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~$500 casual gaming build, need advice

I'm helping a friend build a new system and he's on a fairly tight budget. Starcraft II is pretty much the only game he'll be playing. Other than that it'll be mostly casual usage, surfing net, etc. I'm looking for some advice on good parts to choose.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a week

BUDGET RANGE: ~$500, rebates are ok

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Starcraft II + casual usage.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

Some parts I'm considering:

CPU + Mobo: Phenom II X2 550 + Biostar A770E3 $118.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.478084
OR
Athlon II X3 440 Rana + same mobo $105.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.478082

Video card: 4850 512MB DDR5 $89.99 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102901&cm_re=4850-_-14-102-901-_-Product
OR
4850 1GB DDR3 $84.99 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102834&cm_re=4850-_-14-102-834-_-Product

RAM + OS: OCZ Gold 4GB DDR3 1333 + W7 $149.98 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.455623

Case + PSU: CM 335 + CM eXtreme power plus RS-500 $69.98 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.474088

Haven't looked at many hard drives yet, 500 GB should be fine for him though. Then the optical drives all seem to be in the $20-30 range for what he needs.

Any conflicts/concerns? Looking for some helpful input specifically on that mobo, the slight differences between the 4850's, and the PSU. Also, feel free to post any other deals that you feel would be better.
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about casual gaming build advice
  1. I'd go with the X3 motherboard. I'd get the 512 HD4850, as it cannot really use 1GB effectively anyway. If you can afford the price jump, an HD5770 is about $140, gets better performance, and is Direct X 11 capable.
  2. Best answer
    1. Amongst the budget combos i would hit TA785G3HD as the A770E3 has a 95W TDP limit (former is good to go all the way up to 140, Thuban ready BIOS, better OC track record, etc)

    2. Hit an entry level 80+ PSU

    3. Also would go non OCZ for RAM ^^

    Tower @ $382AR

    OS $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754
    $482AR Total
  3. ScrewySqrl said:
    I'd go with the X3 motherboard. I'd get the 512 HD4850, as it cannot really use 1GB effectively anyway. If you can afford the price jump, an HD5770 is about $140, gets better performance, and is Direct X 11 capable.


    Hello, could you enlighten me on how you figured that it (what's it) cannot use 1G effectively? Do you mean the BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard ?

    Thanks
  4. Nice, I'll definitely use some of those deals batuchka. About the tri-core, do you guys really feel it's necessary? From what I've read SCII only utilizes 2 cores and I would assume the PhenomII is faster than the AthlonII core for core, right?
  5. Well per core the difference is slight for the Callisto but over an even spread of games the X3 would be a better choice and for general usage/multi tasking the X3 would also result in a snappier rig outside games
  6. hyperzore said:
    Hello, could you enlighten me on how you figured that it (what's it) cannot use 1G effectively? Do you mean the BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard ?

    Thanks



    The HD4850 cannot use 1 GB effectively. Most cards below the 5750/5770 (or GTX2xx) level just cant use 1GB. The low end 1GB cards have 1GB for marketing reasons. The HD4850 came out in 2008 as a 512 MB card, and the DDR5 version is faster than DDR3. The limitation is the bus size.
  7. batuchka said:
    Well per core the difference is slight for the Callisto but over an even spread of games the X3 would be a better choice and for general usage/multi tasking the X3 would also result in a snappier rig outside games

    The thing is, the person I'm building this for isn't really a PC gamer. He's going to be pretty much playing SCII and other than that he's a console gamer.
  8. Given budget, etc i would stick to X3 440 ^^
  9. ScrewySqrl said:
    The HD4850 cannot use 1 GB effectively. Most cards below the 5750/5770 (or GTX2xx) level just cant use 1GB. The low end 1GB cards have 1GB for marketing reasons. The HD4850 came out in 2008 as a 512 MB card, and the DDR5 version is faster than DDR3. The limitation is the bus size.

    I'm glad you mentioned that because I was unsure which would be better between the 1GB DDR3 and 512MB DDR5.
  10. Best answer selected by stash9876.
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