Uses: Gaming, etc. No heavy video editing or anything like that.
Not Required: Speakers, Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard
Prefered Site: Newegg
Part Preference: I know Intel has better performance, but for this budget I would prefer AMD
Overclocking: Not at the moment
Xfire: If the board supports it, then I plan on it in the future
Additional Comments: Building for a friend, whose cheap laptop is finally starting to die, and wanted your input. I have some ideas but I figured I'd come here first, see what your thoughts are.
600 is a rough estimate. I know he will have at least 500 when he buys, and I told him 700 would be a comfortable sum, so I figure he will have around 600 to work with. So don't go over budget unless the performance gain is considerable, then I might be able to convince him its worthe the cash.
Which would you guys suggest, the triple core Athlon or the dual core Phenom? Is that L3 cache really that important? Toms Hardware, when they asked that question, got mixed results: some games prefered em, some did not. My friend is not that big of a multitasker, doesnt have torrents going left and right with word and excel open and l4d2 running at the same time lol.
If you really want to use the full $600 dollar budget (of if more than $600 becomes available) I would look into either DDR2 @ 1066mhz or possibly stepping up the motherboard--but for quick compatible components, you see what I would recommend.
The 500GB WD Black drive is not a good choice. It's an older model that uses two 250GB platters. The Samsung F3 500GB drive is considerably faster due to using a single 500GB platter. It's also $15 cheaper which is icing on the cake.
Yea the Spinpoint has gotten the seal of approval on these forums on multiple occasions, I've seen it recommended for nearly every budget rig.
The question of which memory to use is a problem...would it be better to spend the extra money on ddr3 memory/mobo and get a lesser cpu or get a really good cpu now--as dirtdiver suggested--and settle for ddr2 ram? From what I have read, ddr2 really isn't much of an improvement on ddr2 outside of the the purely theoretical level, but I'm sure ddr2 will be phased out one way or another within a year or two. Thoughts?
DDR2 RAM is already on its way out. Have you checked prices on DDR2 RAM lately? It's actually more expensive than DDR3 right now. I don't see that changing since no new chips will use DDR2 RAM. I wouldn't use DDR2 on a new build.
I didn't see him ask for an OS, lol so I didn't include one--probably my own fault, but normally I have at least a few copies of an OS layin around, I just assumed that was the case here since it wasn't listed. If an OS is necessary in the build, you can find other 3 in 1 kits--like the one I suggested--that are cheaper to save room in the budget for the OS.
If you want to go with a different CPU to input DDR3 to the system, be sure it is still an AM3 and the board supports the memory you are going to use--nothing worse than forgetting to check compatibility and ordering incorrect parts!
As far as the WD goes, people may not be thrilled about the dual platter design--but it has a much larger cache and uses dual motors internally, so although it is not a single 500Gb platter, it is much faster than most drives in its class. IMO it is worth the money, but if you really need to save those $15 bucks go ahead. I have always used WD in my builds for personal use, and for clients, and have had the best results with them. Seems most of the times I have to replace a drive for someone is when it isn't a WD ;-) That is just a matter of personal opinion, but that is exactly what was asked for in this thread, so I guess it is ok!
For a budget gaming PC, DDR2 is fine at 800mhz and 1066mhz is a bonus. DDR3 isn't *necessary* for gaming; although, yes, the prices are quite similar now as far as the actual memory goes...but remember you need to have support on the motherboard/cpu end of the rig as well.
I'm not sure if he actually needs an OS or not, it really depends on how much his mom is willing to help him out, though it's far better to assume he needs one, just in case. That's my fault for not clarifying that ahead of time!
I guess I will go with the ddr3 option since, as shortstuff pointed out, the prices are actually better at this point.
I like Build's list ( I will go with the F3, if only because of the price difference), with the exception of the case. The last case I bought for 25 bucks was kinda junky, and couldnt even allow for a GPU, had to jerry rig it in there. Does anyone know if the case Build suggested is a decent one? If it is that's great, but otherwise I would rather just get an Antec 300 or something of quality.
Yea the reviews for the case are pretty solid, and I didn't notice that it was originally 50 bucks, lol! Other than the case, there don't seem to be any other problems with Build's list. The only nit-pick I have left is the lack of Xfire capability on the mobo, but since the gpu is mediocre as is, I'd probably tell my friend to just get a new card when he wants to upgrade. Will a 400W psu be able to handle say a 5770? I know it cant handle the old 4870's but from what I've read the 5770's power usage is alot less than the last generation, especially when idle. Is it enough of a decrease to allow a 400w psu, or should I try for a 500w model? If so, I'd rather get a good psu now to allow for a gpu upgrade in a year or so, whenever my friend has the money.
The benefits of Xfire wouldn't be noticed very much 1440x900 resolution, maybe a 5-10% increase in performance. Not really worth it for the money invested if you ask me. Dual GPU scaling really helps are much higher resolutions, but it depends on the game engine--certain dual GPU setups may not scale as well as others regarldess of the cards quality. If you were running a 30 inch monitor, I would say "go for it" but, I wouldn't recommend it for a budget gaming rig.
OCZ has come a *long* way in a very short time. Over a year ago, I probably wouldn't have recommended their products...but TBH they do make a lot of great stuff now. I would have no problem using their products, or recommending them for a friend.