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Budget build for gaming - $400

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! :)
47 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about budget build gaming
  1. 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!
  2. UPDATE:

    On the monitor/ screen resolution.

    Looking to get a monitor like this one:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+20%22+Widescreen+Flat-Panel+LCD+Monitor/1422209.p?id=1218257754431&skuId=1422209

    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!
  3. No. Don't get the GTX 550ti. It's a waste of money.
  4. Everything is good.

    I would get a 6790 rather than a 550ti. $140 It's $125 after rebates.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131397

    or a 6770. It's $120 and $100 bucks after reabtes.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102941

    Both are better than the 550ti.
  5. Get this 4gb ram. $20
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231423

    Dual channel aint worth it.

    you might want to get this case. Elite 210 $50. It's a good case with usb 3.0 on the front so when you buy a new computer, the case is still great. It's also cool inside
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146077

    No need for 8gb ram btw.
  6. 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=N82E16822136769

    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)
  7. cutebeans said:
    Everything is good.

    I would get a 6790 rather than a 550ti. $140 It's $125 after rebates.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131397

    or a 6770. It's $120 and $100 bucks after reabtes.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102941

    Both are better than the 550ti.

    both of those rebates expire today
    so the rebate is pointless (unless he buys his parts today)
  8. 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=N82E16814102908
    it is at $144 with a dirt3 game
  9. AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX and 8gb gskill ram
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.757905
    142$

    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=N82E16811146061

    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=N82E16814102908

    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=N82E16814102948

    total: 451 with 6850
    486 with 6870
  10. Nope. Dual channel's performance gain are negligible. You won't even notice an increase in performance.
  11. 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=N82E16814102941 <--6770
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102908 <--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?ItemList=Combo.782526
    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=N82E16813157280 <--manu11 's
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157176&Tpk=ASRock%20M3A770DE <--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.
  12. Yeah, the 6850 is worth the extra $30.

    Getting that FX -4100 would require you to get an AM3+ Motherboard which yours isn't.

    Get this I guess. It's a budget board but it has good feedback.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131728

    I also found you a $40 case. NZXT 210
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146075
  13. 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=N82E16813157176&Tpk=ASRock%20M3A770DE
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808&Tpk=AMD%20Phenom%20II%20X4%20955%20Black%20Edition

    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=N82E16819103996 &
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131728

    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?
  14. Not really, the Phenom II x 4 is better than the FX-4100 for some reason.
  15. 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 :)
  16. 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
  17. Corsair 430 $40 after rebates. It's the lowest that you should go.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&Tpk=Corsair%20430
  18. Alright. I was looking at the RAM and the motherboard I'm going with has DDR3 1600 and the one you suggested was DDR3 1333 which I think was for the other board. Would this be a good alternative?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104261
  19. I would get this seriously get this. DDR3 1333 and DDR3 1600 has no difference in performance ESPECIALLY when you won't be doing any overclocking.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231421
  20. Best answer
  21. 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=N82E16819103808

    Video Card - SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 - $145 w/ $15 rebate (w/ free Dirt3 game)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102908

    Motherboard - ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX - $60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157176

    Power Supply - CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W - $45 w/ $10 rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

    RAM - G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) - $20
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231421

    Case - NZXT Source 210 S210-001 Black “Aluminum Brush / Plastic” ATX - $40
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146075

    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?
  22. Oops! I was writing mine while you were posting that. You're suggesting I go with the Intel CPU?
  23. 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-charts/Gamer-Index,2673.html

    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
  24. 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.
  25. 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-charts/Gamer-Index,2673.html

    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.
  26. 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?
  27. Yeah, since you are planning to get a 1600 x 900 monitor. It can easily play games at high. :)
  28. 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!
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.

    Anonymous 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=N82E16820231394

    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=N82E16820231421
  32. Or maybe this? Its only 4 more dollars and has heat spreaders. Although I'm not sure if heat spreaders are worth the extra - are they actually helpful?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231274
  33. 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.
  34. 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
  35. Tiger Direct has this motherboard on sale:

    MSI H67MS-E33 (B3) Intel H67 Motherboard
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7325820&CatId=6977

    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?
  36. That's a pretty good motherboard. Get it. :D
  37. 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?
  38. $5? I would get it lol.
  39. 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?
  40. 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=N82E16819115077

    Motherboard - $65, $35 after rebate

    MSI H67MS-E33 (B3) Intel H67 Motherboard
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7325820&sku=M452-6207

    Video Card - $145, $130 after rebate

    SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102908

    RAM - $21

    G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231394

    Power Supply - $45, $35 after rebate

    CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

    Case - $36

    NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146061

    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.
  41. Thats cool. No need for coments my friend but if you really want to then go ahead.
  42. 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!
  43. 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
  44. Just an update for y'all, ordered everything and can't wait!
  45. awesome, good luck with your build :)
  46. Close this topic my friend!
  47. Best answer selected by brew182.
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