So I'm looking to build a decently cheap PC, I'm not looking for parts to be able to play current games on max but I would like for it to at least run them on medium and would like it to run older games on high settings (like the original Splinter Cell games, old GTA's, the Hitman series, etc). Currently we have a PC with a Q6600, 8600GT and 4GB RAM which will run games like New Vegas on Medium/High settings and 2xAA at 1280x720 resolution and would like for this to be at least on the same level, but preferably higher.
That all gets me to right under $315 total, shipped. The only two questions/issues I have is one, about the GPU and the other about the PSU.
Now the PSU, I have an Antec 550w Truecontrol 2.0 that I've had laying around, but it works great and hasn't been used much so is basically brand new. The output on it has two 12V rails at 19A each. The GPU
as for the psu, the antec truecontrol II is a tier 3 psu. its passable for low power and not very demanding builds, but later if you ever make a significant upgrade to your build, you may want another psu.
other thing i would like to say is that the 550ti at this time and age is never a good but for its price, unless your getting one with a Mail in rebate that works and pay significantly less, since its counterpart on the amd side is much better (and the gtx 460 is better, albeit that it runs hotter)
Could you clarify things a bit for me? One the one hand it seems you'd like to build an entirely seperate PC from the Q6600 box, but on the other, the parts you've listed don't seem to add up to a complete PC. Do you have the rest of the parts on hand (case, hard drive, optical drive), or were you planning this as an upgrade to the core 2 machine?
If it's the upgrade case, I'd suggest just getting a new video card. The Q6600 is still a strong processor, it's roughly performance equivalent to the athlon II x3 455 I'm using (at it's stock 3.3ghz). The 8600gt, however is weak by today's standards. If you spent $240 on an hd 7850 to replace it, though, the difference would be night and day.
If you want to build an entire PC on that budget, here's something you can use as a starting point. Going to replace the PSU with a more reliable and efficient one with a single strong 12v.
This machine will smoke the Q6600/8600GT box at gaming. The GTS 250 is almost as powerful as the 550 Ti, for cheaper than the 430 . The card is only directx 10.1, so none of the shiny dx11 things like depth of field, but you probably wouldn't want to turn on something like that with either of the other cards, anyway (DoF eats your performance).
It's also heavily upgradeable. The motherboard supports DDR3 1600 even though the current processor will only use it as 1066, and H61 chipset will support ivy bridge processors with a bios update (which will use the RAM to it's fullest). It's got a 4-phase voltage regulator with what looks like solid capacitors; rare on a motherboard this cheap. That keeps temperature down and increases the lifespan of the motherboard. It also makes overclocking more stable (the voltage sent to the CPU will be within a smaller delta).
I also refrained from using a dual channel kit in order to give you a cheaper upgrade to 8gb later, if you choose.
The case has fantastic cooling for a $30 case, but if you can spend another $10 on it you can get better cooling, more room inside, and more front ports in (imo) a prettier case, though some people like the shiny-front HP look of the $30 case.
That puts me around $245 without a GPU. If I can pull the trigger in time then I'd like to go for that GTS 250 but if I can't then I think I'd be looking at a GT 440/430.
I may end up just doing what you mentioned and just scrapping the idea of a new build and just spend a little to upgrade the current PC. It's not ideal as we'd prefer to have a second PC of similar specs, but if it does come down to it I could build a lesser PC with some parts we have that will still get the basic stuff done.
So, what if I went for that HD 7850 at $240, how would one of these work for a new PSU?
The 7850 says it needs a minimum of a 500W PSU but doesn't mention what the 12V rail needs to be. I'd prefer a PSU that will allow me to OC the Q6600 if I go this route, I have a friend with an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro laying around that I could get, and I imagine that would require some extra juice from the PSU as well as the OC itself.
I recently posted a low budget gaming rig I designed. After discounts and rebates its $263.69 including shipping and taxes.
The design includes a Pentium G620, 8GB Gskill Ripjaws, 250GB HD, Radeon HD6670, a nice gaming case w/ 480w psu, and a 22x DVD burner
If you can go $20-30 over budget, you can get the 7850 @ $240 if you can catch it in stock. It's faster than either of those cards, and would be easily supported by you PSU @ 101w max power consumption.