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First Gaming/Workstation Build. Need CPU/GPU ($300-350 together)

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June 24, 2012 3:39:16 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This Week
Budget Range:$300-$350 on CPU/GPU
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Using the web (for my job)
Parts Not Required: All except CPU/GPU. Motherboard is not purchased but debatable. Detailed below.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, NCIX
Country: USA
Parts Preferences:Value for the money
Overclocking:In the future, but first I need to create my first build
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1366x768 - Currently a 32" 720p LCD tv. Looks great for now, but will probably upgrade in the future to 1080p LED.
Additional Comments: I would like to know whether I should invest more in the CPU or GPU for my needs. I figure the GPU since I will be gaming, however I do not know how much I should cut back on the CPU. Ex. Should I get a i3-2100 and spend $200-$250 on a GPU or an i5-2500k and spend $100-150 on a GPU. Also my motherboard (described below) is currently not purchased yet and can be changed.

Pieces I have yet to buy:
Motherboard:GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
RAM: Least worried about this, will pick up on sale.

Pieces I will be using:
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G
HDD:Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB
Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w
Case: Antec Gaming Series one illusion

The other parts (keyboard, disk drive, etc) I will be using from my old setup and should not be relavant to my question.

So in summary, I would just like some suggestions for how I should balance my processor/GPU purchases based on my current budget ($300-350). Also some reasoning behind those decisions would be great so I can learn. Thanks!

More about : gaming workstation build cpu gpu 300 350

June 24, 2012 3:50:44 AM

Well, your motherboard is an Intel only one and since your budget you wont be able to afford an i5. So I guess you'll have to get an i3.

Since you are only playing at 720p you don't need much but you said you will be upgrading to 1080p.

I would get an i5 so you don't have to upgrade later and then get, in fact you could just about squeeze an amd hd 6850 ?

If you could get an i5 and 6850 you will be doing pretty well.
If not then you could get get a lower model gpu and crossfire/sli later on maybe...
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June 24, 2012 3:51:44 AM

For gaming get an i3-2120 and a Radeon HD 7850.
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June 24, 2012 3:54:25 AM

You mentioned using this for work. Could you elaborate?
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June 24, 2012 3:56:08 AM

i agree with ironslice i3 + hd 7850
i dont recomend an i5 for your needs since well even now games barley use the 2 extra cores i mean the i5 would be more futureproof if you wanted to upgrade your graphics card later tho.
i dont recomend you crossfire or sli those things have very diminishing returns games arent optimised to use it that way very well.

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June 24, 2012 4:07:03 AM

lycros said:
You mentioned using this for work. Could you elaborate?


I run an ebay/amazon online storefront. I spend most of the day interacting with those interfaces and purchasing inventory online. Thus, in addition to gaming, I use the computer a lot and wanted it to be snappy. I think the most intensive thing will still be gaming, since it is not like I use any graphics programs. My current computer has an i3-550 and a gts 450, so this computer would be my next upgrade.
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June 24, 2012 4:09:44 AM

Then the i3-2120 and the HD7850 would be a great pair.
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June 24, 2012 4:14:20 AM

deathrune said:
Well, your motherboard is an Intel only one and since your budget you wont be able to afford an i5. So I guess you'll have to get an i3.

Since you are only playing at 720p you don't need much but you said you will be upgrading to 1080p.

I would get an i5 so you don't have to upgrade later and then get, in fact you could just about squeeze an amd hd 6850 ?

If you could get an i5 and 6850 you will be doing pretty well.
If not then you could get get a lower model gpu and crossfire/sli later on maybe...


The monitor upgrade would be in the future when I feel like I need a quality boost, however at the moment it is fine. Thus I would like a card that can run 1080p and high settings in games, which I assume the 6850 would.

So what if I got these two:

$199.99 Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked
$119.99AR Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB PCI-E Video Card

Bringing me to 319.98AR, nicely within my budget.
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Best solution

Anonymous
a b à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 4:16:45 AM

HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 $249.99
$239.99 after mail-in rebate card
Intel Core i3 Processor i3-2120 $116.99
356.98 after $10 mail in rebate

if money is THAT tight get a biostar board, they get ragged on but are decent quality for the price:
BIOSTAR TZ68K+ $79.99
$64.99 after mail-in rebate
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June 24, 2012 4:20:54 AM

fraza said:
i agree with ironslice i3 + hd 7850
i dont recomend an i5 for your needs since well even now games barley use the 2 extra cores i mean the i5 would be more futureproof if you wanted to upgrade your graphics card later tho.
i dont recomend you crossfire or sli those things have very diminishing returns games arent optimised to use it that way very well.


This makes sense. I do not want to buy extra speed that my programs will not be able to even use. I am not against upgrading in the future, I just wanted this build to be decent for my first build. I have no intention to use dual cards and will only use one card considering the extra cost for marginal benefit.
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June 24, 2012 4:24:30 AM

lycros said:
Then the i3-2120 and the HD7850 would be a great pair.


So one thing I noticed about video cards is that there are many manufacturers per model number. For example, I see Asus, Diamond, Visiontek and other manufacturers when I search the hd7850.

Are their major differences in the quality of the card based on manufacturer? Would you recommend a particular manufacturer?
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June 24, 2012 4:27:21 AM

Anonymous said:
HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 $249.99
$239.99 after mail-in rebate card
Intel Core i3 Processor i3-2120 $116.99
356.98 after $10 mail in rebate

if money is THAT tight get a biostar board, they get ragged on but are decent quality for the price:
BIOSTAR TZ68K+ $79.99
$64.99 after mail-in rebate


Money is not that tight, I just wanted to throw a range out there so I would not get suggestions for way over the top stuff for my first build.

Is there any reason you suggest HIS as for the video card over other manufacturers? Or is it because of a lower price?
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June 24, 2012 4:29:51 AM

TotalPower said:
So one thing I noticed about video cards is that there are many manufacturers per model number. For example, I see Asus, Diamond, Visiontek and other manufacturers when I search the hd7850.

Are their major differences in the quality of the card based on manufacturer? Would you recommend a particular manufacturer?


Usually when people buy cards they stick to brand loyalty/warranty.

But in my opinion don't get the crappiest one cause it's a few dollars cheaper, get the one that has a nice cooler on it and you won't regret it.
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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 4:33:01 AM

TotalPower said:
Money is not that tight, I just wanted to throw a range out there so I would not get suggestions for way over the top stuff for my first build.

Is there any reason you suggest HIS as for the video card over other manufacturers? Or is it because of a lower price?

it was that or a power color in that price range. granted the cheapos of the bunch.
it really would be a better balance to spend close to twice as much of a GPU than what you spend on a CPU unless you are prioritizing more for a workstation. better to have a good load on your cpu from your gpu than having it sitting there taking a coffee break.
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June 24, 2012 4:40:42 AM

lycros said:
I'd be leaning towards these two http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|14-150-608^14-150-608-TS%2C14-161-405^14-161-405-TS


So I noticed that these were PCI Express 3.0, yet the motherboard I currently have picked out only has 2.0 ports. Are 3.0 cards compatible with 2.0 slots?
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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
June 24, 2012 4:43:20 AM

yes PCI 3.0 is backwards compatible and will make no performance difference . .well 1-3% not measurable in frame rates while gaming.
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June 24, 2012 4:45:55 AM

Yes they are compatible, but on that note why not get a Z77 board? There are some good ones that are cheaper than the Gigabyte you selected. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-138-352^13-138-352-TS%2C13-157-297^13-157-297-TS%2C13-130-646^13-130-646-TS%2C13-128-547^13-128-547-TS%2C13-135-308^13-135-308-TS
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June 24, 2012 4:47:43 AM

Anonymous said:
yes PCI 3.0 is backwards compatible and will make no performance difference . .well 1-3% not measurable in frame rates while gaming.


Thank you! I am not sure why I was lazy and did not google this in the first place, but it is good to find out there will not be a performance difference.
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June 24, 2012 5:05:37 AM

lycros said:
Yes they are compatible, but on that note why not get a Z77 board? There are some good ones that are cheaper than the Gigabyte you selected. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-138-352^13-138-352-TS%2C13-157-297^13-157-297-TS%2C13-130-646^13-130-646-TS%2C13-128-547^13-128-547-TS%2C13-135-308^13-135-308-TS


The decision on the board was very quick. On a different forum someone recommended it to me and it met my few requirements:

USB 3.0
2 PCI Express x16
Sata 6GB/s

I really did not do much research aside from that.

However you have shown me some other quality boards. I am thinking about the Biostar one in the comparison link. It seems to have the features I was looking for, except 2 PCI Express x16. When I created this request I had no idea if I would actually ever use that port for anything other than a 2nd video card which I do not want. Is there anything else that would use it? Also, it seems to have a PCI Express 2.0 port, which should cover me in case.

Also, I was unaware that a board could work both on Sandy and Ivy bridge, but this seems to be the case according to the reviews (not that I really knew that much anyway). So just in this respect it is a better choice.
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June 24, 2012 5:57:31 AM

TotalPower said:
The decision on the board was very quick. On a different forum someone recommended it to me and it met my few requirements:

USB 3.0
2 PCI Express x16
Sata 6GB/s

I really did not do much research aside from that.

However you have shown me some other quality boards. I am thinking about the Biostar one in the comparison link. It seems to have the features I was looking for, except 2 PCI Express x16. When I created this request I had no idea if I would actually ever use that port for anything other than a 2nd video card which I do not want. Is there anything else that would use it? Also, it seems to have a PCI Express 2.0 port, which should cover me in case.

Also, I was unaware that a board could work both on Sandy and Ivy bridge, but this seems to be the case according to the reviews (not that I really knew that much anyway). So just in this respect it is a better choice.

Yup that board has you covered and the USb3 and SATA 6gb/s are native, 1 pci-e 3 and 1 pci-e 2.

I just put together a friends' build with that motherboard and it's working well for him.
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June 24, 2012 6:01:05 AM

lycros said:
Yup that board has you covered and the USb3 and SATA 6gb/s is native, 1 pci-e 3 and 1 pci-e 2.

I just put together a friends' build with that motherboard and it's working well for him.


Good to hear. Thank you for all of your insight tonight. It has really helped me in my computer purchasing decisions!
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July 5, 2012 12:58:46 PM

Best answer selected by TotalPower.
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July 5, 2012 1:21:21 PM

Anonymous said:
HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 $249.99
$239.99 after mail-in rebate card
Intel Core i3 Processor i3-2120 $116.99
356.98 after $10 mail in rebate

if money is THAT tight get a biostar board, they get ragged on but are decent quality for the price:
BIOSTAR TZ68K+ $79.99
$64.99 after mail-in rebate


I agree with you on Biostar. People do bash them often, but I can't really say anything negative about them.
H61 Biostar motherboard has been fine for the 6 months or so I have been using it.
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