Building a computer. Need help choosing a graphics card.

So, I'm building a computer. A friend recommended it, and says it would be much more powerful than a premade in the same price range.
So far, I can't find any real opposition to that idea. He's offered to build the computer, when I buy the parts. Unfortunately, I really can't decide on a graphics card. Between the benchmarks, the streaming processing units, etc, I can't really make heads or tails of any of it.

My preferred price range is under $700 for the whole deal. I'm flexible to $750, but anything after that, and I'm not going to be willing to pay for it. Also, he says he'll be able to get a free case to go along with it, so I'm not including that in this.

[edit: Upon reading the "how to ask" sticky, and feeling slightly noobish, here's the form listed.]

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a couple of weeks. BUDGET RANGE: $700-750, leaning towards $700. After Rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Games->music->internet->movies->anything else in the world.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse. Case.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Generally I prefer Newegg, I guess. If someone can persuade me otherwise, I'll change this.


OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, eventually, leaning towards no. Doesn't seem beneficial enough, looking at the risks.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900, a la suggested for the monitor.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet is nice. Really, this area is covered in the first paragraph or so.

Here are the parts I've chosen thus far.




Wifi PCI card:



Thermal compound:




Any help at all is appreciated--especially on the subject of choosing a graphics card.
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  1. Best answer
    Hey tpl2000!

    Let's see here. A buddy of yours is offering to build a computer if you supply the parts. Lucky :)

    Let's see the parts you DON'T need:

    1) Case
    2) Mouse
    3) Keyboard

    Okay. Not too shabby. Not needing a case knocks off $50 usually from a budget. I take it you don't need a video card since you didn't include it in the prices above :(

    So you have a $700 - $750 budget? Let's see what I can conjure up :D First, get the essentials out of the way!

    Monitor: ASUS 19' LCD ($120)

    Not much argument here. Solid monitor. I have one myself :D

    Operating System: Windows 7 64-Bit ($105)

    No arguement here either. Probably the best Operating System out right now.

    Speakers: Genius 100W Speakers ($13)

    I recommend these only because I got them for a girl I know and she loves them. Cheap too!

    Wifi Card: EDIMAX WiFi Card ($23)

    Fine if you're going to use Wireless internet on your computer :( Now HERE comes the hard part!

    CD/DVD Burner: SAMSUNG 22X ($22)

    This should be fine for your build.

    Hard Drive: Seagate 500GB ($55)
    Power Supply: OCZ Stealth(Quiet) 600W ($50 ($20 Mail-In Rebate!))

    tpl2000, the first lesson you'll learn about building a computer is NEVER buy a cheap power supply. Companies like OCZ, Corsair, Thermaltake, etc are the best ones. These PSU's last very long.

    Motherboard: ASUS M4A79 ($90 2x Award Winner ($10 Mail-In Rebate))
    CPU AMD Athlon II X4 635 @ 2.9GHz ($120)

    An amazingly cheap combo! Award winner Motherboard from a big name, ASUS and a great Athlon Quad Core in price-performance.

    RAM: ADATA 4GB @ 1333MHz ($95 with promo code EMCYPYS54!

    Some of the best RAM you can get :D

    Grand Total (After Shipping + Taxes): $744.47
    Grand Total (After Mail-In Rebates): $714.47 if you include Mail-In Rebates.

    Darn it :( I really tried. It's hard getting good stuff for under $500 when you have to buy speakers, a monitor, the Operating System, etc, but I think I did it. I tried to be under $700 total, but I failed you!

    Is there anything else I can help you with? Maybe something you wanted to clarify?
  2. Just one key thing ^_^

    I do need a video card. Kinda throws the whole formula off, unfortunately :(

    A valiant effort, nonetheless (and despite the notion that you're a salesman of some sort :sarcastic: .)

    The parts you listed look like winners--but I'm not sure they'd fit the budget, if a video card is added.

    [Edit: Don't format this for a ten year old :) I'm not new to computers, and I think ten breaks between parts and shorter sentences are actually more likely to give me a headache, haha]
  3. Haha <3 Very sorry tpl2000. Usually people come here with not too much known about computers.

    Grrrr.... So you do need a video card. I have a spare NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT from EVGA if you want it. It works and runs fine on my old comp. I just have spare parts lying around for my future build. If you DO look for a video card with your budget go for this:

    ATI Radeon HD 4850 ($105)

    For some reason the ATI Radeon HD 4850 can still hang with the big guns and run games smoothly and costs $100~. If you look at benchmarks, this is THE sweet-spot for price-performance.

    I'm sorry that I couldn't fit everything into the budget :( Just don't skimp on your Power Supply ever. Spend the extra +$20 to get Thermaltake or CoolerMaster or whomever.
  4. Don't apologize too much :)

    The deal with the PSU/HD was spot on. I'm definitely adding that to the build.

    As far as processor/mobo goes, I'm probably going to stick with Athlon II x4 630, instead of 635. I chose 630 over 620 because there was 7% difference in benchmarks between the two, and $4 was worth it to me. 4% difference or so isn't quite worth $20 to me :)

    What would you suggest for a motherboard? $120 (100 after rebate) seems a little excessive, and I don't think it would fit well with the budget. Of course, it is Asus--a brand that appears to be well trusted in general.

    On the graphics: The 4850 is a good looking card, performance wise. I believe I'll use it :)
  5. I love that PSU and HD combo big time. For an extra $10 you can get the same thing but 700W and they're super quiet!

    I don't blame you. Some combo discounts make it so you can afford the 635 over the 630, etc. I know what you mean.

    There is another ASUS Motherboard (just as good) for $100 but maxes at 1333MHz RAM. It's the 785 version.

    ASUS M4A785TD-V 785

    Even if you order the Mobo and CPu separately, it's still more than the $120 motherboard. I don't know many good AMD motherboards anymore. I only trust GIGABYTE and ASUS. There was like a $76 GIGABYTE board but it's not there anymore. It won 2x Awards too :(
  6. I can get the price down to $717, $687 after Mail-In Rebates with a different cheaper Motherboard (suits everything) from GIGABYTE and the 630 you prefer :D It looks like that is the best I could do.

    GA-MA785GMT ($85)

    AMD Athlon II X4 630 @ 2.8GHz ($100)

    Be sure to select the best answer!
  7. Anonymous said:
    I can get the price down to $717, $687 after Mail-In Rebates with a different cheaper Motherboard (suits everything) from GIGABYTE and the 630 you prefer :D It looks like that is the best I could do.

    GA-MA785GMT ($85)

    AMD Athlon II X4 630 @ 2.8GHz ($100)

    Be sure to select the best answer!

    Somewhere, I think you might have gotten your math a bit off, or we might be differing on what parts are included :)

    Still very close, however.



    Newegg brings it out to 768, before discounts and shipping. After discounts and shipping, it's at 773, and after MIR it comes out to 753.
  8. What are your thoughts on biostar?

    Would give me the 635 processor, and gives me a mobo that can run all of the things on the list. Not only that, but it'd bring me under the $750 mark, about 738 after rebate.
  9. Wow NewEgg is quick. The Motherboard I linked you was $85 and Free Shipping. Looks like all boards now have $7.50~ shipping suddenly :(

    Try this combo (similar BioStar Board):

    Total should be $707.02 after Shipping + Taxes with this combo.

    You can go even cheaper by purchasing these two!

    ASUS M4N68T ($58)
    AMD Athlon II X4 630 @ 2.8 GHz ($100)

    Grand Total should be $682.87 with those two instead.

    Also, you don't really need to buy Thermal Paste; it comes with the CPU and Heatsink in the box.

    Anything else tpl2000? Need help building the darn thing? Need more help? :)
  10. Interestingly enough, my friend has instructed me not to get a micro-atx board. He currently has one, and apparently they're a pain in the ___ to work on.

    <Thanks Bob! The part has been swapped.>

    I probably won't go with mostly because it's micro-ATX, and because the deal I posted $5 more for a better(?) motherboard and a better processor.

    <I currently stand at 768, 738 after MIR.>

    My friend suggested I throw the thermal compound in. If, as you say, it's included with the CPU, what would be the benefit of buying it? I find it difficult to completely discount his suggestion.
  11. If you buy a retail CPU, it comes with the heat sink and thermal paste.

    If you buy an OEM CPU, it doesn't come with either.

    If you want to overclock, you would be wise to buy a non-stock heat sink and quality thermal paste.
  12. Alright, thanks. It's doubtful I'll be overclocking any time soon, and the CPU in my cart is retail.

    <brings me down to 760, 730 after MIR>

    Further thoughts:
    getting a triple core instead of quad core to save some cash, and activate the 4th core?
  13. Anyone have input on the subject?
  14. An X3 should be just fine. The 4th core doesn't provide a lot of benefit while gaming for the most part. Good luck unlocking the 4th core, it's not a sure thing, but people have definitely had some success.
  15. coldsleep said:
    An X3 should be just fine. The 4th core doesn't provide a lot of benefit while gaming for the most part. Good luck unlocking the 4th core, it's not a sure thing, but people have definitely had some success.

    That said, I don't do much coding/encoding/decoding/burning, as is, and as I understand it that's where the quad core shines. I do multitask a lot, though.

    And this allows me to swap the mobo/cpu combo for

    Which is better than the Biostar board.. USB 3.0, apparent brand reliability, and it can handle higher MHz ram.

    And I save about $30.

    Still a little past 700... But this is very close.

    Man, does Newegg like to do combo deals with motherboards...

    Thanks to everyone :)
  16. Hehe. Good luck tpl2000! Leave us a Thread when you have it up and working. If any problems persist, just come back and we'll get it sorted out :)

    Take care!
  17. Best answer selected by tpl2000.
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