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$500 Computer Build

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April 28, 2010 6:59:36 PM

Hey guys -- Im new to the forums and have just begun to read through the articles -- they are all truely awesome. I am currently working with a laptop and am in desperate need of an upgrade, preferably a desktop. I am a full-time student at GMU and kind of on a budget.

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the month, around the end of May. BUDGET RANGE: $500-600 before Rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Games (Starcraft2 & WoW for sure), some video editing, 3D modeling, and watching movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I prefer them to be from the same site, so I dont have to pay out to multiple sites -- doesnt matter though. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: My first built PC -- so I dont have any preferences.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe -- If it can save me some cash -- why not.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Have a monitor, 19".

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like it to run quiet.

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Thanks again for all the help. Look forward to your replies. =D

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April 28, 2010 7:55:53 PM

Do you need an OS with the $600? That's going to make it very tough...

Assuming you don't need the OS, here's what I'd put together (some updates coming later):

CPU: X3 425 $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $80 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $104
GPU: HD 5770 $150
HDD/PSU: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB and OCZ StealthXStream 700W $85 after rebate
Case: Rosewill R220-P-BK $30
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22

Total: $541.

If you need the OS, grab Windows 7 for $65 through a student discount (Win741.org) to bring the total to $606. If you don't switch the board to a Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 and pick up a better case (like the Coolermaster Centurion 5 for $10 mroe after rebate) to bring the total to $596.
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April 28, 2010 8:16:04 PM

Thanks a lot Admiral -- I already have the Premium Win7 OS and monitor.
Think this setup will be able to play SC2 on ultra by chance?
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April 28, 2010 8:18:26 PM

What's the resolution? I would say yes, but I'm a little hesitant on the CPU. I'll take a look back at Tom's review of the beta real quick and get back to you.

Also, it's hard to say for sure, as the actual game hasn't been released and there is no real indication of what kind of computing power you'll actually need.

EDIT: The CPU might be a tad weak. The review says "A triple-core CPU at 2.8 GHz or more should be able to provide all the performance you'd want for StarCraft II." The X3 425 is only at 2.7 GHz, so it should be very close. If you overclock, then it definitely would be enough.
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April 28, 2010 8:41:43 PM

On that budget I would probably go with this motherboard instead

ASRock M3A770DE $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's a solid board and in addition to overclocking options it has ACC so you can attempt to unlock the 4th core. Of course, unlocking extra cores is always a hit or miss :D .
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April 28, 2010 8:49:08 PM

Except with that board you lose a lot of overclocking potential due to the slower RAM speeds. You also lose a TON of expansion potential, as the ASRock only has 4 SATA connectors and 4 useful expansion slots. The Gigabyte is higher quality and is very future proof with USB 3/SATA III.

You can also unlock the X3 with pretty much any board (the Gigabyte included).
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April 28, 2010 9:18:55 PM

MadAdmiral said:

If you need the OS, grab Windows 7 for $65 through a student discount (Win741.org) to bring the total to $606. If you don't switch the board to a Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 and pick up a better case (like the Coolermaster Centurion 5 for $10 mroe after rebate) to bring the total to $596.


I might just grab the case anyways, I have some wiggle room.
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April 29, 2010 3:19:34 PM

All RAM is pretty much compatible with any CPU. The "Created for Intel" is just a marketing statement.

Those Ripjaws would run a little faster, especially if you overclock. Either set would be fine.
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April 29, 2010 5:49:20 PM

The "recommended" list is not a good thing to check for compatibility. It only lists the RAM the motherboard manufacturer has extensively tested. It is NOT a list of all the RAM that is compatibile. It is actually very rare to get incompatible RAM unless you don't match the type (i.e. DDR3 for a DDR3 board).
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April 30, 2010 4:04:54 AM

i got ati 5770 (oced to 950mhz gpu clock and 1400mhz memory clock)
athlon x4 propus 2.8
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3
monitor 1920x1080 rez
x2 multisample (AA)

World of warcraft settings all high except shadow. The lowest fps i got was 13fps on 25man putricide avg 17-20 fps. i think WoW also depends on CPU

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May 2, 2010 7:30:07 PM

So, any guides I could look at to overclock the cpu? Ive been looking but they seem to be on a personal level more so than a general overview.

And what kind of capabilities am I looking at? Also, am I going to require more parts (coolers, etc.)?
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May 2, 2010 10:33:47 PM

This article by Paul Henningsen about overclocking a locked (not black edition) AMD CPU is an excellent overclocking guide for you. You can do a slight overclock on the stock cooler, for higher overclocks an aftermarket air cooler or water cooler is needed.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-cpu-overclock,2...
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May 4, 2010 2:54:12 PM

Any wireless adapters you could recommend? Looked on newegg for some time -- very mixed reviews on every product. I dont wanna spend to much on one either.
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May 4, 2010 2:58:55 PM

I've got a Rosewill RNX-N1 USB adapter that works pretty good. Of course, I got it significantly cheaper than it's being sold at right now.

I'm of the opinion that you can't really get a terrible adapter. I tend to recommend USB adapters simply because they can be moved from computer to computer easily.
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May 31, 2010 7:59:06 PM

Best answer selected by BrotherBeRad.
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