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Building A Budget Gaming Compy

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August 25, 2010 6:52:15 PM

Hey forums,

I have recently been trying to figure out the best possible bang-for-the-buck setup. Here are my specifications. All I need is some refinement and advice on choices.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955/965 (could use advice on deals and such)
GPU: GTX 460 (advice on manufacturer and pricing)

SLI: Yes, but in the future, several months down the line.

Other than that everything is up in the air (RAM, PSU, Mobo, etc.). I do want a good-lookin', air movin' case though.
August 25, 2010 7:20:37 PM

The only issue with using the 460 and an AMD build is that AMD boards don't natively support SLI, which greatly cuts into the 460's appeal. Without it's great SLI scaling, the 460 is just like the 5830: too expensive for not enough power.

I'd likely go with either the 5850 or 5870 instead, as there are many great deals with those cards. I can think of a couple that are almost always found on Newegg that puts the 5850 close to the price of the 460. Since the 5850 is quite a bit more powerful by itself (and about equal in CF), that's a good buy.

So here's what I'd look for (make sure to check combos):

CPU/GPU: X4 955 and HD 5870 $493
Mobo: ASRock 870 Extreme3 $90
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $93 after rebate
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75
Case/PSU: Lian Li PC-K62 and XFX 750W $190
Optical: Cheap SATA burner $20

Total: $961

Or if that's above your budget, swap in this:

CPU/GPU: X4 955 and HD 5850 $418
Case/PSU: XFX 650W and same case $140

Total: $836
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August 25, 2010 8:31:07 PM

If you are going Phenom II and 460 then get an SLI compatible nforce chipset motherboard (probably will be an older 750 chipset and will not have SATA3/USB3.)
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August 25, 2010 10:49:40 PM

i would suggest you save money on the case, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, spend medium on the speakers, and then use the saved money too get the good stuff like the graphics card, ram, mobo, and processor,

a decent case, gave me some tough times, but very cheap and my 2 sli graphics cards work fine with good temps: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this psu powers both my sli hd 5750 cards and hasnt let up on them, even better, it's VERY cheap, looks expensive in my pc, and works very well: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the speakers i have, they have VERY good bass, but they distort at very high levels of sound, so dont power your home theatre, just use these for ur comp: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that's a few suggestions, hope they help!
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August 26, 2010 12:25:44 AM

Do NOT touch that PSU. It's a POS. You definitely want to buy quality in that part. You'll end up paying more for electricity and when the PSU dies, it will take other parts with it. I generally advise people to never buy any unit that isn't from Corsair, Silverstone, SeaSonic, XFX or Antec. Occasionally, OCZ is a good buy, but only if it's an extremely low budget build.

I'm also not a fan of RAIDMAX cases. They're cheaply made and overly pricey. For $55 (counting shipping), you can find some good cases with great deals. Some ones to check are the Antec 300 Illusion, Coolermaster Centurion 5 and Coolermaster 690. Any of these are high quality and keep.

By the way, bojo, you can't SLI ATI cards. Using two ATI cards is Crossfire. SLI is for nVidia. It's basically the same thing, but SLI requires some special conditions.
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August 26, 2010 5:46:14 PM

I'd say $140 for an AM3 without USB 3/SATA III is a fairly high price. Most boards with similar features are closer to $100-125. Also, considering there are cheaper boards with USB 3/SATA III with comparable quality, it's a touch overpriced.
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August 26, 2010 5:56:08 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I'd say $140 for an AM3 without USB 3/SATA III is a fairly high price. Most boards with similar features are closer to $100-125. Also, considering there are cheaper boards with USB 3/SATA III with comparable quality, it's a touch overpriced.

Most of the cheaper crossfire motherboards are x8/x8. The cheapest x16/x16 crossfire I found was $140. In any case if you want an AMD CPU and SLI you have very few options and that motherboard is a decent choice.
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August 26, 2010 5:59:03 PM

Did not notice the 16x/16x. I kind of just read over that...

However, considering that it's only a 2-3% performance loss, I don't consider 16x/16x that much of a benefit.

I definitely think that's llikely the best choice for a SLI AMD board.
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August 27, 2010 1:51:16 AM

I am going to overclock my cards, and I've read that the 460 can overclock to beat a 5850. So I will save money there. Looks like the SLI / AMD boards arent that bad. Plus the better SLI scaling makes for an easy decision. However, what case to get that provides lots of airflow AND good price?
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August 27, 2010 2:49:05 AM

It can OC to beat a 5850 at stock, not an overclocked one. The 5850 can overclock just as well as the 460, and starts out more powerful. That means the 5850 will be powerful than the 460 once both are overclocked.

The other problem with the 460 is that while it's great in SLI, if you go with AMD, you'll essentially be forced to buy a lower quality board that doesn't have very many features. That makes the getting the 460 less future proof and more expensive.

In addition, the 5850 in CF will perform basically the same as the 460 SLI, but be better as a single card. Considering that there are better deals with the 5850 right now (combos are awesome) and the 5850 is almost a year older than the 460, you'll be able to get the same power for less over time. The current deals will allow you to get better performance for the price right now. When the card isn't handling the new games as well as you'd like, the additional age of the 5850 will make upgrading cheaper. Overall, you'll get better current performance for roughly the same price and get you the same performance for less later. That's an easy decision, especially considering that you'll be getting an AMD CPU.

The case I posted above is a good. As is the Antec 300 Illusion, Antec 900 (or 902), Coolermaster Centurion 5, Coolermaster 690, and the HAF 922. Those are pretty much the best cases right there.
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August 27, 2010 12:37:51 PM

a 5850 is noticably more expensive than a 460 though.

the least expensive 5850 is $289.99, the least expensive 460 1GB is $219
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August 27, 2010 1:26:22 PM

True, but the 5850 comes in usually in some great combos. I know it typically has a $30-40 combo with XFX PSUs. That significantly lowers it's cost.

I'm not saying it isn't more right now (it is), but it's also more powerful as a single card. So it makes sense to pay more to get more. What I'm saying is that due to the fact is almost a year older than the 460 will make it cheaper sooner. In other words, when you go to add the second GPU, the 5850 will definitely be cheaper.

I also wouldn't count on the 5850 being at $290 for long. Earlier this week (and last week) it was down to $255 (excluding combos). That was an amazing price. Given that the 6xxx series is coming out soon, it should be seeing a modest price drop soon.
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August 27, 2010 1:44:46 PM

I also found a pretty sweet deal on a 945 and I was wondering if that would bottlneck my system. Would it be fast enough to keep up with SLI'D 460s or Crossfired 5850's?
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August 27, 2010 1:51:33 PM

It should be just fine, especially if you do some overclcocking.
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August 28, 2010 12:41:09 AM

I'm looking for a great case too. It can't be expensive. Like......70 bucks max. Needs good airflow, and cool desgin.
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August 28, 2010 12:51:07 AM

I would recommend the lancool pc-k62. It runs $100 retail, but you can usually find it with some sort of combo. @$100 there are probably a few equal/better cases, but with a 30-50 dollar discount, it's pretty unbeatable (imo).

Currently, it's comboed with both the XFX 650w ($170) and 750w PSU's ($190)

650: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

750: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Seeing how you are planning to SLI and o/c, I would probably step up to the 750. You can probably slip by with 460's on 650, but if you go 5850's, you'll probably need 750 anyways.

Also, the XFX 750 is better quality than the 650. They are not built off of the same underlying design.
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August 28, 2010 1:07:30 AM

That's a good one. Other goods one are the Antec 300 Illusion, Coolermaster Centurion 5 and Coolermaster 690 (this one might be over budget though).
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August 28, 2010 3:30:28 AM

I know the M59 is decent, but I tend to stay away from NZXT altogether. I find that a lot of their cases are cheaply made and flimsy. In addition, they're special features (like temperature sensors) don't typically work correctly and actually end up distracting from an otherwise decent case.
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August 28, 2010 4:23:04 AM

for an inexpensive case, a lot of people like Newegg's house brand, Rosewill. The Destroyer and Challenger are decent $40 and $45 cases with good cooling.
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August 28, 2010 2:00:46 PM

NeoElemental said:
Also, the XFX 750 is better quality than the 650. They are not built off of the same underlying design.


Missed this earlier. This might be true (not 100% sure), but they're both very high quality. Also, this statement is fairly true for every line of PSUs. Higher wattage units are higher quality practically by definition. I wouldn't worry about it.


The Rosewills are alright as budget options. There's also the Coolermaster Elite down in the $40ish range as well.

That said, the Antec 300 (regular or Illusion) would be best choice for a low budget option.
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August 28, 2010 10:40:54 PM

Barely. OCZ PSUs aren't that high of quality though, so it'd be close if you overclock and add extra devices.

Just to make sure you understand what you're losing with 460s...

You do know that you'll be spending around $20-50 more for the motherboard to support SLI, right? In addition to that, you'll be losing USB 3/SATA III support, so in a year or so when devices using these standards are prevalent, you won't be able to use them to their fullest extent.

Also, I don't know if you're planning on starting with dual 460s. If you are, that's not a great idea. You won't have any upgrade path and you'll have spent more over the lifetime of the build for less power than if you went with a single, more power, more expensive card. For example, for less than the cost of dual 460s (about $460), you can get a single 5870 ($370 w/o deals). The 5870 is powerful enough to play every game out right now at 1080p with max details, so you won't notice a power loss. In three to four years, when the 5870 is no longer able to play everything at max, you'll be able to drop in a second one for likely less than $200 (I'm guessing $150).

If you got dual 460s now, about this time (three to four years out), you'll need some more GPU power. Since you don't have an upgrade path for the cards, you'd be looking at a big new GPU. It'll likely cost you another $400+. So the total you'll have spent on GPUs in the four years would be almost $900. The dual 5870s would be roughly the same power as the new GPU, and would have only cost about $600 over the four years.

Of course, that's assuming you'll even be able to put a newer GPU in your older build at that point. You could get unlucky and have to do a complete rebuild to get a GPU upgrade...
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August 29, 2010 1:12:37 AM

Or, Admiral, he might be like me and just build a nice new PC every 2-3 years from scratch anyway.
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August 29, 2010 2:51:00 AM

And that's fine. I'm not here to tell people how to spend their money, I'm just here to present all the facts.
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