Very tight $300-$400 budget (bought an i7 3770K already to go with it)

Tomshardware has an amazing reputation for recommending the best hardware; I humbly ask that you help me pick out my new system. I am committed to this system and will be returning frequently to participate in any ensuing discussion.

I'm looking for the best 'bang for buck' hardware to build around my i7 3770K cpu that I recently purchased. There's *some* flexibility within the $300-$400 budget if there's a component I *must* get that maximizes performance. I'm also willing to wait around a little bit for the best deal.

I have:
Monitor, Speakers, Mouse, Keyboard, Operating System (Windows 7 64 bit) & CPU.

I also have an external harddrive laying around with 1.5Tbs on it already for extra storage, so a really large HDD probably isn't necessary.

I would like:
+ SSD technology
+ Overclock
+ Future dedicated graphics card upgrade capability.\
+ USB 3.0

Obviously these things may not be within my budget all at once, but if you can try to squeeze them in, that would be fantastic.

USAGE: I need this system to allow me to have many open programs at once with little to no drop off in performance. I can be listening to music, burning DVD media, working on website, uploading files, checking outlook email, webbrowser with several tabs open, etc. all at once. I need something that can handle this type of activity with little to no slowdown.

Thanks in advance.
8 answers Last reply
More about very tight budget bought 3770k
  1. Hi,

    Your going to find it hard with that as a basis, if you can even stretch another $50 you will find it is worth it.

    Motherboard = ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 (around $130)
    this is a reasonably cheap board for the features your getting and due to your combination of uses you do not want to go for anything less. this will unlock the features on your processor and allow you to multi-task to the best performance as well as futre proofing your system.

    RAM = Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Vengeance Memory around ($50 if not cheaper)
    Something like that is good performance to the price point and with 4 slots on your motherboard you can easily expand as you have abit more money, although shop around as there may be better options like the 16GB version etc.

    SSD = Intel, either 330 series or the as i woul recomend 520 series, id size as appropiate. you can eithe go for a smaller size e.g. 120GB hold your comp install and other files on that with your music and archiving on a larger HHD which will obviously be cheaper.

    or you can have a larger SSD and scrap the HDD all together. This should make up the remaining budget.

    Intel re fantastic as i have used and wouldnt really use anything else on th SSD for the pricepoint and reliability as well as the speed you cant really beat them (in my opinion) having used them on servers they have exceeded even my expectation although the 520 would definatly be preferential.

    Hope that helps and gives you some food for thought.

    (I am also assuming you have the powersupply, and cooling already?
  2. Thanks for the fast response.

    I would need power supply, cooling, optical drive, etc. everything except for ancillary accessories already mentioned.

    $300 is ideal world, but could probably go up to $400 if absolutely necessary.
  3. Ouch, very hard budget, especially since you got an i7. May I ask, why did you get the i7? Are you a video editor, or is it just for gaming? See if you can get a refund if its just for gaming, or exchange it for an i5 3570k and get $100 back. $400 is much easier to work with.

    Go for a Z68 Chipset if you can, honestly with $300, I'm going to go for essentials before anything else, which might mean you won't get a GPU for now. $300 is very hard to work with, especially since you want a SSD.

    MSI Z68A -->

    Kingston 4GB DDR3 1333 -->

    OCZ 60GB SSD -->

    Coolermaster 500W Extreme Power -->

    Coolermaster Elite 430 -->

    Now this is the tricky part.

    EVGA 550ti 1GB -->

    Total Exclusive of Rebates : $339

    Total, Inclusive of Rebates : $250. I never trust Rebates, hopefully your luck is with you.

    If you're willing to wait, then don't buy the Graphics card right now. This card isn't the best, what I'd recommend is buy all the others of what I have given, then save up another $80 - 90 more, and get the card I will post below.
  4. This is absolutely barebones. I really hope you can get that $100 back, and then you can spend around hopefully $450 all up, then you can get a great graphics card :)

    In the case that you do get $100 back, get this card , however if you can't save up another 80-90 and grab this.

    Assuming then you have saved up a bit more for the card get this. Its a Sapphire HD 7850. Very good for price.

    It'll be without rebates, then 339 - 114, + 209, $434.
  5. Thanks for the input.

    I got the i7 because I *really* like processing speed, and I got it on a great deal.

    I am not really much of a gamer, I just need a system with tons of speed and efficiency (I'm ok with using onboard video & sound). I heard i7 has good on board graphics with the Intel HD 4000 technology.

    I need the other components to go with it, based on the criteria I gave in the first post.
  6. Assumed you were going to game as soon as you said i7. Really, you don't need an i7. I'm not going to stop you. If your not going to game, screw the 7850 and get the 7770 GHZ edition. It'll be around $350 all up, with the 7770 GHZ edition, which IMO is much better than the 550ti.
  7. I do like to run emulators from time to time, and PS2 emulator requires a ton of CPU power.

    Returning the i7 isn't really an option, I might have to sell it on craigslist or something.
  8. Keep it then. Just go with my build and a 7770 GHZ edition

    Msi HD 7770 GHZ. Costs $125 without Rebates, and $110 with rebates.
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