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Building budget(500-1000$) PC, need certain answers.

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October 23, 2013 4:04:07 AM

For quite a while I wanted to upgrade my PC, which would be my 3rd spec(roughly one every 5 years). With current budget spec of year 2007, crappy Core 2 Duo, 2gb DDR2, and N520GT, I am happy when the game "does not lag" at 10-20 FPS. By game I mean no WoT\BF\whatever, but something 2013>, with minor exception of graphical bias of Skyrim\GTA4 and specific accent on ultra-expectations of WoW. So what I need from PC, is the ability to push abovementioned "older" games at maxed settings with perhaps reasonable anti-aliasing and assorted effects. Would really prefer Nvidia for PhysX, although I've read that AMD can support PhysX thought CPU or something, will ask that later. From games of 2012-2014, as I said, my only real expectations is to run Skyrim-ish level of detail, GTA5 and upcoming Naruto UNS3 Full Burst on high\max settings with reasonable antialiasing(2-6) without lag. And by "without" lag - I hope for 20-40 fps, not really fussed to notice 60-100 and so on.
As my friend said: "Compared to your PC and to your expectations, you can make a build for mere ~500$ and still be happy." Be as it is, that's where the problems begin.
Unfortunately I am very thorough about the subject, as my previous PC builds have not been very... impressive, although they lived. So I want a build that would "potentially" last for at least 3 years. With possible effective\retired rolling up to 5, within\around 1000$ price limit.
But enough with personal offtopic, now to the actual questions:

I. CPU
After reading countless THW and other theads, watching videos and benchmarks... I want to go back in time to when Celeron 1.7Ghz was cool. Seriously, Intel and AMD are going nuts beyond any sanity or conscience. Former overpricing their brand, while latter can't focus on one socket due to being repressed.
Initially I wanted FX8350, as it seemed both "high"-end, promising and affordable(~200$). Since it competes with i5-i7 in productivity, I found the following concensus to be valid: 1. i5-7 will do up to 4 tasks better; 2. FX8350 will do extra-heavy tasks(1440 gaming, streaming\encoding) or very numerous(using up a core per task) tasks better. Both seem to be usable now, with Intel being propaganded with awesome mystical performance, while FX8350 is prooftested to be worth doing heavy tasks or expecting multi-core support in future software.
However, later I read that AMD may kill off AM3+ socket at FX9350(which is beyond reach). Essentially this means that both mobo and CPU are only as good as they go, no future for them. So I've read more comparisons and asked myself... if my PC expectations are that of year 2010 at best, why would I need 8 cores, when FX6350 costs almost 60$ less, has 6 cores and is basically the smaller brother of FX8350? If the line is dying, why push it? So first question: FX6350 or FX8350, if it would be AM3+?
Furthermore, I've considered that if it's so bad with AM3+ and I don't need much, there are many praises of budget FM2 Athlon x4 760k builds. Surely that should support the performance of games up to 2013 within reasonable settings, but I doubt it will live any longer. Since such Athlon costs only about 70$, it's very enticing. Unfortunately, that is a "dead" already FM2 Mobo of mATX property only. Which is even more dreading than AM3+. At least I hear that FM2+ will be the future with Kaveries, but I doubt it will have anything to do with FM2 in terms of upgradability. So second question: how long will Athlon last?

As far as Intel goes, I understood the following: it can be upgradable, if it's 1150 or 2011. 2011 is too top-end in itself, and 1150 is only in the middle of Intel slow price-diving, compared to abundance of 1155 support. So getting a good 1150 mobo will be hard, or it won't be good. And if it's not good, and is subject to be replaced, why bother with 1150 in the first place? I really don't want to consider i7, even as exception with multithreading. Intel does not deserve that much cash. Same with i3, paying a 6core AMD price for 2 core Intel "veteran" sounds like a bad idea.
So if it was up to i5, will that be basic 1155 3470 with as much upgradability as Athlon x4, but almost double price? Or 1150 4570?
Since i5 4570 shares price table with FX8350, the only difference is that 4570 can go into "lasting" 1150 mobo, while FX8350 is a AM3+ dead end. Personally I like FX8350(or 6350) in terms of promises, so is paying for "fair" 1150 mobo and 4570 going to outdo a "dying" AM3+ within the next 2-3 years? That's 3rd question.

P.S.: If it will come to Intel, I would also like some notes on using IGPU with GPU and stuff like Virtu. Offtopic, but at least a line or two with as much as "worth it or not".


II. GPU
Here it's won't take a wall of text to describe what I need, games were listed already. Like I said, I would prefer Nvidia PhysX, and if AMD somehow supports it to a noticeable degree(without performance errors and stuff) - then how and with which cards.
So my first preference in the budget of ~200$ is Nvidia GTX660, namely MSI N660 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC, which seems to be golden middle for this price range at the local discounter. How well will that GPU fare in the upcoming years\with games that I've listed?
And if there is a reasonable competition from AMD around 200$-250$(can invest more into GPU, since it's not dying, like CPUs and can always be recycled in SLI\Crossfire) that can outlive GTX660 and therefore make up for the lack of PhysX - I suppose it's in 78xx family? Which one could be considered?


III. RAM
Year 2007, I first get DDR2. Circa year 2014, I get DDR3. The irony...
At least I read that DDR4 will not be humanly reachable until late 2015, so I might not be totally lost.
The general question here is: 1600 or 1866, disregarding 1333 as deprecated and 2133 as too much? Will there be any difference, and will future mobos suddenly lose support for 1600, or it's safe to invest and add-up later?
Also - how good are radiators on RAM? And how much is it better to have something like double Corsair (2x4 for example) over straight single 8gb Kingston?


IV. Mobo
Since AM3+ is dying, I am not sure if Sabertooth 990FX is worth it for 16x+16x SLI. Is GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 SocketAM3+ a competent alternative? Almost 60$ cheaper.
For FM2 I wouldn't really give a thought, but if you have good suggestions for FM2 build - I'd appreciate. Obviously without chipset GPU.
For Intel 1150 I see either very similar 50-150$ Mobos, or 250$+ Sabertoothies. Any good ideas within 100$?
And if it's i5 3470, is it with same logic as with FM2?


V. PSU
Without SLI, but with supposedly hungry AMD CPU, how much is enough? Will ~30$ be fine, or is it a good bet to invest up to 70$ for something long-living and above 600W?
AEROCOOL VP-550 was something I liked, and I'd rather not spend more without being sure(~50$).

VI. Cooling
For AM3+\1150 I like ZALMAN CNPS9500A, and for FM2 I wouldn't give anything more than DEEPCOOL Beta 40. Any better ideas?



TL;DR: I know it's a lot to read, but it's pretty much all of the thought that I had about building a PC within this price range. I just got too confused with longevity of AM3+, price and false promises of i5 and how to attach it to a good mobo, that I eventually considered an Athlon ~500$ build for a couple of years, instead of decent 3-5 year investment.
Please, clarify how long would abovementioned products be viable for gaming in 3-5 year period, what is safe to build with\without upgradability?

P.S.: Another reason why I wrote a wall of text is because I, honestly, do not understand even the basics of any specifications of said products. I like to read, and after reading a lot of info... I just can't make my mind.

P.P.S.: You could say that I can answer the question myself, and I did indeed, as everything written comes from numerous posts from THW and Techradar, with proofs and assurances. Eventually though I saw that there is a Systems forum, and I hoped for personal and more elaborated answer for all these topics combined, instead of guessing and hoping game of google.

Thanks in advance!
October 23, 2013 4:45:06 AM

I can't help you with all of that but i might be able to help you with the GPU,mobo and psu

GPU
Not sure about the Nvidia line but you are right about the 78xx series of cards.They are better than the 660, The best in that line would be the 7870 XT.This is a downsized card from the 79xx series.It's based on the sae line as the 7950and 7970 but has been named as a 7870 XT.Why that is,i do not know. Fantastic performance for the price
There's a good deal for the XT going on at newegg right now.139 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But if you are willing to bump up your GPU allowance,you could always jump up to the 7950. There are a couple on newegg that would fit in your budget after MIR.This has 3GB memory.Alot of conjecture is that games in the future would require more than 2gb of memory.So this might be more "future-proof"

Mobo
I'm intending on building a gaming rig myslef and i'm still looking for a mobo.I did come across that mobo but reviews on that board seem mixed. It appears some users have had their boards warp under heat.Overheating issues were mentioned.

PSU
Please do not skimp on this.This powers your entire machine.Might as well get a quality one and forget about it for a while.A good one should last you upwards of 5 years,from what i've read.If you're not going to crossfire or SLI and don't intend on OCing,a good PSU in the 500-600W shouls suffice.XFX and Seasonic PSUs are well regarded in these forums
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October 23, 2013 5:07:47 AM

i5 - 3350P $170
ASRock Z77 Pro3 $90

Reason: Better sata3/usb3 support, more energy efficient, quad core i5 will last you for years.

EVGA 02G-P4-2763-KR GeForce GTX 760 2GB $249

Reason: You mentioned you wanted physX support, good performance for now, can always add another if needed

GeIL 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 $68

Reason: You really wouldn't be able to tell between 1600 and 1866, but seeing as this kit is priced the same, might as well go 1866.

RAM doesn't run that hot if you don't OC, the fancy heatsinks on RAM is just a gimmick, it's more about airflow.

Having 2x4GB instead of 1x8GB enables dual channel, which is noticably faster especially for certain applications. It's also pretty similar price-wise, so no reason to go single stick.

LEPA MaxBron B800-MB 800W ATX 80 PLUS BRONZE $110

Reason: Reputable brand, enough juice in case you wanted to add a second 760 in the future.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $30

Reason: Budget cooler famous for it's performance.

Total: 717


Throw in a cheap-ish 60/120GB ssd, and you're set.
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October 23, 2013 5:11:48 AM

This will be perfect for you.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1ScBE

The CPU is the server version of the Core i7 4770.
It's not overclockable, but it's faster than an overclocked FX 8350 even in multithreaded tasks.

The graphics card does not support PhysX, but it's very fast and will run every game smoothly on high or max settings.

The motherboard is LGA 1150 which ensures compatibilty with Intel's next generation CPU's.
But since the motherboard does not allow overclocking, you're unlikely to upgrade.

The power supply is a high quality unit with high efficiency and a modular cabling system.
Perfect for the build.
And no, 30$ will no be fine.
You can buy a decent PSU for 50$ but it will not have a modular cabling system and your PC will be a mess.
If you spend a bit more, you can get something significantly better.

As for the cooling, you don't absolutely need to buy a CPU cooler.
Unless you want your PC to be quiet and your CPU to run cool.
In which case you'll need to invest in something like a Zalman CNPS14X for example.

As for the RAM, it really doesn't matter.
Get a good, cheap 1600mhz kit and be done with it.
There's almost no performance gain to be had from high speed RAM.
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October 23, 2013 5:12:17 AM

Unfortunately I'm not sure I can use online shops, as I doubt that shipping+customs to Russia will be cheaper\safer than buying something local. 7870 seems to be either SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHZ EDITION or MSI R7870-2GD5T/OC, both are ~200$, cheapest. I understand Overclock edition being similar to Unlocked CPU in terms of overclockability, but what does Ghz edition mean, if it even means anything? And so this 7870 is indeed good enough to support even PhysX games, but without the details of PhysX? 7950 is almost 100$ more, so I doubt it will be worth the change.
Also, a bit of offtopic question, can SLI+Crossfire be used togther, if mobo supports both? Can Nvidia be tied with AMD?

Interesting build, Kamen, but I won't find neither of CPU or GPU around. Is it really safe to purchase online and have it shipped? I could try to see how customs and shipping works, but it's hard to risk it with something of 200-300$ value.
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October 23, 2013 8:31:18 AM

All of these retailers have similar prices to my local citilink.ru, and that's because they work in similar manner - they are national retailers. I don't quite know how do online markets, like amazon and newegg get their stuff, but it's obviously straight from manufacturer in large quantities, bypassing any additional shipments\storage and marketing prices.
Thanks for suggesting, but I'd rather hear somebody ordering things from amazon\newegg from Russia or at least eastern Europe and tell the approximate custom\shipment price. Values that are presented on Amazon for cds\books are unlikely to be the same for microprocessor electronics. And what I read from other forums, customs can charge up to 100$ and more.

While I appreciate given answers regarding Intel builds, can anyone elaborate viability of Athlon, how long can AM3+ last and can Nvidia and AMD can be SLI\Crossfire-d?
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October 23, 2013 8:45:52 AM

How long AM3+ wil lastl depends on the Steamroller line of CPUs that AMD is supposed to unveil.Thing is,this has been delayed to point where some are unsure if there is any steamroller coming out. I mean,AMD didn't mention that they wouldn't bring out SR,but they haven't confirmed it either.Keeping rather mum on this. I think more info on this might come out. There's an AMD conference next month.Don't know if they'll talk about SR then. If SR is confirmed,then you needn't worry as much on the AM3+ socket
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October 23, 2013 11:35:53 AM

After final consideration, I've come to a bit obvious, but important insight on what did I do wrong and what I misunderstood, including my previous build years ago.

I hoped to plan upgrade in advance, but it never either let me make it, or I never cared.

I understood that there is no point in fussing over AM3+ or 1150\2011. If not in 3, then in 5 years all of them will be deprecated. Just like famous Core 2 Duo LGA755 got deprecated a couple of years after I got it.
Upgrading means spending big bucks every year\changing GPU to keep up while your technology generation lasts. Be it DDR or socket.
It's just how will I play in these 3+ years. Athlon X4, being a replica of 2007 Core 2 Duo, going mid-high on low-profile games? Some i5\FX8350, pushing ultra for first few years?
i7+, possibly not getting old in even 5 years(even if getting outdated).

While, like most of my personal stuff, it's not topic related, and I'm sorry that my first thread on this forum became so... silly, I am still thankful that you helped me to get the idea of builds and how do PCs perform nowadays.
Solution given to Kamen, who I think wrote the most comrehensive and theoretically helpful reply.
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October 24, 2013 6:48:24 AM

I just couldn't help myself.
The Athlon II X4 and Core 2 Quad are not even romotely related.

As for the CPU longevety, you're right on track.
Core i7's last the longest.
Even 1st generation Core i7's can max out any game out there with a proper overclock.
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October 24, 2013 9:59:09 AM

Sorry, I mean't not exactly replica... I mean't that nowadays it would be similar to what Core 2 Duo(not even Quad) was for me in 2007. Like, lowest possible for gaming. Not too bad for Desktop, but nothing to put hopes in.

Also as a post-question note, I've figured 3 possible builds will work for me:

1. Mentioned above cheapest Athlon, until AMD makes up it's mind, and retailer\manufacturers will provide better choice of 1150 Mobos, or Intel would release lighter 2011 CPUs.

2. Budget AM3+ 6350, merely for low-standard gaming and hopes that it can be later replaced by Steamroller.

3. Budget 1150, but as I said, there are only so terrible mobos available from local retailer, it's hardly worth building. Nothing below 140$ even supports 8x+8x Crossfire(as I read 16x+4x is a bad idea).

I did think about 2011, but I don't know what future beside server CPUs it will have... and it's current CPUs are too expensive. But their mobos are top-notch...
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October 26, 2013 12:03:26 AM

Option 1 :
The cheapest Athlon that's good for gaming right now is the Athlon 760K.
It's a pretty good CPU and can overclock very well, but it's not as good as the FX 6350 or the Core i5.
It's not even that close.

Compare these two articles to see the difference
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/piledriver-k10-cpu-...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-wolfdale...

Although keep in mind that there will be streamroller CPU's coming to FM2.
No doubt about that.

Option 2:
"low-standard gaming"
The FX 6350 is good enough for every game out there at maximum settings and it is not likely to bottleneck even a Titan to a noticable degree.
It's a budget CPU, but it is suitible for "high-standart" gaming.

Option 3:
Crossfire 16x+4x is not a bad idea at all.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Intel/Ivy_Bridge_PCI...
It's pretty much the same thing as 8x+8x unless you really get into super high stuff.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph7189/56753.png

Consider the FX 6350 to be the FX 8350 in the graph.
CP means core parking.
By that they mean the update to windows for FX CPU's.

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October 26, 2013 6:52:34 AM

I've nailed it down to GTX760, as it's both Nvidia and relatively similar to R9 270X\HD7950 in value\price, but with new processor. In 2-3 years, if I SLI 2xGTX760 at 16+16, that should be fairly efficient for GPU, right?

As for CPUs - I don't see good 1150 mobos now, and I've given up on 2011 as worthy enough investment. But are you really certain that AM3+ will die with FX9350? Maybe like i5\i7 supports both 1150 and 2011 - so will Steamroller have AM3+ models? Building FM computer just to expect steamroller... doesn't seem as lasting as AM3+\1150, as FM mobos are either mATX or somewhat outdated.

I've browsed more benches and articles, and saw that FX8320 is only like 5-10%> worse than FX8350, but for me it costs about 1\5th less. If there will be at least a way to buy FX9350 for reasonable price later(~300$>), then it's better to save now, so it could be invested later. Increase the gap, so to say. And if there will be Steamrollers, then AM3+ should be stable.
AM3+ has either a real good 100$ Gygabyte with 1866mhz and 8+8 SLI, or a bit more stylish and powerful Sabertooth(150$) with 16+16 or 16+8+8. If I indeed plan to upgrade GPU by SLI, I think 16+16 is a better investment than 8+8, right?
Neither 1150 or 2011 have remotely affordable 1866 models. And since DDR4 is coming any year now, I really want to get the best for the least price out of DDR3. Like 1866 and 16gb(possibly later adding 8gb more, before changing to DDR4). I don't want to get 1600mhz for the price of 1866.
With all the benches showing I-series better than FX... I am still tunneled to FX, because I-s can't secure their mobos, which seems like a more important concern than mere CPU productivity.

My planned build looks like this(http://www.citilink.ru/configurator/q3810636/, although it's russian):
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0
AMD FX 8320
ZALMAN CNPS9500A
GIGABYTE GV-N760OC-2GD OC
CORSAIR Vengeance CMZ16GX3M2A1866C9 DDR3- 2x8Gb
SEAGATE Barracuda ST2000DM001 for trash
250 Velociraptor for System and core games. I'm afraid I haven't been entirely convinced about value of SSDs, and they seem to be able to die suddenly. Can't risk that.
ATX ZALMAN Z9 Plus, 4 coolers, a damn Avengers Hovercarrier
GIGABYTE GZ-EBS60N-C3, 600W - Budget 600W should be enough for this setup, when I get 2nd GPU, will obviously go for something thicker.
DVD-RW SAMSUNG SH-224BB/BEBE
Overall - ~1140$.
If SSD is really so good and safe enough, I have 4 128gb models for ~95$ available, but comments to all of them suggest either wrong information about speed... or low quality. Any suggestion which can be safe?
SANDISK SDSSDP-128G-G25
KINGSTON V300 SV300S37A/120G
SILICON POWER Velox V60 SP120GBSS3V60S25
A-DATA SP900

Also, the reason I like this Cooler, is because it has open and big copper radiator, which can be vented not just by it's own fan, but also 4 inside Tower fans. Is that right?
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