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[New Build] $400-500 Gaming Machine

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February 20, 2012 1:59:47 PM

Hey guys,

My brother and I are looking to build a gaming PC. I know the budget is low but we got a few good parts for free that will be listed below. With me being in college and a him being 14 we're looking for best bang for the buck satisfactory performance rather than a beast machine. We're not that tech savvy and this is our first time attempting something like this so we'd love help and opinions. I will try to provide as much information as possible.

Approximate Purchase Date: Most likely 2-3 weeks. A month if the price goes up.

Budget Range: Preferably under/around $400 but might go to $500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, movies, surfing

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, GPU (have an XFX 6870)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: I'd prefer AMD mobo/CPU since it's cheaper

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: If the performance difference is trivial I'd much prefer the cheaper alternative. CPU wise I just want something that won't bottleneck the 6870 (or not by too much)

So far:

CPU: Clueless but I want a quad core

Motherboard: Clueless but prefer AMD

PSU: XFX Core Edition PRO550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207013

RAM: Clueless but I want 8GB

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-KKN1/dp/B003ZM7YTA/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1329748855&sr=1-3

I'm really not a techie so I plan on getting the parts and bribing a cousin to put it together. What else do I need?
February 20, 2012 2:29:01 PM

Ok I can give you a pretty kickin system since you already have the XFX 6870 for right around $500. For a pure gaming computer, the Core i3 will beat any AMD processor for a budget machine. So here we go:

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - 59.99 ($10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - 39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor bundled with LG Internal 22x Super-Multi DVD Burner - 133.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - 64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory - 41.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - 84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 68.99
http://www.softwaresupplygroup.com/microsoft-windows-7-...

TOTAL: $494.92 (before $10 MIR, shipping not included)

This will give you a very powerful gaming rig with your 6870, the case you wanted, and will beat any budget AMD gaming build.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2012 2:33:17 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.
Alright! We can do it. That 6870 is indeed an excellent part. Here's a pretty good list of parts.
CPU: Intel i3-2100 ($15 off promo code if you buy today)
DVD: LG DVD Sata Burner
Above in combo, $132
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Mobo: ASRock H61 USB3 Sata3 $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline $38
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Antec 430w PSU $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Seagate 500GB $85 (promo code takes $10 off)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case: CM Elite 430 $50
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Elite-Window-RC-430...
OR
HAF 912 $60
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-K...

Total is $421 with HAF 912, not including promo codes.

-The i3-2100 is a steal at $125 (or $110 with promo code) It's performance is second only to it's larger cousin, the i5-2400. Other than that it reigns supreme in the under $200 category. You won't have any bottleneck here!
-The motherboard is simple, yet retains USB3 and Sata3 for expandability and futureproofing. Excellent featureset.
-The cases are personal favorites of mine. I see you picked the HAF 912, so that's what I used to price.

Well, hope that gives you an idea of what to look for. Cheers!
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Related resources
February 20, 2012 2:37:57 PM

Similar builds. :) 

For the combo striker410 posted, I would spend the extra $1 and get the 2120. you get another 200mhz speed for $1. Yes please!
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February 20, 2012 2:43:18 PM

I just went with the Gskill ram as I have had very good luck with them. Mushkin makes good RAM too though. Your 912 ends up being cheaper unless the OP does the MIR that newegg is offering. I am sure that you can get that same rebate from amazon or coolermaster's website, so the link you posted is probably the better route.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2012 2:44:47 PM

Pezcore27 said:
I just went with the Gskill ram as I have had very good luck with them. Mushkin makes good RAM too though. Your 912 ends up being cheaper unless the OP does the MIR that newegg is offering. I am sure that you can get that same rebate from amazon or coolermaster's website, so the link you posted is probably the better route.

Eh, it's a few bucks here a few bucks there. Not much difference. Great mind think alike, eh?
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February 20, 2012 2:47:00 PM

Surely. :) 
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February 20, 2012 3:30:17 PM

Thanks for the swift replies! Your builds definitely look great. I'll order the promo code items now and the rest when I get the cash. Looking forward to this :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2012 3:33:49 PM

anitechno said:
Thanks for the swift replies! Your builds definitely look great. I'll order the promo code items now and the rest when I get the cash. Looking forward to this :) 

Sounds good! For the i3, it'd be cheaper to just get the processor since it has that promo. I don't think promo codes work with combo items. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 20, 2012 4:30:57 PM

Just wondering, can you reuse a hard drive with Vista on it in a new PC and install Windows 7? I just remembered that I might have one.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2012 4:35:44 PM

Yes and no. You can reuse the drive but you'll need to wipe it first. DO NOT try to run vista on it, it WILL NOT work. Windows binds itself to the motherboard and bad things can happen if you try to use an existing partition on a new machine. Wipe it then install windows 7.
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February 20, 2012 4:47:10 PM

Lots of good information here you have been very helpful :) 
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!