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Help With First Build: Gaming/Programming on a Budget

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July 13, 2012 9:57:05 PM

Been lurking here for the past few weeks and figured I'd get some feedback. I hope this is the right board.

Anyway, this will be my first ever build. I've been using this forum and a number of other sites for my research needs and I learned a lot about what I need. Still, I want to see how much further I can stretch my performance and budget. Figured you wise gurus could help me.


Approximate Purchase Date: On or before 7/18.

Budget Range: $450 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (potentially via Wine), Programming (Java mostly), Skype, Web surfing, GIMP. Probably won't be doing any of those with gaming at the time (maybe Skype?)

Monitor: Not buying one now. Just the rig for now.

Do you need to buy OS: No. Going to use Ubuntu for now until I can get ahold of Win7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Sticking with newegg.com for this one.

Overclocking: No.

Build so far:

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 3.2GHz Triple-Core Processor ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock 970DE3/U3S3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($74.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($66.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($76.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total (before rebates): $444.45
Total (after rebates): $404.45
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

So now on to my questions. I am aiming to play games like Minecraft, TF2, Sonic Generations, and Overgrowth on at least medium preferably high with 30+FPS. I don't intend to play at 1080p. Will I get the performance I want from my CPU/RAM/GPU combo?

Is it possible to save a bit on another CPU with better or equal performance? I plan to upgrade parts whenever possible (tried to pick a "futureproof" mobo) but I want to maximize performance for price right now. I heard the Pentium G630 is good but I'm wary about dropping a core. The only way I can go up from the Athlon II X3 is by saving somewhere else first. A cheaper mobo could be possible but I like having lots of memory slots and high RAM capacity.

On the subject of RAM, is 8GB necessary for what I want to be doing? I suppose RAM is cheap enough to buy more modules later.

Lastly, I know bupkis about how to pick a PSU. Tried using a calculator but I don't know if I used it right. Will this be sufficient? Anyone have better suggestions for that price point?

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you guys can help. :) 

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July 13, 2012 10:44:16 PM

Good choice of parts. Should work together nicely.

IMO due to the little price diference 4gb RAM kits are not even worth buying nowadays (30 vs 40 $ on the cheapest ones), plus if you like multitasking the extra 4gb can't hurt.

The psu is pretty good will be plenty for that system.

Those games you mentioned should run quite well at mid-high at 1680x1050 or less, majority of today's games should be more than playable at mid settings around 720p actually, even the ones with fame for being demanding.

As you're focusing more on threaded apps the Athlon is a better choice in your case, and probably if you're lucky you'll be able to unlock a core and turn it into an athlon x4.

BTW you should check linux mint out also, ubuntu has been quite buggy and bloaty as of late, IMO Mint is at a much better state currently, I like the feel of it more than ubuntu also.
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July 13, 2012 11:07:29 PM

wiinippongamer said:
Good choice of parts. Should work together nicely.

IMO due to the little price diference 4gb RAM kits are not even worth buying nowadays (30 vs 40 $ on the cheapest ones), plus if you like multitasking the extra 4gb can't hurt.

The psu is pretty good will be plenty for that system.

Those games you mentioned should run quite well at mid-high at 1680x1050 or less, majority of today's games should be more than playable at mid settings around 720p actually, even the ones with fame for being demanding.

As you're focusing more on threaded apps the Athlon is a better choice in your case, and probably if you're lucky you'll be able to unlock a core and turn it into an athlon x4.

BTW you should check linux mint out also, ubuntu has been quite buggy and bloaty as of late, IMO Mint is at a much better state currently, I like the feel of it more than ubuntu also.


Thanks for the compliment and the Linux tip. :D  Haven't been on Ubuntu since Karmic. Didn't know there was so much bloat! Do you think I'll be able to game just was well with Wine/PlayOnLinux/CrossOver? I need a holdover until I get Win7. Been using an OEM XP license for the past 6 years (hence the new build). Though if I can ditch Windows altogether I wouldn't complain. :whistle: 

I suppose a GPU upgrade would be needed sooner, though I was planning this build with an upgrade path in mind.
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July 13, 2012 11:47:32 PM

There's been bloat and a tablet-like interface forced upon it's users since 11.04, and since 11.10 can't even switch bck to gnome, that's why I ditched it altogether.

Some games may run just fine on linux but it'll always be somewhat slower and \ or buggier than on windows to varying degrees, period. It'll always be less efective on resources because they're basically emulators (wine, POL, etc). It's better to stick to windows if you game regularly.

I too would like to ditch windows completely, but just can't live without my gaming, and there's no way in hell I'd resort to consoles :D . I do use linux alot on my other systems though and really only game on weekends or vacations due to time.
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July 13, 2012 11:49:24 PM

Again, thank you for the help. I suppose I'll go ahead and buy this build.
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July 14, 2012 1:26:10 AM

Best answer selected by armada786.
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