Advice on building a new budget gaming rig


Jul 29, 2011
Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 30 days or so

Budget Range: Looking to spend around 650 or so, the lower the better of course. Before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (SC2, League of Legends, Diablo 3 when it comes out, looking to play all of these on relatively high settings efficiently), photoshop CS5 moderately, streaming, internet usage, student things (office etc).

Parts Not Required: Case, mouse, keyboard, monitors, speakers, disk drive.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: New egg, microcenter.

Country of Origin: U.S., Maryland

Parts Preferences: AMD or intel, no real preference to either. Looking for the best performance for the money.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 (dual 22" monitors)

Ideally I'm looking to build a quad core system, and am considering a SSD to boot off of and have a few games loaded on as well. I have an external drive I can use for media/etc. I was curious though, since I'd probably only get a 64g SSD, would I be better off using my external drive, or getting an internal HDD to put my non essential programs/some games on? I assume they would load faster off an internal HDD rather an external one. Also, what is the general opinion on SSD's compared to HDD's?

For processors I was considering...
AMD Phenom II X4 Quad-Core Processor 955 Black Edition
Intel core i5 2500k

Not really sure which motherboard I'd like to get, it really depends of course on what processor I go with. Most of the people I've asked tell me to go with the intel, but the past 2 computers I've made were both AMD systems and I've never had a problem with either. Is the extra $80 or so dollars really worth it if I go with intel?

Basically I'm just trying to build a budget gaming PC that will play said games close to max settings but as I've been out of the computer loop for quite a while I'm kind of at a loss as to what sort of things I should be looking for when considering parts.

Any recommendations on said processors, SSD or HDD, and video cards would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for any help with this :)


Performance wise the intel CPU's are the best, if it's worth the money yes if it doesn't hurt your budget otherwise.
If your case it's borderline. Getting the i5 2500k at microcenter with a reasonable mobo( Gigabyte GA-Z68X-U3H-B3 ) is about $310-$315 after taxes i would think.
$180 for the CPU, and $40 off with the combo from the mobo and there is a MIR still I believe on the mobo for like $10.
That leaves about $350 or so for the rest.

memory 2x4GB ~$60
GPU: 560/6870 ~$180
PSU: ~$60 for a quality unit in the 500W range Antec HCG-520 for example. Or XFX Core 550
HDD: $60 Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB

So i would say that while the 2500k is within your reach, you won't really be able to pop in an SSD at least. $58.99 FREE SHIPPING 10% off with promo code Julsv10, ends 7/31
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-520 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $264.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Sapphire DIRT 3 EDITION Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312-3SR $79.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Gigabyte Z68A-D3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard GA-Z68A-D3-B3 $24.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 $59.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Samsung Desktop Class Spinpoint F3 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gb-s 32 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare-OEM Drives, HD103SJ $64.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL


Jul 29, 2011

Thanks for the recommendations! However I feel that the GPU that you suggested is a bit overkill for what I need and I can probably be fine with a less expensive GPU and use that extra money for other components.

I also plan on using windows 7 32 bit so wouldn't the 8g be unnecessary since I understand 32 bit windows can only recognize/use 3gs of ram?


Jun 30, 2011
Any reason why you don't plan on building a 64 bit system? Th extra ram will definitely help in gaming - especially in rpgs like diablo3.

As for the video card, are you planning to game using just one monitor or two? If you are gaming with two monitors, I can assure you the 6950 is not overkill.

why_me chose a great 6950 card.

If you plan on running dual monitors the 2gb or RAM with that card I posted is a big plus. Google it.


Jul 29, 2011

I don't plan on using both monitors to game. One I usually leave a browser up on and the other I have my game/primary application running on.

But yes, you're probably right on recommending a 64 bit OS. I'll probably actually end up doing that thinking back on it.


I understand 32 bit windows can only recognize/use 3gs of ram?

Windows 32bit recognizes 4GBs, not three. This is starting to be something that is REALLY irritating me. 32bit windows sees 4GBs, and from there subtracts the memory space that it needs to set aside to keep track of all the info that an OS needs to keep track of. This usually brings you down to around 3.25GBs though it could be even less if you have a bigger setup then normal. People have been on this forum saying it only supports 3GBs, but if you start subtracting from there you'll end up with 2.xGBs something.

Why_me's build looks nice, but i didn't see a CPU in that list.