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Budget gaming - comments before ordering appreciated!

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April 5, 2012 2:23:45 PM

Hello!

I am planning a new build, with gaming as the main focus (possible games include Skyrim, BF3 and a bunch of older titles). Besides gaming, I will use it for basic stuff like browsing the web, writing stuff and doing excel-sheets. I am an engineer, so there is a possbility that sometime in the future I will be doing CAD with it. I am from Finland, and will be ordering from local stores. I will not be OC'ing, as you might tell from the parts...

I will most probably order within a week or two.

Chassi: Bitfenix Merc Alpha
PSU: XFX 550 W Core Edition
MB: AsRock H61M/U3S3
GPU: Sapphire 7850
CPU: i3-2120
RAM: 1x4 GB Corsair 4GB Intel/AMD PC3-10666, 1333MHz, 1x240 DIMM
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 500GB 7200rpm 16MB SATA-2
Optical: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD-RW DL
Cooling: Coolermaster 120 mm Sickleflow

Obviously the main thing I'm worried about is bottlenecks and the balance of the build. I know it isn't the most balanced build in the word, and sure I would like to have a Z68, an SSD, and some other stuff, but they simply wont fit my budget. I could go up to a i5-2400, but that would mean dropping the 7850 and instead going for a 6870, and I think I will be better served by the current combination for gaming. Comments on this issue? The reason I'm going for a single-stick RAM is to be able to upgrade to 8 GB later on, by only buying a second stick. Regarding the PSU I could get a Corsair CX 500 for sligthly less, but reading the specs it seems like the XFX is a better alternative.

And obviously, are there any pieces I have picked that doesn't fit together? :D 
April 5, 2012 2:45:23 PM

Very nice build there tbh! One of the few budget builds I approve of!

Just one little tiny thing - get Dual Channel RAM. Either 2x2GB, or 2x4GB but make sure its Dual Channel not a single stick.

100% stick with your GPU and CPU combo, i5 and a lower GPU wont yield anywhere near the same performance. Stick with the XFX PSU too. Very good quality, and Bronze rated too.
April 5, 2012 2:47:38 PM

I think that a single stick is the worst ever decision I've seen in the past 10 years. You do not need 7850 because the whole system will be lagging from having single channel memory (considering you will play at 1080p). A single memory stick costs like $15 do your self a favor and get 8GB(2x4) or 4GB(2x2) the price is very very small to pay these days. Anyway there are lot of reviews that say there is no difference but their reviews are based on very low resolutions once you crank up the eye candies it is a different story.
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April 5, 2012 3:01:43 PM

It looks pretty nice from what you've posted, but there's one thing missing: Budget

As far as memory, unless it's completely out of the budget, just go for the 8GB right off the bat.

Yours: $22.99 on NewEgg (as of this post) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8GB (2x4GB) Kits on NewEgg -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

Should be 11 dual channel kits there, 10 of which are under $50. Personally, I'd go with the G-Skill RipJaws for $42 based off ratings.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I use my PC for gaming (SW:TOR mostly with occasional StarCraft II) and Java/C++ programming, and it's not uncommon for me to be using 5-6GB of memory (for programming). Even then, unless it's completely out of budget, go for the 8, saves trouble down the road.

Also, do you plan to O.C.?
April 5, 2012 3:01:50 PM

Maxinexus,

While dual-channel is a no-brainer, simply because its so easy to do, it does not provide the kind of benefits you seem to believe, not by a mile. Dual-channel is mainstream simply because there are no drawbacks, but the benefits are marginal:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...

So, the system will not "be lagging from having single channel memory". It still makes sens to go dual channel because the cost is similar and there is nothing to lose.
a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2012 3:02:00 PM

Looks like a workable build. Without links to the exact products, I couldn't say on campatibility.
Your motherboard choice does not leave room for growth such as X-Firing your graphics card later
If you are not overclocking you really don't need to spend money on an aftermarket cpu cooler right now, Intel's stock cooler works (you can upgrade it later if you feel the need). Use that money to buy dual channel ram (two sticks) instead.
Enjoy
April 5, 2012 3:08:45 PM

Just to add, for some clarification:

You can't over clock on a H61 motherboard, nor can you overclock a 2120. So in this build, overclocking is out of the question. Also the OP did say in the first post, he wouldn't be over-clocking. So not sure why this has even come up.

An after-market cooler however is still beneficial, quieter, better performance, more aesthetically pleasing. I agree though in that if it's a choice of cooler or 8GB RAM - grab the RAM for now.
April 5, 2012 3:12:09 PM

Murissokah said:
Maxinexus,

While dual-channel is a no-brainer, simply because its so easy to do, it does not provide the kind of benefits you seem to believe, not by a mile.

So, the system will not "be lagging from having single channel memory". It still makes sens to go dual channel because the cost is similar and there is nothing to lose.


This. +1
April 5, 2012 3:40:57 PM

Thank you very much for all your comments! As I stated, I had plans on going up to 8 GB RAM later, which was the reason I didn't want to get 2x2 GB now. I was under the impression that 4 GB is still not really limiting for normal use, but seems like I have to reconsider that part.

The budget for the whole system is ~950€, but that includes the monitor, keyboard and OS, so the PC itself is around ~655€. I didn't put up the links to the webstores I will be using, as their pages are in Finnish, and the product labels they're using can be quite confusing to non-Finnish speakers. If there is some specific part you are wondering about I can provide a corresponding link to newegg.
April 5, 2012 4:54:24 PM

Nesher said:
Hello!

I am planning a new build, with gaming as the main focus (possible games include Skyrim, BF3 and a bunch of older titles). Besides gaming, I will use it for basic stuff like browsing the web, writing stuff and doing excel-sheets. I am an engineer, so there is a possbility that sometime in the future I will be doing CAD with it. I am from Finland, and will be ordering from local stores. I will not be OC'ing, as you might tell from the parts...

I will most probably order within a week or two.

Chassi: Bitfenix Merc Alpha
PSU: XFX 550 W Core Edition
MB: AsRock H61M/U3S3
GPU: Sapphire 7850
CPU: i3-2120
RAM: 1x4 GB Corsair 4GB Intel/AMD PC3-10666, 1333MHz, 1x240 DIMM
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 500GB 7200rpm 16MB SATA-2
Optical: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD-RW DL
Cooling: Coolermaster 120 mm Sickleflow

Obviously the main thing I'm worried about is bottlenecks and the balance of the build. I know it isn't the most balanced build in the word, and sure I would like to have a Z68, an SSD, and some other stuff, but they simply wont fit my budget. I could go up to a i5-2400, but that would mean dropping the 7850 and instead going for a 6870, and I think I will be better served by the current combination for gaming. Comments on this issue? The reason I'm going for a single-stick RAM is to be able to upgrade to 8 GB later on, by only buying a second stick. Regarding the PSU I could get a Corsair CX 500 for sligthly less, but reading the specs it seems like the XFX is a better alternative.

And obviously, are there any pieces I have picked that doesn't fit together? :D 


IF you are only building for games, this is a pretty good setup. I agree with the other posters who stated to drop the cooler and get 2 sticks of RAM.

However, if you really want a rig that will game AND be able to handle some CAD in the future then i might suggest you swap the i3/H61 setup for an AMD setup like this:

Phenom II X4 965 (currently $125 at newegg.com)
Asrock 970 Extreme 3 AM3+ motherboard (currently $80 at newegg.com)

Based on newegg.com prices the AMD setup is only about $20 more. The i3 and the x4 965 will game about the same but the X4 will give you more performance if/when you use a CAD program:

http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/shareyourscore.htm

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/293505-28-best-proces...

If you prefer Intel over AMD then disregard this post. Just wanted to give you another option which also takes into account your possible future needs. And please, do not let this thread degrade into another AMD vs Intel. I am not a fanboy, just offering another option which could help later if CAD comes into play. The OP's proposed Intel setup is a great setup if he is only concerned with gaming.
April 6, 2012 1:53:14 AM

AdrianPerry said:
Just to add, for some clarification:

You can't over clock on a H61 motherboard, nor can you overclock a 2120. So in this build, overclocking is out of the question. Also the OP did say in the first post, he wouldn't be over-clocking. So not sure why this has even come up.

An after-market cooler however is still beneficial, quieter, better performance, more aesthetically pleasing. I agree though in that if it's a choice of cooler or 8GB RAM - grab the RAM for now.



That's why I was asking if he planned to. :)  Can't build a machine to OC w non-OCable parts.
!