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Looking for parts to upgrade my PC under for under $500

I used my current pc as an old gaming computer, but now I need to upgrade. Now, I need more of a gaming/htpc build. I can salvage a 3.5" 7200RPM HDD, a CD/DVD Player/Burner, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and I have a Windows 7 retail cd.


Budget Range: 400-500 BEFORE rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, watching HD movies

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, Wireless Adapter, Hard Drive, CD/DVD Drive, RAM/Memory, and an Operating System

Preferred Website for Parts: Newegg, Tigerdirect, NCIX, eBay

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: I'd prefer a 6850, or a 6870 (Not a big fan of Nvidia products). I pretty much just need a good looking, small case, a motherboard, a video card, a processor, and a power supply.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920X1080, 720p

Additional Comments: I'd like it be fairly compact, small enough to be placed on a table. It has to look good, have nice cooling, and run modern games on Medium to High settings.
20 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about looking parts upgrade under
  1. Best answer
  2. EDIT: Oops just noticed you said Country: US. I presumed you were in Canada due to TigerDirect and NCIX as preferred sites. Knock a few $ off the items below for US prices, and then that should leave you enough spare to fit a case in all for under $500

    -----------------


    i3-2100 $140 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
    ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 $150 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271
    6870 $170 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389

    $460 Total

    + 500w Corsair Builder PSU $60 ($40 after rebate) http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027


    There are cheaper motherboard options, however going with a Z68 board will give you more features, and will allow for better future upgrade on Socket 1155 should you wish to buy an IvyBridge CPU in the future, or an i5 or i7 SandyBridge.
  3. AdrianPerry said:
    EDIT: Oops just noticed you said Country: US. I presumed you were in Canada due to TigerDirect and NCIX as preferred sites. Knock a few $ off the items below for US prices, and then that should leave you enough spare to fit a case in all for under $500

    -----------------


    i3-2100 $140 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
    ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 $150 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271
    6870 $170 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389

    $460

    500w Corsair Builder PSU $60 ($40 after rebate) http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027


    There are cheaper motherboard options, however going with a Z68 board will give you more features, and will allow for better future upgrade on Socket 1155 should you wish to buy an IvyBridge CPU in the future, or an i5 or i7 SandyBridge.


    I'm not going to upgrade anytime soon, and I'm specifically looking for a compact gaming/htpc build, something like MicroATX or Mini-ITX
  4. Better PSU, CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $59.99 $39.99 after mail in rebate free shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027
    80 Plus certified and has 2X6+2 pin connectors
  5. xpeh said:
    I'm not going to upgrade anytime soon, and I'm specifically looking for a compact gaming/htpc build, something like MicroATX or Mini-ITX


    Swap the motherboard for a cheaper $70-ish H61 micro-atx motherboard and the rest of the above components still apply :)

    MSI H61M-P21 $60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130603
  6. Case: Rosewill MicroATX Mid Tower ($35)

    CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz ($125)

    MB: ASRock Z68 PRO3-M HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX ($110)

    GPU: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 ($173)

    PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W Modular ($65)

    Total: $508
    That's after shipping, and without the $40 in mail-in rebates and $15 gift card. I broke your budget just a bit, but you'll get $55 back later.

    You can save money by going with a cheaper motherboard, and then get one of these kinds of cases with the savings if you like. Sadly, this is out of your price range unless you want to compromise performance with an AMD chip.
  7. AdrianPerry said:
    Swap the motherboard for a cheaper $70-ish H61 micro-atx motherboard and the rest of the above components still apply :)

    MSI H61M-P21 $60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130603

    Is this motherboard good?
  8. Some more cases to look at: this and these. I think those Apevia cases use standard size PSUs so you can just replace it if you like the way those look.
  9. erikalikesfire said:
    Some more cases to look at: this and these. I think those Apevia cases use standard size PSUs so you can just replace it if you like the way those look.

    Standard ATX power supplies would be much better
  10. Checking out Apevia's FAQ and some of their product pages, they do use standard ATX PSUs, so yeah if you like those they are an option.
  11. ^I wouldn't trust the psu that comes with the second case. So I would look more at the rosewill.
  12. zooted said:
    ^I wouldn't trust the psu that comes with the second case. So I would look more at the rosewill.

    I was planning to trash the PSU or put it into another computer.
  13. xpeh said:


    I think the cheap Biostar motherboard has surprisingly good reviews, and the i3-2100 is a cool, efficient processor that can handle living in a tiny case with poor ventilation. The graphics card, I'm not sure about, because (1) I just read some of the reviews and found that it's the kind that vents into the case instead of out the back and (2) the Apevia cases don't have side vents.

    I think you should either look around and find a 6850 or 6870 that vents out the back for the Apevia, or choose a case with side vents like this one.

    Cases are a personal choice. I think mid towers are the best, but then, I keep mine under my desk. If you want to put one on your desk, I think the small mid tower looks silly and you should get one of the boxy ones. It's all up to you though; you're the one who has to look at it every day. The smaller cases have worse cooling and cost more, but look better.
  14. erikalikesfire said:
    I think the cheap Biostar motherboard has surprisingly good reviews, and the i3-2100 is a cool, efficient processor that can handle living in a tiny case with poor ventilation. The graphics card, I'm not sure about, because (1) I just read some of the reviews and found that it's the kind that vents into the case instead of out the back and (2) the Apevia cases don't have side vents.

    I think you should either look around and find a 6850 or 6870 that vents out the back for the Apevia, or choose a case with side vents like this one.

    Cases are a personal choice. I think mid towers are the best, but then, I keep mine under my desk. If you want to put one on your desk, I think the small mid tower looks silly and you should get one of the boxy ones. It's all up to you though; you're the one who has to look at it every day. The smaller cases have worse cooling and cost more, but look better.


    The case you linked only has one 80mm, and you can't add more. Would that be enough ventilation?
  15. According to the reviews, you can (and should) add two more 80mm fans. Here's a review from a builder with a system very similar to yours.

    Quote:
    Pros: First let me say that I have a thing for Silverstone cases. I loved this case the moment I saw it but once my build was complete the fan noise, humming and echoing absolutely drove me crazy. This case is thin and is an echo chamber.
    I added an additional cooler master 80mm silent fan
    Item#: N82E16835103097
    and a Scythe 3.5 fan controller
    Item#: N82E16811998089
    Now it is almost silent and I can turn the fans up only when I'm gaming. I'm very happy now and again this case looks really good and the fan controller only added to the looks.

    Cons: Noise doesn't normally bother me so much but when such a large amount of it is coming from such a small package it really does.

    Other Thoughts: Made a great portable gaming system that is now very quiet.

    Intel i5 2500k - STOCK COOLER
    ASRock H61M-VS LGA 1155
    HIS 2gb 6950
    OCZ 500 ModXstream PSU
    Corsair 8gb 1600 Ram

    Can accommodate a large graphics card and it also looks really nice sitting next to a tv as an htpc.
  16. If you want to go with any of the boxy shoebox cases, I think it's worth it to get a graphics card that vents out the back, of which I have found two:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103196
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161393
  17. I'd like a shoebox case. The smaller the better, as I'd probably move the case from my room to the main living room from time to time. But the case has to be under 80, though.
  18. Best answer selected by XPEH.
  19. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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