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Budget College Gamer's Build, approx. $535, Need review

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February 17, 2012 12:45:36 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: This weekend
Budget Range: ~$535 [No rebates, before taxes and currency conversion]
System Usage from Most to Least Important: MS Office/Internet > SW: The Old Republic > Diablo 3/Guild Wars 2/Assassin's Creed > Other Games > All else
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers/Headset, Monitor, OS [Will carry over from older system; new OS to be bought separately]
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: N/A [Using local supplier/shop]
Region of Origin: Southeast Asia
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU
Overclocking: Never
SLI or Crossfire: Never
Monitor Resolution: 1440x900
Additional Comments:

Several months ago, I asked for advice on a mid-range gaming build, and I have to say that - after a little more cash to grab the 6850 - the system now works flawlessly for my mainstream gaming purposes.

Today, however, the venerable E5200 system that I passed down to my brother for his college needs, has finally given up the ghost. On top of that, he has also gotten as into Star Wars: The Old Republic as I am, so now I need a new system to take the place of our budget desktop rig.

Again, I will be sourcing from my local supplier, but will be linking to Newegg below for reference purposes.

Here is what my initial research and canvass came up with:

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120
MB: ASUS P8H61-M LE
RAM: G.Skill RipJaws 8GB 1333 (2x4GB) [Will be using 64-bit Win 7]
VC: PowerColor AX6770 (Radeon HD6770)
PSU: FSP Aurum Gold 500W (80+ Gold) [The CoolerMaster CX and VX series are not available]
Case: Cooler Master Elite 311 + [Need USB 3.0 front port]
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM [Occupies the 1TB Caviar Blue's previous price point]
DVD: Lite-On iHAS-224 DVD Writer

Is this good enough for a ~$535 (~$600 after an estimated 12% addition due to taxes and currency conversion) build that will mostly be used for MS Office, Internet and Star Wars: The Old Republic? If you can suggest any changes to maximize the performance and reliability within this budget, it would be highly appreciated.

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February 17, 2012 1:01:30 PM

looks good to me. I like FSP PSUs, I've seen them in some of the production whitebox servers I used to manage. Never had a failure that wasn't due to colo power mismanagement...

edit, I take that back. It was SPI that we used. But I think FSP is still not a bad brand.
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February 17, 2012 1:11:08 PM

I assume you meant "Corsair," not Crappermaster (CX and VX are Corsair designations)...
In any case, the build is good, but you can cut some costs. The HD6770 doesn't need a 500W PSU; a 380W Antec Earthwatts would be sufficient, and save almost $40. Save another $30 by getting this 500GB WD Blue drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... then finally, this mobo is $5 less but has the faster SATA 6Gb/s interfaces: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 17, 2012 3:23:54 PM

Two disappointments for me there - my supplier has neither the Antec Earthwatts nor ASRock MB you listed. But thank you for notifying me about what I selected having the SATA2 interface - I might have to shell out for a better MB selection, then.

As for the drive, what you linked is what they had - I apparently linked to the wrong reference model on Newegg, so I'm aiming for the right model and price from my supplier. No savings to be made there, but good to know I got the proper model.

The only PSUs they have in the ~400W range are the following:

iMaster 80% Series
FSP Supersonic 400W
FSP Aurum 400W
Thermaltake Litepower 350W & 430W
CoolerMaster Extreme Series 390W & 460W
Antec VP450

I'm guessing I should just go with the 400W FSP Aurum, then? This would be no more than a $10 saving, but I haven't heard enough/good things about the other ones in the list above so I'm wary. The only other question I'd have is: is the listed 384W from the 12V rail really more than enough for this system for the next 3 years? (Reference: Linus Tech Tips, Youtube @ ~1:26)
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February 17, 2012 3:37:26 PM

One more thought. How close is your build to the last System Builders Marathon $500 system? That build is usually a well thought out one too.
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February 17, 2012 4:39:18 PM

Of those PSUs, I'd choose the 400W FSP Aurum. I wouldn't touch the Crappermasters with a 10' pole (unless I were poking them into a swamp); those are among their worst, according to reviews at HardwareSecrets.
They just reviewed the VP450, and were surprised by how good it is, even though it doesn't have full range active PFC (often a sign of an obsolete, cheap unit, but not in this case); if not for that, it would have qualified for 80+ certification. It is built by FSP. That would be another safe choice for your rig.

Edit: If the difference is only $10, may as well stick to the 500W FSP. Who knows, you may want a GPU upgrade someday, and the extra power would give you more options.
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February 17, 2012 5:26:24 PM

radon_antila said:
Two disappointments for me there - my supplier has neither the Antec Earthwatts nor ASRock MB you listed. But thank you for notifying me about what I selected having the SATA2 interface - I might have to shell out for a better MB selection, then.

As for the drive, what you linked is what they had - I apparently linked to the wrong reference model on Newegg, so I'm aiming for the right model and price from my supplier. No savings to be made there, but good to know I got the proper model.

The only PSUs they have in the ~400W range are the following:

iMaster 80% Series
FSP Supersonic 400W
FSP Aurum 400W
Thermaltake Litepower 350W & 430W
CoolerMaster Extreme Series 390W & 460W
Antec VP450

I'm guessing I should just go with the 400W FSP Aurum, then? This would be no more than a $10 saving, but I haven't heard enough/good things about the other ones in the list above so I'm wary. The only other question I'd have is: is the listed 384W from the 12V rail really more than enough for this system for the next 3 years? (Reference: Linus Tech Tips, Youtube @ ~1:26)




384W=32a. this is enough for a HD 6870, GTX 560ti or HD 7950 (all of which use 200W or less). plenty of upgrade room in that wattage.

as for the SATA 2 of the H61 board, there are a few H61's that have added a chip for 2 SATA 3 and 2 USB 3 slots (MSI, Gigabyte, and AS Rock each have a board that will do that). even without that, mechanical hard drives arent going to be any faster under sATA 3 than they were under SATA 2. they fail to saturate the original 3GB/s of SATA 2.
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