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Best build for Skyrim with graphics mods $700 budget

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May 15, 2013 11:41:00 PM

Im thinking of a budget no more than $750 $800 tops...a good enough build to play Skyrim on maxed out graphics with graphics mods, nevermind other games, Im ok playing other games with lower graphics settings..the components I wanna buy are:

CPU
GRAPHICS CARD
MEMORY
HARD DRIVE
19" OR BIGGER MONITOR (1080p)
TOWER CASE
MOTHERBOARD
DISC DRIVE
POWER SUPPLY
UPS(uninterruptable power supply)

Ill be playing in 1920×1080, no more than that
May 15, 2013 11:56:59 PM

JohnD7 said:
Im thinking of a budget no more than $750 $800 tops...a good enough build to play Skyrim on maxed out graphics with graphics mods, nevermind other games, Im ok playing other games with lower graphics settings..the components I wanna buy are:

CPU
GRAPHICS CARD
MEMORY
HARD DRIVE
19" OR BIGGER MONITOR (1080p)
TOWER CASE
MOTHERBOARD
DISC DRIVE
POWER SUPPLY
UPS(uninterruptable power supply)

Ill be playing in 1920×1080, no more than that


My gut reaction is that what you want is impossible. It'd probably cost you $500-600 just in core hardware to max out Skyrim without mods at 1080p.

And you want a UPS and a monitor on top of that.

I'm sorry if what I've said sounds harsh. I really don't mean it to be; the point is to moderate your expectations a little. I've read articles about people who've used a ridiculous number of graphical mods in Skyrim, enough to bring even the most high-end of high-end hardware to its knees. Because mods are, by definition, unlimited in their potential scope, it's impossible to say what you would need to achieve your desired performance goal. The matter is subjective.

What I can tell you is that Skyrim can be run quite beautifully on fairly inexpensive hardware -- say an i3 3220 and an HD 7850. Such a configuration would likely run just fine with a few graphical mods, but if you're expecting to run a bajillion 4k texture packs and all of the most demanding lighting/effects tweaks you're probably not gonna be happy.

Do you think you could provide some examples of the type of mods you want to run?
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May 15, 2013 11:57:46 PM

With a monitor, I really doubt you will get anything decent if you want a monitor in that price and UPS.

Edit: Usually I try for challenges of seeing if I can make a budget build, but....can't do it with that budget for all that.

I have every HD pack and many lighting mods, edited .ini files for max everything, and I run like 35 - 45 FPS with my set up. My graphics cards VRAM is usually around 1900 - 2000 GB's full playing.
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Related resources
May 16, 2013 12:09:16 AM

Ok nevermind the UPS and monitor then....Im not experienced in building PCs...this is how I wanna play Skyrim:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwlzlRR71qM&feature=you...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu97TriqU0o&feature=you...

Either of those...but Im guessing my budget wont be enough...so at least a build good enough for just a few mods for at lighting and textures, anything thatll make the game look and feel a bit more realistic

besides my budget build, what build would I need to play like in the videos I provided?
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May 16, 2013 12:14:54 AM

Heironious said:


I have every HD pack and many lighting mods, edited .ini files for max everything, and I run like 35 - 45 FPS with my set up. My graphics cards VRAM is usually around 1900 - 2000 GB's full playing.


Yep. And your rig is quite a bit beefier than what the OP's budget can accommodate. When I mentioned bringing the best-of-the-best hardware to its knees, I was talking about stuff like this:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/11/19/skyrim-graphics-mods/

Admittedly, that's an extreme example, but it proves the point, which is that there's effectively no upper limit on the performance a particular user might need to run a modded Skyrim (or any other game) as he prefers.

(The comments in that link correct some of the performance comments in the article. Point being that the dude who makes the screenshots has to juggle about 800 different mods, 100 at a time. He's not simply loading up the game in any particular mod configuration and playing it normally; the screenshots are taken singly, each using cherry-picked mod configurations, precisely because the game isn't consistently playable in the displayed state.)
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May 16, 2013 12:20:53 AM

yeah a monitor will be stretching it... look on ebay for a used monitor maybe. as far as build goes. here is some help
fx-6100 ($119) newegg
ECS Elitegroup A990FXM-A motherboard ($112.99) newegg
HyperX 8gb ($49.99) newegg
Sentey Optimus Extreme Division Tower Case ($54.99) newegg
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB 128-bit ($169.99)
APEVIA ATX-CB500W 500W ($24.99) newegg
Asus Dvd writer ($17.99) newegg

Total 550.93 thats without tax and shipping but it will max skyrim & have the ability to upgrade processor in future when your money is better.

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May 16, 2013 7:25:58 AM

Derrick Bailey said:
yeah a monitor will be stretching it... look on ebay for a used monitor maybe. as far as build goes. here is some help
fx-6100 ($119) newegg
ECS Elitegroup A990FXM-A motherboard ($112.99) newegg
HyperX 8gb ($49.99) newegg
Sentey Optimus Extreme Division Tower Case ($54.99) newegg
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB 128-bit ($169.99)
APEVIA ATX-CB500W 500W ($24.99) newegg
Asus Dvd writer ($17.99) newegg

Total 550.93 thats without tax and shipping but it will max skyrim & have the ability to upgrade processor in future when your money is better.


So what does everyone else think about this build??
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 9:28:29 AM

That build is trash.

6100 is junk compared to the 6300. AMD even said this.

ECS motherboards aren't the best.

That PSu is complete junk. Likely makes 350w MAX. Stick with brands like Antec, XFX, Corsair, Seasonic.

I will build a much better computer for you.
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May 16, 2013 9:31:20 AM

the mans on a budget...so we are talking budget parts right??? 500 ish is his max...so how about some people puts some more builds together to help out and maybe we can mix and match some parts...give prices so we can calculate cost.
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 9:33:10 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($117.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($78.56 @ Amazon)
Memory: Wintec One 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($57.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $604.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 12:32 EDT-0400)

$604 and will max skyrim.

Everything is better quality.
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May 16, 2013 9:38:51 AM

this is true but now we are in the 600 range for this guy....how about replacing the 6100 with the 6300...that would keep him in the 550 range. i missed that 6300 for some reason. Also with the msi 970 will he be able to upgrade to steamroller in the future.. giving him a little wiggle room for the future. 5 extra bucks for a better power supply isn't bad either. yes and a 650 ti boost ($169.99) the 7850 is extra money ($199.00)., he would have to sacrifice something else to cover the cost
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 9:40:25 AM

No. That CPU is junk. It seriously isn't worth it. It will impact the rig much more than you expect. I will change it and make it fit in the $550 range.
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May 16, 2013 9:45:13 AM

Derrick Bailey said:
this is true but now we are in the 600 range for this guy....how about replacing the 6100 with the 6300...that would keep him in the 550 range. i missed that 6300 for some reason.


Your build didn't include an HDD, unless I missed something -- so tiny voices' build isn't so much more expensive when you really look at it. I'd go with his build for the power supply alone; the fact that he upgraded your 650 Ti to an HD 7870 is a huge honking deal too.

The CPU debate might be worth having, but for the above reasons, I don't think there's any comparison between the two builds. The second one is miles better.

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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 9:46:46 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($117.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock 880GM-LE FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Wintec One 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($57.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($187.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $542.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 12:46 EDT-0400)

There we are.

Should still max skyrim.

For reference, I have an i3 and a 7870 and I can max Skyrim.
I would recommend the 6300 over the i3 for sure in this case though.
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May 16, 2013 10:20:00 AM

tiny voices said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($117.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock 880GM-LE FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Wintec One 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($57.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($187.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $542.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 12:46 EDT-0400)

There we are.

Should still max skyrim.

For reference, I have an i3 and a 7870 and I can max Skyrim.
I would recommend the 6300 over the i3 for sure in this case though.

This one seems good...would it be good with a AMD Radeon HD 7950 instead??...or would I need to make any other adjustments if I choose the 7950?....by the way no I dont have the video card yet, so yeah the vid card is part of the budget
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May 16, 2013 10:22:14 AM

Ok lets suffle things around a bit

AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor $117.99 ncix
ASRock 990FX Extreme3 $119.99 newegg
650ti boost $174.99 newegg
HyperX 8gb ($49.99) newegg
Thermaltake V4 Black Edition $39.99 w/$10 dollar rebate (newegg)
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB 128-bit ($169.99)
PCorsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.98 @ Outlet PC)

588.92 with tax and shipping minus 10 dollar rebate = 579.92

i like some of you guys other ideas

a 7950 gonna cost you a lot more money
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 10:23:27 AM

The 7950 is a great card. It will work fine in my build and max the game no problem.
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 10:25:00 AM

Derrick Bailey said:
Ok lets suffle things around a bit

AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor $117.99 ncix
ASRock 990FX Extreme3 $119.99 newegg
650ti boost $174.99 newegg
HyperX 8gb ($49.99) newegg
Thermaltake V4 Black Edition $39.99 w/$10 dollar rebate (newegg)
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB 128-bit ($169.99)
PCorsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM($64.98 @ Outlet PC)

599.92 with tax and shipping minus 10 dollar rebate = 589.92

i like some of you guys other ideas


Still not quite as good as my builds. The most important thing here is the GPU.
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May 16, 2013 10:25:23 AM

By the way tiny voices...can I max Skyrim with that build includig a few graphics mods??..if not then would the Radeon HD 7950 upgrade be enough?
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 10:26:46 AM

With the 7950 you could max it with mods. With the 7870 in my first build you might be able to get one mod or two max. The 660 in my second build will just max the game, likely without mods.
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May 16, 2013 10:36:28 AM

lol for some reason i thought john d7 budget was smaller than 700...it's 800 max ...oh hell then id add a 7950 to my build...great build tiny voices. my only question is how upgradeable is the ASRock 880GM-LE FX Motherboard for johnD7 in the future???
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 10:39:44 AM

Its really not that great. I would change that. But if the build is 700-800 I would do everything differently.
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May 16, 2013 10:41:41 AM

tiny voices said:
Derrick Bailey said:
Ok lets suffle things around a bit

AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor $117.99 ncix
ASRock 990FX Extreme3 $119.99 newegg
650ti boost $174.99 newegg
HyperX 8gb ($49.99) newegg
Thermaltake V4 Black Edition $39.99 w/$10 dollar rebate (newegg)
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB 128-bit ($169.99)
PCorsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM($64.98 @ Outlet PC)

599.92 with tax and shipping minus 10 dollar rebate = 589.92

i like some of you guys other ideas


Still not quite as good as my builds. The most important thing here is the GPU.


Yeah. At the risk of beating a dead horse, I don't know why anyone would spend $170 on a GTX 650 Ti when you can spend the same amount of money for a GTX 650 Ti Boost, which performs about 35% better.

If the OP takes nothing else away from this discussion, he should avoid the GPU choice in Derrick's build. Personally, I'd probably go with the first build you posted (with the 7870) -- but then again, the OP's budget is a little up in the air at this point. If we go with the max budget listed in the original post ($800), and if we don't have to buy a UPS or a monitor, then he could buy a near-high-end Core i5/7950 rig that'd handle most anything he can throw at it.

But based on what I can infer about the OP's budget, I'm not sure we should quite go that far. Seems like ~$600 for the core build is the safest bet. He still has to buy an OS, a monitor, and (presumably, at least at some point) a UPS.
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May 16, 2013 10:44:05 AM

sorry i keep forgetting to type boost in....i def mean
he should get the boost
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May 16, 2013 10:45:50 AM

Derrick Bailey said:
sorry i keep forgetting to type boost in....i def meant he should get the boost


That's cool. What confused me was the repeated reference to a 128-bit interface. The non-Boost card has a 128-bit interface. The Boost has a 192-bit interface.
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May 16, 2013 10:50:20 AM

If he can afford a 7870 (cheapest at newegg 209.99 +15 dollar rebate) then of course he should get it a .A 650ti boost is 174.98...so if he can afford the 209.99 upfront he should get it. If he can't the boost is an alternative
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 16, 2013 10:53:23 AM

The gtx660 can be had for $20 less than the 7870. I would say this is a better option than the 650ti boost.
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May 16, 2013 10:55:56 AM

If he can afford a 7870 (cheapest at newegg 209.99 +15 dollar rebate) then of course he should get it a .A 650ti boost is 174.98...so if he can afford the 209.99 upfront he should get it. If he can't the boost is an alternative. I know johnd7 wants the best for hes buck and some wiggle room for future upgrades. We are just trying to find a balance for him as far as price, performance and upgradability.. I think we have all helped him have a solid base to make an educated decision on his rig.
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May 16, 2013 10:59:30 AM

Great now he knows he has at least 3 options in his budget. 650 ti boost $174.98 - 660 179.99 - 7870 $209.99... two Thumbs up.
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May 16, 2013 10:59:37 AM

tiny voices said:
The gtx660 can be had for $20 less than the 7870. I would say this is a better option than the 650ti boost.


Agreed, but it's a fairly small issue. The 660 performs about 9% better (at stock) than the stock 650 Ti Boost. If it cost $189 and the Boost costs $170, then the cost difference is in line with the performance difference.

The main point I meant to underline was that there's no justification for paying Boost money for a non-Boost card. Bizarre GPU naming schemes rear their ugly heads again. :) 
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May 16, 2013 11:03:08 AM

5 buck for 9% percent boost is a great buy...yes bizarre naming is very accurate
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May 16, 2013 2:42:40 PM

Ok this is my build up to now, what do you guys think??
By the way, I chose the one stick 8GB RAM Derrick told me, would there be a significant difference between one stick and two sticks?? and my last question and I think I got my build...do I really need 8Gigs of RAM? if I downgrade to 4 or 6 Gigs, would the game perform less than with 8Gigs??
and I wanna say thanks in advance guys, you've really helped a lot

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($117.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock 880GM-LE FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($269.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $616.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 17:41 EDT-0400)

oh and would you guys recommend getting a case fan?? my computer is turned on all the time during the day
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May 16, 2013 3:07:27 PM

I just read some of these prices are after mail in rebate....do they return the money in a check or cash or whatever, or do they just give me credit to buy something else in their website??
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May 16, 2013 3:35:40 PM

they usually give the rebates in a check in the mail. Oh and i would go for the 2 X4gb memory stick. dual channel is always recommended than one stick. You can get them for the same price as one on newegg. Oh and stick with the 8gb of ram. Gameplay is much better with 8gb than 4 or 6. Your build will be sweet, steady and mostly upgradeable. Again find as much info on that ASRock 880GM motherboard for having a little room for processor upgrades. If it will let you do 8350's and up then go with it. Not bad...not bad at all.
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May 16, 2013 3:39:15 PM

Well I guess that wraps it up then....thanks guys you dont know how much I appreciate your help :D 
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May 16, 2013 3:46:37 PM

No prob.. Hey come back and tells us how the build goes. Id love to see it on youtube or something when you're done. I love to see kick butt rigs that people have created with their own hands. That 7950 is gonna make your rig a beast. Now the next question is which 7950 :) 
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 17, 2013 8:55:34 AM

Derrick Bailey said:
they usually give the rebates in a check in the mail. Oh and i would go for the 2 X4gb memory stick. dual channel is always recommended than one stick. You can get them for the same price as one on newegg. Oh and stick with the 8gb of ram. Gameplay is much better with 8gb than 4 or 6. Your build will be sweet, steady and mostly upgradeable. Again find as much info on that ASRock 880GM motherboard for having a little room for processor upgrades. If it will let you do 8350's and up then go with it. Not bad...not bad at all.



Actually most games (all except 2 or 3) use only 3.3gb RAM MAX. Games are 32bit processes which are natively limited to 3.3gb RAM max. Most games still only use 2gb. Technically 4gb vs 8gb will show no difference in games. The reason it is recommended is because the price is only slightly more to get 8gb over 4gb.
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May 17, 2013 9:10:51 AM

Bad news guys...after placing all my orders I had to cancel them all :(  ....something came up and my budget went from low to none ...I guess Ill just save that list of parts and buy them in the next two months or three months....or just keep saving for an even more beastlike build
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a c 79 ) Power supply
May 18, 2013 9:41:27 AM

JohnD7 said:
Bad news guys...after placing all my orders I had to cancel them all :(  ....something came up and my budget went from low to none ...I guess Ill just save that list of parts and buy them in the next two months or three months....or just keep saving for an even more beastlike build


It happens to the best of us. Don't get down on yourself. I actually will be (unexpectedly) buying a car this week. It happens.
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May 18, 2013 5:05:32 PM

No worries I still plan on building a PC with most of the things I got from you guys, just not now...and at least I learned a lot so yeah the help is still appreciated
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