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Gaming system under 500

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June 29, 2011 4:11:31 PM

I have a $496 budget
I have $700 on hand
I have a gateway 530s with these parts

Here is what I have
-windows vista install disk
-windows 7 professional upgrade disk
2 1 gig sticks of DDR2 ram 633Mhz
2 2 gig sticks of DDR2 ram 633Mhz
Q6600 from my gateway computer
a 250 or 320 GB HD 7200 RPM (i don't remember
a LCD monitor
a keyboard
a sound card can't remeber specs but it is not integrated
a 16x dvd drive
a dvd burner as well
I don't remember my psu will check when I get home
nvidia 8800gts 320MB (want to upgrade but its here)
OEM motherboard(want to get rid of
the case( its a little banged up
a old lynksys wireless G network card v1.1

Here is what I know I need
Wired Mouse - this is a must standard size
motherboard
graphics card

I want to be able to overclock my processor (do I need a new one)
I want a case that doesn't look like a piece of garbage
I would prefer to use newegg.
would like the computer to run dungeon siege 3 SC2 and D3 when it comes out.
I am open to other stuff as well as the mouse Grphx card and mobo.

Ps this will be the first time I will be building a computer from scratch so any advice welcom

More about : gaming system 500

June 29, 2011 6:12:44 PM

Processor: AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz 95W Triple-Core - $75

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-USB3 AM3+ HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 mATX - $105

RAM: PNY XLR8 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 CL8 - $25 after rebate

Hard Drive: Samsung F3 1TB - $55
On sale today only.

Graphics Card: XFX HD 6850 - $140 after rebate

Case: APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case - $35

Front Case Fan: KINGWIN 120mm 40CFM @ 19dBA - $7

DVD Burner: Used from your existing system.

Power Supply: Antec BP550 Plus 550W - $55


$497. $1 over budget before shipping / taxes.

Mouse and keyboard are personal preferences. Go to a store and put your hands on one to find the one you want, then buy it online for cheaper. As you noted, stick with wired for the best gaming experience.

The X3 445 will overclock nicely with a bump in the Bus Speed / FSB. Some are hitting close to 4.0GHz with an aftermarket cooler, but with the stock CPU cooler aim for 3.4GHz to 3.5GHz.
-A stock multiplier of 15.5
-Bus Speed around 220 - 230
-CPU volatage at 1.45v - 1.5v
-HT Link running at 2000 (around 8x)
-Memory ratio of 1:3 (because your Bus Link is above the stock setting)

The motherboard is an AM3+ board which will accept any current AM3 CPU (x2, x3, x4 or x6) and also accept an AM3+ CPU (Bulldozer) yet to be released later this year.

The PNY memory is acceptable, but made even more so by the $25 price tag. G.SKILL are often recommended if you wanted other options.
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June 30, 2011 2:46:19 AM

Your Q6600 is better than an Athlon II x3, i'd just keep that and get a P45 motherboard such as this You would be saving ~$130 by having a better CPU. You could build a system like this:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz (Already owned)
P45 Motherboard (~$50)
2x2GB DDR2 RAM (Already owned)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB ($54.99)
Coolermaster HAF 912 ($59.99) not including $10 Rebate
Corsair CX-600 600W ($69.99) not including $20 rebate
XFX HD 6950 2GB ($279.99) not including $30 rebate

Thats a touch over $500 before rebates and shipping and should be just as upgradable because that GPU, HDD, case and maybe PSU are probably going to be perfectly useable in future.

For more value, you could even keep your old hard drive if it has enough room so you can buy a decent CPU cooler and take that CPU over 3Ghz.


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June 30, 2011 3:08:31 PM

Heres an option I am thinking about, although if I need I will pick up a mobo for my old computer and a gpu and just call it good there. considering I couldn't find a decent mobo for under 100 for my comp it seems like a waste. heres the kicker I only have about 130 to spend after rebates on this because my parents are helping me out with 100 if I don't go "overboard".

CPU: amd phenom x4 965 BE $204 - 20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

motherboard MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard $0 in combo above

GPU: geforce GTX 460 150- 30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case: The cool master case jmsellars1 sugested $60 - 10

PSU: (should/can I use a 5 year old psu? mine is 700W but it is from gateway and I have not seen it on newegg) your 600W $70 - 20

Ram: PNY XLR8 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 CL8 $25

Total 429 before shipping and tax, and after rebates, this leaves room for my mouse. Without rebates it is 509. Sadly all the rebates end today so I might start shopping a new pc tomorrow.

another option is the i3 2100 with mobo for an extra 40.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

If I hear good things I might pick up the gpu tonight but nothing else I am open to other gpu suggestion but it has to be in my price range or I shave 100 dollars off my buying price. My monitor has a 1400 x 900 resolution but I would like to upgrade that at a later date.
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June 30, 2011 3:38:00 PM

I would go with a new PSU your old one won't have the newer connections for modern MB/GPUs probably.

the one Sadams04 suggested is a good one and modular, nothing wrong with the one jmsellars1 suggested either.

I would go with the i3-2100 combo instead. its only $5 more (no $20 MIR like the AMD combo though)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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June 30, 2011 3:54:51 PM

jerreddredd said:
I would go with a new PSU your old one won't have the newer connections for modern MB/GPUs probably.

the one Sadams04 suggested is a good one and modular, nothing wrong with the one jmsellars1 suggested either.

I would go with the i3-2100 combo instead. its only $5 more (no $20 MIR like the AMD combo though)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

how do the 2 cpus compare I looked at cpubenchmark.net and the phenom was rated better but at anandtech.com the i3 seemed better. so I am not sure which one is better and i dont know where I got $40 but is it worth the $25?
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June 30, 2011 8:48:04 PM

jackspeed said:
how do the 2 cpus compare I looked at cpubenchmark.net and the phenom was rated better but at anandtech.com the i3 seemed better. so I am not sure which one is better and i dont know where I got $40 but is it worth the $25?

Tom's did a Sub $200 gaming CPU article. the phenom x4 965 isn't in it, but the X4 955 is, as is the more powerful X4 970.
the little i3-2100 dual core stood up quiet well in gaming. Most games won't use more than one or two cores anyway.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

this article just shows how much the CPU is not a factor as long as its at least Phenom/Athlon x4 for gaming any way. the x3 is the only CPU that didn't fair well. the FPS difference was too small to notice between the other CPU's.

The AM3 platform is on its way out. everyone is waiting the release of Bulldozer AM3+. Mean while Sandy bridge is here now and kicking serious butt.

now that i have said all that, it comes down to... I would buy the new tech, Sandy Bridge i3/i5. not the has been AM3.

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July 1, 2011 5:19:08 AM

I wouldn't recommend using a 5 year old PSU, if it's a good brand you might be ok but i wouldn't myself. As for your CPU, a Phenom II x4 965 is still a tiny upgrade from a Q6600 to be honest. I would just keep the Q6600 and get a P45 board like i said (you can get one cheap) then just overclock it to 3Ghz. Youll probably lose 1-2 FPS (in CPU intensive games, of which there aren't a lot) and youll save like $150 or even more if you get a DDR2 board. You can then spend that case on a better case and/or GPU and be in a good position when you come to upgrade. Should then only have to upgrade your CPU and motherboard when the time comes. With GPU's at that budget i'd suggest: GTX 560Ti (Fermi), GTX 570 or HD 6950. One of those would last a very long time i think, especially if you SLI/Crossfire on your future motherboard. They all seem like ridiculous overkill on that resolution but it's all about future proofing.

This may seem like an odd way to upgrade but think of it this way, youre saving money and getting a better GPU and youre not even losing much CPU performance. Overclock that Q6600 and i'd argue youre not losing any at all.
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July 1, 2011 9:41:13 AM

jmsellars1 said:
As for your CPU, a Phenom II x4 965 is still a tiny upgrade from a Q6600 to be honest.


Actually the x4 965 upgrade is more than you might expect.
Tom's CPU Charts 2010:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2...

16-37% in most PCMark Vantage test scores, 57Fps in L4D2 and 43 Fps in L4D. gaming wise there seems to be difference.

re-using his DDR2 ram could widen this gap even further as the tests were with DDR3 Ram. which is much faster.
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July 1, 2011 2:00:11 PM

Yeah he could use DDR3 on a LGA775 board, DDR2 was just a suggestion if he wanted to save more cash. In the end it's up to Jackspeed, i just don't think that it's enough of an upgrade to warrant buying a new CPU. Sorry to push this so hard, if you want the Phenom go for it :) .
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July 1, 2011 6:57:56 PM

I'd go with the AMD AM3+ setup. Reason is that if it supports bulldozer, which is aimed at i7 Performance, then when that hits, you put a bit of $$ into a new processor, and it's a whole new ballgame.
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July 1, 2011 7:53:49 PM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
I'd go with the AMD AM3+ setup. Reason is that if it supports bulldozer, which is aimed at i7 Performance, then when that hits, you put a bit of $$ into a new processor, and it's a whole new ballgame.


...and that is really the debate. Spend some amount of money on the LGA775 system which is "dead", or spend money on a "current" system that allows for a few years of use and then can be upgraded to be "curent" again. The OP will need to weigh the costs / benefits both short term and long term. $500 upgrading a dated system, or $500 to build a more "future proof" machine?
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July 2, 2011 10:05:29 AM

Yeah, personally, I would not go 500 into an old box. Op, I would say go the AMD route, then part out your old parts on ebay and then you come out better.

Me personally, I'd go new. Now I did put 200 in my old box, but keep in mind, for that price got a new GTS 450 video card, which was a nice upgrade from my old 9600gt, and went from an Athlon x2 dual core to an Athlon II x4 quad. So in that respect, yes it was worth 200 to bring life to a 5 year old rig.

However, if you are talking new motherboard, etc just to overclock, your current chip may overclock a lot, or your current chip may be a dud at overclocking. No guarantees on overclocking, so be aware of that also.
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July 2, 2011 3:50:20 PM

My old box is dieing I am starting to have my computer randomly restart on me. Once it wouldn't start back up for a few minutes. sometimes my video card will just cut out to 8 bit graphics and 640x480 resolution. This started happening after I made this post so I think I am going to build a new computer and reuse my hard drive it works fine for me for now as well as my DVD drives. so now I have to debate between an I3 or the amd rout. So I will not invest in my old box. I am thinking parting out my box on ebay is not something I am going to do either. my question is which is the better processor/mobo. I may upgrade to an i7/i5 or a bulldozer later but I am interested in getting the best of those processors now.

the i3 with this mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or
amd phenom II x4 965
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
with a $85 mobo
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July 2, 2011 4:23:17 PM

as mentioned before your Q6600 is still a great performance CPU, a PSU/Mobo/GPU upgrade would be your best option, the Mobo upgrade would be to allow you to overclock. upgrading to a Phenom 955/965 would give very little real world performance over your current Q6600, especially when the Q6600 is overclocked.

for the mobo, a good one off eBay was already listed in one of the psots above, case, anything with good reviews, good cooling and generally ATX is better. If your into faster boot/loading times than an SSD would be a good idea:
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...
i would reccommend a Vertex 3 or a corsair Force 3.

for your Graphics card it really depends on what resolutions you play at, but a 6950 as said above would be a fantastic performance card.

for the PSU you should use this PSU calculator:
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

to work out your Wattage needs, then add 50W~ to give you some nice overhead. In a PSU look for branded, high Amp rating on the 12V rail, enough wattage and enough cables.
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July 4, 2011 9:33:19 PM

sadams04 said:
...and that is really the debate. Spend some amount of money on the LGA775 system which is "dead", or spend money on a "current" system that allows for a few years of use and then can be upgraded to be "curent" again. The OP will need to weigh the costs / benefits both short term and long term. $500 upgrading a dated system, or $500 to build a more "future proof" machine?


The point of the 775 system was that he is not really spending any money, it's ~$50 vs ~$200 for the same performance.
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July 5, 2011 8:43:01 AM

won't ivy bridge be backwards compatible with sandy? it might also be worth looking into a pentium dual core or an i3
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July 5, 2011 1:16:29 PM

Thiis what I went with I turned in my change around the house and came up with an extra $70 so I went with this on the 4th of july weekend totaling up to 625 after shipping and before rebates after rebates about 550. I decided I could reuse my case.

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

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

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

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

thanks for your help everyone.
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