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Budget Gaming/General Use Build

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September 17, 2009 1:09:16 PM

Hello everyone, I've been completely out of the loop for a few years and finally in a position to get a new computer. I've tried to come up with a decent build but I'd really like to have some input on it. This will be the only computer I have acceess too, so I'll be using it for all my web surfing, paper writing, and other low demand tasks. But I'd also like to play games on it so I'm looking for something that can preform at least moderately in that area. I'd not a big fps fan, but I'd like to be able to play stuff like Dragon Age or Alpha Protocol after they are released and if I can manage to get the money to buy them. Other than those games I'll mostly be playing older stuff like Bloodlines, or even Baldur's Gate.

Also, because most of the time I'll be using this computer I will not be gaming, a low idle power consumption is very important too me.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 2-3 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: about €800 but the lower the better

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Websurfing, paper writing, gaming, movie/video watching

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: None, I need everything

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I'm living in Finland at the moment, so I'll be buying from online Finnish stores. I don't know which yet and will probably just find the one with the lowest price for the parts I want.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm currently leaning towards these parts-

Processor: AMD Phenom II X2 550BE

Motherboard: Asus M4A785TD-V EVO

Power Supply: Antec TruePower New 550W

Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 4670 (any company is fine as far as I'm concerned)

Case: Antec Three Hundred

DVD-Rom: Samsung 22x DVDRW

Harddrive: WD Caviar Black 500gb, 7200rpm, 32mb cache

Monitor: Philips 190SW9FS 19" 1440x900 (this only has VGA input, should I be concerned about that? I really just want something half way decent and cheap, do you think this will be ok? I'm pretty undecided on it myself)

Memory: Kingston 4gb 1333mhz DDR3 KVR1333D3N9K2/4G

Keyboard and Mouse: Just something basic and cheap

OVERCLOCKING: Not a priority

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Probably 1440x900 (see monitor above)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I'd really just like to hear what you think about this build. I haven't done this in years so I figure there's a pretty big chance I'm missing something huge.

Also, I'd like to run a linux distro as my primarly operating system, with Windows XP for gaming. So playing nice with linux (probably ubuntu 9.04) is also important.

And one last thing. Prices are probably higher here in Finland than most other places, so I don't know how useful the price range I've given will actually. But in general I just want something that is as cheap as possible while still haven't decent performance and lower power consumption.

Thanks a ton everyone!
September 17, 2009 1:27:40 PM

It looks like you did a fair job of matching components, only a few minor tweaks I can think of. Since the parts pricing in Finland is a huge unknown to me, I can't make very effective pricing suggestions. From what I do see, I'd recommend an equivalent Corsair 500-600W PSU, Antec isn't bad by any means, though I know a few people who had bad luck with their PSUs. You have an EVO edition on your ASUS motherboard, typically the extra features ASUS includes with their higher tier boards are geared more for overclockers, so you could probably save some there by going to a lower tier like "PRO" or "Deluxe," or whatever they call it in that product line.

Unless Finland's pricing is way worse than over here, I'd at least recommend going with a Radeon 4850, 4870 if your budget can handle it. 4850's can be had for about $150 over here, not sure what you are looking at for price in Finland.

the Caviar Black is a good hard drive, but it's really in need of an engineering refresh. it's based on an older 2x 250 GB platter design, and current offerings like Samsung F3 500GB or Seagate 7200.12 500GB are better and cheaper since they use a single platter design. Until they revise the 500GB Caviar Black, I haven't been recommending it as much.

for Keyboard and Mouse, I've always been satisfied with Logitech products. Microsoft is pretty standard too, but I've felt that dollar for dollar, the Logitech products are nicer.

Not so much a parts recommendation, but I'd really advise to install Windows XP first, then add ubuntu 9.04. While you certainly can do it the other way around also, you'll develop fewer headaches with the boot loader if you install in this order.
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September 19, 2009 1:55:41 PM

Thanks for the response! I looked around some of the online stores and found the Corsair 550VX power supply for only a few euros more than the antec power supply I was planning to get, so I'll get the corsair instead.

The M4A785TD-V motherboard was under 100 euros and I couldn't find many cheaper boards in stock at the stores here. There are some cheaper boards from the older 780g line, do you think there's much advantage for me in going with the newer 785g line instead of the slightly older ones?

I also looked at the Seagate 7200.12 harddrive and it does seem like a better buy at the moment than anything that WD has out. Unfortunately I couldn't find a single store here in Finland that has them at stock, and I'd to wait a few weeks to be able to get one. So I might just get the Cavair Black drive if its available when I want to order the system and the Seagate isn't.

I was looking around at the benchmarks for the 4850 and it does look like a pretty significant step up from the 4670. I think the 4850 can be had for around €100 here, about €35 more than the 4670. And it also seems to have about 30 watts higher idle power consumption than the 4670. In the end though if I can fit it in my budget I might still go the 4850 route.

I'd forgotten about Windows messing up the boot loarder, thanks for the reminder. It's been a while since I've had to worry about that stuff :) 

Any other recommendations on anything? Also, due to availability issues, I'm looking at the HP 19" LE1901W for my LCD monitor. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Thanks again for all the help!
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September 19, 2009 2:20:55 PM

May also want to look at the 720 Black Edition triple core for a little more. Or there is the Athlon 2 x4 series if you are interested in a budget quad.
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