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~600 Starcraft 2/Productivity build

Last response: in Systems
May 12, 2010 11:54:23 PM

Approximate purchase date: (~June 15)
Budget Range: (e.g.: Around $550 excluding OS) After Rebates

System usage from most to least important: (Productivity, Starcraft 2 (hopefully recording), web, basic GIMPingcompiling)

Parts not required: (Case (Have antec 300), I would like recommendations for Mouse and Keyboard, but do not include them in the price) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Preferred Websites: (Anywhere not in California that has good prices in the US to minimize tax (although if in california is that much cheaper, then that's fine), newegg, fry's)
Country of Origin: ( US of A)

Part Preferences: I've been told to get AMD for this price point but whatever you guys think

Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Whatever works best
Monitor Resolution: 1440x900

Comments: Whatever works best according to you guys. Here is a build I was referred to earlier on another forum, but after reading around some people recommend other parts in guides on this forum etc. Feel free to start over, I have no allegiance to this. Not pure gaming, and SC2 isn't that intensive. Anything that runs SC2 on good settings, and ideally would record it is good. Tell me if I need to raise budget. Hopefully it can play the game without sacrificing a ton of productivity. I've been lurking here for a long time and feel bad asking for help with my first post, but so be it.
First AMD Build
AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2GHz AND Antec 300 Case: $139

Gigabyte 770 Mobo: $80

GSkill Ripjaws PC3 10666 4GB RAM: $109

ECS Nvidia Geforce GTS 250: $110 (with $10 mail in Rebate)

Antec EarthWatts 500W 80+ Bronze: $75

Samsung F3 1TB HDD: $75

Another two general frameworks...

Phenom II X2 @3.2GHz + ASUS 890GX: $223
The ASUS has a 'core unlocker' button that can likely turn the Phenom II X2 into a Phenom II X4.

Antec 300 + 500W Antec EarthWatts: $110

Samsung F3 500GB: $55

Intel 1

Gigabyte H55 $90

i3 530 @ 2.93GHz + GSkill Ripjaws PC3 12800: $220

Antec 300 + 500W EarthWatts: $110

Same GTS 250: $110 ($10 MIR)

Same Samsung F3 1TB $75

Best solution

May 13, 2010 1:40:46 AM

Welcome to the forum. AMD is your best bet, but I would opt for an Athlon II X3 build instead.

Here's the CPU

This RAM will be a tad faster

A 5770 is a better choice than the 250

My reasoning for choosing the Athlon is that it is clocked nearly the same, has an extra core, may also be unlocked, and is cheaper. If you have any questions, ask them.
May 13, 2010 1:47:26 AM

Thanks a lot. What PSU would you get, and what would you choose in terms of a wireless card. Also, if I wanted to spend more on the processor what should I get? Thanks a ton for the help.
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May 13, 2010 1:50:08 AM

The next step up from the X3 would be the X4 955

That Earthwatts PSU is fine, but this one is even better

For the wireless receiver, I recommend this one.

Edit: I should say that between the Phenom and the Athlon X3, is the Athlon X4. The extra core won't help much in most games, but it will help with multitasking, etc.
May 13, 2010 2:49:09 AM

Why does it cost less? (the processor) Although I'm pretty new to this stuff I'm not sure why the athlon > phenom.
May 13, 2010 3:43:43 AM

both of those phenoms are more expensive then the athon listed, your 555 is $100 the 955 is $160 the athlon is only $80 maybe you just misread somewhere, but as other suggested

May 13, 2010 3:57:45 AM

jonnyboyC said:
both of those phenoms are more expensive then the athon listed, your 555 is $100 the 955 is $160 the athlon is only $80 maybe you just misread somewhere, but as other suggested

Ah, to clarify on this forum it seems many people favor athover phenom, although ahtlons cost substantially less. Sorry for the confusion.
May 13, 2010 4:13:28 AM

^ If I understand your question correctly, you are asking why the an Athlon with the same number of cores as a Phenom costs so much less? Well, first, the Phenoms, being the enthusiast line, have L3 cache. Two, the higher end ones are Black Edition and have unlocked multipliers. Third, they are generally clocked a bit higher.

As it turns out, L3 cache is not essential for good performance. And, the Athlons can still be overclocked without using the multiplier.
May 13, 2010 4:14:44 AM

well the performance of the extra L3 cache only makes a very small difference over the phenoms in gaming, that's why it's usually recommended on a budget, as the gpu is usually the most important component so money can be saved on the cpu to beef up the gpu
May 13, 2010 5:18:34 AM

How much harder is it to OC, and what other parts would I need to get? I'd certainly be willing to do so. Also if it matters I'll be dual booting windows/linux. And yes, that was my question :) 
May 13, 2010 11:38:48 PM

^ The Athlon II X3.
May 13, 2010 11:40:37 PM

Thanks. Which processor do you think would deliver the best bang for the buck?
May 13, 2010 11:42:12 PM

Thought so, better safe than sorry. Also what are the odds of having a bad part when ordering from newegg. I'd like to order ASAP so I don't have to worry about it, but on the other hand i won't have time to build the darned thing for about a month.
May 13, 2010 11:45:34 PM

I have only gotten one DOA part from them, and that was likely my fault actually.
May 14, 2010 12:15:51 AM

Don't want to start new thread, because building new system for the similar purpose sc2/d3, here is where I am:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 169.90$ with shipping

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard $118.99 with shipping

OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3OB1600LV4GK 109$

COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS-460-PMSR-A3 460W ATX12V V2.3 Power Supply 29.99$ free shipping

already got hard drivres, and will by any case in the store

XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB PCIe DDR5 Display Port/HDMI 159$

---------- 586$

guess I'm missing cooler only. is there anything better for the same buck?

May 14, 2010 12:23:38 AM

Welcome to the forum. It probably would be best to start your own thread, but I think several of my recommendations above apply to you. You could get the 955, a better PSU, different, lower latency RAM, and most likely new HDDs as well.
May 14, 2010 12:30:01 AM

Buy 555BE try to unlock two more cores if ain't happening, return, exchange and try again, till I get the same kick? hehe :) 
May 14, 2010 12:39:18 AM

I'm trying to read the benchmarks, but am having issues. What performance change would be between the 955 BE and athlon II x3
May 14, 2010 12:44:24 AM

Thanks. How well does the athlonx3 overclock? Again, am trying to be self sufficient, but it is being a bit of a pain.
May 14, 2010 12:59:49 AM

May 14, 2010 1:04:15 AM

Thanks for all the help. Once I buy the components I'll be back for OCing help I think :) 
May 14, 2010 2:08:07 AM

Would the board I plan on getting work?
May 14, 2010 2:55:50 AM

Are there any other cheap but good PSUs, or do you just need to suck it up and pay a fair bit?
May 14, 2010 3:11:07 AM

^ Unfortunately, that's about as good of a deal as you're going to get an a high quality one.
May 14, 2010 3:22:43 AM

In other games you could lose a bit more, but in Starcraft it doesn't look like it would be noticeable.
May 14, 2010 3:23:51 AM

OK. I'll see if I can find any 5770s for an excellent deal before I eliminate it though.
May 14, 2010 5:09:21 AM

Where should I be looking for the cheapest parts?
May 14, 2010 5:25:27 AM

Well, since Newegg will charge you tax, check the prices on tigerdirect, they may have some good deals. Maybe zipzoomfly also.
May 14, 2010 1:07:05 PM win
May 22, 2010 2:41:05 AM

Best answer selected by bpcoxkr.