First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Building a new system? Need help choosing between parts? Then step in and let our trained gerbils assist you.

Moderator: JustAnEngineer

First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:43 pm

Hello everyone! :D I have just joined these forums and so far I am loving how friendly and helpful the community is. I have just gotten really in to PC gaming within the past few days however unfortunately my current computer (HP Pavilion dv4) doesn't quite cut the mustard if you know what I mean in terms of gaming power. I am looking in to getting an affordable (<$400) PC with for the sole purpose of gaming.

Before anyone says anything I realize that $400 is a relatively small amount for building a gaming PC. I just want to reiterate the fact that I am just getting into gaming and would like a computer that would allow me to plays games such as Diablo 3, WOW, etc. without breaking the bank. I have done some research and I have found that building your own is clearly the way to go rather than buying a gaming PC and that is where I would like some help from you guys. :P

I will admit that I know very little about PCs in general and I have no idea how to figure out what I need to build a desktop computer let alone what parts are compatible with what. :oops: More or less the bottom line of my thread is I need a desktop computer that I can build for $400 or less (I can be slightly flexible within reason of $400) that allows me to play Diablo 3 adequately.

Diablo 3 requirements are as follows...

Image

I appreciate any and all help I recieve and just remember in advance I really have very little knowledge on this subject so when replying make sure to keep that in mind. :wink: Cheers!

EDIT: After further searching around online I found this build. http://www.budgetbuildpc.com/july-2012- ... o-3-build/ Would this build be a smart choice for me?
Adampff
Gerbil
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:07 pm

The build you posted seems reasonable for your budget. If you decide to go the AMD route, I would personally spend the money you save from the i3 on some more on hard drive space (depending on how you use your pc, of course). Also, do you have an ethernet connection? Because if you use wireless, that build doesn't include wifi.

Also note that all those prices are nominal and could be (depending on where you live) subject to sales tax, or perhaps shipping as well.... If you have a hard budget of $400, that could be a problem.
muontrack
Gerbil
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:08 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:15 pm

Here's the thing about $400 (and cheaper) PCs...if you're building your own, it might actually be cheaper to get one from HP or Dell (and you get tech support).

The issue is that you have to slap an extra $100 on top of whatever you're building in order to get Windows. This one from HP should play Diablo, has Windows, and is a slim form. It's right at that $400 mark, but it should illustrate my point. That's a system built, small, and loaded with Windows.

Regardless, take a peek at the latest TR System Guide. The editor's here explain why they chose particular components for a build, and if you read the comments, some Gerbils actually had the conversation about getting a sub-Econobox build.
Damage wrote:Don't try to game the requirements by posting everywhere, guys, or I'll nuke you from space.

-Probably the best Damage quote ever.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1143
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:27 pm

I'd recommend this build:

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($73.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($22.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 380W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($42.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $378.90

I'd really recommend getting a GPU. Diablo isn't that demanding of a game and so you can max it out @1920x1080 with even a modest graphics card like a HD 6770 or a GTX 460 both of which can be had for slightly over $100.
kumori
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:11 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:33 pm

This is doable if you plan to recycle the monitor from your current system.

$125 - GPU Radeon 7770 Link
$25 - RAM 4GB Link
$70 - CPU Athlon II X3 Link
$50 - Motherboard Biostar AM3+ Link

That leaves ~$130 for harddrive and case/psu. Which is tight, but still doable. It's going to boil down to how nice of a case you want to work with and how much harddrive space you need. For this price it's going to be annoying and small. If you go up to ~550 then you can get a reasonable Antec and a reasonably sized harddrive. Case aesthetics also come down to personal preference, which is why I haven't suggested one. Also, I'm assuming if you need a DVD drive you can pull it out of the hp.
BobbinThreadbare
Graphmaster Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1042
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:47 am
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:35 pm

superjawes wrote:Here's the thing about $400 (and cheaper) PCs...if you're building your own, it might actually be cheaper to get one from HP or Dell (and you get tech support).

The issue is that you have to slap an extra $100 on top of whatever you're building in order to get Windows. This one from HP should play Diablo, has Windows, and is a slim form. It's right at that $400 mark, but it should illustrate my point. That's a system built, small, and loaded with Windows.

Regardless, take a peek at the latest TR System Guide. The editor's here explain why they chose particular components for a build, and if you read the comments, some Gerbils actually had the conversation about getting a sub-Econobox build.

Crap, I forgot about a Windows license.

Still that HP has integrated graphics. Awful even for mostly casual gaming.
BobbinThreadbare
Graphmaster Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1042
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:47 am
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:50 pm

BobbinThreadbare wrote:Crap, I forgot about a Windows license.

Still that HP has integrated graphics. Awful even for mostly casual gaming.

An alternative challenger appears!

But yeah, my main point was that a Windows license can inflate your build cost quickly, and since HP and Dell offer it basically for free, the value of a self-built PC isn't as great at this price point.

Alternatively, though, is that Pavilion and option to scrap? That would even give you a case and HDD in addition to the DVD drive, and if you can do a power calculation, you miiiiiight even be able to skip the PSU. You would probably still need to wipe the hard drive and do a clean Windows install (since the HP license is probably OEM), but it could go a long way in getting something to casually work (at least until you could save up an get an Econobox or better).

EDIT: side note before we go too far, OP, please define what you mean by "adequately" playing Diablo 3. How many frames do you want per second? Resolution? Texture detail?
Damage wrote:Don't try to game the requirements by posting everywhere, guys, or I'll nuke you from space.

-Probably the best Damage quote ever.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1143
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:59 pm

For a light general purpose use PC, $400 is doable (see HP system above). The bad news with the HP linked above is that there is no room for future upgrades if you want to, say, upgrade the video card in future. For a gaming PC, $400 is a tough nut to crack. If you don't have to buy a Windows license, it makes things easier, but you'll still be forced to make many compromises, most importantly in the graphics department, which is arguably the most expensive component in a budget gaming PC. Even $500 is a much easier budget to abide.

The build to which you linked might get you playing Diablo 3, but just barely. However, for around $450, you can take the "Econobox" from the TR Summer guide and pair it down a bit. Just looking quickly at newegg, the minimum I'd recommend for a gaming PC is something like:

Motherboard: ASRock H77M $75
CPU:Intel Pentium 640 $79
RAM: 8gb ddr3 $40
Graphics: HD 7770 $110 (after MIR)
HDD: 500GB Caviar Blue $65
Case: Rosewill $30
PSU: Rosewill 450W $35

Total: $434. If you can swing a little extra, I'd recommend something like this and you may be able to shave a few dollars more off shopping around (do you live near a Microcenter? They apparenlty have good combo deals on motherboard/cpus). Unfortunately, if you don't count the mail in rebate for the video card and add shipping, your getting close to $500. Instead of buying a new DVD drive (if you need one) could you use the one from your old HP?
Last edited by cynan on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.
cynan
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 837
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:02 pm

Even HD3000 can play Diablo 3- I'd think that HD4000 and AMD's IGP solutions would fare even better. Integrated is pretty much a given whether you're paying for Windows or buying pre-built at $400.
Canon 6D|24-105/4L IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|24/2.8 IS USM|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
Airmantharp
Gerbil Elder
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 5114
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:41 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:06 pm

Airmantharp wrote:Even HD3000 can play Diablo 3- I'd think that HD4000 and AMD's IGP solutions would fare even better. Integrated is pretty much a given whether you're paying for Windows or buying pre-built at $400.

There might be some discrete options, hence the second $400 HP I linked, but this is why I want to know what "adequately" means. Playing a game and playing it well are two different things, and something that may not be possible with integrated graphics, or even below $400.
Damage wrote:Don't try to game the requirements by posting everywhere, guys, or I'll nuke you from space.

-Probably the best Damage quote ever.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1143
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:07 pm

Airmantharp wrote:Even HD3000 can play Diablo 3- I'd think that HD4000 and AMD's IGP solutions would fare even better. Integrated is pretty much a given whether you're paying for Windows or buying pre-built at $400.

Can play is not the same as will be enjoyable to play.
BobbinThreadbare
Graphmaster Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1042
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:47 am
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:09 pm

it might be easier to check around the major manufacturer's outlet centers on their websites, or scour craigslist for a reasonable looking computer.
buying a used/refurb at least allows you to bypass paying $99 for the windows license.
anywho... check around, make sure you find what you like and enjoy the computer.

likely on the computer you might need to replace the power supply if you do intend to get a graphics card, oem psu could be a mystery on how much total power/amps it outputs or has left available.

quickly looking around though, you can score a refurb/used computer on the outlets, with tech from around 2-3 years ago for under $400, they appear around the athlon ii or core i3/i5 series usually.
HP Outlet page
Dell Outlet Page
both the sites can be their own kind of special for navigating really.

good luck hunting
probably drinking some tea.
Blazex
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:21 am
Location: Oceanside, CA

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:21 pm

Do you have a monitor, keyboard, mouse that you already plan to use? Those are items that will eat significantly into a $400 budget too.
Image
[SDG]Mantis
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:39 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:33 pm

.
Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
neg
clone
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:40 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:06 pm

Please post your current system specs including a picture of the inside of your case (if possible). Maybe we can give you enough of a gaming boost (probably a new graphics card) to get you by until you have a more robust budget.
This also because it sounds like you're new to building computers? I feel that starting small and upgrading a few components here and there is better for learning than just diving in head first to a complete system build...unless you have a knowledgeable friend. It gives you time to digest and take in new knowledge (by reading TR of course!!).
Otherwise you could look at companies like Cyberpower or Ibuypower for a pre-built configuration that uses good quality aftermarket components to use as a base for future upgrades.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:26 pm

Also, Tomshardware.com just posted an article with some ~$400 builds I would recommend waiting for AMD Trinity if you decide to go the APU route, and the G630 build should definetly be paired with a discrete GPU.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:45 pm

.
Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
neg
clone
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:40 am

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:39 pm

Hello everyone! I can't believe the amount of help I am getting. I just wanted to give you guys an update. I will reply to all of you however currently I am at work on my phone. Once I am done in a few hours I will answer all questions.
Adampff
Gerbil
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:27 pm

I like Clone's build- and to the IGP detractors, it depends on the game. Discrete will still be worlds better though, and if it can be made affordable, by all means.
Canon 6D|24-105/4L IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|24/2.8 IS USM|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
Airmantharp
Gerbil Elder
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 5114
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:41 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:02 pm

$400 is a pretty low target for a new gaming system. Sorry, I didn't see your HP dv4 is a laptop so reusing components is obviously out. You'll want to hit up newegg combo deals, sales, and mail-in-rebates as much as possible (if that's where you end up shopping) Here's one such combo deal for $245 that includes everything you need except a discrete GPU and an optical drive.

If you prefer to piece everything together, you can get slightly better stuff, but it also costs a bit more.

Intel G630 for $68 (tight budget so leave as much room for GPU as possible, you can easily upgrade this later)
4GB RAM for $24 (standard)
Biostar B75 mobo w/ USB3 and SATA 6gb/s for $60 (great value with all modern amenities!!)
Fractal Design Core 1000 case for $47 (very solid case, I've built in one of these before)
Corsair Builder Series 430W PSU for $20 after MIR ($20 rebate makes this hard to beat)
Optical drive for $17 (I dont recommend the more popular ASUS model as it makes wierd noises upon startup. This one is quiet)
250GB Seagate hdd for $65 (hard drive prices are high, its a fact of life)
AMD 7750 for $95 after MIR (good entry level card)

And the grand total is....$396 after rebates!!

[edit] Forgot about a Windows licence. If you're a college student or know one, most colleges offer Windows 7 for like $30. Maybe you can make a $30 exception to your budget?
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:18 pm

$400 is a brutal price point for a gaming PC plus monitor.

$399+tax refurbished Dell Inspiron 620
Processor: Intel Core i3-2120 Processor (3.3GHz,3MB Cache) hyper-threading dual-core Sandy Bridge LGA1155
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Inspiron 620 Minitower case
500 GB SATA 3Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache hard-drive
2x2 GiB DDR3 SDRAM AT 1333MHz memory
16X DVD +/- RW Drive
Keyboard and 2-button mouse
one-year warranty


$119+tax refurbished Dell SR2220L monitor (21.5" 1920x1080 LCD)
one-year warranty when purchased with a PC

$130 Radeon HD7770 1GB
======
$648 + tax

Even if you were to drop down to a refurbished Inspiron 570 (AMD Athlon II X2 250), it would save only $130+tax.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15540
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:28 pm

I've got to agree with JAE , $ 400 is going to be a challenge , especially if you still need a monitor , keyboard and mouse.
The cheapest I found on Dell's site was this, again without a monitor.
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/ ... =dhs&cs=19

This at least gets you what I'm assuming is a Sandybridge Pentium.
You could drop down to a Inspiron 620 system but those come with Celeron processors for $299 with a $50 option for the Pentium G630.

Building your own system out of hand picked components seems to be a really tall order with a monitor and Windows license factored into the equation.
At the very least , this will bring up a vigorous discussion from the gerbils on what can/will buy a $400 system.
ASUS P5B-E,ConroeE6400,2GB Mushkin DDR2 800,
EVGA 8800GTS,Corsair 520HX,Antec 900,WD320 GB,Samsung 204B
rogue426
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:51 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:44 pm

Yeah $400 with no monitor is just doable, but including one is almost impossible.
Last edited by BobbinThreadbare on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BobbinThreadbare
Graphmaster Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1042
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:47 am
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:04 pm

If you live near a Microcenter i just picked up 2 new HTPCs recently one for 329$ about a week ago with a i3 2120 6gb 1333ram/3 sticks, 1tbHD, and a pci1 wireless card with a h67 chipset and a wimpy 300watt psu all in a full width mini tower. A refurbished gateway dx4860-ub32p. I am running a AMD HIS 7750 iCooler video card that has no 6 pin power connector. The system is pretty much completely quiet even if the video cards fan is at 100%. you have to be 2 ft away and it has to be super quiet to hear it
It runs diablo 3 at max settings possible @ 60fps 1080p :)

My other HTPC with same cpu and a low profile asus 6570 @ 850 core stays above 40fps @ max settings and 1080p.
Note the 6670 and 6570 use the same chip with 480sp the 6570 is just stock clocked at 650mhz and the 6670 is 850mhz, But most 6570s use low power ddr3 and not like most 6670s gddr5 so it lack a lot of memory bandwidth but it is fine for diablo 3 and plays many other games well also like left 4 dead 2, portal etc.
I would say the 7750 is around 60% faster then my overclocked 6570 and uses less power 55 watts i believe loaded

In the past month i spent 780$ to replace two very long in the tooth 1.5ghz 3250e am2 dell HD zino HTPCs one had a hd 4330 laptop card in it the was blue screening with a motherboard problem and the other had just the onboard igp hd3200 and i could not be happier with well over 5 times the compute power and gaming ability with my 2 new toys.

I know everyone hated the always needing as internet connection but Its really nice to be able to play where i left off in diablo 3 on any of my 3 machines.....computer room with the gaming power tower/server 37" LCD, the bedroom with the 7750 and 55" 3d panasonic VT30 PLASMA or the living rooms 6570 and 47" LCD.
2600k HT on@4705mhz 8gb Cas9 1600 mem 2x EVGA GTX770 4gb Classified cards in SLI @1320 mhz core and 2003 mhz mem,mounted in CM HAF922 with a TX-850 PSU 2xHTPC's 2xi3 2120 3.3ghz dual core,1xasus LP HD6570 1xHIS hd7750@1150core1325mem,55"PanyVT30
vargis14
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:03 pm
Location: philly suburbs

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:43 pm

There have been lots of good things said in this thread, but it's worth noting that the two games listed as examples (Diablo3 and WoW) both run on very low end hardware. Every graphics card in this thread so far has been orders of magnitude better than the underclocked, DDR3-lumbered, three-generation-old budget graphics card in my old laptop. (A 500MHz HD4650)

Diablo3:
1280x720 full detail = 60+fps
1600x900 full detail = 40fps

World of Warcraft:
1600x900 high detail = 60fps (dropped to 20fps sometimes in raids, but so do $300 graphics cards. WoW is weird like that....)

Mass Effect 3:
1600x900 = 45fps

Any off-the-shelf PC from a big vendor will come with a warranty and a Windows license. Add whatever graphics card you can afford to power and pay for, but realistically, a GDDR5-equipped 6670 is more than twice the card my old laptop had, and it's only $75.

Perhaps the only modern game that you're going to struggle with on a $400 budget is BF3, but at the same time, even a 6670 will look much better than the console versions could ever hope to look because you'll still get more detail at a higher resolution at more frames per second, even if it's not 60fps on Ultra.
Last edited by Chrispy_ on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
<insert large, flashing, epileptic-fit-inducing signature (based on the latest internet-meme) here>
Chrispy_
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 2082
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:46 pm

I believe that any money spent on a "gaming" graphics card slower than the Radeon HD7750 is almost completely wasted.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15540
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:48 pm

DPete27 wrote:
[edit] Forgot about a Windows licence. If you're a college student or know one, most colleges offer Windows 7 for like $30. Maybe you can make a $30 exception to your budget?


Not any more that I know of. The university I'm affiliated with offers Win 7 for $99. The best price for students was back when MS offered the Ultimate Steal promotions (Which was $30 for students in the US), but those haven't been running for a while.
cynan
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 837
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Alright, well now that I am done with work let me address some of the questions thrown my way.

superjawes wrote:Here's the thing about $400 (and cheaper) PCs...if you're building your own, it might actually be cheaper to get one from HP or Dell (and you get tech support).

The issue is that you have to slap an extra $100 on top of whatever you're building in order to get Windows. This one from HP should play Diablo, has Windows, and is a slim form. It's right at that $400 mark, but it should illustrate my point. That's a system built, small, and loaded with Windows.

Regardless, take a peek at the latest TR System Guide. The editor's here explain why they chose particular components for a build, and if you read the comments, some Gerbils actually had the conversation about getting a sub-Econobox build.


I see your point and to be honest forgot that I would have to add windows to any PC that I bought. However the HP you showed me does look nice and fits my needs, I would like something that, if need be, can be upgraded further down the line so I don't end up in my current situation.

kumori wrote:I'd recommend this build:

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($73.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($22.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 380W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($42.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $378.90

I'd really recommend getting a GPU. Diablo isn't that demanding of a game and so you can max it out @1920x1080 with even a modest graphics card like a HD 6770 or a GTX 460 both of which can be had for slightly over $100.


Thanks for the recommendation man, I am putting this in a list of possible builds for under $400. Thanks


BobbinThreadbare wrote:This is doable if you plan to recycle the monitor from your current system.

$125 - GPU Radeon 7770 Link
$25 - RAM 4GB Link
$70 - CPU Athlon II X3 Link
$50 - Motherboard Biostar AM3+ Link

That leaves ~$130 for harddrive and case/psu. Which is tight, but still doable. It's going to boil down to how nice of a case you want to work with and how much harddrive space you need. For this price it's going to be annoying and small. If you go up to ~550 then you can get a reasonable Antec and a reasonably sized harddrive. Case aesthetics also come down to personal preference, which is why I haven't suggested one. Also, I'm assuming if you need a DVD drive you can pull it out of the hp.


My current computer is a laptop so I do not plan on using the monitor from it, however I do have a monitor that I can use in the mean time. Also I appreciate the recommendations and will look into them.


superjawes wrote:
BobbinThreadbare wrote:Crap, I forgot about a Windows license.

Still that HP has integrated graphics. Awful even for mostly casual gaming.

An alternative challenger appears!

But yeah, my main point was that a Windows license can inflate your build cost quickly, and since HP and Dell offer it basically for free, the value of a self-built PC isn't as great at this price point.

Alternatively, though, is that Pavilion and option to scrap? That would even give you a case and HDD in addition to the DVD drive, and if you can do a power calculation, you miiiiiight even be able to skip the PSU. You would probably still need to wipe the hard drive and do a clean Windows install (since the HP license is probably OEM), but it could go a long way in getting something to casually work (at least until you could save up an get an Econobox or better).

EDIT: side note before we go too far, OP, please define what you mean by "adequately" playing Diablo 3. How many frames do you want per second? Resolution? Texture detail?


Unfortunately my Pavilion is not an option to scrap as I still need it for school, etc. Also as to what I mean with the word "adequately" is to be able to play Diablo 3 at 60 fps at least.


cynan wrote:For a light general purpose use PC, $400 is doable (see HP system above). The bad news with the HP linked above is that there is no room for future upgrades if you want to, say, upgrade the video card in future. For a gaming PC, $400 is a tough nut to crack. If you don't have to buy a Windows license, it makes things easier, but you'll still be forced to make many compromises, most importantly in the graphics department, which is arguably the most expensive component in a budget gaming PC. Even $500 is a much easier budget to abide.

The build to which you linked might get you playing Diablo 3, but just barely. However, for around $450, you can take the "Econobox" from the TR Summer guide and pair it down a bit. Just looking quickly at newegg, the minimum I'd recommend for a gaming PC is something like:

Motherboard: ASRock H77M $75
CPU:Intel Pentium 640 $79
RAM: 8gb ddr3 $40
Graphics: HD 7770 $110 (after MIR)
HDD: 500GB Caviar Blue $65
Case: Rosewill $30
PSU: Rosewill 450W $35

Total: $434. If you can swing a little extra, I'd recommend something like this and you may be able to shave a few dollars more off shopping around (do you live near a Microcenter? They apparenlty have good combo deals on motherboard/cpus). Unfortunately, if you don't count the mail in rebate for the video card and add shipping, your getting close to $500. Instead of buying a new DVD drive (if you need one) could you use the one from your old HP?

Thanks for the recommend build! Unfortunately I do not live near a Microcenter and I cannot use my old HP for scrap either. However I will keep this build in mind. :)

Blazex wrote:it might be easier to check around the major manufacturer's outlet centers on their websites, or scour craigslist for a reasonable looking computer.
buying a used/refurb at least allows you to bypass paying $99 for the windows license.
anywho... check around, make sure you find what you like and enjoy the computer.

likely on the computer you might need to replace the power supply if you do intend to get a graphics card, oem psu could be a mystery on how much total power/amps it outputs or has left available.

quickly looking around though, you can score a refurb/used computer on the outlets, with tech from around 2-3 years ago for under $400, they appear around the athlon ii or core i3/i5 series usually.
HP Outlet page
Dell Outlet Page
both the sites can be their own kind of special for navigating really.

good luck hunting

Thanks for the links man. I am not at all against buying a refurbed computer so I will defiantly check the links out.


[SDG]Mantis wrote:Do you have a monitor, keyboard, mouse that you already plan to use? Those are items that will eat significantly into a $400 budget too.

Yes, I have a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Sorry that I forgot to mention that.


clone wrote:CPU / MOBO:
AMD X3 450 cpu $69.99 at Newegg.com
GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-S2P AM3+ $59.99 at Newegg.com
MEMORY:
8gb G.skill value series ram $39.99 at Newegg.com
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5 $64.99 at Newegg.com
VIDEO:
Gigabyte HD 6670 $69.99 at Newegg.com
CASE / POWER:
GIGABYTE GZ-F3HEB Black SECC Steel / ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $19.99 at Newegg.com
Antec VP-450 450W ATX 12V v2.3 Power Supply $37.99 at Newegg.com
OPTICAL DRIVE:
Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer $16.99 at.... you guessed it Newegg.com

total price before MIR/IR/taxes/shipping $382.92 at Newegg.com

p.s. their is room to play if you want to move money from one part to another.... if I was buiding on your budget this is what I'd start with and then I'd look at the motherboard as the potential source for more coin to be invested for future proofing.

p.s.s. does anyone know if their is a big difference between the i3 and the Intel G8 and G6 series dual cores?.... the cache is the same with lower clock rates along with lower prices, was considering an Intel cpu / mobo option but can't find any reviews on the Intel G series dual cores which could be a better starting point for the op given the option to use an 1155 mobo and upgrade the cpu in the future vs going with the AMD cpu and mobo which while amazing on price doesn't offer that route nearly so impressively.

Thanks for the build. This build has me very interested in that it is under $400 and I can upgrade it in the future if the need arises. Thanks a lot!

DPete27 wrote:Please post your current system specs including a picture of the inside of your case (if possible). Maybe we can give you enough of a gaming boost (probably a new graphics card) to get you by until you have a more robust budget.
This also because it sounds like you're new to building computers? I feel that starting small and upgrading a few components here and there is better for learning than just diving in head first to a complete system build...unless you have a knowledgeable friend. It gives you time to digest and take in new knowledge (by reading TR of course!!).
Otherwise you could look at companies like Cyberpower or Ibuypower for a pre-built configuration that uses good quality aftermarket components to use as a base for future upgrades.

Unfortunately my current computer is a laptop that cannot be upgraded with graphics cards. :(

As for everyone else I will reply to your responses soon, however I do not have the time at the moment. :( But I just want to say that I REALLY appreciate the overwhelming amount of help I have received from everybody. This is a great community you have here. As far as my budget is concerned I would really like to keep it under $400 however if I absolutely must go up to $500 than I suppose I could make an exception. But I really do not want to spend much more than $400.
Adampff
Gerbil
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:34 pm

clone wrote:p.s.s. does anyone know if their is a big difference between the i3 and the Intel G8 and G6 series dual cores?.... the cache is the same with lower clock rates along with lower prices, was considering an Intel cpu / mobo option but can't find any reviews on the Intel G series dual cores...


This article is the best cross-comparison I've found. Hopefully that helps.

cynan wrote:Not any more that I know of. The university I'm affiliated with offers Win 7 for $99. The best price for students was back when MS offered the Ultimate Steal promotions (Which was $30 for students in the US), but those haven't been running for a while.


My brother attends the University of Minnesota and he was able to get Windows 7 Pro 64-bit for $30 to put in a build we did for another family member back in November 2011. Maybe not every college offers that, but it's worth looking into nonetheless.
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: First Time Builder Needs Less Than $400 Gaming PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:47 pm

I would really like to keep it under $400 however if I absolutely must go up to $500 than I suppose I could make an exception.


Yeah, I figured as much. It's really down to how much you want to spend. A $500 PC will play games more than 25% better than a $400 PC, but a $400 PC will still play games very well. A lot of these guys encouraging you to spend more are accustomed to high-resolution, silky-smooth graphics running on hardware that is much better than average. In fact I just finished a bout of Crysis2 (which isn't great, BTW) at 2560x1400 with the high-res textures and DX11 mode, and whilst it looked nice, it was just as enjoyable last week at 1280x720 without the high-res textures, DX11 features or details set to max. Whilst there are exceptions, a lot of new games are still designed to run well on 6-year-old consoles with antiquated hardware. This means that even a $75 graphics card can do a decent job of smooth gameplay at high(ish) details because it's still ten times more powerful than the graphics abilities of an XBox360.

If you're upgrading from an old HP DV4, you'll be more than happy with a $400 system, and by the time you want more, a $100 graphics card upgrade is probably all you'll need to give it another couple of years gaming.

As for the i3 vs G8/G6 Pentiums, there's basically no difference except clockspeed. Most games don't get any tangible benefit from hyperthreading. Some even perform worse! Unless you plan to spend $150 on a graphics card, you'll probably not see a big difference between a G620 and the top-end i3, because the graphics card will always be the limiting factor in today's games.
<insert large, flashing, epileptic-fit-inducing signature (based on the latest internet-meme) here>
Chrispy_
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 2082
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Next

Return to System Builders Anonymous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests