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Any comments on this budget AMD build for a student/gamer?

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Last response: in Systems
November 6, 2012 7:22:50 AM

Hi everyone. I'm working on a budget gaming build for myself at the moment, and I would appreciate your input and advice. This is my first every build. I have posted other builds here, but this will be the first that I will actually have the funds to construct, as various financial problems have made previous builds unviable for me at this time. It will mainly be used for playing single player games like Skyrim and Dishonoured (which are the most recent titles I can think of), and will not be used for any FPS or multiplayer games. I am on a pretty strict budget, I only have about $1200 to spend, which includes all peripherals. It is also going to be my main writing and research machine for university (I study politics, lots of writing involved).

Processor: Phenom II 960T Black Edition ($138 @  3-net)

Graphics Card: Powercolor Radeon 7850 2GB ($199 @ PCCaseGear)

Sound Card: ASUS Xonar DGX ($35 @ PCCaseGear)

Memory: G.Skill Ares 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 ($45 @ @ PCCaseGear)

Motherboard: ASRock 970 Pro-3 $79 ($79 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: WD Caviar Blue 1TB ($82 @ PCCaseGear)

Optical Drive: Lite-On 24x DVDRW ($21 @ @ PCCaseGear)

Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 450w ($59 @ PCCaseGear)

Case: Antec One ($65 @ PCCaseGear)

Wireless Card: TP-Link 300Mbps ($21 @ PCCaseGear)

Monitor: AOC i2352VH 23in LED ($250 @ eBay)

Mouse: Razer Deathadder (already have one)

Keyboard: Das Keyboard Pro Model S cherry brown ($140 @ PCCaseGear)

Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250ohms ($230 @ somewhere)

Operating System: Linux Mint (for work) and Windows 7 (for play) (I already have a copy of win7)

As you can see I am investing fairly large portion of my budget in peripherals, because I don't see the point in having a nice computer if the modes of input and output are cheap and nasty. The expensive keyboard is nonoptional because I do a lot of typing and mechanical keyboards are the best thing thing for it. Other than that if you have a suggestion for a monitor or headphones that would be better at a similar price, please share it. The current monitor I have chosen is well reviewed and seems to be regarded as an excellent quality panel in a low quality housing, perfect for a budget builder. Keep in mind that this build is in no way for competitive gaming, or even online gaming for that matter, so things like response time and input lag are less of an issue for the monitor choice. It is all about picture quality. It is purely a computer for immersing myself in a single player environment while gaming.
As for the build itself, I am going with AMD because I am on a budget. I know some it is older generation technology (especially the processor), but I also know that the latest generation of AMD processors sucks for gaming, but from my research it seems that the Phenom II still holds up well for the money. Hopefully AMD brings out something more viable with its next round of processors, but if it doesn't I can always swap out the motherboard and processor for Intel at some point down the track, when I have a windfall. I plan to overclock the Phenom if performance starts to become an issue. Also, the first thing I will buy when I get some extra funds will be a Samsung 830 SSD (128GB) to use as a boot drive. I think the Radeon 7850 will be able to handle my quite modest gaming needs quite handily, although you may beg to differ (I encourage you to do so, and offer similarly-priced alternatives). The main things I am unsure about are the power supply, which may not have enough juice to run the thing, and the motherboard. I must admit that motherboards are the things I understand the least in the world of computer-building. Will this one support all my parts, and do everthing I need? I have no idea what is required to overclock the Phenom, but I hope this one will do the job. A final note, I am based in Australia (Tasmania actually) and therefore unable to access that excellent resource which is Newegg for my parts. I am pretty much limited to to PCCaseGear for most parts, and I would like to source from there as much as I can to keep my postage costs down.

So that is the sum of my progress, what do you all think?

More about : comments budget amd build student gamer

November 6, 2012 7:30:35 AM

If you don't mind a little risk, there are 27" monitors on eBay, and people seem to have overwhelmingly positive reviews for them (for the price) you run the risk of a few dead pixels, but in a background of 3.6 million, how easily do you think you will notice it? Most people don't seem to be getting anything at all wrong with these monitors, so they might be worth looking at.
*WARNING* if you get this monitor, your graphics card might not be enough to handle it at the settings you expect.

Also, the piledriver CPUs seem to be doing ok, though I don't know how they measure up to a phenom II X4.
I'll also be frank, intel CPUs beat our AMD CPUs, but they currently offer no easy upgrade path, so you will need a new motherboard if you get talked into going the intel route
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November 6, 2012 7:59:27 AM

No, there are advantages in games that burn through more than 1 gig of VRAM, and games can take a hefty hit in performance if you go through it all.
And I apologise for my signiture, I didn't think that would work, I was just experimenting, I will be changing it now.
November 6, 2012 8:19:48 AM

Thanks to both of you for your replies. From what I have read about GPU memory anything more than a gig is pretty much irrelevant in most games, but some modded games, especially ones with lots of user-added texture packs, can actually use it. That sounds like me, so I reckon I'll roll with 2GB. PCCaseGear isn't exactly giving me a choice on the matter anyhow. Good advice on getting the 7870, I'd be crazy not to for the money.

Also, thanks for bringing up the cheap 27" monitors on eBay. I had heard about them, but haven't looked into them too much. This is something I must rectify.

Woah. I'm feeling a little dizzy. That sig is intense.
November 6, 2012 8:22:06 AM

Def advantages to having 2GB in games such as BF3 when your playing on Ultra.

@Panzer4....that signature, had me staring for quite a bit, lol.
November 6, 2012 8:30:56 AM

You guys are just tempting me to keep it, but it would probably get immensley irritating after a while though. I think I'll keep it and change it tomorrow ^_^ to bad it won't be nearly as interesting.

On topic: overall that now looks like a pretty decent build, though you will probably want to upgrade your CPU to something better pretty soon. If you want good performance now and don't mind a lack of easy upgrade path you could splurge ~100$ extra for a core i5, but I don't know if that would be suitable for you.
As it is right now though, that build looks pretty nice, and your not gonna get much more refined, unless you changed monitors.
November 6, 2012 8:52:29 AM

Just as an alternative.... I would probably recommend an intel I3 based rig for better gaming performance and lower power consumption compare to the 960T. Should be nice for your kind of usage. Plus you could always upgrade to an I5 or I7 later on.

Processor: Intel Core I3-3200 - $122

Motherboard: Asus P8B75-M - $75

Power Supply: Seasonic S12II 430W 80plus Bronze - $75

and you can keep everything else.... all within the same budget. The Seasonic 430W should be plenty enough to run an i5-3570 and an HD7950 at full load, should you wish to upgrade in the future. newer tech just don't consume much power compare to back then. it's freaking quiet too (I have the 520W version).
November 6, 2012 9:14:06 AM

Can understand the emphasis on peripherals, they will likely last longer than the build so getting good ones is important.
But I dont see why you would spend $230 on a headset, especially paired with a $30 sound card. I suspect you wont be getting the full potential of them with such a low end card. Would downgrade that to a ~$100 headset (I have a Razer Carcharias and love them if you want a suggestion) so you can get a modern Piledriver CPU like an 8350.

Also this monitor, is $45 cheaper and is the same size and spec (better in the response times actually).
November 6, 2012 9:33:06 AM

You might want to take a look at this review. The FX-6300 is quite capable, beating an X4 980BE in some game tests. Mostly it looks like it slots in between i3's and i5's, easily beating i3's in everthing that is not a game and also performing quite respectably for games. Next years FX refresh is going to be great as well.

Keep in mind the new FX processors support newer x86 instructions that the X4's don't have, so as software adopts those instructions it will get faster.

BTW, I have an FX-8350@4.7 on my main Linux box and it flies!