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Need help with a budget gaming pc

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February 20, 2012 9:45:49 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Most likely in March

Budget Range: $400-$500

System Usage: Gaming

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, Newegg, etc.

Country: U.S.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Whatever gets the job done


Hello everyone, I am in need of a advice. I am selling my xbox and laptop and am looking into building a cheap gaming pc to play games like Skyrim and Battlefield 3 (if that's even possible at my price range). I don't really know where to start. Should I go AMD or Intel? AMD or Nvidia? Who sells best bang for your buck ram?

Thanks a lot in advance.

Oh, and btw, I know my way around computers, I just need some guidance. Thanks!

More about : budget gaming

February 20, 2012 11:52:20 PM

With that budget, forget overclocking. Not really necessary unless you are into extreme gaming anyway. And you do not want an AMD CPU for gaming. Their video cards are fine though. I will quote Newegg, but feel free to shop around. The best processor deals are at a place called Microcenter if you live close to one.

CPU - G630 - $79.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - $53.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram - 8gb DDR3 1333 - $36.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vid card - AMD 6770 - $89.99 after rebate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hard drive - WD 500gb SATA III - $89.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung DVD RW - $16.99 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - CM HAF - $49.99 after rebate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU XFX 550w - $54.99 after rebate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $472.92 after rebates and before shipping

This will get you started. You should be able to play most games at at least medium settings. You can upgrade the CPU and video card as money becomes available. The power supply is very could and can handle just about any upgrade. You will still need a copy of Windows 7 64 bit OEM, keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc.
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February 21, 2012 12:08:12 AM

thanks a ton for the quick reply. how does this compare to this?
are they relatively similar? thanks
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February 21, 2012 12:32:23 AM

Mine has a higher quality motherboard, video card, and hard drive. He has a faster processor, video card, and only 4gb ram. I would not wish Hitachi or Biostar on my worst enemy. HIS video cards can also be iffy. He also does not have much of an upgrade path with that power supply, although it is good quality.
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February 21, 2012 12:39:38 AM

tlmck said:
Mine has a higher quality motherboard, video card, and hard drive. He has a faster processor, video card, and only 4gb ram. I would not wish Hitachi or Biostar on my worst enemy. HIS video cards can also be iffy. He also does not have much of an upgrade path with that power supply, although it is good quality.


HIS IceQ cards seem to get pretty good reviews from trusted websites. Supposedly much cooler than reference design and rather solid build quality.

I understand Hitachi, but why Biostar? Reviews on their boards seem decent most of the time, and my Biostar
motherboard didn't arrive DOA or have any issues.
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February 21, 2012 12:46:40 AM

alrighty looks like i'm sticking with your build. anyone know if skyrim will run alright considering how cpu dependent it is?
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February 21, 2012 12:47:56 AM

ar4757 said:
alrighty looks like i'm sticking with your build. anyone know if skyrim will run alright considering how cpu dependent it is?



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February 21, 2012 1:17:40 AM

SingingThroughTheStorm said:
HIS IceQ cards seem to get pretty good reviews from trusted websites. Supposedly much cooler than reference design and rather solid build quality.

I understand Hitachi, but why Biostar? Reviews on their boards seem decent most of the time, and my Biostar
motherboard didn't arrive DOA or have any issues.


You got lucky on your Biostar. Most folks don't. I worked in a different field of electronics manufacturing for 17 years, but many of the components are the same. Coupled with the fact that I have been building my own PCs since 1986, I know good parts when I see them. Biostar uses low grade components and their build quality is middling on their best day. This is not to say they will not work, it is just less likely and their longevity is also in question.

HIS has had an up and down reputation over the years. Keep in mind also, that most review sites test components and then move on. They rarely run them for years and re-report on them. The best i can say is that they will mostly work, but there are better options both in price and quality, so why bother?

Based on my experience, I recommend ASUS or Gigabyte motherboards only depending on the build. I have been using both since they first went on sale in the US. I have had a few minor issues with ASUS but "never any" with Gigabyte. I cannot say that about any other brands, and I have tried them all. I also have access to a local place called Fry's that has a large display of the latest models. I can pick them up and look them over carefully. I put MSI and Asrock motherboards as second class, best left to lower power builds. Sometimes they work in higher end builds, but often enough not.

I also tend to recommend Sapphire for AMD based video cards as they are "buddy buddy" with AMD and build and do most of the testing of reference designs for them. For Nvidia based cards I generally recommend EVGA or XFX as the best. MSI also makes good cards for both, although I wish their motherboards were in the same class.

For ram, you can really never go wrong with Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, or Gskill. There are other decent ones, but these are the main go to guys.

Power supplies for gaming rigs are best left to 80 Plus certified or higher from trusted makers such as Antec, Seasonic, Silverstone, Corsair(not builder series), and XFX(which is basically Seasonic inside). Again there are a few others that can be plugged in here and there depending on the build and budget.

Basically, I have never had a complaint about any of my suggested builds not working. In other words, I would never suggest anything that I would not build myself. It has also been many, many years since my own personal builds have failed to post on the first try.
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February 21, 2012 1:24:49 AM

tlmck said:
You got lucky on your Biostar. Most folks don't. I worked in a different field of electronics manufacturing for 17 years, but many of the components are the same. Coupled with the fact that I have been building my own PCs since 1986, I know good parts when I see them. Biostar uses low grade components and their build quality is middling on their best day. This is not to say they will not work, it is just less likely and their longevity is also in question.

HIS has had an up and down reputation over the years. Keep in mind also, that most review sites test components and then move on. They rarely run them for years and re-report on them. The best i can say is that they will mostly work, but there are better options both in price and quality, so why bother?

Based on my experience, I recommend ASUS or Gigabyte motherboards only depending on the build. I have been using both since they first went on sale in the US. I have had a few minor issues with ASUS but "never any" with Gigabyte. I cannot say that about any other brands, and I have tried them all. I also have access to a local place called Fry's that has a large display of the latest models. I can pick them up and look them over carefully. I put MSI and Asrock motherboards as second class, best left to lower power builds. Sometimes they work in higher end builds, but often enough not.

I also tend to recommend Sapphire for AMD based video cards as they are "buddy buddy" with AMD and build and do most of the testing of reference designs for them. For Nvidia based cards I generally recommend EVGA or XFX as the best. MSI also makes good cards for both, although I wish their motherboards were in the same class.

For ram, you can really never go wrong with Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, or Gskill. There are other decent ones, but these are the main go to guys.

Power supplies for gaming rigs are best left to 80 Plus certified or higher from trusted makers such as Antec, Seasonic, Silverstone, Corsair(not builder series), and XFX(which is basically Seasonic inside). Again there are a few others that can be plugged in here and there depending on the build and budget.

Basically, I have never had a complaint about any of my suggested builds not working. In other words, I would never suggest anything that I would not build myself. It has also been many, many years since my own personal builds have failed to post on the first try.



I wasn't questioning your experience with parts or anything. I just hear bad things about Biostar
but never get an answer on what people see so bad about them.

I don't find myself holding on to any electronic for more than a year, not because of reliability, I just like to stay up to date in general. I imagine I will be upgrading most of the components of my PC within 1 year.

I didn't know Sapphire was considered close to AMD, so I will definitely put some thought in to picking up one of their 6870 cards over a HIS Iceq.
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February 21, 2012 1:47:19 AM


As someone who has used mostly AMD since the first 386DX40(still one of the best CPUs ever), it really makes me sad to see a chart like that. Not that I am anti-Intel, but things were so much better when it was an actual contest. Oh well.
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