First Attempt at a Budget Build

Hello I am heading off to college again soon and for my birthday I received $300. I have always wanted to build a gaming PC (right now I have an IBuyPower laptop that is certainly serviceable) that is future proof, so I can upgrade it as the years go on. I selected a mobo that supports SLI and usb 3.0. I plan to add another of the same video card when I need more oomph.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Processor: AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor

PSU: Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case

Video Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express

RAM:Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

CD Drive: LG CD/DVD Burner 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black IDE Model GH22NP21 - OEM

Thoughts? Critiques? Suggestions? Thanks :)
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  1. What resolution monitor will you be using?

    I'm guessing that Athlon II X4 640 is a placeholder CPU till you get something you like for the GA-990XA-UD motherboard?

    Otherwise, you'd get a better gaming boost by halving the cost of the motherboard and adding the savings to the cost of and upgraded GPU.
  2. Yeah I plan on getting a better CPU once I have the cash but a quad core 3 GHZ CPU is a vast improvement over my 2.2 Duo. Once I start to feel like I need more power I am going to buy a second 550 TI card and use SLI. Once that becomes obsolete I will then buy better quality cards (assuming 16x is still useful) and go from there.
  3. Im not a big fan of SLI 2x low end cards.
    I think you might be better off to sell the 550Ti and use that plus what you would have spent for a 2nd and just get a next gen stronger card for better overall performance.
    Be sure to check for that option and it's performance/price differences when it comes to that point in time.
  4. I haven't purchased anything yet, what nVidia card would you recommend?
  5. Did you mention your LCDs gaming resolution yet?
  6. I thought I did but apparently not, sorry- 1920 by 1080
  7. It's a big jump in price up to the 560 Ti.
    The 550Ti will do OK at that resolution. Overall, it should be an enjoyable gaming experience.
    When it's time to upgrade, I still think the best future upgrade path would be to sell the GTX 550Ti and get an next gen GTX 660Ti (for example).
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