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Critique my small budget intel gaming build

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  • Intel
  • Systems
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August 6, 2011 10:42:32 PM

Here is my ~$400 rig hopefully to play Starcraft 2 and COD on medium graphics and have a decent lifespan. Let me know what you think! Any suggestions/critiques greatly appreciated.

CPU:
intel i3-2100
$100 at microcenter

MOBO:
H61MH LGA 1155 H61 mATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$20 after rebate and combo with CPU

GPU:
NVIDIA SuperClocked GeForce GT 240 512MB GDDR5
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$40 after rebate

Case:
Antec 300
$50 at microcenter

PSU:
Anetc 380w earthwatts
$40 at microcenter

Ram:
Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

HDD:
Seagate 500GB 7200rpm
$45 shipped at newegg

Optical Drive:
Samsung DC/DVD burner
$20 at newegg

Total:
$355

Some notes:

I had to choose between the above MOBO and a $5 more expensive (but maybe better) one; let me know what you think about this MOBO:
Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2P-B3 LGA 1155 H61 mATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.phtml?...

The ram seems overkill for this build, but I only save around $10 going to 4GB of slower ram (though I won't be able to use full speed of 1600MHz ram with the H61 MOBO)

I hope the PSU is beefy enough to maybe handle some future GPU updrades

The GT 240 runs SC2 great on medium graphics, but I'm not so sure about other more modern games

Please let me know what you think!
Thanks for your time!

More about : critique small budget intel gaming build

a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2011 11:02:25 PM

I personally would not buy or recommend a Biostar motherboard.

I would go with a better video card if I were you, at least a GTX460/HD6850.
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a c 85 B Homebuilt system
a b å Intel
August 6, 2011 11:21:36 PM

At that price, you are doing very well.

For gaming, the video card is all important.

When sandy bridge was launched, the integrated graphics was considered to be the power of a $50 graphics card.

I think you might want to try the integrated graphics first, and see how you do. It will give you a better idea of what you need, and you can add a discrete video card later.
Graphics card prices are still coming down, so there is little need to chase deals now.

The Antec 380 earthwatts is a fine psu. To allow for the possibility of a strong graphics card, you could use a bit more power.
You can get the Antec 430w at the egg for only $4 more:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 2100 will drive games very well and will power much stronger video cards.

You can get the Antec 300 illusion model for the same $50 after rebate with free shipping.
It includes two intake fans that the base model does not have:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 7, 2011 12:08:43 AM

Thanks for the replies :) 

@Geekapproved:
since you don't like the biostar motherboard, what do you think about the Gigabyte MOBO that I mentioned later in the post? Is it any higher quality? Also, my brother has a GTX 460 and it's amazing, but I don't have the budget for that right now, although I could upgrade later depending on the PSU I select.

@geofelt:
Maybe I will try the integrated graphics first, although I'm pretty sure that I need a dedicated graphics card. (There's a 6870 for $150 that's tempting me at the egg). I agree that it is smart to upgrade the PSU to allow for a stronger GPU later. On that note, if I ever wanted to upgrade to a GTX 460 or 6870, do you think the 430w PSU would suffice? Also, I had originally selected the Antec 300 Illusion, but it seems that it doesn't support a mATX MOBO.
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a c 85 B Homebuilt system
a b å Intel
August 7, 2011 4:54:10 AM

nestea said:
Thanks for the replies :) 

@Geekapproved:
since you don't like the biostar motherboard, what do you think about the Gigabyte MOBO that I mentioned later in the post? Is it any higher quality? Also, my brother has a GTX 460 and it's amazing, but I don't have the budget for that right now, although I could upgrade later depending on the PSU I select.

@geofelt:
Maybe I will try the integrated graphics first, although I'm pretty sure that I need a dedicated graphics card. (There's a 6870 for $150 that's tempting me at the egg). I agree that it is smart to upgrade the PSU to allow for a stronger GPU later. On that note, if I ever wanted to upgrade to a GTX 460 or 6870, do you think the 430w PSU would suffice? Also, I had originally selected the Antec 300 Illusion, but it seems that it doesn't support a mATX MOBO.


1) GTX560 needs 450w with 24a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.
A 6870 needs 500w with two 6-pin pci-e leads.
You might want a bit more psu if you are considering those cards.
Antec 620w high current gamer is a good deal at $50 after rebate :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It would be good enough for a GTX580.

2) You are right, Antec is silent on the m-ATX motherboard support on the 300 illusion model. I think that is an oversight in their documentation. The illusion model is a 300 with added fans. A call to Antec customer support should clear that up. Micro-atx mounting holes are a subset of a full ATX motherboard, and the rear panel is identical.
You should have no problem.
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August 7, 2011 6:45:49 AM

Nestea, I'll save you a phone call. I have an mATX mobo in my Antec 300 Illusion and it fits fine. Except for the extra fans, which are a nice bonus, the Illusion is identical to a standard Antec 300 which I also own.
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August 7, 2011 8:22:38 PM

Thanks for the info about the Antec Illusion-I think I will pick up one of those. My bro has a Haf 912, which as awsome btw, but I don't want the same case as him. I will look into a more powerful PSU, because I would like a decent upgrade path in the future.
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