Sub-500 Dollar Gaming Rig Overhaul, Requesting Confirmation

Hello all! With all of the new games like BF3 and Elder Scrolls V coming out that practically require quad core processors, my 3 year old system is starting to show her age. The time has come for a total overhaul, Enterprise-B style. Replacing everything but the monitor, drives and case she'll basically be a new machine. What I have here is the parts list I've arrived at after a few days of review reading and looking up terms on wikipedia as well as this site. I feel pretty confident, but I want to have the thumbs up from the pros first, as this will be my first truly solo build.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=16843065

Anything wrong here? I'm pretty sure this is the biggest bang for my broke college student buck, and free of any compatability issues, but again, I just want to be sure! Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Edit: Replaced bad links.
35 answers Last reply
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  1. Would you go the intel sandy bridge way. if yes then here's a build:

    CPU & Motherboard: $262- i5 2400 & Biostar H67 (Great processor for gaming )

    RAM : $32- GSkill NS 2x 2GB

    Power Supply : $55- AntecNeo ECo 520

    Graphic Card: $175- Sapphire Radeon 6870

    Total: 524 USD

    Review 6870 : http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-radeon-hd-6870-review/

    Review i5 2400: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i5-2500-2400-2300.html
  2. Looks good, but my AMD/nVidia CPU & GPU have never let me down before, so I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't switch for now. From what I have read, AMD and nVidia tends to be the leader in the lower price ranges anyway, while Intel and Radeon are the bleeding edge top shelf stuff. That $500 mark is the hard cap for me, unless I use a bit of my student loan, which is something I'd like to avoid.
  3. Armchair-Warrior said:
    Looks good, but my AMD/nVidia CPU & GPU have never let me down before, so I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't switch for now. From what I have read, AMD and nVidia tends to be the leader in the lower price ranges anyway, while Intel and Radeon are the bleeding edge top shelf stuff. That $500 mark is the hard cap for me, unless I use a bit of my student loan, which is something I'd like to avoid.


    True AMD are preferrred at lower end but at this budget you can get an intel one which will perform better than AMD counterparts .
    Proof: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/diy-gaming-pc,2970-8.html
    The June PC had Intel i3-2100 wheras the March one were AMD counterparts.
    Since $500 is your hard cap, consider this altered one :
    $200-i3-2100 & Biostar TH67+.Save $60. That will bring it below $500 mark.

    IF you can sacrifice USB 3.0 support & SATA 6GB/s port. Here's a much cheaper one :
    $175- i3-2100 & Biostar H61. Save $25 More.
  4. At the first wishlist posted. The GTX 460 at around the same price is a much better card than the 550. As he already suggested the 6850/6870 is a nice alternative in the price range but for the love of god forget about the 550.

    The 550 like the 450 before it only has 192 stream processors while the 460 has 336. The 460's are getting harder to get but the 1Gb will run you a tiny bit more than the 768. But either way the 550 will be a disappointment unless you playing counterstrike lol.
  5. I never realized I could get away with a PSU under 600w. I'd keep my 530, but it's made by Raidmax and randomly causes the system to restart or shutdown.

    If I can get a cheaper psu, then I can spring the extra for the 460 gtx, which was my original choice. I picked something lesser GPU to shave costs. Besides, anything would be an upgrade from my 9600 GT 512mb.
  6. ^ Wait what?
    The 460 performs less than the 6850 and the 6870. The 6870 performs less than the 560 Ti by quite a bit.
  7. aznshinobi said:
    ^ Wait what?
    The 460 performs less than the 6850 and the 6870. The 6870 performs less than the 560 Ti by quite a bit.



    He said he prefered to stay nVidia. So I just responded to his original selection of the 550 Ti which being the same price as the GTX 460's in general is not a good choice. The 6870 is cheaper than the 560 regular by a few bucks, the 560 clocking higher than the 460 is its main advantage unless you pop for the Ti and get 48 extra stream processors. But if he doesnt want to go AMD graphics we can mention it all day he wont bite.

    The 560 Ti is only an option like above if you dumb down the cost of everything else since it does run 230+. The regular 560 is a nice compromise but I think for anyone who can spare 40 bucks its retarted not to get. Budgets rule though.
  8. Well I found a cheaper PSU.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371047&cm_re=520w-_-17-371-047-_-Product
    10% off, also you could drop the ram to cheapo no heatsink ram like z_4 suggested.
  9. OK, re-did the list. I compared the stats of the cards I was looking at, and decided to go with the 6870. Went for a cheaper PSU, and went for the cheaper RAM as suggested. By $500 being the most I can do, I mean the most, even with rebates.


    Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - $99.99

    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX - $119.99

    GPU: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $174.99

    PSU: Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $69.99

    RAM: G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS - $31.99

    Subtotal: $496.95 :sol:

    Yes? No? GTFO you moron?
  10. aznshinobi said:
    ^ Wait what?
    The 460 performs less than the 6850 and the 6870. The 6870 performs less than the 560 Ti by quite a bit.

    The HD 6850 and GTX 460 are equal in performance. The 560 Ti costs more than the 6870. He'll probably check the costs but it should be mentioned.

    That motherboard is horrible, it's x16/x4.

    Why not get an i3 based system? The i3-2100 is faster than any AMD cpu for gaming.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.675362
  11. I never plan on doing a crossfire configuration, so wouldn't just the one x16 slot be ok? I've read that the i3 can't be overclocked, any truth to that? Also, I'm looking to upgrade to a quad-core while the i3-2100 is a duo...
  12. You can't overclock it but the i3-2100 beats all AMD chips in gaming performance.

    Here's the i3-2100 vs. Phenom II 980BE (a much faster chip than what you selected):
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/362?vs=289

    Look towards the bottom for games. From these figures you'll need to hit ~4ghz with a Phenom II to reach the performance of the i3. Basically you need to overclock a Phenom II to it's maximum (air) to get the same performance of an i3. Not to mention the i3 consumes about half as much power before the Phenom II is overclocked. Factor in the cost of an aftermarket cooler and it's clear Intel is a much better choice for gaming.
  13. one weakness of the i3-2100, the OP wants to use Elder Scrolls V and other games that are optimized for quad core processors. i3-2100 is a Dual Core, so will be hampered in quad-optimized games
  14. The i5-2400 looks fantastic, but it's more than a third of my budget right off the bat... The data is clear that intel is greased lightning, but I just simply can't afford it. As Screwy says, I'm preparing for games like Elder Scrolls and BF3, and hope to run them at medium to high settings... dunno if that's even possible with my budget, but that's the dream.

    Is there anything glaringly wrong with the motherboard I selected other than not being able to do crossfire? Because that's not a deal breaker for me.
  15. ScrewySqrl said:
    one weakness of the i3-2100, the OP wants to use Elder Scrolls V and other games that are optimized for quad core processors. i3-2100 is a Dual Core, so will be hampered in quad-optimized games

    No, the i3-2100 is much better for CPU dependent games (and Oblivion was not coded for quad cores) than any AMD processor.



    Notice how the i3 is faster than all of the AMD chips in highly CPU dependent games such as SC II and Dragon Ages.

    Armchair-Warrior said:
    The i5-2400 looks fantastic, but it's almost half of my budget right off the bat... The data is clear that intel is greased lightning, but I just simply can't afford it. As Screwy says, I'm preparing for games like Elder Scrolls and BF3, and hope to run them at medium to high settings... dunno if that's even possible with my budget, but that's the dream.

    Is there anything glaringly wrong with the motherboard I selected other than not being able to do crossfire? Because that's not a deal breaker for me.

    The i3-2100 is faster than any AMD processor and costs the same as the 955 BE.
  16. a 2400 can be picked up cheaper at a microcenter for $149.99, in-store only if you have one near you, at that price, you can probly squeeze it into your $500 budget

    ASROCK H61M-VS Mobo: $60
    intel i5-2400: $150
    Mushkin 4 GB DDR3-1333: $30
    Seagate 500 GB HDD: $40
    HEC Blitz Black steel: $40
    Rosewill 120mm fan: $6
    EVGA GTX 460 1 GB: $160
    Xigmatek 400W 80+ Bronze PSU: $35

    $521 before any rebates
  17. No.... at stock. The 6850 is better, fully OC'd the 460 is better.
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/37286-amd-radeon-hd-6870-hd-6850-review-26.html
    It may just be by 4% but I'm just saying, it is better. But after overclocks the 460 beats out the 6850 by a little bit.

    Well currently, the 955 costs $15 less than the i3 2100. Standard MSRP it should be $10 below the i3 2100's cost. The 955 on newegg is currently being discounted w/ a code.
  18. aznshinobi said:
    No.... at stock. The 6850 is better, fully OC'd the 460 is better.
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/37286-amd-radeon-hd-6870-hd-6850-review-26.html
    It may just be by 4% but I'm just saying, it is better. But after overclocks the 460 beats out the 6850 by a little bit.

    Well currently, the 955 costs $15 less than the i3 2100. Standard MSRP it should be $10 below the i3 2100's cost.
    The 955 on newegg is currently being discounted w/ a code.

    Not really. For the most relevant test, 1920x1080 with 4x AA the 460 1GB is 5% faster. Unless you're trying to suggest he uses these cards at 2560x1600 the 460 is clearly just as fast or faster (in this benchmark).

    The i3 is much faster for a little more and you don't need an AM3+ board to get a significant upgrade. It also consumes much less power and therefore produces less heat.
  19. Quite curious as to why you turn everything into an argument.
    I just was stating the price of the 955. Though if that statement was meant to be you saying the i3 2100 should be the purchase, that's fine by me.

    Alright, then they are equal.
  20. aznshinobi said:
    Quite curious as to why you turn everything into an argument.
    I just was stating the price of the 955. Though if that statement was meant to be you saying the i3 2100 should be the purchase, that's fine by me.

    Alright, then they are equal.

    I'm just correcting the misinformation in this post. If users didn't post bad information in the first place I wouldn't have to correct them.

    Why are you stating the price of a terrible recommendation? Again, stop offering bad information in the first place.
  21. Alright Browsing, start the flame war.

    I still think the 955 is a valid option, the quad in reality makes it a better multi-tasker, JUST IMO. And while the i3 2100 wins out in benchmarks, I think in reality they perform quite the same, especially after the 955 is OC'd which OP may or may not (I think he is).
    Don't even start those statements into an argument. Those are my opinions.
  22. aznshinobi said:
    Alright Browsing, start the flame war.

    I still think the 955 is a valid option, the quad in reality makes it a better multi-tasker, JUST IMO. And while the i3 2100 wins out in benchmarks, I think in reality they perform quite the same, especially after the 955 is OC'd which OP may or may not (I think he is).
    Don't even start those statements into an argument. Those are my opinions.

    You offer such terrible advice. Yes the 955 is better at multi-threaded applications but the i3-2100 is hyper-threaded and certainly not slow for basic multi-tasking.

    If he's going to overclock you should also mention the extra cost of a CPU cooler as well as the additional power draw and heat production. Not to mention that it's already been shown in the above benchmark that the Phenom II at 3.7ghz will still be slower than the i3-2100 in games.

    Your opinions and suggestions are terrible.
  23. again, I just pointed out a $521 i5-2400 build, which beats the 955 AND the i3-2100, so why not just do that instead?
  24. That's in store and he might not be in CA.
  25. The 955 can easily clock to 3.7ghz with the stock cooler. I've done so myself. The stock cooler isn't a piece of crap that everyone thinks of. IMO they're better than the Intel stock coolers by a margin.

    Also, the most important game should be BC2 for OPs case.
    http://techreport.com/articles.x/20188/7
    Now you're probably going to argue that that evidence is invalid in some way.
    But if BC2 repeats (BF3), then the 955 would be a better option. OC'd of course.
  26. It shows that the OCed 955 (3.7ghz) would perform the same as the i3-2100 in BF2 which isn't even CPU dependent.

    It's still sucking more power and producing more heat and maybe the OP might play a Diablo 3 and other new games that come out which will probably be CPU dependent.

    Does the OP want to go through the hassle of overclocking on a stock cooler just to match the performance of the i3-2100 in one game?
  27. BF2 is very difference from BC2.
    The overclock would help for many other apps. But OPs choice.
  28. Because you know, overclocking makes your web browsing and youtube faster....

    Unless he's encoding the i3-2100 is easily the better choice.
  29. I was indeed planning on overclocking the 955, especially if you can indeed hit 3.7ghz with the stock fan and a glob of arctic silver. I currently play a lot of Bad Company 2, and am looking forward to 3. Whether the i3 is faster than not it may be irrelevant. In the all the threads I've read about estimated specs for BF3 agree that at quad core is mandatory for anything other than minimum settings, AMD or Intel. Now, I may drawn and quartered for being a newbie and simply going for 'MOAR COREZ!', but I really think it will be a better value in the long-run.

    As for the i5, there are only 2 of those stores in NY state and both are too far away. Until a price drop, an intel build doesn't really seem like an option. By my budget being $500, I mean that is the most I can put down period, rebate or not, unfortunately.

    As far as 460 vs. the 6870, this article was interesting.


    It's a tough choice... out of the box, the 6870 seems to be the leader as stated (and according to hardware compare) , but to overclock it the above article says I would apparently need to buy a better cooling system, which would put me over budget.


    Also, I've noticed you guys posting smaller PSU's... Was I going overkill with the 620w? Can a smaller supply really run the list I last posted? My current PSU is a 530w, and my machine occasionally restarts or powers down without warning. Then again it was a with-case unit from Raidmax, so that may very well be the problem, but I'm still a little doubtful.
  30. Raidmax is a low-quality unit. Not a horriffic fireworks display liek Diablotek can be, but not top notch.

    The best brands are Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic, XFX, and Silverstone. OCZ and Xigmatek are right near them as well.

    for a single card in the sizes you are considering, a high quality 500-550W PSU is all you need. If you were going to step down from a 6870 to a 6850 or GTS 550, you could even go as low as an Antec 380W unit. You can see from my signature, I have an i5-2400, a HD6850, and a 430W 80+ unit.
  31. ^+1 completely agree.

    My 955 runs BC2 really well with my 5850. You should see no problems if you went 6870 + 955.
  32. Your motherboard plus CPU costs $220. The i3-2100 + H61 combo I linked costs $175.

    So you're going to pay $45 more for lesser performance. Such failure I don't know where to begin.

    For $245 you can get an i5-2400 + LGA1155 motherboard which will destroy any AMD setup overclocked or not, on air or water.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115074
    (promo code)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157241

    AMD for gaming is just utter fail.
  33. Berating people is a great way to have them listen to you.
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