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$500 Cheap Gaming Build

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January 19, 2013 1:54:42 PM

Tom's Hardware is quickly becoming one of my favorite online sources for suggestions and information.

I'm trying to help my cousin and friend with a new build, but they're both looking at a budget around $500. My cousin already has his video card though - a GTX 550Ti - so we'd like to make his build around this. My friend doesn't have anything, so we'll have to start from scratch. We don't need any type of peripherals except 1 monitor.

Approximate Purchase Date: March - April 2013
Budget Range: $500~ after shipping/rebates
System Usage: Gaming
Are you buying a monitor: Yes
Parts to Upgrade: Everything except GPU on one build and peripherals on both
Do you need to buy OS: No
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com and amazon.com
Location: Fairview, NJ and Charlotte, NC
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU preference, but not necessary.
Overclocking: Maybe, probably no.
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Would prefer a quiet PC. Currently playing Diablo 3, Metro 2033, Civilization 5, Borderlands 2, LoL, Just Cause 2 and Far Cry 3.
Why Are You Upgrading: Need a gaming PC that's good enough to handle these games. They don't have to run at ultra settings, just good enough to handle mid-settings.

I've searched around and have been looking at this build, but would much rather get more feedback and suggestions on parts and such:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($88.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($51.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $266.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 10:45 EST-0500)

Not too sure on this CPU, but it's a quad core for pretty cheap. Need suggestions for all parts, thank you.

EDIT: Also, looking at this recommended build, doesn't look bad: http://www.gamingpcbuilds.com/build-a-gaming-pc-under-5...

More about : 500 cheap gaming build

January 19, 2013 1:59:42 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($88.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($109.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $597.45
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 10:58 EST-0500)

you can cheap out on monitor
January 19, 2013 2:00:15 PM

You haven't listed a Motherboard.
How can you run Computer without that?

And that CPU is old and Bottlenecks most New GPUs.
Related resources
January 19, 2013 3:32:13 PM

Sumukh_Bhagat said:
You haven't listed a Motherboard.
How can you run Computer without that?

And that CPU is old and Bottlenecks most New GPUs.

I didn't pick a mobo because I haven't decided on a CPU. I can't choose a mobo without having chosen a CPU. To add some value to your post, could you recommend a decent CPU that parallels 2011 GPU's?

I like the suggestion AMD Radeon, but I'd also like to see other cheap builds using Intel CPU's.
January 19, 2013 3:59:55 PM

For your friend i would go with this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($56.97 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.26 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $475.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 12:43 EST-0500)

The i3 won't even bottleneck a 7950.

---------------------------------------------------------

For your cousin... i usually tell someone to Sli the 550 ti's but they do scale pretty well. I put in a cx600 so you would have crossfire room.... I went with AMD because Intel boards that allow crossfire/sli are expensive. The visher 6300 is awsome for the money anyways. You should not use one 550 ti, its just pretty weak. Two 550 ti's will be pretty good though :p .

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.26 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB Video Card ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $413.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 12:57 EST-0500)
January 19, 2013 8:13:42 PM

blake1243 said:
...


These are great builds, thank you blake1243. I wonder though, would the FX 4 core AMD Bulldozer bottleneck the 2 550Ti's? I used to own the FX6100 and it really isn't a bad CPU, but I'm just curious.
January 19, 2013 8:33:13 PM

blake1243 said:
For your friend i would go with this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($56.97 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.26 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $475.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 12:43 EST-0500)

The i3 won't even bottleneck a 7950.

---------------------------------------------------------

For your cousin... i usually tell someone to Sli the 550 ti's but they do scale pretty well. I put in a cx600 so you would have crossfire room.... I went with AMD because Intel boards that allow crossfire/sli are expensive. The visher 6300 is awsome for the money anyways. You should not use one 550 ti, its just pretty weak. Two 550 ti's will be pretty good though :p .

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.26 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB Video Card ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $413.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 12:57 EST-0500)



becareful, hdd price hasnt been counted yet
January 20, 2013 12:27:20 AM

Yeah but its $413 before the HDD, so HDD's are ussually $70. And yeah the 6300 is actually a generation better than the 6100, they made alot of improvements.
January 20, 2013 12:56:08 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI H61M-P31/W8 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: PNY Optima 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: PNY Optima 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 1GB Video Card ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: MSI TC- (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($22.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Acer V213HLBJbmd 60Hz 21.5" Monitor ($119.98 @ eCost)
Total: $493.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 21:46 EST-0500)


Hi, this build is great for gaming and on the pc with a video card already you can upgrade the processor to an i3 or i5 if you like and before anyone thrashes my suggestions i'd like to explain my reasoning.

Processor: Pentium is almost the same as i3 especially with a discreet video card, save hyperthreading which is rarely put into use and the core clock speeds are very similar but the pentium ( depending on version) is half the price for 90% of performance.

Motherboard: It is a quality board that has all the ports and slots necessary. It won't be able to take too much overclocking but i'm assuming that there will be no OC taking place.

Memory: It is VERY well priced for 8gb of ram at only $30 theres nothing wrong with it and PNY is reliable as well.

HDD: Its a reliable brand with plenty of storage, if you want you can replace it with an SSD or save money by getting one with less storage.

Video Card: Its a great video card and will be able to play pretty much all games with decent settings possibly better. pretty good price as well.

Case: Its a good case with airflow, don't really need much else and saved a few bucks.

PSU: Reliable brand with enough extra wattage for future upgrades or OC if desired.

Optical Drive: Do i really need to explain this?

Monitor: 1080p 21.5" monitor for $120, whats the point of getting the computer if you cant enjoy the game?

And for anyone who says that the pentium will bottleneck the gpu that is not true although it isn't as good as an i5 its is still very viable and gets the job done pretty well.
January 20, 2013 12:27:53 PM

Bob Hays, why would he downgrade? Why would he want a 550 ti over a 7850. Why would he want a Pentium when his budget allows for more? I personally own the Pentium G860 and yes it is good, but if i had the money i would have gotten a 6300 or a i3. The Vishera architecture is alot better than the older generation. The reason i put a 550 ti in his friends build is because his friend already has 1 and might aswell sli it. On a $500 you can do alot better than a pentium and a 550 ti.
January 20, 2013 12:36:13 PM

I mean to say GTX 650. But you know what i mean, the GTX 650 is on par with the HD 7750. He can do better than that.
January 20, 2013 12:56:17 PM

bob hays said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI H61M-P31/W8 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: PNY Optima 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: PNY Optima 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 1GB Video Card ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: MSI TC- (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($22.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Acer V213HLBJbmd 60Hz 21.5" Monitor ($119.98 @ eCost)
Total: $493.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-19 21:46 EST-0500)


I appreciate the suggestion Bob, but the thing is - as blake1243 pointed out - I'd like to build something that will last a year, two maybe three before it needs an upgrade. My friends aren't as nitpicky about graphics as I am, so mid-range cards will be more than enough for what they want, but the longer their build can last the better.

At first glance the PNY RAM was preferable but then I realized it was clocked @ 1333. Can it overclock to 1600? Not too knowledgeable on that aspect of RAM.

blake1243 said:
Bob Hays, why would he downgrade? Why would he want a 550 ti over a 7850. Why would he want a Pentium when his budget allows for more? I personally own the Pentium G860 and yes it is good, but if i had the money i would have gotten a 6300 or a i3. The Vishera architecture is alot better than the older generation. The reason i put a 550 ti in his friends build is because his friend already has 1 and might aswell sli it. On a $500 you can do alot better than a pentium and a 550 ti.


I agree, I think my cousin would rather SLI the 550Ti's instead of getting something new altogether because he barely used it in his old build due to bottlenecking. As for my friend, he'll need to get something new. I figured a $100-200 card would be enough for what he wants but I still have to look and compare cards in that price range.

Also, doesn't the 7850 need "at least" a 500 watt power supply?
January 20, 2013 3:13:55 PM

The 550 ti's actually scale pretty well. They are slightly worse than a 660 ti. The only problem is you will on have a 1gb memory buffer. But if you are on one monitor it should be just fine. Its always better to have one strong card, but if you already have 1 then it makes sense.
January 20, 2013 9:19:31 PM

blake1243 said:
The 550 ti's actually scale pretty well. They are slightly worse than a 660 ti. The only problem is you will on have a 1gb memory buffer. But if you are on one monitor it should be just fine. Its always better to have one strong card, but if you already have 1 then it makes sense.

Yeah we all only game on one monitor. For my friend though, I agree the 7850 is best, but I remember seeing somewhere that it requires at least a 500 watt power supply? I'm personally very satisfied with the builds, save for the less important parts like hdd and ram, but I just want to verify the power supply. Other than that I think we've got our builds!
January 21, 2013 3:51:16 PM

Kevdo said:
I appreciate the suggestion Bob, but the thing is - as blake1243 pointed out - I'd like to build something that will last a year, two maybe three before it needs an upgrade. My friends aren't as nitpicky about graphics as I am, so mid-range cards will be more than enough for what they want, but the longer their build can last the better.

At first glance the PNY RAM was preferable but then I realized it was clocked @ 1333. Can it overclock to 1600? Not too knowledgeable on that aspect of RAM.



I agree, I think my cousin would rather SLI the 550Ti's instead of getting something new altogether because he barely used it in his old build due to bottlenecking. As for my friend, he'll need to get something new. I figured a $100-200 card would be enough for what he wants but I still have to look and compare cards in that price range.

Also, doesn't the 7850 need "at least" a 500 watt power supply?



The clock speed of the ram will not make that big of a difference, and blake, i must say you are correct, I did not have sli in mind at all, and as for the processor, i mentioned that he could upgrade to an i3 if he wishes to do so, but i didn't see any room for that considering the total price was very close to $500
!