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Budget Gamer

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January 28, 2010 5:38:14 PM

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: $500-700 USD After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: non-hardcore gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com (only part site I've used) microcenter.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm on a pretty small budget now, so likely AMD

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe later SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Would be nice to buy lower (cheaper) cards and then add another later, but trouble finding suitable mobo in budget

MONITOR RESOLUTION: current 1280x1024 but I will be upgrading to a larger screen later, currently 19"

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I could use some advice on streamlining my build. I've never built a pc for myself but have helped friends build custom rigs in the past. Mostly I need assistance in part selection, as I'm having trouble budgeting myself and deciding between unfamiliar options. Ideally, I would like to preserve an upgrade path as I'm not always limited to such a restrictive budget. Orignally I planned on crossfire with two lower end cards however I'm having difficulty finding a mobo within my range that would support this optimally. Since crossfire or SLI is probably more than I require, I could instead opt for a single more powerful card, but am still limited in budget. If anyone has any ideas on ways to cut costs in this build, or suggestions for better performing options within the current price ranges I would welcome your assistance. I need a copy of Windows 7 as well, which is cutting into the budget unfortunately.

Here's what I'm looking at:

Case: Antec 200 from local MicroCenter so I don't pay for shipping $45

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail combo'd with ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail Combo $154.98 w/ add'l $30 rebate


AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDZ550WFGIBOX - Retail combo'd with Rosewill RCX-Z4 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail Combo $95.98

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C7 - Retail $109.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $54.99

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM $24.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $104.99

Now Graphics card is rough. I understand I'm not going to get stellar performance on such a limited budget, but I want the game to run and look decent. Unfortunately I also need this to be as cheap as possible, and the OS is adding money most builders probably don't have to spend for a new build. Still, any help lowering costs without horribly crippling performance would be helpful so I can get something like
SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
instead of being stuck with something like
SAPPHIRE 100254HDMI Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail

I haven't done a lot of gaming since I went back to college, but the specs I absolutely need are pretty modest listed as:
The recommended system specifications are:
OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
CPU: Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2 5600+
Memory: 2GB RAM+
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850+
Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
HDD: 10GB Free Disk Space
Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
Disc: 6X DVD-ROM


Thanks in advance for any assistance!
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More about : budget gamer

Best solution

January 28, 2010 5:53:51 PM

Here's what I would do:

CPU/Mobo: Trade the X2 for an X3 425. In a combo with Asus M4A79XTD EVO for $162 after rebate

PSU/Optical: OCZ StealthXStream 700W and SATA DVD burner for $70 after rebate.

Saves you $15ish. You don't need a CPU cooler until you start to overclock, and that one in the combo isn't very good.

Definitely go with the HD 5770.
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January 28, 2010 7:33:27 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Here's what I would do:

CPU/Mobo: Trade the X2 for an X3 425. In a combo with Asus M4A79XTD EVO for $162 after rebate

PSU/Optical: OCZ StealthXStream 700W and SATA DVD burner for $70 after rebate.

Saves you $15ish. You don't need a CPU cooler until you start to overclock, and that one in the combo isn't very good.

Definitely go with the HD 5770.


Thanks, every little bit helps. Would it be worth the extra $5 to upgrade that combo to the X3 435?
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January 28, 2010 11:51:46 PM

Best answer selected by hydraulix.
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January 28, 2010 11:53:16 PM

Maybe. They're the same chip, just one has a higher stock speed. So if you never overclock, the answer would be yes.
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January 29, 2010 12:35:51 AM

MadAdmiral said:
Maybe. They're the same chip, just one has a higher stock speed. So if you never overclock, the answer would be yes.


Great thanks, I figured as much and ordered but wanted to make sure before it shipped. Thanks so much for your help, I'm much happier with these component choices in terms of performance per dollar spent. My biggest problem was the huge number of motherboards to sift through, but once you pointed out the combo deal with this one I noticed some great reviews for it's pricepoint. Thanks again!
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