$400 to $500 Build

Budget: 400 to 500 Dollars (US)
Build Time: 3 to 6 months (depending on sales, financial aid refund, income)
Uses: Multimedia, recording, art, gaming, music, normal day-to-day tasks

Parts Not Needed: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Optical Drive, OS

I also have a Thermaltake 430W 80Plus Certified PSU, 4 case fans varying in size, and a 250g HDD that I can use as secondary storage.

I will be trying to get money together over the next few months, catching sales if possible, for a new PC build.

My main focus will be gaming and multimedia. I know little about PC's but have some general knowledge. I have read a lot abotu some of the new sandy bridge intel technology, and how it can exceed even some AMD PhenomII X4's, for cheaper. I know a lot more about the ATI (as far as how to categorize and scale them against each other) than I do with the nVidia Cards. The OS I have is Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit.

The most graphical demanding games I play right now would be Skyrim, Crysis 2, or Sleeping Dogs. Most of my games I play with mods/addons too.

I understand that depending on the length of the build, pricing and part availability will be hard to tell. I was looking for a good dual or quad core, maybe the intel series with the hyperthreading even, with an ATI 7 series card, with DDR5 Ram and a Terabyte of storage. Not interested in SSD's. If you need more details ask on here or email me at nipnapcreations@gmail.com
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  1. Hey there. First, your PSU will probably work fine in a new build so long as you don't use any more than one graphics card that isn't huge like a 680 or something. Your 250GB hard drive is another good carry-over as well, but remember that if it is only 5400rpm it will bottleneck the rest of your system as far as boot-up, game load-times, and even overall responsiveness.

    I understand that you are new to this, so let me just say a couple things to straighten you out a bit (not trying to be rude/mean, just informing you, like teaching):

    1) Ivy Bridge is the new Intel technology, not Sandy, although Sandy is almost just as fast and will serve you just as well for the most part.

    2) I believe you're thinking of AMD, not ATI. AMD and Nvidia are the two big graphics card companies these days.

    So, my first instinct when looking at a $400-500 budget is to say, just wait longer, and save up more. I always tell people this: you will most likely have this computer for a couple years at least, and spend countless hours on it before the end. Wouldn't it make more sense just to be a little patient, save up for longer and get a nice mid-range build that will perform loads better and last much longer? I saved up and researched for more than a year before buying the rig you see in my signature. Just a thought.

    If you MUST buy it with your specified price range, here is what I would recommend (and this is taking into account that you do not need a PSU, or hard drive, although you said you do want another you would save a lot of money with this budget not getting another HDD):

    CPU: Intel i3-2120 (2 cores, 4 threads, 3.3GHz)

    Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3

    GPU: MSI Radeon 7770 GHz Edition 1GB

    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz
    $44.99 (you could save like $20 here by getting 4GB instead of 8, but really, memory is cheap compared to the rest that I would just get 8GB)

    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 (change this case out if you don't want a gaming case)

    Plus around $20 for a CD/DVD drive unless you have one already

    Total: $449.95 before tax/shipping. You can also hunt down deals to make it cheaper. Also note that if you want a new hard drive you will need to factor that in as well.

    To be totally honest, like I said before, it would make a lot more sense to just save up longer, specifically for this, and get a much better and longer lasting computer.

    Good luck!
  2. Thanks for the detail and quick reply!

    I will be needing another HDD, just using the existing one as secondary storage, like an external HDD or something like that. Thanks for the bridge correct and AMD correction as well. I am aware of the price/saving conundrum but was just feeling out the market as it is now. I also have an optical CD/DVD-RW drive, with lightscribe technology.

    Also I saw that was a Mid-Tower case, wouldn't a full tower, with a larger form factor be able to expand upon and upgrade easier?
  3. Hey, no problem. I'm glad to hear you're just feeling out the market, and are not one of those "lol must spend $500 now and expect 60fps ultra graphics lol" dudes.

    How many GB's of storage do you think you will need in a new hard drive? Regardless of space, make sure to grab a 7200rpm drive, 5400 is too slow and 10000 is ridiculous as an SSD is faster.

    Yes I posted a mid-tower case. The reason is, most full-tower cases are more expensive, and on a budget a mid tower will serve you better. While a full-tower would be a larger form factor and have more "space", a good mid tower has plenty of airflow and space to upgrade. You have enough space in that HAF912 for 2 graphics cards easily.
  4. actually yes a full tower is easier to upgrade to but mid tower case are great as well, and most cases have lots of room for upgrade, and the haf912 is a great case although I'm no fan of it but still a good case.
  5. Okay on the cases, understood. I would like a TB of storage, because I do a lot of art and multimedia work, as well as having multiple games, addons, and software across the board.

    I have been watching this guys videos for all of his budget builds, which is where my knowledge that I have now comes from, still isn't much lol.

  6. Also, forgot to mention, will be playing on a large flat screen monitor, at 1650 by 1080 rez. I'm not looking for ultra omg capability, just smooth gameplay at full screen. Right now I'm playing skyrim, warcraft, and my other games on medium settings in windowed mode.
  7. Anyone else? thoughts? parts?
  8. Bump. Looking for ideas on HDD to buy, and other ideas on parts, maybe an equal AMD/nVidia system? what would be better, pros, cons etc. Also, I might do SLI or Crossfire in the future.
  9. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00461LT6S/?tag=pcpapi-20
    atm from what i have read over countless posts, 660ti's are almost same as a 7870. which are pretty much the best budget video card on the market due to prices, for 240ish-220ish depending on brand will get you a nice GPU, nvidia is making more high end video cards atm, such as 660/670/680 series, 570 is a good card but a 7870 can outperform it due to benchmarks from this site. since you do not want to play on ultra.. i suppose you could get away with a 560 or even 7770. are you playing battlefield 3 or any shoots such as BF3 crysis etc? those games requires much more moneys lol.
    hope this helps you out!
  10. Like I said above, I think right now the most graphically demanding games I'm playing are Skyrim, (due to high res textures) and sleeping dogs. My other games are mainly processor heavy, (GTA 4 and 5, WoW) I would be satisfied with a 7770 at the moment for budget, but in the future I would put in another card for SLI/Crossfire that is why I was asking about that MoBo (and its capability to dual slot GPU) and any idea on a PSU to replace my thermaltake 430 (not now on this budget, but in the future on the upgrade budget)
  11. Anyone else have thoughts they wanna share? I'm trying to get as much feedback.
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