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$400 Budget PC for GAMING???

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Last response: in Systems
September 20, 2011 11:42:23 PM

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to get some opinions on this PC I just recently built. Contrary to what the thread title above says, I know this won't be able to handle many of the newer games, but I'm just hoping to use this for everyday work with light gaming here and there. And if I did chose to game I would only be playing games like COD4, Halo, Starcraft II, etc. I haven't tested out the computer yet, but how far do you think I can push this computer? (ex. what is the most graphic intensive game do you think this PC can handle? what settings?)

ASUS M4A78LT-M LE MOTHERBOARD - $55 (after $10 rebate)

AMD PHENOM II X4 840 @ 3.2GHz QUAD-CORE CPU - $100

XFX 9600 GSO 512MB DDR3 GPU - $15 (after $30 rebate)

2 x CORSAIR XMS3 1600MHz DDR3 4GB RAM- $40 (after $40 rebate)


NZXT CLASSIC GAMMA CASE - $25 (after $10 rebate)


SAMSUNG 22x ODD - $20

* Total cost = $400.

If you think there might be a problem or something I could improve on, please feel free let me know what you guys think. I'm not on a strict $400 budget, I simply wanted to challenge myself to make the the best PC I could with the least amount of $$$.

Thanks in advance,

More about : 400 budget gaming

September 20, 2011 11:52:41 PM

don't get the 9600! its way, way, way obsolete!!

my suggestion:
Athlon II X3 445: $75
Asus AM3+ 760G: $58
4 GB DDR3-1333: $25
500 GB Drive: $40
Antec EW 380W: $40
Rosewill R102: $30
DVD: $18
Sapphire HD6770: $110
Rosewill 120mm fan: $6

$396 without the extra fan.

The motherbaord will take a bulldozer processor when they are released, and the 3.1 GHz triple core + 6770 will make a good gamer at 1600x900 or 1680x1050 resolution.
September 21, 2011 12:23:31 AM

Thanks for the reply ScrewySqrl.

I understand what you mean by the 9600 GSO being WAY obsolete, it was only $15 but it seems to have some DECENT performance (In comparison to any GT210, HD 6450, etc.) . haha But yes definitely need to upgrade the graphics. I was actually looking at an XFX Radeon HD 5750 for $75 (After $30 rebate), do you think this would give me some good bang for my buck? The performance should be similar (slightly less) to that of the HD 6770, am I correct?

Also, would you please mind linking me to where I can find said ASUS AM3+ motherboard for $58? I can't seem to find anything like that when I first looked. $55 was the cheapest.

& I totaled up the costs of the computer and it actually came down to $335 before taxes/shipping. Wow.
Seems as though a $396 PC will be a step up.
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September 21, 2011 2:02:52 AM

Thanks again,

Seems like the only major difference between that one and the one I chose is the AM3+ vs. AM3 socket. Most of, if not all, the other features are identical.

I guess the moral of the story is GPU > CPU. I'll look into something more powerful when the opportunity presents itself.
September 21, 2011 2:08:07 AM

Just get GTX570 and put it in a shoe box with couple fans :D 
September 21, 2011 3:28:23 AM

Processor : Intel Core i3 2100 - $125
Motherboard : ASRock H61M-GE - $63
RAM : G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - $20
Graphics : XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 - $110
Storage : Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB - $40
PSU : CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 - $45
Case : Xigmatek ASGARD II ATX Mid Tower - $30

Total : $433 before rebates, $393 after rebates

Best bang for the buck. :D 
September 21, 2011 5:01:13 AM

008Ro: yeah, but only iif you ht the Rebate Lottery.

Mine was $400 up front :) 
September 21, 2011 5:14:12 AM

Thanks guys for your suggestions, but I'm from Canada so I'm looking from Canadian Sites (,, etc.) so I can't easily buy the parts you've so kindly suggested... D:

However, I'm going to transition down from :

Save $20: AMD PHENOM II X4 840 -----> AMD PHENOM II X2 555 (worth a try to unlock the cores, heard it's beast and much better than the X4 840)

Save $5 + rebate time (LOL): ASUS M4A78LT-M LE ---> GIGABYTE GA-MA78LMT-S2

And then drop the 9600 GSO ... and get this :

XFX HD-677X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6770 Video Card - $100 !
September 21, 2011 5:30:10 AM

don't count on unlocking the cores.

Try direct canada and ncix, who tend to beat's prices.

see if you can get one of the Phenom II X3 720s. OEM only so you need a heat sink.
September 21, 2011 6:00:54 AM

I'm about to pull the trigger on your build ScrewySqrl. Will it at least run Deus Ex, Dead Island, etc. on medium settings?
September 21, 2011 6:56:23 AM

yeah, screwy's build will run them, but I don't think that triple core AMD is powerful enough to run BF3 and other upcoming resource hog games comfortably. The i3 2100 on the other hand beats AMD's quad cores in gaming.
September 21, 2011 7:24:24 AM

that core i3 build by 008Rohit is a good build, you could do the same build for the same price with a phenom x4 955 and an amd motherboard. you will be kicking yourself if you get anything less than a gts450 or 5770/6770 vid card. Also wouldnt opt for anything less than a quad core with exception of the i3 2100.
September 25, 2011 3:39:31 AM


Hello everyone,

Not sure if anyone cares, but I just wanted to say that I went ahead with the building in my original post (~ $335) and I must say that I think it was the way to go, in a price vs. performance perspective.

For everyday use (office + web), the computer is always as fast as lightning. For gaming on the other hand, I was able to run most games (APB COD4, Halo etc.) smoothly on at least medium settings at a decent resolution.

Thank you all for your input, however, I didn't go with the i3-2100 build solely due to cost as the i3 CPU + mobo surely costs more than Quad-core AMD AM3 configuration. I know this build has potential to be much better; a better GPU would increase the performance by alot, so the money I didn't spend on the Intel i3 CPU will go towards that in the future.

I am from Canada, so I have purchased all my parts from in case anyone was wondering. If anyone happens to come by to read this thread, I recommend all the parts that I've used for a quality budget PC (excluding the obsolete GPU) so I hope this short thread will help others as well.

Best solution

September 25, 2011 6:22:57 AM

good luck. Enjoy your PC
September 26, 2011 7:41:51 PM

Hello once again,

I'm having a little trouble with this PC now, where the computer lags/freezes randomly. This problem occurs "mostly" during the time when I am playing games, where the display acts up (fuzzy, freezes, weird colors, etc.). Like I said, this will happen randomly, such as when the game first boots, 5-10 minutes in or maybe only after 2 hours of game play. This will happen about once or twice per day now.

Also, occasionally during normal office/web use, the screen will flicker and I get a message saying that the driver has crashed and recovered itself... which I'm not TOO concerned about.. but it is a little annoying.

Initially, I thought I had a defective Graphics Card... so I tried installing a new EVGA 9800GT, but the exact problem still persisted. So I'm pretty convinced that it's not a graphics card thing, but maybe a driver issue? I've only used the newest driver from nVidia's website.

My case has good cable management with three (3) 120mm fans (1 front intake, 2 rear/top exhaust), which always blow out cool air so I don't think it's a overheating issue either. I also believe that my computer specs are quite capable of running these components. Am I wrong?

If anyone knows what I can do to fix this issue, it would be very much appreciated.

Thanks for everything,

*** Other Specs I didn't list earlier:

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Monitor: Acer 22" LCD -- 1680x1050 Resolution
GPU Driver: nVidia (280.26 WHQL) <<-- newest.

Also using Belkin Wireless Internet, Logitech speakers, Logitech wireless mouse & keyboard
September 27, 2011 6:50:57 PM

first thing I'd check: is the cable secure in the monitor and the gpu?
September 28, 2011 4:52:13 AM

Yeah I did, it's not a bad connection. It's defective RAM. Goddamn Corsair XMS3.

I replaced them with 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz, and problem fixed itself.

Thanks though.
November 1, 2011 12:58:12 AM

I ended up upgrading the NVIDIA 9600 GSO to a ATI RADEON HD 5770. win.
March 15, 2012 8:46:30 PM

Best answer selected by rex000.