~$650 gaming system help


BUDGET RANGE: ~$650, would like it to be under $700 after tax and shipping but I am flexible if it is worth it.


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard



PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD/ATI. Seem to be the best bang for the buck in my price range
Overall I am leaning towards:
5770/Phenom combo but am VERY interested in the quad/dual core debate and which you think is better for my budget


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not at this time


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am essentially looking for the best bang for the buck. I want it to be a great system right now that will last for quite a while while still being in my budget. Any and all help greatly appreciated!
28 answers Last reply
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  1. If you need an OS, its going to be very, very hard to get a 5770 and a good CPU on a $650 budget. You're going to be basically building on a $550, $380 after the GPU. Figure $185 for the case ($40), optical ($30), HDD ($55), and PSU ($60). That leaves only $195 for the CPU/Mobo/RAM, which most likely can't be done without something getting the short end of the stick.

    Bottom line, if you don't want a computer that's only good part is the GPU, you're going to have to go with something quite a bit cheaper for the GPU. Look in the General Homebrew section for the "Recommended Builds by Usage" thread. The first one is about the range you're looking at building.

    Of course, if you don't need to buy the OS, then we've got something to work with.
  2. Oops I am sorry I forgot to add that I do not need an OS! thanks for everyones help again :)
  3. Case: XION AXP 100 Gaming Series $34.99
    Optical: Samsung $25.99
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $54.99
    GPU: Radeon HD 5770 $170
    CPU: Phenom II X4 630 2.8 GHZ $112.99
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H $89.99
    RAM: Corsair XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 $94.99
    PSU: OCZ Fatal1ty 550W $64.99

    Total: ~$649

    I made this really quickly, so it might not be the best. Be back later to tweak it.
  4. Thanks for your help.

    I think Optical/HDD/PSU/RAM/Vidcard all look good

    only thing I am concerned about is the Case and CPU.
    How is this case? With glass I have been concerened that the window on a cheap case can sometimes rattle after time and I definitely don't want that.

    CPU: Is this the best for both future and present needs and cost? Seems like it

    thanks again
  5. I don't own the case, but I know its been recommended in true budget builds. There aren't many cases down in the range you need them. If you don't want a window, there's Rosewill Wind Ryder for $5 more or Rosewill Wind Knight for $15 more. All of these have at least 2 120mm fans, which should be alright to start with.

    The CPU isn't going to be the best, but it's one of the more powerful ones in your price range. I didn't have a lot of time to look at benchmarks and what not on the various dual, triple and quad cores in your price range. I do know that you will want an AM3 socket CPU. This is the latest AMD socket, and will probably be the main AMD socket for a couple of years. Another choice is AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 3.1GHz for $102. This is a dual core, and a typical budget build choice.

    Edit: added links.
  6. Here is a build for $576 - which leaves $75 if you want to use it to upgrade any specific components. I would look to a better mobo or faster CPU - your choice. By the way - this may solve your case issues - a great little case on sale cheap.

    AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor – Retail - $99 and free shipping

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard – Retail - $70 AR

    OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK – Timings 7-7-7-18 - Retail - $73

    Graphics Card
    SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $165

    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail - $40 AR and free shipping

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 -– Retail $40 AR

    Hard Drive
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $55 and free shipping

    DVD RW
    Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache IDE CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM - $34

    Total Cost - $576 - AR and before OS, shipping – where applicable, and taxes
  7. This is a good read on budget CPUs and provides some benchmarks

  8. The above build's pretty good too, but if you don't count the rebates, it'll be $646 at shipping time. I didn't include any rebates in mine, but I know there several of them. If you can swing the additional costs, I would swap CPUs, HDD and optical out of rockyjohn's build for mine in order to get the best performance. I'm also not sure on how many watts you're going to need to run the 5770, so check a wattage calculator.
  9. Oops - my configuration above has the old IDE DVD burner - substitute instead this SATA model for $1 more:

    Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM - $35
  10. Regarding power requirements - just look at the THG review shown here - which shows the total system requirements under full load for a lot of systems. For the 5770 not overclocked, it was only 231w. You can look earlier in the article to see the complete system setup - as I recall it was the i7-920 CPU so the ones above should draw less power.

    Also keep in mind that the sweet spot for PSU operation is at about 60% of capacity, which normally gives you a better combination of efficiency, some room for expansion, and not running the funs at full speed which, for some, can get noisy. 231 watts delived at 60% capacity requries a rating of 385w. In that range I think it does ot generally cost much more to step up to the 500w PSU and have more room for upgrading.
  11. Thanks for all the replies. I think I am pretty close to deciding on my setup. Do you guys agree that the 5770 best fits my needs? My only concern is now the CPU. Is it worth the 150 over 100 to get a better processor? Will it make a noticable difference?
  12. I don't think the GPU fits the budget, but if you really want it, you're going to have to make cuts other places to get it. I would set the absolute max you're willing to pay for the entire computer, then buy the best CPU you can get with the other stuff. Everything up there can fit a number of CPUs, so leave the rest of that the same and get the best CPU you can. There's a newer article about the best gaming CPUs. I'd read that and find the best one in the budget.
  13. If I were to go with a AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition keeping the components the same would the mobo and ram and psu still be the best fit (I assume so)?

    I think I am leaning towards that.. I have a little extra money and the phenom seems like a solid step better
  14. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674&Tpk=AMD%20Phenom%20II%20X4%20955%20Black%20Edition

    $168 right now

    If I wasn't doing serious overclocking (if at all) I wouldnt need any after market thermal or cooler right? stock included should be sufficience?

    Seems like a great price for the performance
  15. Yes, everything would work correctly. If you were to get the 955, you would have an excellent system.

    Typically, you can do some overclocking on the stock cooler. However, IMO, the cases suggested won't provide enough airflow for me to recommend doing much overclocking. You could certainly try to do a little, but I wouldn't take it too far. I would suggest not doing much overclocking until you upgrade the case.

    That said, the system built would be very good without need to do much tweaking. Eventually, you could upgrade the case and do some overclocking to get additional performance.
  16. The case I recommended provides excellent airflow and should not hinder OC. You should be able to do a light OC on the stock cooler, but will want to get the one I recommended to reach the full potential of the CPU.

    I total disagree with Mad on his configuration philosophy. You don't buy the best CPU you can afford, the focus is on the video card. But you need balance - no use wasting money on either if it is bottlenecked by the other. But since in gaming most of the work is done by the video card, that is where you want the money to go to.

    That said, I think the 5770 is a good choice in your budget range - probably a stronger GPU than most would get - which is a good allocation of funds. IF you can also swing the X4 955 that would give you a great system - with some headroom to increase the graphics card later.
  17. It's not really my philosophy to do that. cmond said he wanted to use the 5770. Thus, he set the GPU, meaning the rest of the build had to follow. I'd prefer to build from the CPU up...

    I definitely think that you would have a great system if you can afford the 955. I didn't look too hard at rocky's case suggestion, just assumed it only had 2 fans. Since it has 3, it should do a good job of keeping everything cool, allowing for some overclocking. If you want to get really serious about it, you need to get an aftermarket heatsink/cooler. You can always add that later.
  18. thanks for both of your help. I hope to go with the 955 and the 5770. Ill update my list when i decide each component then update this thread and you can let me know what you think !
  19. If you wait until Wednesday after 3pm PST, you can get 10% cashback through Bing's program on Newegg, though you'll have to wait 60 days to get the money...
  20. MadAdmiral said:
    It's not really my philosophy to do that. cmond said he wanted to use the 5770. Thus, he set the GPU, meaning the rest of the build had to follow. I'd prefer to build from the CPU up...

    My apology. Now I see what you said and generally agree.
  21. So here is my final build... any final advice is GREAAATLY appreciated! thanks again!

    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 5770 100283-2L Video Card

    1Antec Three Hundred Black Computer Case

    1Sony Optiarc DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B

    1CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

    1OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W Power Supply compatible with core i7

    1Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    1AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core
    ASUS M4A79XTD EVO ATX AMD Motherboard

    It ends up being about $700 then $770 with tax and shipping but it has $70 in rebates and then about $70 in cash back through bing equals $630.

    What do you guys think about the hard drive? The F3 is still out of stock :(

    thanks again!
  22. er need new ram thats DDR2.. will be getting DDR3.. any one that is good advice in addition is much appreciated
  23. Added:
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
  24. er now based on reviews it seems that that ram is not good for AMD what is a good ram for my mobo and proc?
  25. I already included good RAM with my build way above.

    Also you might want to check out this case on sale at newegg - part of their Black Friday Sale that actually started just 2 hours ago:

    COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    Original Price: $109.98
    You Save: $15.00
    ($59.98 after $35.00 Mail-In Rebate pdf )
    Free Shipping*

  26. cmondfrans said:
    What do you guys think about the hard drive? The F3 is still out of stock :(

    thanks again!

    The Seagate 7200.12 drive listed in my original build is better. I gave you a 500 GB version to save money not knowing you apparently need a bigger drive. So just get the 750 GB version of the one I listed.
  27. cmondfrans said:
    Thanks for all the replies. I think I am pretty close to deciding on my setup. Do you guys agree that the 5770 best fits my needs? My only concern is now the CPU. Is it worth the 150 over 100 to get a better processor? Will it make a noticable difference?

    As far as best bang for buck performance goes you would probably be better of with a 4870 or a 4890 if you can swing it. They are about $20 more expensive (4890) but give you a substantial amount of performance over a 5770.

    The real reason to get a 5770 is for the Direct x11 capability. At the moment there aren't many games that use direct x11, but there will be in the future. For that reason I think keeping upgradability in mind while putting together a computer is important. If I were you, I would get the 5770 and a motherboard that has crossfire. Be sure to look into the PCIe 2.0 slots. Sometimes the second slot is capped at x4 @2.5gt/s which will cap your performance. Make sure you are able to run both cards at x16 or x16 + 1 x8 or x8 + x8. This will allow for a relatively cheap upgrade in the future by just throwing in another gpu.

    In terms of processors, most games heavily rely on the GPU. You just want to make sure your cpu isn't bottlenecking your graphics card. I think a Phenom II x4 925 @ 2.8ghz will do the trick ($140). I would also consider a dual core depending on how many applications you tend to have open at a time.
  28. I personally would save a little money on the CPU and get an Athlon II X3 for ~$85. Or better yet, you could get an Athlon II X2 @ 3.0GHz and easily unlock the other two cores + overclock for $64.

    Just for reference, an Athlon II X4 is around $100.
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