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[Build Review] Gaming build

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December 9, 2012 2:32:18 AM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rAAp

This is my first time building a PC, and so I was hoping someone with more experience in this area could review it and possibly offer suggestions on improvement. I'll be using it mostly for gaming, and would like to keep it at around the price it is right now ($800-$900).

Anyway, I welcome all feedback. Thanks!
a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2012 4:10:13 AM

Alright, I'll give you two suggestions. One AMD option as well as an Intel option. Here ya go...

Intel Build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($33.99 @ Mac Mall)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($51.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $878.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-10 15:59 EST-0500)

AMD Build:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $782.30
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-09 01:08 EST-0500)

Obviously, the Intel build will yield better performance. However, the AMD build is cheaper and will give you similar performance in real world applications. The AMD build will also allow you easily get a 128gb SSD if loading times are a factor. I personally do not care about loading times; raw performance in games is more my thing. I see the SSD as being a luxury rather than a necessity.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I hope this helps; good luck!
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December 9, 2012 4:51:16 AM

Thank you both for the input! I probably should have mentioned this in my first post, but I already own the HDD that I have listed in my build, and I'm also not really planning on overclocking initially, so I was hoping to skip on buying an aftermarket cooler, at least initially.

I do have one request: Could you perhaps break down why exactly you chose the parts you chose? I'm not trying to be a burden, I simply want to understand this. I guess I'm mostly just wondering about the PSU, GPU, case, and RAM. I noticed both of you only included a total of 8GB of RAM...Would 16GB, as I had in my initial build, be overkill?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2012 6:25:18 AM

Ah, sorry about that. I typically go on a copy and paste spree and never really bother to explain why, lol.

Well, a 500w PSU will handle a modern CPU + single GPU setup. You also want to make sure the PSU is 80+ certified as well as manufactured by a reputable company. Seasonic, XFX, Corsair, Antec just to name a few are among some of the most reliable brands.

As for the GPU, I chose the HD 7950 simply because your budget could handle it. I'm not exactly sure what games you'll be playing, but this thing can handle Battlefield 3 on Ultra at 60 fps at a resolution of 1920x1080. It's a beasty graphics card with huge overclocking potential. If you're an nvidia fan, feel free to switch this out for a GTX 660 Ti or a GTX 670. You could also switch this out for a HD 7870 if you feel that this is too much power for your needs.

As for the case, I just chose something that looked aesthetically pleasing and had decent airflow. The HAF 912 easily meets those standards and then some. It's fairly spacious and can hold all your components. If you want a different case, feel free to change it. This is a personal decision, and you should take your time making this decision since you will be the one that has to stare at this machine each and every day.

I chose 8gb of RAM simply because anything more is overkill. Games barely use up 4gb of RAM these days. 16gb of RAM is used more in things such as video editing/rendering. If you feel you're budget can handle it, go for 16gb. You won't notice a performance difference in games though.

Also, I highly recommend you grab an aftermarket heatsink. Overclocking can easily net you a 15-25% boost in performance...possibly even more. Besides, the cooler is only a mere $30. If not for overclocking, you can at least do your computer the favor of ditching those shitty stock coolers that are packaged with the Intel and AMD CPUs. The Hyper 212 Evo will keep your CPU much cooler.
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December 10, 2012 2:44:17 AM

Hey, no worries haha. I'm just glad you're helping at all. I really appreciate this.

My one real problem with the PSU you suggested is that it isn't modular, which I've read can be very helpful with cable management. Is the modularity of the PSU I had not worth the extra money? Or did you choose your PSU for the extra 50W?

As for the GPU, my mistake, haha. I didn't realize that the one you posted was simply a better model. What you say makes sense (who doesn't like more raw gaming power?), and so I'll probably be changing my build to reflect that. Thanks!

As for the RAM: understood. I can always upgrade to 16 later when necessary, but I get it that there's no real reason to have that much right now. I shall stick with 8GB.

Is it feasible to add in an aftermarket heatsink after the build is already completed? If not, I'll consider adding the one you mention, but otherwise I'd like to wait and add it in at a later point.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 10, 2012 6:57:29 PM

Well, a modular PSU can be helpful. But I personally wouldn't be willing to spend extra money on something that could be taken care of with a few zip ties. I don't mind doing a little extra work to save some cash. This is entirely up to you. You're more than welcome to grab a modular PSU. Here's a suggestion...

PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 500W ATX Modular Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=65318&vpn=PPCMK3S500&m...

Yes, it is feasible to add an aftermarket heatsink later. You can use the stock heatsink instead. It'll be more than enough at stock clocks, but you won't be able to overclock with the stock heatsink. Just keep that in mind; otherwise, you're prone to frying your CPU.
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December 11, 2012 3:08:16 AM

Alright, thanks for the info. I'll probably go with the one you originally suggested.

I think I'm also going to just get a heatsink later, if and when I decide to overclock.

Anyway, here's the final (for now) build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rW8S

Any final thoughts?

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a b 4 Gaming
December 11, 2012 3:25:39 AM

Looks like your gonna have one fine ass gaming rig. :) 

Enjoy your new toy and have fun building it. :D 

If you'd rather save some cash and just not bother with overclocking, you could go with a i5 3450. It'll yield similar performance to that of a i5 3570k at stock.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($140.41 @ eCost)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($51.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $934.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-11 00:28 EST-0500)
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December 11, 2012 4:36:59 PM

Thanks for all your help man!

Edit: I'd still like to have the option to overclock at a later date, so I think I'll still get the 3570k.
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!