$600 gaming computer

Hello everyone, I am looking to build a gaming computer for around $600, not including operating system. I should be able to put it all together but I don't know a lot about the parts that are out there.

I've done some research and it looks like the cpu I want would be either AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz or Intel Core i3-2120. I understand the AMD one is a quad core, but that doesn't necessarily make it faster than the Intel one. I won't be overclocking anything. I also read a bit ago that Intel is releasing some new CPUs soon that will use a new socket. I would like to be able to upgrade to these later if it would be worth it and will extend the life of my PC. What motherboard should I go with?

The video card I've had my eye on is the Radeon 6870. I won't do crossFire initially but again, might later on if it will extend the life of my PC and it will be worth it.

I already have a 500GB hard drive and I will go with 4 GB of RAM maybe add more later. Is there a certain brand or speed I should look for when buying RAM?

I should also mention that I live in west Michigan, where it isn't usually overly hot but can reach the mid 90's F. I will be using the computer in a sort of attic room with no windows that can be opened except for a smallish skylight type thing that will open and no air conditioning. How concerned should I be about heat?

I have a monitor with speakers. As for the rest of the parts, what do you suggest? Anything I should spend more or less on? I know I am looking for the ability to upgrade in the future, is this feasible on my budget?

Any other comments appreciated, thanks in advance.
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  1. cpu- go waith the i3
    gpu-the 6870 is good but the gtx 480 is only 30 dollars more
    mobo-get a GA-Z77-UD5H so you can later get a ivy bridge cpu
    ram-get 8 gb of either kingston,corsair, or g.skill
    case-because of cooling purposes splurge and get a cooler master cosmos ii you wont have any cooling issues with that case and get as many case fans as it can fit if it will be that hot.
  2. Quote:
    I understand the AMD one is a quad core, but that doesn't necessarily make it faster than the Intel one.


    Actually it does depending on what you want to do with the computer. MOST games only can use 2 cores. The current exception to this is BF3 multiplayer. If that is one game you're looking to get, go with the Phenom II. If not, go with god and get an i3-2120. For things other than games (again you said you're looking for a gaming computer here), again, more cores will= better performance.

    Software has to be written to recognize and utilize more cores. Also, most games are entirely dependent on the video card, not the processor. Benchmarking websites use games known to be more CPU intensive than others, the simple fact is most games are not this way.


    Intel will be releasing new CPU's next year on a new socket. Replacing the current LGA1155. Which for that reason I would suggest trying to find a way to get an i5 for your build, yes it will cost a little more, but this is 2012. I would advise avoiding dual cores if you can help it. MicroCenter has very decent deals on i5 CPUs but the "catch" is they are in store only, which means you have to have one in driving distance.

    Beyond that I'd ask you to fill out the form here. Yes I know you already gave a lot of information, the form is more useful, specifically what parts you don't need to be covered by that $600 budget.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advice
  3. Thank you for the replys.

    Approximate Purchase Date: within a week or two

    Budget Range: $600 to oh I guess $700 not including OS or keyboard or mouse

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (right now diablo 3, the witcher 2 and skyrim) and surfing the internet, ipod synching

    Parts Not Required: monitor, hard drive, speakers. I have a master power 350W power supply, but I bought it a while ago (it has 2 floppy disk power connecters) so I'm assuming I will need a new one.

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: don't really care as long as it has a good track record. I figure new egg or amazon would be good, I don't live near a microcenter

    Country: USA

    Parts Preferences: don't really care, just looking for good quality and bang for my buck

    Overclocking: no

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe later

    Monitor Resolution: 1280X1024 i guess

    Additional Comments: I should also mention that I live in west Michigan, where it isn't usually overly hot but can reach the low to mid 90's F. I will be using the computer in a sort of attic room with no windows that can be opened except for a smallish skylight type thing that will open and no air conditioning. Also looking for something that can be upgraded, but I don't know if that will work with my budget. I don't need windows or LEDs on the case. If I should get a bigger heatsink and fan for the CPU I can.
  4. Yea, definitely forget that power supply. It would make a really cool anchor for a canoe though.

    CPU- i5-2400 $190
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115074

    Mobo- Asrock Z68 $120
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271

    Power- Seasonic M12II 520 -$60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151093

    Video Card- Radeon 6870 $155 with Mail in Rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150561

    RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB- $50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231402

    Case- CoolerMaster Elite 430- $50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119227&Tpk=elite%20430

    Optical Drive- $19
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

    Total: $644 (without OS or hard drive)

    Sure you don't want a more powerful video card? I could probably squeeze a 7850 in there. Or you could go with a GTX 480 like 2fast suggested, although they are power hogs and get hot.

    As far as the temperature in your room, I'd be more concerned about you than the computer lol. 90 degrees in a room is awful hot, be sure and stay hydrated.
  5. lol, thank you for the concern, I'll be sure to drink a lot of water.

    As for the video card is it worth the extra $100, will I notice a difference? will it stay relevant longer? I wouldn't be opposed to doing that one if it's worth it. I just need to be careful with the price, I'm sure its easy to go up a tier here and there until you're way over budget.

    Also I didn't realize I could get 8GB of Ram for $50, I know RAM drops in price quick but damn.

    Will the stock heat sink and fan be good enough?
  6. Is it worth the extra 100? Eh. I dunno. If you're still using a VGA monitor, then prolly not. The 6870 has plenty of power to play the games you mentioned.

    This one is 230 after mail in rebate:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161405

    Heres a comparison of them:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/540?vs=549

    As you can see its not til you start playing the super high resolutions where the difference is really going to be apparent.

    DDR3 isn't too bad in price, DDR2 is stupid expensive but thats only because its an End of Life product.

    The stock fan should be fine, even in a hot ass room. If its a major concern, I would cut a hole in the wall and shove an AC unit in up there, cus a better fan blowing hot air from the room onto the CPU has its limits of usefulness.
  7. It looks like the 7850 runs a little cooler than the 6870 anyway, at least according to those tests. I may go with the 7850. It doesn't look like there's a big difference but I really don't want to cook anything.

    That is a good looking case too. It only comes with one fan though so maybe I will buy another one.

    Thanks a lot for your help I really appreciate it.
  8. I would like to sneak one more question in if I could. Should I use the thermal paste/pad that comes with the CPU or should I buy something else and use that?
  9. You're welcome.

    Well about temperature, something else you should keep in mind. The computer itself will make the room warmer, I don't know how tolerant you are to heat, but I thought I'd mention it. The rooms we have our computers in at our home, are noticeably hotter than others at least to me.

    As far as the thermal paste, it should be fine. If you're really worried about it Arctic Silver 5 is the way to go.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007
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