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$650 for prebuilt gaming machine or new/update build?

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November 23, 2011 3:28:18 PM

Until two days ago, I had not looked at hardware since 2006 when I bought my last build. I had some problems with it (occasional random rebooting) so this time around I was inclined to go with a pre-built machine, and almost bought this $650 one before I stumbled across this website today. Reading through the site, I'm realizing that it might be better to update my old build (basically build from scratch).

Approximate Purchase Date: 11/23-11/26.

Budget Range: Up to $650 with rebates. Spending less would be okay too.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Skryim, Dragon Age, SC2), computing in R, some interactive graphics in R.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers. Previous build (*one or more part(s) may be faulty because the power cuts out and it reboots sometimes*):
- ASUS P5B Deluxe LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX
- COOLMAX CT-450N 450W ATX12V Power Supply
- Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
- APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13 GHz
- Scythe SCINF-1000 120mm CPU Cooler
- Corsair 1GB x 2 240 pin SDRAM DDR2 800

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com prime, wherever is reliable in shipping speed and customer service.

Country: Philadelphia, U.S.

Parts Preferences: Really no idea.

Overclocking: Maybe.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe.

Monitor Resolution: Prefer smaller resolutions for work. Whatever for gaming.

Other comments: I prefer a stable system. I don't want to have to deal with rebooting issues again even if it means not overclocking or whatever.

I assume I can reuse the hard drive and maybe the case, and maaaaybe the power supply or motherboard, but really have no idea. I included the CPU, CPU heatsink, RAM on my previous build for completeness. Please specify what kind of cooling/fans I need as well if possible. Hope I can get some feedback from you guys before I make a purchase decision -- thanks a million in advance.
November 23, 2011 6:47:56 PM

You'll want to start from scratch on this build. The components in your system are probably not reliable anymore. Also...NEVER EVER BUY A COMPUTER PRE-ASSEMBLED!!! I was on HP, and "made" a computer for $1200, i built the computer, with same components for $800

I will be using this as a guideline for the GPU:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100312-1GDP Radeon HD 6950 $240
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: ASRock Z68 PRO3 $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS500-PCARD3-US $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: NZXT Gamma $36
http://www.amazon.com/GAMMA-Classic-Interior-Chassis-Bl...

HDD: WD 320GB HDD $70 (BUY IT NOW, DO NOT WAIT!!!!GREAT DEAL FOR HDD AS OF NOW!)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Western+Digital+-+320GB+Int...

RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB $39
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: STOCK $0

DVD-ROM: LG DVD Burner 24X $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $669
November 30, 2011 4:07:39 PM

Thanks for your reply and pointing me in the right direction. Below is where I'm at right now.

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 $105 (microcenter)

Graphics: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 $169 (including $10 instant rebate today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

???MoBo: ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $70 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

???PSU: SilverStone Strider 500W, 80 PLUS, Active PFC Power Supply ST50F-ES (Black) $60
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034XRDUU/

Case: NZXT Gamma $36
http://www.amazon.com/GAMMA-Classic-Interior-Chassis-Bl...

RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB $38
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-ROM: Asus 24xDVD±RW Drive DVD-RAM/±R/±RW 24x8x16x(DVD) 48x32x48x(CD) Serial ATA Internal OEM DRW-24B1ST (Black) $20
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033Z2BAQ/

Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 $26
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wireless: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE USB 2.0 External 5dBi Antenna Wireless Adapter $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: reusing my old one

That puts me at $544. I'm set on i3-2100 for the CPU and am okay with the Radeon 6870 instead of a more expensive graphics card. My questions are: 1) Is the motherboard choice okay? Can I spend less? What do I get if I spend more, e.g. on the Z68? 2) Should I go with the Cooler Master $40 PSU or the one above (recommended in a building guide).

Thanks!
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November 30, 2011 5:15:48 PM
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lockedoff said:
Thanks for your reply and pointing me in the right direction. Below is where I'm at right now.

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 $105 (microcenter)

Graphics: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 $169 (including $10 instant rebate today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

???MoBo: ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $70 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

???PSU: SilverStone Strider 500W, 80 PLUS, Active PFC Power Supply ST50F-ES (Black) $60
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034XRDUU/

Case: NZXT Gamma $36
http://www.amazon.com/GAMMA-Classic-Interior-Chassis-Bl...

RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB $38
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-ROM: Asus 24xDVD±RW Drive DVD-RAM/±R/±RW 24x8x16x(DVD) 48x32x48x(CD) Serial ATA Internal OEM DRW-24B1ST (Black) $20
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033Z2BAQ/

Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 $26
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wireless: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE USB 2.0 External 5dBi Antenna Wireless Adapter $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: reusing my old one

That puts me at $544. I'm set on i3-2100 for the CPU and am okay with the Radeon 6870 instead of a more expensive graphics card. My questions are: 1) Is the motherboard choice okay? Can I spend less? What do I get if I spend more, e.g. on the Z68? 2) Should I go with the Cooler Master $40 PSU or the one above (recommended in a building guide).

Thanks!


IMO, I'd much rather save money and going with this rather than the Z68 board posted above. And to answer your questions...

1) Perfect choice for an H61 chipset mobo if you'll be utilizing SATA III & USB 3.0. However, if you don't think you need those, you can save an extra 15-20 bucks by getting a cheaper one. If you want to spend more... see my other thoughts below.
2) That looks like a good pick up, however I'm not familiar with SilverStone's line of power supplies. There are others for around this price from other reputable brands.

* Other thoughts:
Since you mentioned Microcenter, I assume you have one near you... It'll be in your best interest to spend a little more cash and picking up an i5-2400 (149.99), and the above Z68 would be more ideal then. (However this brings your cpu/mobo price to around $250+ compared to your previous choices at around $175) The 2100 is a dual core and the 2400 is a quad core... If chosen, the quad core will future-proof your build more by going this route. Some of the CPU dependant games will yield in better FPS, and will be better off with multitasking overall.

Here's a PSU that I'm more familiar with and backed up by a reputable company: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
November 30, 2011 6:40:27 PM

If I were you I'd pick up this board for the option to upgrade in the future:

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

Also since you have a Microcenter near you, they have had multiple promotions for the i5-2500k for $150, although right now it's selling at $180. I realize it's a little more than you want to spend, but for the performance increase you'll get I think it's worth the extra maybe $40-$50.
November 30, 2011 7:36:45 PM

Hm.. Thanks for the input and all the info (had to Wikipedia USB3.0 and SATA III, but now I'm excited about them!). I read a bit more about the trade-offs of buying i3-2100 vs. i5-2400/i5-2500k; I think for now I am going to buy the i3-2100 (unless I see a good price on one of the i5s).

Going to stick with the H61 as well, though I thought about the Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) which would allow me to upgrade to the Ivy Bridge processors when they come out. I'd rather worry about it later; have too many hobbies to require $ at the moment.

Will post my final build after I purchase everything.
November 30, 2011 8:12:54 PM

Good luck!!! :) 
December 1, 2011 10:28:38 AM

lockedoff said:
Hm.. Thanks for the input and all the info (had to Wikipedia USB3.0 and SATA III, but now I'm excited about them!). I read a bit more about the trade-offs of buying i3-2100 vs. i5-2400/i5-2500k; I think for now I am going to buy the i3-2100 (unless I see a good price on one of the i5s).

Going to stick with the H61 as well, though I thought about the Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) which would allow me to upgrade to the Ivy Bridge processors when they come out. I'd rather worry about it later; have too many hobbies to require $ at the moment.

Will post my final build after I purchase everything.

I would recommend you to buy the i5 2500k if you're going with an Intel i5 series CPU. Also, you don't need an aftermarket HSF unless you're going to be buying a i5 2500k because the stock works perfectly fine if you're not overclocking (which you can't with the i3 2100)
December 2, 2011 11:07:33 PM

Have everything but the case and CPU. Thanks guys :) 

Final build:

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 $105 (microcenter)

Graphics: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 $169

MoBo: ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $70

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W $60

Case: NZXT Gamma $36

RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB $38

DVD-ROM: Don't remember $20

Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 $26

Wireless: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE USB 2.0 External 5dBi Antenna Wireless Adapter $20

HDD: reusing my old one
December 2, 2011 11:08:48 PM

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