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My first $600 PC Build

So, I have finally made the decision to settle into a good gaming desktop PC, and part ways with my laptop. This will be my first real gaming computer and I will be building it myself, so I'd like to get as much advice I can get. Enough chit-chat, onto the info -

Approximate Purchase Date: Not in a rush, so there is no set date.

Budget Range: $500 - $750 (NOT including OS, Monitor)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming / Watching Videos / Surfing the Web

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: Might eventually switch to and Intel i5 CPU

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any, as long as the savings are good and they are trustworthy.

Location: Springfield, TN

Parts Preferences: Would Prefer nVidia GPU.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution - 1920x1080p
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And onto my specs (so far)

Case: ZALMAN Z11 Plus HF1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235035

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache
http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Internal-ST1000DM003/dp/B005T3GRNW/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

Mobo: ASRock 970 EXTREME4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157262

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 SE (Fermi) 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130770

Memory: 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

Optical Drive: SONY Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118031
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So, that's my complete setup (For now anyways) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
20 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about build
  1. I'd go for an i3 over the Phenom II x4
  2. I agree, you should just start with an i3 if you're going to upgrade to an i5 later. It would be a waste to throw out a motherboard.

    You could start with this
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hkLK

    I might even suggest getting a regular sized mobo instead of a micro. all depends on your budget.

    I think it'll perform a lot better than your original build.
  3. ctomster said:
    I agree, you should just start with an i3 if you're going to upgrade to an i5 later. It would be a waste to throw out a motherboard.

    You could start with this
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hkLK

    I might even suggest getting a regular sized mobo instead of a micro. all depends on your budget.

    I think it'll perform a lot better than your original build.


    Thanks. But what is the difference between the i3, and the Phenom II? I've heard so many different opinions, I just don't what to choose from.
  4. The i3 whoops the Phenom II in per core performance and gaming. I would've got one but my budget was tight so I was forced to get an FX 4100 since I got a discount on the motherboard. I will get an i3 next summer though.
  5. The i3 is better than the phenom ii. (for most games)
    i3 has two cores, pheom has four cores. (more cores doesn't necessarily mean better)
    i3 performs better on bench tests and almost all games don't use 4 cores.

    also if you plan to upgrade, intel currently looks to have the edge in the higher end market.

    What games do you plan to play? If you plan on using bf3 multiplayer you *might* want to consider the phenom ii.
  6. i3>Phenom II for gaming. The new ivy bridge 3220 is a great CPU. I run BF3 at everything ultra, 4xMSAA and 16xAF with a 3220 and a GTX 660 (non-Ti). Not sure of the frame rate, but it's well above 30, because there is absolutely no lag. For a ~$650 build, that's the setup I recommend. The video card you picked is actually pretty bad. The 560 Ti is a nice card, but since it's September of 2012, the card is slightly outdated. And that's the Ti, the SE is just bad. Go for an MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660 (non-Ti). I believe it's $229 on Newegg which is a steal. Everything else seems great, but obviously you need to switch the motherboard. I have an MSI B75MA-P45 board, which I love. $70 at TigerDirect, and has UEFI BIOS, SATA III, USB 3.0, PCI-E 3.0, 4 DIMMs, and just overall a great product for $70. With a $750 budget, you could actually get an i5 and a GTX 660 if you wish. The i5 is going to be a beast in every game for the next few years.
  7. ctomster said:
    The i3 is better than the phenom ii. (for most games)
    i3 has two cores, pheom has four cores. (more cores doesn't necessarily mean better)
    i3 performs better on bench tests and almost all games don't use 4 cores.

    also if you plan to upgrade, intel currently looks to have the edge in the higher end market.

    What games do you plan to play? If you plan on using bf3 multiplayer you *might* want to consider the phenom ii.

    I'll probably be playing BF3, Arma II, Minecraft, and a bit of photo/video editing here and there.
  8. seanpull said:
    i3>Phenom II for gaming. The new ivy bridge 3220 is a great CPU. I run BF3 at everything ultra, 4xMSAA and 16xAF with a 3220 and a GTX 660 (non-Ti). Not sure of the frame rate, but it's well above 30, because there is absolutely no lag. For a ~$650 build, that's the setup I recommend. The video card you picked is actually pretty bad. The 560 Ti is a nice card, but since it's September of 2012, the card is slightly outdated. And that's the Ti, the SE is just bad. Go for an MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660 (non-Ti). I believe it's $229 on Newegg which is a steal. Everything else seems great, but obviously you need to switch the motherboard. I have an MSI B75MA-P45 board, which I love. $70 at TigerDirect, and has UEFI BIOS, SATA III, USB 3.0, PCI-E 3.0, 4 DIMMs, and just overall a great product for $70. With a $750 budget, you could actually get an i5 and a GTX 660 if you wish. The i5 is going to be a beast in every game for the next few years.


    Are you sure you did the calculations right? Right now my current build sits at about $600 even(Which is perfect), so adding $30 for the i3, and $110 for the GPU makes it go up to $710. I'd prefer to stick around the $600ish range.
  9. Dont get the Zalman Z11, I have and its pretty crappy
  10. Best answer
    For the price you could do much better.

    Check out my $500-$650 build here:
    http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore#module146695821
    If you can't stretch $40 to get the i5 3450, get the i3 3220 as suggested in my build and only spend about $575. You'll be getting the 7850 which is a great card and the Antec Neo Eco 520 which is based on the Seasonic design.

    Basically saving money and getting way more performance. Specially from the GPU.
  11. guerrero said:
    Dont get the Zalman Z11, I have and its pretty crappy

    What's not to love about it? It has 5 pre-installed fans, a sexy design with red LED lights, and it's only $59.99 on Newegg.
  12. BreadWhistle said:
    What's not to love about it? It has 5 pre-installed fans, a sexy design with red LED lights, and it's only $59.99 on Newegg.


    Its too loud and big lol

    I would get all new fans since I can hear it from far
  13. guerrero said:
    Its too loud and big lol

    I would get all new fans since I can hear it from far

    Thanks. I'll consider replacing the fans on it if they give me trouble like they did you.
  14. Did you check out my build Bread?
  15. Best answer selected by BreadWhistle.
  16. aznshinobi said:
    Did you check out my build Bread?

    Yup. Seems like a great build. I took your recommendation on the GPU, CPU, and Mobo. Now all I have to do is save up the rest of my money and wait.

    ~Thanks
  17. No problem! You'll be running games for awhile without upgrades!
  18. BreadWhistle said:
    Are you sure you did the calculations right? Right now my current build sits at about $600 even(Which is perfect), so adding $30 for the i3, and $110 for the GPU makes it go up to $710. I'd prefer to stick around the $600ish range.


    Your case is $30 more, your PSU is $25 more, your motherboard is $30 more, your hard drive is $15 more, the GPU is $229, so $229-129=$100, not sure where you got $110 from, and also, my RAM was $5 less. So that's a difference of $130, not $140, and you spent $105 more than me on other components. So, go with what I had, and throw an extra $25 for a machine that can play games on Ultra with AA, and AF maxed, instead of a pc that struggles with high. And, if you want to play Crysis 3 when it comes out, with a 560 SE? That's gonna be medium settings.
  19. seanpull said:
    Your case is $30 more, your PSU is $25 more, your motherboard is $30 more, your hard drive is $15 more, the GPU is $229, so $229-129=$100, not sure where you got $110 from, and also, my RAM was $5 less. So that's a difference of $130, not $140, and you spent $105 more than me on other components. So, go with what I had, and throw an extra $25 for a machine that can play games on Ultra with AA, and AF maxed, instead of a pc that struggles with high. And, if you want to play Crysis 3 when it comes out, with a 560 SE? That's gonna be medium settings.

    I don't think you quite understood my concern. I'm not looking for a system that will max out VERY demanding games. Right now my laptop can play ArmA II on low averaging maybe 20-25 FPS. Any improvement over that is great. I'm sure that a 560 SE could squeeze out 40 FPS on mid/high. If a ATI Radeon 6370M can run it at 20 fps, there no doubt in my mind a 560 SE can do better. If not, I'll just scrap up some change and maybe get a Radeon 7850. Maybe I'm completely wrong though.
  20. Bread, just go with my build and you'll be set haha, it'll be fine especially after overclocks to run games at high settings depending on resolution. Just don't turn up AA/AF too high.
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