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Asking for Advice on Building Very Low Budget Gaming PC for World of Warcraft

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June 22, 2013 7:01:55 PM

First, I would like to thank everyone at Tom's Hardware for the time they put into creating a fantastic site! I am learning how to build a PC, and am so happy that I found Tom's Hardware. Your guides and information are very helpful and I can find great articles and forum entries at my level.

Earlier this year, I braved replacing the PSU on a pre-built Cyberpower system; that's the extent of my experience. :-) I've been doing a ton of reading over the past couple of days and have learned so much from you all that I'm confident that I can brave this. Thank you!
That being said, it's obvious that you all are willing to help, so rather than stumble around I'm asking for help. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed and doubtful about what I've done so far.


So far, I've chosen (doesn't have to be final decision):

$135 ASUS Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 2GB
(Newegg.com rebate ends 6/23/2013)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$120 AMD FX-6300 FX-Series 6-Core Processor Edition, Black
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009O7YORK/ref=ox_sc_s...

$85 ASRock 970 Extreme 4 Motherboard
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058HUQJ0/ref=oh_deta...


Someone on a forum recommended this PSU, but I haven't done enough reading on PSUs to make a choice yet.
$50 Rosewill Stallion Series RD600 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...


I pretty much lifted these from Forum user recommendations. I think I chose the video card using the TH Guide article.
I took a forum user/expert's recommendation on the CPU for an FX chip and found the next one up (6300) on sale for about the same price at Amazon.
I think I chose the motherboard from michxymi's recommendation at http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1704549/amd-build-....
I've done so much reading in the past few days that it's hard to keep up with.
Thank you!

Approximate Purchase Date: Next couple of days (today is 6/22/2013)
Budget Range: $500-$600
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (World of Warcraft)
Parts Not Required: Have an old Dell monitor and will buy a cheap keyboard and mouse (not included in this budget point)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none--just need a reliable retailer
Country: United States
Parts Preferences:
Overclocking: Don't anticipate doing this -- don't know how
SLI or Crossfire: Expect to use in the future
Monitor Resolution:
Additional Comments: Will need to purchase Windows 7

We need a system that will run World of Warcraft--the sole purpose for getting a 2nd system--so that I can play with my children. I had hoped to keep it at around $500, but at this point it looks like it's worth a bit extra ($100 overall) to get a decent graphics card and a motherboard which will allow the later addition of a 2nd graphics card. I'd like to recoup some of the additional expense on those items if possible in lesser-important things like the DVD drive which we seldom use. I'm going to purchase a set of headphones (not included in this budget point) and delay purchasing speakers for a bit.

For anyone who may read this posting for their research, as I have done so much in my research ... I chose this graphics card in this price range because I plan on adding another graphics card later. I learned on Tom's Hardware's Guide that Intel's GeForce GTX 650Ti is a much faster graphics card (being between the HD 7770 and HD 7790 in performance) than the Radeon HD 7770, but it doesn't allow for adding another graphics card later (don't recall where I read this point). We played WoW a few years ago for a couple of years, and the expansions and patches increasingly demand more from your system. So, I'm planning ahead for that.
TH June 2013 Guide: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...



Post Script: After posting, the site offered related links and I found a recent response at http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1705170/build-run-... .
Should I just follow this guideline and buy these items?
Also, I'm wondering if I'm understanding the description correctly and this is a CPU and a graphics unit?
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-Desktops-A10-6800K-Radeon-AD6...
a b Ý World of Warcraft
June 22, 2013 9:11:03 PM

Yes, the APU is a quad core processor with an on-die GPU. It will provide good gameplay at 720p resolution. With some reduced settings, it will also be fine at 1080p. But it will not be as strong as the FX-6300 and HD 7770. What resolution is your monitor?
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June 23, 2013 4:43:27 AM

Thank you for your help.
I don't know how to determine my monitor's resolution. I tried doing a search on the internet, but am not finding what I'm looking for.
The monitor is an older Dell model flat screen. It's currently on a very old system running WinXP. The current setting is 1024x768 and the highest resolution on the settings slider control is 1280x1024. The screen is physically 14-3/4" wide (16" to case edges) and 11-7/8" high (13-1/4" to case edges), 18-7/8" diagonally (20-3/4" to case corner edges). I can replace it if necessary, but am hoping to be able to use this one.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
June 23, 2013 10:49:35 AM

That sounds like an older std. 5:4 box screen. Not a wide screen display. Btw, the highest setting on the Windows slider would be the monitor's native resolution... the resolution you should be using for the best display. Using a lower resolution produces a poorer display.

That is a very low rez monitor. As a result, you can easily live with the APU and its on-die GPU. But if you plan on upgrading to a modern wide-screen monitor anytime soon, go for the FX-6300/HD 7770 combo you first spec'd out.
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June 23, 2013 8:04:42 PM

Clutchc, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you VERY much for your help! 
So, with my 2 choices basically being scale down the computer purchase to accommodate the monitor I have or get a slightly better computer with the possibility of the monitor not working and having to purchase a new one, I chose the latter.

Here’s what I ended up with :
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/19AII
------------------------------------
Updated 6/25/2013 :
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1a6c2
I cancelled the order with the RAM and used a Newegg Combo deal with the CPU to upgrade to the G.Skill Trident X Series 2400 MHz for just a few more dollars.
------------------------------------

It’s over my budget point, but I think that over time I’ll be glad that I went a bit better on components (i.e. I think they won’t go obsolete as soon as the next-level-down choices).


For those who are reading this post as part of their research, to maybe save you a little time here’s what I did with the video card choice “in a nutshell” …
Video Graphics Card :
I found a review of the PowerColor HD 7790 card at ($125 today): http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_7790_T... .
Sapphire HD 7790 card ($127 today):
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7790_Dua... .
ASUS HD OC card ($144 today):
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7790_DirectC... .
Note, you may need to do some research on your own if you're looking through the stuff I chose. I think that these are all dual slot. I look over the stuff that I don't understand and I can't look it all up; I've spent around 20+ on this over 4 days and I'm getting burned out/tired. This may mean that you can't bridge 2 of these if your motherboard only has 2 slots (which I think is the case for the board I chose). Do your research on the DVI; I was tired and just didn't bother. I think the one I chose has 2 DVI.

I ended up choosing the ASUS for this statement, excerpted from techpowerup.com review article: “The card will be inaudible in any modern system regardless of what you do—even during demanding gaming. ASUS really did a great job here, making this card the weapon of choice for the silent gamer.”
It’s worth it for $20 more. I did consider that one of the others is reported to have a better heat sink placement or design, one of them placed the power cord at the end of the card, and one of them performs a little better. My son says that WoW won’t tax this card so it probably won’t matter for us which we choose; I went for quiet. I had to start choosing based on something, and they’re all about the same overall.


I’ll work on the OS over the next couple of days.
I'm going to use the DVD drive from the older system we have. My son advised that I get a Western Digital Black Caviar hard drive. After having one crash and losing a few years’ worth of pictures (that I hadn’t gotten printed yet), it was worth going over my $50 anticipated price point and spending $88 for the hard drive.

UPDATED 6/25/2013 RE: RAM :
I changed my RAM order from the Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz 9 CAS Latency to the G.SKILL 2400 MHz 11 CAS Latency. I found a discussion dated June 16, 2013 regarding WoW set-up and lazyboy947 recommended this RAM, so I looked around just a little bit.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1705170/build-run-...
Maxx_Power says that latency doesn't have as big an impact as speed now-a-days: http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1696511/latency-... .
User feedback on the G.Skill includes: "ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE running at DDR3-2400 on XMP settings out of the box, no tweaking required. I can definitely notice a performance gain over my old Corsair Vengeance ddr3 1600 ram. System boots faster, gaming is smoother, everything is overall better", although another person reports performance problems possibly conflicting with the motherboard. If the 2400 G.Skill performs better than the Corsair Vengeance 1600 according to someone who knows more than I do, I should probably take the 2400 MHz from G.Skill, especially when other info supports speed over latency and I've seen G.Skill used by people elsewhere (i.e. It's probably not generic garbage). http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... .

Be sure to look for Combo Deals on New Egg before finalizing your order. I just learned about that. www.pcpartpicker.com will alert you to Combo Deals, too. If I had found this combo deal early on in my research, I'd have just done this. I've already got some things shipping from New Egg and they have restocking fees, so I'm just letting it go. Check it out, though, if you're looking to build but feeling overwhelmed: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...
The way I will check for Combo Deals in the future (for those who are new to this) is to choose my graphics card or CPU (since we do a lot of gaming) then with that item page open, instead of clicking "Add to Cart", scroll down the page and click on "Browse More Combos" under the big yellow "View Details" button. If you want to take advantage of a combo deal, you must click the "Buy this combo" button.


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a b Ý World of Warcraft
June 23, 2013 8:16:05 PM

The processor and gfx card should enable you to upgrade in the future to a 1920x1080 wide screen monitor... the most common. Until then, you will have more graphic/processing power than needed for your existing resolution. Enjoy.
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