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Help with choosing parts for first gaming build; budget ~$650

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January 16, 2013 2:01:28 AM

Hello, I'd like to ask for assistance in regards to choosing the parts for my first PC that I'm building myself. I'm completely new at this, and I was wondering what a good choice in parts would be. I'm planning on using this PC to game at higher to medium settings comfortably for around four years. I'd also like to do some CPU intensive tasks. I already have a keyboard and mouse, as well as a good display.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Near the end of this month (January) or in early February.

Budget Range: Right around $650 USD with shipping. I'm not planning on bothering with rebates, so those aren't a factor.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, minor photo and video editing, internet surfing, classwork.

Are you buying a monitor: No, I already have one.

Do you need to buy OS: No, I'll be using a copy of Windows 8 I already have and Arch Linux.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg and Amazon. I can't pick up parts from a store since I live pretty close to the middle of nowhere.

Parts Preferences: I have no preference in CPU brand. I liked using AMD in the past, but that was so long ago that I've heard they're barely relevant anymore, unfortunately. I do prefer NVIDIA cards, although, if there's a good argument as to why I should use an AMD GPU, I'll be more than willing to listen. As I said above, I would like to be gaming at higher settings comfortably (40+ fps) for at least two years. After that, I'd be ecstatic if if lasted on medium, to even low, settings for another two to three years. From what I've been seeing, something like the GTX 660 or 670 would meet that qualification, but I'm not quite sure. I'd also like the possibility for part upgrades (i.e. some point in the future, if I need to, I could switch out the GPU and the PSU).

Overclocking: Maybe; I don't plan on it right away or anytime soon, but I would like the possibility to do so if I feel the need in the future.

SLI or Crossfire: No.

Your Monitor Resolution:1920x1080

Thank you for your help.

Best solution

January 16, 2013 2:12:38 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($74.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($204.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.39 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.58 @ Amazon)
Total: $617.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 23:12 EST-0500)

This will be excellent.
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January 16, 2013 2:22:18 AM

Just throwing an intel build to the mix :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($61.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: BitFenix Merc Alpha (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $656.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


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January 16, 2013 2:25:50 AM

tiny voices said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($74.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($204.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.39 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.58 @ Amazon)
Total: $617.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 23:12 EST-0500)

This will be excellent.


Oh, wow, that is a nice build. I actually came up with something myself, but it seems a little unbalanced compared to yours.

This is the one I came up with:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQpN
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQpN/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQpN/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($92.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 520W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $684.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 23:16 EST-0500)

As a whole, though, yours is cheaper. My main concern is the HD 7870. Do you think it will last well enough? I've been doing a bit of googling, and it seems pretty highly recommended, value-wise, having great performance per dollar. I also heard that the new drivers for it pushed a lot of AMD GPUs, making them perform above and beyond what they were previously. My main concern is that I can't seem to find any benchmarks for the new drivers in comparison to other GTX or HD cards.

I greatly appreciate your response, though.
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January 16, 2013 2:30:20 AM

662$ without rebates.. 2 people posted before i put everything together :D 
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQx8
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQx8/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xQx8/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD FX-8150 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($159.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($89.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($51.52 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.58 @ Amazon)
Total: $652.62
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 23:28 EST-0500)
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January 16, 2013 2:30:58 AM

I have a 7870 and with the new drivers I max skyrim without issue. I really like the card. I would say stick with my build because it has a much better processor and more RAM. it will serve you very well. You could always try to stuff a 660ti in my build and only be a bit over budget.
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January 16, 2013 2:37:19 AM

nix327 said:
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djangoringo said:
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Both of these seem really solid, as well.
Thank you.

tiny voices said:
I have a 7870 and with the new drivers I max skyrim without issue. I really like the card. I would say stick with my build because it has a much better processor and more RAM. it will serve you very well. You could always try to stuff a 660ti in my build and only be a bit over budget.

I actually heard the 660ti wasn't that good from other people.
Something about how something in it bottlenecks its performance.

It almost seems like it's down to the 7870 or the 660(ti) to determine how I progress, though.
All of the builds so far have been really good.

Also thought I should ask (for anyone in general), I should I bother with any sort of fan kit or CPU cooler outside of the stock?
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January 16, 2013 2:38:06 AM

It happen the same with me, i was making the build, without anyone posted, i got it finished and posted, why not, as long as no bashing the other builds, everyone has his opinion.
The FX-6300 suits you, if you want an amd cpu, it's much better than the x4 965 you have.
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January 16, 2013 2:38:06 AM

Unless you plan to overclock the CPU you will not need an aftermarket heatsink.
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January 16, 2013 2:48:56 AM

djangoringo said:
It happen the same with me, i was making the build, without anyone posted, i got it finished and posted, why not, as long as no bashing the other builds, everyone has his opinion.
The FX-6300 suits you, if you want an amd cpu, it's much better than the x4 965 you have.


Yeah.. help the op, have fun building and learn something new. :) 
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January 16, 2013 2:56:35 AM

djangoringo said:
It happen the same with me, i was making the build, without anyone posted, i got it finished and posted, why not, as long as no bashing the other builds, everyone has his opinion.
The FX-6300 suits you, if you want an amd cpu, it's much better than the x4 965 you have.

Oh, no, I don't want to bash anyone's build. I'm happy to have many options available and to see what many different people have to say. I have no real preference in CPU either. I just remember that AMD CPUs were really reliable and a good bang for your buck. That said, I don't want to downplay the FX-6300 either since, from what I've been reading, it seems like a pretty solid CPU for its price.

tiny voices said:
Unless you plan to overclock the CPU you will not need an aftermarket heatsink.

Alright. While I may take overclocking as on option in the future, I don't think I'll worry about it now. I'll keep in mind that I should nab an aftermarket one if I ever do so, though.

Thank you both.

I also managed to find a benchmark that's more recent comparing the stock 7870 with a 660ti.
I not too surprised at the 7870's performance since it seemed like a good card, but I am kind of surprised at the 660ti's since I heard it wasn't much better than the 660's.

I suppose now it comes down to what I want.
Save more cash and get a good card with great performance.
Or spend more cash and get a brand I'm familiar with that has somewhat better performance.

Hmm.

nix327 said:
Yeah.. help the op, have fun building and learn something new. :) 

I'll try to have fun.
Thank you again for the help. :) 
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January 16, 2013 3:03:55 AM

Best answer selected by markusTheMan.
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January 16, 2013 10:40:15 PM

Alright, so, just to make sure, if I were to ever over clock the CPU, I'd need an aftermarket heatsink, right?

Because, from what I'm reading, the GA-970A-DS3 doesn't come with one, so I want to make sure.

If I were to go for one, what should I go for?
I've heard around the web that the Hyper 212 is a good choice.
If I do go for one, do I need to buy thermal paste?

EDIT: Also, sorry for the revival after picking an answer.
I just want to make sure.
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January 16, 2013 11:01:56 PM

Yes, it's recommended, like the one you had in mind, the hyper 212 evo will do just fine, also you don't need to buy thermal paste.
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January 16, 2013 11:25:51 PM

Alright. Thank you again.
Just wanted to make sure.
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