Gaming computer $700-800 neophyte builder

I'm looking to come up with a parts list for my first self built computer. As such, I have no real brand loyalty just looking to maximize performance per dollar (just like everyone else)
Hopefully this will not be my first and final tower build, so getting a quality case/psu/other reusable components that're not going to fail on me quickly is worth it for me.
Thank you all so much in advance for your insight and expertise.


BUDGET RANGE: 700-800 After rebates, whatever doesn’t get spent on this gets spent on beer :D

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming,word processing/excel, music playback, dvd authoring.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:, Hard Drive, (have a less than year old lightly used 500gb WD, 7200rpm sata) Mouse, keyboard, Monitor, OS (will run win7pro x64) (would not say no to a clean looking, inexpensive, matching mouse/keyboard but not required, but can pickup surplus old models from my university)



PARTS PREFERENCES: I would prefer a midtower for GF acceptance factor, also the Less neon, leds bells and whistles the better. Quiet is also very desirable. No preference amd vs intel or ati vs nvidia.


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future, would like to build in the capability

MONITOR RESOLUTION: not 100% sure on this, getting a hand-me-down, but he was a gamer, so I’d presume a reasonably high resolution.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Currently play WoW, Bioshock 1, older fps. Would like to be as ready as possible for Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.

Thanks again.
15 answers Last reply
More about gaming computer neophyte builder
  1. well you defeinately want an amd build with your budget.

    how about this

    POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX5850 1GBD5-PPDHG2 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX ... - Retail
    Item #: N82E16814131351
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX - Retail
    Item #: N82E16819103808
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
    -$10.00 Instant
    -$20.00 Combo

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
    Item #: N82E16817341018
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    Item #: N82E16811119197
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$60.00 Instant
    -$20.00 Combo
    $25.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
    $10.00 Mail-in Rebate

    i-shop Gift - Retail
    Item #: N82E16800995066
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$5.99 Saving

    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Item #: N82E16813131366
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM - Retail
    Item #: N82E16820231303
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

    $843.46 before mir + 50 in mir =793.46( including shipping)
  2. ps haf 922 is one of my favorite cases but if you want a cheaper build there are many cases that are cheaper(however airflow won't even come close)
  3. sorry forget to suggest optical drive. just get like 23 dollar burn and reader combo
  4. I was looking at the system builder marathon rig, and like the idea of it.
    How would that fare with swapping out the psu and case for:

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel
    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W

    I like the idea of a modular psu for cable management, and I just like look of this tower more, (I'm a simple guy with simple needs)

    A real question of mine is in the vid card area. the System builder setup calls for dual
    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850

    I currently play primarily WoW, which to my knowledge doesn't play well with crossfired cards.
    would i be better off spending a little more on a 5770 now, so I don't have to "waste" one card while playing my current game of choice. and then having the option of getting a second 5770 and crossfiring down the road.
    or am I horribly off base.
  5. Borrowing from the System builder marathon thread, I came up with this.


    AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

    XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770
    (could potentially fit another one into the build if I run slightly over budget)

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 5

    ASUS Black 24X DVD+R

    ~$777 after $40 in rebates, shipped. (crossfired 5770's)
    ~$607 after $40 in rebates, shipped. (Single 5770)

    Thinking about sticking with only one 5770 for now, and adding it in in the future.

    I'm happy with the pricepoint, and I'm happy with the specs that are built in. But would I get better performance with an nvidia card? a different ati card? Not adverse to crossfiring/sli but just think It'd be kind of a waste at present with WoW.
  6. DVD + PSU

    The 600W is just as good as the 700W, they both provide the same amps. Hardwaresecrets reviewed the 600W and it performed better then the 700W any way.

    Change GPU to this.

    Or you can get this GPU + ram combo.

    Which makes that 5830 only $215 which is a steal of a deal IMO.
  7. I build a little bit differently. I like higher end CPUs so I pumped it up to a 3.2 GHz 955 quadcore and slacked off on the huge branded motherboard. I picked the XFX 5850, because of its lifetime warranty. Crossfired 5770s are better than a 5850 in performance, but a single 5850 will produce less noise,heat, and use less power. That case doesn't have alot of circulation so the heat will probably build up from the 2 5770s and CPU and cause them all to spin up higher and higher increasing the noise. For TomsHW the noise not a problem because they don't sit next to the computer long. A few other notes, if you're not in a rush. I'd buy a standard antec 300 case instead. Buy it somewhere else if newegg wants to charge for shipping, you should be able to find it around $60 shipping included. It comes with a large 120MM and 140MM fan that are quiet and you'll have room to add another 3 120MM fans if you choose. Also if you want even quieter performance you could buy a Mugen 2 cooler and it will work brilliantly next to the 120MM and 140MM fan. A 212+ would be good as well and its cheaper .but won't be as quiet or perform as well as the mugen 2. The stock CPU heatsink will likely be the loudest thing, followed by the video card(s).

    Faster CPU, 2.9GHz triple core vs 3.2Ghz Quadcore.
    Less noise,Heat, and power usage.
    Better airflow with an option to add 3 120MM fans.

    Cons: less performance vs 5770s.

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz

    XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 And G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB)
    (also note you may want to with something that has shorter RAM timings)

    ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 600W and LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 5

    Total:$767 shipping included.
  8. Killerhurts,
    Thanks for the piece on the case, that antec is on amazon for a touch under 60 shipped. and it still looks good ;)
    I think I will go with a 5850 for the power/heat concerns
    I notice that the mobo you selected only does 16x/4x whereas the board stolen from the TH build does 16x 8x if I chose to crossfire in the future with 5850's wouldn't it bottleneck and only run both cards at the x4?

    I think I'm ok with keeping the triple core, and rolling the dice on unlocking the 4th core. For the price it'd already be a large improvement over what I have in my laptop, and if it unlocks even more so.

    thanks for pointing out the overkill on the PSU, just looking to give myself headroom for future build outs. I'll be swapping in your psu/optical combo.

    Does anyone have a suggestion for RAM that would require a minimum of me messing with bios/voltages/whatevers while providing performance with a
  9. Unfortunately you always have to adjust that in the bios.

    Here's the best ram under $120

    If that's too much just get the Ripjaw 4GB version that you had for $105

    And yes, that mobo is no good for crossfire. The one you had selected is much, much better.
  10. No, that fits nicely under my pricepoint around 750 after rebates, which I think sounds pretty good for what'd be inside the box.
  11. buckinghamU said:
    I notice that the mobo you selected only does 16x/4x whereas the board stolen from the TH build does 16x 8x if I chose to crossfire in the future with 5850's wouldn't it bottleneck and only run both cards at the x4?

    If you hope to crossfire in the future, do not get a 16x/4x board. That will present a bottleneck. 8x/8x really only bottlenecks dual 5970s right now, and that on the order of 4%. But the 4x would present problems.
  12. Latest Iteration, will be the components purchased barring me horribly missing the boat on something

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower <-- Purchasing through Amazon for slightly less and free shipping


    AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz

    CPU Cooler:
    XIGMATEK HDT-SD964 92mm Rifle

    XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W

    LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R

    Total price would be $755 Shipped after $40 in rebates.

    Fairly pleased with the results. as it will give me substantial performance now with the flexibility to add a second 5850 in the future and I could also fill out the ram down the road.

    Would everything play nicely together?

  13. Don't forget the OCZ 600W + DVD combo.

    The Hyper 212 is a better cooler, but if you can't afford the extra $14 for it then don't sweat it. The one you selected is good aswell.
  14. if I'm not planning on OC'ing, (only trying to unlock the 4th core) do I need the different heatsink?
    Really don't mind paying the extra for something that's clearly superior and will extend the life of other components though.

    Besides that, it looks good?
  15. Yep. every thing looks perfect.
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