Is this a good ~500 rig?


Jul 4, 2011
Is this a good ~$500 gaming rig? I basically want the best bang for my buck here. Also, please tell me of any part incompatibilities i may have overlooked. Thankyou.

My build:
NZXT Gamma Case
Intel Core i3-2100
Cheap Foxconn mobo
2x2gb ddr3 1333mhz ram
Powercolor Radeon 6850
Rosewill 530watt PSU
Seagate 500gb HDD
ASUS DVD burner
Four Rosewill 120mm fans

Thankyou for your time and advice. It's my first custom build. I would love to know where I might save money without sacrificing performance too much etc. Let me know please. Thanks.


1st: Agree with clark
2nd: Love that case, have it myself :D
3rd: I would go with a Phenom II x4 955 instead of the 2100 just because performance wise, they're neck to neck but the Phenom II has 4 cores instead of 2, meaning more future proof.
I recommend this setup:

CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 955 $120
Graphics: Radeon 6850 $155
MoBo: Foxconn M61PMP-K $45
PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D $70
Case: NZXT Gamma $36
HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 $40
RAM: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB $25
Heatsink+Fan: STOCK $0
Total: $510
^+1 Xigmatek is a solid brand no doubt.
I've seen good review on that 400w power supply.

As for the i3 2100 vs 955. The more cores equals future proofing is a bunch a blehh.... The i3 2100 performs quite well and in most cases beats the 955. The i3 2100 has HT which gives it 2 virtual cores giving it pretty solid performance. So it has 4 virtual but 2 physical. The board you paired with the 955 wouldn't give it future proofing. You get an AM3 board that doesn't allow for usage of BD and USB 3 or SATA 3. It also doesn't allow for the best overclocks since Nvidia chipsets aren't exactly the best pair for AMD CPUs, in the sense of OCing.

i3 2100 $125
Asrock H61 USB3 $75
Crucial Ballistix DDR3 1333 4GB $25
Seagate 500GB $40
Corsair CX430 $45 ($10 MIR)
NZXT Beta $40 (Reason, basically same price since Gamma costs $6 to ship)
XFX 6850 (Free game) $160 ($15 MIR + Double lifetime warranty)
Total: $515


Jul 12, 2010
Hi Qarano, a good starting place would be this article showing this site's own suggested $500 build.

If it were me, I'd go with this PSU (Antec HGC-400W) instead, though, which is $20 more than the article's suggested PSU (Antec Earthwatts 380W). I say this because you don't want to skimp on quality when it comes to PSUs: the Earthwatts uses a mix of Taiwanese and Japanese capacitors, and you want all Japanese capacitors for optimal reliability (see this review of the Earthwatts, I think this quote from it provides a good summary: "Overall my impression of the internals is a bit of a mixed bag. The build quality is good with very good construction and a generous design but the double forward design is not cutting edge and the capacitor brand choice is stingy yet adequate.". (Also note that the Earthwatts doesn't come with a power cord). The Antec HCG 400 is the lowest price PSU with all-Japanese capacitors I could find and the 520W version is reviewed well at Anandtech. In my opinion the extra $20 is worth it for the extra reliability.

Also, bear in mind that none of these builds include the cost of windows (an extra $100 minimum) if you're going that route. If you're looking to shed cost a bit more, you could go with a lower end AMD Phenom x4 CPU or even the Athlon x3 Rana instead of the Intel Core i3. This would save you $20-$45 compared to the Core i3 (you'd go with an AMD motherboard for about the same price, of course), but you'd lose some performance. Another option is to get a cheaper graphics card to lower cost (and upgrade later); it really depends on how much you're comfortable spending.

One final note: if you can afford it, I highly recommend a 60 or 80GB solid state drive (SSD) to boot your operating system from (and load games from), it's probably the single best upgrade you can make in terms of snappiness and load times. Thing is, upgrading to a SSD later means reinstalling windows to it to benefit most, which is a pain. It's a sweet piece of hardware if you can fit it into your budget.

Good luck :)

Edit: I've build a system in the NZXT Gamma and it's a solid case. The Xigmatech Asgard case in the article I linked to has also been reviewed well.

Much better. Ivy Bridge upgradeability. As for games that use more than 4 cores, yeah but the speed of the Sandy makes up for a lot. Not to mention it's much more efficient. If you go the AMD quad route, make sure you go with a AM3+ board for future upgrades, however I think they start at about $140 for a 9XX chipset.

Change that board to the H67, it's $5 more. I have had major problems with Ballistix in the past, I'd choose something else. I'd also go with a 500w psu for future Ivy Bridge and GPU upgrades.
yeah id still go the 955 and am3+ route personally, with a nice oc the 955 will beat the i3, with the i3 there will be no oc'ing. Either way on the intel platform you can upgrade to IB, in the end I just like having the extra cores as many games that I play use them, if I had the i3 instead the would not perform the same, my 955 is at 4.2ghz but that being said I'm waiting to see what IB and BD can deliver before I start upgrading cpu or mobo, this is my 2 cents

either path intel or amd will be a good one as long as you choose the right motherboard

how about on that is not on a crap board like a 990X or better or maybe a nice am3 board that has BD upgradability, with an oc to 4.0 ghz the 955 is around the level of an i5-2500. Of course if you had the K sku the i5 could oc to much higher performance then that but in some games not having a quad will cripple performance, like in BFBC2 (BF3). Im not saying that more cores are futureproof at all but in my personal opinion the 955 is a better buy at this point as compared to the comparable intel offering. The i3 2100 is an excellent cpu but for gaming I'd either take an older quad or spend more money on an i5 2500k. But again thats just me.
I never said the i3-2100 was better than the 955BE. It is faster in gaming than the 970BE, and uses a lot less power, but that doesn't make it better overall. Tom's did however go with the i3 in the $500 system builder marathon.

I just like Ivy Bridge upgradeability, because frankly we know nothing about BD yet and Ivy Bridge will likely be much faster than BD.

I went with the i3 because I wanted to put together a "green" computer that was inexpensive, but still capable of some modern gaming.
yeah i32100s are very nice cpus, especially when considering performance per watt, I'm just saying my preference would be towards the 955 and an oc for gaming right now. I'm predicting that BD will be around the same level as SB but likely inferior to IB, either way any of these cpus should provide ample gaming performance for years to come.

And yes another pro of the i3 is the upgrade-ability to IB but I'd want a nicer mobo for that personally, thus why I am attracted to the 990x/990fx mobos but then again yeah we do not know what BDs performance will be exactly. My current mobo should run with BD so i probably wont be upgrading the mobo at all but I will only be able to tell once the chips are actually released.


Aug 8, 2011

Is the Corsair cx600 watt psu good to run crossfire with the 6850s?


Aug 8, 2011

Thanks for the reply!


Aug 8, 2011

Which is better in your opinion? Right now i choose the Antec 620w fir the extra 20w just to be safe they both cost $70 after shipping. I think im going with the Antec because I've look at the review of the corsair and people said it has an irritating noise to it.. but then again corsair is suppose to be the "quality" makers of psu's but I've seen no complaints about the antec accept for it being doa but a lot of things come doa right? So what do you think is better?