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Building a budget desktop geared toward gaming

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July 18, 2011 2:36:13 PM

Hi, I am looking to build a budget desktop that is geared toward gaming.

My budget right now is around $500, but I could go over that limit if the performance will be greatly improved.

I will be using this computer for a long period of time (4 years +), so I am hoping for an either a build that can last me for a while (in terms of being able to play more and more system demanding game, doesn't have to be top-notch performance), or a build that I can easily upgrade and have good compatibility with many different parts that might be out in the future.
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Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))


Budget Range: ~500


System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming performance, computer upgrade ability, computer parts lifetime, super flashy graphic.


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none


Country of Origin: U.S


Parts Preferences: No idea, I do have something that I found, and possibly good options.


Overclocking: Maybe


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe


Monitor Resolution:1024x768 or higher is good enough

Additional Comments:

The main thing I am looking for is performance, top-notch graphic is good if I can, but I am more interested in able to run my games smoothly in decent graphic.

I know cpu + motherboard usually come together, currently I am not sure whether picking the i3-2100 or Athalon II x3 (or x4) And I am not sure about the motherboard.

For graphic card, I am thinking right now the HD 5850 would be my best bet.

Casing doesn't have to be flashy, anything sturdy and cheap will do (I'm not into looks)

Dvd drive I am not sure, do I need a top notch dvd drive? or any cheap one will do? I won't be doing much dvd burning or that sort of stuff, nor do I need super flashy ones.

Hard drive, as long as it doesn't slows down my game performance, it will be good. (500GB or less is okay)

Power supply, I am not sure how this works, I heard the more W you get (say 600) the better it is. But how exactly do they affect your performance? I know if they don't have enough W, you won't be able to add more component, but what if I don't need to add extra component, are the extra W gone wasted?

Ram I am looking for 3~4GB, it shouldn't be too hard to upgrade by myself though, so 2 GB or less is fine as well.

OS/monitor, I also need to get, but it's not considered in the budget, I am just looking to see anyone has a great deal.

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2011 4:45:11 PM

Here a build :

HDD & DVD Writer: $52- Seagate Barracuda 500GB & LiteOn

RAM: $32- GSkill NS 2X 2gb

PSU: $40- Antec Basiq 430D(Sufficient to power 6870)

GPU: $175- Sapphire Radeon 6870(More than enough)

Case: $30- Xigmatek Asguard II

Total (Excluding Rebates , CPU & Motherobard): 330 USD

If you plan to overclock look for AMD processors :
CPU: $120- AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE(has $10 off with promo)
Motherboard: $55- Biostar 880G

If you put gaming as top priority, and can sacrifice overclocking, look at this intel sandy bridge combo:
$175- i3-2100 & Biostar H61
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July 19, 2011 12:29:59 PM

Hi, thanks for the reply.

I am thinking of going with the i3-2100 % Biostar H61 combo, although that brings me A few questions.

Is overclocking really going to play a difference? I mean as, for the AMD Phenom II X4, if overclocked, will it give much better performance than i3-2100? Or does it varies with the game I want to play?


Also, I forgot to mention cooling system. I know there are different types of cooling systems out there, but I don't know which type is best at its job without damaging my computer. (I am planning to use this computer for a long while, upgrade or not) Any suggestion? Would the Antec Basiq 430D be sufficient to power the cooling system?

Thank you.
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July 19, 2011 12:39:32 PM

http://www.hardcoreware.net/amd-vs-intel-100-150-dollar...

Personally I feel that if you have good frame rates with a non clocked cpu and a good gpu, then there would be no need to overclock or want to overclock. Later on down the line you may have the need to, but then you can just upgrade your cpu.
Plus you can always oc your video card =).

But it depends on what you prefer, some people told me to go for amd x3 compared to the dual core sandybridge, but I found the results for the two were comparable in tests, and I want to build an Intel, because of the technology it has now.

Good luck.
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July 19, 2011 2:20:20 PM

K, thanks. I will go with the i3-2100 and mobo combo, since I don't really see the difference after 60 fps (Hence no need to overclock).

I still have question about the cooling system and power supply. If I don't get a cooling system, would that be fine? I sometimes run game all day (8 hrs+) without letting the computer reset, so cooling system is probably a must.

And if I do get a cooling system, upgrade to 4 GB ram, and maybe an wireless PSI adapter, would the antec provides enough power?

Thanks.
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July 19, 2011 2:57:03 PM

A good case with good airflow, and good fans should be good enough to keep your pc cool. I've read that the stock heatsyncs from the new intel chips are good, besides that you can look at extra fans for the case you want, ram fans or heat sync covers, etc.

As for the video card the other poster mentions, newegg says this: "500 Watt Power Supply is required."

I would say 600w would be good,
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a b 4 Gaming
July 19, 2011 4:16:30 PM

spillz1123 said:
A good case with good airflow, and good fans should be good enough to keep your pc cool. I've read that the stock heatsyncs from the new intel chips are good, besides that you can look at extra fans for the case you want, ram fans or heat sync covers, etc.

As for the video card the other poster mentions, newegg says this: "500 Watt Power Supply is required."

I would say 600w would be good,


Though 600 Watts is a great option. But believe me it will run well on 430 Watts power supply and even allow overclocking headroom for both CPU & GPU. Here's a link of System Builder Marathon for $500 PC. They ran i3 2100 & 6850 on 380 watts power supply and overclocked the GPU.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/diy-gaming-pc,2970-...

Another link on load power consumption of 6870:
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/10/22/at...
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July 20, 2011 1:39:29 AM

So the 430W is sufficient enough. That's good to know, thanks!

I guess I will just check out the computer first to see if it handles the heat well.


Last two question.
1. If I go with this build:
Spoiler

z_4 said:
Here a build :

HDD & DVD Writer: $52- Seagate Barracuda 500GB & LiteOn

RAM: $32- GSkill NS 2X 2gb

PSU: $40- Antec Basiq 430D(Sufficient to power 6870)

GPU: $175- Sapphire Radeon 6870(More than enough)

Case: $30- Xigmatek Asguard II

Total (Excluding Rebates , CPU & Motherobard): 330 USD

If you plan to overclock look for AMD processors :
CPU: $120- AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE(has $10 off with promo)
Motherboard: $55- Biostar 880G

If you put gaming as top priority, and can sacrifice overclocking, look at this intel sandy bridge combo:
$175- i3-2100 & Biostar H61


Would it be easy to upgrade? (Easy to upgrade as in, I can easily swap out cpu/motherboard/graphic card etc; without worrying much about compatibility.)

2. The difference between above build, and this is just the price, and shouldn't matter much on performance, right?


Thank you all for the troubles.
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July 20, 2011 10:27:00 PM

bump?
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July 21, 2011 1:00:56 PM

Best answer selected by wxyjac.
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