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Help With Upgradable 500 Dollar Starting Rig (For Gaming)

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I'll start by saying that I don't have any real intention of playing games at massive full screen resolutions. So even though I'm buying a (relatively) small HD monitor, that's not a huge factor. I don't expect to be able to play everything at their highest settings, this is meant to be a starting rig. Something upgradable since I need a new PC pretty soon.

My current PC is an AGP thing I've been keeping alive for years (I've gone through about five power supplies and four graphics cards). It's an hp pavilion a523x, and can't even support SSE2 games. It has an AGP Radeon HD 4650 in it, which is a huge bottleneck, but it did breathe some new life into the thing. Unfortunately that little purchase was a waste since multiple components are on the verge of death and I of course won't be able to use it in a new PC.

But anyway, what I'm looking for is to either build an entirely new rig, or buy a prebuilt PC cheaper than 500 bucks, and use whatever is left over to throw in a new power supply and GPU if that's an option. I've been looking around and doing a lot of research, but I think I'm at the point where I should ask for advice on this whole thing. Skyrim can wait (Or at the very least be played at medium settings), I'll be good with playing Second Life until I can upgrade a bit more (I currently cannot, as they recently had updates which requires a processor with SSE2). I'd also like to play Portal 2 and, hopefully, The Old Republic.

As far as processors go, anything that supports Corel (The art program), Photoshop, and yeah, generally any processor intensive art programs. I'm not sure if Blender is more processor or GPU, or both, but it's a 3D editing program. I can currently use it on this PC, but it bogs down the more complex things get.

But yeah, just keep in mind future upgrades, anything that can hold me off for a few months and be capable of being awesome as I upgrade it. I'll also accept suggestions for anything prebuilt that fits my criteria without requiring upgrades, but I somehow don't see that as being possible (I've looked quite hard).

Links to suggested components/desktops appreciated, thanks!
Edited by MagnesV - 2/14/12 at 8:57pm
post #2 of 48
I think you will have to get it used if your limit is 350 USD. Even with mediocre parts, a whole entire computer from scratch is still a good chunk of money new.
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post #3 of 48
I'm not too knowledgeable on motherboards, but I can help with the other stuff.

To the TC, just how much are you replacing? Like, is it only the main PC internals (motherboard, RAM, CPU, GPU, PSU) or some of the extras as well (case, hard drive, DVD drive, mouse, keyboard, monitor).


As for the CPU, TC said his doesn't even have SSE2 support, so it's extremely likely that he's running a Pentium 3 or an Athlon XP.

To put it into perspective, even the slowest Sandy Bridge, the single core Celeron G440, would be at LEAST twice as fast, and even THREE TIMES as fast isn't out of the question. Also it obviously would be massively upgradable since, it being the slowest model, you can only go up from there.

Since any LGA 1155 CPU should be leaps & bounds faster, I'd recommend putting together everything else and THEN choosing the CPU that fits your left-over budget.


Also, since I'm pretty sure no Pentium 3 nor Athlon XP mobo supports over 2GB of RAM, it's very likely 4GB of RAM will be more than enough for your needs. Even just two sticks of 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 should be plenty.


For budget GPUs, this article by Tom's Hardware is all you need (though budget GPUs are currently a bit few & far between since we're transitioning GPU generations):
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

Also, the Antec EA-380D is one of the few non-crappy budget power supplies (and even has a 6-pin connector) - just note that you'd need a more powerful PSU if you want it to handle higher-end GPUs:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371033
Edited by Nintendo Maniac 64 - 2/14/12 at 6:28pm
 
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post #4 of 48
Thread Starter 
Well, good news is that now my budget seems to be 500 bucks. I'm not upgrading this current computer because it's complete crap now and only supports two processors (Two very old Athlons). But your post really does put things into perspective. My processor is so old I can't even properly view a Silverlight video.

Since my budget is 500 bucks, I'm seriously considering just getting a prebuilt Cyberpower PC, though they seem to have rather low service reviews from what I've seen on PCWorld, not sure how true that is. While I'm also rather sure that I could build something quite nice myself for 500, this would be my first full build and I'm not sure if I should risk the money building a system until I already have a reliable PC to fall back on, if that makes any sense.

I know prebuilt things are often frowned upon (And I can certainly see why, having seen what a rip off Dell and such are with their prices), but if I go that route, what would be the best recommended?

edit: I have a year old 450w power supply in my current PC, so I probably won't need to buy a new one for a potential build.
Edited by MagnesV - 2/14/12 at 8:56pm
post #5 of 48
you could almost get by on an i3 build within your budget.

maybe get as low as 200$ for cpu/mobo combo, 50$ psu, 50$ ram, 50$ case, 100$ hdd/ssd, 150$ graffix, 30$ dvd drive

notes: you can possibly find 7200 rpm sata2/sata3 hdd for free/cheap, same with dvd drive. 200$ budget on graffix will get you alot moar performance than 150$. bare minimum graphix card be like 100$.

so id recommend you find a bit more budget. something in the range of 600$-700$ can actually build a pretty decent gaming rig atm. or find some free/cheap parts or buy used gcard, etc.

an i3 build on 1155 mobo allows you to upgrade your cpu down the road to an i5/i7 and your mobo will handle any gcard you throw in it. ram is cheap and wont bottleneck your gaming performance. if you decide to go this route id spend some time looking for advice on what cheap mobos have the features you will want when you upgrade and are reliable. basically dont buy the cheapest mobo you can find, thats gona be a disaster.
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post #6 of 48
I still think you guys are over-estimating TC's needs. He's coming from at most an Athlon XP for crying out loud! A $500 build would be MILES better than his current, whether it be pre-built or self-built. Adding on an extra $200 will hardly make a difference when he's already getting like a 300%-400% speed increase just from the new CPU architecture.


EDIT: An Athlon XP 2200+ @ 1.9GHz gets a score of only 800 in Fritz Chess. By comparison a single core on a Sandy Bridge CPU @ 3GHz gets ~2200 points.
Edited by Nintendo Maniac 64 - 2/15/12 at 11:10am
 
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post #7 of 48
Microcenter or frys nearby?

82.99 after rebate 6770 superbiiz.com + 4.99 shipping - 15 off (coupon code: WALNUT) = 72.98

cx430 $28 after promo and AMIR


hyperx blu 8gb ddr3 1600 cl9 $35


if you can pricematch MC @ frys or ncix or have one local then an i3 2100 for $100 would be leaps and bounds better than your current setup.
paired with this h67 board for $52


$288 amir's

This leaves more than 200$ for a case and a HDD.

To which i say $40 NZXT Source 210 and a $130 WD Caviar Black 1TB
Edited by LuckySe7ens - 2/15/12 at 11:04am
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post #8 of 48
what about going with amd fm1 socket. you can add something like a 6670 down the road .to me..going this route makes more sence for your needs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131784

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819106001

theses are just examples. they have cheaper cpu's and mobo's.
Edited by toyz72 - 2/15/12 at 11:05am
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post #9 of 48
$500 wouldn't really build a system worth talking about, not really....

An i3-2105 isn't really that great of a chip for gaming....

You need a dedicated graphics card, and $100 is like the entry level point for Gaming Cards.... (Like the GTS 450, which will NOT play Battlefield 3 btw)

You need a quad core CPU, that's far more important than anything else, other than the graphics since you intend to game...

$150 - $200 On Graphics Card would put you into any game, but trying to game on today's games on a dual core is like silly, truly.

An i3 can get you by, but not really...

An i5-2400 or 2500 would be the best CPU to focus on... I know it's a lot of money, but....

You can pretty much say goodbye to cheap computers, they simply do not exist in the desktop market any more, especially not gaming rigs...

I'd say, you really need to save up to $900 before you start look at building a serious Gaming Computer...

If you want something that can get you by till then, then I suppose an i3 system may get you by for light gaming...

You should be able to get an i3 - 2125 / MB & RAM for around $ 240 to $ 260, you definitely want a solid 80+ Certified PSU, for sure...
And maybe a cheap video card, so roughly $110 for the Card and $70 on the PSU... $450, w/o a case or anything else...
(You could postpone the card, as the 2125 will run HD Graphics and very lite gaming till you decide on a card)

I just hate to see you get a Dual Core...

Just my 2 cents mate..
Edited by _GTech - 2/15/12 at 11:12am
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post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by _GTech View Post

$500 wouldn't really build a system worth talking about, not really....
An i3-2105 isn't really that great of a chip for gaming....
You need a dedicated graphics card, and $100 is like the entry level point for Gaming Cards.... (Like the GTS 450, which will NOT play Battlefield 3 btw)
You need a quad core CPU, that's far more important than anything else, other than the graphics since you intend to game...
$150 - $200 On Graphics Card would put you into any game, but trying to game on today's games on a dual core is like silly, truly.
An i3 can get you by, but not really...
An i5-2400 or 2500 would be the best CPU to focus on... I know it's a lot of money, but....
You can pretty much say goodbye to cheap computers, they simply do not exist in the desktop market any more, especially not gaming rigs...
I'd say, you really need to save up to $900 before you start look at building a serious Gaming Computer...
If you want something that can get you by till then, then I suppose an i3 system may get you by for light gaming...
Just my 2 cents mate..

Your two cents are worth significantly less thanks. thumb.gif
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