$200 gaming build/upgrade... can it be done?


Dec 23, 2008
I admit it, I'm cheap, and more of a casual gamer. Basically I'm looking for the best rig I can upgrade to for under (or at least very close to) $200. Emphasis on gaming, but it doesn't have to be anything spectacular.

Right now I have a Dell 2.4ghz P4 with 1gb of ram (ddr333 I think...256mbx4), 640gb WD sata, a solid 400w PS (not original dell), and a recently deceased 6600gt AGP card which is prompting thoughts of an upgrade. I also have a spare case from an older Athlon build, and monitor/keyboard/etc. I'd love to move to a dual core and pci-e system but know with the very limited budget I may not have that luxury (in which case I'd just do graphics, and ram and hopefully spend less)

So what should I do? Suggestions on specific hardware would be great.


Dec 29, 2007
Re-use the HDD, DVDR/RW, and PSU.

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147110
$30 Cheap Rosewill case (face it dell cases suck for airflow, get a second 120mm fan for this one soon tho)
MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135075
$70 ECS A780GM-A (has onboard vid that will destroy that 6600)(Has a $10 MIR)(X-Fire capable)
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103255
$54 AM2 X2 4850e (retail)
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144073
$38 Geil Black Dragon 2x2GB DDR2 800

Total: $192 + S&H (not counting MIR, or special/combo deals)

Fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185052
$7 each Scythe (Get 2 of these soon)(can only mount 2 in the rosewill case)

Pick up a better PSU, and vid card later (PCIe-2.0).
Gkay may be unwilling to spell "good" properly, but the components he has listed will be better than IH8U's (which aren't all that bad either). The HD3300 graphics on the 790GX are another tier higher, and the CPU is much better than the 4850e.


Dec 23, 2008
Thanks for the replies. I still have the dilemma about upgrading vs. new cpu/mobo. When I look at the integrated gfx on those boards, the Radeon 3200 is right about on par with the 6600gt I'm used to, at least according to the hierarchy chart on here (right?).


I like that the suggestions give me better graphics options in the future, but would I be better off just buying something like an AGP Radeon HD 3650 for what I've got, and pushing out the total system upgrade until later?

If that's what you want to do. The 3650 would certainly be faster than the 6600GT or the onboard 3300 of the 790GX. Still your system is pretty dated. You could build a better system by using this

ASRock A780FullHD $56.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400 Brisbane BE $57.99

OCZ Vista Upgrade 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 $22.99

SAPPHIRE 100248L Radeon HD 3850 512MB $59.99 if you buy it now

And that comes up to $197.96. Compared to your current system it's a screamer :D. of course that 3850 fluctuates from 59.99 - 74.99. I'm thinking of getting one next month to xfire my current Asus 3850, but the price changes like every 2 days, so if they raise the price back up again you could instead get this 4670

SAPPHIRE 100255HDMI Radeon HD 4670 512MB $64.99

And that would be a total of $202.96. Either way it's not a bad system and you can overclock that 5400 BE. The ASRock A780FullHD is a great board, and while it's great for overclocking if you know what you're doing it's not too newb friendly for it like the Gigabyte boards tend to be. Of course, always read the sticky before overclocking to understand what you're doing and you'll be just fine :D.

That may be true if you use shorthand, but is it really that much harder to type an extra "o"? Most people on these forums prefer to read proper English, not shorthand.

Ohh... very well short I mean shortstuff...

Ahh...but I still don't get it...why you people cant get over it :p
We aren't used to shorthand when it appears sloppy. Pick up ANY newspaper or magazine (or book), and despite the plethora of other errors you're likely to find, you won't find anyone using a shortwave operator's Morse code shorthand for "good."


Nov 24, 2008
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.165025 Phenom II 720 with the BioStar 790GX $185 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145184 2x2GB Corsair DDR2 800 $20 after MIR

$205 after MIR

The 3300 is a great videocard for last gen FPS like FEAR and HL2 and Quake 4. They will all run fine at 1024x768.

You can save $35 by going with an AMD Phenom 9600 but its not that great for single thread apps but is great for multithreaded apps.

If you add a 4830, you'll have a very capable machine that should be able to play Crysis at high at 1280x1024.