First time cheap gaming build (200-400 CAD)

Approximate Purchase Date: Anytime really, but it would be possible within a week

Budget Range: Around 200 would be nice but 400 is my max

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Left For Dead 2 at medium settings, Starcraft II at playable framerate, and music as I play), Audio Recording (Cubase)

Parts Not Required: Power supply (an TP-750W ANTEC i won from ncix), optical drive, speakers/mouse/keyboard

Part Possibly Required: Not sure if I need a new case, it was a computer from staples (ZT), I think it's M-ATX (at least the motherboard is that size).
Not sure if I need a new video card. It's a Powercolor Radeon HD 3650.
Would it be worth getting a better monitor? right now I have a Metro 19LS LCD, it seems to be working fine but will it limit the rest of the computer?
Also, does the hard drive affect performance? Right now I have a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 3 GB/s 250GB hard drive. It's more than enough space for me, but is it fast enough/ compatible with a newer parts

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,, anything from Canada really. Preferably NCIX so i can drive there and not pay for shipping.

Country of Origin: Canada (BC)

Parts Preferences: Something that I can upgrade later on (1-2 years) and not replace everything.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not

Monitor Resolution: not really sure, it's a Metro 19LS which came with the computer.

Additional Comments: Cooling probably won't be an issue, it's in an unfinished basement in Canada. The main problem with my current computer is that no matter what graphics settings I use, it freezes for 5-10 secs when I spawn in Left 4 Dead 2, by which time i'm dead/dying. :(

On a different note, could I do all that with a notebook for less than 500?
Thanks in advance.
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  1. You won't get anywhere trying to game on a notebook for only $500. After all, you're not getting much for $400 out of a desktop.

    I don't like that HDD (it's slow), but it'll save some costs. I'm definitely recommending a new case. This is about as cheap as you can get and still be worth the money to try gaming:

    CPU: X3 450 $81
    Mobo: ASRock 770 Extreme3 $95
    RAM: G.Skill 2x2 GB DDR3 1333 $43
    GPU: HD 5770 $135 (with $20 rebate)
    Case: Rosewill Destroyer ($55) or Coolermaster Elite ($41)

    That comes to at most $389 without shipping. If you don't mind spending a little more, upgrade the board to the ASRock 870 Extreme3 to be able to add a second 5770 later for Crossfire.
  2. Just found out that I have even less money. :( (About 325 CAD before taxes)

    I've tried to lower the cost by switching to NCIX so I can pickup in store (no shipping) and grabbing various deals, would this build be fairly comparable?

    Athlon II X3 445 (.1Ghz slower) $85.68
    ASUS M4A77TD ATX AM3 DDR3 AMD770 SB710 PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI IDE 6SATA Sound GBLAN Motherboard $66.16
    Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9A 4GB 2X2GB PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 CL9-9-9-24 240PIN Memory Kit $42.69
    Powercolor Radeon HD 5770 PCS+ 875MHZ 1GB 4.9GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI DP DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video Card $109.99
    Coolermaster Elite 370 Black Mid Tower ATX Case 3X5.25 1X3.5 5X3.5INT No PS $35.22

    Any mistakes here? Also, at this point is this worth the money to upgrade from my old machine?
    Athlon 64 X2 2.2 Ghz, MSI K9AGM2-L, 1gb DDR2 RAM, Radeon HD 3650 512mb GDR2, and unknown (ZT?) case.
    Thanks again.
  3. It looks alright. The only thing I don't really like is the board. It's an older model that doesn't have USB 3/SATA III support. While not that important right now, the board will become obsolete faster. I didn't see anything on NCIX that would be better for roughly the same price, so you might just have to deal with it.
  4. That 5670 is a horrible choice. You wouldn't be doing much gaming with it. I don't see the point in sacrificing the GPU for a bigger, flashier case...
  5. your build looks good, Ninja.

    thsi board is MicroATX:

    but not as good as the 770.

    This NZXT case is on sale:

    but you need to buy fans for it
  6. unless you already have the OS I'd either save up or Buy an Xbox or PS3.
  7. Gave it some thought, ordered everything pretty much as is, except i switched the mobo for this
    Seems to be about the same but a little bit cheaper, and it has crossfirex (still no USB3 or SATA 3 :()
    I'll be using the same operating system I have on my current comp, since all my programs and files are there anyways.
    Thanks all, wish me luck with the mail in rebates of doom :??:
  8. I wouldn't try to crossfire on a 16x 4x mobo. The 4x is going to be a bottleneck. If you can't change your order, it is a good board, but if you haven't try getting the asrock 870 it has 8x, 8x.
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