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Old 04-11-2009, 06:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need advice on 1st time budget build

Hello, I am a first time computer builder (finally got motivated when my old clunker Compaq finally died on me) and would like some advice on my current build.

Unfortunately I am a fairly poor college student on a budget, so I am looking for a build around $600-700. I am not what one would call a “hardcore” gamer, but I do like to play computer games and would like a build that won’t go out of date too fast so I won’t be able to play newer games over the lifetime of the system. I should also note that I probably wont buy anything bigger then a 19” or 20” LCD monitor due to my budget so I won’t be playing at really high resolutions. Other than gaming, I will mainly be using it for general use (internet, word, etc..), watching movies/videos, and maybe even some light video/image editing.

Anyways, here are the two builds I am considering right now.

Build 1

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

Motherboard: GIGABYTE LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU & Motherboard Combo - $250 after MIR
Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTS 250 512MB – $115 after MIR + CoD: WaW
Newegg.com - ASUS ENGTS250 DK/HTDI/512MD3 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 - $60 after MIR
Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies

Case: RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WEB 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower - $55 after MIR
Newegg.com - RAIDMAX SMILODON Extreme Black ATX-612WEB 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case - Computer Cases

Ram: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 - $45 after MIR
Newegg.com - CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - $70
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

Total: ~$630 with shipping and MIR


Build 2

Same as above except switch CPU, GPU, and Mobo with;

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz Quad Core

Video Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 512MB

CPU & GPU combo: $295 after MIR
Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

Motherboard: GIGABYTE AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - $110
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards

Total: ~660 after shipping and MIR


Which build would you consider better? As far as I can tell, I will be getting a better video card with the 2nd build and a quad core, but I'm a generally not a huge fan of AMD and I've heard only good things about the E8400 so I am unsure about the CPU in Option 2. Just not sure which one I should go with. I could also switch the X4 920 with a X3 720 to save a little money, but the savings would only be like $15 with the bundle and I figured it was worth it to get an extra core (unless the X3 720 is better, I've heard good things about it).

I would also like some general advice on the build. Does everything seem to be compatible and a good value? Are the parts from good brand names? Any advice, recommend changes, or warnings on any piece of the build would be greatly appreciated. This is my first build and I just want to make sure 1) I don't screw up lol and 2) I get the best bang for my buck given my budget.

Thanks in advance for any advice. I stumbled on this forum awhile ago when I first started thinking about building a new computer and it's been a great help so far :happy:
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

Both builds look good. If you're more into gaming alone, I would go for the E8400. It will perform faster compared to a quad in gaming. Also note that an E8400 can overclock like crazy. You should maybe upgrade the video card too, like a 4870.

If you want to be more future proof, I'd say go with the X4 920. The X3 720 is also good, and can overclock pretty well.

And for memory I'd get these instead:
Newegg.com - OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Or this:
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

I'm just not a fan of them XMS series, I've heard of too many problems with them.
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

Thanks, I think I am going to go with the Radeon 4870 regardless of the build, just seems to be worth the extra money.

As for the RAM, I was actually looking at Fry's Electronics and saw 4GB Crucial DDR2 1066 (PC2-8500) RAM for cheap after a rebate.
FRYS.com*|*DDR2 4GB PC8500 KIT CRUCIAL

Was thinking about going with that as I have heard good things about Crucial memory. Would that be a better choice?

Still going back and forth with the processor though XD
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

i would reccomend the intel, much better for gaming.
After playing on my mates intel and my amd i am myself looking for a intel chip (also they have more o'c capability )
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

On a 19" or 20" monitor the processor will have no effect. I would definitely go with the AMD build because of the quad-core. You'll get more out of it in the future over a dual-core in video editing and photo editing.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

I am glad you have done some research well done for that you get a free ride :

BIOSTAR TFORCE 790GX
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz
Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800
PC Power & Cooling 610W Continuous
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
RAIDMAX SMILODON Extreme Black (personally think that is fugly but each to there own in the same price range I would reccomend the antec 300)
ASUS Radeon HD 4870 512MB

total $717 minus 105 in mail in rebates

Get this cpu cooler aswell for an extra $25 its worth it though
XIGMAT 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on 1st time budget build

I've used that Corsair ram twice and had RMA's both times. Go with the OCZ or G.Skill as mentioned above - you won't regret it!
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