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Low-Budget Gaming PC

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January 30, 2013 5:43:01 AM

Hi all. I am really starting to get frustrated with my current computer, an Optiplex GX620. The last straw was when I tried to run a BROWSER game and couldn't because I needed pixel shader 3.0. So I'm looking at the possibility of upgrading my graphics card or my computer as a whole. My question is, is it better to build a computer from a barebones kit, piece by piece, or should I just buy a few upgrades for mine?

I don't need to run anything high-end on souped-up graphics, I just want to actually be able to run things. My budget is around $300, though cheaper is always better. One thing I was looking at was buying this kit http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... and then buying a 500GB hard drive and an ATI Radeon HD 4670 card to go with it. That would bring me up to about $200 for all of it, not including shipping. Would this be adequate to run modern games, or is it too cheap?

By the way, my specs on my current computer are:
Dual Core Intel Pentium D 2.66 GHz processor
2.5GB RAM (upgraded)
ATI Radeon X600 256MB
280W PSU

More about : low budget gaming

January 30, 2013 6:26:57 AM

You can throw out your DELL cause it can't be upgraded. DELL made it as a blender or any other kitchen device - there's no upgrade path.
And that kit looks good. But I would advise you to go for a 1155 socket, AMD is more for playing games only, while Intel i series is for performance and multitasking.
What about this : http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
And you can buy a low end or no video card if you only use the computer for work and work. It'll have the intel HD graphics which can even play some good games.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 6:32:55 AM

Hi. I don't think it's worth upgrading a few parts. That kit doesn't include a CPU and it will probably cost you more than $300 with a graphics card. Here's a potential build for that budget below. If your maximum budget is higher, you can get 8GB RAM or get the A10 or a different build altogether depending on the budget. Feel free to make changes as you'd like.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A55M-E33 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($46.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Gamma Classic (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $308.93
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 03:26 EST-0500)

Here's a building guide: http://techreport.com/review/23624/how-to-build-a-pc-th...
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 6:43:54 AM

^ +1
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ztt3
More wattage and just as good quality for cheaper (after mir)
Spend up to get the 8gb of ram otherwise you will be severly bottlnenecked a apu
The cheapest 2x4gb kits come out to about 38 bucks right now
You can also reuse your disk drive and case as well as HDD (slow HDD can ruin experience so might be a good idea to get a new faster one)
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 7:36:28 AM

Here's two builds for you, an AMD solution and if you can push the budget a little, an intel build.

AMD

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($114.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A55M-E33 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($46.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($16.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.78 @ Compuvest)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $297.73
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 04:34 EST-0500)

Intel

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($68.76 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($16.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.78 @ Compuvest)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($96.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $346.49
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 04:36 EST-0500)
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January 30, 2013 2:58:40 PM

Thanks for the input guys. 4GB of RAM does seem pretty low though and getting an 8GB bundle wouldn't be that much more. How do these builds look?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/At7G

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6100 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 880GMS-E41 (FX) Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($48.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6450 1GB Video Card ($32.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $331.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 11:57 EST-0500)

I wish it were a little cheaper though...

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Atc6

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 260 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI 880GMS-E41 (FX) Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($48.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6450 1GB Video Card ($32.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($39.98 @ Amazon)
Total: $279.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 12:06 EST-0500)

Cheaper version.

My HD is really not worth putting into the new computer. It's only 75GB. My monitor will work though, so far as I know. Will I have to buy a new sound card, optical drive, CPU cooler, or case?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 6:24:12 PM

I went with 4GB since your budget is very small and you can add more in the future. You don't need a sound card. My guess is your current optical drive doesn't use SATA so you'll need a new one. You don't need the CPU cooler but you will need new case. The first build (FX-6100) isn't bad but you will go over the budget with an optical drive and case. The second build (X2 260) isn't worth going with. The important question is do you plan or are willing to continue upgrading the build in the future? Also what modern game titles are you looking to play?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 6:48:30 PM

This gets you an AMD APU that can play games at 720p at medium settings. It has a decent cpu you can pair with higher end graphics later. I would just reuse your old case but may have to grab a new optical drive if your old one is IDE. Getting an optical drive would peg it at $300
I went with the antec Neo Eco because after a $20 rebate, it is the cheapest decent power supply right now at $30
The HD6450 you selected for your builds above cannot play games above 720p low for sure (it has similar spec to a HD2600 I have running in my brothers comp)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A55M-E33 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($46.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 620W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $287.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 15:45 EST-0500)
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January 30, 2013 9:01:46 PM

Actually, I looked it up and it looks like my computer does have a SATA drive, so that bit is good. Also, do I need to buy a case new or is it ok to buy refurbished/used?

@stickmansam
That build looks pretty good, but it doesn't include a video card, so after buying that it would be a little pricey.

How does this one look?
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 3.2GHz Triple-Core Processor ($64.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: MSI 760GM-P21 (FX) Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ Mwave)
Memory: Corsair 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($96.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 620W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $315.93
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 18:01 EST-0500)

Or I could get http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... and upgrade the video card and HDD. That would give me the same specs as the above, except with a 450W power supply and an extra 4GB of RAM, but at roughly $270 including case.

@johnsonjohnson
I am willing to upgrade this build, though I'd rather not have to do it any time soon. It would be nice to have that ability though. As for game titles, I do mostly online gaming, so nothing too demanding. The really high-end games I can just play on my PS3. Basically I'd like to be able to run (even if it's on low graphics) games made around 2010/2011 maybe? Excluding games like Battlefield 3 or Crysis which you need a pretty nice computer for.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 9:36:25 PM

You can buy a used or refurbished case but make sure it's not missing anything you need. The A8-5600K is an APU which has an integrated graphics processor so there's no need to buy a graphics card. The Intel processors also have integrated graphic processors which is the reason why I asked if you would be willing to add (a discrete graphics card) to the build down the road and what games you are looking to play. I don't think you want to go with the Athlon II X3 when you can go with the APUs, Intel Pentium/i3, etc. are better gaming processors. The HD 7770 is a very capable graphics card and a far cry from the HD 4670 you mentioned. And the G860 won't bottleneck it. Also the rebate on the Antec PSU (and Corsair CX430) will end soon so if you don't order it by then, the CX430 will probably be the less expensive PSU to go with.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($68.76 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($57.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($96.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 620W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $337.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-30 18:32 EST-0500)
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January 30, 2013 11:05:06 PM

johnsonjohnson said:
You can buy a used or refurbished case but make sure it's not missing anything you need. The A8-5600K is an APU which has an integrated graphics processor so there's no need to buy a graphics card. The Intel processors also have integrated graphic processors which is the reason why I asked if you would be willing to add (a discrete graphics card) to the build down the road and what games you are looking to play. I don't think you want to go with the Athlon II X3 when you can go with the APUs, Intel Pentium/i3, etc. are better gaming processors. The HD 7770 is a very capable graphics card and a far cry from the HD 4670 you mentioned. And the G860 won't bottleneck it. Also the rebate on the Antec PSU (and Corsair CX430) will end soon so if you don't order it by then, the CX430 will probably be the less expensive PSU to go with.


Ah ok, I hadn't realized it had a built-in card. But how good are those integrated processors compared with a card? Also, what makes a processor like the G860 better than the Athlon II X3 for gaming? The G860 looks very similar to what I have already, same GHz and all. I'm not super knowledgeable about this, so sorry if I'm asking dumb questions.
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January 30, 2013 11:11:44 PM

I'm not sure if you will have the same success in the states but I just bought the following machine off ebay for £100 ($158)
Q6600 intel quad (on a decent asus p5n-d board)
4GB 800mhz RAM (crucial as well)
500gb SATA drive
LG lightscribe SATA DVDRW
Geforce 8800GT (bit crap but could replace this easy)
In a nice case with a 19inch TFT and wireless logitech keyboard and mouse. Now that's cheap!

Alright it's old but if you're on a mega budget like me then second hand might be the way forward!
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2013 11:27:40 PM

dragearen said:
Ah ok, I hadn't realized it had a built-in card. But how good are those integrated processors compared with a card? Also, what makes a processor like the G860 better than the Athlon II X3 for gaming? The G860 looks very similar to what I have already, same GHz and all. I'm not super knowledgeable about this, so sorry if I'm asking dumb questions.


The integrated card in the a8 5600k would be comparable to a 6550 and the one inthe a10 5800k is like a 6570/6670

The g850 (the 860 is currently cheaper and faster) is a dual core sandy bridge whcih is alot faster even with the same mhz due to improvements in archetecutre

Yes if you aren't buying soon get the corsair 430w instead

I agree with john's build but with a $20-30 increase in budget you can get the 650ti after MIR for $12 and 4gb more of ram for $14 and a seagte 500gb whcih I beleive is faster than the WD for like $3
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February 3, 2013 7:32:01 AM

Well, I think I'll go with your build johnson. I like the AMD A8 idea, but it's more expensive in the long run (albeit with a slightly better processor for games that have multi-core support), and the 7770 just looks too good to pass up. One real quick question though, does that particular motherboard matter or would it be alright to grab a slightly cheaper one?

Thanks for your help everyone!
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2013 5:00:37 PM

I'm assuming you meant the MSI B75MA-E33 above? Any B75 motherboard would do but I think that is currently the cheapest one. The price is actually $53 right now from both Newegg and Amazon. And that MSI HD 7770 is now $90 after rebate from Micro Center.
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February 3, 2013 8:03:19 PM

Best answer selected by dragearen.
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