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$550-$675 Computer. need help please!

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October 12, 2011 9:32:52 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: About 1 week

Budget Range: $550-675 Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Surfing, dling, movies, facebook, games if possible.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Parts Preferences: I would like to use Intel and Nvidia. Need an HDMI port.

Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: Doesn't matter.
Monitor Resolution: Probably 1024x768 or 1280x1024

Additional Comments: Want a tower that is good and easy to install parts. Good air flow, etc.


I haven't chosen any parts because I have no idea what is decent anymore. I haven't built a computer in about 4 years, and I don't know what I'm doing!! Need help if anyone has a decent build in this range or is willing to give me some parts to look at.

Thank s in advance! :) 

More about : 550 675 computer

October 12, 2011 11:49:39 PM

well this is a system i'm building soon

hard drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ----- 53$

case: http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Advanced-Tower-Supe... ------ 140$
can get a cheaper one you decide

cpu: http://www.amazon.com/AMD-HDZ955FBGMBOX-Phenom-3-2GHz-R...
--------112$

power supply: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Professional-750-Watt-Cer... -----------choose the 650 watt one 105$ after rebate

motherboard: http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-880GA-UD3H-880G-HDMI-... ------- 104$

ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ----45$

gpu: http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-Mini-HDMI-Graphics-0...$ after rebate


667$ after rebate

from what i've seen can run battlefield or any new games without a problem

p.s. less money if you get a cheaper case :) 
Related resources
October 13, 2011 12:11:16 AM

Appreciate the responses. will check it out!


Ink: I want to use intel stuff. I don't like AMD :( 
October 13, 2011 2:36:44 AM

Gemini25 said:
Appreciate the responses. will check it out!


Ink: I want to use intel stuff. I don't like AMD :( 


intel will cost more though because you will need to buy a good intel mobo which usually cheapest ones are around 180$, but that's only if you are getting an i**
October 13, 2011 3:19:16 AM

Umm...don't listen to ink bat. You can get a number of Z68 (premium sandy bridge intel platform) boards for < $130. Newegg even has a gigabyte mobo right now for $90 ($80 after MIR - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).

I'd step up to this one - adds SLI and USB 3.0.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $120

Core i3 is a good starting point - has some gaming chops (dual core+hyperthreading):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $125

Step it up to DDR3 1333 for $2 - 8GB RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $47

1TB Spinpoint - thank you...faster and more reliable.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $60

Antec 300 is a great case - this is a great price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $56

600W PSU, 80+ bronze efficient, good brand, awesome price, sold..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $55

Cheap DVD burner, samsung...need a way to install stuff...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $18

Now the GPU...550 Ti is probably overkill for those resolutions...way way overkill..and they aren't good for the money (accord to Tom's even)

----If you must go nVidia, the 550 Ti I'd get is the Gigabyte here for $130 - 20 MiR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $130/$110

****For me though, I'd go with AMD - this is plenty for your needs...and a much much better value. Will game way above your res. Radeon HD 6770 - $115 - $20 MiR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $115/$95

So the totals....with the more expensive mobo (Could sub the cheaper mobo to save $40 in any case):
With the nVidia card: $610+shipping ($590 after MiR)
With the AMD card (my pick): $595+shipping ($575 after MiR)

Note: You didn't say you need an OS, but you didn't say you don't...Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $100

OS would obvi add $100 to either price. With the OS the AMD build is exactly $675 after MiR.
October 13, 2011 3:22:25 AM

Outland_04's build also looks good - though I dunno about the H61 platform and am not a fan of Rosewill products. Otherwise good.
October 13, 2011 3:44:18 AM

Hmm - I've had good luck with Xigmatek parts, including PSUs. Seasonic is generally higher rated.

With those parts though, I was thinking he might be able to get an Antec green 430W even. And yes, the $80 mobo did deactivate...must have been a great deal ;)  I'd still go with the $120 one though.
October 13, 2011 4:38:52 AM

That is not true, the $180 mobos are for gamers. There are plenty of good Intel boards for i3-i5 procs in teh $50-$80 range. I personally like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Sure, it will never SLI, and overclocking is out of the question, but it will still be able to game decently, and do everything else.

My personal suggestion for what you want to do is get the cheapest mobo with quality parts (solid capacitors) and a UEFI bios if possible (lower boot time, easier to use, generally more features, and better win8 compatibility).

You will need 4-8GB of system memory, at whatever the stock speed is for your motherboard. And don't be afraid of value ram. Half the time it is the same thing as the good stuff but without the heat spreader, and if you are not OCing then it is fine.

Get an i5 quad core processor with at least 3GHz behind it, but it does not need to be anything special. Most CPUs are not the bottle neck of the system these days. It is generally the HDD, RAM, and GPU that could be faster.

Splurge on a small 60+GB SSD for your system drive. OCZ solid3 recently was 64GB for $80, more than enough space for the OS, a few browsers, an office suite, and the occasional game. I bought one for my wife's rig, and I will never go back. Sadly I need a 120+GB drive to hold my software that I would want to open faster, but then again this is a work machine for video/audio editing and gaming, not a simple desktop, and the prices will come down by the time I upgrade next year.

Buy a minimum 1TB HDD for files, large programs, and system backups, or as a system drive if you opt out of the SSD

Win7 home premium 64bit for the OS unless you are willing to try linux which has some compelling distros out there. Personally have toyed with Fedora and Ubuntu, and have enjoyed both except they wont run some of the software I use (yet). Windows is $100 which will eat a large chunk of your hardware budget if you have to buy a copy. Go pro if you ever plan on doing a real network in the house.

Buy the cheapest case without a power supply you can find that will suit your needs. Really, who looks at their computer? I splurged a bit on mine, but as my last $40 case lasted 10 years and 6 rigs (3 rigs were replacements due to bad power instead of upgrades, I only upgrade every 4-5 years), my bet is that this will last another 10. Sure you don't want a white crappy looking thing, but there are a ton of sub $40 cases that have simple elegant designs and will work for most things.

Find a quality power supply that is appropriate for your system (likely 500W or less, but it depends on the specifics of your CPU+GPU). Built-in power supplies suck, as do most cheap PSs, computers become expensive when you have to replace parts due to bad power as I have lost 3 that way. But a good PS will last for several PCs. My PS is on it's 3rd rig, and I think it will handle my next system just fine until I start SLI or xFire, and it is a simple 450W. Do not overblow your wattage on the PS as you will always be paying for unused power.

Save the GPU for later, and use the onboard graphics until you can afford a nice one. This will likely be the most expensive part of the system, or at least equal to the CPU, and will be the main limiting factor of what your rig can accomplish. With your resolutions you do not need a ton of vRAM, just aim for horsepower and you will be good. My suggestion would be the highest end of a previous series, or a upper-midrange card of a current series. When push comes to shove look for the card that supports the latest DX and OpenGL standards. Also, remember that AMD and nVidia are refreshing their lines in Q1 of 2012 (AMD may be sooner), so onboard graphics may be 'good enough' until March when the new stuff comes out. All of the new cards are promising lower power consumption, which generally means less noise and heat, which means a smaller and cheaper case, and a smaller power supply! Save money all around :) 

Remember that Microcenter and Fry's often have great sales, even if their normal prices suck. If you live near one you can save a ton of money on processors, mobos, and HDDs. Also, Ink is right saying you can get more bang for your buck with AMD in this price range. You may get more performance out of the intel rig for the same price, but you are sacrificing a richer feature set and expand-ability with a cheap mobo.

General budget for Intel system:
Windows =100
Case <40
PS <50
Mobo ~70
i5 2400 =150 (at a microcenter, $190 at newegg)
RAM ~25 4GB (2X2 value ram)
SSD <90
HDD ~55
Total: <580, without GPU
Obviously, if you have a case/PS/OS you can reuse then it is much cheaper and you could afford a nice GPU to complete the set. The SSD is a splurge, but I highly recommend it, and would only give it up if you cannot afford to buy the GPU later.

You can do all of your daily work, multimedia, and light gaming on the i5's HD2000 (which was your requirement, and HD2000 has HDMI out on most mobos), and then go nuts with a good GPU when you can afford it. This setup will game very well without bottle necking a mid-high range GPU. I recommend a 560ti for $260 (or AMD equivalent) as a separate purchase from the main system build. But like I said, this will not choke a 570 if you want to splurge, and could take a 580 (but may bottle neck a little), but 590 is out of the question. The only thing missing from the high end builds is overclocking, SSD cashing, USB 3, RAID, high end audio, extra 2 RAM slots, and some other features. In spite of the features missing, the speed of the buses and interconnects will still be there, and that is what counts in a budget machine.
October 13, 2011 6:49:33 AM

Sorry I am posting under a different account name! Unfortunately I entered my email wrong and I cannot validate it for Gemini25, so I had to create a new one.


Thank you guys for so much information. I know I don't do A LOT of gaming, but if something comes out that I might want to try... I'd want something good enough to be able to play, even on low-medium settings.

I've read everyone's post and I really like the ideas. Here's something I've been looking at, but I know this stuff will force me out of my budget.


Here are some stuff I've been looking at.... I'm getting sad looking at the prices, but I think it could run some decent games? -
Case: NZXT GAMMA Classic $36
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card: MSI 460 GTX Fermi 170 / $30 Mail in rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or - GeForce GTX 550 Ti $130 / $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: Intel I5 2300 $180 (ouch)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Combo for PSU / Ram: Corsair Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply and G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

This is already $483 and it's not even all of the parts. OUCH!!

I don't need Windows 7, already have it!


If anyone has any AMD counter parts that could possibly give the same performance as these intel parts.... I would GREATLY appreciate the advice.... I am a HUGE newbie and I have just always loved intel... btw I know the radeons are cheaper, but I can't stand them. :{ I guess I could live with it if I could get something pretty good for cheaper and didn't sacrifice too much performance.

BTW, if anyone knows - Why is micro center so much cheaper than newegg for the processors that I've been looking at? Are they brand new products/reliable and have warranty?

Any advice is appreciated.
October 13, 2011 7:07:35 AM

Why can't you stand the Radeons? I had nVidia for years (original geforce, gf2, gf4, gf fx, gf 6800) then switched to ATI and never looked back.

I game at 1920x1080, but usually only RTS/Racing/Flying games, and so have mid range cards. They always provide good value, quiet, stable cards. I went through two of the FX cards, and 3 of the 6800 gt....but only one each of the radeons :) 

At the resolutions you list above, you really don't need that much power to play medium/high settings.

Also, why the i5 2300? Have you checked the best cpu for your money articles?
October 13, 2011 7:09:54 AM

Also that case only has one pre-installed fan; you'll want at least 1-2 more.
October 13, 2011 10:04:03 AM

AMD can get you a quad core for $100 if that's what you meant. It won't be as powerful as the i5 but powerful enough I'm sure.
Anonymous
October 13, 2011 12:07:24 PM

Gemini255 said:

BTW, if anyone knows - Why is micro center so much cheaper than newegg for the processors that I've been looking at? Are they brand new products/reliable and have warranty?

Any advice is appreciated.


If you can buy from microcenter please do. They are the same new processors and they sell them at a loss to attract people to their store. Because people going there also buy other stuff they still gain money.
October 13, 2011 12:53:22 PM

Here is my suggestion. you can get a great GPU -- much better than anything anyone else has suggested

Rosewill R102 case: $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Its small, but wide. Not needed for this build, but it can take even a hyper 212+

120MM Blue LED Fan: $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

80mm fan: $2.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The fans go in the front and side. The amount of air moving is amazing in this small case.

I5-2500 + 8 GB DDR3-1333: $219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
its more than enough ram, and an excellent processor whose only weakness is it won't overclock.

AS Rock H61M/U3S3: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
you aren't going to RAID, Overclock, or SLI/Crossfire, which are the features this board lacks. It has two SATA 3 and two USB 3 ports for future expansion

EVGA GTX 560 + Free Batman: $189.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
the NVidia card you want, with a HUGE improvement over the 550

Corsair CX 500W v2. $59.99 w/ $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
plenty of power, 80+ certified, and solidly reliable

Seagate 1TB Hard drive: $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a great drive, for less than the WD you were looking at.

Samsung DVD burner: $18.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$654.90
October 13, 2011 7:27:27 PM

Thank you so much for all of the responses. They have been great.

Inanition02 - I don't like radeon because I love digital vibrance. I know radeon has saturation now, but it doesn't feel like the same thing! I've just always liked nvidia better. Maybe it's all in my head!

I like your build ScrewySqrl! But some of the links don't work haha I'm sure I can find them though. Thank you much.


I think I might try buying some things from micro center if I can get them way cheaper and they are new.
!