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Looking to build $600-700 gaming rig

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Last response: in Systems
January 7, 2014 10:25:48 AM

After watching AC IV kick my laptop's proverbial ass the last two months (as well as my desire to play The Elder Scrolls VI on a PC and not a PS4/XB1 whenever it comes out), it became clear I need a better computer for gaming.

I can spend between $600-700 on it. I do not need to buy Windows because my university is providing me with Windows 8 Pro for free. It is going to be hooked up to my HDTV, so I don't need a monitor either. I do need a 802.11n adapter for it though. I don't have any fixed preferences other than I want a 6 or 8-core AMD CPU and I prefer PCI/PCIe wifi (i.e., not USB).

Thanks! This will be my first build since high school (and I am in grad school now)

More about : build 600 700 gaming rig

a b 4 Gaming
January 7, 2014 10:43:27 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($195.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Wireless Network Adapter: Asus PCE-N10 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($10.70 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($46.07 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $707.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-07 13:42 EST-0500)

This would be a good budget gaming build and should suit your needs well.
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January 7, 2014 2:48:44 PM

Transmaniacon said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($195.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Wireless Network Adapter: Asus PCE-N10 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($10.70 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($46.07 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $707.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-07 13:42 EST-0500)

This would be a good budget gaming build and should suit your needs well.


What about the R9 270X instead of the HD 7870? The price difference isn't that much, and my understanding is that it is somewhat better.
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January 7, 2014 6:42:46 PM

So after taking Transmaniacon's suggestions and the suggestions of some of my friends, this is what I've come to
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 ($32.65 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($82.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($239.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $750.56
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-07 21:41 EST-0500)

Any suggestion on how to shave off $50-75 with downgrading the CPU/GPU/RAM?
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a b 4 Gaming
January 8, 2014 5:53:05 AM

This is why I recommended the 7870Ghz. The performance is pretty comparable, but it lets you afford peripherals as well. There isn't anywhere to shave unless you drop down to a 970 motherboard, which I personally wouldn't do.
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January 8, 2014 11:04:05 AM

Transmaniacon said:
This is why I recommended the 7870Ghz. The performance is pretty comparable, but it lets you afford peripherals as well. There isn't anywhere to shave unless you drop down to a 970 motherboard, which I personally wouldn't do.


I am not building it for a while (likely not until spring break, which is mid-March) and the prices are fairly mobile. I guess I'll try to buy the parts I am least likely to change my mind on first the next time their prices drop (i.e., the case, RAM, and motherboard)
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a b 4 Gaming
January 9, 2014 5:00:45 AM

A power supply is the last place to trim on a build. This 550 watt XFX model is built by SeaSonic and generally the lowest one I recommend unless it's not a gaming build.

Maybe drop the CPU cooler for now, and stick with the stock AMD cooler. Later on you can get an aftermarket one and overclock. This saves you $30. And if you don't need an optical drive (you can always use one from an older computer) then that's another $15.
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January 9, 2014 9:08:41 AM

Transmaniacon said:
A power supply is the last place to trim on a build. This 550 watt XFX model is built by SeaSonic and generally the lowest one I recommend unless it's not a gaming build.

Maybe drop the CPU cooler for now, and stick with the stock AMD cooler. Later on you can get an aftermarket one and overclock. This saves you $30. And if you don't need an optical drive (you can always use one from an older computer) then that's another $15.


I feel like I need to have a DVD drive. Sigh... I should have looted it from my old desktop from undergrad when I had the chance. Cutting the cooler and buying parts at the right time, should be enough to get me to budget. Thanks for all the help!

Also given that I am fairly n00b there are a couple questions I probably should ask.
An unlocked CPU or GPU won't overclock itself automatically, I actually have to do something to get it to overclock, right?

Also, for the GTX 760, the 2GB overclocked Asus, EVGA, and Gigabyte models are all about the same price, is any better that the others? (The only reason I picked the ASUS model above is because I have some fondness with them)

http://www.amazon.com/GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5-GeForce-256-bit...
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-SuperClocked-Dual-Link-Graph...
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GDDR5-2GB-WINDFORCE-GV-N...
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a b 4 Gaming
January 9, 2014 9:27:57 AM

The Intel CPUs have a turbo feature that clocks the CPU higher when it needs it, this is done automatically. A lot of motherboards allow you to OC by selecting a level (high/medium/low/etc.) and then it handles the process of adjusting multipliers and speeds and voltage. You can do it yourself just as easily, but for a novice those are handy features.

I would check out the toms hardware review of the 760 and see which one is quietest/coolest. Generally Gigabyte's Windforce cooler is the best, but the new EVGA ACX cooler is also very good. Honestly you can't go wrong with any of them, maybe pick the coolest looking one.
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January 14, 2014 11:39:47 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: A-Data Premier Pro SP900 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($80.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($212.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: NZXT HALE82-N 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $713.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-14 14:36 EST-0500)

That's what I would buy for 700$. Difference between 270Χ and 760 isn't that much plus you have room to add an SSD. 970 vs 990FX is pretty much the same. Only difference is the PCI-E slots that are 16x/16x for 990 and 16x/4x for 970. In short terms if you don't plan to Crossfire or SLI, 990FX isn't worth the extra money
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January 14, 2014 12:40:29 PM

michxymi said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: A-Data Premier Pro SP900 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($80.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($212.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: NZXT HALE82-N 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $713.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-14 14:36 EST-0500)

That's what I would buy for 700$. Difference between 270Χ and 760 isn't that much plus you have room to add an SSD. 970 vs 990FX is pretty much the same. Only difference is the PCI-E slots that are 16x/16x for 990 and 16x/4x for 970. In short terms if you don't plan to Crossfire or SLI, 990FX isn't worth the extra money


I am not that interested in a SSD, so I will probably stick with GTX 760 but definitely downgrade the RAM and Mobo.

What about the Thermaltake PSU though. I am not building until March, but the PSU is only on sale through the 20th, so I need to know whether it is any good (then I can order it now).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $677.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-14 15:38 EST-0500)
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