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Help with first time build - Budget Gaming

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April 5, 2010 7:05:11 PM

Hey folks. It's my first time building a PC, first time here on Tom's and I've been reading through the threads here, and to be honest it's a little overwhelming for a person who's limited in tech ability. I'm currently in the process of building a budget gaming PC. The only game I currently play is WoW, but I am looking forward to SC2 and D3. I'd like to go as cheap as possible and get the most bang for my buck.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This month (April 2010)

BUDGET RANGE: <750 after rebates (but ideally as low as possible)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, school stuff

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I get Windows 7 64-bit for $7 through my University so I'm ok on the OS. I've got a basic keyboard and mouse. I'll probably Craigslist a monitor (or I could use my HDTV) so for now I'm just concerned with the computer itself.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg (the only one I've really seen much about)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

OVERCLOCKING: I guess? Still trying to grasp this concept, currently trying to find a good article on what it is (I'm a tech noob)...

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Same as above...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want a PC that is customizable and will last me a few years, can play WoW with really nice settings, and one that gives me the most bang for my buck

I've always thought that Intel was the way to go, but after reading through the threads here it seems that on a budget I should be looking for AMD. I found this combo deal on Newegg the other day and went with it. I realize now that I could change to an AMD processor and up the graphics card and probably stay around the same budget (hopefully less?)





Here is the link for the newegg combo.

The total, with rebates and shipping, will ultimately be around $730. Can I go lower price with an AMD X3? Should I stick with the i5 combo? I've never had an AMD and I don't know much about them.
a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 7:53:02 PM

Tibbs said:
Hey folks. It's my first time building a PC, first time here on Tom's and I've been reading through the threads here, and to be honest it's a little overwhelming for a person who's limited in tech ability. I'm currently in the process of building a budget gaming PC. The only game I currently play is WoW, but I am looking forward to SC2 and D3. I'd like to go as cheap as possible and get the most bang for my buck.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This month (April 2010)

BUDGET RANGE: <750 after rebates (but ideally as low as possible)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, school stuff

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I get Windows 7 64-bit for $7 through my University so I'm ok on the OS. I've got a basic keyboard and mouse. I'll probably Craigslist a monitor (or I could use my HDTV) so for now I'm just concerned with the computer itself.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg (the only one I've really seen much about)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

OVERCLOCKING: I guess? Still trying to grasp this concept, currently trying to find a good article on what it is (I'm a tech noob)...

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Same as above...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want a PC that is customizable and will last me a few years, can play WoW with really nice settings, and one that gives me the most bang for my buck

I've always thought that Intel was the way to go, but after reading through the threads here it seems that on a budget I should be looking for AMD. I found this combo deal on Newegg the other day and went with it. I realize now that I could change to an AMD processor and up the graphics card and probably stay around the same budget (hopefully less?)

http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab98/spaulding021/Screenshot2010-04-05at14039PM.png

http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab98/spaulding021/Screenshot2010-04-05at13938PM.png

Here is the link for the newegg combo.

The total, with rebates and shipping, will ultimately be around $730. Can I go lower price with an AMD X3? Should I stick with the i5 combo? I've never had an AMD and I don't know much about them.


The combo is listed as 601 dollars, so I can assume that the 130 dollar difference is a Gfx card? Which card are you getting?
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April 5, 2010 7:57:00 PM

Ah, it's in the first of the 2 screen shots up there, but it's $140. I've now realized that it's a pretty poor card compared to some out now.

It's this one
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a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 8:14:52 PM

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Sorry I dont know how to make a wish list public or get the link for newegg. Here is a good build I made for you, and it has 40 dollars more in mail-in rebates. That brings it to $689.93 before shipping.

I did splurge on some components like the 955 BE CPU, the 5770 and the Motherboard has USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s.

If you dont want all that fancy stuff I can probably get it down closer to $600 before shipping.

Also I am a fan of AMD for the performance vs. cost, so most of the builds I will make will be AMD.

Lemmie know what you think

Also you mentioned that you would like to play WoW on it, therefore all of the builds I will submit will be capable of playing WoW on Ultra settings (except mid-range shadow) with 50+ FPS
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a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 8:34:35 PM

I forgot a DVD burner so add 25 bucks
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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 5, 2010 8:40:44 PM

Typically in gaming you're better off with a better GPU than a CPU. Gaming is GPU limited in most cases in anything 3 cores or greater. Today's I3 article demonstrates this pretty well.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588...

All that said, you're playing games people consider CPU intensive, but in all honesty, Blizzard games will run fine on max settings on 3 year old hardware.


Considering your price requirements, I can confidently tell you that for your needs, a Athlon II x3 is perfectly fine. So you can knock the build down a bit to about $620 or you can try to fit a 5850 into your budget. Gimme a few min and I'll see what I can do.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 8:47:40 PM

banthracis said:
Typically in gaming you're better off with a better GPU than a CPU. Gaming is GPU limited in most cases in anything 3 cores or greater. Today's I3 article demonstrates this pretty well.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588...

All that said, you're playing games people consider CPU intensive, but in all honesty, Blizzard games will run fine on max settings on 3 year old hardware.


Considering your price requirements, I can confidently tell you that for your needs, a Athlon II x3 is perfectly fine. So you can knock the build down a bit to about $620 or you can try to fit a 5850 into your budget. Gimme a few min and I'll see what I can do.


Well considering WoW uses 3 cores alone, I find having a 4th core to handle anything else that might be running seems to work just fine. And no, WoW won't play "Max" settings on a 3 year old computer.

Especially considering that a new expansion is coming soon, building a computer with the current games demand is near-sighted.

For WoW, a 5850 would be overkill. A 4850 would more than suffice, and a 5770 places squarely between a 5850 and a 4850 in terms of performance. While still giving him DX11.

It's really up to him, but imo limiting the CPU on a game that uses 3 cores is a mistake.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 5, 2010 9:01:09 PM

Read the article I linked. Gaming is nowhere near CPU limited. Everything from a $100 CPU to a $300 CPU performs the same w/ a 5850.

Read this article for an in debt look at how many cores you really need for gaming
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/multi-core-cpu,2280...

Read the latest Marathon for how impressive an athlon II x3 compares to even the i7 lineup from intel.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/value-gaming-pc,257...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/system-builder-mara...

And WOW runs fine on my 3.5 year old rig at max settings. Core 2 duo E 6400 and HD 3870. Get ~34 FPS in Dal at 1440x900.






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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 5, 2010 9:12:33 PM

Anyway, here's a full build with a 5850 and Athlon II x3.


Optical
Light On $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Antec 300 Illlusion $69.99 (no change)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 $94.99 (no Change)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
Sapphire 5850 $289.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Will play anything at 1920x1080 at max settings with reasonable --> more than necessary frame rates.

RAM
G Skill Eco DDR3 1600 7-8-7-24 $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A little more expensive, but low voltages and tighter timings. Worth it IMO.

CPU
Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Great price/performance ratio. With the GA MOBO, you also have the possibility of unlocking the fourth core. It's pretty high chance with this model, but not guaranteed.

PSU/HD
OCZ Stealthxstream 700W and 720012. 500 GB
$114.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
The 850 watt is the same price as the 700w after rebate, but you're actually not gonna be in the max efficiency zone of 40%-60% load with the 850W. Still the option IS there.
The 7200.12 is basically the same performance as a F3, slightly behind in some benchmarks, but not noticeably. It comes combed with the PSU for $20 off so I used it instead.

$784.92 Before $30 MIR and shipping.
If you don't need an optical (didn't include one in your build as previously mentioned) then it's $20 cheaper.

Alternatively, you could save $ 140 and grab this 5770 instead.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 5, 2010 10:19:36 PM

Hmmm both builds are really nice. But with banthracis's build, will the 5770 be ok? It'd save me 140 bucks, and if it'll still run WoW on max settings without too much trouble that'd be awesome.

i could try and overclock/unlock with the AMD but I'm not sure how I'd do that and I don't want to break it. If I unlock it and it doesn't work, is the CPU trashed? Once it's unlocked will it remain stable, or will I end up buying a new processor in 2 months?
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a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 10:22:26 PM

banthracis said:
Read the article I linked. Gaming is nowhere near CPU limited. Everything from a $100 CPU to a $300 CPU performs the same w/ a 5850.

Read this article for an in debt look at how many cores you really need for gaming
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/multi-core-cpu,2280...

Read the latest Marathon for how impressive an athlon II x3 compares to even the i7 lineup from intel.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/value-gaming-pc,257...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/system-builder-mara...

And WOW runs fine on my 3.5 year old rig at max settings. Core 2 duo E 6400 and HD 3870. Get ~34 FPS in Dal at 1440x900.


Oh I confused max settings with solid performance.

I don't know about other gamers, but I'd sooner lower my settings to get 60 FPS without any dips, than raise my settings, and lower my FPS by overhalf.

And you can quote the 29 FPS the human eye is capable of all you want, any gamer can easily tell the difference between 30 FPS and 60 FPS

Also I took 1 look at the date on the 1st link and didn't bother to read it. System/Game requirements from April 2009 are dated.

Also the athlonx3 435 in games like Crysis has a 20% increase with 4 cores. So gambling on unlocking a viable core might be exciting and all. But I'd spend the extra 80 bucks and get the 4th core for a 20% FPS increase.

Also proving that 4 cores can greatly impact a games performance
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a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2010 10:57:16 PM

Tibbs said:
Hmmm both builds are really nice. But with banthracis's build, will the 5770 be ok? It'd save me 140 bucks, and if it'll still run WoW on max settings without too much trouble that'd be awesome.

i could try and overclock/unlock with the AMD but I'm not sure how I'd do that and I don't want to break it. If I unlock it and it doesn't work, is the CPU trashed? Once it's unlocked will it remain stable, or will I end up buying a new processor in 2 months?


Here's roughly how it works.

3 Core and most Dual Core processors started their life as Quad cores. But through testing 1 or 2 of the cores were shut down because they didnt mean the desired specifications of the intended full 4 core processor. So rather than throwing that processor away, they disabled the inadequate cores and sold it at a lower price with less cores.

This could mean a wide range of things. It could be that it no kidding has a dead core. This is rarely the case, sometimes it just slightly under performs of what the company desires.

It's a gamble is all it is. If you really want a 4 core processor buy one. If a Triple core, or Dual Core processor is all you want, then get it. Any unlocked cores are a bonus. Also remember those unlocked cores might not be as good as the spec'd cores the CPU comes with.

That could be it's just slower, it could cause crashes or it may just simply not work, drawing power without any benefit.

Like I said earlier, a 5850 seems like overkill for WoW, but with Cataclysm coming up it might be a sound investment.

I still play on a 4890 and I get over 200 FPS @ max settings in Ironforge, and I always get 60 FPS in Dalaran. (obviously this is with vertical sync off, as that limits your FPS to your monitor frequency, usually 60 Hz, or 60 FPS.)

To be honest, the best thing I can recommend is bump your budget up 100 bucks and get a Quad core with a 5850. If you cant afford it right now, sell some SNES games or wait a month and save another 100
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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 5, 2010 11:42:02 PM

Tibbs said:
Hmmm both builds are really nice. But with banthracis's build, will the 5770 be ok? It'd save me 140 bucks, and if it'll still run WoW on max settings without too much trouble that'd be awesome.

i could try and overclock/unlock with the AMD but I'm not sure how I'd do that and I don't want to break it. If I unlock it and it doesn't work, is the CPU trashed? Once it's unlocked will it remain stable, or will I end up buying a new processor in 2 months?



Unlocking is pretty easy, it's mostly enabling a few options in the bios.

Guide here
http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-amd-phenom-ii-...

Here's Tom's Overclocking guide for these CPU's.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-cpu-overclock,2...


Honestly, overclocking is super easy and safe unless you go to really high voltages. Really no point in not since all it takes is a few setting changes in the bios and some stability testing (which can be done overnight).


to cmc:

The results from last year ARE valid for 2 reason: 1. The single most system intensive game is still Crysis, 3 years old. The highest mainstream CPU requiring game is oddly GTA IV, due to horrible porting.

Both these games were around last year, making that article relevant. In addition, Blizzard games are very much underwhelming in system requirements.

Also, you fail to address the other articles I linked showing 3 core CPU's to not be anything close to an issue. Both published in the last month, 1 of them today.


The one today was done WITH a 5850 AND a Phenom II x3, and showed it to be just as good as a i7-870. Basically the same, performance considering experimental error. The Phenom II x3 only difference from a Athlon II x3 is a larger cache, which makes a very small performance impact in gaming.

Regarding FPS. TV and movies run at 24 FPS, I don't see people complaining TV FPS is too low. Any major review site will regard anything above 30-35 (varies a bit depending on the site) perfectly playable.

Also, for the last time, WOW doesn't take a lot of processing power. Considering it runs at 82.9 FPS with a 5850 Max settings 8x AA. Crysis with same resolution and 4x AA is only 32.7 FPS
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2848/7

In fact, until next gen consoles come out (not until 2014 at the earliest), no major gaming company will be making games that won't work fine on 3 year old console tech. Crysis 2 might be the sole exception, though I'm not holding my breath since it's also supposed to play fine on consoles.

Here's a link to a Athlon II X3's full list of benchmarks

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/112

edit: If you want to see what a game really made using DX11 and the latest hardware (and not just a few market gimmick features) would look like, just dl and watch Heaven 2.0 Bench at max settings (including max tesselation).

Here's the youtube video of it, and yes, on a sufficient system you can render it in realtime.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HWZKGZcKoA
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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 6, 2010 12:09:28 AM

cmcghee358 said:

Also the athlonx3 435 in games like Crysis has a 20% increase with 4 cores. So gambling on unlocking a viable core might be exciting and all. But I'd spend the extra 80 bucks and get the 4th core for a 20% FPS increase.

Also proving that 4 cores can greatly impact a games performance


I'd love to see where you get your numbers from.

You see, according to Paul here at Tom's, when talking about his $750 Athlon II x3 system in Crysis

Quote:
The stock $750 PC delivers playable performance at high details through all the tested resolutions, and picks up an additional 15% increase from overclocking. The unlocked processor core makes very little difference here in this game.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/value-gaming-pc,257...

Looks to me like a 15% increase from OC of the CPU AND GPU, and almost no difference between 3 and 4 cores.

Start posting some evidence and benchmarks to back your points, or you'll just come off as another ignorant fanboi.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 12:33:30 AM

banthracis said:
I'd love to see where you get your numbers from.

You see, according to Paul here at Tom's, when talking about his $750 Athlon II x3 system in Crysis

Quote:
The stock $750 PC delivers playable performance at high details through all the tested resolutions, and picks up an additional 15% increase from overclocking. The unlocked processor core makes very little difference here in this game.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/value-gaming-pc,257...

Looks to me like a 15% increase from OC of the CPU AND GPU, and almost no difference between 3 and 4 cores.

Start posting some evidence and benchmarks to back your points, or you'll just come off as another ignorant fanboi.


Yeah was my mistake, I made the mistake of reading the OC 4 core and compared it to the 3 core stock.

I was unaware that the fanboi segregation has internalized to be between Athlon and Phenom.

Besides sniping, do you have any input to help the OP out?
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 12:38:34 AM

banthracis said:
Unlocking is pretty easy, it's mostly enabling a few options in the bios.

Guide here
http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-amd-phenom-ii-...

Here's Tom's Overclocking guide for these CPU's.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-cpu-overclock,2...


Honestly, overclocking is super easy and safe unless you go to really high voltages. Really no point in not since all it takes is a few setting changes in the bios and some stability testing (which can be done overnight).


to cmc:

The results from last year ARE valid for 2 reason: 1. The single most system intensive game is still Crysis, 3 years old. The highest mainstream CPU requiring game is oddly GTA IV, due to horrible porting.

Both these games were around last year, making that article relevant. In addition, Blizzard games are very much underwhelming in system requirements.

Also, you fail to address the other articles I linked showing 3 core CPU's to not be anything close to an issue. Both published in the last month, 1 of them today.


The one today was done WITH a 5850 AND a Phenom II x3, and showed it to be just as good as a i7-870. Basically the same, performance considering experimental error. The Phenom II x3 only difference from a Athlon II x3 is a larger cache, which makes a very small performance impact in gaming.

Regarding FPS. TV and movies run at 24 FPS, I don't see people complaining TV FPS is too low. Any major review site will regard anything above 30-35 (varies a bit depending on the site) perfectly playable.

Also, for the last time, WOW doesn't take a lot of processing power. Considering it runs at 82.9 FPS with a 5850 Max settings 8x AA. Crysis with same resolution and 4x AA is only 32.7 FPS
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2848/7

In fact, until next gen consoles come out (not until 2014 at the earliest), no major gaming company will be making games that won't work fine on 3 year old console tech. Crysis 2 might be the sole exception, though I'm not holding my breath since it's also supposed to play fine on consoles.

Here's a link to a Athlon II X3's full list of benchmarks

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/112

edit: If you want to see what a game really made using DX11 and the latest hardware (and not just a few market gimmick features) would look like, just dl and watch Heaven 2.0 Bench at max settings (including max tesselation).

Here's the youtube video of it, and yes, on a sufficient system you can render it in realtime.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HWZKGZcKoA


You obviously don't play WoW. CPU makes a tremendous difference in places like Wintergrasp, 25 man raids and Dalaran for w/e reason. Once agian all I can say, is that according to the WoW website, it uses 3 cores now. How much of each core hard to say. But sharing that CPU across 3 cores, and having a leftover core to do anything else that windows desires is worth the 80 dollar cost to me.

Im not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but 80 dollars seems reasonable.

I also keep seeing people reference a "3 year old" computer. Was this a 3000 dollar computer from 3 years ago or a more reasonable 1200 build? Just curious. Im sure if I blew 7000 dollars on a new build like that one guy I could play current gen games for the next 3 years too.

But the point of my build is bang for buck compared to time.



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a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 6, 2010 1:17:26 AM

Actually I do play WOW, Daggerspine, Horde, Pally.

My 3.5 years old Comp, E6400 Core 2 duo, HD 3870 which cost $1331.91 when I built it, plays the game fine maxed out with ~34 FPS in Dal at 1440 x 900. Get around 50 FPS elsewhere. Wintergrasp also runs about 34. Granted I haven't played using this comp since October 2009, but there's been no major changes in the game's hardware requirements since then.


My point is that a Phenom II X4 won't provide any major benefit over an Athlon II x3 in gaming, and given the OP's budget, overall his system would be better off for gaming with a 5850 and x3 rather than 5770 and x4.

I present the aforementioned articles, taken from 2 of the Top Hardware review sites, and multiple reviewers from each, as evidence to support this claim.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2010 1:20:21 AM

banthracis said:
Actually I do play WOW, Daggerspine, Horde, Pally.

My 3.5 years old Comp, E6400 Core 2 duo, HD 3870 which cost $1331.91 when I built it, plays the game fine maxed out with ~34 FPS in Dal at 1440 x 900. Get around 50 FPS elsewhere. Wintergrasp also runs about 34. Granted I haven't played using this comp since October 2009, but there's been no major changes in the game's hardware requirements since then.


My point is that a Phenom II X4 won't provide any major benefit over an Athlon II x3 in gaming, and given the OP's budget, overall his system would be better off for gaming with a 5850 and x3 rather than 5770 and x4.

I present the aforementioned articles, taken from 2 of the Top Hardware review sites, and multiple reviewers from each, as evidence to support this claim.


Just curious, is "maxed" Ultra?
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April 6, 2010 1:30:08 AM

banthracis said:
Anyway, here's a full build with a 5850 and Athlon II x3.


Optical
Light On $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Antec 300 Illlusion $69.99 (no change)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 $94.99 (no Change)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
Sapphire 5850 $289.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Will play anything at 1920x1080 at max settings with reasonable --> more than necessary frame rates.

RAM
G Skill Eco DDR3 1600 7-8-7-24 $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A little more expensive, but low voltages and tighter timings. Worth it IMO.

CPU
Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Great price/performance ratio. With the GA MOBO, you also have the possibility of unlocking the fourth core. It's pretty high chance with this model, but not guaranteed.

PSU/HD
OCZ Stealthxstream 700W and 720012. 500 GB
$114.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
The 850 watt is the same price as the 700w after rebate, but you're actually not gonna be in the max efficiency zone of 40%-60% load with the 850W. Still the option IS there.
The 7200.12 is basically the same performance as a F3, slightly behind in some benchmarks, but not noticeably. It comes combed with the PSU for $20 off so I used it instead.

$784.92 Before $30 MIR and shipping.
If you don't need an optical (didn't include one in your build as previously mentioned) then it's $20 cheaper.

Alternatively, you could save $ 140 and grab this 5770 instead.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



that case might be a little small for a HD 5850 no?
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April 6, 2010 1:42:44 AM

kelfen said:
that case might be a little small for a HD 5850 no?


Thats a good point, can anyone with a Antec 300 speak from experience on this?
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April 6, 2010 1:46:52 AM

cmcghee358 said:
Just curious, is "maxed" Ultra?



Exact settings:
1440 x 900
60 HZ
24 bit color 1 x multisample
Vsync/triple buffering
Everything on high.
Specular lighting, death effect, projected textures.
No full screen glow (don't like the effect it does)




Case wise the Antec 300 will fit a 5850. A 5870 on the other hand... requires a saw =P
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April 6, 2010 1:54:25 AM

I'm not really a fan of buy athlons..I would try to stick with Phenom IIs or the i5s.

You can build an i5 750 build with a 5830-5850 if you wait for good deals with your budget. I've seen some i5 750s go for $143 shipped brand new on ebay after Bing Cash Back.
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April 6, 2010 2:13:32 AM

banthracis said:
Exact settings:
1440 x 900
60 HZ
24 bit color 1 x multisample
Vsync/triple buffering
Everything on high.
Specular lighting, death effect, projected textures.
No full screen glow (don't like the effect it does)




Case wise the Antec 300 will fit a 5850. A 5870 on the other hand... requires a saw =P


is it a pain in the posterer to get it to fit? I personally kinda picky when it comes to building in small spaces cuz to me just not worth the headache
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April 6, 2010 3:02:49 AM

A 5850 will fit fine. You may need to leave the HD slot behind the card open to put the power cable in comfortably.

A 5870 on the other hand will "fit" but requires leaving the HD space open and maybe a little modding of the HD cage.
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April 6, 2010 3:05:33 AM

banthracis said:
Exact settings:
1440 x 900
60 HZ
24 bit color 1 x multisample
Vsync/triple buffering
Everything on high.
Specular lighting, death effect, projected textures.
No full screen glow (don't like the effect it does)




Case wise the Antec 300 will fit a 5850. A 5870 on the other hand... requires a saw =P


I just see you pushing 34 FPS in Dalaran with Max shadows on a 3000 series ATI. Sorry. Maybe you just have better luck than everyone else. /shrug

Max shadows drop my 4890 to 40 FPS. With Vsync off and my shadows at mid range I have 70 FPS in Dalaran. Shadows kill my 4890 and I am dubious a 3000 series could get above 20 FPS with shadows.
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April 6, 2010 3:24:06 AM

cmcghee358 said:
I just see you pushing 34 FPS in Dalaran with Max shadows on a 3000 series ATI. Sorry. Maybe you just have better luck than everyone else. /shrug

Max shadows drop my 4890 to 40 FPS. With Vsync off and my shadows at mid range I have 70 FPS in Dalaran. Shadows kill my 4890 and I am dubious a 3000 series could get above 20 FPS with shadows.



Depends on what resolution you play at. Obviously at 1920 x 1080 wouldn't work.

System isn't stock either. The E6400 is at 3ghz OC (2.13 stock) and the GPU is at 850/1250. Stock is 775/1125.




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April 6, 2010 3:30:40 AM

So I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit lost now. At first both of the builds seemed solid, but now I'm not sure whether I should go with the X4 or X3, the 5770 or the 5850... I can't really go over the 750 budget (after rebates), so I need to stick to that as my absolute maximum.

The marathon $750 gaming PC was nice (about $754 earlier today for the parts on newegg) but how does that stack up to the builds above? The builds above have a single 1GB GPU, while the marathon build from last month has dual 512mb... Will that be better?
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April 6, 2010 3:40:11 AM

Tibbs said:
So I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit lost now. At first both of the builds seemed solid, but now I'm not sure whether I should go with the X4 or X3, the 5770 or the 5850... I can't really go over the 750 budget (after rebates), so I need to stick to that as my absolute maximum.

The marathon $750 gaming PC was nice (about $754 earlier today for the parts on newegg) but how does that stack up to the builds above? The builds above have a single 1GB GPU, while the marathon build from last month has dual 512mb... Will that be better?


Well, now I feel terrible. I think all my bickering has simply confused you.

I think the bottom line is simply personal preference. Do you want 3 cores, or 4. 3 will be adequate, 4 might be over the top for now, but could possible be needed in 1+ year.

As for the Gfx card, if you CAN find a way to afford the 5850, its a nice card/price. I can assure you that the 5770 will be fine to run WoW at near max settings (mid shadow, all the rest max) with 50+ FPS everywhere, 25 mans Dalaran etc.

Running 2 4850s is less than ideal. If you can get a single GPU with the same benchmarks as 2 GPUs, always pick the single. Because some games utilize Xfire different. I'm really not even sure if WoW gains any benefit from 2 cards.

I guess what I'm saying is, for your budget, I dont think there is a wrong choice. Just preference.

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April 6, 2010 3:40:14 AM

banthracis said:
Depends on what resolution you play at. Obviously at 1920 x 1080 wouldn't work.

System isn't stock either. The E6400 is at 3ghz OC (2.13 stock) and the GPU is at 850/1250. Stock is 775/1125.


CPU doesnt affect WoW :p 
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April 6, 2010 3:51:23 AM

Tibbs said:
So I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit lost now. At first both of the builds seemed solid, but now I'm not sure whether I should go with the X4 or X3, the 5770 or the 5850... I can't really go over the 750 budget (after rebates), so I need to stick to that as my absolute maximum.

The marathon $750 gaming PC was nice (about $754 earlier today for the parts on newegg) but how does that stack up to the builds above? The builds above have a single 1GB GPU, while the marathon build from last month has dual 512mb... Will that be better?



Benchmark wise, you'll get higher FPS with an X3 + 5850 than X4 + 5770.

Whether a x4 or 5850 is the better investment...IMO it is, but there's no real evidence behind that.

Don't bother xfire right off the bat with a system. It kills future upgrades. Also, having eyefinity is really nice, WOW is one of the few games that takes advantage of it perfectly. Few months ago I stole the families monitors to 3 way eyefinity on my current rig. That was fun.

The marathon builds are nice, but they never get RAM or HD right, and always Xfire/SLI. It's better performance per $ for purpose of their competition, but not really advisable for a new builder.

Also as mentioned, not every game actually benefits from Xfire/SLI (all the ones in the system builders marathon do though, which is another reason they always do it).

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April 6, 2010 3:58:59 AM

Hmmmm, I just don't know. One of my friends was just talking about quad 5670s? I asked if he had 4 graphics cards (this was online by the way) and he simply said quadfire? He says they're the highest card you can run crossfire with without plugging cards into each other... Wow, this is totally way more confusing than I thought... Blech forget that for now.

I have to figure out money-wise is it better to do the X4 and the 5770 or the X3 and the 5850
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April 6, 2010 4:01:50 AM

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,693737/WoW-Wrath-of-...
Yes?
Ignore quad 5670s as an option.
I would go for x3 and 5850 if it was me.
However, it is easier to upgrade GPU than CPU so if you got an x4 and upgraded to xfire 5770 or a 5850 and selling your 5770 later might be an option that could be easier.
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April 6, 2010 4:04:11 AM



Well thats helpful that it shows how much a CPU can help FPS.

Unfortunately it doesnt list the Athlon x3 435

Nor does it address the FPS of a 5770 compared to a 5850.

I did find it amusing that they max their settings except for shadows too.

Idk what blizzard did but they made the Max shadows a resource hog unlike any other.
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April 6, 2010 4:06:15 AM

duk3 said:
http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,693737/WoW-Wrath-of-...
Yes?
Ignore quad 5670s as an option.
I would go for x3 and 5850 if it was me.
However, it is easier to upgrade GPU than CPU so if you got an x4 and upgraded to xfire 5770 or a 5850 and selling your 5770 later might be an option that could be easier.


Imo a Phenom IIx4 955 BE is going to last a really long time. Probably well into the 6000 or even 7000 series ATI cards.

I dont think I can say the same for an Athlonx3
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April 6, 2010 4:11:10 AM

The x3 435's performance is almost identical to an x3 720 that is listed.
And a 5850 is basically a 285 so those are some fairly similar FPS to what you would be getting.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452.h...
^ Review of the phenom x3 vs the athlon x3

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...
^ That review doesn't have the current generation graphics cards, however you can sort of compare with current cards (ie. 285~5850, 5770~260).
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April 6, 2010 4:24:32 AM

duk3 said:
The x3 435's performance is almost identical to an x3 720 that is listed.
And a 5850 is basically a 285 so those are some fairly similar FPS to what you would be getting.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452.h...
^ Review of the phenom x3 vs the athlon x3

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...
^ That review doesn't have the current generation graphics cards, however you can sort of compare with current cards (ie. 285~5850, 5770~260).


That CPU list still isn't right. Am I reading it wrong or did they OC the 955 but no other AMD CPUs?

Thats like comparing apples to oranges, not very fair.

I think its fair to use the stock 965 CPU FPS information

So by comparison the 965 vs the 720: You see a 25% increase in top end FPS using the 965, as well as a 33% increase in minimum FPS.

For a 5850 to 5770 comparison: You see a 17% increase in top end FPS using the 5850, as well as a 19% increase in minimum FPS

This is using the 285 as a benchmark for the 5850, and the 260 as a benchmark for the 5770.

So it "seems" the CPU provides more benefit but the distinction is so small, that I stand by my statement that it's simply personal preference dude.
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April 6, 2010 4:45:58 AM

duk3 said:
The x3 435's performance is almost identical to an x3 720 that is listed.
And a 5850 is basically a 285 so those are some fairly similar FPS to what you would be getting.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452.h...
^ Review of the phenom x3 vs the athlon x3

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...
^ That review doesn't have the current generation graphics cards, however you can sort of compare with current cards (ie. 285~5850, 5770~260).


Also for multitasking the Athlon x4 620 definitely beats out the Athlonx3 435.



Too bad this review didnt cover Phenom IIx4's by comparison.

Sure its an extreme running anti virus in the background, but with WoW using 3 cores, and Windows doing w/e the f windows does when you're playing WoW. I prefer to have a spare Core so I dont have to think about what Windows is doing.
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April 6, 2010 5:10:00 AM

Ok here are some benchmarks comparing the actual CPU's and GPU's.

OK GPU comparison.

5770 vs 5850 Gaming Benchmarks overall (no WOW alas)
at 1920 x 1080 4xAA (most common settings for high end gaming ATM)
5850 performs 44% better than a 5770.
449.20 overall FPS vs 311.20

=on&prod[3253]=on]


For an Actual WOW comparison, anandtech neglected to test WOW for the 5770, but noted that it performs slightly behind the GTX 260 core 216
http://anandtech.com/show/2856/14

At 1920 x 1200 8xAA Max settings 5850 is 82.9 FPS, GTX 260 is 55.4 FPS.
This gives a 49% performance increase by going from 5770 to 5850.


Now for a CPU comparison
Unfortunately it's 1680x1050 and medium settings with a GTX 280. This is to force a CPU bottleneck to emphasize a difference. Not real world scenario's like the GPU tests, but lets take these as a best case difference.

Anyway
9.6% FPS increase for Phenom II x4 955 over Athlon II x3 435 in Fallout 3.
25.6% FPS increase in Left 4 Dead
29% FPS increase in Farcry 2
17% FPS increase in Crysis
http://anandtech.com/show/2861/8

In summary, a 5850 has an average 44% FPS increase over a 5770 in gaming, at real world gaming settings.
A Phenom IIx4 has a 20.3% FPS increase over a Athlon II x3 in gaming (though at settings that emphasize a CPU bottleneck)

Now, the only issue with this comparison is that the GPU test we're done with an i7-920, so it's possible the difference may be less with a lesser CPU.

However, I point to this article where a Phenom II x2 using a stock 5850, demonstrated similar FPS to even an i5-750 at 1920 x 1080, indicating a GPU bottleneck. This is without AA, which if enabled, would further push for a GPU bottleneck.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-x2-555,25...

Given that the Phenom II X2 555 is an inferior CPU to the Athlon II x3, I'm willing to say that the above 5850 vs 5770 GPU comparison is valid.
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April 6, 2010 5:16:23 AM

But isn't the quad core above in the first build a 955 not 555? And how is a 3core better than a 4core? just because it's newer technology? Sorry I'm just a little confused. I'm trying to follow all the numbers but I'm a little lost...
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April 6, 2010 5:22:08 AM

Where is 555 coming from?
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April 6, 2010 5:27:28 AM

Tibbs said:
Here's the 555.... Or am I missing something?


Phenom II 555 is a dual core
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April 6, 2010 5:33:06 AM

oh but the 955 is a quad right? So the quad IS superior to the X3?

EDIT: I tried doing a quad core with the 5850 but it was about 100 bucks out of my price range (as said before, but I wanted to see how much). I'm going to do some more reading and then decide on whether the X4/5770 or X3/5850 is better for me right now.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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April 6, 2010 5:34:43 AM

banthracis said:
Ok here are some benchmarks comparing the actual CPU's and GPU's.

OK GPU comparison.

5770 vs 5850 Gaming Benchmarks overall (no WOW alas)
at 1920 x 1080 4xAA (most common settings for high end gaming ATM)
5850 performs 44% better than a 5770.
449.20 overall FPS vs 311.20

=on&prod[3253]=on]


For an Actual WOW comparison, anandtech neglected to test WOW for the 5770, but noted that it performs slightly behind the GTX 260 core 216
http://anandtech.com/show/2856/14

At 1920 x 1200 8xAA Max settings 5850 is 82.9 FPS, GTX 260 is 55.4 FPS.
This gives a 49% performance increase by going from 5770 to 5850.


Now for a CPU comparison
Unfortunately it's 1680x1050 and medium settings with a GTX 280. This is to force a CPU bottleneck to emphasize a difference. Not real world scenario's like the GPU tests, but lets take these as a best case difference.

Anyway
9.6% FPS increase for Phenom II x4 955 over Athlon II x3 435 in Fallout 3.
25.6% FPS increase in Left 4 Dead
29% FPS increase in Farcry 2
17% FPS increase in Crysis
http://anandtech.com/show/2861/8

In summary, a 5850 has an average 44% FPS increase over a 5770 in gaming, at real world gaming settings.
A Phenom IIx4 has a 20.3% FPS increase over a Athlon II x3 in gaming (though at settings that emphasize a CPU bottleneck)

Now, the only issue with this comparison is that the GPU test we're done with an i7-920, so it's possible the difference may be less with a lesser CPU.

However, I point to this article where a Phenom II x2 using a stock 5850, demonstrated similar FPS to even an i5-750 at 1920 x 1080, indicating a GPU bottleneck. This is without AA, which if enabled, would further push for a GPU bottleneck.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-x2-555,25...

Given that the Phenom II X2 555 is an inferior CPU to the Athlon II x3, I'm willing to say that the above 5850 vs 5770 GPU comparison is valid.


Whats the price difference between a Athlonx3 435 and a Phenom IIx4 955 MBOX C3 step? 75 bucks?

Whats the price difference between a 5770 and a 5850? 120 bucks?

I personally would rather replace my GPU in a year than my CPU, but thats just me. Once again I think its down to his personal preference. Im gonna go play SOCOM now.
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April 6, 2010 5:39:07 AM

Tibbs said:
oh but the 955 is a quad right? So the quad IS superior to the X3?

EDIT: I tried doing a quad core with the 5850 but it was about 100 bucks out of my price range (as said before, but I wanted to see how much). I'm going to do some more reading and then decide on whether the X4/5770 or X3/5850 is better for me right now.

Anyone else have any thoughts?


Thats basically it. Im sorry we gave you more questions than answers, hopefully another perspective comes in here and can sway you either way. Good luck, and enjoy your build!
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April 6, 2010 1:54:46 PM

Tibbs said:
But isn't the quad core above in the first build a 955 not 555? And how is a 3core better than a 4core? just because it's newer technology? Sorry I'm just a little confused. I'm trying to follow all the numbers but I'm a little lost...



Apparently my point was lost.

My point is that on average, going from a 5770 to 5850 nets you a 44% FPS increase in real world scenarios.

Going from a x3 to a x4 nets you 20% FPS increase under conditions that heavily favor a CPU bottleneck.


I mentioned the X2 only to demonstrate that the GPU comparison I made was valid. Basically saying that if a CPU worse than an X3 will max out a 5850, then an X3 will max it out.
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April 6, 2010 2:35:30 PM

I see what you mean now.
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