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1st time build - $500 gaming machine

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December 18, 2009 2:46:48 PM

Howdy all, I'm looking into building my first machine and would appreciate advice, especially when it comes to speccing it out. I'm working with about a $500 budget, but it's flexible (to a point). I'm not too worried about the actual building, as I've worked on quite a few Macs & PCs and feel pretty comfortable with computer components.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: January BUDGET RANGE: $500-600 - preferably before rebates, but I can deal

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, some media center use (ripping DVDs, etc.)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: hard drive (I've got a couple of 120gb 10k drives just sitting around), OS (Windows 7 Pro)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com - really, anything reputable is fine COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USofA

PARTS PREFERENCES: no real preference - AMD or Intel is just fine w/ me

OVERCLOCKING: probably light overclocking SLI OR CROSSFIRE: maybe down the line

MONITOR RESOLUTION: no preference, though something that can handle 1080p would be nice (I'd like to use it with my Xbox 360 as well)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Something mid-size would be nice, but I'd also like something that I can easily expand upon. Something Hackintosh-able would be a definite plus. Also, Microcenter routinely has Core i7 920s for $200, which is awfully tempting...
December 18, 2009 2:56:49 PM

Oh, I also have about 4 fully-buffered 2gb DDR2 PC-5300 chips sitting around, which would be nice but might age this build a little more than I'd like, but if the price/performance is right...
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December 21, 2009 4:36:30 PM

Bueller? Bueller?
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December 21, 2009 5:32:08 PM




AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119 -Free Shipping


ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60


Crucial 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model CT25664BA1067 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$78 for two sticks


Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50 -Free Shipping


Palit NE3TS25NFHD52 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$113

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$80 with combo discount


SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$27 -Free Shipping

Total = $527
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December 21, 2009 5:59:01 PM

To put that under budget you could get the Athlon II x3 435 CPU instead the Phenom II x3 720.
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December 21, 2009 6:00:42 PM

dndhatcher said:
To put that under budget you could get the Athlon II x3 420CPU instead the Phenom II x3 720.


I thought about that, but I figured that he could spend a bit more, the OP said that he could go to $600.
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December 21, 2009 6:16:56 PM

Both are good choices. If you are not going to get a good heatsink and overclock, the Athlon II might make more sense.
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December 21, 2009 6:32:23 PM

So let's say I go for $600 - I can probably do without the HD for now, and I'd rather invest in a nice GPU & heatsink.

Also, would I be able to unlock the 720's 4th core with that board? Should I even bother?

Thanks again.
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December 21, 2009 6:37:41 PM

Unlocking the 720s core is not likely. Do not count on it as part of your purchasing decision. Its sold as an x3 CPU because one of the cores failed factory testing.
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December 21, 2009 6:38:33 PM

jatorres said:
So let's say I go for $600 - I can probably do without the HD for now, and I'd rather invest in a nice GPU & heatsink.

Also, would I be able to unlock the 720's 4th core with that board? Should I even bother?

Thanks again.


The GTS 250 can play modern games at high settings at a 1600 res. There is no difference between a tri-core and a quad-core in gaming:

A 720 will be just as capable as an i5 and 955 in gaming, no need to waste money:

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