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A few questions on a new pc for moderate gaming

Last response: in Systems
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September 18, 2012 10:35:41 PM

Its been a long while since ive built a pc. Im still on a vga no pciexpress board, old graphics etc. It was great 8 years ago. Ive been pouring through posts on serveral sites, running all sorts of configurations familiarizing myself with whats out there and what it is exactly. I have a few lingering questions.

1 Is it necessary to spend as much as most seem to on a good gaming machine? Ive put together some decent machines via newegg, tiger, outletpc, amazon for under 500 bucks. Not the latest technology, but also not bad at all. Im not looking for the latest and greatest. Just solid.

2 thoughts on the ati apu. From what the specs say, thats a good cpu/grapics combo priced at around half what the components would be seperately. would that be fine for now, wait till the new tech comes out to xfire. Far less mobos and apu with the fm1 socket makes me leary of that choice.

3 on the mobos I am making sure to chooose only those that have the necessary components for the future. usb 3, enough 6gig sata 4 dimm slots,32 gig ram capability, crossfire capability. plenty of slots to grow etc. what else should i look for?

4 video. I would rather 256, but is 128 just as good for what I intend to do? Moderate gaming. wow mostly. 1g or 2? I will stick with ddr5 though.

5 ssd /hd is it that much of an upgrade to load windows 7 64bit on a seperatd ssd, then all other stuff on a regular sata hd?
a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2012 10:57:37 PM

At the budget end you are still better to try to squeeze in Intel rather than AMD. An Ivybridge i3 will beat most of what AMD has to offer. In that sort of price range, however, Radeon are generally the better choice for graphics. Also boards, at the budget end, tend to support crossfire, rather than SLi. Having said that, do you really want 2 weak graphics cards, in crossfire, anyway. Forgeting crossfire, I would think something like i3-3220, a cheapish H77 mobo, and perhaps HD7770. It should be possible to fit everything else in for a reasonable cost. As regards SSD, it's nice, if you've got the money, but if you are on tight budget, there are more important things to spend money on.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 18, 2012 11:34:29 PM

To answer your questions:
1. You can build a good gaming pc for about $500. Look at the August Tom's $500 build as an example:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-overclock... Use it as a guide to allocation of funds, and shop. Prices and products have changed.

2. The llano cpu's are good on graphics, but weak on compute. They are what they are. If you have ideas about upgrading, then you will need a discrete graphics card and will have aonly a weak cpu to use. The llano makes sense if you will never upgrade.
I would rather use a i3-3225 which had decent HD4000 graphics. (about comparable to a 6570 or GT240 discrete card)
Later, if you install a true gaming card, the cpu will not hold you back.
I would not plan on xfire or sli with low power components. You may be more exposed to microstuttering.
Read about that here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

3. "future proofing" does not seem to work. Buy what you need now. The future will always bring better and cheaper parts. Haswell will be here in less than a year. On the motherboard, pick one with the features you think you will need.
1/2 6gb ports, 2 more 3gb ports, usb3.0 back panel is ok. 2 ram slots capable of 16gb is fine. No need for expensive xfire/sli capability. There are single cards available to do any job.

4. On the video card, do not bother with the detailed specs. The engineers will have balanced the components to get the best performing card for that price segment. For fast action gaming, buy the best single graphics card you feel comfortable paying for.
If you ever need more, just sell it and replace with the next best thing. From what I can see, the i3-3225 has the power and graphics to meet the recommended specs for WOW. https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/minimum-system...

5. I really like the SSD for any PC. A 120gb ssd will hold the os and a handful of games. It will make everything you do feel so much quicker. A quality ssd will cost about $1 per gb. I would look to intel or samsung first for reliability.
If you will store large files, such as video's, then a large hard drive can be added later.
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Related resources
September 18, 2012 11:52:41 PM

here:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master RC-361-KKN1 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($47.98 @ PC Mall)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $497.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-18 19:52 EDT-0400)
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September 19, 2012 1:00:56 AM

so that answers my first question. U can infact build an ok gaming machine for under 500 bucks. Also from what was wrote I decided to go to intel cpu. which changed my entire mobo variety.
Can someone explain the core thing to me. Id assume more cores are better? yet i see tech summaries that say the i3 certain ones are better than todays brightest amd 4/6 core. Its hard to sort thru the data.
as to the above poster, thanks, I think now though Id upgrade to a blueray for what, around 30 bucks more. would it be worth the next 30 bucks to get into a quad intel? not that i really understand that atm. And unless its signifigant I will one stop shop
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September 19, 2012 1:42:15 AM

mnick69 said:
so that answers my first question. U can infact build an ok gaming machine for under 500 bucks. Also from what was wrote I decided to go to intel cpu. which changed my entire mobo variety.
Can someone explain the core thing to me. Id assume more cores are better? yet i see tech summaries that say the i3 certain ones are better than todays brightest amd 4/6 core. Its hard to sort thru the data.
as to the above poster, thanks, I think now though Id upgrade to a blueray for what, around 30 bucks more. would it be worth the next 30 bucks to get into a quad intel? not that i really understand that atm. And unless its signifigant I will one stop shop


*the amount of cores don't matter, the architecture does.

*an i3 3220 can easily beat the faster AMD CPU, the FX-8150 in most games.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 19, 2012 3:07:22 AM

mnick69 said:
so that answers my first question. U can infact build an ok gaming machine for under 500 bucks. Also from what was wrote I decided to go to intel cpu. which changed my entire mobo variety.
Can someone explain the core thing to me. Id assume more cores are better? yet i see tech summaries that say the i3 certain ones are better than todays brightest amd 4/6 core. Its hard to sort thru the data.
as to the above poster, thanks, I think now though Id upgrade to a blueray for what, around 30 bucks more. would it be worth the next 30 bucks to get into a quad intel? not that i really understand that atm. And unless its signifigant I will one stop shop


Let me see if I can have a go and explain it.

A cpu that you buy from Intel or Amd has several sets of circuitry within it. One such part is a core. Another part might be a graphics processor. It can do instructions, one at a time and work on a program, say Program A.. In a one core cpu, if a second program(B) needs to have some work done, it waits until the core is available. This might be when program A is waiting for some hard drive I/O. If you had a second core, then you could get work done on two programs at a time. And 3 or4 etc. If you have only one program of interest, like a game, many cores are not helpful. Some game developers spent extra time on programming, and have made many games use two cores. Most games can make use of two or three cores. Rarely more than that. It is difficult to develop a many threaded application, and game developers do not want to sell games that only a very strong quad core cpu can run. It would minimize their market.

The reason that Intel ivy and sandy bridge cpu's do better is that they do more work per clock cycle than Amd cpu's. A sandy may do 20% more(just guessing here) and an ivy will do even 10% more than a sandy.

If an Intel cpu has hyperthreading, it is using spare capability of a full core to do more work. You might consider a hyperthread as a added 1/4 strength core.
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