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Cheap gaming

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May 20, 2010 12:09:37 AM

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SOLVED: Thanks.

My main concern was compatibility, and it seems everything is compatible.
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Hi there.

Sorry for wall of text, but if you're in a hurry just skip to "SOME QUESTIONS" section near bottom.

I'm in the process of building a new, relatively cheap system which can run the latest games (at least on low settings with 20+ frames per second), and is hopefully (except for graphics card), somewhat future-proof. I'm aiming for around 200-500 dollar build.

What I have so far:
ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$64.99
$7.87 Shipping*


HEC 6C60BS Black / Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
hec X-Power Pro 650 650W Continuous @ 40°C ATX 12V v2.2 / EPS 12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$66.98

OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3OB1600LV4GK (Extra, but was part of combo)
OCZ Diesel 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Model OCZUSBDSL4G
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision Model HDZ555WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$192.98 (I'm receiving a $15 discount off the $207.98)

Total cost including shipping: $352.57
Its a coincidence they all happen to be from newegg. I've checked other sites, but in the end new egg seemed to have the best deals.

I have an LCD Monitor, keyboard and mouse, a floppy drive, CD ROM Drive R/W, and 200 GB IDE Hard Drive which I can take out of my old system and re-use.

My thoughts throughout this build:
A cheap, but upgradeable build is preferable.
Uses DDR3 (which is currently priced about the same as DDR2), perhaps I could even sell the 2GB DDR2 800 MHz from my old system on Ebay or somewhere to help get some money back. DDR3 is newer, faster, and presumably better.

Motherboard has 2 PCI-E slots (one x16 another x4; unsure how this will affect ability to crossfire: ex: 2 radeon HD 4850 graphics cards, not buying now, but may in the future). Integrated HD 4200 should suit my needs for now (even supports pixel shader v4.1). Supports 4x4GB = 16GB DDR3 RAM Highest RAM required for games so far that I've seen is 2GB currently, but this will change and I can buy more ram later when needed (also once it lower in price more; $50 per 2GB stick is too much I think). Motherboard has ACC which allows for potentially unlocking dormant cores on Phenom II 555 BE and others.

Processor
Though not guaranteed, it's likely that I will be able to unlock the 2 dormant cores and thus get a 4 core 3.2 GHz processor for about $100. This seems like a good deal. See: http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-amd-phenom-ii-...
for more info on unlocking.



SOME QUESTIONS:
What is the best video card configuration (both best single, and best multiple) this "ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard" and this "hec X-Power Pro 650 650W Continuous @ 40°C ATX 12V v2.2 / EPS 12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply" will support?
And is there some graphics card configuration that the motherboard will support, but the power supply will not?

Will my motherboard support connecting to a TV? If not, is there a controller card I could buy and install to allow this?

Are there any current games the onboard Radeon HD 4200 won't be able to hand? If so, please list a few.

According to my own research, the above pieces all seem to be compatible. If possible, could anyone confirm this?

The 250GB hard drive should be sufficient, but I've found tempting deals:
1TB for $50 after rebate (seems to even have 3 year warranty). Anyone have experience with rebates and warrantees? Once you submit the rebate do you forgo the warranty?
Seagate ST31000528AS Barracuda 7200.12 Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200 rpm, 32MB, SATA-3G, OEM
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

and this,
1.5TB for $70
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB Internal SATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive - Refurbished (ST31500341AS-REF)
http://www.macmall.com/p/Seagate-Hard-Drives/product~dp...

Anyone have any experience with any of these hard drives? Are they reliable? At a price of 20GB / $1 they seem hard to beat (currently).

More about : cheap gaming

May 20, 2010 12:34:42 AM

<open box> motherboard could mean someone else already returned it. Is the savings worth the chances you have to return it also?

The seagate 7200.12 1TB is a decent, fast HDD. The 7200.11 1.5TB is much slower. The Samsung F3 1TB and WD Caviar black 1TB FAEX model (not FALS model) are the only two 1TB HDDs that you should also look at. All 3 of those 1TB drives have two 500GB platters. The 1.5TB has (i believe) six 250GB platters. Since the platters are the same size and spin the same speed, you can read twice as much data in the same amount of time on a 500GB platter.

I would (actually I did) go with an Athlon II x3 2.9 at $75 instead of the dual core phenom. Price per performance its a much better deal. I got a good CPU cooler and was able to OC it to 3.5 fairly easily.

Are there any current games the onboard Radeon HD 4200 won't be able to hand? If so, please list a few. said:
Are there any current games the onboard Radeon HD 4200 won't be able to hand? If so, please list a few.
If you mean online MMOs like WoW, DDO, AoC or FPSs like Crysis, GTA4, COD:MW then the 4200 pretty much can NOT play any of them. You really need to budget at minimum $100 for a gaming graphics card (4850 or 5670), $160 is a good price/performance point right now with the 5770. The onboard graphics will play browser flash games and simple single player games, but not much else.

You would not crossfire with a 4x slot, it could be used for a dedicated PhysX card (which is useless unless you play batman arkham asylum) or some other device.

I dont know anything about HeC power supplies, they could be good or they could be an electrical hazard waiting to destroy the rest of your computer system. I would google for professional reviews before trusting them.

Many LCD TVs already have a PC slot. If it is not an LCD TV, dont bother.

What do you want a 4GB flash drive for?
May 20, 2010 1:34:58 AM

dndhatcher said:
<open box> motherboard could mean someone else already returned it. Is the savings worth the chances you have to return it also?

The seagate 7200.12 1TB is a decent, fast HDD. The 7200.11 1.5TB is much slower. The Samsung F3 1TB and WD Caviar black 1TB FAEX model (not FALS model) are the only two 1TB HDDs that you should also look at. All 3 of those 1TB drives have two 500GB platters. The 1.5TB has (i believe) six 250GB platters. Since the platters are the same size and spin the same speed, you can read twice as much data in the same amount of time on a 500GB platter.

I would (actually I did) go with an Athlon II x3 2.9 at $75 instead of the dual core phenom. Price per performance its a much better deal. I got a good CPU cooler and was able to OC it to 3.5 fairly easily.

If you mean online MMOs like WoW, DDO, AoC or FPSs like Crysis, GTA4, COD:MW then the 4200 pretty much can NOT play any of them. You really need to budget at minimum $100 for a gaming graphics card (4850 or 5670), $160 is a good price/performance point right now with the 5770. The onboard graphics will play browser flash games and simple single player games, but not much else.

You would not crossfire with a 4x slot, it could be used for a dedicated PhysX card (which is useless unless you play batman arkham asylum) or some other device.

I dont know anything about HeC power supplies, they could be good or they could be an electrical hazard waiting to destroy the rest of your computer system. I would google for professional reviews before trusting them.

Many LCD TVs already have a PC slot. If it is not an LCD TV, dont bother.

What do you want a 4GB flash drive for?


The HD 4200 can actually get some playable frame rates at a lower res. :p 

Here's some benches.
Related resources
May 20, 2010 2:37:29 AM

Quote:
dndhatcher:<open box> motherboard could mean someone else already returned it. Is the savings worth the chances you have to return it also?

Yes, I think it's worth it. $70 for a motherboard that supports DDR3 sounds decent, and there is a 30day return window for the open box.

reviews concerning crossfire have been mixed: See http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=1...
Examples of working crossfire:
Quote:
911insidejob: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Phemon II 3.2igighz black.
Windows 7 64 bit.
3870 and 3850 ati in crossfire X.
All very compatiable.

Quote:
Malibu: This motherboard, 8gb ram g.skill, corsair 550 psu, AMD athlon II x4 630, LG BD & DVD drives and a HIS HD 4350 with a Gig HD 4550 set to Crossfire. I like it!


One thing to note, however, is it appears that in order to crossfire the graphics cards must be slightly older than the current new ones.

But, I'm likely not going to even bother with the Crossfire feature. Current plan is go with onboard for 1-2 years, then buy the processor with best bang/buck under $100. and maybe 2 years after that buy another graphics card. Most likely the second graphics card I buy won't work in crossfire with the first, but that's ok.

Quote:
nicolasjager:
Are there any current games the onboard Radeon HD 4200 won't be able to hand? If so, please list a few.

Quote:
dndhatcher:
If you mean online MMOs like WoW, DDO, AoC or FPSs like Crysis, GTA4, COD:MW then the 4200 pretty much can NOT play any of them. You really need to budget at minimum $100 for a gaming graphics card (4850 or 5670), $160 is a good price/performance point right now with the 5770. The onboard graphics will play browser flash games and simple single player games, but not much else.

Let me clarify on this: by playable, I mean playable on 1024x768 resolution with low (or perhaps medium) settings, and 15 or more fps. 30+ would be nice, but 15+ is sufficient. I don't care so much for the graphics of the game, I just want to be able to play it.

Here's a video I found for COD:MW2 on integrated HD 3200 (which, from what I've read seems about the same as the integrated HD 4200) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyFMLkxMFJE
It seems to run fine.



Concerning the processor, I'm taking a gamble that the other 2 cores are working, but just dormant. Phenom II x2 is basically just a Phenom II x4 with two of the cores disabled (either due to not reaching required factory specs, or simply to supply the demand for a lower priced processor). I believe the Athlon II x3 can also be unlocked to x4. The main difference between them seems to be the amount of L2 cache, and perhaps overclock-ability, though I probably won't bother over-clocking yet as that's likely to lower lifespan.

Quote:
dndhatcher: What do you want a 4GB flash drive for?

The cheapest 4 GB DDR3 and phenom II 555 BE happened to include it. (Even if it wasn't included, that was the cheapest deal on the processor and DDR3.)


Thanks for the discussion regarding the Hard Drives, I'll look into the ones you suggested. I'm still wondering about warranty after having submitted rebate (which likely will ask for barcode). Ei. the product has 3 year warranty, I file for the rebate, but 2 years later drive dies and I don't have the barcode (only a photocopy), would I still be covered? Has anyone had a similar experience with other rebates?


EDIT: would I be able to use this: PCI-e x4 slot extender (bus extender)
http://www.8anet.com/ShowProduct.aspx?pid=7551
if I needed 2 PCI-E slots for some graphics card setup?
May 20, 2010 10:57:36 AM

$378AR up to 1680 x 1050 strictly no AA/AF though ^^

remove ODD/HDD if u decided to reuse current ones
Lastly with current modern GPUS the data across several reviews: you could get away on an 8x/8x CF on PCIex16 gen 2.0 lanes but 16x/4x i wouldn't recommend
May 20, 2010 3:54:33 PM

Hec PSUs do not have a good reputation. That one in particular is, at best, an older, inefficient design. At worst, it's an overrated, electrically noisy system-killer. The truth is probably closer to the former. Since your system won't stress it at all, it would probably be safe...BUT, for only $45, you can get a 380W Antec Earthwatts PSU which is efficient, excellent quality, and can handle a HD5770.
As others have pointed out, you will not want to Crossfire with 16x,4x slots. The board probably also supports hybrid Crossfire, in which you Crossfire the onboard video with a HD4350; a waste that would be blown out by one HD4670.
An open-box motherboard may work, but may not include accessories, including the faceplate for the I/O connectors. Considering the deal Batuchka found, that's a much safer choice. The only thing I didn't like about it was only putting in a single RAM stick, but that's easy enough to fix either right away or as an upgrade when budget allows. The rest looks excellent. A HD5670 should be fine for you, especially at only 1024x768. At that resolution, and at the lowered settings you are willing to accept, quite a few games will be playable on the integrated HD4200. You could temporarily omit the graphics card if you need to be closer to the low end of your budget, then get one when things improve and/or you also upgrade to a higher resolution monitor.
May 20, 2010 6:38:00 PM

nicolasjager said:
reviews concerning crossfire have been mixed:
... in order to crossfire the graphics cards must be slightly older than the current new ones.
Maybe I should qualify my statement to "You would not crossfire contemporary gaming graphics cards on an x4 slot". Slow graphics cards will not be as limited by the bandwidth. Doesnt make much sense to me to go with older GPUs unless you already have them laying around.


Let me clarify on this: by playable, I mean playable on 1024x768 resolution with low (or perhaps medium) settings, and 15 or more fps. 30+ would be nice, but 15+ is sufficient. I don't care so much for the graphics of the game, I just want to be able to play it. said:
Let me clarify on this: by playable, I mean playable on 1024x768 resolution with low (or perhaps medium) settings, and 15 or more fps. 30+ would be nice, but 15+ is sufficient. I don't care so much for the graphics of the game, I just want to be able to play it.
I thought like that 2 years ago. After moving up to a 22 inch widescreen LCD and a gaming graphics card, I now find it painful to the point of being un-playable to drop back to that level.


May 20, 2010 6:45:03 PM

Onus said:
for only $45, you can get a 380W Antec Earthwatts PSU which is efficient, excellent quality, and can handle a HD5770.
Its pretty tight on the wattage. I wouldnt want to try and overclock much or expect it to maintain that output for several years. The Neo Eco 520 is only $55 and would give alot more room for more internals, overclocking and aging.
May 20, 2010 10:32:31 PM

Although the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine only recommends 365W for a system with a 955BE (oc to 3.6) and a HD5770, including a cable TV tuner, a few fans, and drives, getting a beefier PSU is still a good idea, especially if it's only another $10.
!