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Budget, Gaming System for $800 (/w Tax)

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September 15, 2009 11:48:28 PM

I have been wanting to upgrade from my old Dell Optiplex GX280 to a new system. I live in Canada, Ontario and buy my computer parts at TigerDirect, and CanadaComputers. So far, I have thrown together a Gaming System and would like to know if I should change some parts for anything...

Case: Cooler Master Elite 334 Nividia Edition ($61) [Bought it already]
PSU:OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W ($92)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition ($123)
Motherboard: Asus M4A78 PRO ($115)
HDD: WD Caviar Black 500GB ($72) or WD Caviar Blue 500GB ($67)
RAM: Mushkin XP2-8500 DDR2-1066 4GB (2x2GB) ($90) [Read something about Asus and QLV... Not sure if they are compatible, but if necessary, I will change the Motherboard and not the RAM]
Graphics Card: Not sure yet... Want a good one, that'll last me for at least 2 years
Optical Drive: Taking old one

So far, that's what I threw together. It stands at $640. It has all that I need... But I am not too sure about the motherboard and RAM I picked. In the future, I plan on getting another set of 2x2GB to get 8GB in total, but in the future. Right now, I am trying to find a good, decent priced, 2x2GB set to start off with. So far, this Mushkin one is on sale right now at $70, but I just added the price before rebate.

So far... I am looking for a graphics card, decent motherboard (supports 16GB RAM, at least, 1 PCIe 2.1 Slot), and RAM that is compatible with the motherboard. If you know anything about this QLV thing, and if it limits your RAM choices, I might just search for a new motherboard. I also read about "unlocking" cores in CPUs, well... I don't care about that, so don't bother xDD.

Opinions, improvements, anything I am taking. To help, save money, or to increase performance,
Splych

PS. This is my benchmarking:
- Max price, $800 + tax
- At least 4GB RAM
- CPU Runs at 3.0GHz before overclocking
- 500GB max HDD (don't need 1TB. Will just get two of these 500GBs)
- 550W -> 650W PSU | Nothing more, nothing less.
September 16, 2009 12:27:27 AM

I just built a $800 pc for a friend two or so weeks ago, it is very similar to your build.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (mobo)
Yes, it is a micro atx but for 55 bucks it saves you a bunch 40-50 bucks on a decent full sized mobo and with your budget it isn't like you are going to crossfire or sli anyway

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This 4890 is a beast, but if you want a different one just stay in the $200 range

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Good CPU for the money and great overclocking potential, just remember to turn cool n' quiet off...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Then go with this ram, yeah the board constrains you to 4gbs of ddr2 but maxing out crysis isn't exactly your goal

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I really like corsair's PSUs and 600w is all you will need considering you can't multi-GPU

So that is about 600 right there and with after market cooling case, hard drives etc you will be at about your 800. I think it is a solid build, yes it has low upgradablility but so does any i7 computer and you can always upgrade to a 5xxx when they come out.
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Anonymous
September 16, 2009 1:03:51 AM

Lol. People this guy is from CANADA, sadly prices here are largely inflated compared to US.

Anyways @OP, its kinda hard to know the specs of some of the products you list specifically your motherboard and RAM. Anyways here are some other suggestions with newegg as a reference, don't know that the prices are at Canada Computer or Tigerdirect but an easy way of checking is Price Canada http://www.pricecanada.com/c.php/Desktop-Components-14/.

Anyways I'm guessing that your motherboard is the Asus AM2+ 770 board.
An alternative could be:
GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $94.99 (This board does not let you crossfire)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
$86.99 @ Canada Computer
http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...

RAM
OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail - $55.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
$84.99 @ Computer Canada but same price for better RAM
http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...

Go with the Corsair PSU or OCZ PSU.

Cheaper HD and its faster than what you suggested since it only has one 500gb platter.
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM - $ 63.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Heres a video card exceptional for 1680x1050
XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail - $118.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PS. What is your monitor size? Because this GPU can easily be too powerful for your monitor.

EDIT: Added some links to Canada Computer. If anything try to price match some of these products @ TigerDirect. Just google Pricematch and TigerDirect to see their policy.
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September 16, 2009 2:17:22 AM

Hey Psycho, if you posted about USA, why not check out the NewEgg site of Canada? It might be possible to find the same parts there as well ^^.

Durthalion, sorry, from Canada. But could you check the NewEgg site of Canada for me please?

Rokez, awesome. That's true... They are... Largely inflated xDD. But only problem... Stuff here is expensive compared to America. Better plus, you took your time to hyperlink it from CanadaComputers too. Thanks!

Umm... The motherboard, I am gonna go check it out now to be sure...
http://www.asus.com/Product.aspx?P_ID=EbXqq06yxpJwlABf

That's a link to the motherboard. Hope that helps. I might stick with the motherboard I have already chosen. It seems good enough for me.

RAM, thank you. I might choose that RAM instead mainly because the price is much cheaper compared to the one I chose. ^^.

PSU, once again, I might just get the OCZ one or the Thermaltake. But since the OCZ is for High Performance use, I am guessing it will perform better than the Thermaltake one since it is just for Mainstream performance. [Corsair too expensive]

For the HDD, I might get that one or the Seagate 7200.12 500GB.

Graphics... Will decide on that later ;P.

Monitor size is currently... 19". Gonna get a 23.6" from dad later.
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Anonymous
September 16, 2009 2:32:34 AM

EDIT:
Quote:

Umm... The motherboard, I am gonna go check it out now to be sure...
http://www.asus.com/Product.aspx?P_ID=EbXqq06yxpJwlABf

That's a link to the motherboard. Hope that helps. I might stick with the motherboard I have already chosen. It seems good enough for me.

EDIT3: -_- Took out my obviously wrong comment.

Motherboard I suggested CPU Support page (in AM3 section is where you find the 550):
http://www.giga-byte.ca/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupport_...

For the PSU, go with OCZ and not Thermaltake. Thermaltake isn't really well known for the PSUs compared to OCZ.

Seagate 7200.12 500GB also has one 500GB platter so its a nice alternative but it should perform relatively the same as Samsung so it really comes down to price.

Lastly, the 4850 is definitely powerful enough for your 19" but that may be stretching on a 23.6".

EDIT2: Forgot to ask but do you plan on overclocking because if yes, you will probably require an aftermarket heatsink. (another $40 roughly)
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September 16, 2009 9:53:10 PM

Umm... CanadaComputers says it is SocketAM2+.

http://canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd...

Also says it supports DDR2 memory. And also supports the new Phenom II CPUs.

Yep, I might get that OCZ one. I am reading reviews, and am getting good ones. Other than that, it also falls into the Modular Gaming Section, unlike the ThermalTake which is in the Mainstream. So I am guessing, the OCZ will perform better ^^. Good thing the price difference is only $5. Otherwise, if it was like, $20 difference, I woulda just got the Thermaltake one ;P (btw. If I haven't said so yet, I took an old Thermaltake PurePower 430W just so it has one. So it'll run, but for sure, I will upgrade to a better one)

Aiight. Seagate 7200.12 is a good choice then ^^. Anyway, my dad doesn't really want to order at NewEgg after asking him last night... Said he would just buy at CanadaComputers. Unless there is some big price difference, he might get the stuff at NewEgg.

The 4850 looks really good, but am falling onto the 4770 by Sapphire instead... I want to get one graphics card instead of getting one, then replacing it... Would prefer for it to last at least 2 years.

Yes, am planning on over clocking. But that won't be a priority. If I have the time, and extra money to get better cooling, I might consider overclocking.

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Anonymous
September 17, 2009 12:44:48 AM

Sorry for the epic FAIL on my part for the misinformation on your motherboard. I guess I jumped the gun big time on that. Anyways you can save some money on the motherboard by going with:
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H Socket AM2+ AMD 780G + SB700 Chipset ATI Radeon HD3200 Graphics Dual-Channel DDR2 1066/800Mhz 5x SATA 3Gb/s 7.1- Channel HD Audio Gigabit Lan IEEE1394 PCI-Express 2.0 Support AMD Quad Core Micro ATX - $84.99 (Its basically the same similar specs but its a smaller board so if you get it just make sure your case can fit Micro-ATX boards.)
http://canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd...

Oh and also if TigerDirect is still on the table I recommend you switch the CPU for:
AMD Athlon II X4 620 Quad Core Processor - 2.60GHz, Socket AM3, 2MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s), Retail - $129.99 (its a bit more expensive than your previous one and it doesn't have an unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking but its quad core! So its up to you)
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Review of the Athlon II x4 (linked the the gaming section but it also includes other sections should that apply to you)
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=363...
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September 17, 2009 1:09:29 AM

lool. I got a little confused after you told me that xDD.

That new motherboard... Aiming to buy it at Mississauga, but too bad... it isn't there. But would rather stick with a ATX motherboard ^^.

CPU, actually, I won't switch. I heard the Dualcores are better for gaming. And since I won't be multitasking a lot, so I am sticking with my Phenom II X2 550. The most I will probably be doing is using Photoshop CS4 and then listening to music. So yea.

Graphics card and RAM... Well, hopefully, the RAM is compatible with the motherboard. Once I get to the store, I will go ask teh peoplez there if it is compatible.

Maybe over the weekend, I am gonna go to CanadaComputers and will buy the CPU + Motherboard. Stuff like the PSU, RAM, HDD and Graphicscard, I will plan out for those later. Will just reuse some parts in my current computer (Re-used a: Thermaltake Purepower 430W, 512MBx4 RAM, 640GB HDD, 40GB HDD, and 256MB GPU).

Will get those parts in the near future, when I actually have the money.
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September 17, 2009 1:37:20 AM

How much PS CS4 do you do? That app will use as many cores as you can throw at it. But if its just light editing, the dual will be fine. Tri core is actually the sweet spot for gaming. Games are getting to the point to use 2 cores, so if you have one running the rest of the system, the game gets 2 all to itself. I'd shy away from the Athlon II x4, its extra core doesn't make up for the lack of speed or large cache. The x3 may be a good fit when it comes out though, depending if the price is right.

For the GPU and mobo:
The mobos suggested above all have 1 PCIe x16 slot. The 4850 will do just fine for your current monitor and a second one would do well after your upgrade, but that's not possible. So I'd change one or the other. Either get a mobo with 2 PCIex16 slots like the 790gx, or upgrade the GPU to something like the 4870 1gb.
http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...

I'd wait to buy everything at once unless there is a SUPER deal. Prices will come down as both camps adjust prices after the launch of all these shiny new toys. I'm sure there will be some great deals as we approach the holidays too.
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September 17, 2009 2:28:34 AM

Thanks for the advice. I am gonna go motherboard searching now... A better one actually with 2 PCIe x16 slots.

The HDD and PSU are the only things I don't have any plans on changing... (OCZ ModXStream 600W + WD Caviar Black [longer warranty]). But will adjust RAM with motherboard once I change it.

I will most likely, but the stuff when there are sales. But other than that, I can wait since my current computer can do what ever I need it to do...

And for PS CS4, how about making signatures for forums... I doubt that is anything intense...

EDIT: I found this motherboard (at tigerdirect) I might consider buying this motherboard instead... But am too lazy to find other motherboards with x2 PCIe x16 slots...
- ASUS M4A78-E ($182)
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