Build New (600-800 budget) or buy used?

Hey guys,

I've decided it's time to upgrade from my current q6700. I'm having a hard time deciding if I should try building my own computer for the first time, or if I should buy a used one off craigslist/kijiji. I kind of want to build my own and have all new parts, but I feel like I'll be getting better value for my money going used. I'm a uni student and don't have much cash so I'm looking to get the absolute most for my money as possible.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible, but I'm considering waiting for the new AMD cpu's

Budget Range:. 600-800 MAX with tax. 800 is a bit of a stretch already, not willing to go higher unless I get a major performance boost.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming. No editing or anything like that. Mostly Starcraft 2, and soon skyrim, D3, and BF3.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, os

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever is cheapest. No experience with any online stores. I had planned on getting the majority in store from canadacomputers.

Country of Origin: Ontario, Canada

Parts Preferences: No preference really, whatever has the highest value

Overclocking: Yes, though I have no experience with it

SLI or Crossfire: Likely in the future at some point.

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 for now. Would like to go 1080p at some point though.

I can get this comp for for about $725, but it's used

Intel i7 860 2.80-3.46 GHz 8MB L3 Cache
Patriot Viper Sector 5 8GB DDR3 (4x2GB) PC3-12800 1600MHz CL 7-7-7-20
2xSapphire HD 4890 OC (900-1010MHz) GDDR5 Dual DVI-I HDTV Out PCI-E 1GB DDR5 DirectX 10.1
Corsair 650TX 650W ATX 12V 52A 24PIN
LG Black Lightscribe SATA DVD-Writer
Coolermaster CM 690 II Basic
3.5" WD Caviar Blue 500GB SATAII 32MB Cache
3.5" WD Digital Caviar Green 2TB SATAII 64MB Cache

If I went with that, I'd probably sell the two 4890's and get a newer single card.

Or I can build my own with something like

CPU:Was thinking of going a lower end AMD or an i3 and just upgrading when the next gen is released. I was considering going for an i5 2500k but it'll eat up a ton of my budget. Just need a CPU that won't bottleneck while gaming.


PSU: May be a bit overkill

Sapphire 6870 $200
Or a used Asus 6950 for $220

MOBO:No idea on this really. One that supports cf/sli. One that will handle the next gen of cpus.

Ram:Once again, not really sure what I need here.

HDD, DVD drive, etc. Cheapest ones that fit my budget.

I would really appreciate some advice on this. If some of you more knowledgable guys could point me in the right direction for parts that would be awesome!
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about build budget used
  1. The older rig's base is good - i5, plenty of RAM - but the video cards are quite dated.

    The i3 actually holds up well in games - does better than a lot of AMD 4+ core CPUs in ~half of the benchmarks.

    The 6870 is a solid performer at 1920x1080; it matches the 560Ti in most games. That said, you might be able to find a 560Ti for about that price these days.

    The EA750 would be a good PSU, and is about right for 2x560Tis on a Sandy Bridge system.

    As far as mobos go, you have a lot of choices. Supposedly the Ivy Bridge CPUs will work on any P67/Z68 motherboard with a simple BIOS flash. I'd go for Z68 because you get extra features for the same price as P67.

    For these platforms, get at least 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1600 1.5V RAM. 4GB will hold up in games, but 8GB (2x4GB) is the most cost effective these days. On a budget build, you won't be limited by 4GB though.
  2. Best answer
    There is a lot of value in building it yourself; the experience is priceless.
    The used pc looks good and will serve you well. But, it is a generation old, soon to be two. I think I would pass.

    For your $800 budget, here is one way to spend it:

    2500K. $220 It is as good as it gets for gaming, and will not be obsoleted by ivy bridge. If you can get someone to walk in to a microcenter in the US, they can buy one for

    Z68 based motherboard. $100. A m-atx based motherboard will be cheaper. It will generally not do sli/cf, but a single good graphics card is all you need.

    8gb ram(2 x 4gb) $40. No need for fancy heat spreaders or fast ram with sandy bridge.

    One good graphics card. $200. You can get a GTX560 superclocked for $190 after rebate. Or, a 6870 for perhaps a bit less.
    You should be able to run games at 1080p well. If you ever should need more, the 28nm amd and nvidia cards will become available, so just sell the 6850/GTX560 in favor of the next best thing.

    A quality psu. My short list of quality psu's would include Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, XFX and PC P&C.
    A GTX560 needs 450w with 24a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.
    A GTX580 needs 600w with 42a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power lead.
    I expect that the new gen cards will be more power efficient.
    You should be able to get a suitable one for $60-$80. Look for sales on psu's.

    Cases are a personal thing. If looks are important to you, spend extra to get the one you love.
    The basic requirement should be one with a 140mm intake fan, or two 120mm intake fans or equivalent for good cooling.
    Antec illusion is a very good case which includes extra fans for $70

    Get a aftermarket cooler up front. The Xigmatek gaia is very good at $32.

    Most hard drives will do. But get a 1tb 7200 rpm drive even if you don't need the space. The larger drives are denser, and therefore faster. WD black and samsung are good $65.

    All of these prices are new at

    But, if you do a bit of shopping, you can do better.
    We may see some early black friday sales.
    Look on e-bay or craig's list.

    Regardless, ---good luck-----
  3. Is this $800 US Dollars?
  4. Thanks for the replies guys!

    I'm pretty sure I'm just going to stick with a 955 be for now, heavily oc it, then upgrade to bulldozer when the next gen of cpus are coming out. 955 is $105 vs $220 for the 2500k. As much as I'd like to, I just can't convince myself it's worth it.

    This is the system I've put together. Any input would be great.

    $105 - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
    or possibly
    $180 - AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz

    MOBO: $144

    Ram: $50
    G.SKILL Sniper Series DDR3 1333MHz (PC3-10666) 8GB (2 x 4GB) Dual Channel Kit

    PSU: $80
    Antec EA-750 EarthWatts 750W Continuous Power Supply

    HDD: $60
    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA
    Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    $85 - Antec 600
    $70 - Antec 300

    Probably going to go with a used 6950 I found for $220, or a used 6850 for $140.

    This totals up to a bit over $800. Am I making poor decisions with parts? I feel like I should be able to build a better computer for this much.

    cygone said:
    Is this $800 US Dollars?

    Nope, it's Canadian.
  5. if you want to do AMD, wait about 2 weeks, bulldozer will be out on the 12th (about 9 days), and some sites are reporting they are getting shipments now in prep for th release.
  6. ScrewySqrl said:
    if you want to do AMD, wait about 2 weeks, bulldozer will be out on the 12th (about 9 days), and some sites are reporting they are getting shipments now in prep for th release.

    Good advice.
    I have seen no leaked bulldozer gaming benchmarks. That is remarkable just a few weeks before the often delayed launch.

    Amd is a poor gamer at x6, and only ok at x4.
    It is bested in many games by a sandy bridge 2100 w/o overclocking
    Read this:,2859.html
    The article was done using a GTX480, a card similar to the 6850 you are considering.

    As in all things, you mostly get what you paid for.
    If you don't get what you want, you will have paid too much.

    If you plan on a heavy oc, you should include an aftermarket cooler.

    For best gaming, get the best graphics card you feel comfortable buying.
    the cpu is usually of lesser importance.
  7. ScrewySqrl said:
    if you want to do AMD, wait about 2 weeks, bulldozer will be out on the 12th (about 9 days), and some sites are reporting they are getting shipments now in prep for th release.

  8. Best answer selected by Carrera.
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