best "core" pc parts to purchase for $450 or less?

I’m currently trying to sell my laptop (a HP Pavilion tx1499us tablet) for $450 and I plan to use that money to purchase a set of parts to start a working “core” of a PC so I could add on to it as I save up more money down the road. However, I’m just not sure what should I get for these parts (listed below). So I’m hoping that someone here could give me some pointer on what to choose. Essentially I want a very strong computer that can handle nearly most graphical heavy stuffs I can throw at it (Including a few games :wink: ) and I want to use the $450 to purchase the best “core” set I can get which would be…

Processor (preferably 2 core and 3 GHz or above)
RAM (Would like to eventually be able to install 8 or 16 GB of RAM)(would start off with 2 or 4)
Motherboard (the hardest one for me to decide on, I want something as future-proof as I can afford without sacrificing the more immediate performance too much. Must have a lot of expandability and can have a max of 8 or 16 GB of RAM in total.)

I have a very old PC (a win98 one that my step-dad gave me lol) that have hard drives, CD drives, and PSE that may or may not be compatible with the newer motherboard. So I’ll still have to look up the identifying info on these parts and decide whether I should also include the PSU and other items in the core set. The case itself is a regular sized one that can hold a ATX motherboard from what I could figure out. I do plan to add the essential items like stronger PSU and GPU as soon as I can depending on whichever one is the bottleneck or most affordable upgrade at the time.

I will be upgrading and adding on parts over time as I save up more money. I do eventually want to try and get the best SLi or crossfire-X GPU combo later on. I also plan to get 2 22-in widescreen monitors to go with the new PC down the road.

Eventually I do plan to transfer the parts to a Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 case that I have been wanting for a long time ( This would be the final step unless I need more room for a large GPU or something (just in case the current ATX case doesn’t fit the part’s sizes.

Anyway, please ring in with your knowledges and help me make the best choices for expandability and performance under $450 (including taxes). Thank you.

P.S. I think I would prefer to use newegg so if anybody find a good part at newegg, please post a link here so I can look it up and potentially add it to my wishlist.

AMD dual 3.2 processor is right around $200 4 gigs of decent ram - $100
A decent graphics card and power supply are all your gonna really need.

Run linux for super fast everything.

what about this combo?

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor

Motherboard: ASUS M4A79 Deluxe AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

I’ve looked at the spec and it seems to match my need very well except that I would have to get a very cheap GPU to start off with since the mobo have no onboard GPU.

What your opinion on this combo? I wouldn’t mind taking some extra money out of my pocket to buy some extra parts (like the GPU or PSU) if I have to, just not too much at a time though.

Go for a quad core, much better scaled performance and not much more than a duo core, go intel, not AMD.

Get an nvidia card, something in the high 9x series or perhaps something out of the GT2x series.

PSU you’ll need a new one for sure, you can use the old HDD but it’ll be slow compared to a modern SATA drive.

CD drive should be ok to use, but i’d also get a DVD drive too.

Motherboard, well look around and see what fits your budget, going XFX isn’t a bad choice though.

actaully that looks like a good deal i’d actaully go for the phenom, i think it’s behind intels quad cores but not by much, the mobo looks solid aswell. 16GB max will do you for a long time and the proc is 3GHz, probably won’t be able to beat that for the price :slight_smile:

thanks :slight_smile: I’m hoping to sell this laptop ASAP. I got a few people interested but no contact from them afterward lately :-/ gonna have to make up some advertising paper and hopes that there are a lot of students looking for a great deal.

I plan to get a Super-Multi Drive (the one that could read and burn everything CD and DVD) and get a new hard drive later on but just for now I plan to use the older one until I save up enough money, I can really really use a strong PC for the next four years since I’m just about done with my first semester at Gallaudet University for Graphic Design Major.

So the info and opinions would really helps. Thanks.

P.S. I also just don’t need the laptop much anymore since I have used the eeePC for nearly everything except the graphical stuffs so much. I absolutely thinks that every students should have a netbook to supplement their home desktop because it is so much more useful than the average person would think.

I’d definetly go for a quad. AMD just announced yesterday that they are dropping the price of the Phenom II 940 Black edition to about $150 - $200. I have a 920 and it does 3.3 GHZ without a hick-up. Couple that with four 1 gig sticks for about $40. You can get a good MB for around $100 to $150 that has enough bells and whistles.

So, MB and Proc will be around $300, add the ram…$350. Add a good HD…$425.

I love my system I just built…it’s smooooooth.

Wait, graphics design major and you’re not out pricing macs at the campus bookstore?

The times, they are a changin’…

What’s one of those mini-macs cost with a student discount these days?

If i am on a tight budget ill but a decent mobo that supports the latest fastest cpus. Then ill buy a slowest cpu and ram for that mobo. This way in about a year or two when those expensive cpus prices go down I can buy them and just put them into my old mobo.

I’m more of a PC person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to try out mac, and in fact, I would have to learn to like it anyway cause Gallaudet University relies heavily on Macs for their graphic design classes. Either way, if I need to use a Mac, then I would just use their top end Macs that they have in the computer lab in the art building. I just would rather buy a part here and there and slowly build up my PC because I can’t afford it any other way for now anyway. And beside I want to put win7 on it. I have the beta win7 and I would use it until the retail win7 gets released then I’ll get it then.

Soon, I’ll be designing an advertising paper to post around campus so I hope to hear from prospective customers soon. (If I can get my financial aid to cover my current balance, then money is no big problem anymore and I can purchase a more premium parts and upgrades the PC then :smiley: )

Keep the suggestions and info coming, it helps! thanks!

found a 485 watt PSU for only$10 today. Will use it until right before I add something power-hungry like a heavy GPU.

So far, the only thing I haven’t picked out is the cheap GPU to go with that combo I posted earlier for now. (Motherboard have no integrated GPU). I plan to just get only one stick of 2 GB RAM (only ~$20) for now then I’ll add more as I save up more money.

The way this is going, RAM would be the fastest thing to upgrade at once. I may even be able to afford to get 4 stick of 2 GB RAM at once if I lucks out. Next would be Hard Drive, I want to get 2 Hard drive, one would be for general use (the one with all of the program and OS on it) and a bigger but slower HD for storage. I haven’t really learned about RAID so That may change. After these two, a much stronger PSU would be needed since I would be preparing to save up for the best GPU I can afford and make sure that it is either SLI\i or Crossfire-X compatible with the motherboard. I’m hoping for quad-GPU set up with the best cards I can get.

Oh, I’ll include a upgrade to the optical drive before the PSU upgrade. I want to get 2 Super-multi drives. Unfortunately I may need to get a wireless card and I don’t exactly want to do that and end up taking up a space on my slots. Is it good enough to just get a regular WiFi USB adapter and plug it in until I come back to university? (my parent home only uses WiFi but my dorm room have ethernet access).

I’m trying to factor in other costs and upgrades so I can make a checklist and plans to keep track of my progress on building this PC. The only other item I haven’t mentioned is the Case itself which I plan to use a Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 and I plan to buy a variety of peripherals such as the space-navigator and whatnot.

Sound right? anybody have any specific suggestions as to which GPU to get only to keep the PC running? right now I’m trying to find a cheap-ass GPU as a placeholder for just until I have the money for the kick-ass one.

Thanks :slight_smile: I really want to get everything figured out as early as I can so I don’t have to go too long without having some PC to play on. I do have a eeePC but it is just not strong enough for me to play good games or do any satifying doodlings.

P.S. Just noticed, how do I find out whether the motherboard in are SLi or Crossfire-X compatible? I don’t see anything in the stat info :-/

how about this?

Just for a temporary use?

should I spend a few dollars extra for a Crossfire-X capable one so I could increase the total GPU power while I do other upgrades and whatnot? (that final GPU upgrade is going to be quite expensive so I doubt I’ll be able to do it for a while).


Anybody? hello?

sorry, I just want this info asap cause I have a very good chance of selling off my laptop tonight (or at least within the next few days cause I got 5 legimate offers already :smiley: ) so i would be depositing my money into my bank tomorrow and ordering the parts asap so I still need to see if I can get any info on which basic GPU to keep an eye out for when I order my parts.Thanks.

P.S. I plan to order that CPU/Mobo combo that I posted the link to earlier. Gonna get 1 stick of 2GB RAM too (maybe 2 if I feel I can afford it).

Get that if you can afford a few more dollars, it’ll be so much faster than the 8400, which will actaully be some where below the 7x series, probably 7800 series.

Also the card that i suggest you get instead is fanless, clocked higher and supports opengl 2.1.

Also the only cards i have ever bought, that have beenr reliable have been XFX, extremley good card makers/ designers, so i’d recommend that card :slight_smile:

I’ll just make a new post so you see this.

Get a PSU over 500Watts, otherwise you could risk the chance of damaging your parts that you put in the machine, espeically the CPU and motherboard, which is what is going to cost you the most. It’s wise too balance out cost and qaulity, it’s best to have a product that cost several more dollars, than to have to buy a replacement.

Also what operating system are you installing?

I’m planning to use window 7 beta (build .7000) for now until the official win7 get released down the road. If the win7 isn’t too friendly with my games, programs, or the machine then I’ll just go with 64-bits XP. I do want a card that’s decent for video gaming and something that is SLi or crossfire compatible so I can cheaply expand it (more cheaper than buying a high end GPU anyway) if I just happen to get tight with money down the road. the one I see doesn’t say anything about being SLi compatible.

So the 485 watts PSU I have is no good for temporary use? if so, any suggestions? I’m going to look at the PSU on newegg and try to figure out whether I can include it in the order. :EDIT: PSU is cheaper than I had expected so I just need to find a good one to purchase at the end of the week. preferably around $40 or less. thanks. :EDIT:

I’m hoping to get the total at or under $500 (including taxes and other charges). Thanks so much for the info.

I have just ordered the items (listed below) and the ground shipping says that It will take 1 day so I should be have it by Friday :smiley:
2 x

I will order a much better PSU next then add some more optical drives, better hard drive, and add the last 2 sticks of RAM the next time I have enough extra money :smiley:

Then the very next purchase would be the Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 case,

The final set of purchases for this PC would be to replace and fill it out with 2 or 4 GPU set :evilgrin:

I can’t wait till I get the parts! :smiley:

Nice, this should turn out to be a pretty nice machine :slight_smile:

If your wanting to make it into an awesome gaming rig then i’d say get an nvidia GTX 290, or the best ATI card and then wait around for a few months until they come down in price, there will be faster cards out by then, but an SLI or crossfire set up of those cards, maybe even a tri or quad setup would be amazingly fast!

Now I have to find a case asap. the case I had turned out to not be able to fit my PSU properly. How can I find out if the mid-tower case on newegg will fit my parts and PSU?

I’m currently looking up the reviews for mid-tower under $35.

If you are going cheap for the GPU, you would better go with a 790GX+Phenom II 955 combo, all 790GX MB have an Integrated Graphics Port (Integrated GPU) and this one, particulary, is as fast as a HD3450 or 9400GT.But hey! IGPs comsume RAM!. Well, most of them do, but this one doesn’t, as it have a sideport, dedicated memory. So you would end saving around 30$ . This is on Newegg. For 340$!
And the P II 955 is somewhat faster and more power efficient than the 940, and have a larger overclocking headroom!

Of course, you are not getting any “decent” perfomance out of that thing. For gaming and heavy blender use, you must buy a much better GPU. Right now the HD4770 is a bargain for its perfomance, and it’s likely to go futher donw in $$ soon.

For the case, any eATX would do its job just right (Never Mind Lian Li cases, hella expensive).PSUs are pretty much the same in size, but not in their value. You must find one with at least, 2 12v rails, with around 34 to 50 Amps. Wattage is not all what you should look in a PSU. A 450w PSU with 3 12v rails should be enough. If you want to make yourself and your PC futureproof, 600w.

Also you could go with Intel, get some more money and build a x58+i7 combo, much faster than anything else out there in CAD apps. Somewhat the same in gaming as C2D, faster in some games, slower in others