First Build. Gaming Use Only. Help Appreciated.

Hi guys,

Just joined the Forum today. I've been using some previous threads for research purposes, but realised it was better to just ask specific questions for myself.

So, basically. I'm considering building my own unit. It'll be my first foray into building a machine, I've never even had to upgrade before as I've previously only owned a Lap-top.

I'm looking to build a desktop pc solely for gaming purposes. I guess the first thing to state is the performance I would like from the Machine.

Well, I'd like it to be able to play all the current titles (genres from Skyrim to Battlefield 3, to Alan Wake) while also being able (in a number of years time) to still be performing to at least the same standard as the next gen consoles, PS4, next gen x-box etc (I'm aware most of the specs in this case will be rough conjecture.

Part of the fun for me is to do this on quite a tight budget (Mainly due to money constraints) but also, I'm your average gamer, I play most days after work so don't require anything ludicrously hardcore. And as I've stated above, I'm new to this (so hopefully you can all cast your minds back to your first build), so I don't want anything mega-expensive. So I guess my first question is, how cheaply could I achieve the afore mentioned goals?

Firstly Processors. I'd like to stay under £90 just now, and I'm set on that. So far I've only looked at AMD. (I will look at Intel, I'm working my way through, doing my research) I have seen previous posts from you guys saying Intel is the way to go, so I'd like some info on chips under the £90 mark? The AMD processors that come into my budget are: Bulldozer FX-6100, Phenom II X4 965. Now what I'm wondering is? Will these stack up against games thrown at them in two years time? I've been looking into Overclocking too, so, throw anything at me, I'm keen to learn.

Next is the motherboard. Is there one I could buy, that would be, say, overkill for the 965, but perhaps in two years, cope with an upgraded processor? I know it probably sounds odd to you guys, but I'm not against buying an older intel processor from e-bay and then upgrading in a year or so, when these i5, i7 ones go down in price (if they will that is).

My third and final question, before I irk you guys with too many questions, is. Am I starting in the right place, choosing the processor and motherboard first? Is this where most of you began your first build. Just so you know, I'm aware of sights like PCSpecialist and so on, that do builds for you, but as I'm sure you guys appreciate, I'm keen to make this a 'Project', something I can actually learn something from and have a bit of fun you know. Hense why I'm consulting you guys.

Any and all comments appreciated (within reason) ha...anyway, previous threads have been a great help to me so yeah, guess it's over to you guys now.

Cheers guys. Thanks so much for taking the time to read what must seem to you lot total rubbish!
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  1. I was in the same position as you, learning about computer builds and hardware about 2 years ago. Trust me, learning all this is worthwhile.

    1. I would go with an i3 3220, it's at about £85, you won't be able to OC on cheaper Intel CPUs, as with AMD many of their budget CPUs are overclockable.

    2. The X4 965 is fairly outdated, so I'd go with the FM2 socket CPUs and mobos. If you want to go budget, the best bet would be to buy the cheaper CPUs from the newest gen rather than the more expensive ones from an older gen.

    3. Choosing a CPU and mobo first is what a lot of people do.

    Hope this helped.
  2. Lets start with this, you are starting in the right direction. The motherboard and CPU should always be the beginning of most builds. Now for the hard part.

    The qustions are kinda vague and hard to answer in a way that you may like but I will try my best. As far as the market today is AMD has the best support when it comes to upgrading the processor you have one socket option and it isn't supposed to change for a while (that I know about) for a gaming computer. This would be AM3+ now you can go to a AM2+ if you don't plan on being a power user. Now for intel they do have the most powerful processors but the price is not usually budget. you would be able to probably afford an i3 dual core with hyper-threading at that price, the downside is the fact that it doesn't have the raw power of having 4-6 cores and it isn't easy to find something in the right socket type after.
    The biggest thing I see wrong would be the plan of attack.

    Now I am not saying this is bad or anything but the approach to this build is not the greatest. When building a computer the most you want to look into the future for upgrades is 6-12 months (not 2-3 years) due to the nature of companies changing sockets every few years or so and Intel has 3 different socket types out currently and an old one that people still use these would be LGA775 (old), LGA 2011(new), LGA 2012(new) and LGA 1155(not so new?) (that are common in NA). Now that is like trying to find a needle in a haystack where AMD just makes everything simple AM3+ for power users and AM2+ for low cpu use (they also have another socket type for tiny applications).

    After all of this you need to also look into things like what do you want on this, Do you want extra space for extentions like a black magic card or an PCI-e cards, what kind of hdd/ssd do you want will you have enough slots for these things. For the most part everything that is relatively new should be compatible with each other etc, so you don't have to worry about compatibility unless you plan on getting OS X with your computer.

    So in the end I would recommend an AMD processor but if you want more power in an upgrade or two look for an i3 that will go in one of the 2012 or 2011 sockets so that you can get any upgrades in the future. I can almost guarantee that in the next 2 years intel will come out with a new socket but there will be little to no price drop in the processors as well. 4 years ago core 2 quad extreme was $1000 now is $400 and it can't even compare to the current generation of $400 processors. Also a powerful processor isn't necessarily the biggest factor in a computer but it certainly helps. I was running an AMD Ph 4x 955 2 years ago and got Battlefield 3 with 2 560ti SLI and it barely could play it on ultra moved down to a single 560ti with a FX 8350 now and plays it ultra no issues. Drivers also help a lot.

    P.S If you want to be on par with next gen consoles you will probably be looking for low cpu power and mid - high end gpu for the gpu I would suggest a nvidia 650 - 660ti or AMD radeon 7850 - 7950 depending on price ranges and preformance required (the 660ti should be good for 4-5 years in performance) they all fit in the same PCI-e x16 slot anyways

    Things to figure out
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