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[First-Timer] Homebuilt Mid-range PC with budget of $800

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April 5, 2012 5:26:47 AM

Hello! :)  I'm a newly registered user, but I visit this site frequently to read about computers. However, I really don't know much about building one, and would like to ask for your guidance about the matter. :) 

My use for the PC would include programming and playing games. It would be nice if it would be able to play the latest games at 30fps.

I have max $800 in budget in building a mid-range PC. Some of the specifications I would like it to have would be:

Intel Core i5, minimum of 3.1 Ghz
4GB Memory x 2
Seagate 1TB 7200rpm SATA (Or is Western Digital better?)

0. Specific model of the Intel Core i5?
1. Which motherboard should I buy that would be compatible with this setup?
2. Is the lan card included in most mobos sold in the market today?
3. Which video card should I buy?
4. How about the casing?
5. The CD/DVD Reader/Writer? I don't need Blu-Ray compatibility.
6. PSU?
7. Any other things I should buy(I already know I need Keyboard, Mouse and Speaker :D  )?

Btw, I forgot to mention, I already have a Windows 7 x64bit Professional OS given by the school, so I don't need to spend for the OS.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2012 5:37:25 AM

Checl the $800 build om my sig.
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April 5, 2012 5:46:21 AM

Mizore said:
Hello! :)  I'm a newly registered user, but I visit this site frequently to read about computers. However, I really don't know much about building one, and would like to ask for your guidance about the matter. :) 

My use for the PC would include programming and playing games. It would be nice if it would be able to play the latest games at 30fps.

I have max $800 in budget in building a mid-range PC. Some of the specifications I would like it to have would be:

Intel Core i5, minimum of 3.1 Ghz
4GB Memory x 2
Seagate 1TB 7200rpm SATA (Or is Western Digital better?)

0. Specific model of the Intel Core i5?
1. Which motherboard should I buy that would be compatible with this setup?
2. Is the lan card included in most mobos sold in the market today?
3. Which video card should I buy?
4. How about the casing?
5. The CD/DVD Reader/Writer? I don't need Blu-Ray compatibility.
6. PSU?
7. Any other things I should buy(I already know I need Keyboard, Mouse and Speaker :D  )?


0. If you're going to overclock get the variant with a K after the model number. If not just get the i5 2400.
1. Again that depends if you're going to overclock. You can get a P67 or Z68 motherboard if you're going to overclock. If not you can get the cheaper H61/H67/HM67 motherboard.
2. Yes, most motherboards include a Lan card.
3. With your budget probably a Radeon 6870 or GTX 560
4. Get something cheap and spend more money on the actual parts that will affect performance.
5. Any cheap optical drive will do.
6. Depends if you're overclocking and what other components (CPU, GPU) you will have. Getting something in the 500-650 watts range is your safest bet though.
7. You'll need RAM. 4GB is enough for a standard gaming build but RAM is so cheap these that most people will spring for 8GB just because they can to be safe.

Western Digital does usually have the longer 5 year warranty in comparison to Seagate and others 3 years (most HD manufacturers have been bought out by WD and Seagate anyways). But because hard drives are extremely expensive at the moment, I would just go for which ever manufacturer has them on sale/promo at the time of purchase as the performance and reliability is relatively the same.
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April 5, 2012 6:19:41 AM

On that budget range let's rip off some $150 for the peripherals such as monitor-keyboard-mouse thingy, and that leaves us with something like $650 budget constraint. In fact, it would be best to keep it under $600 since we wouldn't know what went missing and for some last resort.

So, with that said, for $600 rig build, what we need 1st is engine design, and then decide what PSU should be used. You did mention that you want an i5, it's hardly an option within this budget I must say. Even the cheapest i5 2400 cost something like $170 without the OC capability. So I would not suggest that. And the infamous 2500K will suck some good portion of the budget since they float on $200ish for some time now.

I suggest you should forget about the i5 for now, and think of it as an upgrade someday, meanwhile a low cost SB chip should get you good enough. Something like the Pentiums of i3. Do not take their performance lightly, they are some serious kick ass too, despite their seemingly low in and dual cores architectures, unlike the i5s which is quads.

Now, I would suggest something like this:

-Pentium G860 or the g630, whichever wouldn't matter. Their performance is somewhat similar. It would be like under $100 for most retailer. BUT, if you insist of needing the i5 for your work, 2500K is a must, since its the best bang for buck available. With purchasing an i5, your GPU need to go for something less significant.

-Today's motherboard on any choice you make, would employ an onboard LAN card as a standard feature. Just try keep it lower than $60, I'd suggest ASrock's H61 based lineup on that price range.

-2x2GB DDR3 any brand is good, they have standard nowadays. Just as long as you keep it twins by brand-speed-type. And they're cheap too. Something like $50 at most for a single 2GB stick. This should cost something like $70-100 tops. My best bet they won't cost you over $50 for twins if you get Corsair's offering.

-If you buy the Pentium, your GPU would be something like HD6870. But if you go for an i5, I'd suggest you get HD6670 at the very least. If you're lucky, HD5670 is a bit better deal and offer a tad bit better performance than HD6670, and a bit cheaper too.

-Seagate is fine :) 

-For the case, I think it depend on your personal judgement, really. As long as it's an ATX based design, and has lot of space for airflow. And cheap (somewhere around $40) :p 

-For PSU, a Bronze Seasonic 450watt PSU should cope with your needs, along with any future upgrade you would give. This would give your system a much better longevity and a future upgrade proof for PSU to some point. And provides some serious overclocking headroom too. It would be like $70 at tops.

-Mouse-keyboard depend on your taste and the budget left after you get the monitor. As for monitor part, I'd suggest some cheap LCD widescreen. And for the speaker, if you already have some sound system in your house already, you can utilize it for your new PC. If you don't, any $50ish sound system is decent enough.

Good hunting! :) 
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April 5, 2012 3:01:04 PM

Wow there's a lot of replies already! :D 

Wow, I've got an almost similar build that I've done with a website(for a local store). (Argh I don't know what to call it, it's just that it lets you choose parts and components in the dropboxes and then calculate the price for you)

I find karma and rush's replies as very informative, and I could already envision my rig already. I've done searching again through the net, and found that... I might add a few bucks if I would still go for the i5, I don't mind adding a few though, haha.
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April 15, 2012 3:32:27 AM

Best answer selected by Mizore.
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