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Gaming for $600

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December 15, 2011 3:23:32 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 to 3 weeks
Budget Range: $650 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HD movies, surfing
Parts Not Required: Speakers, headset, keyboard, mouse monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Tigerdirect

Country: US

Parts Preferences:AMD cpu, AMD graphics
Overclocking: yes

SLI or Crossfire: in future


Additional Comments: Will be playing mostly WOW and Skyrim



CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ($124)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Board: MSI 970A-G45 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard open box ($70)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: GeIL Enhance CORSA 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) ($75)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Case: Linkworld 3210-04-C2628 Black/ Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($27)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Videocard: SAPPHIRE 100327L Radeon HD 6750 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card ($106)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: LOGISYS Computer PS600XBK 600W ATX12V SLI Ready Power Supply Black w/ 120mm Ball Bearing Fan ($35)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Harddrive: OCZ Vertex Plus OCZSSD2-1VTXPL60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I will also have basic dvd burner, card reader, some case fans and a 1 TB HD for extra storage. I will also try to unlock the 5th and 6th core. Leave any ideas with me. Thank You for your Time. Newegg seems to be cheaper but I do have to pay taxes.

More about : gaming 600

December 15, 2011 3:32:00 AM

If gaming is important, drop the SSD, get 4GB of RAM and use the budget for a HD6870 or better.

Also, crap PSU. Get something better.

EDIT: Didnt see you are playing WoW. Drop the AMD's and go for a i3 2100 + H61 setup. Intel works much better with WoW.

Check the $600 build in my sig to get an idea of what you should be looking at for the budget.
December 15, 2011 3:34:59 AM

Drop 16GB, you don't need that much RAM. Specially with what you'll be doing. Bundle and get this combo with the 960T
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Get a new board, still supports AM3+ but allows for 8x/8x Crossfire. Don't go cheap for open box.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this PSU, don't cheap out. It'll cost you more down the line.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fairly cheap PSU, good performance. Will allow you to Crossfire 6850's down the line.

I'd spend a little more and get the 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
December 15, 2011 3:41:42 AM

you dont even need 8 gig of RAM for gaming so 16 is very bad call for a gamer
Get a 2 x2 gig kit of 1600 MHz RAM running at 1.5 volt or less .

The motherboard has two x16 slots but with one at x4 it cant crossfire . The cheapest AM3+ mb that can is the Asrock 970 gen4. Its about $110

The Zosma is an X6 with two disabled cores . Even enabling them wont help with games since games cant use them . IMO the budget gaming champion cpu is the FX 4100.
$110 and overclocks really well even on the stock cooler .

Radeon 6770 for $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The power supply you have picked might be cheap but at that price it has to be junk .
This one is also cheap but it is decent enough
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

December 15, 2011 3:58:45 AM

Actually... The cheapest AM3+ MB is the Asrock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 it's only $80 but runs 8x/8x The only thing is it's 870. But that's no big deal as THG did a review and both the 8xx and 9xx chipsets are virtually the same in performance.

The FX-4100 loses to the 955 in many benches so I don't see how it's better. It may OC good, I do agree but the Zosma can get to 4ghz which is pretty good already. In fact, clock for clock, the FX-4100 is worse than the Phenom II X4's.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/11/
Starting from there you can just go through the benches, the FX-4100 performs at the level of an A8-3850

Other benches to prove the 955/960T further.
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?2761...
December 15, 2011 6:49:06 PM

aznshinobi said:
Actually... The cheapest AM3+ MB is the Asrock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 it's only $80 but runs 8x/8x The only thing is it's 870. But that's no big deal as THG did a review and both the 8xx and 9xx chipsets are virtually the same in performance.

The FX-4100 loses to the 955 in many benches so I don't see how it's better. It may OC good, I do agree but the Zosma can get to 4ghz which is pretty good already. In fact, clock for clock, the FX-4100 is worse than the Phenom II X4's.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/11/
Starting from there you can just go through the benches, the FX-4100 performs at the level of an A8-3850

Other benches to prove the 955/960T further.
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?2761...



Using a board with an 870 series chipset is a bad idea . Did you mean the Asrock 970 gen3 ?
I agree its the cheapest but he wont be crossfiring with that either , so if crossfire is necessary then the 970 gen 4 is the way to go

The FX 4100
www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/
benches fractionally behind the 980be phenom in this review . Yes you can OC the 955 to 980 speeds and match that performance , but you can OC the FX to 4.6 GHz on the stock cooler and be ahead .
Its also cheaper
You may lose some application performance but at the price point it cant be matched for game performance .
December 15, 2011 7:37:03 PM

Lose the SSD, I have that exact model and it's been nothing but trouble. Reduce the RAM to 4GB of good quality low CAS latency memory as mentioned. Spend the leftovers on a better GPU (maybe look for a new/used 5870 or 5970).
December 15, 2011 8:50:45 PM

Gotta love to see two addicts fight :) 

December 15, 2011 9:30:54 PM

No I'm referring to this Asrock 870 Extreme3 board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
How is 870 bad? I mean the reviews have shown the 9xx chipsets are no different than the 8xx chipsets other than the support of AM3+.

As for the 4100, I still stand by Phenom II X4/X6 over FX-4xxx/6xxx/8xxx
December 15, 2011 9:53:39 PM

aznshinobi said:
No I'm referring to this Asrock 870 Extreme3 board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
How is 870 bad? I mean the reviews have shown the 9xx chipsets are no different than the 8xx chipsets other than the support of AM3+.

As for the 4100, I still stand by Phenom II X4/X6 over FX-4xxx/6xxx/8xxx



the 870 chipset doesnt have the full range of power management features of the 970 when you use an FX processor .
The 970 supports SLI and crossfire, the 870 only crossfire
I also think USB 3 support will be via a controller chip rather than native .
The board you linked is great value for someone who wont ever upgrade beyond phenom , but maybe not so much if they see piledriver as an option next year
December 15, 2011 10:23:49 PM

True, the 870 only supports crossfire, but if he is starting off and getting an AMD card he wouldn't need to SLI since he'll have the AMD card to CF with.

Also, the power management is mainly because an overclocked FX-chip uses so much power so that should be downside to the FX's. But it's OP's choice, IMO the 870 is enough specially since an X4 will last for at least 1 or 2 more years.
December 16, 2011 3:25:52 AM

aznshinobi said:
True, the 870 only supports crossfire, but if he is starting off and getting an AMD card he wouldn't need to SLI since he'll have the AMD card to CF with.

Also, the power management is mainly because an overclocked FX-chip uses so much power so that should be downside to the FX's. But it's OP's choice, IMO the 870 is enough specially since an X4 will last for at least 1 or 2 more years.


The power management features are the low energy state modes . Nothing at all to do with overclocking .

But at least you have been able to finally admit that 870 and 970 are NOT identical as you earlier claimed
December 16, 2011 3:56:15 AM

What is AMD system? (Jeopardy reference) sorry had to say it. But definitely don't go for bulldozer. Its just not that good. The Phenom processors wipe the floor with it in gaming. Sure it has eight cores, but I'm pretty sure that is way out of your price range. My choice, AMD Phenom 955.
December 16, 2011 3:58:47 AM

Lol I didn't admit anything, the power management I didn't even know was a feature till now. Though it's understandable they put the feature since the FX-chips have high TDP's if they were running OC'd clocks all the time.

I dunno about the "low energy state modes" but in any case, the older chipsets have AMD Cool 'n Quiet which is pretty close to running chips at low energy state modes.
December 16, 2011 4:09:37 AM

My vote is for i3-2100 :) 
December 16, 2011 5:37:44 AM

mrwhit30ut said:
What is AMD system? (Jeopardy reference) sorry had to say it. But definitely don't go for bulldozer. Its just not that good. The Phenom processors wipe the floor with it in gaming. Sure it has eight cores, but I'm pretty sure that is way out of your price range. My choice, AMD Phenom 955.


No they dont

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/14/
At 1080p resolution the phenom 980 produces 1 more fps than the FX 4100 .
If you OC both processors to their limits on stock cooling the FX will be ahead by a good margin
And the intel 2120 gets spanked even though it costs more than an FX



December 16, 2011 6:43:48 AM

wy didn't u link HAWX page where FX get's "spanked " by intel 2120 ?
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/13/
and even if it does the difference is so minimal .. plus it will mostly depend on GPU
also u'll need to pay extra for heatsink for ur fx
so suck it up and admit that 2100 is the best choice for a budget build
December 16, 2011 1:04:52 PM

I would have to disagree with that statement that the 2100 is the best, mainly since the 960T is the same price, some times on sale for $110. Since it can be unlocked to 6 core, theres the large boost in productivity/transcoding. Then you have the decent/solid OCing ability to 4ghz and finally the pretty decent gaming ability.

But I still think the FX-4100 isn't really THAT good. Even those sweet OCs we haven't seen any benches with it OCs for gaming.
December 16, 2011 1:57:06 PM

i wouldn't get the 4100 for now, the much worthy would be either a new stepping or the upcoming fx 4170, 4.2ghz base clock.
so, my vote goes strictly to either the 955 or the 960t
December 16, 2011 3:18:20 PM

Yes but 2100 is 100 at microcenter .. Period. And if u plan to oc ull have to pay for heatsink another 20-30 bucks
December 16, 2011 3:59:50 PM

aznshinobi said:


I dunno about the "low energy state modes" but in any case, the older chipsets have AMD Cool 'n Quiet which is pretty close to running chips at low energy state modes.


So never occurred to you that FX requirements and capabilities with Cool'n'Quiet are different than phenom?
Anyone using an FX should ideally use 970 or 990 chipset boards . Trying to save a couple of dollars by buying last years mb wont pay off .

Here is FX performance in applications scaling with OCing
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/16/

The bottom line is the same : FX is the budget gaming champion
December 16, 2011 4:29:18 PM

and it is power hog .. it consumes almost twice more power in prime
if u a developer that use 4+ threaded apps then sure go with it and oc it on liquid helium
if u a gamer and want simple out-of-the-box cpu with great performance and no oc headache - 2100 is clearly a winner
December 16, 2011 7:57:46 PM

madchemist83 said:
and it is power hog .. it consumes almost twice more power in prime
if u a developer that use 4+ threaded apps then sure go with it and oc it on liquid helium
if u a gamer and want simple out-of-the-box cpu with great performance and no oc headache - 2100 is clearly a winner


You are correct the FX 4100's weak spot is higher power usage . But keep it in perspective because the difference is roughly the same as having a light bulb running .
And nothing has changed the fact that usually the FX4100 performs better in games at stock speed than a i3 2100 [ or 2120 ] and it can be overclocked by about 30 % with a decent cooler and thats going to add even more performance

And that OC headache you are referring to........ ONE change in BIOS . Maybe thats difficult for you , but a lot of people would find that easy and very worthwhile
December 16, 2011 8:19:31 PM

ok let's wait for tom to review it and see who'll get recommended for that price range
December 16, 2011 9:16:37 PM

Outlander, I've seen the review many times. Those OC benches are for benches that are multithreaded. NOT games, anything can be OC'd it's just the fact if games benefit from it.

I disagree that the 2100 is the best bang for the buck, though for people who don't want to mess around with settings the 2100 is solid. The 955/960T though I think offer the best bang for the buck, they provide pretty easy overclocking also the 960T can unlock 2 cores (most likely) and the fact that the 955/960T are both true quad cores vs. the FX-4100 which is 2 cores but 4 modules. Many think it is, specially since when they sell they list it as such, but that is not the case.
December 17, 2011 2:37:05 AM

what happend to op, all are so busy in fight and arguments that he's fed up hey, are you there :D 
December 19, 2011 2:55:37 AM

aznshinobi said:
Drop 16GB, you don't need that much RAM. Specially with what you'll be doing. Bundle and get this combo with the 960T
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Get a new board, still supports AM3+ but allows for 8x/8x Crossfire. Don't go cheap for open box.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this PSU, don't cheap out. It'll cost you more down the line.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fairly cheap PSU, good performance. Will allow you to Crossfire 6850's down the line.

I'd spend a little more and get the 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


aznshinobi ya hit the nail on the head in going with the 6850 and the psu (always get 80+ cert psu for clean power for long term reliable build). Also 16 g ram is too much, go with a high clock ram like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....
And when choosing a cpu for gaming, cores isnt the most important factor, clock speed is. so instead of the 3.0 mhz processor, get 3.3+. because an intel 2120 can do more calculations per second cause of its higher clock speed.
so if you want to keep amd but stay low on budget try
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for 79 or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for 119.
Especially since you are going with an am3+ board. dont worry about unlocking cores cause that can lead instability and data corruption if you dont get a board with quality vrm control characteristics.
December 19, 2011 2:59:14 AM

aznshinobi used to hit nails on his head .. till he took an arrow to a knee :) 

i3-2100 is the way to go
no amd fanboy can convince me otherwise ( might be different for OP)
December 19, 2011 3:36:00 AM

Soulwind721 said:

Especially since you are going with an am3+ board. dont worry about unlocking cores cause that can lead instability and data corruption if you dont get a board with quality vrm control characteristics.


Wtf.... I've never heard of such a thing. Never even heard of the issue reported. AMD's arch for chips that can have their cores unlocked are because they are dormant cores that AMD just shuts off but keeps the arch. When you unlock the 960T you basically have the 1090T with a lower clock, how would that lead to "data corruption" if that's related to the HDD. Instability is partially true, but after long runs of Prime95 and if you get no errors then it's fine to keep the unlocked cores, you can always just have the X amount of cores, the unlocking is just a bonus.

MadChemist that just shows how bias you are. Keep your eyes open for other chips and not just Intel. I applaud Intel with their chips but they're not the only chips out there. I'm not going say anymore since you're just going to troll further like you usually do.
December 19, 2011 4:17:48 AM

noone is trolling
yes there are other chips .. like amd and .. that's it
just tell me how's amd crap is better ?
December 19, 2011 4:24:41 AM

every time someone tries to say something against ur suggestion u go to "wtf I've never heard of it .. and that is not true" mode
u r not the expert in components .. btw builds in ur sig are crap
so instead of making mouthful comments and keep milking the same cow ( e.g amd )
maybe go do some research and try different components
December 19, 2011 7:06:06 PM

Mad why do you criticize other builds but you yourself have no builds to show. Mad just leave the forums. I literally give you so much links and I do lots of research but you use circle reasoning to back up your statements, you also provide no links to back up your reasoning other than a FEW (and I mean about 3) times.

AMD chips are solid for the buck, like the 960T. The 960T is a quad-core using Thuban arch so it can unlock 2 cores. Of course it's not a 100% chance but most people do unlock it. And when unlocked, it's like a lower clocked 1090T, at which point is a better bang for the buck since it, being the 960T, costs the same as the i3 2100. Even without it, in productivity it's better. In an overall build standpoint the 960T is great buy, it can do productivity but also game.
1090T vs i3 2100
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=146
I can't lie, the 1090T/unlocked 960T loses in some benchmarks but wins in most of the benches. THG's review of the 960T:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-x4-960t-z...
December 19, 2011 9:56:03 PM

Any one building with AMD and wanting the comp to last should be using a board with a 970 or 990 series chipset .

And the FX 4100 is the budget king . Its faster than the Zosma , faster than the 955 , and cheaper than them too .
It also hoses the i3 2100 and 2120 in games
Maybe not if you are playing on a 17 inch crt monitor your grand dad got when he was young ..but at 1080p the FX 4100 is the dominant cpu

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=AMD+FX-4...

December 20, 2011 1:02:19 AM

You are all quite capable advisers. Let's reign it in a bit. I deleted the last post because it had just crossed the line, but in truth it was just a fraction worse than some of the earlier posts.

Instead of arguing over valid but secondary considerations, why don't you each present a full build with the criteria given. Get back on track and help the OP. Although in truth he's probably long gone.
December 20, 2011 2:20:51 AM

Proximon, unfortunately that wouldn't indicate which performed best , and in which situations each build was weak . I have tried to show why I believe the things I do about these respective configurations but the way these things get settled best would be via the system builder marathon IMO .

The $500 build is crying out for an FX 4100 since there are very few benchmarks/reviews of this cpu online, and the system builder machine tends to be a lot more realistic than pairing all cpu's with a top end graphics card and trying to extrapolate from there

I believe AMD's marketing hasn't done them any favors by presenting FX ans 4 6 and 8 core processors. To call an integer execution unit a "core" is simply wrong . It cant function independently as intel and previous generation AMD cpu's did . The nearest AMD equivalent to an intel "core" is a "module"
!