I'm building a computer, in hope of making a decent gaming rig, trying to stay under 500, but I'd like consensus, if I'm getting the most bang for my buck, and that I shouldn't expect any compatibility issues, so here the specs;
ASRock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
LOGISYS Computer PS575XBK 575W ATX12V SLI Ready Power Supply
I would be worried about the power supply. I can't find a decent review of it, but other reviews of Logisys power supplies usually end up with the PSU blowing up in testing. Go with something around the same wattage but a better brand like corsair, antec, enermax, xfx, lepa, etc.
Also, I can't see any good reason why you would want your video card to cost less than your processor if you are doing gaming primarily.
The 980 seems like overkill and the 6770 seems underwhelming for gaming going into 2012.
Don't get me wrong, the system should perform, but I don't think you could reasonably call it optimal.
I would get a fat single 12v rail Seasonic PSU with about 40A and change the money around that you are spending on the video card and the processor. Whatever is left in the budget also spend it on the video card. Make the video card a fat single card rather than a 2x setup.
Also, I don't know about the cooling setup you are running, but you can't ignore it. More of the PCs performance than you think can be directly attributed to the cooling setup. A quality case with a lot of big fans does wonders for internal temps which translates into high stability and performance.
i agree with Raiddinn, dont skimp on GPU whatever you do. I havent been keeping up with AMD cpus, but i would look and see if theres a similar model that is cheaper with lower stock clocks. Usually these models will overclock almost as far as the more expensive models anyway. So many times a company will just take whats basically the same CPU and clock it higher and sell it for more money, which may or may not be the case here. Although Skyrim is, believe it or not, strongly CPU limited. I found it hard to believe at first because it wasnt using more than 50% of my Q9550 when there were times when the FPS would be lower, but i overclocked my GPU and saw no gain in those parts and then i overclocked my CPU further and saw the FPS go up. Its just a console port that doesnt fully utilize quad core CPUs so CPU clockspeed DOES matter for it i suppose. GPU is more important all around though.
I would definitely get a better PSU as mentioned too. You do not want a cheap PSU that will cause intermittent and damn-near impossible to troubleshoot problems in the future, not to mention possibly damaging your other expensive components. I would look into the Corsair, OCZ and Antec PSUs rated around 750w. I saw a gold-certified OCZ 750w PSU that looked nice (just glimpsed at it) on newegg for $100, youll usually only find bronze PSU at that price range. But i had just bought a Corsair AX750 (great quality PSU but pricier) so i didnt jump on it.
I personally would also look into even higher rated ram if you plan on doing a lot of OCing... i see that your CPU is a black edition, so odds are youll be OCing via the multiplier, but if you plan on raising your bus you'll want to make sure you have even more headroom than the 1600 ram provides IMO. if you get get faster ram for just a little more money i would do it.
also you'll want a good CPU cooler for OCing and of course a good case. i personally look for cases with the biggest fans since they tend to provide the best airflow at the lowest noise. 120mm are nice but 200mm are great.
Yeah I was a little worried about the PSU, but I was having trouble finding a rather budget one, but I'll look into those brands and get back to you.
When it comes to the processor at what speed should I be looking then, would dropping down to an FX 4100, still be overkill? If not I'd need to look into a new mobo, because apparently that one's bios is outdated and has to be updated to support the Am3+.
When its comes to a graphics card, what in mind specifically? Would a "XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card" be sufficient, I was really preferring one that had a VGA port.
Lastly, when it comes to cooling I did have a tower in hand already, the "LOGISYS Computer CS308RD Red / Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case" which comes with a fan, and then adding another possibly, I don't know if it's absolutely important that I have much more than that, your thoughts on these ideas?
The 6870 isn't even really comparable to the 6770. It is about twice as good. Maybe as good as 3x 6770s in crossfire. Games would run tremendously better on the 6870 than the 6770 in every aspect.
I can't advise you too much about the VGA thing, but there are like 30 models of 6870s and one probably has a VGA port on it if you look through them.
You don't want to drop back to a bulldozer PSU if you can avoid it. Bulldozer kinda flopped in the marketplace for a reason. I don't know if you can get a 955 for about $120 but you could look into that instead.
I am not a big fan of the Logisys case with the top mount PSU and the obstructed front bottom intake. I would want to go with two side fans blowing in from the side along with the front lower intake as well, but then no matter how you slice it you will have pressure in the wrong direction (more in than out).
That will put more work on the PSU to get rid of the excess hot air and potentially degrade the PSU more quickly.
Your case may do the job, but you can expect the parts to wear out faster for it.
You may want to save some money from the budget or start saving after the buy goes down to get a case like mine later. You can go 2 in on the bottom front, one in on the bottom, and one in on the side and then go two out the top and two out the back and have balanced and high airflow with plenty of internal space for cable management. You should be able to get my case for $60 if you keep an eye out for deals. I got mine at that price.
Logisys makes PSU-shaped objects that should never be attached to computer equipment if there is any chance they will be connected to an A/C power source at the same time. A quality modern PSU has full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and some level of 80+ certification for efficiency. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax/LEPA are among the better brands.
I like your RAM choice; I've got two of those kits myself in my primary rig, and I've never had to return any stick of G. Skill RAM.
You can OC a 955BE to near 980BE levels. Better to get the cheaper CPU and a 120mm tower cooler like a Xigmatek Gaia to with it.
The two games you mention in your title, Skyrim and Starcraft 2, are more heavily CPU-weighted than a lot of games. Especially ff you're willing to play on lowered settings (e.g. no AA [which may not look all that great in Skyrim]), I would not sacrifice too much CPU to get a much more powerful GPU. If you have enough wiggle room in your budget for a HD6850 or HD6870 though, I'd get one of those over the HD6770.
Another alternative is to try to fit an Intel i3-2100 into your budget. For games, it will outperform the Phenom II X4: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/186?vs=289 I used the 970BE to simulate a very realistic 24/7 OC on a 955BE; many people get even more. Please note that in some other tasks, the 970 will be superior (and the i3 cannot be overclocked any appreciable amount), so consider those too, if they matter. Of course, the i3 offers you an upgrade path to an i5, but unless Piledriver is a BIG surprise, there maybe no upgrade beyond the Phenom II X4 (the X6 tends to be no better or even worse in games: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/186?vs=146 ).
Okay so I have a new list, based on the suggestions I've heard thus far, again in the 500 dollar limit there's little I can do to stress what I've already chosen, but I've attempted the best build from what I've heard except Jtt283, because I can't quite afford to modify the build to intel variety, but I appreciate the input, and I can't change the tower either, due to same restrictions, but here goes;
AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb 3.5GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
New Graphics Card;
PowerColor AX6870 1GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
New Power Supply:
Diablotek UL Series PSUL675 675W ATX 12V v2.31 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
Everything else the same, making in total $485, new thoughts/worries?
Diablotek is as bad as, if not actually worse, than Logisys. To repeat my earlier post, A quality modern PSU has full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and some level of 80+ certification for efficiency.
The PSU is the LAST place to skimp in a new build. Your entire system depends on clean, stable power.
For $60, get this Seasonic: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which will have no difficulty with a HD6870.
Edit: Otherwise, the 970BE and HD6870 should be fine.
If you're interested in information about PSUs, the best site for tutorial information and competent technical reviews is www.hardwaresecrets.com. Two other excellent review sites are www.jonnyguru.com and www.hardocp.com.
Anyway, my primary rig is a 970BE with a GTX560Ti (a little stronger than a HD6870), and I am able to play Skyrim at 1920x1080 on all Ultra settings. You will likely be able to also.