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First time building a gaming PC $600-700

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March 2, 2010 5:34:38 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week, wanna buy it asap, my budget is around $650.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Playing SC2 and just surfing the net.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I already have windows7, monitor and other computer accessories, so I'm looking only to build the tower PC.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com / from USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I don't really have any preference, as long as the budget and reliability is there!

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x990

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I just want a PC that I only play SC2 on, hopefully max settings at 1440x990. I'm planning to purchase a 19" LCD monitor from my friend, and run on Windows 7 x32-bit


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Here's the parts that I'm intending to buy:

Processor $115.99:
Intel Core2 Duo E7500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7500 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard $129.99:
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card $119.99:
EVGA 01G-P3-N988-TR GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive $55.99:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM $81.98:
2 X
A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply $64.99:
Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7/Core i5" ... - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case $49.99:
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD Burner $23.99:
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X 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 CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Cost: $642.91 (excluding shipping and other fees)

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What do you guys think of this build? Am I buying a PSU with just the right amount of 500W? I'm only really gonna play SC2 on max settings on 1440x990, so thats my top priority. It's my first time trying to build a custom PC, so I'm really open to any feedback, and I'm sure that I overlooked something...

Thanks for your advice!!

Best solution

March 2, 2010 6:31:39 AM
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At your budget, an AMD/ATI system would be much more powerful (and really, ATI is recommended at all price points).

Try something like this:
Athlon II X4 630
$109
Quad-core.

GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$95
AM3 Gigabyte mobo with SATA III and USB 3.0

HIS H567Q512 Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) IceQ 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
$95
Comparable to a 9800GT, but cheaper. It also supports DX11, Eyefinity, and HD audio bitstreaming (none of which the 9800GT does).

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$55
These things go out of stock all the time for a reason. It's a single platter drive, as opposed to that WD. Because it only has one platter, it's faster and runs cooler and more efficiently.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM - Retail
$115
CL 7 (low latency), 1600MHz, good brand.
DDR2 RAM prices seem to have surpassed DDR3 prices. There's really no point getting DDR2 ATM. Also, 4GB is minimum recommended for a gaming system, regardless of caliber.

Lastly, keep an eye out for combos. You'll find better parts for better prices. Like this for example:
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail AND LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
$79
Quality PSU + burner.

If you find some good combos, you could upgrade that 5670 to a 5750 or the AII 630 to a PII 955, for "future-proofing."

EDIT: Oops, forgot a case. The Centurion is fine, but have a look at some others.
The case is the part that I would invest the most in, relatively. I don't mean you should spend the most on the case, but that you should spend time researching what cases you'll be happy with. Besides the monitor, it's what you'll look at every time you use your PC. It's also the part most likely to be reused in your next build. I would personally recommend a Lancool K62 or CM690 II, though both are in the $100 range.

Total (before case): $548
March 2, 2010 8:20:37 AM

If he's running 32-bit Windows, he would only be able to use about 3 GB of RAM. Does it make sense to buy 2 GB + 1 GB ?
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March 2, 2010 2:12:49 PM

Wow thanks for the really good advice, as for a computer case, I can really settle for anything, I'm not into aesthetics, but rather the raw power within :p 

I really dunno... batuchka and blackjellognomes are really solid builds, and I really intend to order today, I kinda leaning on batuchka's side though, cause the cost does include the case
March 12, 2010 5:09:22 PM

Best answer selected by james1987.
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