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Budget Gaming Build, First Time Build, Seeking Advice

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August 17, 2010 5:28:30 AM

Hey everyone,

I've really enjoyed enjoyed reading this forum for advice on researching hardware! I'm a college student on a modest budget (hoping to break below $600, could go only so slightly above). The whole point of this build (besides the experience) is to play decently advanced games with max graphics. I'm starting this thread to 1) say hi 2) see if my selection is logical and cost-effective for my goals 3) catch any compatibility issues before I pull out the credit card.



APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Much of it soon, but date is unimportant aka gradually, as funds are available

BUDGET RANGE: $500 - $650

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Moderate gaming (would like to max out or nearly max out games like Borderlands, Starcraft II, Diablo 3 when its out, would like to at least play games like Bad Company 2 if possible), web surfing, projects/homework

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers, Mouse, Keyboard, Thermal Compound

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Doesn't Matter (I've been getting the most luck from Newegg, Fry's and Amazon, but whoever's cheapest)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Don't care

PARTS PREFERENCES: Performance/Cost is most important to me. I'd prefer at least an 18" LCD monitor, but how the case looks or anything like that doesn't matter at all

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, if it turns out it's still reliable (would also be a first)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No; way out of my budget

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Whatever's recommended for best results?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet PC isn't an issue (to an extent), how the physic components look doesn't matter. I simply want a decent gaming rig. What's more set is my budget than its performance, so I'd really like to do what I can with it.



Here's my tentative component list:

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HDX945WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard (as a Newegg combo): BIOSTAR A770E AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card: PowerColor PCS+ AX5670 512MD5-PPDH Radeon HD 5670 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Case: HEC 6BRBBB Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU (combo deal on Newegg): hec Orion XPOWER585 585W ATX12V 2.01 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD/CD Drive: Whatever is just/compatible. Don't care if it reads Blu-Ray or burns Dual Layer.

Monitor: Something like this, however it's unavailable right now:

LG w2053TQ-PF 20" widescreen LCD Monitor with 2ms Ultra Fast Response Time
http://www.frys.com/product/5872273?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

(closest alternative/suggestion?)


Thank you very much for your time.
August 17, 2010 5:51:39 AM

For gaming I would suggest this config...
X3 440 + HD 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASUS 870 + Mushkin 4GB DDR3 - A very good combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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

PSU + HDD
OCZ 550 + Samsung F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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

Monitor -
$20 coupon code: EMCYWZN32 (ends 8/18) = $149.99 + Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 17, 2010 6:19:58 AM

batuchka said:
That AM2+ mobo with DDR2 DIMM slots is incompatible with DDR3 RAMs


I thought AM3/AM2+/AM2 meant it could be DDR2 or DDR3? Darn. Good catch, thank you.




gkay09 said:

X3 440 + HD 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASUS 870 + Mushkin 4GB DDR3 - A very good combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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

PSU + HDD
OCZ 550 + Samsung F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


Monitor -
$20 coupon code: EMCYWZN32 (ends 8/18) = $149.99 + Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Might I ask the rationale for that monitor? It seems a little pricey (especially since I won't be buying it in the next two days...). I know almost nothing about monitor brand or specs for gaming monitors.

Also, that whole setup seems to come in around $700, a little high for what I'm aiming for. Would my original Case/PSU combo not work for this configuration?

I know I'm especially low tech level for a TH user, and I appreciate the advice.
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August 17, 2010 6:30:51 AM

^
- That monitor is a Full HD monitor(1080p)
- The CASE might be OK for your build, but not the PSU that comes with the case...
- If am not wrong, the total comes to ~$659 | $629 Including rebates...
But if you want to reduce the price even more, then some suggestions...

GPU - Get this card -
But it is a DirectX 10.1 and not DirectX 11(anyways it is as powerful though)...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
But if you are OK with lower powered card and want DirecTX 11, then
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also same with the monitor...
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August 17, 2010 6:55:46 AM

gkay09 said:
^
- That monitor is a Full HD monitor(1080p)
- The CASE might be OK for your build, but not the PSU that comes with the case...
- If am not wrong, the total comes to ~$659 | $629 Including rebates...
But if you want to reduce the price even more, then some suggestions...

GPU - Get this card -
But it is a DirectX 10.1 and not DirectX 11(anyways it is as powerful though)...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
But if you are OK with lower powered card and want DirecTX 11, then
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also same with the monitor...


What is the benefit of DirectX 11 vs DirectX 10.1 on equally powerful GPUs? And what do you mean by lower powered card? Sorry, I'm just trying to consolidate specs I didn't even know existed.
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August 17, 2010 7:00:54 AM

Also, if my original PSU was 580W, and this one is 550W, and I'm not running SLI/Crossfire, would you mind explaining why it wouldn't work? Luckily I asked before frying my new desktop. -_-
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August 17, 2010 7:21:55 AM

^^ Benefit of DirectX 11 - More Eye-candy in games...but if the card is not DirectX 11 capable, but will still run at DirectX 10 or lower and still will look fine though...

PSU - More than the power, quality matters...
PSU and CASE are those components that can be reused even on later builds and if you go with a lower quality ones, chances are that when they fail, they tend to kill other parts too...
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August 17, 2010 7:30:32 AM

gkay09 said:
^^ Benefit of DirectX 11 - More Eye-candy in games...but if the card is not DirectX 11 capable, but will still run at DirectX 10 or lower and still will look fine though...

PSU - More than the power, quality matters...
PSU and CASE are those components that can be reused even on later builds and if you go with a lower quality ones, chances are that when they fail, they tend to kill other parts too...




Hmm. What benefit would you say the Radeon HD 4XXX has over the 5670 then, if 5670 is Direct 11?

Also, how huge of an effect would getting a non-1080p monitor have on typical games (like the ones I play)?



That's a good point about the PSU, though. Thanks.
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August 17, 2010 7:38:46 AM

^ Well even though DirectX 11 would offer more eye candy in games, but you would need enough graphic muscle to pull through...So I would say the 4870 is fine...

As for 1080p, well IMO wont matter much...
So if you want to save money, then stick with HD 5670 and the 1600x900 resolution monitor...
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August 17, 2010 7:44:34 AM

Raw frames wise the HD 5670 is at most nipping at the HD 4830/9800GT Cards may take a little to a lot performance hit wise when in DX11 mode/games and generally unless in low resolution, the HD 5670 (and any lower DX11 GPUs) isn't recommended for DX 11 titles



In summary i would rate HD 4850/GTS 250 a far better buy than HD 5670 if gaming is on the table. The former could be had for $89.99 these days!
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August 17, 2010 8:42:52 AM

So wait, the HD 4830/4850 performs significantly BETTER than the 5670? I would have thought it was older. How counter-intuitive.

If I'm understanding you two correctly, the 4850 is a more powerful graphics card and leads to better performance even though it isn't DirectX 11, and if it's worth the extra money, would be considered better for gaming?
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August 17, 2010 10:23:36 AM

Outside DX11 those cards especially the HD 4850 murders the HD 5670 In DX11 due to performance hit, HD 5670 is too weak unless one turns down resolution and/or settings. Alternatively play in DX10/DX9 mode with HD 4850 ^^
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August 17, 2010 6:06:57 PM

I would not recommend to buy parts separately since prices changes all the time. (supply and demand sometimes play a role)

Other things to consider.

1. Which monitor you will be able to aford or willing to buy before you decide on what GPU to get. Some games will show some artifacs when not played in the monitor's native resolution.

Todays norm resolution for a monitor is 1920x1080. To get some of the games that you've mentioned maxed out at this resolution and still be able to play it you'll to spend more than $700.00

Also ensure that you'll build a balanced system as even the most powerfull card will not perform to its potential if you don't have a a cpu and RAM to compliment it.

Read Building a balaced PC series and then you might want to look into System Builder Marathon to get an idea where you budget is.
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August 20, 2010 1:39:08 AM

gkay09 said:


ASUS 870 + Mushkin 4GB DDR3 - A very good combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...



Well, dumb me missed out on this deal...for everything else in this setup, what features would you recommend I look for in current/future deals? I should have checked the date the deal ends...
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August 20, 2010 3:56:01 AM

^ Just make sure it is current gen tech and also check the product reviews as sometimes if it is not a good one and doesnt sell good, they offer it in combos...
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!