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First time cheap gaming build (200-400 CAD)

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Last response: in Systems
December 29, 2010 5:50:14 PM

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.

More about : time cheap gaming build 200 400 cad

December 29, 2010 6:29:49 PM

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.
December 30, 2010 12:56:37 AM

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.
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December 30, 2010 11:23:59 AM

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.
December 30, 2010 7:21:21 PM

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...
December 30, 2010 7:39:34 PM

unless you already have the OS I'd either save up or Buy an Xbox or PS3.
December 31, 2010 6:01:06 AM

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 :??: 
December 31, 2010 6:04:56 AM

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.