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Budget build for gaming - $400

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December 1, 2011 1:44:46 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This week/ This month

Budget Range: $400-$500 Before / After Rebates (closer to 400 if possible, not including taxes)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Want to do gaming at med-high graphics on new games (if possible!)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, hard drive, dvd drive, or OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or TigerDirect, reputable places preferred :) 

Country: USA (mass)

Parts Preferences: No real preference, as long as it works decent.

Overclocking: Most likely not.

SLI or Crossfire: I don't know.

Monitor Resolution: Don't have monitor yet, but looking to get a good one.

Additional Comments: Looking to get a gaming computer on the low end budget wise, but not so low end performance wise. I've seen some decent rigs that cost $500 and was hoping that by finding some deals and taking out some of the things I already have I could bring it closer to $400. Do you think this is reasonable? I've done some research and have a proposed build lined up, I'll put it in the next post for you to take a look at. Thanks in advance! :) 
December 1, 2011 1:49:41 AM

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $120

Video Card
EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti - $135

Motherboard
ASRock M3A770DE - $60

Case
Any - ~$40

RAM
4 gb (do I need 8?) - $30

Power Supply
Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W - $44

Let me know if I'm missing anything!
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December 1, 2011 2:59:46 AM

UPDATE:

On the monitor/ screen resolution.

Looking to get a monitor like this one:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+20%22+Widescreen+Flat-...

It has a 1600x900 resolution, so I guess that would be what I'm looking for :) 

I'm a newbie here so let me know if I'm missing anything, thanks!
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 3:18:58 AM

No. Don't get the GTX 550ti. It's a waste of money.
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December 1, 2011 3:44:09 AM

what about the hard drive? (that's missing from the list)
That looks ok so far. (by the way, can you provide links please, makes it a bit more helpful)
Unfortunately, right now hard drive prices are really high because majority of them are made in Thailand, and Thailand has been experiencing severe flooding in the past few months (which not only destroyed homes, it destroyed all the hard drive factories! - and prices won't go down for a while)
So hard drives are now worth $100 more than they were.
Anyway this seems like a decent hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for memory, you don't need 8gb - 4gb will be fine (especially since you're on a low budget).


@cutebeans
Isn't dual channel twice as fast though? And dual channel 4gb is only about $10 more than that (I'm not super knowledgeable about this stuff, so I may be wrong)

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December 1, 2011 4:01:59 AM

brew182 said:
CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $120

Video Card
EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti - $135

Motherboard
ASRock M3A770DE - $60

Case
Any - ~$40

RAM
4 gb (do I need 8?) - $30

Power Supply
Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W - $44

Let me know if I'm missing anything!

Every thing is fine except the gpu at that price you should get a 6850 which is superior to 550ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it is at $144 with a dirt3 game
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December 1, 2011 4:14:45 AM

AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX and 8gb gskill ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
142$

ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard 85$


NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 35$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W - $44

SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity 145$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card 180$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total: 451 with 6850
486 with 6870




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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 4:18:21 AM

Nope. Dual channel's performance gain are negligible. You won't even notice an increase in performance.
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December 1, 2011 10:44:35 AM

Wow! Thanks a lot for all the input guys! (going to try and respond to it all!)

Quote:
what about the hard drive? (that's missing from the list)
That looks ok so far. (by the way, can you provide links please, makes it a bit more helpful)


I have a hard drive from my last dell that will be able to hold me over until prices go down enough.
Sorry about links (this one will be full of them :)  )

Video cards-
The 6850 is only $5 more than the 6790 at $130 so right now it's between that and the 6770 which is only $100 (the rebates must have be re upped). Is the 6850 worth the extra $30?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--6770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--6850

CPU/ RAM-
manu11 suggested a combo but it must have expired. I found a combo w/ same processor and 8gb of ram for $152
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Is this a really good deal and definitely get it? Or should I go with the original CPU and the 4gb of RAM for $20?

Motherboard-
manu11 also suggested a different motherboard, however no one else did.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--manu11 's
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--mine

His is $95 now and mine is only $60, is there any real huge benefit to getting that one in my case?

Case/Power supply-
Looks like the power supply I picked was good and the case I'll have to decide which one I get.
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December 1, 2011 1:29:27 PM

It seems like the motherboard you suggested is one of the lower end ones for the AM3+, but I don't know if that makes a real difference. Which combo is better?

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition &
ASRock M3A770DE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor &
ASUS M5A78L-M LX AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... &
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The prices are about the same, and I'm assuming the second processor is better, but I don't know if the motherboard it has will work well with it or not?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 1:32:36 PM

Not really, the Phenom II x 4 is better than the FX-4100 for some reason.
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December 1, 2011 1:38:38 PM

cutebeans said:
Not really, the Phenom II x 4 is better than the FX-4100 for some reason.


So you would suggest getting the Phenom II x 4 and then 4gb of RAM? Big reason why I was considering the FX-4100 was because of the combo with the 8gb but I'd rather have a better processor I think :) 
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December 1, 2011 1:58:30 PM

Also, the power supply I'm looking at is $60 at Newegg and $50 at Amazon, is there a PSU you would suggest for closer to $40? If not I understand, just trying to trim if I can now :p 
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 2:37:02 PM
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December 1, 2011 2:43:15 PM

Oh ok, I didn't realize I could use the DDR3 1333. (Did I mention I'm a noob? :p )

So this is what my build is looking like:

CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card - SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 - $145 w/ $15 rebate (w/ free Dirt3 game)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply - CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W - $45 w/ $10 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) - $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - NZXT Source 210 S210-001 Black “Aluminum Brush / Plastic” ATX - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $435
After rebates - $410 Not bad :) 

Already have - Keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard drive, dvd drive, speakers, and OS.

Does this look good and is there anything else I'm missing?
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December 1, 2011 2:46:06 PM

Oops! I was writing mine while you were posting that. You're suggesting I go with the Intel CPU?
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December 1, 2011 2:46:42 PM

highly suggest going the phenom II 955 over the FX. the FX series (bulldozer) has been a flop for AMD because nothing utilizes its architecture to make it feasible, and most benchmarks have been showing a favor towards the phenoms. the black editions are super easy to OC as well, so theres another added benefit.

as far as the 550ti, it seems like everyone is leaning you toward radeon cards based on personal preference.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...

the chart from this site clearly shows the 550ti ahead of both the 6770 and 6790, so
Quote:
Everything is good.

I would get a 6790 rather than a 550ti. $140 It's $125 after rebates.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814131397

or a 6770. It's $120 and $100 bucks after reabtes.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102941

Both are better than the 550ti.

makes no sense. the 6850 does perform better for ~$10 more, so that would be your choice. look up what games you are looking to play and see what kind of chipset/drivers they're optimized for
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 2:47:18 PM

Oh, I would get the i3-2100 build I made. It's not that I have anything against AMD but the i3-2100 is a better performer at gaming.

So yeah... There's no difference in price but there is difference in performance.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 2:53:23 PM

jetstorm9520 said:
highly suggest going the phenom II 955 over the FX. the FX series (bulldozer) has been a flop for AMD because nothing utilizes its architecture to make it feasible, and most benchmarks have been showing a favor towards the phenoms. the black editions are super easy to OC as well, so theres another added benefit.

as far as the 550ti, it seems like everyone is leaning you toward radeon cards based on personal preference.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...

the chart from this site clearly shows the 550ti ahead of both the 6770 and 6790, so
Quote:
Everything is good.

I would get a 6790 rather than a 550ti. $140 It's $125 after rebates.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814131397

or a 6770. It's $120 and $100 bucks after reabtes.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102941

Both are better than the 550ti.

makes no sense. the 6850 does perform better for ~$10 more, so that would be your choice. look up what games you are looking to play and see what kind of chipset/drivers they're optimized for


Not really. Considering the heat and power consumption of a 550ti. It really isn't a great performer compared to the 6770 and 6790 series. The difference in power is really negligible but the heat and power consumption is a different story.
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December 1, 2011 2:59:12 PM

Thanks for that info jetstorm9520, I didn't realize that. Looking at that chart and some of the games I think I'm going to stick with the 6850, though.

And cutebeans, I'm going to substitute that CPU and motherboard in instead of the AMD.

With this set up here what can I expect for performance? My original goal was to be able to play new games at med-high quality graphics, is that attainable with this set up?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 1, 2011 3:19:30 PM

Yeah, since you are planning to get a 1600 x 900 monitor. It can easily play games at high. :) 
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December 1, 2011 3:22:13 PM

Phew! What a relief to get this all finished! Thanks everyone who helped me out, especially cutebeans! I'll let ya know how it goes!
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December 1, 2011 4:06:58 PM

alot of great advice in this thread. as far as the i3 vs phenom quesiton i would rather go with the i3 hands down. in a few years when the i5 2500k is like bargain bin price upgrade and get urself another beasty gpu. with this in mind you should probably get a 600w psu to accomadate a bigger gpu in the future. i got a antec neo eco 620w the other day on special for 50 shipped.
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December 1, 2011 10:35:05 PM

cutebeans said:
Nope. Dual channel's performance gain are negligible. You won't even notice an increase in performance.

That's interesting, I never knew that. I always though dual channel was a lot better.
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December 2, 2011 1:49:52 AM

scsierror said:
alot of great advice in this thread. as far as the i3 vs phenom quesiton i would rather go with the i3 hands down. in a few years when the i5 2500k is like bargain bin price upgrade and get urself another beasty gpu. with this in mind you should probably get a 600w psu to accomadate a bigger gpu in the future. i got a antec neo eco 620w the other day on special for 50 shipped.


Really good suggestion, however right now I need to keep the budget as low as I can. In a few years if I decide that I want to upgrade I'll most likely get the next biggest PSU then.

TheRedStorm said:
That's interesting, I never knew that. I always though dual channel was a lot better.


Although I don't know much on this issue, all I've heard is that dual channer is better, the only question is by how much. I found this RAM 4gb (2x2gb) that is only $1 more than the other one suggested, probably going to get this one since it's only one more dollar, any reason why I shouldn't?

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the one I was planning on using before:
G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2011 2:57:31 AM

Not really, heat spreaders are supposed to help when overclocking.

Seriously, there is an increase in performance but in real world applications, you won't even notice them.

I advice not getting dual channel 4gb since if you want to add more ram in the future, you will have more problems than with just 2 4gb rams.
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December 2, 2011 7:14:48 AM

go with the i3, it consumes a lot less power and performs better than the phenom and get a dual channel ram, it wouldn't hurt
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December 2, 2011 3:54:40 PM

Tiger Direct has this motherboard on sale:

MSI H67MS-E33 (B3) Intel H67 Motherboard
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

For $35 after rebates, as this one is cheaper than the other one, and I think it's better, would it be beneficial to get that one? If nothing else, would it be worse?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2011 4:06:09 PM

That's a pretty good motherboard. Get it. :D 
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December 2, 2011 4:11:47 PM

cutebeans said:
That's a pretty good motherboard. Get it. :D 


Cool :D  (I love deals)

Also, it looks like the i3-2120 is only $5 more than the i3-2100 right now. I can't imagine there is a big difference (looks like it's only the clock speed 3.1 vs 3.3) but is it worth the $5?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2011 4:13:35 PM

$5? I would get it lol.
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December 2, 2011 4:17:40 PM

cutebeans said:
$5? I would get it lol.


Sweet! Unfortunately I don't think I can find any other deals on anything so I'll put up a final build list when I get home tonight, see what you guys think. Just to make sure, the new board and CPU work together correct?
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December 2, 2011 10:57:21 PM

Ok, so this is probably my final build (maybe haha)

CPU - $130

Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - $65, $35 after rebate

MSI H67MS-E33 (B3) Intel H67 Motherboard
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Video Card - $145, $130 after rebate

SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - $21

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply - $45, $35 after rebate

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - $36

NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total (before rebates & shipping) = $442
Shipping = +$17.86
Rebates = -$55
Coupon = -$10

GRAND TOTAL - $395!!

Next post I'm going to put some comments about why I chose each one.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2011 11:01:41 PM

Thats cool. No need for coments my friend but if you really want to then go ahead.
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December 2, 2011 11:04:57 PM

As I said at the beginning my focus was for gaming. Screen resolution is probably going to be 1600x900 and wanted to be able to play on med-high settings

CPU
I chose this CPU because it was only $5 more than the other i3-2100 and for the $5, I think it's worth it. I chose Intel over AMD because they're better for gaming.

Motherboard
This one was actually a last minute one that I found by mistake. It is a lot better board than the one I was planning on using and after rebates and sale ended up being $25 cheaper (another reason why I chose the CPU)

Video Card
This one was the best one in my price range and best reviewed.

RAM
I decided to choose the dual channel as opposed to the single channel because there is a debate as to whether it's worth it, but it was the same price and it can't hurt.

Power Supply
Didn't really think a lot about this one, it was recommended, had good reviews, and was a good price.

Case
This one was about the same price with shipping as the one I was about to get but this one sold more and had more reviews...oh and it looks cooler :D 

Well that's all, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Thanks again to everyone who helped out, especially cutebeans!
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December 2, 2011 11:08:21 PM

cutebeans said:
Thats cool. No need for coments my friend but if you really want to then go ahead.


I figure there's a lot of good info in this thread for people looking at a gaming rig in this price range, the comments might help people like me who have no idea why people pick these things :D 
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December 3, 2011 12:15:23 AM

Just an update for y'all, ordered everything and can't wait!
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December 3, 2011 2:20:33 AM

awesome, good luck with your build :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2011 3:08:48 AM

Close this topic my friend!
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December 3, 2011 3:15:03 AM

Best answer selected by brew182.
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