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Gaming Build From the Ground Up - $750

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December 19, 2010 12:45:55 AM

I just recently finished up college and now, with my job, I have the flexibility to do some gaming again. When I did have time, I was gaming on a 5 year old laptop, with all the settings set on low (So anything right now will be a huge improvement). I would like to treat myself to a new system but I literally have nothing but a mouse to carry over to my new build. I'm not trying to break the bank, as I do have student loans that I am paying back. I'm just looking for something to get my at or close to Ultra settings with around 60 FPS in the games listed below (SC2, WoW, CoD). If I don't get to Ultra Settings with this build, I don't have too much of a problem turning down some settings. I do plan to overclock this build and get the most out of it.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-4 Weeks


Budget Range: $750 +/- $50

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (SC2, WoW, CoD, and DIII [Future])


Parts Not Required: Mouse


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No Preference


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: None


Overclocking: Yes


SLI or Crossfire: No


Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 or 1920x1080


Here is a build that I made up after reading the $500 Build Marathon Article:

Case and PSU: $49.98 - Rosewill R218-P-BK Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case and Rosewill RD400-2-DB 400W ATX V2.2 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU: $75.99 - AMD Phenom II X3 715 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: $19.99 - Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: $59.99 - ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: $179.99 - GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: $49.99 - CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: $42.99 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optic Drive: $16.99 - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: $149.99 - ASUS VH222H-P Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Speakers: $19.99 - ALTEC LANSING BXR1220 2.0 Speaker System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard: $6.99 - LITE-ON SK-1788/BS 2-Tone PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: $99.99 - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $772.87


If anyone could provide some input, I would greatly appreciate it.
December 19, 2010 5:51:19 AM

I have no issue with any of these items. I do worry about that motherboard brand. I don't belive it's a good one for overclocking. Maybe look at a gigabyte or ASUS board. Anyone else have an opinion on that? Otherwise Very solid list you should feel comfortable in ordering it. I prefer Intel but AMD works great when on a budget. I have 2 of those asus monitors and they are the best I've ever had. Amazing clarity and color. Your gonna like it.

I do have one suggestion. Most games don't benifit above 2-3 gigs of ram. Becuse they are still 32 bit programs. So you could cut your ram down to 2 gigs and put the saving towords a quad core instead of a triple core. I looked and found some 3.0ghz for 88-99$ a 2 gig kit of ram should run you 25$
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December 19, 2010 1:02:26 PM

Thanks for responding thlillyr. I do have my doubts about the ASRock Mobo as well, but it fits nicely in the budget. Do you have any ASUS or Gigabyte motherboards in mind? I've found:

ASUS M4A78LT-M AM3 AMD 760G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard: $65.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

They seem to be very reasonable motherboards. They are both Micro ATX, but I don't think that is going to be a big deal.

I would like to upgrade the CPU to a Phenom II X4-955, but I don't think its possible to squeeze it in there with everything I need to purchase. I'm trying to avoid the Athlon II Series just because of its lack of the L3 Cache. Blizzard games seem to take advantage of CPU's with it. If I do manage to squeeze a Phenom X4-955 into the budget, do you think I'll need to upgrade my PSU from 400W to 500W? I know right now 400W is really cutting it close.

Also, dropping from 4-gigs to 2-gigs, will I seem a performance slow down, especially with Windows 7 running in the background? I am currently using Windows XP and I know that if you were running just a 1-gig (Like I was for the longest time), there was a huge bottleneck.

Again, thanks for your help!



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December 19, 2010 2:21:33 PM

ok: don't get the rosewill PSU. Their green series as ok reviews, but everything else is cheaply made and risk exploding on you.

AS Rock is a solid motherboard company. If you're worried about overclock, pay $15 more for the 770 Extreme 3, or get an 870 instead.


There is an Acer 21.5" 1080p monitor on sale for $120 thru Dec 20 (tomorrow)


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a b B Homebuilt system
December 19, 2010 2:29:09 PM

Make sure your MB is SLI capable, and you can always add a 2nd 460 in SLI later for some huge framerate gains.....I'd opt for a quality larger PSU with this in mind..

THink Antec or OCZ, or, someone you've heard of before....
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December 19, 2010 9:24:02 PM

amd boards and sli tends to mean generation old tech.

if you plan on a multi-gpu solution, stick with AMD gpu (6850)
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December 19, 2010 11:24:54 PM

SLI or CF would be nice but if I were to future-proof my build for that I'd probably need to up the PSU, not to mention get a CF or SLI Motherboard. Do you think a Phenom X3 would bottleneck a future CF if I did go that route with an HD 6850?

I'm open to any suggestions on the build, I'm just trying to keep it somewhere around $750. Are there some things you would suggest I replace with cheaper parts to get a better PSU and Crossfire capable motherboard? Anyone see the possibility of getting a Phenom X4 955 in this build with this price?
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December 20, 2010 11:32:54 AM

Theres a $120 GTX 460 after MIR with 768mb.
768mb is worse than the 1gb by about 3%.
As in, instead of 33 fps you get 34 fps...
Not sure if thats worth the $60 on a low budget build.

Apart from PSU rest is okay.
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December 20, 2010 12:35:00 PM

the Phenom X3 overclocked to 3.5-3.8 GHz will not hinder a 6850 Crossfire. a 600-650W PSU is enough to handle that same crossfire.
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December 20, 2010 3:44:16 PM

The performance jump from1-2gigs is definitly huge but the increse of 4gigs of 2gigs is very minor. Its is benificial to have 4 cause many games have memory leaks that tend to fill up you ram. IE crysis and spore are notable ones. But it's not going to effect your speed of the system or framerates. I have windows 7 ultimate and ran with 2 gigs for a long time and had no issue. I changed to 4 it wasn't enough for photoshop programs.

I've some more to say but my wife is really getting on my back to do some errands so i'll comment in detail tonight

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December 21, 2010 2:14:52 PM

Thank you for the help everyone. If I can save a few bucks going with 2 gigs and not see a performance slow down, then I will definitely head that route.

Quick question on the X3 710. I know that Toms reccommends at least an three cores for new gaming rigs, but I was wondering if it would be wise to go with an X2 555, since they are more likely to achieve a higher clock speed than an X3 710 when overclocked (This is just based on what I have seen on the reports people give on their OC'd X3 710 vs OC'd X2 555). I could also always hope for an unlockable/stable core or two in the X2 and I know the same is true for the X3. Does anything think its worth the gamble or should I just stick to the X3 710 and hope I get about a 3.2+/- ghz or so OC'd out of it?
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December 21, 2010 2:36:26 PM

if you want 3 cores, get 3 cores. At *best* its a coin flip to get extra cores out of an X2 into an X3, or get a 4th core out of an X3.
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December 21, 2010 2:47:56 PM

Stick with the X3 and go with the mobo you have. I put that same mobo in my dads computer and it has a OC tuner built in that works wonderfully.
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December 22, 2010 3:08:38 AM

I agree the reason those cores are locked is becuse they are deemed defective by the manufactuer. I say get the 3 core. It's more performance than dual and garenteed reliable. EVEN if you can't over clock it as fast as a dual core it's still faster. Think you overclocked a 3 core by 20% but a dual by 25%. Sounds like the dual is better right? Think of it this way. You have 3 core incressed by 20% each. Giving a combined incress of 60% But the dual is only combined incress by 50%. Now it doesn't work quite like that but thats just to show thay youv'e incress the speed of 3 individual cores instead of 2 and we all know that more is better.

After looking closely at that board it does look like a comprable bored to gigabyte and asus models. I think it's a fine choice for you bugjet limits.
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December 25, 2010 3:35:54 PM

Drewtech,

Thanks for the catch on that. Quick question though (I know I have a lot of those :wahoo:  ). I know there is like a 5% decrease in performance when you forgo the L3 Cache, but do you feel switching to the Athlon II over the Phenom II is a better choice financially? What about performance wise? Is it even worth noting on such similar chips?

Thanks again everyone. Y'all have been a huge help.
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December 25, 2010 5:13:13 PM

ldfordha said:
Drewtech,

Thanks for the catch on that. Quick question though (I know I have a lot of those :wahoo:  ). I know there is like a 5% decrease in performance when you forgo the L3 Cache, but do you feel switching to the Athlon II over the Phenom II is a better choice financially? What about performance wise? Is it even worth noting on such similar chips?

Thanks again everyone. Y'all have been a huge help.


Here are AMD cpu results from WoW.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcraft-c...

A Phenom II X3 is needed to get the most fps out of WoW. The athlon II x4 gives about 44 fps and the phenom II x6(with only two cores enabled) gives 41 fps.

As for unlocking I do believe that unlocking the cores on a Phenom has a higher chance than unlocking the cache on an athlon. I think it's above a 50% chance.

Btw, I have an X2 550 unlocked to an X4 B50 :) . If it was me I would get the Phenom, but I might be biased because mine unlocked successfully :D 
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December 25, 2010 5:22:01 PM

50% chance to unlock 1 core tends to be the right way to look at it.
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