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Super budget gaming setup ~350$

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August 1, 2012 11:29:26 PM


Im trying to build a budget system(college student) for gaming [guildwars 2, skyrim] and was wondering what you guys thought about the components before i pull the trigger.

Mobo:
M5A97 Socket AM3+ 970 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

CPU:
Phenom II X4 965 black …..135.00$ [part of last link]

GPU:
Radeon HD 6850 …130.00$ after rebate
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...


RAM:
Crucial Ballistix 4GB 1600 …..30.00$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 .. 33.00$ after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=ThEPHtwn...


HDD:
i have my own to use until i find a good deal on one.


I am mostly concerned about the CPU not being good enough for high graphic gaming. Thank you for any advice you can give.
a b 4 Gaming
August 1, 2012 11:43:19 PM

It's good enough for gaming on mid level settings
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August 1, 2012 11:49:09 PM

I like it. If you can spare the money, I would maybe upgrade the RAM. I didn't see the specific mobo you mentioned on that page, but maybe try to find one that has support for SLI/CrossfireX, and make sure your GPU supports the same, so at some time in the future you can upgrade to dual GPUs. But the AM3+ socket is a good choice, because AMD has several new 6-core and even some 8-core processors using AM3+ that you could upgrade to in the future.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 1, 2012 11:53:52 PM

nice budget build i guess(im also assuming you have the other stuff like a case)
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 12:09:27 AM

Your build is fine. I would get a 3rd party cooler and overclock that cpu for some increase in performance. I hope you have a case and operating system.
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August 2, 2012 12:42:43 AM

Not a bad little build. The 965 is a decent gaming proc, especially at that price point. I still run the 1st gen 145w TDP 965. Don't worry your 6850 will not push it to its limits. I run mine with a 5870, which is a little stronger than a 6850. I do have my CPU OC'ed to 3.8+ ghz (which is about as high as the first gens go, the newer 125w TDP gens I have seen go to 4.1/4.2+ ghz), and I have my 5870 OC'ed a little, not much though.

Some FPS examples that I get;
BF3 MP (48/64 man servers): low-med settings I get 70-110 frames; high/ultra mix I get 40-60.
Skyrim: No HD mods I stay maxed on the 60 fps cap everywhere, with a ton of hd mods I drop to around 35 in town, 50-60 outdoors and stay at 60 in dungeons.
GW2: I only got to play for about an hour in the last beta and had the settings maxed. I don't remember what the FPS was but I know I didn't notice any video lag/jumpiness, but I wasn't in any big WvWvW/PvP battles though.
TERA/RIFT: maxed out gfx settings I was 80+ fps if i remember correctly.

As others have said there is some upgrade ability in the AM3+ socket, however, not really worth the price IMO. I think AMD has a 985 out now, which you can match/beat its clock speeds by just OCing your 965 and the hexacore procs don't have substantially faster clock speeds. In fact, some are slower, which would hurt gaming performance since most games still use <4 cores. However, if you use heavily threaded apps, then it might be worth it, but I wouldn't recommend them for just gaming.

And as others have said I would get a 3rd party big air cooler to help with OC'ing, I use the Hyper 212+. I would recommend looking at 8gb kits and see if you can find any good deals on those. And eventually look at getting a SSD. That was a big performance increase for me (not in FPS, but in system/game loads, system responsiveness, ect), definitely noticeable.

Anyways, hope that helps some.
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August 2, 2012 1:48:41 AM

Thanks for the replies. I have an OS (windows 7) and a case, but the case is old and might not fit (poor airflow too?).

~ Is there any good budget cases anyone knows of?
~ Do i need 8 gigs of ram? i figured 4 gigs would be enough for the purpose of gaming.
~ What will be my bottle neck for gaming? the CPU or the GPU?
~ Would you recommend sticking with the Phenom II X4 965 be or there is also a PHENOM II X6 1045 for $10 more. I've heard that the X6 is faster overall and benches higher. Yet it costs $10 more and I will be primarily gaming.

Later on i was planning to look into an SSD after i build the comp and i have some more money (SSD prices have been dropping low with sales, almost 50cents/gig).

I'm just trying to get best bang for the buck, gaming-wise.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 2:03:47 AM

here these are good budget cases and no there is not any cheaper that are good other than these your screwed lol Case:NZXT Apollo Black SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 2:20:42 AM

Stay with the 965, its a black edition and can overclocked, the other I do not think can be overclocked
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 2:21:54 AM

1. COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430 Has horrible cable management options 2.RAIDMAX makes junk 3.Antec Gaming Series One is a good case
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 2:23:39 AM

I have a raidmax case, it works great. I have not had any problems with the case, maybe because it was $89
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a b 4 Gaming
August 2, 2012 2:25:44 AM

avenseth12 said:
I have a raidmax case, it works great. I have not had any problems with the case, maybe because it was $89
Yeah if you check most professional reviews RAIDMAX only has a few cases that proved to be any good maybe you have one of those cases ;) 
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Best solution

August 2, 2012 5:50:02 AM

jhbnjaco said:
Thanks for the replies. I have an OS (windows 7) and a case, but the case is old and might not fit (poor airflow too?).

~ Is there any good budget cases anyone knows of?
~ Do i need 8 gigs of ram? i figured 4 gigs would be enough for the purpose of gaming.
~ What will be my bottle neck for gaming? the CPU or the GPU?
~ Would you recommend sticking with the Phenom II X4 965 be or there is also a PHENOM II X6 1045 for $10 more. I've heard that the X6 is faster overall and benches higher. Yet it costs $10 more and I will be primarily gaming.

Later on i was planning to look into an SSD after i build the comp and i have some more money (SSD prices have been dropping low with sales, almost 50cents/gig).

I'm just trying to get best bang for the buck, gaming-wise.


~Cases with good airflow are a must if you plan on OC'ing. If you are going to stay stock, then just about any case will work. Others have listed some cases, I have used an Antec 900 for years (6+ now), so I don't know what cases are out there now that are good/cheap.
~For the price upgrading to 8gb is a worthy investment. When I was on 4 gb of ram I would hit 80-90% usage in some games. 8 gigs of ram will make a huge difference in Skyrim if you are a fan of HD mods. I run 50-60% ram usage with Skyrim and I have 16 gb of ram.
~GPU
~Stay with the 965, the 965 has a base clock of 3.4 ghz per core, the 1045 only has 2.7ghz per core. Considering most games only utilize 2-4 cores, you will actually hurt your gaming performance. The only x6 worthwhile for gaming IMO are the 1100 and maybe the 1090, and that's only if you run apps that utilize more than 4 cores. If your not running apps that utilize more than 4 cores, stick with the 965.
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August 2, 2012 5:20:53 PM

Go with 8gb RAM, because for heavy duty gaming you'll be able to keep other windows open and still have a good gaming experience
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August 9, 2012 1:38:28 AM

Best answer selected by jhbnjaco.
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