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1st build ~$400

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May 21, 2011 11:44:01 PM

Hi folks,

Hoping I can get some feedback! I am looking at my first ever build and need any and all input/suggestions that you have. This will be a very cheap build. It would be mostly used for internet browsing and some gaming. Currently I'm playing games like LOTRO and AoE type games. I'd like to be able to play World of Tanks, the upcoming Diablo III and some of the current popular games. I don't need super high settings or anything, but I would definitely like a decent FPS on reasonable settings.

SO!!! This is what I'm looking at-

Approximate Purchase Date: today (if I can convince the wife!) I can wait, but newegg has some critically good deals for my build that are only 24hr

Budget Range: ~$400

System Usage:e.g.: web browsing, some gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: AMD CPU (for cost savings)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: ?? (whatever is standard?)

Additional Comments: has to be cheap but decent parts!


OK here we go. This is my current build-

CPU- AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX450WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103886

MOBO- ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157176

RAM- G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231396

Case- Rosewill Smart One ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, Black interior, comes with three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, 1x Top 120mm Fan, Option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147120

PSU- Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371033

HDD- Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148395

GPU- SAPPHIRE 100293L Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102874

Optical- LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289

This build with all current discounts bring this in around ~$370 shipped.

So, suggestions or changes?? Do I need any extra cables, parts, etc to put this together? The one item I'm most interested in hearing other option on is the GPU. Also, I'd like to be able to make my MOBO last through another upgrade. Will this MOBO be reasonable if I move on to a higher end CPU in another year or two? I still have to keep the costs down, but if something else can be suggested for a bit more, but be far more functional, I'm interested to know what it is.

Thanks in advance for the help! I've been reading here at tom's for a couple weeks now and you folks are top notch!

Christo

More about : 1st build 400

May 21, 2011 11:52:39 PM

If you could perhaps come up with another $75-$100 or so, I'd look hard at an i3-2100/H61 based build with MUCH higher gaming performance than the older Athlon X2 builds...
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May 22, 2011 12:11:26 AM

The case and individual items will come with all the cables you'd need.

That mobo will support phenom II but not bulldozer.

i was trying to find a better gpu around that price but can't :( 
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May 22, 2011 9:38:42 AM

Swap the Antec 380W for a Xigmatek 400W and save $5.

Otherwise it looks good.

If you want to spend an extra $20-30 for more performance I'd suggest the following:

Spend an extra $20 over the X3 450 and grab a Phenom II X4 925 for $99 which is around 20-25% faster. Its priced exactly the same as the X4 640 which Toms Hardware currently recommends at the price point, but is a proper Phenom quad core with a full 6MB L3 cache so it will last you a lot longer and let you skip upgrading to Bulldozer platform.

For a remaining $10 I'd upgrade to a Radeon HD 5670 1GB for $69

I think that puts you at just over $400.

However if your on a strict budget then your initial build outline looks very good and i see no problems with it.
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Best solution

May 22, 2011 12:43:25 PM

This is what I would buy. It's 50$$ more expensive but every dollar on this machine worth!


Very good case at attractive price.

Xigmatek ASGARD II B/O CPC-T45UE-U01 Black / Orange 0.8 mm SECC / Aluminum and Aluminum Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Combo for PSU and HDD. You get an awesome 80+ Bronze 520W PSU from Antec along with 500GB Sata II Caviar Blue from Western Digital


Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-520 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

bundled with:

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


Another Combo for CPU and GPU. So you get the powerful Phenom II X4 955 along with XFX Radeon HD5770. This way you can play everything even at 1080P with absolutely playable fps!

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX

bundled with:

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


For motherboard we go with an AM3R2 one, so you can upgrade to Bulldozer anytime!

ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For memory I choose a high-speed kit of Kingston at 4GB. 1600Mhz will be useful in the future, as Bulldozers need high speed memory!

Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3B1K2/4GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sum is 491$ with MIR 450$, for a very good gaming machine who can play everything even with filters on and fully upgradable to AMD Bulldozers!

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May 22, 2011 7:18:31 PM

Looks pretty good.
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May 29, 2011 1:43:21 AM

Thanks for some awesome suggestions. You guys really do your homework.

@General M00n- Good point on the Phenom vs Athlon. I totally missed that the Rana was Athlon! I will definitely plan to go with at least the Phenom II 925 or possibly even the 955. I want the extra stable core and the L3 cache!

@michxymi- Some awesome finds! Unfortunately, I already got a power supply (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139028- shell shocker deal for $37 after MIR!) on the way so I can't use that combo deal you found. Otherwise I'd have jumped at that. However, the GPU/CPU combo you found is PERFECT. I think I will be jumping on that one as well! Also a great suggestion for the 4GB ram with MIR. I'm still thinking about that Mobo you listed... thats the final piece of the puzzle for me to put this together.

Thanks to all for the suggestions and recommendations!
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June 5, 2011 12:45:11 AM

Best answer selected by christoj.
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June 5, 2011 1:21:15 AM

Thanks again for all the suggestions and help. I've bought everything except the graphics card at this point. I have the computer about half assembled right next to me and I'm definitely looking forward to having the system completed soon.

Honestly, the General Moon and michxymi both gave EXCELLENT suggestions. Unfortunately I missed out on some of those best combos or had already orders some parts.

Just for the sake of seeing my (nearly) finalized build I will post it here along with final prices.
I went over my original budget by a bit, but I feel I have a very solid computer that I will enjoy for a number of years to come.

Case- Rosewill Blackbone- $37 (memorial day promo@ newegg)
PSU- Corsair CX600- $37 (shell shocker promo@ newegg + $20 MIR)
CPU- AMD Phenom II 965 BE (3.5Ghz)- combo with mobo
MOBO- MSI 880G-E45- $150 (Microcenter combo + $20 MIR on MOBO)
RAM- Patriot G2 8GB- $65 (shell shocker promo @ newegg + $25 MIR)
DVD/CD- Liteon- $21 (promo @ newegg)
HDD- WD Caviar Blue 500GB- $36 (memorial day promor @ newegg)
O/S- Windows 7- $29 (student/educator discount)

So the build is at $346 (minus the O/S) at the moment. I went a bit cheaper on the MOBO then suggested. The combo deal was too good to pass on. Its a nice MOBO, although not as high end as I thought I might go. Still, it will serve my purposes nicely. I'm still bummed that I missed that GPU/CPU combo that was suggested. That would have been a nice deal.
I'm really happy with the build and can't wait to get it up and running. I upgraded a number of items (the 8GB ram is way overkill, but at $65 I couldn't pass it up). I know I didn't get a MOBO for the future, but I'll live with it.

So I'm down to the GPU now. The MOBO I got does have onboard graphics so I can afford to be a little patient and pounce on a GPU when the right one comes along. I'm looking to spend ~$80-100 for the GPU at this point.

The short list for cards I'm considering-
Radeon 5770 (I see these around $100 right now (after MIR))
Radeon 5830 (I've found one of these for $100 right now (after MIR))
Nvidia GTX 460 (This is the card I'd like, but I can't hit my price point right now)

Should I hold out for the GTX 460? I don't have an uber monitor (ACER H203H- 20.5inch) I don't even know what my highest settings available are (I do little gaming at the moment).
The game of the moment I'd love to played on maxed settings is World of Tanks MMO. I'd also like to play Shogun Total War II and some like Crysis 2 or along those lines with high detail. I suspect the 5770 is more then enough, but I keep looking at the FPS and processing power of that GTX 460 and I keep telling myself that if I wait I might get it @ $100 with a shell shocker or something along those lines.

So?? Get the 5770 which a very decent card, get the 5830 which is even better and I can get at the same price but also has a bigger power draw, or try to be patient and get the all around best card of the 3 for (hopefully) nearly the same price? Or is trying to get the GTX460 at that price a pipedream?
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June 8, 2011 1:51:08 PM

Hey christoj, I was looking at the same cpu/mobo combo. I was wondering about what you thought of the mobo. I see it's AM3, not AM3+. Do you forsee this being much of a problem down the line? How long do you expect this build to last you? Sorry, kinda new to all this.
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June 8, 2011 4:19:04 PM

Howdy Sunglee,

I think the MOBO is just fine. Not great, but fine. I just fired up my assembled computer for the first time last night (finally had enough of my parts arrive!). There is no 6gb SATA, no USB-3. No worries there for me. I doubt I'll be missing those features for the foreseeable future.

Not having the AM3+ socket was a little bit of a drawback, but the honest truth is that I was not likely to upgrade in any reasonable time frame. I am not a hardcore gamer and I doubt I ever will be. I'm generally at least a year or 2 behind the curve for what I am currently playing so following that logic I believe that this build should easily last me 2 or 3 years and likely more like 4 or 5. Even if I'm itching to upgrade in 2 or 3 years the advances that are likely to be seen over that time would probably be enough that I'd will want to upgrade the MOBO as well.

Seeing as how this MOBO really only cost me $20 after rebates I am VERY pleased with the board. And in 2 or 3 years, Microcenter will likely be having the same awesome deal for Bulldozer CPUs and today's $150 AM3+ board will be $20-40 bundled with it!

If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't think twice about buying the same combo. That being said, the combos listed online didn't exactly match with what was really available in store. I swear you had more choices in the store then what they show online. If I were you I'd make sure your local micro center has the CPU want and a MOBO bundle you'd be happy with then show up and see if there might be a better deal anyway. Maybe you could land yourself an AM3+ socket for a bit more anyway!

The MOBO is solid and I'm happy with it. Unless you see yourself being/becoming a heavy gamer and don't become obsessed with upgrading to bulldozer in the near future I think you'll be fine. It certainly helped me stay on budget! And it freed up money for me to get a better graphics card!
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June 8, 2011 4:44:35 PM

Sounds awesome! I was looking at Newegg, and looks like they have the same board for 110$?? If that's the case, this bundle is a steal! I'm pretty much the same as you, light to moderate gaming and don't need the blazing speeds especially with SATA and USB-3.

For the GPU, personally I'm leaning towards a Radeon 5770...less power consumption, cheaper (at least that I can find), and still quite capable of running games just fine.
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June 8, 2011 4:51:14 PM

That is exactly the GPU I ended up getting. That will be arriving at my house today! I got an excellent deal on newegg for the HIS 5770. I think it ended up being around $87 shipped after sale price, newcustomer promo, and rebates.

I'll let you know how it works out!

update- Put my graphics card in last night and now my games FLY! My onboard graphics (Radeon 4250) allowed me to play World of Tanks at ~20 FPS on low settings. With the 5770 in I'm playing highest settings averaging ~60-70FPS. I'm hoping to get a more recent game to try out and I'm very interested to see what kind of FPS/details I can get on it.
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