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Under $400 gaming PC - possible?

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October 21, 2012 2:07:19 PM

I need only the following parts: memory, CPU, motherboard, VGA.

I'm from Europe (don't ask for specifics, there's no stores in English anyway).

My resolution is 1440x900.

I'd like that the latest games would run on over 50FPS, but I do understand the limitations. I just wonder if that's possible for this price.

So far, I'm thinking something like this:

- Random cheap memory (8GB) for ~$40-50.
- 550Ti VGA for ~$140.
- AMD FX-6100 for ~$150.
- Some cheaper motherboard for ~$50

Totals for $390. I'm not sure if I'll be able to pay $400, as I'm only working on getting extra $300 as I only have $~100 in my possession and I'm not sure if I'll succeed or not - it doesn't depend much on me. So don't top it.

More about : 400 gaming

October 21, 2012 2:17:46 PM

instead of fx 6100 (if it's cheaper in your country) get an amd phenom 2 x4 965 the rest is ok
October 21, 2012 2:20:49 PM

A Pentium G620 is going to game just as well as the FX-6 for half the price, I'd suggest that. The HD 7770 will be better than the GTX 550Ti for around the same price as well. The HD 7750 is only slightly weaker than the 550 as well, that should be a bit cheaper.
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a b V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 2:28:40 PM

I made you a half build (like you wanted) which is about 2.5x faster than the one you've made but it does cost a bit more.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ECS P67H2-A ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $384.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

And now ill explain to your why it's so much better.
First the CPU you chose is simply a terrible choice for gaming.The Pentium is just far superior.I know what im saying just sounds wrong because the Pentium has 2 cores and the FX has 6 cores but trust me the Pentium is better.

Secondly i chose a pretty good motherboard, which will allow you to upgrade to a very good quad core processor in the future when you need more performance.It also supports Crossfire, SLI and allows overclocking.

The RAM kit i chose for you is pretty fast and cheap.

And lastly the graphics card i included in this build just walks over the 550 Ti.It's anywhere from two to three times faster, depending on the game.I know it goes a bit over your budget but its worth every penny.
October 21, 2012 2:46:56 PM

965 sounds like a good suggestion, however I'm wondering about the "Turbo Boost," doesn't that boost the frequency?

As for 620, it's a dual-core with significantly lower frequency, I think it wouldn't perform as good as neither 6100 nor 965.

As for 7770, that is a good advice as well, it does seem better than 550.
October 21, 2012 2:55:55 PM

@Kamen_BG you posted while I was posting. :)  I will comment from top to bottom:

CPU: I have taken a look at a few sites, and I am really unsure why you're saying that 850's superior to AMD's 965. If you could explain that, I would appreciate it.
Motherboard: It does seem like a good choice indeed.
Memory: That's a bit costly here, $60 instead of $30. :/ 
VGA: $325 over here, not $210, so it's too costly as well.
a c 106 V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 3:07:50 PM

Lower ghz does not mean lower performance. The pentium is newer and better performance per clock. Meaning if they were the same speed, the pentium is faster.The phenom x4 would actually be the best cpu if overclocked otherwise go with a pentium. You can see proof in this article. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
October 21, 2012 3:23:54 PM

k1114 said:
Lower ghz does not mean lower performance. The pentium is newer and better performance per clock. Meaning if they were the same speed, the pentium is faster.The phenom x4 would actually be the best cpu if overclocked otherwise go with a pentium. You can see proof in this article. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
http://media.bestofmicro.com/X/N/323915/original/Skyrim.png


What you forget to mention is Skyrim is designed only with two cores in mind, and in a game like Battlefield 3 or Civilization V where quad cores are utilised the Pentium should do worse.

And if push comes to shove, I'd imagine that a Phenom II X4 965 might be able to beat the Pentium in Dual thread games if you turned off two ccores and used the spare power/heat capacity two overclock the remaining two cores.
a c 106 V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 3:40:35 PM

You should check out the article rather than arguing one game benchmark. I did mention the phenom is better if oc and a x4 980 is on that pic beating the pentiums. I don't disagree with you at all, I'd go for a phenom but I oc and the op may not. Although with such an old cpu, I can find phenom x4 systems on craigslist for $200 in my area.
a c 239 V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 3:58:49 PM

newn said:
I need only the following parts: memory, CPU, motherboard, VGA.

I'm from Europe (don't ask for specifics, there's no stores in English anyway).

My resolution is 1440x900.

I'd like that the latest games would run on over 50FPS, but I do understand the limitations. I just wonder if that's possible for this price.

So far, I'm thinking something like this:

- Random cheap memory (8GB) for ~$40-50.
- 550Ti VGA for ~$140.
- AMD FX-6100 for ~$150.
- Some cheaper motherboard for ~$50

Totals for $390. I'm not sure if I'll be able to pay $400, as I'm only working on getting extra $300 as I only have $~100 in my possession and I'm not sure if I'll succeed or not - it doesn't depend much on me. So don't top it.


Gaming performance is more dependent on the graphics card than the cpu.
My rule of thumb is to budget twice the price of the cpu on the graphics card.
In your case, the budget of $140 + 150)=$290 would be better split between a $95 cpu and a $195 graphics card.
I am guessing that you could buy a G850/G860 for that, and a stronger GTX560 or GTX660ti class card. Check out the amd equivalents, they are price competitive too.
All motherboards will have the X16 pcie graphics adapter slot that you need.
Any motherboard that has a 1155 socket will do the job for you, and should be in the $50 range.

Here is an article on picking a sub $200 gaming cpu:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...

Ram is cheap, and 8gb is good.
But no game will use more than 2-3gb by itself. If the savings by using only 4gb will make the difference, that is an option.
October 21, 2012 5:26:21 PM

To the OP

What nearly everyone hasn't managed to mention(including myself) is that games don't use 6 cores. You've chosen a 6 core CPU thinking that it'd be ideal and while everyone's picked up on the fact that all but the absolute newest games use 6 cores, nobody seems to of bothered to tell you.

The reason the FX 6100 < Pentium G860 is because alot of older games still are stuck on using just two cores, while the newer games are running on four. Hence choosing what CPU is really about longetivity.
October 21, 2012 6:01:03 PM

Even most of the games that use 4 cores don't fully utilise them.
October 21, 2012 6:55:14 PM

To answer in general:

Quoting myself: 7870 costs $325 here.
The Patriot memory costs $60 here.

Therefore, these parts cannot be included into the build.

---

Since I don't mind overclocking a bit, 965 seems a better choice than 2120, according to the comments.

Also, I picked up a 6-core not because it had 6 cores but because it seemed good frequency, cache and feature-wise.

I do need 8GB of memory because gaming is not everything I do. When I had a 4GB machine, I used to use up to 6GB (or even more) at times.

EDIT: Also I forgot to mention - Craigslist doesn't deliver to my country.
a c 239 V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 7:06:10 PM

newn said:
To answer in general:

Quoting myself: 7870 costs $325 here.
The Patriot memory costs $60 here.

Therefore, these parts cannot be included into the build.

---

Since I don't mind overclocking a bit, 965 seems a better choice than 2120, according to the comments.

Also, I picked up a 6-core not because it had 6 cores but because it seemed good frequency, cache and feature-wise.

I do need 8GB of memory because gaming is not everything I do. When I had a 4GB machine, I used to use up to 6GB (or even more) at times.


Do not base your selection on cache or clock frequency.
Sandy bridge and ivy bridge cpu's are perhaps 30% faster than amd on a clock for clock basis.
The archtectures, cache, and memory controllers have a part.
Here is one article on sub $200 gaming cpu's, including overclocking that may help you:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...

And, for what it is worth, using DDR3 1333 ram with intel matters little. With amd, more so:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...

If 1333 speed gives you a significant savings, then that can help your budget.
I heartily agree with 8gb if you can.
October 21, 2012 7:35:17 PM

Thanks for the tip on 1333 memory.

As for the CPUs, I've checked the link, there's no 965 (by the way, the one I'd buy would be a BE, there's no "simple" edition for sale over here), only 955. 965 Seems to range from similar to much better performance than 955, depending on the game. Therefore, I think that the benchmark link that you gave me shouldn't be used to make that judgement.

I'm still not convinced for an Intel over AMD, however I am convinced that 6100 is very slow.
October 21, 2012 9:03:56 PM

The 550 ti is enough for that resolution, but you should try looking for a GTX 560 or even a GTX 560 SE, assuming that you want Physx (which shouldn't be an issue playing at high settings in games like Batman Arkham City).

Anyway, Tom's most recent benchmark for budget systems proved that the fx 4170 performs as well as Intel's i3 Ivy Bridge. It's up to you to pick the CPU since both of them don't stress themselves with cheap gpus. Anyway, both of their sockets are pretty much dead so don't bother getting a fancy mobo with the idea of buying a more expensive cpu later on.
a c 239 V Motherboard
October 21, 2012 11:00:21 PM

bambinobomber said:
The 550 ti is enough for that resolution, but you should try looking for a GTX 560 or even a GTX 560 SE, assuming that you want Physx (which shouldn't be an issue playing at high settings in games like Batman Arkham City).

Anyway, Tom's most recent benchmark for budget systems proved that the fx 4170 performs as well as Intel's i3 Ivy Bridge. It's up to you to pick the CPU since both of them don't stress themselves with cheap gpus. Anyway, both of their sockets are pretty much dead so don't bother getting a fancy mobo with the idea of buying a more expensive cpu later on.


Who knows what amd might bring, but today, socket 1155 with a Z77 based chipset can take a cpu as good as a 3570K, and I don't see anything likely much better from the upcoming haswell cpu's.
October 22, 2012 9:54:31 AM

Yes, I do want to run PhysX as well, as I want to run games on the best settings. Wouldn't 550 handle that?
a c 239 V Motherboard
October 22, 2012 12:07:56 PM

newn said:
Yes, I do want to run PhysX as well, as I want to run games on the best settings. Wouldn't 550 handle that?

With a $400 budget , I doubt that you can run at best settings.
To come as close as possible, spend as much as you can on the graphics card.
After all, why do people buy a GTX680 if all it takes for best settings is a GTX550?
October 22, 2012 3:00:39 PM

geofelt said:
With a $400 budget , I doubt that you can run at best settings.
To come as close as possible, spend as much as you can on the graphics card.
After all, why do people buy a GTX680 if all it takes for best settings is a GTX550?


Why would anyone buy a GTX 680 for 1440x900 gaming?

IMO go with the GTX 660. It's the best bang for the buck for low resolutions.
October 22, 2012 3:05:07 PM

Try to work that 660ti into your build. At lower resolutions it will run anything out there. There might be a better option though, I'm not that knowledgable of low res gaming price/value equations.
October 22, 2012 4:36:02 PM

trust me the hd7770 CAN max out any game at 1440*900 and get playable frame rates.
hell even my hd7750 can do that and i play at 1440*900 as well
so the suggestions for hd7870 is ridiculous.
even the gtx660 is overkill.
so i suggest you get a 7770 or at max a 7850 ( 7850 is great value and bit more future proof if you upgrade to 1080p in future)
as for cpu yup drop that fx-6100.
get the fx-4170 if you want amd or intel pentium G870 or G2120 if you want intel.
a decent H61 or H67 mobo is sufficient. i suggest the gigabyte H61 as it is an ULTRA DURABLE series mobo for cheap.
8gb ram is necessary these days
dont settle for 4gb
corsair cx430 for the psu.
October 22, 2012 4:39:03 PM

Don't use a case, that will shave off another $50 or some.
October 22, 2012 6:08:16 PM

squirrelonfire said:
Don't use a case, that will shave off another $50 or some.

exactly. no need of psu either. it will save power :bounce: 
!