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Best possible gaming configuration under 500$.

Last response: in Systems
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March 31, 2010 3:51:14 PM

monitor size is 19" (excluded)
Sorry for that.
resolution is 1400*900
no os required
gpu included in 500$ budget
a b 4 Gaming
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March 31, 2010 5:24:00 PM

Way to not give us a lot to go on. Monitor size is completely irrelevant. We need the monitor's resolution, not to mention a LOT of additional information. Like if you need an OS or don't need any parts. See the guidelines through the link in my signature.

Given the lack of information, here is the best I can give you:

CPU/Mobo: i3-530 and Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H $200
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2x1 GB DDR3 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7 $66
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $130
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $510. Obviously, this is using the integrated graphics of the i3/H55. It's not going to be great at higher resolutions, so stick in a discrete GPU as soon as you have some cash.
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March 31, 2010 8:35:33 PM

Don't need HSF

Lower watts PSU - $95 isntead of 130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also - OS??

May be able to save more money going with a cheaper case and an AMD cpu/board too.

Doing this you could realistically get the build down to around $400 without an OS, which would give you $100ish for an okay graphics card.
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March 31, 2010 8:55:59 PM

OP said no OS required. I would try to keep the 650W because it will be able to power any GPU out there, while a 500W wouldn't do that.

The HSF is included because you can OC the i3 extremely well, which not only improves the processing power but also the graphics. It's definitely worth it.

The problem with going with an AM3 build is that you will need a discrete GPU to do any gaming. And that WILL put you over budget, even after saving a little on the CPU/board (the cheapest set I would recommend is $160).

You could get a cheaper case, but you can't really get a cheaper case AND a quality PSU for a lower total. That 300 Illusion/650W (or any other Earthwatts size) is easily the best deal out there.
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March 31, 2010 9:33:45 PM

What cards wouldn't be able to run on the PSU I linked?

I mean, certainly he couldnt run sli/crossfire but I'm fairly certain it would be enough.
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March 31, 2010 9:40:10 PM

The 5850 and 5870 (assuming overclocking on the CPU/GPU), the 5970, many of the higher end older cards. Any of the new nVidias.

I shouldn't say it won't run them. I should say that it will leave almost no headroom for overclocking, adding additional RAM and devices, and the unit aging.
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March 31, 2010 11:47:27 PM

So, in a 400 dollar system needing a card, you're expecting a $300+ card?

You're right more headroom is most certainly better, but there are plenty of other things that this could be said about as well.

I would agree that the top thing to overbuy on is the PSU, followed by the ram. But keep in mind that he is basically getting the PSU for $45, a rather minimal loss ---IF--- he decides to invest more in the system at a later date.

How fast is the CPU graphics anyways? How much headroom would he have with each PSU?
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March 31, 2010 11:56:34 PM

$482 after $25 MIR.

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April 1, 2010 12:14:41 AM

@stode: I don't really expect a $300+ card, but it would be good if it was possible. Also, a bigger PSU would still be useful in a future build. If the OP got a 500W unit, he'd need to get a bigger one if/when he upgrades.
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April 1, 2010 1:48:45 AM

MadAdmiral said:
@stode: I don't really expect a $300+ card, but it would be good if it was possible. Also, a bigger PSU would still be useful in a future build. If the OP got a 500W unit, he'd need to get a bigger one if/when he upgrades.


At which point he sells his 500W PSU for 20 bucks on craigslist and buys a new one. He takes a hit, but there is no certainty here that he is going to upgrade later. If he wants SLI/Crossfire, his less expensive mobo may not even have the slots for it.

Really for a good system that he'll be able to easily upgrade in the future WITHOUT replacing parts other than some fans is going to cost $600-700 which is out of the budget.

That would entail a big PSU, $100 ram, a mid-ranged mobo that supports 2 cards, and a case with great airflow that fits the larger sized cards. This indeed would be ideal for many reasons, and I would recommend a build such as this to any new buyer. But I am not going to tell this guy he needs to spend more money than he budgeted on his computer.
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April 1, 2010 12:36:38 PM

Thanks all for your reply.But after taking the i3 i don't think i would have any money left for a gpu .I like the amd configuration but can go for 4850 hd and a lower and power supply like corsairs 450 vx.And also exclude the case as i already have one.
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April 1, 2010 1:40:04 PM

Mobo - MSI 770-G45

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

CPU - Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz

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

RAM - CORSAIR 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (you get one more later)

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

DVD writer LG or something

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

HDD - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS

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

Video card - HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770

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

PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W (you have some 250 W at full load on this PC)

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

Total in the shopping cart - 499.93

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April 1, 2010 1:49:27 PM

Yuck. That builds gives the OP a low quality board, RAM that will run at a snails pace (single channel), a slow HDD and a low wattage PSU. Not a great idea.

@abhishekshukla: Yes, the i3 doesn't come with a GPU. However, the integrated graphics for the i3/H55 are very good. It's able to play games decently at lower resolutions or with lowered details. That build is the best way to get a build that can easily be upgraded. However, now that we know you don't need a case, check out this build:

CPU/Mobo: X3 440 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $195 after rebate
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2x1 GB DDR3 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7 $66
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650W $80
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24
GPU: HD 4850 1 GB $98 after rebate

Total: $488. This build would support Crossfire, USB 3/SATA III, and still maintain quality.
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April 1, 2010 2:24:35 PM

I know very well that mobo and it's very good. It's a best buy for AM3 budget builds. Dual channel doesn't matter, it gives no extra performance whatsoever. That WD is a tad slower than the Caviar black but it's AAKS and at least it's not Seagate.

The PSU's recommended on this site (I'm new in here) are mindblowing. 200-300% the power needed is common. Any PSU has a lousy efficiency when very underutilized.

Here is a PSU calculator.

http://www.antec.outervision.com/

I run a Phenom II X4 @3.6GHz, HD 5850, 3HDD, TV Tuner, Xonar DX soundcard, 3 120mm fans, DVD writer on a Corsair 450VX.

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April 1, 2010 2:29:24 PM

Dual channel gives a lot of performance. The Caviar Black is already a lot slower than the new 500 GB platter Seagates and Samsungs.
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April 1, 2010 2:53:38 PM

200% the power needed is bad? What if he adds components to the system? Capacitor aging? Also, not all PSU's give their proclaimed power. What about amps?
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April 1, 2010 2:58:58 PM

[tom's hardware]But back to RAM and hard drives. As expected, the performance difference between single channel and dual channel DDR2-800 memory using an up-to-date Core 2 Duo system Compare Prices on Core 2 Duo Processors is little to nil, depending on the benchmark - most tests show differences, but they are really small.[/quote]

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...

Only the Samsung F3 (HD502HJ) is faster. I don't know about the Seagate but lately they're unreliable.



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April 1, 2010 3:02:07 PM

Bigger PSUs are often recommended to account for adding a second GPU in the future, not to mention overclocking. Using the 5770 as an example, a single card would run on a 450W unit at maximum efficiency, with room for overclocking/adding other devices. However, once you add the second one, you'd want at least 650W to have a comfortable cushion, especially considering the 600W units (which is more like the requirement) are typically lower quality.

Besides, 200% of the power needed (double the required wattage) means the PSU is operating at 50% load. That's the most efficient range for a PSU. I wouldn't say the efficiency is lousy below/above that. It's usually only 2% lower, assuming the units have an 80+ Certification (which they always should).

I doubt anyone has recommended a PSU that produces TRIPLE (300%) what's needed. Using the same 5770, a 400W unit is needed (according to ATI), so that would mean people are recommending 1200W units. I've NEVER seen anyone that actually offers good advice here going over 850W. In fact, most everyone here will make fun of people who continually recommend that large of a unit.
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April 1, 2010 3:05:00 PM

Sorry for the double post, but this was posted while I was typing the other one...

mosox said:
[tom's hardware]But back to RAM and hard drives. As expected, the performance difference between single channel and dual channel DDR2-800 memory using an up-to-date Core 2 Duo system Compare Prices on Core 2 Duo Processors is little to nil, depending on the benchmark - most tests show differences, but they are really small.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...

Only the Samsung F3 (HD502HJ) is faster. I don't know about the Seagate but lately they're unreliable.
[/quote]

The Seagates are faster as well. Check out the chart section. The F3s and new 7200.12 are neck and neck at the top of the chart. Also, the new Seagates aren't unreliable. The older 7200.11 models defintiely were, but Seagate has stepped up their game.

You shouldn't use 2.5 year old reviews as proof. The entire computing landscape has drastically changed since then. That RAM statement was true for C2Ds, which are much older CPUs. Also, that test used DDR2, which is also older. It's not true any more with the newer CPUs and DDR3. If you put a single stick on the newer sockets, it will be a lot slower than the older ones.

EDIT: BTW, here's the link to the charts for the HDDs. I had to use the 1 TB models to maintain parity, but you'll get the idea. Assuming you'll actually look at them...

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...
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April 1, 2010 3:13:17 PM

Well, you called me out, I just made my case. That 400W Corsair can run much more powerful rigs. I know very well the power needed (never listen to the GPU manufacturers) and I would never recommend a too low wattage PSU for a rig. He can run a HD 5850 on it and have room to spare.

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April 1, 2010 3:17:08 PM

You COULD run a 5850 on a 400W unit. It's definitely not advisable. Even ATI says the 5850 should be paired with a 500W unit at least. I wouldn't want anything under a 550W for the 5850, just to be safe.
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April 1, 2010 4:42:30 PM

Sometimes I'll see an oversized PSU recommended where the more "reasonable" one is only $10-$15 cheaper, where it just makes sense to get the bigger one "just in case." An 80+ PSU (any level, standard to gold) should be efficient throughout most of its range, although they often drop off severely at really low loads like 10%. Jonnyguru tests at that level now, and I think some others do too.
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April 1, 2010 5:19:47 PM

I won't go with segate hdd (sorry).500gb from samsung or WD should be enough and also i would like to know why you guys are going towards ddr3 ram so much because the performance in real world is very little as compared to the ddr2 ram.corsair 450 vx should be enough for me as i won't be upgrading this rig for a long time.
THANKS everyone for the help.
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April 1, 2010 5:24:48 PM

DDR3 is the current standard. DDR2 is dying off. It won't be long before DDR2 is just plain gone. So if you stick to a DDR2 build, you're buying an obsolete machine. Also, DDR2 and DDR3 is roughly the same price. So there is no benefit to sticking with the old tech.
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