First custom build - $800 budget - help please!

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next two weeks

Budget Range: $800 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: surfing the internet, gaming, watching movies, matlab/homework

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, spreakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'm most comfortable with newegg or amazon, but I'm not opposed to better deals from other sites

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: prefer intel, but open to suggestions

Overclocking: probably not

SLI or Crossfire: maybe in future upgrades

Monitor Resolution: best possible?

Additional Comments: I'm looking to build a cost efficient PC that plays games like the Sims and Spore flawlessly. I'll likely upgrade in a few years after I get my degree :) and I don't mind if that upgrade has to be a major overhaul. For now I'm looking for a solid PC on a budget.


Here's what I picked out, all suggestions/criticisms are welcome:


Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz - $170

- I shouldn't need more than two cores, so why pay more? :)


GIGABYTE Intel G31 Micro ATX - $47


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 - $65


MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB - $180 (after rebate)

Hard drive:

WD Caviar Black 640GB - $60

- I've read some about more platters being faster, but would such a difference be noticeable? I definitely don't need 1TB of space.

Optical drive:

Samsung DVD + RW SH-S223L - $28 (inc. shipping)

- I'm not looking to do anything fancy with Blu-ray or 3D


Cooler Master Storm Scout - $80 (after rebate)

Power supply:

Antec 550W ATX 12V modular -$60

- Will this supply enough power?

Operating system:

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit - $100

7 answers Last reply
More about first custom build budget please
  1. ^btw, that build is probably overkill. We can get it down to $600 or so if you only plan on playing games like spore and the sims. This is more like for BF3 and SC2 lol.
  2. THANK you!

    Just curious, why go with the GTX 560 over the Radeon 6850?

    And you're right, it's probably overkill, but I have my pride :)
  3. Striker410, has done a good job for building a system that will fit your needs and budget while still giving you room that you can grow in. I have to echo him on advising you to move up to the Intel® Core™ I3-2100 and an H67 board. If you can squeeze a little bit more out of your budget you can move up the Intel Core I5-2400 and give yourself full quad core support.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
  4. kripple said:
    THANK you!

    Just curious, why go with the GTX 560 over the Radeon 6850?

    And you're right, it's probably overkill, but I have my pride :)

    This is why my friend:
    As you can see, the 560 stomps the 6850 into the ground. A better comparison would be the 6950:
    As you can see, the 560 and the 6950 are very evenly matched, with a small advantage to the 6950.

    I would also keep in mind the fact that some 6950's can be unlocked to a 6970, although it's not guaranteed.
  5. What's the least expensive videocard that would still be overkill for my needs (and quiet)? This is how I see my options:

    Option 1 -- GeForce GTX 560

    -really awesome GPU, probably better than what I need AND it will likely be bottlenecked by my i3 processor anyway

    -a bit pricey at $230 after rebate

    Option 2 -- Radeon 6850

    -better priced at $175

    -still better than what I need?

    Option 3 -- GeForce GTX 460 1GB

    -even cheaper at $145 after rebate

    Option 4 -- other? lol
  6. A 560 ti will not bottleneck with the i3, as the i3 is pretty much a quad since it has Hyper Threading. Hyper Threading makes it a sort of "virtual quad" since each core can handle 2 threads at a time.
    The question is, how hardcore do you intend to game? any of these cards can max games out now, but to do it in a year? likely the 560 ti will be the only one left standing. It's up to you. I personally would go 560ti vs 460, as the 6850 is weaker than both.
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