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dPaladin

I'm gunning for a cheap computer

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I can assemble it myself from parts but I haven't paid any attention at all to which hardware is better than which for too long. I'm going for economy, not quality, so cheaper is better as long as the damn thing works.

I'm looking for something a few years old. I don't intend to use it as a high-end gaming rig (though upgradability, despite not being a real word, would be great). I'll pretty much only use it for CS:S and TF2 as far as games go, but it will need to be able to handle Sibelius and FL Studio. I don't know jack about sound cards. The only name I know is Creative.

Hardware recommendations, anyone?

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Cheapest possible. I currently don't have a computer, though I can salvage IDE devices and a network card from a previous one.

Meet your new Best friend, and tell your old one he has been Replaced :P

www.newegg.com

If you need someone to make you a build just ask around :P

We need a budget before we can help you btw.

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Meet your new Best friend, and tell your old one he has been Replaced :P

www.newegg.com

If you need someone to make you a build just ask around :P

We need a budget before we can help you btw.

Don't patronize me, thanks. I already picked out a few rigs on newegg right after I made this thread and the best I could do was a little under $300 with shipping, and that's without knowing anything about the relative performance quality of the different pieces of hardware. I could post what I came up with, but I honestly can't see what difference it would make.

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Cheapest possible that will run TF2 and CS:S? Hmm.. I don't think you're looking to buy something "a few years old" then.

The motherboard you can skimp on but if you're going to be running games and FL Studio, then you're probably going to need a decent amount of memory. Though I'm a bit foggy on how much the apps really need. I'd figure that they run best on a Core 2 Duo though. I'm going the Intel route for motherboard and processor for the moment.

I'd recommend 1 gig for the games. That's the recommended is for TF2 anyway. This is the cheapest RAM I could find. But Crucial isn't a cheapo brand. Sure it's not OCZ or Corsair. It still works, about 17 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146571

Use a micro-ATX motherboard. Generally they are cheaper. Here's one for 40 dollars after mail-in rebate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186139

Processor will cost you a bunch. You will need something that is at least 3.0 ghz according to game specs. If you choose Core 2 Duo, then each core could technically be 1.5 ghz. I'm not finding it on the site though. Here's a P4 3.0 ghz. Goes for about 85 dollars and apparently out of stock. But you should know that you have to spend at least this much for something you fulfills your requirements. Core 2 Duo will cost you 120 dollars, there about.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116004

For a cheap video card that has some viability in the future, get a 8600GT. Right now on Newegg, it has a mail-in rebate that reduces the price to 50 dollars and that's pretty good considering what you get out of it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130085

Power supply is important. I would recommend investing in one. It's easily usable for your next build as well. Don't go cheap with them or else you could fry your entire system. Here's a very highly rated one going for 60 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

Hard drive is whatever size you want it to be. I would go for Seagate or Western Digital. Both are comparable. Maxtor is now owned by Seagate. It could also be a a viable option, but not necessarily so. This one is 160 gigs for 44 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

DVD burner. Here's the cheapest one they have and looks to be solid as well. 23 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151161

If you have a case already, that would be awesome because if you have to buy a case from Newegg, then you'll have to spend a ton on shipping. If not, here's a case I found for 45 dollars, free shipping.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147056

The total comes out to be $364 without shipping. Hopefully you live in a state that doesn't have to pay for tax as well. I would estimate shipping to be 50 dollars or so. The total should be about $400. Note that I haven't included a sound card. I'm hoping someone else would have a recommendation on this.

Double check if the motherboard gives you all the necessary wires that you need. A lot of stuff has changed now compared to before. Even if you have IDE cables, you might not even need them.

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$300 is probably as cheap as you're going to get actually.

A salvaged DVD drive will only save you around $30. Network cards are integrated into motherboards now. If you have any other previous hardware, list it here and we can tell you what you can and can't re-use.

One thing you need to account for is the OS. It's unfortunate that you're just now building your machine, since Microsoft stopped selling Windows XP a little over a week ago. So it seems you're stuck with Vista, which means 2GB of RAM minimum. Fortunately, it's not that expensive...you should be able to get a 2GB kit for $50 or less.

For motherboard and CPU, I would look into AMD. Intel is still the way to go for power builds, but AMD has been catching up in terms of bang for buck in the budget market. I would *not* go for microATX if upgradability is a concern.

Integrated sound should serve your purposes. In fact, you might even be able to get away with integrated video...the Source engine has very low requirements, and if you crank down the settings you should be able to get a decent framerate. If not, the 8600GT Katsurugi recommended will run CS:S and TF2 with power to spare. I'm using its little brother the 8500GT and it's very playable at 1024x768.

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I'd recommend 1 gig for the games. That's the recommended is for TF2 anyway. This is the cheapest RAM I could find. But Crucial isn't a cheapo brand. Sure it's not OCZ or Corsair. It still works, about 17 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146571

Use a micro-ATX motherboard. Generally they are cheaper. Here's one for 40 dollars after mail-in rebate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186139

Processor will cost you a bunch. You will need something that is at least 3.0 ghz according to game specs. If you choose Core 2 Duo, then each core could technically be 1.5 ghz. I'm not finding it on the site though. Here's a P4 3.0 ghz. Goes for about 85 dollars and apparently out of stock. But you should know that you have to spend at least this much for something you fulfills your requirements. Core 2 Duo will cost you 120 dollars, there about.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116004

For a cheap video card that has some viability in the future, get a 8600GT. Right now on Newegg, it has a mail-in rebate that reduces the price to 50 dollars and that's pretty good considering what you get out of it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130085

Power supply is important. I would recommend investing in one. It's easily usable for your next build as well. Don't go cheap with them or else you could fry your entire system. Here's a very highly rated one going for 60 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

Hard drive is whatever size you want it to be. I would go for Seagate or Western Digital. Both are comparable. Maxtor is now owned by Seagate. It could also be a a viable option, but not necessarily so. This one is 160 gigs for 44 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

DVD burner. Here's the cheapest one they have and looks to be solid as well. 23 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151161

If you have a case already, that would be awesome because if you have to buy a case from Newegg, then you'll have to spend a ton on shipping. If not, here's a case I found for 45 dollars, free shipping.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147056

The total comes out to be $364 without shipping. Hopefully you live in a state that doesn't have to pay for tax as well. I would estimate shipping to be 50 dollars or so. The total should be about $400. Note that I haven't included a sound card. I'm hoping someone else would have a recommendation on this.

Double check if the motherboard gives you all the necessary wires that you need. A lot of stuff has changed now compared to before. Even if you have IDE cables, you might not even need them.

Cool. I was going to get a Pentium dual-core "Allendale" 2.0 GHz for $70.00. Is that better or worse than the lone 3.0 GHz P4? Also, it turns out all my stuff currently is IDE and the case I was looking at only has room for one IDE device. The rest are SATA, so I'm buying either a new DVD burner or a new hard drive no matter what. I shouldn't have to pay tax on it, by the way, though I've never been entirely sure how that works.

We have some old cases but I don't know if they're worth using. AFAIK there's nothing wrong with them, so... yeah?

$300 is probably as cheap as you're going to get actually.

A salvaged DVD drive will only save you around $30. Network cards are integrated into motherboards now. If you have any other previous hardware, list it here and we can tell you what you can and can't re-use.

One thing you need to account for is the OS. It's unfortunate that you're just now building your machine, since Microsoft stopped selling Windows XP a little over a week ago. So it seems you're stuck with Vista, which means 2GB of RAM minimum. Fortunately, it's not that expensive...you should be able to get a 2GB kit for $50 or less.

For motherboard and CPU, I would look into AMD. Intel is still the way to go for power builds, but AMD has been catching up in terms of bang for buck in the budget market. I would *not* go for microATX if upgradability is a concern.

Integrated sound should serve your purposes. In fact, you might even be able to get away with integrated video...the Source engine has very low requirements, and if you crank down the settings you should be able to get a decent framerate. If not, the 8600GT Katsurugi recommended will run CS:S and TF2 with power to spare. I'm using its little brother the 8500GT and it's very playable at 1024x768.

I've got a license for WinXP around here somewhere. I don't think integrated video will fly unless it's better than the Radeon 9200 SE that I was using last year.

EDIT: Hahaha, holy shit. I'm currently on my brother's computer since mine isn't working and I must have left Newegg open last time I went there because he (knowing my predicament) has done me the favor of finding cheaper stuff.

Case/mobo/video: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856167009

RAM (I might switch it out for the one Katsurugi posted): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134045

Processor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103212

DVD burner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106263

It's $228 including shipping.

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I don't think anyone was patronizing you. He was just trying to help.

Well he failed. I asked for hardware recommendations, not information that everyone already knows.

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A case is a case; as long as everything fits, you should be able to re-use what you have.

The barebones you linked is decent, but I did a little Googling and you're right...onboard video will be about on the level of your 9200SE. So the only useful components you'll be getting will be a mobo and power supply, and much better parts can be had for $95. For example, this mobo is $40 after rebate, has a 2600MHz front-side bus (vs. 1000 in your barebones), 4 RAM slots (instead of 2), and will support AMD's new Phenom processors if you should decide to upgrade in the future.

Another thing that should be mentioned is that a single IDE slot can support 2 IDE devices. So if you're not tight on hard drive space, you can hook up both your optical and HDD to the same controller. Actually even if you are tight on space, you can still hook both up along with getting an extra SATA HDD. :)

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Is this a machine that you intend to have around for a few years? You say you want the cheapest possible, but in reality buying even a bit more expensive stuff now will save you money in the long run because you won't have to upgrade so soon.

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Just as a warning, with 6150 onboard you will not be running TF2 at anything higher than 640x480, if it runs at all. Your 9200SE would actually be better, but my guess is that it wouldn't fit anyway unless it is PCI.

The barebones you linked is decent, but I did a little Googling and you're right...onboard video will be about on the level of your 9200SE. So the only useful components you'll be getting will be a mobo and power supply, and much better parts can be had for $95. For example, this mobo is $40 after rebate, has a 2600MHz front-side bus (vs. 1000 in your barebones), 4 RAM slots (instead of 2), and will support AMD's new Phenom processors if you should decide to upgrade in the future.

Its also a massive piece of shit, which is likely to be DOA from the box. It will also likely shit a brick if he ever tries to stick a quad core in there.

Seriously, motherboards are not something you want to be cheap on.

My advice would be to get a good foundation going with a good motherboard and processor, good RAM, a good power supply, a decent case, and a small but reliable hard drive.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147074

Rosewill cheapo case, good enough

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

Western Digital 160gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131172

Asus 690G (plays TF2 at 1280x800, ive done it)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104953

FSP 400w

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145098

Corsair DDR2 667

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103257

Athlon X2 4050e

$308.03 including UPS 3 day shipping to my location (the middle of nowhere)

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Its also a massive piece of shit, which is likely to be DOA from the box. It will also likely shit a brick if he ever tries to stick a quad core in there.

Ah...speaking from experience I guess?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131172

Asus 690G (plays TF2 at 1280x800, ive done it)

This is a nice board. Will the form factor present any problems if he decides to get a higher-end video card in the future though?

Edit: Does the lack of AM2+ matter?

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My advice would be to get a good foundation going with a good motherboard and processor, good RAM, a good power supply, a decent case, and a small but reliable hard drive.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147074

Rosewill cheapo case, good enough

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

Western Digital 160gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131172

Asus 690G (plays TF2 at 1280x800, ive done it)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104953

FSP 400w

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145098

Corsair DDR2 667

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103257

Athlon X2 4050e

$308.03 including UPS 3 day shipping to my location (the middle of nowhere)

That motherboard has great onboard video and DVI, but it's far less upgrade-friendly that the one Dhsu posted. Also, that RAM won't work with it because it's DDR2 667 but that's easy enough to change.

I don't know... I think I'd rather go with the other mobo. I'll be SOL for the time being if it can run the games, the ability to just do web surfing/MS Word stuff (as well as FL Studio and Sibelius.

Thanks for your input though. If money wasn't such an issue but I still wanted a pretty cheap machine, that would be the superior choice imo.

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Well, it was just an example, not a recommendation...I haven't researched it at all and while ECS is a decent brand, some of the reviews suggest it's not the most reliable. Effef is absolutely correct in that it's better to spend an extra $10-20 so that you don't have to go through RMA or even worse end up damaging your other parts.

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That motherboard has great onboard video and DVI, but it's far less upgrade-friendly that the one Dhsu posted. Also, that RAM won't work with it because it's DDR2 667 but that's easy enough to change.

This board will take every AM2 processor produced so far without a BIOS flash. the only thing it can't take is AM3 stuff, which won't be out for a looong time. The only thing AM2+ signifies is the ability to be cross compatible with AM3 stuff. And DDR2 667 still works in a DDR2 800 board, it will just be slower. Does not really matter anyway, here is some DDR2 800 thats just as cheap:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609027

I don't know... I think I'd rather go with the other mobo. I'll be SOL for the time being if it can run the games, the ability to just do web surfing/MS Word stuff (as well as FL Studio and Sibelius.

Thanks for your input though. If money wasn't such an issue but I still wanted a pretty cheap machine, that would be the superior choice imo.

Thats the thing, you really are not going to get much cheaper than this and it be any good.

PS: I can't stress enough how horrible the integrated 6100 chipset is.

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True, getting the microATX board will let you save $50 or so on a video card, assuming it can play TF2 comfortably like Effef says. To be honest, I wasn't looking for boards with onboard video, the one I linked just happened to have it...but yeah, for your purposes the 6100 might as well not be there.

As for upgradability, judging from the specs, from what I can tell the only thing the microATX is missing versus a full ATX board is a PCI slot, a couple PCI-e x1 slots, and a couple USB slots. The PCI and PCI-e slots are inconsequential, although if you have more than 4 USB devices (or 6, I'm not sure what "onboard USB" means) you might run into some problems.

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Hey cool, you guys seem smart! Maybe you can help me build my gaming machine. As I already have a PS3 and a PSP, I'll really only be using this machine to play FFXI and the KOTOR games and some of the older Need for Speed games. Think you guys can halp? Let's say my budget is...$500. Good luck!

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Hey cool, you guys seem smart! Maybe you can help me build my gaming machine. As I already have a PS3 and a PSP, I'll really only be using this machine to play FFXI and the KOTOR games and some of the older Need for Speed games. Think you guys can halp? Let's say my budget is...$500. Good luck!

Do you want a new monitor included in that price or not? Those usually run around $200, and so it would use up a lot of that $500.

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True, getting the microATX board will let you save $50 or so on a video card, assuming it can play TF2 comfortably like Effef says. To be honest, I wasn't looking for boards with onboard video, the one I linked just happened to have it...but yeah, for your purposes the 6100 might as well not be there.

As for upgradability, judging from the specs, from what I can tell the only thing the microATX is missing versus a full ATX board is a PCI slot, a couple PCI-e x1 slots, and a couple USB slots. The PCI and PCI-e slots are inconsequential, although if you have more than 4 USB devices (or 6, I'm not sure what "onboard USB" means) you might run into some problems.

I tried to find a full ATX 690G, but newegg dropped those like they were hot once the AMD 7xx series was released.

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Nah, don't need to include the monitor.

Sweet, that makes my job multiple times easier.

Cooler Master Centurion 534

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119106

AMD Athlon X2 4450b

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103263

Corsair XMS2 2gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145590

Gigabyte 780G AM2+

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128335

Sapphire HD3850 512mb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102715

Western digital 160gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075

Corsair 450vx

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

$509.44 without shipping, $558.99 with UPS 3day to the boondocks.

The hard drive could be bigger, but you can always go back and get another later. They are so cheap these days.

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