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My First Gaming PC Build Specs

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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October 25, 2013 10:28:21 PM

Hi all,
Im making a pc tower for the first time over my Xmas break this year with a $1200 budget and wanted some feedback. I started with the Ars Technica (2013) Budget suggestions and did some research on the specs they gave me and modified it to a few degrees to give me more quality with high performance games such as MMO's similar to WoW and for future games coming out with the next Gen gaming consoles (Xbox One and Ps4) such as CoD Ghosts, etc etc etc. These are my specs, and keep in mind I am VERY new to all of this. Also keep in mind my budget and the fact that my total price is including monitor, mouse, keyboard.

tldr; Here's my build specs, plz give feedback for highest gaming performance under a $1,200 budget.

Core: i3-3220 = $125
Motherboard: MSI H77MA-G43 = $85
Memory: Crucial 2x4gb (8gb) DDR3-1600 CL9 1.5v = $77
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 2gb = $170
SSD: Samsung 840 500gb = $330
DVD: Lite-On 24x DVD RW = $20
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 = $45
Power: Integra R2 650W = $70
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit = Have not looked into price of Windows 7 yet. I know it can be under 100 I think

Total: $922

Moniter: Asus VE228H 21.5" = $140
Speakers: Logitech X-140 = $30
Mouse/Keyboard: Logitech MK120 = $20

Total: $190
Final Total: $1,112


Major Conscerns: They suggested a different PSU in the original build they gave me (Corsair CX430 500W) and I was concerned as to whether or not the Case would be able to hold the different PSU I chose because its a bigger power supply. I believe it should though because I found it on Fractal's website. I was also concerned as to wether 650W will be enough to power the different graphics card I chose and the higher gb SSD I chose.

Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated as this is my first build and I am tired of playing heavy MMO's on a bootcamped mac with inadequate graphics, ram, and speed. Thank you so much :D 

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a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
October 25, 2013 10:31:37 PM

Very bad setup for the price.

Here's a way better build -

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 EXTREME4 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($73.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($92.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($316.13 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($42.83 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Microcenter)
Monitor: Dell S2240M 60Hz 21.5" Monitor ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Keyboard: Logitech K120-TAA Keyboard Wired Standard Keyboard ($19.99 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Logitech M510 Wireless Laser Mouse ($24.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1145.84
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-26 01:42 EDT-0400)
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October 25, 2013 11:48:47 PM

Up front: Half my historical systems have been non-Intel systems. I very much enjoyed AMD systems until the Core 2 Duo from Intel came out.

Spending 27.5% of your $1,200 budget -for a gaming PC- on an SSD which is very large is not the best use of your funds.
- Once games are loaded they tend not to access the storage sub-system very much at all.
- A modern 1TB or larger 7,200 rpm HDD is sufficient so long as your real-time anti-virus scanner is configured correctly.

This immediately frees up $330 (minus the cost of a 500GB or 1TB or larger HDD) for other components to be upgraded. I used 500GB as the minimum here since you selected a 500GB SSD.

The keyboard, monitor and mouse you may or may not want to consider changing. I'd put those down to personal preferences.

The CPU, Video Card, RAM and motherboard, (and Power Supply Unit, or PSU) make the largest difference in gaming performance.

Since AMD has already been suggested, consider that for the price of the CPU (and cooler) above you can get an Intel® Core™ i5-3570 Processor
(6M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz)
, and that is from Australian sources, NewEgg, etc. in American may actually be cheaper.

Note than an Intel CPU system would require a different motherboard.

You can most likely also get Core i5 4570 and Core i5 4670 processors for the same $230 mark.
- http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75024/4th-Generati...

In interactive latency sensitive real-time software (e.g. Games, where latency could mean time to render a frame and the time to process the mouse input as a re-action, something timedemo's do not benchmark) isn't the AMD FX-8350's strong point.
- http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8350-vishera-rev...
- It has high L2 and L3 cache latencies, be this the result of an exclusive cache architecture it matters not in actual usage (vs timedemo's) you will notice this in the frame latencies not being as stable as they are in timedemo benchmarks, and the 97th+ percentiles in frame rendering time, etc.

Due to this, and the Intel integrated memory controller outperforming the AMD FX series one, you need to clock the AMD FX-8350 just over 4.500 GHz (some would say higher) for it to perform on par with the classic i5-2500k when clocked at just 4.00 GHz (some would say less).

Not that I would suggest looking for an i5-2500k at this point, Intel have vastly better processors on the market today and these processors did not get released at the same time.

Basically, in timedemo's processor performance isn't quite as important as it is during actual gameplay. Even low resolution timedemo's don't fully highlight the impact a good processor can have.

All the processors mentioned (above) so far are 'good' processors however, and much better than the Core i3 you initially considered.
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October 27, 2013 10:42:34 AM

So I combined both responses and came up with an idea. I wanna make sure this is a good idea for what im looking for. It's a little more expensive but I think I can swing it (considering that computer monitors will be on sale for black friday in november hopefully). So here's what I came up with.

Core: i5-3570k ivy bridge 3.4ghz = $220
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo = $35
Motherboard: AsRock Z77 Extreme 4 ATX = $125
RAM: G Skill Sniper 8GB DDR3-1866 = $73
Storage #1: Samsung 840 120GB SSD = $92
Storage #2: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD = $60
Graphics Card: Asus Radeon R9 280x (3GB) = $316
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite White ATX Mid Tower Case = $42
PSU: XFX 650W 80 Plus Bronze Certified ATX 12v = $70
DVD: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Reader/Writer =$15

What do you guys think of the integrated responses? I took almost all of what TBC1 suggested and combined it with the suggestion of using an Intel Core Processor and a different motherboard from TheLastDoomguy's. I think this will work very well for what i'm looking for and I'm hoping you guys think so as well. Thanks so much for your feedback :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
October 27, 2013 10:44:52 AM

wavy7 said:
So I combined both responses and came up with an idea. I wanna make sure this is a good idea for what im looking for. It's a little more expensive but I think I can swing it (considering that computer monitors will be on sale for black friday in november hopefully). So here's what I came up with.

Core: i5-3570k ivy bridge 3.4ghz = $220
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo = $35
Motherboard: AsRock Z77 Extreme 4 ATX = $125
RAM: G Skill Sniper 8GB DDR3-1866 = $73
Storage #1: Samsung 840 120GB SSD = $92
Storage #2: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD = $60
Graphics Card: Asus Radeon R9 280x (3GB) = $316
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite White ATX Mid Tower Case = $42
PSU: XFX 650W 80 Plus Bronze Certified ATX 12v = $70
DVD: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Reader/Writer =$15

What do you guys think of the integrated responses? I took almost all of what TBC1 suggested and combined it with the suggestion of using an Intel Core Processor and a different motherboard from TheLastDoomguy's. I think this will work very well for what i'm looking for and I'm hoping you guys think so as well. Thanks so much for your feedback :) 


Looks good :p  - however, would personally go with a haswell cpu as it's newer tech/has intel hd4600 (almost the same price as ivy).
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