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Budget mATX gaming rig ~600

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August 10, 2010 3:55:37 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 2 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: ~600 Before, no more than 700

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (e.g.: Folding@Home, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Peripherals ( monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers), only need the system

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD to save money

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: In the future

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Building a mATX gaming rig, needs to play new games at max settings or very close to it. form factor is necessary since i carry from school to home pretty often

This is the setup i have so far, unsure of the mobo and ram though. How is this build looking so far? Im getting the 4770 because I hope to get a second one if necessary after the school semester starts but i probably wont need another one. The case is pretty ideal for me, i like how its small but im worried about heat, should i buy fans? will it all fit? Also plan to oc the cpu but only alittle and what is capable with stock cooling

Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BWS Black SECC Japanese steel Gaming Cube Computer Case - $78

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX - $160

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $170

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B - OEM - $67 Combo

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $60
August 10, 2010 4:07:23 PM

the case seems a bit big.. is there any benefit over the lanbox?
also for the hd, is there a big difference between that and the barracuda? i dont need the extra 500gigs of space so is there a big speed difference?
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August 10, 2010 4:09:06 PM

jason612 said:
the case seems a bit big.. is there any benefit over the lanbox?
also for the hd, is there a big difference between that and the barracuda? i dont need the extra 500gigs of space so is there a big speed difference?

The F3 is very very very fast, faster than the Caviar Blacks even. 1TB is good, more space the better.

the vulcan has more space, easy to move, and great airflow and it supports long graphics cards like the 5970 (if you were to ever upgrade)
and remember you can remove that handle with 2 screws
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August 10, 2010 4:18:07 PM

how is the mobo vs the lanparty?
what ram set is best for this setup?
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August 10, 2010 4:41:41 PM
August 10, 2010 4:46:06 PM



You don't need TIM (thermal interface material) and you don't need extra fans :)  you will be fine, it's just with these box cases... when air rises it just floats in there...
right above your hardware :)  A tower case is just better, air gets intaked easy, and exhausted easy. But for your "looks" preference i guess it will be fine ;)  don't worry bout it.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 4:50:09 PM

What resolution are you gaming at? What games are you playing?

For modern games at 1920x1080, the 5770 is going to be a little lacking. I'm not sure you have another option at your budget, just wanted to get some more info.

The easiest way to bring the cost down on that build is to drop the Phenom II X4 955 down to an Athlon II X3 440 ($77). That cuts about $80 off the price. Next step would be to drop the Spinpoint to the 500 GB model, which would save $20.
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August 10, 2010 4:52:51 PM

well im currently playing sc2, wow and exp when it comes out, d3 if/when it comes out mainly
wont be that high resolution either, not positive what ill be at though might buy a different monitor
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 4:54:23 PM

The 5770 should be fine for SC2, and probably Diablo 3. Unsure about max details for WoW. I run a 5870 on a 1920x1200 monitor and I get 60+ fps most places on Ultra settings, but Dalaran & raids are lower, even with shadows turned off.

Edited earlier post with some info about cutting costs.
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August 10, 2010 4:59:57 PM

how much performance am i sacrificing by dropping to the x3? dont really intend to upgrade anytime soon except maybe another 5770
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August 10, 2010 5:04:42 PM

jason612 said:
how much performance am i sacrificing by dropping to the x3? dont really intend to upgrade anytime soon except maybe another 5770

most games only use 1-3 cores so no
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 5:06:18 PM

jason612 said:
how much performance am i sacrificing by dropping to the x3? dont really intend to upgrade anytime soon except maybe another 5770


Very little. Almost all modern games are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound (GTA IV is one of the exceptions). Tom's did an article on the number of cores needed for gaming a while back, and they found that the 4th core doesn't really add anything for gaming.

RTS games do use additional cores more than other games, but seeing as Blizzard's minimum specs for SC2 are a dual-core processor, I think you'll be fine.
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August 10, 2010 5:26:40 PM

ok so this is what i was looking at then, this combo should save me a good amount of money
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

should i consider a slightly better gpu with the money saved?
if i have the money should i just stick with the x4 and 5770 or am i just wanting something i dont need and the x3 is more than enough for the games i play
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August 10, 2010 5:29:36 PM

jason612 said:
ok so this is what i was looking at then, this combo should save me a good amount of money
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

should i consider a slightly better gpu with the money saved?
if i have the money should i just stick with the x4 and 5770 or am i just wanting something i dont need and the x3 is more than enough for the games i play

well now you are going from Phenom II's to Athlon II's get this

PHENOM II X3

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

but it doesnt come with a cooler, so get one ;) 
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August 10, 2010 5:39:44 PM

ah good call, for coolers i have no idea what are good but they seem expensive alot in the 40s and 50s, wouldnt i be better off just buying the x4 then?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 5:40:03 PM

There's really no reason to get the Phenom II X3 over the Athlon II X3. You're spending $25 more on the processor, plus you have to buy a HSF, which is probably $20-30 for a budget one. So you save...$30 over getting the X4 955? Not really worth it.

I'd say either get the Athlon II X3 I linked, or stick with the X4 955, don't sit in the middle. Tom's monthly best CPU for the money recommends the Athlon II X3s at basically all price points below $100.

You only need an aftermarket cooler if you intend to overclock, or you buy an OEM processor. For a budget HSF, go to amazon or tigerdirect to get the Hyper212+ for $30 (it's $50 at newegg). If you want to spend more, look at Frostytech's top "5" heatsinks.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 7:21:56 PM

jason612 said:
hwo about the x3 445? only a few bucks more
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

how is intel in this price range? i3, i5?


If the 445 is still within your budget, go for it.

For a gaming machine, you want to buy the biggest graphics card you can. If going with the X3 either allows you to stay within your budget or get a larger graphics card, go for it.

If you've already got a large enough graphics card and you're still under budget, then go with a more expensive CPU (like the 955).

Once again, almost all modern games (at resolutions of 1680x1050 and up) are limited by the graphics card, not the processor. For gaming, there's no point in getting (hypothetical example follows) a 5670 and an X4 955 for a gaming rig when you could instead get a 5770 or 5850 by getting an X3 4nn.
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August 10, 2010 8:17:23 PM

coldsleep said:
If the 445 is still within your budget, go for it.

For a gaming machine, you want to buy the biggest graphics card you can. If going with the X3 either allows you to stay within your budget or get a larger graphics card, go for it.

If you've already got a large enough graphics card and you're still under budget, then go with a more expensive CPU (like the 955).

Once again, almost all modern games (at resolutions of 1680x1050 and up) are limited by the graphics card, not the processor. For gaming, there's no point in getting (hypothetical example follows) a 5670 and an X4 955 for a gaming rig when you could instead get a 5770 or 5850 by getting an X3 4nn.

wow yea that really clears it up for me, i keep wanting a better cpu but i guess im just attracted to a higher processing power when all i really need is better gpu

so ill get the x3 445 and then try to get the best gpu possible, or 5770 now and another later
hopefully i can oc the 445 to be just as good as the 955 anyways
so the framerates of games are really affected by the gpu and not the cpu?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 8:24:25 PM

The CPU has an effect, but it's minimal compared to the GPU, unless you're talking about really low resolutions. Many of the "this CPU is better than this CPU" gaming benchmarks are done at lower resolutions than most people game at in order to emphasize the differences.

To answer an earlier question, the dual-core Intel i3s & i5s in this price range just don't stack up. They're great for HTPC use, and they can achieve some crazy overclocks, but the cheapest one is $40 more than the X3 440, and P55 motherboards tend to be slightly more expensive than AM3 as well. In short, not worth it. If your budget was between $1000-1200, you might consider the quad-core i5-750.

I should also note that you can attempt to "unlock" the 4th core on your chip. There are no guarantees, but you may get a chip that is stable enough to run with 4 cores even though it is rated/sold as a 3-core.

You can certainly search for more articles on it if you'd like, I believe Tom's did one within the past year or so titled something like "how many cores do you really need". If I recall correctly, the difference between going from 2 to 3 cores averaged out to be a 40% difference, while going from 3 to 4 was more like 10%. (I could be misremembering, though.)

EDIT: It appears I was guessing too high on both ends. 2 to 3 looks like 20%ish, 3 to 4 is under 5%.

Here they are:
How Many CPU Cores do You Need (part 1)
Part 2
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 8:34:29 PM

All of Coldsleep's suggestions look good. Also, if you get a lesser CPU now, you won't mind so much upgrading it (but only if necessary) when Bulldozer comes out. Still, in those big WoW raids, your CPU is doing a lot of work, keeping track of all the characters and mobs running around. You may have noticed that turning down the eye candy may not make a really big difference in your frame rate.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 8:51:03 PM

Yeah, I should probably clarify. WoW doesn't really count as a modern game, back when it was written, more tasks were offloaded onto the processor in order to free up the GPU as much as possible. Man, I can't believe it's nearly 6 years old.

I would guess you'll be fine for levelling and running 5-mans with the config above at fairly high settings (probably not Ultra, but high). For 10/25-man raids, you'll probably want to reduce the resolution or turn down as much as you can to get playable frame rates. First step is to turn down shadows, of course. That usually results in a 5-10 fps jump for me.
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August 10, 2010 9:24:06 PM

wow isnt too big a concern as much as sc2, it is pretty old and im not hardcore about it so its no biggie
mostly waiting for d3

but yea seems like x3 is the best option for me, i would spend the extra for x4 but i have other priorities that need tocome first and apparently isnt much better for gaming
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a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2010 9:36:26 PM

Just got linked this article in another thread.

SC2 performance - multiple resolutions/cards and a single chart comparing processors. It suggests that with an i7-920 at 1680x1050 and a 5770, you'd get very playable framerates with a 5770. Even if you cut that fps by 1/3 (which is an unrealistically big cut, in my opinion), you'd still have playable framrates (approx. 25 minimum & 32 average).

Don't let the processor chart near the end of the article scare you off, as the overclocking can't be relied upon (the higher numbers for each processor). Pay attention to how similar the minimum frame rates of the stock speeds are.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2010 4:15:52 AM

$641AR
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August 11, 2010 5:30:31 AM

wow how did you find such good deals haha, thats seems like the best option and its much cheaper too
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2010 5:38:28 AM

That's a great budget setup, though it won't be able to CrossFire/SLI, as the motherboard has only one PCI-E 16x slot, and I don't believe that the AMD northbridge motherboards can SLI, even if you had an additional PCI-E slot.
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August 11, 2010 6:16:25 AM

but that just means i can only upgrade my gpu with single cards right?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2010 6:36:16 AM

jason612 said:
but that just means i can only upgrade my gpu with single cards right?


Correct, in order to upgrade your graphics in the future, you'll have to remove the current card and put a new one in. This isn't a big deal for most people, I've found that a lot of people that intend to CrossFire/SLI never end up doing so.

I had been focusing on keeping that option open since you had indicated that you were planning on it in the future.

Great build by batuchka, if you don't need/want CrossFire, then I'd go with his build.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2010 8:36:11 AM

jason612 said:
wow how did you find such good deals haha, thats seems like the best option and its much cheaper too



Thank you for your kind words - with slightly humbler budgets the best way to go around a config like this is to obtain the best frames/$$ one could nab I would mostly advocate single GPU set ups with the beefy HD 5870 a particular favourite but even more so for SFF/mATX gamers :D 
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