First build - budget gaming

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the month (ASAP preferred)

Budget Range: $500-600 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, movies, photo editing

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Already have Windows 7

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None. I have been using Newegg and have a Microcenter nearby

Parts Preferences: Compatibility to dual-boot in Hackintosh

Overclocking: Not in the immediate future

SLI or Crossfire: Not in the immediate future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 X 1080

Additional Comments:

Hey all, I'm looking for some advice on a first-time budget build. My uses with the comp will not be that intensive; for ex., with games I'm looking to run SC2, DIII, and maybe BF3, but do not need them to be running at ultra-high settings. I am also looking to use this comp for media, perhaps to drive a connected HDTV. I would like the hardware to be Hackintosh compatible for the future (although Ivy Bridge is not supported ATM).

Here is what I have planned so far:



I have a small SSD to get things started while I wait for a good deal on an internal hard drive. I'd greatly appreciate any video card recommendations in the $100 range and also any feedback on the listed parts! Thanks!
19 answers Last reply
More about first build budget gaming
  1. HD7770 though it'll only enable mid range settings in newest games.

    The parts you picked are good but I would downgrade the CPU and mobo to get a better GPU.
  2. A HAF 912 will give you better air flow than that Elite 430 will, and 400W will be vastly underpowered if you plan to use any sort of GPU.
  3. EVGA 01G-P3-1282-RX GeForce GTX 280 SuperClocked Video Card - 1GB, DDR3, PCI Express 2.0 (x16), 2x Dual-Link DVI, 1x S-Video, DirectX 10, Dual-Slot, SLI Ready, Overclocked (Refurbished) - $100 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1337063&CatId=3669
  4. bigcyco1 said:
    EVGA 01G-P3-1282-RX GeForce GTX 280 SuperClocked Video Card - 1GB, DDR3, PCI Express 2.0 (x16), 2x Dual-Link DVI, 1x S-Video, DirectX 10, Dual-Slot, SLI Ready, Overclocked (Refurbished) - $100 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1337063&CatId=3669


    *NEVER* - repeat - *NEVER* - purchase anything refurbished, after market, open box, returned item, etc. Those are far more likely to fail on you than anything else - and there's no warranty.
  5. Yeah and a GPU three generations old? Really? No DX11?
  6. FinneousPJ said:
    Yeah and a GPU three generations old? Really? No DX11?


    Actually the 280 is more like four or five generations old now.
  7. g-unit1111 said:
    Actually the 280 is more like four or five generations old now.

    I used to have a 295 back in whenever, four years ago?
  8. Some items like the 27" Catleap monitors are more likely to be in great condition than not.
  9. You need to cut back on the CPU because any GPU in your current price range is going to seriously bottleneck it anyway.

    For budget gaming, I would recommend this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138303

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130660

    This is just what I was able to throw together in a few minutes (leaving work shortly). I would definitely spend more time browsing motherboards to find a nicer fit.

    For reference, I'm currently running a X4 955 OC to 3.8 and a 7850 at 1920x1080 and I'm getting wonderful performance on all my games (max Civ5 60 fps, almost max Crysis 1 at 40 fps, max Arkham City, etc). I think this is more of a suitable fit for you. An I5 for budget gaming is kind of overkill, IMO.
  10. Anonymous said:
    You need to cut back on the CPU because any GPU in your current price range is going to seriously bottleneck it anyway.

    For budget gaming, I would recommend this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138303

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130660

    This is just what I was able to throw together in a few minutes (leaving work shortly). I would definitely spend more time browsing motherboards to find a nicer fit.

    For reference, I'm currently running a X4 955 OC to 3.8 and a 7850 at 1920x1080 and I'm getting wonderful performance on all my games (max Civ5 60 fps, almost max Crysis 1 at 40 fps, max Arkham City, etc). I think this is more of a suitable fit for you. An I5 for budget gaming is kind of overkill, IMO.


    I'll definitely veto this suggestion - there's no way any 965 build with a 4 year old outdated chipset can compete in the same league as Sandy / Ivy Bridge.

    For that budget here's what I would suggest:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor (£89.80 @ Amazon UK)
    Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£83.99 @ Dabs)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.98 @ Dabs)
    Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£65.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card (£117.98 @ Dabs)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case (£38.38 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Power Supply: Corsair 600W ATX12V Power Supply (£53.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer (£13.98 @ Novatech)
    Total: £509.62
    (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-19 21:14 BST+0100)

    The CPU isn't as good, but the motherboard, case, GPU, everything else are way better.

    FinneousPJ said:
    I used to have a 295 back in whenever, four years ago?


    I had a 280 for my first build (mid 2009) and I sent it into EVGA last year for a broken DVI connector and they replaced it with a 470 because there were none available.
  11. Check out my $650 build here:
    http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
    With Microcenter, the money you save will put you well in your budget.

    I would be weary of using any motherboard brand other than Gigabyte for a Hackintosh however. I don't follow up on Hackintosh's but I hear that Gigabyte works best. Though just want I hear.
  12. Thanks for the tips everyone. I am leaning towards sticking with the i5-3570K to take advantage of Micro Center's $50 off bundle.

    Great point about the Hackintosh Mobos. Am looking into Gigabytes as well now.
  13. Yep you should do that!
  14. marsbars said:
    Thanks for the tips everyone. I am leaning towards sticking with the i5-3570K to take advantage of Micro Center's $50 off bundle.

    Great point about the Hackintosh Mobos. Am looking into Gigabytes as well now.


    Why do I keep thinking this is a UK build? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Here's a build with the correct links:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 77.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($23.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.98 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
    Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint M8 500GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($164.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($48.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Power Supply: Corsair 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $712.90
    (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-20 17:54 EDT-0400)
  15. g-unit1111 said:
    *NEVER* - repeat - *NEVER* - purchase anything refurbished, after market, open box, returned item, etc. Those are far more likely to fail on you than anything else - and there's no warranty.
    lol he asked for any video card recommendations in the $100 range that was the best one i found for so cheap i have bought things refurbished and they were fine
  16. g-unit1111 said:
    I'll definitely veto this suggestion - there's no way any 965 build with a 4 year old outdated chipset can compete in the same league as Sandy / Ivy Bridge.


    He's looking for a first budget gaming build. A Phenom II X4 even a little OC is going to kick ass at most gaming at 1920x1080. I can vouch for it personally as I run a 955. An i5 is, IMO, not at all practical because it's way overkill for gaming and will bottleneck most budget GPUs.

    Honestly, even any mid-range CPU you pick up today is going to meet 99% of your needs.
  17. bigcyco1 said:
    lol he asked for any video card recommendations in the $100 range that was the best one i found for so cheap i have bought things refurbished and they were fine


    I hate refurbished anything - manufacturers won't support these products and you're SOL if you try to RMA them. I keep saying that when I build my builds, longevity is a major factor and anything that doesn't provide long term usability isn't worth buying.
  18. g-unit1111 said:
    I hate refurbished anything - manufacturers won't support these products and you're SOL if you try to RMA them. I keep saying that when I build my builds, longevity is a major factor and anything that doesn't provide long term usability isn't worth buying.
    I agree with you about that but when your only willing to spend a 100 on a gaming card you can't expect to much :lol: also i wasn't aware they wouldn't support it so thanks for the heads up
  19. bigcyco1 said:
    I agree with you about that but when your only willing to spend a 100 on a gaming card you can't expect to much :lol: also i wasn't aware they wouldn't support it so thanks for the heads up


    I can't really argue with that. :lol:
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