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New Build: gaming rig for 500-700 USD

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  • Gaming
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
July 11, 2014 10:17:54 AM

My PC is old, built maybe 4 years ago, and I didn't go high end. I can't go high end now either, but I'm looking for a new system that will run newer games at a decent level (Alien: Isolation is catching my eye, but they haven't released minimum specs yet). The basic specs of my current machine are: Pentium E6500 dual core @2.93 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 5570. I'll keep my monitor, a Samsung SyncMaster S22B310.

I'm capable of building my own, have done so in the past, but I'm also okay with a pre-built machine if it's not much worse than a DIY near the same price. I can eventually wade through all the new hardware out there, reading hundreds of reviews, but I honestly haven't kept up in recent years, and I could use some advice.


Approximate Purchase Date: within a month, at most two

Budget Range: $500-700 with shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet usage (video/movie streaming)

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Everything, most likely.

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Anywhere, but in past New Egg and Tiger Direct

Location: Rockford, Illinois

Parts Preferences by brand or type: No loyalty to anyone, have used AMD/Intel, GeForce/Radeon

Overclocking: Maybe; never done it

SLI or Crossfire: Don't know what these are. (See why I need help?)

Your Monitor Resolution: I run desktop at 1600x900

Additional Comments: I would prefer a quiet PC. I play Bioshock Infinite, just started Minecraft, looking forward to Alien: Isolation

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Old PC often doesn't meet minimum specs for new games


I saw these two rigs in a different post from this month (http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2206990/gaming-b...). Would it still be fine to simply get one of them? They seem very similar.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/P8b4Bm

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Q9CfFT

More about : build gaming rig 500 700 usd

a c 488 4 Gaming
July 11, 2014 10:59:14 AM

Both links would work, and perform about the same.
Gaming is most dependent on the graphics card, and to a lesser extent on fast cores.

It looks like your combined cpu/motherboard. graphics budget is about $450.
I suggest a G3258 with a conservative oc @$75, a Z97 based motherboard @$100, and the strongest graphics card you feel comfortable paying for.
That might be a GTX770 or R9-280X that will be in the $300 range.
Lest you have doubts about the dual core G3258, read some of the reviews coming out and look for those with the games you will want to play.
Here is one:
http://www.legitreviews.com/intel-pentium-g3258-dual-co...
Few games can use more than two cores, and the G3258 cores will perform about the same as even a $350 i7-4790K when overclocked conservatively.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 11, 2014 10:59:24 AM

If you can stretch the budget a bit, the build below includes an SSD. The GTX 750 Ti will be great at 1600x900 and still give playable frame rates when you upgrade to a 1080 / 1200 display.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($76.66 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($75.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($74.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.92 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Superclocked Video Card ($129.50 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $730.02
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July 11, 2014 11:13:38 AM

geofelt said:
Both links would work, and perform about the same.
Gaming is most dependent on the graphics card, and to a lesser extent on fast cores.

It looks like your combined cpu/motherboard. graphics budget is about $450.
I suggest a G3258 with a conservative oc @$75, a Z97 based motherboard @$100, and the strongest graphics card you feel comfortable paying for.
That might be a GTX770 or R9-280X that will be in the $300 range.
Lest you have doubts about the dual core G3258, read some of the reviews coming out and look for those with the games you will want to play.
Here is one:
http://www.legitreviews.com/intel-pentium-g3258-dual-co...
Few games can use more than two cores, and the G3258 cores will perform about the same as even a $350 i7-4790K when overclocked conservatively.


Thanks, geofelt. I'm surprised to hear that a dual core does basically as well as new, fancy quad cores and higher. I've heard a lot of talk about the i5 processor -- is there any benefit with that regarding video streaming online, if not for the gaming?

Also, my Radeon is a 1GB. I assumed that the next step is a 2GB card. There wouldn't be much point in getting another 1GB video card, right? Even though mine is a bit older? Didn't know if newer ones would simply be better overall than older 1GB cards.
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July 11, 2014 11:16:45 AM

sadams04 said:
If you can stretch the budget a bit, the build below includes an SSD. The GTX 750 Ti will be great at 1600x900 and still give playable frame rates when you upgrade to a 1080 / 1200 display.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($76.66 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($75.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX100 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($74.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.92 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Superclocked Video Card ($129.50 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $730.02


Thanks, sadams. I know nothing about SSD -- what's the point in including one if it seems a bit small? Would I put my OS on that so that when SSD is the standard, I wouldn't have to reinstall?

Also, I'm not likely to make any major upgrades in the next 2 years, but does this tower/mobo have room for expansion and improvement? Or will that cost me more?
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a c 488 4 Gaming
July 11, 2014 11:37:35 AM

There is good value in extra cores... IF you can actually use them.
Most games can only use 2 cores effectively. Yes, there are some exceptions.

I am not experienced in video streaming, but I imagine that is not a particularly cpu intensive operation. It is probably more important to have more ram so the task does not compete with other uses. 8gb is a usual recommendation. You will need a 64 bit version of the os to access more than 4gb.
Your 5570 is not today considered as a gaming card. A card like a $100 GTX750 would be the minimum. Gaming is most determined by your graphics card. You might do well by buying a stronger graphics card now and see how your E6500 does with it. You will be surprised I think. The new card can be transferred to a new rig easily. Do not pay much attention to vram. I think it is mostly marketing.
Read this: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I will not build again without a ssd for the "C" drive. It makes everything go so much quicker. A one hour windows install is done in 15 minutes. 120gb is minimum, it will hold the os and a handful of games. 240gb may be all you ever need. Use a hard drive for bulk storage of video files and such.
Samsung EVO or Intel would be m y preference for a ssd.
If you do not have a qood quality psu in the 600-650W range, you should buy one. It will handle the strongest of graphics cards if you should ever want an upgrade.

If you like your case, you can reuse it. Otherwise, $50 buys you a decent case like the Antec GX500

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