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Budget $500 gaming build

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July 6, 2012 6:43:32 AM

Hey all,

I'm looking to build a system this week. I've come across a pretty good newegg combo and am adding on a video card to complete the build. What are you thoughts on the build I have below, in particular the CPU/mobo and GPU?

Purchase date: this week
Budget range: ~$500, lower would be even better
Parts not required: CPU cooler (already have), keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
Overclocking: nice to have, but not necessary
SLI/Crossfire: no
Games mostly played: SC2, TF2, Minecraft, Tribes Ascend


Newegg combo ($410) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...
CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: MSI H61MU-E35 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H61 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case: Thermaltake V4 Black Edition http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC 430W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green ST1500DL003 1.5TB 5900 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Optical drive: LG DVD Burner 24X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

+GPU ($120): XFX HD-677X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6770 1GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $530 :) 
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July 6, 2012 7:23:21 AM

If you can afford it this would be much better PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($73.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($20.49 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card ($157.55 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($47.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($36.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $549.93
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
July 6, 2012 7:42:22 AM

Yup, I do in fact live near the Santa Clara Micro Center :) 
July 6, 2012 8:10:30 AM

What is your target resolution?

In the meantime, here's a build. It will max all the games on your list at 1920x1080 with ludicrous frame rates, and will run very demanding games (metro 2033/crysis/BF3 etc) with pretty high settings @1920 & good fps as well.

$40
Case

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

$60
PSU

Rosewill RG630
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$130
CPU + Motherboard

965 Black + AsRock 970 DE3
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
(microcenter combo deal)
http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/0c732362#/0c732362/...

$15
RAM

Crucial Ballistix 4gb (2x2) 1333
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

$12
Optical

LG 22x DVD-RW
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

$65
HDD

WD Caviar Blue 500gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$200
Video

EVGA Gtx 480
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
*lifetime warranty, but make sure you register the card with EVGA within 30 days of purchase!

$522

I went with the 965 because there's no combo deal with the i3's, and the 965 performs better in day to day use. I like the i3-2k series, they outperform the AMD chips in games if you have a fast enough graphics setup (and outside of multiplayer games that use four cores). In the vast majority of builds, the graphics card will run out of juice long before either processor.

Sorry to pick on your graphics card choice, but the 6770 is an entry level card now. Unless your target resolution is 1280x1024 or lower , you won't get very good gaming performance out of it with demanding titles. A single 6770, even overclocked won't even max out TF2 at 1280x1024 (I've tried :)  ). It was great bang for the buck back when I built my system, but it isn't worth the money anymore. It *should* be averaging $90 now, not $120.

Good luck!
July 6, 2012 8:42:40 AM

I would say forget it go with my build but i noticed quilciri included a GTX 480 in the AMD build it should play all current games on high settings maybe even ultra/max lol one thing though should tell OP about 480 so they understand how the card is and can decide if that is acceptable or not personally i find pros far out weigh it cons but maybe OP won't feel that way so you should let him know nice build though without a doubt
July 6, 2012 8:57:01 AM

Ty :) 

GTX 480 cons: heat and power use.

Any card as powerful as the 480 that would still fit in the budget (GTX 295, HD 4870x2, or moddable 6950) draws as much power and produces as much heat as the 480 does. On top of that, the 295 and 4870x2 don't support directX 11 (and are really long in the tooth and are both dual-gpu cards - subject to microstuttering), and the 6950 would have to be modded to 6970 specs to perform on par.

Fortunately, the EVGA solution runs cooler than almost every other 480 (ASUS's 480 runs as cool, but they use the same cooler >.<)

If there were another $40-$50 in the budget, I would have used it for a 7850 (same performance as the 480, uses 100w less, runs cooler, and has slightly better overclocking potential)

That's not to say its power use is excessive. Most single-GPU gaming systems under full load top out at 300-350w. The 480 build will use 400w under full load.
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/evga_geforce_g...
The PSU easily handles it with room for both expansion and overclocking the CPU & GPU.

have fun!
July 7, 2012 6:55:49 AM

Thanks for the tips. So if I were to go with the core i3, do you think the stock cooler would suffice since there's limited overclocking on that cpu? I have a spare Scythe Katana3, but not sure I want to use it if it's not necessary.

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July 7, 2012 8:02:43 AM
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The stock cooler is completely fine for the i3. Only reason to swap it out would be for a quieter cooler.

That having been said, I highly suggest the 965 in your case. The i3 does perform better in most games if you have a fast enough video solution. However, all the cards we've suggested will top out before either processor does. Multiplayer modes are starting to utilize four cores as well (BF3 multiplayer runs better with a 965 than a 2120). the 965 will perform slightly better in day-to-day use as well, especially when multitasking.

All of the performance differences are highly debatable, of course. The bottom line is you live near a microcenter, and the 965 + mobo combo is much cheaper than the equivalent i3 setup. This allows for a more powerful graphics card, which is much more important to your gaming performance than any difference between the two cpu's.

have fun!
July 7, 2012 11:02:03 PM

Best answer selected by robertdo.
July 7, 2012 11:16:01 PM

What about a 7750?
!