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First build! Budget gaming, need part suggestions!

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December 22, 2010 11:22:23 AM

Decided that it was time for a new computer, and after some research I think I’m set on building one myself from scratch. Problem is, I don’t know too much about part compatibility and what exact hardware features I do/don’t need.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a Month
BUDGET RANGE: No more than $800 USD
COUNTRY: USA

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Light Gaming (Diablo 3, LoL), Video streaming (Hulu, Netflix), Surfing the Web/Downloads, Music (iTunes, Pandora). I’d like the system to be able to handle tasks at once with minimal slowdown. For example, watching Hulu while downloading a torrent and a podcast from iTunes.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse/Keyboard/Speakers/OS. A monitor is optional, still debating whether or not to shell out the extra money for an HD model (would love to get one if it fit in the budget).
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:Newegg.com/Tigerdirect.com/Any
PARTS PREFERENCES: Quad core processor, an i5 if it’ll fit under budget. Beginner friendly case, solid/subdued colors. Would like a DVD/Blue Ray reader, but I’ll take a basic DVD reader/writer. Most of all, would prefer more stable/dependable parts over parts with slightly higher specs (the closer I can get to installing and forgetting about a part, the better!).
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No/?
HYPERTHREADING: No/?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want this computer to be a good value with solid performance that will last 2-4 years. I suppose the most important requirement is that it can play Diablo 3 well, which I know is difficult since the game isn’t out yet. The system usage I’ve described above is pretty much what I’d be using this computer for 99% of the time. Not really sure if I need technologies such as hyperthreading, SLI/Crossfire, or Turbo boost/core. However, if it would greatly improve performance in a task that I’ve listed, I’d be willing to include it.

I was looking at a couple of builds online, and I’ve listed one that I think will fit my needs, interested to see what you all think. No real loyalty, so feel free to recommend swapping out any parts as long as the final system is compatible:
The Budget Gaming Desktop Computer

Motherboard ASUS M4A78T-E Motherboard ($90)
CPU AMD Athlon II X4 640 Quad Core Processor - 3.00GHz ($100)
RAM Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM ($83)
Video Card MSI Radeon HD 5670 1024MB ($90)
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB ($55)
DVD Burner ASUS DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner ($20)
Case Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Mid Tower Case ($40)
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-450VX 450-Watt ($40)

TOTAL COST: $518 (USD)
http://www.build-gaming-computers.com/gaming-desktop-co...

Some people have brought up that I should invest in an i5 build instead for overall speed and longevity, but I’m not sure if that’s true or necessary for my needs. I know I have a lot of questions but if you guys could help me out at all, it'd be greatly appreciated!
December 22, 2010 12:46:38 PM

Another build I'm considering, but one that is about $200 too expensive for me. If it would be possible to replace some parts in this build without too much of a drop in performance, I think that'd be what I'd go for:



Motherboard: EVGA P55 FTW 200 Motherboard ($210)

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 ($200)

RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM ($83)

Video Card: XFX HD585XZAFC Radeon HD 5850 ($185)

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer ($90)

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB ($55)

DVD Burner: Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner ($20)

Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Mid Tower Case ($100)

Power Supply: Cooler Master GX Series 650W ($95)


TOTAL COST: $1038 (USD)

My ideas: Take out the sound card entirely, go for a $50 case, and find a cheaper video card.
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December 22, 2010 12:49:18 PM

i5 1156 line is being replaced in 2 weeks. No point going there until sandy bridge is released. However, you'll still be hard pressed to do an intel build for under $800 w/ monitor.

For your needs you're better off using an athlon ii x3. Have a decent chance of unlocking 4 core as well.

Swap the HD to a spinpoint F3 500gb.

Spend more on the GPU. GTX 460 768mb are low as $120 now after MIR.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

None of your tasks are intensive by any means, so with these changes your system will be fine.
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December 22, 2010 1:15:08 PM

Without looking at your list (so as to do a double-blind build) here are the parts I would suggest, maybe some will even overlap:

Case: Lian Li microATX "cube" - $99.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-SH2 - $65.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: AMD Phenom II 955 - $144.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.Skill 4 GB DDR3 1333 - $41.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video Card: HIS Radeon 6850 - $180.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts 500W PSU (80+) - 75.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD: LG Blu-Ray, and all the other things burner - $75.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB HD - $50.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total: $654.00

Some notes about the system:

I chose the motherboard based on prior usage. I've used it in three builds for relatives and it has been rock solid. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but you don't really need them. even though the SB is last gen, it doesn't matter - your hard drive will set there happily not knowing the difference. It supports DDR3, and has on-board video should you ever need it.

I chose the case because it looks cool, I've never seen it before. It's an aluminum case, more of a cube than a rectangle. It's small, sleek, and elegant looking. Plus, it will hold all of this stuff and more. Lian Li makes very good cases.

The Phenom II will do more for you than the athlon II - mainly it will just perform better. Plus, it is a black edition, so if you choose to overclock (and overclock it will, I have one running at 3.8 GHz), all you have to do is change the multiplier, and voila! you have a 965 or 970 with no effort, or added price. It will hulu you to death.

The 6850 is a nice card for the price, similar to a 460 If you read tom's charts. It will play diablo III fine, and will handle the eye candy should you decide to turn it up! I also seen some pretty good deals with rebates on cards, but I didn't include them here.

The PSU is also very high quality. I've built machines with the antec earthwatts 380W psu many times, and it has never failed. This one should be the same. Plus, it will save you money in the long run being 80+ certified.

I haven't looked in a while, but blu-ray burners are becoming cheap. for 75 bucks you get the capability to write and read any disc on the market.

The hard drive is pretty standard. Those hd's stay pretty cool (I've got one) because they only have one platter inside. This also makes them faster (high storage density), and more reliable (less moving parts).

It does come at a price though, about $150.00 over your build. However, the video card will destroy the 5670, and the phenom II will oc better, and in general give you more performance the then athlon II. Plus, it has BR capability.

Hope it helps! Have a great christmas.




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December 22, 2010 2:18:33 PM

kbentley - Thanks for the help, definitely looks like what I'm looking for. However,a few questions. Could you suggest a compatible ATX mobo for my purposes? And could you suggest a cheaper mid tower case? I would prefer to have a larger case to make it easier to work in for my first build. And with the Radeon 6850, will I be able to watch HD movies/Blu ray?

batchuka - What website are you using for showing those products? Would this build be compatible with the Samsung Blu-Ray drive listed in kbentleys post?

And btw the budget is under $800, NOT $500! Though my ideal computer would be maxed out performance for around $700 =]

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December 22, 2010 2:24:12 PM

1. Newegg USA
2. I would stick to DVDRW ODD until Blu Ray becomes mainstream and/or u have a Blu Ray collection
3. You 1st build could possibly cut in but a wee bit more teeth in GPU with a few tweaks and it's all good ^^
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December 22, 2010 2:31:51 PM

batuchka said:
1. Newegg USA
2. I would stick to DVDRW ODD until Blu Ray becomes mainstream and/or u have a Blu Ray collection
3. You 1st build could possibly cut in but a wee bit more teeth in GPU with a few tweaks and it's all good ^^



Thanks for the quick response! I'm liking the direction that you and kbentely are going with your builds, similar price and specs as far as I can tell. However, what differences are there between the two builds? Is it just that yours uses an ATX vs. a micro ATX? And is there a difference between your two recommended 6850 graphics cards? And if you could link the parts to me individually, it'd really help me out!
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December 22, 2010 2:46:00 PM

1. Mine is geared towards Crossfire capability with addition of 2nd HD 6850 in future hence the 790X chipset

2. Nope take your pick of HD 6850 ^^
3. Yep u are welcomed ^^
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December 22, 2010 2:48:50 PM

Hey howard, how about this combo? Keep everything the same in my post, but change the motherboard for this:

Motherboard: Foxconn 890 GX (looks sweet too) - Add $30.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: cooler master centurion - simple, high quality, very good air flow, nice price - subtract $40.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That will about even itself out. If you would like a little more bite with your video card for under $800, I would suggest going this route:

drop the 6850. That gives roughly $320.00 budgeted for the graphics card. Then replace with this gigabyte 1 GB 5870. much stronger than the 6850 and it only costs $300.00. Plus, if you buy it soon you get a free 1 TB drive!! is a pretty sweet deal I must say.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

so the total comes in at just under $800.00

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December 22, 2010 2:54:49 PM

No Foxconn, Foxconn is not as reputable or as trusted as Gigabyte.

It doesn't matter if it looks "sweet"
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December 22, 2010 2:56:41 PM

they are all about the same, in fact, foxconn makes the mobos that are used in dells, apple, gateway, acer, and many others. You need to provide some numbers if you are willing to say that one company is better than another (stats please)

cheers!
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December 22, 2010 3:14:35 PM

KBentley57 said:
Hey howard, how about this combo? Keep everything the same in my post, but change the motherboard for this:

Motherboard: Foxconn 890 GX (looks sweet too) - Add $30.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: cooler master centurion - simple, high quality, very good air flow, nice price - subtract $40.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That will about even itself out. If you would like a little more bite with your video card for under $800, I would suggest going this route:

drop the 6850. That gives roughly $320.00 budgeted for the graphics card. Then replace with this gigabyte 1 GB 5870. much stronger than the 6850 and it only costs $300.00. Plus, if you buy it soon you get a free 1 TB drive!! is a pretty sweet deal I must say.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

so the total comes in at just under $800.00


Thanks for the part recommendations, definitely think I'm going to be going with the Coolermaster Centurion case. However, is there another mobo you could recommend? The reviews on newegg for that particular model aren't looking so hot right now, and I'd prefer an Asus if at all possible. Also, I don't think I really need the 5870 card for my needs right now, as long as the 6850 can run Diablo 3 and HD movies? I'm curious, what changes to this setup would you make if I wanted to include an HD monitor for under $900?
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December 22, 2010 3:16:39 PM

batuchka said:
1. Mine is geared towards Crossfire capability with addition of 2nd HD 6850 in future hence the 790X chipset

2. Nope take your pick of HD 6850 ^^
3. Yep u are welcomed ^^


Would this setup be able to take care of my normal usage functions without the crossfire addition of another card? Not sure if I'll be splurging on another graphics card, I really only need it to play some new games (Diablo 3) and play HD movies etc.
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December 22, 2010 3:18:51 PM

Yes it would ^^
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December 22, 2010 4:17:16 PM

howardcc said:
Another build I'm considering, but one that is about $200 too expensive for me. If it would be possible to replace some parts in this build without too much of a drop in performance, I think that'd be what I'd go for:



Motherboard: EVGA P55 FTW 200 Motherboard ($210)

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 ($200)

RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM ($83)

Video Card: XFX HD585XZAFC Radeon HD 5850 ($185)

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer ($90)

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB ($55)

DVD Burner: Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner ($20)

Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Mid Tower Case ($100)

Power Supply: Cooler Master GX Series 650W ($95)


TOTAL COST: $1038 (USD)

My ideas: Take out the sound card entirely, go for a $50 case, and find a cheaper video card.


Change the motherboard to this and save $100
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3

Change the case to this and save $45
Rosewill Challenger

Change the PSU to this and save $25
Antec earthwatts EA500 500W

Change the RAM to this and save $28
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Change the Graphics card to this for the same price. Less after rebate.
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB

Shop for combo deals and you could probably shave off another $20-30.

And now you have a core i5 rig within your budget that is just as fast as the original one. Take out the sound card and its is way under budget.

*EDIT: I suppose I should stipulate that if you plan on getting this rig, it might be a better idea to wait for Sandy Bridge in a couple of weeks. Depending on the benchmarks.
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December 22, 2010 4:39:07 PM

I'm seeing that a lot of the motherboards that are compatible with the Phenom X4 955 black either come with an integrated graphics card or don't have very good reviews. Can somebody explain to me whether or not I'll be forced to use crossfire if I pick up a mobo with an integrated graphics card in addition to the HD 6850? Also, recommendations for a motherboard would be great! Still trying to decide between ATX and mini ATX, I just want to make sure its compatible with the 6850 and will be able to handle crossfire in the future.
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December 22, 2010 4:42:30 PM

Crossfire is not a must - if u feel your gaming needs escalate then it is an option If u do prefer crossfire mostly ATX form factor motherboards would have such capability
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December 22, 2010 4:45:38 PM

I would go with a standard atx motherboard. they are a little bigger and have more expansion slots in them.

As for Crossfire with an integrated graphics card, no you will not be forced to use it. In fact, with a 6850, I don't even think you could if you wanted.

Also, if you want it to handle crossfire in the future, I would probably recommend a different board for the intel build. For an AMD build, you could look at the GA-890GPA-UD3H. Has x8/x8 crossfire, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, and integrated graphics. The upside to this is the ability to run your computer without your discrete gpu in case something happens to it.
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December 22, 2010 5:32:48 PM




The more I think about it, the more its looking like this is the build for me. So just to clarify: This build can be overclocked, is crossfire capable, will be able to play Diablo 3/LoL, multitask multiple applications/downloads, and play HD movies, and of course is completely compatible with itself? Only change I would be making is to swap out the case for a cooler master, probably the centurion 5 (open to suggestions if there is a newer mid price model). Still a little concerned about motherboard stability though, the newegg reviews are less than solid...
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December 22, 2010 5:43:08 PM

looks like a fine build! Don't worry too much about reviews. I have the 790FXT (same board with a little twist) and its fine. Gigabyte makes a good board.

Remember - more people are apt to come back and leave a negative comment if they are dissatisfied with a product than they are when it works like it should.

One last suggestion - invest in a good heat sink.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 23, 2010 4:39:02 AM

howardcc said:
The more I think about it, the more its looking like this is the build for me. So just to clarify: This build can be overclocked, is crossfire capable, will be able to play Diablo 3/LoL, multitask multiple applications/downloads, and play HD movies, and of course is completely compatible with itself? Only change I would be making is to swap out the case for a cooler master, probably the centurion 5 (open to suggestions if there is a newer mid price model). Still a little concerned about motherboard stability though, the newegg reviews are less than solid...


The Rosewill Destroyer is definitely > the original CM Centurion and the premium/lack of combos going for the CenturionII for me is not worth it While Egg reviews indicate the popularity of a board hit places like Xtremesystems, etc for rnthusiast owners/OC threads :lol:  Lastly the D3 game engine is nowhere as intense as Crytek/Crysis
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December 23, 2010 9:45:55 AM

batuchka said:
The Rosewill Destroyer is definitely > the original CM Centurion and the premium/lack of combos going for the CenturionII for me is not worth it While Egg reviews indicate the popularity of a board hit places like Xtremesystems, etc for rnthusiast owners/OC threads :lol:  Lastly the D3 game engine is nowhere as intense as Crytek/Crysis


1. Not sure if I understand you completely, are you saying that the Rosewill Destroyer is the better case even though the newegg reviews aren't the best? Could you maybe explain why and list a site where I could get good reviews for cases? I'm looking for something more in the $50-100 range.

2. Also does this mean that this build is more than enough for D3?

3. Haven't really asked this, but is this build going to be able to handle he multiple tasks w/o performance drop?

4. Would you recommend the mobo listed in your original build? Once again, newegg reviews are making me nervous (lots of people saying they get one and it is either DOA or dies rapidly)
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December 23, 2010 12:03:01 PM

people who leave reviews on newegg are idiots ignore them, they dont understand ram and jedec specs etc - ram for stock systems you want 1333mhz memory, for overclocking you want 1600+, starting off again at 1333mhz - people try running there rigs stock with 1600mhz memory ofcourse its going to be an issue when its not really designed for it or for that ratio etc.

gigabyte boards are great - i would stick to them or asus, and comparing foxconn to them? wtf? atleast your not thinking about an MSI motherboard...

i saw somewhere a suggestion on getting a Creative Xfi? DONT DO IT creative is balls.
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December 23, 2010 4:20:35 PM

howardcc said:
1. Not sure if I understand you completely, are you saying that the Rosewill Destroyer is the better case even though the newegg reviews aren't the best? Could you maybe explain why and list a site where I could get good reviews for cases? I'm looking for something more in the $50-100 range.

2. Also does this mean that this build is more than enough for D3?

3. Haven't really asked this, but is this build going to be able to handle he multiple tasks w/o performance drop?

4. Would you recommend the mobo listed in your original build? Once again, newegg reviews are making me nervous (lots of people saying they get one and it is either DOA or dies rapidly)



1. The pool of knowledge is not confined to one site for cases : system builders post their pics and discuss cases all the time but yes the original CM5 would be a lesser case compared to Destroyer. If however you wanted to splash more have a look at CM HAF 912

2. Yep good to go

3. Yes multi task is fine

4. Yes Asus 790X is a fine board
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December 24, 2010 9:49:07 AM

Best answer selected by howardcc.
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December 24, 2010 11:20:11 AM

Would the Coolermaster HAF 912 be a good/compatible case for this build?
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