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Advice on new PC build

Hello,

I'm looking to build a new PC in a couple of months and I'm trying to soak up all the advice I can get.

This will be my second build so here are the specs of my first for comparison:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 4650
RAM: 2GB DRR2 667
MOBO: MSI K9N6PGM2-V AM2/AM2+

And here is what I'm looking at

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHZ
GPU: Nvidia Geforce 460 GTX
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
MOBO: BIOSTAR A780L3L AM3 AMD 760G Micro ATX
PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 430w


I know that I'll be getting is a much better PC from all the things Ive been told but I still have a few questions.

1) Are there any changes I can make to get much better performance without breaking the bank? I'm getting about a $1000 in April so I have some leg room in terms of what I can do but I'm not looking to spend more than $400.

2) Anywhere I can save money? Like, could I get away with a smaller PSU or less ram? Or, can I expect significant drops on some of these components within the next couple of months?

3) Would it be stupid to consider buying a AM2+ Quad core and just making small upgrades to what I have or would I be much better off going AM3?

My main goal of updating was to be ready to play Battlefield 3 but that's looking unlikely unless I want to buy an expensive quad core or a $300 GPU.

I want to be able to play games but I don't really have the need to play every game maxed out (at least not until I'm making a large amount of money). I mean, up until February 2009, I was play TF2 on an old Dell with a Radeon 9250 SE so not being able to max everything out isn't a big deal but I want games to look good and run well even if it's on medium settings.


Thanks in advance.
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  1. Hello PG;

    Passmark CPU benchmark scores:
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ = 1423
    AMD Athlon II X2 250 = 1711
    AMD Athlon II X3 450 = 2786

    I think the X2 250 would be too much like a move sideways in CPU power.
    $20 more gets a 3rd core for certain and a chance to get a 4th core unlocked and stable.

    What size power supply do you have in your current system? What's your case like? Monitor resolution?
    You should probably list all the parts you want to carry forward.

    Im thinking maybe a video card upgrade (and maybe PSU if required) now.
    Test out the performance, see how much difference it makes with the X2 5200+
    If you're happy - good!
    If you're not yet satisfied you can get the CPU/MB/RAM upgrade then.
    The video card (and PSU) will move forward with the new parts.
  2. Thanks for the reply,

    Right now I have a HEC HP585D 585W PSU. Not the most well spoken of brands but Ive never had an issue with it but I don't put much stress on my system right now.

    My case actually came with my motherboard. Since I was building a PC for the first time with zero first hand experience I wanted to keep it pretty cheap. Here's a link to the case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856167036

    From what I can tell, it doesn't support ATX boards so that why Ive been looking at Micro-ATX boards but I could be wrong about that.

    I'm also replacing my monitor as it has a few dead pixels and while Ive been able to put up with it for a while, it's starting to annoy me a little. The monitors Ive been looking at are typically 1600x900 so I think that's where I'll end up.


    The only 2 things I'm really interested in keeping is my 160GB hard-drive and my DVD drive. I had planned on getting a 500GB HD and have the 160GB be for the OS and main programs, but I can always just stick with the 160GB by itself. Everything else I'm open to upgrading.

    I don't mind buying a new case or anything. If I had to put a firm limit on how much I'd spend on just the computer parts, it would be $500.

    Thanks in advance.
  3. Your case actually looks pretty good.

    Here is the backside of your MSI MBOX case.You can tell by the number of expansion slots (7) that it's a ATX case and will take an ATX or micro-ATX motherboard.


    The other pictures @ NewEgg show a micro-ATX motherboard already mounted inside.
    Should be easy to work inside with a generous amount of space. Another fan might be a good idea. There is a front intake fan mount just in front of the hard drive cage.

    If you get the 500GB HDD use that for your OS and programs. It's bound to be considerably faster than your old 160GB HDD.
  4. Thanks again for the reply. Glad to know the case can support ATX boards.

    So far Ive locked this in

    CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz
    RAM: G.SKILL 4GB DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
    MOBO: BIOSTAR A780L3L AM3 AMD 760G Micro ATX
    HDD: HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 500GB

    So the only real things I'm not sure on are the power supply and graphics card.

    I'm very much interested in the 460 GTX but what would you recommended below that price point? Additionally, could I get away with using the same PSU as I'm currently using?

    I don't have any plans to overclock anything, though I may be interested in unlocking the 4th core if possible.

    I know the 460 GTX requires a 450w-500w PSU according to Nvidia so I'd have to find a different PSU than the one I was originally looking at anyway.

    As always, thanks in advance.
  5. With a 1600x900 monitor as the resolution you want to support you can look at the THG article:
    Best Graphics Cards For the Money: March 2011
    Besides giving recommendations at each of the price points they mention they expectations on how they would certain resolutions.
    Example: Best PCIe Card For ~$100: GeForce GTS 250 512 MB: Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
    (it's that 'in most games' that can trip people up. It might not apply to a your preferred game(s).
  6. There's a good chance you could use your current PSU. As long as it wasn't damaged in transit also.

    hec HP585D 585W ATX12V Power Supply
  7. How does this look:



    It's a little more than I wanted to spend and I wish I didn't have to buy Windows 7 (or if it was cheaper) but hopefully the price on these components come down.

    Now, am I going to have enough power to run this without worry or should I shell out for a bigger PSU? I don't mind spending more for a better PSU because I'm not really fond of the idea that my computer could explode or whatever.

    I'm always reading horror stories about bad PSUs so I don't want throw money away. I mean, Ive had this PSU almost a year now and it's done fine by me but I'm sure my current system doesn't draw anywhere near enough power as the one I'm looking to build.


    Thanks.
  8. Best answer
    You can spend $1 more on the HDD and get $5 off MS Windows in a combo deal:
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB & Win7

    Continue checking for combo deals.

    CX430 PSU looks sold out.

    Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W $45 is an excellent PSU
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371029
  9. Thanks so much for the help. Now that I have a good idea of that parts I'm getting, I can shop around and hopefully by April prices will go down. I don't know when the next line of ATI or Nvidia cards hit but I'd guess that when they do the 6850 and 460 GTX will come down in price some.
  10. Best answer selected by PixelGorilla.
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