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Building a $750 gaming PC need parts advice

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February 3, 2012 11:21:21 PM

Hi, I'm building my first computer, a gaming PC. I have some parts figured out, but some I'm having trouble figuring out the hard drive, motherboard, and power supply (video card requires at least 500 watts, so I want to go to at least 550 to be safe)

Approximate Purchase Date: I am completely unsure, unfortunately

Budget Range: Budget absolute max $750

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet (Youtube, etc.), videos (Netflix, etc.), photo/video editing,

Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, speakers/headset, monitor, disk drive (possibly), case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, newegg, tigerdirect, (can also buy from Office Depot, Best Buy, etc. if necessary)

Country: Does this mean where I live? If so, USA

Parts Preferences: Would like to use AMD Phenom II x6 1090t Black Edition (if can't afford then II x6 1055t), AMD Radeon HD 6850, Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB hard drive, case is an old HP Pavilion a6542p desktop case

Overclocking: It's possible, that's for sure. If I do, not any time soon

SLI or Crossfire: With my computer budget, I don't think I'll be able to afford Crossfiring

Monitor Resolution: I don't know what it is... it's the HP monitor that came with the computer, I may be able to find out the resolution

Additional Comments: I hope to put a window and a couple red or blue cold cathodes inside, and does my case have at least 2 hard drive bays because the new hard drive will be mine and the old hard drive (keeping the one it has already) will have family's music, pics, etc.

Thanks! If any more info is needed, just tell me.
February 4, 2012 12:06:09 AM

As a long time AMD fan I have to say go Intel. Get a Core i5-2500k. Even a Core i3-2100 at stock speed would be just as fast. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-overcloc...

Also, if you have a Microcenter near you, you can get the 2500k for $180. Look for the location drop down at the top of the page. They also have some deal for a good z68 motherboard for $50 extra or so. http://www.microcenter.com/

A Gigabyte or ASUS z68 motherboard. Low or high end, ATX or uATX does not matter, quality is all good. Just check to see that it has the features you want.

This PSU will do fine. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You have 2 hard drive bays available.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 4, 2012 12:29:10 AM
February 4, 2012 12:33:32 AM

nah he wants to go with amd let him and take a look at this


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet (Youtube, etc.), videos (Netflix, etc.), photo/video editing,


he has videos(netflix etc.) photo/video editing, to whatever he might do, he might need those extra cores but i say the 1090T ain't so bad it should serve him well to both gaming and other editing and stuff he might do and with his budget too, get a seasonic 520w 80plus bronze modular/non modular to whatever your budget can get,

go for a am3+ mobo and a sapphire/xfx hd 6770/6850/6870 whichever one you can get your hands on, and for a chassis try a nzxt source 210 you can easily modify it too and for a cheaper amount if not an antec 300/302 should do well,

i my self have both an AMD pc and an Intel pc, if you do any other stuff with it besides gaming i can tell that the amd phenom II x6 1090T performs better than my i5 2500K, but if you only care about gaming w/ or w/o overclocking the i5 2500k/2400 is good, but i can tell the phenom II x6 performs really well in gaming too and theres hardly any difference when your immersed in gaming that you can hardly notice them, well if we put them @ stock clock, but overclocking the i5 2500k goes up better than the 1090T, well its not like you will be needing any 4.5-5Ghz cpu anytime soon as a 3.8-4.0Ghz overclock should suffice, you don't need to go over the limit as it's better to keep things at stock clock, with our current technology you don't really need to overclock for your pc to perform well, you normally overclock your setup if your pc doesn't perform as well during it's prime
February 4, 2012 12:35:09 AM

@chulex: Thanks for the info. I think I'll avoid that motherboard, it has some pretty bad reviews. That PSU, tlmck gave me a cheaper option at 550 watts so I think I'll avoid that one too. Thanks for telling me Western Digital though, I've found a good 7200 RPM 1TB hard drive for $130... I hope I can afford it.
@tlmck: What would the advantages to the i5 be? I need at least 4 cores, and the AMD II x6 gives me six and just a tenth of a gigahert (is that what GHz stands for?) slower, at about the same price from certain places. I looked into an i5 at first, and then looked at the AMD because I hear AMD gives you more bang for your buck. What advantage would the i5 have??? I do like the deal from Microcenter for the i5 and motherboard... luckily I have one near me.

I forgot to clarify something in the OP, I want to be able to play Minecraft, BF3, BF2, GTA4, BF1942, Flight Simulator X, and Flight Simulator 2004 on medium (at least) settings. Is this a good setup for that? Oh, another thing. I have a set of old Need For Speed games (High Stakes, Hot Pursuit 2, Underground, and Porsche Unleashed) and I've only tried Hot Pursuit 2, but my current computer's (Dell Inspiron 1545 with 4GB RAM, Intel Pentium dual core 2.1 GHz, and Intel Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family) graphics card is incompatible and there are grey spots everywhere. I would like to be able to play that without it looking like poop. (for lack of a better word, sorry)
February 4, 2012 3:58:20 AM

TheQuack45 said:
@chulex: Thanks for the info. I think I'll avoid that motherboard, it has some pretty bad reviews. That PSU, tlmck gave me a cheaper option at 550 watts so I think I'll avoid that one too. Thanks for telling me Western Digital though, I've found a good 7200 RPM 1TB hard drive for $130... I hope I can afford it.
@tlmck: What would the advantages to the i5 be? I need at least 4 cores, and the AMD II x6 gives me six and just a tenth of a gigahert (is that what GHz stands for?) slower, at about the same price from certain places. I looked into an i5 at first, and then looked at the AMD because I hear AMD gives you more bang for your buck. What advantage would the i5 have??? I do like the deal from Microcenter for the i5 and motherboard... luckily I have one near me.

I forgot to clarify something in the OP, I want to be able to play Minecraft, BF3, BF2, GTA4, BF1942, Flight Simulator X, and Flight Simulator 2004 on medium (at least) settings. Is this a good setup for that? Oh, another thing. I have a set of old Need For Speed games (High Stakes, Hot Pursuit 2, Underground, and Porsche Unleashed) and I've only tried Hot Pursuit 2, but my current computer's (Dell Inspiron 1545 with 4GB RAM, Intel Pentium dual core 2.1 GHz, and Intel Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family) graphics card is incompatible and there are grey spots everywhere. I would like to be able to play that without it looking like poop. (for lack of a better word, sorry)


As far as ghz ratings, they kind of went out the window several years ago so ignore them. It is more about instructions per cycle and a bunch of other stuff. I think this chart can answer your question better than I. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/146?vs=288 Anandtech is a very trusted source in the industry.

Oh and BTW, I should have mentioned the XFX PSU I linked to is for all intents and purposes a Seasonic inside. XFX are the best deal right now as they are trying to build the brand name. Another one that is not quite as good, but still good enough would be the OCZ I have. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In general for a gaming rig, once you determine the wattage you need, you want to look for at least an 80 plus certified PSU from Antec, Corsair(except the Builder Series), Seasonic, Silverstone, or XFX. And in this case, the OCZ is fine as well.
February 4, 2012 1:52:26 PM

Thanks for the help everyone! I'm still leaning towards the AMD processor, one reason is that I'm using an AMD graphics card and I read that AMD processors and Nvidia cards don't work well together and I'm not sure if that is true with Intel processors and AMD graphics cards. I've found a nice looking motherboard, and was wondering if this was a good one, the ASUS M5A97 AMD 9 Series AM3+ Motherboard (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...). It supports AMD Phenom II processors, and supports the memory I want. It also has good reviews, which some Intel motherboards suggested have too, but also have a lot of bad reviews for Dead on Arrival, defective parts, etc. Is this a good motherboard?
February 14, 2012 12:31:56 AM

Hi again! I've done some more research and I've found that the AMD FX hex core 6100 processor is 6 cores, but a bit cheaper. I did some adding and found that the price for this computer is already almost over my budget without the Windows 7 license (I don't want to use Linux because many programs don't support it), so any price reduction is great. Is that a good processor vs an i5 or phenom II x6? Thanks!
February 21, 2012 12:41:34 AM

I've done a LOT more research and I've finally cracked it! (I hope!) I had to downgrade the CPU, but I managed to find an 850W PSU and 1.5TB hard drive (more than I need, but surprisingly everything at my idea was more expensive, go figure!).
Here are the specs:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition: $120
AMD Radeon HD 6850: $135
Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) RAM: $50
Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 5900RPM 64MB cache 6.0Gb/s 3.5" (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...): $100
Kingwin ABT-850MM 850w (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...):$70
Asus M5A97 AMD 9 Series AM3+ Motherboard: $100
Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout: $70
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit: $100
Total: $745, five dollars under budget, woohoo! Is this a good setup?? If anything else can be found for same price (better performance) or cheaper (same performance), let me know!
Also, I know when I'm getting this now, and it's a while away (August 2012) so some parts will probably change, but I'm happy to have this figured out for now.
So, is this a good build to play the games I listed earlier?
Thanks!!!
February 21, 2012 12:45:16 AM

Why AMD? It may seem like better bang for the buck, but trust me, the Intel i5 will blow it out of the water. But hey... its your choice, they will both suffice.
February 21, 2012 2:21:48 AM

"Why AMD" you ask? Price. A good i5 is around $200, which is going to bring the price up way too much. If I can get a good i5 for the same price or less that gives a performance improvement and I can find a good motherboard for same or less price, by all means I'll go with an Intel!
February 21, 2012 2:26:55 AM

Check out screwsqrl's build :D 

But yeah, I see what you are saying. I am very biased toward intel hehe.... :lol: 

EDIT: the i5-2400 is only $10 more then your first choice in cpu, and even though you cannot OC it, may allow for more upgrades in the future. The AMD has a AM3 socket, which has been replaced by FM1, so later on you would need an entirely new mobo to upgrade. If you maybe drop the 1tb to 500gb it could save you a little, and get a z68 mobo to support ivy bridge in the future. Even if you go the AMD route, you might want to consider getting a cpu with FM1.


Just my opinon though! Get whatever feels right.

February 21, 2012 2:55:25 PM

Well the reason I don't like that build is the case, I really like the CM Storm Scout case, and that Rosewill case is just.... I don't know, it just looks bad, and there is no money in that build for the Scout case... Also, on those benchmarks first of all, they don't say which graphics card they have in it, and the FPS for the games with the AMD, it's at least 60 or more FPS, which is way more than I need anyway. If I'm able to get that FPS with money left for the Scout, well, that's my build I figured out. I suppose with your Intel build, ScrewySqrl, I could just mod my HP case, but that has terrible cooling and only 4 PCIe slots... so I'm not sure that would work. I really care about how the computer looks, which is why I looked at the Storm Scout, and found it fits my needs well and looks very nice.
I have another question: say I went with the Phenom (just as an example, not sure) quad core and used that motherboard I found, is that a good motherboard for the CM Storm Scout?? I also just found another motherboard that looks very nice, the ASUS M4A87TD motherboard. Does this look good to you? I think the latter is a bit better in my opinion, but I don't know much.
a b 4 Gaming
February 21, 2012 4:41:25 PM

cases ARE subjective. I have the rosewill and love it, its small and a bit plain, but has excellent cooling, and with an LED fan in the front, has a nice glow without looking ostentatious. Since cases are very subjective, I always say go with the one you like. A $70-80 case might be expensive, though.

Anyway, the card used in all those tests at Anandtech is a HD 5870 (a HD 6950 would be similar performance).

I'd suggest you keep the 970/990 board you were looking at first if you want to stay with AMD. Piledriver should use that board, and it promises to be better than bulldozer.
February 22, 2012 8:40:06 PM

I've reviewed my final build I listed, and I did some research on the motherboard and power supply. I definetely want to go with the first board I found, that's a very good looking one (especially with the UEFI BIOS =D), but I want to go with the Evo model, (is there a difference?) which is a tiny bit more expensive from Micro Center I think, but that's where the new power supply I found comes in. I found an OCZ 700w modular power supply for $60 rather than $70. It's not as high in power as the other one, but that one was overkill so this should suffice, plus it's modular. Another thing I want to add, the hard drive I listed is a special from Micro Center, and it's OEM. Is this a good idea to go OEM without manufacturer support on a hard drive? Microsoft support is probably worthless for Windows, but I don't know if it's a good idea to not have manufacturer support on a hard drive.
a b 4 Gaming
February 23, 2012 3:58:12 AM

OEM for a hard drive is fine. It just means it comes blank in a plain box or plastic. Its how you want them.

ocz's power supplies are not quite as high quality as Seasonic, Antec, etc. But they aren't terrible either. I'd call them a reliable 2nd tier
April 6, 2012 2:41:24 PM

If I do end up getting enough money in the budget for an i5, this may be the motherboard I would like to use: the Asus P8P67 Pro motherboard. It looks like a very good one, and it's the same price as the one I have now (of course, the i5 is more expensive, so that may not work), so I'm definetely considering that one if prices go down enough to get an i5. If prices go down, my priorities for upgrading are:
1st: Upgrade to i5
2nd: Upgrade to 7200RPM 1TB hard drive
3rd: Better video card (maybe a Radeon HD 6870)
4th: Better case (Coolermaster Storm Sniper/Enforcer/Trooper, one of those)
There are my priorities... should the case be a higher priority than something there, or does that seem fine?

Also, I'm gonna be making updates occasionally (like this) until August when I build, so should I start a new thread for those updates or just post on this?
April 6, 2012 3:00:31 PM

Have you taken a look at this , for gaming there is no AMD CPU they recommend. You could go with a cheaper i3 2120, or go to Microcenter where the have the i5 2400 for $150. Any of these options blow away AMD.
!