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Budget Future Proof Intel Build (~600-800)

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November 16, 2011 2:29:52 AM

*Post updated with correct format.*

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $600-800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, programming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, 1680x1050 LCD, EarthWatts 500W PSU, aftermarket heatsink, 320GB HD, Lian Li case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect, amazon

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: future proof (Ivy Bridge or Bulldozer)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: Time for me to finally upgrade my pentium dual-core and 4850 system. Games I will be playing this winter: BF3, Witcher 2, Skyrim, etc. I have a base system I am looking at, but am looking for tips. My build idea was to put together a reasonably priced system that will handle all current and soon games, then upgrade to Ivy Bridge sometime next year. My hope was to save some money on the CPU so I can justify spending more on the MB and GPU.

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-Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz ($125)
-ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 ($125)
-PowerColor Radeon HD 6950 2GB ($260 w/ 3 games)
-G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
November 16, 2011 5:23:14 AM

-Reuse your ddr-2 memory and hd-4850 card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$129.99 AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$53.99 ASRock A770DE+ AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

Subtotal: $183.98

-Try and sell your 4850 with your old board/cpu. Put that towards a new hd-6950.

-You will need a bigger powersupply and more case fans if you want to run crossfire. Crossfire 4850's are ok too if you can find a used 4850 for a reasonable price.


If you opt for the tri-core $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Subtotal: $133.98 with board above..


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$169.99 AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor
Subtotal: $223.98

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25.99 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU
and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$129.99 AMD Phenom II X6 1035T Thuban 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor HDT35TWFK6DGR - OEM
Subtotal: $209.97
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November 16, 2011 5:43:51 AM

I'd want to get the i5 2400 and the 6950 (you don't really need the 2gb).
If this kind of money is not an issue for your budget then good.
If your budget is too tight then GA-Z68MA-D2H, the i3 2100 and a 6850. (this isn't really futureproof but i thought i'd mention it.)
i5 2400 and 6950 is a good choice because you can upgrade in 2 or more years and not right away. With the e3 gen3 you can also dual those 6950 and run all the games for a long time.
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November 16, 2011 1:21:26 PM

aznshinobi said:
Do you plan to overclock, in fact please fill out this sticky
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

Edited original post, sorry!

need4speeds said:
-Reuse your ddr-2 memory and hd-4850 card.

That would save money, but I want to build a somewhat future proof system with upgrade options. Also, the 4850 can't handle BF3 very well (I tried the beta).

vx53c said:
i5 2400 and 6950 is a good choice because you can upgrade in 2 or more years and not right away. With the e3 gen3 you can also dual those 6950 and run all the games for a long time.

So is the 2100 is a bad idea, then? The 2400 is a decent amount more, and the 2100 seems to have good performance when compared. Hopefully the MB I posted is a good choice since I don't have much experience with boards. If the 6950 2GB isn't needed, what would you recommend?

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November 16, 2011 2:35:07 PM

-The old pentium dual core is known to be pretty slow for gaming. Do you have a early pentium core2 like the "E" series? 2.2ghz clock? It might not be the card but the cpu instead. I would try the 4850 with the new cpu/board first. Maybe you can overclock the card a bit to 700mhz too. The 4850 is 800 shaders@650mhz, its close to the hd-6750.

-The 2100 is ok, but for less money because of the memory savings you can have the amd's fastest cpu instead. Of course there are no cpu swap options for the am3 board. But it's a $60 board you can afford to let it go later on with the cpu.

-There is no "futureproof" unfortunately both amd and intel keep changing cpu sockets and chipsets.

The 1090T or 965 are both decent gaming cpus. Really the only step up from that is the 2500k.
-The faster clocked 2500k is faster than amd's top cpu however.

If you are already spending cash on new ddr3 mem and a 1155 board, you might as well go for the much better 2500k. The 2400 and 2100 are multiplier locked so you can't overclock.

-Later on or if the 4850 proves to be too slow you could upgrade to a 6950 or maybe the 7xxx cards will be out by then.
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Best solution

November 16, 2011 3:29:01 PM

I think your plan is sound.
Your parts list seem well balanced.

The key to upgrading to ivy bridge is a P67 or Z68 based motherboard.

The 2100 will be a good gamer for most games. Read this article on <$200 gaming cpu's.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
The tests were done with a GTX480, a card only slightly stronger than the 6950, so you can see what to expect.

You will have upgrade options to the 2500K or to the ivy bridge follow on.

Usually, the graphics card is the best upgrade option for gaming.
The 6850 is a very good card now, and well matched with the 2100. Particularly for a <1080P resolution.

In time, the 28nm cards will appear, giving you a single good graphics card upgrade option.
But, unless they are significantly less power hungry, a stronger psu will be required.

What lian li case do you have? I love them.

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November 16, 2011 3:43:15 PM

I love the i3 2100 as a matter of fact but don't expect any miracles out of it. It has a bottleneck from 6850 and higher, making buying a better card now a waste of money since it won't make a real difference. The i5 2400 doesn't have such issues.
About the motherboard, well if you are sure you are never going to run crossfire and you aren't going to overclock the GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 is a good choice as it is a nice stable little mobo that does just that, plays well and sturdy all sandy bridge processors with a single gfx card. I wouldn't overclock on it more than 500 or 700 ghz and it probably won't allow you to anyway (you will hit a wall pretty quickly because of it's 4+1 phases). Now for a little bit more (125$) the asrock z68 extreme 3 gen3 offers all the goodies to overclock processors and run dual card setup. Futureproofing at your current budget means a mobo able to crossfire and a card that plays everything for now on ultra detail and further along the road with a twin to keep on playing on ultra for a great more while. This is where the problem exists. The i3 2100 renders a 6950 useless right now (it will play but not at it's full potential).
Your choice is on weather you want to futureproof with an extra gfx card in mind or cpu+gfx card in the future.
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November 16, 2011 3:51:23 PM

The newegg reviews on the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 show the 2500K at as much as 4.5 and 4.8, so I think the oc capability should be reasonable for anything sane.

It is a moot point until the cpu is replaced with a 2500K or the equivalent ivy bridge later.

If the op lives near a microcenter, they can pick up a 2500K for $180, and I would try my darndest to come up with the extra $55 to do that now, and not worry about a cpu upgrade in the future.
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November 16, 2011 4:06:03 PM

^+1
You don't even have to get an aftermarket cooler yet. Wait until you got another 40$ to spare and get a Corsair A70 then. It has all you will ever need and i can guarantee you, it will be silent (with the decelerator diodes attached) and cooooool.
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November 17, 2011 2:10:55 AM

need4speeds said:
-Do you have a early pentium core2 like the "E" series? 2.2ghz clock?

-The 2100 is ok, but for less money because of the memory savings you can have the amd's fastest cpu instead.

-If you are already spending cash on new ddr3 mem and a 1155 board, you might as well go for the much better 2500k. The 2400 and 2100 are multiplier locked so you can't overclock.


The pentium I have is the E5200, and it has been decent. I even had it OC'd to 3.7GHz for a while. If I went with the older hardware (such as ddr2 memory), would there be noticeably less performance?

geofelt said:
I think your plan is sound. The 2100 will be a good gamer for most games. You will have upgrade options to the 2500K or to the ivy bridge follow on.

The 6850 is a very good card now, and well matched with the 2100. Particularly for a <1080P resolution.

What lian li case do you have? I love them.


Regarding the 2100, that's what I was thinking. Before posting on a different forum, I never even considered that CPU, but some posters recommended it and the benchmarks are convincing. It looks like about the same performance as the AM3 CPUs at around the same price but with better upgradeability.

Would the 6850 would save me ~$100 over the 6950, but would it provide enough performance? Also, the 6850 and 6870 cards are close in price (~$20). But, I did find the below 6850 for a good price (there is a $15 off code).

Sapphire Radeon HD6850 1GB - $140 before rebate with Deus Ex

I'm not sure which Lian Li case I have actually, since I bought it off craigslist a little while ago. It is all mesh except sides and has wheels.

vx53c said:
I love the i3 2100 as a matter of fact but don't expect any miracles out of it. It has a bottleneck from 6850 and higher, making buying a better card now a waste of money since it won't make a real difference.

Now for a little bit more (125$) the asrock z68 extreme 3 gen3 offers all the goodies to overclock processors and run dual card setup.


It seems like the 2100 isn't necessarily a bad idea, but will it be enough for at least the next year is my question. Like I asked above, would the 2100/6850 combo be a good approach, or should I shoot higher?

I think since the price different is $10, I will go with the asrock z68 gen3 given that I don't want a micro board.

geofelt said:
If the op lives near a microcenter, they can pick up a 2500K for $180, and I would try my darndest to come up with the extra $55 to do that now, and not worry about a cpu upgrade in the future.


Sadly I don't. There is a Fry's nearby, but the Fry's combo deals often leave much to be desired.

vx53c said:
Wait until you got another 40$ to spare and get a Corsair A70 then.


I forgot to mention that I have a COOLER MASTER heatsink that I used to OC my pentium that is 1155 compatible.

aznshinobi said:
i5 2500K + MSI 560 Ti TFII OC $442 ($20 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
G.Skill DDR3 1600 8GB $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I also forgot to mention that I have a 320GB HD, my bad. Why choose the 560 ti? And is 1600 RAM much improvement over 1333? I was under the impression that the differences are negligible.

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November 17, 2011 2:37:39 AM

Wait I just saw your post about Fry's you're better off going and getting the 2500K at Fry's. At the Fry's near my house they sell the 2500K @ $180 to price match Microcenter, if you bring in the ad they should price match like @ my Fry's.

As for the 560 Ti save on this one it's cheaper but still pretty cool (temp-wise) and is stock OC'd to 900mhz.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Also at lower resolutions the 560 ti is better than the 6950.
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November 18, 2011 4:20:38 AM

aznshinobi said:
Wait I just saw your post about Fry's you're better off going and getting the 2500K at Fry's. At the Fry's near my house they sell the 2500K @ $180 to price match Microcenter, if you bring in the ad they should price match like @ my Fry's.


Sadly no Microcenters in my state, otherwise that would be an excellent deal.

If I went with the 2100 (almost 1/2 the 2500k price), would the 6870 be a decent choice? The 6870 is only marginally more expensive than the 6850 ($20).

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November 18, 2011 4:27:13 AM

I know there is no Microcenter, but Fry's price matches. If you go into the store locally the 2500K is $180. As for the 6870 it's a better option at the price.
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February 12, 2012 5:51:56 AM

Best answer selected by dyersituations.
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