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Old 02-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Hello all - I'm new to the forums as a member, though I have been reading them for some time and have found them extremely valuable.

I'm looking for some assistance with a new build I'm tackling. I'm trying to put together the best gaming PC for $500. Yes, I know, that's not much to work with for a gaming machine, so it is a challenge. I'm not necessarily looking for top of the line, just something that will work well with most games, World of Warcraft, Left 4 Dead, CSL:Source, etc. I'd like to have the settings up reasonably high, but given my price range I understand I might have to make a few sacrifices.

So here's the deal: Looking to spend $500 or less (I'm willing to go over a few bucks, but not much) on a complete PC Desktop base unit. I do not need the peripherals like a monitor, keyboard, mouse, O/S, etc. Just the base unit and all its components. These items would include:

Case
Power Supply
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Hard Drive
DVDRW
Video Card

The system can be pre-built, or constructed by me (assuming you pick parts that actually function together correctly). Feel free to link the websites/prices/etc.

As for my needs, it would include all the basics of course, with the added requirement that it play current games at reasonably high settings. I don't need a $300 video card, and I'm well aware there are plenty in the $75-125 range that will do the work I need. I'm crippling myself with the price limit and wanting a gaming machine, but that's what makes it a challenge. The first submission I received is shown below (prices shown after applicable rebates). I call on your skills fellow builders, to help me top this one. I apologize they are not links, but I'm pretty sure they're all from Newegg and prices are accurate.
  • Case/Power: Raidmax Smilodon ATX-612WBP ATX Mid-Tower with 500W Power Supply - $70
  • CPU: Intel Core Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8Ghz LGA775 - $119
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3r LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX - $105
  • RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel - $55
  • Video Card: Sapphire 100248L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x 16 HDCP Ready Crossfire Supported - $60
  • Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache - $75
  • DVDRW: LG 22X DVD+/-R GH22NS30 - OEM - $25
Total: $510

Thanks in advance to anyone who gives me a hand!
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Word of advice, don't use a psu that comes with a case, especially raidmax. My cousin used a psu from his raidmax case, then 2 years later it fried. Smoke rolled up, crackling noises and killed his motherboard.

This is a good one:
Newegg.com - PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

To be honest that build you have there is fantastic. I would suggest changing the Case/power with a $50 psu (rosewill makes a couple nice ones) and a cheapo $25 case. I'll give you some links when I get home from work.

Other than that, I'm not sure you can do any better then the build you posted.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default

That's actually a pretty solid setup there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt7sanremo View Post
Word of advice, don't use a psu that comes with a case, especially raidmax. My cousin used a psu from his raidmax case, then 2 years later it fried. Smoke rolled up, crackling noises and killed his motherboard.

This is a good one:
Newegg.com - PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies
2 years later? I'm sure in 2 years he could probably get a new PSU, once he gets a little more money, and be fine with this one, until then.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Yea but a psu should never do that. A psu should be able to at least last 4 or 5 years.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by SapperX View Post
I would suggest changing the Case/power with a $50 psu (rosewill makes a couple nice ones) and a cheapo $25 case. I'll give you some links when I get home from work.
I would appreciate that - one of the things I've had trouble with is the case/psu portion. Some of the cases I've looked at really don't matchup with the rear ports available on the motherboard. I'm starting to think I'll need to essentially cut out some of the metal backplane of the case to reveal all the ports available.

The consensus seems to be the rest of the build is solid, no one spots anything that could be improved upon in this price range?
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

^ There is no need to cut out anything for the ports. What you're looking at, in the back, is just the generic I/O plate for the case. That thing pops out and a specific I/O plate will come with your motherboard to replace it for all the ports and such.
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt7sanremo View Post
^ There is no need to cut out anything for the ports. What you're looking at, in the back, is just the generic I/O plate for the case. That thing pops out and a specific I/O plate will come with your motherboard to replace it for all the ports and such.
Ahhh, see you can tell it's been a while since I built one. Some of the rear panels of the cases appeared to have removable I/O portions, while others seems to be one solid sheet of metal with holes cut out, so I was concerned. If cases all have removable portions that can be replaced, I'm good to go with whatever case assuming the components fit.

I'm itching to pull the trigger and order the parts, but I'll give this thread some time to see if anyone else has feedback or changes to the config. I'll check back later this evening.

Thanks all so far for the advice. Keep it coming I appreciate it!
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

Newegg.com - ARK SR-8100BG Beige Pedestal Server Case 7 External 5.25" Drive Bays - Server Chassis
Newegg.com - Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
Newegg.com - SILVERSTONE ST400 400W ATX 12V 2.2 Power Supply - Power Supplies
Newegg.com - POWERCOLOR AX4830 512MD3-H Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives
Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners

Graphics cards are non of my business but that one seems good. If you are not sure about the PSU then for $50 there is a 430W antec earthwatts or a 420W PC P&C for $60.
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: $500 Build Challenge - Advice please

^ You gave him a slower processor and a smaller hdd. The build he has already is fine. Except for the power supply, which I already recommended a good one.

Only thing he could change on his build is the HD3850, he could spend an extra $10 for a 9600gt:
Newegg.com - MSI N9600GT-T2D512-OC GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
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