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$700-$800 Gaming build focused on Skyrim and Vindictus

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December 8, 2012 2:07:37 AM

Purchase Date: Within the next three months hopefully...

Budget Range: Between $700-$800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet, Watching HD 1080p movies

Parts Not Required: PSU (OCZ OCZ-ZT550W ZT Series ATX Modular Power Supply - 550W, 80 Plus Bronze, 140mm Fan, Active PFC), GPU (Nvidia Geforce GTX 460 1GB), Optical Drive

Monitor(HP 2009m), Speakers, Mouse, Keyboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, Tiger direct, in that order.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I don't really know enough to have a note worthy preference, but I kinda like what I've heard about Intel.

Overclocking: No I don't feel safe doing that.

SLI or Crossfire: I have no idea what that is.

Monitor Resolution: I think the native resolution is 1600 x 900

Additional Comments: I would prefer it to run quietly, but I'm not willing to spend a lot for it. Also is a hard drive cooler it and would I really need one?

Parts I'm looking at:

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-8GBZL

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium ( is Windows 8 good for gaming?)

HDD: TOSHIBA DT01ACA200 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I feel I should note that I am using the PSU and GPU from another computer where I bricked (I'm absolutely sick about that) the HDD and MOBO. So I have the cables and stuff and could probably sell the RAM and CPU to help fund this.

This build should be able to play games like Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Vindictus.

Here is my wishlist with the parts I have been looking at so far:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

If anybody has any ideas or advice on how I could get the most bang for my buck or maybe another part that is a little cheaper please tell me as well as any difference between the recommended part and the one I have posted.

Thank you so much for any help any of you can give me!!
December 8, 2012 2:18:47 AM

Change the ram for 2x4GB and not 4x2GB, you'll have more room to add in the future, see this ram : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (cheaper and a good one)

Change the hdd for a 2TB Seagate 7200rpm(it's better) :
http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST2000DM001-Barracuda-3-5...

You won't need cooling for the hdd.
And you can change the mobo for http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... it's cheaper and has a lot of features.
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December 8, 2012 2:53:40 AM

i would sell your 460 to someone poor and upgrade that instead.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($79.52 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $674.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-07 23:53 EST-0500)

cheaper and should run a better than an i5 3570k+460
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December 8, 2012 3:41:31 AM

boulbox said:
i would sell your 460 to someone poor and upgrade that instead.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($79.52 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $674.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-07 23:53 EST-0500)

cheaper and should run a better than an i5 3570k+460


This is probably a stupid question but does that motherboard use VGA cables? Is that what the serial/com port is? My monitor can only use VGA and DVI cables...
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December 8, 2012 4:00:11 AM

you won't need to use VGA cables on the motherboard if you use the graphics card instead.

the graphics card has no VGA plug(not used much) and has 2 DVI plugs(better quality than VGA)
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December 8, 2012 4:14:34 AM

While you'll see an improvement by upgrading your system, the graphics card is still your primary bottleneck.

I do agree that the best value in a gaming rig (higher end) is based on:
- i5-3570K
- Z77/1155
- 8GB DDR3

So if your budget doesn't allow yet for a better graphics card I do recommend you still go ahead with this build and buy a much better graphics card when you have the funds.

Which graphics card?
It's a weird time to buy. Some of the more expensive cards have free game coupons. My current recommend is a GTX670 which is $360 but comes with two games ($100 value) so the card is really $260.

The following card is my pick because:
a) overall great value
b) new design is very quiet

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX670 vs GTX460:
It's hard to find a benchmark to compare. If I had to guess, I'd say the GTX670 would get rougly 3x the frame rate (would vary a lot) in a good system with no CPU bottlenecks (i5-3570K). For example, whereas a game might max out quality at about 65FPS (and synched to 60FPS) you might get only 22FPS with the 460. Obviously you'd lower the quality.

SKYRIM in particular:
Skyrim will run fairly well with the new rig and GTX460. Two points:
1) don't install the HD texture pack with that card
2) Tweak your settings carefully to achieve 60FPS if possible

I had an HD5870 which I'm guessing is similar to the GTX460 and I could run Skyrim at 60FPS with high quality. The HD texture pack had a huge hit though so I removed it (until I got my GTX680).
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December 8, 2012 4:28:14 AM

@Boulbox

I apologize for the stupid question. It didn't even occur to me that I would be using the ports on the graphics card instead. lol I have been at this for about 7 hours now so I'm a little brain dead right now :) 

@Everyone else

So it seems that my GTX 460 must be retired hmm? I should be able to get a little bit out of it though, so that'll help.

All right here's my current build going off of Boulbox earlier suggestion

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rrm8

It's only about fifty bucks more and it had double the HDD space and different (and hopefully better) case. Also I'm still stuck between Windows 7 or 8. I mean I've heard a lot about 7 but not a lot about 8. I just don't want to go through another Vista phase y'know?
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Best solution

December 8, 2012 3:11:32 PM

For the love of god, don't go with the fx-6300, see this : http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...


If needed a gfx card upgrade, go with the i5-3470 and a z75 board, you don't plan to overclock nor you care about sli :

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($82.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $704.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

And the os will be better with the windows 7 64 bits, i woudn't go for the windows 8, and it sells less on outlet pc(trusted vendor site).
Or if you don't need a new card subtract 200$ from the build and stays at 500$
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December 8, 2012 3:40:43 PM

djangoringo said:
For the love of god, don't go with the fx-6300, see this : http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...


If needed a gfx card upgrade, go with the i5-3470 and a z75 board, you don't plan to overclock nor you care about sli :

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($82.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $704.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

And the os will be better with the windows 7 64 bits, i woudn't go for the windows 8, and it sells less on outlet pc(trusted vendor site).
Or if you don't need a new card subtract 200$ from the build and stays at 500$


you point out not to get fx 6300 and you go with a locked i5 which is more expensive than an fx 6300 and doesnt have a whole lot more performance increase? very smart indeed

you are pretty much saying "go with intel for $50 more and you will have a +5 fps increase"

not to mention 660 is not even that great, a 7870/ghz will wipe the floor with it and can trade blows with 660 Ti while being about $50 cheaper than it
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December 8, 2012 3:44:11 PM

Also @OP

i would change the case to something like this one
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-case-300r

just has a better quality build than rosewill and if you really want the LED fans you can just put some on(i would rather try to fit inside with a low profile and sleek look)
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December 8, 2012 3:57:46 PM

He doesn't need an i5-3570k (he states that he doesn't plan to overclock) , the i5-3470 is much better overall performance vs fx-6300, not just in gaming, when he needs another card, in the future that amd cpu will bottleneck if needed another powerful next series card, and it draws much more power which in the future it means the cheaper cpu will be the i5 not the fx-6300 see this :

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...

And there are problems with that 970 chipset, cause some have to update the bios in order to run piledriver cpus(some may have the bios update shipped, but it is a risk)
Now for the 660 gtx, the 7870 doesn't mop the floor, in fact there is little gain from the 7870 vs 660 gtx less than 5%, the 660 gtx overclocks well and it has better drivers, more features and more percentile fps.
He can also stay with his 460 gtx, which isn't bad card for those games, and in the next year with the arrival of the new amd gpus,(8xxx series) buy a mid-end card, and just spend ~500$.
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December 8, 2012 6:25:04 PM

7870 overclocks like a beast and its not less than 5% if its on par with the 660 Ti.

the new drivers do mop the floor with 660 and most of the features for Nvidia are gimmicks like PhysX which can be activated for AMD not to mention not a whole lot of games will have PhysX and if you do play games with PhysX you won't notice it much when you are induced in action. also performance per dollar, Fx 6300 beats i5 3470

Also when you said "when he needs another card" i just laughed when you had a build that couldnt even use 2 cards. I say to use AMD for the low budget build which beats intel's low budget build.

I would recommend an i5 if his budget was bigger but his budget is considerable low and might as well try to fit in the best graphics card while having a fair CPU because most of the performance is going to come from the GPU anyways.

TL;DR
fx 6300+ 7870 Ghz> i5 3470 + 660
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December 8, 2012 6:42:00 PM

You're wrong but won't admit it, like i said with that board there is a high chance that the fx-6300 won't work due to the need of a bios update.
The i5-3470 is better in any possible way than the fx-6300, i said if in the future, if he wants another card, imagine like the new series amd or nvidia (8 or 9 series, 7 or 8 etc, just an e.g.) that cpu will bottleneck, is less "future proof" and doesn't support pcie 3.0 for those future cards(for better performance), wa not saying for a sli setup.
The the question of price, the i5 is more expensive than the amd cpu, but the amd cpu consumes almost the double of the power, in the long run, the electrical bills will more than payoff with the i5.
Again you're wrong the nvidia drivers also have new drivers, with much more performance gain, like the 310.70 or 310.64, when you say mop the floor i expect you say more than 10% more performance than a 660 gtx, when it doesn't get it.
And the i5-3470 you'll get more performance vs fx 6300 than a 660 gtx vs 7870.
I can say that a i5-3470+660 gtx outperforms the fx-6300+7870, with less power drawn.

See proof : http://tpucdn.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_Performanc...


3% more than the 660 gtx, with new drivers, and that was with older nvidia drivers, the 660 gtx overclock very well, has better features, some of them not gimmicks as you say.
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December 8, 2012 11:36:48 PM

OP here.

If it makes any difference the only reason I said no to overclocking anything is because I don't know how to overclock anything.

I'm not saying "absolutely not" to overclocking, just not right now. I might want to in the future. IS it particularly difficult or dangerous?

Also I would like room for upgrades in the future. Mainly RAM (8GB is good now, but I'm sure that eventually we will need more) and GPU I suppose as well as HDD eventually.

So far there is only a twenty dollar difference between these two:

Intel Build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ruoK

AMD Build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rrm8

Honestly I'm kind of leaning towards the AMD right now.

Also I like the Blackhawk case more because of the number of fans and the USB 3.0 than anything. I have had a computer overheat and ruin it before I'm not risking it happening again.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 9, 2012 12:23:57 AM

The corsair 200r has the same number of usb 3.0, it's a good case for it's price, it's a sober design but what counts is the quality :

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/corsair_carbide...
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Corsair-Carbide-...
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/corsair_carbide_20...

I recommend you going intel, no matter what gpu you choose, it will be better in terms of performance/power consumption and future like the pcie 3.0 support, and like i said there is a chance that you'll need to update the bios with that motherboard with a non-piledriver cpu in order to flash the bios, if not it will probably do a reboot loop with fx-6300
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December 9, 2012 1:31:11 AM

What exactly is a "piledriver cpu"?
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December 9, 2012 2:32:21 AM

So here is the current build for both Intel and AMD

AMD: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rrm8

Intel: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rAyR

Both are within my price range. Intel is only about twenty bucks more, but I can deal with twenty bucks.

Now my next question is what is the best fan placement for the Blackhawk. If i have all 8 fans installed, which should be intake and which should be exhaust?

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December 9, 2012 2:36:41 AM

smoats said:
So here is the current build for both Intel and AMD

AMD: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rrm8

Intel: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rAyR

Both are within my price range. Intel is only about twenty bucks more, but I can deal with twenty bucks.

Now my next question is what is the best fan placement for the Blackhawk. If i have all 8 fans installed, which should be intake and which should be exhaust?


Do you like black hawk that much?

getting something like 200R is a much better build and you can just add LED fans if you really want to make your case have them
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December 9, 2012 3:14:19 AM

boulbox said:
Do you like black hawk that much?

getting something like 200R is a much better build and you can just add LED fans if you really want to make your case have them


I honestly could not care less about led fans lol.

My bad I thought that the 200r only had 5 fans, but after doing a comparison it seems it actually has 8 depending on hdd configuration.

My question is where are they? I can't seem to pinpoint them from the pictures. Are they in the same places as the Blackhawk's? Would they sufficiently cool either of the builds?



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December 9, 2012 3:33:55 AM
December 9, 2012 4:12:42 AM

I prefer a kind of low hum for fan noise. Do you happen to know how many fans the 200r comes with and what size they are?
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December 9, 2012 4:19:25 AM

2 fans come with 200R and they are 120mm

here is a video going around the basics of it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkuBK9jSvIE

here is a review of it if you would like to read
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Corsair-Carbide-...

there are 5 120/140 mounts and 3 120mm

also some other cases to choose

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/thermaltake-case-vo30006n2...

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/antec-case-one

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-case-sgc1000...

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-case-300r
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December 17, 2012 3:58:41 PM
December 18, 2012 3:21:31 AM

I think I'm on the home stretch now.

I've got most everything figured out. I guess I'm gonna hold off on the GPU now and stick with my GTX 460.

Since I saved myself about $220 by not buying a new GPU I sprung for the i5-3570 instead of the i5-3470, but is it really worth the extra fifteen bucks?

The only difference I'm seeing is in the GHZ: 3.2 for the 3470 and 3.4 for the 3570. Also since I'm not overclocking should I worry about getting an aftermarket cooler or just stick with the one that comes with the CPU?

The last thing is the case. I'm not overclocking so I think the Fractal design define R4 should work fine.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 38566&SID=

But would the Cooler Master HAF XM be worth the extra thirty bucks?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am planning on using as many fans as it comes with regardless of which case I get, so the fans price is something I have to consider.

Current Build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/t1rL
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December 25, 2012 1:54:34 AM

Best answer selected by smoats.
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