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Gaming pc for around $500

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September 30, 2012 8:18:46 AM

Hello everyone! I'm looking to build a gaming pc for around $500(cad). I've already done my research and chose all the parts, and I need your advice. Are they all compatible? Will they run new games on highest settings on at least 40fps? Any parts I should change? If there are, please post the lowest price+ shipping you can find. I will accept crossfire or sli if the price is right or near my selected gpu.

On to the parts( p.s. as much as possible I'm sticking with the amd cpu. Yes, I know intel processors have better overall performance, but unless you can find me an UNLOCKED intel quad core for at least 150 Canadian dollars, Intel fanboys, shut up):

CPU: http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10360AC7665

Motherbard: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0083R9QQG/ref=ox_sc_ac... ( Chose this because it can support crossfire/sli, am3+ and sata 3 for easy upgrade path. Just hoping piledriver is not as disappointing as bulldozer)

GPU: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004BB1VL6/ref=ox_sc_ac...

PSU: http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10370AC7487 ( I know this is overkill, but it gives me room to overclock and add another gpu in the future, plus it has a great price)

Case: http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15210AC1880

Ram: http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD9401 ( I want at least 8gb)

HDD: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004TLIEHC/ref=ox_sc_ac...

DVD/RW: I probably wont need one, but if you can suggest a really cheap one, like $15, feel free

All in all, this is gonna cost me about $340 without DVD/RW


And that's about it. I'll leave it to you guys. Again, prices in Canadian, as I live in Calgary. I will probably play mostly Battlefield 3, NFS, Diablo III, maybe a little GTA. I will also sometimes use this for photoshop, video and photo editing, and converting videos. If you think the stock fan for the cpu cant cut it for overclocking, feel free to suggest. Forgive me if something is wrong, I'm only 14 and started learning all this stuff a month ago. Thanks to all!!!

More about : gaming 500

September 30, 2012 8:29:40 AM

I notice you did not list an operating system. Do you already have windows or not?
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a b 4 Gaming
September 30, 2012 9:15:14 AM

I don't know where you got $340, but when I added up all the parts you listed, it had a total of $541.45
Anyway, this is the best I could do:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($74.99 @ Canada Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.22 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($154.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Rosewill Blackbone ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($87.89 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $539.06
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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September 30, 2012 6:27:28 PM

Ah, sorry! I meant 540. I was typing that at 2 in the morning, so I probably messed it up. And yes, I already have a Windows 7 copy.
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September 30, 2012 9:48:22 PM

I don't know about that case. I mainly picked my case because it comes with 4 fans, fan controller and temp display. My other options were: http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950AC8735&v... ( it looks bad ass, and it has the same no. of fans), http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950AC7099&v... ( also looks good, but only comes with 1 fan and supports up to 4 only. But Thermaltake has a good reputation), or http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC0700&v... ( It's a Cooler Master Haf! Though it has 2 less installed fans than the Zalman cases, it can support up to 8, 1 more than the Zalmans). You noticed that I'm looking at the amount of fans. That's because I want my system to be as cool as possible, for potential overclocking. Especially with the Powercolor card that only has one fan( Thank you for the XFX suggestion, but I'm looking at prices before rebate, because I'll probably never get to do the MIR. I'll keep it in mind though, in case I might be able to do it). All of them look better than my pick, but mine has a fan control and temp display. I'm trying to balance performance and appearance, but I might end up with the other choices.
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October 1, 2012 3:09:12 AM

Also, can you guys suggest a sub-100$ monitor between 20 to 25 inches. Maybe 1080p. Yes I am cheap. The reason is because I'm trying to convince my dad to build one instead of buying a prebuilt pc. We're low on money right now because we just moved here to Canada. So I'm trying to keep everything( monitor, cpu, keyboard, mouse) below $700. It's really hard to convince my dad, he thinks that I'll mess it up or it's safer to buy one.
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October 1, 2012 3:58:56 AM

Maybe see how much it would be to have it built for you.

What I tell people who are on the fence about a new build I can do vs a prebuilt at Walmart or Best Buy is basically that they are more than welcome to buy a prebuilt, but many times I see those systems come in with problems later. I tell them that when I build, I like to use name brand quality parts. Most of the time with prebuilts My experience is they seem to have cheap power supplies and low end motherboards.

I tell people you will spend a little more, but like my pc, my pc is 5 years old. Most parts are newer, but the motherboard is actually going on 5 years old(Old socket AM2 board--Upgraded to a quad and have 6 gb of ram). Is my PC the fastest? No. I'd say it's still close to many of the prebuilts you can get at big box stores.

But if done right, my experience is with custom builds, you put good parts in them and do things right, they treat you right.
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October 1, 2012 4:43:49 AM

Really? Why so? They get good reviews though, But I don't know. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll talk about it with my dad. Though right now I'm looking at an Acer 23 inch. It's has the same price, but I don't know about 1080p. Here's the link http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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October 1, 2012 5:12:21 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Maybe see how much it would be to have it built for you.

What I tell people who are on the fence about a new build I can do vs a prebuilt at Walmart or Best Buy is basically that they are more than welcome to buy a prebuilt, but many times I see those systems come in with problems later. I tell them that when I build, I like to use name brand quality parts. Most of the time with prebuilts My experience is they seem to have cheap power supplies and low end motherboards.

I tell people you will spend a little more, but like my pc, my pc is 5 years old. Most parts are newer, but the motherboard is actually going on 5 years old(Old socket AM2 board--Upgraded to a quad and have 6 gb of ram). Is my PC the fastest? No. I'd say it's still close to many of the prebuilts you can get at big box stores.

But if done right, my experience is with custom builds, you put good parts in them and do things right, they treat you right.


I hear you man. But have you seen the prices of prebuilt gaming pcs? Someone could build a totally faster pc with those prices. They put slow graphics card in them. The 7770 is not exactly slow, but for a $800 cpu, someone could build one with a top of the line card
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October 1, 2012 2:39:15 PM

I know exactly what you are saying. I can get refurbs cheap even. One guy that wanted a new pc, I'm thinking look I can get a refurb, or for 100 more could build a brand new box. I mean refurbs might be great sometimes, but it depends. For me microcenter usually works out well because usually you are able to get amd chips and boards for basically free with them there.
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October 2, 2012 3:41:43 AM

Gotta say I like this case better.

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

I've purchased a few of those from Microcenter in the US, and have used them in builds, nice case, pretty easy to go together, and they have adequate airflow. Style is good with a hard beat price. I think the PSU is a bottom mount on that case as well. Some of the standoffs are built into the case, so you don't have to put as many in.
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October 2, 2012 3:55:45 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Gotta say I like this case better.

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

I've purchased a few of those from Microcenter in the US, and have used them in builds, nice case, pretty easy to go together, and they have adequate airflow. Style is good with a hard beat price. I think the PSU is a bottom mount on that case as well. Some of the standoffs are built into the case, so you don't have to put as many in.


:o  I was just looking at that a while ago. It's currently one of my options. Yes it has a bottom mounted psu, and it has a filter!
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October 2, 2012 4:44:08 AM

XxiiaanN said:
Really? Why so? They get good reviews though, But I don't know. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll talk about it with my dad. Though right now I'm looking at an Acer 23 inch. It's has the same price, but I don't know about 1080p. Here's the link http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Looks like they took off HDMI connectivity to make up for the cheap cost.

The Antec Dark Fleet is overpriced imo. It doesn't offer much cable management which is very important for airflow, 2 fans, USB 2.0 x2, and audio i/o on the front panel. You can get the same stuff, or even more with other cases that's cheaper than $60.

I don't really know much about Cougar, but I dislike the color scheme in those pictures. :p 

I suggest this:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

It has everything you want plus a few more.
You can get the U3 version if you're gonna utilize USB 3.0 or if your motherboard has a USB 3.0 header.
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October 2, 2012 4:54:41 AM

Thanks. Yeah, I noticed the HDMI too, but I probably won't need it as I'll be using external speakers, and I don't have a console. The case is awesome. Looks good, has everything I need and more, plus it's recommended by Tom's Hardware. Also, I'm kicking out the Dark Fleet, as you said, overpriced, and the cover for the drive bays can get irritating if you frequently use them.
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October 2, 2012 2:52:25 PM

I definitely recommend the thermaltake, I've used it in builds for others. A couple of caveats though. For one they put a bracket in the bottom of the case, you will need to remove it to put the power supply in, it's like 2 screws and done. The other things are they have a peg in the middle of the tray. The idea I think is that when mounting the board, you put one of the holes over that, then it can hold the board in place while you are fastening other things down. The other thing, after getting the board in, I was unable to get the fans mounted in the top, but there is enough airflow I think to where that's not a deal breaker. And tool less mounting for drives, etc. I haven't used the cougar case, so can't speak to that, it would probably be fine, but thermaltake is a known good brand. Rosewill is probably ok.
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October 2, 2012 11:46:09 PM

Thanks for the opinion. In case your wondering, I'm in no rush( sort of) to build this system. At most, I'll start in November. Anyway, is it worth the upgrade from a 6870 to a 7850? If so, can you provide the cheapest one you can find, preferably two fans,, but if the price difference between ttyhe cheapest two fan and one is great, one is ok. Oh, and I noticed that I don't know if my selected mobo is retail. Do you guys have any way to find out if it just the mobo or not, as I cannot find it on the description.
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October 3, 2012 2:54:59 AM

Guys, I'm gonna add $110 dollars of my money to the build. And right now I see a Radeon HD 7950 3GB for about $300. So my question is, is the 7950 3GB good( of course it's good! It's a friggin' 7950 with 3gb of memory!)? What i mean is, for around that price range, is it the best card? Or is a 6950 2GB for $214 a better deal And I mentioned that at best I'll start this build around next month. If AMD releases their new Piledriver cpus this month, should I get one instead of the old Phenom II? I know that you don't know how they perform yet and haven't seen any benchmarks, but what is your opinion?
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October 3, 2012 2:59:34 AM

Oh, but the phenom ii might bottleneck those cards :(  So should I cut the $110 in half? The other to upgrade the cpu to a i5 3450, the other for a 6950 2gb? Please still answer about the 7950.
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October 3, 2012 3:48:25 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-trinity-e...

Worth a read. After seeing what the quad core a10 5800k can do and its performance i myself am considering it. With a 7000 series gpu built into the cpu and it supporting crossfiring using the built in gpu plus a fm2 slot socket which is new withnewer cpu's planned its pretty future proof for a bit plus the ability to oc the cpu and gpu to help push performance. Plus the cpu is under $150 ($130 in many cases) its got a lot of bang for its buck. Worth checking out.
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October 3, 2012 4:01:19 AM

zolton33 said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-trinity-e...

Worth a read. After seeing what the quad core a10 5800k can do and its performance i myself am considering it. With a 7000 series gpu built into the cpu and it supporting crossfiring using the built in gpu plus a fm2 slot socket which is new withnewer cpu's planned its pretty future proof for a bit plus the ability to oc the cpu and gpu to help push performance. Plus the cpu is under $150 ($130 in many cases) its got a lot of bang for its buck. Worth checking out.


So I can crossfire the built in gpu with the 7950?
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October 3, 2012 4:18:53 AM

XxiiaanN said:
So I can crossfire the built in gpu with the 7950?

In theory, yes.

In practice, hybrid crossfire is not practical when the IGP and GPU performances are completely imbalanced since the GPU ends up waiting after the IGP all the time. Even a HD7750 might be too fast and end up better off without hybrid CF.
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October 3, 2012 4:20:11 AM

XxiiaanN said:
Oh, but the phenom ii might bottleneck those cards :(  So should I cut the $110 in half? The other to upgrade the cpu to a i5 3450, the other for a 6950 2gb? Please still answer about the 7950.

Changing CPU means also changing motherboard, so your call.

As for bottlenecking, I doubt it. Get the 7950. It's the best bang for buck card in that price range. If you want to cut cost a little, consider the 7870 GHz Edition.
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October 3, 2012 4:29:17 AM

Yeah, after posting this, I read some reviews that it probably won't bottleneck it, especially when you overclock. I've also checked out the 7870 before, but the price difference is a little small considering that the 7950 is one of AMD's fastest card( is there a 7990?).
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October 3, 2012 4:38:15 AM

Scratch that, I found one for around $250. So how big is the performance decrease, especially in games?
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October 3, 2012 5:04:49 AM

Oh my god! Just finished reading the benchmarks of the 7870 here at tom's, and I gotta say, thank you for letting me reconsider it! The average fps of the 7870 and 7950 were close in most games, but the 7870 costs $50 less! I'm getting that instead, and using the extra money to either uprgrade or add parts, or save it.
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October 3, 2012 5:10:08 AM

excella1221 said:
See here: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/548?vs=550

You might also want to consider 7870 GHz editions which have a slight performance boost than the regular one.


Thanks man. Using my brain, the average difference is probably 10fps or below. I'm not sure if it's even close to accurate, but to me that's awesome!
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a b 4 Gaming
October 3, 2012 6:42:06 AM

Give us what you've chosen so far.
Though I doubt it. Only usual issues with RAM sticks are CPU coolers.
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October 3, 2012 7:02:00 AM

The same ones I posted above except the case is this now http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950AC8735 ( sorry that I didn't choose yours guys, but I still have a lot of time to decide, but for now it's the Zalman. It does get pretty good review, and the brand has a good reputation) and the graphics card is a HIS IceQ Radeon HD 7870 www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161404 or this MSI Twin Frozr http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... as it looks like the HIS won't fit in the z11. Maybe I'll just get a Haf 912 if it really won't fit. My new budget is around $650
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October 3, 2012 7:30:05 AM

I would just get the MSI anyway since Twin Frozr is a great feature.
Though I have been wanting to stay away from their products as protest from their recent controversy.
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October 3, 2012 11:10:04 PM

excella1221 said:
I would just get the MSI anyway since Twin Frozr is a great feature.
Though I have been wanting to stay away from their products as protest from their recent controversy.


Oh yeah, I read that. That's why I was wary about it. I chose the iceq anyway, the length I saw was wrong, so I thought that it wouldn't fit in the case. Turns out it will. Anyway, if I get more money, and think about using Intel, can you suggest one that's unlocked, and has the best price to performance ratio, and a quad or more. Or should I invest the money on other stuff? I don't really want to switch to Intel, as I would like to support the little guy( I hate how Intel monopolizes the industry). But if it really has a good price to performance ratio than the Phenom II 965, I'll TRY to go for it
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October 3, 2012 11:35:22 PM

If I don't get to add money, should I buy the radeon 6870 instead, then get the intel cpu?

Gaaaah! I think I'll stick with the AMD instead? Can't decide. Intel option: Better processor, lesser gpu. AMD option: Better gpu, lesser processor. To me, the AMD option looks more appealing especially with the lower price and if Piledriver pulls through.
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October 4, 2012 12:09:25 AM

You can always just get the Phenom II, and an AM3+ motherboard for CPU futureproofing. The Phenom is fairly cheap anyway so upgrading won't be so hard.

Also, the GPU is the most important component in gaming.
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October 4, 2012 2:12:46 AM

excella1221 said:
You can always just get the Phenom II, and an AM3+ motherboard for CPU futureproofing. The Phenom is fairly cheap anyway so upgrading won't be so hard.

Also, the GPU is the most important component in gaming.


Yeah. I've always thought about that, but I just keep going back and forth, then I tell myself I don't really need a high end Intel cpu. Heck, just a few months ago in the Philippines, I was playing on an old AMD Sempron 3000+ and I didn't even know what my gpu was, but it probably was low end, it didn't even have a case! Anyways, I could bear playing some Battlefield 2 and portal on it with recommended settings( it was actually pretty smooth), so I think I can bear turning my settings down a little to play. People are saying that even on high, bf3 still looks awesome.
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October 4, 2012 4:28:29 AM

XxiiaanN said:
so I think I can bear turning my settings down a little to play. People are saying that even on high, bf3 still looks awesome.

Most games aren't exactly 'horrible' even at medium settings. Some like Diablo show almost no significant differences between low and high settings.
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October 4, 2012 3:53:38 PM

You may not see as much bottleneck as you think. ive got an athlon 2 quad core and have a hard time maxing that chip.
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October 4, 2012 4:05:24 PM

excella1221 said:
You can always just get the Phenom II, and an AM3+ motherboard for CPU futureproofing. The Phenom is fairly cheap anyway so upgrading won't be so hard.

Also, the GPU is the most important component in gaming.


Don't the new AMD Trinity chips use a new motherboard, the FM2+?
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October 4, 2012 4:13:03 PM

dcointin said:
Don't the new AMD Trinity chips use a new motherboard, the FM2+?

There is no such thing as FM2+. FM2 is the Trininty socket.
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October 4, 2012 10:57:53 PM

Guys, right now I'm calculating that I got at least $30 extra money from the budget. I'm thinking about overclocking the cpu to at most 4.0ghz, maybe a little more, but for now let's leave it at that. Can you suggest a sub-$30 aftermarket cooler that can do the job? And will it fit in the Z11 case, and have no clearance issues with the other parts?
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October 5, 2012 12:58:28 AM

dcointin said:
Don't the new AMD Trinity chips use a new motherboard, the FM2+?

FM2/+ are for APUs, I believe.
Bulldozer utilized the AM3+ socket, and since Piledrive is an upgrade from that, I assume it's compatible.

As for the CPU Cooler,
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=64385&vpn=RR-212E-20PK...
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October 5, 2012 1:10:07 AM

excella1221 said:
FM2/+ are for APUs, I believe.
Bulldozer utilized the AM3+ socket, and since Piledrive is an upgrade from that, I assume it's compatible.

As for the CPU Cooler,
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=64385&vpn=RR-212E-20PK...


Haha! I expected that. If there is any cpu cooler you know that has better price to performance cheaper, even if it's above $30, I'll think about it, but only if the performance justifies the price. I'll just get the 212 if there's none.
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October 5, 2012 1:23:57 AM

The 212 EVO is pretty much top of the line 'til the $70+ price range.
Don't let the cheap price fool you. It's very powerful. :) 
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October 5, 2012 1:31:21 AM

Haha, ok, but I think I'll just get it in the future, as when I'm adding it to the equation, I'm over $800 in my build' including the screen, mouse, pad and keyboard. If I have to, is the 6870 enough to run modern games, especially bf3, on ultra, or at least high, at playable frame rates? 7850 is around $30 cheaper, 6870 is around $70 cheaper, though the 7870 price i'm using for reference is before a$20(?) rebate.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 5, 2012 1:49:27 AM

Not entirely sure about ultra, but I'm positive you can get high on BF3.
6870 is still a good card.
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October 5, 2012 2:04:09 AM

excella1221 said:
Not entirely sure about ultra, but I'm positive you can get high on BF3.
6870 is still a good card.


Hmmmm, if only my dad wasn't that hard to convince. I'd ask him to give me at least $900 and add my $100, I'd be able to build a kick-ass Intel 3770k+ Radeon 7950(7970?) setup. :( 
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October 5, 2012 2:21:46 AM

You won't need a 3770k for gaming though. It's essentially the i5-3570k minus the hyperthreading. Better to invest the extra $100 on the GPU.
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October 5, 2012 5:58:37 AM

excella1221 said:
You won't need a 3770k for gaming though. It's essentially the i5-3570k minus the hyperthreading. Better to invest the extra $100 on the GPU.


Yeah. But you never know when games are gonna start using more than 4 cores. Heck, by the time virtual reality games are mainstream, 4 cores will probably be the minimum. The 7950 is probably enough.
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