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Budget PC, Beginner Builder

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July 18, 2011 9:00:31 AM

Hello all,

I'm looking at building a gaming pc on a uni students budget. Say, around $600, $700, although cheaper is always better. I was also hoping to purchase it fairly soon. The build i'm toying with at the moment is:

CPU - i5 - 2400
GPU - 1G Radeon 6850 Powercolor
Mobo - AsRock H61M-VS
Ram - 8G DDR3 1333 G.Skill-NT
Hard Drive - Samsung 1T SATA
Case - Thermaltake V4
PS - 450W (Included in case)
OS - Windows 7
Reusing monitor, keyboard/mouse and headset.
Not fussed about overclocking or crossfire, just want something easy that will give me decent performance.
Monitor resolution is 1440 x 900.

This all sits at $642 from my local parts outlet (MSY Australia, msy.com.au) where I will be purchasing the build. Seeing as this is my first time building my own, i'm not too sure on a few details. Which processor, between 2400, 2500 or 2500k? What would be a good motherboard for this set up (as i simply chose the cheapest that would fit everything)? How could I (relatively) future proof it without breaking the bank too much?

Many Thanks,

Hoppy.

July 18, 2011 2:25:05 PM

You get a student discount from MS at their website, boldly named it's not cheating :p  http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-au/default.a...

Best bang for the buck right now is a 2500k, because of the easy overclocking. But to take advantage of overclocking will need a p67 motherboard as well as an aftermarket cooler(something like the coolermaster hyper 212).

July 18, 2011 3:04:36 PM

For your budget, an AMD build might be better. Just get an AM3+ motherboard to give you compatibility with Bulldozer when it comes out. That'll open you up to a more feature-rich motherboard and a better graphics card. Looking at MSY's parts list though, this may not be an option. They have a really lousy selection of AM3+ boards.

You could go with the Phenom II 955BE ($117) and the Asus M4A89TD-Pro-USB3 ($165) for a total of $685, but then you'd want to tack on a heat sink so that you can overclock (very easy with the Phenoms), and you're over budget or close. There are other options for AM3+ motherboards with the right features at a lower price, but MSY doesn't carry them.

A better option might be an i3 build, which would give you a bit more money to get a better motherboard. Then, in a couple years, you can upgrade the i3 and/or add another 6850. The i3-2100 is still a capable gaming processor.

I would go for the i3-2100 ($118) and the Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 ($137) for a total of $658. The board is still micro-ATX, but it gives you a second slot for another graphics card and 4 RAM slots instead of 2.

That would be the best way to future-proof in my opinion. Yes, you're starting with a lower processor, but it's still one of the best gaming chips in its price range. The AMDs are a little better, especially in multitasking, but unless you're willing to shop around a bit at other places, you're not going to be able to get the right motherboard in your price range for that.
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July 18, 2011 3:16:39 PM

hopalongenator said:
Hello all,
Which processor, between 2400, 2500 or 2500k? What would be a good motherboard for this set up (as i simply chose the cheapest that would fit everything)? How could I (relatively) future proof it without breaking the bank too much?

Many Thanks,

Hoppy.



the i5-2500k is the Gaming CPU of Choice these days. you would need a P67 or z68 MB to take advantage of it though. this will drive your cost up by about $100. the i5-2400 is a good budget quad core choice, (it smokes just about all the AMD processors), there is nothing wrong with it for gaming. the rig you have above is just fine for 1440 x 900 even up to 1080p in most games.
the i5-2400 is THG price point choice for $190
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,297...

Dont forget a DVD drive (didn't see one listed)
Not a big fan of themaltake PSU's, make sure you get a warranty with it.
July 19, 2011 1:11:40 AM

Hello again,

I wasn't actually too sure about putting in a DVD drive, as I play most of my games/movies off of a hard disk at the moment, and it could save a bit a cash. Petty, I know.

Grabbing the cheapest P67 board and cooler with a 2500k pushes just over $800, and that is well over budget. I would go for another retailer, but Australia has few part outlets, the Gold Coast even fewer.

So am I fine sticking with my build? Or should I really get a better motherboard?

Thanks for all the help!
July 19, 2011 7:30:56 AM

You can check out the $600 build in my sig. Phenom II X4 with a AM3 board, and a limited time offer on the HD5850 for just $160. Bumping up to a AM3+ board for $90 would give you upgradability as well.

Also, save some $ by getting 4GB of RAM.
July 19, 2011 8:30:13 AM

hopalongenator said:
Hello again,

I wasn't actually too sure about putting in a DVD drive, as I play most of my games/movies off of a hard disk at the moment, and it could save a bit a cash. Petty, I know.

Grabbing the cheapest P67 board and cooler with a 2500k pushes just over $800, and that is well over budget. I would go for another retailer, but Australia has few part outlets, the Gold Coast even fewer.

So am I fine sticking with my build? Or should I really get a better motherboard?

Thanks for all the help!


you'll be fine with the build the MB is a good one for budget minded builds. if you need to save $, 4GB of ram will be fine for gaming. you will need a DVD drive (maybe borrow from another machine) at least to load Win 7.
July 19, 2011 2:21:14 PM

I heard Sandy Bridge beats current gen AMD? I wasn't planning on overclocking, but would I be getting a lot more for my money with an overclocked AMD, factoring in the price of a CPU cooler and case that can fit it (I heard the V3 doesn't fit CPU coolers)?

I was suggested this build in another forum:

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq267/pacman2608/uni...

However it doesn't include a cpu cooler, and for the price of the cpu I could get an i3 - 2100.

I'm thinking I might stick with an Intel build atm, as I probably won't be upgrading for a few years.
July 19, 2011 4:03:19 PM

I would rather just get a 450w PSU and a HAF 912 or somethng
July 20, 2011 8:25:46 AM

hopalongenator said:
I heard Sandy Bridge beats current gen AMD? I wasn't planning on overclocking, but would I be getting a lot more for my money with an overclocked AMD, factoring in the price of a CPU cooler and case that can fit it (I heard the V3 doesn't fit CPU coolers)?

I was suggested this build in another forum:

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq267/pacman2608/uni...

However it doesn't include a cpu cooler, and for the price of the cpu I could get an i3 - 2100.

I'm thinking I might stick with an Intel build atm, as I probably won't be upgrading for a few years.



THG on sub $200 CPU's (basically Sandybridge vs AMD)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

CPU's that are "Boxed" usually have a stock cooler with them. I can't tell by the post graphic if the AMD is boxed or not. I think all the 955 Black Editions were boxed and have a stock cooler, though this chip was made for OC'ing, so the stock cooler is of little value.
!