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Inexpensive gaming build $450 - $650

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December 8, 2010 6:26:43 AM

This will be my first build
Approximate Purchase Date: 20 - 40 days from today
Budget Range: $450 - $650 Before Rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, schoolwork, some photo editing, internet
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, (any money i have left over i might use to buy a new monitor)
Preferred Website for Parts: newegg
Country of Origin: USA
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (It'd be nice to leave crossfire open as an option in the future especially since i probably won't be splurging for a godswoody GPU this time around . . . )
Monitor Resolution: not really sure, sorry. maybe 1440x900? might be upgrading soon though


QUESTIONS: are all parts compatible? Will i be able to crossfire in the future with this board? is phenom 2 worth it over athlon 2 on a low price build like this? The parts i'm most unsure about are the MOBO, the power supply and the GPU.

below is the build i've been considering:

MOBO: ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: COOLMAX CA-450 450W ATX v2.0 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X3 740 Black Edition Heka 3.0GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200 500gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm still undecided on the GPU. What do you guys think about:

POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX5770 1GBD5-PPG Radeon HD 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ????

it's cheap and i kinda like that it comes with cod2 :)  is there a major difference between different brands? i read that i should go with a gigabyte 5770 but it's more expensive. are they more reliable? I'm also considering:

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would this be better than the 5770?

Thanks!
December 8, 2010 6:56:51 AM

Why the more expensive PSU? more reliable? And the HD? I'd always heard that seagate was the best company. Is it different now?

I play a lot of FPS's and some RTS's. I haven't been playing many games recently but i've been drooling over just cause 2 and mass effect 2 gameplay vids.
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December 8, 2010 7:56:16 AM

Err Coolmax not only makes less than solid PSUs they have also been spotted cheating!
Power Supplies With Fake 80 Plus Badges
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Power-Supplies-W...
Quote:

Coolmax ZP-750B: The manufacturer lists this model as having 80 Plus Bronze certification, but it doesn't.
Coolmax ZP-850B: The manufacturer lists this model as having 80 Plus Bronze certification, but it doesn't.
Coolmax ZP-1000B: The manufacturer lists this model as having 80 Plus Bronze certification, but it doesn't.


So @ $531AR
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December 8, 2010 8:08:11 AM

fatherhudson said:
Why the more expensive PSU? more reliable? And the HD? I'd always heard that seagate was the best company. Is it different now?

I play a lot of FPS's and some RTS's. I haven't been playing many games recently but i've been drooling over just cause 2 and mass effect 2 gameplay vids.


1.The PSU is extremely important and choosing one of lower quality can turn out really bad. The one I recommended is from one of the most trusted and reliable brands available. It should outlast any of the components you buy for your new build.

2. Seagate is good, but not the best. The Spinpoint F3 is the fastest drive around that price point.


Well you will have no problem playing those games with either of the cards, I'd stick with the 5770 as it has more video memory and is cheaper.
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December 8, 2010 8:26:25 AM

Do you think the PowerColor 5770 is alright or should i go with a more expensive brand?

Do you have any other suggestions for power supply's? What brands are known to be good? How many watts do i need, minimum?

Thanks
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December 8, 2010 9:00:15 AM

I would say since it is within budget, hit a GTX 460
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December 8, 2010 9:08:58 AM

The powercooler brand is just fine. It's up to you whether you want to go with another brand, but it is unnecessary.


Well my suggestion for a PSU is the Seasonic 550W I linked earlier. You could also go with a Corsair but you'd be paying an extra 10 dollars for the same amount of watts. 550W will be more than enough for you.
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December 8, 2010 10:31:22 AM

The 768 MB GTX 460 beats the 1 GB 5770 at any game
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December 8, 2010 11:32:01 AM

yea but at a higher res its not by much and you have to keep in mind that this is a low budget build and the 5770 costs less.
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December 8, 2010 8:03:27 PM

neweggs calculator says i need 395W another one i used said i need less. You think 430W is enough? i know it sounds like a stupid question but i read some horror storys in the review section of the video card i want about how the card sometimes didn't work with power supplys that should of had more than enough watts.

below is a review for the POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX5770 1GBD5-PPG Radeon HD 5770

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-131-...

" Cons: Card is way to picky about what systems it will work in.

Got the card last Tuesday and installed it that night. I was very disappointed to find that while the system powered on and made all the right beeps & noises I never got even a blip of video out of the card. Contacted Powercolor support and they insisted that my PSU was marginal for the card (550 watt SeaSonic) and that unless I was willing to swap it out for a more powerful unit there wasn't much they could do to help. This despite their own product page calling for at least 450 watts

To date I have tried the card in 4 different systems (2 Intel, 2 AMD) each one equipped with at least a 500 watt PSU and with 5 different PSU's in the board that I actually purchased the card for.

Out of all those systems the card has worked in exactly one, ironically one with an old 485 watt Enermax PSU. In that system it POST's, loads Windows and will even run the FurMark stability test for an hour.

Have not heard back from Powercol

Other Thoughts: This card has a replacement-only return policy on it.

Kudos to Newegg for being kind enough to grant me a one-time exception and issue an RMA so I can simply get my money back.

I think Powercolor's suggestion that the 550 watt PSU was inadequate to be suspect given their posted product specs (card has a 108 watt TDP).

It's a shame because I really wanted this card to work, and given that this card seems to be simply a reference design it's tough to say if a replacement would actually fix anything at all.

Manufacturer Response:

The thing about power supplies is that the wattage only tells a small part of the story. It's safe to follow the "quality over quantity" rule in this case. I'm not saying Seasonic makes bad power supplies, but we could have a compatibility issue on our hands. Either way, we know the card works because you mentioned it working on an Enermax PSU. Enermax makes quality power supplies, especially their older units. Either way, you might not have a choice but to go with something a little more compatible with your setup. I doubt replacing the card is going to fix your issue based on your results. Feel free to e-mail me at hugo@powercolor.com and I'll follow-up with you. Thanks.

-Hugo "
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December 8, 2010 9:14:02 PM

Wow that has got to be the most asinine thing I have ever read in my life. Sorry Hugo but Seasonic > Enermax. And for them to say that 550W is inadequate is also insane.

Something else isn't right that is keeping it from working. I was guessing that it was the card but as you said it worked in another system, maybe it's the mobo. I can assure it's not an "inadequate" PSU. The only way it would be the PSU is it they sent you a defective one, and the only way to test that is to swap it out with the PSU that works. I'm pretty sure you have already done this, so my guess is the motherboard.
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December 8, 2010 9:56:50 PM

forgot to mention that the xfx powersupply is modular and its 650 watts (the maker of the psu is seasonic and they make the absolute best IMO) plus thats a 5830 a step up from both those cards.
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December 8, 2010 10:06:06 PM

Whats the difference between a modular powersupply and a regular one? thanks for all the help guys.

oh and one more question: I see that you can get cards from XFX that come with a "Double Lifetime Warranty with Registration." is this legit and do you think it's worth the extra 10 bucks or whatever?
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December 9, 2010 12:24:36 AM

ScrewySqrl said:
The 768 MB GTX 460 beats the 1 GB 5770 at any game


^ He's right its zotac, but it holds some pretty great stats for the price it is. Should be able to run any real basic game at close to max if not maxed settings.

BUT the zotac 470 is nice aswell, but i bigger price.:( 
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December 9, 2010 2:33:38 AM

fatherhudson said:
Whats the difference between a modular powersupply and a regular one? thanks for all the help guys.

oh and one more question: I see that you can get cards from XFX that come with a "Double Lifetime Warranty with Registration." is this legit and do you think it's worth the extra 10 bucks or whatever?



Basically, modular power supplies let you plug in only the cables you need into the power supply and components, reducing clutter by eliminating unused cords, like the 4-pin molex power cords nothing except fans uses anymore.


XFX's double lifetime warranty is legit. Its warrantied as long as you own the computer. If you sell it to someone else, they also get a lifetime warranty as long as they own it. So its double lifetime warranty.
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