New Budget Build

Alright so I am a poor college student. I have currently been using a Dell XPS m1530 that I bought in 2008. The 8600 GT in it has slowly but surely been dying over the past few years (mostly due to overheating issues that plague the laptops). I have been wanting to build my own computer for the past few years, but a lack of funds has really held me back.

Finally, the overheating issues in my laptop have gotten to the point that I cannot handle them (even a few minutes of youtube watching can trigger a display driver crash which forces a computer restart). I love my laptop, but I'm afraid I must move on.

My budget for a new computer is tiny, but luckily I am willing to game at even the lowest settings/resolutions (the computer I played on before my laptop was a Dell from 2001 with 256 MB RAM and a 64 MB Rage video card...).

Being a first time builder, I probably should have asked for help here before purchasing stuff, but I would like to think that I did good research and didn't screw up too badly. Unfortunately I am now stuck with a bit of buyers remorse as most of my parts are scheduled to come in tomorrow.

Here's what I got. My question for you dear forum is whether or not I have in fact done the best that I could for what I spent.

I went with an AMD system because the components seemed cheaper for about the same performance at my budget.


This is my first questionable purchase. For $20 after the rebate I thought this was a steal. The feedback on it was definitely a damper, but most of the complaints seem to be on DOA motherboards. That does not really scare me so much since I figure returning it should not be that difficult? The fact that it is only Socket AM3 and not AM3+ as well as only supporting up to 95W CPUs is disappointing but I figured that for $20 it could last me a few years until I have the money to actually buy a future proof board. The fact that it is ATX and not micro ATX also hopefully means that wiring will be easier as well as giving me more room for bigger video cards?


I went with this CPU at Tom's suggestion, and also because I found it for $65 on Tigerdirect (as opposed to $80 everywhere else). That combined with the cheap motherboard pushed me away from an intel solution. The ability to unlock a 4th core is a plus (although unfortunately apparently not supported by my motherboard). For my budget I am overall happy with this piece.


I was originally going to wait on a GPU purchase until a really good deal came along, but the day after buying everything else I realized that my Mobo didn't have onboard video, even though I thought it did. The gaming I do would probably be considered casual by most. I play League of Legends, CSS, some SC2, etc. I am willing to run them on whatever resolution makes them playable, but would love to try newer stuff like Skyrim etc, even if it is on low. From the reviews I read it seems this card can at least do that much, even if I have to really lower the details and such. For $35 after rebate I am happy with this I think.

RAM: Have not purchased yet. I am waiting until my rebates come through for this. I will borrow a stick from my friend until I can get it. I figure this is probably the easiest part of my purchase. Something like should do me fine.

Case and all the rest:
Here's where things get a little interesting maybe. After purchasing this case I found and bought an old case from a dude on Craigslist for $25. Basically it was the remnants of a non-working computer complete with 3 80 mm fans. He said the motherboard in it was dead, not that it matters. It was a socket 462 with an extremely old Athlon 1.7 Ghz single core. I gutted the case and it's sitting in my room right now. Should I perhaps return the case I bought online and buy a better power supply?

I have a 750 GB external HDD as well as an 80 GB internal sitting around, a nice 1080p 1920x1200 monitor/tv and a DVD drive already. All told I spent $205 (assuming $30 for RAM). Now I ask you. Will I get my moneys worth for what I paid and can this build last me 2-3 years of moderate use until I can get a job and buy something nicer?
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  1. Wow a $200 computer that's unbelievable , that will be great if it really does work.
    Good luck.
  2. Best answer
    You did pretty well considering what you spent, I build similar systems from time to time and sell them on craigslist for 250-300. The only thing i might have done different was spent a little bit more on the motherboard. I'm not a big fan of ecs boards I've been disappointed by them in the past. But overall it's good.

    I would have sprung for around $25-$30 more for a board like....

    with these you would be pushing 250, but have a few more options/upgrades now and down the road
  3. Best answer selected by Maxarial.
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