Seeking advice on $800-900 build

Hi everybody. I've read the forums here and shopped around at and until my head is spinning! Finally have pieced together a possible build and am seeking advice on if this is reasonable, if there are better options, etc. I've never built my own machine before, but have poked around a bit installing cards, hard drives, etc. I think with a step-by-step guide I can manage this.

I think it is amazing that people here are so willing to offer their expertise, so thank you in advance.

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP (within a month)

Budget Range: $800-900

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (mostly WoW, but want the option of playing newer games), web browsing, some video streaming (i.e. Netflix)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, sound card, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (there is one nearby, but I'm open to others)

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: AMD processor, open on the rest

Overclocking: Not likely

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1680 x 1050 (current - am open to higher!)

Additional Comments: If there are any pieces or supplies I haven't included, please let me know. I want a decent computer that will last me a few years and won't be completely outdated the minute I turn it on. :)

Thermaltake Element G Black Gaming Tower Case - $119.99

MSI 870A-G54 Socket AM3 870 ATX Motherboard - $104.99 ($84.99 after rebate)

AMD Phenom II x4 965 black edition - $149.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200rpm SATA HD - $44.99

Corsair XMS3 4GB DDR3-1600 - $99.99 ($79.99 after rebate)

OCZ Technology ModXStream Pro 600W ATX power supply - $69.99 ($49.99 after rebate)

Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 - $194.99 ($179.99 after rebate)

LG GH22NS50 SATA DVD drive - $17.99

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - $109.99
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  1. Hello Hobbitt;
    If this was your first attempt at putting together a system parts like - you did really good.
    That Thermaltake Element G price is a real bargain. But it's also a pretty good chunk of your budget too. If you're willing to consider case alternatives you can trip the cost of a case about 50%. Some examples:
    Antec Three Hundred Illusion $70 & free shipping or NZXT M59 $60 w/ free shipping and $15 rebate NZXT M59 review
    @ MicroCenter Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Case Pickup an extra case fan @ MC. V3 Black Edition Case Review

    Maybe a CPU cooler to go along with the rest of the parts? CM Hyper 212 Plus (fits in the V3 case)

    Have you found an independent review of the MSI 870A-G54 MB? It hasn't getting especially good customer feedback over @ NewEgg
  2. Thank you, WR2. Do you (or anyone) have any suggestions for a better motherboard? I just saw the MSI 870A-G54 in another recommendation on these forums so assumed it was good and didn't really read up on it (my mistake). I'm also reconsidering cases per your suggestion - kind of like the NZXT M59.

    The power supply I mentioned is out of stock - would the following be sufficient? (It is 80+ certified)

    StealthXStream 2 600 Watt ATX Power Supply - $67.99 (47.99)

    Is it pretty wise to add a CPU cooler even without overclocking?

    I'm getting anxious to order the parts so appreciate any input. Thanks!
  3. You can actually nab 870A-G54 + 965BE $190 @ Microcenter ^^

    NZXT M59 + OCZSII 80+ 600 combo $59AR Free Ship

    2 X 2 1333/CL7 Ballistix $40 Free Ship
  4. Alternate PSU choice looks good.
    OCZ StealthXStream 2 600 W Power Supply Review

    It's almost a shame to get a Black Edition CPU and not overclock a bit.
    But if you're sure you don't plan on doing any of that the stock cooler for the X4 965BE will be fine.

    Asus M4A88TD-V EVO is a choice I like.
    It's got the same 1x16 PCI-e & 1x16 x4 electrical format as the MSI 870A-G54. Which is a bit less than ideal if your ever planning on use two video cards.
  5. PSU: Corsair GS600

    CPU: AMD PHENOM 2 X4 965 Black Edition (comes with a free MOBO)

    MOBO:M4N68T-M V2 Socket AM3 630a mATX Motherboard
    FREE (or 54.99 if the promo ends)

    MEMORY: XMS 4GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL7 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit (Two 2GB Memory Modules)

    HDD: Caviar Blue 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

    CASE: Dark Fleet 30 ATX Mid Tower Case

    OPTICAL DRIVE: GH22NS50 22X Internal SATA Super Multi DVD Drive

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64

    GPU: PNY GTX460
    189.99 (169.99 after rebate)

    TOTAL not including rebate: $878
    with rebate: $858

    This almost my exact build. It runs EVERYTHING I have tested at max settings.

    A bit cheaper build would be to replace a few parts:

    MEMORY: XMS3 4GB DDR3-1600 (PC-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit (Two 2GB Memory Modules)
    59.99 (39.99 after mail in rebate)

    PSU:Builder Series CMPSU-600CX 600 Watt ATX Power Supply

    HDD: Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST3500418AS - OEM

    New total: $777
    with rebate: $737
    (totals assume 6% sales tax since you want instore)

    This will run anything you play at max settings. Games I have personally tested (at max settings at 1920x768 with the same CPU, GPU, and MOBO and memory):
    STALKER: Call of Pripyat
    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Psychonauts (because it is a GREAT game, and you need to play it if you have not lol)
    Just Cause 2
    Mafia II
    Arma 2
    Two Worlds 2 (everyone has a white head for some reason) (demo)
    Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
    Sims 3
    Civilization V (DX11)

    Some Notes from my build:

    The M4N68T-M v2 board seems to be a great board and includes an unlocker and a turbo key, I have yet to use the turbo key. The only real problems I have at this point are concerning the borad, however, but it is to be expected for a free board I suppose:

    2 slots for memory (max of 8GB supported)
    1 PCI-Ex16 slot
    The GTX460 is big enough to block my PCI-E slot, meaning I can not put my WLAN chip in. Which sucks since I already have one handy :(
    Otherwise the board seems real nice so far.

    No cpu cooler is needed if your not going to OC. Coretemp shows my CPU at 44-48 degrees at most. The stock CPU cooler is good to go.
  6. Negative - i would rate any of these chipsets

    GF 7XXX
    NForce 5xx/6xx

    far inferior than any entry level AM2+ out in 2008 due to

    a. HT Limitation when paired with any AM2+/AM3 chip
    b. Still stuck on PCIe gen 1.0/1.1, true AM2+ had migrated to PCIe gen 2.0 as of 2008

    Gigabyte NForce 630a
    * If you install AMD AM3 CPU on this motherboard, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0 (5200MT/s) to HT1.0 (2000 MT/s) spec; however, the frequency of AM3 CPU will not be impacted. Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.

    MSI 740GTM-P23

    Hyper Transport Bus

    • HyperTransport 1.0 supporting speed up to 1000MT/s


    • 1 PCI Express x16 slot with x16 operation (PCI Express Bus SPEC V1.0 compliant)
  7. Wow, good catch on the chipsets Batuchka...
  8. Yep glad to help ^^
  9. I use $1000 as the split between AMD builds and SB builds ... if ya reconsider ya budget while waiting for the replacement Sandy Bridge stuff.

    Case - $70 - Antec 300 Illusion
    PSU - $100 - XFX Black Edition 750
    MoBo - $390 - ASUS P8P67 Pro Currently Unavailable
    CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2500K
    RAM - $110 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9
    GFX - $250 - Asus GTX 560
    HD - $55 - Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm
    DVD Writer - $22 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS
    OS - $100 - Win 7-64 Home Pre

    Total $1097

    If ya like the Dark Fleet, would suggest the upgrade to the DF-35 ... the DF-35 has two swappable "fleet bays" for ya HD's
  10. Still searching... :) Is this a decent motherboard (for my proposed system)?

    ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 Socket AM3 870 ATX AMD Motherboard - $98 ($88 after rebate)
  11. Ugh. Now I get this combo deal at, which seems so neat and tidy compared to all this agonizing. Any thoughts?
  12. Well all/any 870 chipset save the Asrock offering is 16/4 and not recommended for CF so for far less than that $713AR bundle:

    $587AR and 8/8 CFable?

    HD6K Barts: single/CF review
  13. Combo looks decent actually. I like it. Everything you need except Windows 7 right there. Great find.

    A few things about the board...
    *To reach DDR3 1866MHz or above, you must install two memory modules and install them in the DDR3_3 and DDR3_4 memory sockets.

    1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
    1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)

    Note: The PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX4 slot. When PCIEX4 slot is populated with a x4 card, the PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots become unavailable.
  14. Okay, I'm almost there. I tweaked a few choices based on input here and switched to newegg instead of Microcenter. Are there any glaring omissions or incompatible pieces here?

    update: changing video card to:

    GIGABYTE GV-R685D5-1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB ($179)

    Thank you all again so much for the advice!
  15. Get a 560 Ti which will fit in your budget, lower your case from 120$ to a 80$ exemple a HAF 922 which has great air flow. For 80-100$ you would get 8GB ram, therefore the 40$ for 4GB advices from the other members are great. PSU : If you want SLI two 560 get a Corsair 750tx otherwise anything within 550-650 will run a 560. And no you don't need a extra cooler for your CPU if you're not going to OC. Anyways you can always get one later.
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