Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$500 gaming PC: Please comment on this configuration!

Last response: in Systems
Share
August 23, 2010 4:32:07 PM

I am going to build two identical $500 gaming computers (mainly for Starcraft II). I do not need windows, monitors or keyboards/mice. I am pretty sure I want to base it off the AMD Athlon II X3 because benchmarks on games usually max out at 3 cores (especially Starcraft II). This CPU is the best value CPU with 3 cores according to several sources. The rest of the components I am not too sure about. All of these prices are from newegg. I hope to be buying during the next week. I'm afraid I have missed some awesome combo deals, and also I may have included some not optimal components, or low quality ones. Please look over the list and provide some feedback! Please also check for compatibility!


Components:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX $80.99

Optical: LITE-ON DVD Writer - Bulk - Black SATA Model iHAS224-06 LightScribe Support $19.99

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ,comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan $54.99 -$10.00 Instant $44.99

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $42.99

Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $59.99

Video Card: PowerColor AX5750 1GBD5-H Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $134.99 -$10.00 Instant $124.99 - $20.00 Mail-in Rebate = $104.99

Power Supply: SILVERSTONE ST50F-ES 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $59.99

Memory: OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV4GK $117.99 -$20.00 Instant $97.99 - $30.00 Mail-in = $67.99

Subtotal: $531.92
Shipping: $23.44
Grand Total: $555.36
MIR: $50
Final total after MIR: 505.36

Thank you for your help!
August 23, 2010 4:58:38 PM

Here's what I'd change:

CPU/GPU: X3 440 and HD 5770 $198 after rebate. The 5770 is quite a bit more powerful than the 5750. It's also not much more expensive. I can say from personal experience that the 5750 is a bad idea. I bought one when they came out (the prices were basically the same) for an HTPC with some light gaming and really regret not getting the 5770. The 440 is also just fine for gaming, though SC 2 really likes quad cores. You'll definitely want to think about overclocking and/or unlocking it.

Mobo: ASRock 770 Extreme3 $75. Gives you USB 3/SATA III support for more future proofing, if you want it.

RAM: OCZ has major compatibility issues with their DDR3. I'd avoid them if all possible. Here's my cheap set: G.Skill 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $81.

PSU/HDD: OCZ Fatal1ty 550W and Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $80 after rebate. You really want the F3 for speed, especially since it's roughly the same price. If you need/want more space, the 1 TB version is also in a combo with this PSU for $20 more. The OCZ PSU isn't the best, but you can't beat it for the price.

I believe that brings the total to $499 after rebates (no idea on shipping, but it should be about the same). I think you can also find a slightly cheaper optical too.
m
0
l
August 23, 2010 5:35:44 PM

Thank you for the detailed advice! I have a few questions.

I heard that the F4 is faster than the F3, and I do not need more than 100-200GB. Here is one benchmark supporting this http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har... Is this accurate? The 320GB vs 1TB doesn't much matter to me, but the speed does. Or is this speed increase negligible? The F4 doesn't have any juicy combo deals where the F3 does.

Some benchmarks have shown that starcraft 2 maxes out at 3 cores. Here is the source on that: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/08/18/how-ma...
Do you think I can benefit from going to 4 core? I though that I would get the best value 3 core processor, and according to http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php, the AMD Athlon II X3 445 is really high up there, as well as pretty strong in its own right.

I like your comments on the graphics card. I found a combo with the X3 445 and the 5770. How does this look? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

As far as PSU and Mobo, I have no idea. I will take your advice.

Here is an optical drive slightly cheaper, and better i think: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the memory, will going from 1600 to 1333 be a huge difference?

Thanks for the quick help! You are awesome!
m
0
l
Related resources
August 23, 2010 5:45:50 PM

I did not realize that was actually faster. I was just going off the size of the platters. I guess you should ask yourself if the slightly increased speed is worth $20 (the loss of the combo). I don't think the additional speed is that much, but it's your money.

All the reviews of StarCraft suggested that to run at maximum details, you'd want a triple core running 3.0 GHz at least or a quad. I know that's what Tom's review suggested. I'm not saying the X3 wouldn't perform well, I'm just saying that StarCraft (and other RTS games) prefer quad cores.

I picked the 440 because I don't see the value in paying extra for a slight overclock. Though, the combo certainly eliminates most of the cost difference. Either would be perfectly fine.

Not really. The advantage of 1600 mhz RAM is that it overclocks better. If you're not planning on overclocking, there is no difference. If you really want some 1600 sticks, the G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 are some the best out there and can be had for $93 after promo code.
m
0
l
August 23, 2010 6:35:20 PM

The F3/power supply combo is too good to pass up, so I went for it.

I took some of the advice to heart, and here is the new config. Unfortunately it is a bit more expensive (I think the main difference was the RAM), so is there any place we can save some dollars? Perhaps the case? EDIT: this case and MB combo looks awesome: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... What do you think?

Optical: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 $17.99

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ,comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan $44.99

Motherboard: ASRock 770 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard $74.99

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT $80.99

Video card/CPU combo
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
AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
$218.98
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate Card

PSU/HDD combo:
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$99.98
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card

Subtotal: $537.92
Shipping: $14.82
Grand Total: $552.74
MIR: -35
Total after MIR: $517.74
m
0
l
August 23, 2010 7:01:44 PM

IMO, this rig looks good to meet the requirements of SCII, however the video card depends a lot on what res your monitors are running at.

I would look into a 5770 if you're at 1680x1050 or above.
m
0
l
August 23, 2010 7:12:22 PM

I'd personally go with the USB 3/SATA III board. It's more future proof, but only really needed if you plan on adding those devices in the future.
m
0
l
August 23, 2010 7:25:10 PM

It goes down to 480.70 after MIR, a difference of $37.04. I don't think USB3.0 or SATA II are worth that much to me.

With the case/mobo combo deal, it is now $525.70 - 45MIR = 480.70. I think it is looking pretty good now.

Any other suggestions or thoughts from anyone?
m
0
l
August 25, 2010 12:57:48 PM

Thank you for your help so far.

Some other people who are giving me advice tell me that the OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W is a terrible PSU. Can anyone comment on it? I think the setup I have will run at about 350W, and this PSU even if it is only mediocre should be more than enough.

Any comments?
m
0
l
August 25, 2010 1:32:33 PM

The Fatal1ty certainly isn't the highest quality unit out there, but I wouldn't say it's crappy, especially given it's price.

If you're worried about it, you could check out some 400-450W units from Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic and Silverstone. Those would be the highest quality ones out there.
m
0
l
August 25, 2010 3:21:17 PM

Thank you for the advice everyone, especially MadAdmiral! I have combined your advice with advice from different sources, and have come up with a system that is ATX as well as with a PSU that actually puts out what it claims to put out.

Here is the config, please comment:

CPU+Mobo combo:
AMD Athlon II X4 635 2.9GHz Boxed Processor
MSI 785G-E53 AM3 785G ATX Motherboard
$139.62 - $20MIR = 119.62 in store pickup

Optical:
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B
$18.99

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$54.99

GPU:
SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate Card14-102-873
$144.99

RAM:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT
$80.99

Case+Psu combo
Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate
$99.94

Newegg Total: $410.63
Newegg MIR: $25
Microcenter total: $139.62
Microcenter MIR $20
Total before MIR: 550.25
Total MIR: $45
Total: $505.25
m
0
l
September 2, 2010 9:37:11 PM

Everything has arrived, and I put it together much quicker than I thought it would. So far it works great!

It plays Starcraft 2 at 1600x900 with all settings on ultra at about 45 FPS.

Here are some pics (best camera I had around was my iPhone, sorry)!

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

Can anyone recommend any benchmarking, diagnostic, or system info programs to make sure everything is working correctly? Also, are there any "must have" tweaks?

Thanks again to everyone! My friend who bought the exact same build is putting hers together now.
m
0
l
September 3, 2010 3:26:49 PM

5770 takes the cake on this one. I'd bet that you could even get playable results at 1920x1200
m
0
l
!