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Budget Gaming Rig-Advice

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December 11, 2012 9:45:13 PM

Okay, I am building my first ever PC and need some advice as to how I can possibly save money without detrimenting performance and compatibility.

OC'ing: I will likely not OC due to my badly lacking knowledge on it, but I want a z77 mobo to keep the option open in the future.

Website: www.wootware.co.za

Uses: Mainly gaming, school work, internet browsing and movies etc.

Note: please provide reason and possibly sources for your advice.

• CPU: Intel i5-3570k 3.4hgz
• Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 or MSi z77a-G45 or Asrock Pro4/MVP z77 or ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Performance
• MSI R7870 HAWK+ Far cry 3 bundle
• HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB
• Case: Antec 200 V2, black, no PSU
• RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x4gb DDR3-1600mhz Desktop Memory-
• Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 Internal SATA 24x Super-Multi DVD Rewriter
• PSU: Silverstone SST-ST60F-ES Strider Essential 600W 80 Plus Certified Desktop PSU
• Network Adapter: D-Link DWA-566 Wireless N300 Dual Band PCI-E Desktop Adapter

Monitor: Samsung 21.5" Full HD LED monitor
December 11, 2012 9:56:54 PM

Your list is very reasonable.

For the motherboard, pick the cheapest Z77 based motherboard that you can find. Yhey are all good and will do the job. No need for an expensive enthusiast motherboard.
I might even look at a M-ATX size if it is cheaper.

One good place to save is on the case.
I like the quality of Antec cases. But an Antec 100 or similar will work just as well.

Try to find a place in your budget for a 120gb SSD. That will hold the os and a handful of games. Possibly you could defer the hard drive.
If your ssd is 180gb or 240gb, you may never need a hard drive at all.
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December 12, 2012 7:14:48 AM

Sorry for the late respone, I was sleeping. With the motherboards, I have cut my options down to theMSI Z77A-G43 and the Asrock z77 pro4.

On the matter of the case, what do you think is the best one for for ~$50?

I don't think I can fit an SSD in my budget right now, but there's always the future
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December 12, 2012 8:06:25 AM

I think the best case for $50 is probably the Elite 430. Looks snazzy, and has a nice window too.

Look, I would get a normal ATX motherboard to open up the chance of potentially crossfiring in the future. Maybe push up that power supply to a good 650 W (Corsair, XFX, Seasonic, Rosewill, Antec and Silverstone are all good makers. Select OCZ ones are good too.)

Good pick on the graphics card too, they are good options for crossfiring later. A perfect balance of performance, and cooling.

http://www.wootware.co.za/antec-vp650p-650w-power-suppl...

This is the PSU I recommend. Cheaper than the one you picked too.


The Asrock Z77 Extreme4 is a great board, I have it and I love it. It lacks a little bit in quality though, being 3 mm thinner, and not using standard atx screwholes. I don't recommend it for that reason, as some parts of the board flex when you plug in things.)

This is the board I recommend.

http://www.wootware.co.za/gigabyte-ga-z77x-ud3h-lga1155...

Its not too much more than a Extreme4. You really can't go wrong with either one.

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December 12, 2012 8:41:08 AM

I don't want to spend a lot extra on the mobo so I think it's between the Extreme4 and the Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H. These are both Tom's hardware approved (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z77-express-ivy-bri...) so it's a tough decision. I'd just like to hear your opinions.

I will be taking that antec PSU, good deal there. Thanks for finding it :) .

Regarding the case I think the Antec 200 v2 is best wit 2 fans. but is its lack of USB3.0 on the front I/O a deal breaker?
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December 12, 2012 11:52:05 AM

Also if you're going to link components, preferably provide links from wootware or newegg
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December 12, 2012 1:30:40 PM

brbk said:
I don't want to spend a lot extra on the mobo so I think it's between the Extreme4 and the Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H. These are both Tom's hardware approved (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z77-express-ivy-bri...) so it's a tough decision. I'd just like to hear your opinions.

I will be taking that antec PSU, good deal there. Thanks for finding it :) .

Regarding the case I think the Antec 200 v2 is best wit 2 fans. but is its lack of USB3.0 on the front I/O a deal breaker?


I have used both asrock and gigabyte, both are good.
Pick the cheapest.

Antec makes good psu's.
Here is a list tiered by psu quality:
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx
Pick a tier 1 or tier 2 unit from the list.
And... to help your psu selection, here is a handy list of what is recommended for various graphics card configurations:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

Antec 200 is a very good case. The only difference between the v2 and the cheaper 200 is a 2.5" hot swap front bay vs. a 3.5" bay. Not very useful to most, I think.
In particular, I like the washable front air filters on antec cases. It keeps dust out of your case.

If you will be reguarly plugging a usb 3.0 device, like a backup drive into the front, then usb 3.0 is useful.
But mostly, it is not really that useful. Usb 2.0 is fine for most peripherals that don't need fast transfers like backups.
But Z77 motherboards will all have a rear panel usb 3.0 port.
That is where I keep my usb 3.0 backup drive plugged. I only turn it on when it is backup time.

I do not think planning for sli is a great idea if you will be gaming on a single monitor where a good single graphics card will do the job.

Here is my canned rant on that:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single gtx690 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX680 only needs a 550w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 620w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
The GTX780 and amd 8000 series are not that far off.
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------
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December 12, 2012 2:10:13 PM

Geofelt thanks a lot for that informative post. However, I wasn't planning ahead for SLi or xfire :p .

In regards to the PSU, I am leaning towards http://www.wootware.co.za/xfx-proseries-p1-550s-xxb9-co..., however it isn't listed in any of those tiers. It's got a 80+bronze power rating and is 550W and I think that should suit the MSI R7870 Hawk.

EDIT: Also monetary issues have become a mcuh larger problem so I have decided to go with the MSI z77a-G43 :/ , what do you think of that. Might have to downgrade to a 750gb HDD aswell. Sacrifices must be made to reach my final goal of a quality gaming computer at an affordable price. Sadly my country doesn't like shipping

EDIT: Maybe h77 over z77? Windows 8 vs 7, 8 is cheaper
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December 12, 2012 3:42:33 PM

brbk said:
Geofelt thanks a lot for that informative post. However, I wasn't planning ahead for SLi or xfire :p .

In regards to the PSU, I am leaning towards http://www.wootware.co.za/xfx-proseries-p1-550s-xxb9-co..., however it isn't listed in any of those tiers. It's got a 80+bronze power rating and is 550W and I think that should suit the MSI R7870 Hawk.

EDIT: Also monetary issues have become a mcuh larger problem so I have decided to go with the MSI z77a-G43 :/ , what do you think of that. Might have to downgrade to a 750gb HDD aswell. Sacrifices must be made to reach my final goal of a quality gaming computer at an affordable price. Sadly my country doesn't like shipping

EDIT: Maybe h77 over z77? Windows 8 vs 7, 8 is cheaper



XFX is a quality brand. I think Seasonic makes their psu's. I would not hesitate to buy the unit you listed.

I see no problem with the MSI z77a-G43 .
It seems to be the cheapest Z77 based motherboard around.
It has been around for a while, so any new motherboard bios issues will have been resolved.
With a 3570K you do not want anything but a Z77 based motherboard. It is needed for overclocking. H77 will not do it.
I hesitate to sauggest that concieveably, an older P68 gen3 motherboard would do if you can find one significantly cheaper, and if the bios has been updated to support ivy bridge.

I would stay away from windows 8. I tried it and hated it.
I am certain one could get used to it, but there is little advantage to it, othat perhaps than faster boot times.
The cheaper versions labelled windows 8 pro are really update versions. There is no such label on the box, which I tink is somewhat deceptive.
Look for a windows 7 upgrade box. It costs the same as oem, but is considered as retail and can do a clean install.

Since budget is anissue, perhaps you could consider a different strategy.
Now, your budget is for a 3570K@2359, and a 7870@2699, totalling 5058.
Since gaming is more dependent on the graphics card than the cpu, perhaps you could reallocate your budget and go with a i3-3220@1238 and a GTX660ti@3360.
You will game better, and save 460 off of your current budget.
You will have the option later to sell the i3-3220 and replace it with a 3570K if you start to play games that are more truly multi core and cpu dependent. BF3 multiplayer might be one example.
Read this on <$200 gaming cpu's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
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December 12, 2012 7:40:43 PM

Hmmm, decisions. If I can be assured that this is the best bang for buck machine in regards to price vs performance then I will stick with the i5+7870. The far cry 3 is quite the incentive paired with the fact that it's already on sale. Should I take it?
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December 12, 2012 7:58:50 PM

The 660ti isn't tiered high enough from the 7870 to be considered a major benefit. I would stick with the i5 3570k..
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December 12, 2012 8:15:37 PM

JJ1217 said:
The 660ti isn't tiered high enough from the 7870 to be considered a major benefit. I would stick with the i5 3570k..


Well, I thought that also, based on Tom's heirarchy chart.
But, I read this review comparing a GTX660ti which compared well to a 7950.
In particular, I was impressed by the work they did to measure the consistency of response times compared to the usual fps averages and average minimums
http://techreport.com/review/23981/radeon-hd-7950-vs-ge...
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December 12, 2012 8:20:20 PM

What it seems like is the 660ti offers a couple extra fps over the 7870 however, in my particular case, the price difference is so substantial that they the 7870 is far better. In my case, subtracting far cry 3 from the 7870's price it is actually cheaper than the gtx660 so...also word is that the new Radeon drivers add a lot of performance

EDIT: Is there any point of getting a 300mb/s network adapter, it's not like my internet's is going to run at that speed

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December 12, 2012 8:35:12 PM

brbk said:
What it seems like is the 660ti offers a couple extra fps over the 7870 however, in my particular case, the price difference is so substantial that they the 7870 is far better. In my case, subtracting far cry 3 from the 7870's price it is actually cheaper than the gtx660 so...also word is that the new Radeon drivers add a lot of performance

EDIT: Is there any point of getting a 300mb/s network adapter, it's not like my internet's is going to run at that speed


If the access point your wireless card will connect to supports 300mb/s, then I woul spend the extra.
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December 13, 2012 9:09:17 AM

I am probably going to pull the trigger today, however I am second guessing my choice in regards to compatibility. I'd like to be assured it's all compatible. Also I am not 100% on my choice of PSU, what do you think

• CPU: Intel i5-3570k 3.4hgz
• Mobo: MSi z77a-G43
• MSI R7870 HAWK+ Far cry 3 bundle
• HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB
• Case: Antec 200 V2, black, no PSU
• RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x4gb DDR3-1600mhz Desktop Memory-
• Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 Internal SATA 24x Super-Multi DVD Rewriter
• PSU: XFX ProSeries P1-550S-XXB9 Core Edition 550W 80 Plus Bronze Certified Desktop PSU
• Network Adapter: D-Link DWA-566 Wireless N300 Dual Band PCI-E Desktop Adapter

Also going with windows 7 home premium, kaspersky internet security and microsoft office
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December 13, 2012 8:24:40 PM

brbk said:
I am probably going to pull the trigger today, however I am second guessing my choice in regards to compatibility. I'd like to be assured it's all compatible. Also I am not 100% on my choice of PSU, what do you think

• CPU: Intel i5-3570k 3.4hgz
• Mobo: MSi z77a-G43
• MSI R7870 HAWK+ Far cry 3 bundle
• HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB
• Case: Antec 200 V2, black, no PSU
• RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x4gb DDR3-1600mhz Desktop Memory-
• Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 Internal SATA 24x Super-Multi DVD Rewriter
• PSU: XFX ProSeries P1-550S-XXB9 Core Edition 550W 80 Plus Bronze Certified Desktop PSU
• Network Adapter: D-Link DWA-566 Wireless N300 Dual Band PCI-E Desktop Adapter

Also going with windows 7 home premium, kaspersky internet security and microsoft office

PSU is very good.

Why not use Microsoft security essentials?
It is unobtruseve, well supported, and... free.
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December 13, 2012 8:47:49 PM

Microsoft Security Essentials + Free version of Malwarebytes to scan anything you download (You have to do this yourself) is one of the best combinations in my opinion.
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