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Moderate Gaming Build $1000-$1300

Last response: in Systems
August 12, 2010 2:27:33 AM

Hi everyone, this is my first build (At the strong urging of my friends). However, I currently do not have the monetary resources to get every component I want (I make $310 a month as a college student) so I plan on beginning my purchases around Black Friday 2010, so the prices on the components I am about to list will surely be cheaper then. Anyway, I have already spent about a month an a half of research and here is what I have so far:


BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1300. Somewhat flexible but I don't want to overspend or anything.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Downloading / Watching HD Content, Gaming, Web Surfing. More or less of equal importance to me.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse (I currently have several old USB mice, though I may decide to buy a new MX 518 when it goes on sale again), OS (I already have extra Windows 7 discs / licenses)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, TigerDirect, hell ebay if there are some good deals there!


PARTS PREFERENCES: Anything Socket AM3 compatible

OVERCLOCKING: By default, no, but maybe in the future

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not really interested, for now I would rather stick with a single GPU solution

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 or greater, though obviously not 2560 x 1600 since that is far too expensive

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: To summarize, I am mainly looking for something versatile as my computing interests are diverse.


The current build:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3

Honestly, I don't have any plans on crossfire / SLI right now, so I don't think I'll need anything beyond an 870 board. I also like SATA 6.0 and USB 3.0 quite a bit.

CPU: AMD Phenom II 940

To reiterate, I am picking AMD over Intel because I feel that AMD wins in the pricer / performance ratio, and I probably won't need many of the extra features of Intel's i5/i7 processors (not to mention I would need a significantly more expensive motherboard). I am also considering splurging a bit to the 955 BE as newegg has some nice combo deals with it sometimes, but right now I don't think it is worth the extra expense as I don't have immediate plans for overclocking.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 2x2 GB DDR3 1600

I am honestly not very knowledgeable about memory, but the very positive reviews and $95 price tag made this seem like a good choice (other than the fact that my motherboard doesn't natively support DDR3 1600).

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5770

I originally wanted a 5850, but right now I think it is still a little too expensive for my budget. Other options that look appealing to me are the GTX 460 and the HD 5830 for a little bit more.

Storage: WD Caviar Green 2 TB HDD (Data) / Intel X-25M G2 80 GB SSD

Admittedly, the most important thing to me. I not only plan to game but I already store tons of videos / music and what not (I am almost beyond 1 TB currently). So I picked the Caviar Green due to solid reviews and price. I have also always wanted to try an SSD, and 80 GB seems like enough (though soon 160 GB will cost what the 80 GB does now).

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922

Seems like a very good value. Roomy, good cable management, and a plethora of positive reviews. Only other case I would consider over this is the CM 690 II Advanced, but this one is a little more appealing to me.

Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W

I had a hard time picking this, as there were many attractive options. Currently I like seasonic due to their high reputation although several Antec PSU's looked nice, such as the BP 550 and the TP 550. I am very open to suggestions here, as long as they are modular and not too big.

Monitor: Asus V222H 21.5"

I am also very unsure about the monitor choice. The 22" and 23" versions aren't much more expensive and I am considering those as well. Dell also offers a 23" 2048 x 1152 monitor for $199. But again, anything that is around 1080p is fine with me.

Keyboard: Rosewill RK-800G Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Gaming Keyboard

Once again, I don't really know what is best here so I kept it simple. I wouldn't mind some advice though.

Optical Drive: LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support

Didn't look too much into this.

So, while this is just a starting point, given my needs are there any suggestions or improvements you can think of?
August 12, 2010 2:56:50 AM

I've just got a couple of ideas to throw at you. I've heard great things about Asus mobos; though Gigabyte is good too. Here's one that's cheaper than the Gigabyte and I think would fit your needs minus the SATA 6 and USB 3 (don't know how important those are to you).

ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $65 after rebate

Also I would recommend an Antec case and PSU combo. Here's one that might work for you.

Antec Nine Hundred + EA650 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 650W Power Supply $150

Both your CPU and GPU are good choices imo. Hope this will help.
August 12, 2010 3:49:18 PM

If you're not even starting to buy till november, come back and ask then. That's very close to sandy bridge release date.

There may be major price shifts by then.