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New gaming rig $450

Last response: in Systems
September 11, 2011 11:00:36 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Soon

Budget Range: $450

System Usage :Gaming, Fallout New Vegas, Starcraft 2, occasional shooter

Already have: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, case, CPU heatsink, 3 hardrives, dvd burner

Will buy: CPU, PSU, gfx card, mem, and mobo

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin:MI, USA

Parts Preferences: I will get an AMD Phenom II X4. I am debating between a Radeon 6850 and a Geforce 550gtx.

What I have so far in my shopping cart:

AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz (oem, but I have a good scythe heatsink already)

CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 600w psu (these two have a combo deal)

XFX Radeon HD 6850 1GB (haven't made up my mind)


From what I hear someone like me will only need 4 gigs ram for gaming, but I will likely get 8 since quads should have extra memory. Since I'm not gonna overclock that much I think any gaming line of memory would be sufficient, but If I'm going to need something fancier just tell me.

I could use some guidance on motherboards and video cards. The issue for me is really just a debate of ATI vs nvidia. I've always known nvidia to have less driver problems and hassles, but alot of the good brands are gone (BFG XFX went to radeon). My target price is $150.

Overclocking: Yes but only a little like to 3.2GHz or so (I should be able to do that without too much fuss right?)
SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768, 1280x1024 (I don't need to max out all the settings, but I would like to at least run the most games 2-3 years from now, even if its on the lowest settings)

Additional Comments: I prefer at least 3 year warranties, especially for video cards.

More about : gaming rig 450

a b 4 Gaming
September 11, 2011 11:17:17 PM
September 12, 2011 3:34:23 AM

Don't need dvd, Hdd, or case - $100.

Its mostly just the motherboard and video card I can't make my mind about. For both I'd like to find something that performs well for the price and is going to last (has a 3 year warranty, reliable brand) which especially on the nvidia side is harder to find.
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2011 3:59:57 AM

955 + CX500w V2 $163 ($20 MIR avail)
Patriot 4GB DDR3 1333 $25 ($7 MIR Avail)
Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P $65 ($10 MIR Avail)
XFX 6790 $130 ($20 MIR avail)
Total: $483 before rebates.

The card is good enough for your resolution and the CPU is better and has an unlocked multiplier which makes it easier for you to overclock. The motherboard is sufficient and gives you the support of AM3+ for future proofing.
September 12, 2011 4:37:38 AM

Well 955 hits the wall after 3.5 ghz after overclock. You will need to do volatge tweaks for more OC (which is not very safe if done wrongly)
i3-2100(HT with 2 cores, 4 threads) gives considerable more performance than the 955 even after overclock in games and most applications. Plus its newer hardware and doesnt heat up (You might need an off market heat sink to OC the 955 to 3.5 ghz)
Here are the benchmarks

Note: More cores doesn't always mean more performance. i3-2100 gives more performance per clock.

Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz = $124

Mobo= ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 = $73

You may see that this also gives you a slight cost advantage and gives you some extra leverage to upgrade your 6790 GPU to a decent 6850 perhaps.

You could also consider buying the Nvidia gtx 550 as it gives similar performance for the same price as the 6790
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2011 5:05:56 AM

^ Not necessarily true, my 955 is at 3.6 no tweaks to the voltage. Tweaking voltages is fairly easy to learn. I'm not exactly the best at overclocking and easily I was able to obtain the fabled 4ghz mark.

But either is fine.
September 12, 2011 6:06:01 AM

I was in your shoes not too long ago, building my AMD 720 BE-based gaming comp for SC II & diablo 3 (when the time comes). I looked at both the 6770, 6790, and similarly priced nvidia solutions, but ultimately went with a gigabyte 6850 and don't regret the extra dough. SC II is playing on ultra at 1280x1024 on my current monitor, and looks beautiful. Have had 0 driver issues, and the card is cool and quiet. Next project is dual 22" monitors, to see what it can really do ;-)

Also, for the price of DDR3, get the 8 GB! Here's my specs

AMD Phenom II 720 BE Heka - unlocked 4th running @ 3.3Ghz stock voltage
Gigabyte 770TA-UD3
G-Skill DDR3 1333 8GB 7-7-7-21 1t
Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD
Antec HGC-520
NZXT Beta Evo, Zigmatek fans & CPU Sink
September 13, 2011 7:35:26 PM

I think I will go for the phenom 955 and I found a xfx R6850 for $130. I don't think I'm going to find better than that unless I wait for black friday and cyber monday. I like nvidia but they just suck at making cheaper cards these days, so its time to give ati a try.

@sync_nine: Honestly the first thing I debated was should I get a quad or a really fast dual core? I play a lot of RTS games and the ai can be a heavy Cpu hog, so the amd quads are cheap enough that they are actually pretty practical. Some games allow you to put physics on the Cpu instead of the gpu too.

Random fun fact: several PSUs are listed on newegg as having a 5 year warranty, but only have a 3 year (corsair being the most notable one).
a b 4 Gaming
September 13, 2011 8:06:36 PM

Get a retail CPU as that gives you 3 years warranty vs 1 year for OEM.
CPU rarely dies, but you may never know.
November 11, 2011 9:35:34 PM

955 is good choice, but since this is just a gaming rig I would recommend an i3-2100 or 2120 if you can afford it. 6850 IS a good upgrade and future proof as well. Get a motherboard with crossfire capabilities though as it will allow you to add that second 6850 down the line.
November 11, 2011 9:55:56 PM

aznshinobi, not to be a dick or anything but you gotta stop giving your builds to everyone. Some people like to keep parts they've spent time looking for instead of swapping EVERYTHING.

Just saying...