Gaming Pc on a tight budget

Approximate Purchase Date: this month

Budget Range: (e.g.: <=550) After Rebates; After Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (e.g.: gaming, surfing the internet)

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon (because here in Italy we cannot buy from newegg)

Location: Italy

Parts Preferences: any

Overclocking: pretty much no

SLI or Crossfire: sometime in the future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: would love if it wouldn't heat my room like crazy while idle (my last pc was a P4 4GhZ, then I switched to MacBook), and I am looking forward to play the next gen of videogames coming out this Oct.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: as said, tired of my MacBook being uncapable of playing any game


I'm also attaching a possible configuration that needs some adjustment and completion to stay inside the max. threshold of 550.

Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.5GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W (I was considering AMD's FX8150 or 8120, but I was afraid of gaming performance and power efficiency)

CPU Cooler
Intel boxed heat sink/fan

I need USB3, PCIe3 for future upgrades and of course DDR3 1600. Also, I'd like it to be reliable.

Something like 2x4GB but I can do it with 4 gigs only, until I have some spare cash to buy additional 4Ggigs

ATI6870 or EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 (undecided)

Hard Drive
anything fast and reliable. size does not matter (got ext Hd)

I'm in the need of something simple, fresh and quiet.

Anything reliable

Not necessarily

Total Cost ?
13 answers Last reply
More about gaming tight budget
  1. Not knowing prices in Italy, here are some general thoughts for you:

    The graphics card is the prime engine of gaming. More so than the cpu.

    Is a guideline, spend twice your budget on the graphics card vs. the cpu.

    In the US, a $200 3450 should be paired with a $400 GTX670.
    Or, a $150 i3-2130 would be paired with a $300 7870.
    Stick with the newer 28nm based graphics cards. They take less power and therefore run cooler and quieter.

    8gb is good. Ram is cheap. Get a 8gb kit(2 x 4gb)

    Today, I would no longer build without a SSD for the os and some games.
    A SSD is 50x faster than any hard drive in random i/o, that is what the os does mostly. It is even 2-3x faster in sequential.
    A 120gb SSD will hold the os and 6-8 games. Prices are down to <$1 pergb.
    My preferred units for reliability are Samsung 830, Intel 520 or 330 series. Crucial M4 is third.
    Performance is remarkable similar and good from all ssd's.

    For a psu, buy only quality. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, and PC P&C are on my short list.
    A 650w unit will power any single graphics card short of a GTX690.

    I would suggest an aftermarket cpu cooler. It need not be expensive, perhaps $30 for a cm hyper212. The larger 120mm fan will be quieter under load.

    Cases are a personal thing.
    I would spend more on a good case, particularly if you value quiet.
    One good one is the Antec SOLO II. Here is a review from SPCR which is a great place for quiet computing:

    I use the Silverstone TJ08E M-ATX case which is very quiet.

    Put together a shopping list with links you sites available to you.
  2. Thanks for the detailed reply. Sadly, I think I haven't made my point with the original post. I really am on a tight budget, meaning that I would gladly remain under that amount.
    Prices in Italy are pretty high due to 21% VAT.

    The point of choosing an Ivy Bridge was to clear the deck for forthcoming PCIe3 gpu cards, so that one can easily update while keeping MoBo and CPU.
    I also considered AMD FX8150 for its quality to price ratio. I do know that Intel are "far superior" when it comes to plain gaming and was asking for an advice for the route to take.

    I can either go with Ivy Bridge (i5) and pick a less expensive gpu for further updating in 2/3 years when PCIe3 becomes less expensive, or pick AMD and a more expensive gpu to help the "struggling" of the eight core beast.

    Also, I seem to put much stress on quietness. While this is true, I am not going to spend to get proper case/psu. While surely worth it, such stuff costs more than its competitors just in in the name of some lame certification.
    Here I was hoping for some of you geeks to suggest some tested build that works fine, does not heat like an oven in the summertime and keeps kinda silent for most of the time (like, when browsing youtube, a situation in which my C2D macbook likes to unleash its fan power).

    My pc needs not be fancy or future-proof (which one is, anyways) but I want it to be kind of a leap towards a better gaming experience. I have the possibility of spending 580$ tax included (I've made a proper conversion including my VAT) so I beg you me!
  3. Unfortunately its quite difficult to build a gaming computer which will run up-and-coming games well for $500.

    Following your guidelines as closely as possible, you're looking at $500 between the CPU, Mobo and GPU alone.
    I'll post up my findings soon as I've pulled a system together.
  4. Do not worry about pcie 3 graphics cards. Today's cards are not impacted more than 1% by pcie2.0.

    $500 is a tough budget. It is not feasible if you are looking at a $200 cpu like the 3450.

    For example, here is a TOM's June $500 gaming build. Look at it not so much for the individual parts, but to where it is possible to shave costs, and where they should be allocated. Notice the $50 G530 cpu and the $210 gtx560ti graphics card.,3216.html

    You might want to read these articles on <$200 gaming cpu's:,2859-8.html,3120.html

    As to noise, that is primarily caused by high rpm fans. In the case, cooler, or graphics card. The psu fan should not be a factor unless it is grossly underpowered.

    Really, the best place to save is on a case. I do not know which ones you have available to you, but in the us, there are many <$50 cases. Any will do if it has at least one 120mm(preferably two) intake fans, or the equivalent in output fans. Cases depending on smaller fans will be noisy. Can you buy a used case?
  5. Case: Rosewill Challenger ~$60

    Mobo: MSI Z77A-G45 ~$140

    CPU: Core i5-3450 ~$200

    GPU: EVGA GTX 550 Ti ~$125

    RAM: G.Skill DDR3 1600Mhz 8GB ~$60

    SDD: OCz Vertex 3 120GB ~$135

    PSU: Rosewill Capstone 450W ~$80

    Total: ~$800 (€650)

    First place to slim down would be the CPU.
    Dropped to a Core i3 even would save $100.

    I included 8GB memory instead of 4GB because its cheap, or you can save the $30.

    And probably a cheaper case.
    I tried navigating Italy's Amazon site but failed miserably :P

    geofelt said:
    TOM's June $500 gaming build. Look at it not so much for the individual parts, but to where it is possible to shave costs, and where they should be allocated. Notice the $50 G530 cpu and the $210 gtx560ti graphics card.,3216.html
    ++What he said! ^^
  6. Thanks for the reply, which was great.
    I have slightly edited your suggested build to fit my needs/budgets/availabilities.
    Here it goes, please give advice.

    Case: Cooler Master rc-430-kwn1 €43

    Mobo: Z77A-G43 €90,16

    CPU: Core i5-3450 €170

    GPU: Asus ENGTX550 TI DC/DI/1GD5 € 113,99

    RAM: Kingston 4Gb 1600Mhz Ddr3 Non-Ecc Cl9 Dimm € 30,10

    HDD: didn't pick one yet, but have to go for hdd instead of ssd...i need at least 120gb at a good price point.

    PSU: Corsair CX600V2 €60.80 / Corsair CX430V2 €39 (don't know which wattage is proper)

    Total: 550?

    Mostly I had to remove Rosewill components due to those not being available anywhere in Italy. :hello:
  7. For what you'll be running right now, you could save a little and go with the 430W PSU, but you'll need to upgrade it down the road if you plan on upgrading the rest of the system as well.

    It would almost be safe to build a tie-over machine, save up your money then build a higher end gaming desktop in couple years; rather than upgrading this one.

    Not sure if you can really even find 120GB HDDs now lol, you can pick up a 500GB for dirt cheap pretty much. Take a browse. If you can swing the 120GB SSD though it's definitely worth it!
  8. The 430w unit will power the GTX560ti, and not much more.
    If you want a stronger graphics card in the future, I might go with the 500w unit.
    Also, the 500w unit should run quieter.

    Western digital black is faster than blue or green.
    It is about 82e for 500gb.

    A Samsung 830 128gb ssd or an intel 330 120gb ssd will be about 110e.

    That is enough to hold the OS and 6-8 games. See if you can't find a way to justify a ssd, it will make everything you do feel so much quicker. A SSD is 50x faster in random i/o, which is what the os does mostly. It is 2-3x faster in sequential.

    If you will be storing large files, namely video, then add a hard drive for that purpose later.
  9. So i was thinking of buying an FX 4100 instead of the i5; what do you think?
  10. pettenuti said:
    So i was thinking of buying an FX 4100 instead of the i5; what do you think?

    The FX4100 gets an honorable mention on tom's latest list of best gaming cpu's for the money. It is the only amd cpu that makes the list, and it is not even a winner.,3106-3.html
  11. Just a warning both the 550 ti and AMD 4100 are turds,

    I havent seen the prices and I won't look but a 7770 or 6850 will be very close in price and much better buys that only require 1 connector

    you said gaming PC maybe look at the 2130 or 23xx. ivy is not what people were expecting pick another mobo p67 or almost anything with usb 3.0 for cheaper, this is a budget build ditch the high end mobo and only buy the cheapest you can get while retaining your preferance for usb 3.0.

    as mentioned you do not and will not need PCIE 3.0 it makes no difference and even the mighty 6990 and 590 dn't seem to be affected by the 2.1 pcie bandwith and they topple the new cards at the moment quite easily in most situations, 690 and 7970x2 excluded. Unless you plan to drop 1000+ on a card in the next year your wasting money looking for a z77 mobo
    8gb of ram is a why not issue, I can't think of a good reason even on your budget not to look at 8 gb
  12. pettenuti said:


    Agreed !

    Though I think a Intel CPU is a much better option maybe the i5 3570K. Much better performance than the AMD:

    You will be able to add a motherboard for the intel in the same price range... the GTX 560ti from nvidia is also worth taking a look at!

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