Gaming rig on strict budget, need component advice. First time builder

Hello all. I'm looking for help and advice on my first build.


BUDGET RANGE: $650, maybe $700 (if I can talk my wife into it, she's not giving a lot of room to work with). This is for the systems main hardware componants, not the OS, mouse, etc.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, EQ2 and WoW are about it really, though I do have a number of other games, but those are the two I am on most. Web browsing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Need everything as I got rid of my last PC when the family moved. For this post though I'm not concerned with covering the OS, mouse, keyboard, or monitor. Just the main componants of the system itself.



PARTS PREFERENCES: I prefer AMD/ATI for CPU and GPU. From what I understand they offer the best "bang for buck". Here's what I'm looking at getting as a whole:

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
This seems like a decent case with reletively good airflow.

Motherboard: MSI 790X-G45 AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
I am looking at this mobo because it has an AM3 socket for cpu upgrades down the road if necessary, as well as DDR3 since DDR2 seems to be going out the door.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor
I really like the looks of this processor. From what I understand, most games (not all) only utilize two cores, thus this CPU would give two cores for the game, and another for the OS, or so I have read. Also the price fits my budget perfectly.

PSU: BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100258-1GHDMI Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
Now this is where my budget is really showing. I would like to have something more powerful, but the price fits my budget perfectly. I am not concerned with DX11 or I would have considered the 5750, but from what I've read the 4850 is more powerful (correct me if I'm wrong.) Also, I know it will run the two games I play most at max settings easily.

RAM: GeIL Black Dragon 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500)
After reading up on GeIL the brand seems decent enough.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
It's cheap, WD seems to have a good reputation, and the reviews are great for the most part.

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe LightScribe Support
It's cheap, and again has good reviews.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably as I learn more about it. OC'd CPU before, but have never tried GPU.

CROSSFIRE: Possibly in time, if it seems like it will boost performance enough to justify purchasing a second card. If it came to that though I would probably just upgrade to a single, more powerful card when my budget would allow for it.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Probably 22" at 1680x1050.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is my first solo build, so I am looking for all the advice I can get. Is this decent, or will it all utterly fail? My budget is super tight, so I am very limited as to what I can get which is really making me struggle. I want the best performance possible for my money. For my past two pc's I've go to a local shop in town and tell them what I want to do and they order and build for me. This time I'm going solo to cut costs, so anyone with experience, please comment and tell me how (if possible) to improve what I am shooting for.
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. For references:


    Recommended: Windows® 2000/XP/Vista, Pentium® 4 2 Ghz or greater, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 9 Compatible video card. Pixel shader and vertex shader compatible hardware with 128MB of texture memory or greater, DirectSound compatible audio hardware, Broadband Internet Connection, 16x DVD-ROM, 10GB Hard Drive Space.


    Recommended: Dual-core processor, such as the Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2
    Recommended: 1 GB RAM (2 GB for Vista users)
    Recommended: 3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM Such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT class card or better;jsessionid=EF6839D3C

    So yeah, your build will run either game hands down and even 2 copies of each. The bottleneck would be your network. Maybe throttle all other traffic but the 2 games. :D If your router supports QoS.
  2. Nojah, what a great looking setup for a great price. I found this interesting that you are wanting to build a computer for the same price range as myself and you only just posted this today haha. You did amazing in your research, I was looking at +800 everytime. Only thing i've heard is a full tower is best for the room it provides. Plus, can always use for future computers. Esp for first time builders like myself. My email is

    We can swap ideas if you would like. Good luck!
  3. Looks good. I would suggest picking up a spinpoint f3 instead of a caviar blue.

    It performs faster for a mere $7 with it's newer 500gb platter. Not to mention the fact that it does have 500gb :D. Even if you don't need all that space, a good investment without wrecking your budget.

    EDIT: noticed your memory is deactivated. G.skill ECOs have tight timings, a low voltage, and are decently cheap.
  4. Antec cases do not include a system speaker. You can get a small motherboard speaker here:

    The first part of this thread contains a checklist:
    Take a look at it while you are waiting for your parts to arrive. It may keep you from making noobish mistakes.
  5. If you don't mind buying from other sites, here's a good deal on a Sapphire 4870 -$147
  6. I'd like to thank everyone for their quick reply's and good ideas. I know it's taking time out of your day to answer questions for other people and giving advice which I appreciate.
  7. I finally ordered all my main components and wanted to give an update on what I got:

    NZXT GAMMA Classic Series Case - $29.99

    BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 PSU - $49.99

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (mbox)/XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 Combo - $343.98

    Sony Optiarc Black Drive - $25.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB Ram - $94.99

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P Mobo - $79.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HDD - $54.99

    Total price came to $679.92 before shipping, so it fit perfect in my desired budget. Got a decent quad-core and nice gpu combo, instead of the Phenom x3 720, so I can run my two main games no prob, with the ability to play a lot of other newer games if I want, so I really cant complain. The case isn't what I originally wanted, but it's still pretty decent, though I did pick up four extra case fans for it since it only comes with one. No biggie though. Prices seem to change overnight on newegg, which is kind of irritating. The x3 went from something like $125, to $140, to now $156. For a reasonable 10 bucks more why not go for a faster clocked quad? The 4890 is more powerful than the 4850 so I swapped out to a cheaper single pci-e slot mobo rather than a dual slotter. I could have gone 4850 xfire down the road, but prefer just to run a single more powerful card. And as I stated before, I'm not worried about DX11 so I opted not to go with a 57XX series card. So all in all I'm pretty pleased with my purchase, an I think it will do me just fine. These forums have really aided me in researching everything to make sure I got my money's worth. Thanks again.
  8. nojah said:
    Prices seem to change overnight on newegg, which is kind of irritating. The x3 went from something like $125, to $140, to now $156. For a reasonable 10 bucks more why not go for a faster clocked quad? .

    I think that is the reason for the price increase - AMD is probably not getting enough bad core chips to relabel as the 720 (figure the manufacturing process is improving the longer th ey run it - so is having to disable cores on perfectly good chips (I know the 720 I bought in the begining of DEC. has a perfectly stable 4th core !) -and so they figure the price is too low on that chip so they raise the price to get more people to get the quad instead thus reducing the demand for the triple core.
  9. Best answer
    You should be happy with that. It's a nice build.
  10. why choose the ATI over Geforce? It seems that ATI cards break down a lot and are made out of lesser quality material. Granted, i have not come close to reading A LOT about it, but the research I have done and by the reviews of products, that seemed to give me impression. I hear the 9800 gtx from nvidia is supposed to be fanatastic, and the 250 is the same card, slighty greater frequency but that's it. Your thoughts? I'd also like a full tower for my first time build just so my cable managment may not be the best and I would like plenty of ventalation in the case. Also, simply more room to maneuver the components.

    Your build does look sweet though. That computer for that budget is crazy and it's nice to see I can get a great PC w/o dishing out mass amounts of $$. Keep us updated on your thoughts on putting it together man! Best of luck.

    p.s. What two games are you mainly going to play?
  11. Gl with your power supply. BFG isn't known for quality psus. The reviews aren't that good either. Would've went with OCZ...great customer service.

    Other than the ps, your build is solid.
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