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$500 Budget Phenom BF3/SC2 Build

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October 13, 2011 1:58:54 AM


Approximate Purchase Date: In about a month

Budget Range: $500 After Rebates (but not like $100 in rebates)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (BF3,SC2), Watching SC2 commentaries on Youtube

Parts Not Required: Keyboard (standard), mouse ($20 logitech mouse) , monitor 23 inch LG , Windows 7 Ultimate woot woot , recycling the DVD drive from my old emachines once I figure out how to remove it.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: microcenter, newegg, amazon

Country of Origin: United States of America

Parts Preferences: minimum 1 TB HDD , nVidia GPU since BF3 seems to be a nVidia fann

Overclocking: Yes , unlock to 4 cores and OC to 3.8 GHz

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe , only if I get desperate

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I want a quiet PC with a upgrade path.

Phenom II x2 560 ($47.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Asus M5A97 EVO AM3+ ATX AMD ($119.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 1.5TB SATA 6.0 GB/s 7,200 RPM ($49.99) ($59.99 w/o MIR)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

ADATA 8GB DDR3-1333 MHz ($39.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

OCZ ModXStream Pro 600w PSU ($49.99) ($74.99 w/o MIR)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Sentey Extreme Division GS-6000R ($59.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Gigabyte GTX 460 Overclocked ($99.99) ($129.99 w/o MIR)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Cooler Master Aftermarket CPU Cooler Hyper 212+ ($27.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

TOTAL = $496.92 ($65 rebate) ($595.32 with tax, before rebates at Microcenter)

I just wanted check with my wise Tommy buddies. Is there anything I can do to improve this build? Also, would this be easy for a first time computer builder to make? I have some basic experience like installing the RAM, changing the CPU, adding in a GPU. The only thing I'm worried about is cables. I don't know which will go into which and which ones you need and which ones you don't. Any help is appreciated thanks guys. :D 

***EDIT**** I just switched out the 1600 mhz for 1333 mhz and got a Hyper 212+ instead of 101. Can I just overclock the 1333 to 1600?
October 13, 2011 2:21:42 AM

Hmm...... Alright, but you definitely wanna up the core count if you plan on playing anything new. tri core at least.
I would HIGHLY advise against a Hitachi HDD. My buddy lost 2 of them, and all the data on them due to random failures. Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate Barracuda is the way to go.
Drop to 4GB of ram. You don't have room for many "just in case" parts in this build.
I would get a cheaper case. Your call though.

You can save a bundle by dropping to this mobo: http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... Doesn't support dual cards, but lets you grab a better CPU.
GTX 460 is the bare minimum for 1080p. Good deal though.
On the cooler, it says: "Supports CPU's up to 70w TDP" If you get a tri core or quad, this cooler won't work. Use stock.

I say get a quad or tri core because there is NO guarantee that you can unlock cores. You don't wanna get stuck with a crappy CPU that bottlenecks performance.
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October 13, 2011 2:35:08 AM

I don't really like mATX mobo's as they're small and hard to work with and 7XX chipset doesn't have TRUE AM3+ support as I'm going to upgrade to BD Q2 next year. Also, the Hyper 101a in features says "Maximum compatible CPU wattage: over 95W TDP, 2 x Direct Contact heat-pipes with aluminum fins for excellent heat dissipation, Outstanding cooling performance with compact heat sink dimension that fits into mid-tower chassis, Option for adding 2nd fan to increase cooling power." and "Compatible AMD Processors Phenom II X4, Phenom II X3, Phenom X4, Phenom X3, Athlon II X2, Athlon X2, Athlon, Sempron." So I think that the cooler supports the CPU.
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October 13, 2011 2:44:00 AM

Alright, fair enough. I would be wary about hedging your bets with BD, though. Look how this gen turned out -_-
What about the other points? I definitely, highly recommend at least a tri-core. I can't find it right now, but tom's recently did an article on dual core CPU's in gaming vs quad cores. There's a HUGE difference, and I mean huge.
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October 13, 2011 2:49:14 AM

I wouldn't get those AM3+ mobo. BD isn't that great.
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October 13, 2011 3:17:50 AM

Also why dont you go with an 1155 board and an i3-2100, I would say that would give you the best performance for price. Instead of spending 120 on mobo spend that on the CPU, and then the rest on a 1155 motherboard. All you really need is a PCIe slot for a gaming build lol.... And bulldozer isn't that great, at least with 1155 you can upgrade to a quad sandy bridge if you need to

If you look at anandtech's benchmarks assuming you succeed at essentially turning your CPU into a phenom II x4 980 which is really a huge risk...at CPU limited settings the i3-2100 still beats the AMD in starcraft 2.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=362

Also with the i3-2100 since you cant overclock you wont need to buy a cpu cooler either, and it uses far less power.

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
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October 13, 2011 10:32:15 AM

Intel Sandy Bridge is way too expensive though. Also, to remain in my budget, I'd have to get a H61 which means no overclocking, nada, zip, and only 2 dimm slots which I really hate.
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October 13, 2011 10:36:00 AM

What would be helpful if you guys actually made a build for me as I do not know how to budget Intel systems. -.-
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October 13, 2011 12:29:08 PM

$500 and BF3 don't really add up.

Really though, i3's > amd in games, and save as much money on everything and put it into the best gfx card you can afford.

OR

potentially hang around on ebay and look to pick up a 2nd hand barebone/2nd hand gfx card.

There are some bargains to be had, but you have to be prepared to be shipped junk and how to get your money back. (I had picked up a 4870x2 for £90, cleaned it up and repasted it and it's still in the top end of graphics, though lacks dx11 support)

Just had a look at US ebay, HD5870 (spanks a gtx460) 115$ ending in 1 day. Or a HD5830 , about the same as a gtx460 in benchs, under 90$
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October 13, 2011 3:03:38 PM

I don't have to max everything out. Medium settings with 40+ fps would be nice.
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Best solution

October 13, 2011 3:28:36 PM

Well, your best bet is to:
-Ditch the CPU cooler altogether
-Upgrade to a Phenom II X4
-Downgrade the motherboard
-Better HDD for same price

I know you don't want to make these changes, but a dual core just isn't gonna cut it for BF3. I also think you are getting caught up in BD. Work with what you have! Nowadays, there's a GPU bottleneck on almost ALL games. If you get a phenom II X4 now, you won't notice it lagging in FPS for a few years. You'll need to keep upgrading your GPU's, but the CPU is really not an issue.

Also, the chance of unlocking cores is quite low. Maybe, 20%? Do you really wanna take that gamble?

Lastly, I would drop the CPU cooler. The CPU comes with a stock cooler that should get you a 200MHz bump at least.
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October 13, 2011 3:35:16 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this build is ; $720 after MIR with the PNY xlr8 dimms.

Quote:
but a dual core just isn't gonna cut it for BF3

agreed, + 5

if anyone has played BFBC2 - they will all say how CPU intensive that game really is, in fact one OP mentioned that his CPU went hotter when playing BFBC2 and the mosfet areas would go warm~hot everytime he played it without an OC.

Quote:
you won't notice it lagging in FPS for a few years
not true - it might be sooner than later.

gambling isn't the issue here, he'd be successful at unlocking it, Overclocking would be the main issue here. most senior members stay away from posters who want to unlock and then overclock. :/ 

* some games are cpu intensive while some are gpu intensive, some are both..
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October 13, 2011 3:46:37 PM

I can get a fx-4100 if I downgrade the case and ditch the cpu cooler. Should I? Or I can get a phenom ii x4 840 for $60 and try overclocking that through the FSB.
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October 13, 2011 3:56:49 PM

The Phenom X4 will run any game you throw at it.
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October 13, 2011 3:57:25 PM

I mean the 955, the 840 is an Athlon.
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October 13, 2011 5:20:31 PM

I know its an Antlon. It's just renamed Phenom for no reason. -.-
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October 13, 2011 5:22:32 PM

Exactly, that's why I wouldn't recommend buying one.
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October 13, 2011 6:17:08 PM

Anyone got a benchmark of phenom vs fx-4100? I wanna see if it's worth it.
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October 13, 2011 6:52:13 PM

So phenom > fx-4100 in games?
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October 13, 2011 8:27:28 PM

clock for clock yes, but I think the FX might pull ahead with a little OC. Time will tell. If that's the price of the 840, it's not bad, If there are any Phenom 925's around I'd definitely pick that over the 840....
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October 13, 2011 9:14:05 PM

I'm getting the Phenom II x4 965 but I'm a little overbudget but it's manageable. Thanks guys.
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October 13, 2011 9:38:40 PM

I'm sure you won't regret it in the end.
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October 20, 2011 12:00:23 AM

Best answer selected by samuelspark.
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October 20, 2011 7:40:52 AM

This topic has been closed by Proximon
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