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Budget Sandy Bridge Challenge! Need Experts!

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November 25, 2011 9:26:54 PM

Hello everyone,

Heres my situation:

I'm trying to piece together a budget sandy bridge gaming build:

Things not needed: monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers and all accessories.
Motherboard (building on an ASUS P8H61-I (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61).
Case (building in a Lian Li PC-q08).
OS (Just got a Black Friday deal on windows 7 64bit, 80 bucks)
PSU: Using a leftover Silverstone Strider 500w modular.

Things needed:

CPU
Graphics Card
Ram (8gbs preferably)
Optical Drive
Hard Drive (could use an older one I have if other items prove too constraining)

I've got about 300 bucks left in my budget Can it be done?

On the CPU, Microcenter's got a blackfriday deal on the i5-2500k for $149. They also sell the i3-2100 for $100.

I've narrowed my Ram down a little bit and would like everyone's thoughts on the different brands, not interested in overclocking:

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (Never used Mushkin, but have heard great things, they didn't have my mobo on their configurator. I e-mailed their support and got a swift response advising the above listed kit would be a "pretty good match." Didn't guarantee it was compatible.)

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



Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (I've heard alot of mixed things about crucial memory some fantastic others not, any thoughts on this? I know they are known for their compatibility which appeals to me. I just want my memory to pop in at run at the correct timings.)

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


Patriot Gamer 2 Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (I'd have to get two of these. Patriot seems a little iffy as well. Some say great things, others don't. Is Patriot cheesy ram? I've owned two sticks in the past and they gave me no problems.)

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

300 bucks.... can it be done? Thanks for all of your help!
November 25, 2011 9:51:05 PM

etk said:
Pick up the 2100, not much advantage to a 2500k in a H61 board. Any optical drive on the egg for ~$20 will work, that leaves you with $180 for RAM and a graphics card. I would go with 4GB of this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and that leaves $160 for a 6850 (les after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or you could get a 6870 and deal with the rebate.


Thanks for the quick response, why no advantage to the i5 2500? Is the H61 chipset a bottleneck of some sort? Also what is your opinion of crucial memory? Is it quality stuff? Thank you.


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November 25, 2011 9:58:17 PM
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Love the case..

1) Get the 2100 for $100. It is a surprisingly capable gamer:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

2) Ram is cheap, and sandy bridge is insensitive to ram speeds. Get a 8gb kit. for $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) You can get a good dvd drive for $16:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) That leaves $154 for a graphics card. for a graphics card.
Here is a GTX460 for $155 after rebate which gets you very close to your budget.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Anonymous
November 25, 2011 10:00:38 PM

wwusa83 said:
Thanks for the quick response, why no advantage to the i5 2500? Is the H61 chipset a bottleneck of some sort? Also what is your opinion of crucial memory? Is it quality stuff? Thank you.


The k in 2500k stands for its ability to overclock. The H61 chipset and any chipset with an H in it has limited overclcoking functionality. Only 'Z' and 'P' chipsets have the ability to overclock. Rather than spend money on something you can't use you should get the 2100.

HDD too expensive. SSSd also. Better to use the old one.

Crucial memory fine.


November 25, 2011 10:23:39 PM

wwusa83 said:
Thanks for the quick response, why no advantage to the i5 2500? Is the H61 chipset a bottleneck of some sort? Also what is your opinion of crucial memory? Is it quality stuff? Thank you.


The 2500 is good because it has 4 cores vs. 2 on the 2100. The question is if the extra cores are worth the price for gamers. In some games, yes, but for most games, only one or two cores are used.

Nothing wrong with crucial, or any other ram vendors for that matter. Don't pay more for fancy heat spreaders, faster speeds, or lower timings. They are not really needed with sandy bridge. I have not had a problem with G.skil, Corsair, Kingston, or patriot. Most offer lifetime warranties.

For gaming, spend your money on the gpu first. The 2100 will take you quite a way.

If you want to spend the extra $50 on a 2500K, fine. But the real value of the 2500K, past the extra two cores, is the ability to overclock from the default 3.3 to 4.0-4.5.
That will require a P67 or Z68 based motherboard. Since you already have a H61 motherboard, I don't see that as an option.
November 25, 2011 10:35:44 PM

geofelt said:
The 2500 is good because it has 4 cores vs. 2 on the 2100. The question is if the extra cores are worth the price for gamers. In some games, yes, but for most games, only one or two cores are used.

Nothing wrong with crucial, or any other ram vendors for that matter. Don't pay more for fancy heat spreaders, faster speeds, or lower timings. They are not really needed with sandy bridge. I have not had a problem with G.skil, Corsair, Kingston, or patriot. Most offer lifetime warranties.

For gaming, spend your money on the gpu first. The 2100 will take you quite a way.

If you want to spend the extra $50 on a 2500K, fine. But the real value of the 2500K, past the extra two cores, is the ability to overclock from the default 3.3 to 4.0-4.5.
That will require a P67 or Z68 based motherboard. Since you already have a H61 motherboard, I don't see that as an option.



Thanks for the detailed response... so at the risk of sounding dense, I have no interest overclocking (not that it matters with this h61 board). Considering that I want to run things at stock is the h61 slower than any other sandy bridge chipset at stock? Any bus limitations or anything like that? Thanks
November 25, 2011 10:36:32 PM

^ Couldn't agree more. The $50 can just go a lot further on a gpu than a cpu. Even if a 2100 is lower end, it's still good enough for just about everyone. (I have two cores disabled on my 2500k, to allow for a passive cooler, and do a lot more cpu intense apps than games, and it's fast enough for me.)
November 25, 2011 10:37:34 PM

The h61 will not run any slower than the z68 or anything else, it is actually an identical chip set with some features (overclocking...) disabled.
November 25, 2011 10:42:37 PM

wwusa83 said:
Thanks for the detailed response... so at the risk of sounding dense, I have no interest overclocking (not that it matters with this h61 board). Considering that I want to run things at stock is the h61 slower than any other sandy bridge chipset at stock? Any bus limitations or anything like that? Thanks


The H61 is a budget chip, and as such it tends to go into budget motherboards. Such motherboards may omit some features like usb 3.0 or 6gb sata ports.
But, for what you want to do, that is not an issue, and will work very well. Since you already have it, it is a moot point.
December 6, 2011 5:09:57 AM

Best answer selected by wwusa83.
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