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Entry Level Gaming Rig on the Cheap

Last response: in Systems
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January 17, 2014 2:22:34 PM

I'd like to build a gaming rig as cheaply as possible.

I already have:

1. Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card
2. 1 TB Hard Drive + Windows 7
3. Great 1080p Monitor
4. Speakers, Mouse, keyboard.

So, I think I still need:

1. Case
2. Power Supply
3. Mobo+Processor
4. Memory

This is not for a dedicated gamer--she does not need to max out Battlefield 4. But I want her able to play a typical enough title at a playable frame rate (Say, 30 FPS, maybe even at 1080p?). I'd say that if Tomb Raider is playable, then the box is a success.

And I'd like to be able to do it as cheaply as possible. Given everything I already have, can this be done under $200? Under $250?

I've been looking at grabbing one of these Sub-$200 SuperCombos at NewEgg. (e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...), but I wonder whether it would meet my requirements and whether it isn't a waste to buy an APU when I have a pretty good GPU to give her.

Would appreciate your learned advice.
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More about my circumstances (For those who care): The gf has been getting into gaming on her i7 Macbook Pro (Portal, Limbo, Walking Dead, Gone Home). Her preference are those low-spec games, but she has been lamenting being boxed out by her choice in OS. She at least wants to try out Alan Wake and Tomb Raider, so games on that level should be reasonably playable.

I'd like to build her a PC, but it needs to be pretty cheap, especially because I don't know that the fad will last.

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a c 248 4 Gaming
January 17, 2014 2:30:04 PM

By the skin of your teeth, but you can get a decent entry level rig for that. Let me know what you think:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 750K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-HD2 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($39.98 @ NCIX US)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Green 530W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $244.94
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-17 17:29 EST-0500)
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January 17, 2014 2:41:32 PM

Wow, that is great. Thank you! Do I definitely need to keep my processor at that level or above? Both Alan Wake and TR list Athlon 64 X2 as their Min, but I'll go higher if that would provide a decidedly crappy experience for her.
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a c 248 4 Gaming
January 17, 2014 2:43:49 PM

Well, you won't be getting high or anything, but you should get low/medium with that setup. The GPU is the biggest piece of the performance puzzle for those games. I'd be happy to show you a build closer to $300 with noticeably better CPU performance if you'd like.
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a c 248 4 Gaming
January 17, 2014 2:45:04 PM

This one is right at $275, but the 6300 is noticeably better CPU than the 750k

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M LX PLUS Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($53.11 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($39.98 @ NCIX US)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Green 530W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $278.06
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-17 17:44 EST-0500)
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January 17, 2014 2:57:23 PM

Probably won't be looking to increase specs. I doubt she will use this for any purpose but gaming once a week. I guess the remaining question for myself will be whether I should get her the $250 rig you put together or shave off some processor speed. As far as I can tell, I save very little ($20ish) by going with a slower processor, but apparently lose a decent amount in performance.

Last question--how's the wiggle room (price/watts) on the power supply. Why do you recommend that one?

Thanks again.
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a c 248 4 Gaming
January 17, 2014 8:46:07 PM

Rosewill's Green series is the best for that price range. And there is plenty there, I have their 550w PSU that pushes an overclocked i5 and GTX 760 and 7 fans lol The others in that price range, or any cheaper are just crap, and will probably die on you pretty quick. We see that a lot here, unfortunately.
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February 12, 2014 6:21:01 PM

Hi! After some delays, I'm finally ready to purchase. However, I'm needing to bump this thread as product availability has changed somewhat. My main question is with regard to power. As mentioned, I'll be using a Radeon 5870 graphics card, so I want to have plenty of power. It looks like you have suggested a great ATX power supply. However, the case and MoBo suggested are MicroATX. I do not see any MicroATX power supplies with that kind of power. Do I need to respec for MicroATX? Will the recommended power supply fit?

THANKS
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a c 248 4 Gaming
February 12, 2014 6:25:01 PM

The Ranger-M supports standard ATX power supplies, no worries there :) 
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a c 248 4 Gaming
February 12, 2014 7:12:53 PM

For the build you're looking at, it'll probably be fine. You just get better memory performance in a dual channel build than single channel. Any 2x2GB of 1333 or 1600 DDR3 will be just fine if you can find it.
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February 18, 2014 11:30:03 AM

HiTechObsessed said:
For the build you're looking at, it'll probably be fine. You just get better memory performance in a dual channel build than single channel. Any 2x2GB of 1333 or 1600 DDR3 will be just fine if you can find it.


Just wanted to say thanks. Ordered the parts Thursday night, they arrived Monday morning. Assembled in a couple of hours and posted on the first try. Loaded a few games, and they ran like a dream. Couldn't have done it without your help!
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a c 248 4 Gaming
February 18, 2014 3:02:38 PM

Awesome, always great to hear :)  hope you/the gf enjoy the build.
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!