon, so any other time would work.

I don't think I'm ready for Leopard OSX just yet. Perhaps you could advertise why its a good idea to use it, because I am curious to know what advantages it has or doesn't. I'm a little daunted by the overclocking process though I'm sure its not really that difficult once I narrow down the process to just a few variables (FSB, main voltage?, etc.) =) . I guess my mobo doesn't have any voltage control making it pretty easy where I only adjust the front side bus so far. I just don't know how far to go, and how I'll know if I've gone too far--besides balls of fire emitting from the computer case, lol. Perhaps this is something you can help me with.
Related resources
August 15, 2009 4:02:59 AM

That's a great build, glad you are enjoying this so much. Start with the stickies in the OC forum to get a general feel for the process. And when they say KNOW your mobo manual, really take note of that. The main thing is how to reset the CMOS in the event of a failed OC that doesn't automatically recover. I've had to pull the system battery a number of times even though I have auto recovery on mine. It's all part of the learning process.

D2 almost ruined my marriage. Now THG forums is trying her patience too.

Good luck with the OC.
August 15, 2009 4:42:00 AM

As for the laptop, get a can of air and blow off the fins for the CPU HSF. I had a friends laptop show up for repair that was hitting 100 degrees idle. Took a can of air to it and dropped them by half. Dust came out, but not enough for me to think it would have effected performance to that degree. Also load up HWmonitor. See if its just the CPU or the board temps too.
August 15, 2009 8:57:53 AM

Great build, now.....time for some cable management :p 
August 15, 2009 7:28:02 PM

skora said:
As for the laptop, get a can of air and blow off the fins for the CPU HSF. I had a friends laptop show up for repair that was hitting 100 degrees idle. Took a can of air to it and dropped them by half. Dust came out, but not enough for me to think it would have effected performance to that degree. Also load up HWmonitor. See if its just the CPU or the board temps too.



Thank you thank you for the suggestion.

I've read that a laptop repairman always cleans out laptops that are over a year old because they accumulate so much dust.

As far as D2 goes, I think I can empathize with your wife. I have played at least 24 hours in the past week, beefing up my Paladin and making my way through Act III. I think I may be putting the final nail in my online certificate program's coffin as I have been completely immersed with gaming and this new computer. Nevertheless, I know I will settle down (after Baal is crushed of course) and redirect this obsession in a better way. What Proximon, shortstuff_mt, tecmo_vaderpic, and yourself are doing is actually opening the doors to affordable computing for a lot of people. My brother for instance, is in need of a computer as his laptop died. I told him I could make him one, and just sent him a link that I found on the main page for a nice and cheap Toshiba laptop that Wal-mart will be selling tomorrow.

Computers=internet=information=productivity. Even if we must spend a few dozen hours gaming to finally get around to doing something good.

Anyhow, congratulations on your promotion to Regular!
August 15, 2009 8:40:05 PM

massivepepper said:
Thank you thank you for the suggestion.

I've read that a laptop repairman always cleans out laptops that are over a year old because they accumulate so much dust.

As far as D2 goes, I think I can empathize with your wife. I have played at least 24 hours in the past week, beefing up my Paladin and making my way through Act III. I think I may be putting the final nail in my online certificate program's coffin as I have been completely immersed with gaming and this new computer. Nevertheless, I know I will settle down (after Baal is crushed of course) and redirect this obsession in a better way. What Proximon, shortstuff_mt, tecmo_vaderpic, and yourself are doing is actually opening the doors to affordable computing for a lot of people. My brother for instance, is in need of a computer as his laptop died. I told him I could make him one, and just sent him a link that I found on the main page for a nice and cheap Toshiba laptop that Wal-mart will be selling tomorrow.

Computers=internet=information=productivity. Even if we must spend a few dozen hours gaming to finally get around to doing something good.

Anyhow, congratulations on your promotion to Regular!


Thanks for the congrats. Took a lot of hard work and spamming my own threads :p 

You think you'll walk away from D2 after completing the game? That's funny. D2 isn't about playing the game once for the story. Its about the treasure hunting, trying many many many build variations, and completing all the different difficulties. If you're not playing online, you're not getting nearly enough enjoyment out of the game. Just talking about it makes me want to dig it out and load it back up. But then I wouldn't be on here spending other peoples money.

If your bro is on a tight budget and needs a bargain gaming machine, I just did a $400 build and posted it in my index in the sig. Promo codes good through tonight for the HDD and tomorrow for the rest.
!