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Gaming PC Build - Can it be improved for the same money?

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May 27, 2013 3:28:37 AM

Hi All,

My old PC is on it's last legs and it's time to spec a brand new one. Primarily it's going to be used for gaming, with consitent web surfing and some occasional movies, but no video editing etc.

Ideally I want it to last as long as possible before I need to do any major upgrades as cash is at a minimum and I can't afford to put in new CPU/GPU's every year or two.

So far I've come up with this:

CPU: Intel Pentium G2020 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM
Video Card: VTX3d Radeon HD 7870 BLACK (Tahiti) 2GB Video Card
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
Monitor: Asus VX238H

Plus, I already own these items which will form the final part of the build:

Case: Antec 900 V1
Optical Drive: Asus Generic DVD/RW drive

Total price approx £657 and that is with the cheapest prices I've been able to find on all the above components in the UK...

I appreciate that the CPU is the worst part of the system but it's a cheap short term option and if things start to be an issue in a year or two I can always just drop an i5 in there instead when I've saved up more cash as it will likely be a similar price to the G2020 at that point.

My Maximum budget is £675, and if there's any bright suggestions on how I can keep the basic premise behind the build as I've listed, but make improvements and save some cash then I'm all ears :) 

Thanks for your time

Indy
May 27, 2013 3:37:11 AM

Cheap AMD build with room for changes:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor (£85.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£51.59 @ Aria PC)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£34.90 @ Dabs)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card (£105.96 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 335 Upgraded ATX Mid Tower Case (£25.98 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Total: £339.41
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-27 11:35 BST+0100)


Cheap Intel build with room for changes:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor (£88.39 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£48.50 @ Ebuyer)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£34.90 @ Dabs)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card (£105.96 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 335 Upgraded ATX Mid Tower Case (£25.98 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Total: £338.72
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-27 11:39 BST+0100)

Pick one mate.
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May 27, 2013 3:39:21 AM

But surely that setup gives me a MUCH worse GPU in exchange for a slightly better CPU, which for gaming doesn't seem like a great tradeoff...

Ideally I'd like to keep the 7870XT whilst improving the CPU, and I don't need to change the case as my Antec 900 should be more than sufficient.
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May 27, 2013 3:48:47 AM

For your CPU choice, the Evo 212 cooler is not needed. The stock Intel cooler will be more than enough for that CPU, or any in your price range.

Cutting that out saves you some money, which should let you jump up to at least an i3 for the time being.

Core i3-3210 shows for around $106.
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80637i33210

I would still recommend getting an i5 eventually though.
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May 27, 2013 3:59:22 AM

lose the cpu cooler, get a better cpu, stock is fine if not overclocking.
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May 27, 2013 4:19:34 AM

hey mate,

here is my suggestion for you, i tried to keep it minimum but also left an upgrade path with AM3+ socket. the cpu choice is very good and budget friendly and would cover your short time needs well enough.
you dont really need more than 450-500W on a single gpu setup, so i tried to keep the psu also minimalistic.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£59.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£37.99 @ Aria PC)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card (£180.42 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£143.86 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £612.21
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-27 12:15 BST+0100)

on the other hand here is my intel based suggestion which also lets you upgrade later on, but comes for a higher price at the moment.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£139.92 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£42.12 @ Aria PC)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card (£180.42 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£143.86 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £696.27
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-27 12:19 BST+0100)

good luck
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May 27, 2013 4:20:00 AM

ryanrich83 said:
For your CPU choice, the Evo 212 cooler is not needed. The stock Intel cooler will be more than enough for that CPU, or any in your price range.

Cutting that out saves you some money, which should let you jump up to at least an i3 for the time being.

Core i3-3210 shows for around $106.
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80637i33210

I would still recommend getting an i5 eventually though.

Therein lies the problem.

In the UK, the 3210 goes for approx £90 compared to just £45 for the G2020, so although I'd save £24 on the cooler, it's not enough to make up the difference to the i3's.

My other concern on this is that the i3 3210/20 is still dual core like the G2020, so chances are I'd need to change that anyway in a year or so much like the pentium, and unless there's a huge difference in performance to justify the extra cost, I'm not sure it's worth it at this stage?

Dropping the cooler is good though, as any unnecessary cost can be saved.

I did also consider dropping the PSU down to the 450w XFX version, which would save me another £20 (or just under), would this still be fine to run what I needed should I update the CPU at a later date however?

Thanks again to everyone for the help so far.
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May 27, 2013 4:31:19 AM

Indy_Bones said:
ryanrich83 said:
For your CPU choice, the Evo 212 cooler is not needed. The stock Intel cooler will be more than enough for that CPU, or any in your price range.

Cutting that out saves you some money, which should let you jump up to at least an i3 for the time being.

Core i3-3210 shows for around $106.
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80637i33210

I would still recommend getting an i5 eventually though.

Therein lies the problem.

In the UK, the 3210 goes for approx £90 compared to just £45 for the G2020, so although I'd save £24 on the cooler, it's not enough to make up the difference to the i3's.

My other concern on this is that the i3 3210/20 is still dual core like the G2020, so chances are I'd need to change that anyway in a year or so much like the pentium, and unless there's a huge difference in performance to justify the extra cost, I'm not sure it's worth it at this stage?

Dropping the cooler is good though, as any unnecessary cost can be saved.

I did also consider dropping the PSU down to the 450w XFX version, which would save me another £20 (or just under), would this still be fine to run what I needed should I update the CPU at a later date however?

Thanks again to everyone for the help so far.


450W will be plenty if you do a CPU upgrade down the road. Another option that might help is waiting for the Haswell i5's to come out next month. Prices for older gen CPU's might drop because of this.
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May 27, 2013 5:18:34 AM

Having checked out the suggestions made (and thanks again for those), I've decided to go with the original build idea minus the CPU Cooler and downgrading the XFX to the 450w option. I've also switched the VTX GPU for a Sapphire one due to the better cooling for not much more in price.

This gives me this as the final build:

PCPartPicker part list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/10onW
Price breakdown by merchant: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/10onW/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/10onW/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Pentium G2020 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor (£45.31 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£53.62 @ Dabs)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£65.69 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card (£199.40 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£143.86 @ Amazon UK)

Total: £647.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-27 13:14 BST+0100)

I expect the G2020 will be upgraded in a year or so for an i5 when they come down in price, and hopefully that will then last me until my next new build.

All the best guys.

Indy
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May 27, 2013 5:28:19 AM

Take care.
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May 27, 2013 5:38:08 AM

13thmonkey said:
cpu's don't come down in price.
the 2500k's are still the same price they always were.
personally i'd get a slightly slower HDD
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-seagate-st1000dm003-... or similar.
drop to a single 4Gb stick of memory
and put that £30 into a better cpu.

http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-hardware/all/mother... this'll save you another £15 off the mobo.


well if he is going to replace cpu soon, there is no need to alter the other components to get a better one, which is also going to be replaced...
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May 27, 2013 5:39:19 AM

That build will get you by till a CPU upgrade can be done. You can get any Ivy Bridge i5/i7 later on for cheaper.

I just wish Intel wasn't going to a new socket for Haswell (LGA 1150).
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May 27, 2013 5:41:16 AM

he's going to replace them when they get cheap, I bet it never happens as they don't get cheap. 2500K is still the same price as a 3570k, 1 year after launch. Older than that just can't be found except second hand.
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May 27, 2013 5:49:50 AM

13thmonkey said:
he's going to replace them when they get cheap, I bet it never happens as they don't get cheap. 2500K is still the same price as a 3570k, 1 year after launch. Older than that just can't be found except second hand.

Sorry, but I just don't see the point in cutting out RAM and getting a 'poorer' H/D just to make a minor improvement in the CPU that WILL be replaced at a later point (i.e. when I need it and can afford it).

The only real upgrade worth doing at this point over the G2020 would be to stick an i5 in, but that would cripple the rest of the system at this stage for no major gain, AND I can't afford i5 prices in comparison.

Whether or not i5 prices drop much in the next year or two, that still gives me that time period to save up the cash whilst still enjoying a system with a great GPU and RAM until then.

Let's face it, the Phenom X2 dropped from around $245 to $90 in a couple of years, no reason why there can't be something similar with the current gen i5's...

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May 27, 2013 6:19:17 AM

After reading some other posts and researching, it looks like it is unlikely to get a cheaper price for an Intel chip later on.

I would honestly go with a better CPU than GPU if you are looking to upgrade later on. The LGA 1155 socket set will not be used for any future Intel CPUs, but future GPUs will be compatible and are a better upgrade for gaming purposes down the road.

Try to get a good i5 if you can, and jump down to a cheaper GPU, or less RAM (which is a cheap upgrade). GPU prices change frequently, so a better deal can be had later on.
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May 27, 2013 8:12:37 AM

Ok,

Can anyone give me any suggestions as to what impact the G2020 is likely to have on gaming performance compared to an i5 such as the 3350p, and this relationship to the GPU for current games and those due for release in the next year or so (from the info we have so far)?

I appreciate that there's certain degree of guesswork involved here, but to improve the CPU to i5 levels, I'd need to drop the GPU down to GTX 560 ti levels or lower, and that clearly is going to struggle going forwards if I want to game at 1080p with high settings - as current benchmarks already seem to show.

Argh, it just feels like I'm going round in circles getting more and more confused each day...
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May 27, 2013 8:33:52 AM

have you not already got a monitor? if so, make do with the one you've got.

multicore is becoming more important, you can draw your own conclusions from that.
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May 27, 2013 8:37:34 AM

13thmonkey said:
have you not already got a monitor? if so, make do with the one you've got.

I've got a 10 year old Hitachi CML174SXW B 17" that's on it's last legs, so that could be a problem hence why I've included a monitor in the build...
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May 27, 2013 9:14:31 AM

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£59.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£24.49 @ CCL Computers)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£78.26 @ Dabs)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£65.69 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: VTX3d Radeon HD 7870 BLACK (Tahiti) 2GB Video Card with 4 free games (£164.99 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£143.86 @ Amazon UK)

Total: £677.17

This also gives me the option to upgrade when Steamroller comes around, the extra cores should help for the time being, and by adding the cooler back with a good Mobo I can OC if I want to.

My only real concern with this one is now in regards to the PSU - will 450w be enough for this setup, especially if I OC the CPU/GPU???
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May 27, 2013 9:58:48 AM

The Phenom II X4 965 is a 140 watt chip. The 7870 Tahiti based card is a 200W card. If you overclock both, and depending on number of drives used and USB devices attached to system, you might not have enough power from a 450W PSU.

Recommend looking for at least 550W to 600W, or higher.
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May 27, 2013 11:49:39 AM

Hmmm....

I could switch to the Fractal Design Integra R2 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply for an extra £15 which would give extra headroom (and put me slightly over budget), or stick with XFX and go for their 550w version, although the extra 100w is VERY tempting for the same price...

Outside of this I think I might be where I need to be.
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May 28, 2013 1:58:58 AM

Well guys, the decision has been made...

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor (£85.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (£24.80 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£72.96 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£65.69 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: VTX3d Radeon HD 7870 Black 2GB Video Card with 4 free games (£164.99 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£44.99 @ Amazon UK)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: BenQ GL2450HM 24.0" Monitor (£121.46 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Antec 900 (already owned)
Optical: Asus Generic DVD/RW (already owned)

Total: £685.78

All components have been ordered today, so should take a week or so for it all to filter in and then the fun starts with the building :) 

Thanks to everyone for their input, I really appreciated it.

All the best

Indy.
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