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Rate my $500 Gaming Rig

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April 6, 2012 5:37:12 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime in the next 3 months
Budget: $500
System usage: Gaming (primarily), office tasks, coding, video streaming
Parts not needed: This is gonna be a completely new build so everything will be needed. I'll have some specific questions about other add-ons for this build.
Preferred website for parts: Newegg
Parts preference: Stick to the $500 budget at rigidly as possible. If going over budget is well worth it I will consider it.
Overclocking: No
Monitor resolution: 1920x1080

Case: Rosewill R102-P-BK
Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3
GPU: XFX Double D HD-687A-ZDFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit
PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W
Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W
CPU: Intel Pentium G850
Intel Core i3-2120
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB)
G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200 RPM
Patriot Pyro 2.5" 120GB SATA III SSD
Disc Drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner

Additional Comments: I know some of you may scoff at the idea of using a Sandy Bridge Pentium CPU, but this is a budget build and one primarily used for gaming. Most of what I've read indicates that the CPU above is just as capable as the i3-2100 for what I'm planning on doing on this PC but at ~$50 cheaper.

The games I will mostly be running on this build will be SWTOR, LOTRO, and TF2. Games I'll play now and then include Crysis, GTA IV, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Half-Life 2, Mass Effect 2 (3 in the future), and Civ 4. Another game I may pick up in the future would be GW2.

Other things I plan to do is using LibreOffice for various applications, coding using Notepad++ or IDEs like Netbeans or VisualStudio (to learn coding), streaming video from Netflix and Hulu. I may dabble in graphic design w/ GIMP and Inkscape and maybe learn to use Blender.

Other Questions
Which activities listed above will be gimped by the CPU or any other component? If prices for HDDs drop in the next couple of months to their pre-flood levels, I may be willing to upgrade to i3 if the cost is well worth it (how much improvement will I see?).

I was thinking of adding a 120mm fan to the front of the case, will it be worth it?

Am planning on protecting this build with this surge suppresor, CyberPower 1080 8 Feet 4 Transformer Spaced 6 Non-Transformer Spaced Outlets 3600 Joules Surge Protector. Is that adequate?

EDIT
So far with the current promos and mail-in rebates, the total comes to $570.52 for the components above. A little more expensive than I was shooting for but will still be worth the cost. This is actually the problems that they run into in the System Builder Marathons is that an extra $50-100 makes a big difference in the power of the build.

I flip-flopped between cases, but ultimately went with the one above because of the extra fans and came with the 2.5" to 3.5" adapters to mount the SSD I bought. :D 
With the current specials, the 650W version of the Antec Earthwatts is cheaper than the 500W.
With the current specials, upgrading to the i3-2120 is only $25.
For an extra $15 I get twice the original RAM.
I decided to go with the SSD that was linked below by @maxinexus. I'll be cheating a little with this since I have a 1TB WD Elements external HD that I don't use and am planning on gutting and using for this build's file storage needs.

More about : rate 500 gaming rig

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 5:47:35 PM

Surgeprotector is nothing but a publicity b******t.

It is useless . your home fuse does the rest.

If your area has constant load shedding then i would suggest a ups which will last your system for 15-20 minutes to safely shutdown.

Other than that every thing seems to be perfect .

Cpu motherboard gpu psu hdd are of good quality and specs.

Good luck with your build
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April 6, 2012 6:01:33 PM

Case is a little small with inadequate ventilation. Everything else looks good enough.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 6:26:15 PM

I think you've done a nice job choosing parts. Right now, there is a $20 off promo on the 650W Antec Earthwatts, making it cheaper than the 500W: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You may never need that much power, but that will support the few graphics cards that need more than the 500W can provide, or two cards that would exceed the 500W's capacity.
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April 6, 2012 7:00:06 PM

I do not agree with the processor choice. Games are finally moving towards utilizing quad core processors. I'm not scoffing at the choice, I'm just saying that it may work for the next year, but expect less than stellar performance after that.

-1 to Serial
Get a decent surge protector or UPS (comes in handy when someone turns on a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer, it can also handle some levels of surges). No sane computer tech just plugs a computer straight into an outlet. In theory the fuse should provide some protection, but we didn't install your houses electrical system... now did we.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 7:08:12 PM

A very good build. You spent the money where it does the most good, the graphics card.
I used the same motherboard on a build for my son. I had no problems.

I really think I would spend a $15 more and get 8gb of ram in a 2 x 4gb kit.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive prices are high today, and SSD prices are dropping. Consider deferring the hard drive for later and use a 60gb SSD for the os and a few games, at least initially.

The Corsair builder's series 600w unit is $49 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 7:30:44 PM

th3parasit3 said:
I do not agree with the processor choice. Games are finally moving towards utilizing quad core processors. I'm not scoffing at the choice, I'm just saying that it may work for the next year, but expect less than stellar performance after that.
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No they're not. with very few exceptions, games will continue to be dual core only for a while. Parallel programming is hard as hell. On top of that, when you can tell me how to run something in parallel where each iteration is dependent on the previous answer, I'll nominate you for a nobel prize. It's the programming equivalent of the theory of relativity.

Even the games that use 2 cores cheat. The A.I. is usually run on one core while everything else is run on the other.

Your build is solid, nearly all quality parts.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is a slightly more dependable hdd for the same price. barracuda's have a bit of a bad rep.

intel's G series is good for gaming, even so far as to get tom's recommendation as a game processor in that budget range
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

Your processor is even close to balanced with your video solution. That's a rarity on these forums :) 

Newegg's house brand (rosewill) makes some nice budget cases. The Challenger has plenty of cooling, with the option for more side fans, you could pick one up to blow into the cpu fan, though make sure to either get one with it's own dust screen, or jury rig one out of pantyhose (GREAT dust filter, btw). You really won't need the lower side fan slot, as you won't be running sli/xfire setups and won't need a fan there to force air into cards that are too close together.

Really, though, you'd only need more cooling if you were running an oc'd processor and a sli/xfire setup.
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April 7, 2012 12:07:39 AM

@jtt283
I knew I had seen that before, but for some reason I couldn't find that PSU again.

@th3parasit3
I'll be using another surge protector I forgot I had

@geofelt
I had actually considered that RAM before, and I think I'm gonna go ahead and get it

@Ayydre
I'm gonna go ahead and go for the i3-2120. With the current special it only costs $25 more to bump up to it. Unfortunately the MicroCenter closests to me is far enough that just buying the CPU online is just as good. Thanks for sharing that good offer though!

@quilciri
I'll go with WD then. I have one right now and now that I think about it, it hasn't given me any problems. Also, would going back to the old case be ok? I have a similar Rosewill case and I haven't had problems with it thus far with cooling
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 7, 2012 1:54:54 AM

That's a very good selection for the budget :) 

There are i3 2100's selling for $105 on Amazon. You might wanna take a look.
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April 7, 2012 5:37:41 AM

I'd have to say that the best mobo is an Asus P8Z68, one can be had (cheapest version) for only $130.
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April 8, 2012 11:26:23 AM

Thanks to everyone for their posts and good advice. I've summarized everything in the original post with edits. Check that out to see what the final price was.
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Best solution

April 8, 2012 3:27:37 PM

Much better!
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April 8, 2012 11:18:34 PM

Best answer selected by the123guy.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 8:24:30 AM

:lol: 
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