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Budget gaming build, advise much appreciated

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January 18, 2013 10:37:16 AM

Hello there guys and gals!

This is my first ever post on these forums, so bear with me please. It will also be a rather long post, simply cause I want to ask every possible question that I can think of, and gather as much information as I can. So, the thing is, I'm starting to build let's say a gaming build, more of an all-round build to be precise, which will also suit me well for gaming. I plan to do some visual programming, maybe some photo and video editing, and some occasional gaming (I'm a big WoW fan :) ). As far as choice goes in my country, there's not much of it. I'll list the components which are on my agenda (along with prices converted in US dollars and euros - for the European members around here, according to the currency rates here), so I would like some opinions and advises on what would be the best value for me.

MB: I already purchased a Gigabyte Z77-DS3H for 120.76$ (90.33EUR).

CPU: I'm putting a lot of thought on this one. I'm thinking of an i5 most certainly, tho I'm not sure on the model. For starters, I don't plan to do any overclocking at first, tho I may in the future (I know you will probably judge me on my mobo choice, since it's more overclocking-oriented than a non-Z77 chipset mobos, but I believe I bought it for a good price, that was nearly identical with Z68 or H77 mobos, price-wise). Let me list the prices of CPUs:

- i5 3450 - 234.9$ (175.7EUR) - not in stock
- i5 3470 - 241.4$ (180.57EUR) - in stock
- i5 3550 - 250$ (187EUR) - not in stock
- i5 3570K - 287.4$ (214.96EUR) - in stock

The reason I wrote which one is in stock, and the reason I listed the 3570K is simply because of my first 2 questions:

1. Is any of the processors which aren't currently in stock worth the wait because of its price/performance ratio?
2. Is the 3570K worth it, just for the possibility to overclock it in the future, as I may see fit? As I said, I may overclock some time in the future, but the chances are more in favor of not doing that.

Graphics card: My second big dilemma. I'll also list the cards that I have set my eyes on (according to my budget).

- Sapphire ATI PCX HD 7870 2GB GDDR5 HDMI / 2xDVI / DP - 298.5$ (223.25EUR) - not in stock
- Sapphire ATI PCX HD 7850 2GB GDDR5 HDMI w/3D / 2xDVI / DP - 266.85$ (199.6EUR) - in stock
- ASUS HD7850-DC2-2GD5 - 260.65$ (194.96EUR) - in stock
- Gigabyte PCX GeForce GTX660 2GB DDR5 HDMI/2xDVI/DP Overclock - 285.65$ (213.66EUR) - in stock
- ASUS GTX660-DC2-2GD5 - 317.4$ (237.4EUR) - in stock

My 4 questions for this section:

3. Same as for the processors, is the Sapphire HD7870 worth the wait because of its price/performance ratio?
4. How should I know which versions of the cards I have listed? I mean, I checked the Sapphire web-site for example, there are 4 or 5 versions of the same card available. Btw, don't trust too much on the names (specs) of the cards I've listed (knowing the "effort" the companies here use when listing their products), I just want to know a way of finding out which versions of the cards are available on my market (be it checking the box physically, or checking the Part Number, or something else).
5. I read a lot that there are some serious issues with the 78xx cards, and I'm kinda concerned. Should I be? :) 
6. If there is any suggestion or a heads-up or a recommendation for any other version, model or manufacturer that you think will be suitable in this price range, please let me know (I'm asking this, cause there is one more shop I haven't checked yet, and I don't know what manufacturers they're selling).

RAM: I'm planning on putting 8 GB of RAM (2x4GB).

- DIMM 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz Kingston CL9 Hyper X Genesis - 30.33$ (22.68EUR) - in stock
- Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3, 1600MHz, Vengeance, 8GB 2x240 Dimm, Unbuffered, 7-8-8-24 - 86.96$ (65.04EUR) - not in stock
- Kingston HyperX T1 Series 8GB 1600MHz (2x4GB) DDR3 (Kit of 2) - 84.78$ (63.41EUR) - in stock
- Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3, 1600MHz, Vengeance, 8GB 2x240 Dimm, Unbuffered, 8-9-8-24 - 79.98$ (59.82EUR) - not in stock
- Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB 1600MHz (2x4GB) DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 240-pin DIMM - 51.07$ (38.21EUR) - in stock
- Corsair 4GB DDR3 1600MHz, CMV4GX3M1A1600C11 1X240 DIMM, Unbuffered - 27.37$ (20.47EUR) - in stock

7. So, again, is it worth waiting for the Corsair Vengeance, according to the parts I want to put so far? If not, which one would you recommend?
8. What's the difference between CL9 and CL11? Any significant performance gains/losses between the 2?

PSU: I'm guessing a 500-550 watts PSU would be enough for my gear (if not, or I can go a bit lower, please let me know). I'll list some higher ones also, just in case.

- PSU 620W SeaSonic S12II Bronze Silent 12cm Fan - 125.65$ (93.98EUR)
- PSU 700W Gigabyte ODIN Plus Real Power, 80 Plus, Silent - 115$ (86.02EUR)
- PSU 620W Gigabyte Superb Real Power, Silent - 86.74$ (64.88EUR)
- Power supply CoolerMaster Real Power M 620W modular Active - 132.48$ (99.09EUR)
- CoolerMaster Silent Pro M II 520W 80plus bronze w/135mm Fan, single 12V rail - 134.57$ (100.65EUR)
- CM Silent Pro 500W RS500-AMBAD3-EU Silent Pro 500W 80plus w/135mm Fan, single 12V rail - 108.48$ (81.14EUR)

There are a lot more PSUs, but I don't want to spam the thread, I think you get the idea of the prices. Mainly Cooler Masters (which I'll probably get). Now, for the question:

9. Do you have some preferred CM series to suggest? Something that will be sufficient for my build, but not a top-drawer one. I'm thinking between Thunder, Real Power, GX-Lite, GX, Thunder M, and Silent Pro M. I think anything above won't fit in my budget.

I think that's about it. Again, very sorry for the long post, and thank you in advance for your replies. Cheers! ;) 

More about : budget gaming build advise appreciated

a b 4 Gaming
January 18, 2013 11:35:36 AM

1. Not really. I'd say the 3470 and 3570k are the best picks at those prices.
2. Hard to say for sure, but I lean toward a no. Bear in mind the other three processors will still overclock a little bit - 400 MHz over their stock Turbo Boost clocks.

3. For games like WoW (only moderately demanding on the GPU), not so much. Besides, the GTX 660 is very nearly as fast as the HD 7870, cheaper, and will perform better in WoW (it tends to prefer Nvidia cards).
4. Model name, pics of the cooler, specifications... it can be a bit of a jungle sometimes. But apart from models with different types or amounts of VRAM, the differences aren't going to be that big anyway. At most a factory overclock that you could easily replicate at home.
5. No.
6. Meh, hard to recommend other deals without knowing your specific country.

7. Nah. Kingston memory is as good or better than Corsair in general, and the Kingston HyperX blu looks like the best deal.
8. Latency. The MHz is how often data is sent, latency determines how long it takes for eg. a specific request to be served. Lower latency numbers do help a little, but the MHz is more important.

9. CM? Ugh. Cooler Master is not all that reliable when it comes to power supplies. Gigabyte can be a mixed bag as well. Seasonic is one of the best brands around. If there's a 520W Seasonic it's fine to step down to that, or if there's anything in the same range from Corsair, XFX, or Antec.
January 18, 2013 11:56:25 AM

Hey there... :) 
That's not what you call a budget gaming build.. Itz quite on the higher end side. Anyways, what will be the sign of your screen? what resolution are you gonna play your games in? Many of the answers depends on the resolution you play at..
1. You just wont feel the difference. Trust me on that. i can go on to the extent of saying that you wont even find the difference between a i3 and i5 when you play games.. The difference is so minute that it wont be perceptible to you mostly. Ya, i5 would copy a large file, or edit an image or convert a video a lot faster for sure..
2. If you are gonna overclock, then the 3570k would be the best for you. I dont have much experience in overclocking though..
3. Well it depends upon you really. Both of these cards are up there at the top. There wont be much of a performance difference. And you can always oc a 50 upto and beyond the speed of the 70. But then again 70 can be overclocked to even higher speeds.. Both will play games for you no problem.
4. Itz all in the name. read the names carefully and you will see the difference between the versions.
6. Whats the price difference with a 7950/7970?? If you are gonna spend so much, then why not spend for the very bests out there?
7. Dont you have an option of buying G.Skill Ram? those are of the best quality according to me.. Better than corsair. Otherwise corsair is very good! and its wayy better than kingston. And ya, wait for venegence. It has those heat sinks.. Helps a lot when you are gaming and things get hot inside the case..
9. About the PSU, be very careful while buying it.. look in the forum for suggestions.. And make sure it gives atleast 550 to 600W on its 12V rails. Coolmaster is very good. So is Corsair. I would suggest Corsair over coolmaster.. :) 

Off the record.. Get yourself a good spacy tower cabinet that's dustproof and supports lots of fans.. Its well worth your extra money. Keeps the system healthy longer...
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January 18, 2013 2:48:54 PM

Sakkura said:
1. Not really. I'd say the 3470 and 3570k are the best picks at those prices.
2. Hard to say for sure, but I lean toward a no. Bear in mind the other three processors will still overclock a little bit - 400 MHz over their stock Turbo Boost clocks.

lifesamd said:
Hey there... :) 
That's not what you call a budget gaming build.. Itz quite on the higher end side. Anyways, what will be the sign of your screen? what resolution are you gonna play your games in? Many of the answers depends on the resolution you play at..
1. You just wont feel the difference. Trust me on that. i can go on to the extent of saying that you wont even find the difference between a i3 and i5 when you play games.. The difference is so minute that it wont be perceptible to you mostly. Ya, i5 would copy a large file, or edit an image or convert a video a lot faster for sure..
2. If you are gonna overclock, then the 3570k would be the best for you. I dont have much experience in overclocking though..


First of all, thanks a lot for the answers. Just to answer lifesamd's question real quick: I have a Samsung P2370 (so a 23-inch) 1080p display, and that's what I'm aiming for in games as well, maybe a tad less. So:

What you guys are saying is that I would be totally fine even with i5 3450 also, right? I won't notice any difference, but my wallet will. :) 

Sakkura said:
3. For games like WoW (only moderately demanding on the GPU), not so much. Besides, the GTX 660 is very nearly as fast as the HD 7870, cheaper, and will perform better in WoW (it tends to prefer Nvidia cards).
4. Model name, pics of the cooler, specifications... it can be a bit of a jungle sometimes. But apart from models with different types or amounts of VRAM, the differences aren't going to be that big anyway. At most a factory overclock that you could easily replicate at home.
5. No.
6. Meh, hard to recommend other deals without knowing your specific country.


So, if it was up to you, please write the top 3 choices that you would made (manufacturer + model). Bear in mind that there are also MSI versions of some of the cards available.

lifesamd said:
3. Well it depends upon you really. Both of these cards are up there at the top. There wont be much of a performance difference. And you can always oc a 50 upto and beyond the speed of the 70. But then again 70 can be overclocked to even higher speeds.. Both will play games for you no problem.
4. Itz all in the name. read the names carefully and you will see the difference between the versions.
6. Whats the price difference with a 7950/7970?? If you are gonna spend so much, then why not spend for the very bests out there?


Well, the cheapest 7950 I can find is a Sapphire one (3 GB) for 386.2$ which is ~70$ more than the most expensive card on my list, and the cheapest 7970 is 510.9$. Way more than that I would give for a graphics card. :) 

lifesamd said:
7. Dont you have an option of buying G.Skill Ram?


Sadly, no. And I can see that 90% of the rigs I've seen are with that kind of RAM.

Sakkura said:
9. CM? Ugh. Cooler Master is not all that reliable when it comes to power supplies. Gigabyte can be a mixed bag as well. Seasonic is one of the best brands around. If there's a 520W Seasonic it's fine to step down to that, or if there's anything in the same range from Corsair, XFX, or Antec.


Meh, and I thought of CM as a good company regarding PSUs. Anyway, I think I can find a Corsair one: Corsair Builder Series CX V2, 500 Watt, ATX, EPS12V, PS/2 for 83.15$ (62.2EUR). The only thing is, it says 500W in the name, and has a picture of the 430W version. :D  If I can't find a better Corsair one, will 430W be enough? Or to go with a stronger one in any case, even if it's Cooler Master?

Thank you again in advance.
a b 4 Gaming
January 18, 2013 3:18:53 PM

dramallama said:
What you guys are saying is that I would be totally fine even with i5 3450 also, right? I won't notice any difference, but my wallet will. :) 

...

So, if it was up to you, please write the top 3 choices that you would made (manufacturer + model). Bear in mind that there are also MSI versions of some of the cards available.

...

Meh, and I thought of CM as a good company regarding PSUs. Anyway, I think I can find a Corsair one: Corsair Builder Series CX V2, 500 Watt, ATX, EPS12V, PS/2 for 83.15$ (62.2EUR). The only thing is, it says 500W in the name, and has a picture of the 430W version. :D  If I can't find a better Corsair one, will 430W be enough? Or to go with a stronger one in any case, even if it's Cooler Master?

1. The difference between the Core i5s is pretty small. 100 MHz steps from a 3450 to a 3470 to a 3550 to a 3570 (or 3570k). The 3570k is the only one that really stands out, and that's because it can be overclocked freely.

2. The Gigabyte GTX 660 would be the top pick. Followed by the cheaper of the 7870s and then third pick would be... I don't know, the other 7870 or GTX 660, or the cheaper of the 7850s if you want to go a little cheaper. MSI makes good graphics cards too. The brands only make a relatively small difference.

3. I wouldn't trust any of the CM PSUs without a good review from sites like hardwaresecrets, hardOCP, or Johnnyguru. The Corsair CX line is of acceptable quality, but only just. I wouldn't personally want a CX430 with a 7870 or GTX 660, especially not if you might overclock. A CX500 would be plenty - but a Seasonic would be the perfect option.
January 19, 2013 6:38:22 PM

I've bought a Gigabyte GTX650 Ti 2GB OC Edition today for about 225.43$, just because the GTX660 actually wasn't in stock, the 7870 as well, and they didn't know if they'll get some in the near future. I thought about it, but couldn't wait more, so I decided to save some 60ish bucks, which I would better spend on a reliable PSU of a good quality. I hope I haven't made a big mistake, I mean I know I'm giving tons of performance, but hopefully this card will do just fine for me. So, when I buy all of the parts, my rig will look more or less like this:

CPU: i5 3470 or i5 3550
GPU: Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti 2GB OC
RAM: 2x4 GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 1600
PSU: I think I'll be able to find a Corsair or a Seasonic 500W
Case: Several options, mainly CM again, and Thermaltake V3 and V4
Storage: I have a WD Caviar Green 1TB HDD from my old PC

And I think that's about it. Any comments and suggestions on it? Tnx in advance.
a b 4 Gaming
January 19, 2013 9:06:30 PM

Looks like you got the GTX 650 Ti cheaper than the 7850s, so that's okay. It's slower than the 7850, but as long as you don't overdo it with anti-aliasing it's still going to do pretty well.

The rest of the components look good. Cooler Master cases are fine, it's only their power supplies that are iffy.
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