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Need Feedback on $500 Gaming Build

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October 16, 2011 8:39:44 PM

This is my first time building a computer, but I have a general knowledge of computers. I'm just trying to make sure I'm not ordering any red flag parts, and that I'm getting all I can for my money. One thing my friend brought up is that I could get a quad core AMD Phenom II X4 955 for the same price as the dual core i3 the build currently uses. Would that be worth changing motherboards? Here's the build as it stands right now:

Total Cost: $591 (I ordered some tools and thermal compound from newegg as well but I was too lazy to subtract from the total).

Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard


Graphics Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1460-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card


Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz 2 x 256KB L2 Cache 3MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M1A1333C9


HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


CD/DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM


PSU: SILVERSTONE Strider Essential series ST60F-ES 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply


Case: NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case



All I really care about is getting the best in game FPS I can get for around $500.
October 16, 2011 9:17:40 PM

I'm not really sure about the i3, but I think the Phenom II x4 would be a better choice, especially if you want to OC.
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October 16, 2011 10:59:05 PM

the i3 and phenom II x4 are more of a push with the i3 doing better in games that are dual core optimized.
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October 17, 2011 12:11:51 AM

So changing processors from the i3 to the phenom II x4 wouldn't really yield noticeably different results? What about the video card and the motherboard?
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October 17, 2011 12:29:13 AM

no real world difference with a GTX560

video card is fine, the mobo may only have 2 RAM slots (most H61 do) so just be aware of that if you want four (or check to see if it has 2 or 4)
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October 17, 2011 12:58:05 AM

Thanks for the replies. One more question, if you'd be so kind. The choice of video cards for me came down to the 6870 and the gtx 560. Any recommendations along those lines?
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October 17, 2011 1:04:26 AM

Read the last system builder marathon comparison between the i3 and the phenom 955 and its clear the phenom spanks the i3 everywhere except gaming

and then when you overclock the phenom [ which you cant do to the i3] it beats it there too .
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-overclock...

Phenom 955
Motherboard with a 970 series chipset
2 x2 gig of 1.5 volt RAM
will all fit in your budget
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October 17, 2011 2:19:17 AM

abrown221 said:
Thanks for the replies. One more question, if you'd be so kind. The choice of video cards for me came down to the 6870 and the gtx 560. Any recommendations along those lines?


they trade blows depending on what game you use as a benchmark, i would look at reviews that include games you plan to play but you won't go wrong picking one over the other.
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October 17, 2011 2:29:19 AM

I'd get a phenom ii x4 since they are quad cores. The i3 is still a dual core. =(
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October 17, 2011 3:14:05 AM

look i prefer AMD but i won't be a blind fan boy to facts. running around with your fingers in your ear, screaming "la la la la" with your " I love AMD" t-shirt won't increase benchmarks no matter how much you try...
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October 17, 2011 3:29:17 AM

If it's a gaming machine, the i3 is just fine and has the plus of being upgradeable whereas the Phenom II hinges on whether AMD's Piledriver ends up being any good.

But the prices and CPU debate can be put on hold until we establish more criteria for this build. OP, PLEASE fill this out: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

Once we know the details there, we can recommend the best build for you. At $500, I see no reason why you should get less than a GTX 560Ti for gaming.

Also...it has to be asked: Do you live near a Micro Center?
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October 17, 2011 4:14:27 AM

The Antec BP550 Plus 550W PSU is slightly cheaper and its a modular psu
Rosewill FUTURE case is $70 it has 4 fans, usb 3.0, and LEDs
GTX 460 is $30 cheaper $40 after rebate. technically 560 is better but you won't really notice it
you might be cheaping out with the motherboard and ram(might be just me)
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October 17, 2011 4:23:48 AM

dalauder said:
If it's a gaming machine, the i3 is just fine and has the plus of being upgradeable whereas the Phenom II hinges on whether AMD's Piledriver ends up being any good.

But the prices and CPU debate can be put on hold until we establish more criteria for this build. OP, PLEASE fill this out: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

Once we know the details there, we can recommend the best build for you. At $500, I see no reason why you should get less than a GTX 560Ti for gaming.

Also...it has to be asked: Do you live near a Micro Center?


I am really looking forward to you showing us the build you are suggesting with an i3 2100 and a gtx 560 ti for around the $500 mark
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October 17, 2011 4:31:34 AM

Outlander_04 said:
I am really looking forward to you showing us the build you are suggesting with an i3 2100 and a gtx 560 ti for around the $500 mark
Haha...you're right. I'm pretty sure that statement was overly ambitious. I'll see what I can do. The problem is that it cannot be done without finding particularly great deals for most of the parts.
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October 17, 2011 4:37:10 AM

its actually going to be $700 if you include windows 7
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October 17, 2011 4:38:56 AM

dalauder said:
Haha...you're right. I'm pretty sure that statement was overly ambitious. I'll see what I can do. The problem is that it cannot be done without finding particularly great deals for most of the parts.



I think the last system builder marathon should have settled the issue of best bang for buck at around the $500 price point .
Performance wise the phenom 955 won pretty much everything at stock speed except gaming where it was marginally behind . Easy enough to OC nad make up that gaming deficit too. Even on the stock cooler .

Having said that the AMD build was horrible and severely compromised by the mb and the RAM and its hard to recommend anyone uses those exact components .
But for the OP's $590 its possible to fix those deficiencies and have a system that can be built on
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October 17, 2011 4:41:43 AM

A huge factor in your build should be what resolution you desire to play at.

List what monitor you're using, or thinking of using, and what resolution you're going to run, and then people can make better hardware choices. Your GPU for gaming is one of the most important part, and also one of the most expensive parts. Not knowing your desired resolution could cause us recommending too weak of a GPU, or too strong.

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October 17, 2011 5:54:26 AM

Here's a hypothetical build that meets my claims. I'll try to fill it in with actual links soon:

CPU: $110 i3-2100 Superbiiz w/ code HOOT: http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=I3-2100BOX&c=F...
This CPU has been as cheap as $100 in Tigerdirect. It can get cheaper with combos from Micro Center and Fry's. That'll help with motherboards as well.

Mobo: $54 ASRock H61M-VS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Well, that kinda broke the bank

PSU: $20 Corsair CX430, $28 Antec EA-430D, $35 Antec Neo Eco 520W all on Newegg right now. I got an Antec Neo Eco 620W for $30 a month ago. This site suggests a 400W PSU would do, I'd aim a little higher and just find a stronger Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, or XFX PSU on sale.

RAM: $25 4GB (2x2GB) I can't find any better deals right now on Newegg.

Case: $19 Find a deal similar to this: http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3357768
If you can't do that, there's ones that are $22 with shipping on Newegg.

DVD: $0 Use an old one or a friend's old one or skip one entirely. They're kinda pointless once you get Windows installed, which you can do from a flash stick anyhow.

Hard Drive: $50 Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB. You can wait for Newegg to have this on sale in the next couple weeks (it's a regular sale they have) or buy the $55 1TB Seagate on Tiger Direct.

TOTAL: $278

That means you've got $222 for graphics. You could easily find a GTX 560Ti for this price. I've seen them for $175 and I guarantee you can find ones in the $180's or cheaper come November. That means you can even afford a DVD drive, $20 more on the case, or $20 more for 8GB of RAM.

Wow...I didn't expect that to work out. This build is actually quite feasible.
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October 17, 2011 5:56:46 AM

I'd actually go for a Phenom II 955 myself. But I bet it'll be on sale again for $100 soon, so I definitely wouldn't purchase it at it's standard $115 or so.
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October 17, 2011 10:05:13 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible.

Budget Range: 500-600 (I'd really rather the number start with a 5 than a 6, if that makes sense)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, movies, internet, word procesing

Parts Not Required: Anything I'm not putting in the tower is in addition to the $500 budget, but I'd still like suggestions for monitors.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg. (I also live near a Microcenter).

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Reputable companies only. Specifically, I've had good experiences with EVGA customer support but I don't really care.

Overclocking: I don't care.

SLI or Crossfire: No.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 X 1080 would be nice, but I'm not too picky.

NOTE: About monitors, I'll buy a monitor to suit whatever setup will get me the best in game fps at the best resolution. As long as I get the most out of my $500 budget, the monitor won't be an issue. Also, on intended games, HoN is the big one I'm into right now. I intend to get BF3, but other than that I play mostly old games like CS and DAoC.
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October 17, 2011 11:00:51 PM

abrown221 said:
Parts Not Required: Anything I'm not putting in the tower.
Windows? Monitor? You say you need a monitor, but it's included in "Not Required"? I'm just not excited about fitting a decent monitor into a $500 gaming build. Realistically, this can't be a good build with that restriction. You can make a computer that fits that bill--but its gaming capabilities will be more limited and you should focus on reusing more parts.

Do you already have a DVD Drive? How about an HDD, a CPU cooler, or a used OEM case (HP frequently uses Micro ATX cases)? You cannot get both a new computer AND monitor AND play BF3 for $500 unless you want to play the game on medium settings or lower. I just want you to realize that a compromise must be made somewhere--either in price, capabilities, or if stuff is "new". You'll get A LOT more bang for your buck at this price setting if you try REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to pick up every great deal that comes your way such as the $19 case I listed or an Antec Neo Eco 620C for $30.
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October 18, 2011 1:35:26 AM

dalauder said:
Windows? Monitor? You say you need a monitor, but it's included in "Not Required"? I'm just not excited about fitting a decent monitor into a $500 gaming build. Realistically, this can't be a good build with that restriction. You can make a computer that fits that bill--but its gaming capabilities will be more limited and you should focus on reusing more parts.

Do you already have a DVD Drive? How about an HDD, a CPU cooler, or a used OEM case (HP frequently uses Micro ATX cases)? You cannot get both a new computer AND monitor AND play BF3 for $500 unless you want to play the game on medium settings or lower. I just want you to realize that a compromise must be made somewhere--either in price, capabilities, or if stuff is "new". You'll get A LOT more bang for your buck at this price setting if you try REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to pick up every great deal that comes your way such as the $19 case I listed or an Antec Neo Eco 620C for $30.



I must have misunderstood what "parts not required" means. Allow me to rephrase: I have ~$500 to spend on everything that goes in the tower. The $500 budget does NOT include things that don't go inside the tower (monitor, mouse, keyboard etc). Does that makes more sense?

EDIT: Ok the i3 is available for $99 at Micro center, so I'm gonna shoot for the GTX 560ti. Here's what the build is looking like:

i3: $100
GTX 560ti: $230
MSI PH61A-P35 (B3) Motherboard: $70
Silverstone 600w PSU: $60
Case: $35
DVD: $17
RAM: $24
HD: $45

Total Cost: $581

Only thing I'm not sure on is the mobo.

The build I'm comparing it against is this:

Phenom II: $120
Radeon 6870: $160
ASRock M3A770DE Motherboard: $60
Silverstone 600w PSU: $60
RAM: $24
HD: $45
DVD: $17
Case: $35

Total Cost: $521

I'm thinking the first system is definitely worth the extra $60. That 560 ti is pretty nice and the lifetime EVGA warranty is awesome.
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October 18, 2011 2:28:25 AM

one thing you have to remember is to keep you case cool
cheap cases usually come with only one fan
if your going to play for example BF3 at maximum settings, you have to keep your pc cool
also don't cheap out on the mobo, be careful
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October 18, 2011 5:28:47 AM

Instead of the GTX 560Ti for $230, get the MSI HD 6950 2GB Twin Frozr II for $216 AR (if you have AmEx, otherwise $230 or cheaper w/ Mr. Rebates): http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?p=43910644#...

Please link the exact parts you want to buy. A $60 600W isn't a particularly good deal and neither is a $70 H61 motherboard. Don't forget to consider shipping with the case because it varies from free to $20. If I were you and stuck with a tight budget, I'd buy parts as they came on sale.

I'd definitely purchase the 6950 2GB I link above if I were you (some of the Twin Frozr II's unlock to 6970's). Of course, they'll get likely cheaper in November.
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