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Advice on new ULTRA BUDGET system for my niece!

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December 17, 2011 7:47:34 AM

Okay, so the short and skinny: I've been telling my niece about Star Wars: The Old Republic and, ever since she saw some videos, she's been dying to play with me when it comes out. However, she's still in high school and doesn't have a job or a computer that can adequately run it. Still, being the nice uncle I am, I want to build her a computer so she can play with me. However, I'm strapped for cash myself and am trying to keep the build under $300 dollars. With some graphics tuning, etc, I imagine this should be able to run it good enough for her. I've been looking at some builds for the budget and came up with some, but if anyone can do better, I'm all ears (or eyes, it seems).

Here's what I've decided upon:

AMD APU A6-3650 + ASRock A55M-HVS Motherboard + Case w/ 400W PSU = $227.50 from PortaTech.com
Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B Vengeance Desktop Memory Kit - 8GB DDR3-1600MHz = $45.00 from Tigerdirect.

Total cost: $272.50

She has the monitor, hard drive, and various other items that I didn't list here. Just looking for the core system. If you can build a better similarly priced system, I'd really appreciate it. She's a good kid, and it'd make a good Christmas present (albiet, belated).


Thanks!
December 17, 2011 1:16:35 PM

do you have microcenter close by ?
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December 17, 2011 1:27:53 PM

Rokkman said:
I'm not sure, to be honest. I don't know about the graphic capabilities or load ability of this CPU.

A) Integrated graphics may get you by in some games, but SWTOR has some of the highest required computer specs of any game in 2011.

B) Same excuse as A but with the CPU. It SHOULD be fine given the speed and quad core, but I don't know much about that processor or motherboard at all.

Corsair is good RAM, you wont hear an argument from me on this - and 8GB is more than enough for SWTOR.

Just a few minutes on Newegg netted me this machine however, that would run the game at the very least on "medium" settings without much input lag.

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The total comes to $300.94 before shipping, which to me was $21.13


-- Now, I recommend that IF you can stretch the budget just a little bit, go for this processor..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It will give much better stability for her, less load times etc.. Just an option there, it's about $60 more.

I hope this helps you, I am purely posting this build because I do not have much knowledge of the CPU/Motherboard combo that you posted and would not feel comfortable giving advice on it.


That GPU is bullshit, dude! I think thats even weaker than HD 2000.

AMD APU (A6 or A8) is a much better choice for his price segment.

@OP

Stick with your CPU, cut the costs on the RAM. Get a 4GB stick. Should cost you $20. I'm gonna post my build sometimes later.
December 17, 2011 1:34:37 PM

That Sunbeam PSU-shaped object should not be installed into a computer system. I'll post a build here in a moment...

Best solution

December 17, 2011 2:10:15 PM
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Hopefully your budget has a little wiggle room in it. This is probably how I'd do it. Comments with each item:

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
Mail in Rebate
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
Has been my "goto" PSU in budget builds for years. They're quiet, efficient, and stable, and I've never had one fail. Will support a substantially stronger GPU, like a HD6850.

AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX455WFGMBOX
Model #:ADX455WFGMBOX
Item #:N82E16819103911
$79.99 $79.99
You'd get so much more power with an Intel CPU, but they're simply not in your budget. That said, this CPU can play any game, and for the price offers a decent amount of power for other things too.

HIS H667FN1G Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
Model #:H667FN1G
Item #:N82E16814161397
Mail in Rebate Card
$99.99 -$10.00 Instant $89.99
This was the cheapest HD6670 with GDDR5 RAM. I'd buy one; I've had only good results from the handful of different HIS-branded video cards I've bought. A stronger card would be nice here (another $20-$30 will get you a HD6770), but this card should be fine especially if you lower some settings. I tested all of my mostly older games with a HD6670 at 1920x1080 and I could max them, some with 4XAA as well. If your budget is super-tight, take this out and use the onboard, but I'm not how well that will play new games, unless the resolution of your niece's monitor is fairly low.

Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model #:R102-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147111
$29.99 $29.99
I've built in this case. It has reasonable air flow from its 120mm rear fan, and you can always add another in the front if you like.

ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:880GM-LE
Item #:N82E16813157199
$59.99 -$5.00 Instant $54.99
I've used this board. The IGP can play older games, and likely some newer ones on low settings if the resolution isn't too high. Bulldozer was such a failure that not having socket AM3+ is absolutely no big deal.

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Model #:F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Item #:N82E16820231394
$20.99 $20.99
G.Skill has become my first choice for RAM because I've never had a DOA stick, or had to RMA any. I can't even say that about my second choice (Mushkin).

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:AD-7261S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118040
$19.99 $19.99
One optical drive is much like another, but this one has Lightscribe.

Subtotal: $340.93

There you have it. It will be lower if you play the rebate game on some items (and win), but then there's shipping, and if you live in TN like I do, government extortion (because Newegg has a warehouse in Memphis). Still, this is about as low as you'll go and get decent parts that will last a while and offer some upgrade potential.
December 17, 2011 2:25:21 PM

Here goes my extreme budget gaming build :

Processor : AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz - $78
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard : ASUS M5A78L-M LX AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU : HIS H657H1G Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 - $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM : G.SKILL Value Series 4GB DDR3 1333 - $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU : CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 - $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case : Thermaltake V3 Black Edition - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total : $302 before rebates

Should serve you quite well. ;) 
December 17, 2011 3:44:59 PM

Onus said:
Hopefully your budget has a little wiggle room in it. This is probably how I'd do it. Comments with each item:

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
Mail in Rebate
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
Has been my "goto" PSU in budget builds for years. They're quiet, efficient, and stable, and I've never had one fail. Will support a substantially stronger GPU, like a HD6850.

AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX455WFGMBOX
Model #:ADX455WFGMBOX
Item #:N82E16819103911
$79.99 $79.99
You'd get so much more power with an Intel CPU, but they're simply not in your budget. That said, this CPU can play any game, and for the price offers a decent amount of power for other things too.

HIS H667FN1G Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
Model #:H667FN1G
Item #:N82E16814161397
Mail in Rebate Card
$99.99 -$10.00 Instant $89.99
This was the cheapest HD6670 with GDDR5 RAM. I'd buy one; I've had only good results from the handful of different HIS-branded video cards I've bought. A stronger card would be nice here (another $20-$30 will get you a HD6770), but this card should be fine especially if you lower some settings. I tested all of my mostly older games with a HD6670 at 1920x1080 and I could max them, some with 4XAA as well. If your budget is super-tight, take this out and use the onboard, but I'm not how well that will play new games, unless the resolution of your niece's monitor is fairly low.

Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model #:R102-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147111
$29.99 $29.99
I've built in this case. It has reasonable air flow from its 120mm rear fan, and you can always add another in the front if you like.

ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:880GM-LE
Item #:N82E16813157199
$59.99 -$5.00 Instant $54.99
I've used this board. The IGP can play older games, and likely some newer ones on low settings if the resolution isn't too high. Bulldozer was such a failure that not having socket AM3+ is absolutely no big deal.

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Model #:F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
Item #:N82E16820231394
$20.99 $20.99
G.Skill has become my first choice for RAM because I've never had a DOA stick, or had to RMA any. I can't even say that about my second choice (Mushkin).

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:AD-7261S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118040
$19.99 $19.99
One optical drive is much like another, but this one has Lightscribe.

Subtotal: $340.93

There you have it. It will be lower if you play the rebate game on some items (and win), but then there's shipping, and if you live in TN like I do, government extortion (because Newegg has a warehouse in Memphis). Still, this is about as low as you'll go and get decent parts that will last a while and offer some upgrade potential.

+1
Good build - will last 5 years playing MMOs
December 17, 2011 4:36:34 PM

Thanks for all the responses!

I'm liking these builds better than mine, that's for sure, though I may have to increase the budget by about $40 or so.
December 18, 2011 5:49:54 PM

Best answer selected by wkizzle.
December 18, 2011 6:11:06 PM

Thanks. Good luck with your build.
December 18, 2011 6:36:45 PM

Okay, I think I figured out what I'm going to be purchasing soon. Thanks to everyone for their input.

PSU:
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous Power - $45 ($40 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 - $110 ($90 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO:
ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - $55


I upgraded the video card from jtt283's build, as he suggested, to a HD6770. I also removed the case and the DVD drive from the equation, as I have an extra DVD-R Drive and forgot I had an old Koolance case from about 4 years ago in storage. Damn thing cost $200 dollars back then, it better be viable now. Besides, I won't be watercooling this rig.


All in all cost: $290 before rebates, $265 after rebates. Not too shabby.

Obviously, this would be more expensive if I included cost of hard drive, OS, etc. Fortunately, my niece already has all of that.

Thanks again!
!