Gaming Upgrade Build for a Friend

First off, hello to everyone on Tom's. I've been a long time reader but this will be my first post on the forums. My reason for coming here today is the following. My friend has an older gaming computer where the motherboard went out on them. He has a limited budget with which to work with and I'll give the approximate value below that I was given. He has a case, a GTX 8800, a GTX 550 TI and has them set up in SLI mode, hard drive, Optical Drive, and OS. So here we go.

Approximate Purchase Date: I'm not sure when his budget will kick in but the current estimate is 3-6 months

Budget Range: in the area of about $350

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming and Blender [3D rendering]

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Mobo, RAM, CPU

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and TigerDirect

Location: United States

Parts Preferences: AMD [due to budget constraints]

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: SLI

Current Parts List
AMD FX-4300 Vishera 3.8GHz -
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 -

Current Price after Shipping and before Rebates = About $341.84

As I'm not very familiar AMD [Personally I know a lot more about the Intel Chipsets and really fell out of keeping up with AMD] my biggest concerns are if the parts so far are worth the investment for about 6 years of use. We didn't want to get anything that's too cheap but we also didn't want to go overboard either. I don't know if the stock cooler will be enough to keep the CPU cool so would we need anything aftermarket for that.

Thanks in Advance for the help.
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    Too expensive motherboard and cheap CPU.

    Also, he doesn't hav the video cards in SLI. Its not possible. He might be using the 8800 as a physx card, but they are not SLI'd

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($188.79 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($96.33 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $329.10
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-11 09:45 EST-0500)

    This will be considerably better.
  2. tiny voices said:
    Too expensive motherboard and cheap CPU.

    Also, he doesn't hav the video cards in SLI. Its not possible. He might be using the 8800 as a physx card, but they are not SLI'd

    I think that might be what he's doing, I've not seen his machine so the best I had to go on was a verbal description of what he had/wanted. I did try to grill him for as much info as I could.

    I do like the looks of the setup you posted, any particular benefits of the the one you have over the one I started with? I mean beyond the normal "Intel is better than AMD because ..." argument. Originally we had been thinking of the Zambezi cores from AMD but I had thought that the Vishera core would be a better value for what he wanted. I'm just not sure if the AMD or Intel would be better for 3D rendering but I guess that depends on the CPU/MOBO combination I'm sure.

    You'll forgive me if I try to dig for some information as to the reasoning behind which parts are better than which. Just trying to get a better idea of what's going to be the most cost effective.
  3. tiny voices build is much better. but if you really want to go AMD, change the proc to an fx6300 $10~$15 price difference, though even that is not really recommended. i5 is much faster in games.
  4. I'll have to see what he thinks, I know he prefers AMD over Intel due to prices but beyond that the build Tiny posted up makes a highly competetive argument in Intel's favor. I think I can argue him over to that parts list pretty easily.
  5. The i5 will be about 3 times as powerful as the 4300 and 2 times as powerful as the 6300. It will also last much longer.
  6. Thanks for the help guys, I think we have what we need to work on his problem.
  7. Best answer selected by fmbailey.
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