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Building a Mid-Level Gaming Computer

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May 7, 2012 6:23:15 PM

Hello, I am trying to build a new pc for the upcoming Diablo 3 and to play Mass Effect 3. I do not care to play everything in its highest settings because I know I can't afford it. I am a casual gamer looking for a mid-level rig at said price level, if you can get it cheaper then that's better. If something is a little more I wouldn't mind hitting $650ish to get something that makes a big difference. All in all, I want as much performance I can get out of the $600. Thanks for the help! Let me know about your ideas :) 

I have: Keyboard, Mouse, OS, Monitor, and an M-Audio Speaker system, so don't those.

EDIT: I apologize, I was excited reading what the users on this forum had to say and their knowledge in the subject I posted without looking at the rules.


Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))

Budget Range: 600-700

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Movies, Photoshop, Internet

Parts Not Required: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, microcenter.com Anywhere with good deals ;) 

Country: U.S

Parts Preferences: No Preference, maybe if we could get in an i5 processor? But that would probably take me out of budget, let me know! :) 
Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050


May 7, 2012 6:50:55 PM

Here is what I would reccomend...

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912/$60
CPU: Phenom x4 965/$120
MB: ASUS m5a97 am3+ amd 970/$95
GPU: HIS IceQ X 6780/$170
RAM: 8gb G.skill ripjaw 1600/$47
Optical drive: Asus 24x OEM/$18
HD: Samsung by spinpoint f3 500gb/$80
PSU: Cooler Master eXtreme 500w/$50

Grand total=$640
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May 7, 2012 6:57:12 PM

CPU: Phenom x4 965 quad core 3.4Ghz/$120
MB: Asus m5a97 am3+ amd 970/$95
GPU: HIS ICEQ X 6870/$170
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912/$60
PSU: Cooler master extreme power plus 500w/$50
RAM: G.skill Ripjaw series 8gb 1600/$47
Optical drive: Asus 24x OEM/$18
HD: samsung by seagate spinpoint f3 500gb/$80

Grand total: $640
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May 7, 2012 6:58:04 PM

Umm I've submitted my reply twice but It won't come through
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May 7, 2012 7:00:22 PM

shazmania said:
Hello, I am trying to build a new pc for the upcoming Diablo 3 and to play Mass Effect 3. I do not care to play everything in its highest settings because I know I can't afford it. I am a casual gamer looking for a mid-level rig at said price level, if you can get it cheaper then that's better. If something is a little more I wouldn't mind hitting $650ish to get something that makes a big difference. All in all, I want as much performance I can get out of the $600. Thanks for the help! Let me know about your ideas :) 

I have: Keyboard, Mouse, OS, Monitor, and an M-Audio Speaker system, so don't those.

Sorry it wont let me reply to this post:( 
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2012 7:01:14 PM

shazmania said:
Hello, I am trying to build a new pc for the upcoming Diablo 3 and to play Mass Effect 3. I do not care to play everything in its highest settings because I know I can't afford it. I am a casual gamer looking for a mid-level rig at said price level, if you can get it cheaper then that's better. If something is a little more I wouldn't mind hitting $650ish to get something that makes a big difference. All in all, I want as much performance I can get out of the $600. Thanks for the help! Let me know about your ideas :) 

I have: Keyboard, Mouse, OS, Monitor, and an M-Audio Speaker system, so don't those.


Please follow this link and you'll get better responses:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2012 7:22:06 PM

For a ~$650 build I would suggest something like this:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600 V2 - $69.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Pro 4 - $109.99
CPU: 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-2120 - $129.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $46.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $99.99
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 - $149.99 ($15.00 MIR)

Total: $689.92 - $35.00 MIR = $655.92
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May 7, 2012 11:52:23 PM

I updated the original post, so no one thinks I should go for a GeForce over a Radeon? Okay I'm going to start compiling this list on sites.

Another update!

Is the 2500k i5 MUCH better than the i3? If so, I'll shell out another hundred for that but then would that be my only added expense, will my motherboard become more expensive as well?
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2012 12:09:32 AM

shazmania said:
I updated the original post, so no one thinks I should go for a GeForce over a Radeon? Okay I'm going to start compiling this list on sites.

Another update!

Is the 2500k i5 MUCH better than the i3? If so, I'll shell out another hundred for that but then would that be my only added expense, will my motherboard become more expensive as well?


if you can get the 2500k. its a quad core plus you can overclock it to mid 4ghz pretty easily. it will last must longer than the i3

also for CPU + motherboard, microcenter has the best deal around.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2012 12:40:20 AM

shazmania said:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Is that the i5? Doesn't say anything about Sandy Bridge, so I'm confused. Nice price though ;) 

Also Ripjaws or Vengeance by Corsair?


yep thats the one. $170 is such a great price.

Also both those rams are good. Just get a min of 1600mhz
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2012 12:53:32 AM

Just so you're aware the i5 2500k is an "in store" only special, meaning if you want to get one at that price, you have to live in reasonable distance from a MircoCenter, but if you do, yes 170 bucks for that CPU is a bargain.

RipJaws and Corsair are both good choices for RAM.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2012 12:57:10 AM

My general policy is, if you can get an i5-2500k thats the absolutely best option for a gamer PC currently on the market, but when faced with dropping down to an i3, as a personal preference, I'd take a Phenom II over an i3 due to it only being a dual core.
My personal recommendation is this:


CPU-$120- Phenom II 965
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard- Asrock 970 $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card- Radeon 6870 $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM-Gskill 2x4GB $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case- CoolerMaster HAF 912 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power- Corsair CX500 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD- WDC 500Gb -$80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD Burner- $18
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total- $635
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May 8, 2012 1:07:24 AM

nekulturny said:
My general policy is, if you can get an i5-2500k thats the absolutely best option for a gamer PC currently on the market, but when faced with dropping down to an i3, as a personal preference, I'd take a Phenom II over an i3 due to it only being a dual core.
My personal recommendation is this:


CPU-$120- Phenom II 965
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard- Asrock 970 $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card- Radeon 6870 $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM-Gskill 2x4GB $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case- CoolerMaster HAF 912 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power- Corsair CX500 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD- WDC 500Gb -$80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD Burner- $18
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total- $635


I live 35 minutes away from a Microcenter so should I take the trip and grab an i5 2500k? If so, what changes would you or anyone recommend? Ofcourse change the motherboard and would the GPU remain the same?
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2012 1:15:50 AM

Oh good, yea its definitely worth the trip.. You can use the same components but the motherboard would change. The video card is toward the upper end of mid-level. Its a pretty decent card, its pretty well on-par with Nvidia's GTX 560 to give you perspective. It was originally designed to compete directly with the GTX 460 (which is still a pretty respectable card today despite being a couple years old) I lust over it, my boyfriend has one in his gaming rig I've been tempted to swap it out with my 550TI and see if he'd notice :) . but I digress.

This is a decent motherboard to pair with your 2500k

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...






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May 8, 2012 10:08:48 PM

Also I've decided these components so far taking into consideration what you guys said:
Case: Haf $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASRock Extreme 3 Gen 3 LGA 1155 z68 $122
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: Intel i5 2500-K $170
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Ram: Ripjaw 4 GB x 2 $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Corsair CX 600 $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Seagate 1TB Barracuda $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Optical: LiteOn 24x $18
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm over budget though but I guess that'd it be the case going for the i5, but I'm over $40. Do you guys see anywhere I can trim? Otherwise, I guess it's fine I'll just wait another week for a paycheck more :( 

UPDATE: Possible solution to trimming $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
It'll take me down 40 dollars using this combo, but it gives me 500 GB hdd space less which I do no mind since I plan on getting an external for my movies and such so I wouldn't need much space internal, but the power supply is what bothers me. Let me know what you guys think! Thanks!
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May 9, 2012 3:25:02 AM

BUMP*
Any solutions? I'm about to order, just wanted to know if there was anywhere were I can trim and not lose too much performance, thanks!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 9, 2012 3:37:08 AM

The Corsair CX500 is a good quality power supply. The hard drive I'm a bit iffy about.. and by the way.. thats not really a "bargain" since newegg sells the CX500 for the same price on its own.
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May 9, 2012 5:21:35 PM

If I was to go ahead with an AMD processor over the intel i5, would there be a noticeable drop in gaming? If not, I might as well go for the cheaper solution. Let me know your thoughts, thanks!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 9, 2012 5:30:58 PM

shazmania said:
If I was to go ahead with an AMD processor over the intel i5, would there be a noticeable drop in gaming? If not, I might as well go for the cheaper solution. Let me know your thoughts, thanks!



Noticeable? Probably not. On benchmarks, yes. With the money difference perhaps you can get the 6870 card instead of the 6850, you'll see more of a noticeable drop in gaming between those two choices more than you will the CPU in most cases.
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May 9, 2012 5:34:08 PM

I don't worry about benchmarks, I just want to play these games on decent settings. So is it smart since I want to lower the cost of my pc to go with the AMD processor, I just don't want a noticeable difference, but need the price of my set up to go down. Thank you so much for the continued help, I'm sure this is getting annoying, but my budget took a hit :/ 

Also, I'll stick with the 6850 because a noticeable difference is what I don't want. I'll change up the CPU/ Mobo combo if it it'll save me a decent amount of money but give me decently comparable performance, in game not on benchmarks. Right now I'm spending $292 dollars between CPU/Mobo! So if you guys think I can cut that down without hurting my performance much I would absolutely LOVE those suggestions, thanks!
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Best solution

a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 9, 2012 5:48:20 PM

Well, the 6870 is the better video card between that and the 6850. When you're faced with a choice of picking a stronger CPU or a stronger video card, you're usually better off picking a stronger video card and cutting back on the CPU. (as most games are limited in their performance more so than the CPU).

My opinion is still with the AMD build I recommended to you initially for your particular budget. The total price for that is $635 without Windows7 which is another 100 dollars. You said in your first post your budget was 600-700, and in that budget range that configuration is a pretty decent budget gamer, and you'd be hard pressed to do better. Yes the i5 2500k is a far stronger processor, but if you're sacrificing on your video card for the privilege of owning it, you'll more than likely hurt your gaming performance, not help it.

If you have an updated budget figure, please let me know what it is.
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May 9, 2012 5:53:25 PM

Best answer selected by shazmania.
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May 9, 2012 5:53:54 PM

Thank you mate, I'ma go with your first build :)  But should I do the 975 or a bull dozer series instead of the 965? The FX 6100 being a budget alternative to the 8120 FX? Or the i3 which is 10 bucks more?

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/102?vs=289
Judging by that the i3 is better, look at the games, I3 out performs the AMD
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 9, 2012 6:27:41 PM

Shaz,

The 975 and 965 are identical in terms of design, the only difference is the 975 is clocked higher. You can easily make a 965 perform like a 975 or even a 980 model in about 2 seconds. Bulldozer in my opinion is not worth considering over Intel's choices or Phenom IIs as long as they are still around.

Yes you are correct that the i3 on paper perform better than the Phenom II 965, however, the difference is practically zero in terms of actual gameplay experience. The reason I say the 965 is the better choice is due to the fact that the i3 is only a dual core. You may find this limits you when playing online games and as new games come out. As of today, only 1 or 2 games are capable of utilizing more than 2 cores in a CPU. In the future as new games come out, the dual core may become a limitation.

Based on that information, its really your choice, as its your computer and you're the one that has to be happy with it.

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May 9, 2012 10:04:08 PM

Thank you very much, I will stick with a quad core
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