Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after tax

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Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after tax

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:28 am

I'm speccing out a cheap system for my girlfriend, she doesn't play many hardcore games, she says she needs it to be able to play The Sims and Amnesia and have enough space for all of her pictures and movies. I've managed to get the planned build to $675CAD, but I I'm trying to fit a fresh Windows license into the budget in case we're not able to use the one from her existing system.

Here's what I have so far, prices are from NCIX.ca

Fractal design Core 1000: $37.99
Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM: $69.99
Intel Core i3 2100: $136.20
Mushkin Silverline Stiletto 2X4GB DDR3 1333: $46.99
XFX Radeon HD 7750 Double D 900MHZ: $124.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB: $99.99
LiteON IHAS 124 optical drive: 25.99
Antec Earthwatts Green Series 380W: $59.95

As I said I'm trying to whittle the price down a bit to fit in a windows license, but if her existing license works then I'd rather put saved money towards a quiet CPU cooler, because I'm concerned about the noise the stock cooler makes when under load (and I really don't wanna have to deal with push pins LOL). Also please keep in mind that all prices are in Canadian dollars, so everything is a tad more expensive for us north of the border (I realized this much when trying to mirror the econobox from TR's system guide)
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:07 am

I would get a case with better air flow. What listed below is some other ideals. Parts are from Newegg.

System specs. 3.4 Ghz Quad core processor, 8GB Memory Radeon hd 7770 video card
Windows 7 Home Total Price $695.25

Full system speces just click on links below
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811129182 Antec Gaming case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822149382 Toshiba 1TB Hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128553 Gigabyte motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125415 ATI 7770 video card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827151244 Samsung dvd burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817152036 730 watt powersupply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6823126097 Keyboard and mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231422 G.skill 8GB Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103727 AMD Phenom 4x 3.4Ghz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116986 Windows 7 home 64bit
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:18 am

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116406

This is a perfectly capable gaming cpu, paired with a bit more graphic horsepower like this one here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161402

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817152036 730 watt powersupply


No need for a monster PSU, as the OP said It's a casual gaming machine, the Earthwatts looks fine :wink:

A board with all the latest goodies as USB3 and Sata III would be nice:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157303

You could also add a boot drive, like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147162

As for the CPU cooler, maybe something like this to fit your case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103100

:wink:
Intel i5 3570K - Corsair A50 - Asus P8Z77-V - Corsair 2x4Gb - Asus 280X Direct CU2 - Corsair F90 RAID 0 - Samsung Spinpoint F3 1Tb - Antec One Hundred - Corsair CS750M - ASUS MX239H AH-IPS - Logitech LS21 - Logitech K520 Combo - Win 8.1
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:02 am

First off, what are we reusing? Monitor, keyboard, mouse all good? And for the monitor, I'm assuming it would be 1080p or less?

As already stated, you shouldn't need a beefy power supply for casual gaming, and going with a smaller card will help in that since it shouldn't generate as much heat. That one's a little cheaper going by USD than the one you listed at the expense of some speed (which you probably don't need too much of).

I checked HDD prices, and the Blue WD I see is $99.99, so you might be able to swing a green for $10 less.

Another thing you might look at is the mATX size. This case comes with a PSU, and while I do not have so much knowledge of them, this ASRock is $45 and will still work with your PSU and GPU.

Otherwise, if you absolutely need to trim costs, check out cutting your RAM in half (even though memory is dirt cheap right now) and see if you can get by without a permanent DVD drive. Amnesia (if you're on Steam) should load just fine, but I am not sure if the Sims has the same.

Good luck!

PS: ...I have no idea of you would qualify, but you can check into a student license or home use copy of Windows for cheaper if your school/company has one. Worth a look at least.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:05 am

For casual gaming like this, I'm surprised nobody has recommended one of AMD's APU's. No need for a fancy discrete video card in this build, methinks.

ASUS 3870K FM1 Quadcore APU - $114.99
ASUS F1A55-M mATX FM1 Motherboard - $77.99
Kingston 2x4GB 1600MHz DDR3 Ram - $43.99
Crucial M4 128GB SSD - $124.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD - $99.99
Bitfenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case - $69.99
Antec EA-500 Green 500W Powersupply - $64.99
ASUS 24x DVDRW - $19.99
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit - $99.99

Grand Total: $716.91 + Taxes and shipping. All Prices in CAD from NCIX.ca

I figure if she's just playing light games, an APU is more than enough graphics horsepower for her. The money saved from not having a discrete graphics card can be put towards a Solid State Drive, which will improve overall system performance and 'snappiness'. I chose a 128GB because currently they're the best 'bang' for the reasonable buck, and the M4 is considered one of the finest, most reliable drives around (they get first pick at the Micron NAND RAM manufactured, same as Intel). She will be able to fit her OS and all installs on that SSD. I augmented the SSD with a 1TB Caviar Blue for media storage. If you want to save $20 and bring the price down to just under $700, use the DVD writer from her existing system.

EDIT: And BTW, a lot of you are spec'ing prices in USD. Things are a little more expensive up here North of the border. You need to keep this in mind.
Last edited by Great_Big_Abyss on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:09 am

superjawes wrote:I checked HDD prices, and the Blue WD I see is $99.99, so you might be able to swing a green for $10 less.


FYI, you would never want to use a 'Green' drive as a boot drive. those things are slow. I use them in my HTPC (1TB WD Green boot/Storage drive, 2TB WD Green Storage Drive) and while they technically work, they are as slow as molasses. My HTPC stays on most of the time though, so boot times aren't really important, and the only programs we're opening up are VLC Player and sometimes Google Chrome (and even that is slow!) The great advantages to the Greens is that they do make excellent storage drives. They're (relatively) cheap, and very, very quiet. But I would never recommend one as a boot drive for a primary system. Far better to go with an SSD, or lacking that, at the very least a WD Black (or Blue) or equivalent (Seagate Barracuda) drive.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:28 am

Great_Big_Abyss wrote:
superjawes wrote:I checked HDD prices, and the Blue WD I see is $99.99, so you might be able to swing a green for $10 less.


FYI, you would never want to use a 'Green' drive as a boot drive. those things are slow. I use them in my HTPC (1TB WD Green boot/Storage drive, 2TB WD Green Storage Drive) and while they technically work, they are as slow as molasses. My HTPC stays on most of the time though, so boot times aren't really important, and the only programs we're opening up are VLC Player and sometimes Google Chrome (and even that is slow!) The great advantages to the Greens is that they do make excellent storage drives. They're (relatively) cheap, and very, very quiet. But I would never recommend one as a boot drive for a primary system. Far better to go with an SSD, or lacking that, at the very least a WD Black (or Blue) or equivalent (Seagate Barracuda) drive.

True, but I didn't think we were talking about someone who needed an SSD :wink:

Not to sweep casual gaming under a rug, but drive performance just isn't a top priority for that scenario, and it might offer a little headroom in case a new copy of Windows is needed. If we need some better boot performance, yes, I would recommend nothing lower than 7200 RPM.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:38 am

Au contraire, mon ami. I believe that in a low end system, a SSD drive will increase usability by a wide margin. Programs (not just games) will open quicker and the system will just seem to run smoother. With an SSD, a browser opens imperceptibly quick. Compared to the couple of seconds it takes to open from an HDD (or the 5 or 6 seconds with a WD Green...I know this...I'm running one as a boot drive, remember?) it makes a big difference to the overall perception of system performance. And Hey, if it can be budgeted for in the build, then why not?
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:06 am

Since we are to the point of nickel and diming the few bucks required for Windows, which province are we looking at (to determine the tax rate)? And what about shipping from ncix, must that be included in the budget as well?

What about the previous machine? Is it an OEM (Dell/HP/Compaq) or you build it yourself? Is it XP, Vista, or 7? Want to help you determine if you can reuse the OS licence.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:19 am

About Windows license, if you do not mind using Windows 8, you can save some bucks. You can install Windows 8 release preview (free). Windows 8 upgrade license ($40) will actually allow you to upgrade a Release Preview copy too according to Paul Thurott of Winsupersite.com. So you can save a bit more of the budget that way for hardware.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:26 am

Great_Big_Abyss wrote:Au contraire, mon ami. I believe that in a low end system, a SSD drive will increase usability by a wide margin. Programs (not just games) will open quicker and the system will just seem to run smoother. With an SSD, a browser opens imperceptibly quick. Compared to the couple of seconds it takes to open from an HDD (or the 5 or 6 seconds with a WD Green...I know this...I'm running one as a boot drive, remember?) it makes a big difference to the overall perception of system performance. And Hey, if it can be budgeted for in the build, then why not?

I have an SSD in my main system and just ordered another to replace the mechanical in my laptop, but I also have an HTPC build using 5yo dual-core hardware from my previous build, and it still runs just fine with 7200RPM mechanicals. It doesn't cold-boot to the desktop in 21 seconds, and it doesn't snap to attention when an application is loaded, but it is plenty useable for what it is. If the OP could afford a higher-end build, he wouldn't be spec'ing a $40 case and fretting over whether the cost of the Windows license is going to exclude purchasing an aftermarket cooler.
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:27 am

codedivine wrote:About Windows license, if you do not mind using Windows 8, you can save some bucks. You can install Windows 8 release preview (free). Windows 8 upgrade license ($40) will actually allow you to upgrade a Release Preview copy too according to Paul Thurott of Winsupersite.com. So you can save a bit more of the budget that way for hardware.

Knowing Canada it may cost $60 for that, if it is available at all. :x
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:41 pm

Great_Big_Abyss wrote:For casual gaming like this, I'm surprised nobody has recommended one of AMD's APU's. No need for a fancy discrete video card in this build, methinks.

ASUS 3870K FM1 Quadcore APU - $114.99
ASUS F1A55-M mATX FM1 Motherboard - $77.99
Kingston 2x4GB 1600MHz DDR3 Ram - $43.99
Crucial M4 128GB SSD - $124.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD - $99.99
Bitfenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case - $69.99
Antec EA-500 Green 500W Powersupply - $64.99
ASUS 24x DVDRW - $19.99
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit - $99.99

Grand Total: $716.91 + Taxes and shipping. All Prices in CAD from NCIX.ca

I figure if she's just playing light games, an APU is more than enough graphics horsepower for her. The money saved from not having a discrete graphics card can be put towards a Solid State Drive, which will improve overall system performance and 'snappiness'. I chose a 128GB because currently they're the best 'bang' for the reasonable buck, and the M4 is considered one of the finest, most reliable drives around (they get first pick at the Micron NAND RAM manufactured, same as Intel). She will be able to fit her OS and all installs on that SSD. I augmented the SSD with a 1TB Caviar Blue for media storage. If you want to save $20 and bring the price down to just under $700, use the DVD writer from her existing system.

EDIT: And BTW, a lot of you are spec'ing prices in USD. Things are a little more expensive up here North of the border. You need to keep this in mind.


Thanks, I took a look at some reviews of that APU and adjusted my build slightly, I kept the cheaper case/PSU and RAM but I swapped out the mobo and CPU and got rid of my current video card. Now I have a system that, including the windows licence, comes to $650 after tax which leaves a fair amount of room for a cheap, quiet cooler. Do you have any suggestions?

Flying Fox wrote:Since we are to the point of nickel and diming the few bucks required for Windows, which province are we looking at (to determine the tax rate)? And what about shipping from ncix, must that be included in the budget as well?

What about the previous machine? Is it an OEM (Dell/HP/Compaq) or you build it yourself? Is it XP, Vista, or 7? Want to help you determine if you can reuse the OS licence.


British Columbia, we have 12% HST here, so where I'm at right now (after the suggestions from GBA), its $581.86 before tax, $651.68 after tax. I'll be picking up the parts directly from NCIX so shipping won't be a concern.

I honestly don't know what OS/manufacturer her current system is, and sadly she's on vacation right now with her family so I can't find out until she gets back. I have however managed to drop the video card in favour of the AMD apu that GBA suggested along with a windows license, so now I'm just looking for a decent, quiet cooler that's compatible with the FM1 socket (I forget if FM1 uses the same retention mechanism as the AM2/3 sockets)
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Re: Budget, low-end gaming build, aiming for ~$700 CAD after

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:11 pm

Took a quick peek at ncix and they have a pretty darn good bundle, cpu,mb/cooler for $199.

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=68820&vpn=PHII960%20%26%20CM101A%20%26%20M5A97&manufacture=Bundle%20Deals&promoid=1207


Newegg has an oem quad core cpu with free shipping.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113007

Canada Computers has a great MB from Asrock, I'm actually grabbing 2 now for my 2 sons, hopefully I can get the rebate for both, with rebate $89.

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_335&item_id=042746
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