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A desktop for mid-range gaming

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August 23, 2009 8:37:56 PM

Hi there.

I am planning to buy and build a relatively cheap system for my girlfriend that she can use to play games such as Aion and World of Warcraft. She doesn't play any more resource-intensive games than that though I would like the system to last a good while.

Aion system requirements (Recommended)
Pentium Dual Core, AMD Athlon 64 X2
2 GB RAM
GeForce 7600, Radeon X2600
Hard Drive 30GB
DirectX 9.0c(2008,6)

World of Warcraft system requirements (Recommended)
Dual-core processor, such as the Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2
1 GB RAM (2 GB for Vista users)
3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM Such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT class card or better

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I am planning to buy and assemble this system within 3 weeks. The budget is $680.

The system usage from most to least important would be; gaming (current MMOs), surfing the internet and normal office tasks.

I do not require to buy a new graphics card because I am getting a new one for myself and giving her my XFX GeForce 8800 GTX 600M 768MB. I also do not require a CD/DVD-drive.

She's either going to be using a 17" or a 19" 4:3-monitor.

--

So to recap;

Budget: $680 tops.
Do Not Require: CD/DVD-drive, graphics card, monitor, mouse and keyboard.
Resolution:1280x1024 max.
Usage: MMO-gaming (World of Warcraft, Aion), surfing the net and traditional office tasks.
Notes: I am hoping for a setup that will run World of Warcraft and Aion without trouble, that is within my budget but at the same time isn't something that I will have to replace within 3 years.

Any help is greatly appreciated :) 
a b Ý World of Warcraft
August 23, 2009 8:59:30 PM

you need the monitor /keyboard/mouse in that budget too?
August 23, 2009 9:01:20 PM

Sorry for not mentioning that, I do not need a monitor, keyboard nor a mouse. I'll update my post :-)
Related resources
August 23, 2009 9:07:19 PM

•CPU: 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...

•MOBO:ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

•RAM:p atriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

•HSF: Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

•PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

•Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

comes to $608

August 23, 2009 9:14:06 PM

obsidian86 said:
•HSF: Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks a lot for the build suggestion. :) 
I haven't really looked at the AMD Phenom II-line so that's definitely interesting, I have mostly been looking at the C2D E84/500-dreds.

Do you reckon it's a build that won't become obsolete in 2-3 years? Also, about the HSF -- is it necessary? I don't definitely don't mind spending the extra bucks for it if it's an easy processor to OC.
August 23, 2009 9:24:40 PM

the 720 is a black edition with an unlocked multiplier read like intel extreme editions its dead easy to overclock they run stable 3.6ghz+ and am3 is a solid choice since intel wont be making any more socket 775 cpu's and ddr2 has had its day ddr3 is the future but if you want something intel wait till i5 is out but im willing to bet they gonna cost a bit for a while after launch next month
August 23, 2009 9:36:24 PM

an for upgrade options are quite open you could add a high end graphics card in a yr maybe something like ati 5xxx or nvidia gt300 series an for more power you could drop in an amd 955/965/975 quad core in future
August 23, 2009 9:47:59 PM

Thanks again :) 

I have looked at the parts that you have suggested. I am having trouble finding the RAM you suggested from a shop here in Norway where I live, my only option is Kingston or Crucial.

Is it possible to downgrade the motherboard and RAM (the PC3 10666) without it affecting the overall performance of the system too much?
August 23, 2009 10:05:54 PM

the 1066 ddr 3 wouldn affect performance too much but look for some 1333 cl7 or cl8 ram kingston is ok or you could try the crucial but they been having trouble of late but maybe you lucky and if you not interested in crossfire you could get an am3 motherboard with a single pcie slot
August 24, 2009 11:30:30 PM

It's me again!

I have been trying to come up with parts based on obsidian86's suggestions that I could not find in the shop I will be using.
I have also tried to seriously downgrade the motherboard and type of RAM, is it a BAD choice or is it acceptable? With the setup shown below I ended up at $649.5 (converted from NOK -- without the HSF since I can't decide on one).

PSU: Corsair Powersupply 650W Black, ATX/EPS (The only 650W I could find in the store!) -- 958 NOK = $160
Case: Cooler Master Elite 335, Black -- 495 NOK = $82.5
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition -- 1225 NOK = $204
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3, Socket-AM2+/AM3 -- 619 NOK = $103
RAM: Kingston DDR2 HyperX PC8500 4GB Kitx2 -- 599 NOK = $99.9

The HSF's I can get are;
Nexus FLC-3000 Real Silent -- 535 NOK = $89
Noctua NH-U9B CPU Cooler -- 609 NOK = $101.5
Zalman CNPS9900 LED CPU Cooler -- 655 NOK = $109

--

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Do I need a HSF right away or can I wait without it affecting the system much at this point (MMO-gaming and basic office tasks).
a b Ý World of Warcraft
August 24, 2009 11:38:39 PM

Try to get some better ram preferable with timings and voltage like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The lower timings will give you better performance, and the lower voltage means it will run cooler and give you more overclocking potential while running stably at stock settings. Dominators also tend to be overpriced and you will need to manually set the timings and voltages to get it to run stably. Other than that it looks pretty good, there is no noticable difference between DDR2 and DDR3 performance on an AMD system.

If you arent planning to OC you dont need an aftermarket heatsink at all, if you are then you may want to get it at the beginning so you dont have to disassemble the entire system to install it.
August 24, 2009 11:47:27 PM

Hi there. Thanks for the tip.

I am planning on overclocking at some point, even though I am a novice at it. I have a XIGMATEK S1284 on my own desktop that I ended up installing a good while after building the system, and I do agree, it's definitely an annoyance having to do so :-)

I updated my post, but I guess you replied before it was reflected on here. I changed out the RAM with a cheaper Kingston DDR2 HyperX PC8500 4GB Kitx2. That seems to be the only option I have for DDR2 PC8500 except for the dominators that you mentioned (due to the lack of diversity in the shop I am buying from).
!