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Need help with budget first build

Last response: in Systems
March 2, 2010 10:19:23 PM

I have been stuck playing some of my games (see below) on my P4 3.2GHz HT laptop with a mobility 9600 gfx. Well needless to say my laptop died on me and i need a replacement. I have always wanted to build my own system and I now have a good excuse.


BUDGET RANGE: $400 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Light gaming (Some 2D games like Heroes 3 and Star wars rebellion to Company of Heroes and X3 reunion), surfing the web, word processing

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


PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use an AMD and ATI



MONITOR RESOLUTION: Current monitor is 1920x1200, but gaming would be at a lower setting

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Will hold off on gfx card for now, so I need something with integrated gfx.

Cpu and mother board combo

Case and power supply



will be using laptop harddrive

1: suggestions on current choices

2: Would like to know what would be a good gfx card to save up for.

More about : budget build

March 2, 2010 11:04:30 PM

Have a look at a Phenom II X2 or X3 chip and go for a 785G board. They have Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics which are pretty good for an integrated solution. Also, if you're overclocking, a Black Edition Phenom II chip will make your life a lot easier ;) 
March 2, 2010 11:11:58 PM

The cpu i had thought of was the AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz triple core. The motherboard combo from newegg is a 785g. I should have clarified that the overclocking would only be minor, 3.2 to 3.4, just to play around with it since I have never overclocked anything before.
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March 3, 2010 2:27:32 PM

A $400 budget can be tough, but since you're not including a GPU at first, should be possible.
Antec Earthwatts PSUs are good, but even up to a HD5770 can be run on the 380W version. You'll want to buy your RAM sticks in pairs, so you get dual channel access. Since DDR2 is becoming more expensive, consider DDR3 instead. That will mean changing your motherboard too. Since you'll be starting with integrated graphics, the HD3300 IGP on a 790G board will be a little better than the HD4200 on 785G. Here is a sample build, that comes in under budget (but not counting extortion and shipping):

ASRock M3A790GXH/128M AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:M3A790GXH/128M
Item #:N82E16813157152
$114.99 -$20.00 Instant $94.99
I've had good results with ASRock mobos. HD3300 > HD4200.

Rosewill R230-P-BK Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R230-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147075
$34.99 -$5.00 Instant $29.99
I've been satisfied with every cheap Rosewill case I ever bought. They come with a 120mm rear fan.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ... - Retail
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
Depending on the video card you may eventually buy, consider upgrading this to the 500W version. Often there are deals on one or another of the Earthwatts models. Check at time of purchase.

AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX - Retail
Item #:N82E16819103724
$74.99 $74.99
Should be hard to beat for the price. Core unlocking is not a done deal, and the 550BE costs more.

Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864BA1339 - Retail
Model #:CT2KIT12864BA1339
Item #:N82E16820148194
$57.99 $57.99
Upgrade to 4GB (2x2GB) if there is wiggle room in your budget.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:ST3320418AS
Item #:N82E16822148469
$49.99 $49.99
The Samsung Spinpoint F3 is supposed to be a little faster, but has not always been available lately. This drive is a little cheaper, and performs well too. Do not get the 7200.11 version of this drive due to firmware issues.

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM
Model #:AD-7240S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118030
$25.99 $25.99
Meh. One optical drive is much like any other.

Subtotal: $378.93
Doesn't include extortion (if applicable) and shipping, but will buy a good starting point. If there is wiggle room in your budget, consider getting a HD4650 or even a HD4670. The former will be $50-$55; the latter $70-$80. Most HD4650s have DDR2, but the Biostar version has the much faster DDR3 on it, for about the same price. I installed one in my wife's PC this weekend, and it was painless.

March 3, 2010 6:44:12 PM

AMD Phenom II X2 555 Callisto 3.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor


OCZ Intel Extreme Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3X13332GK

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive


All this for $440, so a little more than I wanted but this is acceptable.

However I would still like to know what a good gfx card would be to get later. I want a card that will run: Company of heroes, C&C 3, and X3 reunion maxed out, or close too, but not have any conflicts with my older 2D games? Would a 4850 or 4860 be a good choice or too much?
March 3, 2010 7:22:36 PM

Just found this PSU
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7
combo deal with a CM 690. It's $10 more but has mail in rebates, and it's modular
March 3, 2010 9:26:00 PM

OCZ isn't crappy, but is not in the same league with Antec, Corsair, or Seasonic.
You've chosen a more expensive dual core (that may or may not unlock) over the X3; three cores have been shown to be notably better than two. The articles are on Tom's.
You may not care, but note that the Biostar board cannot do Crossfire, as it only has one PCIE x16 slot.
March 3, 2010 11:25:46 PM

Will a crossfire setup conflict with my older games: Heroes 3, Diablo 2, starcraft exc. If not I would go with a board that is crossfire capable. My aforementioned posts are just ideas, i'm not set with anything yet. Just hoped to get some responses.
March 3, 2010 11:54:32 PM

I would not expect any problems any more. Still, you would not start out with Crossfire, and might never need it. It is just an option to consider, or you may end up wanting the other PCIE x16 slot for something else, like a RAID card, USB 3.0 expansion, or who knows what.

Best solution

March 4, 2010 9:36:38 AM

Budget builds and CF/SLI for the most part aren't good neither on paper or in practice :p  O/T: i still play Heroes 3 to this day and i always pick DeathKnight and build up my 'legions of skeletons' unit :p 
March 17, 2010 9:34:25 PM

I ended up having a budget of $600 so this is how my build turned out.

Antec Three Hundred Illusion
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz
XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB
SAMSUNG SATA 24x DVD Burner - Bulk LightScribe Support
OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1333
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB

Got all the pieces from newegg, and have had it up and running for a week. Very happy with my first build.
March 17, 2010 9:47:39 PM

In your place, the first upgrade I'd make would be the CPU, either to an Athlon II X4 or a Phenom II X4, but only when it seems slow at something.
March 17, 2010 10:14:43 PM

Ah, not such a good build flyboy. Next time post your new budget before ordering =)
March 25, 2010 1:26:27 AM

Best answer selected by flyboy86.