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$700 budget gaming PC build. Is it good enough?

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October 28, 2011 6:17:28 AM

I have exactly $704.

I have thought of this build and might go and buy today, so I want to know if you guys got better suggestions or notes about my build:

Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3
Intel Core i3 2100
HD 6850
20" or 21.5" (depends on case-PSU price)
Nvm the HDD for now
4GB 1333 MHz RAM x1 module
Case and PSU (400w, I knew that it is enough for HD 6850)

What do you guys think? :) 
October 28, 2011 1:03:05 PM

case+psu combos are generally a bad idea as they usually give you a crappy psu (also I'd go with a 500W psu unless you plan to get a tier 1 psu like the antec earth 380W). If you are going with the i3 2100 I'd just get an H61 or H67 board. I assume you are buying 1 4GB stick in order to purchase another down the road? Also keep in mind you have to buy windows. If you can get the student discount that saves you 75% on the cost of the license.
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October 28, 2011 1:39:10 PM

On this budget, I would highly recommend AMD build. Another $300 with all extra's you need like a monitor, OS, KB/M, Speakers, etc. I recommend i5 2500k's for gaming, but thats only with at least $800 solely for hardware in the Tower. Let us know more about what you have/need and we can help you more. an i3 2100 is ok, but not my first choice. Will you OverClock any components? How many monitors will you have total? What games do you play most?
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October 28, 2011 3:07:10 PM

Since you are using an i3-2100 and you can't overclock it, I would drop the motherboard to something more basic like this

ASRock H61M/U3S3:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can spend the savings for your casing,PSU or monitor etc

It is a good build overall :) 




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October 28, 2011 3:11:23 PM

Why can't you? you can change the FSB/voltage no?
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October 28, 2011 3:24:02 PM

sandy bridge is overclocked using the multiplier. You can only change the FSB to 110 (wouldn't go above 105 though) so you can get 10% that way but that's not ideal.
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October 28, 2011 3:27:24 PM

ok...i was gonna say, i think every chip has the potential to OC, just not anything special for those that arent made specifically for it.
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October 28, 2011 3:31:14 PM

The i3 2100 isn't considered overclockable since it's "locked" You can't adjust the multiplier and I don't think you can touch the voltages either. All you can do is change the FSB from 100 to 110. That screws up the RAM and if you have an H61 or H67 board you can't run with RAM faster than 1333 so you have to adjust the timings to get that to be at 1333 and then the motherboard hates you and the RAM hates you for making it work crazy. Finally, the FSB also affects the USB ports which tend to act screwy when you go over 103 on FSB.

There a little more detail on why they don't overclock them hehe.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 28, 2011 3:37:44 PM

I agree with crewton on the case+PSU question; such PSUs tend to be junk. On a budget, you can usually find one or more of the Antec Earthwatts or Corsair Builder PSUs for a good price at Newegg; any of them would be able to run a single HD6850, even the 380W Earthwatts.
You say you might "go" and buy it today; I'm not sure what deals you might find in brick and mortar stores. Huntkey/Rocketfish, Dynex, and Coolermaster PSUs sold in stores like Best Buy and CompUSA are usually overrated at best, explosive junk at worst (reviews of many different ones at HardwareSecrets; HardOCP and jonnyguru have done some also). You might find Antec or Corsair though, but at higher prices.
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October 28, 2011 3:38:10 PM

Thank you. Im a noob sorta, but learning quickly and a lot. intel is not my best field, however, and the older stuff is even worse. Sorry if i give bad advice...
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a b 4 Gaming
October 28, 2011 3:43:42 PM

If $704 has to include the OS and the monitor, then I agree with casualbuilder that AMD will be your better choice. Also, buying online will be a lot cheaper for most things than buying in person, unless you're going to a Microcenter; they can have great in-person only deals.
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October 28, 2011 3:55:36 PM

casualbuilder said:
On this budget, I would highly recommend AMD build. Another $300 with all extra's you need like a monitor, OS, KB/M, Speakers, etc. I recommend i5 2500k's for gaming, but thats only with at least $800 solely for hardware in the Tower. Let us know more about what you have/need and we can help you more. an i3 2100 is ok, but not my first choice. Will you OverClock any components? How many monitors will you have total? What games do you play most?


I know, i5 2500k would be perfect, due to unlocked multiplier... Yet, I don't have much budget. So I thought of getting an i3 2100 instead of AMD X4 955 because it performs a little better when it comes to games (although AMD performs better when it comes to video editing).

Hence, I won't be able/won't overclock. I just want to play Crysis, CoD, Dirt, Metro, NFS's, BF, AC, Far Cry, Mafia, etc. Games that require close-to-high-end GPU.

Edit: I code, so I won't be using it for gaming all the time. Mainly coding and gaming.

kaweee said:
Since you are using an i3-2100 and you can't overclock it, I would drop the motherboard to something more basic like this

ASRock H61M/U3S3:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can spend the savings for your casing,PSU or monitor etc

It is a good build overall :) 



So, do you guys suggest downgrading the mobo? I still want to go for a Z68 or at least P67 (as they will, apparently, support Ivy Bridge).

The mobo I chose costs here around $150. I think it has good features.

Although I won't be using SSD, but Z68 sounds more recent and someone has told me that P67 had issues with SATA.
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October 28, 2011 3:57:38 PM

Onus said:
If $704 has to include the OS and the monitor, then I agree with casualbuilder that AMD will be your better choice. Also, buying online will be a lot cheaper for most things than buying in person, unless you're going to a Microcenter; they can have great in-person only deals.


I live in Egypt, so I don't think I'd be able to buy online... Will go to mall/shops :)  - Stuff are a bit more expensive here though. HD 6850 is for $176-$205.
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October 28, 2011 3:58:52 PM

Z68 GEN 3 MoBo's can be had for around $140. if the i3 is the best you can do, go there, as intel i believe has much better oppertunity for upgrades on the cpu later on when you get some extra cash.
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October 28, 2011 4:04:22 PM

casualbuilder said:
Z68 GEN 3 MoBo's can be had for around $140. if the i3 is the best you can do, go there, as intel i believe has much better oppertunity for upgrades on the cpu later on when you get some extra cash.


This is exactly why I want to get a Z68; it is somewhat future-proof.

So, is downgrading the motherboard from that Gigabyte to another one a good idea? and what are good mobo's that has the Z68 chipset that could save me some money to spend on monitor/PSU/maybe get an i5 if it saves much lol.
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October 28, 2011 4:09:39 PM

Asrock, Gigabyte, and ASUS are the only MoBo's i would really suggest. MSI has lost all of my respect the last couple of years with quality control and MB spacing/layout.
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October 28, 2011 4:13:14 PM

^ the mobo I mentioned is the best choice then, Gigabyte Z68AP, as it's the cheapest Z68 of Gigabyte over here.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 28, 2011 5:06:56 PM

Well then, I'm not sure what will be available to you, but as a general guide, a quality modern PSU will have full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and some level of 80+ certification for efficiency. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax/LEPA are among the better brands. FSP and OCZ have some acceptable units. It is definitely not worth it to go cheap on a PSU; you could be asking for stability problems or worse. It would be better to "suffer" with a lower-end GPU like a HD6770 until you can afford better than risk your entire PC on a cheap PSU.
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October 28, 2011 5:20:42 PM

Onus said:
Well then, I'm not sure what will be available to you, but as a general guide, a quality modern PSU will have full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and some level of 80+ certification for efficiency. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax/LEPA are among the better brands. FSP and OCZ have some acceptable units. It is definitely not worth it to go cheap on a PSU; you could be asking for stability problems or worse. It would be better to "suffer" with a lower-end GPU like a HD6770 until you can afford better than risk your entire PC on a cheap PSU.


I think if I may downgrade something it would be the motherboard (from Z68 to P67). Right?
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October 28, 2011 5:22:44 PM

best option. keep the PSU and gpu up high, and later on, you can still get an i5 2500k, or a difference chipset that will increase performance. right now, most games run at max performance on 2-4 high speed cores. the i3 should be fine.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 28, 2011 9:38:08 PM

Yes, I think the i3 may be the best downgrade option, although if you're willing to lower some settings, you could also consider getting a HD6770.
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October 29, 2011 3:46:30 AM

Gigabyte's P67 is cheaper by around $20. - What about downgrading the monitor to an LCD 22", or LCD (or LED) 20" (I know I won't be able to play games on resolution higher than 1600x900, but hey...).
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