$500 Gaming PC, new to building

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a week.

Budget Range: Around $500 USD, After rebates is fine.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching Movies, Gaming, Graphics work(photoshop and Maya), Internet surfing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, harddrive, dvd/rw drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, buydig.com

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: Not knowledgeable enough about brands to know if any might need to be avoided :(.

Overclocking: No if possible

SLI or Crossfire: No if possible

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 It's an old gateway LCD
Gateway FPD 1510 15.1 LCD Monitor

Additional Comments: I'd like a quiet setup that won't disturb my housemate even when staying up late. I'd really like a USB port for my pen tablet and a flash memory port on the setup as well. The games I've been playing recently are Oblivion and Minecraft, so something that runs those well would be fantastic.

Will be my first time not buying a prebuilt computer... I really don't know what kinds of specs are the average now, my first computer had a 2gb hdd, next one had an 80, then 160, and most I just learned my most recent computer had a 650gb hdd (instead of two 250's like i thought) :o... And after searching so hard on advice for fixes/upgrades, and learning that the slimtower acer was near impossible to upgrade, I thought to try building a low cost one to start. Please help since I don't even know what grade of parts to even start with.

Also, I'm not sure if all of these parts are compatible, but if any can be used in the build to lower the cost, that would be great.
This is my old system which I am hoping to upgrade from:

Acer ax1700-u3700a
The PSU(220w) may have gone bad, one of the fans has been really loud the past couple months(though restarting the computer right after booting it up once made it run silently again, needed to repeat this process every day)... This morning the computer now locks up after a few minutes (screen freezes/sounds if playing turn into a buzz, computer has to be shut down with power button).

I've also got another graphics card which I had planned to install (to replace the original g100), but never got around to:
Geforce GT 430

The 3 harddrives I wanted to hookup:
1 Western Digital 650gb HD
Model number: wd6400aaks-22a7b2

This is from the acer above. It seems the hard drive is partitioned into two drives as I remember there being a 250gb C:/ and a 250gb D:/, the rest of the memory must be acer or vista stuff. I hope that won't be a problem with recovering data.
2 HGST Deskstar 7K80 HDS728080PLAT20 (0A30210) 80GB 7200 RPM 2MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA133 / ATA-7 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
3 Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3160812A 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 / ATA-6 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Just hooking them up temporarily to recover data would be fine, all 3 have an OS installed on them I think, though they probably wont work without the orignal motherboards? The last two ran on an old gateway machine with windows XP while the first has vista. If one has to be formatted to run a new setup, I'll be able to live with that too.

Sorry if this turned out to be a wall of text, but I would really appreciate the help.
edited for cleaner format and thread title
5 answers Last reply
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  1. Hi Ryselle,

    First and most important is 'what's your budget?', second, any hard drive with a preinstalled OS is not going to work in a new build as the OS is tied to build of the original computer
  2. Hi Ryselle,

    Just reread your post - $500 budget, sorry bout that.
  3. Thanks shadow. That seems to be a bit too pricey for my budget though especially adding in the OS cost (I might have counted wrong, but only saw $25 in rebates). Also, this is the first suggested build with a CPU cooler added to the suggested list, is such an item required? Not sure if new CPU's come with heat sinks or not. Would like to know if it is possible to reuse the one from my old acer.

    I've been looking at other budget builds for ideas and adding in some of shadow's list came up with this... please could someone check if this would work okay or if anything is missing:

    Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
    PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
    Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    CPU:Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32100
    RAM:G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
    OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

    49.99 : Case
    89.99 : PSU
    104.99 : Motherboard
    119.99 : CPU
    46.99 : RAM
    99.99 : OS
    511.94 Subtotal

    GPU I have an unused GPU that I'd like to use for now and upgrade at a later date... would this work?:
    PNY VCGGT4301XPB GeForce GT 430 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Video Card

    HDD I also have plenty of hard drives, will probably use this for the main:
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3160812A 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 / ATA-6 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    DVD/RW The DVD/RW drive I'd like to reuse:

    And the Monitor, keyboard, mous,e and speakers I also already have.
  4. Just finished reading the System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $500 Gaming PC. At first I was worried because of all the mentions of overclocking, and wondered if decent specs or the stability might be reliant on it, but hopefully its not since it lists non overclocked stats.

    A new list based on that:
    CPU: Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G530 $49.99
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-H61MA-D3V LGA 1155 Intel H61 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $69.99
    RAM: Pareema 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory $20.99
    GPU: ECS NGTX560TI-1GPI-F1 GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support $204.99
    Power Supply: Antec VP-450 450W ATX 12V v2.3 $37.99
    Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $49.99
    OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM $99.99
    Subtotal: $533.93

    I took out the Harddrive and Optical device from the article build and added the OS. I also selected a different case. Would I be able to fit and power a second or possibly third hard drive in this build? Also, would this perform better than the other build above?
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