Need helping buying new custom-made computer.

Hi, I'm looking for a computer, and taking into consideration the tax is like 50 dollars, I'm trying to find something for no more than 600 dollars (so my total doesn't come out over 650).

I've done some deep thinking and decided I do NOT want to build my own computer. AVAdirect looks like a really, really good custom-pc site, almost makes you think "Hmm, what's the catch, this is too good to be true?" :o

The fact that they actually care about their wire management was what really hooked me, and to a farther extent implies that they also probably do a decent job putting the computer together and don't rush it.

Is it AVAdirect a safe choice for a prebuilt custom computer? Or is it too good to be true? What happens if for my shipping options, I click 'pick up at store'? I can't find any specific information listing where exactly I would have to go to pick it up. I live in 92084, southern california. Do they have 'AVAdirect stores' nearby?

I've custom-built/ordered this for only about 600 dollars.

COOLER MASTER Elite 330 Black Mid Tower Case, ATX, No PSU, Steel
ANTEC EarthWatts EA500, 80 PLUS®, 500W, 24-pin ATX12V EPS12V, Two 6-pin PCIe
GIGABYTE GA-M68MT-D3, AM3, nForce® 630a, DDR3-1666 8GB /2, PCIe x16, SATA 3 Gb/s RAID 5 /4, VGA, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail
AMD Athlon™ II X3 450 Triple-Core 3.2GHz, AM3, HT 4000MHz, 3x 512KB L2 cache, 95W, 45nm, Retail
KINGSTON 4GB (2 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
SAPPHIRE Radeon™ HD 5670 775MHz, 1GB DDR5 4000MHz, PCIe x16 CrossFire, DVI+HDMI+DP, Retail
SEAGATE 500GB Barracuda® 7200.12, SATA 3 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 16MB cache
RAID No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
SONY AD-7261S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA, OEM
MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

I don't need a top of the line graphics card, a monitor, speakers, or a keyboard/mouse. As well I'll get my own security/firewall. As per the advice that you shouldn't waste money upgrading a computer months before it's released, I'll resist the temptation to get a higher quality graphics card for now, since BF3 won't be coming out to the end of the year. Getting a higher-end one than the ATI 5670 now would be a waste since I'm only using a 17 inch monitor at no more than 1280x1024 resolution.

Though a quadruple core was tempting, I decided that (according to, the 20 or so percent less in performance was worth the savings (considering how tight my budget is). It apparently should be more than the recommended specifications for BF3, and more than enough for Shogun 2.

The obvious, missing part that I wish I didn't need but after some research I apparently do, is a the network card. I'm guessing the 'integrated newtork controller' would not be sufficient, or am I mistaken? I currently use a D-Link router and a motorolla SBV5222 SURFboard digital voice modem, on a Dell Dimension 4600. 1. Do I need a 'dedicated' network card, and if so, which should I get. I honestly have NO idea, though what I've learned so far is either linkys or intel would be good choices. Which card would be compatible?

Also, I decided to go with 4 gigs of kingston value ram. Is my hypothesis correct; is this where I can afford to be a little more cheap, say as to compared to a CPU/GPU. Will this last me a few years? \

Another area where I'm coompletely lost is the motherboard. I just went with the default choice. At first I thought I had to get a mobo with a matching chipset to my gfx card but apparently that is not true and they are interchangeable (with no issues). I've heard the terms crossfire, SLI, thrown around; though I don't know exactly what those mean, I do know I'll never use 2 gfx cards at once and I won't be using more than one monitor. Any suggestions? The default choice is a gigabyte brand so I'm pretty comfortable with it and can't find any reasons so far to choose a more expensive option. First, is it compatible with what I am using, secondly should I get another one? (I'm almost certain I won't be overclocking, fyi. I want to but I honestly don't want to accidentally mess up and flush 650 dollars down the drain. THAT WOULD SUCK.)

I went with the cooler master Elite 330 as I've heard good things about this brand, as well it says it comes with a good front and back fan, good circulation, and it's made of steel and doesn't require screws. It also says it uses a quality thermal compound. I'm guessing the thermal compound from what I've seen on youtube is what's used to "glue" something on the back of a mobo. I have NO IDEA what to do here. If the case says it comes with fans/quality thermal compound, should I trust it will? Should I just stick with the option 'use standard thermal compound'?

The CPU fan; since I won't be O.C. or even IF I did I would only do it very, very lightly, can I be safe with the stock fan that comes with the CPU? This is one of those areas where I can save a lot of money by opting with the default option. 10 dollars here or 20 dollars there might not seem a lot but they can add up fast.

I've heard if you use at least a high-end 500w PSU, you can pretty much power any single card. So if I decide to upgrade to a ATI 6000 series a year or more from now, I'll be safe with the Antec earthwatts 500w. I know I can get something much better for only a little more money, but again, 5 dollars here and there add up FAST. Am I making the right decision?

The hard-drive. A lot of people would without thinking spend the extra few dozen dollars to get something much better, but again I'm on a tight budget and though the default option was the 320gb seagate, for no apparent reason a 500gb is like 5 dollars cheaper and has no apparent spec differences. What's up with that? Suggestions?

DVD Burner drive. No idea what to go with here so I'm going with the cheap, default Sony option. Thoughts?

Also I'm going to get the Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium OS, though I can't afford 100 dollars for Microsoft office, so I'm pretty much set on Suite which I've downloaded on this computer and I actually like it a lot. I can't help but ask, WHY are they charging 10 dollars for it when one can simply download it off the internet?? Is the payed-for version better or something? So I think I'm going to opt to NOT pay for it but download it once I get the comptuer. Thoughts?

Okay, that's pretty much it. Feel free to discuss any of the components that I chose and did not cover, as well. Everything I've mentioned, is not a 100 percent sure decision on my part and I'm very open to any changes, if anything the more people get involved in this the better, even if I can just see some differing opinions on it to make my own decision.

To summarize, these are where I'm really without a clue: The case. Did I make a good choice? I like the features the quality and the look. Thermal compound. Comes with the case, so I won't need it, right? CPU fan. Won't be so I'm safe with the stock brand, yes? Motherboard: Gigabyye's a good brand, so other than that I'm clueless here and will use the default option, should I? Ram: is it good? PSU: Is it good and will it last me into the ATI 6000 series? How about the hard-drive? Does Sapphire make good Gfx cards, can I trust their ATI 5670 will be well-made? DVD burner drive; no idea here, thoughts? Network card; completley lost, suggestions? I know this is a dumb question, yet is the integrated, default option good? Or would that leave me with no network card, and no internet? Thank you.
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  1. ct- I don't trust ibuypower or cyberpower, I've heard they don't even Q.C. their PCs before shipping them and really just do a terrible job. That's why I'm willing to pay more for

    dadiggle- so you are saying don't get a seagate? Also what ATI card is coming out that you are referencing? Why should I wait when I've already done my research and a ATI 5670 will fullfill all my needs for now? Also chasing after the 'next big thing' is a waste of time so there will always be something new out to outdo what you just purchased.

    Other than my HDD, is my computer selection good? What about the MOBO, cpu, and network card?
  2. This topic has been moved from the section Video Games to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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