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500-600 dollar gaming PC

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July 4, 2012 7:33:21 PM

I'm looking for a semi decent 500-600 dollar gaming computer to build. Nothing too crazy.
So far I have this. Any tweaks or suggestions? Possibly a little more bang for my buck?


CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 $125

CPU Cooler: Intel boxed heatsink/fan $0

Motherboard: ASRock H61M-VS $60

RAM: Crucial 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 CT2KIT25664BA1339 $40

Graphics: Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1 GB $170

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB, SATA 6Gb/s $40

Case: Xigmatek Asgard II B/S CPC-T45UE-U01 $30

Power: Antec EarthWatts Green EA380D 380 W $40

Optical: Asus 24X DVD Burner SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $21

Total Price
$526

More about : 500 600 dollar gaming

a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 7:36:05 PM

All i have to say is get the HIS 6850 thats awesome oh and one 6850 can run crysis on ultra 30-50 so if you like that then go for it... also AMD is a lot better for cpus if you going for a budget build I would recommend the
CPU- FX-6100
MOtherboard- GA-970a-ud3
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 7:42:45 PM

My advice would be to consider a Phenom II 965 if you're on a tight budget. My justification for this is the simple fact that while i3s are fine for most games, there is already at least one game out there that can use more than 2 cores (BF3 multiplayer), theres no guarantee that other games may not come out like this.

For the sake of system longevity a quad core is a better choice in 2012. Tom's hardware really does an injustice by making it sound like an i3 with an H61 board is actually a better investment for a modern system. Than a Phenom II quad.


As such I would make the following changes to your build:

CPU-$120- but $15 off if you buy before midnight tonite
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo- $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...\

Better video card: $160 with mail in rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Twice the RAM for $10more (also 5 dollar savings before midnight tonite)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Stronger power supply: $50 with mail in rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 7:47:53 PM

im not sure if thats enough power in the psu you should at least get 600w
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 8:09:00 PM

nekulturny said:
My advice would be to consider a Phenom II 965 if you're on a tight budget. My justification for this is the simple fact that while i3s are fine for most games, there is already at least one game out there that can use more than 2 cores (BF3 multiplayer), theres no guarantee that other games may not come out like this.

For the sake of system longevity a quad core is a better choice in 2012. Tom's hardware really does an injustice by making it sound like an i3 with an H61 board is actually a better investment for a modern system. Than a Phenom II quad.


You really think so? I can see your argument, but here's my take. I would get an i3-2120 because...

1.) it has hyper-threading and therefore should give him similar performance to a Phenom ii x4, even in games that use 4 threads.
2.) it will give him an LGA 1155 platform that he can pop an i7 into in a couple years.
3.) it uses half the power.

I suppose if he got himself an AM3+ mobo it might be ok, and maybe a Zosma or Thuban, or FX-4170 or something, but idk man, it sure is hard to say no to sandy bridge. And yeah I agree with you, that PSU is more than enough.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 8:54:56 PM

Quote:

You really think so? I can see your argument, but here's my take. I would get an i3-2120 because...


I do, but in the end its not my computer, I don't have to live with it.

Quote:

1.) it has hyper-threading and therefore should give him similar performance to a Phenom ii x4, even in games that use 4 threads.

Allow me to clarify this, games, despite the fact that the graphics continue to advance, the coding behind the game is for the most part the same coding used to design games 15 years ago. As such, no game now, nor likely any game in the future will ever be able to use HyperThreading. Game coders have to get out of the dark age and start using 4 physical cores more often before they start worrying about coding for the theoretical cores.

Quote:

2.) it will give him an LGA 1155 platform that he can pop an i7 into in a couple years.

Starting next year, Intel will be using the LGA 1150 socket. LGA 1155 will be dead. Which means in a couple years, if you wanted to upgrade the i3, you'll be buying a new motherboard to put the CPU on.

Quote:
3.) it uses half the power.

The difference in power consumption translates to about $5-15 a year on an electric bill. I had the math on this done in another thread ages ago, but I've since formatted my computer and I don't have all the links bookmarked with the various power consumptions, if you're really curious on how I came up with that figure, I'll have to get back to you.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 11:27:55 PM

@nekulturny I didn't realize games don't really utilize hyperthreading, learn something new every day. I wonder why? oh well.

AM3 is dead, LGA 1156 is dead, we go through sockets all the time, AM3+ probably won't last much longer than LGA 1155 will.

And I didn't necessarily mean that by using half the power it would be saving him gobs of money, but it's hard to deny that a CPU (the i3) that uses half the power of another CPU (the phenom ii x4) while providing the same performance (even if it's just for here and now) isn't a nice feature.

You sound like you're kinda peeved. I didn't mean to annoy, just sharing some thoughts.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2012 11:48:40 PM

No no, I'm sorry if I came across as peeved. You have my sincerest apologies if I sounded that way.

I know AM3 is dead, AM3+ boards work with both Phenom IIs, Bulldozers and future AMD CPUs (PileDriver, Steamroller, and potentially Excavator) The board I recommended is an AM3+ mobo. AMD historically does however have a better track record of backward compatibility with their sockets than Intel. Intel uses a socket for 2 generations, than switches. AMD on the other hand, Phenom IIs worked on AM2+/AM3/AM3+. AMD did however break backward compatibility with AM3 when they released Bulldozer, but they were kind enough to release AM3+ motherboards months before AM3+ CPUs (Bulldozers) came online.

As far as half the power, I'm not sure its half.

Based on this, if you scroll down you can see the power draws of the 2 systems a Phenom II 965 overclocked to 3.7GHZ (which is the stock setting of a 980 model):
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/362?vs=289

Its about a 60 watt difference. Which is the equivalence of a light bulb.

If you were to run your computer 8 hours a day (this is at full load using a synthetic program designed to deliberately max the computer out, which would not be typical use) This is what the cost difference would be like with the average electricity bill:
http://www.electricity-usage.com/Electricity-Usage-Calc...

As far as it being half the power to offer the same performance, cut it a little slack, remember architecturally speaking, the Phenom II is also twice the CPU.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 5, 2012 12:01:51 AM

Oh and as far as why no game uses HyperThreading, a friend of mine on the forums actually explained it to me as well. Rather than summarize what he said, I'll link you straight to the horse's mouth.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/350091-31-switching-i...

Raiddinn starts to get into it towards the middle of the thread.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 5, 2012 1:55:29 AM

This is $630AR and a simple stock/no OC build. Features a modular solid 80+ bronze PSU as well ^^
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 5, 2012 3:16:29 AM

nekulturny said:
No no, I'm sorry if I came across as peeved. You have my sincerest apologies if I sounded that way.

I know AM3 is dead, AM3+ boards work with both Phenom IIs, Bulldozers and future AMD CPUs (PileDriver, Steamroller, and potentially Excavator) The board I recommended is an AM3+ mobo. AMD historically does however have a better track record of backward compatibility with their sockets than Intel. Intel uses a socket for 2 generations, than switches. AMD on the other hand, Phenom IIs worked on AM2+/AM3/AM3+. AMD did however break backward compatibility with AM3 when they released Bulldozer, but they were kind enough to release AM3+ motherboards months before AM3+ CPUs (Bulldozers) came online.

As far as half the power, I'm not sure its half.

Based on this, if you scroll down you can see the power draws of the 2 systems a Phenom II 965 overclocked to 3.7GHZ (which is the stock setting of a 980 model):
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/362?vs=289

Its about a 60 watt difference. Which is the equivalence of a light bulb.

If you were to run your computer 8 hours a day (this is at full load using a synthetic program designed to deliberately max the computer out, which would not be typical use) This is what the cost difference would be like with the average electricity bill:
http://www.electricity-usage.com/Electricity-Usage-Calc...

As far as it being half the power to offer the same performance, cut it a little slack, remember architecturally speaking, the Phenom II is also twice the CPU.


Naw it's cool, it's hard to tell on forums sometimes, and since i'm still a rookie i figure it'd be easy to get annoyed by me lol.

Wow, you think AM3+ will work with steamroller and excavator? That'd be awesome.

When it comes to CPU power draw, wouldn't 60W be about half? this article seems to show that the phenom ii x4 system uses about 80W more than an i3-2100 system with the same components at load. Idk, but you don't have to prove to me the savings on the electricity bill would be minuscule, cuz i totally agree lol. My point was more in reference to the Intel CPU's efficiency and low power draw and, keeping that in mind, consequently the need for a slightly less beefy PSU. I know it's not a big difference, but I was jackin around with this low output PSU from an old build for about a year, and I needed every watt on the 12V rails I could get to run my HD 6870 as well as my Phenom, you know? idk. I guess it's kind of a dumb thought. anyway, here's the article...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/07/13/amd-ph...

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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 5, 2012 4:07:05 AM

Picture me naked if it makes you feel less intimidated :lol:  and god what a horrible sight that is. But in all seriousness, I'm a 1st year tech student (about to start my 2nd year), so its not like I'm a computer guru making big bucks who posts on a forum for kicks, I'm still learning too.

Quote:
Wow, you think AM3+ will work with steamroller and excavator? That'd be awesome.


I don't know for sure. I can say that PileDriver at least has been confirmed for AM3+, although if AMD goes full blown APU production, they'll probably need more pins, which means another socket. Right now AMD has APUs Llano on FM1 socket and upcoming Trinity on the FM2 socket, if they merge Steamroller and Excavator into APUs, then probably they will have to kill AM3+, only time will tell.

Quote:
When it comes to CPU power draw, wouldn't 60W be about half?

Well, that article is measuring how much power is being drawn at the wall (with a Kill-A-Watt meter) both of the systems are using the same video card (which is generally the most power hungry part in the computer), but there could be small variations with how much power the motherboard uses, so really I can only go by a general statement.


Quote:
My point was more in reference to the Intel CPU's efficiency and low power draw and, keeping that in mind, consequently the need for a slightly less beefy PSU. I know it's not a big difference, but I was jackin around with this low output PSU from an old build for about a year, and I needed every watt on the 12V rails I could get to run my HD 6870 as well as my Phenom, you know? idk. I guess it's kind of a dumb thought. anyway, here's the article...


Yea that was the article I used before to calculate it that I had lost the link to, thanks! What you have to look at is their test setup, they used a 5870 video card. The 5870s are pretty power hungry compared to newer video cards today.

As far as the problem with your power supply, really theres so many factors that can go into a PSU, its age, its amps, watts, efficiency, and its initial build quality.

As far as using a less powerful PSU, I'm of the opinion a modern system should have at least a quality 500 watt PSU no matter what the components are going into it. So at least if one were to ask me, "if I get an i3 w/6870 instead of Phenom II w/6870 can I get a 380 watt PSU instead of the 500 watt one?". I'd say will the 380 one work? Probably, it would even work with the Phenom II, but considering the 500 watt one is only 10 bucks more and its a guarantee, why not spend the money? There are extremes in which people buy like 1200 watt PSUs with an i3, thats a little nuts, but having a stronger PSU than you need isn't a bad idea. Anyway, thats my thought on it.
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