Mid-range gaming PC on $600


May 8, 2009
Approximate Purchase Date: July 1st Budget: $507 +/- 5%

System Usage: Gaming, Watching Movies (Netflix streaming)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Graphics Card, Speakers/Headset, OS (XP until Windows 7)

Parts Required: Case, PSU, Motherboard, Processor, RAM, HD, Optical Drive

Preferred Website for Parts: None. (New to PC building, no familiarity with any parts website.)

Parts Preferences: AMD processor, Socket AM3 motherboard

Overclocking: Possible Crossfire/SLI: Not Likely

Monitor Resolution: 1680 x 1080

Additional Comments: While it will be used for gaming, it is not meant to be a box to blow all boxes away. I would like to play a few games coming out over the next two or three years without major upgrades. Adding another two sticks of RAM would be all I'd like to do over the next two to three years. The games should play smooth at 1600 x 1050 with a few features turned on. I would like socket AM3 just as a precaution looking forward. A good motherboard can outlast the components connected to it. If I upgrade any components after 3 or 4 years, they will likely be the CPU and graphics card.

The graphics card, keyboard and mouse were ordered today. The card seemed like a good deal to me (been looking at it for a few weeks) and it was expiring today (total cost will be $86 after the mail-in rebate). The keyboard and mouse were under $7 after an Amazon gift card paid for most of them. The headset I won at a CNSC event last week. The monitor is currently hooked up to my wife's Mac Mini (which will get moved to the TV as a media box once I finish building). I have a copy of XP Pro that I will be using until Windows 7 releases. My original budget was $600 and I have spent $93 of it on the card, keyboard, mouse and headphones.

The games I am looking to play with this rig are:
- Champions: Online
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Diablo 3
- StarCraft 2 (maybe)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic

Any and all help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
I would forget the AM3/DDR3 setup at that price range. This one comes pretty close to your budget:

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190734 $218.99 (CPU + Motherboard combo)

OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193827 $117.98 (RAM + HD combo)

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005&Tpk=650tx $99.99 - $20.00 MIR

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136153 $23.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042&Tpk=antec%20300 $58.95

Total - $519.90 - $20 MIR

The PSU is overkill, but that PSU is currently the same price as the 550VX. The 650W PSU will also easily power another 4850 GPU in crossfire if needed. If you're sure you'll never need crossfire, you could go with a PSU like this to save a little money:

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703015 $79.99 - $10 MIR
EDIT : I was reading another thread and dint see the previous post...
And is the list which I was about to suggest...
But as the OP wanted an AM3, I had different mobo and RAM in mind...

Here are the parts that could make a very good mid-range pc...
AMD X3 720 - $140
4GB(2X2GB) DDR3 1600MHz kit - $65
WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB - $55
DVD - $20
CASE - Antec 300 - $60
Power supply - BFG Tech GS-550 550W - $50
Total - $530