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Budget PC for gaming ($400-500)

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April 28, 2011 6:15:28 PM

I am looking to build my first PC. I have tinkered around and upgraded before, but never built from scratch. I am confident in my ability to do it. I also don't have a monitor, but plan on buying a used one off craigslist for around $100. If you have any recommendations concerning this, feel free to add.

Also, I saw the "recommended builds" sticky, and if you just say "use the $441 one from the sticky", that's totally acceptable. Prices and technology move so quickly, I was just wondering if there's any changes to be made to the build.

Without further ado:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 2 weeks, will wait a month or so if something new is coming out to drive prices down

Budget Range: $400-500, before rebates would be great, after is acceptable if necessary

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming(I have reasonable expectations with this budget), would love to replace my HTPC if possible. It's an old optiplex workstation with a 1TB HD.

Parts Not Required: I have keyboard, mouse and speakers. My old HDD is a SATA westinghouse. I would still want another HDD as it will be used only for movies/tv shows to pipe over the network to my xbox.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, but I'll get them from anywhere if it saves me money.


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: Don't know enough to care

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: haha yeah right with this budget.

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 at least

Additional Comments: A quiet PC would be a plus, but not necessary.

Just found this website, love the articles(especially the quarterly build 500/1000/2000). Thanks for the help!

More about : budget gaming 400 500

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April 28, 2011 8:00:07 PM

you will need a power cord for the PSU as is "green" and doesn't com with one. this should beat the one on the $500 build that tom's did.

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827106289
$20.99

NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811146061
-$15.00 Instant
$49.99
$34.99

Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822148701
$39.99

SAPPHIRE 100282XTREME Radeon HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814102932
$139.99

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16817371033
-$20.00 Instant
$59.99
$39.99

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820146748
$39.99

Motherboard/CPU Combo Deal:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100
Item #: N82E16819115078
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
-$15.00 Combo
$204.98
$189.98
----------
$505.92 Shipping $16.76 no MIR to deal with
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April 29, 2011 11:21:09 AM

for a budget build, would the i3 really be the best, or is there an AMD you could recommend to save money without sacrificing too much performance?

What about the Radeon 5670 instead of the 5850?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131387&cm_re=5670-_-14-131-387-_-Product

what am I giving up for half the price?

edit: just searched for a comparo, looks like stock the 5850 pretty much doubles the performance of the 5670. for twice the price, that seems like a fair trade off.

Does anyone have RL experience with the cards that back up the benchmark comparison?
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April 29, 2011 2:50:52 PM

hsilman said:
for a budget build, would the i3 really be the best, or is there an AMD you could recommend to save money without sacrificing too much performance?

What about the Radeon 5670 instead of the 5850?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131387&cm_re=5670-_-14-131-387-_-Product

what am I giving up for half the price?

edit: just searched for a comparo, looks like stock the 5850 pretty much doubles the performance of the 5670. for twice the price, that seems like a fair trade off.

Does anyone have RL experience with the cards that back up the benchmark comparison?


The only AMD that out right beats the i3 2100 is the Phenon II x6. the Phenon II 955 x4 is within a couple of FPS of the i3, but it is $15 more. $ for $ the sandy bridge CPU is the best buy.
Tom's on CPU's under $200
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

the HD 5670 vs the 5850 and a few other popular GPU's
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...

from first hand experience with an awful lot a different GPU's, you really don't want to try and build a gaming PC with anything less than a HD 5770 or GTS 450 because the client will always be disappointed.

GeekApproved runs a 5850 in his RIG, hopefully he will chime in on the blazing speed of it. if he doesn't you can leave him a message at http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/message.php?config=to...

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April 29, 2011 3:18:56 PM

are you near a microcenter? if so:
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/email/CPlanding0429...

i think jerred's build is near perfect, but i would go with a higher wattage psu for a 5850. you might be able to cut it because the i3-2100 uses so little power, but a 550w will allow you to upgrade safely to pretty much any single graphics card in the future. i personally think its worth the extra $10:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

you just cant beat this performance/price. this $500 machine will FLY.
the 5850 will make the 5670 look like a weak little baby man. the 5850 is a $190 card (currently, as based on its performance in between the 6850 and 6870) priced at $140. there is no better graphics VALUE available, except arguably the integrated graphics included with the processor.

edit: For your entertainment, "Best" Buy's 5850:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/VisionTek+-+ATI+Radeon+HD+5...
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April 29, 2011 4:22:39 PM

genghiskron said:
are you near a microcenter? if so:
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/email/CPlanding0429...

i think jerred's build is near perfect, but i would go with a higher wattage psu for a 5850. you might be able to cut it because the i3-2100 uses so little power, but a 550w will allow you to upgrade safely to pretty much any single graphics card in the future. i personally think its worth the extra $10:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

you just cant beat this performance/price. this $500 machine will FLY.
the 5850 will make the 5670 look like a weak little baby man. the 5850 is a $190 card (currently, as based on its performance in between the 6850 and 6870) priced at $140. there is no better graphics VALUE available, except arguably the integrated graphics included with the processor.

edit: For your entertainment, "Best" Buy's 5850:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/VisionTek+-+ATI+Radeon+HD+5...


I'll cross reference the other parts, and if they are comparable, I could take the trip on the MTA to get to the microcenter in westbury or yonkers if it means saving $70. You're basically saying to replace the mobo/processor combo he has listed with that one, right?

three quick questions:

is this mobo and the 5850 crossfire compatible, meaning I could add another 5850 later as an upgrade path? Assuming again that this is a feasible thing to be thinking in the future. I don't know much about GPU(and barely enough to build the computer in the first place) so I don't know if my question makes sense.

second, is the i5 series the same socket as the i3, making an upgrade to a better processor easier in the future?

lastly, do I need to worry about audio requirements and/or a seperate soundcard? I know nothing about these things, so will the on-baord sound on the mobo be fine, and the audio quality will depend on my speakers/headphones?

with an eye toward the deals there, would it be too much to ask for a build based on availability at microcenter instead of newegg?
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April 29, 2011 7:06:00 PM

the new i5 is the same socket as the i3 (lga 1155). the onboard sound will be fine. you should jump on that microcenter deal (order online and pick up in store) or it wont last, although i have seen similar deals a couple of times in the past few months.
you will not be able to crossfire 5850s with this build. you will be limited by the mobo and the power supply. i do not consider crossfire a suitable option for such a low initial budget, because you would be spending far too much of your budget to properly enable this feature - more than $150.

i would also buy your case at microcenter, as they tend to have good prices on those with no shipping.
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April 29, 2011 7:44:17 PM

jerreddredd said:
you will need a power cord for the PSU as is "green" and doesn't com with one. this should beat the one on the $500 build that tom's did.

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827106289
$20.99

NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811146061
-$15.00 Instant
$49.99
$34.99

Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822148701
$39.99

SAPPHIRE 100282XTREME Radeon HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814102932
$139.99

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16817371033
-$20.00 Instant
$59.99
$39.99

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820146748
$39.99

Motherboard/CPU Combo Deal:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100
Item #: N82E16819115078
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
-$15.00 Combo
$204.98
$189.98
----------
$505.92 Shipping $16.76 no MIR to deal with

This is pretty much the build that I had in my head when I saw the title, +1. The psu is solid enough to handle the rig, although some people are nervous cutting it that close.. ;) 
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April 29, 2011 7:45:02 PM

I'm getting ready to build a very similar rig and found this thread while looking for a good Mobo to use with the i3-2100.

My question is why go with a "H" vs. "P" version since the graphics card will be used? Cost?

Also, if I may ask, are there any concerns using an AMD video card with an Intel system? I always thought it better not to mix.

Thanks!
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April 29, 2011 7:56:54 PM

Jimmy_54669 said:
I'm getting ready to build a very similar rig and found this thread while looking for a good Mobo to use with the i3-2100.

My question is why go with a "H" vs. "P" version since the graphics card will be used? Cost?

Also, if I may ask, are there any concerns using an AMD video card with an Intel system? I always thought it better not to mix.

Thanks!



no reason to pay for the P-class, as it's basically just for overclocking, which a non-K-series processor wont really do. H61 will do all you need
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April 29, 2011 8:07:18 PM

genghiskron said:
are you near a microcenter? if so:
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/email/CPlanding0429...

i think jerred's build is near perfect, but i would go with a higher wattage psu for a 5850. you might be able to cut it because the i3-2100 uses so little power, but a 550w will allow you to upgrade safely to pretty much any single graphics card in the future. i personally think its worth the extra $10:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

you just cant beat this performance/price. this $500 machine will FLY.
the 5850 will make the 5670 look like a weak little baby man. the 5850 is a $190 card (currently, as based on its performance in between the 6850 and 6870) priced at $140. there is no better graphics VALUE available, except arguably the integrated graphics included with the processor.

edit: For your entertainment, "Best" Buy's 5850:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/VisionTek+-+ATI+Radeon+HD+5...



holy crap, thats a good deal on that combo! :o  I wish that it wasn't an in store only deal :( 
the Antec 380 is fine for that bulid, but if you have the extra $20 in your budget I would consider the 550W that genghiskron linked it would be a good upgrade.
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April 29, 2011 8:08:42 PM

Jimmy_54669 said:
I'm getting ready to build a very similar rig and found this thread while looking for a good Mobo to use with the i3-2100.

My question is why go with a "H" vs. "P" version since the graphics card will be used? Cost?

Also, if I may ask, are there any concerns using an AMD video card with an Intel system? I always thought it better not to mix.

Thanks!

also, there is no problem with running amd/intel. The only issue was trying to sli the last couple of years on the am3 platform... But according to an article today.. the new 9xx chipsets are going to natively support sli. =D
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May 1, 2011 9:50:17 PM

Best answer selected by hsilman.
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