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300-400$ comp build


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First off, forgot to thank Dragoonknight for helping me with my audio problem (turned out it was a USB problem or something, according to the guys where I got my comp from, if you're curious). My apologies for that.

I may be getting a 300-400$ comp soon. Not knowing anything about computers, I thought I might ask here what to purchase (knowing that I won't get any stupid replies).

I guess the comp is primarily for gaming (well, as far as I know gaming comps can pretty much do anything provided you're not sending a rocket to Mars or some such task). I would like to be able to atleast play the games that come out over the next three years on minimum settings with no lag. Really, graphics aren't much of a concern, I just want my comp to be able to run them smoothly.

In addition, I would like to know if it is possible to recover data from a hard drive that has been formatted, and if so, what would be the difficulty in doing so.

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First off, no problem, happy to help. :)

Secondly, I'm not sure about the exchange rates and local prices - when you say dollars, could you give a rough idea in British Pounds of your price range?  As a general rule, though, for a gaming machine, you'll need a decent processor (at least dual core) and a reasonable graphics card (nVidia GeForce 8 Series or ATi equivalent is still viable for most new games).  Of course, a healthy dose of RAM (2GB minimum) would be essential, especially if you'll be running Vista.

Let me know how deep your pockets are in GBP and I'll be able to give some more specifics. :)

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There is just a new budget game pc edition on a dutch computer website: http://www.hardware.info/nl-NL/pcadvice/bpqfb5tpag/viewconfig/PC_Advies_Budget_Game_PC__juni_2009/

It will cost you around 870 euro... which is a bit more than you want, but perhaps it gives you a nice direction.

And here you can find a budget system: http://tweakers.net/reviews/1226/2

I hope it helps. :)

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Believe that should be about 245 pounds. Local prices aren't an issue, because they are generally ridiculous. Either that or you're getting grey-ware cr@p. I've heard that the store that I my (unfortanetly grey-ware) comp components came from now has decent quality stuff. Maybe I'll check some local prices.

In the mean time though, shipping is probably my best bet.

Keep in mind that of course I already have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, windows. I also have 1 gig of ram (in two 512mb sticks. not sure if I will be able to use them in the new comp. Might not have enought slots or perhaps they might be incompatible?)

I've seen this:

Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

Newegg.com - ASUS M2N68-VM AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7050PV HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100225DDR3L Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards ($15 MIR)

Newegg.com - OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory ($30 MIR)

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

And:

Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Newegg.com - OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

Newegg.com - Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N975-AR GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

The guys in the thread I pulled this from seemed to prefer the intel build, even though they said the AMD build was cheaper and similar in performance. Any sense to that? They seemed to have some inexplicable preferance for intel.

Thumper, I'll check you're links in a bit.

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I dunno about intel pentium dual core. Those are cheap, I'd stay away from it. core2duo at minimum for intel. Heck I got an early core2duo 2.5 years ago.

Or maybe things have changed over the years. I was told to stay away from 'pentium' or celeron dual cores and such. My year 2006 e6300 core2duo has 1.86ghz, 2mb cache, 1066FSB. The pentium dual core has more ghz, same cache and less FSB.

I guess comparing

core2duo and

Pentium dual core

shows price differences. the one you picked out compared to cheapest core2duo is $50 cheaper. All the core2duo appears to offer is a bit more ghz, FSB and cache.

I don't know much about hardware.

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Your ram might be too old, not sure. Check the specs I would say.

I also got the Antec Three Hundred Case, it's a nice case, but I use it for a heavy game pc, you perhaps not. It also does not come with a power supply, so you also need to spend some money on that. You could also get a case with already a power supply, but don't go too cheap on those things, they are actually pretty important, if the power supply is bad quality it can damage your pc or set on fire while your gone (in the worst case) or give a bad power signal with strange problems with your hardware as result.

If you are going to build it yourself, my biggest advise would be to check the parts on those lists and compare them with parts that are a bit more expensive and a bit more cheaper to see what are the differences. So in the end you know (and feel good about it) why you didn't buy a certain more cheaper/expensive part.

Building a PC (getting the correct parts) is lots of search work, I would also check/ask other forums. Some tech websites have example builds and some also have suppliers who build it for you (in the netherlands anyway) if you want that. Problem might be transportation for a whole PC's

About your current monitor, keyboard and mouse. I don't know what age and condition they are in, but if you have an old CRT, get yourself a nice flat one, those are a lot nicer. Not too big screen, because that asks more of the videocard. Keyboards often work for very long, but if it's very dirty (ugly), you can get for 10-20 dollar/euro a brand new one (same for the mouse) which I personally find a lot nicer to go with a nice new PC (it makes it feel newer too :)) and is nice clean, also it's cheaper because it goes with the same shipping costs.

Google is of course your big friend, if something is unclear you can easily google the names or search on tech forums about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found this combo at Newegg;

ECS BLACK SERIES GF8200A (V1.0) AM2+/AM3 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail 

203013AMD Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition Kuma 2.8GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core Processor Model AD785ZWCGHBOX - Retail 

203013OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N800SR4GK - Retail 

All that for only 160$. That sounds really good.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the info. Keep in mind, Gruntlord, that I only want a modest comp. Something that can play games for the next 2 or 3 years on minimum without lag.

Yeah, building your own PC definitely seems to be the way to go. Definitely cheaper.

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Thanks for the info. Keep in mind, Gruntlord, that I only want a modest comp. Something that can play games for the next 2 or 3 years on minimum without lag.

Yeah, building your own PC definitely seems to be the way to go. Definitely cheaper.

amd quad core is very cheap.

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Really? Can you link me to a cheap quad core?

That sweet deal on Newegg expired (could have saved a fair bit of money). Maybe if I can find a nice quad core deal...

Remember, 300-400$. Just the stuff in the case basically. Already have sound, monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB, case, power supply and fans. I'll probably need a new power supply though. Maybe a new case as well. For a new case, I'm not worried about how good it looks. If my stuff fits and doesn't melt or otherwise break I'm happy. If I want decor I'll put some... flowers on it or something. :D

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It's late here, so this'll have to be quick.

Processor: If you can get this, do. Core 2 Quad from Intel and AMD's Phenom II are good value for money. i7 is good for power, but is very expensive. If you can only get a dual core, get a Core 2 Duo - they are far better than any AMD dual core on the market. Don't be fooled by lower clock speeds (measured in GHZ). I might sound like an Intel salesperson here, but it needs to be said that Intel has dominated the market for CPUs since they released their "Core 2" range for good reason. If you come across nanometres, generally lower is better. I.e. 65nm is worse than 45nm.

RAM: From what I can see you've chosen the right sort, DDR2 800. If you aren't going for the i7, get 4GB of DDR2, if you are, get 6GB of DDR3 RAM.

Graphics: If you're looking  for sheer performance, go with Nvidia. ATI is the best value - get something like the HD 4850 or 4870.

Cases: Antec cases are good - make sure you read the reviews though. Thermaltake also make good cases I've heard. Same with Silverstone.

Motherboards: Gigabyte is reliable. ASUS sometimes has a bit of Engrish in their manuals, but build quality is generally pretty good.

Power supplies: Buy one seperately rather than get one with the case (unless the case is made by a manufacturer who also makes power supplies). I've had too many cheap PSUs fail on me. Investigate what power connections you'll need.

Sound cards aren't really necessary these days unless you're an audiophile. Inbuilt sound is generally good quality.

I'm typing this at 2 AM, so please forgive any grammatical errors. I'll come back and edit if I see something terribly wrong.

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Just noticed that Newegg does not ship internationally. Is there some way I can organized purchases from Newegg through an international shipper?

Alternatively, is there any international shipper that offers comparable prices? So far all I've found in South Africa are rip off prices, and this is how things are in general in this country. The prices are so bad that it is MUCH cheaper to ship from international places.

''I might sound like an Intel salesperson here, but it needs to be said that Intel has dominated the market for CPUs since they released their "Core 2" range for good reason.

Hasn't intel always dominated the market? Basically, could you tell me what this ''good reason'' is? The market is not always dominated by the best product.

''I might sound like an Intel salesperson here, but it needs to be said that Intel has dominated the market for CPUs since they released their "Core 2" range for good reason.

Hasn't intel always dominated the market? Basically, could you tell me what this ''good reason'' is? The market is not always dominated by the best product.

''Power supplies: Buy one seperately rather than get one with the case (unless the case is made by a manufacturer who also makes power supplies). I've had too many cheap PSUs fail on me. Investigate what power connections you'll need.''

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You could say Intel has always dominated the market, due to the sheer numbers of chips produced  - perhaps that was a bad choice of words there . ;)

However, I think it's fair to say that AMD did dominate the consumer market for some time, simply due to companies such as Dell and HP choosing to use them for their 'home' products.

What I meant was that AMD's Athlon 64 dual cores were very popular before the Core 2 Duos came out. The only dual cores that Intel had were Pentium Ds, which were useless, due to the large amounts of heat produced and their inferior speeds.

I read your post before, and you had more questions - unfortunately, I can't answer them now, since you've removed them...

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me or reply here.

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huh  ???

Looks I made a whoopsie somehow with my editing. How annoying, I normally save most of what I type but this time where I mysteriously cut out a section I did not.

.... OH YES, NOW I remember why I cut out a section. It was about a nice combo deal (70$ for Thermaltake case and PSU). Since I found out I may not be able to get from Newegg I thought I might as well not ask what I was asking, but I was kind of wrong to do that because I could still use the info.

One of the questions was: The PSU's 12V rail only has 18A according to the reviewers. Don't know much about these things but they said that this is a problem for a ''power user''. Now considering my budget, it doesn't seem like I could ever be a ''power user''. So then do I not have to worry about? Even if I one day choose to overclock and more current is required, I can always just get a new powerbox then (I would only overclock a few years from now, when I may need it to run games on min smoothly).

I also asked whether I should bother with a new case. What would I need one for? I suppose a combination of cooling devices and a thermally efficient case might allow for the cheapest set up possible. For this it would seem that a Thermaltake case and PSU (as in the combo) would be a good idea. One would imagine that Themraltake would put some emphasis on the thermal efficientness of their cases.

Oh, and thanks for the help. It is appreciated.

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You could say Intel has always dominated the market, due to the sheer numbers of chips produced  - perhaps that was a bad choice of words there . ;)

However, I think it's fair to say that AMD did dominate the consumer market for some time, simply due to companies such as Dell and HP choosing to use them for their 'home' products.

Easy overclocking ability and cheap prices made AMD hot early on also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Easy overclocking ability and cheap prices made AMD hot early on also.

go for a phenom II, you can get near core i7 performance at core 2 quad price. If you can afford it, get core I7 920.

ddr 3 ram is not worth it on amd phenom, though core i7 it is required, but it actually makes a difference there.

integrated sound is really good, no need for a card.

For gfx, go nvidia, I recommend the 9600 gt.

Go with gigabyte or asus for a mother board, both are reliable.

No recommendation for psu, just look for good reviews.

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Graphics: If you're looking  for sheer performance, go with Nvidia. ATI is the best value - get something like the HD 4850 or 4870.

I don't want to start a discussion about the performance part as that's not relevant to the PC we're talking about. I'll only say that was true one or two years ago, but some things have changed since then.

But you should consider if you're also going to play older games, from around the year 2000. ATI's drivers usually run older games without much problems, while the same cannot be said for NVidia: I've owned two ATI cards and two NVidia cards in the past several years, and both the NVidia cards had problems with the older games while I never had any problem with the ATI ones. Lots of people complaining about this on the net too, you could search around a bit if you don't believe me.

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Thanks. Not only is this useful information for this particular purchase, but a bit of computer general knowledge will be useful for multiple things.

''But you should consider if you're also going to play older games, from around the year 2000. ATI's drivers usually run older games without much problems, while the same cannot be said for NVidia: I've owned two ATI cards and two NVidia cards in the past several years, and both the NVidia cards had problems with the older games while I never had any problem with the ATI ones. Lots of people complaining about this on the net too, you could search around a bit if you don't believe me.''

Especially useful since I often play old games. Most of the games I play are old. Probably some good stuff from around 2000. Is this an issue for 1995-2000 games?

Since games have been getting worse and worse, I tend to play old games a lot.

''If you want to keep things cheap I'd recommend the HD4830. Mine cost about

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Especially useful since I often play old games. Most of the games I play are old. Probably some good stuff from around 2000. Is this an issue for 1995-2000 games?

Games from before 2000 shouldn't depend too much on your graphics card. At that time, dedicated graphics hardware wasn't very common so most games were CPU based. These games might have some problems with newer windows versions, but for a lot games workarounds have been found for those problems.

The games I meant are the 'Hardware T&L (Transform&Lighting)-era' games, if that means anything to you. A few games that I experienced problems with are Red Faction, Ground Control, and Project IGI. Now there were a lot more, but I can't think of any right now. But that should give an indication of the games I'm talking about.

Since games have been getting worse and worse, I tend to play old games a lot.

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean :(

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