$500-600 College Rig (Casual Gamer)

Hi folks,
Decided it's finally time to upgrade my desktop now that I'm shipping off to college. Right now I'm running on a dated desktop that I built on a budget in 07 that has an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.6Ghz dual-core. Anything from the last couple years will probably feel like a significant upgrade. Recently installed a Radeon 5670 that I'm pretty content with though.

Here's what I'm looking for...

Approximate Purchase Date: Between now and Mid September

Budget Range: $500-600 (include Shipping and Tax)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Schoolwork, Web Browsing/Music Streaming, Gaming, Video/Image Editing.

Are you buying a monitor: No.

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, PSU, Mobo, RAM. Maybe GPU.

Do you need to buy OS: No.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg/Amazon

Location: San Diego (Fry's is nearby)

Parts Preferences: MicroATX, Small Form Factor, Low Power Consumption

Overclocking: No.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. Hybrid Crossfire with Llano/Trinity interests me.

Your Monitor Resolution: Right now it's a 19" 1680 x 1050, but I'd like to upgrade to 23" 1920 x 1080 or 24" 1920 x 1200.

Additional Comments: I want this to be something to watch movies on, do schoolwork on, and play just about anything that comes out of Humble Indie Bundle on max settings. As for other games, I play the mmo City of Heroes and also use a few different emulators. I'd like to be able to play City of Heroes at max-Ultra settings if possible. Also, it's gotta be reasonably future-proof, so USB 3.0, SATA III and PCIe 3.0 are all a plus.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current system is full of obsolete tech and is too big. I want something that is fast and capable, looks sleek, and doesn't take up too much room. Like an HTPC with a little more processing oomph.


Here's a preliminary build for the new system:

CPU - Intel Core i5-3450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116506
RAM - Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104262
GPU - XFX Radeon 5670 (reusing), but please suggest something new if it's within my price/psu range.
PSU - 300W included with Case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104075
Mobo - ASRock H77M
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157303
SSD - OCZ Agility 3 60GB Sata III
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227725
Case - Inwin BK644
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811108191
7 answers Last reply
More about college casual gamer
  1. never ever ever ever get a psu that comes with a case, they are usually horrible and can blow up your hole system, some trused power suipply companys are

    cosair,seasonic,antec,pc power and cooling, are all great options
  2. Here's a budget priced 450 watt PS (Antec VP-450) at $38...good for light to moderate gamers:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371045

    Why not a cheaper CPU like an i3-2120 with a H77 mobo (good for futureproof...no O/C...if O/C, get a Z77)?

    Graphics card can vary from 7750/7770/6850/6870 depending on need and price.

    Dave
  3. Thanks guys. Yeah I wasn't sure about the PSU. Could I use my 5 year old 500W PSU? It's still running fine to my knowledge. Here's the model: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817189005

    The i3-2120 would definitely work, but would it be better to wait for the Ivy Bridge i3? Or could I wait for the Trinity APUs and forgo a discrete card? That would mean a totally different build though, haha.

    A Pentium G630 would give me more room in the budget for a good GPU right now, while allowing me to upgrade when prices on Ivy bridge fall. Opinion on that?
  4. could you go to micro center?
  5. LemurLad said:
    Thanks guys. Yeah I wasn't sure about the PSU. Could I use my 5 year old 500W PSU? It's still running fine to my knowledge. Here's the model: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817189005

    The i3-2120 would definitely work, but would it be better to wait for the Ivy Bridge i3? Or could I wait for the Trinity APUs and forgo a discrete card? That would mean a totally different build though, haha.

    A Pentium G630 would give me more room in the budget for a good GPU right now, while allowing me to upgrade when prices on Ivy bridge fall. Opinion on that?


    I'm waiting for the Ivy Bridge i3 too (see how it compares with i5)...not sure if I can wait that long.

    Short review of 500 watt Goodpower:
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/829/xclio_goodpower_500_watt_psu_review/index.html

    500 watt Goodpower doesn't appear to be 80 Plus certified unlike other Goodpower models (550W, 650W and 750W)...all three are Bronze certified...all three are made by HEC except the 500 watt model (CWT).

    A Pentium G630 would be a good compromise...but use a Ivy Bridge mobo like H77 or if you want to O/C a Z77 (future proofing). Both of which are more $$ than a H61 however.
  6. if so you can get this:

    i5 3570K 3.4GHz - $189.99

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0388577

    ASRock Z77 Pro3 1155 ATX - $60 with mobo purchase

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0387627

    Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 - $58 - a $15 MIR

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0347306

    Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5 - $85

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0352164

    Corsair Builder series 500 Watt - $63 - a $5 MIR

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0361422

    HAF912 Mid Tower ATX Computer Case 60$

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0343331

    Windows 7 64 bit - $100

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0361170

    Samsung 22X DVD±RW Burner - $16

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0382892

    total= 632$ if you don't need the os then it is 532$

    you can reuse your old graphics card untill you earn around 90$ and then you can get a 6870 like this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161389

    this is like the same exact build as me exept for the case, in which i got this http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0334155

    was cheaper at the time 34$ i belive.... case is pretty much a personal preference.
  7. I don't have a Microcenter near me, BUT I can definitely get Fry's to pricematch that CPU! That's a crazygood deal.

    As for PSU's, it's between these two:
    SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151093
    and the
    XCLIO Goodpower 550W - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817189023

    Lemme know what you think.
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