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$500 Gaming Build opinions/advice

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March 27, 2011 9:00:35 PM

Hi, I'm currently 17, currently working a part time job at Diary Queen (low budget). I'm seeking for a light - medium gaming, something that can run today's games, like TF2, SC, L4D on low - medium settings. I live in Canada so I prefer to order from tigerdirect.ca. I have rounded up some parts, don't know exactly if they will be compatible with each other, and want to know what should be replaced/removed and also what is recommended.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week
Budget Range: $400-$500~ (not including shipping)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing
Parts Not Required: Sony Bravia 32" HDTV, keyboard, mouse, speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: tigerdirect.ca (more preferable) or NCIX.ca
Country of Origin: Canada
Parts Preferences: Any
Overclocking: Not likely to
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1360 x 768
Additional Comments: Windows 7 Home prem 32 bit, or any XP (but heard of booting/installing issues, do I need a floppy drive?)

Processor: AMD ADX450WFGMBOX Athlon II X3 450 Triple Core Processor - 3.20GHz, Socket AM3, 1.5MB Cache, Retail w/ Fan

Motherboard: Micro ATX, Socket AM3, nForce 630a Chipset, 1333MHz DDR3 (O.C.), SATA 3.0 Gb/s, RAID, GeForce 7025, Gigabit LAN

Memory: Kingston KVR1333D3/4GR Desktop Memory Module - 4GB, PC3-10600, DDR3-1333MHz, CL9, Non-ECC, Retail

Harddrive: 500GB, 7200 rpm, 32MB, SATA-3G

PSU: 460 Watts, ATX

Casing: Cooler Master RC-430-KWN1 Elite 430 Mid Tower ATX Case

OS: Win 7 Premium 32bit

Total: $467.83

I still need a CD/DVD reader, and wondering if I should instead get this case, which comes with a 500PSU for a cheaper price:$62.99 instead of ($44.97 + $44.97). Opinions and help is greatly appreciated.
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March 28, 2011 12:42:25 AM

TomsHardware just did a $500 System Builder Marathon build. It's probably the best thing you could possibly get for the money.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/budget-gaming-pc-ph...

There you go. Basically put, it's nearly twice the rig as what you have listed. ;)  If it's too expensive, you'll have to downgrade the video card (you need one if you're going to do basically any gaming at all). And a word of advice - never skimp on the power supply. Typically, if a case includes a PSU, it's going to be junk. There are a few exceptions, but not many...
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March 28, 2011 12:52:40 AM

someguynamedmatt said:
TomsHardware just did a $500 System Builder Marathon build. It's probably the best thing you could possibly get for the money.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/budget-gaming-pc-ph...

There you go. Basically put, it's nearly twice the rig as what you have listed. ;)  If it's too expensive, you'll have to downgrade the video card (you need one if you're going to do basically any gaming at all). And a word of advice - never skimp on the power supply. Typically, if a case includes a PSU, it's going to be junk. There are a few exceptions, but not many...


Would Tommshardware $500 system builder be capable of running an mmo such as FFXIV? If so at what graphics level. I am looking to play SWTOR and GW2 when they come out and am interested o know if the $500 budget builds can handle mmos like those at high graphics or are they only capable of playing the game at the lower graphics end?
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March 28, 2011 1:00:21 AM

Tough luck as that mobo is $15 cheaper on tigerdirect.com. as opposed to .ca

I agree with the above poster that the phenom II 920 is superior. Also generally speaking computer cases that come with a PSU usually come with a garbage PSU.

You are building a gaming rig and using onboard video? Oh no, don't do that. You system may run Starcraft 2 but it might be a bad experience and not very playable. You can try it without a video card but for only $50 you can get a 9800 GT here

The video card reqs for SC2 are: 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA® GeForce® 6600 GT or ATI Radeon® 9800 PRO video card or better
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March 28, 2011 4:20:44 AM

rajaawad23 said:
hi there
first, go with 64 bit windows as you are getting 4gb ram
second, instead of your CPU get this AMD phenom II 920 x4 http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
hope this helps


Hi because my current motherboard description says it supports socket AM3, will it also support socket AM2+? Is there any difference between AM2+ or AM3?
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March 28, 2011 4:27:50 AM

someguynamedmatt said:
TomsHardware just did a $500 System Builder Marathon build. It's probably the best thing you could possibly get for the money.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/budget-gaming-pc-ph...

There you go. Basically put, it's nearly twice the rig as what you have listed. ;)  If it's too expensive, you'll have to downgrade the video card (you need one if you're going to do basically any gaming at all). And a word of advice - never skimp on the power supply. Typically, if a case includes a PSU, it's going to be junk. There are a few exceptions, but not many...


I have though of that build, but unfortunately, I couldn't find every component on the tigerdirect.ca and being the "newbie" to computer building, I don't want to risk mis-ordering parts. It's really a hassle to having to return/refund/exchange parts haha. If you can, I would be happy if you can link the individual parts out for me :) 
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March 28, 2011 4:29:36 AM

Dyers Eve said:
Tough luck as that mobo is $15 cheaper on tigerdirect.com. as opposed to .ca

I agree with the above poster that the phenom II 920 is superior. Also generally speaking computer cases that come with a PSU usually come with a garbage PSU.

You are building a gaming rig and using onboard video? Oh no, don't do that. You system may run Starcraft 2 but it might be a bad experience and not very playable. You can try it without a video card but for only $50 you can get a 9800 GT here

The video card reqs for SC2 are: 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA® GeForce® 6600 GT or ATI Radeon® 9800 PRO video card or better


I forgot to say, a while back I purchased an ATI Radeon 4650 PCIE. To save a little bit more, I think its better if I just reuse this :p  (or is it garbage?)
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March 28, 2011 9:26:33 AM

Yeah 4650 should be fine since you are playing at a fairly low res and low/med settings.

Good catch on the 920 being socket AM2+, why is there one Phenom II that is socket AM2+ but the rest of aAM3, so bizarre. Stick with the Athlon X3 II 450.

As for the person asking about playing MMOs on the Toms $500 system I would say yes it will be able to play those games quite well at high settings depending on your resolution, higher resolutions take a ton more power.
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March 28, 2011 10:06:35 AM

If you live close to a www.canadacomputers.com that place is THE best place to get the cheapest price. They price match almost all other stores/websites and already have the lowest price on many things.
For example price match them with places like http://www.directcanada.com/ (cheap but I hear they are unreliable) , or NCIX Tigerdirect... etc.
Also if you live in the GTA, www.bewawa.com is also great, they bring the part to your house and you pay them on delivery ... the guy even brings a debit machine with him lmao.

Tiger direct is my least recommended store because they are usually the most expensive for everything.

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March 28, 2011 2:31:59 PM

I agree with someguynamedmatt. If you start with the SBM article build, you'll do pretty well. Can you order from newegg.ca?
Your resolution is low enough that if you use the video card you have, your games will at least be playable. If you can though, get a HD5670.
And, you do NOT want a cheap PSU. Coolermaster PSUs with a little voltage switch on them are junk; so is the Xion. The EA-380D chosen for the SBM machine is a solid, stable, and efficient PSU.
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March 28, 2011 2:59:01 PM

Get an xbox.
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March 28, 2011 5:12:48 PM

@amirp: I live in Edmonton AB, have you checked MemoryExpress.ca? They ship from Calgary (3hrs from me) you should check it out and tell me :p  and from what I hear, they also price match. But if I were to ask for a PM, how do I do it? Message them? o_o

jhtt293: I prefer not to order from newegg.ca haha. Although they do ship from Canada, still most of their items that were in my checklist where in the US. I don't want to pay for a separate shipping fee, and don't want to wait as long haha. (currently on spring break)

ten98: I have a Xbox

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March 28, 2011 5:58:53 PM

you can pricematch on NCIX.ca then, its really easy, just copy paste the url from the other site into the checkout page on ncix,

note: i havent comepleted an order like this (i ended up going to my local computer canada) but it seemed like they pricematched everything pretty well, do a google search of what NCIX pricematches on

I have heard of memoryexpress but never used it , sorry bro, but yea use google how they do their pricematch lol... im in uoft ... thus you have more time than me lol
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March 28, 2011 6:34:40 PM

amirp said:
you can pricematch on NCIX.ca then, its really easy, just copy paste the url from the other site into the checkout page on ncix,

note: i havent comepleted an order like this (i ended up going to my local computer canada) but it seemed like they pricematched everything pretty well, do a google search of what NCIX pricematches on

I have heard of memoryexpress but never used it , sorry bro, but yea use google how they do their pricematch lol... im in uoft ... thus you have more time than me lol


Haha, just found another site where the store is actually in my city... (b-com.ca) funny how I'm still making them ship (parents too busy + no car). I have rounded up components:

ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM AM3 AMD 785G MATX DVI/HDMI, DDR3 AMD Motherboard

AMD-RETAIL ATHLON II X4 AM3 645 3.1GHz CPU RETAIL BOX]AMD-RETAIL ATHLON II X4 AM3 645 3.1GHz CPU RETAIL BOX

POWER SUPPLY ANTEC EARTHWATTS EA430D 80 PLUS 430W ATX12V 2.3

CRUCIAL DDR3 NON-ECC PC3-10600 1333MHZ 4GB (KIT OF 2) CT2KIT25664BA1339

SATA DVD-RW-OEM LITEON IHAS124-04 24X BLACK DVDRW

ANTEC 300 THREE HUNDRED VERSATILE CASE

EDIT: forgot to include HDD: SEAGATE - OEM - SATA 500GB ST3500418AS HARD DRIVE 16MB 7200.12RPM

So yah, I don't know if these components will fit and match with others. If someone is kind enough to confirm or give advice, I appreciate it. I will be placing the order right after :) 
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March 28, 2011 7:02:53 PM

everything looks good (wait for some more amd people to respond though cause I have never built amd..)

are you forgetting the hard drive?

with everything else that you are buying right now how much will you have left over for a gpu?
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March 28, 2011 7:16:36 PM

Wait here I have a new muuuch better idea for you...
take a look at the toms hardware gaming cpu's for the money chart:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-overcloc...

now, notice the core i3-2100 stands at the same level as even the phenomIIx4-975 (this is evident from benchmarks toms did a little while ago, ask and I will find it for you.)

now this is how much the intel will cost more for the same site:
your amd mobo plus the athlonIIx4 = 87+ 106 = 193
core i3 2100 (ALOT better than the athlonIIx4) 96 + 124 = 220
difference of $27.....-_- ... bro get the intel build...

https://www.b-com.ca/product.php?productid=228868&page=...
https://www.b-com.ca/product.php?productid=228787&page=...

do not waste money on that old amd mobo and the athlon II, 27 dollars is nothing for a pc you will keep for definitely over a year...

here is difference between the intel and athlon ... the intel smokes it...
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/188?vs=289

difference between corei3 2100 and pII 955,
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/88?vs=289
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March 28, 2011 7:53:43 PM

Okay, Imma make a trip to the bank right now haha. Hopefully there will be an answer :p 
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March 28, 2011 8:22:59 PM

I would choose Asus over Biostar any day.
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March 28, 2011 10:48:28 PM

I'd pick the Asus, but those are both Intel i3/i5/i7 5xx/7xx/8xx boards, and won't work with an athlon.

Try an AS Rock 880GM from Newegg.ca?
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March 29, 2011 2:00:49 AM

bro why are you bringing in H55 motherboards?? they are socket 1156 for the older intel i3/i5/i7's with 3digits in their name,

anything that looks like this : core i(3/5/7)-2xxx with four digits and the two is a new socket, 1155.. so you will need a p67/H67/or H61 motherboard

SO In either that website or tigerdirect just go to motherboards and select Socket 1155... assort it from price... and get one that is reasonably priced....

I was just showing you that only for an extra $27 you can get a hell of alot more bang for your buck with the new intel cpu's (ie. the i3 2100...) vs the athlon II x4
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March 29, 2011 2:10:27 AM

^ Has a point. Though in WoW you tend to benefit more from more cores. Though the Sandy Bridge performance itself makes up for it.
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March 29, 2011 4:31:07 AM

aight, in order to make the parcel "deliverable" I had to remove the dvd drive. So I have already placed an order on:
https://www.b-com.ca/product.php?productid=228787&page=1
ASUS P8H67-M-LX R3 S1155 INT H67 1XPCI-E 16X, 2XDDR3-1600MHZ 1600/1333 FSB SATA 6GB/S MATX

1 problem... now that I didn't order a DVD writer (here) is it possible that I can maybe take off my current one and just place it into my new mobo?
and... because it says "DVD BURNER" does it only burn discs? or does it also read discs?
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March 29, 2011 4:35:46 AM

It reads and writes as well. You can just take it out of your current computer and put it in. Or drive down to a local electronics store and buy it there. They're about the same cost.
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March 29, 2011 4:40:44 AM

good job bro.... enjoy your new computer... and be careful during assembly... lool you seem a little noob LOL sorry...

On a final note... since this is a gaming build.... how much money is left over for a graphics card... because a 4650 paired with an i3 2100... is kinda soft lol

for getting a gpu, search your local kijiji or craigslist... you will definitely find some last gen non-dx11 cards for cheap,
something along the lines of , 9800gt, gts 250, 4850, 4870, 4890, gtx 260
or some people might sell 5670, 5750, 5770....
all of these cards I mentioned are much better than your 4650, and I can almost guarantee you will find some for under $100
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March 29, 2011 4:46:17 AM

^ Don't forget 4830. They sell them for 60-70$ off Newegg.
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March 29, 2011 4:48:25 AM

true... im not too familiar with how good those are but definitely better than that sad 4650 lol

this is the only 4000 series i could find on newegg.ca... the 4850 , a pretty powerful card for 70 dollars its a pretty damn good deal
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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March 29, 2011 5:10:51 AM

Yea bro, thanks for all the help and advice. I guess im glad I did not end up chosing the Athlon yo. Funny how I will be studying computer engineering at university and know NOTHING about it haha. Hopefully I will become better... is there a good video or demo on how to assemble my parts? The most important thing I know is to ground my parts ahah.

Yea, about my GPU, I do intend to upgrade it very soon. I will check craigslist.

I will update this as soon as I get my shipment. I will now look inside my dell521, and check how I can remove my DVD drive ^^
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March 29, 2011 5:48:51 AM

yea true you are right,

your old dvd drive... how old is it? it might be an IDE lol ... if it has those wide flat cables - (google IDE cables to see)

if it is IDE you will need to buy a new one i think as your mobo only has Sata (as they all do now? .. I am not knowledgeable on this at all...)

no problem... yea the amd machine would have been a good step up... but this is just better for little extra cost
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March 29, 2011 5:55:25 AM

^ Yes remember about IDE.

If I'm correct.

Intel has abandoned IDE with the "new" 1156 (P55) and 1155 (P67) and perhaps 1366 (X58). They've just left the boards to support SATA II and SATA III basically.

AMD hasn't totally abandoned it as most AMD boards have a single legacy IDE port. Which I'm currently using to run my dads rig. The main reason was to salvage a 250gb drive from the old HP prebuilt.
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March 29, 2011 6:00:37 AM

Okay, I just checked and there was two cables coming out of my drive. They did not look like IDE cables though - they did not have those wide "ribbons"... could that hopefully mean it's sata?

btw, is it possible to have 2 drives? My current dell has 1HDD, but its capacity is like 64gbs.... i migh tuse that one for maybe backup haha
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March 29, 2011 6:21:31 AM

Man... only if I had a camera... but yah. I do not see those huge, thick ribbons as a cable for my dvd drive. So it has to be sata (thinner cable) although it has two wires hooked up to it. One plug is bigger than the other one.

And, what else should I salvage from my dell dimension c521? or is it just the dvd drive (not even burnable so i may just upgrade it sooner)

And.. does my new computer have the potential to be upgraded to a ~$1000 gaming computer? if so, what parts should i think about replacing in the future? (gpu? processor?) is my motherboard safe to keep?
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March 29, 2011 6:32:12 AM

I have no clue.

As for upgrade potential, I have no clue what your parts are other than the 4650, i3 2100 and H67 LX. Could you list them all. I'll tell you now though, the H67 LX would probably close off much your upgrade room.

If you can get stuff from NCIX and your not to worried about MIRs. This is a good board to ensure upgradeability.
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=59093&vpn=P67A-GD53%20%28...
Explanation: You have 2 PCI Express 16x 2.0 slots that'll run 8x/8x when you crossfire/sli. You have that ability to overclock if you get an unlocked processor (K annotated CPUs). It's ATX, more space.

The thing that tells you if you can upgrade, is mainly the motherboard.
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March 29, 2011 10:04:20 AM

The other one might be the power cable? The connector itself is thin, like the SATA one, but the individual wires going into it are thicker, and colored.
In any case, I don't see this working out badly, although the fact remains that a less expensive system would have met the OP's needs. That's the beauty of the $500 SBM articles; they show it doesn't take a lot of money or the latest and greatest to play current games.
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March 29, 2011 5:58:44 PM

drift01 said:
Man... only if I had a camera... but yah. I do not see those huge, thick ribbons as a cable for my dvd drive. So it has to be sata (thinner cable) although it has two wires hooked up to it. One plug is bigger than the other one.

And, what else should I salvage from my dell dimension c521? or is it just the dvd drive (not even burnable so i may just upgrade it sooner)

And.. does my new computer have the potential to be upgraded to a ~$1000 gaming computer? if so, what parts should i think about replacing in the future? (gpu? processor?) is my motherboard safe to keep?


if it looks something like this:


...then its SATA
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March 29, 2011 7:01:46 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
if it looks something like this:
http://www.pcstats.com/articleimages/200708/LGGSAH62N_sata2.jpg

...then its SATA


Haha awesome. It indeed sata thenthanks! Okay, after placing my order, this morning BCOM emailed me and said that they unfortunately do not accept prepaid giftcards x_x. Now I have to either resort to try to order it from NCIX or tigerdirect (bigger known companies). I will for sure stick with the intel build and will post my components shortly.

Keep in mind: these builds I have chosen are to be under $500, the denominator of my prepaid giftcard. I need a confirmation on compatibility and I'm absolutely open for suggestions/advices.

tigerdirect:
CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 BX80623I32100 Processor - Dual Core, 3MB L3 Smart Cache, 3.10 GHz, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Retail

MOBO:ASUS P8H67-M LE B3 Intel H67 Motherboard - Micro ATX, Socket H2 (LGA 1155), Intel H67 Express, 1333MHz DDR3, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel Audio, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, SuperSpeed USB 3.0

HDD: Western Digital WD2500AAKS Caviar Blue Hard Drive - 250GB, 3.5", 7200RPM, SATA 3G, 16MB Cache

RAM: Patriot G2 Series PGD34G1333ELK Division 2 Edition Desktop Memory Kit - 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-10666, DDR3-1333MHz, 9-9-9-24 CAS Latency, XPM Ready

PSU: OCZ OCZ500SXS2 StealthXStream 2 500W Power Supply - 500W, ATX, 80 Plus, 120mm Fan

CASE: Ultra Gladiator Black ATX Mid-Tower Case with Clear Side, Front USB, FireWire and Audio Ports

With shipping: $485.15. What is the reccomended PSU? I just chose 500W to be safe. The case is a steal, luckly I browsed the clearance and found that the case is about %50 off :)  On the RAM description, it says 1.65V... I don't know but will it be compatible with the MOBO?

I will now browse through NCIX as I price matched the CPU down to $123 (from BCOM)
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March 29, 2011 8:38:57 PM

buy this ram, I have it and i can confirm it is good/ works, plus many people just buy g skill
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=57952&vpn=F3-12800CL9D-4G...

and really the only thing you should consider upgrading for the next year ... is your graphics card, a 4650 is really not very good lol... sorry
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March 29, 2011 10:23:33 PM

Although I would not buy one, the OCZ PSU isn't junk, and would be able to handle a GTX460 or HD6850 later.
The WD Blue series is relatively slow (the Black is their fast series), but I understand that sacrifices need to be made to meet budget, and that's probably the safest place to make one.
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March 30, 2011 4:14:02 AM

I will update this when I get my stuff shipped ^^
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April 9, 2011 6:22:33 AM

Hey! Me again, its been like 2 weeks now, I have received all my shipments and have already configured the parts! The computer works great, its a huge leap from my old computer. Everything runs real smooth! Thanks for all the help guys, especially in choosing my parts, I don't know what I would have gone though without you guys :p 
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April 9, 2011 12:15:53 PM

Excellent. Glad to hear it.
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February 25, 2012 1:49:38 PM

amirp said:
If you live close to a www.canadacomputers.com that place is THE best place to get the cheapest price. They price match almost all other stores/websites and already have the lowest price on many things.
For example price match them with places like http://www.directcanada.com/ (cheap but I hear they are unreliable) , or NCIX Tigerdirect... etc.
Also if you live in the GTA, www.bewawa.com is also great, they bring the part to your house and you pay them on delivery ... the guy even brings a debit machine with him lmao.

Tiger direct is my least recommended store because they are usually the most expensive for everything.


Price match policy is NOT unique to any store. They all have the similar policy to compete. I was declined by ncix a few times for price match with the reasons like below their cost; competitor's product is not coming from official channel etc..

There are a three more online stores that I recommend in Canada. They are:

http://www.pcvonline.ca
http://www.vuugo.com
http://www.onhop.ca

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