[New System Build] Building a Gaming Computer $500-600

BUDGET RANGE: 500-600 before Rebates


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS (have XP Pro and getting Win 7 Ult), Case, Monitor, KB, Mouse, HD (have 2 SATA Drives), Speakers. PS is OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC… not sure if it will work or not

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: but I am open to others

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD over Intel is the only request

OVERCLOCKING: Most likely no. I am happy with the stock speeds in most cases.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Dual Video cards…maybe someday…not now though

1280x1024 is what I run most the time

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I use to be able to do this in my sleep…I have been away from the market for some time and now I’m lost. Looking for a computer I can game with, running the most recent games on a budget.
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  1. ^ What about OS ? Do you need 1 or you have it ?
  2. This is all you need -
    X3 435 + Gigabyte 770X

    RAM - 4GB DDR3

    Graphics card - HD 5670

    And if that PSU is not old, then you can certainly reuse that one...
  3. PS was bought 2/12/08...but newegg still sells it...weird...will it work?
  4. ^ Oh yeah it still has life in it...
    And is actually better than non branded PSUs out there...

    And it has enough power even for a HD 5870...

    And if you want to max out the details or might upgrade your monitor, then you can get a faster graphics card like the HD 5770...
    It is an overkill for your current resolution but if you will be upgrading the monitor anytime soon, then it is a good option to consider...
  5. Since you have the budget, this GPU would be overkill but last you a good long time and allow for a monitor upgrade without having to upgrade the GPU at the same time. Its also a killer deal right now.

    $130 1gb 5770

    Do you need an optical drive?

    If you're willing to spend upto the $500, you could actually get a new monitor now. Or a heavier quad core. Might not do much better in gaming now, but within a year or two, you'll see games use the extra core more. Since you're not an OC'er, I'm guessing you won't be trying to unlock the 4th core on a tri core.
  6. That IS a good deal; has the full 1GB too.
  7. I played with OCing a long time ago but it never really blew up my skirt like it did for some of my friends. If it was something like unlocking a core on a tricore then I might look into it.

    That video card is a bitchin deal and I just might have to purchase that quick since the rebate ends Friday...

    As far as my monitor goes I have a 19" Dell Analog LCD that I have been thinking of upgrading but I wanted to get the computer together first. My current video card doesn't have a port for the analog cord so I am using a rather long adapter for it which makes putting my desktop in its hole a bit a problem... but I can live with the set up for a little longer.

    I do need a DVD Burner come to think of it... I put mine in my parents computer for all that burning they I have a DVD rom drive but there is something wrong with it and I haven't looked into the issue...probably something to do with settings since I pulled the other drive that was in there.

    Thanks all for the great info... I have been out of the scene for so long I'm lost with the new parts and what is the best for this and that.
  8. If you're going with a cheaper card, and sticking with the sapphire brand, this seems like a better deal:

    I didn't look at the other stuff, but I can say that the CPU carries great bang for the buck.

    As far as you being lost:

    vid cards:,2569-6.html


    Just compare the price of what your paying to where it sits on these lists. Many times, the lower model newer line hardware is cheaper and out performs the higher model older line hardware. I know this may be confusing, but just look at the lists and what you are paying.

    As far as "THIS IS A 1 gig card versus that crappy 512 mb card" - don't listen to people who say this, look at how it performs, that is all that matters. It may not be worth it to spend the extra cash to get a 1 gig model, when you could have just used the money to buy the next model 512.

    Some things that may be upcoming, but are some distance off and you may want to do some research (but if you're on a budget, isn't too important):
    -when quad cores may be advantageous
    -when more than 4 gigs of ram may be advantageous
  9. WOW stope, your first post and you come in here shaking all kinds of cages!!!!!

    The 5770 1gb for $130 is crazy low. Normally, they run $150 on a good sale. While 512mb of ram is enough, the extra won't hurt and let extra eye candy be enabled. Getting both the price and the ram is unheard of to this point in the 5770 life. The 5770 will perform about the same as the 4870, which beats the 4850.

    Ram is over hyped already to this point. Unless you're doing production graphics, no gamer should need more than 3gb really. 4 becomes the da facto because its better to have 2 chips than 3. When you don't have anything running, start task manager and look at the performance tab. You'll see XP and Win 7 will use 800mb or less, Vista right near the gig mark. Then load up your most tasking game. GTA IV is poorly optimized, huge, and only adds 1.5 gbs to the load.

    For gaming, who knows when extra cores will make a huge difference. Its all speculation so I wouldn't base purchase decisions on that alone. If its not that much more, I'd go quad because then you're covered. With the price compression of the Athlon IIs tri and quads, its not that big of a deal unless you're on a very strict budget.
  10. So I think I will go with the above mentioned Mobo-CPU Combo and Ram....

    Have to see how much my paycheck is and I might be buying the boatload all this weekend.

    I have already bought the 5770... which if I am right will also work in my Epox 9NPA Ultra.

    I do need to find a good DVD burner... anyone have a thought on that?
  11. Just trying to help the guy out :love:

    There is no doubt about it, that 5770 is pretty deng cheap.

    I was just saying: at the approximately $90 price range, there is a considerably better option. Sorry for any confusion. If spending another 40 bucks is within your budget, that does seem like a good deal for a better card.

    Another thing I haven't seen too many people touch on was future proofing:

    Down the road, having the capability to throw in another graphics card, a couple extra sticks of ram and/or a new CPU could really keep that system going for years to come for relatively cheap. Just remember that you likely will be paying more upfront to do this, and its not always worth it.

    I don't think the currently listed mobo can support more than 1 graphics card, and I'm really not sure about the PSU either. Maybe someone who knows more about them can chime in here if upgrading later is something you may be interested in.

    Heres some other good articles I found:,2520.html,2545-7.html

    I remember there periodically being building competitions where people built systems under certain dollar amounts and tested them in modern games. I'll let you do the searching for those if you're interested in those! Looking at those builds, and the list of other people asking for help in this very forum should give you a number of good options you could look into as far as alternative components.
  12. So quick question...

    Before I pull the 5770 out of the box... will it work in my Epox 9NPA Ultra?

    It says "AGP/VGA Slot: PCI-E x16" on the spec's of the board so it seems it will work. Just want to double check.

    I can afford to pay a little more for a board and proc... $200-225. Any Mobo/Proc combo in that range you would suggest?

    I plan to buy the Proc/Mobo this week and Ram/Burner after my next paycheck.
  13. Best answer
    That should work just fine for now on that mobo. I really dig that throwback green of the PCB too.

    For the CPU/Mobo, this will give you a good long lasting mobo that you can upgrade much later if the tri core doesn't do it for you in a few years and you can't unlock the 4th core. 890GX (usb 3.0 and sata III) and x3 440 $210:

    Less expensive just as capable 770 and x3 440 $168:

    Or if you want a better CPU, pick one, look for a mobo with USB 3.0 and Sata III and you'll be in tip top shape.
  14. From a brief look, the differences are:

    The more expensive MB has:
    -SLI capability
    -Onboard Video (you wont really need this)
    -Better North/South bridge
    -Either your KB or Mouse has to be USB, it only has 1 ps/2 slot

    Less expensive:
    -No SLI (may matter)
    -No onboard vid (doesn't really matter)
    -2 ps/2 slots (may matter)

    Also, those x3's skora listed are pretty impossible to beat in terms of bang for buck. Very very power processors for an astoundingly low cost. There's also a number of good options in terms of MB's that processor.

    You said:

    "SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Dual Video cards…maybe someday…not now though"

    This is really where you need to decide because most boards that support dual cards cost a little more. Again, this could potentially save you money later.. but if you don't use it, it could be an unnecessary extra expense.

    As far as your: Epox 9NPA Ultra

    It states: AGP/VGA Slot: PCI-E x16 (no AGP)

    AGP is the older standard interface for graphics acceleration. The new standard, is PCI-E or even PCI-E 2.1.

    Both the MB you listed and the 5770 are PCI-E.

    Its kind of confusingly stated, but all it was trying to state is that it doesn't have an AGP slot, and thus does not support the use of those old AGP cards.

    Side note: I really liked AGP too. Seemed like the quality/reliability of cards was better.
  15. So in the interest of future thinking I was looking at this combo...

    Now I could go with a lesser proc to lighten the budget but I keep seeing a lot of people raving about these "Black Edition" procs. Are they really worth it? Would it be better to look at a tricore proc like the one Skora noted in the previous combo?

    The board in this combo looks like it falls into the future thinking you have been talking about as it has capability for SLI, SATA and USB 3.

    I have until July to do all this but was going to try and finish it by the end of next month. So if I have to save a little longer I can. If you guys know of a better board/proc money or capabilities let me know.
  16. All black edtions does for you is make it easier to overclock. If you don't want to, then buy your CPU based on the speed you want and not the BE designation.

    That's why I went with a faster clock speed tri and if you don't OC, then you don't need an aftermarket HSF either. If you change your mind though, the HSF can be replaced later and even if your CPU isn't BE, it will still OC well.
  17. Overclocking is a good way to extend your system life.

    Kinda funny thought, but when you first get your processor: you don't really need to overclock it - it has plenty of power for modern computing.

    Then a few years later when you kinda want something a little faster, and you don't really care about your system as much: overclocking can in many cases give your system some serious increases in performance (along with another video card, etc).

    I've seen some really nice builds with all the bells and whistles, except for their beloved super-clocked CPU's. This is because these system builders didn't really feel that it was necessary to replace this part due to the great performance they are still getting from their years old processors.

    The Athlon II X3 440, 435 and the Phenom X3 720 are the tri cores to get if you are going with a less expensive (but still very powerful cpu). The x4 955 is definitely faster and if you aren't going to miss the extra 65 bucks, grab that sucker. Need to keep ram in mind too, very important part if you want a working computer!
  18. Ok I am going to save the money and go with the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H/AMD Athlon II X3 440 Combo and purchase it this weekend.

    That being said is the G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) still the way to go or should I look at something else? I like Geil as I have 2gb in my desktop now from them. Since I live in Idaho I like to help support Crucial because it is produced in Idaho but isn't always the best. It seems ram doesn't have the separation in brands like it use to. So any thoughts on the best performance for the buck ram for this board and proc? If you can tie it up with why it would be good or what makes your choice good please enlighten me.

    Is it still the same...the lower the Lat the better? on the DDR3 1333 modules what is the difference between the PC3 10600, 10660 and 10666? DDR always confused me because they had the 2 numbers to use.

    Thank again for stickin with me on this...hope I'm not being too much of a bother.
  19. whitefang said:

    So why this Ram?


    on the DDR3 1333 modules what is the difference between the PC3 10600, 10660 and 10666?
  20. @brat4300 from where did you hear that the Crucial is not the best ?
    I would still rate it above GSkillz...Nearly the same level as the Corsairs...
    They are known for their rock solid stability and extreme overclocking...
    This kit rated at 1333Mhz and CAS 9 but can be overclocked to 1600Mhz with CAS 8 without much voltage increase
    Another option...
    Check the March 2010 SBM...Even the $3000 PC has these RAMs...
  21. The DDR, DDR2, DDR3 means the different standards that generation conforms too. They all use different slot form factors and generally don't have anything to do with performance. Good DDR2 ram can beat poor DDR3 ram performance wise.

    When I look for ram, I look first to make sure the standard for the board is correct. We'll use DDR3 since that's what you're looking at. Then I pick an minimum speed that has been tested to be good and not bottleneck system speed. For DDR3, its 1333mhz. Next is the lowest Cas. Generally, 7 is very good at 1333 or 8 at 1600 since the 8 can be downclocked to 1333 and tightened to 7 usually. Then I look for the lowest power consumption. If you can get a 1333mhz or better at Cas 7 with 1.5v-1.65v, then you'll have a good stick of ram. Don't worry if there's heat spreaders on it or who makes it as long as its not one no one has ever heard from before. Pick the cheapest and add to card.
  22. Ram gets really complicated fast for a novice builder. Have these guys pick out a good set for you and go with it. Unlike your graphics card and processor, once you get in the right range: you are not going to gain/lose much by selecting a more/less optimal set.

    This set is better than the other g.skill set for 2 reasons:
    1)The timings are lower
    2)They have heat spreaders (not necessarily an advantage)

    This does come with a higher price tag. I'm not really sure why they always list cas latency twice in the specifications.

    You asked:
    "on the DDR3 1333 modules what is the difference between the PC3 10600, 10660 and 10666? "

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only difference is in the rounding?

    Anyways, if you want the best set: You are maybe spending 10-15 bucks more. If this makes you feel good about it (knowing you have the best ram), then do it. Will you see much of a difference? Most likely not.

    However, going with a faster set may be more future proof! Spending a very very little amount extra and getting a set that is currently well above being a bottleneck for your system may prevent it from being a future bottleneck when you make "improvements" to your system or want to put it into a newer system.
  23. Yep, the ram stope selected is the same ram I suggested a few posts back, it's the best ram under $120 you can get.

    7-7-7-21 1333 > 9-9-9-24 1600
  24. Best answer selected by brat4300.
  25. Dont know if youve bought the ram yet, but i have this OCZ and seems pretty good for the price. ddr3 1333 7-7-7-20 @ 1.6v (although my bios is reading it at 7-7-7-16)
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