Build Budget $400-$500 USD PC. Need Guidance.

Hi. I plan to build my own pc but I need some guidance. This is for gaming but it I don't think i'll be playing those extreme processor hungry games like Quake 4(?) etc.

Intel E7500 Core2Duo (2.93 Ghz) 1066MHz (3Mb)
// I heard most say e8400 is better for OC and gaming but its a bit expensive so i'll stick with e7500..
2GB DDR2 PC800 Kingston
SATA 500Gb Seagate 7200rpm (32Mb)
1 Gb Palit GF9500GT 128bit
650W Power Supply

At Stock Speed:
Im not really in a rush to OC it so lets assume I'll be using this at stock speed.
Will the current specs make full advantage of the graphics processor? (given 2.93GHz processor and 1333MHz FSB)
is 650 W enough to support the cpu?

I'll Overclock it maybe after a year or so. I'm still not sure cause I'm afraid of frying my processor.
Is my motherboard okay? Is it compatible for overclocking?

How can I maximize the potential of the cpu and gpu (1) without overclocking the cpu? (2) with cpu overclocking?

I would really like to know what you think. This is my first time to build a pc.
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about build budget guidance
  1. I've been out of the hardware gig for a bit but I do know of a few things you can and probably should change up.

    1. Go with LGA 1156 or LGA 1366 motherboard, LGA 775 is dated now.
    2. Processor, hmm core i5 is probably better for a budget, but you didn't state your budget.

    3. Go for 4GB of memory for sure!
    4. Get at least a 9600GT video card, if not something even much better than that.... but again, what's your budget?

    5. You would be fine with a 500-550 watt power supply, so go for a good quality power supply like Corsair.
  2. Here's a good basic i5 build on a reasonable budget. If you're budget's cheaper than this, switch to an AMD build. If it's more, there's some great upgrades we can suggest. Also, refer to the thread in my signature for information we really need to give great advice.

    CPU: i5-750 $195 ($150 if from Microcenter). The LGA775 is beyond dead. It will be 3 sockets behind in the next couple of years (1366, 1156, and whatever the i9 will use).

    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P $185. This board has USB 3.0 and SATA 6 GBps ports, so it's very future proof. Also, the updated socket will allow a massive overclock, if that's what you want.

    CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 $29. This will work on all the sockets out right now, and is one of the best coolers available.

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 CAS Latency 7 $100. I'll pick out a good set in a bit.

    GPU: Radeon HD 5770 $155. Or the HD 5850 if the budget allows for a $300 card.

    PSU: OCZ StealthXStream 700W $55, after $25 rebate. High quaility at a cheap price.

    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55. Or 1 TB for $85. If unavailable, the Seagate 7200.12 in the same sizes for the same prices.

    Case: HAF 922 $100.

    Optical: Samsung 22x SATA DVD Burner $27. Pick the cheapest one.

    Total: $901, before shipping, taxes.
  3. Sorry. I should've read the forum to know which information were needed/important to include. Anyway, here goes:

    BUDGET RANGE: 400-500 USD

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Watching Movies, I'm also planning to learn programming using the GPU (CUDA) so that might be important to say as well..

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speaker, monitor



    OVERCLOCKING: Maybe.. 6 Months after purchase.
    SLI OR CROSSFIRE: SLI probably since i prefer NVidia

    I'm from Philippines so I guess shipping won't work well for me? hmm..
    and $1.00 USD ~ P46.00 Philippine Peso
    I'm looking to build a budget pc running on XP OS.
    again, here's the with the prices.


    Intel E7500 Core2Duo (2.93 Ghz) 1066MHz (3Mb) P 5450.00 $120.00
    *at this price range, this seemed to me to be the best choice. It was a choice between Quad Core with lower clock speed (2.1-2.4) VS Dual Core with higher clock speed (2.9). Did i make a right decision in choosing the Dual Core with higher clock speed?
    ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU (1333MHz) P 2550.00 $56.00
    *Is there a better mobo to this at the same price range? I heard this (ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU) isn't good for OC. is it true?
    2GB DDR2 PC800 Kingston P 2095.00 $46.00
    *I think the RAM suggested by MadAdmiral sounds like a good deal. I think I'll go for that. I still plan to get just 2Gb when i buy. Then buy another 2Gb after a month.
    SATA 500Gb Seagate 7200rpm (32Mb?) P 2395.00 $52.00
    1 Gb Palit GF9500GT 128bit P 2495.00 $54.00
    *I'd like to stick with NVidia in this build.
    no brand CPU Casing P 2000.00 $43.00
    TOMMADE 650W Power Supply P 1295.00 $28.00

    This is really difficult for me with a limited budget but hoping to get a fast enough pc. With the current specs, will one of them be a bottleneck to the others (which i should change)?

    Dont worry about future compatibility. I plan to build a better pc with a higher budget 2 years from now. Right now, I just need a fast enough pc until then.
    (*edit) Should i go for DDR2-800 at (P2095/$46) or DDR3-1066 at (P2490/$54) or DDR3-1333 at (P2495/$54). Would I get a significant increase in speed if I go with the DDR3 and is it worth the additional $$?

    Boonality, I didn't think 500W would be enough because of the GPU = 350W, then theres the cpu, mobo, so i thought 650 would be enough.

    MadAdmiral, thanks for the advice on the CPU Cooler. I'd probably go with that as well. I do have a question. Does that CPU Cooler then requires a larger CPU casing?
    For the PSU, i should go for a 700W?

    Boonality, MadAdmiral, thanks for your replies so far.

  4. First, to get the best gaming computer for your budget, you need to be using AMD CPUs. Intel is currently king for builds above $900. The Intel offerings below the i5 are a waste of money. You get better performance for your money if you go with AMD in the low budget builds.

    Second, if you do go with the low end Intel build above, you have to use DDR2 RAM. Meaning the RAM I suggested would not work, and neither will the second 2 choices.

    Third, if you switch to AMD, is extremely easy for us to build you a computer that you can just drop some parts into. This will save you the hassle of building an entirely new PC.

    CPU Cooling: If the computer is not a long-term investment, the CPU cooler is not needed. In addition, I'd recommend saving the extra $30 for now. And no, you don't need a larger case for that cooler. It's not that large.

    PSU: You won't need 700W. I know one good 700W PSU right now is dirt cheap in the US, which is why I always recommend it. However, for your purposes, it won't be needed.

    Basically, we have two options for the current build. You can get a very subpar Intel system that you will have to (almost) completely scrap when you build a new one. Or we can build a very cheap budget AMD one that you will be able to reuse many parts from in the next build.

    The Intel build will let you use the following in your next upgrade (left out the things that will need to be upgrade anyway): Case, PSU

    The AMD build will let you use the following: Motherboard, RAM, Case, PSU. The motherboard and RAM will probably save you an additional $200-300.

    In addition, the AMD option will let you upgrade slowly over time instead of having to spend a bunch of money all at once.
  5. Does that $500 include an operating system?

    Good AMD AM3 770/785G motherboard $85
    Decent AMD AM3 triple core processor $75
    Good case that will last $60~75
    Good DDR3 Memory $95
    Hard Drive $50
    Good Power Supply $75 (and yes 500 would be plenty, that 350w you were talking about has got to be for the entire system, there's no freaking way in hell a 9500GT needs 350w.)
    Good video card $150 (can get later if you get a 785G motherboard is it has decent onboard video.)

    Total=$440 without operating system and seperate video card which you could save up for and get in a couple months.

    Total=$550ish with operating system

    $700 with operating system and good video card.
  6. Best answer
    Here's what I would suggest for a build that will save you money later. Some of the miscellaneous parts are a little expensive, but it's so that you can easily upgrade.

    CPU: Athlon II X2 240 Regor $59

    Mobo: Asus M4A79XTD EVO $110 after rebate

    RAM: GeIl Green 2x1 GB 1066 mhz CAS Latency 7 $56

    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55

    PSU: OCZ StealthXStream 700W $50 after rebate. A lot more power than you'll need, but it's good quality and cheaper than many smaller good units.

    GPU: HD 4670 $70

    Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate. Normally, I would go with the Antec 300 Illusion, but this is only a few dollars more, and one of the best available.

    Optical: Samsung 22x SATA DVD Burner $27

    Total: $512.


    $50: 4 GB of 1066 mhz RAM (2 extra sticks)

    $70: Second HD 4570

    $100: 2x2 GB of 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7 RAM to replace current RAM

    $150: HD 5770 to replace 4570

    $180: Phenom II X4 955 BE to replace CPU

    $430: New GPU, new RAM, new CPU. Basically a new (high to mid budget) computer.

    If you've got $300, it's basically an entierly new computer...
  7. I think MAD, that he'd probably be better off with a Phenom II X3 BE $109.99

    And a cheaper MOBO like the this Asus $79.99, $69.99 after MIR

    It's $10 more expensive but he can go with a antec three hundred for $59.99

    That'll put final price at $502 and a better performance system at the expense of a less fancy case. Though, with his hardware he really doesn't need a case with tons of airflow.

    Edit: Obviously that MOBO can't xfire/SLI, but at eh $400-500 the price performance ratio of using more than 1 GPU is not worth it. IE xfire/SLI does not result in 2x the FPS of 1 card, more like 1.5x-1.8x the FPS, so he's better off just getting a better GPU than SLI/xfire.

    Maybe the 4850 which is now $99.99 $30 more expensive, but a better fps/dollar ratio. Though it would be really hard to work it into the budget.
  8. @banthracis: I'm building more for the ability for it to be excellent when he upgrades in a year or two. Had this been a long term computer, I would have gotten the cheapest case I could find, a much cheaper motherboard and a more expensive CPU. But I choose to spend more on the other parts so he won't have to upgrade them more later, such as the case for when it will require airflow.

    The differences are mainly due to a difference in objectives. You're building it to be the best performance right now, while I built it to be the easiest/cheapest to upgrade.

    @OP: The only real problem I have with banthracis' changes is the mobo. It doesn't support Crossfire (only 1 PCIe x16 slot), which makes it much more expensive to upgrade later.

    If you do go with the Antec 300 as the case, I'd spend the extra cash on an X3 425 Rana ($76).
  9. MadAdmiral said:
    @banthracis: I'm building more for the ability for it to be excellent when he upgrades in a year or two. Had this been a long term computer, I would have gotten the cheapest case I could find, a much cheaper motherboard and a more expensive CPU. But I choose to spend more on the other parts so he won't have to upgrade them more later, such as the case for when it will require airflow.

    The differences are mainly due to a difference in objectives. You're building it to be the best performance right now, while I built it to be the easiest/cheapest to upgrade.

    @OP: The only real problem I have with banthracis' changes is the mobo. It doesn't support Crossfire (only 1 PCIe x16 slot), which makes it much more expensive to upgrade later.

    If you do go with the Antec 300 as the case, I'd spend the extra cash on an X3 425 Rana ($76).

    Yea Mad, your build is definitely easier to upgrade. I just figured that since he's building a new comp in 2 years, he might be better off with the best he can get for the money now to tide him though till then =D
  10. Hi again..

    Thanks MadAdmiral, your suggestions are really helpful..

    First up.. I think you made a nice point on why AMD cpus are a better choice..
    How about Athlon II X2 250?
    I do have a question. I still do prefer NVidia GPUs over ATI..
    Will and AMD cpu work with an NVidia GPU?..

    I was also drawn to what banthracis had to say. I'm confused on where I should go for.. easier to upgrade or get the best I can with the money i have presently to last me in a few years time.

    By the way, I usually check for parts from this site. I prefer it coz its local so the parts are easy to buy. I don't have to wait for shipment, etc.

    Guys, i really appreciate your suggestions right now. and most especially when i finally get to buy them. :)
  11. The x2 250 is a good CPU too. I mainly choose the 240 because it was cheaper. I know it's only $9, but that can go pretty far in budget build.

    On the ATI vs. nVidia, I'm guessing the reason you prefer nVidia is that in the past (as in over 3 years ago), ATI made horrible cards. That's true, but the cards have made huge gains once AMD bought ATI. If you check out the "Best GPUs for the Buck" articles, you'll notice other than the really cheap older cards, ATI has the best cards. The only exceptions are when ATI doesn't have a matching card in the price range. Frankly, for budget builds, I just refer to that article and choose whatever fits the budget.

    As far as the nVidia/AMD compatibility, there are no issue with using an AMD CPU and nVidia GPU.

    In making the decision between the two builds, there is another important factor that only you can decide. With either build, you ability to ability to play newer games is going to diminish extremely fast. If you're absolutely sure you'll have at least $1,000 in the next 2 years to buy a new computer, you should go with the bang for your buck (banthracis) build. If you're more certain that you'll have an extra hundred here and there, you should use the upgrade (my) build.

    Basically, in the upgrade build, you're paying extra for are parts that will be durable and still perform in a mid to high budget build while sacrificing some current performance. I don't think the difference between the two builds will be night and day. A lot of the performance factors will depend on what resolution you'll be playing at. If it's a lower resolution, you won't see much difference at all.
  12. MadAdmiral, thanks for your input.

    I actually don't know much about AMD CPUs so I don't know which motherboards would go well with it. I actually have a list of choices for the motherboards that I can buy locally but I don't know which of these are durable and worth the cash.

    the link to the motherboards is here:

    Can you help me choose from them? I'm having a hard time knowing if it is compatible with the Athlon X2 processors.

    for the PSU, here are my choices which are available locally.
    Which do you think would be my best choice?

    Silverstone ST50F 500w -$76.00
    ACbel Ipower 610w (w/ LED - 3600) - $72.00
    CoolerMaster 550w Real Power SLI - $100.00

    I couldn't find locally the PSU you suggested which is really very disappointing. If i don't do SLI,would 500W be enough?

    for the GPU, my preference is NVidia because of its CUDA architecture. I want to try exploring programming using the power of GPU using CUDA and only NVidia supports that. Can you suggest any NVidia GPU that's can fit in my budget range but still be good enough?
    What do u think of GT220? it's a bit cheaper too.
    Will I be able to play most games with this even at moderate resolution?

    Inno3D GT220 512ddr3 128bit hdmi - $65.00
    PC HD4670 512ddr3 128bit PCS -$75.00
    Inno3D 9800GT 512ddr3 256bit /hdmi - $102

    For the RAM i think my choices are:
    Corsair 2GB 800 - $55.00 or
    OCZ 2gGB 800 Gold edition - $60.00
    Kingston 2GB 800 ddr2 (667 - 2450) - $48.00

    Which of these would you suggest? Kingston seems cheaper. But I don't know which would last longer. I still plan on buying just one 2Gb Ram for now then add another one in the future.

    Thanks so much really. I think I've made up my mind on Athlon X2 240/245/250 whichever is available. I'm still undecided though on the GPU, Mobo (i have no idea what to get), and Ram (the corsair would probably my best choice?). I also hope 500W would be enough so I'll go with Silverstone.
  13. I'm having a hard time seing which boards are in the budget, so I'll just give you some guidelines.

    You're looking for a board that has an AM3 socket. These boards will use DDR3. Other than that, you should check the number of PCIe 2.0 16x slots. If you plan on SLI/Crossfire later, you'll need 2 slots operating at 8x/8x. If not, you only need 1 slot. Generally, I stick with Asus and Gigabyte boards, as these are the premier manufacturers.

    On the PSU, if you don't SLI, 500W would be more than enough. Most likely, 400W would be enough. Of the listed ones here, the only one I recognize as high quality right away is the Silverstone.

    On the GPU, the best nVidia one that's around the price of the ATI is the 9600 GT. I still don't know the monitor resolution, but that should offer good performance at 1680x1050.

    On the RAM: Those are all DDR2 sticks. You should be looking for DDR3 sticks. To keep costs down, look for 1066 mhz ones. 1333 mhz are better, but slightly more expensive. Make sure you get CAS Latency 7 (timings 7-7-7-x) for best performance. You should buy them in pairs, so if getting 2 GB, you need 2x1 GB sticks. This is because of the dual channel motherboards. If you only have 1 stick (or 3), they will operate slower and you won't get the full performance you paid for.
  14. Thanks MadAdmiral. You're a great help. My new specs are getting farther away from my initial ones.. which just shows how much help I needed. :)
    Anyway, here's what I came up with lately.

    Athlon II X2 250 (3GHz) 2mb $74.00
    ECS GF8200A VSL solid capacitor $74.00
    (DDR2 1GB 800Mhz Kingston) X 2 $50.00
    *thanks by the way for your info bout the ram. I didn't know about the dual channel.
    500gb Seagate SATA $52.00
    Silverstone ST50F 500w PSU $76.00
    *I don't think I'll be doing SLIs with this mobo
    After one month of buying the cpu, I could most certainly save a little bit more and just get a 9800gt after.
    I think I can hold back for a month or two without a gpu.
    Then get this.
    512MB Palit GF9800GT 256bit $100.00

    Total: $426

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