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Sub-$600 (gaming) build advice

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Last response: in Systems
April 17, 2011 4:12:14 PM

Alright, so it's been YEARS since I've considered a new build, and I'm no longer "up to date" on what's out there and what's available. Therefore, I turn this over to the experts - those reading, what are your thoughts on what I've been able to compile? I'm looking for something that I can play games on, CLOSE to max settings if I can't get there (I want it to be worth playing on instead of my PS3 or 360!), but also to hook up to my 42" HDTV to stream Netflix, watch movies, etc.

Approximate Purchase Date: Probably sometime in the early part of May, so 2-3 weeks.

Budget Range: As mentioned in the title, I'm hoping for $600 after rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, watching movies/streaming, surfing the Internet (though I've got an MBP that's two years old that works fine for that)

Parts Not Required: Mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (win7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I've listed below what I'm looking at, though I'm open to suggestions on all parts - this is just what I came up with based on prior knowledge and some research/comparison. I went with the i3 2100 after much deliberation and reading, I was originally looking at a Phenom II 955 (and still would if the savings are worth it!).

Overclocking: If necessary, yes

SLI or Crossfire: If necessary, yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I've included below what I was able to put together, as mentioned; this is by no means what I am expecting to be perfect, but it did fit within my budget.

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100

Motherboard: BIOSTAR TH67+ LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Video card: GIGABYTE GV-R577UD-1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

PSU: Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Optical drive:LG CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model GH22NP21 - OEM

I'm also planning on some Arctic Silver Thermal Compound.

So, am I on the right track? :) 

More about : 600 gaming build advice

April 17, 2011 8:18:21 PM

if I added right you are at about $447

Looks good to me. I do have one idea and a suggestion:

have you looked at the H61 MB's? you can save a little $
ASUS P8H61-M $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would upgrade your GPU to a GTX 460. Its a much faster card and its only $20 more.
MSI N460GTX Twin Frozr II SOC $150 (+$15 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or stretch your budget and get a 1 GB SOC version:
MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack $210 ($30 MIR) (only $50 more after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My rule is always get the fastest GPU you can afford!
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April 17, 2011 10:16:44 PM

Check out my siggy for the 450$ build. Swap the chip out for a i5 2400 and you get your budget up to 520$. But you save with this combo.
So basically you only add 50$ so your at 500$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

That leaves you with 100$ left that can be put into the GPU budget which was 70$ prior. Now you can get a GPU that 170$. I suggest making use of this.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
155$ AR. That leaves you with 15$ dollars to spare below your budget. You get a better CPU (quad-core instead of dual core) and a pretty solid GPU.

2500K vs 2100
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=288
The 2500K in benches is basically the 2400 just with a higher stock clock, you'd see similar results in an actual comparison so.. Not to big of a change.

Even though Jerredd is an SOC (Stock overclocked) card, you still can expect similar performance.

6850 vs 460
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/291?vs=313
@ stock 6850>460
Now when overclocked, the 6850 and 460 are basically on par.
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April 18, 2011 2:56:24 AM

I agree with both of them ^, ^^ that you would probably see a worthwhile improvement with a more powerful GPU. When looking at benchmarks, have in mind the specific game(s) you want to play. If they benefit from PhysX (very few do), you'll want a nVidia card. Otherwise, for the same price, ATI cards seem to be a little stronger in many games, but in the ones they're not (e.g. Civilization V), the difference may be considerable.
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April 18, 2011 2:59:47 AM

You should also consider going the AMD route, although intel may be superior in most cases, as AMD processors have a lot of bang for the buck. Also, you should consider the 550 ti
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April 18, 2011 3:02:17 AM

Dont see any mention of an aftermarket heatsink/fan What were your plans for your HS?

Also do you play any games that use nvidia's physx (unreal engine, metro2033)? if so the 460 might be a better choice even if its underpowered.

Quote:
What game engines support PhysX technology?
Unreal Engine 3, Gamebryo, Vision, Instinct, Trinigy, Diesel, Unity 3D, Hero, BigWorld.

What game publishers have licensed PhysX for their global studios?
EA, THQ, 2K Games, Sega and others.



(edit) id stay away from the 550 ti: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4221/nvidias-gtx-550-ti-c...
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April 18, 2011 3:16:13 AM

If gaming is your primary application you might want to work backwards. Instead of starting with a motherboard or cpu, choose the graphics card you need to get the fps you want and fit the other parts around it to meet your budget.

I think the 5770 is too weak for a build that is specifically for gaming at highest settings. It just won't cut it if that's truly the criteria. (I think today's medium settings look great and the emphasis on high and ultra high is a tech geek obsession but that's another story for a later day) I think the minimum you want is a 6870. If you can swing stepping up to a 6950 or gtx 560 ti you should do it. Such a card might consume half your budget but it will have the biggest impact on your gaming experience.

The CPU, once you achieve a certain threshold (3 ghz+, intel I3, or AMD Phenom II) isn't going to add significantly to your framerate.

You can save money by finding the best CPU motherboard combo that fits your remaining budget. AMD might be a viable option in your specific case letting you hit your budget target and step up a level in graphics cards (I'm pushing everyone toward Sandy Bridge at the moment but they are not as budget constrained and those are more general purpose computers). You'll need to start watching combo deals on Newegg. The deals change frequently so it's hard to be specific until you're ready to pull the trigger.
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April 18, 2011 5:54:27 PM

All - thanks for the advice thusfar! It seems like I may need to start with graphics and work my way back, as chriskrum suggested. I'm going to put something else together and see if it lines up with what I'm looking at, price-wise.
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April 18, 2011 7:59:20 PM

Best solution

April 18, 2011 8:14:56 PM

This is a i3 -2100 Sandy Bridge mini-ITX build (small = good for living room use) it will also be fast and quiet.

BYTECC 18" Sata and Slim Sata Power 7+6pin Cable, for Sata Slim OD Model SATA-XP118
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16812270183
$6.99

SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SN-S083F/BEBE - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827151221
$25.99

SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic / SECC Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811163171
$119.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822152181
$49.99

SPARKLE SXX460768D5UNM GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814187116
-$20.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$169.99
$149.99

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820146748
$39.99

ASUS P8H61-I (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16813131727
$84.99

Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100
Item #: N82E16819115078
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$124.99
------------
$602.92 +$30 Shipping and has $20 MIR


Upgrade GPU's: (these are all 9" or less cards (case requirement)):

PowerColor AX6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$180

MSI N460GTX CYCLONE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200 (+$15 MRI)

SPARKLE SX560T1024D5MH
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$230 + free shipping

The PSU can hold 400w on its 12 v rail, so it can handle most GPU's easily.
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April 29, 2011 1:50:06 PM

jerreddredd said:
This is a i3 -2100 Sandy Bridge mini-ITX build (small = good for living room use) it will also be fast and quiet.

BYTECC 18" Sata and Slim Sata Power 7+6pin Cable, for Sata Slim OD Model SATA-XP118
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16812270183
$6.99

SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SN-S083F/BEBE - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16827151221
$25.99

SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic / SECC Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16811163171
$119.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16822152181
$49.99

SPARKLE SXX460768D5UNM GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16814187116
-$20.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$169.99
$149.99

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16820146748
$39.99

ASUS P8H61-I (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Item #: N82E16813131727
$84.99

Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100
Item #: N82E16819115078
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$124.99
------------
$602.92 +$30 Shipping and has $20 MIR


Upgrade GPU's: (these are all 9" or less cards (case requirement)):

PowerColor AX6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$180

MSI N460GTX CYCLONE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200 (+$15 MRI)

SPARKLE SX560T1024D5MH
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$230 + free shipping

The PSU can hold 400w on its 12 v rail, so it can handle most GPU's easily.


jerreddredd, do you think this is something that would also play games WELL? I like that it's small and quiet, which is a bonus but not something I'm actively shooting for, but I also want it to play the games I want to play. it's going in a studio apartment so quiet is a plus.
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April 29, 2011 2:40:12 PM

ajohns41 said:
jerreddredd, do you think this is something that would also play games WELL? I like that it's small and quiet, which is a bonus but not something I'm actively shooting for, but I also want it to play the games I want to play. it's going in a studio apartment so quiet is a plus.


yes, the GTX 460-768Mb is a quite capable card. I included some other options for GPU upgrades. if you want to future proof it some, that 560 TI I listed is very fast. here are bench marks of cards listed (or similar)

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...


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April 30, 2011 6:28:07 AM

if the 5850 would fit in that ITX case I would have recommended it. :(  the case only accepts up to 9" GPU cards the Sapphire 5850 is 9.5". switching to a different case the 5850 would be my pick also.
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April 30, 2011 1:44:54 PM

Here's a thought 550.92$ AR
with only 6.77$ shipping




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April 30, 2011 2:02:26 PM

zooted said:
Here's a thought 550.92$ AR
with only 6.77$ shipping



Good deal. Game On!
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April 30, 2011 7:01:46 PM

True.
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June 14, 2012 7:25:08 PM

Best answer selected by ajohns41.
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