$650 USD Gaming and Multitasking Computer

Hi guys,
I've been researching my options for building a computer in the $650 range but need some advice as far as the specifics of the build go. Here's my filled in template:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within three weeks or so.

BUDGET RANGE: ~$650 after rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Internet browsing/web design, gaming (Borderlands, Dragon Age Origins, GTA4, CoD4, Oblivion, etc.), photo and video editing, word processing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, OS, Monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com although I have also found some very good deals via Google Shopping and I am open to purchasing from companies listed there.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I think on this budget I should go with an AMD CPU and I am leaning towards Nvidia graphics but haven't really decided.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe although I doubt that I will require that much more power outside of what my budget allows.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Perhaps in the future but I don't need a PSU or anything to accommodate it right now.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 but I am thinking about upgrading to 1680x1050.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have what I think is a pretty reasonable list of components so far although I am open to changes of any sort.

MY IDEAS FOR PARTS:
CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674&cm_re=955-_-19-103-674-_-Product

Motherboard - ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131402

Graphics Card - PNY GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB DDR3 PCI-E 2.0 DirectX 10 Video Card
http://www.buy.com/prod/pny-geforce-9800-gtx-512mb-ddr3-pci-e-2-0-directx-10-video-card/q/loc/101/209389398.html
*This one I am not sure on; I have read that the 9800 GTX+ is comparable to a GTS 250 or an HD 5750, and I found this one for $118. However, I have also been looking at cards like a Sapphire HD 5770 for ~$35 more, which I am wary to purchase because I think it may be overkill when gaming on a 19" 1280x1024 monitor. Let me know what you think.

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

HDD - 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=N82E16822148395&cm_re=seagate_500gb-_-22-148-395-_-Product

Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066&cm_re=antec_300-_-11-129-066-_-Product

PSU - Rosewill Stallion Series RD500-2DB 500W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044
*I'm also not sure on this one, as I don't really know what reputable brands in PSUs are or how much voltage I really need.

Totaled out, I believe that comes to about $650 shipped, not including a combo deal that I found on the CPU, RAM, and motherboard that would take another $35 off.

Any suggestions you guys have on how I could improve upon that build yet stay within my budget would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Humer
24 answers Last reply
More about gaming multitasking computer
  1. On another note, would it be bad to buy a PSU from a company like Logisys via Newegg that is half the price of comparable PSUs yet gets pretty good reviews?
  2. Bump - don't be scared of the long post!
  3. Bump because I don't really like having conversations with myself :)
  4. humer said:
    Hi guys,
    I've been researching my options for building a computer in the $650 range but need some advice as far as the specifics of the build go. Here's my filled in template:

    APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within three weeks or so.

    BUDGET RANGE: ~$650 after rebates.

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Internet browsing/web design, gaming (Borderlands, Dragon Age Origins, GTA4, CoD4, Oblivion, etc.), photo and video editing, word processing

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, OS, Monitor

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com although I have also found some very good deals via Google Shopping and I am open to purchasing from companies listed there.

    COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

    PARTS PREFERENCES: I think on this budget I should go with an AMD CPU and I am leaning towards Nvidia graphics but haven't really decided.

    OVERCLOCKING: Maybe although I doubt that I will require that much more power outside of what my budget allows.

    SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Perhaps in the future but I don't need a PSU or anything to accommodate it right now.

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 but I am thinking about upgrading to 1680x1050.

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have what I think is a pretty reasonable list of components so far although I am open to changes of any sort.

    MY IDEAS FOR PARTS:
    CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674&cm_re=955-_-19-103-674-_-Product

    Motherboard - ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131402

    Graphics Card - PNY GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB DDR3 PCI-E 2.0 DirectX 10 Video Card
    http://www.buy.com/prod/pny-geforce-9800-gtx-512mb-ddr3-pci-e-2-0-directx-10-video-card/q/loc/101/209389398.html
    *This one I am not sure on; I have read that the 9800 GTX+ is comparable to a GTS 250 or an HD 5750, and I found this one for $118. However, I have also been looking at cards like a Sapphire HD 5770 for ~$35 more, which I am wary to purchase because I think it may be overkill when gaming on a 19" 1280x1024 monitor. Let me know what you think.

    RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

    HDD - 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=N82E16822148395&cm_re=seagate_500gb-_-22-148-395-_-Product

    Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066&cm_re=antec_300-_-11-129-066-_-Product

    PSU - Rosewill Stallion Series RD500-2DB 500W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044
    *I'm also not sure on this one, as I don't really know what reputable brands in PSUs are or how much voltage I really need.

    Totaled out, I believe that comes to about $650 shipped, not including a combo deal that I found on the CPU, RAM, and motherboard that would take another $35 off.

    Any suggestions you guys have on how I could improve upon that build yet stay within my budget would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Humer


    Your ram has terrible latencies, this G.Skill ram has a lat of 7, which is pretty good for DDR3 ram. Your mobo is for crossfire, if your not going to use it then don't waste money on it. This Gigabyte mobo will do fine. Your psu is from a bad brand, look at Antec, Corsair, and OCZ for a psu. The GTS 250 is a bit stronger than a 9800 GTX+, and its cheaper.


    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392
    $80


    G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231318
    $98 -Free Shipping


    Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371030
    $65


    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=N82E16814261051
    $113
  5. Thanks so much for all of the input! Would the switch from DDR3 1600 to DDR3 1333 at your suggestion have an adverse impact on game performance, or would it be irrelevant? Also, would the GPU be bottlenecking game performance, or would it be fine at the resolution I'm running at? Thanks in advance!
  6. humer said:
    Thanks so much for all of the input! Would the switch from DDR3 1600 to DDR3 1333 at your suggestion have an adverse impact on game performance, or would it be irrelevant? Also, would the GPU be bottlenecking game performance, or would it be fine at the resolution I'm running at? Thanks in advance!


    As you can see, "slow" ram makes no significant difference in games at all. In fact, you can see here that even $100+ 1600 ram is beaten by lower clocked, cheaper ram (1333). So don't worry about memory. Just make sure its compatiable with your mobo and pop it in.


    Both the 9800 GTX+ and the GTS 250 can play modern games at high settings at a 1600 res, so either card will be overkill for your current res.
  7. I also noticed that both the GTS 250 and 9800 GTX+ run DirectX 10, whereas newer ATI cards run DX11. Will that have an impact on longevity of this setup as games progress? I think I read somewhere that it won't matter for a long while but I'm not sure. Also, will it matter if I get the 512 MB version of the GTS 250 vs the 1GB version? Will the performance loss be recouped via a higher memory clock or something?
  8. humer said:
    I also noticed that both the GTS 250 and 9800 GTX+ run DirectX 10, whereas newer ATI cards run DX11. Will that have an impact on longevity of this setup as games progress? I think I read somewhere that it won't matter for a long while but I'm not sure.


    Games in the future will support dx11, both of those nVidia cards only support dx10, so they won't be able to play any games that use dx11. But it will be a long time till the majority of new games actually use dx11. But if I were you, I would just get a 5770, so that way when you eventually upgrade your monitor your gpu will be ready.
  9. Sorry for editing the other post after you quoted it. I was looking at 5770s too and thought that the performance increase seemed very reasonable for the money. Do you have a particular brand you would recommend?
  10. humer said:
    Sorry for editing the other post after you quoted it. I was looking at 5770s too and thought that the performance increase seemed very reasonable for the money. Do you have a particular brand you would recommend?



    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=N82E16814102864&cm_re=5770-_-14-102-864-_-Product
    $155 -Free Shipping

    Some of the most popular brands for gpus are evga, Sapphire, and XFX. Brand really doesn't matter though, the only thing they do is put there own custom heat sink on the gpu and thats about it.
  11. humer said:
    I also noticed that both the GTS 250 and 9800 GTX+ run DirectX 10, whereas newer ATI cards run DX11. Will that have an impact on longevity of this setup as games progress? I think I read somewhere that it won't matter for a long while but I'm not sure. Also, will it matter if I get the 512 MB version of the GTS 250 vs the 1GB version? Will the performance loss be recouped via a higher memory clock or something?



    "it really depends on what resolution you will be gaming at. The higher the resolution the more memory will be used as there is more data on the screen obviously. Gaming at 1024x768 doesn't require 1GB or 768MB of memory, so many can get by with less expensive GPU's. Start gaming at 25x16 on a 30" monitor and you'll need more memory. Not to mention the fact that games are getting more graphics intense."

    http://forums.legitreviews.com/about12395.html

    So essentially, the extra ram just helps at really high resolutions, it won't make a difference on a low res screen.
  12. On a sort of side note, I was looking at this article benchmarking Borderlands- http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/11/30/borderlands_gameplay_performance_iq/6 and I noticed that at a resolution of 1680x1050, the GTS 250 outperformed the HD 5770. Could this be evident in other games as well or is is just an anomaly caused by the physics/graphics engine that Borderlands is running on?
  13. humer said:
    On a sort of side note, I was looking at this article benchmarking Borderlands- http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/11/30/borderlands_gameplay_performance_iq/6 and I noticed that at a resolution of 1680x1050, the GTS 250 outperformed the HD 5770. Could this be evident in other games as well or is is just an anomaly caused by the physics/graphics engine that Borderlands is running on?


    The 5770 can play modern games at high settings at a 1900 res, so yea its more powerful than a 250. Borderlands probably benefited from nVidia's gpu architecture, as some games are "tuned" for nVidia cards.





  14. Alright thanks for everything! I think my final build is going to be:

    CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674&cm_re=phenom_ii_x4_955-_-19-103-674-_-Product

    Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392

    Graphics Card - 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=N82E16814102864&cm_re=5770-_-14-102-864-_-Product

    RAM - G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231318&cm_re=g.skill_ddr3_1333_4gb-_-20-231-318-_-Product

    HDD - 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=N82E16822148395&cm_re=seagate_500gb-_-22-148-395-_-Product

    Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066&cm_re=three_hundred-_-11-129-066-_-Product

    PSU - Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371030

    Does everything seem to be right?
  15. humer said:
    Alright thanks for everything! I think my final build is going to be:

    CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674&cm_re=phenom_ii_x4_955-_-19-103-674-_-Product

    Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392

    Graphics Card - 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=N82E16814102864&cm_re=5770-_-14-102-864-_-Product

    RAM - G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231318&cm_re=g.skill_ddr3_1333_4gb-_-20-231-318-_-Product

    HDD - 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=N82E16822148395&cm_re=seagate_500gb-_-22-148-395-_-Product

    Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066&cm_re=three_hundred-_-11-129-066-_-Product

    PSU - Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371030

    Does everything seem to be right?


    Thats excellent, that would be a great gaming build.
  16. I just came across this power supply also by Antec - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016 It's $10 while adding modular cables and 30W. Would there be any downside to switching to it?
  17. humer said:
    I just came across this power supply also by Antec - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016 It's $10 while adding modular cables and 30W. Would there be any downside to switching to it?


    It should be fine, but it doesn't have an 80 Plus certification though. And do you have an optical drive? I didn't see it mentioned earlier.
  18. The 80 Plus certification shouldn't matter too much - I live on a military base and the government pays for our electricity :) Also, I've got a 5 year old HP computer that had its motherboard blown in a blackout a while back thats been sitting in my basement ever since. I plan on just taking out its DVD drive and putting it in the new computer. I'm really looking forward to this build - the computer I currently game on is way overdue for an upgrade - its got an old HD2400 PRO, a P4, and 1GB of DDR2 667 RAM. Just as a side note, when and what do you think I would have to upgrade in this computer if it starts to get too slow in games in the future?
  19. humer said:
    The 80 Plus certification shouldn't matter too much - I live on a military base and the government pays for our electricity :) Also, I've got a 5 year old HP computer that had its motherboard blown in a blackout a while back thats been sitting in my basement ever since. I plan on just taking out its DVD drive and putting it in the new computer. I'm really looking forward to this build - the computer I currently game on is way overdue for an upgrade - its got an old HD2400 PRO, a P4, and 1GB of DDR2 667 RAM. Just as a side note, when and what do you think I would have to upgrade in this computer if it starts to get too slow in games in the future?


    Free electricity? lucky.

    In the future, say 3+ years, your ddr3 ram should be fine, you cpu is a high performance quad so it will be ready for multi threaded apps, and your gpu can play modern games at max settings at a 1900 res with 60+ fps. Your hdd should be fine, but getting a ssd can squeeze out a bit more fps. So perhaps your gpu, because by that time we will probably be seeing the ps4, and since most pc games are ports of console games, games in the future will be more demanding. But for the most part, your pc should be able to do everything you want it to do without any hiccups now or several years in the future.
  20. humer said:
    I also noticed that both the GTS 250 and 9800 GTX+ run DirectX 10, whereas newer ATI cards run DX11. Will that have an impact on longevity of this setup as games progress? I think I read somewhere that it won't matter for a long while but I'm not sure. Also, will it matter if I get the 512 MB version of the GTS 250 vs the 1GB version? Will the performance loss be recouped via a higher memory clock or something?



    I just bought a 5850 to replace my evga9800gtx+..... Yes it is true that there are few DX11 games so at this point it doesnt make a difference. COme next year(week) we will be seeing more DX11 cards out. We already have 5or so that are out for ATI, Nvidia has some newer gt220 and gtx240 cards out but im not sure they are dx11. I would get at least a GTX260 if I were you. Im not saying the 9800gtx+ is bad but you might as well spend a tad bit more to get a better card that has newer architecture. Get the 216version of the gtx260....
  21. MothMusic said:
    The 5770 can play modern games at high settings at a 1900 res, so yea its more powerful than a 250. Borderlands probably benefited from nVidia's gpu architecture, as some games are "tuned" for nVidia cards.

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/5700_101209230406/20456.png
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/5700_101209230406/20453.png
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/5700_101209230406/20462.png
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/5700_101209230406/20450.png
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/5700_101209230406/20441.png



    What the heck is a 5770 CF??? How can it be more efficient and have higher FPS than the 5850 on certain games?
  22. liquidsnake718 said:
    I just bought a 5850 to replace my evga9800gtx+..... Yes it is true that there are few DX11 games so at this point it doesnt make a difference. COme next year(week) we will be seeing more DX11 cards out. We already have 5or so that are out for ATI, Nvidia has some newer gt220 and gtx240 cards out but im not sure they are dx11. I would get at least a GTX260 if I were you. Im not saying the 9800gtx+ is bad but you might as well spend a tad bit more to get a better card that has newer architecture. Get the 216version of the gtx260....


    Buy a card thats a dead end? Thats more expensive? That uses way more energy, forcing you to buy a more expensive psu? A card that can't play a single dx11 game? A card thats only around 10% stronger than a 5770? No, the 260 is a no go. Humer is better off with a 5770, no one on here ever recommends a 260 over a 5770.
  23. liquidsnake718 said:
    What the heck is a 5770 CF??? How can it be more efficient and have higher FPS than the 5850 on certain games?


    CrossFire
  24. humer said:
    The 80 Plus certification shouldn't matter too much - I live on a military base and the government pays for our electricity :) Also, I've got a 5 year old HP computer that had its motherboard blown in a blackout a while back thats been sitting in my basement ever since. I plan on just taking out its DVD drive and putting it in the new computer. I'm really looking forward to this build - the computer I currently game on is way overdue for an upgrade - its got an old HD2400 PRO, a P4, and 1GB of DDR2 667 RAM. Just as a side note, when and what do you think I would have to upgrade in this computer if it starts to get too slow in games in the future?



    I feel your pain, i've had an old P4 Dell Optiplex around for 6 years, not much of a big gamer besides WoW and i got away with just getting an extra gig of RAM to make it 1.5 gigs and got a radeon 9250 card for it probably 3 or so years ago. Now i'm looking to do a first time build too with a 5770 and the same motherboard you're opting for, but i'm going for the Phenom 2 x3 core CPU trying to save because i'll be getting an OS, Monitor, a nice mouse and a basic keyboard. Good luck with yours i think as long as nothing is Dead On Arrival we should be good for a while. I'm right around $1000 currently.
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