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Need help building a high-quality gaming comp for $500.

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June 1, 2012 3:53:52 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: About a week, probably longer.

Budget Range: $500, though I can go a bit over.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, pretty much everything else.

Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, monitor (I might get a new one soon though), and probably case.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com, though I'm okay with buying from any trusted website.

Country: U.S.

Parts Preferences: None.

Overclocking: I don't know how to do this, so probably not.

SLI or Crossfire: I don't even know what this is, so no.

Monitor Resolution: 1024 X 768 (though I might get a new one)

Additional Comments: My current computer just isn't cutting it, so I'd like to make a new, better one. I'd like to make it as powerful as I can gaming-wise for under $500, though I can go up to $600 if need be (though I wouldn't like that). The kind of games I'll be playing are Battlefield 3, Diablo 3, ARMA 2, etc. on max setting if possible. In fact, it'd be really great if it'd be able to run Crysis 2 on max settings, since that'd pretty much mean it could run almost any other game on high. I know this is a kind of difficult request, so any help is appreciated!
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 4:01:23 AM

not possible to run bf3 on even high settings. decked out possibly medium.
right now i would just save up some cash and build it later if you are not too desperate
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 5:09:44 AM

While you might not be able to play BF3 maxed on that budget, you can certainly play on high settings.

$45 ($35 after mail in)
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$88
Pentium G850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you live near a microcenter, you can pick up an i3-2100 for the same price as the 850, but it's in store only
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

$55
ASRock H61M-DGS LGA 1155 Intel H61
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$24
Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$250 ($230 after rebate)
HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 2GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$20
LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Internal 24X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$75
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$557 before rebates and shipping, if you're re-using your case.

That rig would run BF3 on pretty high settings. If you'd like to try for max settings, the 7850 can achieve massive overclocks - 40-50% on stock cooling!

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18389...

To overclock 7850's past 1050MHz you need ASUS GPU Tool (works with any manufacturer). It's one of the few utilities that allows voltage tweaks on the video card.

good luck!
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a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 5:37:16 AM

quilciri said:
While you might not be able to play BF3 maxed on that budget, you can certainly play on high settings.

$45 ($35 after mail in)
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$88
Pentium G850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you live near a microcenter, you can pick up an i3-2100 for the same price as the 850, but it's in store only
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

$55
ASRock H61M-DGS LGA 1155 Intel H61
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$24
Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$250 ($230 after rebate)
HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 2GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$20
LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Internal 24X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$75
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$557 before rebates and shipping, if you're re-using your case.

That rig would run BF3 on pretty high settings. If you'd like to try for max settings, the 7850 can achieve massive overclocks - 40-50% on stock cooling!

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18389...

To overclock 7850's past 1050MHz you need ASUS GPU Tool (works with any manufacturer). It's one of the few utilities that allows voltage tweaks on the video card.

good luck!


That'l play games and nothing else, I would recommend saving up for a better computer instead of cutting back so much on core components like he's done here. It would be cheaper in the long run, as to upgrade anything on that list would require the rest of it to go up as well. Here's my view of whats going to happen.

That CPU is very weak and could be bottlenecking the GPU, better CPU would need a bigger PSU (which I say is already insufficient) , to get 8Gb of RAM which is proper for a gaming rig, you'd have to buy a new set of 2x4gb sticks or new motherboard + 2x2Gb sticks. Your going to need a new motherboard to not bottleneck all the components.

And I assume you don't have a decent case, so you'l be shoving these components into an unventilated small box.

I would just save up until you can get something proper.
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 6:03:18 AM

manofchalk said:
That CPU is very weak and could be bottlenecking the GPU, better CPU would need a bigger PSU (which I say is already insufficient)


Wrong and wrong. So wrong.

A 7850 doesn't even fully use the G850, there's room to overclock the card. It's functionally equivalent to an fx-4100 or 955 black.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

*there's only a 100 mhz difference between the 850 and the 860, and the 860 costs $100.

Here's the ranking chart.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

The PSU isn't even breaking a sweat. The 7850 draws 101w at full load, the CPU is a 65w part. +50w for full CPU load and motherboard, 30w for HDD being written, 5w per fan (20w for 3 case fans, 1 cpu fan), and 20w for burning a DVD. If you're playing BF3 on this rig while simultaneously burning a DVD and torrenting, it still only draws 286w. You could put in an overclocked 2500k and the power usage wouldn't even be outside of the optimal 50-75% usage range.


manofchalk said:

to get 8Gb of RAM which is proper for a gaming rig, you'd have to buy a new set of 2x4gb sticks or new motherboard + 2x2Gb sticks. Your going to need a new motherboard to not bottleneck all the components.


Wrong again. No game uses more than 4gb of total RAM, counting both system memory and VRAM, and that's unlikely to change for a while. Video game companies want to sell as many video games as possible, and the number of people still using 32 bit OS's is too large to ignore.At the current rate of adoption, It'll be two years before 64 bit OS's reach 80% saturation, which cliff blezenski has said is the threshold before EPIC will seriously consider RAM above 4gb as necessary for an ideal gaming experience.

...and even if you do want to put in 8gb in a year or two, you'd only be losing $25....

and that bit about the motherboard bottlnecking components seems to be utter nonsense.

manofchalk said:
And I assume you don't have a decent case, so you'l be shoving these components into an unventilated small box.


..and while you may be right on this one, you fail to understand that it doesn't matter in this rig. Both the G850 and the 7850 are very cool running parts to begin with.

Besides that, case fans can be had for $5-10 per.

on top of that, you can pick up a good case for $40 and still be under $600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 1, 2012 6:31:51 AM

Don't forget the extra $100 for the OS.
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 6:42:33 AM

Ok, you'v beat me here. Just so you know, it wasn't a personal attack, I was just pointing out that the hardware wont let you do much more unless you upgrade near the whole thing.

(I am right with the 8Gb of RAM. That mobo only has two RAM slots, so you'd need to buy a $46 2x4Gb kit)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I still recommend waiting for more cash and making a more balanced rig. That'l game, but you'r going to compromise elsewhere.
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 6:42:46 AM

Hopefully he has a retail copy of win7 already :) 

p.s. I'm making a bit of an assumption that you'll be getting a new monitor. This rig is overkill for any resolution under 1920x1080.

have fun!

a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 6:47:33 AM

manofchalk said:

(Except for the 8Gb of RAM. That mobo only has two RAM slots, so you'd need to buy a $46 2x4Gb kit)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I'm aware of how many slots the mobo has. buying new ram means he'd be losing the 2x2gb he has...which were $25.

8gb does fit in the budget, assuming you don't need an OS. You'll see no gaming benefit from it for quite some time, though.

However, if you're like me and you have a billion browser tabs open and you're running a music player while you're gaming, then the extra memory would help.
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 6:50:36 AM

manofchalk said:
Ok, you'v beat me here. Just so you know, it wasn't a personal attack, I was just pointing out that the hardware wont let you do much more unless you upgrade near the whole thing.


Unless you're editing videos and converting them into some of the rougher formats, you're a programmer or you use CAD, or something along those lines, gaming is going to be the most system intensive thing you do with your computer.

Games drive the PC industry. If it can handle hardcore games like BF3, it can handle almost anything else.
June 1, 2012 5:51:48 PM

Thanks for the replies! I'll probably go for your suggested build, quilciri. I just have one question. I forgot to mention in the OP that I already have a power supply and hard drive, so could I use the ones I already have instead of the ones you suggested?
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 9:10:59 PM

As long as the drive is SATA, it's fine. As far as the PSU, what are the amps on it's 12v rail (info on the side sticker), and what is it's total wattage?
June 1, 2012 9:36:27 PM

quilciri said:
As long as the drive is SATA, it's fine. As far as the PSU, what are the amps on it's 12v rail (info on the side sticker), and what is it's total wattage?


The drive is a SATA-II, so I assume that means it would work?

As for the PSU, the total wattage is 400W, however I have no clue how many amps are on the 12v rail, so here's a link to a page about it: http://www.imicro.com/item.php?item=PS-IM400WH You'll probably have better luck looking at that than trying to have me find it.

Also, I forgot to mention (again) that I already have a DVD writer, so can I assume it'll work in the new build?
a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2012 10:15:27 PM

Assuming your DVD writer has a SATA connector as well, it's fine.

Your PSU has a 26a +12v rail, which will support the rig. However, There is no good way to find out what efficiency it runs at other than buying a measuring tool and running your system under full load.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-bench...

It may be costing you more to use that PSU than it would to replace it, so I recommend replacing any PSU that's not at least 80 plus.

A 400w 60% efficient PSU under full load would draw 667w from the socket, wasting 267w as heat. If the PSU were 80% efficient, it would only draw 500w from the wall at full load, wasting 100w. Depending on how long your computer is on, how much it's average load is, and how much electricity is where you are, that 167w difference can cost you $20-60 a year.
!