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Budget Gaming PC--Price per Performance

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October 6, 2009 6:07:37 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (~6 weeks) BUDGET RANGE: under ~800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, video download/conversion, student stuff

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, possibly case

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg is always good, but I show no loyalties yet

PARTS PREFERENCES: no loyalties

OVERCLOCKING: Probably SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Hopefully 1600/1200, but mostly budget restrictive

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet would be nice, but not top priority. Energy efficient would be good too. Not a serious PC gamer (yet), so I don't need top of the line. First build, looking to be able to play most modern games. Particularly like strategy, FPS, RPG and casual (Sims, Spore, etc). Game I am looking forward to most is Diablo III.

I scrounged an old Asus case, but I couldn't find any model numbers, etc. It did however still have a power supply, an ATX 115/230V 10/6A 60/50Hz 450W. I can get pics of the case, but do either of these sound like they could be reused?

I am less concerned about a strict budget and more concerned about doing it right and leaving room to upgrade down the road. My needs are not horribly demanding graphically, would I be able to get away with a single 512MB graphics card? Also, I have been reading a lot about dual vs quad core and which is best for which situation. It seems dual core is better for gaming since most games don't take advantage of quad/multi-core processors, but that the quad core would be a good investment for futureproofing and our home theatre-esque multitasking.

I have never overclocked or built a pc before, but have had several friends that have over the years, but I am almost certain overclocking is going to be done to help squeeze some more performance out of every dollar. All in all, just looking for build advice.

Also, I have seen classifieds and online custom builds that seem to have pretty fair pricing. Would you say definitively either way that building your own is more cost-effective?
Austin
a b 4 Gaming
October 6, 2009 7:06:56 AM

I would suggest this config -

CPU + Mobo
i5 750 + Gigabyte UD4
http://www.ewiz.com/combo.php?cat_id=374

RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 CAS 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD -
Samsung F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics card -
XFX HD 4850 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE + PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Monitor + OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

IT is surely over budget, but you should be able to find good deals by the time you buy it...
October 6, 2009 4:23:41 PM

Thanks for the advice. I am still researching everything, but I think I am leaning towards an AMD Phenom II x4 945 or AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition. Again, just thoughts in the making.

Any more advice welcome, especially concerning my case and PSU. At this point I am leaning towards chunking both of them.
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October 6, 2009 5:55:09 PM

If that's the way you are leaning, then forget paying the price premium for a PII X4 965 and just go with the X4 955 BE.

It's a good deal cheaper, but since both a Black Edition cores, they are unlocked (unlike the X4 945), which means that someone unsure of their overclocking abilities, but certainly interested can make easy and quick changes to their CPU multiplier, overclocking their CPU only and avoiding the risks and fiddling required with overclocking you FSB too high.

Make sure you get a half decent after market cooler, and you will easily add a few hundred plus mhz without any voltage regulation or likely danger to your system.

I would personally recommend a slightly better video card than the XFX 4850 1gb. Whilst a great card, and probably perfect for what you currently want out of your system, given your budget, and in the interest of future proofing, I would attempt to squeeze in either an ATI 5850 or at least an Nvidia GTX260 (216) Factory OC ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) which will raise this cards performance up to similar levels of a stock GTX275 or 280. Either of these options seem to be the best bang for the buck, with the lowest power requirements, and will future proof your system just that little bit more than a 4850.

And lastly, definitely invest in a GOOD new case from a reputable company, and the same for the power supply. These components are so often overlooked, and yet will likely be the last components you upgrade, period. Definitely invest in ur PC's future upgradability here, by going for at least a 550watt brand name PSU and something similar to an Antec 300 Illusion ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) or the like, with quality, low-noice case fans and plenty of room for all your needs.
October 6, 2009 6:35:33 PM

By the time you are ready to buy, an ATI 5700 series GPU may be a good option since it will still give you the DX11 capability but not be as expensive as the 5850.
October 6, 2009 10:18:08 PM

Thanks for the extra tips. I have decided on going with new everything. I think I may have put a little too much emphasis on futureproofing though. I would like to not have to upgrade constantly because of the loss of value the newer stuff has over time, but at the same time, I don't think that I will be pushing the graphics card to the limit. With that said, would sometime be able to point me to a guide or break down what different quality GPUs are capable of. Like I said, we will mostly be watching movies (hopefully HD fairly soon) and playing games. I don't expect to run Crysis Warhead on anything above mid res/detail, and even that is a stretch. If everyone says I need to go bigger and badder on the GPU, then I will, just wanting to make sure I am not dumping money into something I am not taking full potential of.
October 6, 2009 10:32:45 PM

Bump this thread two weeks before you are ready to build. There will likely be more GPU options open at that point. Right now it is hard to recommend because a long term purchase should include DX11 but there are only two choices and the cheapest is $260. When the cheaper DX11 cards come out (supposedly in October) there will be better options for lighter graphical needs.
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