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How Good/Bad is this sub-$200 Build?

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July 18, 2012 10:11:41 PM

I'm trying to build my first PC (I'm quite new to building) and am wondering how well the following rig would work. This rig does meet the bare minimum requirements for BF3, though I'm not really sure how well it would play it. This build will sound very ridiculous but I'm trying to establish a base point and work up from there.

- Motherboard: ASRock H61M-DGS LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - $44.99

- Processor: Intel G530 CPU 2.40 GHZ 2M CACHE 2.4 2 LGA 1155 - $43.99

- RAM: PATRIOT DDR3 2GB 1600MHz - $12.99

- Hard Drive - Patriot 32GB Torqx 2 Series Solid State Drive - $39.99

- Video Card - MSI N210-MD512D3H/TC GeForce 210 512MB onboard (TurboCache 1GB) 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - $9.99

- Optical Drive - LG GH24NS90B 24X SATA DVDRW Drive - $17.99

- Case - LOGISYS Computer CS206BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer SOHO Case 480W Power Supply - $26.99

Total: $196.33

The reason I'm using the SSD is because I currently own a 1TB Western Digital External Drive, and don't need anything extra.

I do not need an OS, monitor, or any other peripherals.

The main reason why I want to build this PC is for educational purposes, so I can learn hands-on how to build a PC, before moving on the more expensive builds. I do plan on using this PC mainly for normal day-to-day internet browsing, with some gaming on the side.

Any thoughts/comments/suggests/laughs are welcome.

More about : good bad 200 build

a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:19:35 PM

Badly, and I mean.. really badly. I'd be amazed if BF3 would even load on it. Minimum requirements are minimum for a reason, they're definitely not advisable.
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July 18, 2012 10:34:36 PM

What if I were to upgrade the RAM to 4GBs ($7 extra), and the video card up to PNY VCGGT5201XPB GeForce GT 520 Verto Video Card - 1GB, DDR3 ($34 extra)?

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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:43:06 PM

It still really wouldn't be an ideal system. I mean, if you're looking to do it for educational purposes, you can order it, but that system as configured really would make a nice MineCraft or Runescape computer, maybe even a little WoW, but I wouldn't expect it to comfortably run a BF3 multiplayer map.

Another note on the SSD, you realize that Windows and NTFS format alone will take up over half of that 32GB? So if you're thinking about running an SSD as your primary drive, I would suggest a 120GB minimum. Otherwise, use it as a caching drive, but thats not particularly useful.
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July 18, 2012 10:49:44 PM

Which hardware would be most important to have at the reccommended requirements for BF3 to run smoothly? Or do I need the CPU, RAM, and GPU at the reccommended requirements?

The hard drive is not a problem for me. I plan on using the SSD only to house windows. I do have spare hard drives that I can use for everything else.

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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:50:16 PM

the gt 210 is extremely dated to the point that even the igpu inside the celeron chip performs similar or even better than the card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:56:47 PM

Definitely get 2x2GB of RAM, at least. 32GB SSD would be fine if you're not using Win7 64-bit. I sold my 120GB SSD because it was overkill for a system drive (for me) and not big enough for all my Steam games. 64GB is the ideal size for a system drive IMO (for me anyway). You can comfortably fit Win7 64-bit, all your drivers, small apps, utilities, and office suite. I have all that installed and have used 30GB. Keep in mind that when you format your 32GB drive you likely have 27GB give or take available and Win7 64bit will easily use 20GB after all your drivers are installed.

But my main suggestion would be to just spend more money on a decent motherboard so when you are comfortable with your building skills you can just drop a better quad core chip like the i5 in and be good to go. P67/H67 or Z68/Z77 would be good.

And yes BF3 (multiplayer) will run like dog doodie on that setup.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:58:42 PM

No offense intended, but that's the worst "gaming" computer I've ever seen anyone put together. I'd be shocked if it was powerful enough to handle Youtube, much less BF3.

You simply can't build a $200 gaming computer and play modern games on any kind of reasonable settings. Maybe if you drop the resolution to 800x600, put all the settings on lowest and don't mind playing in the single digit FPS range.

If you want a gaming computer, you need to spend $600 to get something reasonable. Less than that and you're not going to be happy with the results. The 520, while better than the 210 (which is one of the worst cards of all time), is still a hunk of ***. It's roughly equivalent to a low end card from five years ago. So, it could struggle through five year old games at low-medium settings. Anything more is asking too much.

Here are my recommendations for the cheapest gaming computer I could, in good conscience, suggest somebody buy.

1. Spend a minimum of $150 on your video card. This is by far the most crucial part of the system. If you're skimping on this to get something else, you're making a mistake.

2. If you're looking for the cheapest possible system, I think you should be looking at AMD. You can get good gaming performance on the low end for $20-$40 less than Intel.

3. 4GB of memory MINIMUM. I don't care what your budget is, you do NOT get less than 4GB. You're saving less than $10 while crippling your system's performance. Idiotic tradeoff. Get 8GB if you can, it's not much more than 4GB. Most people can find another $20 lying around to do it.

4. Forget about an SSD. They won't improve your gaming performance, and they're expensive. Put your money where it counts, the video card. I don't care if you found an awesome deal on a $60 SSD, take that $60 and put it into the video card. End of story.

5. Know what you're getting. Expecting to play BF3 on a $200 computer with a graphics card shaped piece of garbage in your computer is so far beyond unrealistic it hurts. You cannot play new games on *** hardware without lowering quality settings to the minimum and running far below the native resolution of your monitor. Expect $200 of performance out of a $200 computer.
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Best solution

a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 10:59:09 PM

At bare minimum, this would handle BF3 at reasonable settings. (Note that this will not max it out) but close enough to being playable.

i3-2120 $125 on that motherboard you picked out.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX 460 $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x4GB RAM kit $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


And forget about the SSD altogether.

Also, something else I noticed now, you should never use a power supply that comes with a case, especially a cheap one. Low quality power supplies will kill your computer parts fast, or slowly over time with their bad voltage regulation.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 18, 2012 11:01:38 PM

Does using 2x2GB vs 4GB improve performance by a lot? Also, is it worth spending that extra $20-$30 on a better case?
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 11:02:08 PM

Willard, your post had me rolling. :lol: 
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 11:05:22 PM

FusionVortex said:
Does using 2x2GB vs 4GB improve performance by a lot? Also, is it worth spending that extra $20-$30 on a better case?

When you use 2 RAM sticks vs 1, this allows the computer to run in "Dual channel" memory mode. Now realistically, on a higher end system, dual channel vs single channel the difference is not noticeable. However, when you're talking about a low dollar system that needs every ounce of power it can muster, yea.. its important.

I would suggest a spending at least $60, maybe even over $100 on a decent case. The great thing about a high quality computer case is it can last you a lifetime. I have an NZXT Phantom on my Phenom II build, it comes with a pretty steep price tag, but the overall quality of it in terms of durability, wire management and room for expansion, it was worth every penny. In a more budget conscious range, something like a CoolerMaster HAF 912 is a pretty decent case for $60.
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July 18, 2012 11:09:54 PM

willard said:
No offense intended, but that's the worst "gaming" computer I've ever seen anyone put together. I'd be shocked if it was powerful enough to handle Youtube, much less BF3.

You simply can't build a $200 gaming computer and play modern games on any kind of reasonable settings. Maybe if you drop the resolution to 800x600, put all the settings on lowest and don't mind playing in the single digit FPS range.

If you want a gaming computer, you need to spend $600 to get something reasonable. Less than that and you're not going to be happy with the results. The 520, while better than the 210 (which is one of the worst cards of all time), is still a hunk of ***. It's roughly equivalent to a low end card from five years ago. So, it could struggle through five year old games at low-medium settings. Anything more is asking too much.

Here are my recommendations for the cheapest gaming computer I could, in good conscience, suggest somebody buy.

1. Spend a minimum of $150 on your video card. This is by far the most crucial part of the system. If you're skimping on this to get something else, you're making a mistake.

2. If you're looking for the cheapest possible system, I think you should be looking at AMD. You can get good gaming performance on the low end for $20-$40 less than Intel.

3. 4GB of memory MINIMUM. I don't care what your budget is, you do NOT get less than 4GB. You're saving less than $10 while crippling your system's performance. Idiotic tradeoff. Get 8GB if you can, it's not much more than 4GB. Most people can find another $20 lying around to do it.

4. Forget about an SSD. They won't improve your gaming performance, and they're expensive. Put your money where it counts, the video card. I don't care if you found an awesome deal on a $60 SSD, take that $60 and put it into the video card. End of story.

5. Know what you're getting. Expecting to play BF3 on a $200 computer with a graphics card shaped piece of garbage in your computer is so far beyond unrealistic it hurts. You cannot play new games on *** hardware without lowering quality settings to the minimum and running far below the native resolution of your monitor. Expect $200 of performance out of a $200 computer.


This post was harsh, but definitely taught me a good lesson. I'll take what you said into consideration when I start building a serious PC.

Thank you williard, nekulturny, stickg1, and dudewitbow for taking some time to help a noob. I'll take all that you've said into consideration when building my PC.
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July 18, 2012 11:10:37 PM

Best answer selected by FusionVortex.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 11:13:19 PM

Willard, while I whole-heartedly agree with your statements, a little harsh. :lol: 

You can get a $40 case, it wont be awesome but I bought a cheap one for my kids and it actually turned out nicer than I thought it would. Cable management is non-existent in the case but that's where zip-ties can be your good good friend. You just have to cross your fingers and hope UPS doesn't crush it like an aluminum can because the metal will be thin and flimsy.

I have one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Like I said, it is not awesome, but on a budget it has some respectable features. I did have to modify the fan filters because for some reason they decided to put the filters INSIDE the case instead of one the outside, without modifying you would have to remove your PSU and fan to clean the filter :pfff:  .

You should never use a PSU that comes with a case. Except for something like the Antec Sonata which comes with a 500w Antec Earthwatts which is a good PSU. However it costs about $120.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2012 11:13:48 PM

No problem, uhh. If you have a more serious budget like $700-800, I could do wonders with that. Shoot me a PM or something when you get it figured out.
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July 18, 2012 11:16:05 PM

nekulturny said:
No problem, uhh. If you have a more serious budget like $700-800, I could do wonders with that. Shoot me a PM or something when you get it figured out.


Will do.
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