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Building a Gaming Computer (for a maximum of $600) [for a beginner]

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August 4, 2012 3:26:49 AM

Hi, I wanted to make a custom built computer as I heard it's firstly greater value for money and gives the user (me) much more control. I am new to this, I have only read a thread of two on other people doing the same, and my knowledge of parts is not exactly exhaustive (though I do know what the processor, motherboard, RAM, etc. is, I am not aware of any particular models that are good).

Purpose of the computer: Gaming (I intend to be at least able to run StarCraft II on its highest settings, League of Legends should be a breeze on its highest settings, and overall, I shouldn't have any difficulty having to run new, intensive games (BF3, AC, Dota 2, etc.) on their highest, or maybe just a notch below their highest.

I would prefer 8GB of RAM and an intel processor, although I would not mind any AMD suggestions.

My only other real constraint really is that the budget is $600, I really cannot go above that :\

Thanks in advance!

P.S. I may take a day to respond to suggestions, so please bear with me :) 

Oh, and it would be a massive bonus if the build accommodated for upgrades in the future, should I choose to do it
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a b 4 Gaming
August 4, 2012 9:15:27 AM

Hi, this build doesn't include an operating system, keyboard, mouse or monitor. But for your budget range, its actually a very capable gaming system.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dOe5
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August 4, 2012 5:40:33 PM

If you live near Frys, you can buy the i5-2400 cpu for $118 and H77 motherboard to replace the cpu and motherboard in nekulturny's build for much better performance and around the same price. This CPU is normally $189.99, so you'll be getting a great deal, especially since this destroys nekulturny's CPU. This will make sure you GPU is not as bottlenecked (if it is) by the CPU and allow you a much better upgrade path in the future.

http://www.frys.com/product/6487372?site=sa:adpages%20p...

However, if you really want to get his AMD CPU, you can get it with an additional cooler for $70, so you can buy a better GPU such as the GTX 660ti, which according to Tweaktown's review, will have performance that can surpass the Radeon HD 7950. This is a good build if you want a medium gaming machine and you are okay with not being able to upgrade your CPU to a much better i5/i7 ivy bridge later on. However, if you do choose go this route, you should wait a while for other reviews because Tweaktown chose older games without testing more modern games such as BF3 and Skyrim. In addition, because this has a 192 bit memory bus instead of a 256 bit memory bus, its performance with anti-aliasing and in high resolutions will probably be hamstrung; it takes quite a hard hit in performance when you enable AA according to TT's review.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Here's the review for the GTX 660TI:
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/4873/nvidia_geforce_g...

If you need more information on which CPU is better, the i5-2400 is tier 1 on Tom's Hardware's gaming CPU hierarchy list whereas the phenom 965 is tier 4, which is the AMD equivalent of the i3-2100, which is only a dual core and faster per core than the 965. Normally, people compare the i3-2100 and the Phenom 965. When they do compare them, they argue for the i3-2100's better gaming performance or for Phenom 965's multitasking ability. In this case, you can get the i5-2400, which is pretty much the i3-2100 with two more cores. And because it has the same amount of cores as well as higher per core performance than the Phenom 965, this is clearly the superior CPU.

Adding onto getting better performance, you can get that performance at a lower price too. For example, you can buy the $118 i5-2400 CPU along with the Asrock H77M ($70) for a total of $188, which is cheaper than that AMD motherboard and cpu.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 4, 2012 5:47:03 PM

Holy cow, $118 for an i5-2400? Move over MicroCenter.
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August 4, 2012 6:00:50 PM

nekulturny said:
Holy cow, $118 for an i5-2400? Move over MicroCenter.


I'd get one myself, but this deal ends on the 8/9, which is earlier than when I get money to buy it :( .
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August 5, 2012 3:05:34 AM

Youngmind said:
If you live near Frys, you can buy the i5-2400 cpu for $118 and H77 motherboard to replace the cpu and motherboard in nekulturny's build for much better performance and around the same price. This CPU is normally $189.99, so you'll be getting a great deal, especially since this destroys nekulturny's CPU. This will make sure you GPU is not as bottlenecked (if it is) by the CPU and allow you a much better upgrade path in the future.

http://www.frys.com/product/6487372?site=sa:adpages%20p...

However, if you really want to get his AMD CPU, you can get it with an additional cooler for $70, so you can buy a better GPU such as the GTX 660ti, which according to Tweaktown's review, will have performance that can surpass the Radeon HD 7950. This is a good build if you want a medium gaming machine and you are okay with not being able to upgrade your CPU to a much better i5/i7 ivy bridge later on. However, if you do choose go this route, you should wait a while for other reviews because Tweaktown chose older games without testing more modern games such as BF3 and Skyrim. In addition, because this has a 192 bit memory bus instead of a 256 bit memory bus, its performance with anti-aliasing and in high resolutions will probably be hamstrung; it takes quite a hard hit in performance when you enable AA according to TT's review.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Here's the review for the GTX 660TI:
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/4873/nvidia_geforce_g...

If you need more information on which CPU is better, the i5-2400 is tier 1 on Tom's Hardware's gaming CPU hierarchy list whereas the phenom 965 is tier 4, which is the AMD equivalent of the i3-2100, which is only a dual core and faster per core than the 965. Normally, people compare the i3-2100 and the Phenom 965. When they do compare them, they argue for the i3-2100's better gaming performance or for Phenom 965's multitasking ability. In this case, you can get the i5-2400, which is pretty much the i3-2100 with two more cores. And because it has the same amount of cores as well as higher per core performance than the Phenom 965, this is clearly the superior CPU.

Adding onto getting better performance, you can get that performance at a lower price too. For example, you can buy the $118 i5-2400 CPU along with the Asrock H77M ($70) for a total of $188, which is cheaper than that AMD motherboard and cpu.


Well I had a look on Newegg to check the price of the Intel i5-2400 you were talking about, currently it stands to be $189. I might just be able to accomodate this into my budget. Now that I have two potential CPU processors, what else do I need to get to complete my build (let's assume I go for the i5-2400)?

Here's the link I got: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (this is the right one isn't it?)
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August 5, 2012 3:29:53 AM

xdkez said:
Can you please tell me more about what you're looking for?
Do you want to overclock, SLI/CrossFire?
Please fill this out so other people can easily recommend you builds!
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/353572-31-build-upgra...


Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: 2 weeks
Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400): $600 - $650
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Media Entertainment (videos, etc.), Surfing

Are you buying a monitor: No



Parts to Upgrade: (e.g.: CPU, mobo, RAM): Everything, this is a new build entirely from scratch
Do you need to buy OS: Yes / No
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preferred website, though I do know and look at Newegg for prices
Location: India, so shipping will be something I'll look into. Most parts are available locally too, so just look into what PC components are the best, part availability should not be an issue

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Have heard that Intel Processors are better, don't mind AMD suggestions

Overclocking: Maybe (I have no experience with overclocking)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (no experience with SLI or Crossfire)
Your Monitor Resolution: Currently have a 1368 x 768 resolution, if it isn't necessary to change that, I'll stick with it for the time being. Not necessarily looking for full HD (1920 x 1080), though that would be nice :) 

Additional Comments: the games I'll be playing will include: StarCraft II, League of Legends, Dota 2, Battlefield 3, Borderlands 2 (when it's out ofc), etc.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My current computers (laptop and desktop) are currently incapable of running modern games as it is too much for them, and I've been told that upgrading my desktop is very hard as it's 8-9 years old, and will not accommodate modern motherboards.
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August 5, 2012 4:22:40 AM

ashim8813 said:
Well I had a look on Newegg to check the price of the Intel i5-2400 you were talking about, currently it stands to be $189. I might just be able to accomodate this into my budget. Now that I have two potential CPU processors, what else do I need to get to complete my build (let's assume I go for the i5-2400)?

Here's the link I got: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (this is the right one isn't it?)


Never-mind Ashim, I had assumed that you lived in the United States. At your budget of $600-650, I would recommend that you go with that AMD Phenom 965 or other similarly priced such as the Pentium G860 and then spend the rest on the GPU. For the AMD build, you can just use nekulturny's build, which will cost around $30 cheaper than normal because of the TigerDirect deal. For the intel build, you can pretty much do the same thing, but swap out the CPU and motherboard. Also, if you don't intend to stick with that monitor for a long time, you probably won't need that strong of a GPU to run your games maxed out so a radeon hd 6950 will be able to power your gaming needs. However, a gpu like the gtx 660ti if it comes out at $250 will make it worth your while if you do happen to upgrade to 1920x1200/1080p because it has most of the performance of gtx 670 but for much less.

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August 7, 2012 2:51:22 AM

So if I've got this correct, I am going for the build listed here on this site: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dOe5
BUT, I am swapping out the Radeon for the GTX 660Ti?
I might change the hard drive to a smaller size just to stay within the limits of the budget.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 7, 2012 3:35:21 AM

You can do that if you want, but keep in mind the 660 TI is rumored to cost around $300, its not going to be at the 220-250 price point like its predecessor the 560 TI. (unless the rumors are wrong).
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August 7, 2012 1:12:05 PM

nekulturny said:
You can do that if you want, but keep in mind the 660 TI is rumored to cost around $300, its not going to be at the 220-250 price point like its predecessor the 560 TI. (unless the rumors are wrong).


So if I am to stick inside my budget with a good graphic card, what would you recommend (if the 660Ti proves to be too expensive)?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 7, 2012 1:33:32 PM

gtx 560ti, HD 6870 should be in the $200 or less range in India
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August 7, 2012 2:29:20 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
gtx 560ti, HD 6870 should be in the $200 or less range in India


Hmmm.... I'll take a look at the prices of these cards and get back to you guys, shouldn't take more than a day. On a side note, which one performs better out of the two, the ATI 6870 or the 560Ti?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 7, 2012 2:51:13 PM

ashim8813 said:
Hmmm.... I'll take a look at the prices of these cards and get back to you guys, shouldn't take more than a day. On a side note, which one performs better out of the two, the ATI 6870 or the 560Ti?

The GTX 560 TI by a small margin.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/540?vs=547
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a b 4 Gaming
August 7, 2012 3:07:17 PM

That guy who wrote that thing got his signature privileges revoked on the forums because his website links to paid affiliates, and he'd spam the forums getting people to go to it.

The links to all the parts don't show up properly on FireFox (and I don't have internet explorer enabled) but you don't need an i5 to max out Starcraft II, you could do that with an i3-2120.
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August 7, 2012 3:11:45 PM

nekulturny said:
That guy who wrote that thing got his signature privileges revoked on the forums because his website links to paid affiliates, and he'd spam the forums getting people to go to it.

The links to all the parts don't show up properly on FireFox (and I don't have internet explorer enabled) but you don't need an i5 to max out Starcraft II, you could do that with an i3-2120.


So basically it's not really value-for-money? And I could get better (or the same thing for less)?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 7, 2012 3:12:21 PM

ashim8813 said:
So basically it's not really value-for-money? And I could get better (or the same thing for less)?

Correct.
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August 8, 2012 3:05:44 AM

I was just checking out graphic card reviews, over here ( http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/asus_hd_6950_re... ) the HD 5970 seems to work really well in the Crysis tests, is it a better card than the ones suggested? (GTX 560Ti, HD Radeon 6870 and Sapphire HD Radeon 6950) Basically, which one gives the best performance?

I am a little wary of getting the 560Ti as it kinda hits the top of the budget. Would it be plausible to get one of the cheaper of the three cards, and then upgrade to a 560Ti or 660Ti when the prices are more favourable? Also, if i were to take the AMD Phenom processor listed on the pcpartpicker website, would I be able to upgrade this processor to say a Sandy or Ivy Bridge later on (let's say 8months)? Or would I have to change my motherboard later if I have to do that?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 8, 2012 4:35:01 AM

the 5970 was the very top card two generations ago. I'll be better than the 560 and 6870, not quite as good as the 6950 (just a bit less) and a 7850 will be better at much lower power consumption
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August 8, 2012 5:19:27 AM

Youngmind said:
If you live near Frys, you can buy the i5-2400 cpu for $118 and H77 motherboard to replace the cpu and motherboard in nekulturny's build for much better performance and around the same price. This CPU is normally $189.99, so you'll be getting a great deal, especially since this destroys nekulturny's CPU. This will make sure you GPU is not as bottlenecked (if it is) by the CPU and allow you a much better upgrade path in the future.

http://www.frys.com/product/6487372?site=sa:adpages%20p...

However, if you really want to get his AMD CPU, you can get it with an additional cooler for $70, so you can buy a better GPU such as the GTX 660ti, which according to Tweaktown's review, will have performance that can surpass the Radeon HD 7950. This is a good build if you want a medium gaming machine and you are okay with not being able to upgrade your CPU to a much better i5/i7 ivy bridge later on. However, if you do choose go this route, you should wait a while for other reviews because Tweaktown chose older games without testing more modern games such as BF3 and Skyrim. In addition, because this has a 192 bit memory bus instead of a 256 bit memory bus, its performance with anti-aliasing and in high resolutions will probably be hamstrung; it takes quite a hard hit in performance when you enable AA according to TT's review.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Here's the review for the GTX 660TI:
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/4873/nvidia_geforce_g...

If you need more information on which CPU is better, the i5-2400 is tier 1 on Tom's Hardware's gaming CPU hierarchy list whereas the phenom 965 is tier 4, which is the AMD equivalent of the i3-2100, which is only a dual core and faster per core than the 965. Normally, people compare the i3-2100 and the Phenom 965. When they do compare them, they argue for the i3-2100's better gaming performance or for Phenom 965's multitasking ability. In this case, you can get the i5-2400, which is pretty much the i3-2100 with two more cores. And because it has the same amount of cores as well as higher per core performance than the Phenom 965, this is clearly the superior CPU.

Adding onto getting better performance, you can get that performance at a lower price too. For example, you can buy the $118 i5-2400 CPU along with the Asrock H77M ($70) for a total of $188, which is cheaper than that AMD motherboard and cpu.


When you were talking about that H77 motherboard, were you talking about this? - http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H7...

EDIT: Nvm, it's this one isn't it? http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/H77%20Pro4MVP/
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August 9, 2012 2:42:32 AM

So I'm trying to create an edited build on pcpartpicker to see what the i5-2400 build comes to, but when I get to choosing the motherboard, i see 3 Asrock H77s:

(1) ASRock H77M LGA1155, Micro ATX (Socket type/CPU), 2 Ram Slots 16GB Max. Memory (2) ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP LGA1155 ATX, 4 Ram Slots 32GB Max. Memory (3) ASRock H77 Pro4-M LGA1155 Micro ATX, 4 Ram Slots 32GB Max. Memory

Which one am I supposed to select?

EDIT: Ok here is the edited build, which graphic card should I put for this? (Keeping it within $550 to $600 would make it very good for me)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ebal
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
August 9, 2012 3:02:32 AM

some slight tweaks to the motherboard (the ASRock H77M), and a 500 GB drive for the same price as the 250 you had, I fit in a GTX 560

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital RE2 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.78 @ Compuvest)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 1GB Video Card ($154.09 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($53.74 @ Amazon)
Total: $596.57
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-08 23:02 EDT-0400)
Share
August 9, 2012 3:08:25 AM

ScrewySqrl said:
some slight tweaks to the motherboard (the ASRock H77M), and a 500 GB drive for the same price as the 250 you had, I fit in a GTX 560

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital RE2 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($53.78 @ Compuvest)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 1GB Video Card ($154.09 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($53.74 @ Amazon)
Total: $596.57
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-08 23:02 EDT-0400)


Will I be able to change the graphic card to a GTX660Ti (after it's been released for a while and becomes cheaper) half a year down the line w/o an issue?

And, what's the difference between MicroATX and ATX? Is one superior to the other?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 9, 2012 11:45:51 AM

the GPU is always swappable, they use the same interface.

Micro ATX is smaller with fewer expansion ports...but how many of them will you use? Back in the early 1990s, you might have a video card, a sound card, a modem, and a network card, and maybe others. Now you will have the video card and MAYBE a wireless network card
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August 9, 2012 2:57:04 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
the GPU is always swappable, they use the same interface.

Micro ATX is smaller with fewer expansion ports...but how many of them will you use? Back in the early 1990s, you might have a video card, a sound card, a modem, and a network card, and maybe others. Now you will have the video card and MAYBE a wireless network card


Ah ok I get what you mean, so basically MicroATX is the more economic/efficient of the two since it has less unecessary ports and stuff.... yeah makes sense. So then wouldn't I need to get a MicroATX case? Or does it really not matter?

I'll get back to you guys once I have an exact figure on the price of the aforementioned build (the one suggested by ScrewySqrl) and I'll probably take a call then. Should take a day or two :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
August 9, 2012 4:18:07 PM

most cases will take both Micro ATX and ATX boards, some are MicroATX only, and are often smaller
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August 11, 2012 3:10:51 PM

nekulturny said:
Hi, this build doesn't include an operating system, keyboard, mouse or monitor. But for your budget range, its actually a very capable gaming system.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dOe5


Just asking, but would this build be compatible with a Geforce GT 440 graphics card instead of the Radeon HD 6950?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 11, 2012 3:11:45 PM

Yes it would, however the GT 440 is substantially less powerful than 6950. The system would not game very well at all with a 440. I wouldn't touch anything less than a 550 TI or a 7770 (the 7770 being the better of the two), and I'll be honest with you, I want my 550 TI gone, its not meeting my standards any longer.
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August 21, 2012 1:06:38 PM

Best answer selected by ashim8813.
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