Jun 20, 2007
Hey ya'll,

So, I have had a little meltdown (literally) in my pc, and rather than throw good money after bad, I am upgrading my pc. I'm using some of my old parts, but I am looking for some advice on some of the new parts.

1) What is your budget?

Maximum $450

2) Are there any brands/resellers that you prefer or any you really don't like?
GPU: Powercolor, Sparkle

3) What tasks will you be performing with the Desktop?
Gaming; Browsing; Statistical Modeling; Videos; Word Processing

4) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?
Yes. The new Star Wars MMO and BattleField 3 when they come out, and then a lot of older games and simulation games, etc. Not very many super high end graphics games

5) Do you mind buying parts online without seeing them in person?

6) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS X, Linux, etc.
Windows 7 (I own a copy already)

7) How much hard drive space is needed?
I own the hard drives already (1 200 gb, one 500 gb)

8) What size desktop would you like?(All in one, compact, large)
I own the case already (Xigmatek)

9) Does the case need to be stylish?

10) What resolution will the screen run at? One or Two screens?
This is a little bit more difficult. I own a 20 in. monitor, but I am moving into a studio and not buying cable, so I'd also like to be able to hook my pc up to my 32 in Dynex LCD TV.

11) Do you need any particular hardware?(Ports, HDD slots, double DVD drives, etc.)

CD/DVD Burner

12) How would you rate your technical skills?
I am a knowledgeable amateur. I have been assembling, disassembling and fixing computers for the last 5-6 years.

13) Have you ever built a desktop before?
Yes, a dozen times or so, but often with hodgepodge parts

14) Do you need wireless connectivity?

15) When are you going to be building this?
Within the next few days.

16) Have you considered a pre-built desktop? Or even a notebook?
Not in consideration, because I have many of the parts I needs already

17) Are you going to overclock?
Maybe, haven't quite decided yet.

I am upgrading because my 8800GS melted, and in the process melted the sole pci-e connector in my Gigabyte P35-DS3L motherboard. It is a dead end socket, and most of my parts are old anyways, so I have decided that I just want to upgrade, and I will sell my old parts. However, my budget isn't real high, so I am looking at the following parts:

MSI 970A-G45 AM3+

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz

Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

I am a little torn here. I bought a GTX 260 with the hopes of eventually upgrading my system to the new Core i5's and sli'ing the card, but then the motherboard started to crap out. I cannot afford a motherboard that supports SLI, so I have a friend who has said he will buy the 260 for $85 from me, which I would then put towards buying a 6670. I am thinking I could crossfire that, which would give me better resolution on my large tv. Also, if I did that, I know I would need a bridge of some sort, but I'm not quite sure, as I have never built a two card system.

XFX HD-667X-ZHF3 Radeon HD 6670

APEVIA JAVA ATX-JV650W 650W ATX12V / EPS12V This part is already owned, works great, and I am planning on keeping it.

This build rounds out to $463, but with instant and mail in rebates and some promo codes I have it runs about $423 including shipping. I am open to suggestions and evaluation. Any help is appreciated. Thanks everyone.
$450's tough for a gaming build...but alright.

Do you have a Micro Center nearby? That's got to be the first question.

Also, if you remove the parenthesis ( ) from your hyperlinks or add spaces on the ends, they'll work as links.

PSU: That Apevia PSU is probably what melted your graphics card. Apevia is not a reliable brand. Go for Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX.

Lastly, I'd like your 8800GS. What do you mean it "melted"? How does that happen?
If it's a gaming computer, get 4GB of good RAM if you're on a budget. More like this:

Also, if you're on a budget, you should buy your parts as sales come up over the course of a couple weeks.

CPU: $75 Phenom II x3 720BE
If you're going AMD, go cheap. If you're getting a Bulldozer compatible board, you may as well use a CPU that's almost as fast, but not so expensive as the 955. Also, it might unlock. This was on sale for $60 a couple weeks back.

I don't agree with the low-end crossfire system. It has its merits, but I think you'd spend more time happier buying a $130 6850 and crossfiring that in 6 months or a year.


Jun 20, 2007
My experience is that PSU's under a certain price threshold are a crapshoot. Most work fine, some work like ***, regardless of the brand. That being said, this psu isn't particularly old, and the few tests I've run on it have come back clean. I'll consider a new one.

Normally, I would buy parts piecemeal, its how I've built my previous systems. I am moving next Friday, however, and won't have a great setup for receiving packages, as I will be living in a studio in a backyard. It's just not a good situation to be constantly receiving packages.

I'm not entirely sure how to describe what happened. Moved it into a new, much more properly cooled case, and then three weeks later I got a freeze up with mass discoloration. Restarted, and the card couldn't make it past the windows login screen. When I removed the card, it had gotten so hot that it had burnt the EVGA warranty sticker to almost nothing. I'm thinking it got running real hot in my house (sometimes the ambient house temperature is upwards of 85 to 87 degrees), and just couldn't handle it for whatever reason. At this point, it doesn't work; the display from post to login screen is heavily color and placement distorted (lines don't match up, etc).
PSU: Here's why I'm wary of Apevia
Notice the 550W Antec provides substantially more power on it's +12V rails? With 4 rails, you can only guess how much power is actually delivered (it depends on specifics of the internals of the PSU), but if we are to assume the Antec is made at least as well as the Apevia...
(13A/18A)*550W = 397W. That Apevia is quite likely more on the order of a quality 400W PSU. So I would be careful with that "650W" rating. Another reason I'm wary of Apevia:
Then again, a single 8800GS build should be fine on 400W.

Now for a build...
First...Do you live near a Micro Center? That's the most important thing.

You say you have a 20" monitor, but never mention resolution. I will assume 1440x900, which isn't very demanding. You also say $450 max--and since you start with a Phenom build I'm going to try to go as cheap as I can and undercut that by $100. If you're actually set on spending that much, I'd go for an i5-2500K for $205 and spend a little more for the extra longevity. But honestly, I'd wait a couple weeks to see what Bulldozer does to prices.

All prices include shipping:

CPU: $75 Phenom II x3 720BE

Cooler: $30 XIGMATEK Gaia
You can use this with your next CPU too. I can't guarantee it will fit in your case. You may want to consider a cheap case like the Thermaltake V4 or V3 that provides moderate cooling as well.

Mobo: If you like rebates, $75 MSI 970A-G45 AM3+
If you don't like rebates, $108 ASUS M5A97 AM3+

RAM: $33 ADATA XPG Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1600CL9 DDDR3

GPU: $150 (after $30 rebate) XFX Radeon 6870

TOTAL: $363 (After rebates)

$426 if you don't like rebates

Also...are you selling your parts in the Classifieds section of this forum? Let me know if you are.

In addition to the above parts, I would also get a case ($40 Thermaltake V4 )
and a PSU ($50 Antec HCG-620 ). These would fit into a $450 budget if you do the rebates. Also, that motherboard does core unlocking, so that Phenom II x3 might end up a quad core. If it doesn't unlock, it'll still OC to about 4.0GHz pretty easily since it's unlocked.