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New Gaming PC Older Games with Room for Future Upgrades? $500-700

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January 26, 2014 7:03:59 PM

Hi All,

Thanks in advance for any advice. I used to game almost exclusively on the PC but have gotten away from it. I am looking to get back into it, but not necessarily looking to really play BF4 or some of the new ultra intense FPS. I am planning on playing games like civilization V, Total War, and maybe counterstrike source. I have a 3 year old laptop that runs Civ V ok, but bogs down on larger maps so obviously any new desktop would be a huge upgrade!

I am on a bit of a tight budget and would definitely love to be around $500 but can go up to around $700. I am fine with something that would play the games I mentioned but doesn't need to do more than run modern games on medium settings with 30 fps. In fact, I would be find with getting sort of the lowest rung CPU and GPU as long as there's an upgrade path for the machine over the next 2 years or so.

I built a few PCs for myself around 10 years ago, but haven't been in the know for awhile now. I'll need an OS. I have listed 2 builds I came up with. I realize I can save a bunch by dropping the SSD but I'd really love to have one if possible.

Let me know what you think!

Build Idea #1

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($114.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($42.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($59.99 @ Mac Mall)
Storage: Crucial M500 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.95 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.66 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GT 640 1GB Video Card ($74.96 @ Amazon)
Wired Network Adapter: Asus NX1101 10/100/1000 Mbps PCI Network Adapter ($15.99 @ Mwave)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN722N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($11.99 @ Staples)
Case: Thermaltake VL80001W2Z ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($99.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $697.45
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-26 22:00 EST-0500)

Build Idea #2
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($85.66 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($86.90 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital RE3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($95.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Wired Network Adapter: Intel EXPI9301CTBLK 10/100/1000 Mbps PCI-Express x1 Network Adapter ($29.71 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.99 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($99.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $738.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-26 22:01 EST-0500)




Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
January 26, 2014 7:11:34 PM
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Build Idea #3

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($114.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.25 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.66 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($44.98 @ Best Buy)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80+ Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($64.98 @ OutletPC)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NSB0 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - 64-bit - OEM (64-bit) ($99.98 @ Best Buy)
Total: $697.79
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-26 22:11 EST-0500)
January 26, 2014 7:12:22 PM

Before the AMD fanboys chip in , I would say try to get the intel quad you can afford, and improve the rest later. It will make so much difference in the long run, and you may get to hand the pc on running to family.
Any intel quad will cover your gaming needs, a 4430 or 4440 is superb.
The haswell i3's score 1000 points over the ivy bridge i3's, so if you are going that route they are the same price.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 26, 2014 7:22:57 PM

I would go with intel if he had more money but you would have to sacrifice a few things that you don't want to sacrifice in order to get an intel build for $600. It wouldn't be worth it.
January 26, 2014 7:41:07 PM

chrisso said:
Before the AMD fanboys chip in , I would say try to get the intel quad you can afford, and improve the rest later. It will make so much difference in the long run, and you may get to hand the pc on running to family.
Any intel quad will cover your gaming needs, a 4430 or 4440 is superb.
The haswell i3's score 1000 points over the ivy bridge i3's, so if you are going that route they are the same price.


Realistically I've been playing these games on integrated graphics previously, so couldn't I just ditch the GPU entirely "for now" to stay under budget? The only problem would be getting an HDMI connection. I can always add a GPU if I decide to start playing more modern games. Right now I just want to play my existing library smoothly and the most recent game I have is Empire Total War.

I guess I could get a smaller SSD and add that towards getting a GPU in the $70 range?
a b 4 Gaming
January 26, 2014 7:56:06 PM

forget about the ssd, you can add that anytime afterwards.
i'd rather have a good rig that loads a bit longer than have one that loads fast but with fps being lower.
!