Need help choosing parts for budget gaming PC

Hi, I'm looking to build a gaming PC with as little money as possible, something where I can play games (WoW, Skyrim, Dead Island, etc) on high settings. I've got a case and other external essentials, but I don't know where to begin with picking out the guts. This'll be my first build (an experienced friend will be helping me put it together so I don't screw it up) and my knowledge of what's compatible with what is limited, making the shopping process kind of overwhelming. If anyone has suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!


Approximate Purchase Date: Most likely within the next few weeks, especially if I can snag some Black Friday deals.

Budget Range: $500 to $700, and the lower the better. I'm willing to make sacrifices as long as everything works; it doesn't need to be spectacular.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, gaming, gaming. And also gaming.

Parts Not Required: Case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: At least a 500GB hard drive, wireless adapter, and I want to try to avoid adding much/any additional bling as I already have a tremendously blingy case. No brightly glowing power supply, etc.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: The case I have is gigantic, so space shouldn't be an issue. Quietness would be nice, but it's not a huge priority.

Existing case: XCLIO A380COLOR Fully Black 1.0 mm SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
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More about need choosing parts budget gaming
  1. Thanks! That'd be almost perfect, but it's getting a little pricey for me once a copy of Windows 7 is tacked on. Possibly using motherboard/processor/memory with a few additions and substituting a cheaper video card... would this all work together? And with the processor being the biggest money drain at $170, could I swing a cheaper one?


    AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz Socket AM3+ 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor FD6100WMGUSBX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103962

    GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128521

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3EG HD503HI 500GB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152305

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231278

    EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130625

    COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS-550-PCAR-E3 550W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171038

    Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118067

    Rosewill RNX-N150PCx PCI 2.2 Wireless Adapter
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833166060
  2. Do you happen to have a microcenter close by?
  3. swap the cpu with a fx 4100 , yeah i know it is really bad in multitasking but is equal in gaming
  4. "Low budget" and modern games are not compatible.
  5. My recommendation would be to avoid the FX Series for now.

    This Proc is a great price/performance deal:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103652&Tpk=Heka

    Couple that with a cheap cooler like the Cooler Master 212+:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    A few bin bumps in the BIOS and it should run stable at at least 3.2Ghz if not greater. It'll give you more consistent performance across all workloads, and, there always is that chance you could unlock it into X4. For a little more, the 955 is a good option.

    Motherboard wise, I really think going up to a 990X or 990FX board would be a good idea. It'll add the option of CrossFire or SLI somewhere down the road. I've been using a set of Radeon 4870's for years now, and have never noticed the microstuttering phenomenon. And I'm definitely a stickler for visual fidelity.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157281

    I'd really recommend spending just a little bit more and going with a more robust graphics card up front. You'll be significantly more satisfied. Something like this perhaps:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500202

    But yeah, just my $0.02 as a fairly experienced builder. I really think the Phenom is just better in the current software climate where optimizations for AMD's new architecture still need to be established. I'm really hoping Piledriver will be more significant. Anyway, I've got a X3 720 in my brother's rig and while I wasn't able to unlock the 4th core, I was able to get a consistent, stable overclock at 3.4ghz.

    Oh, yeah, and I'd really recommend going with 8GB instead of four for $5 more:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314&cm_sp=Cat_Memory-_-Daily_Deal-_-20-231-314

    While games still haven't quite pressed past the 4GB mark yet, they're definitely getting pretty close. On my rig with 6GB, I end up with about 1.5GB free with Windows and BF3 running.
  6. I wouldn't get AMD FX CPUs for now. Maybe the only one I would consider is AMD FX 4170. For now 955 is still the king of budget builds :D


    AMD Phenom II X4 955 + 80+ PSU from Corsair

    CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

    bundled with:

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808

    AM3+ motherboard from Asrock with Native USB & SATA & eSATA III, high quality materials (all solid caps), support for 8X / 8X Crossfire and support for up to 140W TDP CPUs. That means you can upgrade to FX CPUs and why not maybe Pilledrivers

    ASRock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157272

    8GB of high speed memory

    Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104173

    Clocked 6950 that will kill anything you throw at it ;)

    HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT1G2M Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161373

    And 750GB HDD...the best I could find

    HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D HDS721075DLE630 (0F13179) 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145532


    All of that for 673$. Another option, If you don't need that much power from GPU, is step down to 6870, find a more value HDD from another store and get a small SSD for OS and basic apps. You should still be within your budget ;)
  7. Good advice from X. Video cards drive most modern games. Do some research, a video card, just because it has a bigger number on it's model doesn't mean better. A GTX 560 is no better than a GTX 460
    AMD and Nvidia aren't comparable on just spec rate alone. You need to look at 'RealWorld" performance for your needs.
  8. Thanks for all the input so far. If I wasn't so anxious to get this thing going, I'd wait a couple more pay periods and get all of the suggested beefiness. I'm trying to take all of this into consideration and see how much I can achieve on the lower end of my budget.

    Just to clarify on how low I'm willing to go (and have been going): I've been using my girlfriend's computer ever since mine died a year ago, and even though it's aging and was extremely cheap, it still runs most new games on high (a couple recommend medium), so my goal is to improve on that at least a little, get something that'll get the job done, and then maybe go back and improve it more when I've got more extra cash to burn through. :)
    The bottom line is that having my own computer again which I won't have to wait for "my turn" to use is going to be awesome regardless of how well it performs.


    What I'm using now, total cost was $380 for:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Brisbane 2.9GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor ADO5600IAA5DO - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103279

    BIOSTAR TA770A2+SE AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138124

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD2500AAJS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136113

    SPARKLE SX98GT512D3G-VP GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187091

    hec X-Power Pro 600 600W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817339025

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166
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