Can Anyone Cheapen This Build?

Let me explain by saying I'm only 14.

I do not get a lot of money to spend. But my birthday party is the 28th and I do have a bit of money coming. I know I have 25 friends coming, so that is roughly $200-$300. My mom and step dad are probably going to give me $100, and I can sell my current laptop for about $200-$250. I get a monthly allowance of $60 on top of that, so I'm guessing I will get have about $550-$600.

I am not looking for a super computer, just something that can run Half Life 2, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and maybe Skyrim at 60 frames per second. Here are my current parts:

Monitor: I rarely ever watch TV, and I have a 32" TV with 2 HDMI ports.. I don't know how to set up a TV as a monitor, can someone explain?

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135272 (By far the cheapest motherboard with a quad channel RAM kit and 2 PCiE 2.0 x16 slots.

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727 (Cheapest quad core that is okay for gaming.)Cas

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428 (8GB for a cheap price, plus it's 1600mhz.)

HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769 (Only 500B but it's the best I can do since hard drives are getting expensive.)

Case: Already have a decent gaming case my dad is giving me from an old build.

PSU: My dad has a Silverstone 560W he can give me.

GPU: My choice between these three. I will be gaming most likely at 1600x900 or 1920x1080 if the card can handle it.
First choice: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850
Second choice: XFX Radeon HD 6870
Third choice: XFX Radeon HD 6870 2GB

Which is the best way to go, and can anyone cheapen this rig up a bit?
32 answers Last reply
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  1. 6870 2gb IMO is not worth it for the res. you will be playing at. Get the 6870 1gb. For the tv, just plug in an hdmi and your good to go. You may have to change the scaling, which is easy enough. Are you sure you don't have any spare drives around? That's really the only way you could decrease the price any further. You could opt for an apu and go for dual graphics down the road. To get 60 fps you'd sacrifice both detail and resolution. But, you get what you pay for...
  2. ryfry said:
    6870 2gb IMO is not worth it for the res. you will be playing at. Get the 6870 1gb. For the tv, just plug in an hdmi and your good to go. You may have to change the scaling, which is easy enough. Are you sure you don't have any spare drives around? That's really the only way you could decrease the price any further. You could opt for an apu and go for dual graphics down the road. To get 60 fps you'd sacrifice both detail and resolution. But, you get what you pay for...


    I asked my brother if he has any spare drives. He said he has to look around and he will let me know. What is an APU? And are you saying the 6870 can't run those games at 60fps?
  3. I second that, the 6870 1GB is pretty decent. Thats about the bare minimum I would go for a competent gaming system. Skyrim in particular is one of those games that really can be a jerk in terms CPU usage, and its going to want a quad core at some points in the game, particularly caves.

    To be honest, I really, really don't like that choice in motherboard. At bare minimum, this is as cheap as I would go
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280

    That hard drive has actually gone done in price, I paid 90 bucks for that same one in February.

    As far as setting up the monitor on the TV, its fairly straightforward, although you may need to use a regular computer monitor until you have the video card driver's installed. Once thats done it should be "plug and play".
  4. plantlet said:
    I asked my brother if he has any spare drives. He said he has to look around and he will let me know. What is an APU? And are you saying the 6870 can't run those games at 60fps?

    The 6870 is a very capable graphics card, at the $150-160 price range, you really can't do any better.

    An APU is an "accelerated processing unit", it has not only the processor chip on the CPU die, it also has a graphics processor. AMD makes a very good one, the problem is, I wouldn't advise it for a gaming system. They're great for low budget browser, youtube, facebook, "every day computers", but not really appropriate for a gaming system as the CPU is not particularly powerful.



    If the 6850 gets that many FPS, the 6870 will be even better slightly.
  5. More Skyrim video card benches. I single that game out, because out of the ones you mentioned, that one is going to be the most system demanding.

    http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/page6.html

    And the Phenom II handles it just fine:

    http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/page7.html
  6. nekulturny said:
    I second that, the 6870 1GB is pretty decent. Thats about the bare minimum I would go for a competent gaming system. Skyrim in particular is one of those games that really can be a jerk in terms CPU usage, and its going to want a quad core at some points in the game, particularly caves.

    To be honest, I really, really don't like that choice in motherboard. At bare minimum, this is as cheap as I would go
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280

    That hard drive has actually gone done in price, I paid 90 bucks for that same one in February.

    As far as setting up the monitor on the TV, its fairly straightforward, although you may need to use a regular computer monitor until you have the video card driver's installed. Once thats done it should be "plug and play".

    There is really no difference in the motherboards besides price.. will an AM3 CPU work in an AM3+ socket motherboard?

    nekulturny said:
    The 6870 is a very capable graphics card, at the $150-160 price range, you really can't do any better.

    An APU is an "accelerated processing unit", it has not only the processor chip on the CPU die, it also has a graphics processor. AMD makes a very good one, the problem is, I wouldn't advise it for a gaming system. They're great for low budget browser, youtube, facebook, "every day computers", but not really appropriate for a gaming system as the CPU is not particularly powerful.

    http://media.bestofmicro.com/7/S/315208/original/TrAA%201920.png

    If the 6850 gets that many FPS, the 6870 will be even better slightly.

    It will definitely get 60FPS because I will most likely just run it at 1680x1050 and only 2x AA.
  7. Well, 60FPS is all you need. Honestly over 40FPS and you'll be fine. Just, I can't stress enough not to get that Foxconn motherboard.
  8. If you want to overclock you phenom with a cheap motherboard... than this is the way to go
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131757
    You really dont want to be stuck on an old, low end low quality motherboard

    Here's why
    http://www.overclock.net/t/946407/amd-motherboard-vrm-information-list

    If you've got an old CPU cooler hanging around that's AM3 compatable than you should buy this phenom below and save some money.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113007
    If not buy a Hyper 212+ and it's still a very good deal.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    If you're on such a tight budget you should definatly downgrade to a 4GB RAM kit.Here's a cheap one that is is more than fast enough.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313072

    And those benchmarks of TESV arent really important because the game is now patched and those issues are long gone.I mean the benchmark there shows i should get 40 FPS @ ultra without 16 AF and i get 60fps stable with 16 AF + FXAA and thats with an Athlon II X4!

    And about the graphics card.Until recently you really couldnt do any better than a HD 6870 for 150$.But now you can get an OC'd GTX 560 that performs like a 560 Ti
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121446

    And if you cant afford that, then buy a HD 7770!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127664
  9. here's a promo code for $15 off the 965............ today only. EMCNCHF25
  10. nekulturny said:
    Well, 60FPS is all you need. Honestly over 40FPS and you'll be fine. Just, I can't stress enough not to get that Foxconn motherboard.

    If you say so, I will get that other motherboard.
  11. Kamen_BG said:
    If you want to overclock you phenom with a cheap motherboard... than this is the way to go
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131757
    You really dont want to be stuck on an old, low end low quality motherboard

    Here's why
    http://www.overclock.net/t/946407/amd-motherboard-vrm-information-list

    If you've got an old CPU cooler hanging around that's AM3 compatable than you should buy this phenom below and save some money.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113007
    If not buy a Hyper 212+ and it's still a very good deal.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    If you're on such a tight budget you should definatly downgrade to a 4GB RAM kit.Here's a cheap one that is is more than fast enough.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313072

    And those benchmarks of TESV arent really important because the game is now patched and those issues are long gone.I mean the benchmark there shows i should get 40 FPS @ ultra without 16 AF and i get 60fps stable with 16 AF + FXAA and thats with an Athlon II X4!

    And about the graphics card.Until recently you really couldnt do any better than a HD 6870 for 150$.But now you can get an OC'd GTX 560 that performs like a 560 Ti
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121446

    And if you cant afford that, then buy a HD 7770!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127664


    I'm not going to overclock because then I have to buy a better cooler. I would rather keep the 8GB of RAM and just pay $20 extra. I still think I'm getting the 6870 because it outperforms the 560 TI in most games I play.
  12. plantlet said:
    There is really no difference in the motherboards besides price.. will an AM3 CPU work in an AM3+ socket motherboard?


    That's not right. I don't mean to pick on you, but the ASRock board is noticeably better after just two seconds of looking at each board.

    The ASRock board Nekulturny recommended has a 5 phase voltage regulator, as opposed to the 4 phase on the ECS board. That by itself means the Asrock board runs cooler than the ECS board. It also has a higher safe voltage ceiling for overclocking, even though you won't be doing that. The ASRock board likely has other benefits, but again, I only glanced at each board.

    Also, the ECS board doesn't support quad channel RAM. That's dual-channel support with 4 RAM slots. AFAIK, the only quad channel support in current "consumer-level" motherboards is intel's socket 2011 boards.

    An AM3 cpu will work in an AM3+ board.

    If you won't be overclocking I recommend using an intel CPU. At stock clocks, intel wins at nearly every price point right now. AMD chips must be overclocked to be competitive.
  13. quilciri said:
    That's not right. I don't mean to pick on you, but the ASRock board is noticeably better after just two seconds of looking at each board.

    The ASRock board Nekulturny recommended has a 5 phase voltage regulator, as opposed to the 4 phase on the ECS board. That by itself means the Asrock board runs cooler than the ECS board. It also has a higher safe voltage ceiling for overclocking, even though you won't be doing that. The ASRock board likely has other benefits, but again, I only glanced at each board.

    Also, the ECS board doesn't support quad channel RAM. That's dual-channel support with 4 RAM slots. AFAIK, the only quad channel support in current "consumer-level" motherboards is intel's socket 2011 boards.

    An AM3 cpu will work in an AM3+ board.

    If you won't be overclocking I recommend using an intel CPU. At stock clocks, intel wins at nearly every price point right now. AMD chips must be overclocked to be competitive.

    Thanks, I really didn't know anything about the voltage regulator.

    Anyways, the only decent Intel CPU I can afford is the i3. Do you really think it will be better than the AMD? They also cost more money.

    I would overclock if I knew how. My dad and brother both do, but then again I would have to buy a better CPU cooler which would again cost more money. Since I had about $50 extra I was going to buy this case:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066
  14. Do you live near/ have anyone that can take you to a Microcenter? Locations at the top.
    http://www.microcenter.com/index.html
  15. Quote:
    The ASRock board likely has other benefits, but again, I only glanced at each board.


    Hopefully, better quality Mosfets and Capacitors. Although, I did say the Asrock 970 Extreme 3 was the minimum I would consider. Ideally, I wouldn't touch anything less than an Asus M5A97 if left to my own devices for an AMD rig.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131767

    Quote:
    . At stock clocks, intel wins at nearly every price point right now.


    Not at 95 bucks for a Phenom II 965 they don't lol (current price with Newegg's promo code). Not in their wildest imagination. Even at stock speeds.

    As far as needing a fan, you can *probably* safely set the multiplier on a 965 to 18x. This would overclock the CPU to 3.6GHZ effectively making it a Phenom II 975 model, possibly even 18.5 (3.7GHZ) which is the 980 models stock settings. All 3 models ship with the same exact CPU cooler, so it shouldn't be an issue. Although the heat should definitely be monitored, as the stock fan kinda sucks. Its also noisy.
  16. quilciri said:
    Do you live near/ have anyone that can take you to a Microcenter? Locations at the top.
    http://www.microcenter.com/index.html

    Hmmm no.. closest one is Philadelphia and that is about 2½ hours away. But also ending on the 30th, the CPU is $15 off and the case is $5 off. Since I'm saving $20 there, is there any cooler I can get with $20?
  17. $20? No. $30. Yes.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

    Thats actually a very nice cooler, and the same one I'd be recommending to someone who was doing an Intel i7 build with a $2000 budget.
  18. nekulturny said:

    Not at 95 bucks for a Phenom II 965 they don't lol (current price with Newegg's promo code). Not in their wildest imagination. Even at stock speeds.


    Yeah, that is a better deal, but that's assuming he buys it in the next 4 days. Otherwise, what I said is sadly still true.
  19. Holy hell, never mind.. 212 plus is only $19.99 and its only *slightly* not as good as the 212 evo. And by slightly not as good I mean, it'll let you max out your Phenom II, they tend to top out at the 4.2-4.4GHZ range, although if you make it to 4.0 for a daily overclock, I'd stick with it.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
  20. quilciri said:
    Yeah, that is a better deal, but that's assuming he buys it in the next 4 days. Otherwise, what I said is sadly still true.

    Yea but you know me and my hopeless fanboyness. Phenom II 965 at $110 or i3-2120 at $130? Overclocking or not, its a no brainer for me. But I'm more of a multitasker than a gamer, I want that quad core assurance that HyperThreading just won't give me.
  21. nekulturny said:
    $20? No. $30. Yes.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

    Thats actually a very nice cooler, and the same one I'd be recommending to someone who was doing an Intel i7 build with a $2000 budget.


    I think this may even be the same cooler my dad has on his i7 920.. He is running at 4.2ghz. It depends, I may be able to buy this cooler and I may not be. Like I said part of my finance is coming from birthday money, and you know some people will give you $10, some will give you $15, etc. It all depends if I have the $560 I need for all my parts I need in the end.

    If I have to, I will drop the $50 case since I have one already. I just do not like how it looks.
  22. Well, you can always get the cooler later. Just get the essential computer parts for now. Yes its true that at least for gaming, the i3 can be slightly better. The real debate that comes into play is does it really matter? Depends on who you ask. I say no. Especially with a mid level video card like a 6870, you'll max out the video cards capabilities before you max out the Phenom II's.
  23. The best processor I would recommend for you would be a I3 2120. Although it is a dual core, it out performs nearly all the games when pared with a discrete card. At your resolution, I would focus more on a better graphics card as a bottleneck is most likely to occur on the GPU. Unless our going to be doing task that require multi-cores, your i3 will be fine. Not to mention that most of the applications would have to be coded to support 4 cores.

    If you were to go with the i3 build then you won't need 1600mhz ram because its not supported. Buy a cheap 2x4GB ram kit and tweak the ram timings. Don't worry about heat-spreaders on your RAM, it is unnecessary unless your going to be overclocking or overvolting.

    You will be fine with the stock cooler, no need to upgrade to a Hyper 212 unless you want silence.

    Might want to go with a 1TB hdd or you would find yourself running out of space very soon. This model is the one I would recommend
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840&Tpk=ST1000DM003

    For your motherboard, you won't be overclocking so a H61 would be more than sufficient. This board is the one I would recommend.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135288

    The most important thing is to read reviews, benchmarks and look at other peoples opinions. There's nothing better than to spend a few hours googling reviews.
  24. *sigh* see what I mean? lol.
  25. Lets play "Find the Bottleneck"!!!!

    Crysis 2 with a 6870 and Phenom II 1920x1080
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN3vHpw_rlA&feature=related

    Skyrim with 6870 and Phenom II 1920x1080
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtYlwpGNvhk

    Dirt 3 with 6870 and Phenom II 1920x1080
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDSeAH4htGQ

    Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress are all sorts of old, you'd be hard pressed to find something that won't max them out.
    Need we continue? God, I must be up past my bed time, I'm all sorts of ill tempered. LOL.
  26. Ok, you did read that I said a GPU bottleneck not a CPU bottleneck? BTW, thanks for sharing those benchmarks. He would be better off with a i3 2120 because he could he upgrade his graphics card later on. Not to forget that the i3 2120 evens/beats with a 965 in non-gaming areas. I have a i3 2100 and a 7850 so I would be more than happy to provide some benchmarks for you.
  27. I did read it, the point was to demonstrate the both the video card and CPU can handle modern games the resolution he was looking to play them at.

    Provide all the benchmarks you want, you will find that my Phenom II is quite equal to your i3-2100 for gaming. Don't get me wrong, the i3 is a damn good CPU for a dual core. But I'm sorry, its not light years ahead of the Phenom II.

    As far as non gaming areas, of course, the i3 has stronger individual cores than the Phenom II. I know this nor do I dispute this, however, when you're talking about multithreaded stuff, the Phenom II will crush the i3. Period. And that is why when someone offers me a free i3 or a Phenom II, I will smile and politely decline the i3.

    What benches do you want to look at? We can start with a simple Cinebench if we're gonna play "whos is bigger?" lol, no I don't have a 7850. Suffice to say your OpenGL will probably score higher than my lowly 550 TI.
    Four Threads


    1 Thread


    2 Threads
  28. Hey.. anyone know is the FX 4100, FX 4170 or FX 6100 better than the Phenom II X4 965? The FX 4100, FX 4170 and FX 6100 are $10 off with a promo code.

    Edit: I am also going to scrap the case I was going to buy and use the one my dad is giving me. It doesn't look as cool, but thats okay. I am getting the XFX Radeon 6870 2GB since it is only $5 more than the regular Radeon 6870 1GB after the rebate.
  29. The Phenom II 965 performs better than the FX series (all of them) for gaming even though Phenom IIs are older.

    Skyrim in particular the FX CPUs do horribly at. Skyrim is a console port (meaning its a game made for consoles like X-box 360 but they reprogrammed it to be a PC game), because of this, some of the work that in a game would normally be done by the video card is being done by the CPU. Meaning the CPU has extra work, as such the weaker FX CPUs have a hard time handling it.
  30. nekulturny said:
    The Phenom II 965 performs better than the FX series (all of them) for gaming even though Phenom IIs are older.

    Skyrim in particular the FX CPUs do horribly at. Skyrim is a console port (meaning its a game made for consoles like X-box 360 but they reprogrammed it to be a PC game), because of this, some of the work that in a game would normally be done by the video card is being done by the CPU. Meaning the CPU has extra work, as such the weaker FX CPUs have a hard time handling it.

    I know how CPU dependant Skyrim is. My dad has an i7 920. He got occasional crashes, so he reset his CPU to stock. He lost a ton of frames with his GTX 260 SLI. Now he has it stable at 4ghz and it's always great performance.
  31. I've seen all of these articles many times. But if you wish to really discuss them one by one I shall:

    Let me state, hopefully so that you understand something that every modern computer monitor priced under $400 US runs at 60hz. 60hz=60FPS. As such this means that your computer could send 1000 FPS to the computer monitor, you will only ever, ever be able to see 60 of them. This is why 60FPS is considered the "magic number" in gaming. I hope you aren't taking this as me attacking you, I honestly am trying to teach you something if you're interested in learning.


    Crysis Warhead- Both CPUs exceed the 60hz monitor limitation by 20FPS. This means despite the difference in benchmarks, in terms of real world gameplay, they are identical.

    Far Cry 2- 53FPS is more than sufficient for fluid gameplay, and you will never notice a difference between 53 and 59. Never, ever. Not even the most vigilant observer with greater than 20/20 vision would be able to tell the difference.

    Left 4 Dead- Again both of these CPUs are able to put out over twice the frame rate limitation of the computer monitor. Left 4 Dead btw is typical of most games, completely GPU limited, not CPU limited.


    Fallout 3- Again, Same as above

    As far as the 2nd article is concerned, it was written by a man named Don Woligroski, he is Tom's Hardware's senior editor. Quite frankly, I think the man while he may be intelligent and educated, often makes me wonder what hes smoking. He actually puts the FX-4100 CPU above the Phenom II 965 on his "CPU hierarchy", hes a moron if he seriously thinks the AMD FX is a better gaming CPU. He also completely contradicts his prior articles by doing so. Theres nothing honorable about FX-4100s/4170s, he was right months ago when he said it the first time.

    That Article says Best Gaming CPU at $110, none.. But honorable mention to FX-4100. Excuse me, the Phenom II 965 is $110 currently, and its a hell of a lot better than Faildozers.

    To further prove the point that the typical game is GPU limited, heres a brand new game on the market, Diablo III. It completely does not care what CPU you're using.



    Max Payne 3, yet another example of the typical computer game, completely uncaring of what CPU is being used:
    http://www.techspot.com/review/537-max-payne-3-performance/page7.html

    Call of Duty MW2 doesn't care, btw MW3 uses the same game engine, so the results will be pretty similar despite MW3 being newer.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-1090t-890fx,2613-11.html
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