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Build under 700?

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October 6, 2013 4:33:30 PM

Hi guys I'm looking To build a gaming desktop for under $700. I wanted to keep it with Intel based on the fact everybody says it has better performance. I also want the ability to run most games on high settings. Can anyone give me recommendations on what to buy for this build?

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a b 4 Gaming
October 6, 2013 4:50:11 PM

Jerry911227 said:
Hi guys I'm looking To build a gaming desktop for under $700. I wanted to keep it with Intel based on the fact everybody says it has better performance. I also want the ability to run most games on high settings. Can anyone give me recommendations on what to buy for this build?


Under $700 I wouldn't recommend an Intel build. Don't let Intel fanboys mislead you. AMD CPUs are fantastic in their own right, and they'll still get you plenty high frame rates. They're cheaper and have more cores. When it comes to budget gaming, AMD CPUs are the far better bet. Unless you get into the range of spending $160 or more for your CPU, AMD is the better option in performance. Above that, Intel CPUs are typically more efficient for gaming. But since your total is under $700 and you want to get a good build, I'd strongly discourage you from shelling out that much money into a CPU.

You're also not listing enough information. Obviously you want the base hardware for a computer, but what else do you want? Do you need a monitor or an Operating System? What about input peripherals like a mouse and keyboard? And in the case of a monitor, what resolution do you want or already have?
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October 6, 2013 4:58:43 PM

I hear you on the CPU. I have a Monitor That I can use for now until I can afford a better one. As far as a mouse and keyboard I have a mouse and will be buying a. Keyboard. And I have not chosen an operating system that would be In the build. As long as I can play MMO RPG games And some other relatively demanding games at a high video setting At the high frame rate I'm fine with the processor.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 6, 2013 5:01:25 PM

Jerry911227 said:
Hi guys I'm looking To build a gaming desktop for under $700. I wanted to keep it with Intel based on the fact everybody says it has better performance. I also want the ability to run most games on high settings. Can anyone give me recommendations on what to buy for this build?


understand that an amd cpu will probably run all games in 1080p at 60fps at high/ultra settings. the bottleneck in a gaming build is the gpu not the cpu. There are some games amd cpus don't do well in, but they'll still manage 60fps, which is all you need unless you have a better monitor.

Generally speaking, the best bang for your buck in the $550-$800 price range can be made with an AMD cpu; generally speaking... that said with the crashing price of high performance gpus intel builds are starting to become quite atractive in the 700 dollar price range as well...

I'll give you two builds, one intel and one AMD. I know you perfer intel, so i'll do what i can to make the intel build on par with the amd build.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($93.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Kingston Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($48.96 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($84.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master RC-430-KWN6 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 600B 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Total: $706.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-06 19:55 EDT-0400)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($175.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($48.96 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($84.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master RC-430-KWN6 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 600B 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Total: $713.87
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-06 19:57 EDT-0400)

here you go. that intel should be a marginally better system at stock. the amd should overclock well making the difference between the two nearly vanish. Overall, the intel is a better option, you can thank the crashing price of gpus for making it possible to make an attractive intel build in this price point.
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October 6, 2013 5:29:14 PM

Awesome, thanks for the time to do that for me! Which build do you think will be better long term? And should I invest in upgrading anything for a little more money like the CPU 1 step up ?
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October 6, 2013 5:42:59 PM

Like instead what about i5 4670k or should the extra 50 $ go into a GPU?
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October 6, 2013 6:37:54 PM

Will CPU make much of a difference if upgrading at this point?
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a b 4 Gaming
October 6, 2013 7:34:02 PM

Jerry911227 said:
Like instead what about i5 4670k or should the extra 50 $ go into a GPU?


the i5-4670k will be more then just a $50 bump in price. You'll need to buy a z87 motherboard which start at about $100. So you're really looking at close to a $100 bump in price. Thrown in an aftermarket cooler and you're talking about a $130 bump in price. All for 5% gain in fps.

no i don't think it's worth it to go from 100fps to 105fps, when your monitor can only display 60fps. If you have a 1080p monitor with a 144hz refreshrate sure... go wild with your cpu purchase... but as long as you're on a 1080p monitor with a 60hz refresh rate a quad core athlon II x4 750k will probably be all the cpu you'll need for the most part.

Personally since i like overclocking i would probably go with the AMD build... i'd probable save another $60, get a 8320 and a more robust motherboard, some better ram, and overclock the heck out of it.

That said my amd build would be about on par with that origional i5-3350p build, even when overclocked.

and it still would probably be capping out my 60hz monitor.
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October 6, 2013 8:18:08 PM

I plan on having a nice monitor, that being said should I invest more for higher fps? Thank you for explaining this to me I'm learning a lot. Are you saying to upgrade the CPU on the and build to the eight core 4 ghz CPU ? Would you need to upgrade the mobo also? But with all this being said... I've never gamed on a 120 hz or 240 hz so how much of a difference in picture will you notice. I can go up to 850 on the build but the extra 150 should be greatly improved however you seem very in touch with value! Thank you again!
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October 6, 2013 8:26:07 PM

Jerry911227 said:
I plan on having a nice monitor, that being said should I invest more for higher fps? Thank you for explaining this to me I'm learning a lot. Are you saying to upgrade the CPU on the and build to the eight core 4 ghz CPU ? Would you need to upgrade the mobo also? But with all this being said... I've never gamed on a 120 hz or 240 hz so how much of a difference in picture will you notice. I can go up to 850 on the build but the extra 150 should be greatly improved however you seem very in touch with value! Thank you again!


You need some serious GPU power for 120Hz, or a tiny resolution. It is more or less a balancing act if you are running a card that is half or almost capable of max settings while retaining the native refresh rate of a monitor. For the mobo upgrading thing, just switch the i5 3350P for an i5 3570K so then you won't need a mobo upgrade.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 6, 2013 11:05:45 PM

Jerry911227 said:
I plan on having a nice monitor, that being said should I invest more for higher fps? Thank you for explaining this to me I'm learning a lot. Are you saying to upgrade the CPU on the and build to the eight core 4 ghz CPU ? Would you need to upgrade the mobo also? But with all this being said... I've never gamed on a 120 hz or 240 hz so how much of a difference in picture will you notice. I can go up to 850 on the build but the extra 150 should be greatly improved however you seem very in touch with value! Thank you again!


well, see it's a value balancing act. understand all the value/performance is on the low end of the price scale. the performance of the "cheap" parts are beyond most people's needs in many cases. That a $70 cpu is effectively all the cpu you'll ever need in 99% of all games is sorta crazy when you think about it. So then you're faced with the general question... how much do i want to pay over $70? How much performance is enough? If i spend 170, i can max 99.5% of all games... and if i spend 1000 on the cpu i can max 100%... and you can spend anything in between for the rest.

it's about diminishing returns.

The same happens wiht graphics cards (which have a much bigger impact on your gaming abilities then the cpus)... at about $120 you really start to fall behind the price/performance curve. at $200 the minute gains in performance really are almost completely unjustifiable by the cash required. look at it this way.

using a HD 6670 as a baseline (100%), you can get one of these cards for $60 with 1gb of gddr5 ram. Value Factor = 1.6
150% it's performance you can get a hd 7750 for $65 Value Factor = 2.3
180% of its performance lands you at a hd 7770 for $80 Value Factor = 2.5
240% of it's performance lands you at a hd 7790 for $110 Value Factor = 2.2
300% of it's performance lands you at a hd 7850 for $120 Value Factor = 2.5
315% of it's performance lands you at a hd 7870 for $160 Value Factor = 1.9
400% of it's performance lands you at a hd 7950 for $180 Value Factor = 2.2
410% of it's performance lands you at a hd 7970 for $270 Value Factor = 1.5
500% of it's performance lands you at a GTX 780 for $700 Value Factor = 0.6

i sorta made up that metric "value factor" to illustrate my point, it's by no means perfect or amazingly accurate, but it illustrates the problem. The first 300% gain in gpu power comes by the time you hit $120, that's a 3 fold increase in gpu goodness for just twice the price of the original gpu. from that point on increases in performance get smaller and smaller while the increases in price become larger and larger. So while there is a quantifiable and measurable improvement in the gpus over the 7850, you start to wander into a noman's territory where you have to measure your own needs and your wallet, and descide when its "enough" that the gains no longer are justifiable by the price.

In the build i put together for you i gave you what i think is the best "bang" for the buck gpu out there right now... the HD7950. Frankly it's been in that sweet spot for a long time... briefly yielding up that crown to a few other gpus... such as the 7850, or the 650ti BOOST or the 660ti or the 760... but usually it's been at that point where price increases get out of hand while performance gains get scarce.

For example, for less then the cost of a GTX 770, i could get 2 7950s, and get better than titan and almost 690 or 7990 performance to boot. that's a a lot of power for little money.

ultimately, there are gains to be had. as i demonstrated you can see the GTX 780 is 5 times (probably a little more) stronger then the HD 6670, it's atleast 20% faster then the 7950... but it's also almost 4 times the price. So how much is enough?

you need to ask those questions... the difference in gpus is far more obvious then the difference between cpus. i wasn't kidding when i said a $70 cpu was all the cpu you might need this year. that as long as you were gaming on a monitor at 1080p and in 60hz, you probably don't or won't need more unless you plan to play bf4 (at which point a 6300 can do the job, which was why i used that on the amd build, your i5 can do the job too in bf4). could you spend a little more and get a z77 motherboard with a i5-3570k? sure... but even overclocked you won't see much difference. Perhaps a little here and there. perhaps a little less stuttering. but is that worth an extra $100?
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October 7, 2013 9:00:29 AM

Awesome so if I plan on upgrading the monitor down the road should I stay with the amd build?
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October 7, 2013 11:59:03 AM

Jerry911227 said:
Awesome so if I plan on upgrading the monitor down the road should I stay with the amd build?


Pick whichever suits you at the time.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 7, 2013 3:25:11 PM

Jerry911227 said:
Awesome so if I plan on upgrading the monitor down the road should I stay with the amd build?


frankly it comes down to what you want. if you want the fun of overclocking get the fx... in most titles it should pace the i5 when overclocked. if you don't care about overclocking that i5 should do the job with very little input from you.

strictly speaking from a pure performance standpoint that i5 should game a bit better (+5% on the fps)... though i'm doubtful you or anyone else will be able to notice it, especially since you'll probably be maxing out any game at 1080p and 60fps with both...

you will have one upgrade path for you, with the amd build you could step it up to an 8 core 8320... if it was my money i would probably save a little bit more to get that 8 core instead of the 6... but that's me.
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October 7, 2013 10:11:39 PM

ingtar33 said:
Jerry911227 said:
Awesome so if I plan on upgrading the monitor down the road should I stay with the amd build?


frankly it comes down to what you want. if you want the fun of overclocking get the fx... in most titles it should pace the i5 when overclocked. if you don't care about overclocking that i5 should do the job with very little input from you.

strictly speaking from a pure performance standpoint that i5 should game a bit better (+5% on the fps)... though i'm doubtful you or anyone else will be able to notice it, especially since you'll probably be maxing out any game at 1080p and 60fps with both...

you will have one upgrade path for you, with the amd build you could step it up to an 8 core 8320... if it was my money i would probably save a little bit more to get that 8 core instead of the 6... but that's me.


If I upgrade the CPU to eight core. 4 ghz will that out perform the i5 and do I need a better mobo ? Rather would the option of duel GPU down the road be better? Any risk in overclocking and how easy is it to do?
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a b 4 Gaming
October 7, 2013 10:32:45 PM

well the original build had a fx 6300 + Asus M5A97 R2.0 motherboard... the Asus M5A97 R2.0 is a solid board for overclocking... i wouldn't go wild with it but it should be alright for moderate overclocking of a fx 8320. Something more robust would be a m5a97 EVO/Pro, or a Gigabyte ga-970a-ud3.

your choice really. as for how hard overclocking is...

I wrote a quick and dirty instruction manual for a fellow overclocking a FX 8120; he figured it out pretty quick thanks to that guide... here is the copy and paste of it.

ingtar33 said:
ok. overclocking is pretty easy to do... first i suggest you read this

http://www.overclock.net/t/902756/amd-overclock-guide-f...

it's important to know what you're doing so start there. there are good guides out there to overclocking phenomII cpus as well, and the general principle is the same for your FX. http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=596... This is an outstanding guide if you want to learn more about what you're doing, granted a bit of the specific details are different for the fx cpu but the general principle and techniques are the same.

As for your cpu, the quick and dirty of it would be to load into your bios. go to the advanced settings tab. change the clock settings from automatic to manual. then bump the CPU multiplier by 0.5. save and restart your machine. see if you can load into windows. if you can, restart the computer and bump the cpu multiplier another +0.5. save and load into windows. do this until windows crashes your computer on startup, or the computer doesn't POST. don't worry if it won't post, after 3 failed attempts to POST motherboards will reset their own bios back to basic settings. If that doesn't happen, just clr_cmos, and start from the last good multiplier number. now we need to start to bump voltages.

Go you your vcore number, and change it from automatic to manual. the baseline vcore number should be something like 1.3250V... something in that range... bump the vcore 1 step up (depending on the motherboard you can either set the vcore manually to whatever number you chose or it will go in small bumps of 0.0125V; if its manual use the 0.0125V as your base line bump in voltage. it's a good small number and you won't hurt anything with it). so bump the vcore by +.0125V save and restart the machine, load into windows and download prime95. you're going to want to get hwmonitor as well, and keep an eye on your cpu and motherboard temps. run prime95 for a few passes and make sure the cpu temps don't break 68C, make sure the motherboard doesn't get up over 10C over ambient temps (the socket temp should be about the same as the cpu temps so don't worry about that one.)

As long as you have an aftermarket cpu cooler you should be able to get something of an overclock going, solid case airflow will keep temps low despite the torture test of prime95.

Prime will probably crash on you, or the system will blue screen... in which case you're going to bump your vcore another step up. keep bumping the vcore as needed, and keep a close eye on temps when you run prime95. more vcore means more temps. If you hit your thermal limit before the system can run prime95, you'll need to lower the multiplier by 0.5C or get a better cpu cooler. and see if your stabilize it without overheating.

there is a lot more to overclocking like your nb frequency, and ram or even the cpu frequency/fsb... but for now thats the basics.


now, there was some more conversation as he went... but really it isn't that hard on the front end. it's the back end of overclocking, the fine tuning, that can get pretty complicated. As i explained in that thread.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 8, 2013 11:16:39 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($153.61 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($109.97 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master RC-430-KWN6 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 600B 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $785.50
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-09 02:14 EDT-0400)

slight changes... the 8320 is the same chip as the 8350, only downclocked... so you can safely save some cash by going with that one instead. i also got you better ram... good ram makes good overclocked more attainable in amd systems.
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