Please help me to balance my build.

Hello everyone,

I was planning to upgrade my PC next year however an emergency came up and I absolutely need a new machine now. Now here is the problem - right now I don't have enough money to build my "perfect" PC ( I have around £600 atm); on the other hand, I don't want to get stuck with a mediocre PC forever.

So my idea was to build a decent enough machine for gaming now and after a year or so to give most components to my friend and rebuild my PC with the best gaming hardware ( should hopefully have enough money by then). Now my problem is: I can afford buying 1-2 REALLY good components but the rest will have to fit a certain budget. So either I buy a top of the line PSU like AX 850, or I shift that money into Sabertooth mb, or into graphics card, etc etc. but I can't have all of them.

Here is what I came up with: Please keep in mind that I am currently residing in Italy so Amazon is pretty much my only reliable source of hardware).

Case: Haf 922 with window side-panel. (I personally prefer Corsair 600T but I found Haf 922 for GBP 67 which is half of Corsair's price. I also like Carbide 400/500 but I really wanted a PC case with a window.

Motherboard and CPU:
This is my main poblem. I was thinking about getting AM3+ Sabertooth (£130) + Phenom II 965 (965 is £94 atm, I am not sure if it is worth getting 970 model for £110 over the 965 one?)

Alternatively I could get some basic AM3 or AM3+ mb, use it for a year and give it away and get Crosshair V + Piledriver, which hopefully turns out to be good, or i7 2600k + z68 mb.

There reason why of all components I wanted my mb to necessarily be very good is because from my personal experience I can say that a solid mb is really a true foundation for a stable system. If I get Sabertooth I will have to save on GFX and PSU but that's okay since (hopefully) it is just for a year. And it will give me peace of mind knowing that my system has a solid core component.

By the way, in case I decide to get a cheaper board, will I save a lot by getting an AM3 board or it doesn't make sense and I should get an AM3+ one? The problem with AMD boards is that they are extremely confusing and there are too many of them. The ones I found interesting enough so far:

Asus M5A97 PRO

Asus M5A99X EVO




These are the boards that seem to have good reviews but I find AMD chipset system a bit confusing to really see the difference between some of them.

There is also an extremely cheap board that seems to pretty be praised a lot :

And finally, I could go Intel i3 route, it's just that it doesn't overclock. And I do intend to OC my system.

Power Supply:
OCZ 600MXSP ModXStream Pro

Or (in case I go the cheap mb + cheap CPU route) I will buy Corsair AX 750 that will last me for years I guess.

In case I get Sabertooth mb, I will get some basic graphics card. I found ASUS HD 6770 for 78 pounds. It is pretty basic but will do for now. If I however save on my main board I will get HD 6870.


4GB 1600 C9


8GB 1333 C9

Neither is exceptional but atm I don't want to spend too much on RAM.


I am sorry for having written so much, it's just that I've spent quite a few evenings selecting components and I am getting more and more confused in my choices. So I tried to provided as detailed information as possible. Just to summarize, I have a clear idea about many components, and my current dilemma is whether I should:

a)Get a really good mb like Sabertooth or Crosshair, and save money (for now) on PSU and GFX. This mb I can use for at least 4 years I guess.

b)Get a cheap Phenom/AM3(+) board and see what happens on the CPU market next year and either invest the money Into some gold grade PSU like AX series, which can also hopefully serve for years. The main question in this case is: what AMD motherboard to get.

c)And finally, I save on both mb and PSU and get a decent graphics card. But with new gen graphics coming soon probably this is not a good idea.

I really hope to get some advice here because I started getting really confused here, so I decided to seek help asking more experienced people.
5 answers Last reply
More about please balance build
  1. If you had no budget constraints, you would get a 2500K, a Z68 motherboard, and not have to replace it for quite some time.
    If that is not possible, consider a sandy bridge 2100 and a Z68 motherboard. It will game quite nicely now, and will be upgradeable to ivy bridge next March or later.
    Read this article:,2859.html

    On ram, for sandy bridge, get 8gb of 1333 or even 1066 if it is sufficiently cheaper. SB is largely insensitive to ram speeds,, you are looking at a difference of 1-2% real app performance or fps. The extra ram over 4gb helps much more.

    From a functional point of view, any case with two 120mm intake fans or equivalent will give a gaming pc all the airflow it really needs. You could get a cheap functional interim case. But, cases are a personal thing. I suggest you get your dream case, even if you have to wait for it and spend more than you should. You will always regret buying less than our dream.

    If you need a psu, it is the last place to try to economize. Get a quality unit. My short list of quality brands would include Seasonic, XFX, Corsair, Antec, and pc p&c.

    If you plan your build around a single great graphics card, your psu requirements will be less and your motherboard costs will be less. Today, a GTX580 needs only a 600w psu with 42a. If you wait on the graphics card, the 28nm cards will be here, and I expect them to be more power efficient.
  2. Thanks a lot for your input. The reason why I didn't want to go i3 route is because those admittedly very nice processors can't be over-clocked and I was convinced that getting a Phenom II 965 which costs exactly the same as 2110 would be better after some intermediate level OC, unless I understood something wrong?

    Now, with motherboards, I always had problems choosing MBs so to make life easier I was just buying the upper mainstream level ones with most reviews (prime example: ASUS z68 Pro/Deluxe). But now I actually realize that I have always been getting a bunch of features I was never using (mostly all those SLI/CF extra capabilities).

    What I need is a mb for 1 GPU only, that supports high levels of OC, and the most important thing is the quality of VRMs, heatsinks, well, build quality in general. What I wonder is, if I go, let's say from ASUS z68 LE or LX to z68 normal or from z68 normal edition to Pro or DELUXE, do I just gain extra USB and other controllers + CF/SLI support or the build quality and overclockability improve as well? I tried searching for this info but it is really hard to find reviews of lower end mbs.
  3. Motherboard manufacturers do not have as much profit margin as you might think.
    Each added component or feature adds to cost. Therefore, you should decide what will actually be used. Here are some areas to economize without real impact.

    1) Motherboard size. How many expansion slots will you really use? A full ATX will have 7, a M-atx will have 4, and a itx will have one. A pci-e x16 slot will always be included.
    Smaller motherboards will be cheaper. Personally, I like smaller, and they can fit in some nece small cases.

    2) If a single great graphics card will do the job, then you do not need extra pci-e x16 or x8 slots, The motherboard does not need to pay for a sli license fee.

    3) I think usb 3.0, at least on the back panel is useful. It is the easy way to do external backups. Most current motherboards will include some.

    4) 6gb sata on a few ports is useful if you will use a ssd. Hard drives do not push the limits of sata 2. Most boards will include 2 which is enough.

    5) Unless you are a record seeking overclocker, all P67 and Z68 motherboards can get decent overclocks with a "K" cpu. The expensive enthusiast boards will have better voltage regulation and allow you to push your voltages ti destructive levels. My take is that an oc is sound if you do not have to mess with voltage levels at all. That will usually be in the 4.0 to 4.5 area. Enough for me, and much more than a highly oc'd X4 can be. How high do you really need to be?

    6) Some motherboards will only have 2 ram slots. That is enough for 8gb.
  4. I recently installed ASUS M4A87TD (incl. TURBO EVO and EPU). An AMD PHENOM II X6 Processor 3.30 Ghz with 12 GB of RAM. It is incomparable with anything I have ever tried. It has speed, I can work on 10 applications at the same time, It never fails. It works wonders. And it was cheap (Canada) $550.00 CAD. Good luck.
    DenisP :wahoo:
  5. denisp5964 said:
    I recently installed ASUS M4A87TD (incl. TURBO EVO and EPU). An AMD PHENOM II X6 Processor 3.30 Ghz with 12 GB of RAM. It is incomparable with anything I have ever tried. It has speed, I can work on 10 applications at the same time, It never fails. It works wonders. And it was cheap (Canada) $550.00 CAD. Good luck.
    DenisP :wahoo:

    For your applications, you did well. The X6 excels at high levels of multitasking and highly threaded apps.

    For gaming, however, it not quite competitive to the i3-2100 for many games. Read this:,2859.html
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