Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Reccomendation on extremely cost-effective office/gaming build

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 13, 2012 5:29:15 PM

Here's the Skinny. My brother in law had shown interest in building a PC as an xmas present to himself. I offered to help him as i'm pretty familiar with the parts/cost/deployment of windows based office and gaming machines.

I drummed him up an intel-based tower to the tune of 600 bucks, patted myself on the back and called it a day.

A few days later he called asking me if he could just buy a Dell (lol) and upgrade that. I said "Theoretically, yeah, but it's not really the same, why would you consider that"

To which he responds "My wife keeps insisting that her parents only spent 300 dollars on their computer"

Avoiding the obvious (the apples and oranges argument) he wanted to know if there was any way we could build a simple machine now and upgrade it for the future to do what he wants/needs to do later.

I had originally quoted him a B75 board, (MSI branded) an i3-3220, 8GB G.SKILL RAM and an ATI 7850. To cut costs I have an old screen, KB/M and case he can use.

I could trim some fat and get that build down to maybe 500 bucks, but 300 would be fairly unreasonable, so as I see it, here are my options.


1-Find a B75 board, get the i3-3220 anyways and let him run with the HD 2500 graphics (Should at least get his foot in the door) until he or I (more hand me downs) can get a better video card. This should reduce the cost to about 350, which may be doable.

2-Get an absolute bare-bones build (celeron dual core or pentium 860, 4GB RAM, no video card, but decent motherboard that supports Ivy Bridge) and tell him "It will cost you more in the long run, but you can at least use this for internet and java/flash games in the meantime." and upgrade him as the money comes. I figure this could easily be done for the 300 he specifies, and possibly go even lower to 250 or so, but of course you get what you pay for, and it will cost more in the long term as the parts won't be relevant when he's ready to sell.

3-I haven't done much with AMD systems and, to be honest, have basically completely disregarded them in the last 2 years or so (Still do like ATI though) but if anybody has any suggestions about some of the AMD cores with embedded graphics, fire away. Bear in mind that I don't know much about AMD's recent exploits, so put on the kid gloves if you're talking AMD.

4- Try to convince the wife to increase the ceiling a bit. Unlikely, but I suppose it's plausible. She's really rather stubborn and they aren't well-off by any means. I would obviously see him spend an extra few hundred and have a good PC right off the bat, but obviously if it's not possible, it's not possible.


Opinions? Let me know. Thanks in advance!

TL;DR: Best option for building an upgradable ~300 dollar rig for present low end but future high-end gaming.
December 13, 2012 5:54:18 PM

Quote:
1-Find a B75 board, get the i3-3220 anyways and let him run with the HD 2500 graphics (Should at least get his foot in the door) until he or I (more hand me downs) can get a better video card. This should reduce the cost to about 350, which may be doable.


H77 is better than B75 as far as inexpensive motherboards go. The B75 is meant for office PCs where you have more legacy hardware (printers, etc) and includes outdated ports that you'll never use.

Quote:
2-Get an absolute bare-bones build (celeron dual core or pentium 860, 4GB RAM, no video card, but decent motherboard that supports Ivy Bridge) and tell him "It will cost you more in the long run, but you can at least use this for internet and java/flash games in the meantime." and upgrade him as the money comes. I figure this could easily be done for the 300 he specifies, and possibly go even lower to 250 or so, but of course you get what you pay for, and it will cost more in the long term as the parts won't be relevant when he's ready to sell.


Not really sure I agree with that. Depending on what parts are included you could build a really good system.

Quote:
3-I haven't done much with AMD systems and, to be honest, have basically completely disregarded them in the last 2 years or so (Still do like ATI though) but if anybody has any suggestions about some of the AMD cores with embedded graphics, fire away. Bear in mind that I don't know much about AMD's recent exploits, so put on the kid gloves if you're talking AMD.


Yeah it's probably justified why you would dismiss AMD but they're making a comeback. The FX-8350 and FX-6300 are excellent CPUs and so is the A10-5800K.

Maybe try this for a sub-$600 build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($111.97 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($45.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $557.43
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-13 14:53 EST-0500)

OR:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 EXTREME4 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($107.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($111.97 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($45.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $597.74
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-13 14:54 EST-0500)

Best solution

December 13, 2012 6:02:18 PM
Share

For that low of a budget, an AMD APU is really a necessity for decent graphics. So here is what if have strung up so far

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($106.27 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($20.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 311 (Blue) ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($35.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $327.20

For higher-end gaming just get another 4GB RAM, and get a decent GPU, say a 7870 for highest settings on 1080p.
Related resources
December 13, 2012 6:07:49 PM

BreadWhistle said:
For that low of a budget, an AMD APU is really a necessity for decent graphics. So here is what if have strung up so far

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($106.27 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($20.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 311 (Blue) ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($35.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $327.20

For higher-end gaming just get another 4GB RAM, and get a decent GPU, say a 7870 for highest settings on 1080p.


The A10 only makes sense if you're not using a GPU. If you're going to be using a GPU it would be better to get an i3-3225 or an FX-6300. The CX430 won't handle a strong video card either, I've seen it happen. You will need at least the CX500 or better would be the Seasonic 430W PSU.
December 13, 2012 6:31:18 PM

As I said, the end product is hoped to be a strong dual/quad core processor and a 7850 or comparable NVidia card (I don't think he knows/cares about the brand, and he wouldn't care about either the double floating point maths processing advantage for ATI and probably wouldn't even notice the PhysX.)

Right now his good idea of a game is whatever is on his 360 or Runescape on a mini-atx Acer desktop lol. Even if he has to cope with low-mid graphics for a while, this is more about the end product, which is why I was looking at Intel.

As it stands an A8/A10 seemed like a short term gain, long term loss once you add the card. I suppose we could just flip the board/chip/ram on fleabay or build it into a different machine and get a whole new setup when the time comes, but that sort of defeats the purpose of this thread.

Would the A8/A10 be able to handle itself in high-end applications with a ~200 dollar video card?


g-unit1111 said:
The A10 only makes sense if you're not using a GPU. If you're going to be using a GPU it would be better to get an i3-3225 or an FX-6300. The CX430 won't handle a strong video card either, I've seen it happen. You will need at least the CX500 or better would be the Seasonic 430W PSU.



When considering a PSU I was thinking about the Greenwatts 380 from Antec. I've had Antec PSUs in my rigs for years now and they've proved very reliable (my current Antec Quattro 850 is about 5 or 6 years old IIRC and still no hiccups)

not to discount SeaSonic. I've heard nothing but good things.

--

EDIT: I had watched a quick video of the Intel HD4000 embedded graphics and they seemed ample as a stopgap for what he was looking for. How does the HD2500 in the i3 compare to those? (I do doubt they would come close to the a8/a10 but I do trust the proc more. i3's have been a very good value for a while now, even in higher end applications.)
December 13, 2012 6:52:25 PM

Except he's NOT using a GPU. He MIGHT down the road but based on budget, and what he's been using, I doubt it will ever happen. In any case an A10 is perfectly capable of driving a 7850, and its already been confirmed the there will be another generation on FM2. Its basically a FX4300 which is plenty for low/mid range builds.

www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681911328...
December 13, 2012 7:23:39 PM

internetlad said:
As I said, the end product is hoped to be a strong dual/quad core processor and a 7850 or comparable NVidia card (I don't think he knows/cares about the brand, and he wouldn't care about either the double floating point maths processing advantage for ATI and probably wouldn't even notice the PhysX.)

Right now his good idea of a game is whatever is on his 360 or Runescape on a mini-atx Acer desktop lol. Even if he has to cope with low-mid graphics for a while, this is more about the end product, which is why I was looking at Intel.

As it stands an A8/A10 seemed like a short term gain, long term loss once you add the card. I suppose we could just flip the board/chip/ram on fleabay or build it into a different machine and get a whole new setup when the time comes, but that sort of defeats the purpose of this thread.

Would the A8/A10 be able to handle itself in high-end applications with a ~200 dollar video card?





When considering a PSU I was thinking about the Greenwatts 380 from Antec. I've had Antec PSUs in my rigs for years now and they've proved very reliable (my current Antec Quattro 850 is about 5 or 6 years old IIRC and still no hiccups)

not to discount SeaSonic. I've heard nothing but good things.

--

EDIT: I had watched a quick video of the Intel HD4000 embedded graphics and they seemed ample as a stopgap for what he was looking for. How does the HD2500 in the i3 compare to those? (I do doubt they would come close to the a8/a10 but I do trust the proc more. i3's have been a very good value for a while now, even in higher end applications.)


There is absolutely no bottleneck when pairing a GPU with a Trinity CPU. The only bottleneck you could notice would be if you were trying to run extensive video rendering & editing, in that case an Intel Hexa-Core would suffice lol. The integrated graphics should keep him satisfied for a while. Their iGPU's kick ass. Especially when paired up with faster RAM (1866MHz+)

And G-unit, It's theoretically possible to run a 7950 on a 450w PSU, especially with these components that don't draw too much power, and if you don't overclock AT ALL. Though very irrational.


December 13, 2012 7:27:30 PM

unksol said:
Except he's NOT using a GPU. He MIGHT down the road but based on budget, and what he's been using, I doubt it will ever happen. In any case an A10 is perfectly capable of driving a 7850, and its already been confirmed the there will be another generation on FM2. Its basically a FX4300 which is plenty for low/mid range builds.

www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681911328...


What I like about the A10 is that it's a strong low end CPU with really good integrated graphics. If you disable the onboard video you've got a CPU with a lot of overclocking potential. I've heard of people taking it to 6 / 7GHz.

Quote:

When considering a PSU I was thinking about the Greenwatts 380 from Antec. I've had Antec PSUs in my rigs for years now and they've proved very reliable (my current Antec Quattro 850 is about 5 or 6 years old IIRC and still no hiccups)


not to discount SeaSonic. I've heard nothing but good things.


That's an excellent PSU choice if you're not using a GPU. 380W won't be able to handle any modern GPU, you'll need at least 430W - 500W.

Quote:
And G-unit, It's theoretically possible to run a 7950 on a 450w PSU, especially with these components that don't draw too much power, and if you don't overclock AT ALL. Though very irrational.


I tried running a Radeon 5800 on a CX430 and the thing failed instantly. Switched it to a Corsair TX750 and it's been problem free ever since. Having more wattage than you need doesn't hurt at all but having too few or the bare minimum will cause system instability and failure.
December 13, 2012 7:41:13 PM

It depends on the CPU wattage as well, they can vary a lot. Other things like number of HDD's too. I would look at 500W+ if adding a card with dual PCI-E connectors, 500-550W if overclocking. (Especially with an AMD CPU). A card with a single connector like the HD 7850 will be fine on 430-450W.

EDIT: Trinity sounds like a good idea, I just read that people were getting 5Ghz+ overclocks with a decent cooler. (7Ghz+ with crazy liquid nitrogen stuff) Don't think they even disabled the GPU part.
December 13, 2012 8:00:44 PM

jmsellars1 said:
It depends on the CPU wattage as well, they can vary a lot. Other things like number of HDD's too. I would look at 500W+ if adding a card with dual PCI-E connectors, 500-550W if overclocking. (Especially with an AMD CPU). A card with a single connector like the HD 7850 will be fine on 430-450W.

EDIT: Trinity sounds like a good idea, I just read that people were getting 5Ghz+ overclocks with a decent cooler. (7Ghz+ with crazy liquid nitrogen stuff) Don't think they even disabled the GPU part.

I'd like to see benchmarks on that... The GPU inside there must be really happy to have all of that speed to process.
December 13, 2012 8:09:14 PM

I think people "safely" overestimate quite a bit with power supplies. A 80+ certified PSU that is rated at 380, in my opinion, is better than some crap brand at 500 or even 600.

People run TT and CM PSU's at "just barely" wattages all the time from those power calculators, I would trust them as far as I can throw em.

Either way, Personally, historically, i've always gone with overkill PSUs because if you get a crap one and it takes a dump, who knows what else is going with it.

As I said, i've used an 850 quattro in my single GPU rig for years, and i'm sure some people will say it's overkill (and it is) but i've never had a mysterious power failure that destroyed a part with it.

Also, what's the skinny on APU/GPU Crossfiring? I know i've heard of people theoretically doing it, but as I don't read up on AMD cores as much, I don't know much about it.

We could also put the kaibosh on the optical drive. Save an easy 20 bones, or redirect them to better a component (I'm thinking 8gb ram for 30 bucks instead of 4gb for 20.)

EDIT: The Newegg PSU calculator speculates that even with an optical, An A8 and single 7850, 430 should be enough

http://images10.newegg.com/BizIntell/tool/psucalc/index...

I'll probably go with an Antec VP450 in that case. Cost effective and reliable.
December 13, 2012 8:12:33 PM

So basically you just explained to us how a 450 Seasonic PSU is much buter than a 600w Logysis PSU?
December 13, 2012 9:00:40 PM

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2047/18/

''With a high-quality aftermarket air cooler or a water cooling solution you should be able to easily hit right around 5GHz with ease.''

EDIT: Also, 380W is plenty for a lower end GPU. With a ~65W CPU you should even be fine with the HD 7850 or similar.
December 13, 2012 9:08:24 PM

Quote:
Also, what's the skinny on APU/GPU Crossfiring? I know i've heard of people theoretically doing it, but as I don't read up on AMD cores as much, I don't know much about it.


I've heard it's possible but it's not much better than a real GPU.

Quote:
EDIT: The Newegg PSU calculator speculates that even with an optical, An A8 and single 7850, 430 should be enough


http://images10.newegg.com/BizInte [...] index.html


That calculator isn't really that accurate. Most aren't - they fail to take into account real world wattage vs. what the manufacturers tell you on the product box. And most of the time the manufacturers overstate their recommended wattage due to poorly made power supplies, of which there are many.

Quote:
I'll probably go with an Antec VP450 in that case. Cost effective and reliable.


I'd go with the Seasonic personally - it's very solidly built for a 430W model and can take a lot more punishment than the Corsair CX430 can.

Quote:
I think people "safely" overestimate quite a bit with power supplies. A 80+ certified PSU that is rated at 380, in my opinion, is better than some crap brand at 500 or even 600.


Absolutely, I'd take a solid 380W over a junk 600W any day of the week.
December 13, 2012 11:01:04 PM

The A8 is sounding more and more appealing. I'll talk to him tonight and see exactly where he wants to go with it.

EDIT: The A10-5800K is only ten bucks more and looks to be well worth it, Is there a clear downside to using that proc over the A8?
December 14, 2012 12:53:37 AM

Probably the upgrade range. You can go up to a i7 3770K with the LGA 1155 socket, but only the A10-5800K on the FM2 socket.

And another thing if you haven't noticed, is that the A8 is a quad core, whilst the 870 is a dual core.
December 14, 2012 2:24:26 AM

You mean the Pentium 860? To be frank I've never held much sway in multiple cores (over a dual) for gaming. It's been how any years and I still have only seen a handful of games that optimize multiple cores. I did notice that it's a quad though.

The jump from single to dual cores was huge, with the jump from dual to quad, it doesn't seem as big a deal. I ran a core 2 duo for a long time after quad cores were the big thing and I managed to run everything just fine.
December 14, 2012 2:39:09 AM

But remember. "Finished product". Quite simply the 4 cores will last you longer than two cores, just as the dual core has. Eventually you will need the 4 cores. Some games eve now recommend a quad core for gaming. Even if you bought an 8 core CPU right now, eventually they'll come in handy.
December 14, 2012 1:58:46 PM

Well, got up early this morning and spent about an hour on newegg trying to learn a bit about AMD procs.

Without further ado, I present to you gentlemen

THE SCROOGE
"Not the build we want, but the build we deserve"

(as always, open to suggestions)

Case/PSU- Rosewill R363-M-BK (includes 400W Rosewill PSU)
Comboed with HDD- WD Black 500

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Combo deal 134.98 with 10 dollar MIR


CPU-AMD A10-5800K

Comboedf with Mobo -GIGABYTE GA-F2A85XM-D3H

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Combo deal of 179.98

RAM G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4 @ 1600 - 39.95 after rebate code

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

All in all, The Scrooge comes in at a head-turning 362.28 shipped, with the ability to play games at lowered settings without taking a dump on it's own hands.

I chose to forego the optical drive both to cut down sligtly on cost and power consumption. He's going to be using Steam so it will be rather unneccessary, and if he does decide he needs an optical i'll just get him one later or reccomend a USB external for installs, etc.

A lot of compromises made here. The biggest decision (as we discussed) was to go with the stock PSU in a stock case. Not what i'd do but it did keep the build around the 350 sweet spot. Did not compromise on the Black HDD because even if he sells/rebuilds we'll be keeping that part, even if only for a storage drive.

20 bucks here and there could really upgrade this rig, but with the budget we're on, compromises must be made. It's not what i'd be building for myself, but i'd also be trying to spend as much as this build is shipped on my video card.

Open to reccomendations, a lot of the choices will probably be regarded as "wrong" by some people (IE no ODD) but it's what I came up with after an hour's digging.
December 14, 2012 5:24:38 PM

BreadWhistle said:
But remember. "Finished product". Quite simply the 4 cores will last you longer than two cores, just as the dual core has. Eventually you will need the 4 cores. Some games eve now recommend a quad core for gaming. Even if you bought an 8 core CPU right now, eventually they'll come in handy.


The word is eventually though, that's no good to anyone with a PC. Most enthusiasts upgrade their system again a few years later. It's best to get what works now imo.



That HDD/Case/PSU combo isn't great for the price to be honest. The WD black isn't much faster than a standard 7200RPM drive. You could get the Antec VP-450, Rosewill FBM-01 and Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM for the same price. That includes dual case fans and a better PSU.

EDIT: That other combo isn't great either, you really don't need the A85x chipset. The only advantage it has over A75 is more PCI-e lanes for SLI/Crossfire support.
December 14, 2012 6:11:13 PM

jmsellars1 said:

That HDD/Case/PSU combo isn't great for the price to be honest. The WD black isn't much faster than a standard 7200RPM drive. You could get the Antec VP-450, Rosewill FBM-01 and Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM for the same price. That includes dual case fans and a better PSU.

EDIT: That other combo isn't great either, you really don't need the A85x chipset. The only advantage it has over A75 is more PCI-e lanes for SLI/Crossfire support.


I was getting the Black because this will be his family PC as well as his gaming PC and will probably be one of the only parts he keeps (on my recommendation) if/when he upgrades. I've had a HDD take a dump and lost family pictures and video. Not fun. I trust a WD Black with it's 5 year warranty a lot more than a Seagate Barracuda with 2 year warranty. For me that's worth the extra 20 bones. The speed is just a bonus.

As far as the case/PSU goes, one would pay as much for the VP-450 as for this case combo. In the short term it doesn't matter. I could always drop the case combo and re-use my old case (8 or so year old ATX standard, but still compatible and in good shape)

Motherboard? Make a reccomendation on something better. I got this because it was bundled for a (30?) dollar discount. Find something comparable for a similar or better price and i'd be open to it. This is where i'm inexperienced.
December 14, 2012 7:28:30 PM

You know you are going to need an optical drive to install Windows, right?
December 14, 2012 8:11:11 PM

Nope, you can install via a USB flash drive.
December 14, 2012 8:11:50 PM

BreadWhistle said:
You know you are going to need an optical drive to install Windows, right?


Untrue, I have a version with the updates slipstreamed to a flash drive. Drivers come off of the internets (assuming Windows gets the LAN driver, but I'll probably be setting this up in a place where I can grab an external USB optical) and then Ninite will take care of the software installs!

The combo of the black drive may be obsolete, as I found out that I can get from the supplier of the shop I work for (I get parts at cost but it's a mom and pop operation so they're rarely better than newegg) the Black drive for a few nickels over 70 bucks. I may go ahead and build it into my old case and get a VP-450 in that case.
December 19, 2012 3:30:39 PM

Best answer selected by internetlad.
December 19, 2012 3:33:03 PM

Looks like that's the build we're going with. Hard choosing a best answer, as it often is, but I went with breadwhistle as he came up with the build for an A-series machine. Thank you all for your help as JM, and G-Unit, it is appreciated!

I'm actually looking forward to doing this build. I do so many intel builds it will be cool seeing how this turns out. I've looked at the benchmarks and reviews and the higher A series processors look very competant to meet my B.I.L.'s needs, at least in the short term.

Thank you again!
April 8, 2013 7:06:19 PM

How did your a10 build go ? Wanted to know as I've got a cousin who's wants this APU gaming setup would you Reccomend it ? Looks great for a budget/first time build and online bebchmarks look impressive I'm guessing once the built in gpu becomes obsolete you can disable it and run a discrete gpu e.g 7850 doubt the A10 will bottleneck it as it has piledriver cores thus compare to the fx 4300/6300
!