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350-400 dollar (upgrade?)

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December 13, 2011 4:49:04 AM

I'm not looking to spend more than 350-400 dollars for a minor gaming rig.

Currently looking at:

HIS HD 6850 (H685FN1GD) -- $110 after rebates
4GB Corsair 9-9-9-24, DDR3, 1333MHz -- $22
Thermaltake TR2 500W PSU -- $45 after rebate
ASUS P8H61-M Mobo -- $68
Intel i3-2120 CPU -- $120

Adds up to about 375. Just doing a sanity check for compatibility, and (hopefully) to hear that it's a good deal for the price. Is there anything that you'd change? I'm keeping my old HD.

Thanks in advance :) 

EDIT: playing at 1920x1080. In addition to moderate gaming, I'd like to be able to edit images and video.

More about : 350 400 dollar upgrade

December 13, 2011 5:17:35 AM

Get AMD FX 4100 4-Core Processor, 3.6GHz - $110
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-4100-4-Core-Processor-Socket/...

GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - $90
http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-970A-D3-AM3-SATA-Moth...

Get Corsair Builder Series CX V2 500-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply - $50 (after rebate)
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-500-Watt-Certified-Compat...

RAM is OK. Try to fit a HD6870 in your budget as dalauder has suggested below.
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December 13, 2011 5:36:55 AM

Your build is definitely not perfect. I have to go home now, but tomorrow I'll come back and give some tips. You might want to glance over this: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

Are you sure you included all the parts you need? Hard Drive? Case?

Do you live near a Micro Center?

I'd stick to Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX for the PSU. There are some good Thermaltakes & OCZ's, but there are enough mediocre ones not to trust those brands outright.

Also, I'd try to find a way to get a 6870 in your budget. It's a BIG performance bump: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/291?vs=290

I really think you should look for AMAZING deals for each of your parts at your budget.

If you're open to the possibility of learning to overclock (it'll take one weekend and a lot of work on a thread you make on this forum), then you may be able to get a more useful build going the Phenom II x4 route--that abandons upgradeability though while providing more longevity with the current parts. If you're committed to video editing though, you should stick to H61 and plan on using Virtu Universal.
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December 13, 2011 6:44:52 AM

I'll have some thing up in an hour for you.
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December 13, 2011 8:42:29 PM

OP--Could you answer a couple of my questions above? I can't give you the best build for your buck if I don't know all the details.
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December 13, 2011 10:14:31 PM

Sorry for the delay, just got back home.

dalauder said:
Are you sure you included all the parts you need? Hard Drive? Case?


Yes, have case, planning on using my old HD(running W7, 64 bit)

Do you live near a Micro Center?
said:

Do you live near a Micro Center?


I'm about 40 minutes away from one.

Also, I'd try to find a way to get a 6870 in your budget. It's a BIG performance bump: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/291?vs=290
said:
Also, I'd try to find a way to get a 6870 in your budget. It's a BIG performance bump: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/291?vs=290


I guess I'll try to look for deals on them.


If you're open to the possibility of learning to overclock (it'll take one weekend and a lot of work on a thread you make on this forum), then you may be able to get a more useful build going the Phenom II x4 route--that abandons upgradeability though while providing more longevity with the current parts. If you're committed to video editing though, you should stick to H61 and plan on using Virtu Universal. said:

If you're open to the possibility of learning to overclock (it'll take one weekend and a lot of work on a thread you make on this forum), then you may be able to get a more useful build going the Phenom II x4 route--that abandons upgradeability though while providing more longevity with the current parts. If you're committed to video editing though, you should stick to H61 and plan on using Virtu Universal.


One more thing: I'm currently using a ASUS m2n-e mobo(socket AM2, and I know some of the earlier Phenoms will work with it. Would you suggest saving on the motherboard and maybe using that for something else? But video editing is a must for me.
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Best solution

December 13, 2011 11:56:04 PM

If you're buying new, Micro Center has some great deals for Phenom II's and i5-2500K's. Get on Micro Center's email list and if they drop the i5-2500K back down to $149.99, like it was for a weekend in October--you have to buy it.

In terms of typical usage, you won't be hurt by the difference between an Phenom II, i3, or i5. However, when you're transcoding video, Quicksync has the potential to be VERY beneficial. If you use a program that supports it, it can cut transcoding time to about 1/4 of what it would be otherwise. According to Lucidlogix Virtu's website, it supports H61/H67/Z68 motherboards.

Cost wise, you'll see that your current computer supports most 95W AM3 K10 (Phenom II and Athlon II) CPUs: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM2/M2NE/#CPUS
It'll likely work with the ones that aren't even on that list like 960T. At your price point, you'll almost certainly get the best gaming machine by getting an Athlon II x3 or x4 and overclocking.

I highly recommend this Athlon II x4 on sale now for $60 at Microcenter: http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
There isn't really any comparably priced CPU on Newegg at the moment. Note that it calls itself a Phenom II x4 840. The "Phenom" part is a lie becaue it's missing the distinctive Phenom L3 cache. It runs at 3.2GHz, which means you don't need to overclock yet for most games--nearly all games run well with a Quad Core 3.0GHz. Just make sure to flash your bios before you install it. What's your current CPU? An Athlon 64 x2 4400+?

This would be a $60 upgrade plus a PSU & Graphics. That motherboard does not support SLI or Crossfire, right? And you already have 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 I assume.

PSU: If you can find the Antec Neo Eco 620C for $35 or less after rebate, that would be ideal. Otherwise this $50 (after rebate) OCZ is actually quite good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I typically don't recommend OCZ PSU's, but the Hardware Secrets review is very solid: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/OCZ-ModXStream-P...
No sense in aiming any higher with your budget.

Graphics: That leaves us at $400 - $60 - $50 = $290 for Graphics. Now you just need a single graphics card since that mobo won't be doing SLI/Crossfire. I recommend the Radeon 6950 1GB, which you should be able to find for $200. It's pretty great bang for your buck and will still output awesome framerates if you crossfire it in your next build. That, or save $50 and get the even more cost efficient Radeon 6870. Basically just read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fastest-graphics-ca...

Now you will be sacrificing time when you transcode video, but otherwise, this build should be very capable and save you $120 over the i3.
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December 13, 2011 11:58:09 PM

Summary of above post:
Go cheap and get a dead end system. Best Graphics Cards for your money: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fastest-graphics-ca...

CPU: $60 Phenom II x4 840 @ Microcenter

PSU: $50 OCZ 600W linked above

GPU: $150 Radeon 6870 (find a deal)

TOTAL: $260

Result: Great 1080p performance in most games, especially if you overclock the GPU. Solid video editing, but you really lose transcoding time to quicksync.

Give the whole system to family or a friend when you're done with it in two years and put the extra $120 you save with this plan your new build.
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December 14, 2011 2:10:28 AM

Best answer selected by Ariktyer.
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December 14, 2011 3:39:16 AM

Feel free to continue discussion until they close thread (happens within a day of picking a "Best Answer") or PM me.
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December 14, 2011 3:48:59 AM

dalauder said:
Feel free to continue discussion until they close thread (happens within a day of picking a "Best Answer") or PM me.



I decided I'd go with your suggestion -- upgrade the CPU, PSU, and get a new Graphics Card(looking at a $210 dollar XFX 6950), and save it(maybe for crossfire, like you said) for when I'm again forced to upgrade in 2 years, for a more expensive build.

Thanks for all the help :) 

I'll be doing a ton of video editing in the summer, but I decided letting it run overnight would be fine. Gaming is a bigger concern for me. And yes, my current CPU was an Athlon 64 x2 4400+, with 4gb of 800MHz RAM.
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December 14, 2011 8:05:01 PM

You're welcome--just remember to update your bios before swapping CPUs.
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