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Building a $500 gaming computer for a friend-need advice

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June 12, 2012 2:51:32 AM

My friend that I'm building this for has a very limited budget, he's looking to play games ranging from LoL, to Far Cry 3 (when it comes out) and Battlefield 3, not necessarily maxed out but playable. He is most likely gonna be playing at 1080p. Here's the list of parts that I picked out for him and I'm hoping you guys can either give your approval or feel free to list any changes you think should happen, thanks.

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 12, 2012 3:39:16 AM

Looks good but I would go for something more like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($73.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($20.49 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($126.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($36.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($25.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $514.35
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-06-11 23:38 EDT-0400)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 4:01:53 AM

whatsup1396 said:
CPU:

do you think performance will be it by much by using a dual core?


for gaming, the sandy bridge processor is superior at stock than a 965. unless you are good at keeping your system cool and be able to overclock the 965 like a beast, than the i3 would be a better contender(its dual core + hyperthreading and not just a plain dual core like pentium is)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 4:22:38 AM

Heres my slightly modified version i have set up:

24x LG dvd burner 17$
Rosewill Blackblack bone case 40$
Samsung Spinpoint 1tb 80$
Antec 450w 42 (post shipping)
Sapphire hd 7770 ghz edition 135$+7$ shipping, comes with dirt showdown
G skill value series 1333 4 gb 21$
i3-2120 + Asrock h61 u3/s3 mobo 179$ + 9$ shipping

Total 522.65 (507.65$ after 15 rebate on the 7770)

this is about close to the budget. i can cut a tiny bit more if necessary


Alternatively, you can use a evga gtx 460
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 7:04:04 AM

I'd never take a dual core i3 over a Phenom II quad.. Thats just me though. So what if the individual cores are stronger in the i3? They arent *that much* stronger, and when its all said and done the Phenom II is still TWICE the processor for the same price, 4 cores might not matter so much in gaming right now, (unless you're getting into BF3 multiplayer), but whos to say when this will change? This could change next month, or 2 years from now. As far as Intels hyperthreading, its nice, but no game now nor likely ever will use it.

Since you specifically mentioned BF3.. DO NOT get a dual core CPU for that game, people can scream bloody murder, it has been benched and proven multiplayer prefers a quad. Single player only, yes, an i3 will work .
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 7:58:03 AM

the i3 line is more aimed for the larger upgrade path ahead of it, as you can move onto a sandy bridge/ivy bridge i5/i7. on every task that requires 2 or less cores, the i3 will have an advantage over as well as general purpose processor use outside of gaming and its performance to watt ratio is lower. this would mostly include heavy single player games, and low end games in general. Choosing the 965 BE path gives you the overclocking option and more mobo features and 4 cores for the heavy demand gaming that requires multiple cores, and editing if your into that kind of business.

In the end, they both are pretty much the same, it really depends what you do after when you have it. Because at this budget level, one shouldn't even think about maxing BF3, and will probably play on a lower resolution.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 1:04:56 PM

I understand that however, the thing about using an i3 as an upgrade path not only as a tech student, but as a consumer is something I've always considered ridiculous for 3 reasons:

1. Intel beginning 2013 will be moving off the LGA1155 socket and going with the 1150 socket, meaning lets say you wanted to upgrade your i3 a year from today.. If you want the most current quad core, you'd be buying a new motherboard.

2. You're spending 130 dollars on a CPU today give or take. To me that just doesn't make sense a year from now to basically throw the CPU away that soon. To me it makes about as much sense as using a pay-day loan place so you can buy a stereo for your car and end up paying 40 percent interest on it. Considering you can have your quad core today, and Phenom IIs are perfectly capable of keeping up with video cards, I'd call it an educated guess for the next 3 or 4 years. Computers go "obsolete" fast enough without introducing unnecessary expenses into the mix such as "buy cheap now, upgrade later" things such as this. Unless you plan on winning the lottery next year, I just wouldn't do it.

3. From less of a consumer standpoint and more from a tech standpoint, its much simpler just to get a cheaper graphics card for now, and later swap in a more powerful video card. a 7850 for example at $260 can easily max BF3 Multiplayer when paired with a Phenom II, or right now newegg has some GTX 480s at $210. And even later down the road you might find some other great deals on powerful video cards either from Nvidia or AMD that are very cheap for no other reason than they're not current generation. (GTX 480s for example originally were over $500)

In contrast, it doesn't matter how prior generation Intel CPUs are, they will never drop their prices, Sandy has not dropped in price since the release of Ivy. Even their 1st gen Core processors (Lynnefield, Clarksdale) remain at the same price they were. So, I say if you insist on Intel with the intention of getting a quad, to not buy anything until you can afford a quad with a reasonable video card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 1:44:35 PM

Not making a recommendation either way, I just find it interesting that the person recommending the Intel path has an I3 and the Person recommending the AMD path has an PII. Both make good points. Trying to "future-proof" a build is an exercise in futility.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 2:17:29 PM

I absolutely agree Future proofing is largely a degree in futility, but that doesnt mean you cant budget things out to get the best performance for the longest time you can.. But I will say just for the record as I have mentioned in other threads when the products I own have been called into question..

I ALSO own a system with an H61 mobo, an Intel Sandy Bridge i5-2400 and a GTX 460 video card. Its my significant other's computer. The i5-2400 was $190 at the time the system was built (and still is), the GTX 460 was $210 give or take.

The Phenom II 975 at the time I bought it was $150 and my Zotac 550 TI AMP! edition was $170 (yes I know I overpaid for it) even at the time the build in my sig was built. Both of these computers can handle the same games (Skyrim, WoW, MW2, 3, Metro 2033 to name a few specifically) with absolutely zero difference in noticeable performance.

My significant other had his computer (the intel system) built by a local shop prior to living with me. I have my own reasons for purchasing AMD products for my own system, however I recommend builds for others based on needs and budget, my preferences don't really affect my advice.

However, I am convinced as I mention the Phenom II is a better choice than an i3, but no I don't dispute that the 2500K is the "champion" of gaming computers. At stock speed, they beat everything else at the $220 price point. The only thing I really get into disputing is "how much better they really are". Of course that can frequently and often does erupt into an AMD vs Intel debate. Although I personally get a little tired of having the same debate over and over again.

Those are my thoughts on it, take it or leave it :lol: 
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June 12, 2012 2:20:03 PM

With that budget, would be pretty hard. I've never tried anything on this budget.
My opinions would be, since he's on a strict budget, I would go for an AMD processor, maybe even an APU. Get an additional graphics card as a later upgrade for dual graphics mode.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 2:35:31 PM

Agreed 500 is pretty tight, for $620 I could do wonders. I'm on my laptop currently at a hotel room in Minnesota, but I have build recommendations saved to my computer at home, so unless I'm specifically asked by the OP I'm not going to hunt down all the links again and post them. I mainly just chimed into the thread for now to say that while not the best gaming system in that price range the OPs original build wouldn't be absolutely horrid either.

BTW, my laptop is an Intel!!! lol
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June 12, 2012 2:38:20 PM

Well $500 isn't THAT tight, it would depend on what settings he would want to play BF3 at.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2012 2:48:29 PM

500 definitely isnt "not-doable", but I'd say the sweet spot for a gaming system (no-OS, tower only, no monitor, etc) is about 800-1000. In that price range you start being able to have build options that can easily rival substantially more expensive machines from Alienware, Dell, etc) I can definitely do a pretty good gamer at the $600-700 range though.
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