Building PC, did I overlook anything?


I've been looking into building a cheap PC for casual gaming (mostly Starcraft 2). Building something that's cost effective is a higher priority than building something that will play things on super high settings. Of course, having things look pretty is good too, but since I'm playing SC2 on a laptop with integrated graphics, anything would be a big step up. ^_^

Anyhow, I decided that a barebones kit seems to be the way to go. I built a PC before, long long ago, but things have changed so I want to make sure I didn't overlook anything.

The barebones kit I decided on was an Intel i3 2100 kit from tigerdirect. I figured the i3 would be a good way to go, since most games don't seem to use quad core at the moment and since the newest Intel Cores seem a step ahead of Phenom II's in the benchmarks. I assume that parts in the kit ought to be compatible, so I'm not too worried about that.

The complications come with the video card. The card itself seems like a good middle-of-the-road choice. The mobo has the right port (pcie 2.1 card in a pcie 2.0 port is OK, right?). The card needs two 6pin plugs though, and the PSU only has one. Would a SATA to 6pin adapter probably be fine for the second 6pin plug?

Another concern is the PSU. On one hand, it's over 250W and 30A (on 12V) overkill (according to extreme PSU calculator), but on the other hand, it seems to be a generic brand. Should those two facts more or less cancel each other, or do I probably need a better PSU?

Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone could find a reason that this setup wouldn't work before a fork up the money. Also, judging by CPU/GPU benchmarks it ought to more that suit my purposes, but feel free to correct me on that and make recommendations. Bear in mind though that breaking up the bundle makes the whole thing less cost effective.

Thank you all, in advance.
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  1. What is the total price of the system. 230W for a PSU is very low. You wont be able to get a decent GPU for gaming with a PSU like that.

    I would rather recommend you to have a look at the System Builder Marathon PC's that Tom's does every few months. Look at the $500 system. It seems like the type of build that will suite you quite well for your needs.
  2. Generic brand PSUs are usually very low quality and over-rated on power. You can use a Molex 4-pin to 6-pin PCIe adapter if the PSU is capable.

    The link below will show you how to accurately determine what PSU power is required in watts and 12v rail amps. for your current or future PC build and which PSUs are quality PSUs that can supply this power reliably based on objective, scientific testing. This way you do not need to guess or rely on subjective opinions which may be conflicting.
  3. I recommend a AMD Llano 3850 Quad-Core or the step under. Its a quad-core cpu with integrated 6530 graphics card for either $140 for the 2.9Ghz, or $120 for the 2.6 GHz chip. Very cost effective, and will outperform the i3 2100. You can get a cheap FM1 MoBo for around $60, and still have enough room for decent psu, as a 500W should be the least amount of watts you look at in case you want to buy a seperate gpu chip than the integrated one.
  4. for reference, my old 4650 plays starcraft on med-high settings with a PIIx2. I don't see why this 6530 would perform worse, infact, i think it would do better, especially with the better processor.
  5. HEC (Compucase) isn't exactly a generic brand. They actually manufacture their own PSUs and other brands buy them and put their name on them. HEC used to manufacture Antec PSUs and Antec is a quality brand.

    However, that doesn't mean that the HEC branded PSUs are quality. Some are and some aren't. HEC branded PSUs tend to be middle of the road PSUs for a cheap price. I would never call them junk, but they are almost never top tier. The one you have listed is rated for 25C operating temperature, which is really low. Without detailed informaiton showing what will happen if you overheat it I wouldn't risk it with your PC. Typically you get some percentage reduction in max output power per degree Celsius. I know that the Corsair I bought that is rated for 30C will go all the way up to 50C without missing a beat.

    Also, breaking up the bundle may be a bit more expensive, but newegg does parts bundles that can get the price back down and you don't get ripped off on the RAM ($60 for 4GB is highway robbery). Here is an example of a similar bundle (not really suggesting it) that would allow you to buy whatever PSU you wanted for only a few bucks more -
  6. Thanks for the replies. Seems like people have doubts about the PSU, and I keep reading over and over not to skimp on the PSU. So, perhaps I'll just spring the extra money for a PSU that I can find a reputable review for.
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