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New System Build: Please evaluate my 'Budget Gaming Computer'

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January 24, 2010 4:53:33 PM

I've picked out the parts (below) after reading the article on THG... "Building a Budget Gaming Machine." I substituted a couple items, and added an OS, since I'm building everything new from the ground up.

BEFORE I order anything, I will appreciate your time and experience in evaluating my list of parts and making recommendations that may either reduce the prices or increase the quality and functionality for this proposed system. My budget is very tight, and the "Budget Range" I listed below is maxed!

All advice will be appreciated. TIMELY REPLIES will be appreciated, too, because I feel I should order BEFORE the prices increase and/or the products will no longer be available!

Thanks in advance.

Larry


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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week (Today is Jan 24, 2010)

BUDGET RANGE: $600-$950 U.S. (before taxes and any rebates)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (World of Warcraft WLK), Graphics and Video creation/editing, Watching Movies, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers. Using IBM PS2 keyboard, MS Wireless mouse, Acer H233H (HDMI monitor), and simple desktop speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: NewEgg.com, TigerDirect.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use an AMD CPU & ASUS mobo with a full tower or mid tower case. I really prefer ATI graphics cards over nVidia.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, 1920x1200) max.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Primary importance, beyond best quality/price is Stability and Future-upgradeability (is that a word?).

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Motherboard
DFI LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 Socket AM3 790FX ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $119.99

Processor
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Dual Core Processor (HDZ550WFGIBOX)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIGERDIRECT -- $99.99

RAM
Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Kit (BL2KIT25664TB1337)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $99.99

Video card
Powercolor AX4850 Radeon HD 4850 512MB (AX4850 1GBD3-PH)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $109.99

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB (WD5001AALS)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $69.99

Case
Antec "Nine Hundred Two" (NINE HUNDRED TWO)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $109.95

Power Supply
Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX 750W (CMPSU750TX)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $119.99

DVD Burner
Plextor PX-880SA DVD/CD Super Multi Writer (PX-880SA)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
TIGERDIRECT -- $54.99

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64BIT OS (FQC-00765)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NEWEGG -- $150.00

***** TOTAL: $934.88 ******
(Before California taxes and/or any rebates, etc.)

More about : system build evaluate budget gaming computer

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a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2010 5:24:25 PM

Looks pretty good. Here are some things to consider:

* With graphics and video editing you might consider a x3 or x4 CPU, like the Athlon x3 425/435 ($84) or the Athlon II x4 620 ($99).
AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you can afford a bit more:
$139
AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* The RAM you selected is fine, but it runs at 1.65v, which is the maximum for DDR3. I'd consider getting RAM that runs at stock voltage (1.5v).
$94
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=N82E168...

* Your HD is a good one. I would suggest this one below, because it's cheaper and as fast if not faster than yours:
$55 shipped!!
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 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...

* The case you selected is a nice one :)  I'd recommend something a bit cheaper (so you can get a better GPU).

Here's a combo deal that is hard to pass up. It comes with a Rosewill Challenger case (w/3 x 120mm fans!) and a Corsair 650tx PSU!!!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

* The DVD burner looks okay, but seems to be a bit spendy for a DVD burner, plus it's an OEM version (no software included or SATA cable).

Here is one that I like for less ($30 shipped!) and comes with the software to read/burn DVD's!!
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA Black 24X DVD Writer - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So with all of the savings above, you could upgrade to the Phenom II x4 955 Black Edition w/an AMD 5770 GPU!!!
$316 shipped!!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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January 24, 2010 5:39:38 PM

Thank you for the immediate reply! You gave me great recommendations AND, you explained them! That really helps me because I need to know why one item is better than another. Much appreciated.

It'll take me some time to investigate the items you recommend. What I've been doing is putting all the items costs, url links, model numbers, etc. in my MS Excel spreadsheet. That makes it easy for me to "mix and match" components vs price and get an instant budget cost.

I wish I could do it right here on THG! Prices fluctuate so quickly, it would be nice to calculate during the discussions, then go shop! Ha ha
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January 24, 2010 6:23:57 PM

I'm really glad you mentioned the voltage issue! I wasn't aware of those important facts.

lunyone said:
Looks pretty good. Here are some things to consider:

* The RAM you selected is fine, but it runs at 1.65v, which is the maximum for DDR3. I'd consider getting RAM that runs at stock voltage (1.5v).
$94
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=N82E168...


RAM COMPATIBILITY?
You didn't mention the motherboard I selected. In regards to that, I noticed that the RAM you suggest is only for "Dual Channel Intel Core i5 & Core i7 CPU for P55 motherboard."

I'm not sure, but I don't believe my motherboard selection is "P55". I'm further confused about it saying "Intel" when I've been looking at "AMD" CPU's. Those terms don't show up on the motherboard specifications. I don't even know what it means. Sorry. Please, can you explain this to me?
-- link to motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm confused because I don't know whether it will be compatible with the board I selected? Will each of your suggested parts be compatible with either my motherboard, and/or with all the other parts you suggested. Heh heh. I'm trying to be certain that everything will work together in the same system. Can you please clarify this for me?

* The case you selected is a nice one :) I'd recommend something a bit cheaper (so you can get a better GPU).

Here's a combo deal that is hard to pass up. It comes with a Rosewill Challenger case (w/3 x 120mm fans!) and a Corsair 650tx PSU!!!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... said:
* The case you selected is a nice one :)  I'd recommend something a bit cheaper (so you can get a better GPU).

Here's a combo deal that is hard to pass up. It comes with a Rosewill Challenger case (w/3 x 120mm fans!) and a Corsair 650tx PSU!!!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


EDITED: My mistake. I didn't read far enough down the page on NewEgg! Sorry.
I didn't see any useful specifications on that case as to how many bays, other features, etc. That kinda' leaves me wondering. I'll try going to the manufacturer and see if I can get more info on it.

Thanks again, for your help!
-- Larry
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a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2010 11:21:22 PM

Okay the RAM "Dual Channel Intel Core i5 & Core i7 CPU for P55 motherboard" statement is for marketing reasons. This doesn't mean that you can use the RAM for any other system, they are just pointing out one option, that they think will sell the RAM sets better.

The RAM should work with that mobo. It's not the mobo I'd select, but if it has what you want and your willing to pay for it, than get it. I'll show you the mobo that I'd get. It is cheaper and has just about everything!

$88 - $10 MIRc = $78!!
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
$103 shipped!! Supports USB 3.0 and SATA 3!!!
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 25, 2010 9:34:56 PM

Thanks! I looked at the GIGABYTE boards. Both are good. I picked the DFI LANparty MB only because it was recommended in the "gaming build" on THG (by someone?) and I didn't know what else would be better. Had to start somewhere. Heh heh.

What ASUS MB would you recommend? I prefer them, (as I mentioned in my original post), but there are so many optional types and other considerations, it's confusing to choose the best one for my needs. I have been unable to find CURRENT reviews on THG about ASUS boards, especially when it comes to performance, upgradeability, compatibility, versus cost, etc.
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January 25, 2010 9:45:07 PM

Hi i have a similar budget and here is what i have. Just so you know im waiting for the 5830 card. You would still need the os and graphics card

This is the basics you need for the computer
Everything from newegg: 538.38 shipped

ram/processor http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

case and psu http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

mobo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hardrive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

optical drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 26, 2010 1:47:00 AM

irule9000 said:
Hi i have a similar budget and here is what i have. Just so you know im waiting for the 5830 card. You would still need the os and graphics card

This is the basics you need for the computer
Everything from newegg: 538.38 shipped

ram/processor http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

case and psu http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

mobo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hardrive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

optical drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I definitely like the overall price, compared to what I've been seeing from my other choices. You didn't list a video card, but there's enough savings for me to buy a decent ATI card, and possibly upgrade the PSU.

Personally, I've had wonderful experiences and never a problem with any of the ASUS boards I've had.

Thank you for providing the list of items. Very interesting. I read all the reviews on each of the items. Most were positive.


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a b 4 Gaming
January 26, 2010 2:15:30 AM

Only thing I'd be concerned about on irule9000's build is the RAM. It's rated at 1.9v!! Stock voltage for DDR3 is 1.5v's and most sets usually max out at 1.65v's. OCZ recently has a bunch of issues and not too many good reviews, so I tend to shy away from them.
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January 26, 2010 3:14:02 AM

Thanks. Good feedback.

As I said, I've been looking and reading about everything you folks recommend. I still have some preferences of my own, like the Corsair PSU, and the Antec case. Well... I'll have to reconsider some of my choices because I found out that the Corsair PSU fan blows downwards! That won't work well in a case that mounts the PSU on the bottom of the case. I have yet to find out if the PSU can be inverted, but so far, even though it's rated extremely high, it seems like a stupid design. The same thing goes for whoever came up with the idea of putting PSU's on the floor of a case (ref: the Antec NINE HUNDRED TWO case) and many of the other newer cases. My brain is reeling already from all the technical decisions, and now this issue arises! Ha ha.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 26, 2010 3:20:38 AM

You just install the PSU upside down. The case is designed that way, so it pull in cold air thru the bottom portion of the case. This way your not pulling in the "heated" air from within the case (if you were mounted at the top of the case). This allows the PSU to handle more load efficently, because it's operating at a cooler temperature.
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January 26, 2010 9:10:07 AM

Without having the new PSU here, I wasn't exactly sure whether it could be turned upside down or not (screw holes, etc.). I'm glad it can be. That solves that issue.

Not to belabor the point, but the opposite of your description is equally true, and maybe even more efficient in removing heat.

Since by nature, heat rises, it accumulates in the top of the case. I have an older motherboard now and it has the CPU and RAM located at nearly the TOP of the case, immediate under and near the PSU.

Getting rid of that hot air quickly (via the exhaust fan on the PSU) prevents it from "pooling" and bathing the critical components. Simultaneously, it (the fan) is drawing in more cool air from other areas (mostly near the bottom of the case, since cooler air sinks). Thus, the cooler air is being pulled across the heated components on its way out of the case via the fan.

Both methods seem viable to me. But, in my "case," (pardon the pun!) it makes more sense to get rid of the hot air FASTER. There is no opening on the top of my case, therefore any cool air coming in from the bottom (PSU fan) would be merely mixing with the hot air already accumulated in the top of the case!

Of course, a better solution would be to have 2 fans, one at the bottom and the other at the top. Bottom one draws cool air inward... top one blows hot air out of the case.
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January 26, 2010 9:30:21 AM

Gee whiz! My last rambling sure shows my old age! LOL.

It's obvious that I can type faster than I can think. After submitting what I wrote (above), my brain finally kicked into gear. I realize now that I was thinking of my CURRENT case -- not the new case! Geeesh.

I took another look at the Antec case, and it has two fans at the top of the case; one fan at the back panel and a huge one on the top of the case!

Sorry I took up time and space on the forum. I'm just getting old, and it's now 3:25am.

BTW, I can't locate CURRENT motherboard reviews here on THG which might reveal an affordable ASUS motherboard that would be compatible with all the other components we've discussed. The reviews I've seen are all from last year. Can you, or anyone, point me toward a newer comparision of boards?
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February 2, 2010 2:06:38 AM

Best answer selected by Kreelor.
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