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$600 Budget Gaming Build with i5-2500k and HD 6850

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April 2, 2012 6:06:47 PM

Hello everyone,

My laptop recently died on me, and with Diablo 3 release coming up, I've decided to build (under $600 after taxes and rebates) a budget gaming PC by taking advantage of as many rebates/coupons as possible, and use a Kindle Fire for my mobile computing needs (with Splashtop). All the components except the dvd burners have been purchased when they were on sale this past week. There are no shipping costs for any of the components because I use will-call pick up for Newegg orders, buy from Microcenter in-store, and have Amazon Prime shipping.

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Approximate Purchase Date: Last week/this week

Budget Range: $600 After Rebates and Taxes

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the web

Parts Not Required: Keyboard (Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000), Mouse (Logitech MX518), Monitor (Dell 24" S2408w 1080P), Headset (Plantronic)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, Microcenter

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Not right now, maybe in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: the last time I built a PC was 6 years ago to play Battlefield 2 =).

CPU/Mobo: Intel i5-2500K/ASRock Z68 Extreme3 GEN3 (Microcenter, $180 + $125 - $50 combo discount -$15 coupon + $18.60 tax = $258.60)

Intel i5-2500K
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 GEN3

GPU: Sapphire AMD Radeon 6850 (Amazon, $140 - $15 rebate = $125)

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion (Newegg, $55 + $4.81 tax - $10 rebate = $49.81)

Ram: Corsair XMS 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 (Microcenter, $45 - $15 coupon + $2.33 tax - $20 rebate = $12.33)

SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 90GB (Amazon, $102 - $30 rebate = $72)

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply ($70 - $25 rebate = $45)

Optical Drive: Lite-ON DVD Burner ($18 + $1.58 tax = $19.58)

Total cost: $655 + $27.32 tax - $100 rebate = $582.31

I'm still thinking about the Antec case because I'm tempted to get the Antec Three Hundred Two, due to better cable management and tool-less drive bays, but I'm not sure if the premium (about $30 difference) is worth it. Also I cannot take advantage of the USB 3.0 on the front panel because my mobo doesn't have USB 3.0 header. I'm also seriously considering the Rosewill Challenger and the Zalman Z9 Plus cases. They're both less than $50, and a little less flashy than the Antec Three Hundred Illusion.

Also right now Newegg has the XFX HD 6870 for $140 after rebate, with tax that's a $27 premium over the HD 6850. Is it worth the upgrade?

Also, anyone uses the Microsoft Ergo 4000 keyboard for gaming?

Any feedback is welcomed! Thank you for your time.
April 2, 2012 8:37:44 PM

Kepp the i5. i5>>>>FX 4100. Keep the 6850. Diablo 3 is very resource light. A 6770 will max it out, so a 6850 will run it over 100FPS.
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April 2, 2012 8:41:05 PM

Loc13 said:
Hello everyone,
I'm still thinking about the Antec case because I'm tempted to get the Antec Three Hundred Two, due to better cable management and tool-less drive bays, but I'm not sure if the premium (about $30 difference) is worth it. Also I cannot take advantage of the USB 3.0 on the front panel because my mobo doesn't have USB 3.0 header. I'm also seriously considering the Rosewill Challenger and the Zalman Z9 Plus cases. They're both less than $50, and a little less flashy than the Antec Three Hundred Illusion.

Also right now Newegg has the XFX HD 6870 for $140 after rebate, with tax that's a $27 premium over the HD 6850. Is it worth the upgrade?

Also, anyone uses the Microsoft Ergo 4000 keyboard for gaming?

Any feedback is welcomed! Thank you for your time.


Good build. I prefer the Z9+ case. (Z = Zombie Killing machine) I would opt for PC 1600 Ram as the MB and CPU will run faster with it. The HD 6870 is a significant upgrade over the 6850, go for it if you can afford to.
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April 2, 2012 8:47:07 PM

Get the 6870 even if you have to get an I5-2400. I like the antec 300 case and the illusion comes with 4 fans although they're led.
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April 2, 2012 9:00:26 PM

Gaming doesn't need an SSD, so get a smaller one(64GB) or don't get one at all and get a 6870/560Ti.
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April 2, 2012 9:49:39 PM

jerreddredd said:
Good build. I prefer the Z9+ case. (Z = Zombie Killing machine) I would opt for PC 1600 Ram as the MB and CPU will run faster with it. The HD 6870 is a significant upgrade over the 6850, go for it if you can afford to.


I was considering the PC1600 RAM as it was only $5 more but 1.65v. I did some research on using 1.65v rated RAM with Sandy Bridge, and found conflicting opinion on it, so I just stuck with the safer option. Is there a reason why you prefer the Z9+ case? Cable management? Tool-less installation? More fan mount options? The HD 6870 seems quite a bit longer than the HD 6850, I was worried about a tight fit inside the Antec 300 Illusion.


obsama1 said:
Gaming doesn't need an SSD, so get a smaller one(64GB) or don't get one at all and get a 6870/560Ti.


While it's true that most games don't benefit from SSD, wouldn't MMORPG or games like Diablo 3 benefit from the SSD a little bit due to the constant loading of new environments? The SSD was an impulse buy to be honest because the Vertex 3 at $0.80/GB was too good to pass up. =)

I'm also looking at this PSU right now Antec HCG M Series HCG-620M 620W because according to a couple professional reviews they're Seasonic-built and similar to the M12II. It's about $18 more than the OCZ I had, but it's 80+ Bronze vs 80+ and fully modular vs semi-modular. Is it worth the upgrade also?

I really appreciate all your feedback.
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April 2, 2012 9:57:33 PM

What else will you be playing besides Diablo 3? Do you anticipate buying new games that are published later this year or next?
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April 2, 2012 10:02:21 PM

I have a 6870 in my Antec 300 it fits nice. What sold me on this case is price and the fact that the drive bays don't mess up the airflow from the front fans. The extra cost of the 6870 is well worth it, I sent my 6850 back.
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April 2, 2012 10:25:13 PM

ringzero said:
What else will you be playing besides Diablo 3? Do you anticipate buying new games that are published later this year or next?


Great question. I'm not sure yet. I don't even know if I'll have much time for other games. The ones I can think of now is Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Starcraft 2, Witcher 2.

Hydroc10 said:
I have a 6870 in my Antec 300 it fits nice. What sold me on this case is price and the fact that the drive bays don't mess up the airflow from the front fans. The extra cost of the 6870 is well worth it, I sent my 6850 back.


Thank you for your input on the 6870! Decision decision...
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April 2, 2012 10:58:36 PM

The SSD will simply speed up loading times. You will not see 1FPS of a difference with an SSD. If you really need it, buy a small one like 64GB and put Windows and some games on it, and the rest of your stuff on a HDD. Invest in a 6870/560Ti, a better PSU, some sick looking case, or a (Very Important) CPU cooler.
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April 2, 2012 10:59:05 PM

Loc13 said:
Great question. I'm not sure yet. I don't even know if I'll have much time for other games. The ones I can think of now is Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Starcraft 2, Witcher 2.

Thank you for your input on the 6870! Decision decision...


The difference in price between the 6850 and 6870 is small enough that I think it's totally worth it for the 6870. A single 6870 will play really any game out there right now, though admittedly some of them at medium settings.

Are you the type of person who will notice and be bothered by the difference between gaming in medium video settings versus high graphics settings? Reason I ask is because Diablo 3 will not require anything past a 6850. But the other games would definitely benefit from a card that's even better than a 6870.

Just food for thought. Either way, I'd recommend the 6870.
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April 3, 2012 2:23:50 PM

Best answer selected by Loc13.
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April 3, 2012 2:32:50 PM

ringzero said:
The difference in price between the 6850 and 6870 is small enough that I think it's totally worth it for the 6870. A single 6870 will play really any game out there right now, though admittedly some of them at medium settings.

Are you the type of person who will notice and be bothered by the difference between gaming in medium video settings versus high graphics settings? Reason I ask is because Diablo 3 will not require anything past a 6850. But the other games would definitely benefit from a card that's even better than a 6870.

Just food for thought. Either way, I'd recommend the 6870.


Yes looking at different charts and benchmark comparison, it seems that the 6870 is worth the small premium increase and slightly more future proof. It is also larger and louder I believe. I will keep the 6850 for now while I wait for a better deal on the 6870 the next couple weeks. A lot of people seem to complain about the XFX 6870 on sale now for being too loud.

I do not need the game to run at ultra setting with everything maxed out. I used to play Battlefield 2 at medium/low setting and was perfectly happy. The actual game play matters more to me, but of course extra eye-candy is always nice.

Thanks again!
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April 3, 2012 3:02:36 PM

Loc13 said:
I was considering the PC1600 RAM as it was only $5 more but 1.65v. I did some research on using 1.65v rated RAM with Sandy Bridge, and found conflicting opinion on it, so I just stuck with the safer option. Is there a reason why you prefer the Z9+ case? Cable management? Tool-less installation? More fan mount options? The HD 6870 seems quite a bit longer than the HD 6850, I was worried about a tight fit inside the Antec 300 Illusion.




While it's true that most games don't benefit from SSD, wouldn't MMORPG or games like Diablo 3 benefit from the SSD a little bit due to the constant loading of new environments? The SSD was an impulse buy to be honest because the Vertex 3 at $0.80/GB was too good to pass up. =)

I'm also looking at this PSU right now Antec HCG M Series HCG-620M 620W because according to a couple professional reviews they're Seasonic-built and similar to the M12II. It's about $18 more than the OCZ I had, but it's 80+ Bronze vs 80+ and fully modular vs semi-modular. Is it worth the upgrade also?

I really appreciate all your feedback.


This Ram will work @ $39.99 not sure if that will break your budget or not.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

why I like the Z9+ ... Looks cool... has 4 fans/Fan controller/temp display/ very nice quality build and its a 'Silent' case (quiet fans and anti vibration mounts etc..). I usually move the side fan to the bottom mount in front of the PSU so it uses the dust filler.
Most 6870's should fit in this case it will take up to 11.4" card. most 6870's are around 10" (GIGABYTE GV-R687OC is 11.42" and PowerColor AX6870X2 11.5" may not fit)
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