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First ever build: PC mag's $500 gaming PC

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February 19, 2012 2:40:55 PM

Hi all,

I've already ordered these parts for my first ever computer build:

Case and Power Supply: Cooler Master Sileo 500 RC-500-KKR3-GP
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-D3
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB
Video Card: XFX HD-667X-ZHF3
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black (1TB)
Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD Burner iHAS124-04

Never having done this before, I plan to follow the step by step instructions here
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2394156,00.asp

Has anyone here built this system before? Any comments on this setup,
or on any of the components? General comments on what to do or what
not to do when putting this together?

More about : build mag 500 gaming

February 19, 2012 3:12:44 PM

rbelshoff said:
Hi all,

I've already ordered these parts for my first ever computer build:

Case and Power Supply: Cooler Master Sileo 500 RC-500-KKR3-GP
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-D3
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB
Video Card: XFX HD-667X-ZHF3
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black (1TB)
Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD Burner iHAS124-04

Never having done this before, I plan to follow the step by step instructions here
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2394156,00.asp

Has anyone here built this system before? Any comments on this setup,
or on any of the components? General comments on what to do or what
not to do when putting this together?


Never built that particular spec and wouldn't. The AMD path, which I've used a lot over the years (and have on the pc I'm writting this one) is no longer viable. Are you going to game or surf or do specific work? Is $500 your budget or is there some room?
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February 19, 2012 3:19:54 PM

That looks OK but I think you could do a lot better for a $500 gaming PC.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't read that you already bought the parts.

You would get way better performance out of something like this:

Intel Pentium G840 - $84.99
ASRock H61M/U3S3 - $64.99
Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) - $21.99
Gigabyte HD 6850 1GB - $139.99
Seagate Barracuda 500GB - $84.99
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W - $39.99
Fractal Design Core 1000 - $39.99
LG DVD Burner - $15.99

Total - $492.92

You would lose out on some storage but this would blow that build away in games. The PSU would probably be more reliable as well.

That GPU and PSU are on quite good offers by the way, they may not stay at that price.
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February 19, 2012 3:27:09 PM

QuietPC said:
Never built that particular spec and wouldn't. The AMD path, which I've used a lot over the years (and have on the pc I'm writting this one) is no longer viable. Are you going to game or surf or do specific work? Is $500 your budget or is there some room?


There is some room but as I said, I've already ordered those parts. Plan to do some gaming (it's billed as a gaming PC after all) and surfing.

What do you mean by "the AMD path is no longer viable"?
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February 19, 2012 3:28:45 PM

He means that AMD aren't releasing any more CPU's for that socket so when/if you come to upgrade the CPU, you will need a new motherboard.
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February 19, 2012 3:43:27 PM

jmsellars1 said:
That looks OK but I think you could do a lot better for a $500 gaming PC.

You would get way better performance out of something like this:

Intel Pentium G840 - $84.99
ASRock H61M/U3S3 - $64.99
Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) - $21.99
Gigabyte HD 6850 1GB - $139.99
Seagate Barracuda 500GB - $84.99
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W - $39.99
Fractal Design Core 1000 - $39.99
LG DVD Burner - $15.99

Total - $492.92

You would lose out on some storage but this would blow that build away in games. The PSU would probably be more reliable as well.

That GPU and PSU are on quite good offers by the way, they may not stay at that price.


Thanks, I appreciate your input. My son and I are building this together as a father/son project. I see now that had I posted here before ordering the parts, I could have gotten a better system for the money, but my main goals for this first build are (1) to teach my son (and me!) about the components and how they fit together, and (2) to get the satisfactions of actually building a computer that works!
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February 19, 2012 4:10:16 PM

That's great, sorry for not reading the full post in the first place.

EDIT: So long as you're aware of the dangers of static electricity to those components and you aren't too rough with CPU chips etc. you can just follow the guide and you can't really go far wrong.
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February 19, 2012 4:37:50 PM

I will just tell you one thing I learned after some painful lessons, always check that the back of the motherboard is NOT touching the case or have any screws or metal between the motherboard and case wall stuck. Just check, if after screwing the board, its afloat to the case wall. All the best. GL!!
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February 19, 2012 7:01:21 PM

@DelroyMonjo

I wasn't saying that motherboard isn't a good idea myself, I was just explaining what QuietPC meant.

Also I was talking about gaming performance, PC Mark is completely different.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/405?vs=188

The Pentium is around 5-10% better in most of those benchmarks but it steams ahead even more in gaming where it's around 40-50% better.

Also the difference between the HD 6670 and HD 6850 is vast, so that would make a difference too.

@rbelshoff

Don't worry about this performance gap, that build is still decent so long as you're not too bothered about ultra high settings.
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February 19, 2012 7:07:00 PM

rbelshoff said:
Thanks, I appreciate your input. My son and I are building this together as a father/son project. I see now that had I posted here before ordering the parts, I could have gotten a better system for the money, but my main goals for this first build are (1) to teach my son (and me!) about the components and how they fit together, and (2) to get the satisfactions of actually building a computer that works!


Don't worry about the performance. It's still adequate for almost any game.
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February 28, 2012 12:52:16 PM

The processor (AMD Athlon II X4 640) I was planning to use is out of stock everywhere I've checked. All the other parts I've either got already or they are on their way.

So I need a processor that will work with the Gigabyte GA-970A-D3 motherboard.

Should I keep trying to find the AMD Athlon II X4 640 processor? Or should I substitute something else and if so what?
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Best solution

February 28, 2012 12:59:36 PM

The Athlon x3 455 is equally decent in games, that would be a good alternative.
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March 7, 2012 12:11:20 PM

Best answer selected by rbelshoff.
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