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Help on Cutting Down the Price of an $850 Build

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April 22, 2012 2:46:55 AM

Hello,

So I've pretty much selected my ideal build. I'll be buying early May, so right after IB is released. I'm on a 1680x1050 monitor. I already have the following parts:
- SSD (doubles as HDD... a gift from a while back. I also have an external, which will do for now)
- Keyboard
- Mouse
- Speakers
- Monitor (1680x1050)
- OS Win7 64 bit

Here is the build I want. I'm looking for it to be quiet. I'll be playing fps more than anything, and while I would prefer Max settings, Medium on the most demanding games (BF3) and High on others (I dunno... Combat Arms? CoD?) is acceptable. I really want to get this down to AT THE MOST $800 ($700 would be GREAT... look on $700 as the priority, and $800 if all else fails). I'll show the build before I make any more comments.

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $839.80
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-04-21 22:36 EDT-0400)

So, here're basically my opinions. I'll probably get the Pro3 Gen3 version of the motherboard. We'll wait and see about IB... however, I will probably go with SB (really, there's not much in IB that I want/need). So with Pro3, that cuts it down to about $815.

The case I'm pretty set on... it's a Fractal for noise reduction. The prices of the black pearl and other colors except for white are the same at the moment. I'll get the cheapest R3 available at time of buying.

It's looking bleak for overclocking, isn't it? I do some video editing/encoding, nothing huge, so I guess it would be POSSIBLE to go with an i5-2400, H61 (or other chipset) motherboard, etc... but I really don't want to. However, if it's between the GPU and an overclockable CPU, I choose the GPU, of course. If I went to an i5-2400, it would save me $60ish... however, I'd need a recommendation on a motherboard. USB 3.0 is a necessity. So now we're down to $755.

Memory: Nothing to say. DDR3-1600 is sort of a sweet spot, and it's not that much more.

PSU: Oh boy. So I like this one 'cause it's silver rated, 750W (I know bigger isn't always better, but PSUs operate ideally in 20% to 80% of max output, and my power needs are inside of that... I think they're like 600W-like with a hefty overclock), quiet, and reliable. It's also pretty cheap! Ignore the $79.99 price tag... that's only available for a short while. Think of it as $100 (or $110). So, in reality, we're up to $775. It's not modular, and it's my first time building, so that might be an issue. Have any other PSUs? I'm sure 650W would be fine... much lower than that and I start getting nervous.
EDIT: I guess we've agreed on a bronze-rated 550-650W PSU, saving me like $30ish off of the pcpartpicker price.

GPU: Wow. This is the big one. I really like MSI Twin Frozr II OCs, but they've been out of stock for the 7850 edition on newegg for a while. I like them for the great cooling/overclocking. I guess I could change to a GTX 560 Ti, but that wouldn't save me a lot... how much would a 6870 really hurt me? I'm on 1680x1050, after all.

So, overall, as you can see, I'm going to have to completely change a component. I really don't want to have to cut the overclocking aspect. I guess I could just not get the CPU cooler and get it later on... But cutting the GPU seems worse! I have the following options I have figured out (myself):

- Cut mobo to Pro3 Gen3 saving $25 (I'll do this)
- Get rid of overclocking (so an i5-2400, an H61 mobo or something like that, and no CPU cooler... I don't want to do this) saving $60+
- Slash my GPU, saving about $70 on a 6870

Could I have some help? Oh, and before someone suggests an AMD CPU... NO ;) 


EDIT: Build as of 2:32 tomshardware time (at least what shows up on my screen. Anyway, it's the last edit):
Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($66.44 @ NCIX US)
Total: $801.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-04-22 14:32 EDT-0400)
April 22, 2012 2:49:05 AM

For one 7850, a 550W Seasonic or XFX PSU is plenty.
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April 22, 2012 2:04:03 PM

How much money would that really save me, though? I calculated what I would need (with a hefty overclock and aging, to be safe) and it's like 500W... although I knew that before. I think that I'm going to have to completely CHANGE the part on something, though.

Any PSUs you would recommend?

Also, I still need input on the overclocking pricing aspect, and the GPU (I AM on a 1680x1050 monitor, after all).
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Related resources
April 22, 2012 2:36:46 PM

seasonic 600-650W 80plus bronze
or corsair tx650 V2 650W 80plus bronze
corsair cx500/cx600W got a good deal in newegg not sure if it's out thought. 49.99$ after rebate for either of the two and has a 15% off promo too. if the promo is out sorry didn't check update right now.


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April 22, 2012 2:50:16 PM

Blah... going with bronze-rated instead of silver-rated... I guess it'll save me a little. But I still need to keep slashing the cost... I think we're done with the PSU for now.
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April 22, 2012 5:33:43 PM

Well... it really seems like we can't get much lower than $800 without sacrificing some stuff, doesn't it? The RAM is 1333 (saving like $8), the GPU is HIS (one fan, at that point it may not be worth it to even have a 7850), and the PSU is 430W (not enough).

I'll do some more research and post back with a potential build that is a little bit more cost effective.
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April 22, 2012 5:45:48 PM

The Pro4 only has one PCIe 3.0 slot, and if he ever wants to get a 2nd GPU, he is screwed. The Extreme4 is worth the extra $.
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April 22, 2012 5:49:05 PM

ddan49 said:
Well... it really seems like we can't get much lower than $800 without sacrificing some stuff, doesn't it? The RAM is 1333 (saving like $8), the GPU is HIS (one fan, at that point it may not be worth it to even have a 7850), and the PSU is 430W (not enough).

I'll do some more research and post back with a potential build that is a little bit more cost effective.

As discussed before on these forums, it seems using 1600 MHz RAM on Sandy Bridge voids the warranty.

I have no experience with HIS, but they haven't done that bad in reviews.

The PSU is more than enough, the 7850 is very cheap on power. In the Tom's hardware review a Sandy Bridge system with 7850 used ca. 250W maximum :lol: 
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April 22, 2012 6:20:51 PM

azeem40 said:
The Pro4 only has one PCIe 3.0 slot, and if he ever wants to get a 2nd GPU, he is screwed. The Extreme4 is worth the extra $.


I'm never going to SLI/Crossfire... don't try to tell me the benefits, etc... I'll only upgrade the GPU when I NEED to (meaning in like five years, probably more), and there won't be any more 7850s around. Why the Z77, though? It doesn't really have any benefits... it does cost more.

I have heard constantly that 1600MHz is the sweet spot. Just a question... does it really help loading times that much? I have an SSD already, so... I'm not that bad off... I really don't want to void the warranty. I have heard that it defaults to 1333, though.

HIS only has one fan. The whole point of me going with MSI Twin Frozr II OC was that it was a really high-performance card with great cooling. I'm going for quietness, so two fans is better than one.

PSU: I went on the eXtreme PSU calculator (lite), and here's what I put in:
Mobo: High end desktop (I don't really know, but putting something higher is better than putting something lower)
CPU: i5-2500k
OC: 4.5GHz at 1.35vcore
GPU: AMD Radeon 7850 (duh)
RAM: 2 sticks DDR3
SSD
DVD-RW drive
25% capacitor aging
2 120mm fans and 1 140mm fan
fan controller (R3 comes with one)
Couple of USB devices

Total: Minimum 404W, recommended 454W... I'd go with 500W at the least to account for a long lifetime (6+ years).

I still don't understand all the hype about getting Z77 instead of Z68 when I'm trying to save money... Z77 doesn't really add anything. "Futureproof" is absolute B.S. because Haswell isn't going to be compatible with Z77 (or Z68, for that matter).
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April 22, 2012 6:22:04 PM

Wait until official benchmarks are released for the IB CPUs before deciding on anything.
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April 22, 2012 6:32:47 PM

Well... I don't think it'll be that much of an improvement. I'm not going to buy before that (I mean... it's tomorrow!), but if I do for some reason go with IB, it'll increase the cost about $50. Also, I've got this build so far:

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($66.44 @ NCIX US)
Total: $801.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-04-22 14:32 EDT-0400)

The thing is that it hit like $780 in early April! I'll probably get a motherboard-CPU deal from Microcenter, too.
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April 22, 2012 6:35:41 PM

It looks good to me.
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April 22, 2012 6:48:16 PM

I think that the only part where I could save money is downgrading the GPU... argh... I'm researching a 6870 vs this 7850... maybe a 560 Ti 'cause it's in between, but it's only a little less than the 7850..
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April 22, 2012 6:49:26 PM

If you are really desperate to drop the price a bit more, get the 560ti. It is still a solid card.
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April 22, 2012 6:54:41 PM

I know. It was what I was going to get before the 7850. But the difference is only like $30. I may do that, though.

Going from an i5-2500k to like something a few steps down (but still i5) to a less well-known CPU wouldn't save me much, would it... the Z68 Pro3 is about as low as you can go... I guess I could save $5 on the CPU cooler by getting a Hyper 212 Plus... the case is really taking a chunk out of this. But I need it to be quiet... ARGH! Having no source of income is terrible :( 
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April 22, 2012 6:56:35 PM

Of course you'd lose OCing, but you could go down to an i5-2400k and save $40 more.
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April 22, 2012 7:01:37 PM

You could go down to a i5-2300 and a H61 mobo and not get the cooler to save like $100.
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April 22, 2012 7:13:18 PM

^Lowest I'd go is i5-2400 (not 2400k, azeem :p  ). I'd save over $40 because I wouldn't get the CPU cooler. I guess we'll see about the budget.
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April 25, 2012 11:08:45 PM

Ivy brigde and sandy has nearly the same results the main improvement is the igp but that don't matter since were getting a discrete gpu the major saving is if you can get away with a amd phenom or and 4100 you could use savings to get a 7870 since all the amd cards got a price drop if you go Intel get a z77 board because let's say you skip ib next year Maxwell is going to be a big upgrade and then no new mb is needed
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April 25, 2012 11:20:44 PM

I'm not sure how you found this.. I mean, it's quite a few pages back.

Anyway, you're wrong about a few things.

1) IB is running way hotter than SB for overclocking... sometimes even 20C
2) AMD is NOT a good choice for gaming. Sure, it would save me money, but if you look at ANY benchmark, you'll see that Intel is quite substantially better.
3) A Z77 won't support Maxwell (or Haswell, which is what I think you're talking about). That's because with every new generation of CPUs, the socket changes. So right now, it's LGA 1155. But if I got an SB-E chip, I'd need a completely different motherboard since its socket is LGA 2011. Haswell will be socket... like... LGA 1255? Something like that. It won't be 1155, though.
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April 25, 2012 11:36:45 PM

ddan49 said:
Well... I don't think it'll be that much of an improvement. I'm not going to buy before that (I mean... it's tomorrow!), but if I do for some reason go with IB, it'll increase the cost about $50. Also, I've got this build so far:

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($66.44 @ NCIX US)
Total: $801.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-04-22 14:32 EDT-0400)

The thing is that it hit like $780 in early April! I'll probably get a motherboard-CPU deal from Microcenter, too.


You can get the ASRock Pro3 Z77 from microcenter for the same price, so why not? http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Also, with that bundle, drops you $50 to ~$756+tax (the CM 212 EVO went up $5)

Edit: Whoops, the Z77 is $5 more. So total would be $761+tax.
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April 25, 2012 11:39:07 PM

Well... why? I mean, I looked at Z77. There's NOTHING to be excited about. But the Extreme series has a few goodies I'm interested in (like better overclocking and ports).

Also, I know it drops me $50. But that really DOESN'T mean I've stopped trying to get the price lower ;) 
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April 25, 2012 11:41:50 PM

Here is a z77 I found and its about the same price as your z68, with the coupon code.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also you need to take into account the tax when going to microcenter, you might as well just buy the processor from newegg, get free shipping and no tax, and it comes to about the same price, could be cheaper. I personally would wait till the 29th for IB, that is what I am doing atleast.
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April 25, 2012 11:43:04 PM

ddan49 said:
Well... why? I mean, I looked at Z77. There's NOTHING to be excited about. But the Extreme series has a few goodies I'm interested in (like better overclocking and ports).

Also, I know it drops me $50. But that really DOESN'T mean I've stopped trying to get the price lower ;) 


I believe they updated power delivery and RAM speed support in the new chipset, along with USB 3.0. Since you aren't going IB, PCIe 3.0 is moot.
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April 26, 2012 1:57:15 AM

Wait... didn't Z68 support 1600 RAM as well?

Also, Hucklecat, I'm getting the microcenter deal. I'd totally get ASUS, but the microcenter deal cuts $50 off additionally. I think I'll be fine with SB... it'll save me at least $30 anyway, without any big performance sacrifices.
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April 26, 2012 3:56:25 AM

ddan49 said:
Wait... didn't Z68 support 1600 RAM as well?

Also, Hucklecat, I'm getting the microcenter deal. I'd totally get ASUS, but the microcenter deal cuts $50 off additionally. I think I'll be fine with SB... it'll save me at least $30 anyway, without any big performance sacrifices.


Yes it does. Z77 allows for higher RAM OCs by supporting up to something ridiculous like 2800.

Taking this in a different direction, if you are not worried about overclocking, how about this solution. Instead of downgrading to an I5-2400, keep the I5-2500k and get an el cheapo H61 board. No overclocking due to the board, but CPU is 200MHz faster with better IGP, if you should happen to need it for some reason, and you can still do the $50 Microcenter deal, which is more than you save from moving down to the 2400 ($40). Since you won't be overclocking, stock cooler will be fine (unless you really want a quieter one). Saves you another $35.

A few MB options, assuming all of the same items for the rest of the system, without HSF:

Gigabyte GA-H61M-DS2
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Cheapest 1155 MB they offer. $55, with $10 MIR. After the 2500k combo deal, this earns you $5.
Drawbacks: mATX, 2 DIMMS w/max 16GB @ 1333. 1 PCIe x16 (not CF or SLI, so shouldn't matter), no SATA III, no USB 3.0, GPU may block 2 SATA ports, leaving 2 usable.
Total System: $671 ($661) +tax

Biostar H61MLB
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$55.
Drawbacks: mATX, 2 DIMMS w/max 16GB @ 1333. 1 PCIe x16 (not CF or SLI, so shouldn't matter), no SATA III, no USB 3.0, no Gigabit LAN.
Total System: $671 + tax

ASRock H61M-HVS
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$57.
Drawbacks: mATX, 2 DIMMS w/max 16GB @ 1333. 1 PCIe x16 (not CF or SLI, so shouldn't matter), no SATA III, no USB 3.0, no Gigabit LAN.
Total System: $673 + tax

Gigabyte GA-H61M-S2H
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$75 ($60 after MIR).
Drawbacks: mATX, 2 DIMMS w/max 16GB @ 1333. 1 PCIe x16 (not CF or SLI, so shouldn't matter), no SATA III, no USB 3.0.
Total System: $691 ($676) + tax

Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM R3
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$70.
Drawbacks: mATX, 2 DIMMS w/max 16GB @ 1333. 1 PCIe x16 (not CF or SLI, so shouldn't matter), no SATA III, no USB 3.0.
Total System: $686 + tax

My vote would be for the Asus, as it still has Gbit LAN, 8Ch. audio out, and gives you a few more USB ports, but the 2nd Gigabyte board would be good if the rebate comes through.

This leaves you flexible to upgrade the MB sometime in the future if funds come available to a P67/Z77 and let you overclock with all of the other components remaining the same.

Edit: Other parts assumed:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Stock Intel ($0)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($66.44 @ NCIX US)
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April 26, 2012 9:44:04 PM

I'll go down the list.

First of all, why would you ever get a "k" processor if you weren't going to overclock?
Secondly, the H61 is such a bad chipset that I actually replied to that before I kept reading.

After having read through that, I have to tell you that the H61 is a TERRIBLE chipset. Just look up some stuff... I'm the OP, so I don't really feel the need to post it here ;) 



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April 26, 2012 10:45:35 PM

ddan49 said:
I'll go down the list.

First of all, why would you ever get a "k" processor if you weren't going to overclock?
Secondly, the H61 is such a bad chipset that I actually replied to that before I kept reading.

After having read through that, I have to tell you that the H61 is a TERRIBLE chipset. Just look up some stuff... I'm the OP, so I don't really feel the need to post it here ;) 


The reason to get the K is that you can get in on the microcenter deal with it. Getting the 2500k w/ MB vs 2400 w/MB, you actually save $20 by going with the k, so why even get the 2400 since the 2500k is faster and cheaper? Unless the 2400 applies to the discount too, but it doesn't show up online like the 2500k bundle does.

As to the H61, I'm not going to argue with you that its inferior; it most certainly is. But the goal was to reduce system cost, and you can chop off a decent amount by using the H61 vs Z68/Z77. Just trying to give some ideas for lowering costs.
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April 26, 2012 10:53:26 PM

Okay, thanks for the input. But I'm definitely not going to cut costs on two things:
1) PSU
2) Mobo

That means in terms of quality. If I decide not to overclock, I'll get a cheap Z68 board or something like that. I'm still figuring out the budget, though.
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