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VERY Cheap Gaming Build?

Last response: in Systems
October 2, 2011 7:31:38 PM

Hello! Back in June I was planning to build a PC for a bit under $1000, and had it all planned out thanks to this forum, but...I ran into some problems and ended up with no money left to afford it.

Now, I've come back looking for help on a new build. All the computer needs to do is run Starcraft 2 at minimum settings, as cheaply as possible. Emphasis on the "cheaply as possible".

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP (as in the next few weeks, if I have to wait more than that then I'll just wait until Christmas when I'll have a bit more money to work with)

Budget Range: $300? $400? Something like that. Like I said, it needs to be as cheap as possible. If it can't be done for such little money, then that's too bad for me and I'll have to wait until December.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Starcraft 2 at minimum settings.

Parts Not Required: Memory (already have 4GB of G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600), case (already have Cooler Master HAF 932), keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg Canada, TigerDirect, CanadaComputers.

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: None.

Overclocking: Not unless necessary.

SLI or Crossfire: Not unless necessary.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Thanks :D 

More about : cheap gaming build

October 2, 2011 8:05:38 PM

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October 2, 2011 8:06:28 PM

Ok, the following is my bottom-dollar gaming build. You can subtract the case and memory from it, which should offset the fact that this has Newegg/US prices.

Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model #:Blackbone
Item #:N82E16811147023
$49.99 -$10.00 Instant $39.99
Skip this; there's $40 off the price.

ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3+ AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:880G PRO3
Item #:N82E16813157243
$99.99 -$10.00 Instant $89.99
This is not the cheapest mobo you can get, but with socket AM3+, it is not a dead-end out of the gate. Seriously though, if you can scrape up a few more dollars, a 900-series chipset board (will offer more features) is only another $20.

SAPPHIRE 100287VGAL Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512MB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Model #:100287VGAL
Item #:N82E16814102871
$69.99 $69.99
Can certainly handle SC2 on low settings; I'd bet on at least Medium with no AA.

XIGMATEK NRP-PC Series ACXTNRP-PC402 400W ATX12V Ver.2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Model #:ACXTNRP-PC402
Item #:N82E16817815007
$59.95 -$25.00 Instant $34.95
Should be solid. I'd prefer an Antec just because I've had a lot of [good] experience with the 380W Earthwatts, but this one was favorably reviewed, and should be as efficient as the Earthwatts.

AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
$74.99 $74.99
If you really wanted to, you could save a few dollars with an X2 for now, but unless you expect to upgrade the CPU fairly quickly, the little money you'd save (maybe $10) seems hardly worthwhile.

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Model #:F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Item #:N82E16820231394
$25.99 $25.99
Another thing to skip, and another $26 off the price.

Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:ST500DM002
Item #:N82E16822148767
$44.99 $44.99
Their new model, but should be solid.

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:AD-7261S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118040
$18.99 $18.99
Meh. There's little difference between optical drives, but this one has Lightscribe.

Subtotal: $399.88
Works out to $334 after subtracting the parts you have, plus I believe there's a rebate in there (if you play that game and win).
October 2, 2011 8:18:24 PM

Get whatever GTX 460/560 or Radeon 6770 you can find at the cheapest price...

Total cost for the parts I linked is 260, leaving you with 140 for the GPU to stay at 400... if you are willing to go to 450 you can get an even better GPU but either way the system will rock Starcraft 2 at a lot more than lowest settings.
October 2, 2011 8:22:59 PM

^The only problem I have with that build is the mobo is AM3, not AM3+, so it's a dead-end. It also does not support SATA 6Gb/s or USB 3.0.
October 2, 2011 8:45:00 PM

Microcenter has a deal for an i3 2100 for 99.00 and a msi h61 motherboard for 19.99 when you buy together for gpu integrated might be ok but if not powercolor 6770 is 89.99 on amazon
October 2, 2011 9:06:40 PM

Thanks for all the build suggestions everyone!

jtt283, I planned on this computer being something to last me about 4-6 months, at which point I will build something new that will be much more upgrade-friendly with a much larger budget.

So would adding $20 for a better mobo actually be worth it in this case? I was actually going to ask if it was possible to downgrade the mobo and get something slightly cheaper :p 
October 2, 2011 9:10:41 PM

Well, if you want to build this as a "throwaway" (I hope you can give it to someone who will use it, or donate it), then shad2399's mobo suggestion would be fine; that's another $30 off the price.
October 2, 2011 9:21:41 PM

Yeah exactly, I'm building it as a "throwaway". And of course I'll be giving it to someone who will use of it! Perhaps my little sister so she can enjoy playing Sims with something better than 10 FPS at minimum settings, which is what she plays at. She says it doesn't bother her, but I'm sure she would enjoy the game more with a better computer :) 

And that has dropped the price to just about $385. I may be able to get a free GPU from a friend, in which case the cost will be down to $310, which would be fantastic!

Thanks for all the advice so far!
October 2, 2011 10:04:23 PM
October 2, 2011 10:15:44 PM

I'd say that looks about right.
October 3, 2011 11:43:01 AM

Oh, I was wondering, why did you suggest that specific HDD? The reviews don't seem very promising compared to some other ones, so is there a specific reason for choosing that one, verses lets say, a WD Caviar Blue? (I know that WD is often considered to be very over-rated, but I'm curious :p )
October 3, 2011 12:00:46 PM

Well there's little difference between HDD in my opinion, however, if you chose a version that's been out for a while, I imagine horrendous failures should have been

a) ironed out
b) heavily publicised
October 3, 2011 3:52:37 PM

You'd need to spend another $40-$45 on a real PSU for that system, but it isn't a bad deal otherwise.
October 3, 2011 7:10:45 PM

@AstroTC Thanks, but I'd prefer running the game at minimum if it means I save more money :p 
@ScrewySqrl The problem with that kit is that I'd have to spend money on a PSU (like jtt283 said), and I already have memory and a case. Thanks for the suggestion though.
@billybobser Thanks, do you have any specific recommendations?
October 10, 2011 3:54:14 AM

Best answer selected by Lobodomy.
October 10, 2011 1:57:40 PM

Thanks. I hope you found similar prices at Newegg / Canada.