Sub $600 PC, which mobo/CPU?


Jun 24, 2009
I am trying to keep a budget of under $600 without a monitor for a new PC.
I’m not a gamer, but I do consider myself a power user. I do some desktop publishing and the PC will also be used from time to time for up to 1080P video playback.
I do not want on board graphics only

Right now the cheapest combo I have found is a G31 chipset mobo with a E5700 and a Radeon 4350. What I’d really like is P43 chipset with an E8500 and Radeon 4770.

My main issue is the CPU. I’d really like an Intel E8400(6MB L2, 3GHz, 1333FSB)
, but that tends to put me out of budget. Using the (2.66GHz,3M,1066MHz,FSB) with the G31 keeps me in budget

1. I’ve read as many benchmarks as I could. Is there any real-world difference between the 2 processors?
2. Does the L2 and FSB really make that much of a difference
3. I’ve read a lot about overclocking the 7500.
a. How is the G31 chipset for that task?
b. Would that totally eliminate the reason for questions 1 and 2?

I know that there is less than $100 difference in what I’m asking, but at $600, that’s a big difference





Most G31 will run 1333 FSB and capable of OC'ing the e7500. If you've already decided on the G31, then don't bother with the e8400 because you'll have a hard time pushing it to 1600 fsb and beyond although Asus makes a G31 board that can go 1600 fsb.
Here's a very nice computer for less than $600 if you use the Windows 7 RC until the retail version is released:

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

ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $188.99 - $10.00 MIR (CPU + motherboard combo)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail $54.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $69.99

XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $109.99

Antec Three Hundred 430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail $99.99

LG GH22NS40 22X SATA DVD Burner Black Drive Bulk $31.99

Total - $555.94 - $10.00 MIR

This build even included a very nice 4850 GPU if you ever decide to give gaming a try.


Agreed, if your not hardcore gaming, an AMD setup and a biostar motherboard would make an fast and trouble free combo, for a lot less no less. While I do love my core 2 duo over my Athlon x2 64, I actually miss my biostar t-series board even though I own an GA-EP45-UD3R now. My AMD board was much less temperamental and a STEAL at 70 bucks compared to this one. If I had the money, I'd actually buy one of theit t-power setups for this e8500 and ditch the temperamental gigabyte board. $99.00 and awesome !
I do not want on board graphics only.

None of your needs require a discrete card. You have simply never seen good onboard graphics, perhaps?

You want the fastest workhorse for your money, right?

You can build a much better machine for that price.

AMD X3 720 and Asus 790GX board
That's all the GPU you need. If you decide differently after you use it, just buy something.
You SHOULD have 4 cores. At least get 3. The 720 is fast and it overclocks pretty good. $200

Antec 300 and EA380 PSU
Well cooled case and quality PSU. $80

G.skill 1333 4GB DDR3
You got a deep discount on the MB but you loose about 10 bucks here buying DDR3... still, you might need to upgrade to 8GB in the future so it's a good investment. $60

Caviar Black 640GB
A good fast drive with tons of space. $80

HP optical drive $30

That's only $450. Grab Windows 7 and you are set.

Now, to overclock, add:
Scythe Mugen $37
two case fans You can even get LED ones if you like, it's for the front of the case. $12
Some thermal paste $8

OK so you are at $510. You don't need a video card, but just to spend all your $600 rather than going out to dinner:

Edit: Shortstuff and I came up with our lists independently ;) If you don't listen to me, listen to him.


Jun 24, 2009
Thanks everyone for the advice... It's been very helpful.

I know I don't "need" a discrete card, but my laptop was really powerful when I got it back in 2004. It was basically a desktop that I could lug if need be(Pentium 4 3.2ghz(desktop) 2g DDR PC3200, Radeon mobility whatever). At the time the thing cost $2300! So as you can tell I like me some powerful stuff.
I like shortstuff's build. Note that the PSU in that case is an Antec Earthwatts, not the usual garbage that comes with cases. For $100, that makes it a good deal.
For budget considerations, initially you can get a HD4350 GPU for $20. If you start playing games, you can upgrade the GPU.


Feb 7, 2008
I just bought a gigabyte ga-ep43-ud3l mobo for 80 bucks. its a very good mobo for a great price, and i got an e7400 as well. Makes a good combo, definitely recommend that motherboard
4770 is good but the 4850 is better and cheaper
u could also consider the E6300 if u want to save even more, same as the E7400 except 1mb less cache, but essentially the same and it has virtualization technology for windows 7
I edited my college paper, and since it was just me that summer (long ago, but it was digital) I can appreciate wanting some power for desktop publishing. Your OS and whatever publishing software you are running should be coded for multiple cores. If you dump the notion of the graphics card It's pretty clear that you could get into an AMD quad core at that price.

More CPU is better bang for the buck in this case.
"4770 is good but the 4850 is better and cheaper "

that's arguable. The HD4770 gives about 90% the frame rate for most games or more if the CPU is starting to provide limitations (which this setup would). However, the HD4770 is very, very power efficient being the only 40nm card around. This results in FAR less noise which I often consider more important.

On a budget, there is NO other card I recommend more highly than the HD4770.

Operating System:
Use Windows 7 RC. It's good until roughly March next year (it says June I think but only works for 2 hours, 2 months prior to then end date). Anyway, unless you have a FULL version of Windows (unlikely), get Win 7 RC for free from Microsoft download (google) then buy an OEM version for $125 or whatever it is when you can.


some of the other recommendations look okay. Don't fret too much over the CPU. If you want to game, then buy games after running Demos that run great on your system. It's about balance. A high-end CPU with a low-end graphics chip is no good. A low-end CPU with a high-end graphics card is no good.

A half-decent CPU and an HD4770 plus 4GB gives you a gaming system that can run many games nicely. I guarantee you'll be able to run Half-Life 2 and even Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 very nicely.

Don't get caught up in the crowd that says a computer sucks unless it can run Crysis. You'll have a nice computer that doesn't sound like a jet engine that will run plenty of games out there nicely, just not all of them.
You can compare benchmarks all you want. I can tell you that, based on averages of many newer games a system with an X2-4800+ would be maxed out by the HD4770. In otherwords the CPU (or at least one core) would run at 100% and a faster graphics card would provide no benefit.


Jun 23, 2009
If you still consider going with the Core 2 Duo E8400, a motherboard with a P43 Chipset, and an ATI Radeon HD 4770 at a budget of $600, check the list compiled below (NOTE: items total to $600.93)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (6MB L2, 3.0GHz, 1333FSB) $167.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP43 Motherboard $79.99

Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) $54.99

Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive $57.99

Sony Optiarc SATA DVD+RW AD-7240S-0B $29.99

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card $109.99

Antec Three Hundred 430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply $99.99

TOTAL: $600.93

Did everyone miss the purpose of this build? "Not a gamer" is pretty clear. Desktop publishing, which would likely include video editing, and watching 1080P movies. Any GPU that costs more than 20-30 bucks will be a waste, but more processing power would be valuable.


Jun 24, 2009
Great recommendation Ndositwe, but like Proximon noted I'm not looking for a fragbox.
So I think I'll go with your recommendation, but go with a Radeon 4350(upgrade later if I feel like it), and throw in a monitor for $100 which will put my right around $650 with a monitor instead of over $700 with the monitor.




Jun 25, 2009
To begin, I am posting in this thread because it is nearly identical to my situation, so I figured it better to bump this thread and help 2 rather than start a new thread. Here I go ...
Now, to overclock, add:
Scythe Mugen $37
Just a note, your hyperlink was incorrect, here is the correct one for any future use:
AMD X3 720 and Asus 790GX board
That's all the GPU you need. If you decide differently after you use it, just buy something.
This combo is no longer available. If you have time Proximon, would you mind providing an updated list? FWIW, here's my very similar requirements:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Unknown. Current PC is ~5 years old and is having many failures. If I can not resolve them, I will need a new computer ASAP, as it is used for pressing online classes.

BUDGET RANGE: With computer technology following the economic law of diminishing marginal utility, I'd like to hit the sweet spot just before marginal utility's slope starts decreasing significantly. In other words, I'm looking for a good value. I'd imagine a computer that fit my needs would cost between $300 and $600, but I don't have definite barriers.

1) Must be reliable
2) Must output DVI (that will be the only source used)
3) Must run windows 7 at 1920x1080 smoothly
4) Microsoft Office
5) Playing media files up to and including 1080p videos
6) Run Google chrome
7) iTunes
7) Run multiple programs at once

8) I have no interest in playing games (that's for my ps3)
9) I have no interest in flashy lights or brightly colored cases




OVERCLOCKING: Never done it before, but if it can be done and keep the computer reliable, I am willing to overclock.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I don't plan on it


I've been reading all day trying to learn about building computers (this will be my 1st time) and I came across this deal, but then I learned that it does not support DDR3 memory. Which got me thinking, is it necessary to have DDR3 over DDR2?

I also noticed that there are only 1 or 2 combo deals with 790gx chipsets. Is a 790gx chipset better than matching a radeon 2400 to a variety of other chipsets? It seems that using a radeon 2400 would open up a lot of possibilities.

Thanks for any help.