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Gaming computer + Copy of Windows 7 for under $550?

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March 6, 2013 5:42:13 AM

Hi guys,

Thanks for reading and offering your advice. I am in the process of building a new system and I need some insights.



Approximate purchase date: soon; as soon as I sell an already completed build

Budget range: $550.00 or less

System usage from most to least important: gaming, high definition media, online business, web surfing

Buying a monitor: no

Parts to upgrade: 500 GB Western Digital Blue

Location: Rockford, Illinois, United States

Overclocking: yes

SLI or CrossfireX: no

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional comments: Please, no SSDs. I need to buy a copy of Windows 7, or 8, respectively. Preference for black and blue colors, lights, etc. If an aftermarket heat sink could be added to the build, that would be great! Thanks again everyone!

P.S. I have a $550 budget build in my Amazon wish list as follows: (I simply want help to see if I can get more bang for my buck)

All Items will be purchased with Amazon Free Super Saver Shipping...

$ 54.00 ... Azza Mid Tower Computer Case Triton 401 (Black)
$ 46.25 ... VisionTek 650 Watts Internal PC Power Supply - Silver Chassis (900347)
$110.47 ... MSI 990XA-GD55 AM3+ DDR3 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$105.00 ... AMD FX 6100 6-Core Processor, 3.3 6 Socket AM3+ - FD6100WMGUSBX
$ 46.40 ... Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ8GX3M1A1600​C10)
$ 90.00 ... MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/Displa​yPort PCI-Express Video Card R7770-PMD1GD5 (Refurbished)
$ 16.56 ... Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive - Bulk - IHAS124-04 Version C (Black)
$ 89.98 ... Windows 7 or 8
$558.66 (total)

If I only need to do some "trimming down" to keep the price down or have the system more less "bottle necked" (but keep most of the current hardware) I would really appreciate the extra thought you put into this build, once again, thank you for any help. ;) 
March 6, 2013 5:51:22 AM

That PSU is CRAP.
The fx-6100 isn't very good compared to its brother the fx-6300.
That case isn't very good.
Spending too much on motherboard.

Do this:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-GL Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($67.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Radioactive 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $551.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-06 02:50 EST-0500)

It is decently better.
Looks like you already have an HDD?
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March 6, 2013 6:04:03 AM

Yeah, I already have an HDD, is there a case for the same price that has cable routing features? I know that the CM Elite 430 has no cable routing options in it.
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March 6, 2013 6:18:57 AM

Thanks
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March 6, 2013 1:54:19 PM

That case isn't the best,but it would work. Look at Corsair, Antec, Coolermaster, NZXT.
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March 6, 2013 2:06:26 PM

jarblater said:
Additional comments: Please, no SSDs.

Anyone who tells you to put an SSD in a gaming computer with a $550 budget including OS is an idiot, and you shouldn't listen to what they say.

Quote:
$ 46.25 ... VisionTek 650 Watts Internal PC Power Supply - Silver Chassis (900347)

Stick tot he nicer brands. A 650W PSU for $45 is definitely knocking on the door of "too good to be true." Most good 500W units cost that much, and top of the line 400-450W units can easily pass that mark. That said, 500W would be plenty for this kind of computer, so there's really no need to actually spend any more money here, just need a different brand.

Quote:
$ 46.40 ... Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ8GX3M1A1600​C10)

Absolutely do not buy a single stick of memory. You need a dual channel kit, using only a single kit will cut your memory bandwidth exactly in half. Since AMD has a crap memory controller, this is a really big deal.

Quote:
$ 90.00 ... MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/Displa​yPort PCI-Express Video Card R7770-PMD1GD5 (Refurbished)
If at all possible, you want to spend way more money here. This is the single most important component in your computer. Shooting for the <$100 price point is going to get you crap performance.

Quote:
$ 16.56 ... Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive - Bulk - IHAS124-04 Version C (Black)

A handy trick if you've got another computer and an 8GB+ flash drive is just omitting the DVD drive. Personally, I almost never use optical media, so when I do, I just rip the disc on another computer, mount the image on the flash drive and install from there. A bit of a hassle, but can direct a little more money to the much needed GPU upgrade.

Another great trick for saving money on building computers, if you have access to it, is the MSDNAA. It's a program Microsoft runs that gives free software (including Windows) to college students. If you're in college, you can ask your adviser if the school participates, and if so get an account. Would save you $90 bucks on Windows, and is totally and completely legal.
[/quotemsg]
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March 6, 2013 4:50:59 PM

In respect to the power supply suggestions, I have a 650 watt PSU that cost me $23.95 running an Athlon II x4 620 @ 3.15, GeForce GTS 450, 320 GB Western Digital Blue, 880GMS E41, 8 GB Corsair Vengeance, optical drive and a case fan. Is this proper bang for buck? How many watts is it actually using in that system (assuming all the parts are at full load at the same time, albeit unrealistic)
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March 6, 2013 6:23:10 PM

No. I wouldn't touch that PSU with a 10 foot pole. What is the brand. Chances are it makes less than 400w.
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March 7, 2013 3:13:46 PM

jarblater said:
In respect to the power supply suggestions, I have a 650 watt PSU that cost me $23.95

Remove that thing from your computer ASAP. That is about as low quality as it gets. You've taken all the most expensive components in your computer and connected their most delicate circuits directly to the lowest quality, least reliable component you can find. And yes, bad PSUs can actually damage components when they fail by providing power levels far outside tolerances. I'd say the chances of your PSU falling within tolerances are precisely zero. It's rare for components to be damaged, but you should be aware that you're risking all the components in your computer to save $20 (that you'll have to spend anyway when the PSU inevitably dies).

Quote:
How many watts is it actually using in that system (assuming all the parts are at full load at the same time, albeit unrealistic)

With low quality PSUs, it's really not about how much power your system draws, although that will kill them faster. The problem is that the PSU used the lowest quality parts imaginable to get the price point that low. The other PSUs aren't marked up because they're name brand, they actually cost more because they're made correctly.

I cannot state this strongly enough. Do not buy cheap power supplies. They will die, and you will have to replace them. Your two choices are to replace your crap PSU with another crap PSU every 6-12 months, hoping that in the process you don't damage your other components, or you can spend less money by buying something that isn't guaranteed to fail.

Easy choice in my book.
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March 8, 2013 4:15:29 AM

Okay, advice taken, but for now, I have absolutely NO spending money until this system sells, so I'm kind of screwed.

I did some research on the PSU brand, and all I can find on them is stuff about their older 650 watt PSU. Apparently the older model had no forms of protection what so ever, it got alot of bad reviews and nobody liked it. Though when I was trying to find stuff on their new model, all I can find is info from the Ebay link I bought it from. Apparently it is fully loaded with protections. My assumption is that this brand is actually some person, or group of people, respectively, making these PSUs in their garage/basement/etc.
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March 8, 2013 5:42:41 AM

Quote:
Sorry to be THAT GUY, but why the hell would you pay for windows..? Especially a now older version.

Uh... because that's the legal way to get it. :pfff: 
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Best solution

March 8, 2013 12:25:38 PM

Quote:
LOL LEGAL


We do not support pirating OS's here at Tom's. Please do not suggest that.
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March 8, 2013 2:23:26 PM

Quote:
Sorry to be THAT GUY, but why the hell would you pay for windows..? Especially a now older version.

Please familiarize yourself with the forum rules.
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March 9, 2013 8:55:05 AM

Best answer selected by jarblater.
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March 9, 2013 11:10:04 AM

I decided to get a new, bigger HDD, and this is the build I'm going with:


PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/IwES
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/IwES/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/IwES/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($122.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Biostar H77MU3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z5 ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $575.89
($555.90)

I subtracted $19.99 from the total because I am going to use my friend's 64 bit Windows 7 disc to install Windows 7, and then I am going to purchase Windows 8 from Microsoft via a student deal for $69.99... Unless I need an already existing code of authenticity for that upgrade to work? Would anybody like to clarify?

(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-09 08:09 EST-0500)
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March 9, 2013 3:55:44 PM

You need an activated version of windows installed on your computer with a registered CD key to be able to do an upgrade install to 8.
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March 9, 2013 6:29:57 PM

I know with older versions of Windows you could actually do a full install with an upgrade copy by installing full without a key, then running the upgrade from the unactivated copy of Windows (at least I think that's what you had to do, I never did it myself). Not sure if this is officially sanctioned, or if it even still works.
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