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Advice/Opinions on Sub-$500 Build

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Last response: in Systems
June 23, 2011 12:29:06 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Today, 6/22, 4:30 p.m. ordered online

Budget Range: ~$500 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, internet, general use

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Monitor, Mouse, Speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,

Country of Origin: U.S.A.

Parts Preferences: ECS mobo with AMD northbridge, mid-tower case, no preference on Nvidia or AMD/ATi

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: The core of this build is a DIY-kit I found on TigerDirect for $350 after rebates. Link to the kit: ECS A880LM-M1 AMD Six Core Barebones Kit - ECS A880LM-M1 Motherboard, AMD Phenom II X6 1090T BE CPU, Corsair 4GB DDR3 RAM, Seagate 1TB HDD, LG 24x DVDRW, Thermaltake V2 Mid-Tower Case, 450-Watt PSU . Everything seems pretty solid, as they are made from brands known for reliability. I would greatly appreciate your opinions about this build, especially the PSU unit. Thermaltake is a trusted brand, but I'm a bit iffy about a stock PSU that comes with the case. Also, if there are any components that you think are missing/would be helpful, please do not hesitate to state them.

With the addition of two Kingwin 80mm Long Life Bearing Case Fan s to slap in the Thermaltake case for cooling at $8 ($3.99 ea), the budget is around $360.

The only component left is the GPU. With ~$140 left on the budget and keeping in mind the 450-watt limit, I have narrowed the options to the following:

1. EVGA 01G-P3-1366-TR GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $99 after rebate

2. Galaxy 55NGH8HX4NXK GeForce GTX 550 Ti Video Card - 1GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0 (x16), HDMI, DVI, VGA, DirectX 11, SLI Ready - $104 after rebate

3. SAPPHIRE 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $97 after rebate

4. XFX HD-667X-ZAF3 Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - $85 after rebate

If I could be sure that the PSU would adequately run the GTX 460 SE, that would be my top choice for performance. However, if that is not the case, I would be more than happy with a 550 Ti/HD 6770, as they would definitely be cooler/less power consumption. The HD 6670 is just a throw-in, since I know it does not require a separate power connection with the PSU. Which of these GPUs would you recommend, given the 450-watt PSU? Or is there another GPU that you would recommend entirely? Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and I would really appreciate it if you would leave your thoughts/opinions about the system in general and the GPU you would recommend for this system.

More about : advice opinions 500 build

June 23, 2011 2:38:50 AM

Not gonna lie, you got a shrewd deal. A good CPU, good ram, but that's about it. The mobo is crap, same with the PSU. They list no specs on the PSU meaning it won't be good. If you haven't ordered yet, let me know ASAP and we can put something together.
June 23, 2011 9:57:18 PM

Thanks for the reply! I haven't seen much about the mobo itself, I've searched for reviews but haven't found any. It is last-gen, but I don't need any fancy bells or whistles as I don't plan to SLi or CrossFire. Any link to a review/discussion about the mobo would be welcome.

As for the GPU selection, do you think I should post that in the graphics section of the forum?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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June 24, 2011 1:02:24 AM

With $140, your best bet is a GTX 460 1GB, not the SE. However here's what I would do.
-Replace stock PSU with an Antec Earthwatts 380w. $40
-Use the rest to buy a 6770. Will match up well.

However if you haven't ordered yet you NEED to change that build up.
June 24, 2011 2:52:47 AM

Antec earthwatts are very nice (efficient of course) antec is a good PSU manufacturer but you can also get a nice RAIDMAX 530w modular PSU for $40 i fell with that phenom II x6 you may be under powered with a tiny 380w.
Definitely try to find a Motherboard that has a reputation or at least good reviews i wouldn't buy any motherboard if someone else hadn't tried it first.
and I generally find much lower prices on than i do on tiger direct so i would check there first for a similar combo deal.
try this: (it is a bit more but the motherboard wont die in a month)
or in your price range maybe a phenom II x4: (in your price range more cores doesn't always= better keep that in mind)
June 24, 2011 3:40:46 AM

Sorry to argue, but the x6 will not be underpowered at all. 380w is not tiny at all, capable of running an OCed 2500k with a 6850 without any problems.

Any raidmax PSU that is $40 is a piece of crap. The fact that it's modular confirms my suspicions. I doubt it can even output the 380w that the Antec can.

Now these comments are not directed at you, I have nothing but admiration towards you to give your time to help the members of this forum. I just think the products were poorly chosen.

Excellent combo, especially the second one. I like it.
June 24, 2011 3:43:58 AM

all reviews i have found on the Raidmax seem to show its a decent PSU? by "Any raidmax PSU that is $40 is a piece of crap." do you mean all Raidmax PSU or just specifically the 530w?
June 24, 2011 3:50:02 AM

Raidmax is known for making low quality PSU's. Very low quality. Only once you get to the very high end do they start to become worth it. They are cramming way to much into said PSU. I think it would be an inefficent PSU at best. It's up to OP though.