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Gaming PC on a budget

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November 24, 2009 5:32:12 AM

I have $400 to get a new motherboard, cpu, ram and case/power supply and looking for some help deciding what to get. I am mainly getting it to run Dragon Age (have a geforce 9800 gpu). Thanks for any help.

More about : gaming budget

a c 127 à CPUs
November 24, 2009 7:19:52 AM

So essentially its roughly $100/part....

Lets see.....

AMD Athlon II X4 620 $99.99:

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

Asus M4A77TD $84.99:

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

OZC DDR3 1066 $72.99:

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

Antec 300 $49.95:

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

Raidmax 630w PSU $54.99:

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

Total comes to $362.91 without shipping. Gives ya $38+/- for shipping and such.
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a b à CPUs
November 24, 2009 8:22:42 AM

Isn't 630W PSU a bit too much for a 9800GT? A 400W - 450W is enough!
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November 24, 2009 11:28:37 AM

drop that Raidmax PSU get something 450-550 W range from a reputable brand like corsair VX450
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November 24, 2009 11:29:20 AM

And a Raidmax? Who are supplying them these days?
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November 24, 2009 12:36:42 PM

For the prioritized purpose of gaming, I would recommend the x3 720 as it performs better at games than the x4 620:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, if you want to do more than just game (like encoding), then definitely opt for the extra core.

I would normally go for a tried and true mobo like:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Normally, I would also recommend an antec 300; I've had a rig with the illusion that jimmy recommended in the past.. and it did work well. But I've also built rigs with CM's RC-690, which is on sale for $40 on newegg (after MIR):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These should be your budget memory sticks:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

also on sale @ newegg.

Normally I would also recommend a corsair, but going with your budget, I would pick up a:

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

It's $40 after MIR, considerable cheaper than corsairs 550w, which IIRC should be around $80. It's also modular in case that appeals to you. Note that I've never personally worked with this specific psu, I have used other OCZ branded psus and am quite satisfied. So definitely a cheaper alternative without sacrificing too much quality.


Oops, forgot to say. Comes out to about $350 after MIR. Tax not included, so you'll find a more definite price clicking the link and calculating it yourself before MIRs are taken off :kaola: 
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November 25, 2009 12:14:22 AM

Great, thanks for the responses! vznoobie, I'm thinking I like your build a bit better mainly since the mobo you suggest does have more reviews on it (was a bit leary on the just 1 review for the asus). I just have a few questions.

A coworker of mine who builds computers told me that intel was the way to go now but you guys have only recommended AMDs (which I've used when I built my PC years ago). Is there any reason AMD is better than Intel to you guys or is it just for my budget constraints?

I also forgot to mention that I was interested in SLI down the road and neither of the suggested boards have it (the Gigabyte having CrossfireX, but I have a geforce card). What SLI boards would be good and would it be worth it when I could probably just buy a better card once I get to that point?

Thanks again.
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November 25, 2009 1:08:57 AM

Your coworker is definitely right. If you're looking for performance, an i5 or i7 is definitely the way to go. But as you have hinted at, it'll be WAY over your budget. This is especially true considering you also want to SLI mobo.

General knowledge is that if you willing to spend approximately $170+ on your processor, you might as well get an i5 (arguing that since the phenoms were pretty close in price to an i5, you might as well splurge a bit for it; this may not be the case anymore though, I believe they dropped some of the phenom prices a bit).

But I digress.. So, anything under that price range is AMD territory simply because intel does not have any processor of comparable quality to say an x3 720 or x4 620 at that price range (at least not yet). Thus, yes, as you guessed... AMD is the budget route. You can also get ddr2 RAM with an am3/am2+/am2 mobo, which gives you a little future proofing while being immediately cheap, which is what you are after. (I linked ddr3 RAM because newegg had it on sale, but I just clicked the link again and it seems the price is back up :(  use these instead if you're still going that route
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

Those are going for pretty cheap at $74 after MIR.
Though personally, I <3 g.skill
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 25, 2009 1:35:41 AM

I think for the extra performance of the better RAM you linked earlier I'll channel some extra money for the ddr3.

What about the mobo tho? Does CrossfireX work the same as SLI?
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November 25, 2009 2:27:05 AM

Well, I build computers part-time and its not too often that I'd find someone who wants an nvidia in an AMD mobo :]. AMD owns ATI, so most AMD mobos cater to crossfire and not sli. (XF and SLI are essentially the same thing, but are exclusive to their perspective brands, so you cannot run "crossfire" with an nvidia card). I did a quick browse of all the am3 mobos

This board is the cheapest but the SLI is 8x, which would not make proper use of 2 video cards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your second option would be:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
which offers SLI at 16x operation... its triple SLI too if that appeals to you :D 

I found about 2-3 other boards, but they were not worth mentioning or did not support ddr3.
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November 25, 2009 3:42:10 AM

The Raidmax PSU is almost equal to the price of of the VX450. If you can find anything cheaper than that with 450W rating and reliable get that!
Also if you are looking at DDR3 get a minimum of 1600Mhz.
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November 25, 2009 11:12:31 AM

Lol, so I'm an outlier then with my AMD + geforce then? Never knew AMD and ATI were a couple =P

So I think I will just pass on the SLI then unless that MSI board goes on sale. I did notice tho that the Gigabyte board you first suggested only supports DDR2 yet you then suggested DDR3 RAM for it. A slight oversight maybe?

Now that I have some ideas of what to look for I'm going to look through everything and see what I can come up with and hope that some good deals come my way (I won't actually have the $400 for another 2 weeks).

If anyone has anymore suggestions they will be greatly appreciated still! =)
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a b à CPUs
November 25, 2009 11:38:55 AM

It would be great if you could post your final config on which you have decided.
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November 25, 2009 5:25:39 PM

Whooops! Good catch, I jumped the gun with my links :]. This is actually what I was going after:

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

I've never worked with that specific board, but ASRock is definitely a reputable brand. They have a few highly recommended p55/x58 boards that I've also worked with and found to be solid.


EDIT: Whoops, some clarity... i wrote some confusing stuff last night :p . The two links for ocz/g. skill were under the assumption that you go for an am2 board. But since you are deciding on ddr3, I would not recommend the Kingston for full price that I first linked (good on sale, but there's others at the $90 range)

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

And Ripjaws come to mind:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



EDIT2: Okay, a short comment before I go out lol. If you end up with an am3 mobo / ddr3 RAM, you will have pretty good future proofing for the next year or two. Say you get a x3 720 or x4 620 now... and you decide you need a better performance in a year... picking up a 955 (or whatever's cheap in a year) would be possible.
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November 25, 2009 6:39:56 PM

i5 $150 @microcenter
ASRock P55M $100 @newegg
antec 300 $50 @newegg
2x2 gb ocx $63 @newegg After Coupon and Rebate
500w ocz $35 @newegg After Rebate

totals about $400
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November 25, 2009 7:45:07 PM

mb supports sli(1 2.0 16x and 1 2.0 4x) but is a micro atx. I haven't had any issues with asrock
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November 25, 2009 10:13:41 PM

Do you have a link to that i5? I went to microcenter's website and they don't list any i5s. If it's in-store I live nowhere near one.
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November 25, 2009 10:22:00 PM

ninjosh said:
Do you have a link to that i5? I went to microcenter's website and they don't list any i5s. If it's in-store I live nowhere near one.

shoot, looks likes its in stores only
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a b à CPUs
November 26, 2009 3:23:32 AM

Gigabyte P55 board is also a good choice!
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a b à CPUs
November 26, 2009 4:41:51 AM

mi1ez said:
And a Raidmax? Who are supplying them these days?


Jimmy gets paid a commission to make people buy the wrong PSUs, blow them up and make them buy another one.
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a b à CPUs
November 26, 2009 11:00:34 AM

Athlon X4's dont have a L3 cache whereas Phenoms have an L3 cache. That is the primary difference. When going for a budget PC Athlon X4 is a good choice. L3 cache may not come in all that handy every time!
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November 26, 2009 7:44:22 PM

hell_storm2004 said:
Athlon X4's dont have a L3 cache whereas Phenoms have an L3 cache. That is the primary difference. When going for a budget PC Athlon X4 is a good choice. L3 cache may not come in all that handy every time!


It's the only difference.
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a c 127 à CPUs
November 27, 2009 1:17:48 AM

amdfangirl said:
Jimmy gets paid a commission to make people buy the wrong PSUs, blow them up and make them buy another one.


Meh I didn't pay attention. I was trying to stay within $350-$360 to give him breathing room without MIR.

he could have used the breathing room for a better PSU.

I prefer Asus mobos just due to my experience with pretty much every build I have done have had Asus and not one has ever failed me.

Athe Phenom II X3 is a nice CPU but TBH, the L3 wont help in gaming. If it did then it would easily whomp a Athlon X4, C2Q and any other non L3 cache having CPU.
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November 27, 2009 2:02:35 AM

Alright, I'm sold on the Athlon and an Asus board, actually heavily leaning towards the one you linked me jimmy:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $84.99

This memory I found:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $69.99

and either of these two Athlons:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $99.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $112.99

Figure $13 more for .2Ghz might be worth it =P

Which leaves me about $135 for a case and psu... which a friend of mine says he might have an extra one hanging around I could have so I would be putting that toward a new hard drive, let's hope.
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November 27, 2009 2:39:55 PM

Quote:
Asus motherboards are good, but they have a very unstable BIOS, especially when you overclock.



thats funny. Most people i've talked to (including on Toms hardware) that has overclock cpus on an Asus motherboards have no trouble with the bios.
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a b à CPUs
December 1, 2009 9:29:04 AM

Depends on the board, BIOS revision, model and of course, user experience.
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December 1, 2009 7:52:21 PM

Well, I have an older computer i built 5 years ago with an ASUS mobo, and it's still running fine so I think I'll stick with them.

So I'm 99.9% sure I have my build, the ASUS mobo and the 630 processor I linked earlier, this case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Realized I need a new DVD burner since I can't really strip the one from the Gateway I'm using now so I'm gonna pick this up as well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and whatever quality/cheap RAM i can find once I place my order since every RAM I find now sells out and is not being restocked =/

I also picked this up on Black Friday from newegg for $60:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Pretty happy with that =D
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a b à CPUs
December 2, 2009 9:33:50 AM

Depends if the motherboard supports SATA.
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December 2, 2009 8:16:25 PM

If he's getting a new motherboard then it will
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a c 152 à CPUs
December 3, 2009 1:23:21 AM

I beleive the LG has some 'issues' which make reading & writing a bit slower than specs. You can find the samsung in sata format, its a good drive. I've had mine for over a year and no problems. I'm actually surpised by that; I go thru them :p 
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December 13, 2009 8:43:12 PM

Hey guys, sorry for the not updating for awhile. I went with the above build except the DVD burner, got an hp with lightscribe instead.

I got my machine built already and it is working VERY nicely, beating any expectations I had from it. So, thanks again to everyone who helped me, I'm loving my system =D
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December 13, 2009 9:15:28 PM

yourwelcome, have fun with your new pc
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!