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~$500 Gaming PC build

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December 12, 2012 1:44:26 AM

Looking to build something in the $500 (maybe $100-$200 more) range for Skyrim and Chivalry (don't know too many other PC games I like as I'm just getting into it right now). May use it for bitcoins, so a motherboard with multiple PCI slots would be nice so I can run multiple video cards. What do you guys suggest/use? This is what I have so far, but I'd really like to cut down on price without losing too much performance if I can.

Intel Build (The i5 is $200, not $169 as there is no microcenter near me)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($201.97 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT LEXA S (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.98 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $685.79
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-11 22:28 EST-0500)

AMD Build

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($69.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($78.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($201.97 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT LEXA S (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.98 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $674.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-11 22:43 EST-0500)

More about : 500 gaming build

December 12, 2012 3:04:07 AM

Neither one of these rigs will need 750W unless you plan to Crossfire. In that case, its a good idea. I personally like the first one, but I would go with a different processor unless you plan to overclock.
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December 12, 2012 3:52:26 AM

I'm not planning on overclocking, but the i5 has been recommended as top of the line for gaming. Why do you recommend that use a different processor?

I'm planning on using Crossfire, can you suggest a motherboard that will allow me to do so without raising the price too much? Also, how do I know that the motherboard wont bottleneck the CPU/GPU?
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December 12, 2012 4:29:08 AM

I guess I'm a little confused. How is the 3470 better than the 3570k even without overclocking?

Also, are there any boards that are cheaper than that one that won't affect my performance too much? I'm looking to crossfire but I think a 2.0 PCI slot will do fine, instead of two 3.0 slots. I'd be getting the second GPU from a friend and I'm fairly certain it's a 2.0.

This is what I've updated to (again, i5 is $200, not $169):

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3P Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($63.91 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT LEXA S (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.98 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $727.73
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-12 01:30 EST-0500)

Sorry for all the annoying first timer questions!
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December 12, 2012 4:33:54 AM

The thing that makes the i5 superior is the architecture of the core, not the core clock. The 3470 is by no means better, but it suits your needs better. Having a 3570K on a B75 board is like having a turbo for your car strapped to the passenger seat.

Also, you can only Crossfire cards of the same series. Like the 7870 can only be Crossfired with a 7870 or 7850.
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December 12, 2012 4:46:02 AM

Ah, I think I get it now. Say if I were to upgrade to that Z77 board, I'd be able to crossfire two 7850/7870 cards but also NOT have turbo strapped to my proverbial passenger seat. Would crossfiring two cards on one 2.0 and one 3.0 be TERRIBLE, or just not as efficient?
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December 12, 2012 4:49:39 AM

Its not terrible since the 7870 can't use up the 2.0's bandwidth anyways Only when you're talking dual 7990 or dual 690 is that an issue
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December 12, 2012 5:00:11 AM

I am thinking that that board runs at x16/x4 speed, which is not the best speed to have cards running at. It would work, but not be optimal. You want a board that is x8/x8 at least if you are running Crossfire.
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December 12, 2012 5:10:14 AM

Ok, but it would still be optimal for 1 card, yes? Man, this build has gone from ~$500 to ~$800.
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December 12, 2012 5:21:52 AM

It would be fine for one card, yes.
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December 12, 2012 5:26:04 AM

Awesome! Thanks for all the help, it's much appreciated. I think I'll go with this then:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($84.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT LEXA S (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.98 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $748.80
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-12 02:24 EST-0500)
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December 12, 2012 8:49:22 PM

^yep that build looks very good
Have fun building it!
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!