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Low-budget Build for WoW, and maybe L4D2

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March 22, 2010 5:24:37 AM

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to find any method of playing L4D2/WoW with a younger brother without spending money on a new pc (games cost enough as it is).

I've asked if I could run two instances of L4D2 on my pc (only to be told my build was "unbalanced"), and if there were any salvageable parts from previous pcs I've used... to no avail. So, having resigned myself to spending a bit of money, I've come back to Tom's once again to ask for advice regarding the cheapest possible gaming build for the modern world.


BUDGET: No budget, but keep the build as cheap as you can, please.

USES: Gaming, and (excluding trivial things like Firefox 2.0) only gaming. At least WoW, preferably L4D2 (feel free to post two builds if you have the time)

OVERCLOCKING: Never done it, but not adverse to trying (if necessary).

PREFERRED SITE: Newegg... or another credible seller who accepts money orders/pre-paid checks.

PARTS NOT NEEDED: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, OS, Monitor (So long as the GPU can wrok with an old CRT).


WoW Requirements: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/faq/technology.html
L4D2 Requirements: http://informationtypes.blogspot.com/2009/10/system-req...


I've been browsing for a bit, and this is the best I have, so far (I'm not an expert... but I think it meets the system requirements):

CPU/GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM/Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU/HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cost: $422.91 (potentially $382.91, if all rebates are go smoothly)

I know nothing about optimizing a build for gaming, although that's probably obvious.

In case it matters, the thread below covers my build (for the purpose of builds involving part-swapping)
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

Lastly, I'd like to say that while I am interested in "barely there" builds, what I'm really looking for is a solid, upgradeable, low-end "bang for the buck" build. After all, what's the point in playing a game if it makes your eyes bleed?
Feel free to post any helpful builds, or advice, though.

Many thanks for your time.
March 22, 2010 5:49:45 AM

^ Better to stay away from that graphics card for gaming...
Change these...
CPU + Graphics
X2 240 + HD 4650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
X2 240 + HD 4670
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Would cost about $15-20 more, but well worth it...

And you can easily run that CPU at 3GHz at stock voltages with the stock HSF with no problems...I do with an ASRock board...Just increase the BCLK in steps of 1 till you reach 3GHz...
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 22, 2010 10:32:02 AM

Hmm u didn't mention a DVDRW but a possible config for consideration?
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March 22, 2010 4:27:09 PM

Ah, DVD, right.

It'd slipped my mind (I didn't think it would affect gaming, so I hadn't been browsing for one).

Well, that adds an additional $20, or so, nothing too damaging. Thanks for the catch, batuchka.


As for the builds, gkay's suggestion is looking more attractive (mainly because of the shipping costs for batuchka's)... but, since I'm unsure about the cost/benefit of upgrading to the X3 and 5670 (considering the RAM tradeoff... and my desire to not overpower the pc), I'd better ask for advice.

Would anyone be willing to post their thoughts?


... and, of course, thanks, batuchka and gkay09, for your replies.
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March 23, 2010 3:52:58 AM

Well the main criteria in choosing the build is the monitor resolution and your requirements...based on that I would suggest these...

1. The Gigabyte mobo is a far better choice than that Biostar and also it has SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0...As you said that you look to keep the build for a long time and has to be upgradeable, I feel that mobo is a better choice...

2. Maybe like batuchka suggested, you can drop to 2GB RAM for now and later on add 1 more 2GB kit...though initially you will loose Dual-Channel, but give the option to add 2GB more without filling all the 4 slots...So then you can drop the Biostar board and get the Gigabyte board instead...

3. Graphics card - IMO HD 4650/ HD 4670 would suffice for the resolution I have not seen any CRT monitors with resolution higher than 1280X1024...For that resolution, the above cards would suffice...And also you can upgrade them later on...

4. With the money saved on the RAM and graphics card, you can get the Tri-Core in your budget...that would make the PC better overall...
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 23, 2010 9:05:09 AM

Simply put: gkay's build gets murdered in a not too gentle way by mine (close your eyes if u can't take it) USB/SATA 3 and all things future proofing is all nice and dandy for a non budget rig but the bright thing to do is to get as much frames your $$ can buy for the best gaming experience on a tight budget IMO
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March 23, 2010 9:56:36 AM

^1.
PC Building is about balance. You don't want one part to be too high end for the other as one single part can not pull up the performance and your PC rating will always be the lowest of all parts.
I think an X3+Biostar 790GBX+HD5670 offers the best balance for the budget. It is not being mentioned here but there is also the opportunity to unlock the X3 into an X4 but even if you dont, the X3 is still better than X2.
And when the time comes to replace that CRT of yours, I am sure you can even go as high as 1680x1050 resolution in most games.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 23, 2010 10:03:31 AM

I would say unlocking is not to be seen as a given but yes a bonus but either way in the long run i'd take a Rana over a Regor cos once TS stumbles across a game like GTA4/Dragons Age Origins that $10-12 savings would look very insignificant hehe
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March 23, 2010 10:05:12 AM

^^ Hahaha batuchka I had not posted a complete build but just upgraded his video card selection to HD 4650/ HD 4670 :p 
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March 23, 2010 10:14:24 PM

Alright, I've tried to rebuild, taking into consideration Batuchka's gpu/cpu suggestions.
(Although, I must point out that I'm using a 1gb 4670, and I've never experienced any frame dropping in L4D2... which is, hopefully, the primary purpose for this build.)

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU/HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mobo/CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

It's an unorthodox idea, but I've decided not to buy a DVD drive. Since the primary (and more or less, only) purpose for this build is L4D2/WoW, I figured I'd swap my current drive into it, install the two (... and the OS), swap it back, and be done with it.

Additionally, since the above mobo is a bit worrisome, I was considering the combo below (although the difference between qualities would have to be huge for me to take that price jump.)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Normal price : $432.93
Price with second Mobo: $470.93

Obviously both builds depend heavily on the MIRs (the main difference between them, and Batuchka's) ... does anyone have experience with how reliable these manufacturers are with that?

I'll be posting another build (since the ram/mobo combo expired) involving the 4670, and the x2... unless anyone else wants to chime in with "don't".
... remember, the 4670 works just fine for L4D2, in my experience (of course, I have 4gb DDR3, and an i5... both a step up form this build's)

I would appreciate any additional advice/builds.

... and thanks to randomkid for joining in.
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March 23, 2010 10:53:24 PM

Get the ASUS motherboard. For just about $38 difference you got the following advantages over ECS:
1. Overclockability
2. HD3300 vs HD3200
3. Dual PCIex16 Slots.

ti1706 said:
It's an unorthodox idea, but I've decided not to buy a DVD drive. Since the primary (and more or less, only) purpose for this build is L4D2/WoW, I figured I'd swap my current drive into it, install the two (... and the OS), swap it back, and be done with it.
... and thanks to randomkid for joining in.

I don't know if the ASUS will support OS install from USB (at least 4GB). But if it does, then you dont need a DVD drive at all. To install any other games, just create an image of it using ISO or any other software from your PC with the DVD drive. This image ( via USB ) can be mounted on a virtual drive ( also using ISO ) on your new PC and it should install just as if you have the DVD Drive.
But if the ASUS mobo do not support install OS from USB, you can install the DVD drive once to install the OS ( and the two other games since its there alraedy ). After you take the DVD drive out, you can still install more games thru ISO without having to bother to install DVD Drive again.
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March 26, 2010 1:42:46 AM

Sorry for the delay in posting... I've been a bit busy.

Taking into account randomkid's suggestion, I think that'll be my final build.

I hope to order soon... but in the event that the combo's expire before I do, at least I have a solid list of parts to browse from. (Thanks to the different builds/recommendations)

Many thanks to randomkid, batuchka, and gkay09 for your advice. I appreciate it.

Best answer goes to (and this was a tricky decision) batuchka for suggesting the basis of my build.
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March 26, 2010 1:50:54 AM

Best answer selected by ti1706.
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