My suggestions for a slightly over-budget machine, all collated, with explanation below:
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200rpm sata drive
($49.99 -> $39.99 with promo)
RAM: Geil Value PLUS 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333Mhz
Motherboard: Biostar 880G+ mATX
($44.99 after rebate)
Power supply: Kingwin ABT-450MM
($34.99 - it's good, check out the review linked to in my post)
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 820
GPU: EVGA GTS 450
($89.99 after rebate)
Total price (without case): $349.94 (after rebates)
I didn't list a case, because I hate recommending cheap cases I'd never work with.
Well, what games are you planning on playing on it?
If you're absolutely stuck at $300 for everything
, then your build isn't awful. I'd wait a little bit, save up a bit more and spend a touch more on it.
An Athlon II x2 isn't a good processor. The motherboard you picked out isn't great either and the 450 will play a lot of games on medium settings, but it's also a bit disproportionate compared to the rest of your budget.
Do you have any parts that you can carry over? The budget really is too low for any reasonable games.
Why buy a 160GB HDD? Why go with AM2+?
If you're looking to build on a budget, then at least make your components forwards compatible
. i.e. make them usable in your next computer.
For that you'll want DDR3 RAM, which needs an AM3 motherboard or Intel.
Now I'm not from North America, so my idea of prices won't always match yours, but a 500GB HDD ought to be just a tiny, tiny bit more expensive than a 160GB one?
WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200rpm sata drive
($49.99 -> $39.99 with promo).
That way at least you'll have a semi-decent capacity hard drive to carry over.
As for DDR2 RAM, I'd suggest 4GB of DDR3. It's not going to go away in the next year or two, and DDR4 looks even further away than that. Plus, it doesn't look like you'll need more than 4GB for anything that you'll want to do on a $3-500 computer anytime soon.
The memory I'd recommend:
Geil Value PLUS 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333Mhz
($39.99 with $0.99 shipping)
PNY Optima 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333Mhz
($42.99, $32.99 after rebate).
The second one recommended because of price, not because I trust the brand.
With the memory + hard disk, you're looking at about $75 total before getting everything else. You'll also need a DDR3 motherboard. If you're stuck with your budget looking at the AM3 socket, I'd suggest one of these:
GIGABYTE GA-M68MT-D3 NVIDIA GeForce 7025/nForce 630a chipset mATX
BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G mATX
ASUS M4N68T-M V2 AM3 NVIDIA Geforce 7025/nForce 630a mATX
I recommend those not because they're good, but because they're cheap. Bear in mind that that's all you get for $300
With a motherboard worth about $35-45 (averaging about $40), we're looking at a total budget spent of $115, with us still needing a case, a power supply, a CPU and a GPU...
For a power supply, I recommend the:
It's not the greatest, but as laid out here
, it is fully respectable, and a great budget choice.
That takes us up to a neat $150 spent of our $300 budget, and now we have to get a CPU and a GPU in that, and ideally a case too.
This is where I suggest you go a bit over budget:
AMD Phenom II x4 820 (2.8 Ghz quad core, 4MB L3 Cache)
Why? Well, it's about the same price as an Athlon II x4, but has extra L3 cache, and is far superior to a dual core. With more and more games looking to support multi-core, it'll keep you gaming a fair bit longer than the dual core you listed. It's also a steal at the price Vs. performance.
I'd not object to your GPU, but I'd suggest you try and find something a little cheaper if you can.
What I was looking at was either:
($69.99 after rebate)
($89.99 after rebate)
(Ideally the second one, as the first won't handle much in the way of gaming).
Those two alone take us nearly $50 over budget without a case, and I'd really recommend a slightly better motherboard too.
All together though, a Phenom II x4 + a GTS 450 running with DDR3 RAM on a GOOD power supply with a 500GB hard disk is about the lowest I'd recommend to anyone for gaming.
I'd also suggest a reasonable case. If you want a case/psu combo, I'd go with an Antec case because they use their own power supplies and so are reliable.
Antec Sonata III
($89.99 after rebate with a GOOD 500W power supply).
As others have said, I'd spend a bit more. Maybe $400 and not $300.
Edit: Complete list added at top
Double Edit: I realised that I needed to add a cheap CPU Cooler, as it's an OEM chip... Probably XIGMATEK HDT-S963
, but sadly that throws me even more over budget at $14.99 after rebate. Maybe pick up an AMD stock cooler from a local computer shop? The one near me sells them for Â£1-3 (can't remember how much AMD are. Intel are Â£1).
Alternately, go for a cheaper chip, but I'm loathe to suggest much worse.Edited by Korlus - 1/13/11 at 9:04am