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Building Gaming/HTPC $700 Budget

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February 12, 2010 7:14:58 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: $650-$750

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HD movies, gaming, surfing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: power supply, video card(will wait for ati to drop prices), hard drive, speakers, OS, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, or have a microcenter nearby COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: solid mid-tower case with good cable management
OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have a 1680x1050 monitor for gaming. Have 37" LCDTV 1080p for HD content, I guess I can use it for gaming too.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would like a quiet and cool PC, a well spaced case, I'd like the case to have a switch for led lights, back-lit keyboard



I have no idea what CPU, RAM, MB, CPU cooler to choose. Still running a socket 939 x2 4200+, so I have no clue what the good stuff is. Thanks for your help.
February 12, 2010 10:25:26 PM

Probably a socket AM3 systme with an Athlon II CPU and 4GB DDR3-133 RAM.

An ATI 5770 is a good gaming card that does great at HD video if you can budget it.
February 13, 2010 3:43:23 AM

When you say you're waiting for the new Nvidia cards, I hope you mean you're waiting for them to be released so that ATI lowers the prices on its cards (hopefully). A Fermi card will eat up half your budget, and most likely will not fit in the CM 690 II. You'd need a large case even by full tower standards.

Even though you mentioned you don't need a PSU or HDD, $650-750 is a modest amount to work with. At that price range, it would be a good idea to minimize costs on parts that don't affect performance too much. Focus is primarily on the GPU.
Look for a $50 case and $150 monitor.
AMD is the way to go for budget builds, so like dndhatcher suggested, get an Athlon II (I recommend the X4 630 @ $102) and 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM.
After the case, monitor, CPU, a decent ~$100 mobo, and RAM, you're left with about $130-230. At your res, you should be looking at a 5850. But because they can't be found below $260, your best options are the 4890, the 5770, and the yet to be released 5830. The 5770 may struggle a bit and the 5830 may not be released for some time, so if you don't care for the new generation of cards and DX11 and bitstreaming HD audio and all that stuff, the 4890 is your best choice.
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February 13, 2010 5:06:22 AM

Chuny said:

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: power supply, video card(waiting for new nvidia cards), hard drive, speakers, OS

nvidia fremi (or is that fermi, not sure) cards are way overdue, not to mention the fact that chances are that tell with not compete with ati's 5xxx and will be probably priced high.
best inversemnt, get a amd based system with a amd gpu.
thought that I've seen i5 builds in this budget too.
February 14, 2010 6:32:30 PM

blackjellognomes said:
When you say you're waiting for the new Nvidia cards, I hope you mean you're waiting for them to be released so that ATI lowers the prices on its cards (hopefully). A Fermi card will eat up half your budget, and most likely will not fit in the CM 690 II. You'd need a large case even by full tower standards.

Even though you mentioned you don't need a PSU or HDD, $650-750 is a modest amount to work with. At that price range, it would be a good idea to minimize costs on parts that don't affect performance too much. Focus is primarily on the GPU.
Look for a $50 case and $150 monitor.
AMD is the way to go for budget builds, so like dndhatcher suggested, get an Athlon II (I recommend the X4 630 @ $102) and 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM.
After the case, monitor, CPU, a decent ~$100 mobo, and RAM, you're left with about $130-230. At your res, you should be looking at a 5850. But because they can't be found below $260, your best options are the 4890, the 5770, and the yet to be released 5830. The 5770 may struggle a bit and the 5830 may not be released for some time, so if you don't care for the new generation of cards and DX11 and bitstreaming HD audio and all that stuff, the 4890 is your best choice.



Ok. I have decided to keep my 22" viewsonic 1680x1050 monitor. So I chose these parts:

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-AG - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus 775/1156/1366/AMD/AM2/AM3 Universal Direct Contact Heat-Pipe 120mm Fan CPU Cooler
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RR-B10-212P-G1-Univ...

Are all these parts compatible? I still need help picking a case and video card. This is the card currently in my system:

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

I guess it's good enough to last until ATI does the price cuts(hopefully)? Would really like a spacious case. I have 3 HD's and my current case, the Raidmax Smilodon, is too crowded. Also looking for a decent keyboard and mouse. Last thing, how is the onboard sound on the motherboard? I currently have a X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro Series sound card, is it compatible with this system?

Thanks, any suggestions are appreciated.
February 14, 2010 8:25:52 PM

Chuny said:
Ok. I have decided to keep my 22" viewsonic 1680x1050 monitor. So I chose these parts:

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-AG - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus 775/1156/1366/AMD/AM2/AM3 Universal Direct Contact Heat-Pipe 120mm Fan CPU Cooler
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RR-B10-212P-G1-Univ...

Are all these parts compatible? I still need help picking a case and video card. This is the card currently in my system:

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

I guess it's good enough to last until ATI does the price cuts(hopefully)? Would really like a spacious case. I have 3 HD's and my current case, the Raidmax Smilodon, is too crowded. Also looking for a decent keyboard and mouse. Last thing, how is the onboard sound on the motherboard? I currently have a X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro Series sound card, is it compatible with this system?

Thanks, any suggestions are appreciated.


Everything looks great, couldn't have done better myself.
The onboard sound on the mobo is decent, but a dedicated card, especially like yours, would be better. Doesn't hurt to plug it in, either. ;) 
So let's see, you have ~$300-400 for a case, GPU, and KB and mouse. I'd put ~$100 towards the case, $50 for KB and mouse, and the remaining $150-250 to the GPU. The KB, mouse, and case are usually up to personal preference, but I can definitely recommend a few cases.
If you don't care for e-sata, Lian Li's Lancool K62 is a good option too.
Again, you'll probably want to do some research on the cases to see which one you like best. Also, make sure that your PSU cables are long if you plan on getting a case with the PSU mounted on the bottom.
+++
EDIT: When you're looking for a case, make sure to read reviews from hardware sites. Often you'll find out more about a case from doing that than just looking at the specs. While reading reviews, I found out that the HAF doesn't have fan filters, and that was a major turn-off for me. The Antec 902 doesn't have a mobo tray cutout, off my list. CM Scout, the 140mm top fan obstructs a few ports on the mobo and hinders HSF installation? Adios. But I'm rather picky. I won't even consider a case for myself unless it has a black interior and mobo tray cutout. :p 
+++
Now for the GPU, a 5770 would definitely be sufficient, but with your budget I'd wait for the 5850 to hit $250 or lower. I think I saw a Sapphire 5850 on LogicBuy for $260 a while back, so just keep an eye out for deals too. Your 8800GT should be fine for the time being. Also, look around for deals/combos on others parts to see if you can put a bit more toward the GPU. I noticed you picked out parts with free shipping, and I always do the same. :) 

Daggs, OCZ RAM is known to be rather fickle with motherboards; many of their Obsidian, Platinum, and Gold series simply don't work with mobos made by particular manufacturers/brands. If you take a look at the reviews on that set in the link, you'll see what I mean. I wouldn't take that chance. There's a reason their RAM is always on sale. Also, the X4 940 you suggested is an AM2+ model and does not have a DDR3 memory controller, so it work even with that mobo and RAM. Newegg screws up combos like that sometimes.
February 15, 2010 2:23:57 AM

blackjellognomes said:

+++
EDIT: When you're looking for a case, make sure to read reviews from hardware sites. Often you'll find out more about a case from doing that than just looking at the specs. While reading reviews, I found out that the HAF doesn't have fan filters, and that was a major turn-off for me. The Antec 902 doesn't have a mobo tray cutout, off my list. CM Scout, the 140mm top fan obstructs a few ports on the mobo and hinders HSF installation? Adios. But I'm rather picky. I won't even consider a case for myself unless it has a black interior and mobo tray cutout. :p 
+++


Heh..I had the HAF 922 ordered, then realized from a video review that it lacked filters. Called and cancelled the order. So it was down to the cm690 II advanced and the lancool k62. I picked the cm690 II simply because it has a switch to turn off the led lights. Thanks for your advice.
February 15, 2010 5:00:34 AM

Chuny said:
Heh..I had the HAF 922 ordered, then realized from a video review that it lacked filters. Called and cancelled the order. So it was down to the cm690 II advanced and the lancool k62. I picked the cm690 II simply because it has a switch to turn off the led lights. Thanks for your advice.

No problem. Good luck with the build! :bounce: 
!