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Need advice on first homebuilt, $600 max price

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June 20, 2012 11:36:28 PM

Hey all,

It's been more than 3 years since I've gotten a new computer. My current computer is an ASUS laptop with a battery that no longer works and can't play any games.

So, here it goes. I've got a list of parts that I'm considering and would like some advice. However, I will not be able to buy these for two or so months. I'd just like to post what I have in mind here just to confirm everything will work.

Here's the list of what I've got now. Like I said it'll still be a month or two so it's likely to change:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BIOSTAR TA870U3+ AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS ENGT440/DI/1GD5 GeForce GT 440 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner 22X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill Green Series RG530-S12 530W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail, Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total price=$580.

Thanks guys for the help, I really appreciate it :) !
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2012 11:44:11 PM

If gaming is your primary goal, I would consider a different video card, that one is a little on the weak side, yes the CPU is decent for your price range.

Better power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cheaper RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Stronger video card, yes its going to put you overbudget, but its a better choice, again if gaming is in mind:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or.. keeping you closer to your budget:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$120 after mail in rebate.

Don't forget you still need windows7 thats another 100.
June 21, 2012 12:16:53 AM

Thanks nekulturny for the quick reply!

I'm completely new to gaming, so I'm not sure yet if I'll be doing a lot of it (I don't have any games at the moment).

Forgot to mention I've already got a copy of Win7 Pro :) .

I noticed the first video card you suggested has a PCI Express 2.1 slot, which my motherboard choice doesn't have. Sadly though I couldn't afford that anyway. I'll consider the second card though.

And thanks for the PSU and RAM suggestions. I'm also open to more suggestions if anyone else has any :) .
Related resources
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 12:33:02 AM

For gaming, the graphics card is the critical component. Spend your budget there.
Here is a tom's $650 build from March. Prices have changed, but you get the idea. Use the prices to set your budget, not necessarily the specific parts.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-gaming-pc-ove...

For the cpu, there are no AMD chips currently that beat out the intel sandy bridge chips at any price point.

FYI, pcie 1/2/2.1/3.0 is a non issue. Cards will work in any, and any performance differences are negligible.

If you can manage it, spend $100 or so on a 120gb SSD for the os and a handful of games. Everything you do will feel much quicker. You can add a hard drive later for overflow if necessary.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 12:52:02 AM

Ditto on what Geo said on the PCI thing, it doesn't matter.

Although as far as the Intel vs Sandy thing, the closest priced CPU from Intel that you've chosen is the Intel i3.

The difference between that and the CPU you're looking at is likewise negligible. (Benches show 1-6FPS differences by Tom's Hareware), I never had and never will consider that particularly "make or break". But its up to you. I will say though that this is 2012, dual cores are not ideal choices for modern systems going forward.

And you're welcome of course.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 1:00:05 AM

What games are you looking to play with this computer btw? Specifically. Cus that will make the difference of whether or not I decide to drop you down to a Pentium CPU in favor of a better video card or not. Also, is this just gaming? Or general multitasking?
June 21, 2012 1:03:35 AM

Thanks geofelt for the link, I'll give it a read. And thanks guys for the info on the PCI thing, I didn't know that.

And yeah, as much as I'd love to get an i7, it's way out of my budget. And as nekulturny said, a quad-core is necessary since I'm hoping this computer will last a long time.

An SSD is definitely a good idea, but I'm planning on getting that later on. Right now, I just want to concentrate on the basics. I'm also hoping to upgrade my monitor in the future as well :) .

EDIT:
@nekulturny, multitasking as well. In fact probably mostly multitasking. As far as games go, Skyrim, Battlefield 3, maybe MW3, to name a few.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 2:43:47 AM

You'll definitely want the Phenom II over the i3 for BF3 multiplayer. Most games only use 2 cores, this is why the slightly stronger individual core performance of the i3 allows it to get slightly better frame rates in games, however BF3 multiplayer is the exception to the rule, this is the one game that actually lets the unimpressive AMD Bulldozer 8 cores outperform i5s and i7s.

As for MW2 &3 I average about 100FPS on the Phenom II rig in my sig, so no problem there.

You definitely want a better card than a GT 440 for these games though, like I said, bare minimum you definitely want the GTX 460. Its definitely a pretty good deal now, my boyfriend paid $200 for it when it was new.
June 21, 2012 2:36:17 PM

Looks like Intel's out of my budget then. I thought the Phenom II looked like the best option, it's within my price range, quad-core, and has good reviews.

I can fit the GTX 460 into my budget if I wait until August. Long time, but hopefully it'll be worth it :) !
June 21, 2012 6:33:31 PM

This is the i3 build I am currently going for. Will purchase next week unless I find a better option. It offers the most bang for your buck for gaming under $600.

intel core i3 + Biostar H61 + 8GB DDR3 RAM - $187

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Barracuda 500gb HDD + Thermaltake 500w PSU - $129

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

XFC Radeon HD 6870 (Lifetime Warrenty x2) - $170

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZT Source 210 Case - $40

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung DVD - $15

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Total with shipping $548 with $50 in rebates to take it below $500 (if rebates work)




a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 6:41:23 PM

@amkronos,

If you're intersted in playing BF3, my advice would be to drop one of those 6870s and go for an intel i5-2400.. As I said previously, multiplayer is one game that will favor a quad core. You can add another 6870 later when you have more money.

HOWEVER, the motherboard you want will not support 2 video cards. See, intel is not always the better price/performance option lol. Generally yes, for gaming, but there are exceptions, and BF3 multiplayer is one.
June 21, 2012 7:09:43 PM

Oh that is only for one 6870, but wanted to point out XFC's warranty is transferable and is lifetime for the card hence the X2 remark.

I've toyed around with trying to squeeze in an i5 but haven't found an option I like yet for under $600. Hoping an i5 combo comes out in the next week that will work, but not going to hold my breath. The build I linked can upgrade to an i5 or i7 Sandy or Ivy (with Bios upgrade) at any time in the future.

This is the $600 core i5 build I can come close to $600. Don't love the GPU but it will be ok for current games.

Intel Core i5 3450 Ivy + GTX 550 Ti - $328

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD + PSU - $130

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASrock H61 Mobo - $50

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Patriot 8GB RAM (1600 DDR3) - $45

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZT Source Case - $40

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung DVD - $15

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total: $614.69

Mail in Rebates: $35 takes it under $600

a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 7:38:01 PM

That wouldn't be totally horrid, but you're taking a hit in your video card, a 550 TI is not a bad video card, but its definitely not as good as a 6870. The motherboard is also a little on the cheap side.

If you're deadset on an Intel system, go for it, but I think you'd be better off with the 6870 and a Phenom II 965. Honest to god, you wont be sacrificing performance in gaming. But in the end, its your computer and you have to be happy with it.

The whole premise of the benches that Tom has done on the CPU is to use the most powerful video card they can. The problem with that is, the only thing it conclusively proves is that the CPUs are holding back a $600 video card. It doesn't show you what happens when you use a more budget minded video card.

There seems to be basic omission of fact on some of these bench articles. The thing is, a stronger CPU only serves to make a stronger video card realize its full potential, it cannot however make a weaker video card perform better. If it did, then we'd all be better off buying Intel Xeon CPUs and pairing them with GT 430 video cards, obviously no gamer would do something like that, theres a reason for it. You can use as powerful as a CPU as you want, but in the end, pairing it with a mediocre video card is like the Honda guys putting "hood scoops" on their car and claiming they give the car 10 extra horsepower.

Edited for typos
June 21, 2012 8:34:03 PM

Not bad build amkronos, let us know how it runs when you get it .

However I still think I'm going for the AMD option, along with the GTX 460 and better Thermaltake power supply.

As far as motherboards go, is Biostar a good brand? My motherboard looked like it had good reviews, and everything I want. USB 3.0 is nice along with SATA 6GB/s connectors for the hard drive. Only thing it doesn't have is FireWire, but I won't be using that anyway.

I'll keep an eye out for better deals though. And maybe a more badass chassis within that price range as well :D .
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 8:56:40 PM

Biostar in my opinion isnt "horrible", but even so I've always considered them to be a "budget" brand. The board you're looking at has pretty good reviews, so I wouldn't have any reason to challenge its quality.

As far as FireWire, a lot of people I've heard say its junk anyway. I've never personally had the need to use firewire, but Linus from NCIX seems to think its definitely garbage, and he hasn't steered us wrong yet.

June 21, 2012 9:09:27 PM

Okay thanks, I'll just stick with that motherboard then. All that really matters to me is that it'll last a while.
June 21, 2012 11:09:50 PM

I was just wondering is this GTX 460 the same as the MSI one? I'm looking at this EVGA instead because it comes with a DVI to VGA adapter. My current monitor is only VGA, I'll upgrade my monitor eventually, but it's all I have now.

It's the same card, just a different brand, right?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 21, 2012 11:11:20 PM

Correct. They are the same card.
June 22, 2012 6:44:03 PM

Hmmm I've been reading a lot of reviews on Newegg and a lot of people reported D.O.A. products with the power supply, RAM, and motherboard.

They're probably ok, I just don't want something to arrive and not work. Has anybody had that issue before? And if so, did you get it resolved?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2012 9:58:45 PM

Well the thing is, anything that is mass produced runs the risk of slipping through quality control, and some things again that are mass produced run the risk of failing shortly after buying, this is why you generally want to select a product with a good warranty. Of course some things are more prone than others to ship DOA, this is why you generally want to stick to brands with better reputations.

Like I said some of the parts you have chosen while wouldn't be my first choices, when dealing with a budget as tight as yours is sometimes certain sacrifices cannot be avoided. I really think if you're greatly concerned, the best option might be to wait a little longer until you can have a budget of about $800-1000 (For tower only and OS). Thats about the "sweet spot" for a really good gaming computer that can rival far more expensive pre-builts from Alienware, Dell, etc. I definitely can do a pretty decent Phenom II build for 600-700 however.

Yes, I personally have had some parts be defective. I had a Gigabyte motherboard originally in the build in my signature that died about 3 weeks after using it, after receiving dismal treatment from Gigabyte's tech support, I generally avoid recommending them.

I've also had a Corsair RAM stick be defective, and got great treatment from Corsair as well.

I could go into every interaction I've had with every company if you really want, but lol. How much time you got?

TLDR
Newegg, TigerDirect, Corsair in my experience have proven quite good at providing customer service to me. I would say that MicroCenter and Gigabyte have not.
June 22, 2012 10:07:57 PM

Okay thanks nekulturny, I may just be worrying a little too much since this is my very first build.

I replaced the PNY RAM with G.Skill, which seemed to be a more well-known brand. Here it is, not that much price difference, and has good reviews.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2012 10:15:16 PM

You're welcome, yes G.Skill is a decent brand, as are those RAM modules.

PNY actually is not a bad brand, honestly its hard to screw up RAM. I've owned Samsung, Kingston, Corsair, Crucial and PNY RAM, I have never had any real complaints except the one dead Corsair RAM module I had once, which was replaced (Most RAM modules have lifetime warranties now)

The only thing about RAM is some of the "value lines", and every company has a budget line, is occasionally they mix batches of chips on the module, that can occasionally cause problems, but not usually.
July 18, 2012 6:12:19 PM

Hey guys, got some good news :) !

It turns out that I got offered a quick summer job which will gain me an extra $200.

So, that beig said, I have more options now. I am definitely going to add a 120GB SSD to my build, along with a new monitor to replace my old 17" standard.

But the big question is, AMD or Intel? Now I could afford an Intel i5 if I wanted to (that would of course mean I'd have to choose another motherboard). However I'm wondering if there will be any performance improvement or am I just paying extra for the brand?

If I stayed with the AMD, I could save a couple hundred bucks and spend that on some new games :) .

Unfortunately though I still have to wait until late August to purchase :( .

What's your opinion, AMD or Intel?

Thanks again!
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 6:24:28 PM

If you've got the extra $200 for most games you're going to be better off putting that extra 200 into the video card.

To a degree you really aren't "just paying more for the brand", by getting an Intel i5. They do outperform the Phenom IIs, however, really whether this difference in performance matters or not comes down the the kind of game you're playing. However, most games are going to be limited by the video card. There are some exceptions to this.

If you're waiting for late august, I would hold off on making any final decisions, but tentatively, you might consider a video card like a 7850 or a 7870, but the closer you get to your final date. By late August, you may find yourself without Phenom IIs as an option, as they were discontinued this spring, and are stores that still have them are selling off the remaining inventory. Which means, you should be looking at intel i5s as the most viable choice.
July 18, 2012 6:46:28 PM

I definitely won't be making any final decisions until late August. Thanks for the info on the AMDs, I didn't know they might not be available. Maybe that means that I should just go with the i5. I'll consider getting the 7850 instead, but I will then have to make sure I can fit both that and an i5 in my budget, along with a SSD and monitor.

a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 6:57:19 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($166.49 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($54.20 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $605.60
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 7:19:10 PM

pcnerd123 said:
I definitely won't be making any final decisions until late August. Thanks for the info on the AMDs, I didn't know they might not be available. Maybe that means that I should just go with the i5. I'll consider getting the 7850 instead, but I will then have to make sure I can fit both that and an i5 in my budget, along with a SSD and monitor.

Well, I will say if you're forced with a choice between an SSD and a better video card, the better video card is the way to go. SSDs are nice and everything, but they will not aid you in getting better gaming FPS they will merely just reduce the amount of time it takes to load a game, or a level change (and only on single player games as with multiplayer, you're still limited by however fast the server you're playing on can transfer the files to you)

Squirrel has a good start for an i5 build, but I'm not really happy with that motherboard, its pretty cheap, and doesn't have very good reviews. Even for CPU intensive games, I'd take a Phenom II build over that one as configured anyday. Your CPU can only be as good as the motherboard its sitting on.

I'd look for something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 18, 2012 10:26:23 PM

Since you said the Phenom II might not be around when I'm ready to purchase, I've decided to go the i5 route. Here is my updated build, with the i5 and better graphics card.

CPU: Intel i5 3.1GHz
Mobo: Biostar TH67+
RAM: Kingston 8GB
HDD: WD 500GB
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 7850
PSU: CORSAIR 500W
DVD-RW: Lite-On
Chassis: Antec 300 Illusion Black

Total price=$812.89 (shipping included).

It'd be nice to have a SSD and monitor, but I already have a monitor anyway so that can wait. Any suggestions?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:39:10 PM

I do have a couple suggestions yes.

I'd spend a little bit more, $30 extra gets you twice the capacity on a hard drive, not really necessary, but nice to have:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good choice of RAM, nice case and power supply and video card

Although you might consider this power supply instead, same price, a little better, its modular, which means you can remove wires that aren't needed. Nice feature for wire management.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its not a bad choice of motherboard, but honestly I've always thought of Biosstar as a "budget brand", although I'm sure some people will violently disagree with me. You might consider looking at some of Newegg's open-box deals on Asus motherboards when the time comes to order.

As far as I know Asus will honor the warranty on the open-box motherboard should there be any problem with it. You might find a normally higher priced motherboard at a pretty nice price.
July 18, 2012 10:47:10 PM

I may consider the larger hard drive, but probably not. I'm not even using half of my 250GB HDD on my laptop now, lol.

I'll consider the power supply as well.

As for the motherboards, I may look around, but same with the HDD, probably not.

Thanks nekulturny for all the suggestions :) !
July 29, 2012 9:00:24 PM

Hey guys. So I was wondering will the AMD processor I originally had in mind (Phenom II) still be available late August?

It's looking like I will be able to purchase some time shortly after the 18th....and I'm considering switching back to AMD to save a hundred or so bucks, especially if I'll be getting the more expensive 7850 GPU.

EDIT:
If it's not available, would this CPU be a good alternative?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 29, 2012 9:36:25 PM

I can't guarantee the availability of any part. Especially one that was discontinued in Spring. Its possible, but don't bet the farm on it. Worst case scenario, you can look at the i3.

No the 640 Propus is not a good alternative in my opinion. Basically Athlon IIs are the same as Phenom IIs in terms of how they're designed, but the Athlon IIs do not have an L3 cache, this can affect performance anywhere from 5-20 percent. It also has a lower clock speed, which also hits the performance.
July 29, 2012 9:43:48 PM

Okay thanks for the info on the Prophus. I don't really want to go for the i3 though since it's only a dual-core.

Are there any other quad-core AMD processors you'd recommend?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 29, 2012 9:46:00 PM

Sadly there isn't. The FX CPUs just plain aren't any good. AMD Fusion aka Llano are basically Athlon IIs with a video chip onboard.
July 29, 2012 10:00:11 PM

Oh well that sucks. I may be able to buy the Phenom II right now before it goes out of stock, and buy everything else later. But that's highly unlikely. I guess I'll just have to wait and hope that it's still available.

Thanks again for the help though.
July 30, 2012 12:43:08 AM

What's wrong with the FX 4xxx and 6xxx series'? I would like to know for myself too :p . From what i've understood, people were pissed because they didn't offer any more performance over the Phenom II's and everyone was expecting Bulldozer to finally be the Intel killer. I think you would be okay going with bulldozer if the Phenom's II's aren't available.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 30, 2012 12:46:33 AM

The problem with the FX CPUs is, in many cases they actually perform worse than Phenom IIs. The result is a very Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde mishmash of results. Some things the FX does very well at, like heavily multithreaded applications, the FX-8150 for example in some cases can perform pretty impressively in things like media encoding, video editing, etc. But when you start talking about your every day things like gaming, they can fall flat on their face. Obviously from anyone who has spent time reading my posts, I like AMD, but I'll give it to your as straight as I know how, FX just really aren't very impressive.
July 30, 2012 12:52:53 AM

nekulturny said:
The problem with the FX CPUs is, in many cases they actually perform worse than Phenom IIs. The result is a very Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde mishmash of results. Some things the FX does very well at, like heavily multithreaded applications, the FX-8150 for example in some cases can perform pretty impressively in things like media encoding, video editing, etc. But when you start talking about your every day things like gaming, they can fall flat on their face. Obviously from anyone who has spent time reading my posts, I like AMD, but I'll give it to your as straight as I know how, FX just really aren't very impressive.


Oh okay thanks! :) 
July 30, 2012 1:03:22 AM

So if by chance the Phenom II isn't available when I'm ready to buy, would a core i3 be all that bad?

I mean, if I go for the 7850 GPU with it. Will gaming performance really be affected if I have a dual-core CPU instead of a quad-core?

My main reason for wanting a quad-core is a dual-core will become outdated very quickly, I don't want to have to buy a new CPU in a year or two.

Sorry for asking so many questions lol, I don't have much experience with choosing hardware :D .
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 30, 2012 1:27:28 AM

Quote:
So if by chance the Phenom II isn't available when I'm ready to buy, would a core i3 be all that bad?


No it wouldn't.

Quote:
I mean, if I go for the 7850 GPU with it. Will gaming performance really be affected if I have a dual-core CPU instead of a quad-core?


In certain games yes. There are a handful of games that can and do utilize more than 2 cores. The i3 is often capable enough to keep up even in these games with their quad core counterparts, but the difference will become more prominent the higher you crank up the graphics. Skyrim for example is a console port, and as such some of the things that in games that would normally be handled by the graphics card is put on the burden of the CPU. Skyrim is also one of the kinds of games where performance can vary quite drastically depending on where you are and what you're doing in the game. (Caves for example are where dual cores really start to struggle)

Even so, for most games, I wouldn't worry too terribly about having to replace the i3 in a year or two, games don't change that much, you only have a handful of exceptions to the rule regarding being "CPU intensive", I wouldn't hold my breath on that changing any time soon. Consoles still overwhelmingly dictate the gaming market, even though PCs can potentially (and often do) provide quality a console can only dream about.

If you're really concerned though, perhaps the best option would be to wait until you have enough for an i5-3450 or i5-2400? You're already waiting a month before you buy the parts, is there a harm in waiting another couple weeks or two?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 30, 2012 4:28:49 AM

You might consider some video cards almost as good as the 7850, to allow you get get an i5 in there. I found a couple little gems last night while looking around for another person.

With Nvidia bringing their 6xx series online some of the 5xx series are getting pretty cheap..

Particularly this one:
560 TI Zotac AMP! Edition- $170 with mail in rebate. Yes the 7850 is better, but honestly, if I were buying today, I'd be giving this a hard look at that price. Its factory overclocked so its a little better than a standard 560 TI, and from what I've found Zotac seems to be willing to push their factory overclocked models higher than some other companies:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 6950 $180 with rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 30, 2012 3:22:53 PM

With the Sapphire 6950, I would be able to afford an Intel i5-2400. Or the Zotac card as well.

But I just wanted to confirm about the PCI types. A PCIe 2.1 or 3.0 card will work with a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, right?
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 30, 2012 10:26:16 PM

Yes, and with zero practical difference in terms of performance (PCI 3.0 has no measurable advantage over PCI 2.0)
August 19, 2012 3:24:18 PM

Okay guys, I'm ready to order today :) .

I have decided on the Zotac GPU.

I have also decided to spend a little more money on my mobo, do you have any suggestions for a good ASUS mobo?

There is one problem though. I've noticed that the price for the modular PSU you suggested has been raised to $79. I can afford it, but I'd really prefer to keep the price under $800.

And another thing, I'd prefer no rebates, since I have never built a computer before.

Thanks again for the help :) !
August 19, 2012 3:45:44 PM

Actually, it appears that the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is still available for $109.99.

Would it be a better choice to switch to this CPU so I can get a better graphics card? Would there really be any performance difference when comparing the AMD Phenom and the Intel i5 in gameplay?

lol I never thought it would be this hard to choose a CPU :D !
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2012 3:56:53 PM

pcnerd123 said:
Actually, it appears that the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is still available for $109.99.

Would it be a better choice to switch to this CPU so I can get a better graphics card? Would there really be any performance difference when comparing the AMD Phenom and the Intel i5 in gameplay?

lol I never thought it would be this hard to choose a CPU :D !


If your game is multi core enabled(most don't use more than 2-3 cores) then perhaps.
Otherwise at the same price point, a i3-2100 with hyperthreading, or even the less expensive G860 would serve a bit better.
Here is one comparison:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2012 4:41:38 PM

pcnerd123 said:
Actually, it appears that the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is still available for $109.99.

Would it be a better choice to switch to this CPU so I can get a better graphics card? Would there really be any performance difference when comparing the AMD Phenom and the Intel i5 in gameplay?

lol I never thought it would be this hard to choose a CPU :D !

Up to you. I'll always pick a Phenom II over an i3 or Pentium.

Phenom IIs overclock enough to match/exceed i3s in single thread performance, and even at stock speeds they own i3s in 4 thread performance.

August 19, 2012 4:58:58 PM

I'm thinking about going for this i3. It's got great reviews. Also, is this a good motherboard?

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2012 5:02:37 PM

pcnerd123 said:
I'm thinking about going for this i3. It's got great reviews. Also, is this a good motherboard?


Both are very good.
Take the time now to download and read, cover to cover the case and motherboard manuals.
Many questions will be answered.
!