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Gaming capable PC for $1400-1600 NZ - help appreciated!

Last response: in Systems
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September 5, 2010 2:47:53 AM

Hi all,

I'm attempting to build a gaming-oriented PC for the first time and I'd really appreciate any advice that people here can give me. I live in New Zealand, so unfortunately the prices for components are higher and the range is less extensive than in the US.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Between now and the end of the year.

BUDGET RANGE: $1400-1600 New Zealand dollars before rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, web browsing, watching movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Optical drive, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers/headphones.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: playtech.co.nz, computerlounge.co.nz, pbtech.co.nz.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: New Zealand.

PARTS PREFERENCES: None, my only concern is budget.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably not.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I can afford a bit more in the budget if needs be, but I'd like to keep the total cost down if possible. On the other hand, if people think I'm spending too much on any part I'd appreciate advice on that.

I’ll need to add some sort of wireless adaptor, which I’ve allocated $60 for. If possible I’d like a fairly understated PC case - I’m not really a fan of side windows, lights etc. Air filters in the case would be nice too - I'd rather not have the case interior fill up with cat fur...

Games I'm interested in playing include Starcraft II, Civilization V, Left 4 Dead 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II (when it comes out).

Here is my extremely tentative build so far:

Antec Three Hundred case - $109
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=182/ID=25...

Gigabytye GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard - $229
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=261/ID=13...

AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus 2.9GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - $169
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=187/ID=13...

Sapphire 11132-51-20R Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Support - $219
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=300/ID=14...

G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB kit (2GB x 2) DDR3-1333 (PC-10666) CL8-8-8-21 MEMORY F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - $199
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=254/ID=66...

Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATA II 7200RPM 32MB OEM - $99.99
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=235/ID=66...

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 460W ATX12V Power Supply Retail - $79.00
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=276/ID=42...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit DVD-Rom OEM - $189.00
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=113/ID=68...

Wireless adapter (not sure on the make yet) - $60

Miscellaneous costs - $50

Total so far - $1400 NZ dollars approx

Thanks a lot!

September 14, 2010 10:17:04 PM

Sorry, converting to NZ $ is so hard. That is probably why you have not received a reply until now. Anyone out there in New Zealand to pick up these requests? Hope I am not too late.

Your build has a nice balance for gaming. The only thing that really stands out is that your power supply is overrated. No really, you probably won't get 460 watts from it. Here is an Antec for only a few extra dollars ($10 more for $89 total):
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=534/ID=14...

Earthwatts is a brand I am familiar with, and jonnyGURU likes it. Definitely would not hurt to spend $135 instead:
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=534/ID=14...
If you want to run Cross Fire in the future (it could happen) then go with this upgrade.

I heartely suggest improving your graphics to an HD 5770 or 5830:
Here is the Gigabyte 5770 for $40 more:
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=/ID=14042...
Here is a gigabyte 5830 for $120 more:
http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=/ID=13668...


Now for overclocking. It is so easy these days. The AMD stock heatsink is lacking - you can read any article you like. Consider this scythe Mugen for $89: http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentvie...

Let's recap:
1) Upgrade the PSU to the nice Earthwatts. Plus $55
2) That 5830 Graphics card will future proof you, and give you a big boost in your game quality. Plus $120
3) Heatsink for $90

Oh my, I've spent more than the $200 cushion, haven't I? Ok , don't get the chiller.

September 14, 2010 11:37:32 PM

Wow, thanks for your reply, eloric - at this stage I honestly wasn't expecting to get any...

I haven't started the build yet so I will probably follow your suggestions and incorporate the new power supply and 5830 you recommend (the $200 extra wasn't an absolute limit anyway, and I'm happy to spend a bit more if it will future proof the system).

I wasn't keen on overclocking because with my lack of experience with building PCs I felt a bit jittery about having to install a third party cooler and manage the extra heat within the case, not to mention the prospect of damaging parts if I mess up. I may have another look at this option though.

Thanks again - I really do appreciate the help.
September 15, 2010 12:20:05 AM

You are most welcome, aj. The cooler will actually take away the heat better. Good Luck!
!