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Pre-built vs Home-Built Challenge

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July 29, 2010 2:24:06 AM

I have a very interesting question that I could really use some insight into. I am considering a new desktop computer that I will use for casual gaming (basically anything Blizzard creates). However I want something suitable but also cost effective.

Here is the interesting part: I work on a computer all day and as a result I would prefer to use my 55" Sony Bravia LCD along with my home theater system as my "monitor" (in other words I would prefer to sit on my couch :)  ). If I understand correctly this implies that I will likely be running everything at a 1900 resolution (assuming I take advantage of HDMI). The challenge however is finding a suitable PC for the right cost.

In other words, should I choose to build my own PC in order to save money or should I buy a pre-built system? Heres the challenge: Can I do either for around $500?

I know that sounds absurd but again we are talking about games that are not exactly demanding. The challenging part comes from the resolution that I will likely be playing with combined with my price range.

Anyways, with that said I could really use some insight into this. I am certainly computer-literate but I'm not exactly an expert in hardware.

Thanks in advance
July 29, 2010 4:07:14 AM

i built one for 4 clams with an Amd Athlon II x3 440 ,2 gigs of ddr2 ,a 9800gtx+, a 585 watt power supply ,a micro atx board with a cool case 2 120mm fans and a 500 gig 7200rpm hard drive. here it is. It runs well and plays games pretty good. it would cost a bit more if you bought it outright already built.


http://s782.photobucket.com/albums/yy108/Doom3klr/My%20...
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July 29, 2010 9:27:56 AM

If $541AR isn't a bridge too far then:
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July 29, 2010 3:15:46 PM

Hmmm, I can't think of any quality 585W PSUs...

Batuchka has a good build, but for those games, is a GTX460 needed? Yes, the resolution is high (1920x1080), but for the listed games, a HD5770 might be enough, and would fit in the budget.
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July 30, 2010 2:19:21 AM

Thanks guys, I definitely appreciate the insight. I was considering building my own but wasn't sure where to start. I think this will definitely lead me to the right direction.
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July 30, 2010 9:32:53 AM

You are welcomed ^^
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August 1, 2010 10:18:58 PM

Okay so I really hate to say this but is it possible that anyone would be willing to recommend a build similar to that of the one posted by batuchka? I decided to go with what he suggested but right before I tried to purchase everything all of the combo's were canceled on NewEgg. I am sure that I am asking for quite a bit so any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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August 2, 2010 2:33:47 AM

Ok price, but don't like the video card, think it's gonna be too weak if you are gaming. #2, I don't care for the i3 or intel in general. I think you can get a bit more power for less with an AMD rig considering budget.


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August 2, 2010 12:16:52 PM

PSU is fecal. The i5 (NOT i3) should be quite reasonable.
From your OP, your games may not be super-demanding, but your resolution is. I think you'd be a lot happier with a HD5750 or HD5770; either of which would require replacing the previously mentioned PSU.
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August 3, 2010 12:58:53 AM

I appreciate the advice everyone. Taking the advice given I have rebuilt my potential setup for anyone who is willing to take a look and critique as necessary.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This setup doesn't include a Case, CD/DVD Drive or Power Supply but those can be picked out after I find the right basic setup.

Also, any thoughts on whether or not I will really need a 600watt power supply?

Thanks
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August 3, 2010 1:22:31 AM

Those parts look decent, as long as your games remain undemanding.
And no, you won't need a 600W PSU. Depending on any overclocking, and future expansion, a 450W-500W PSU would be enough, and offer sufficient headroom for growth. Choose a quality PSU with full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and 80+ certification. Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, and Enermax are among the better brands. OCZ is not in their league, but is acceptable on a tight budget (though there are often good deals on Antec Earthwatts or Truepower New).
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August 3, 2010 2:58:00 AM

One thing to keep in mind is....

Unless you have install disks for any OS you currently have, you will need to add the cost of an OS (either OEM or retail) to the cost of the total build.
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August 3, 2010 12:26:53 PM

1. You wont need a high wattage PSU now, but in the future if you wanna add a more powerful graphics card or go for xfire, you might wish that you had invested in a more powerful PSU.

Depending on your choice, go with this OCZ Fatal1ty 550 watts @ 44 bucks or if you wanna save some money, then go with this 400 watts Corsair unit @ 30 bucks. Both are 80+ non modular ones, & the OCZ also happens to be SLI ready & though you're going with ATI, the extra power cannot hurt.

If you want more powerful ones, you might wanna go with this Corsair 750 watts unit or this Antec truepower 650 watts one. Both are sli / crossfire ready.

Looking @ your requirements & budget, I'll go with the OCZ which will leave you some expansion headroom in the future.
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August 3, 2010 12:47:19 PM

Now 'bout the gfx card. Brands are a personal preference, and I tend to pick Asus / Giga / MSI / Sapphire etc over HIS / Foxconn / Asrock, etc (mobos, cards etc).

So if you've made your mind up on a 5750, I'll go with this Sapphire Radeon HD 5750 :) . What's more it's even 10 bucks cheaper after rebate.

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August 3, 2010 1:56:51 PM

I won't speak to the specifics but here are some general ideas...

In a living room the aesthetics of the box and the noise generated by the machine are considerably more important than in an office environment. You may want to shell out something extra to get a case that fits in with the rest of the decor of your entertainment center. Depending on your room and entertainment center's space considerations, that may result in wanting a micro ATX motherboard instead of the standard sized ATX motherboards.

Given that decibel levels from standard PC components can be rather annoying when sitting in the living room watching TV, you may want to do what you need to do in order to lower the volume. That can include the following:

- Use an SSD instead of a standard hard drive. It's more expensive but you get the added benefit of a significantly peppier system, and not only will the drive be noiseless but it generates less heat and thus will allow your fans to run at quieter/slower speeds.

- Underclock your CPU so that its fan can run quieter. You don't need much processing power for HTPC purposes.

- Get as low-end a GPU as you can for your purposes.

- Replace the standard fans that come in the case (and the CPU's stock HS/F) with fans that are designed for ultra-quiet operation.

You may also want to get a TV tuner card for the PC so that you can record tv shows and use the pc as a dvr. Windows Media Center software comes with recent versions of windows, or you can use a program like BeyondTV. Linux-based pcs can use programs like MythTV. Given your budget you may want to use a free OS and invest the savings in a nicer case, an SSD, quieter fans, or the like.

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August 6, 2010 2:23:34 AM

Best answer selected by DJA007.
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