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$500 SYSTEM!! Feedback/Help Please!

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September 1, 2010 4:38:18 PM

I have never built a system before, but I want to within the next couple of months. I have hand-picked my components. PLEASE HELP.

This build DOES NOT include:
-OS
-Monitor
-Speakers
-Mouse
-Keyboard

I don't need to worry about those right now. I have XP Pro. Question: will all 4gb of RAM be used on XP Pro or should I upgrade to Win7?

THIS IS MY BUILD:

CPU: $79.99
MOBO: $89.99
RAM: $92.99
GPU: $72.99
HD: $59.99
CASE+PSU: $89.99
DVD: $17.99

Sub-Total: $503.93
Shipping: $18.85

Final Total: $522.78


QUESTION: are there any compatibility issues?

Please, comment, advise, help, recommend, suggest.
ALL FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED!

More about : 500 system feedback

September 1, 2010 4:56:06 PM

It would really help if we knew at least what you were going to use it for. Without that, we're really just guessing.

I was going to say not bad, but then I got to the GPU and PSU. That's a really old GPU, which if the point of the build is to game, wouldn't cut it. The PSU also isn't a great choice as Rosewill is kind of an off brand. Their cases are decent though.

If you're looking for a gaming build, this is about as good as you can get for $500:

CPU: X3 440 $75
Mobo: ASRock 770 Extreme3 $75
RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $99
GPU: HD 5770 $130 after rebate
HDD/PSU: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB and OCZ Fatal1ty 550W $85 after rebate
Case/Optical: Rosewill Blackbone and cheap SATA DVD burner $44

Total: $508
September 1, 2010 5:04:22 PM

Faster, lower power ram. Also no heat spreaders so it wont affect your CPU cooler.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Samsung F3 500GB and Seagate 7200.12 500GB HDDs are only $55 and much faster than that old 640GB WD Black.

I hate to buy the case with a PSU like that. Almost guarantees that the PSU is cheap junk.

Windows 7 64bit is the way to go for an OS if you can afford it. XP Pro (32bit) can read 4GB, but the video card memory is included in that address range. The 5670 has 1GB so only 3GB would be available for XP. If you have to sacrifice anything to save money, I would stick with XP.


*edit I like MadAdmirals part choices better, especially if gaming is an important function to you.
Related resources
September 1, 2010 5:06:13 PM

Oh, I'm sorry I didn't specify. This build is for gaming. Yeah, I chose the Rosewill because it was a CASE + the PSU. I thought it was better because it saved money and there weren't really any bad reviews on newegg. Thank you for your reply.
September 1, 2010 5:09:21 PM

Thank you dndhatcher for the reply. Again, I must say that I am a noob, these replies are much appreciated. Okay, so the case/psu mix is bad news? Gotcha. I'll take a closer look at MadAdmiral's build. And yes, gaming is the KEY function of this build.
September 1, 2010 5:16:25 PM

I should point out that the main differences between your build and mine is that mine has an actually recent gaming card with good performance. I didn't include Crossfire support, but the PSU you had wouldn't have had enough power for it any way. If you spent a touch more ($15 on the board for a ASRock 770 Extreme3 and around $30-40 more on the PSU), you'd be able to use Crossfire.
September 1, 2010 5:43:27 PM

So the new mobo and your GPU would work perfect with the rest of the build? And will it all fit snug in the case? Also, what PSU should I be looking for to be compatible as well? Thank you for the reply.
September 1, 2010 5:52:07 PM

Almost all PSUs are the standard "ATX" size and will fit in almost all cases.
September 1, 2010 5:56:35 PM

The build I put together work just fine.

What you should look for in a PSU first and foremost is quality. The top brands are Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic and XFX. I rarely stray from recommending those. OCZ is decent, especially for its price. Generally, the first thing I upgrade once you get out of the real bargain builds is the PSU.

The second thing you should look for in the PSU is the wattage, or basically the size. The newer GPUs (the biggest power draw) don't actually use that much power. I wouldn't want to put any of the 5xxx cards on less than a 450-550W unit. If you're looking for Crossfire (adding a second identical card) as an upgrade path, I wouldn't get less than a 650W unit for the 5770 or less.

AFter the size is determined, you need to look at efficiency. The 80+ Certifications indicate that the PSU has been tested and found to be at certain levels of efficiency. The higher the efficiency, the lower amount of power it needs from the wall to provide the same amount of power. For example, an 80% efficient PSU (80+) would need 500W from the wall to provide 400W to the build. A 90% (80+ Gold) would only need 444W.

These certifications can also indicate quality. If the majority of PSUs in that size have an 80+ Certification, and the one you're looking at has 80+ Bronze (the next level up), it's likely higher quality. It's not always true, but it's a decent rule of thumb. Never buy a PSU without at least 80+.

That's basically it. There are a lot of other very technical things to look at (I don't even know exactly what to look for), but in general they're all about the same once the above criteria are met.
September 1, 2010 6:00:50 PM

MadAdmiral said:
What you should look for in a PSU first and foremost is quality. The top brands are Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic and XFX. I rarely stray from recommending those.
The thing those brands have in common is for the most part they are all actually built by Seasonic.
September 1, 2010 6:06:13 PM

Depends on the size. I know some of them are also actually build by PC Power and Cooling. That's another one that should be on the list if the units weren't so crazy expensive.
September 1, 2010 7:51:04 PM

Depends on both size and model line.

Sadly Corsair now has a 650TX-C model that is built by a different company and may not be such a reliable PSU. They are making it hard to make safe recommendations.

September 1, 2010 8:26:24 PM

I haven't heard about that. Who's the OEM for that model? Is that out yet? Do you know what price range it's supposed to fall into. I'm asking because it's not on Newegg.
September 2, 2010 12:44:06 AM

Thank you guys so much for the replies. So, I think I should go with this PSU:

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

Now I know I said a budget system, but I was planning a budget system with a plan to upgrade (within a year or so) as more income comes in. I think I'm going to have to do a lot of tweaking with my build.
September 2, 2010 1:00:56 AM

That's a great PSU, but you don't need that much power. Corsair makes a 650W version of that unit for $50 less. If you're planning on using the HD 5770 (which fits your budget) or even the HD 5850 (which doesn't), that'd be enough power for Crossfire down the road.
September 2, 2010 4:07:59 AM

@MadAdmiral - On your first reply, I noticed that your CPU choice wasn't much different from my original choice. Matter of fact, my choice seems to be better. Why did you choose yours?
September 2, 2010 9:22:29 AM

$516AR
September 2, 2010 12:21:26 PM

At the time, there was a great X3 440/5770 combo ($198 after rebate for both). Either would be fine. There really isn't much difference between the two.

@batuchka: I hate that board. Can't get anything cheaper/lower quality than that...
September 2, 2010 3:49:31 PM

Thank you batuchka for the suggestion.

@MadAdmiral: The only difference I noticed was the extra 0.1GHz and an extra $5. Is the extra speed worth it? Also, I have revamped my selections. I will post them on this topic shortly. Please let me know what you think.
September 2, 2010 4:26:58 PM

CPU: $77.99
MOBO: $89.99 This is out of stock, if you can find a better product for a better price please let me know.
RAM: $98.99
GPU: $139.99
HD: $54.99
CASE: $99.99
PSU: $119.99
DVD: $17.99

Total: $699.92

Now, this build is $200 more than my original build, and I don't like that because I still have to factor in the OS and the monitor.

***If you can find a better product to replace any of mine for a better price please let me know.***
September 2, 2010 4:39:52 PM

XFX 650w PSU. Not as good as the Corsair 650w, but still way better than OCZ. 40 dollars cheaper.

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

If you get the Lancool pc-k62, which I think is on par if not better than the Tempest, you can use the below combo deal and get it for basically 70.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

This makes your case+psu 150 instead of 220. Also shipping for the Lancool is 3 dollars instead of 20 dollars. That makes your savings $90.


Also, I would swap out the Seagate with a f3 spinpoint, as I've heard about some reliability issues with the Seagates. The 500gb is the same price. You should know that there is a sale on the 1tb one that brings it to only $60, which is only 5 dollars more for double the size. The f3 is pretty much the best 1tb drive out there right now.
September 2, 2010 5:10:45 PM

Thank you for your reply.

I'm still open for better replacements or comments about compatibility.
September 2, 2010 5:12:45 PM

If you are going to go up to 700$ get a beefier gpu


September 2, 2010 5:15:56 PM

Here I thought the budget was $500...

Agree with NeoElemental's changes. I would have included that if I had know the budget was higher.

There really isn't a great replacement for the ASRock board at that price. All similar boards are going to be a bit more expensive. I'd either wait or pay more for the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 ($105 after rebate).

I think with the changes above, the total will be $560 after rebates, before shipping and taxes.
September 2, 2010 5:33:54 PM

Well, NeoElemental's changes seem good and all, but the feedback on some of those parts are shying me away.

The budget is supposed to be $500, but I don't want to get the computer built and then realize that it can't run all the games I want. The two games on my mind are Starcraft 2 and Empire: Total War. I want to be able to run both of those games on the highest settings without any lag or performance issue.

I can always make changes in the future, but I want a good solid MOBO that I can stick with for upgrades, a case that has amazing air flow with no installation issues (with budget in mind) and a good PSU that won't fail on me and will persevere in the future.

I'm sorry that I haven't specified this before.

Thanks again for all of your replies.
September 2, 2010 5:44:14 PM

The cheapest you're going to get all of that is with NeoElemental's suggestions and the ASRock board. That'd be a total cost of $545.

If you leave out the upgrades (Crossfire mostly), you can get the rest with the original build I posted.
September 2, 2010 5:45:30 PM

In terms of cheap entry costs, but later upgradability, the AM3 socket is the way to go. Being able to pop in a 955 BE is a great, cheap upgrade path.

The case, psu combo I posted definitely gets my vote for your needs. I have the lancool with the XFX 750w, and I could not be happier.

In terms of running SC2 @ max, it would depend on your resolution. This will probably help you out:

http://www.techspot.com/review/305-starcraft2-performan...
September 2, 2010 9:25:02 PM

Thank you for the replies.
Question!! Have you ever done the newegg 6 month pay later thing? If so, are there any problems with it? And, is there a way I can see if I qualify without actually buying the items?
September 3, 2010 1:01:08 AM

I've never used it. I would assume you can get approval before you order. Doing it otherwise doesn't make sense.
September 3, 2010 3:08:03 AM

Boomer Jetson said:


The budget is supposed to be $500, but I don't want to get the computer built and then realize that it can't run all the games I want. The two games on my mind are Starcraft 2 and Empire: Total War. I want to be able to run both of those games on the highest settings without any lag or performance issue.


No worries the AM3/T Series Biostars have established themselves as low cost OC/Unlock boards and mostly peeps who have no real experience building with brands outside their comfort zones are ignorant of this :lol: 
http://67.90.82.13/forums/showthread.php?t=245020
September 3, 2010 6:35:19 AM

Thanks again for the replies.

@batuchka I don't know anything about OCing. Plus, I'm afraid to because I don't want to mess something up or fry my parts. I'd have to come back and ask for step by step instructions or something.
September 3, 2010 7:02:28 AM

No worries stock is fine as well but seriously for $500ish the worst thing to do since u dun even OC even is to settle for inferior gaming performance going from a GTX 460 to a HD 5770 @@
September 3, 2010 12:24:26 PM

^Except that the 460 isn't in budget. The 5770 is at least close. Also, given that the AM3 socket is really the only chioce, you don't even have the option to add a second 460, which is only when the card really reaches it's potential.
September 3, 2010 2:39:16 PM

Considering TS original build @ $522 was with just a HD 4670, a GTX 460 in a config around the same budget range is what i call a hell a lot of progress ^^ CF/SLI @ this budget is just wrong and best solution is to get the best frames from a single GPU TS budget allows ^^
September 3, 2010 2:54:07 PM

It's not wrong to include the ability to Crossfire. In fact, it would be wrong to not include it.

I'm failing to see how putting a 460 in the OP's original build (already overbudget with a $73 GPU) would be "close" to budget when it costs $130 more than that. With the original build, the total with a 460 (the small one at that) would be $650, $150 over budget. With the 5770 (in the build I posted, with no Crossfire option), the total would be $508, only $8 over budget. With the 460, it'd be $578, or $78 over budget. How is the 460 "close" to being in budget?

If you include the Crossfire option, the total with the 5770 is $545 (ASRock 870), or at most $560 (Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4). That's still under what it would cost to get a single 460 WITH NO OPTION TO SLI. At that point, you'd be paying more for similar performance now AND no cheap upgrade path. How exactly is that a good idea?

There is no argument in support of the 460. It's over budget, doesn't offer an upgrade path and won't actually perform much better. Both the 5770 and 460 are too weak to really game at 1080p, and both are powerful enough to play at resolutions under that. Why pay a good $70-100 more for the 460 when you don't get anything for it?
September 3, 2010 2:59:56 PM

Technically speaking $501 is still over budget as per thread title (and TS settled with a opening $522 build) since u brought it up and i fail to see why u keep skirting the issue of the GTX 460 being far better at games over a HD 5770 and my $546 before rebate config is just a $38 top up from your $508 config and definitely GTX 460 768 over the HD 5770 at Full HD With single GPU solutions just swap card as per needs/games of tomorrow As said : best frames with single GPU rather than settle for inferior gaming performance with budget rigs
September 3, 2010 3:08:47 PM

I agree $50 is over budget, but that's not what I was suggesting for $500. That's if the OP was willing to spend more for some upgrade potential.

I haven't been skirting it. I've said it a couple of times. The 460 is better than the 5770, but not enough to really play games well at 1080p. Neither card plays well at higher resolutions, and both play everything at lower resolutions. Where's the difference other than in price?

It's the same issue that the HD 5830 had. It was too expensive to recommend for lower budgets and lower resolutions and too weak for higher resolutions. I really don't see why the 460 is getting so many recommendations. It's nVidia's 5830, just with a little extra power in SLI. Even then, a single larger card (i.e. the 5870 or 5970) is a better choice to maintain the upgrade path.

The 460 is definitely better in SLI, but you can't do SLI with most AMD boards. That means you can't get the full potential out of it, which greatly diminishes it's value.

As for trhe 460 being better than the 5770 at 1080p, that may be true, but you're STILL not able to play games. If I was spending $550, I'd get the Crossfire 5770 build (it was $545 remember). That would allow you to invest a bit more into the build later and get a second 5770. That would absolutely crush the 460 at any resolution.

The argument really isn't a single 460 vs. a single 5770. Neither of those plays at higher resolutions. The argument is really a single 460 vs. dual 5770s. I know which one I would take, but I like to get the most for my money.
September 3, 2010 3:14:13 PM

Err which benches u looking at - Full HD + 8 x AA? Given budget and max frames one could eek out with configs such as this i would advise GTX 460 and go easy on AA if Full HD was on the table. I am of the 'best frames' now rather than build castles in the air especially for budget rigs
September 3, 2010 3:23:21 PM

I'm looking at the benchmarks in the charts section at 1920x1200 with 4x AA. They don't do 1080p, but that's close enough.

The only games that are playable (40+ FPS on average) with the 460 768MB at those settings are Supreme Commander, L4D, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect. With those games, both the 5770 and 460 achieve FPS that are essentially maxed out for most monitors (60+ FPS). Of course, those aren't the most intensive games, but it gives a fair picture. If you turn the details up or play something more intense, neither will be playable.

It's fine if you want to give incomplete advice. I go with what gives you great performance for the price now and can easily be upgraded to get the best performance later.
September 3, 2010 5:44:57 PM

On a graphics card with under 1GB, AA has a substantial impact on performance.

Anandtech has an interesting new benchmark feature. The 460 (768) beats the 5770 pretty soundly (it should because of the price difference) and is playable at 1920x1200 in most games. (BFBC2, HAWKX, Battleforge, Mass Effect2)
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/172?vs=156

It isnt like a card is either great or unplayable at 1920x1080. Even if both the 460 and 5770 are a bit weak at that resolution, you turn off less eye-candy to get playable frame rates if you have a 460. Thats worth something.
September 4, 2010 3:42:48 PM

Thank you so much for the replies.

Okay, so let me understand some things...

Between MadAdmiral and batuchka, some people may see this exchange as a fight, HOWEVER, I see it as a constructive argument/debate. I love it! Regardless of who is right or wrong, this kind of conversation is what I need right now. Thank you both for challenging and questioning each other.

Now, my interest is more in a card that can play Starcraft 2 and Empire: Total War at the highest settings. AND, that card needs to have a great upgrade path for future purchases.

@MadAdmiral, I was unaware that some MOBOs can't use SLI/CF. On the second build that I posted, does my MOBO support both for great future upgrades?

---

While my budget is $500, I wouldn't mind if you went $100 over budget. BUT, no more than that. So, $600 MAXIMUM, but I'd prefer less. I just don't want to save a few extra dollars, but then spend it a couple months later because some of my parts aren't performing up to snuff.
September 4, 2010 7:31:55 PM

The second board supports Crossfire only, like the majority of AMD boards. There are very few AMD boards that support SLI, which makes it hard to recommend a nVidia card for that reason.
September 4, 2010 9:26:36 PM

What is SLI? And what are its benefits?
September 5, 2010 1:14:12 AM

SLI is nVidia's Crossfire. It's the same thing (using two cards as one bigger one), just the two companies call it something different.

Generally, SLI gets a little better percentage performance gain (scaling) than Crossfire, but it's pretty close.
September 5, 2010 5:17:00 AM

If u want a fast boot drive V.Raptors or any mechanical Hdds for $140 for that matter sin't worth it when u could nab a 60GB Sandfoce based SSD for that kind of $$ @@
September 5, 2010 5:26:29 AM

So what is the bottom line with SSD? Is it better for gaming? I don't put any pictures or movies or music on my computer anyhow.
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