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Building My First PC on Budget

Last response: in Systems
June 27, 2011 8:33:40 PM

Under $600, this is what I have come up with for a gaming computer.

Graphics Card: GIGABYTE GV-N550OC-1GI GeForce GTX 550 Ti

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb

Motherboard: BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL

Hard Drive: Seagate ST3500418AS/R 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Case: Thermaltake V3 Black Edition VL80001W2Z Black SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Sub-total(no tax, no rebates): $587.92
Shipping: + $18.99
Rebates: - $15
Before taxes: $591.91

How well would this fair as a gaming PC(playing CS:S and TF2) and how can I make it better while keeping it under $600?
Also, is everything here compatible?

Thanks. :) 

More about : building budget

June 27, 2011 8:59:16 PM

Spend the extra $15 bucks and get a Phenom II x4 955 BE, lets you overclock and reap more out of your machine.

Spend an extra $20 and get a quality PSU from Corsair, Antec or XFX. Something up to 650W range. ( XFX core Pro650W, is actually same price as the rosewill after rebates )

Spend an extra $15-20 bucks and get a Radeon 6850 instead of the 550Ti.

That pretty much brings you up to the $600 and gives you tangible benefits.
June 27, 2011 9:13:37 PM

hmm... ok first off, since you have a 880G chipset motherboard (the same one i have i might add) upgrade your CPU' to a Phenom II x4 955 3.2ghz Black Edition for $15 more (currently if you buy one you get a $15 newegg gift card ;D) you will also make it a bit more future proof (or make the system last longer without needing upgrades.) you may want to consider a 500watt Antec earthwatts PSU' for $64 because its more solid, efficient, and reliable (and more watts doesn't always mean better) ok now to the Graphics card, theres a reason its 4 stars with only 17 reviews, at $123 you can do better i would get the GIGABYTE gtx 550 ti for less than $20 more.

all your parts will work together fine. and run any game fine. BUT BE SURE NOT TO FORGET A CD/DVD DRIVE. or you will be very discouraged when you get all your parts ;D.
Related resources
June 27, 2011 9:30:48 PM

Thank you for the quick replies.

Updates: CPU: Phenom II x4 955 BE
PSU: On the one I currently have listed, it says 80% efficiency, does that mean 80% of the 630W? So would that mean I just hit the 500W mark, which is the amount of power I need?
GFX Card: On newegg, Radeon 6850 costs $165-170 which pushes me over budget. Is it worth the extra 30-40 bucks if I'm not a high end gamer?
I also have a couple optical drives from my older PCs which I am assuming I will be able to transfer over to this newer build.
June 27, 2011 9:36:22 PM

This Corsair 430W will do you completely fine:
80% efficiency means that the amount of power that the PSU supplies, which will be the amount advertised if it's not a junk unit, will be 80% of what gets pulled from the wall. For example, if your system is using 320W of power, 400W will be consumed. An 800W system with 80% efficiency at full load would be able to supply 800W to the PC, and would consume 1000W of electricity from the wall.
June 27, 2011 9:40:36 PM

Actually they are about $140-150 after rebate. And they will let you turn on more eye candy than the 550Ti would.
The XFX versions actually also come with Dirt 3 if you happen to like a rally game :) 
So in the end it would be about 20 bucks more. 550Ti is not bad, you just get more power for your money with the 6850.

As for the PSU, the 80% efficiency means that of the power you draw from the wall 80% gets converted to usable power for your components. Which basically means that 20% is lost as mostly heat.

But yeah obviously I was only thinking about the end prices, so if you can't afford to spend the extra 50-100 that the rebates get back to you then you will have to settle for what you can get without them.
June 27, 2011 9:45:40 PM

how old are your optical drives?? if they are more than 5 years old like a separate DVD and CD drive you will need a new cd/dvd combo drive.
it should say "up to 80%" or "80 plus certified to be over 80%+" i believe its 80plus certified. that means it is at least 80% efficient under load. meaning the out of the energy that it pulls from the outlet in the wall at least 80% of it is being used. the other 20% is being lost as heat and is wasted unused the antec power supply i recommended is 80 plus bronze meaning it is at least 82% efficient at all times. less heat = more life/ a longer life and better system stability.

i would go with the slightly more expensive GIGABYTE GTX 550 ti. it outperforms the 6850 in some areas and only has a barely noticeable performance decrease.
June 27, 2011 9:45:48 PM

My graphics card requiring 400W and processor requiring 125W, wouldn't it mean I should at minimum be getting a 550W PSU when factoring in the other components?

As for the GFX card, I think the Gigabyte 550Ti will provide enough juice.

My optical drives are nearing 5 years, but I think they will run fairly well.
June 27, 2011 9:50:55 PM

Not quite, the graphics card power requirement kind of factors in the whole computer.
So basically a 430-500W PSU will easily run your system.
June 27, 2011 9:52:23 PM

the other components use almost no power in comparison, maybe at most a hard drive and cd burner will consume 25 watts a peice. your graphics card and CPU are the most power intensive and you barely have to worry about it seeing as the graphics card doesn't need external power (ex. a 6 pin connector) you could probably get away with a efficient antec 380watt PSU and be fine (though i don't recommend it) i would go with the 500 watt Antec.
June 27, 2011 9:53:07 PM

Ah, I see. That'll give me more value to the PSU.
June 27, 2011 9:57:45 PM

I wouldnt go with the corsair builder series they have been known to be poor quality with a corsair label slapped on the side. and it doesn't have half the reputation that the antec does for reliability and longevity.

8 out of 14 of the reviews are all DOA dead on arrival (also one and two star). that's not exactly quality control or worth recommending to anyone.
June 27, 2011 10:01:33 PM

So overall, the price only increased about 30 bucks when upgrading to Gigabyte GeForce GTX 550Ti, AMD Phenom II x4 955BE, and Antec EarthWatts Green 500W.

Updated original post with the new components.
June 27, 2011 10:09:58 PM

as for your optical drives, are they separate DvD and CD?
June 27, 2011 10:15:16 PM

Perhaps you could consider:

BIOSTAR A870U3 AM3 AMD 870 $64.99
That MB would give you 6Gb/s Sata and USB3, but it doesn't have legacy IDE support, so the DVD drive(s) would have to be SATA instead of IDE.
June 27, 2011 10:18:14 PM

and would farther put you over budget. do you guys realize it needs to be under $600 not $650?
June 27, 2011 10:21:58 PM

The optical drive is a Lightscribe DVD Super Multi Drive / CD-Writer
I just pasted this into Google and people had many problems with it.

I also have a DVD+/-RW Super Multi-Format Dual Layer Optical Drive which I am using right now.
Not sure if these names mean anything...

The BIOSTAR A870U3 AM3 AMD 870 has pretty dramatic cons in the feedback lol
June 27, 2011 10:25:40 PM

ok so your drive is fine.
no worries :) 
June 27, 2011 10:35:44 PM

Thanks everyone for your help! Really appreciate it, especially since this is my first time building a PC.

I checked to make sure everything is once again compatible, but if I overlooked something, let me know!

June 27, 2011 10:47:44 PM

how soon are you ordering? because currently you can get that $15 gift card with the phenom x4 955. lol ~
June 27, 2011 10:50:32 PM

Not sure when I am ordering. I will probably miss out on that $15 gift card considering it ends in 2-3 days.
June 27, 2011 10:52:44 PM

June 28, 2011 2:00:55 AM

The 6850 will give you far more value in terms of performance long term. The catch is that the 550ti is already more than enough to play TF2 and any source based game maxed out. If you feel you need the extra power, try to budget in the 6850. I would, however, go with the 550 and use it until my needs were more demanding and get something more powerful (600 series Nvidia, 7000 series ATI... just realized we're probably going to get a Radeon 7500 again eventually)
June 28, 2011 2:14:49 AM

the 550 ti is much faster than the 6850 by almost 158mhz there is an obvious performance difference, why are you recommending a slower card? in the "long run" the 6850 will become outdated and need to be replaced far sooner than the 550ti.
June 28, 2011 7:28:31 AM

Lol, the MHz mean nothing, they are completely different cards thus run at different clocks.

Here is a review of the 550 Ti: Palit 1GHz 550Ti review at techpowerup.

For example in crysis the 6850 is about 50% faster than the 550Ti. And the palit 550 Ti is highly overclocked.
6850 is consistantly faster than the 550Ti obviously the differences vary per game so 50% at Crysis probably displays the worst case scenario for the 550Ti.
But the difference is in all cases sizeable.
June 28, 2011 11:50:47 AM

I don't know how to overclock and don't want to screw this up on my first PC.
June 28, 2011 12:43:09 PM

i believe or his budget the gtx 550 ti would be the best way to go, for the affordability and it fits into his budget, the 6850 would put him at least $40 over, but its his call anyways.

im not sure im finding reviews that go both ways, they seem to be pretty equal cards?, sure one does better than another in something but other than that is a $20-80 price difference that should be considered.
June 28, 2011 1:19:41 PM

I think I pointed this out earlier, but the 550 Ti is a fine card for what he plans on using it for. I was just pointing out what he can get with a little more investment.
Pretty sure your CS and TF2 will work great with the 550 Ti.

June 28, 2011 1:51:39 PM

Haha yeah ^^ I asked a stupid question on my end 'cause I installed a low-end GeForce 8300GS video card recently and it ran CS and TF2 @ ~40fps lowest settings.
June 28, 2011 2:17:56 PM

hey btw is TF2 a good game ? ive heard a lot of hype about it is is really that great?
June 28, 2011 2:18:51 PM

and with that 550 ti you would get something like 120 FPS or something crazy like that. the system req. are low lowww lowwwww.
June 28, 2011 2:30:08 PM

i bet you would get 80 fps with a 4670 xD

June 28, 2011 2:53:37 PM

TF2 is an addicting game lol. You choose from 9 classes you can change between in the game. I started playing since they made it F2P forever. It's F2P, so it's win-win no matter what. Check out the gameplay videos on YouTube while you're DLing. It's a great game that you're going to spend hours on.

I read somewhere that TF2 is GPU-demanding rather than demanding on the CPU.
June 28, 2011 2:57:36 PM

its not a very demanding game .period. the recommended system specs are a 3.4ghz single core and a 1.3ghz at least, your current build would probably run it faster than a Ferrari. lol i think im going to play it whem my new rig gets here in the mail today haha wanna see for myself.
June 28, 2011 3:20:24 PM

Right now I'm using a $300 E-Machines desktop and it's probably the worst computer I've ever bought. It runs TF2 at 15 fps lol
June 28, 2011 3:21:17 PM

lol my sister has one.
June 28, 2011 3:25:25 PM

It simply was not made for any gaming at all.
June 28, 2011 4:04:20 PM

i know how you feel, i tried to play oblivion IV on one, on the very minimum graphics and it was a slide show. xD haha
June 28, 2011 4:14:25 PM

I feel like 4GB of RAM is a waste on this new build. Should I upgrade to 8GB(deliberately going over budget for more value lol)?
June 28, 2011 4:19:08 PM

well no matter how you look at it 8 GB of DDR3 is overkill (unless your going to be editing and encoding 1080p video any time soon) (i got 8gb just to be overkill haha) i dont know of any game that needs more than 4gb of DDR3 and i also dont know of any game that uses the full 4gb... so it really is your call, it could help to make your pc more "future proof" and make it last a bit longer without upgrades. and it is just a cool thing to have i might add. though not exactly necessary.
June 28, 2011 6:03:21 PM

I came up with a second build that is cheaper, but I need to know if everything is compatible and which one would you recommend getting if I use it to play Steam games, Photoshop CS4, and normal usage?

Graphics Card: ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/768MD5 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi)
$114.99 after rebate
$4.99 shipping

CPU + PSU Bundle: AMD Phenom II X4 840 HDX840WFGMBOX + CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W
$137.98 after rebate

Motherboard: ASRock 770 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$2.99 shipping

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s -Bare Drive

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Sub-total(no tax, no rebates, no shipping): $604.92
+Shipping: $612.90
-Rebates: $572.90
June 28, 2011 6:26:14 PM

Why are there so many different variations of the same card? o_o What's different about them?
June 28, 2011 6:29:09 PM

the 460 he has is better than that zotac.

Since when did the 460 768 become better than the full 1GB?
June 28, 2011 6:32:44 PM

they're just made by different companys with very very very slight differences like 5mhz core clock differences and maybe 12mhz difference shader speed. they will perform equally well. but you may want to consider the zotac now that i look at the comparisons it has a few more MB of memory.
June 28, 2011 6:39:13 PM

Are the power connectors needed for the Zotac included from my PSU? I can't find what power connectors are needed for the Zotac. From reading the reviews on newegg, it's a power hog? Is my 500W PSU sufficient?
June 28, 2011 6:46:56 PM

if anything you need a 6pin. i'll check.
June 28, 2011 6:48:58 PM

Is that the one included with the card?
June 28, 2011 6:53:43 PM

if its not listed than it doesnt need external power, so you should be fine.