Could I get some suggestions to lower the cost of this build?

A friend's friend asked me if I could build him a [gaming] computer in the $500-600 range. So far this is what I got, which goes a little over budget.

Note: There is no preference of nvidia/amd or intel/amd
Note2: The friend I'm building this for is pretty PC illiterate. There will be no overclocking.

GPU $170:
CPU $125:
RAM $28:
MOBO $80:
HDD $100:
PSU $60:
CD/DVD Drive ~$20: None selected
Case $40-60(assumption): Letting him pick something he likes as long as it's not crap.

If I could get the build down to roughly $550, that'd be perfect.

I'll probably have to ask him if he really needs a full TB HDD, as I highly doubt it. So I might be able to take a few bucks off there.
14 answers Last reply
More about could suggestions lower cost build
  1. Going to an AMD system will have no appreciable loss to gaming performance and can save you $30 or so. It also lets you keep the Kingston RAM (it runs at 1.65v, which is bad for Intel CPU's).

    AMD Phenom II x4 965. $110

    AsRock 970 Extreme3, AM3+. $70
    This motherboard will also let your friend upgrade to the Bulldozer CPU range if he wanted.

    Faster HDD with double the cache size, $10 less.
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB, 7200RPM. $90

    Money saved: $35

    These are pretty good budget cases.
    Zalman Z9 series, $50 or $65

    Beat me to it!
  2. Hi.. Yes, I can.

    Power supply.

    Corsair CX500v2 $40 with mail in rebate- and $30 with the promo code+rebate (has to be ordered by 8/1 by midnight for the extra $10 off)

    That hard drive for some reason has some pretty lousy reviews. I don't know why, but this one is cheaper anyway, I'd stick with the full terabyte 500GB ones are only 20 bucks cheaper:
    Minus another $10

    CPU and mobo thats cheaper:

    Phenom II 965 $110 ($95 with promo code, expires midnight 7/30)

    Asrock 970 mobo $70

    As far as "there will be no overclocking", go ahead and set the multiplier to 18x, you don't have to tell your friend you did it. That effectively gives you the clock speed of the slightly better 975 model for the same price (3.6GHZ), no aftermarket CPU cooler needed as they really are the same CPU and ship with the same cooler, the only difference is that multiplier setting.

    Disclaimers due to trolling:

    People can argue until they're blue in the face about the Phenom II 965, and the i3. Fact is, too many flame wars are started over 1-5 FPS in the most CPU intensive games Tom's can manage to find and bench, quite insignificant in terms of number and also in the fact that most games are not CPU intensive in the first place.

    Does that get you what you need? For the price on the 6870, this is actually a pretty nice deal currently, although I do realize most of the price cutting options I'm giving you are obtained via mail in rebates. But worth mentioning I think

    Zotac 560 TI AMP edition (factory overclocked)
  3. Additional note: That ram you are looking at absolutely cannot be used with an Intel CPU. 1.5V DDR3 is mandatory both for stability and warranty. (That RAM you're looking at is 1.65v)

    Try to work this in if you can, 8GB really is the "ideal spot" these days, and yes its the correct voltage:
  4. manofchalk said:

    Beat me to it!

    Sorry lol. :lol:
  5. Thanks for the advice guys. I'll see if he wants to make a decision today to save that $15.

    He was originally going to buy this:

    But... that graphics card... bleh

    I'm sure he'll be fine with 4GB. Worst comes to worst, I can just throw another couple sticks in for him down the road.

    I survived with 4GB until I built a new PC last month and I do waaaaay more stuff than this guy xD
  6. Quote:
    He was originally going to buy this: [...] 6883229296

    No problem, good lord, that system is absolute trash. And I stopped reading at "FX-4100" lol.

    4GB probably is fine yes, just don't go nuts with 16GB like I did.. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned into a 6 hour drive to a MicroCenter because at the time they were the only people in the world that seemed to have 8GB modules in stock.. At least I found at a Five Guys burgers, love em, none around where I live, but I digress.

    As far as the graphics card, the 6870 is actually a pretty good card. no bleh to it. 6450 on the other hand, not so much.
  7. Yeah, I hear that. In the future I might get another 2x4GB sticks for my system to go up to 16GB of RAM. Why? Because I can!

    And yeah, when I said "bleh" to the graphics card, I meant the AMD Radeon HD 6450 1GB in the prebuilt PC. It gave me shivers :p

    How having a $110 CPU with a $40 GPU in a so-called "gaming PC" can be justified, I do not know.
  8. On the plus side, its probably one graphics card the lousy FX-4100 can actually keep up with in a game like Skyrim. (At stupid low settings, and unpleasant detail settings of course), and even then its probably going to give miserable FPS.

    As far as 16GB, I'm more of a multitasker than a gamer (hence the relatively weak 550 TI), and try as I might, I've never even used 8GB of RAM per Windows Task Manager thingy. Sabertooth board is part hope and prayer that PileDriver 8 cores will be worth upgrading to. Or Steamroller next year if AMD keeps the AM3+ socket.
  9. What makes the FX-4100 so lousy? I'm completely unfamiliar with AMD CPUs. All of my PCs have had intel so far (not out of bias, just what I'm familiar with... okay, maybe a little bit of bias).

    And yeah, I'm fairly confident I could play a game while encoding a video without issue right now, haha.
  10. LOL, you want the short answer or the long answer?

    The simplest way to put it is they actually perform worse than Phenom IIs in a lot of situations, which already don't perform as well as Intel. When you're knee deep in the mud, getting a shove backward obviously isn't the most helpful solution, you know?

    AMD tried "Something new" in terms of their CPU design, and it didn't work out quite that well. Now, some of it can be dismissed considering the fact that Intel has a lot more Research and Development funding than AMD, and since they're trying something new it may take a few years to get it right, time will tell.

    The Bulldozer (FX CPUs) can at least come close to matching the Phenom IIs if you overclock the hell out of em, the problem is, they really suck copious amounts of... um.. electricity for the trouble.

    And to be fair, there are some rare occurences in which the AMD Bulldozer FX-8150s can perform better than Intel, (heavily threaded work), the 2 main flaws in that is A) Multithreading isn't common enough to justify it for the average user and B) the stuff FX really sucks at doing, I mean it really sucks and theres just better balance from Intel or AMD's Phenom II family.
  11. Ah, I got you. So kind of like when Intel went to Core2Duo/Quad a long while back? Just those worked really well from the get-go.

    Anyways, it's probably about time I attempt to fall asleep. Thanks again for the help.

    I bid you adieu.
  12. I guess this is the easiest way to explain it.

    AMD typically tries to add more cores (and therefore more threads), more transistors and such into a CPU to make it better, while Intel tends to think of more efficient ways to use what they have (to make stronger and more threads through software means like Hyperthreading).

    The Bulldozer architecture was a complete rethinking of typical layouts, compromising of "Core modules" which actually contain two physical cores, sort of working as one.
    This lead to CPU's like the FX-8150, the first true 8-core processor (Intel has come up with 4cores with hyper-threading, which adds 4 more "Virtual Cores" using leftover resources from the physical ones).

    But unfortunately programs rarely use more than 1 thread (Each core produces a thread) at any time, so most programs cant utilise its raw computational power. Video editing programs are the notable exception, as they can use multiple threads and is where the FX-8150 shines compared to similarly priced Intels.

    Games often dont use more than 2-3 threads (and that's optimized games, most don't use more than 1), so you miss out on its grunt. The FX-4100 only has 4 cores (so 4 threads), which Intel already has and due to its inefficient usage of them compared to Intel, just doesn't perform, in Video editing or Gaming.
  13. YattaRX8 said:
    Ah, I got you. So kind of like when Intel went to Core2Duo/Quad a long while back? Just those worked really well from the get-go.

    Anyways, it's probably about time I attempt to fall asleep. Thanks again for the help.

    I bid you adieu.

    You're welcome. And sadly, in many cases the Core2Quad can actually do better than Bulldozers. Phenom II Denebs (like the 965) at least can stay on par with the i3 Sandy Bridges, of course the i3s just 2 cores with 2 extra "pretend cores" (HyperThreading). For gaming as manofchalk mentioned, not many games use more than 2 cores, but there are some that do. Skyrim, Crysis and Battlefield 3 for example.

    AMD has kinda always been the underdog in the 2 man race. Although 2004/2005ish AMD did manage to have Intel over a barrel, as Intel cranked out some pretty shitty CPUs of their own during that time. They even later admitted their first Dual core (Pentium D) was basically just a quick and dirty attempt to get a dual core CPU in the market to compete with AMD, and believe me it showed. But that victory was short-lived in this 40 year race. When they got the Core2s rolling out its been back the way things were ever since.
  14. AMD isn't completely without merit though. For budget systems they can deliver.
    The FX-8150 is massively good value if you use multi-threaded programs, in those it can beat an i7 2600K (and maybe the 3770k) for $80-130 less. So for an editing rig on a budget, FX-8150 is a good option.
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