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$500 gaming/workstation PC

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February 24, 2010 2:43:42 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week

BUDGET RANGE: $500 US

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Programming .NET (Visual Studio) & PHP (NetBeans), Multi-tasking (50 browser windows/tabs at one time sometimes, plus programming, Outlook, Excel, Word, all going at once) and also Gaming (I miss being able to play first person shooter games and would like to play the new ones like BioShock 2 and Crysis.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: DandH.com (Unfortunately non-businesses can't see pricing, but they'll be lower than whatever the cheapest site shows that you might refer me to.) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: No preferences

OVERCLOCKING: Depends on your recommendations SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Depends on your recommendations

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Unimportant as I'm sure whatever it is will be adequate.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Doesn't need to be fancy at all, however quiet would be nice, but not absolutely necessary, I just need the most bang for the buck.

More about : 500 gaming workstation

February 24, 2010 3:01:39 PM

You know I was just thinking that perhaps what I am asking for is a bit much... So, I was thought that I would mention that I am currently using a Dell Optiplex 330 for these tasks, not the gaming obviously... but here are the specs, just in case you think it would be more viable of an option to upgrade this current system, obviously it would require a video card and perhaps more memory, but what kind and would my current system be compatible with the upgraded technology?...

Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E4400 @ 2.00 GHz Processor
2.00 GB RAM

BTW, I'm running Windows 7 Pro
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February 24, 2010 3:17:45 PM

You're not getting all of that on $500. The monitor resolution IS important for determining the GPU. If it's 1600x, we need a certain level of GPU. If it's 1280x, we can skimp a lot there.

Here's the cheapest build I can recommend for gaming:

CPU/Mobo: X3 425 and Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $147 after rebate
RAM: CL 7 1600 mhz Ripjaws $115
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5770 $150 after rebate
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $125
HSF/Optical: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus and cheap SATA DVD burner $40

Total: $586. This would be poor at multitasking.

Here's what I recommend for the multitasking part:

CPU/Mobo: X4 925 and Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H $210
GPU: none
Rest is the same

Total: $499. There would be no gaming on this one.
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February 24, 2010 3:26:02 PM

So say I was willing to put in a bit more money, how could I combine my multitasking needs and the gaming? Or does Gaming and Multitasking naturally just not fit well together... Keep in mind I wouldn't be Gaming while I was working (Multitasking)...

MadAdmiral said:
You're not getting all of that on $500. The monitor resolution IS important for determining the GPU. If it's 1600x, we need a certain level of GPU. If it's 1280x, we can skimp a lot there.

Here's the cheapest build I can recommend for gaming:

CPU/Mobo: X3 425 and Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $147 after rebate
RAM: CL 7 1600 mhz Ripjaws $115
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5770 $150 after rebate
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $125
HSF/Optical: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus and cheap SATA DVD burner $40

Total: $586. This would be poor at multitasking.

Here's what I recommend for the multitasking part:

CPU/Mobo: X4 925 and Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H $210
GPU: none
Rest is the same

Total: $499. There would be no gaming on this one.

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February 24, 2010 3:28:40 PM

I forgot to mention that I will be purchasing the following monitor to use with this system...

ASUS VW224T 22" LCD Monitor
1680 x 1050 - 16:10 - 5 ms - 5000:1 - Black
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February 24, 2010 3:31:35 PM

BUDGET gaming and multitasking are different beasts. Typically, you have to sacrifice some CPU power for better gaming performance in low budget builds, which really hurts multitasking.

That said, if you switched in this CPU/board combo (X4 925 and Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3) for the one in the gaming build above, you'd have decent multitasking as well. It would increase the cost to about $650. Coincidently, sticking the GPU into the multitasking build is the same cost. I'd go with the gaming build with the better CPU.

Keep in mind that neither build will allow you to add another GPU to increase gaming performance. The 5770 will struggle with some games at resolutions above 1600x with max details enabled. This doesn't matter with a 1680x monitor.
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February 24, 2010 3:47:01 PM

I was wondering is there a big difference in the GA-770TA-UD3 rather than the GA-770XTA-UD3? Because I can get the GA-770TA-UD3 for $90.67 from DandH, but they don't sell the GA-770XTA-UD3. If it is a difference worth spending the extra for, I will...


MadAdmiral said:
BUDGET gaming and multitasking are different beasts. Typically, you have to sacrifice some CPU power for better gaming performance in low budget builds, which really hurts multitasking.

That said, if you switched in this CPU/board combo (X4 925 and Gigabyte GA-770XTA-UD3) for the one in the gaming build above, you'd have decent multitasking as well. It would increase the cost to about $650. Coincidently, sticking the GPU into the multitasking build is the same cost. I'd go with the gaming build with the better CPU.

Keep in mind that neither build will allow you to add another GPU to increase gaming performance. The 5770 will struggle with some games at resolutions above 1600x with max details enabled. This doesn't matter with a 1680x monitor.

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February 24, 2010 3:51:42 PM

The board in the combo seems to be the GA-770TA-UD3.
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February 24, 2010 3:52:23 PM

Yeah, I just noticed that as well...

coldsleep said:
The board in the combo seems to be the GA-770TA-UD3.

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February 24, 2010 3:55:10 PM

No difference. Just a typo. It's fixed now.
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February 24, 2010 4:13:35 PM

I hope you don't mind me asking, but DandH doesn't have the particular type of memory that you listed, the "CL 7 1600 mhz Ripjaws" ... I was wondering how you felt about these following alternatives, they have these all with "1600MHz DDR3-1600/PC3-12800 - DDR3 SDRAM - 240-pin DIMM" for about the same price? Better, just as good or not sure? If you are familiar with them, which would be your preference?

HyperX
Obsidian
XMS3
OCZ - Gold, Platinum, Special Ops Urban Elite, Fatal1ty, or Reaper

They had Crucial and Corsair as well, but they were considerably more expensive...
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February 24, 2010 4:20:36 PM

Any CAS 7 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz RAM should be fine. Lower CAS number is the most important factor, then worry about the clock speed. If the 1600 MHz isn't too much more expensive, go for it. If you plan on overclocking, going with 1600 MHz might provide a little more headroom as well.
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February 24, 2010 4:25:20 PM

I just wanted to say thank you to both of you for helping me out with this...

Good info to know on the RAM

I know you're all probably getting aggravated at me with all of these questions, but here I go... LOL...

So once again DandH doesn't have the particular component that you listed, the GPU (HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card)... So for the same price DandH has these alternatives... Any opinions?

ASUS EAH5770 CuCore/2DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card - PCI Express 2.1 x16 - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM

ASUS EAH5770/2DIS/1GD5/V2 Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card - PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM

MSI R5770-PMD1G Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card - PCI Express 2.1 x16 - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM

ATi Radeon HD5770 850MHz - 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM - PCI Express 2.0 x16

ATi Radeon HD 5770 850MHz - 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM 128bit - PCI Express 2.0 x16 - DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort

XFX Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card - PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 1 GB DDR5 SDRAM

Visiontek Radeon HD5770 1GB PCIe DDR5
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February 24, 2010 4:27:32 PM

Whatever's cheapest. Brand really doesn't matter.
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February 24, 2010 4:58:17 PM

Some people prefer XFX for the double-lifetime warranty, but aside from that, there shouldn't be much difference.
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February 24, 2010 6:25:46 PM

Ok, well, it looks like I'm going to have to spend a tad more than I had anticipated, but here is the selection of components that I believe, with the help of MadAdmiral and coldsleep, will make up my workstation/gaming machine... I had to change a few components from the recommendations simply because my distributor didn't carry them... But anyway, here it is... {{Oh yeah, and the reason I'm posting this before I buy is in case anyone would care to make any last minute recommendations or comments before I purchase}}

GIGA-BYTE GA-770TA-UD3 Desktop Board - AMD Chipset - $90.67

AMD Phenom II X4 925 2.80 GHz Processor - Quad-core - $145.55

XFX Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card - PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 1 GB DDR5 SDRAM - $162.23

DOMINATOR-GT 4GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory Module - (2 x 2GB) - 1600MHz DDR3-1600/PC3-12800 - $226.96

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler - $21.50

Cooler Master 690 II Advanced (all black) RC692KKN2 - $81.72

Cooler Master Silent Pro M 700W ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - $96.77

Grand Total - $825.40
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February 24, 2010 6:30:52 PM

The RAM seems really expensive. Newegg is listing 1600 MHz RAM starting around $115.

This Corsair XMS3 kit, for example.

There's really no need to pay $227 for RAM.
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February 24, 2010 6:32:48 PM

Ok, thanks, I'll go ahead and make that change... That saved me a bunch there... Just wish the power supply wasn't so darned expensive...

coldsleep said:
The RAM seems really expensive. Newegg is listing 1600 MHz RAM starting around $115.

This Corsair XMS3 kit, for example.

There's really no need to pay $227 for RAM.

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February 24, 2010 6:37:13 PM

Note that I'm not saying that you need to go with that specific kit, it's just that you should be able to find 4GB CAS 7 1600 MHz RAM for much less than $200.

If it makes you feel better, buying a good power supply is a good way to keep your system stable, and you should be able to reuse it if you put a new build together in a few years.

$500 is a really difficult budget to do a homebuilt computer on, even if you already have the OS, as you're going to have to skimp in a few (or all) areas. Once you're in the $700-800 range, your options expand a lot.
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February 24, 2010 6:53:04 PM

Why doesn't he just buy from newegg? so much cheaper... and amazing customer service.
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February 24, 2010 7:05:20 PM

That's what I was asking. Though a couple of components were cheaper (HSF outside of combo, CM 690 II)...
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