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~$400 budget build

Last response: in Systems
September 3, 2009 12:15:23 AM

My recent GASing (guitar acquisition syndrome) has put me out of the hardware loop and crushed my savings. So I need help with this build.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Soon, next week maybe

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Music, Photo editing (minor), General office crap.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, speakers, keyboard/mouse, DVD drive, GPU

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I like newegg but I'm fine ordering from somewhere else

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD (just 'cause 775 is screwed and i7 is WAY too expensive) otherwise I don't care.

OVERCLOCKING: Not now but possibly in the future but even then it would be nothing major.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024, possibly 1680x1050 down the road.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is a build for my mum/brother, the computer we have now has a Pentium 4 :heink: . The build I was going to do last year before my mom backed out had a 64 X2 7750 and a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H mobo, but they are no longer around.

I'm assuming AM3 is backwards compatible like AM2 was and that will leave some room for later upgrades. So basically the only requirements are that it have some kind of AMD processor with a decent AM3 mobo, and at least a 250gb HD, preferably larger.

Normally I'd do some research and pick parts myself but I'm back in school now so my time is cut and I want to do it quickly so my mom doesn't change her mind (she doesn't understand how obsolete the current machine is, actually its impressive how long its lasted :D  ).

More about : 400 budget build

September 3, 2009 1:39:33 AM

Your budget is a little two low for a decent gaming rig, if you can spend more check this out for about $550:

AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core


Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop

XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC


There are places you could cut back, however in my opinion they would render the computer inadequate for gaming...
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September 3, 2009 1:50:39 AM

I have a GPU and DVD drive so that will cut it back to about $430. I could cut back to 2 gigs of RAM also which would save another $40 or so.

How are the tri core phenoms? I was looking at the Phenom II X3 720.

Thanks for the help I think I can adjust it as I see fit now. At only 1280x1024 games should be much less demanding.
September 3, 2009 2:04:05 AM

Well if reusing GPU/ODD :
September 3, 2009 5:21:37 AM

What GPU do you have? I wouldn't recommend reusing a really old GPU...

Edit: Same goes for HDD too.
September 3, 2009 9:22:18 PM

The GPU is a HD 3850 512mb. I ran Fallout 3 on high setting and Crysis on medium at 1680x1050 and got decent FPS so I think it will work, at least temporarily.

Here's the list so far:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz $120
Mobo: MSI 770-C45 $130
RAM: Patriot Viper 2gb (2x1gb) $54
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZMXSP $0 (mobo combo)
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500gb $50
GPU: HD 3850 $0
OS: Windows Vista $0
Total: $394
I'd post links but my internet connection is painfully slow.

It fits perfectly in the budget. Extra RAM is easy to pop in and a the GPU would also be easy to swap out. Case ships free which is a plus.

My only question is about RAM voltages. That RAM is 1.7volts, do I need to set them in the bios or is fine to just stick 'em in?
September 3, 2009 9:37:40 PM

It's always a good idea to manually enter the RAM settings in the BIOS.
September 4, 2009 2:01:48 PM

Ok, thanks for all the help.
September 4, 2009 2:39:03 PM

Wish you success in your DIY adventure ^^