Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Budget Gaming/Entertainment PC

Last response: in Systems
June 23, 2012 11:48:55 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: beginning of next month

Budget Range: 400 - 800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, movies (both blu-ray and dvd), music production, internet

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country: US

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: no

SLI or Crossfire: not sure what these are exactly but I don't think so

Monitor Resolution: as high as possible

Additional Comments: planning to use this computer for pretty much all entertainment purposes, so I want to hook it up to an HDTV via HDMI, as well as to some 5.1 speakers (still need to buy both a tv and speakers, but I'm not worried about these for the purposes of this thread). I'd like to be able to run modern games on as high settings as possible given the budget range.
June 24, 2012 12:26:41 AM

Name some games you want to play on high settings, cus you can save a lot if its an entertainment rig
Related resources
June 24, 2012 1:12:19 AM

Not exactly sure, but here's a sampling of some that I might want to play:

Arma 2 (3 when it comes out), BF3, CodMw3, Far Cry 2 (3 when it comes out), The Witcher 2, Dark Souls, Stalker series

Gaming is key for this build since if I just wanted entertainment I would just buy a blu ray player and call it a day, since I already have a laptop (the one I'm using now) that's acceptable for general usage.
June 24, 2012 1:17:42 AM

Get a ati 7850 gpu and your all good
June 24, 2012 1:27:21 AM

Does it even make sense for me to try to build one myself, or should I just buy the pre-built one I linked above?

The card you suggested is around 250 on its own, I'd have to spend another 180 just to get windows, probably around 200-250 on a cpu - already at 650 or 700-ish and still missing a ton of parts. Whereas with the prebuild one for 920 + 25 shipping I'd be all set other than TV and speakers.
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 1:30:58 AM

Windows is $100; you can get an i3-2120, which is around $125. It is certainly do-able at $800
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 2:51:46 AM

consider the silverstone GD 05 case .

Its an HTPC case that takes a standard m-ATX motherboard and has good enough cooling to run a radeon 7850

Combine the i3 2120 with an H77 m-ATX motherboard and a 500 watt 80+ bronze or better rated psu
June 24, 2012 2:57:06 AM

I really don't see how this is going to come out better than just buying prebuilt. Adding in the mobo I just posted, and the case you suggested, I'm at $760, still without a psu, RAM, or HD.
June 24, 2012 4:07:31 AM

alright found this motherboard instead, shaves off about $50 bucks from the cost:

So new summary (also decided I would want an i5 rather than i3 processor):

$220 CPU:
$250 Graphics:
$53 Blu-Ray:
$90 Mobo:
$90 Case:
$50 PSU:

So up to $750, just need RAM and HD now. Plus Windows. so really $850. So this will add up to at least $1000, which is somewhat out of my budget range. Dropping back to an i3 cuts $75, but I'm realizing that I can really only swing closer to 800, maybe 850 max, so it doesn't really make it affordable yet.
June 24, 2012 4:20:56 AM

Maybe I misunderstand, but I think that in addition to the Blu-Ray drive you also need to purchase separate software to make it work... another $100. Please tell me I'm wrong.
June 24, 2012 4:30:51 AM

That is indeed true, but ... well, let's just say I'm gonna ignore that issue.

Here is my current list (slightly different than the one just posted) on partpicker:

Comes out to $916. Anything I can do to bring that down?
June 24, 2012 4:31:17 AM

TheRaptMuse said:
alright found this motherboard instead, shaves off about $50 bucks from the cost:

So new summary (also decided I would want an i5 rather than i3 processor):

$220 CPU:
$250 Graphics:
$53 Blu-Ray:
$90 Mobo:
$90 Case:
$50 PSU:

So up to $750, just need RAM and HD now. Plus Windows. so really $850. So this will add up to at least $1000, which is somewhat out of my budget range. Dropping back to an i3 cuts $75, but I'm realizing that I can really only swing closer to 800, maybe 850 max, so it doesn't really make it affordable yet.

That's a pretty good system. Unless you are looking to play games like BF3 in 1080p, you can cut back on the GPU and maybe purchase a GTX 560ti for around 190-200$. I actually just got a 7850 myself and I love it but if you aren't playing top of the line games then you can cut back around 50$.

AND - you can opt for a cheaper AMD processor like the cheaper FX 8 core processor -

They may not be as good as the 2500k in pure performance but for gaming - neither processor will outshine the other by a sizeable amount -- but then you should also find a MOBO compatable with the AM3+ socket. But on non-gaming CPU intensive tasks, you will see a speed boost with the 2500k.
June 24, 2012 4:38:03 AM

Ok, I think I will go with your suggestion and use the FX 8. So here is the revised version:

Down to $874 now. Cheaper would still be better but it's getting there.

I am indeed looking to play games like BF3 in 1080p.
June 24, 2012 4:46:05 AM

What you can do is switch from Micro ATX to ATX and get a cheaper case - You have more expandability options for your computer with a bigger ATX setup and you can get a 40$ or so cheaper case and retain the same price point.
June 24, 2012 4:57:46 AM

If you go to the partpicker link in my last post (the one that ends up costing 874), I have switched to an ATX mobo and case, and I chose a case that includes a power supply.
June 24, 2012 5:07:53 AM

Yeah, looks like that other CASE you actually mis-listed the price, no problems.

But to be honest man, that setup is definitely worth the money. With that GPU/CPU combo you won't need to upgrade for the next few years, and trust me, you don't want to buy low-grade supplies.
June 24, 2012 5:29:05 AM

I may just save up and get something in that range then, if it's worth it. I don't really see anywhere in that build that I can cut the cost further without greatly sacrificing performance.

It's damn annoying that I have to spend money on Windows, when I already have it though (came pre-installed on my laptop). I would just run Linux and Wine, but a few of the apps I use regularly aren't compatible.
June 24, 2012 5:33:38 AM

You're right. The only real way you could cut costs is to somehow find a X4 965 Black Edition AMD processor (like 90$) -- they're is still no big changes in Game performance but actual speed of the computer will be sacrficed.

But yeah, I didn't want to say this before but if you are that desperate then opt for pirating windows but I, as a PC advisor cannot say that without bypassing my principles to give my best, most honest advice. But I see your predicament, and the option is always available if you willing.
June 24, 2012 5:38:51 AM

You might use the Windows 8 preview for a while. It will be good for a few more months. By then you'll have your dream PC plus a fat wallet, and could afford a Windows disk plus more goodies for the computer.... or a new tattoo for your girlfriend.

EDIT: ooops, I forgot that Windows 8 doesn't support dvd playback. Please disregard this post.
June 24, 2012 5:48:11 AM

wait, really? no dvd playback in windows 8? that's crazy.

edit: after looking into it, it just isn't included in wmp anymore (which is still ridiculous). but you can still just use VLC to do it. so the win 8 prerelease is looking like a nice option, since it would bring my cost down to 774, at least for now.

also, i need to look into what ram i have in my laptop, and see if i could just move it over to the new computer rather than buying new ram.
June 24, 2012 6:47:04 PM

After playing around on pcpartpicker a bit more, I think this is my final version:

Anything I should change on that, or does that look good? Planning to go with Windows 8 preview for OS temporarily.
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 7:06:02 PM

Outlander_04 said:
consider the silverstone GD 05 case .

Its an HTPC case that takes a standard m-ATX motherboard and has good enough cooling to run a radeon 7850

Combine the i3 2120 with an H77 m-ATX motherboard and a 500 watt 80+ bronze or better rated psu

And from a reputable brand, like Seasonic or XFX.
June 24, 2012 8:33:54 PM

Did you get a chance to look at my finalized build ( It looks good to me but I am not as knowledgeable about PC parts as I used to be.
June 25, 2012 1:52:35 AM

Anyone? I want to have at least someone double check the final specs I posted.

For example, is 500 watts definitely enough to run everything? Is that motherboard OK, or will it be crappy?
June 25, 2012 4:58:16 AM

Looks pretty good, good quality PSU, I'd say you could pull the trigger on this one
June 26, 2012 2:43:49 AM

1. Cut down some more by taking out Hyper 212 - That CPU won't run hot enough to need up unless you OC MAJORLY.

2. Take a GOOD QUALITY 550W power supply. 620 is too much for your specs, a good 550w will run most setups.

3. Take out 4GBS of Ram, No game really uses more than 4GB even when on full load.


I cut down costs and added a sweet HD 6950
June 26, 2012 2:48:00 AM

How does that compare to the original build I had going with the FX 8-core CPU and Radeon 7850?
June 26, 2012 2:48:52 AM

You know what - Here

I actually replaced the 6950 as it wasn't to big of an improvement over the 6870

so here

Final price of 662.42 ! Cut about 90$ And you are sacrificing no performance.
June 26, 2012 2:52:10 AM

so with that will I be able to run most/all games in 1920x1080 at max or near max settings?

especially skyrim, I forgot how much I want to play that with mods, I got really bored with it on xbox 360 after 100+ hours.
June 26, 2012 2:54:04 AM

The 8-core and Phenom are the same when it comes to gaming- unless your playing a Very CPU intensive game like Skyrim - but there are few CPU intensive games out there.

Don't worry, 8-core Bulldozer, performance wise, is not a good processor at all.

However, you will be seeing a performance reduction from the 7850 to the 6870

Here are some benchmarks -

Nothing staggering - but there is a decrease in performance.

Where I took money out the most was RAM - Cooler and PSU. But those rarely directly effect FPS, and what I set you up with now is a very respectable build for the cost.

June 26, 2012 2:59:19 AM

Just saw your Skyrim Post - Here are becnhmarks for Skyrim on 8 core vs Phenom --

Heres some advice' - I, myself have an x4 955 Black edition with a 7850.

In towns - I get about 40fps - BUT that has been a major complaint in the gaming community. Towns are where many CPU intensive calcuations are ran so you will see an FPS drop there, Bulldozer wont increase it by much.

But - outside of towns , which there are few reasons to stay in towns[b/], I get a stable - non moving - 60FPS because of Vsync(locked at 60 to prevent screen tearing). The 6870 with 965 will perform nearly identical to mine and I play Skyrim for hours on end with complete satisfaction.

When you star the game , it will lag a bit visually but that is also a widely-known problem.

Skyrim is a tricky one, because from AMD to AMD processor, there is really no difference. Only when you step into intel territory do you see the true increases in performance
June 26, 2012 3:01:13 AM

when you START** the game - But soon about 20 minutes in, you'll get smooth 60FPS, guaranteed.
June 26, 2012 3:22:30 AM

does that apply to some of the graphics mods too? specifically HD textures, but also whatever other graphical enhancements are available.

and isn't 40 fps fully acceptable?
June 26, 2012 3:30:10 AM

Yeah, that's what I was saying. There is like this 16 item texture pack that includes all these mods and it decreased my FPS with my 6850**** not my 7850. But I'd say download the HD texture pack only, the rest really don't make that big of a difference, and the HD TEXture back doesn't decrease fps a bit.
June 26, 2012 3:35:42 AM

also, will i be able to run gta iv with some of the crazy realistic looking mods that are out there?
June 26, 2012 3:48:44 AM

Unfortunately, no. Skyrim, gta, fallout, crysis 1, Starcraft are some of the most CPU intensive games out there. These games require a lot of CPU horse power to do well. They are "unoptimized by today's standards and most gaming computers cannot run them well. If you want, I can give you a run down on GPU and CPU intensive games.
June 26, 2012 3:53:21 AM

well ***. would i be better off with an i3 or i5 build?

and yeah, a run down would be awesome.
June 26, 2012 4:04:09 AM

I'd say, if your willing to go 100$ up, go for an i5 2500k and your set. 2500k has tons of CPU power both for games and just increasing actual CPU speed. It may be a bit costly but you won't need to upgrade for a few years. Right now, 2500k is the standard for gaming
June 26, 2012 4:11:16 AM

if i had the extra 100 to spend, would it be more worthwhile to sink it into a better cpu, or a better vid card (i.e. a 7850)?
June 26, 2012 4:26:46 AM

If I were you I'd get the 2500k with a 6870.

2500k would increase performance in Games like GTA and Skyrim, games that are more CPU depenedant, as well as just increase general computer performance.

a New GPU wouldnt affect skyrim or Gta at all ready, but would affect more gpu intensive games like BF3, batman, Dirt 3 and a majority of PC games out there.

If I were you I'd go 2500k right now for a few reasons
1. If you start off with AMD CPU's, you would have an AMD MOBO. And though they are Ok for gaming, they are inferior to INtel CPU's in raw speed by quite a margin. So if you started off with a x4 965, and wanted to upgrade your CPU to Intel like a few months from now, you'd have to buy an all new INtel MOBO and CPU. Whearas if you started with 2500k, it may cost more but you wouldn't have to buy a new MOBO to upgrade your CPU because Intel will be better than AMD, presumably, for a while. And so with an Intel CPu all you would have to worry about is upgrading your GPU.

It's all about spending money now so you don't have to ever worry about CPU speed a few years down.

Trust me man I started with 955 Black Edition and I regret it, I wish I had gone 2500k. Don't make the mistake I did haha I was impatient, you don't have to be.

2500k + 6870 = more expensive, but your set for a while and all you have to worry about will be upgrading your GPU a few years down

965 BE + 6870 = cheaper but you won't be getting nearly as much perofmrance in games like GTA and Skyrim and if you ever wanted to upgrade to a faster CPU , you'd have to buy an INTEL MOBO and INTEL CPU.>

It's all up to you.
June 26, 2012 4:29:29 AM

how does an amd fx 4170 stack up to a 2500k?
June 26, 2012 4:30:21 AM

Get this straight haha, 2500k crushes every AMD CPU
June 26, 2012 5:02:58 AM

This is the build I am going with. Add in Win 7 and upgrade the CPU to a 2500k and you'll be around your budget.


Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

GPU: XFX Double D HD-687A-ZDFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Combo

CPU: Intel Core i5-2310 Sandy Bridge 2.9GHz (3.2GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor

MB: ASUS P8Z68-M Pro LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS Combo