Advice on sub-$700 Gaming PC? First-timer

Hi everyone, it's my first time building a computer in maybe a decade (so not exactly a first-timer), and I'm really excited about it. However, I did a lot of research and still have a ton of questions, so I thought I might try my luck here.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, video/movies, surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, monitor, mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg (USA), but could really go anywhere

PARTS PREFERENCES: Crossfire HD 4850's, AMD X3 440 or X3 720



I want to build this guy around crossfire 4850's and an AMD X3 (overclocked when i'm a little bit more comfortable). USB3.0 would be ideal. Main purpose will be gaming. I went with some combo deals to save a bit here and there. Here's what I have:

2x GPU - $190
SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail

CPU - $87
AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor - Retail

Combo Mobo+RAM - $230/$215 with rebate
ItemList=Combo.349204]GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD
Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT25664BA1339 - Retail

Case + PSU - $110
Antec TWO HUNDRED S Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified ... - Retail

HD - $55
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

A cheap DVD writer - $25

Total = ~$700

The hardest thing for me has been picking the right motherboard for my build. I really want USB3.0 capability.
I was also thinking about this mobo combo
Is there a difference between the 790XTA and the 890GPA, and are both crossfire compatible?
Also, will I see a difference in performance in 2X 16xPCI vs 2X 8XPCI? In other words, is it worth investing in a 790FX mobo? Maybe I could then put in an ePCI USB3.0 expansion later on with the extra slot?

Also, if shaving off ~$50 would be ideal, where would I make some cuts? e.g. lower quality mobo, PSU, Case...

Whew, that was a lot.
Advice? Questions? Comments?

Thanks in advance.
9 answers Last reply
More about advice gaming first timer
  1. Switch your Hard Drive to this:
    Seagate 7200.12 500GB - 54.99 (costs roughly the same as the one you listed but performs faster)

    Use this CPU/Mobo Combo:
    Gigabyte 890 USB3/Athlon x 3 435 - 199.99

    Grab this RAM instead:
    G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 - 104.99

    Savings: $20

    PS. Your Mobo/RAM link is broken or something.
  2. Hm that's good advice. I didn't think about going with the x3 435.

    Nice. I am now down to $684.

    Would you recommend this PSU instead of the Antec Earthwatts for an extra $30?

    With overclocking and dual GPU's, 650W should be enough?
  3. Yes the 650W would be enough for the dual GPUs. I'm just more concerned about the cooling for the GPUs. Your case has only 2 fans and it would probably benefit from a fan or two extra.

    That PSU is definitely great. It would perform similar or a bit better to that of the Earthwatts but it comes with a price of $30. That 30 is mainly going into the modular aspect of the PSU. So unless a mess of cables bother you that much, go ahead and get that PSU or the following alternative modular PSU:
    Antec Truepower New 650W - 99.99
  4. I see. Do you think I'm going to need another couple fans for my case then?

    Also, when I decide to start overclocking my CPU, what do you think are good choices for a heatsink?

    And last thing... =]

    do you think the CPU will bottleneck the GPU's when its overclocked?
  5. Haha, I guess now I'm considering this combo with the X3 720 and GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4, which after the rebate will be pretty much the same price.

    Any opinions on which one to go for?
  6. Quote:
    G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 - 104.99 [...] 6820231277

    Don't use that RAM the CL is high, for DDR3 the better CL is CL6, CL7 or CL8 at 1.65v max.

    Get THIS RAM, is better.
  7. For heatsink, this is pretty popular here since it is a good bang/buck:
    Cooler Master 212 Plus - 34.99

    Grab some Thermal Paste:
    TX-2 - 4.99

    I think it would be beneficial to add at least another fan in your case as those GPUs spew their hot air into the case.

    Ummm about your CPU well I'm not too sure if it would be a bottleneck. It may but you would probably be getting too high of a framerate to notice.

    As with the other combo well, stick with the one I suggested just because it will support the new 6 core CPUs from AMD coming out soon. So if you want to upgrade, you can slip in a new CPU no problem. It's just that its a NEW motherboard so they may have not got all their BIOS/Drivers working 100% perfect.
  8. ^Sorry, but he don't need buy thermal paste, the Hyper 212+ comes with thermal paste, even, all the coolers comes with thermal paste.

    With the price of the 2x4850, you can buy this 5770
  9. saint19 said:
    ^Sorry, but he don't need buy thermal paste, the Hyper 212+ comes with thermal paste, even, all the coolers comes with thermal paste.

    With the price of the 2x4850, you can buy this 5770

    Yeah I was thinking about going with a single video card, either a 5770 or a 5850, and then upgrading later. However, right now, $190 for two 4850's is definitely going to give me the best bang for the buck. The only thing i'll be losing is DirectX11 and eyefinity support.
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