~$500 Build For Art and Mid Level Gaming

I'm doing a bit of research into a future purchase but I seem to be a bit over my head in all this. Although I've shared PCs with siblings in the past I've only had one computer to call my own. My on-sale HP laptop has served me faithfully over the years, but alas, the battery has long since faded and I fear it won't last if I decide to return to college next fall. That said, I'd like to purchase a PC before I head back that will hopefully last through, and to a couple years after.

I can see that forums like this are gaming focused, but I know that if I'm going to school for animation that I should put the use of digital art programs first on my priority list. Art related forums seem to just spout out, "Get a mac," which really doesn't seem to be an option for me.

On to the copy-paste:

Approximate Purchase Date: 3-5 months. (I'll for sure be updating my plans along the way)

Budget Range: Around $500 After Rebates (+ monitor and other)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: The build will be used mostly in art programs such as Photoshop and Flash along with a drawing tablet. I would also like to be able to do some gaming as well, but I don't usually go for anything super graphically intensive. Current and future game interests are: TF2, Street Fighter X Tekken, Guild Wars 2, Half-Life 3 (if ever).

Parts Not Required: Everything will be required. This will be my first not-a-laptop.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have no idea, any suggestions? Something good for Canada. (Tiger Direct?)

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: No. Quite frankly, it scares the crap out of me.

Monitor Resolution: Widescreen for sure.

Additional Comments: Quiet would be nice as well as the possibility of getting a Cintiq monitor in the future. But I doubt this system will be relevant when I can afford something like that.

My needs seem fairly low, which is excellent considering my price range. In fact, if I could go cheaper that would help. I've not a clue as to what I need, so if my budget seems like a pipe dream, let me know.

Just please don't tell me that I should buy a ridiculous Mac.
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  1. I hear you on the Dont my a Mac crap. LOL! but for 500 dollars INCLUDING a monitor is not going to get you a good computer for anything, put on top of that that prices in canada are a bit higher then those in the USA. 100 bucks would go to OS, 100-150 on a monitor, with that you would leave 250-300 bucks left for the actual rig. If you are wanting a system with good Rendering rates and multi tasking you will need to spend more around 800-100 if you think you could. I understand many are on a budget.

    Closest to your price range would maybe be on this article:
    take that rig and get a lower priced GPU like
  2. Oh yes, I didn't mean 500 including the monitor, I know that's not feasible, I meant $500 and then the monitor and other. Although, I completely forgot about needing to buy windows.

    Thanks for the links, it defiantly helps.
  3. Well hopefully someone from CA can help ya out. I tried to price out a good rig, however the problem seems to be on both newegg and tigerdirect up there. The prices there are more then USA and almost EVERYTHING has a shipping cost. A 550 dollar rig was 650 after shipping.

    If you think you could add 100-150 more dollars to the budget, you could get a lot more for you money.

    Good luck. sorry I could not help more with 500 bucks.
  4. What art programs are you wanting to run? Will you be doing 3D rendering etc., or are you just doing basic photoshop, indesign, etc.
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