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Building a custom gaming rig for a friend - $750 to work with - advice needed!

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April 22, 2013 5:28:55 PM

I will be building a custom gaming system for a friend very soon. This will be my second custom build after my own which I completed in late 2011. I have $750 to work with and I cannot go over budget. I will also be needing an OS and I will most likely go with Windows 7. I have a list below of what I was originally wanting to go with, but it totals out at a little over $800. Where can I can cut back and still have optimum performance with the priority being for gaming? My goal is for this rig to be able to handle games like BF3, Assassin's Creed 3 at maximum settings if possible.
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Approximate Purchase Date: Very soon

Budget Range: No more than $750

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HD Movies, Light Video Editing

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Location: Texas

Parts Preferences: Intel or AMD

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 x 2 screens
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Here is the list of components that I wanted to originally go with, but it is over the $750 budget by about $100. Where can I cut back without losing too much gaming performance?

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 431 Plus RC-431P-KWN2 Black Steel Body (0.5mm SECC), ABS plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=11-119-...

Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer

OS: Windows 7, or Windows 8

An SSD would be great as well, but I doubt it'll fit into the budget.

Thanks guys!




a b 4 Gaming
April 22, 2013 5:45:37 PM

The build you have right now is perfect for what you want to do, you really will not get a much better deal than that. I would take what you have right now and run with it, and don't let anyone persuade you otherwise.

To save some money you could cut back on a few things though:

Get a 500GB HDD, you really will not fill that thing, if you do I really do not know what magic you are conjuring up and somehow filling that thing to the brim.

You might be able to get an FX - 6300 + Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-D3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg) and be within your budget, but you will lose a bit of CPU performance would could be a crucial difference, though this change will make the entire rig fit in the budget.

I know cases are mainly personal but this is a bit cheaper and will perform the same as the other: Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.28 @ Amazon)

Making these changes or a combination of them should get it down below the max. Have fun with your build!
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April 22, 2013 6:00:00 PM

Thanks for your help. That really is the current dilemma I'm having. I'm currently trying to figure out how much of a significant drop in performance it would be switching over to that FX 6300 processor. I will reduce the HDD size to 500 gb to lower the price a bit.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 22, 2013 6:36:05 PM

Well the case you picked has a %20 off code on Newegg with free shipping putting it to the same price as the NZXT so you might as well keep the Cooler Master price difference would be null. If your friend does not have a lot of games he could get away with just 500gb HDD. I have 6 3tb drives and I still feel like I do not have enough space some times. My Steam library alone takes almost 1tb and then I have Origin GOG and several dozen games that came on CD/DVD plus my Blu-Ray movies that I have ripped to the computer.

But this would give your friend a starting point and he can always add components from there to upgrade it.
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April 22, 2013 7:05:09 PM

What part of tx are you in
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a b 4 Gaming
April 22, 2013 7:08:15 PM

Honestly, I wouldn't change anything about this build. The money saved from going with the 6300 wouldn't be worth the performance drop.

If you have to, run on the trial version of windows for a month while you save up some extra cash.
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April 22, 2013 7:48:42 PM

Great input guys, thanks a lot. Sounds like I'll probably end up sticking with the i5 then, while reducing the HDD to 500gb to save some cash. My friend's got 3 TB drives so storage shouldn't be an issue.
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