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First Build Advice -- i3 2100 Gaming Rig

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March 5, 2011 10:41:04 PM

Hey guys,

So, I am looking to put together a budget micro-atx gaming rig to replace my 2.5yo Dell, ideally on the new Sandy Bridge chipset. I'm trying to stay in the $600 range, but the cheaper the better. I am also shooting to make it fairly discrete (smaller tower and quiet fans), and I am not looking to overclock. This is my first build, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

*I already have 2 HDDs(Caviar Blues)/DVD Drive/Windows 7*

Case: Cool Master Elite 341

CPU: Intel i3-2100

Mobo: Biostar TH67+...but this may change as more boards come out with the fix.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (

GPU: GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

PCU: CORSAIR Builder Series CMPSU-500CX 500W ATX12V v2.3 Active PFC Power Supply

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler

Fans: Scythe S-FLEX SFF21E 120mm Case Fan (x2)

Thanks for your help! :D 








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a b 4 Gaming
March 5, 2011 11:27:39 PM

I like where you're going with this.

What resolution do you game on? Any particular games you're interested in?
We probably want to size the video card for that.

Your case and fan combined cost is $75. It might be a good idea to look at alternatives in that price range.

And i think you want to use DDR3 1333 RAM, but I also think 4GB is plenty especially starting out. Add more later, if/when you need it.

If you're going to stick with the HD 5670 you can drop the PSU size down to 400W, unless you're also thinking of a future GPU upgrade.

THG: Who's Got Game? Twelve Sub-$200 CPUs Compared
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March 5, 2011 11:34:45 PM

Best answer selected by Nerdmo.
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March 5, 2011 11:43:34 PM

WR2 said:
I like where you're going with this.

What resolution do you game on? Any particular games you're interested in?
We probably want to size the video card for that.

Your case and fan combined cost is $75. It might be a good idea to look at alternatives in that price range.

And i think you want to use DDR3 1333 RAM, but I also think 4GB is plenty especially starting out. Add more later, if/when you need it.

If you're going to stick with the HD 5670 you can drop the PSU size down to 400W, unless you're also thinking of a future GPU upgrade.

THG: Who's Got Game? Twelve Sub-$200 CPUs Compared


Thanks for the advice! Ya I guess a different case might be a better choice...but I had a hard time finding cases that were the right dimensions (IE were small, but fit all my elements.)

I game on an old 23' Apple Cinema Display...which I think caps out at 1920X1080res...ideally, I want to be able to play whatever games I can throw at it -- I play a lot the "lastest and greatest" FPSes...will that card handle that?

If you are thinking the 2120 is a better choice, would bumping to the i5 2400 give a big enough boost to justify the add'l cost?

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March 5, 2011 11:47:23 PM

Also, if I'm dropping down on wattage, is there a cheap 400W PSU that you would recommend?
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a b 4 Gaming
March 6, 2011 12:01:14 AM

I like that Corsair 400CX (which happens to be out of stock at the moment).
But that overall $45 a/r rebate cost of the 500CX is a great value too.

Yeah, that 1920x1080 resolution is going to be a challenge for a HD 5670 to play all out.
This THG article mention the best cards in different price ranges - and the type of support they give to different resolution monitors:
Best Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For $80 Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2011 example:
Best Card For $80 Radeon: HD 5670 = Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
Best Card For Card For ~$130: Radeon HD 5770 1 GB = Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
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a b 4 Gaming
March 6, 2011 12:07:37 AM

i3 2100 3.1Ghz $130 / i3 2120 3.3Ghz $150 / i5-2300 2.8Ghz $285 / i5 2400 3.1Ghz $195

CPU upgrade vs GPU upgrade: Everyone loves the quad core CPUs of course. But with a 1920x1080 monitor I think you'd get more enjoyment out of your system with a GPU upgrade.
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March 13, 2011 8:17:53 AM

I'm building a system similar to yours.

My build comes to $545 plus $80 for Windows 7 x64 home OEM. Could've saved $35 if I hadn't splurged on 8GB RAM.

For video, I'm using this Radeon 6850 for $145 (including a $10 gift card):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

not the latest, so perfectly matched for a budget system to the i3 2100 ($120 at newegg).

wouldn't even think of another $70 for the i5.

EDIT: didn't realize my Video was double yours. NM. Also, did you already order the RAM? THis is what I got...faster for a few dollars less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 13, 2011 6:44:25 PM

computron1446 said:
I'm building a system similar to yours.

My build comes to $545 plus $80 for Windows 7 x64 home OEM. Could've saved $35 if I hadn't splurged on 8GB RAM.

For video, I'm using this Radeon 6850 for $145 (including a $10 gift card):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

not the latest, so perfectly matched for a budget system to the i3 2100 ($120 at newegg).

wouldn't even think of another $70 for the i5.

EDIT: didn't realize my Video was double yours. NM. Also, did you already order the RAM? THis is what I got...faster for a few dollars less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Ya I'm acutally thinking of swapping out the 8gb for 4 and upgrading to a 6850 (though I am torn between the PowerColor and some of the overclocked models.)
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