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$600 Gaming Build

Last response: in Systems
September 24, 2012 4:01:22 AM

Hello everyone,
It's been about a month since I've wondered the forums and now I'm building a gaming computer for my little brother for his 13th birthday.
So here's what I was thinking
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965 $100
Mobo: MSI 970A-G46
GPU: EVGA GTX 550Ti $115
RAM: G. SKILL Ripjaw X Series 4GB $25
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB $50
Case: NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK $46
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W $70
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit $90
Optical: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $22
Total: $608 w/shipping and no rebates

More about : 600 gaming build

September 24, 2012 4:21:57 AM

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September 24, 2012 7:58:30 AM

This is similar to your original build with tweaks for better pricing/some alternate components(stolen from a build I suggested in another thread) :

You can paint the inside of the case black and dremel the side panel to add a window, if you want(or you can leave it as is. whatever you want).
September 25, 2012 3:44:11 AM

@jtenorj that HDD is 2.5 whereas I need a 3.5 drive and I don't want AMD graphics.
September 25, 2012 4:02:13 AM

hunterpostit88 said:
@jtenorj that HDD is 2.5 whereas I need a 3.5 drive and I don't want AMD graphics.

Why don't you want AMD graphics? If it's an emotional reason, or a stigma, just think rationally for a second. Millions of people use AMD graphics to play games, why can't you? The 7770 is going to way outperform your lowly 550 Ti. Also, switch out that CPU for a i3-3220, or, to save some money, a Pentium G630 Sandy-Bridge. Don't get a two year old AMD CPU. Just get 8GB of RAM. Newegg, and TigerDirect have 8GB of Crucial Ballistix for $37 and $35 respectively, an extra $10 is well worth it. Also, get a less expensive power supply. 600W is overkill for this system, and $70 for the PSU? No. Get a low power PSU from a good brand. If you get an i3 or Pentium, 450W is more than enough, 400W will do.
September 25, 2012 5:50:30 AM

The Antec 300 Two has a couple 2.5 inch mounts besides all of its 3.5 inch and 5.25 inch bays. When HD7770 launched, hardocp showed that a mildly
overclocked xfx model provided the same gameplay experience as both HD6870 and gtx560ti. Here is a link to the article in question:

If you read the BF3 page, you will see they were able to smoothly frag folks online on ultra*(fxaa instead of 4xaa, ssao instead of hbao, motion blur off
for both better frame rates and so they could spot enemies easier) at 1920x1200. That was at launch. Recent drivers have boosted performance notably.

If you want physx, you can add a cheap geforce like gt610 for 30 bucks. That keeps my build under 600. Here is a link to one such cheap geforce gt610:

I advise sticking with the 965BE versus i3 or a pentium. When you overclock(which you should do with a black edition cpu), you should reach the realm of
locked down i5 quads which are no bottleneck to games(unlike certain dual cores are when games need more cpu power, like Skyrim, BF3 multi player,
RTSs, and more). Techreport did an article testing current and recent processors to find which ones(if any) are bottlenecking games. Here's that link:

I linked the last page, but the entire article is a good read(as are all gpu reviews there for the last year or so). Do you see that little blue dot down with
most of the green dots? That's i5 655k(represents LGA1155 i3s in these tests). See the cheaper green dot up higher? That x4 980 represents a 965BE
bumped up a few speed bins on the stock cooler. Get it up to 4ghz or a little more(easily done with perhaps a tad more voltage) and you get into the
territory of i5 760 and i7 875k(which do not significantly bottleneck games). Here is another comparison of an x4 to a locked i5 in a preview of fx8350:

If you scroll down the page a bit, you will find a couple benchmarks of multi threaded apps. See how the x4 980 trades blows with i5 2300(between i5 760
and i7 875K) and fx8350 trades blows with the i7 quads? As games continue to become more multi threaded, a quad core will give you a definite advan-
tage over dual cores. Plus, all the processors I mentioned in these 2 tests have unlocked multipliers and can go higher except for i5 2300. There may
be a few slightly higher clocked ivy processors released in the near future, but after that LGA1155 is done(Haswell will be on LGA1150). The soon to be
released piledriver based amd processors look pretty promising and are a drop in upgrade on an am3+ mobo that has had its bios updated. AM3+ may
even support steamroller based processors when they come out next year. AM3+ has been around a while and shows little sign of slowing down or stop-
ping. Quite the opposite in fact(amd processors will likely consume more power than intel processors for a while yet, though). Hope this is enlightening.

Edit: I forgot to mention power draw in regards to video cards. A gtx550ti has a 116w tdp while HD7770 has a tdp of 80w(maybe 100w when you overclock).
When you overclock 965BE, you may near as much as 180w. gt610 is 30w. Most pc parts nowadays use +12v power in one way or another, and the cpu and
gpu are by far the biggest culprits. Even so, a system will never draw anywhere near the max tdp from all parts at once(even if you ran prime95 and Furmark
at the same time, let alone a far less power hungry scenario like playing a game). The corsair cx430 in my suggested build has a 28 amp +12v rail(336w) and
is more than enough for the setup it's in plus gt610, a few fans, and some usb powered devices. It has been tested to deliver more than its rated wattage at
several sites that know how to properly review power supplies(like hardocp, hardwaresecrets, hardwareheaven, jonnyguru and kitguru). They all use load testers
and oscilloscopes, and they all test power supplies above ambient temp(like the conditions they will most likely face ie inside a case for the vast majority of users).
Hardocp doesn't check PSU's ability to safely shut down at a point beyond its rated wattage by overloading it, though. I can give them a pass on that though, since
again power supplies generally are never called to deliver anywhere near their max output.
September 26, 2012 4:18:52 AM

Well that was very helpful:)  As you can see I want a 965 instead of an i3 for the reasons you mentioned. I'll be OCing the build for him cause he doesn't know jack squat about computers. So here it is da dah dah daaahhhhhhh
September 26, 2012 10:21:56 AM

It looks like I forgot to link that techreport article. Here it is again(for the first time) :

See where the FX4170 is compared to x4 980(ie 965BE with a few extra speed bins on the stock cooler)? FX4100 is a fair bit slower.

Why would you go with the parts in your build when the ones in mine have a better/faster cpu, a better cooler, a larger hard drive, a higher quality case,
a far superior psu( lower end cooler master power supplies are not known as "crappermasters" for nothing. only their top end supplies are even worth
a hint of consideration) and all my parts come to a total somewhat less than yours? Here is my build again(learned how to use bbcode markup in posts) :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Biostar TA970XE ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($82.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($118.98 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($26.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($91.06 @ Amazon)
Total: $586.51
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Again the antec 300 two has built in 2.5in drive mounts, so that 500GB hdd isn't an issue. You will also want to get the hyper 212 plus at amazon instead
of at superbiiz. It will cost just a couple bucks more at amazon, but superbiiz charges a boatload for shipping where shipping at amazon is free. That's
also why I went with the samsung dvd burner at compusa(free shipping) over the lite on at superbiiz(insane shipping charges). After a little education,
I believe the corsair vengeance ram with low profile heat spreaders in my build is better than the naked ram in your build( for example, some users on
newegg found their crucial ballistics sport with sub par heat spreaders to have problems with... you guessed it... overheating). I hope this helps you out.
September 27, 2012 4:12:53 AM

that looks good. I am not a PSU genius(all brands I buy are Corsair, SeaSonic, OCZ, and XFX). That looks pretty good. The only reason I had the TX3 is it has my 6200 running pretty high OC'ed.
September 27, 2012 3:40:02 PM

There are several psu brands with quality units(ocz may have decent units on the high end, but the lower end ones are suspect). Right now ,I like Corsair
and XFX for quality and price on cheaper units(Antec has little things here and there that bother me, and both pcp&p and seasonic are overpriced).

Hyper tx3 is far superior to both amd and intel stock coolers(and pretty cheap, too), but it's inferior to the hyper 212s(92mm fan vs 120mm, 3 copper
heat pipes vs 4, tx3 has a smaller aluminum heatsink than the hyper 212s with less surface area for cooling). The main difference between 212 plus and
212 evo is the fan. Both are 12cm, but evo's fan is a bit faster(a bit more airflow but a bit louder) while the one on the plus is a bit slower(a bit less air-
flow and a bit quieter). If the plus is much cheaper than evo I go that route, but if they are priced close to the same I might go with evo.

September 28, 2012 3:28:25 AM

I had a guy tell me that the EVO wouldn't fit in a mid-tower case.
September 28, 2012 5:31:27 PM

It depends on the width of the case and the clearance around the cpu socket. Both the Antec 300 Two and Cooler Master HAF 912 are 9 inches wide.

They are more than wide enough (probably 8 inches or better is best. Those two also give room to hide unused power supply cables behind the mobo
tray(one of the benefits of cable management features in a case that has them). That will help with making a clear path for airflow through the case.

Another thing to consider with larger tower coolers like the Hyper 212 evo is the spacing on the motherboard around the cpu socket( where the dimm
slots are located, chipset and vrm heatsink height and placement). That's why it's a good idea to go with low profile ram and a mobo with lower profile
heat sinks on the the chipset and voltage regulation cicuitry. That way you won't have clearance issues with the heatsink part of the cooler or the fans.
September 29, 2012 12:06:44 AM

Well I just ordered 2 parts: HAF 912 and ran to Microcenter to buy the EVO. Now for the rest...
September 29, 2012 1:00:02 AM

The HAF 912 is a very good case for the price. It is limited to usb 2.0 connectivity on the front panel, though. I wish I had mentioned it on this thread
like I have on others, but the antec 300 two has usb 3.0 front panel connectors for only 50 cents more than the HAF 912. Sorry I didn't post that sooner.
September 29, 2012 3:20:27 PM

I don't have a need for 3.0 honestly so there's no problem. And if I'm not mistaken the motherboard has 2 USB 3.0's.