Building a new budget gaming system

Approximate Purchase Date: this week most likely (would it be better to wait a little?)

Budget Range: I would say around $500 for the parts I need

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming(WoW, Call of Duty, TF2), browsing the internet, watching movies

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, cd-drive, case
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (or any comparable site)

Country of Origin: Chicago, USA

Parts Preferences: Here are the parts I am currently considering :
ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

EVGA 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache

Overclocking: Maybe(I do some mild overclocking)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe(in the future, would like to be able to add another card)

Monitor Resolution: (Usually play something at around 1280x1024, not opposed to higher resolutions but my current card can't really handle higher too well)

Additional Comments: I am trying to build a decent budget gaming system for Cataclysm and CoD:Black Ops. Currently my system is somewhat behind and I'm just trying to throw a few upgrades into it for a decent performance boost. Looking for something that will play those games very well as well as being able to adapt for future games(maybe getting another card for SLI). Don't really want to go over $500 for these parts so looking to find the best I can in that price range.

Mostly want a system that will play Black Ops well since that is the more demanding of the games I play.

Currently my system uses Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 and an X1950XT video card (both overclocked) along with Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 and EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard so any upgrade right now would be pretty decent.
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More about building budget gaming system
  1. get lower frequency RAM with tighter (lower) Cas. works better on AMD

    get an AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, raise the multiplier 1 and your at 965 Clock speed. and saves money

    EDIT : NVM the ram part didn't notice yours was Cas 7. If you want to spend that much go ahead.
    I suggest dropping to DDR3 1333 & Amd phenom II X4 955 BE
    using the money you save to get the 1GB gtx 460.
  2. What RAM would you recommend for the parts I have?
    How well would the AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE (and 965) stand up for future games?
  3. this is the ram I'm getting didnt think it was worth the money for any tighter timings.

    and they should be fine for a while.
  4. GPU's are just what need to be upgraded every few years.
  5. With unlocked multipliers, you don't really need an AMD 965; the AMD 955 can "become" an AMD 965 by changing the multiplier to 17x or even an AMD 970 with a 17.5x multiplier.

    AMD 955 BE and CM Hyper 212+ $177.98

    At your resolution, you don't really need anything better than an HD 4650/GT240/9600GT to play games at max settings. Find out what the native resolution of your monitor is and we can recommend a more suitable GPU for it. If you plan to upgrade to 1080p, the GTX 460 768mb will be fine but I would recommend going with the HD 6850 for only $30 more which is slightly cheaper than the GTX 460 1gb with slightly better performance.

    ASRock 870 Extreme3 and Sapphire HD 6850 $289.98 after $20 mail-in rebate

    ASRock 870 Extreme3 and XFX HD 6850 $299.98 after $30 mail-in rebate
  6. Those two links are actually with the 5850 card.

    Native resolution for my monitor seems to be 1440x900
  7. Not sure if I would be upgrading my monitor anytime soon. Would that hold back my video card? Would a monitor upgrade be needed to make use of any of these cards? What about for future games?
  8. Best answer
    Well, to put it simple, yes your monitor would be holding back the video card from performing to it's fullest potential. At that resolution, that GPU is absolutely overkill, even for future games.

    Most games right now are designed to be ran on 1680x1050, 1920x1200 or 2560x1600 natively which is why you see all the reviews based on these three resolutions. People get strong GPUs so they can have acceptable frames per minute (morethan 40) in games with high to max settings at these resolutions which are native to their monitors. At your resolution, this can easily be achieved with a budget gaming GPU/mid-ranged GPU and getting anything better than this would not noticeably improve performance much for you while costing much more than what you actually need to pay.

    This is why I said if you plan to upgrade your resolution any time soon I would say go ahead with this card then. If it's going to be some time down the line, then you should be fine with a weaker card because it will still be able to play at higher resolutions just at reduced settings (low to medium).

    You really only need something along the lines of 9600 GT, GT 240 (GDDR5) or HD 5570 (GDDR5) to max out or get close to max settings with acceptable fps at your resolution. FYI, anything above 20 fps is playable, above 40 is acceptable, more than 40 is only slight improvements but not worth the premium unless you can afford it.
  9. So sorry to keep asking, what would be a good gaming monitor that would last me for a couple years?
    What resolution would be a good aim for with the cards in my price range?
    I actually haven't shopped for a monitor in years and so have no idea how the various parameters affect performance in games, etc.

    This is my current monitor...quite old I know.
  10. if your buying a monitor u want 1080p so any monitor with 1920x1080 resolution just pick a size that you want

    if you do that get a radeon 6850 you wont be dissapointed
  11. Most monitors nowadays are as jasonp12 said although there are a couple at 1920x1200 but with a premium. Up to you if you think it's really worth the price for those extra pixels.

    Lets see.. a 19-20" one should be around $130, 21-22" around $160, 23 around $190, 24" around $220.

    Anything under 10ms is fine for gaming. You will want DVI over D-SUB because most high end GPUs run DVI only. HDMI is an option. LED backlit is usually about $30 more than the normal.

    Asus, Acer, LG, Viewsonic, Samsung, Hanns-G, HP, Dell is my order of preference.

    I have the Asus VH242H if it helps any. Paid $160 for it about 2 months ago, was on sale.
  12. So with that in mind and upgrading my monitor in the near future, should I still go with the 460gtx 768mb or go with the 6850 (or upgrade to the 460gtx 1gb)?

    Ohh and about the earlier comment about the ram. I saw somewhere else that the motherboard works better with DDR3 1333 RAM. Would something like this be more suited for it?
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
  13. the 6850 is the best card of the 3 you listed get the 6850 its amazing for its price
  14. If you're gonig to upgrade your monitor in the near future, I second the HD 6850. It's a little cheaper than the GTX 460 1GB and slightly better.

    Regarding the RAM, its not that the motherboard works better with DDR3 1333 RAM, it supports DDR3 1600 fine but would require an OC. AMD systems prefer tighter timings while Intel systems prefer higher clock frequencies. Regardless, people can't notice any improvements above DDR3 1333 cas 9 RAM but benchmarks can.
  15. Best answer selected by genjaguar.
  16. On newegg currently...the choices are XFX and MSI. What would be the recommended card?

    Also not sure why but the MSI says it's core speed is 725 while the others have that a misprint?
  17. genjaguar said:
    On newegg currently...the choices are XFX and MSI. What would be the recommended card?

    Also not sure why but the MSI says it's core speed is 725 while the others have that a misprint?

    I believe it is.
    But I'd go XFX either way.
  18. The 6850s actually went up to $200. Was wondering since the 460gtx 1gb is about the same...wouldn't this with the rebate be a better deal?
  19. 460 gtx 1gb is slightly better than the 6850. and gtx 470 is slightly better than the 6870.
    so yes thats an amazing deal.
  20. Thanks for the help. I managed to snag the card for $160(Counting the 10% off promo and the rebate).
    The only thing that slightly confused me is all the different versions EVGA has of the 1GB card.
    I grabbed the 1370-TR
    but there's also the 1371-TR (it was actually at $190 after rebate yesterday...not sure why it's so high now)
  21. not sure, the only thing I see is that they look different..
  22. Even numbered models have a standard fan, odd numbered ones have a blower type. The higher the model number, the higher the factory overclock but only in sets, eg. 1370 and 1371 are same clock, 1372 and 1373 are same clock. TR have a 2yr limited warranty, AR have a lifetime limited warranty.

    The prices of lower clocked ones are usually lower than higher clocked ones but newegg always has deals going on as well as rebates which may drop the price of a higher clock model to cheaper than a lower clock one.

    Since they all OC so well it doesn't make sense to pay the premium for a factory overclock when you can do it yourself but some people are hesitant to do this and prefer the factory OC over doing it themselves.
  23. Thank you for all the answers
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