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Gaming Build Ridiculously Low Budget Questions

Last response: in Systems
August 19, 2010 4:57:31 AM

Ive been looking through these boards and trying to figure out what kind of desktop i would need to run Starcraft 2 on like a 22 inch monitor at mid-high settings. Im not a huge PC gamer but have been playing the original since i was 13 so am willing to spend $500 to play it somewhat close to what it is meant to look like.

I keep seeing computers spec'd at 1,000-2,000 USD which seems quite high. I built my current desktop for under $400 but that was back in the days of pentium II...

Is it unreasonable for me to just buy a budget business pc that has a decent processor (from my research AMD Athalon X2 (or x3) and intel I3 seem good) and just drop like $100 on a dedicated graphics card? This is what I would have done 5 years ago. am i missing something?

will the computer massively overheat or something if i buy a fancy graphics card and put it into a low-mid range desktop?

here is an example of one i might choose: [...] CatId=1889

systemax AMD Dual Core Desktop PC - AMD Athlon II X2 240 2.8GHz, 2GB DDR2, 500GB HDD, 22X DVDRW, 9-in-1 Media Reader, HDMI, No Operating System, Refurbished

Also, can someone explain to me what all of the different numbers after Athlon mean.... im just guessing that it goes X1-X4 (worst to best) but I may be way off. Theres too many models for a newcomer to decipher.

Thanks for your help. Appreciated.
August 19, 2010 5:08:01 AM

Well technically it is from worst to best, but that's not quite what it means.
the x4 means it has 4 cores, so it is a quad core processor. x3 is has 3 core, x2 one core.
There is nothing wrong with just spending 100 on a graphics card and building a budget computer, It just wont be as great as spending 300 on one.

Buying a great graphics card for a not so great computer would greatly bottleneck the graphics. Meaning you won't be able to use it to it's full potential.

Best solution

August 19, 2010 5:17:36 AM

Well if you have a budget of around $500, then check this build...
X3 440 + HD 5770

ASUS 78G + GSKillz 4GB DDR3(This is a limited offer)


OCZ 550W + Samsung F3 500GB

Total - ~$512 or $531 based on the RAM selected...And this can play SC2 @1080p near max settings...
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August 19, 2010 5:35:56 AM

thanks for the quick response.

im not interested in breaking any records or anything. just want starcraft 2 to run smoothly and be at a sharp resolution when I play online. my current hp dv4 laptop overheats within an hour of gameplay plus it has to run everything on "low" which makes me feel like im losing out on a lot of what the developers intended for.

do i need to be concerned about the PSU / heatsink or anything like that or can i pretty much drop a $150 graphics card in it without it overheating?

These are the specs for the game:

Minumum Requirements
GFX: GeForce 7/8 Series or Radeon 1000/2000 with 256 MB RAM
CPU: Pentium 4
Internet: ADSL 1 Mbit
Recommended Requirements
GFX: GeForce 8000 or Radeon 2000 series with 512 MB RAM
CPU: Core 2 Duo or Athlon X2.
Internet: ADSL 3 Mbit
Optimal Requirements
GFX: Geforce 9000er or Radeon 3000er Series
CPU: Core 2 Duo 3 GHz or Athlon X2
RAM: 2GB with DualChannel mode

if I bought this card and installed it into the above computer:

GPU~SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card -$140

could I expect the game to run at 1280 x 1028 or slightly higher at mid settings without lag or poor framerate?


August 19, 2010 5:41:18 AM

^ Well I think you dint see resolution which I specified - it is 1920X1080 so 1280X1028 would be no problem...
EDIt: If you are fine with high settings, then you can save money with this card

The case comes with 3 fans providing good no heat issues there...And the parts that I have selected are all of high quality so I dont think you would have to worry about that...
August 19, 2010 5:41:50 AM

That should be fine, your computer isn't really "out of date."
It really depends on what monitor resolution you have.

Do you already have the computer? Do you have a computer you plan on buying? Or do you plan on building one?
A little more info would help us a long way.
August 19, 2010 5:42:09 AM

@gkay09 that looks like a great build and im getting up to about 500 already.

How complicated is the process of putting it together if I just order all the parts?

In the past I have:

removed / installed memory

removed / installed a couple of PCI boards - wireless and graphics card (not PCI e)

changed out multiple internal SATA hard drives

semi comfortable in bios and very comfortable with windows install and config

should this be something I can do without major problems?

August 19, 2010 5:45:51 AM


Im planning on getting a whole new system. Ill also be getting a 23 inch monitor as well

My current desktop is Pentium II 1.3ghz (maybe) 1 gig of ram, geforce 6150 PCI graphics 128 mb. havent been able to get it to run off the graphics card tho so its current using integrated graphics. with a little tweaking i can probably get it to work. If i bought more RAM do you think this could potentially run Starcraft 2 on mid settings? I havent tested it on that PC.
August 19, 2010 5:55:39 AM

If you take your time and read through the instructions that come with your parts it shouldn't be bad at all . If you can install RAM/Video cards and you go slow and follow directions using the internet for the few things your sketchy on its pretty straight forward.
August 19, 2010 6:04:50 AM

Best answer selected by goman22.
August 19, 2010 6:06:07 AM

thanks for the great answers

im much more comfortable going ahead and building this now.
August 19, 2010 6:06:27 AM

I've built a system with very little experience, piecing things together is very simple. The only problems you would encounter if you did your research is items that just simply don't work, which in that case send it back for a new one.
There are many guides and users here to help if you get stuck when building it, and there is a fairly popular checklist if your final build doesn't work to see what is wrong with it.

The build gkay09 posted is a good build, It also leaves room for upgrading in the future, you shouldn't ever have to start from scratch after that build.
August 19, 2010 6:08:07 AM

It seems I am slow to respond yet again, haha.

Just send one of us a pm if you need help.
Or post here as always.
August 19, 2010 6:24:36 AM

^ It is not a good idea to post your email id on a public forum...
He can get in touch via PM or you can set the option to allow to send email to you...
August 19, 2010 3:52:05 PM

It was 2am when I was on here, I wasn't thinking. Thanks for the tip though ;]