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$600-800 gaming PC, requesting criticism

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December 24, 2011 9:54:15 PM

I'd like to shave off maybe ~$100 off this tower build if there are any easy ways to do so :)  any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. It's based off of a standard build from tecmo34.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-3 weeks

Budget Range: 600-800 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (BF3, LOL, SWTOR-- at least 30 fps on most games for the next 4 years), surfing the internet, picture editing,

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: mid tower, no real preferences on brands

Overclocking: Yes - mildly

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Want to keep it or expand it for the next 4 years or so. Want to play the latest games but they only need to be at around 30 fps on high-ish settings.

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Parts list:

Coolermaster HAF 922 red LED, mid tower - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seasonic S12II 520W PSU - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS AMD 890FX AM3 4x240pin Mobo - $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD phenom II x4 3.2GHz AM3 CPU - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.skill DDR3 240pin 2x2GB 7 CAS lat 1600 MHz - $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LiteOn 24X DVD-R drive - $23
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung spinpoint 1TB SATA drive - $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RADEON HD 6850 1GB PCIE - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Coolermaster hyper212 120 mm fan - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

arctic silver thermal compound - $13
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total for the tower: ~$830
desired price: $750
December 24, 2011 10:17:11 PM

Just noticed this comment from another thread:
Does this apply to me, as well?

"The Silverstone Raven is a great case, but you can definitely go for something cheaper. Here are my favorites around $60:
($65) Antec 300: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811129066
($55) Rosewill Challenger: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811147153
Cooling won't be a problem for any of the cards in the price range you're looking at. "
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December 24, 2011 11:14:19 PM

I see a few problems with that board.
1. You're spending too much on that case.
2. You're using a AM3 motherboard, I would go with an AM3+ incase AMD decides to release another CPU that has amazing performance, then you'll be able to upgrade.

You can check out this for a $600 gaming build suggestion:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-overclock-p...

Here is my suggestion:

CPU: AMD FX-4100 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: Gigabyte GTX 560Ti $210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: ASRock 970 EXTREME3 $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: CM HAF 912 $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Team Elite 8GB Memory Model TED38192M1333HC9DC $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: CM Hyper 212+ $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-ROM: LG 22X Super-Multi DVD Burner $17
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $689

Explanation: I chose the FX-4100 instead because I've read in many reviews that the benchmarking scores do not reflect the actual performance, and the CPU performs better than the benchmarking reviews. I chose the 560Ti because it is one of the best gfx out on the market, and it is on par with the Radeon 6950. As you see the gtx 560Ti is significantly better than the 6850. I chose the ASROCK motherboard because it is compatible with the AM3+ CPUs out of the box. The powersupply is a 600W corsair, and it should be able to support SLI and minor overclocking. The case I chose is a CM HAF912, a step down from the 922 but also $40 cheaper. The harddrive is from hitachi, which I recommend you add $10 and buy a Seagate or WD drive, just to be safe. The Team Elite RAM is 8GB of memory, more than enough for gaming and web surfing purposes...in fact, it's more than enough for the CAD program I use. The HSF is self-explanatory and so is the DVD-ROM.
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December 25, 2011 6:16:46 PM

ooh thanks that's very helpful. I noticed though that the PSU (Corsair builder 600W) was getting sort of negative reviews. Plus, someone in the reviews said the PSU is top-loading, not bottom like the case suggests. Should I find a different PSU?
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December 25, 2011 7:54:52 PM

cool thanks again :D DD. It looks like you favor a better graphics card as the one you suggested is around $70 more expensive although slightly better. what was the justification?

Also you think it's better to get 8 gigs of RAM with 9 CAS lat vs. 4 gigs of ram at 7 CAS lat? I'm not very knowledgeable about this yet.
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December 25, 2011 9:56:31 PM

I went with a better graphics card because games are heavy graphics card users. The AMD 4 core could easily handle games. The graphics card is more important in a gaming machine than a CPU (although the CPU is important too). The better gfx card will be able to allow you to game further into the future than a lower end gfx card. Also for the RAM:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_latency
The difference isn't even noticible to humans. Go with 8GB running at CAS 9 because it'll future proof ur system even more
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Best solution

December 25, 2011 10:41:07 PM

Just a suggestion.
Check out my $600 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
If you find the 6870 a bit weak, you can switch it out for the 6950 1GB (I'd use it for high resolutions) (+80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Should total to about: $691

Honestly I'd go with Intel if you have $600, mainly because even without overclocking, a stock i5 2400 (no turbo) can beat out an overclocked 955/4100 easily. Plus it runs cooler and with less power.

Here's the HDD link:
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=59705&vpn=WD2500AAKX&m...

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December 25, 2011 11:02:51 PM

aznshinobi said:
Just a suggestion.
Check out my $600 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
If you find the 6870 a bit weak, you can switch it out for the 6950 1GB (I'd use it for high resolutions) (+80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Should total to about: $691

Honestly I'd go with Intel if you have $600, mainly because even without overclocking, a stock i5 2400 (no turbo) can beat out an overclocked 955/4100 easily. Plus it runs cooler and with less power.

Here's the HDD link:
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=59705&vpn=WD2500AAKX&m...


I like your suggestion. Although the HDD is only 250GB, not really sufficient, but it's alright.
You could choose the 2400 and pair it with the 560Tiand get a system that's around ~$700, that'll have amazing performance. Or you can even go with a 2500k (around $30 more), a z68 chipset and the 560Ti for around ~$800
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December 25, 2011 11:36:12 PM

thank you folks :) 
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December 25, 2011 11:39:04 PM

No problemo good luck!
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December 26, 2011 12:03:38 AM

one more question. For that $600 build you linked aznshinobi, do I need a heatsink and fan for the core i5 2400 or does it come with?
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December 26, 2011 12:06:59 AM

All cpus come with a HSF, unless it's marked "OEM"
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December 26, 2011 12:14:03 AM

No as roaring stated. The 2400 comes with a HSF.
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December 26, 2011 12:24:12 AM

I just built my rig.

Granted, my budget was bigger (about $1700 bigger), but I had to get a monitor, mouse, OS, and keyboard as well.

There is still a lot of good you can do within the ballpark of your budget.

I do not see a system future-proofed for 4 years with that kind of budget (I don't even think my system is future proofed that long, save for my ram and PSU).

Any advice I can give you would be this...

Don't skimp on your motherboard, case, or PSU. Go ahead and skimp on everything else, but not those 3 items.

The 6850 would be a good short term choice for your GPU. 8GB of Corsair XMS3 is a good, cheap option for memory. The Phenom II X2 Black is a good, short term option for your CPU.

Good luck, and enjoy.

Edit: Great choice for your case. Decent choice for your PSU, within the confines of your budget.
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December 26, 2011 2:29:03 AM

I don't recommend what PCGamer is saying...
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December 26, 2011 2:30:45 AM

^+1

I can understand the 4 year thing. But the Phenom II X2 is meh, the XMS3 kit is also a meh, the 6850 is meh as well since you can do better.
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December 26, 2011 2:54:02 AM

aznshinobi said:
^+1

I can understand the 4 year thing. But the Phenom II X2 is meh, the XMS3 kit is also a meh, the 6850 is meh as well since you can do better.

Geez...

I am just giving him recommendations that are cheap, so as not to cut corners on the things that matter, and in this order...

1. PSU
2. Motherboard
3. Case

Those 3 things are not something to cut corners on, and if he has to go the budget route in all other areas to meet his budget, then fine.

And the XMS3 ram is not that bad, and neither is the 6850 for the money.

And the CPU I recommended he can get for $70 if he is careful.

You have to remember, he is playing with pocket change, here.

Maybe you people forgot one critical piece of information...

$600-$800!!!!!

You know, it is easy to get all high and mighty playing the elitists from the confines of your home, but we are dealing in the real world here, where this guy doesn't have a lot of money. I am trying to help this guy out by giving him good advice - I couldn't care less if he chooses the CPU and RAM I put up there, but I did want to get across to demonstrate to him where his priorities should be.

And I already said where they should be, and that's where they should be.

Good day.
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December 26, 2011 3:00:53 AM

Lol $600-$800 is pocket change? The PC situation has changed, $1000 can get you a build that'll last you at least 2 years with an SSD + 2500K + 2x560 Ti. $800 is perfectly fine amount to work with, even $600.
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December 26, 2011 3:02:26 AM

aznshinobi said:
Lol $600-$800 is pocket change? The PC situation has changed, $1000 can get you a build that'll last you at least 2 years with an SSD + 2500K + 2x560 Ti. $800 is perfectly fine amount to work with, even $600.


He needs to go all out on a Case, Motherboard, and PSU. Especially the latter two.

The rest comes later. And I edited my second post in case you missed it.
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December 26, 2011 3:06:20 AM

I skimped on my case, and I am paying for it.

My Motherboard and PSU cost me about $500 - and I skimped on the case. With his budget, that would leave him about $100-$300 to play with, still needing a good case.

Now, how about that 560SLi and quad core?

I don't think so.
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December 26, 2011 3:12:33 AM

Lol are you seriously being this ignorant?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-ssd,3...

With that THG build, they could've saved more on the Motherboard, RAM, and Dropped the TX3.
If they got the Extreme3 Gen3 Z68 from Asrock that's $25 off, then 4GB of ram is only $25 now, that's another $25 and saving on the $20 from the HSF that's a total of $70 saved.

That money easily could go towards a 750w OCZ ZS 750 and a pair of 560 Ti. It'll go a little over but you're still around that margin.

The case you can easily skimp on, so many cases are great for the budget now. Rosewill Challenger, Antec 300, HAF 912 just to name a few. Then you have pretty cheap PSUs now, the OCZ ZS 750 and Lepa 850 again just to name a few. The Asrock Extreme3 Z68 is a great cheap board to work with.
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December 26, 2011 3:18:00 AM

aznshinobi said:
Lol are you seriously being this ignorant?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-ssd,3...

With that THG build, they could've saved more on the Motherboard, RAM, and Dropped the TX3.
If they got the Extreme3 Gen3 Z68 from Asrock that's $25 off, then 4GB of ram is only $25 now, that's another $25 and saving on the $20 from the HSF that's a total of $70 saved.

That money easily could go towards a 750w OCZ ZS 750 and a pair of 560 Ti. It'll go a little over but you're still around that margin.

The case you can easily skimp on, so many cases are great for the budget now. Rosewill Challenger, Antec 300, HAF 912 just to name a few. Then you have pretty cheap PSUs now, the OCZ ZS 750 and Lepa 850 again just to name a few. The Asrock Extreme3 Z68 is a great cheap board to work with.


You are right about 1 thing...

The PC landscape is changing. And 600w 80+ nothing PSU's aren't gonna cut it with the hardware coming out in the next 2 years. We are sitting on the brink of a new generation.

And he does not have $1,000 to play with. At most $800, and maybe even $600. I assume worst case and give him the best advice I can based on that.

Get a good PSU, a good Mobo, and a good case. Worry about the rest later.

That's my opinion, based on my own experiences, and what I think is wise. He don't have to go with the parts I posted. But I do think he should prioritize the PSU, Mobo, and Case.

And if you don't think he should, well, that is just not future thinking, nor good advice.

Edit: You are right about that board, it would more than suffice. I really don't see how he will be able to afford better than a 6850/70 and while spending on 1600MHz Vengeance Ram and a good quad-core. Not with only $600 and putting his priorities in the right place.
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December 26, 2011 3:26:09 AM

Lol are you sure about that? The new fabs are making things with lower power not more. The 5xx is an exception. The 28nm chips are coming out and they use even less power. The 7970 uses less power than the 580 and performs much better, in fact nearly as good as a single 590 and 6990.

I just told you if they saved in other spots they could've gotten a 750w.

Also I know he doesn't have $1000 to spend, but I'm saying that you don't need $1500 to get a good computer. IF you can do that with $1000 all you would need is $800 to get a 2500K+560 ti and a PSU that'll prepare you for the future.

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December 26, 2011 3:33:15 AM

aznshinobi said:
Lol are you sure about that? The new fabs are making things with lower power not more. The 5xx is an exception. The 28nm chips are coming out and they use even less power. The 7970 uses less power than the 580 and performs much better, in fact nearly as good as a single 590 and 6990.

I just told you if they saved in other spots they could've gotten a 750w.

Also I know he doesn't have $1000 to spend, but I'm saying that you don't need $1500 to get a good computer. IF you can do that with $1000 all you would need is $800 to get a 2500K+560 ti and a PSU that'll prepare you for the future.


I would wait until Nvidia unleashes their new line of GPU's before I make that statement. Power requirements will go up. That is the way of things. Things become more efficient for what you are getting, but hardware is getting more powerful, and will end up requiring more power in the long run.

I had a 650w Antec with my original build. I had to pull that out and had a hell of a time putting my current PSU in, as my case sucks.

My mobo sucks, I would much rather use one (even if it's a downgrade) that uses 2 x16 PCIe connectors for xfire than dual x8s - for multi-displays in the future.

I am just making a recommendation based on personal experience. You can always make more money later and upgrade simple things like the GPU and CPU and RAM, but get you the best Mobo, case, and PSU you can, because those are the things that will see you through several builds, those are the things you don't want to have to upgrade later.

That is just my opinion.
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December 26, 2011 3:36:07 AM

Lol I'm not even going to argue with you anymore. You're just impossible.

I've given you the evidence whether or not you accept it is your issue.
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December 26, 2011 3:36:11 AM

Agree with aznshinobi. I built my computer around $700 and I have A LOT of upgrade choices. You don't need $1500 systems...in fact, buying a system that for that much is actually more of a waste than buying a $750 computer now and buying another $750 computer in 2-3years.
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December 26, 2011 3:39:18 AM

PCgamer81 said:
I skimped on my case, and I am paying for it.

My Motherboard and PSU cost me about $500 - and I skimped on the case. With his budget, that would leave him about $100-$300 to play with, still needing a good case.

Now, how about that 560SLi and quad core?

I don't think so.


$500 for case/PSU/motherboard...sir, you just wasted around $200.
a decent $160 motherboard works (such as the ASUS ROG Maximus or whatever that's called)
A $100 750W PSU is more than sufficient for your needs
$50 case.
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December 26, 2011 3:41:43 AM

^ THANK YOU THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING, Though I disagree with the Maximus, I think the ROG boards are overpriced.
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December 26, 2011 3:45:04 AM

aznshinobi said:
^ THANK YOU THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING, Though I disagree with the Maximus, I think the ROG boards are overpriced.


I agree with the ROG being overpriced, but i'm trying to make a point that a $160 motherboard is perfectly fine and no less future proof than a $300 board...I'm serious
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December 26, 2011 3:49:02 AM

Hey - that is what opinions are for.

I believe in having the best PSU money can buy, or pretty close, anyway. I believe in having an excellent motherboard, and an excellent case.

Those are the things that will see you through several builds.

I understand you guy's viewpoint, but I just don't agree.

To me, a $750 rig is a mid-range, piece of shite. If all I had was $750, I would use it to lay the ground work on a high end machine. I spent over $2,000 on my PC (but I also spent a lot on other goodies), and would do it again in a heart beat. And I don't even consider mine high high end.

I get almost 100fps in Crysis, and I was willing to pay for it.

You guys obviously think that kind of thinking is stupid. Well, enjoy medium settings and single display monitors until your little mid-range hearts are content.

But if the OP wants to take my advice, realize that high-end gaming (true high end gaming) is not possible with his budget, and purchase the basics today for high end gaming tomorrow.

G'day!
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December 26, 2011 3:53:55 AM

Congratz, I can build a system...for $750 that can run Crysis perfectly well at 40-50FPS while you just spent $2000 on a system running it at 100 FPS...CONGRATZ! You just spent an extra $1250 for bragging rights! The human eye can't even register a difference between 100 FPS and 50...seriously, I would put that money into a new car or something...maybe something nice for my girlfriend
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December 26, 2011 3:54:47 AM

^ lol. +1
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December 26, 2011 3:59:55 AM

I respect you gentlemen. I gave my opinion, I think you understand what I am saying, even though I know you don't agree with it. I understand what you are saying, although I don't entirely agree with it.

Merry belated Christmas, and have a good year.
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December 27, 2011 2:25:47 PM

yea I think my goal is to stay in the mid-range area for gaming--I don't have huge ambitions because I'll be workin hard in school.
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December 27, 2011 3:23:53 PM

Well, I gave my advice on what you should do. Go cheap, cheap, cheap on the CPU, RAM, and GPU, while going all out on your PSU, Motherboard, and Case, and eventually saving and upgrading the rest of your system. Unfortunately, other people on this thread acted like I didn't know what I was talking about (even though I do).

So as it turns out, you want to use what resources you have to get what you can today. Although I don't agree with that, I respect that and will give you the best recommendation I can, based on my own experience.

The following components would be ideal for you and your needs, and despite what anyone may say to the contrary, these are all good choices for you:

AMD ATX 2000mhz am3+ mobo (a great motherboard for the money)
AMD Phenom II x 4 970 (this CPU is great for that board, and am3 CPU's are backwards compatible with am3+ sockets, in case you wonder)
8GB of XMS3 DDR3 1333mhz (I use this very same memory, and it is more than adequate for today's gaming needs)
Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB (a great card for the money - you should be able to max 90% of modern games at a reasonable resolution with it)
Antec atx 650w (I personally owned this PSU and can attest to it's quality for the money)
Cooler Master Elite 430 (I own this case, and for the money it is really hard to beat. It has a see-thru side panel, and it is very accessible)
Hitachi 7200RPM HDD (don't listen to any idiot who tells you to shell out on an SSD - rather than invest in faster load times, invest in putting the power where it counts)

That is the essential components. Just grab you the cheapest DVD reader you can fine, and if I am not mistaken you said that you already have an OS.

Don't invest in a sound card. They are almost as big a rip-off as an SSD. 5 years ago, maybe. But today's onboard sound is adequate enough to suffice for most level headed PC gamers.

And if you don't already have a monitor, ASUS makes good 1080p monitors that are very reasonable and very nice. I use one, myself.

Good luck.

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December 27, 2011 3:34:53 PM

aznshinobi said:
the XMS3 kit is also a meh


There is nothing "meh" about XMS3 ram. It is good Corsair ram for the money, and just an excellent 1333MHz memory kit.
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January 2, 2012 11:56:33 PM

Best answer selected by Extrinsic.
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