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Advice on my new build under 300.00

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February 18, 2010 4:06:44 AM

Hello everyone! This is my first post here on the forums!

I would like to ask for some advice on a build.

I haven't upgraded my system since I built it myself about 2005?

I have a very small budget and I was trying to put off upgrading my desktop because I am being forced to buy a MacBook Pro for art school come Fall... Don't get me started on that one! But... for some reason my computer if it gets shut off some how or the video will randomly disconnect it takes about 30 - 40 power on's and off's to get it past the bios screen. It will also only recognize 1 stick of ram...

But that's not why I'm here. I'm here. I have a budget of 300.00 sad I know but possible.

I use my computer primary for CS4 Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. But I would like to be able to play new games.

Here is my old build I have at the moment:

Motherboard: MSI K8T Neo2 - Socket 939
Processor: AMD Athlon64 3000+ 1.80GHz w/stock fan + cooler
Ram: 1.00 GB of DDR1 (the 2nd burnt out?)
HD: 1 Maxtor 200GB 7200 rpm
Video Card: ATI X700 256 MB (AGP)
Power Supply: 500 Watt I got from a friend recently
Case: LIAN LI PC-62 Silver Aluminum ATX Mid Tower
Monitor: 23" LG W2361V - Image Contrast Ratio 50,000:1 / Image brightness 300 cd/m2 / Full 1080 HD

This is what I have on order:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $79.99

Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - OEM - $53.00

Heat Sync: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler - Retail - $36.98

Ram: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail - $49.99

HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $59.99 <- This has since gone back up to 79.99

Video Card: ASUS ENGT220/DI/1GD2(LP) GeForce GT 220 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail - $69.99 ($49.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)

Power Supply: I'm keeping my new 500 Watt. - 0.00

Case: I'm keeping my Lian LI. - 0.00

Monitor: I'm keeping my 23" LG W2361V - 0.00

TOTAL: 349.94
Combo Discount: -$66.50
Rebates: -$20.00
Combo Shipping: UPS Ground $10.00
TOTAL AFTER Combo Discount, Rebate & Shipping: 273.44

Does this seem like a fair deal to you guys? I think its a hell of an upgrade even now for 3 bills.

Please keep in mind I can't spend more than 300.00 even with shipping.

Thank you for your knowledge and advice in advance!

More about : advice build 300

February 18, 2010 4:17:34 AM

Very nice choices, had a quick look on newegg, and cant fault your parts anywhere, one hell of a upgrade for just 300, go ahead :D 
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February 18, 2010 6:14:56 AM

I disagree. If you're going to buy a new MB/CPU/RAM combo then go with an AM3/DDR3 build. DDR2 is being phased out and will get really expensive as supplies dwindle. AM3/DDR3 offers better performance and better upgradability.

CPU/MB combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Heatsink: Stock (The Athlon II X2 runs very cool, you don't need a aftermarket cpu cooler, especially not one that expensive.)

RAM (there are better values in the 4gb kits but those are out of budget)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU (much more powerful the the ddr2 crippled GT220 you listed)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD (Had to drop down to 500 GB to make budget but at least these are fast single platter drives)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (currently out of stock)
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total with shipping $303.93 - $10 MIR = $293.93
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February 18, 2010 6:31:30 AM

You make a very good point there Logan. Thank you!

I wonder if I can return the combo to newegg when it come in?

>_<
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February 18, 2010 6:54:10 AM

Oh, you already placed the order? Sorry, man. If it hasn't shipped yet you could probably still cancel it. If it has shipped you can usually return it for a refund but you still have to pay to ship it back.
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February 18, 2010 7:05:18 AM

No worries, I just looked into everything and I should be able to just refuse the shipment.

"Alternatively, you can refuse shipment, in which case you will receive a full refund once it is returned to Newegg."

;) 

Thanks for the quick reply you just saved me a lot of pain!

I'm happy to wait another week for a better system!
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February 18, 2010 7:10:54 AM

Interesting, I've never had to do that before. I hope it works out for you. :) 
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February 18, 2010 7:13:47 AM

Thanks I'll be sure to follow up about it!
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February 18, 2010 7:40:09 AM

This might silly but for future reference that mobo you mentioned:
ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

Can I use two video cards on it in crossfire mode?

Say two SAPPHIRE 100295HDMI Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16?

Or would I be better off just going for a 9800 gt alone?
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February 18, 2010 12:12:02 PM

This RAM was faster and a little cheaper: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That mobo has only a single PCIE x16 slot for a video card, so no Crossfire.
For your intended uses, I think your first upgrade should be a faster CPU. What you're getting will scream past what you had, but is very slow by today's standards.
What brand and model is that 500W PSU?
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February 18, 2010 4:54:13 PM

Onus said:
This RAM was faster and a little cheaper: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That mobo has only a single PCIE x16 slot for a video card, so no Crossfire.
For your intended uses, I think your first upgrade should be a faster CPU. What you're getting will scream past what you had, but is very slow by today's standards.
What brand and model is that 500W PSU?


That processor seems to be great for overclocking. Would it be worth while to get the cheaper one and over clock it or should I just shoot for a lower priced phantom?

Since there's only one slot, should I just shoot if need be for the 9800 gt? Or would the system even be able to utilize it?

Would it be better to buy the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and try to over clock it? The reviews on that one you posted seemed to be kind of negative even though it was faster could it be less reliable?

Thanks for your input and advice jtt283!
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February 18, 2010 9:28:41 PM

I don't consider newegg reviews to be particularly useful, unless they are citing a high incidence of DOA parts. As often as not, any other "problem" (and sometimes even the DOAs) are due to user error, sometimes obvious.
By "phantom," did you mean "Phenom?" I don't know how well a 240 overclocks, but a 550BE has an unlocked multiplier so you ought to be able to oc it easily.
Hard to say about the video card. Try to find some benchmarks of the games you want to play.
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February 19, 2010 7:45:34 PM

Hey that Motherboard combo with that chip is sold out :( 
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February 20, 2010 6:47:34 AM

That's too bad. You could go with this combo instead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
I don't think that board is quite as nice as the Asus but it should still be pretty good and it's even less expensive.

A crossfire capable board would really be nice but those will cost you an extra $25-$30. That could fit into your budget if you're willing to use integrated graphics for now and buy a graphics card later when you have some more money. Sacrificing a little now could pay off in the long run and that's what I would do myself but I don't know your financial situation.
If it were me I'd try to scape together a little extra money and get one of these combos:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or this (only if they fix the price on the x4 630, it's $7 more here than by itself :sarcastic:  )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
and this memory (those 2x1GB memory kits are just such poor value)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But if $300 is your hard limit there's not much else we can do unless you live near a Fry's Electronics and can snag one of their loss-leader cpu/mb combos before they sell out.

.
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