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Please help with ~$550 Gaming Build

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July 14, 2010 2:35:15 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within this week, asap

BUDGET RANGE: $550-ish after rebates (excl. shipping)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Mostly Gaming, Watching movies, Surfing the web

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Case, Optical Drive, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca or any big Canadian company

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Gigabyte/Asus mobo with USB3/SATA3, G.SKILL memory.. but really just a preference lol

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 or 1440x900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Preferably as cool as possible (temperature cool)

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EDIT: not sure why the links aren't working.. the URL is correct (I checked a few times) and it works if I copy/paste the URL in the address bar.

CPU/Motherboard: (Combo: $169.98)
AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX

GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

PSU: ($51.99 w/ $20 MIR)
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

GPU: ($184.99 w/ $10 MIR)
SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100283VX-2L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity

Hard Drive: ($58.49)
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Memory: ($86.99 or $98.99 or $95.99)
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL

A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model AD3U1333B2G9-DRH


Total: $552.44 (CAD) w/ $30 MIR

Also if it helps with suggestions, the Case I have is:
NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


I'm fairly new to building my own pc from scratch, so the parts I've selected probably do not make a lot of sense. I'm very open to suggestions on replacing any of the parts (as long as it's within budget haha). In particular, I was wondering if there are any better/more cost-efficient motherboards with USB3/SATA3 that will work for me. Also I listed two DDR3 rams from G.SKILL because I cannot decide if it's worth spending extra money for the Ripjaws.

Can anyone give me some advice on improving this build, or confirm for me the build above is actually compatible?
Also which RAM should I get? Are the Ripjaws really worth it?

Thx in advanced TH!

More about : 550 gaming build

July 14, 2010 2:49:26 AM

do you need an OS or Dvd Drive?
July 14, 2010 2:52:06 AM

Thanks for the quick reply! No, I do not need a DVD Drive, and as for the OS I may be able to purchase it from a friend locally so I guess that would be a no as well unless it is incredibly cheap. I'll update the first post with this information.
Related resources
July 14, 2010 3:15:38 AM

well I wouldn't go with OCZ for the rebate because from prior experience their rebate system is terrible. Cut the rebate and either go with one of these.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
$63.49 - no rebate.

or

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
$51.99 w/ $20 rebate - Lower watts but enough to power your system.

Both are great quality.

You can switch out this nearly identical video card to shave off a few dollars.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Also this is good ram,
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Edit: My links are messed up too so do the same.
July 14, 2010 6:21:54 PM

Ah okay, I wasn't sure how much power was needed for this system but if the Corsair one is enough I'd rather save some money with it :) 

As for the A-DATA ram, is there a reason why those would work better than the G.SKILL ones? I've used some G.SKILL ram in the past and it was great so if the difference is small I'd prefer sticking with that brand.

Thanks for the help!
(updated first post)


I'm likely going to order the parts within a day or two, could someone advise some alternatives for the motherboard? I picked that one because it was a combo-deal with the CPU and it seemed up-to-date with USB3/SATA3.. but if there are other options to look at that'd be great too!

ps. the parts above are compatible right?
July 15, 2010 4:21:00 AM

First off I think you have made some solid choices. I have been a long time fan of GB motherboards and just made myself a new build based around one. I also support you in going for G.Skill ram, the basic stuff should do you just fine and the heat spreaders on the A-DATA and Ripjaws will do almost nothing for a stock build. (I am guessing a very minor overclock if any at all based on the lack of aftermarket heat sink/fan) The hard drive seems another good choice, I just got a 1TB version for the same drive for storage, no complaints. Looking at the prices on CPUs you seem to be in the sweet spot there as well.

A couple of things I might do differently, though. I question the value on the 5770 you have there, partially because I just got a couple of them for US$130 each. A 5750 is probably enough video card to run the resolutions you stated. The Gigabyte MB may be a bit of overkill if you are not planning on overclocking, but I hate to steer you away from what is probably a rock solid board. It was interesting looking at the relative scarcity of combo deals on newegg.ca but the MSI 870-G45 would be one I would consider in your situation. The trade-off would be no usb3.0 which has some value, but sata 6.0GB is largely a marketing gimmick IMO (what sata devices are you using that will be bottlenecked by 3Gb/s?). Those things said, you ARE under your budget so $30 might be worth the trade-off for a board you are confident in.

Almost forgot, add some arctic silver to your cart. I don't know is the pre-applied crap has gotten any better in the last few years because I don't even bother testing it any more. It goes away and I use the quality stuff, even with a stock heat sink.

July 15, 2010 6:03:03 PM

Solid is safe, safe is good :) 

Thanks for helping me decide on the ram! For the moment there will be minor overlocking for me, so it's good to know the regular G.SKILL ram will suffice.

To be honest I was originally looking at the 5750, but after picking out majority of the other parts I realized I could afford an upgrade somewhere and decided to pick out the better card (5830 was pushing it). I'll take a look at the MSI 870-G45 mobo as well, although I would prefer having usb3 for future purposes (will be doing a ton of data transfer with external HDDs). Nice to have alternatives to pick from!

Added some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound onto list of things to buy locally.


Thank you very much for the detailed post, I'm now more confident with this system's quality/needs!
July 16, 2010 12:05:17 AM

Glad you replied, I couldn't think of the name yesterday but you may want to check http://ncix.com/ to see if you can save a bit of money. They pricematch for their Canadian customers and I have heard you can save quite a bit on shipping. No personal experience with them but they seem to have a good reputation.
July 16, 2010 5:05:56 AM

Yep I've checked with NCIX, TigerDirect and CanadaComputers, but none had all of the items listed, and I really did not want to go back to scavenging for the right parts.

All parts were ordered tonight. Thank you very much for the help, and all the best!
!