~$500 bargain system review

After reading through A Guide to Choosing Computer Parts by Proximon and Recommended Builds by Usage by tecmo34, I've come up with what I feel is the best choice for me. It falls somewhere in between tecmo's bargain and budget builds, using components from both lists.

This is my first computer building experience, so I'd like to make sure some of the parts I substituted in are compatible. Also, are there any miscellaneous wires I should purchase?

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks

Budget Range: $500 - $550 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, internet, work(nothing more than Microsoft office)

Parts Not Required: Monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Anything deemed trustworthy

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, crossfire

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: I'm aiming for a computer that will be useful(even to play new games on minimal settings) for a couple of years. I don't plan on using crossfire as of now, but I'd like to have it as an option in the future.


AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W

HIS H485FM512H Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support

9 answers Last reply
More about bargain system review
  1. For budget gaming configs i would advise going for best frames/$$ rather than settling for less and planning for CF/SLI so if u agree:

  2. At a resolution of 1680x1050 you are better off getting a strong mid/high-range card such as a 6850 rather than messing around with 2 cards.

    Batuchka's build is very solid, however the HIS 6850 is out of stock so I'd recommend going with the following to stay under the budget.

  3. I agree with General M00n's modifications of Batuchka's build. The Seasonic PSU is more efficient. I much prefer your original mobo though, as it is considerably more future-resistant due to having USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/sec (although the latter seems unlikely to matter any time soon). Adding USB3.0 ports to a system is possible, but the expansion cards run another $25 and up.
    The HD4850 has been a nice card, but is getting a little long in the tooth.
    At your intended resolution, I will throw out two other cards for consideration. The HD5770 is a cheaper, sufficiently powerful AMD alternative to the HD6850. If any of your games (or other apps) use PhysX or CUDA for GPU processing, you'll want a nVidia card instead, such as a GTX460. I would choose a 1GB version, not so much for the added RAM (which you may not notice), but for the added bandwidth (256bit vs. 192bit).
    Other reasons for their suggestions: The Spinpoint F3 is faster than the F4, and although many people around here have recommended and are using them, I'm not seeing any complaints of drive failures. I believe the same could be said for the Seagate 7200.12 series.
    DDR3-1333 will be faster than DDR3-1066, and not notably more expensive any more.
  4. Well the CM extreme and to a certain extent GX series i would stay awat from but Johnny Guru has this to say for the Silent Pro 600
    Performance (40% of the final score) - the Coolermaster Silent Pro M 600W set out to kung fu its way to victory today, and for the most part did exactly that. It regulated exceptionally well for a group design, maintained some nice efficiency numbers, held up to 43 degree ambient temperatures, and kept the ripple way way down there with the best I've seen. The only time I really found a lot to complain about was in the overshoot transient testing, where the unit exhibited less than spectacular results, but even then it was in spec so I can't come down on it too hard. 9.

    Value (30% of the final score) - Provantage is offering this right now for $103.07. That's... uh... not quite what I was hoping to see on this unit, frankly. Think of it this way... you have a 600W modular unit for a hunnert smackers out there competing with the Corsair HX620, which is barely $15 more money. Think about that... 40A @ 12V for this one, 50A for that one. Group regulated here, indy regulated there. Sure, this unit is targeted at the silent crowd, but is it really going to be quieter than the Corsair? I have to wonder. 7.

    Now that we have the same PSU in a juicy combo i think the value scale of this one ramped up plus modularity = better cable management hence promoting better airflow

    For the GPU/Mobo suggestion i would disagree: no amount of 'future proof' tech on mobos would compensate for your games crawling faster due to compromising on an inferior GPU so for the $$ hit the best GPU for best (long term) results for your games ^^

    Lastly - yes i actually like the NZXT Beta EVO case just that the combo has an IDE ODD and thru my experience boot up times may be delayed due to such devices hehe
  5. I did not accuse that CM PSU of being poopy (I read that same review again yesterday I think), but just pointed out that the Seasonic (which is 80+ bronze, vs. 80+) will be more efficient. It depends on what matters. I like modular cables too.
  6. My bad on the ODD drive, i didn't notice it was IDE. [:mohsentux:5]
    In which case I'd go with the HEC combo as well.

    I also have to concede on the PSU point, the Cooler Master deal is quite good and the only thing I could find which came close was this:

    OCZ Fatal1ty 550W SLI Ready 80 PLUS Modular Active PFC Power Supply & OCZ Signature 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 RAM - $122 before $30 rebate

    2 +12V rails at 25A each vs a single 40A rail for the Cooler Master M600, however it is slightly cheaper plus you get $30 worth of rebates which is quite substantial.

    Thought it mostly comes down to if you value modular cabling vs 80 PLUS BRONZE efficiency as jtt283 said. I'm just trying to get all the options down on the table so we can figure out what the best deal is.

    Also, both video cards recommended are out of stock at the moment, the PowerColor 6850 has the shortest ETA currently.
  7. Ya and definitely huge gap between TS HD 4850 and any HD 6850 hehe
  8. Wow, I appreciate all the input guys. Very helpful. I believe batuchka's build is the best option for me, with a small change to the case + DVD burner combo.

    NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case & LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

    I'm also buying an extension cable, because of a lot of reviews suggesting that bottom mounted PSUs have trouble reaching the mother board. Does this sound about right?

    Athena Power 12" EPS (24Pin) connector Extension Cable Model Cable-AD08 - OEM
  9. Haha ya my other choice would have been M59 :P Happy shopping/building and cheers ^^
Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Systems Product