Budget gaming rig

Approximate Purchase Date: by end of month

Budget Range: $600-700, ideally toward the lower end

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, programming, movies, internet

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers. Maybe DVD burner.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg is nice, but w/e.

Country: U.S.

Parts Preferences: Intel. Prefer full ATX instead of micro, but not married to it. I hate blingy cases - my daughter already has a nightlight, so I don't need something with enough LEDs to illuminate a small third world country.

Overclocking: Not up front, maybe later

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900

Additional Comments: I'm looking for a rig with adequate performance now that leaves ample room for upgrading later. Unfortunately, I have to earmark $100 of my budget for the OS, which doesn't leave as much wiggle room as I'd like. Given the low budget I have to work with, I'm torn on whether to go heavy on the CPU/mobo side (i5+Z77 with an eye toward Ivy Bridge at some point in the future) or the GPU, or try to shoot the middle without giving up too much future flexibility. Will a decent Z68 board be adequate for an Ivy Bridge chip in a couple years, or will the Z77 be necessary?

RE: gaming and "adequate" performance - I'm not looking for 120 fps on ultra, or on any settings for that matter. For starters, my monitor is an aging 19" relic that caps out at 1440x900 and 60Hz. I'm running WoW/GW2 and the like, and hoping for something around 50-60 fps. I don't know if I'm over- or under-shooting with that mark, given I'm currently rocking a 7-year old build that enjoys a stellar sometimes-double-digit fps in raids.

I don't see the point of getting a 600+W PSU at present. I have no plans for SLI/CF, and should I acquire that urge in the future, I have no problem upgrading the PSU then.


Current guesstimate of parts:
(Case on that parts list is only there for the cost estimate.)

Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor

Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory

Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

MSI Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card

Case - nothing specific, ideally sub-$40

PC Power & Cooling 500W ATX12V Power Supply

Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
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  1. don't plan on an ivy bridge upgrade so much as a dual to quad core upgrade. Ivy is only slightly better than sandy. not worth paying more for a mobo to ensure perfect compatibility.

    that PSU is not worth $75.
    You could get away with the antec 380d but it'd limit you're upgradeability to a sub 200W gpu and an i5/i7. Unless you plan on upgrading to a very high end gpu, this wouldn't actually be a sever limitation though. Power consumption is on the downfall for computers now.

    This one gives you a little more upgrade room:

    This one gives you more than you can use unless you go sli/cf or grab an old power hungry card:

    That gpu is out of stock. Choose one of the other similarly priced 6850s.

    this combo:

    and I like this combo but it's up to you:

    if you want the gigabyte mobo:


    or pick one from:
  2. Check my sig.
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