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Lil' Bro Wants a Computer Too

Last response: in Systems
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Will this Build work Smoothly on

Total: 20 votes (7 blank votes)

  • Low SC2 Settings
  • 60 %
  • Medium SC2 Settings
  • 7 %
  • High SC2 Settings
  • 0 %
  • Won't Work At all
  • 7 %
  • VidCard Not Needed... Will Work Smoothly Without
  • 7 %
  • MONKEYS
  • 20 %
April 26, 2010 1:23:59 AM

REASON FOR POSTING: I got a pretty detailed response to my last post about a New Computer Build. Does anyone notice any ways that these parts will not work with each other, or ways to bring the price down without much of a performance hit for SC2?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: May 1

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: $170-240) BEFORE Rebates. Rebates suck.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Starcraft 2. Period.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS, Mouse, Monitors, Speakers, HDD

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: The United States of America

PARTS:
PSU: Sunbeam IC-PSU-US-2545-DW 450W white box Power Supply - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$15

CPU: AMD Sempron 140 Sargas
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: SC2 is single-threaded.
$33

MOBO: ASRock K10N78M-PRO AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$57

RAM: WINTEC AMPX 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 3AXT6400C5-2048
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$46

VCARD: BIOSTAR VN9503TH51 HDMI GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45

NETWORK: ENCORE ENUWI-G2 IEEE 802.11b/g USB 2.0 802.11G Wireless Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA, WPA2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$13

KEYBOARD: Rosewill RK-100 Black 107 Normal Keys USB Standard Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$7

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My 14 year old brother asked me, idly, "how much would it cost for a computer that could play Starcraft 2?" I asked a friend, who told me $385. However, I had to see for myself, for sure. When I looked up the parts, though, I found that it would only cost about $200 to build, $250 with a video card. I let him know, and convinced him to build it himself. My dad and a friend of his are technically proficient. He'll have plenty of help if he needs it.

MORE INFO: I asked whether this will work on SC2 here:
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...

The system I have laid out here seems to be able to play SC2 on low to decent settings, according to the system requirements listed at the following locations:

02.02.09 StarCraftWire Starcraft II Specs Emerge
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

01.06.08 INCGamers SC2 Min. Sys. Req.
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

01.06.08 INCGamers SC2 Rec. Sys. Req.
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

02.17.10 Kotaku Minimum SC2 Sys. Req.
http://kotaku.com/5473974/the-real-starcraft-ii-beta-sy...

More about : lil bro computer

April 26, 2010 4:43:33 AM

NateB said:
REASON FOR POSTING: I got a pretty detailed response to my last post about a New Computer Build. Does anyone notice any ways that these parts will not work with each other, or ways to bring the price down without much of a performance hit for SC2?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: May 1

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: $170-240) BEFORE Rebates. Rebates suck.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Starcraft 2. Period.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS, Mouse, Monitors, Speakers, HDD

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: The United States of America

PARTS:
PSU: Sunbeam IC-PSU-US-2545-DW 450W white box Power Supply - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$15

CPU: AMD Sempron 140 Sargas
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: SC2 is single-threaded.
$33

MOBO: ASRock K10N78M-PRO AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$57

RAM: WINTEC AMPX 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 3AXT6400C5-2048
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$46

VCARD: BIOSTAR VN9503TH51 HDMI GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45

NETWORK: ENCORE ENUWI-G2 IEEE 802.11b/g USB 2.0 802.11G Wireless Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA, WPA2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$13

KEYBOARD: Rosewill RK-100 Black 107 Normal Keys USB Standard Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$7

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My 14 year old brother asked me, idly, "how much would it cost for a computer that could play Starcraft 2?" I asked a friend, who told me $385. However, I had to see for myself, for sure. When I looked up the parts, though, I found that it would only cost about $200 to build, $250 with a video card. I let him know, and convinced him to build it himself. My dad and a friend of his are technically proficient. He'll have plenty of help if he needs it.

MORE INFO: I asked whether this will work on SC2 here:
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...

The system I have laid out here seems to be able to play SC2 on low to decent settings, according to the system requirements listed at the following locations:

02.02.09 StarCraftWire Starcraft II Specs Emerge
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

01.06.08 INCGamers SC2 Min. Sys. Req.
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

01.06.08 INCGamers SC2 Rec. Sys. Req.
http://starcraft.incgamers.com/articles/comments/starcr...

02.17.10 Kotaku Minimum SC2 Sys. Req.
http://kotaku.com/5473974/the-real-starcraft-ii-beta-sy...


With those types of specs and that budget you're better off checking Ebay and Craigslist.

Yeah SC2 will be single threaded, but that means it will be sharing that single core with all background programs including OS. It's going to be crap. If you can find a way to bump it up to AT LEAST a dual core Athlon of some kind, hes going to be miserable.
April 26, 2010 10:00:25 AM

Your spec is very close to the recommended requirements.
I would get somewhere higher than the recommended requirements, if I were you.
Related resources
April 26, 2010 12:05:38 PM

"Folks with legacy single-core CPUs below 3.0 GHz are going to have to sacrifice a lot of visual fidelity for playable performance, though, regardless of the graphics card they use."

They did a whole article on SC2s performance on the Tom's main page, you should read it. Even has screen shots of what you can expect on different settings.
April 26, 2010 12:19:54 PM

If you ONLY want to run SC2, your setup might work, or perhaps get some atom board (lol!).
But I think your lil' bro wants a decent PC that lasts a while.
Heres the ultimate budget pc with decent gaming performance.
I dont suggest you to downgrade ANYTHING.
If you want to upgrade anything, you should upgrade the GPU to a 4670($75)/5670($100)/5770($150) if you want to run more-demanding games in the future.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz - $57.99
GPU: BIOSTAR VA4653NH51-B Radeon HD 4650 - $49.99
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 - $64.99
Mobo: ASUS M4N68T-M AM3 - $54.99
HDD: Your HDD - $0
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W - $49.99
Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-OWN1-GP - $39.99
ODD: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X - $24.99

Grand total: $350,-

I don't know what hard drive you are currently using, but if its an IDE hdd or has got under 5400 rpm, you should buy this hdd, or your old HDD bottlenecks the whole system. Upgrading your HDD later on might be pretty annoying...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM - $54.99
April 26, 2010 1:40:26 PM

Where do I got the feeling that you will need also a new OS?
April 26, 2010 1:59:59 PM

guanyu210379 said:
Where do I got the feeling that you will need also a new OS?

Most people here get some "secret free version" :D 
April 26, 2010 2:06:10 PM

dmen said:
Most people here get some "secret free version" :D 


Hopefully not illegal :D 
April 26, 2010 5:50:27 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I am concerned about the consequences of single-core processing mentioned by cmcmghee358, "Yeah SC2 will be single threaded, but that means it will be sharing that single core with all background programs including OS. It's going to be crap. If you can find a way to bump it up to AT LEAST a dual core Athlon of some kind, hes going to be miserable." requirement of a dual core, though, since that will increase the price by $30.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Are you guys sure that dual cores even work that way? I always thought the whole dual core thing didn' mean much unless you had the software to take advantage of it.

guanyu210379 said:
Where do I got the feeling that you will need also a new OS?

I have an old home license from a laptop which he can use, and I will send him a xp build trimmed down with nlite to less than 60mb RAM, gauranteeeeed.
As far as background programs, I've written him scripts for starting/ending regular SC in "special" modes, which he is currently using, before, and I can write some for SC2 which will kill/restore even explorer when SC2 starts/ends.

Craigslist: I have checked ebay and craigslist.
I include the price of shipping, and in the case of Craigslist, shipping, pickup, and, perhaps, my own liability.
If I do this, it starts to cost more to get a computer which meets these specs than it does to build one. I even found a $150 computer which (sort of) meets the spec. on craigslist, but it would cost me another $40-$50 to pick it up and ship it.
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/sys/1700766545.html

I figure he can get a new processor or graphics card for his birthday from (ahem) his favorite older brother.

According to what I have read of the specs, a GeForce 8000 series will at least run on medium, and run smoothly on low.
April 26, 2010 5:54:39 PM

I'm wary of craigslist, and so is my brother. I just recently got a dud HDD. When I tested it, it worked fine, but a month later, my BIOS tells me "3xERRORUP HDD1"
April 26, 2010 5:56:05 PM

Thanks for the build suggestion dmen. It's too bad about the budget I'm on here.
April 26, 2010 6:35:44 PM

NateB said:

Are you guys sure that dual cores even work that way? I always thought the whole dual core thing didn' mean much unless you had the software to take advantage of it.


Yes, that's how it works.

Any single program will not use multiple cores unless it's set up to do so, but the OS can use multiple cores for whatever. (You could argue the OS has been designed to use multiple cores, and had it not, it wouldn't be able to, but that's not really the question.)

The OS sees however many processors, and then farms out tasks to individual programs as they ask for resources. Single-threaded programs will not ask for additional threads. Multiple-core aware programs will ask for a new core every time they have something that might make use of another thread.
April 26, 2010 6:45:18 PM

coldsleep said:
Yes, that's how it works.


Aha. Got it. :( 
April 26, 2010 7:06:22 PM

I just read the following review of SC2's performance on various hardwaer:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/blizzard-entertainm...

My conclusion:
Apparently, SC2 will run on a wide variety of video cards, and perform well on medium settings even on cards with only 512MB of memory and a lower system clock.
However, the game does require more than one core to run smoothly on medium settings.
I'm going to get my brother SC2 for his birthday (a late birthday present, but my presents are always late), and get him a Dual or Quad Core processor:
for Christmas, AFTER he has tried SC2 on low settings for a few months, if he wants to play the game on Medium settings.
April 26, 2010 7:18:28 PM

jsc said:
I'd get a better power supply. The one you specified is junk.
Get one of these:
Corsair 400CX (30 amp 12 volt rail)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or even an Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

:ouch: 
Won't the 450W sunbeam work up the 300 max wattage that this build will take, though?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The reviews seem to indicate that it would work well for a low power build like this. Hell, the board is even microATX.
Most of the failures occurred for customers with such extras as more than one video card.
I quote: "Cons: In practical use, this is not a 450W PS. It has a 12V 20A rail. That is whats most important. Like many other low priced PS, they loaded up on the 5V and 3.3V rail. It is very unlikely you will use that much 5V or 3.3V rail unless you have many drives. In reality, this is probably a 300-350W PS. However, for low priced PS, it is still a good one."
Sunbeam Reviews:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=1...
April 27, 2010 10:55:20 PM

Right, since your on the tight budget I recommend going down the DDR2 route

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz & GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H Combo $107

WINTEC AMPX 2GB DDR2 800 RAM $46

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner & Rosewill MicroATX Computer Case with 400W ATX Power Supply $52

POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4650 512MB $50

That totals to $255

Here's the breakdown, the cheapest you can get a Athlon II X2 + Motherboard for is $104; Foxconn M61PMP-K AM3 for $44 and AMD Athlon II X2 245 for $60.99 (X2 240 are 59.99 + 0.99 shipping while the 245 is free shipping which makes them the same price).

The motherboard + CPU combo I recommend is only 3 dollars more but gets you a X2 250 and a very good Gigabyte motherboard, which while still being DDR2 is going to be a lot better in terms of quality compared to a budget Foxconn one with a geforce 6 chipset. You can also Hybrid Crossfire with this setup for a little extra omph.

DDR2 is also cheaper and you won't notice the difference at this kind of budget, all the articles I've read say that at stock speeds there is very little to any difference game wise, were talking 3-4% if that. The only area DDR3 starts to shine in is overclocking, but again, this is a $250 build people.

The power-supply that comes with the case is just a generic Rosewill one rated at +12V1 14A, +12V2 13A. Yes, its not the most powerful thing on the planet, but considering how little power a 4650 and the X2 250 will draw, it will do the job fine. Most office and mom & pop pc's bought from a brick & mortar store probably have a similar powered PSU, and they tend to run a similar setup fine.

The 4650 is also the best cheapest card for the money, there is a reason its been holding it's spot on the THS videocard roundup for sooo long. The 9500GT is wayyy slower and only gonna save you 5 bucks or so.
April 28, 2010 7:05:11 AM

General M00n said:
Right, since your on the tight budget I recommend going down the DDR2 route
...
That totals to $255

Here's the breakdown....

Thorough. I'll respond fully after I've reviewed this.
*makes face blue, puts on shades* :pfff:  *reads*
April 28, 2010 9:30:58 AM

General M00n said:
Right, since your on the tight budget I recommend going down the DDR2 route

Agreed.
General M00n said:

Here's the breakdown, the cheapest you can get a Athlon II X2 + Motherboard for is $104; Foxconn M61PMP-K AM3 for $44 and AMD Athlon II X2 245 for $60.99 (X2 240 are 59.99 + 0.99 shipping while the 245 is free shipping which makes them the same price).

The motherboard + CPU combo I recommend is only 3 dollars more but gets you a X2 250 and a very good Gigabyte motherboard, which while still being DDR2 is going to be a lot better in terms of quality compared to a budget Foxconn one with a geforce 6 chipset. You can also Hybrid Crossfire with this setup for a little extra omph.
/\...That totals to $255

I have read that four times now and I am still impressed. What are you, some kind of newegg demon?
$205 with and $255 without, only $5 over budget, with about twice the power of my previous idea for a build, and with a dvd drive to boot. This does not account for the cost of shipment to 48187, of course, but it's still impressive. ($10 for the case/psu/drive combo, $7 for everything else.)

General M00n said:
LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner & Rosewill MicroATX Computer Case with 400W ATX Power Supply $52
To bring this under $200, and to account for his recently expressed desire for a USB wireless module ($13), I may have to replace this with the $13 PSU + $25 Case ($38).
PFF. I'll just flash the firmware and configure this WPN824v3 here for wireless repeater mode and mail it to him.
*thinks* AND I could just give him a promise to buy LITEON burner, which I need, for $15. Meaning that the case/psu combo would actually cost him just $37. He gets a better case and saves a dollar... hm.

2105109,18,314991 said:

The 4650 is also the best cheapest card for the money, there is a reason its been holding it's spot on the THS videocard roundup for sooo long. The 9500GT is wayyy slower and only gonna save you 5 bucks or so.
said:

I had not considered looking up third party test data for the video cards I sought.
This is wise.

I will post the latest version of the build soon.
April 28, 2010 9:41:07 AM

While reading another thread I realized this would be a better video card
XFX HD-465X-ZDF2 Radeon HD 4650 1GB
for the same price after shipping, but XFX quality with double lifetime warranty

Also...I've always been slightly obsessed with getting the best performance for the money, so I guess I see these kinds of threads as a challenge. :bounce: 
April 28, 2010 10:28:26 AM

Powercolor's shipping goes down to about $2, for some reason, when combined with other items.
Still, the xfx is ... 0.o double the performance (200% of the ram and 182% of the sysclock), for only a 25%, ~$12 increase in price.
:??: 
Bottom line, though, it's still above budget. Maybe I can talk him into it... idk.

(From Earlier Post) "I figure he can get a new processor or graphics card for his birthday from (ahem) his favorite older brother. "

If I'm buying it for him for Christmas, then XFX it is. However, if he's all "i want my card today" then I will have to stick with the budget. I mean, this is half the (little?) guy's soccer refereeing money.

Actually, if it weren't for ATI's pisspoor Linux driver, fglrx, I'd send him my NVIDIA 9500gt for christ mass and replace it with this.
:heink:  fglrx... named after the noise you make trying to get it to work with modern OpenGL...
April 29, 2010 12:06:04 AM

Woops, read the XFX price as 55 dollars instead of 65, should of noticed that, but the XFX is going to be the better buy.
As you said, it depends on how up to the task the on-board 4200 is, i think it will be fine at low resolutions with medium to low settings. SC2 looks to be pretty well optimised and pretty kind on budget or older computers.
May 11, 2010 1:23:09 AM

Argh. My brother had me delay, and then the combo deal expired. >.0
May 11, 2010 5:01:07 AM

hah! found a similar combo!
April 24, 2011 8:42:49 AM

It's been a while, but I think it's worth a quick update:
Shortly after my last post, in May, my brother purchased all the parts to the computer.
Lil' bro and I assembled it together, and now we play our Starcraft and Zero-K RTSs against each other without a hitch.
In several ways, his hardware even beats out mine, and my cousin's $2600 macbook pro.

Thanks everybody.
!