Building a dual-monitor gaming pc under 600$.

Approximate Purchase Date: in 2-3 months

Budget Range: 600%

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Mostly gaming.

Parts Not Required: I don't require a keyboard, mouse, already have one monitor, and speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I'd prefer an AMD CPU.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200, or 1680x1050.

Additional Comments: I would prefer a quiet PC. With this PC I plan to play League of Legend, World of Warcraft, and some Steam games. But I would like to have choice to play better games in the future. I don't know if this will change the build but I plan to keep the pc running 24/7.
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  1. This is what I would do for $600.

    CPU + Mobo: AMD Athlon II X3 450 + Biostar A780L3L - $119

    GPU: Powercolor HD6770 - $115 - $20 rebate = $95

    PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380W - $40

    Case: Cheap, well-reviewed case - $25

    RAM: GSkill Ripjaws 4 GB stick - $30

    Hard Drive: WD Caviar Blue 500GB - $45

    Monitor: Acer 22" 1680x1050 - $130

    DVD Drive: Cheap LG - $19

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - $100

    Total: $623 - $20 MIR = $603

    I had the price under $600, but that was with a no-name PSU/case bundle. IMO, an extra few bucks for a reliable PSU is worth it. It would really help if you had an extra $100 or so or could drop the second monitor, because that would at least open you up to a Phenom II X4 955, which is a much better processor. I'm also not entirely sure that the 6770 will have enough muscle to game across 2 screens, but it was the best card I could get with your budget.

    I toyed with the idea of a Llano build, but this one ended up having more graphics muscle than you can get with any of the current Llano APUs.

    There's no way you can fit a crossfire/SLI-capable board in your budget with the second monitor. The one I used is basically scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Given all of this, I'd have to recommend against going for a dual monitor setup with your budget. It's nice to have, but not practical at the $600 price point. Instead, get something with a bit more oomph in it and save up for another month or two for a second monitor if you still really want one. This would give you the option to use the Tom's System Builder Marathon $500 PCs (tack on the OS and it's $600), which are actually very capable machines.

    Here are some links to the last few:

    June 2011

    March 2011

    December 2010

    There should be another one out in September.
  2. Oh, and I just noticed that you're not planning to buy for 2-3 months. It's generally a good idea to wait until you're just a week or two out from buying before asking for advice. Sales, combo deals, and prices can change, so what I recommend now will probably not be the same as what I recommend in 2-3 months. This should at least give you an idea of what your budget could get you though.
  3. Best answer
    The original system i configured for you had a 6 core black-edition 1090T...but i found that the CPU was the only thing i could skimp on comfortably.

    Introducing.....the Phenom II X4 955 Black edition. 4 cores @ 3.2GHZ.

    With multi-core rendering becoming more and more popular, this should be a gift that keeps on giving.


    Radeon 6850 -- Great price/performance IMO. Radeon cards have been extremely satisfying for me the past 2 series. -- $159

    Room for Crossfire.

    NZXT -- The king of cheap cases.
    Cheap--Cool lookin case. -- 50-60 bucks.

    ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

    ASUS USB3 Sata 6G , AM3 board. Because it's an ASUS board, you know its rock solid. It supports Crossfire, for future upgradeability. --- $122
    Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC

    We absolutely cant skimp here, and Antec's products have been known to live through multiple systems. Plenty of room for upgradeability. -- $80


    Mushkin Memory--

    Solid. Rock-Solid. Rock. Solid-Rock.

    4GB (2X2GB DDR3) Dual-Channel @ 1.5v, CAS 9, and all for 36.99.


    Samsung Spinfoint F3 -- Gamers Choice when it comes to Value/Performace/Reliability.

    1TB @ 59.99

    Final be honest, this will be a screamin system. And taking in to account the current coupons and deals, it would come in at or around 600.

    But i was quite disappointed...With just another 30-40 bucks, you could add a six core 1090T.....with another 30-40 bucks, you could add 4 gigs more of ram, and with 30 dollars more than that, you could get a better motherboard.

    With a total of 150-200 more, you could take a Rig that's screamin, and make it holy. You could get a 5870, a 6 core cpu, 4 more gigs of ram, and a motherboard made from EVEN BETTER components, which would help you get a better overclock, or just add reliability.
  4. Your build is over the budget and without an OS or the second monitor he requested.
  5. jamesyboy: you're over $600, and that's without the second monitor and the OS. That's pretty much the build I would use if he didn't need those things though.

    I would pass on the 1090T though. If it's just going to be a gaming system, there's not much point in getting a hexacore. No games that I know of use all 6, and the 955 overclocks better.
  6. You're right, i should have added some qualifications. As of right now, there isn't much of an advantage to throwing in a 6 core proc. But i always consider the future and upgradeability as well.

    I have a dual monitor sytem, and at first, i played a few games that way, but eventually, you realize that it causes more trouble than it adds to fun. A triple monitor setup would be ideal, so youd at least have a centered platform.

    I didn't include the OS, because if this was my budget, i'd just use my old OS.

    I had plenty of difficulty though, because to run your games on a dual monitor system, you need plenty of graphics horsepower. And to put it bluntly, at 600 bucks, no matter which way you twist things, there's no way to get a balanced system and still be able to run games in a dual-monitor configuration.

    If the OP is happy plainly running his games, and isn't worried OC'ing or the extras like USB3, extra outputs, SATA6G, he could skimp on the motherboard....

    But he CANT skip on the Graphics, he cant skimp on Power, and he shouldn't skimp on the CPU.

    This is the absolute lowest i'd go for the system -- not including the OS and Monitor. If you need those, well...i'd continue saving.

    If he goes the route of the other suggestions, he'll not only have a system incapable of playing games smoothly with two monitors, but when it comes time to beef things up, he'll be replacing parts. Mine is the only system where you wouldn't have to waste a single dollar by swapping out parts instead of adding them.

    so for now bud, i'd get a sytem that'll last, that won't disappoint, and that you won't have to replace parts on. You'll be able to add parts (ram, additional graphics, a sound card (not a necessity, but a hell of a way to improve a gaming experience)).
  7. So all-in-all, i'd say the same thing coleam did...stick with 1 monitor for now, get a capable system, and upgrade/add the monitor, and a new OS later on.

    This system provides the best foundation for the rig you want.
  8. Keeping the OS from your old system isn't always an option. If your old system was a prebuilt thing that came with the OS pre-installed, the OS disk (if you even have one) is usually keyed to your motherboard and can't be installed on another system.

    For upgradablility, an AM3+ board will go a lot further than a 6-core processor.
  9. AM3+ yields little advantage over AM3 at this point. AMD will continue to hedge its bets on stronger IGP and programmable cores. The type of processors they will release in the near future will have little advantage for the gamer.
  10. jamesyboy said:
    AM3+ yields little advantage over AM3 at this point. AMD will continue to hedge its bets on stronger IGP and programmable cores. The type of processors they will release in the near future will have little advantage for the gamer.

    At this point, yes. But neither does getting a hex core. An AM3+ board opens up an upgrade path down the road - Bulldozer. Getting a hex core on an AM3 board is a dead end - you can't upgrade any further.

    No one really knows what Bulldozer will be capable of when it comes out, but it will almost certainly be more powerful than a 1090T.

    Anyways, this is all beside the point because, without removing the second monitor, none of these options are possible.
  11. I just put together a quick build with the monitor removed. It gets you a much better motherboard with the capability for crossfire and the ability to upgrade to Bulldozer when it's released, plus the Phenom II 955 and a bigger case. It's the same price, but that's with no combos and no promo codes since you aren't buying for a while. Combo deals change every month, and promo codes change every week to every month.

    CPU: Phenom II X4 955 BE - $120 (-$10 promo code = $110)

    Mobo: AsRock 970 Extreme4 AM3+ - $105

    GPU: Powercolor HD6770 - $115 (-$20 MIR = $95)

    RAM: Kingston ValueRam DDR-1066 CL7 - $30

    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA III - $40 (normally I don't recommend getting a SATA III drive because they usually cost more for no performance gains, but this one was cheaper)

    PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380W - $40

    Case: Coolermaster Elite - $55 (it has a NVidia logo, but that's easily removed. If you don't like it, there's plenty of other cases at the $55 price point)

    DVD Drive: Cheap LG - $19

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - $100

    Total: $624

    If you buy now with all the current deals in place, you can get a $20 MIR on the video card and a $10 promo code on the processor, bringing it down to $594.

    This is, in my opinion, a much better build than the one with the monitor. With that one, you were basically stuck. You could upgrade the processor all the way up to the top of the line AM3 chip (1090T hexacore), but then you'd be stuck. Upgrading graphics would have required a whole new, higher-end, card. You only could have added one more 4GB stick of memory before running out of slots. With the no monitor build, you'll have the ability to upgrade your CPU to Bulldozer when it comes out, you can add a second HD6770 later for more graphics power (they scale well), and you still have 2 open RAM slots.
  12. I'd go with a different build, but as everyone else said: if you are buying in 2-3 months time, prices will be different. There's always sales and combos that are right now. 2 days ago for example you could get a 560 or 6870 for $150, now the best you can get for the same price is a 460 or 6850

    But my build would be
    I3 2100 $130
    500gb 7200rpm $40
    win 7 OEM $100
    4gb ram pc1333 $40
    Mobo 1155 mAtx $60
    GPU $150
    PSU+ case $100

    That would be at around $600 but no second monitor. I just can't seem to fit that in with a good GPU. Do you live close to a microcenter? There are great CPU and mobo combos and it's way cheaper than the egg. GPUs on the otherhand are way cheaper on the egg than microcenter.
  13. Hmm so I seem I won't be able to afford a good gaming system with a dual monitor for 600$. I can always use the current OS I have but I will still need a new hard drive since the 200 GB I have isn't working for me.

    I forgot to say I won't need a DVD Drive. I already have one that I bought a while ago. If I buy the parts as I get the money in the 2 months will it be more beneficent then buying it all together. I'm fine not having SLI or crossfire. The dual monitor I don't really need. I just need an opportunity to upgrade GPU in the future.

    Thanks for the suggestion for helping me build my first PC. I am considering jamesyboy suggestion just need to save a bit more.
  14. Best answer selected by Striom.
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