Need system advice for a $600.00 to $800.00 budget build

Hi everyone on Tom's.

I have a friend who is really set for making his own computer and he has come to me to for some general help. I haven't looked at computers in a few months now and I am hesitant to offer advice. So I have come here to ask for some help in order to help a friend.

I asked him a few basic questions on what he is looking to build the computer for and its mainly gaming. Now being on a budget he told me he wants to spend $600 max but can go as high as $800 USD if it means an overall better system. I have filled out the template below.


In addition he has told me he is considering AMD as a system build and was looking at the following parts:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106276 - cd/dvd burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727 - cpu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152245 - hdd
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171053 - psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231421 - ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160 - case


To further the process I asked him all the questions in the template on the forum and I have filled it out below so I hope this helps as well:


Approximate purchase date: 5 days from today's date

Budget Range: I would like to spend $600 minimum if possible. But I am willing to go as high as $800.00 USD. If possible I would like to keep the budget between $600.00 to $800.00 USD.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:

Video games that are to be played: Diablo 3 and Counterstrike Source, Battlefield 2 & 3.
Have the ability to play any high intense graphic games that may come out in the future.
Internet browsing/emailing
Photo editing/video editing


Parts Not Required: Windows XP Install Disk, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor

Parts Required:

CPU
Motherboard
RAM
Harddisk Drive
Video Card
Power Supply
Heatsink
Computer Case
CD/DVD Burner
Thermal Paste

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com

Country: USA - Las Vegas:

Parts Preferences: Best parts I can get for the buck that gives me the best performance for now and the future

Overclocking: Maybe later on but not now

SLI or Crossfire: No

Additional Comments: I am concerned about the temperature where I live as in Las Vegas things can get a bit hot. Noise level is a concerns as well and I would like a quiet pc that provides good cooling. I would also like the computer at least a bit future proof. Basically I would like to get a nice 3 years out of it before considering any upgrades or replacements.
10 answers Last reply
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  1. Hello...

    You have a good foundation for a decent system, although there are a couple changes I would make to it.

    As follows:

    Video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389

    Windows: You're holding your computer back by using Windows XP, it is a retired op system. Especially if its a 32 bit OS it really limits you.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

    Case: The case is pretty nice, unfortunately, at your budget level, it holds you back from decent performance (such as the OS and only 4 gigs of RAM- consider a cheaper case)

    Forget the fancy LEDs and bling unless you have more money to spend this is more modest: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233

    PSU: Simply put, this is a better one
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020

    RAM: Go with 8 gigs, and again, get rid of WindowsXP, its dead, yesterday's news and you cant use more than 4 gigs of RAM with it.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314
  2. nekulturny said:
    Hello...

    You have a good foundation for a decent system, although there are a couple changes I would make to it.

    As follows:

    Video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389

    Windows: You're holding your computer back by using Windows XP, it is a retired op system. Especially if its a 32 bit OS it really limits you.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

    Case: The case is pretty nice, unfortunately, at your budget level, it holds you back from decent performance (such as the OS and only 4 gigs of RAM- consider a cheaper case)

    Forget the fancy LEDs and bling unless you have more money to spend this is more modest: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233

    PSU: Simply put, this is a better one
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020

    RAM: Go with 8 gigs, and again, get rid of WindowsXP, its dead, yesterday's news and you cant use more than 4 gigs of RAM with it.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314



    Ok I agree with the Windows XP is an old OS but I figured since he's just going to be mainly playing counterstrike source and Diablo 3 that he could use that. I know 4 gigs should be more then enough but I do kind of agree with what you are saying. Windows 7 Home edition would be probably the better choice. I figured If I could save him some money by reusing his Win XP disk why not.

    As for the rest here is the AMD 965 BE a good choice? is there something better?

    Basically we need help to make 1 whole computer and hopefully we could get a nice concensus/discussion.
  3. Of course theres better CPUs out there than a 965 BE. Problem is, they cost more, and for what you're wanting to do with it, the extra cost doesn't really add anything to usable performance. From the AMD market, a Phenom II is going to be the most ideal choice.


    On the Intel side of things, I don't recommend an i3 if an i5 exceeds the budget (buy in price for an i5 Sandy Bridge's range from $180-220) I can say that between my significant other's rig (which has an i5), theres no noticeable difference between our systems playing games, and his CPU cost more than mine.

    Most games on the market right now do not use more than 2 cores, thus, the i3 performs much the same as the similarly priced quad core 965 BE in gaming, but the 965 BE beats it just about everything that uses more than 2 cores. This would include things such as multitasking, video editing, photoshopping, and eventually games as time goes by.

    AMD's most line of CPUs the FX aka Bulldozer have a very Jeckel and Hyde performance ratio, the 965 is a better choice overall, however if you're friend likes big numbers, FX-4100 is capable of heavy overclocking, which makes it a nice little toy to play with I suppose. But its in the same boat with the i3, its not a true quad core, its a dual core that pretends to be a quad.

    Back to the XP thing, the problem is, reusing XP just holds the whole system back, all CPUs are 64 bit these days, using a 32 bit OS is just kinda silly, especially when you can get Windows7 and still stay in his budget. As far as RAM usage, its not very hard to use 4 gigs of RAM these days, 16GB like my rig has is massive overkill for a gaming system, 8GB is the sweet spot.

    I'm using 4.38GB atm and I don't even have that much going on in my system.
  4. nekulturny said:
    Of course theres better CPUs out there than a 965 BE. Problem is, they cost more, and for what you're wanting to do with it, the extra cost doesn't really add anything to usable performance. From the AMD market, a Phenom II is going to be the most ideal choice.


    On the Intel side of things, I don't recommend an i3 if an i5 exceeds the budget (buy in price for an i5 Sandy Bridge's range from $180-220) I can say that between my significant other's rig (which has an i5), theres no noticeable difference between our systems playing games, and his CPU cost more than mine.

    Most games on the market right now do not use more than 2 cores, thus, the i3 performs much the same as the similarly priced quad core 965 BE in gaming, but the 965 BE beats it just about everything that uses more than 2 cores. This would include things such as multitasking, video editing, photoshopping, and eventually games as time goes by.

    AMD's most line of CPUs the FX aka Bulldozer have a very Jeckel and Hyde performance ratio, the 965 is a better choice overall, however if you're friend likes big numbers, FX-4100 is capable of heavy overclocking, which makes it a nice little toy to play with I suppose. But its in the same boat with the i3, its not a true quad core, its a dual core that pretends to be a quad.

    Back to the XP thing, the problem is, reusing XP just holds the whole system back, all CPUs are 64 bit these days, using a 32 bit OS is just kinda silly, especially when you can get Windows7 and still stay in his budget. As far as RAM usage, its not very hard to use 4 gigs of RAM these days, 16GB like my rig has is massive overkill for a gaming system, 8GB is the sweet spot.

    I'm using 4.38GB atm and I don't even have that much going on in my system.



    Ok so far this is what I have:

    CPU - AMD 965 BE CPU

    Computer Case - COOLER MASTER HAF 912

    Power Supply - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply

    Heatsink - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus (Or just the stock cooler Not sure yet)

    CD/DVD Burner - LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM

    Thermal Paste - Artic Silver MX4 (had good temps with this for $10.00 in the past before)

    Video Card - HIS H687FN1GD Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=3l6u7ej78qfd


    That just leaves what mobo, ram and hdd. Should he use a solid state drive or just regular hdd?

    Motherboard - ?

    RAM - ?

    Harddisk Drive - ?
  5. Anyone able to help or make some suggestions?
  6. PM sent
  7. chrisbek said:
    Ok I agree with the Windows XP is an old OS but I figured since he's just going to be mainly playing counterstrike source and Diablo 3 that he could use that. I know 4 gigs should be more then enough but I do kind of agree with what you are saying. Windows 7 Home edition would be probably the better choice. I figured If I could save him some money by reusing his Win XP disk why not.

    As for the rest here is the AMD 965 BE a good choice? is there something better?

    Basically we need help to make 1 whole computer and hopefully we could get a nice concensus/discussion.


    the 965 is a nice cheap quad core and it can be overclocked. Diablo 3 and battlefield 3 mutliplayer use atleast 4 cores. Im not sure about CSS. Intel's i5's are a bit more powerful but you also will have to pay more. It all depends on your budget. But for your gaming purposes, you definitely want a quad core.
  8. chrisbek said:
    Ok so far this is what I have:


    That just leaves what mobo, ram and hdd. Should he use a solid state drive or just regular hdd?



    Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280

    RAM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=l57t74bk04hq

    Harddisk Drive - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769

    An SSD would put you out of budget, you could get one, but I wouldn't unless you're prepared to pay for at least a 120 gig, and plan to buy a 2nd HDD for mass storage to pair with it.

    As far as the stock cooler vs the 212. The stock cooler that comes with Phenom IIs can be noisy, they're also not very good. Realistically, you could clock up a 965 on it to match the stock speed of a 980 (which is 3.7ghz), but you can't go much higher than that and keep it at optimal temps under load with the stock cooler.
  9. Sorry, it's not a "budget" build if you have a $130 case on your parts list. You ought to be looking at something more like this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066

    Also, I'd trust this PSU over the Cooler Master one you have, plus it's cheaper ($39.99 after rebate but there are like 2 hours left on that):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

    Between what you save on the both of those, that should be enough to get you into an i5-2500k and corresponding motherboard. That will be much better than anything AMD has to offer - maybe you won't notice a hell of a difference immediately, but in the long term you'll be glad for it.

    As for what others have said, completely agree about the OS and RAM. If you're on a budget, I'd also stay away from SSDs. You can always add one later with minimal disruption.
  10. While I doubt you'll see much of a difference, If you decide to go the 2500k route, this is what I'd use. Although you're better off with the stronger video card if your have to pick between stepping down on the CPU or Graphics:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271
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