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[Upgrade] Budget gaming upgrade - $200-$400?

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August 23, 2012 5:56:33 AM

Hi guys, appreciate your help on this! I've been putting together my own computers for a while but my current one is about 5 years old and only barely runs modern games. Looking to upgrade on the cheap, but I don't want to be unrealistic about what I'm getting (or compromise so much it's not worth it.

Approximate Purchase Date: next 2-4 weeks

Budget Range: $200-$400, around there

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, encoding media, running linux VMs for random development

Are you buying a monitor: No, have a 24" Dell IPS that I'm happy with - 1980x1200

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, mobo, RAM, Video card, thinking about adding SSD, keeping PSU & HDDs

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
newegg.com

Location: Bay Area

Overclocking: if it's easy (I'm lazy & busy now)

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Games I want to play: Diablo 3, WoW, maybe some other current-gen MMOs or FPSs. Only spend about 2-3 hours / wk gaming; would love to play more but busy w/work & family.

** Current Parts I'm keeping **:

Case: have mid-tower case, I like it fine

HDDs: 2x 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green (one WDC WD10EADS-00M2B0 and one WDC WD10EACS-00D6B0 )
Side note looks like searching for the first one has some failure complaints - should I replace it? Both of them?

PSU: Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Keyboard/Mouse: Old school IBM keyboard, Model M. Need a PS/2 connector in mobo. Some decent mouse, works fine.

** Current Parts I'm looking at buying **:

This is based on the recent $500 gaming super-budget build

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Celeron G530 2.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($43.90 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Pareema 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($21.89 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Agility 3 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($139.98 @ NCIX US)
Total: $325.75


Thanks very much!!
August 23, 2012 3:15:14 PM

Looks "pretty good" however, the ssd doesn't help performance at all, it gives faster load times which i know you might want but seriously, scrap the ssd, with that money and the extra money grab a i3 2100, if you want upgrade the mobo to asrock z77 pro3... next ive never heard of that RAM before, Try this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , so with these upgrades let me see what the final price is.....

377$ is the final price, now if you want to spend that extra bit of cash just bump up to some decent RAM like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


All in all you will have a kick ass system :D 
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August 23, 2012 5:09:36 PM

It's not worth it. Dropping the GPU for CPU. Here are the parts you could use for it:
CPU: Pentium G860 $90 @Newegg
MOBO: MSI H61M-P31 mATX $62 @Newegg
GPU: EVGA SuperClocked GTX 560 $164 @Newegg
RAM: G. SKILL Ripjaw X Series 4GB 1333MHz $27@Newegg
Total is $343
The SSD is a waste. All it does is speed up boot times.
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August 23, 2012 5:09:48 PM

In fact with that one up there for $30 you could get an i3.
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August 24, 2012 12:30:09 AM

@hunterpostit88, @spicy_benie, thanks for weighing in!

Looks like you guys are both recommending I upgrade to an i3 rather than go with the super cheap mobo and a better graphics card. Will that let me upgrade to a better graphics card in the future or just that the build I put was too low-end CPU?

Thanks!

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August 24, 2012 2:10:09 AM

The CPU was just "under par" as i like to say and yes with this new board you can easily upgrade cpu and gpu and more
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August 24, 2012 3:19:38 AM

On last question. Do you have a Microcenter or mind buying from one? they have a deal when you buy a CPU you get $50 off the mobo or something. The GTX 560 is a pretty good card. Like spicy said the CPU was just under par.
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August 25, 2012 2:37:51 PM

@hunterpostit88 - I do have a microcenter but not that close (about an hour away). Might be worth a trip anyway though depending.

Thanks!
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