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Help with Budget Gaming PC Build!

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January 17, 2010 2:46:25 PM

I am upgrading from Athlon 3000+/Geforce 7600GT. The budget is $650. So far I have come up with these components:

- Athlon II X3 2.9ghz - $90

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
I go for this chip over a X4 and saved about $30. I figure the 4th core will probably be wasted in a gaming machine anyway.

- Gigabyte GA-MA770T - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I originally thought about a cheaper AsRock mobo, but since I am getting the fast RAM and a CPU HSF, I might as well get a slightly better mobo to try some moderate OC.

- XFX HD 4850 1gb - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I would consider going with a 512mb 4850 card and save some money ($20). I have a separate thread to discuss the merit of this trade-off:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279069-33-which-4850
My monitor is only 1680x1050, so the 1gb is probably a bit of a waste

- GSkill 2x1gb DDR3 1600 - $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Running WinXP right now, 2gb is probably enough. I would upgrade to 4gb when I upgrade to Win7.

- OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W - $50 after rebate
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
I have never used OCZ ModXtreme PSUs, hopefully they are good. I should be happy as long as this thing is not too noisy. At this price point, this PSU is a steal.

- Antec 300 case - $60 from newegg.com

- WD Caviar Blue 500GB SATA - $56
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I decided that the Caviar Blue drives are the best balance between speed and performance. Ideally the Black drives would give the best performance, but I am afraid it may be too noisy (and kind of expensive too).

- Xigmatek HDT-S1283 - $30 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



What do you think of the CPU/GPU combo? I do not play FPS games, most games that I play are RTS like Age of Empires, World in Conflict, Civ4, Total War etc., so I figure I probably don't need a very strong video card. Would you recommend that I get a cheaper video and get a slightly better CPU?



More about : budget gaming build

January 17, 2010 2:55:06 PM

the harddrive is ok, but I think you should get a 1tb samsung F3, 1.5 tb is huge, and your probably not going to ever fill it.
January 17, 2010 2:57:57 PM

also, if your using windows 7 or XP, 2 gb RAAM isn't enough for RTS, you should get 4 gb of RAM.
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January 17, 2010 3:02:43 PM

You have a pretty good build.

I would not go DDR2 for that small a saving. DDR2 will be marginally slower but the big thing is that it will affect future upgradability - and prices as DDR2 will continue to escalate in price now that DDR3 is mainstream. I would however, recommend getting at least 4 GB of memory - even if that means getting slower memory - 1333 MHz is fine, especially if you get one with low timings.

You really should post links to identify specific items - for instance G.Skill makes quite a few different models of memory that fit your brief description and the devil is in the details - would also not surporse me if ASRock has more than one mobo with that general description. Also posting links makes it easier for everyone to connect to references and you should post prices if you want people to address value.

That is an excellent HSF - again just make sure you get the right model for that mobo. Also, if not planning to OC, then it it not necessary - certainly getting more memory would be more important. You can use the stock HSF that comes with the CPU, again unless you plan on more than minor OC.

The PSU is a good one - no problem sticking with it.
January 17, 2010 3:39:07 PM

Quote:
I would however, recommend getting at least 4 GB of memory - even if that means getting slower memory - 1333 MHz is fine, especially if you get one with low timings.


4gb would be ideal. Memory is expensive right now though, and its price may continue to rise. It will depend on if I can work around the budget.
Maybe I can get a cheaper video card with only 512mb of RAM and use that saving to buy more system RAM. What do you think?
I run windows XP and monitor resolution is 1680x1050.

Quote:

That is an excellent HSF - again just make sure you get the right model for that mobo. Also, if not planning to OC, then it it not necessary - certainly getting more memory would be more important. You can use the stock HSF that comes with the CPU, again unless you plan on more than minor OC.

The PSU is a good one - no problem sticking with it.


I don't plan on OC. The HSF is meant to reduce fan noise. I have built a few machines using stock AMD fans and without exception they have been absolute noisy crap. Although the HSF won't contribute to system performance, I helps keep me sane.

I double checked the PSU pricing. OCZ no longer has rebate, I was forced to go with a lower powered Corsair unit. Not a bad move really.
January 17, 2010 4:58:01 PM

You really need a larger PSU. The minimum recommended size for the video card you selected is 450w - and you should have a little larger to allow for later getting a little better card. I recommend a 500w. For some reason newegg does not have any good deals on PSUs right now so I recommend this one:

OCZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply - 500-Watt, Modular, Dual +12V Rails, SATA, 80Plus
- $50
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

If necessary, I would delay getting better HSF to pay for this and then upgrade later with HSF - maybe after going to 4 GB total memory as noted below - depending on how noisy you find stock HSF to be.

I would not reduce video card to get more RAM now if you can go with plan for now and soon add another 2 x 1 GB when budget allows. RAM is easier to upgrade later. However have 4 x 1 GB will use all your memory slots so no easy upgrade if need more later.

January 17, 2010 6:47:27 PM

Quote:
I would not reduce video card to get more RAM now if you can go with plan for now and soon add another 2 x 1 GB when budget allows. RAM is easier to upgrade later. However have 4 x 1 GB will use all your memory slots so no easy upgrade if need more later.


Wouldn't this also mean no dual channel?

I reason I like to shop at Newegg.com is that shipping is often free or very low compared to other sites. For example, Tigerdirect charges $15 for the PSU, but at Newegg.com it has free shipping. Does Tigerdirect offer some deal on s/h? like free shipping if I order more than certain amount?
January 17, 2010 8:32:52 PM

Don't know what deals Tigerdirect has on shipping - I usually shop at newegg too. I just saw that the rebates they had been offering for months on OCZ PSUs were not being offered any more so went looking for a site that still had a good price. Also I did not see any other bargains on newegg. But I did not know they would charge $15 for shipping - that does essentially take away the price advantage they had.

If you want to try to shop for a better deal, the link that follows ranks PSUs into several tiers so you can tell which ones are better.

http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

4 memory chips will still operate in dual channel, you just have two of them.
January 17, 2010 8:41:04 PM

Actually I put the CPU in the cart and it gives me free shipping, so this is actually a great deal. They actually sells same model PSU 600W for the same price:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
so I think I will get this instead of the Corsair PSU. I have never purchased a OCZ PSU, hopefully they are good.

I have updated the original post with the appropriate changes.
January 17, 2010 9:43:17 PM

Good catch on the larger PSU and snagging free shipping.

And if you look on the PSU link I provided in my previous post, you will see they rank the OCZ ModXStream Pro on the same tier as the Corsair.
!