My friend is a console gamer, specifically Xbox360. I showed him TDU2 on my PC using a 360 controller and now he's intrigued. He wants to play the Batman: Arkham games and upcoming Skyrim and BF3. He didn't give me a hard budget, but he did say "as cheap as possible, but still look better than my Xbox on my TV". He's going to be playing on a 50" 1080p screen and the gameplay needs to look improved over the 360 version. Since he specifically mentioned the Batman games first, I built a configuration on Newegg with an added PhysX card. I know not many games use PhysX, but I think in this case, for $50, it will add enough to Batman to be worthwhile. Maybe not.
I read the $500 SBM and read about the weaknesses and strengths of the system and tried to follow the spirit, but I think that they always try to use the most modern hardware, which isn't always the most cost effective. That's why I went a bit old school on the GPUs. Basically, what I'm looking for is; any glaring problems I missed, whether the configuration has junk parts, and whether I can push good looking settings at 1080p. Other thoughts: delete the PhysX card and get a second GTX 260 in SLI, but at $200, is there a better option, because of the motherboard limitations (x16,x4, Crossfire Only) would need me to step up into a different price/SLI catagory.
Sidenotes: I went with the Apevia case because it included 3 fans in the price and I read that both of the GPUs run hot. In my friends mind, he's taking an expensive gamble. He thinks PCs are complicated to game on until he saw Xbox controller support. The last computer game he played was Marathon on an Apple Macintosh Performa 630. It's because of his love for Bungie that he bought an Xbox for Halo in the first place.
Not the way I would go at all at that budget. You will not have so much benefit from a dedicated physX card that it will make up for the lesser graphics card.
The PSU is overkill a bit, although there's nothing wrong with using it as it's decent... but if you are trying to cut some cost to make room for more GPU, then... well I'll just give you my list. The price is my price shipped to me, yours may be different. Prices include combo deals.
I was thinking about AMD gpus for the power consumption and cost. I personally haven't played any of the Batman games so I didn't know how the PhysX part would go, but in Metro 2033, enabling PhysX adds many cool little effects. I suppose if I don't tell him what he's missing, he might not ever know, otherwise it'll be 'the grass is always greener' problem. I looked at that Rosewill case, but considering the the price is similar and the 3 fans thing, I went for looks. If I switch out the two video cards for one 6950, what wattage would you suggest? Basically the same as you have. I wanted to stick with Antec, but lower the wattage will lower the cost. I agree with memory change. I wouldn't feel good about it either, but I was trying to cut cost. Thanks for the insight, I'll go explore more and come back with a different set-up.
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It increased the price a bit, but I can always drop down to a 6850 and crossfire it later.
The PC wattage calculator claimed a 400w PSU was enough ( http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine ), so I could lower the wattage more, but as sweet as that shell shocker deal is, after I get all of the part ideas together, I need to present the cost to my friend, so I don't know how long the deal lasts (I looked around and couldn't find a timer), this whole thing may draw out for a few weeks. I created the thread today because he was talking about it today and I wanted to see what I could come up with, but who knows, I'll present him with the cost tomorrow (I'm going change the PSU to a 450w) and inform him of the special. I'll also mention the Dirt 3 v Deus Ex freebie. Maybe I'll be ordering tomorrow. Thanks for the help.
Well, if that power is enough, I switched to the Rosewill case and had to change the MoBo to mATX, but the price is well below $600 and I think the look and size will give the XBox a run for it's money. Of the mATX motherboards, which is the best brand between MSI and Gigabyte? Also, I checked to see that the card fit in the case, but I'm unsure about the airflow.
Edit: Upon reading their website, it seems the included PSU is kinda junky. It doesn't say anything about 'active PFC'.
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Honestly when building any reasonable computer it shouldn't have a crappy PSU like that.
Also if you want to get the physX stuff to work, just get a GTX560Ti. It should have about as much juice as the 6950 and give you physx for arkham.
For case I would recommend Antec 300 Illusion $44.99 with CC, sure it's bigger but has great airflow to keep things cool and it's nice to work with.
For PSU I would recommend the PC power and cooling Silencer Mark II 650W currently on sale with CC for $69.99 AND it also has a $20 MIR.
You can also save a couple of bucks by getting WD Blue 500GB drive since it has a sale $39.99 with CC, OR you can spend an extra $5 and get 1TB Seagate instead also with a CC $49.99.
The Rosewill PSU in that case is crap, for sure. The Rosewill PSUs that are decent are the RG or Green Series, and the Hive series. Most PSU brands are made by other companies, and various PSUs branded by a given company may be made by different manufacturers. For instance, Seasonic and CWT make PSUs for Corsair. Delta and Seasonic make PSUs for Antec.
The Corsair TX750M is made by CWT, while the TX750 V2 is made by Seasonic.
It's probably true that you could get by with a 430W or so... I say that as I don't recall any quality PSUs rated for 400W right off. Rosewill RG430, Antec EA-430... XFX 450W.
But it's best to leave a bit more margin for future cards in there, if the rice is right.
I played arkham asylum on a 6870, at 1920x1080, with solid enough performance. Its true you can't abuse Physx, but then again thats just for show. My previous card was Nvidia and Physx was only for boasting, can't say I really miss it. Keep in mind that although his TV is 1080p, almost every console game is 720p, so it should be easy to improve over the X360. Use 2x or 4x FSAA if you can, and image quality will be unquestionable.
There wasn't a price difference. I went with the most well known RAM when all similar stuff cost the same. If it loses 267 Mhz because of the board, that wouldn't take away from the quality of the RAM (I picked junk ram for only a few dollars cheaper on my first build idea) and the speed difference of 267 Mhz won't be noticible. I thought about choosing the 6870 that you suggested Double-Oh Eight, but I heard that it's kinda a "lost" card. Using way more power than the 6850, but providing way less gaming power than a 6950. I might be wrong. Other than that, I like build you suggested. It's good to know that Batman doesn't take much to look great, but my friend also wants to play BF3. So he would need a bit of power. I talked to him about all of this today and he mentioned that less than $600 seemed like the best price range, so at least I got that part out of him. It's pretty much, when I order it and build it, he'll give me the money. Thanks for the help so far.
Processor : i3 2100 - $125
Motherboard : ASRock H61M-GE - $65
RAM : Gskill Value Series 4GB DDR3 1333 - $20
Storage : Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - $60
Graphics : HIS H687FN1GD Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 - $155
PSU : Corsair CX430 V2 - $45
Case : Xigmatek ASGARD II ATX Mid Tower : $30
I like this build. I kept the video card and the hard drive, but changed the...everything. Case, PSU, RAM, and MoBo.
Here's what I did with the suggestions. It's a pretty bad-ass PC and if my friend collects on the mail in rebate, it's below $600.
Let me know what you think for this price. Thanks for the input...for real. I appreciate the dialog. Hooters wings on me.