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Need advice for building gaming pc, $600-700 range

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September 6, 2012 1:17:37 AM

Hello people of toms hardware, i would like advice on what parts to choose for my first gaming build.

My budget range is about $600 and the max i can go is probably $700

-I already have a sapphire 7850 oc edition i bought it before the price redux for $229, :( 
-and i already have a CX600 corsair builder series PSU
-My monitor is 1680x1050 at 60hz
-Currently using an hp p7-1030, im not sure if i should salvage the 8gb of ram it comes with, but the i3 has definitely got to be upgraded.
-newegg is probably the best site for me, because its close shipping and i have a couple of gift codes.
-location is Sacramento
- not sure of the difference between intel and amd, but i have more experience with intel processors.
-i might overclock in the future when the parts start getting outdated
-if i make enough money, i might crossfire the 7850's, but probably not.
-currently playing bf3, diablo3 and very soon guild wars 2
-the p7-1030 had a good run but its starting to get really slow.
-probably going to go with an corsair h40 water cooling cpu unit

-EDIT
also im leaning toward a bitfenix shinobi , but if you have any better suggestions feel free to post!
a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 2:03:19 AM

If you already have that HP computer, then why not just switch out the power supply with that Corsair model and install the Radeon 7850? The i3-2100 is a generally good gaming CPU (although for BF3 MP with a lot of players, it might not be ideal if you don't lower some settings).

Spending some money on a good SSD and re-installing Windows on it should solve any performance issues that you have with snappiness and overall system performance. A Vertex 4 128GB could be great for that and last I checked, it's only $99.99 on newegg.
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September 6, 2012 3:21:44 AM

Blazethorn is right. Don't get a new PC just upgrade yours a bit.
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September 6, 2012 3:37:20 AM

Yes, i do have the power supply and card installed in my hp computer, the only reason im looking to build a new one is because im going to export my hp one to my family members overseas who need it more than i do.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 3:50:06 AM

Ahh.

I think that going with AMD would be a great solution for a new build for you because BF3 is able to use six cores effectively. The FX-6100 can fight with the i5s when six threads can be used and at a far lower price and AMD has some very cheap yet high quality boards (granted Intel's board companies have gotten much better at this too and it's not as much of an advantage as it was even a year or two ago).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a case, you don't want to go far with this build, but you don't want to go too low either. A cheap mid-ranged case should be great. A HAF 912 is an exceptionally excellent option and at only $60 at newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 or better memory kit is usually the ideal option. Similar price to DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333, so despite the fairly minor performance increase in games and most consumer software, it is easily worth the minor price hike. Sometimes, this type of kit can even be cheaper than many 1333 kits due to prices being so close that any of them fluctuating can change the table around with them. One such example of that is this kit that I recommend:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's best that you choose if you want good CF support or not. That can affect the motherboard pricing options significantly.

A Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is a great CPU cooler and at $35 too. It'll let you overclock substantially if you want to and without having poor temps and noise generation. Water cooling really isn't worth it most of the time unless you go for a custom loop. Closed-loop coolers such as the H40 won't even match some similarly priced air coolers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 6, 2012 4:16:11 AM

I have to disagree with the above build. I would have to say an i5 is the way to go. and you have the budget for it.
I like his choice of case 55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as for the ram his was a shell shocker so Im recommending this 41
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU i5-3570K 230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mobo 115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD 80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total 521 this leaves room for a cooler and a small ssd
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September 6, 2012 6:31:54 AM

since im a cheap bastard, whats a good board that an amd processor would go on?
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a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 1:23:16 PM

jackspeed said:
I have to disagree with the above build. I would have to say an i5 is the way to go. and you have the budget for it.
I like his choice of case 55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as for the ram his was a shell shocker so Im recommending this 41
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU i5-3570K 230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mobo 115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD 80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total 521 this leaves room for a cooler and a small ssd


An i5 doesn't beat an FX-6100 by nearly enough to justify the extra cost that could instead go into other components. An i5 and an FX-6100 are close enough in this situation to be about on-par, but the FX is significantly cheaper. That is why I recommended it.

Also, Seagate makes some of the least reliable hard drives. A Western Digital Blue would be better.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Agreed with the RAM change though, now that my recommendation has expired, it's a few dollars more expensive than some other kits such as hat you recommended.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 1:29:06 PM

dablazer said:
since im a cheap bastard, whats a good board that an amd processor would go on?


This is a good one that lacks CF support:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Proper CF support would be more expensive. You could go a lot cheaper than this board fi you wanted too and it wouldn't be a major problem, but this is the cheapest board that is as good as it is. A good board with CF support could include this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to go with an Intel CPU and do not want CF support, then you can save $40 with this still great board compared to the board that jackspeed recommended that does support CF:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 6, 2012 4:16:48 PM

Let me ask this then blazorthon why doesn't the best gaming cpu for your money list you cpu? Why does it rate the FX-4170 much higher for about the same price as yours? heck the aritcle rates Phenom II X6 1100T BE better then the 6100.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

Now I like my intel i5 2500k for gaming. If he is near a micro center he can save a good chunk on the i5 I recommended. Or if he doesn't want to overclock He could go with the i5 3450. I have not heard great things about the fx series for gaming and since the article rated the cpu you suggested close to the core 2 quad series i'd be really iffy on the cpu.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 4:30:37 PM

The best gaming CPUs for the money don't focus only on BF3... Most games aren't like it. BF3 MP can use up to six threads effectively. No other game can do this. This gives the FX-6100 a huge advantage over any non-six core CPU. The Phenom IIs aren't found as easily and lack other advantages that improve future-proofing (especially support for certain instructions such as more modern versions of SSE, SSSE, and other floating point instructions that games such as SC2 and several others are making greater use of).

Diablo 3 is a game that'll run on pretty much any half-decent CPU. A Phenom II x3 can run it almost as well as the best i5s and i7s.

Having just looked into Guild Wars 2, it will also work well enough on the FX CPU to hit around 60FPS (higher with minor tweaking, even better with overclocking) too, so that an i5 would do better in it doesn't matter much.

Making recommendations based purely on the best gaming CPU charts is a poor way to do it. You should tailor recommendations to the OP's needs. That's what I did. You also shouldn't make assumptions based purely on the best gaming CPU charts because they don't involve overclocking the CPU frequency, overclocking the L3 cache frequency (makes a substantial difference in AMD's Phenom, Phenom II, and FX CPUs in performance per CPU frequency's Hz), and they don't take into account several other things. AMD's FX series competes far better than it is given credit for (although if not for BF3 MP being important for OP, I would have recommended the i5-3570K anyway) if you know how to use it because it can be worked with in more ways than Intel.

Intel can't have optimized cache (the default frequency of AMD's L3 cache is a mere 2.2GHz, bringing it up to 3GHz is a more than 20% performance boost and we haven't even changed the CPU frequency through overclocking yet) because they don't let you change its frequency. Intel can't have optimized CPU core configurations (disabling one core per module of an FX CPU improves the remaining core's performance per Hz significantly because it now has the entire front end of the module to itself, a roughly 20-30% increase in performance per Hz of the CPU frequency) because their micro-architectures aren't designed in a way that it would make a difference (not a bad thing at all, in fact it's a good thing because it's less work for the same performance, but still).

Take an FX, increase the cache frequency to about 3GHz (it can go much higher, but I won't go into that) and disable on core per module. It now has performance per Hz nearing that of Sandy Bridge and more overclocking headroom. That's only some of what can be done. There's also increasing the cache frequency more, instead of disabling the cores you can use PS Stat to optimize them better (more advanced, but it is a superior mix of lightly/highly threaded performance to outright disabling the extra cores), and threading improvements by using Windows 8. AM3+ FX is easily the most underrated CPU series for people who know how to use a computer properly.

The settings for customizing an Intel LGA 1155 i5 CPU are your Turbo settings, CPU multiplier, and voltage settings. The BLCK is also there, but you can't do much with it. AMD has CPU multiplier, CPU/NB frequency (L3 cache frequency is controlled by this), BLCK/FSB, core configuration, P states, and more as well as voltage settings. AMD's options are more diverse and altogether, far more effective compared to stock performance.

That's not to underestimate Sandy and Ivy Bridge. Both are incredible. However, they're not better unless you're too ignorant/lazy to use FX.

OP, it's your choice... Would you rather use AMD for less money, or Intel for more money and less work afterwards? I'd go AMD and get better SSDs and such, but that's me. Either option isn't a significant difference in CPU perfomrance in gaming.
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September 6, 2012 5:03:36 PM

Thanks for the info I didn't mean to sound like I was attacking although that is kinda how it came across after reading it, sorry if it did. I missed that BF3 uses 6 threads. Most games might use 4 and I made an assumption. I don't know a lot about amd cpus except for the A series as I did a semester long project on them. So I use the articles to try and understand other amd cpus.

I personally am an intel guy still. Another option for the op if you want an i5 and not planning on overclocking is the non k version its $200 after a promo code for a few days still.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The choice is yours OP, have a cpu optimized for BF3 and alot of work for other games or have a "better" cpu overall with less work and "possibly" better in the future. Also I'm never a fan of water cooling but thats just me.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2012 5:18:07 PM

Non-K edition i5s and i7s can still overclock too, just not as far as the K editions. They can overclock through the Turbo frequencies by about 20% (you can increase the minimum and maximums, the minimum can usually go 20% higher) and the BLCK can usually take it another 4-5%. The K editions can go considerably farther, but the non-K editions can still be worked with too. The same is not true for the i3s and below because they don't have Turbo. The non-K edition SKUs that share a model number with a K edition also have partially unlocked multipliers that can increase the multiplier by 4.
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September 7, 2012 5:41:43 AM

hm, so far i have an i5-3570($214.99), an azrock z77 pro($94.99), and ocz vertex 128gb ssd($99), a HAF 912($60), g.skill sniper 2x4gb ram($40.99). im trying to keep the build looking nice. honestly im still leaning toward a closed loop water cooler, because i like the way it looks lol. any cases that have a side panel window that can mount a 120 mil fan? since most cases come with a removable back fan, i was thinking of mounting the h60 where that is supposed to be, and moving that fan to the side panel. thoughts?
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September 7, 2012 5:53:34 AM

I personally do not like the risks of a water loop. But if you KNOW what your doing go for it. As for the case this has a side panel window and you will be amazed with how it looks
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I personally do not like the looks of any cases under $80 with a window.
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September 7, 2012 6:31:04 AM

jackspeed said:
I personally do not like the risks of a water loop. But if you KNOW what your doing go for it. As for the case this has a side panel window and you will be amazed with how it looks
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I personally do not like the looks of any cases under $80 with a window.


products like the corsair h60 look easy enough to understand, pre applied thermal paste and all you have to do is mount it to the back fan slot with the radiator behind it. im pretty new to computer building, so if should i go with a traditional air cooler like the coolermaster http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ? also on an unrelated note how do you get links to work?

Edit
what about this case? the mobo supports usb 3.0 so im trying to find a good one with it. feel free to post a better one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b 4 Gaming
September 7, 2012 8:31:03 PM

For USB 3.0, it might be better to simply buy a 3.5" USB3 device. Most cases have an external 3.5" slot or two, so it widens your options. That case is great, so buy it if you want it, but keep this in mind.

The problem with closed-loop coolers such as the H40, H60, and up to even the H100 and more is that they aren't better than some high-end air coolers that are also cheaper.
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September 7, 2012 10:54:33 PM

blazorthon said:
For USB 3.0, it might be better to simply buy a 3.5" USB3 device. Most cases have an external 3.5" slot or two, so it widens your options. That case is great, so buy it if you want it, but keep this in mind.

The problem with closed-loop coolers such as the H40, H60, and up to even the H100 and more is that they aren't better than some high-end air coolers that are also cheaper.


whats your recommendation for a fan cooler with a moderate price range?
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a b 4 Gaming
September 7, 2012 11:06:24 PM

How far would you want to overclock the i5-3570K?
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September 7, 2012 11:33:08 PM

im not too familiar with cpu overclocking, but by doing some quick googling it seems people have gotten it to about 4.0 ghz. whats a good cooler for that?
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a b 4 Gaming
September 7, 2012 11:38:28 PM

Even several $30-40 air coolers can go considerably higher than that with ease. A Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo would be a reat option if that's as far as you'll go. Also, even non-K edition i5s can overclock that far, so maybe you'd be better off going for the i5-3470 and save some money without sacrificing anything except overclocking capability beyond your requested frequency.

If you want to be able to overclock beyond about 4GHz, then you need the K edition models, but if not, then you don't need them.

Hyper 212 Evo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
current price is $34.99 and it has free shipping. With this cooler, an i5-3570K should be able to hit 4.3GHz-4.6GHz without significant temperature problems and without getting too loud either. If you want to go beyond that range, then a better cooler would probably be required. An i5-3470 or so should have no trouble at all hitting about 4GHz with the Hyper 212 Evo. It might manage even with the stock cooler.
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September 7, 2012 11:54:48 PM

alright, one last thing. is it better to just buy an OEM version of windows instead of the standard one? what are the cons and pros?

edit

730.24 with shipping and no OS
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a b 4 Gaming
September 8, 2012 12:29:14 AM

Retail Windows keys can legally be used over and over again even on different machines (just no more than one at a time). OEM Windows is supposed to be tied to a motherboard (although it can be fooled, granted that's probably not legal given that it violates the license). Retail also gives you both x86 and x64 keys whereas OEM only gives you one of your choosing.
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September 8, 2012 5:53:58 AM

great, so im probably going to go with the normal windows 7, since im already over budget. i was looking at dvd + burner combos, they all look the same to me. u recommend any good one?
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September 8, 2012 1:04:17 PM

Honestly, I usually just buy the cheapest one when I build a new computer.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 8, 2012 1:27:27 PM

That's pretty much what I do too.
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September 8, 2012 10:12:50 PM

pretty much my finished selection. im way over my budget, so im going to go to work for another month or 2, thanks for all the help peoples!

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a b 4 Gaming
September 8, 2012 10:25:48 PM

Are you getting retail or OEM Windows?
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September 8, 2012 10:27:35 PM

blazorthon said:
Are you getting retail or OEM Windows?


i guess im getting retail.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 8, 2012 10:34:28 PM

Ok then. Everything looks to be in order.

Also, you might want to buy at least a few of those parts now... Some deals don't last. For example, the Vertex 4 SSD might go up in price by the time you're ready to purchase the entire machine at once if you wait. It's often better to take advantage of deals when you see them because there's no guarantee that they'll be around later.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 8, 2012 10:52:33 PM

Vertex 4 supports TRIM. The mobo+RAM deal was a great deal.
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December 3, 2012 6:30:26 AM

Best answer selected by dablazer.
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