Cheap, But effective 550USD build


BUDGET RANGE: 400-600 USD Not factoring in rebates.(They don’t always work)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Homework, web-surfing, watching movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, keyboard, speakers, PSU (OCZ Fatal1ty 550w), mouse , Video Card, optical drive (Maybe)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Tiger direct, Amazon.


PARTS PREFERENCES: Not too many preferences besides the cheap AMD Althlon x4



MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024, but an upgrade is possible in the future

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would prefer a LED on the case and 2 PCIE 2.0 slots on the mobo(Crossfire>SLi). I want to be cheap, but I don’t want a piece of crap. I want something to last me 5-7 years.

So far I have a rough draft of this build. Its my first build, but I’m not a noob at this stuff… I am a wise fool (Sophomore if you will :P). I have experience messing with my current gt5670, upgrading the graphics card, PSU, ect. This can’t be too much Harder. (Gonna use this,0
as a guide though, along with a few other articles)

Here is the list:

CPU: AMD Althlon x4 640

Mobo: MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB

Memory: PNY Optima 4GB

Chassis: HAF 922
Guardian 921
(I’m leaning more towards the HAF 922)

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM

I just realized I forgot to put the prices on there :whistle: ….
it ends up being 545 USD without shipping or rebates. Also the optical drive I am debating on replacing or not is some Labelflash DVD-rw that works fine and came with my gateway 5670.

Thanks in advance!
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about cheap effective 550usd build
  1. Why the caviar green,

    get the Spinpoint F3 1tb
  2. CPU: AMD Althlon x4 640 [...] -_-Product

    Mobo: MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard [...] 6813130275

    Hard Drive: Spinpoint F3 1tb
    Memory: G.skill's [...] -_-Product

    Chassis: HAF 922 [...] -_-Product
    Guardian 921 [...] dian%20921
    (I’m leaning more towards the HAF 922)
    or HAF 912

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM

    I already have a video-card (5750 I got for cheap off eBay last week). Would the HAF 912 be big enough/fit a 5970? Just in case I upgrade soon. Is the Mobo any good or are there any better ones? I heard that Gigabyte is better for Mobos. If there is a better case than what I have listed,tell me. Those are the top ones that I found.

    Okay now help me more, Tech Wizards!
  3. I would get the NZXT Lexa S as the HAF 922 looks like *** in my opinion, just a thought

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB 7200 RPM...
  4. The Lexa is smaller and has bad heating for the mobo, but looks kick-ass.

    The HAF 922 is almost a full tower, and has better cooling, but doesn't look sexy.

    The Guardian 921 looks like a Halo Spartan (Kinda), Has pretty good cooling, but lacks good cable management, and may not fit a few processor coolers.

    Help me decide the case :??: .(And maybe another mobo if that one isn't good)
  5. Also, if I decide to get an optical drive, which one?
  6. If you go with the AMD 640 make sure to get ram with CAS Latency 7 as that cpu does not have L3 Cache
  7. if its for gaming a phenom ii x2 555 will work better cause it has cache l3... and if u want more cores u can unlock 2 cores with ur mobo... so u better get a phenom ii x2 555... and with that budget i will not spend that much on a case... u can stay with ur optical...
  8. CPU: $75 Athlon II X3 440
    MBO: $90 ASRock 870 (el cheapo, but good reviews and lots of extra goop)
    RAM: $97 GSkill 2x2GB Ripjaws 1600 CL7
    HDD: $75 Spinpoint f3 (or 7200.12)
    O/S: $99 windows 7 64 bit HP
    CASE: $~100 The ones you are looking at... suggestion: go into a store near you and actually look at/inside them

    Total: $536 Before tax (Free shipping though)

    edit: forgot the OS so went from 955 to rana and added win 7

    (Note the two links for the HDDs cause that is how I roll [crosses fingers that the links actually work])

    Later when you get enough money you can even throw in that 5970 you were talking about and then change some a much nicer monitor (ie. 1920x1200 resolution)
  9. In all honesty, I cannot go out and see the cases because the only computer store in my area is one measly Best Buy. Best Buy has a very limited case selection.

    I think that in a few years more games will use 4 cores so Im staying with that.
    That Mobo is only 10 bucks cheaper and looks worse(Not just looks but it looks like it will perform worse)

    Help this wise fool.... :??:

    EDIT: To add to my list of cases to choose from, is the NXZT Apollo any good?

    Case list (lol)

    HAF 922
    HAF 912
    NXZT Apollo
    Guardian 921
  10. NZXT M59 is only $50 do you think it would hold beefy cards like the HAF 922 would?
  11. haf 912 will do the job right....
  12. Best answer
    Didn't go with MSI because I have a personal vendetta with their motherboards (also with Biostar!!)
    But if you like them, how about...

    CPU: $155 P2X4 955 BE
    MBO: $100 MSI 870A-G54
    RAM: $97 GSkill 2x2GB Ripjaws 1600 CL7
    HDD: $75 Spinpoint f3
    O/S: $99 windows 7 64 bit HP
    CASE: $60 CM HAF 912

    Total: $586

    Still below the max of 600 and is pretty much getting the best in all categories.

    Also, the NZXT M59 will fit the 5870, but I don't think it will fit the 5970.
    Can drop the 1TB to a 500GB HDD for a savings of like $20 if you don't need that much space.
  13. I have a 320 GB hard-drive now and its waaaaaaayyy too thin. beerhelmet, you have been the most help and so Im gonna select you as the best answer. Some of the things I might skimp on ($155 CPU to a $100 one) and I might get the HAF 922, but who knows. I'll make another thread about this when Im really close to ordering them. (Last minute panic lawl)

    Thank you all! :D

    (For my first post I have noticed this forum is very friendly)
  14. Best answer selected by Bravehead.
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