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New Build For A College Student

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December 24, 2012 4:06:41 AM

Greetings, everyone. I am a current college student with a computer that is in need of replacement. I am an occasional gamer (Civilization IV, GTA IV, Skyrim, and WOW) and would like a system that, while not exclusively used for gaming, could handle these games fairly well at 1080p where possible. I have never built a computer before and am definitely looking for suggestions. The system I plan to build will run Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and my entire reason behind building is cost - I would purchase a pre-built system if I thought I could save money doing so, but I have instead tried to find a nice budget combo that can get me what I want. Now, on to the specs. Please critique and give your honest opinions.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
GPU: XFX HD-677X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
PSU: RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2
Memory: CORSAIR 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
Storage: Intel 330 Series Maple Crest SSDSC2CT120A3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Storage (cont): Western Digital WD Blue WD2500AAKX 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare
Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

I am thinking I can definitely save money on the MOBO, as I pretty much just picked one that seemed to have good reviews. Also, I love the SSD (it comes with a 3.5" adapter) and don't want to cut that out of the equation, but aside from that I am very open to tweaks. My goal would be to get this build (it currently comes in at $733.91) under $600. Thank you for your time.

Other Notes:

I prefer Newegg
I will likely build this before February
I don't plan on overclocking
My monitor is 1280 x 1024
Crossfire is not a big deal to me (mostly due to cost)

More about : build college student

December 24, 2012 4:15:04 AM

DO NOT get a Raidmax PSU. They are super crap and WILL fail and likely take your system with it. Only buy a SPU from antec, xfx, corsair, seasonic, PC power & cooling.

Don't get a 6770. Try for a 7770 at minimum. A 7850 would be better.

Drop the SSD to save money to put toward better GPU.

You don't need 16gb of RAM. Games don't use any more than 4gb so get 8 and you will be fine for a while. Also use the saved money to put towards a better GPU.
December 24, 2012 6:22:40 AM

it is sub 600 usd build
but be careful the cpus is only t microcenter. at other store, it will be more expensive at 180 usd

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($54.99 @ Newegg)
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: XFX Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($25.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $557.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 03:24 EST-0500)
Related resources
December 24, 2012 6:41:31 AM

Try this...

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($98.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($38.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($42.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $615.80
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 03:39 EST-0500)

It'll easily get you max settings on just about any game out there. If you need to cut costs, go for the HD 7770 or the HD 6850. Either of those cards will work well for your resolution.
December 24, 2012 8:12:07 AM

Of your monitor resolution is INCREDIBLY low at 1280 x 1024 then why are you concerned about playing at 1080p? Or are you planning a monitor upgrade?

A 7850 is good for 1080p, but way overkill for your res if you are looking to save cash.
December 24, 2012 12:29:22 PM

unksol said:
Of your monitor resolution is INCREDIBLY low at 1280 x 1024 then why are you concerned about playing at 1080p? Or are you planning a monitor upgrade?

A 7850 is good for 1080p, but way overkill for your res if you are looking to save cash.


I will upgrade the monitor at some point after the build (April, Maybe?), so I just want the resolution to be forward compatible with a better display.

Thank you everyone so far for your help - I do appreciate the fact that a lot of work goes into trying to help someone come up with system specs, especially when they are on a limited budget. I am looking at the different suggestions presented thus far and researching those components.
December 24, 2012 4:26:40 PM

You can also get a better GPU by cutting out the SSD. It truly isn't necessary. Most people leave their PCs on 24/7; therefore, boot times aren't that big of a deal.

I'd go for the HD 7870 if you plan on getting a 1920x1080 res monitor.

Here's some benchmarks...

Source ===> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...





December 24, 2012 4:39:02 PM

I don't think it's fair to say the Raidmax PSU 'WILL fail'. I would agree on getting a much better PSU though, the wattage is more than fine but the general quality of that unit probably isn't great to say the least. A bad PSU can cause all kinds of instability issues and if it dies it can take other components out with it. The brands suggested above are all good, you can't really go wrong with any PSU from any of those brands. Some other brands like FSP, Coolermaster, OCZ, Rosewill etc. can be OK as well but are a bit more hit and miss. Personally I'd play it safe and stick with Seasonic, the reason all of those brands are suggested is because Seasonic make most of their higher end PSU's.

If you're not going to overclock, the phenom isn't a great choice. An i3 would beat it in games while consuming half the power (and staying a lot cooler/quieter) for only a bit more.

I also agree, 16GB isn't necessary for gaming. Most games use 2-4GB so 8GB is more than enough.

This build comes in at $600 and gives better performance with a much better PSU and bigger HDD.

i3-3220
2x4GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600Mhz 1.35v Low Profile C9
ASRock B75M-DGS
Sapphire HD 7770 1GB
Intel 330 120GB
WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM
SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W
Fractal Design Core 1000

Total - $620 on Newegg
!