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Extreme budget first-person shooter build

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November 28, 2010 3:17:08 PM

I'm in college and I have a macbook that is strictly for school work and projects. I used to have a gaming PC that was pretty nice and a homebuild back at home and I'm starting to miss it.

Since I already have a laptop for school, I will be using this PC strictly for running OLD FPS GAMES and EMULATORS. I do NOT run games like Crysis. I run games like Crossfire and Counter Strike 1.6 and Source.

I will need all hardware. I'm starting from scratch so a cheap monitor and keyboard will suffice (I have a copy of Windows XP).

Because of the spacial constraints of a typical dorm, I will need the case to be small and the monitor will also need to have a small footprint.

My budget is about $500. All will be purchased from Newegg (USA). I am hoping for a small, quiet, FPS machine.

Thank you for your input and time!
November 28, 2010 4:42:35 PM

Lessee ...
Going smaller than a mid-tower complicates your choices for PSUs and Discreet graphics cards, not to mention possible cooling and RAM/cooler clearance issues. I would hope that a standard mid-tower, under the desk, would not cramp your style, too much.
So ... I'm just going to spec a standard fps, on the low end, and not cheap out so bad that you would feel it in the next few years. Something that would last 'till you graduate and would be easy to upgrade, if need be.

I'm going to say a Socket AM3 *standard* ATX mobo ... An Athlon II x4 @ 3.0GHz ... And 4GB (2x2) of G.SKILL 1600c7 eco-ram ... a sub-$50 120mm cooler ... uhm ... A 5750 GPU (stretch for a 5770 if u can) ... A CORSAIR or Antec PSU at 550W~650W ... Two 500GB SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 drives and a $22 DVDR (SONY OR SAMSUNG).

I might throw some links, later ... pretty lazy.

= Al =
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November 28, 2010 4:57:01 PM

I'm a college student, so I understand the laziness.

I have a coolermaster case at home and it is much bigger than I thought it would be. The reason it isn't at college is because of the size. A small mid tower would be fine. I'm looking to build something that will give me more possibilities for the money rather than a PS3... Cause otherwise I'll just buy a PS3 haha.

The biggest thing is that:
I can get 80+ FPS in low-grade shooters
Fits in the dorm
Comes in under 400-500$ WITH MONITOR (it can be a crappy monitor...)
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Related resources
November 28, 2010 5:08:09 PM


Karma's build looks good ... You can get an Athlon-II x4 @ 3.0GHz for $100 (I would).

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November 28, 2010 5:26:30 PM

Budget is extemely important. This PC won't be used for anything except wrecking people in first person shooters (in low detail).

Pretty much attempting to build a small PC that is a gaming system.

This is the case at home: Cooler Master 690 II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And it is way too big. I do like your build though.

What would you guys change about this build?
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-build-a-p...

I would probably try and balance the budget to get 4 gigs of RAM in the SBM build, but I'm unsure of where I could find the wiggle room for that purchase in that build.
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November 28, 2010 5:57:09 PM

COOLER MASTER Centurion 541 RC-541-SKN1 Black Aluminum bezel, SECC chassis MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 5/5(262 reviews) Now: $54.99

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

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard 4/5(1,012 reviews) In stock. Was: $84.99Now: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX 5/5(171 reviews) Now: $74.99

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


Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply Was: $89.99Now: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996586 5/5(15 reviews) Now: $49.99
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November 28, 2010 5:59:52 PM

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

So ... Are we getting warmer???

That was a mini-tower ... half the size of a mid-tower .... takes a regular PSU and a MATX mobo ...

... I would NOT go with a cheaper PSU ... REALLY! ... Check the mobo specs against the RAM but I'm sure this will fly.

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November 28, 2010 6:06:39 PM

I know integrated graphics performance is not as great as discrete. But, I'm unsure how great the gap between them is.

What's the best bang-for-your-buck graphics card under $100? Or, do you think those integrated graphics can handle low quality shooters?
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November 28, 2010 6:18:28 PM

Nope ... you are going to need a 5750 ... period.

You can get a 250GT or a 5670, and eek by.

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November 28, 2010 6:22:08 PM

PS ... you pay nothing for integrated graphics but very few gamers use/enable the /iGP ... almost all MATX mobos come with IGP ... good to have, if you ever re-task the sys or GPU ... good for troubleshooting and very simple games, HTPC, etc.

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November 29, 2010 4:53:49 AM

Alvin Smith said:


GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard 4/5(1,012 reviews) In stock. Was: $84.99Now: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996586 5/5(15 reviews) Now: $49.99


Negative: AM2+ with DDR2 DIMM slots for RAM mobo incompatible with DDR3 RAMs
Quote:
Memory
Number of Memory Slots
4×240pin
Memory Standard
DDR2 1200 (OC) / 1066 /800 / 667

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November 29, 2010 3:51:47 PM

@Bat,

I can afford to be sloppy, with sharp kitties, such as yourself, around, but yaz coulda also thrown a link for the right sticks.

= ?? = ( slob )
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November 29, 2010 3:53:05 PM

I thot AM3 implied DDR3x240p
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November 29, 2010 7:46:28 PM

this build down to basics.

Here is a build that no only can do your old school FPS, but can run modern games as well:, its a little over budget at $511.92.

AMD Athlon II X3 445 and AS Rock 770 Mobo: $123.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
the triple core is a great choice for your older games, while still enough muscle to run modern games.

500 GB Seagate HDD: $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung 22x DVD Burner: $16.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-OWR460 Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case RS-460-PSAR-J3, Elite 460W Power Supply : $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hanns-G 18.5" 1366x768 Monitor: $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
small screen, but it will do the trick.

ECS GTS 450 1 GB Video card: $114.99 w/ $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill EK-200 Keyboard $6.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

X-Gene 800dpi mouse: $3.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM: $49.99 w/$10 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $506.91, $476.91 after rebates

you can save a bunch on shipping by buying a keyboard and mouse locally instead of these, but they should be typical prices for a local mouse/keyboard
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November 29, 2010 9:04:55 PM

Why are you guys using Tri-cores and GTS450s for source and emulators? A dual core+mid-range GPU will do fine. At that resolution, the GTS450/5750 can even run Metro with nice settings.

Heres a (relatively) tiny build for the cheap.

Rosewill slim uATX case: $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Athlon X2 250 $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Biostar AM3 board $38
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin 4GB DDR3 $50/$40AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate 500GB HDD $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sony DVD Burner: $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 5570 $70/$55AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i-rocks keybrad: $13
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse $10
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hanns-G 18inch Monitor $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $430/$405AR
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November 29, 2010 10:00:46 PM

I like the squirrel build better ... College lasts 4 years (if you don't play too many games and drop out). I would hardly call a fast tri-core over-kill.

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November 29, 2010 10:13:40 PM

Alvin Smith said:
I like the squirrel build better ... College lasts 4 years (if you don't play too many games and drop out). I would hardly call a fast tri-core over-kill.

Tri-core isn't "overkill", but since for for his needs a dual core would be enough, a cool and energy efficient Dual-core CPU stuffed in a little case (rather than a full ATX tower) might just be better considering his size limitations.

Its up to him to decide though. :kaola:  Maybe skipping the tri-core and nicer GPU might just result in his timely graduation.
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November 29, 2010 10:43:52 PM

Well he did say "Extreme Budget" ... maybe, he really did mean that.

I believe there is a point (in cheaping out) that you actually "shoot your foot off" .

The world's landfills are full of under-built PCs that met a too-early demise.

Heck, with "The New Global Literacy of Multimedia Communications" ... It is hard to imagine a dorm PC as not being used to rip-burn-transcode and "surf-while".

My kid is going into kollidge next year and she needs a new puter now ... A 440 is the least I would consider, for her dorm-kit, and she does not even game.

This is more of a philosophical debate, tho. "Throw-Away" solutions *can* be best.

= touche' = (pr. "tooshie").
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November 29, 2010 11:12:38 PM

Alvin Smith said:
Well he did say "Extreme Budget" ... maybe, he really did mean that.

I believe there is a point (in cheaping out) that you actually "shoot your foot off" .

The world's landfills are full of under-built PCs that met a too-early demise.

Heck, with "The New Global Literacy of Multimedia Communications" ... It is hard to imagine a dorm PC as not being used to rip-burn-transcode and "surf-while".

My kid is going into kollidge next year and she needs a new puter now ... A 440 is the least I would consider, for her dorm-kit, and she does not even game.

This is more of a philosophical debate, tho. "Throw-Away" solutions *can* be best.

= touche' = (pr. "tooshie").

Since you're going this route.

First of all, remember this is a secondary machine as he has a trusty old macbook for his everyday activities. Then, for the needs he stated the dual core setup will actually be already slightly over-qualified as source games on 1366*768 can be actually passable with a IGP, so the 440 will not fare any better.

Even in the case that he ever wants to do some more extreme gaming/number crunching, the most environmentally friendly solution will be using his existing rig he has back home, as neither the 440 nor the 250 will satisfy his needs and he definitely will need a better CPU. So as a result of the 440s higher TDP, he will waste roughly ~40KWh of electricity per year it is used(4 hours a day, 300 days/year), without factoring in the increased A/C costs due to a warm room.

Besides, this build is definitely not "under-built" for 75% of the population. Even for an enthusiast, it wont go to waste in the next few years, as it could live a happy new life in a TV cabinet as a nice litter streamer/HTPC.

XD
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December 2, 2010 1:59:45 AM

Wow! This all looks great. I'm going to take some time tomorrow and comb through all of this and do some deep thinking of what I really need and can afford.

Thanks!
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December 2, 2010 4:08:12 AM

If you have a microcenter nearby, run in there many great deals, like now, you can grab an athlon II x4 and get an msi board for like 12.99. Also, lets be real guys, a 5750? Good choice, but a 4670 will fit the budget a lot better and give him a bit of good gaming, my old 9600 gt gives about the same performance and runs most things just fine, may have to turn details down sometimes or turn down AA sometimes but cmon he can always upgrade. Power supply, not what everyone will say, but there is a 460 watt cooler master in microcenter for 27.99 i would think newegg has it too. Its not your best top of the line unit, however you are trying to save money, and this helps, but does have 2 12 v+ rails at 18 amps each, and seems to have decent weight, cut the psu cost in half, it should power fine, i would not run sli on it, but should power a single card rig no problem, u can always put another in later. I think you grab that psu, 4 gb ram, and a 4670, you will love your computer. I like the quad better bc you are more future proofed, you want more power next year, grab a new power supply and a 5850 or 460, whatever way you want.
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December 2, 2010 4:49:58 PM

I'll just say that it is not possible to manufacture a safe PSU for under $45 ...
Don't put your entire dorm in danger.

I ain't being a hissy, about this ... I used to be on the other side of this argument but ... There have been MANY threads on this subject and every tech that I respect agrees that PSU is NOT the place to shave cost ... ever.

I won't argue, at this point ... been there ... done that.

"We" *did* warn you.

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December 2, 2010 7:28:45 PM

Yes, I did mean "exteme budget". The only purpose of this machine will be to do the things that my Macbook is incapable of doing (gaming).

I'm just a college kid who misses his old military-style, search and destroy shooters. I just need cheap, small, PC that is able to achieve 80+fps on a relatively low resolution monitor.

I wouldn't buy a PSU that does not have a good reputation. As for it lasting me the next 4 years? I'd prefer something that has a little upgrade-ability for the next generation of military style shooters, but that's just a bonus.

Just askin' you pro's to find that thin line that borders on budget, reliability, and gaming. I need the cheapest components that fit my size and performance requirements. Pretty much a PC-gaming-console

If they do not exist: I'll go Xbox, Playstation route.

Thanks again!
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December 2, 2010 7:50:51 PM

the system I put out with the GTS 450 will be great for both old and new shooters. On the 1366x768 rez scree, the 450 can do Crysis at 40 fps.

It shoudl be an adequate gamer for 2 years at least.
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December 2, 2010 11:56:02 PM

I really don't know how a 450 compares to a 5670, in price or benches, but I was just going to summarize ...

A mini-tower case and a Micro-ATX mobo with an AM3 socket and a ~$75 tri-core with 4GB of either DDR2 or DDR3 (any speed) ... two 500GB drives and a decent PSU that can puch just that stuff. Salvage a DVD player and you are golden.

450? ... not sure ... I've been away since the 460 was intoduced.

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December 4, 2010 8:44:45 AM

The 450 I think is more along the lines of competition for the ATI 5750 to give perspective. Correct me if I'm wrong. On the power supply. Cooler Master is not the greatest, but you can do a lot worse. I've actually got my own computer business and the reason I suggested the 460 watt is because I have been looking at that for reselling to my customers, Cooler Master is not the best, but I doubt they are going to be junk. And he did specify "extreme budget" hence why I suggested this power supply. I believe however the power supply normally runs 45, but it was on sale. At least at Microcenter where I normally shop. Here is the power supply on newegg.

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

Video card, like I said, I would suggest grabbing the 4670.

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

Hard to argue with 65 dollar for performance roughly equal that of a 9600gt, or gt 240. Yes, not as fast the 450 and 460 cards, but still decent, and more than enough to play some things from the past and things coming up. Always upgradeable later. Between these 2 things, he could knock around 50 dollars from the budget without sacrificing too much quality.

I still do not agree with skimping on cpu. I say build a better base, with at least an Athlon II quad, 3-4 gb of ram, work your way up.

If you are concerned on the quality of the power supply I showed, grab this one.

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

Thermaltake TR2 500 watt, 2 12 volt rails, 25 amps on 1, 18 on another. And I don't think anyone here will argue that Thermaltake is known for good power supply units.

Or grab this one for not much more

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

Antec BP550 Plus, 3 12v+ rails, 2 at 22 amps, one at 25 amps. So that should be more than enough juice.
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December 4, 2010 2:25:01 PM

Yeah ... an Athlon-II quad, @~3GHz would be best, if you have the extra $25 USD.

.. But ... a tri-core would suffice (truly) and, with the right mobo, you could hold off, until you really NEED a CPU upgrd ... by then, you may opt for anything up to a 6-core Dozer ... or ... by then, a newer socket may be in order.

A tri-core and 4GB of cheapest DDR2 (any speed) would likely also mean a $75 mobo and a $45 PSU ... and, ... it ALL scales together and stuff adds up ...

My 480 Watt PSU limits almost every other aspect of my system ... As it stands, It can only push two GT240s (fanless) and an Athlon-II x4 ... But ... because of this, the cost of my box is several hundred dollars cheaper and, no, it won't run CS5 with MPE but, it will certainly edit nicely with Vegas Studio, Vegas Pro, Pinnacle LE, and like products ... surprise! ... Those products are less than 1/6th the cost of CS5 ! ...

... The moral is ... get just what you need, for what you are doing, now, and for the next 18~24 months ... USE THE HECK OUT OF IT and re-assess your needs, only when the "drag" becomes painful, or an obstacle to your goals.

But ... you are clearly committed to cheaping-out so, I don't need to twist your arm.

... Athlon-II Quads are fairly cheap, tho, and you will prolly extend your satisfaction by 6 months, if you go with a fourth core.

THE *MOST* important factor, for games, is cpu speed (at least 3GHz) and AT LEAST *two* cores ... plus the best GPU that does not out-strip your CPU. A fast tri-core and a 5670 sounds just right, to me. Slap on a couple of 500GB SpinPoints (or 7200.12s), and a salvaged DVD ...

... & yer READY TO GO !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xi8UJhL0D4

= Al =
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December 4, 2010 5:15:11 PM

Good way to put things Alvin. To the op, if you have a microcenter in your area, check there. They are always running deals like buy an athlon quad and get an msi board or similar for free, or for like 20 bucks, that may help you stretch the dollars, if you have to go cheap, a 4670 or 5670 should do fine. However if you do spend more, grab at least a gts 450 or an ati 5750. There are lots of options out there, but nail down what you really can spend. If you go for a ps3 that is a good choice as well, I have one and love mine, but find what your budget really tops at and we will all be glad to help.
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December 4, 2010 5:23:35 PM

Good way to put things Alvin. To the op, if you have a microcenter in your area, check there. They are always running deals like buy an athlon quad and get an msi board or similar for free, or for like 20 bucks, that may help you stretch the dollars, if you have to go cheap, a 4670 or 5670 should do fine. However if you do spend more, grab at least a gts 450 or an ati 5750. There are lots of options out there, but nail down what you really can spend. If you go for a ps3 that is a good choice as well, I have one and love mine, but find what your budget really tops at and we will all be glad to help.
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