Skip to main content

Build It: Picking Parts For Your Kid's Entry-Level Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: With Discrete Graphics

CPU Scaling with Discrete Graphics Cards

We benchmarked 19 old and new graphics cards with the AMD A8-3850 and Intel Pentium G620, as well as the AMD A8-3850 with a similar discrete graphics card in CrossFire. We didn’t bother with the other two processors, since they're quite a bit slower and frankly don't save us much money anyway.

Even though Grand Theft Auto IV is an older game, it should scale reasonably well on multi-core processors. So, let’s see how well AMD’s four cores stand up to Intel’s two, and at which point the CPU starts to limit the discrete graphics card.

As long as graphics muscle is the limiting factor, AMD's A8-3850 and Intel's Pentium G620 perform nearly the same. This holds true with cards up to AMD's Radeon HD 6670, after which the Pentium starts pulling ahead. The difference between both platforms gets larger as the add-in card's performance increases. There's a greater than 10 percent difference by the time we're testing Nvidia's GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 550 Ti. The Intel Pentium clearly wins, in spite of its two cores, and especially in the higher-performance segment.

Direct Comparison of All Four Processors with One Graphics Card

Finally, we benchmark the Radeon HD 6670 using StarCraft II. We chose this card since it fits our budget well, and StarCraft II allows us to easily compare two different usage scenarios (CPU-heavy with many units on the map, and GPU-heavy with fewer units on the map).

Both Intel-based builds beat AMD's two offerings in the CPU-heavy map. The game is still playable on the A8-3850, but there is occasional, noticeable stuttering, which is reflected in the low minimum frame rates.

On the less-demanding map, AMD's A8-3850 does manage to beat Intel's Celeron G530 (but not the Pentium G620). Again, though, it loses to both Intel chips when we look at minimum frame rates.

Bottom Line

Generally, Intel's Pentium G620 is the better solution in combination with a discrete graphics card. AMD's A8-3850 manages playable frame rates, but the difference between it and the Pentium G620 is often substantial. The delta between them is particularly noticeable in an analysis of minimum frame rates. Consequently, Intel's Pentium G620 is the clear recommendation for our more advanced build.

  • velocityg4
    Interesting, but I'm assuming most parents that build there own computers, game and read toms hardware would be better suited just giving their kids their old gaming PC's. Since many this enthusiastic will already be replacing them every couple of years. Now they have another excuse to replace them and their kids get computers made from former high end and quality parts that are still very fast and more than capable of playing any kids games and edutacational/edutainment software.

    Although I say just give them an Apple IIe so they can learn on what we learned on in school.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    velocityg4Interesting, but I'm assuming most parents that build there own computers, game and read toms hardware would be better suited just giving their kids their old gaming PC's.I see the reasoning in this, however, for someone like myself I found this an interesting article; as I'm actually about to build a computer for my nieces and they do not need a fully featured gaming rig. It doesn't make sense to give them a machine that doesn't suit their needs and I'm sure many other parents/uncles/aunts are in the same boat.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    or at that age, you could just buy an Android tablet or an overpriced iCraplet. Both probably support AngryBirds or other games and you can take them along to trips, dinners, church and other events to shut them up.
    Reply
  • belardo
    JOSHSKORNor at that age, you could just buy an Android tablet or an overpriced iCraplet. Both probably support AngryBirds or other games and you can take them along to trips, dinners, church and other events to shut them up. So show me a top of the line Android tablet that costs less than the "overpriced" iPad...
    Reply
  • Maximus_Delta
    iCrap (something for the fashion victims & super creative types to show off whilst sipping their skinny lattes in starbucks whilst facebooking their friends about the fact that are in starbucks, having lattes, and got a new iPad / macbook)
    Reply
  • belardo
    What *YOU* do is hand your kid the OLD computer when you upgrade. But yeah, since about the age of 1 and a half, my son has had his own PC... keeps if off ours. He did damage his CRT monitor with paint - which was somewhat cleaned up. Fine. His first was a client's out-dated Pentium III-1Ghz which he paid $2500 when it was NEW. Then he got a compaq handme down from mom.

    Today, age 7: AMD X4 CPU, 4GB RAM, ATI 4670 card I built from various parts. I use it for background work since its so powerful. He does his educational and game software on it.

    When I was age 7, the Apple II was just released and most people didn't know what one was. It wasn't until 1980 that we started seeing these $1200~3000 computers... usually in the school library with 1 or 2 units. My 1985 PC: 1-2Mhz 128k RAM, 360k floppy drive system with a monitor was $900+. I still have it and it works. I forgot how to use it.

    Suggestions when building a PC for 3~8 year olds: buy a logitech notebook mouse ($15~20) as these are smaller but perfect for little hands. Use a cheap keyboard as kids tend to be messy and destroy them. if they are real young (1~3yrs old) try to get your hands on a CRT. Harder to knock over, costs $0~5 if you can find one.

    Also, a $200~250 netbook makes a good "notebook" for young kids (4~9 years old). Or give your kid your old notebook. My kid was given a 17" notebook a friend gave away when he upgraded.
    Reply
  • acerace
    9534995 said:
    So show me a top of the line Android tablet that costs less than the "overpriced" iPad...

    You're feeding the troll, genius. :heink:
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    Leave out the bling and dedicated video card for a basic pc for grandma and grandpa! I've already built a couple for senior citizens who are not gamers.

    BTW - there is an option to dedicate some of the memory to the integrated graphics. I installed inexpensive 8GB memory and dedicated 2GB to the graphics. What I don't know is if it makes a real difference. Would that help gamers?
    Reply
  • amdfangirl
    JohnnyLuckyLeave out the bling and dedicated video card for a basic pc for grandma and grandpa! I've already built a couple for senior citizens who are not gamers. BTW - there is an option to dedicate some of the memory to the integrated graphics. I installed inexpensive 8GB memory and dedicated 2GB to the graphics. What I don't know is if it makes a real difference. Would that help gamers?More or less dependant on the speed of the RAM.
    Reply
  • Proximon
    After all that build up a cheap PSU is used based entirely on claims written on the box. No reviews exist and apparently Cooler Master knows it's junk because they haven't bothered to get it certified by 80plus.
    Reply