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New gaming build (Skyrim, BF3), around $700

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November 13, 2011 7:55:34 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next two weeks

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) $700-$750 total with a monitor.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, specifically Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and Starcraft 2.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard and mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com, I'm in Illinois, but no Microcenter near me,

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: Right now I'm looking at Intel (faster) with an AMD gpu (cheaper). Open to suggestions.

Overclocking: Yes / Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No - Maybe later, but not concerned now

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 - I'd like higher, but it looks like monitors over 1080 skyrocket in price.

Additional Comments: Here's what I've priced out right now, but a lot of them are the Newegg deals that end tonight.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $215, choosing this for ease of overclocking
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $159.99 after MIR (ends at the end of the month)
Mobo: MSI P67A-G45 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $94.99 after MIR (ends tonight)
PSU: OCZ ZS Series 750W 80Plus Bronze - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $44.99 after promo (ends tonight) and MIR (end of the month)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $44.99 after promo (ends tonight)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $107.27 after shipping
Case: NZXT Gamma Classic - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $31.78 after promo and shipping, ends tonight.
Monitor: Hannspree SL231DPB 23" - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $119.99, price ends tonight

Final price: $819.74 - I'm looking for suggestions to knock this down to $700-$750, or any different components I should use.

The only place I think I could drop the price is by using a Core i3 instead of the i5, but Skyrim will do better with the i5. Any suggestions? I'm willing to wait on some parts until Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but some of these seem like pretty good deals that I should go for now, such as the Mobo and the PSU.

Thanks
November 13, 2011 9:44:05 PM

To lower the cost, I could drop the 320 gig HDD to a 60 gig SSD and to a core i3-2100...

Core i3-2100 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $115 with promo, ends tonight
OCZ Agility 3 60GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $65

The total cost is then about $677. I know 60 gigs is small, I have an external drive for stuff, but if I'm only doing Win 7, Skyrim, and BF3 that's about 40 gigs. Is this crazy?
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November 13, 2011 10:07:30 PM

I'm in the process of a similar build.

Save your self some cash and make a visit to your local Office Depot to pick up the following WD 1TB harddrive.

$59.99 for a 1TB HD with the current shortage going on is a great deal.

http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3534200
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November 13, 2011 10:09:46 PM

Don't go with an i3-2100, it's only a dual core. Even though it has hyperthreading, 4 cores > 4 threads. The 6870 is just good enough to do high settings on 1920x1080 in BF3, which is great for the price. The monitor you choose is 5ms, for a gaming monitor you really want 2ms to avoid ghosting. If you don't have to buy an HDD then don't, an SSD instead with external storage is fine for now until HDD prices drop.
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November 13, 2011 11:21:05 PM

wafflesdr said:
To lower the cost, I could drop the 320 gig HDD to a 60 gig SSD and to a core i3-2100...

Core i3-2100 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $115 with promo, ends tonight
OCZ Agility 3 60GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $65

The total cost is then about $677. I know 60 gigs is small, I have an external drive for stuff, but if I'm only doing Win 7, Skyrim, and BF3 that's about 40 gigs. Is this crazy?


That might be good buy i'm not sure you will be able to get by with just 60gigs considering that you need to leave 10Gb +- empty for your SSD so it won't slow down. Just win7 is about 25Gbs.

I wouldn't go so low to a corei3. I think that a better fit for your needs would be a core i5 2400 or maybe look at an AMD chip for those prices. You can get really great deals with AMD as far as price/performance.

6870 is a good card for the price I think its a wise choice.
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November 13, 2011 11:52:28 PM

i5 2400 wont affect performance
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November 14, 2011 12:11:22 AM

n8dog11914, thank's for the link. I'll check out my local store and see if they have it.

gmcizzle, I'm hesitant to go with an SSD internal only because of the size constraint. If I go with the 60 gb, I'll be stuck juggling drives from internal to external.

TechRoy, everything I've seen is is that Intel performs better for the price. Do you have any suggestions for what AMDs to look at?
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November 14, 2011 12:15:28 AM

Outlander_04 said:
i5 2400 wont affect performance


BF3 is GPU heavy, but Skyrim is CPU intensive.
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November 14, 2011 12:16:40 AM

BF3 is both CPU and GPU heavy, both more so than Skyrim.
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November 14, 2011 12:22:50 AM

gmcizzle said:
BF3 is both CPU and GPU heavy, both more so than Skyrim.



Heard that b4 . It wasnt true then either

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...
Almost no variation between brands and generations of CPU , or even the number of cores

Here [ in the beta] you see an A8 3850 Llano out performing a 2500k
http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...

As for Skyrim being more cpu intensive .: no
If you want to play DX 11 games in high detail at 1080p resolution spend more on the graphics and dont worry about the cpu so much
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November 14, 2011 12:37:06 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Heard that b4 . It wasnt true then either

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...
Almost no variation between brands and generations of CPU , or even the number of cores

Here [ in the beta] you see an A8 3850 Llano out performing a 2500k
http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...

As for Skyrim being more cpu intensive .: no
If you want to play DX 11 games in high detail at 1080p resolution spend more on the graphics and dont worry about the cpu so much


Outlander_04,

This looks like the CPU is pretty important to Skyrim: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-.... The Core i5 outperforms everything else. Also, the high-end graphic cards gets capped out - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-....
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November 14, 2011 12:40:00 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Heard that b4 . It wasnt true then either

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...
Almost no variation between brands and generations of CPU , or even the number of cores

Here [ in the beta] you see an A8 3850 Llano out performing a 2500k
http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...

As for Skyrim being more cpu intensive .: no
If you want to play DX 11 games in high detail at 1080p resolution spend more on the graphics and dont worry about the cpu so much

Oh god not the TH BF3 article again. The TH article is a scripted SP scene, the CPU has nothing to do. In the techspot article, first that was in BETA, second that was on rush mode on operation metro, with only 32 players max (if I remember correctly) and no vehicles. "We used Fraps to measure frame rates during a minute of gameplay from the multiplayer map Operation Metro" I've seen a a few threads here about high CPU usage on 64 player vehicle MP maps. One person reported 80-85% usage on all four cores of a i5-2500k. I tested this personally with my rig and I'm pulling similar numbers, although my CPU isn't as fast as a i5-2500k.
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November 14, 2011 12:44:17 AM

wafflesdr said:
Outlander_04,

This looks like the CPU is pretty important to Skyrim: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-.... The Core i5 outperforms everything else.


I read that too . The game is not well threaded and doesnt improve much after two cores . An i3 2100 would perform as well .

I wouldnt call that "cpu intensive"
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November 14, 2011 12:45:35 AM

I would change the motherboard to a Z68 its easier to hook up the SSD to it
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November 14, 2011 12:48:42 AM

Outlander_04 said:
I read that too . The game is not well threaded and doesnt improve much after two cores . An i3 2100 would perform as well .

I wouldnt call that "cpu intensive"


I guess CPU dependent is a better term than CPU intensive. The point I was going for is that the CPU will cap the game more than the GPU.

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November 14, 2011 12:58:39 AM

Emelth said:
I would change the motherboard to a Z68 its easier to hook up the SSD to it


Any suggestions on a solid mobo with good OC for under $100?
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November 14, 2011 7:02:54 PM

wafflesdr said:
n8dog11914, thank's for the link. I'll check out my local store and see if they have it.

gmcizzle, I'm hesitant to go with an SSD internal only because of the size constraint. If I go with the 60 gb, I'll be stuck juggling drives from internal to external.

TechRoy, everything I've seen is is that Intel performs better for the price. Do you have any suggestions for what AMDs to look at?


http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Phenom+II+X...
This seems to be the best bang for buck right now and from the passmark tests you can see its pretty much identical performance to a last generation core i7 that probably cost over 350$ up to a year ago and still goes for 289$ on newegg.

if you get it get it in the 3.2Ghz black edition for an extra 5$ only.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 15, 2011 5:30:56 PM

The CPU problem with Skyrim seems to be related to "Shadows". Lots of folks on the Bethesda forums are saying that reducing the Shadows graphic option actually improves the amount of GPU usage. Many folks are finding the game (even with poor/low FPS) is only pushing their GPU to 45% usage.

There seems to be support for the fact that the CPU is computing Shadows instead of the GPU. My GTX 470 SLI setup runs at 45% even when I'm getting 20-30FPS in some city areas. This may also be due to the fact that Skyrim FORCES VSync. You can only disable VSync through drivers. Unfortunately, removing VSync through drivers causes a separate bug. Your vertical mouse look speed triples while your horizontal look speed remains the same. Enabling VSync fixes this problem. It's pretty odd.

My CPU is using all four cores, but usually runs around 55% total usage.

For the OP - Battlefield 3 is the game that will tax your system the most. If you build your system for that game, Skyrim will run fine.
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April 25, 2013 10:49:50 AM

@jerreece AGREED BF3 is way more demanding now if you plan to mod Skyrim then you run into a whole different issue entirely.
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June 18, 2013 4:23:23 AM

I would seriously consider dipping your money into a better GPU like a 600 series Nvidia or 7000 series AMD stepping it up just a bit will help.
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