Budget gaming/school rig for < $500, (using many leftover parts)


BUDGET RANGE: Around $500 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: surfing the internet, gaming, word/excel, watching movies, music.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, optical drives, hard drives, thermal paste, psu if possible (Antec TruePower 430), case if possible (ATX), random case fans.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, Really anywhere that is cheap and not totally shady.


PARTS PREFERENCES by brand or type: Leaning towards AMD as they seem to be the more popular "bang for your buck" CPU. No preference on video card brand.

OVERCLOCKING; SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Doubtful on both. Maybe in the future.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to get the most value out of $500. I've been using an old 3.4 P4 system for awhile now (Build as a P4 2.4ghz in late '03, upgraded the mobo in early '05) and it is really showing its age. I've recently started having video card issues and it appears to dieing so instead of replacing it I thought I'd see what kind of system I'd be able to build on this tight budget.

I'm in college right now so I need a reliable system for writing papers, making excel spread sheets, researching articles and all that other suicide inducing stuff. I'd also like to play a game on it without having to water down the graphics as much as I am currently having to. I realize with my budget that I can only do so much but I figure I can build something that is noticeably quicker that my current system.

Here's what I have looked at so far;

Mobo - ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

Video Card - HIS H575Q1GD Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
$142.55 (After Rebate)

RAM - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail

Total: $447.08

I may need to shell out some cash for a new psu but I think I can build this system for around the budget. I'm so out of it when it comes to what's the latest and greatest in computer technology so please excuse me if I made some mistakes in my list. I won't be ordering parts for a week or two so any recommended changes in my list would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot,
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about budget gaming school using leftover parts
  1. Best answer
  2. The ASRock M3A770DE mobo can only use DDR3 1600 memory in one channel.

    So I would get 1333 memory to ensure be able to add more memory later, if needed. And with faster timings of 8-8-8-21 you won't even notice any speed difference:

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK - Retail - $95
  3. ^ There is no difference going with the above RAM and the DDR3 1600MHz RAM...if you dont set it in the BIOS, the speeds will automatically be set to 1333MHz...
    So no point spending $7 more for the 1333Mhz...
  4. I would pay the additional amount to get memory on the mobo compatibility list and that has faster timings and is only 1.5v compared to the one you recommended at 1.65v that is not on the memory approved list and the mobo is not listed on the Corsair memory configurator.

    But the bigger reason is the faster timings. I know some memory, when it scales down, will shorten the timings, but I found nothing about the memory you selected that confirmed this would happen. Do you have some confirmation on this?
  5. Thanks for the suggestions guys. Since I was a little under my $500 budget I went ahead and purchased a new power supply to stay on the safe side.

    BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retail

    I appreciate the comments in helping me make my decision.
  6. @rockyjohn check the GSKillz that I have listed - it is a 1.5V DDR3...and FYI, AMD CPUs can also utilize upto 1.9V-2.0V DDR3 RAMs...The voltage issue is only with Intel and that too it can also utilize 1.65V RAMs...
    And as for the RAM speeds, you should be able to set lower timings if you lower the speed and dont need any confirmation for these...

    @HarryJ dont get that is not of good quality - NO active PFC and low efficiency...So the power utilization will be more...
    Get this one instead...
    After shipping, will come down to nearly the same price...
    Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W - A far better one and is very efficient...
  7. I thouight the GSkill was his - they match closely what was on his original config - and that you were listing - and recommending - the cheaper one - the XMS which is 1.65v. And while AMD can use higher voltages, the more differences you have with mobo, and settings that need to to changed, the more likely to have compatibility issues.
  8. ^ Frankly I have not seen much RAM compatibility issues with AMD boards when compared to the Intel boards...
    And also there is nothing wrong with the XMS RAM...
  9. Best answer selected by HarryJ.
Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Systems Product