Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Critique/Recommendations for my ~$500-600 light gaming/htpc build

Last response: in Systems
Share
June 15, 2012 6:35:15 PM

Somewhat new to building PCs so any help is greatly appreciated! I will be using this PC mostly for watching movies, small movie/picture editing and playing games when I feel like it. I also plan to add a HDHomeRun for viewing/recording shows.

Here's what I have so far:
CPU: Intel i5-2500k ($169.99, microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 ($66.99, newegg)
GPU: any recommendations?
HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1500DL003 1.5TB 3.5" 5900rpm ($99.99, newegg)
RAM: G. Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333 ($39.99, newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred ($54.99, newegg)
Optical: ASUS 24x DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS ($16.99, newegg)
PSU: Cooler Master RS450-ACAAD3-US ($49.99, newegg)

Total comes out to $443.94 w/o GPU and OS. No need for a monitor or keyboard/mouse. Any thoughts?
June 15, 2012 6:45:43 PM

You really need an i5 for movies and light gaming htpc?

I think i3-2120 would be a better fit for an htpc. It's $109 on newegg right now.

A decent inexpensive and low power video card would be a HD7750/70. Also consider this psu, no rebate required.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I love the Antec 300, but it's kinda big for a htpc.

I'd also recommend a 7200rpm hd, but I'm sure that one would suffice.
June 15, 2012 6:51:42 PM

If you're going to microcenter for the CPU, you may as well get the mobo there as well for the additional $50 combo savings on select z77 mobo.

AsRock z77 Pro4 ($70 in combo w/ i5-2500k)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

AsRock z77 Extreme 4 ($90 in combo)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Don't go with that PSU. Cooler Master has a reputation for bad PSUs. Try the Corsair CX 430 V2 ($26 after MIR)

However, this will not give much leeway for future expansion. If you want to expand, consider the Corsair CX500.

For light gaming and watching movies at your budget, consider the Radeon 7770.
MSI Radeon 7770 ($110 after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: Get a 7200 RPM drive if you're not getting an SSD. Anything slower will feel kind of laggy.
Related resources
June 15, 2012 7:10:07 PM

Hi,

I have recently built my own system and so i can relate to what you are asking.

First, looking at what you are planning on using the PC for, the specs that you have chosen seem reasonable, although if I were you I would get the CPU that I have, which is the AMD FX-8120 8 core, which is about the same amount of money, and I have mine easily over-clocked to 4.5Ghz due to the unlocked multiplier. I would strongly reccomend this as the faster the clock speed of your CPU, the better you can do things such as gaming and movie/picture editing. REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR MOTHERBOARD IF YOU GO FOR AN AMD CPU, DIFFERENT SOCKET ON THE ONE YOU HAVE CHOSEN! =)

Next, are you planning on using WIFI? If you are, have you included a wireless card in your specs? I cant see one in your post. just a thought.

Your HDD could do with upgrading if you ask me, 5200RPM spindle speed? Your PC Read/Write speeds and boot up times wont be very good. Perhaps upgrade for a 7200RPM? Also, are you sure you are going to need 1.5Tb? If you are planning on hoarding loads of movies and songs etc. then fair enough, but a 1Tb or even a 750Gb would be adequate. Also, have you considered buying an SSD? If you bought one and installed your OS onto it you defiantly wouldn't regret it, I assure you. its what I have done with an OCZ 60Gb SSD , and my boot up times have been halved to 20 secs. =) But if you did this, then still get an HDD

As far as your GPU is concerned, it entirely depends on how much money you are willing to spend? I have an EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 550Ti 2Gb, which i have overclocked slightly using the EVGA utility that comes on the drivers disk, and I can play graphics intensive games like Skyrim on high Graphics settings. I purchased this from Amazon for £120, and a 1Gb version was available for £90. However if you're looking to spend a little less on your GPU, then i can recommend that you check out a few benchmarking websites, such as CPU Benchmark for the GPU for you. Just bear in mind that if you buy a graphics card that is 2 expansion slots high, you will cover up one of your PCI ports.

If you go for some of the changes i have suggested, like the CPU and SSD, and if you buy a graphics card like the ones I have suggested, you might want to upgrade your PSU, as 450Watts may not be enough. Plus the 12+volt rail may not be strong enough. I would go for the Corsair CX600 600Watt personally. same price and better.

I know that this is alot of changes, but the price wont be effected none, and it will mean that your PC will easily do what you want and more.

I hope that this has helped. :-)

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message.
Anonymous
June 15, 2012 7:58:14 PM

H61 motherboard chipset does not support overclocking. (IE the whole purpose of having a i5 2500k).

I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned this so far.

Also,
GrebGoneBad, I'm sorry, but Ghz is not an universal measure of CPU speed. It's a marketing tool more than anything. Check out the tom's hardware CPU Architecture shootout and you'll see that clearly the speed of a CPU depends on architecture and optimization as much if not more than clock speed.

I wish computing was really as simple as it seems, but alas, that's why they pay so well. It's complicated.
Anonymous
June 15, 2012 8:03:41 PM

Also,

HD 7770 and i3 2120 mentioned above is a great combo, but you'll find it sorely lacking graphics power on screens larger than 1680x1050.

If you're looking at a screen that is 1920x1080p resolution or larger, you're really going to need a better graphics card to get your moneys worth of performance.

Now, on the other hand, if you're at 1680 or less, it really is a great pair for the money. I'm on a 1600x900 resolution and love my Pentium g850 + HD 6750 for moderately high setting gaming. Your combo would easily make it to the just-under ultra settings on most games, as well as being cost efficient.


EDIT:: I know you probably see the word 'Pentium' and disregard my whole statement, but remember that the only difference between a pentium and an i3 is a few Ghz and hyperthreading + video editing enhancements..

the rest is marketing magic. The pentium really is a beautiful chip for moderately high setting gaming at 1680x or less resolution, but of course the marketing folks are going to tell you the only chip for gaming is the one that costs 120-something dollars more.

Do your research on what GPU/CPU maxes out settings at your given resolution, then fit the appropriate motherboard/powersupply and the rest is icing.

easy.
June 15, 2012 9:33:52 PM

An FX8120 overclocked to 4.5ghz for a HTPC. LOOL I've heard it all now.

Besides a stock 2500 is faster than a 4.5ghz FX8120 and uses less power and creates less heat.



June 15, 2012 9:34:28 PM

Anonymous said:
H61 motherboard chipset does not support overclocking. (IE the whole purpose of having a i5 2500k).

I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned this so far.


He was getting it because of the price, not the overclocking ability.
Anonymous
June 15, 2012 9:37:07 PM

Well why would he get an i5 2500k instead of an i5 2400 if he wasn't going to overclock it.

It's really a negligible step up for the price, except for the 2500k's exception overclock. What I mean is I don't see why people would let him pay more for a i5 2500k and a put in in a board that can't use the features that make it cost more.
June 15, 2012 9:42:44 PM

Anonymous said:
Well why would he get an i5 2500k instead of an i5 2400 if he wasn't going to overclock it.

It's really a negligible step up for the price, except for the 2500k's exception overclock. What I mean is I don't see why people would let him pay more for a i5 2500k and a put in in a board that can't use the features that make it cost more.


Because it's cheaper that's why. It's $169
Anonymous
June 15, 2012 10:16:04 PM

I did not see that microcenter is no longer listing the i5-2400.

Consider the i5 3450 is my suggestion for the same argument above, it's a cheaper non-overclocking chip that better fits the Mobo. That or look for a P67/z68 or more recent motherboard that can overclock. There are some pretty decent deals on newegg some times.
June 17, 2012 1:49:37 PM

Actually the 3450 overclocks quite well.
!