Sub-$700 'casual gamer', AM3/DDR3-based?

Buying: Honestly, after 1st of the 2010.
Will need: New everything, but onboard sound is fine, and monitor gets its own budget.


I think I'm called a 'casual gamer I like to play games, but I just don't do it often. The best game I can play right now is CounterStrike. Not the Source version.

I don't mind being behind the curve, as I've usually stayed a year behind current gaming.

I'd like to build a tight-budget box that can handle some almost-recent games, but that will have headroom to upgrade later.

I checked out the $650 gaming machine found here on Tom's, and it was awesome except for one thing: With DDR2, I'm not feeling very 'future safe'. This is the main thing that puts me over budget, however.

I'd really like to try to find an AMD AM3 board, with a decent graphics card, and come in sub-$700. Obviously, I won't (don't think?) be needing multiple PCIe x16 slots, as over time I'll just get a bigger single card.

I will need a hard-drive, but major storage isn't a concern. A standard 320G would be more than enough.

I'm not concerned with overclocking - never have done it - but if the parts and board allow for it, and it's withing budget, then I'm perfectly fine with that.

Is this the most annoying we-get-this-all-the-time post?
I just get so scared looking at the motherboards myself, because for every awesome board (even Asus), I see a crap-ton of "DOA" reviews on Newegg and TigerD.

Any suggestions? Built a budget rig recently and can offer a little comfort for a particular motherboard not arriving dead?

Thanks for your patience!

[looking forward to one day playing Fallout3, Bioshock, Left4Dead2, TeamFortress2]
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  1. tcg said:
    Buying: Honestly, after 1st of the 2010.
    Will need: New everything, but onboard sound is fine, and monitor gets its own budget.


    I think I'm called a 'casual gamer I like to play games, but I just don't do it often. The best game I can play right now is CounterStrike. Not the Source version.

    I don't mind being behind the curve, as I've usually stayed a year behind current gaming.

    I'd like to build a tight-budget box that can handle some almost-recent games, but that will have headroom to upgrade later.

    I checked out the $650 gaming machine found here on Tom's, and it was awesome except for one thing: With DDR2, I'm not feeling very 'future safe'. This is the main thing that puts me over budget, however.

    I'd really like to try to find an AMD AM3 board, with a decent graphics card, and come in sub-$700. Obviously, I won't (don't think?) be needing multiple PCIe x16 slots, as over time I'll just get a bigger single card.

    I will need a hard-drive, but major storage isn't a concern. A standard 320G would be more than enough.

    I'm not concerned with overclocking - never have done it - but if the parts and board allow for it, and it's withing budget, then I'm perfectly fine with that.

    Is this the most annoying we-get-this-all-the-time post?
    I just get so scared looking at the motherboards myself, because for every awesome board (even Asus), I see a crap-ton of "DOA" reviews on Newegg and TigerD.

    Any suggestions? Built a budget rig recently and can offer a little comfort for a particular motherboard not arriving dead?

    Thanks for your patience!

    [looking forward to one day playing Fallout3, Bioshock, Left4Dead2, TeamFortress2]


    Edit: Posted a new build.
  2. This build can play modern on high settings easily, and thanks to its 4 cores and dx11 support it will support future games very well to.


    Try this:

    Core i5 750 Processor Boxed
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0317379
    $150

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
    $55

    ASUS P7P55 LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131604&cm_re=lga_1156-_-13-131-604-_-Product
    $120

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231275&cm_mmc=SNC-Facebook-_-na-_-na-_-na
    $92 -Freeshipping

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152181
    $55 -Freeshipping

    SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128405&cm_re=LGA_1156-_-13-128-405-_-Product
    $165 -Freeshipping

    OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341022
    $45 -After rebates

    Total = $683 -After rebates
  3. @MothMusic Thanks for the (speedy!) suggestions! Much appreciated! Aside from the price and listing, do you have either of those motherboards or PSUs?
  4. tcg said:
    @MothMusic Thanks for the (speedy!) suggestions! Much appreciated! Aside from the price and listing, do you have either of those motherboards or PSUs?


    No I don't, but the motherboard and psu where recommended by veteran members on this forum so they are of the highest quality and have excellent reliability. Plus the psu provides more power than you need so you have room for future expansion, and the mobo is from ASUS, a great brand.
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