Budget gaming build w/ upgradability

ecjohnson3

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Hi everyone,

This is my first DIY and I am looking to build a machine that can run games at a good quality immediately without spending too much money. I am not playing any graphic intense games on my PC atm (all fps I now play on the xbox), but I do play MMORPG stuff and SC2. The idea behind this build is that as the games demand more I can upgrade the CPU, crossfire a second GPU, and install more memory. Please give me your feedback and any ways I could cut costs. THANKS!

Approximate Purchase Date: In the next 3 months.


Budget Range: 500-650 after rebates


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Casual to competitive gaming, streaming video, surfing internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Speakers, Mouse, Monitor, Case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: anywhere reliable, but remember we are trying to keep costs down

Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: I was planning on intel, but am very flexible

Overclocking: Maybe in future upgraded cpu


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in future GPU


Monitor Resolution: Haven't purchased a monitor yet

Additional Comments: would be nice to keep it running silently

My Build so far:

CPU: core i3 2100 (110$)

Motherboard:MSI P67A-G43 (110$)

GPU: Radeon HD 6770 (115$)

Memory: Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9AG 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM (40$)

Hardrive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB (55$)

PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro M700 (90$)

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner (20$)

Windows 7 Professional OEM: (125$ from friend)

My plans would be to drop in a second 6770 or the highest card I could crossfire and put in an i7 with 4gb more of ram down the road somewhere to keep the system up to date with future games I get into. Let me know if I am on the right track or changes you would make. Thanks again to anyone who responds!
 
Solution
Well, here's how it works. Almost always (except for $2,000 pc's) You have what's called a GPU bottleneck. That means the graphics card needs to have more muscle to keep up with the processor. This is not always the case, but usually. If you got a Phenom II x4 and a 6870, you would be able to add another 6870 later on and double the framerate. If you got an AM3+ board you would be able to drop in a Bulldozer chip when they release, even though those are dubious right now.

So with that in mind, I'd say going AMD might be wise. I fought and fought against this path a while back, but the forum at large and falling prices have convinced me.

This build is about as good as it gets IMO. Full 8x8x crossfire support, AM3+, room for another...

gammerx

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If you want to SLI/Xfire later on, you need at least 750W from what I've seen especially with higher end cards. get the cosrair TXv2 750W for like the same price. you seem pretty fine for now though
 

ecjohnson3

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Thanks for the advice. I went with the 700 based on Newegg's PSU calculator and according to it even fully upgraded my system wouldn't be running over 600. How much over wattage is necessary to be on the safe side?
 

ecjohnson3

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Ok sounds like I should move to the larger corsair PSU and I have heard good things about the samsung HD so that is another easy switch.

Any feelings about the CPU/GPU combo?
 

aga the hunter dude

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the cpu is pretty solid according to http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,2971-5.html

the graphics card is a little low on the chart.


if you're fine with open box items, the 6870 also appears in that price range from time to time.
 

ecjohnson3

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I was trying to actually tone the budget down in the short term and hoping that when I crossfire in another card it will make up for the 6770 being lower on the totem pole. Is that the case or is it worth it to upgrade to a better card? Perhaps I could start with a 6770 and then just hot swap in a better card when I have the money and prices are lower?
 

striker410

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Haha, got your PM. Don't worry about messaging me, that's why they have the option there!

Anyway, on to the build. You've done some solid research, and I'm impressed. But let's talk over a few things, shall we?

First, you should go for a better GPU. 2 6770's perform around the same as a 6870 I believe, so it's $175 up front or $240 spread out. I would personally go for the 6870 or 6850, and upgrade that.

next thing is, Don't get an i3-2100 only to upgrade it later. I mean it's definitely going to be alright by itself, but usually people do the disposable processor thing with cheaper chips. I would save up a bit more and get the i5-2400 or 2500k, so you won't have to upgrade.

Next, I agree with statements above. Coolermaster doesn't make top notch PSU's.
I would get an Antec Earthwatts 650 as it will be able to crossfire 2 6850's with ease.

I also suggest spending a bit more on this board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128502&cm_re=gigabyte_z68-_-13-128-502-_-Product The G43 is fine, just throwing it out there.

Now, all this is expensive. I have no doubt it's well out of your budget, so you may consider getting a Phenom II x4 and AM3+ board.
 

ecjohnson3

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jackspeed

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Jun 29, 2011
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No it doesn't missread the board sry wouldn't have suggested it. I don't know what the 2 gb gpu has.
Quick question here are you getting the i3 at for 110 newegg is 130 and amazon + tiger direct has them for 120ish? so the msi board (which is what I bought for myself with an i5) is what I would go for I misread the mobo I suggested sry.
and if you need something to shoot your friend with to save 125 on your windows 7 disk may I suggest this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA05U000AY47&cm_sp=DailyDeal-_-9SIA05U000AY47-_-Product :) its a deal
 

ecjohnson3

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THanks for your response!

I feel like I don't use my PC enough to justify a larger price tag :(

I am trying to keep the costs down, but at the same time leave room in the system to upgrade it in the future without having to start from scratch. That is why I am choosing the LGA 1155 chip and P67 mobo. Is there a better way to accomplish this goal now without spending more to not have to upgrade? Should I be building an AMD setup to save money? When it comes time to update the machine in a year or so to meet the recommended/optimal requirements of any future games I run into would I be able to do it wiht an AMD setup?

Sorry for all the questions as I am still pretty new to this and just want the system to have some longevity and also solid gaming ability at the same time :)
 

striker410

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Well, here's how it works. Almost always (except for $2,000 pc's) You have what's called a GPU bottleneck. That means the graphics card needs to have more muscle to keep up with the processor. This is not always the case, but usually. If you got a Phenom II x4 and a 6870, you would be able to add another 6870 later on and double the framerate. If you got an AM3+ board you would be able to drop in a Bulldozer chip when they release, even though those are dubious right now.

So with that in mind, I'd say going AMD might be wise. I fought and fought against this path a while back, but the forum at large and falling prices have convinced me.

This build is about as good as it gets IMO. Full 8x8x crossfire support, AM3+, room for another 6870.

Mobo: ASRock 970 EXTREME4 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157262

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $50 (promo code)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor $110 (promo code)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $175
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102948

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026

RAM: Patriot Viper Xtreme Series, Division 2 Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory $25 (rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220559

DVD: Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118040

That's $575, plus the $99 for Win7. A little over budget, but a damn fine build.
 
Solution

ecjohnson3

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haha forgot where I grabbed that price from. I guess if it isn't out there for that price then I would go with the one from newegg.com. What about some of these scetchy sites offering cpu's of this caliber for like 100$ (i.e. the great guys)? are these places not to be trusted?

My friend has the windows 7 pro OEM lying around. he bought it and ended up not needing it and was gonna just give it to me for close to what he paid for it.
 

ecjohnson3

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Thanks for the links that really helps. It looks like the intel chip wins out when it comes to gaming based on those benchmarks, right?

@Striker

That build does look great, but I wish I was saving just a bit more money with the switch to AMD.

Also, (I know I need to read up on it myself, but) what is everyones thoughts on the Bulldozer chips as a future upgrade to the AM3+ setup? Is bulldozer going to outcompete the icore series?
 

striker410

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Well we can certainly drop the price, but I thought you wanted Crossfire capability and AM3+ upgradability? If we were to drop the 8x8x crossfire support, I could get the price down $25 easily. Keep in mind, this build is fully Crossfire compatible. The mobo, the PSU, everything. It's a drop in fix to add another card.
 

ecjohnson3

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Well ideally I would like to be able to crossfire in another card and upgrade the cpu down the line and keep this thing gaming well for years :)

How important do you think being able to crossfire in another GPU is going to be down the road for gaming purposes and given the benchmarks do you think the difference between the i3 is going to be noticeable? All of the reports looked pretty close to me...
 

ecjohnson3

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Nice, you may have convinced me to move in that direction because for about the same price as I was going to spend I get the higher graphics card. The only thing I want to double check is the OC ability on the new board and if there was a component you could scale down on price and have the least effect on performance what would be.

Thanks again for everyones help this has been super informative!
 

ecjohnson3

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Thanks for the support :)

Yeah I know the 2100 doesn't OC, but I know the AMD can which could push it up into a higher performance range anyway. I just wanted to make sure the board you suggested had OC stuff build in for ease and power!

I will only ask this one more thing, Do you think having crossfire will make a huge difference and do you see it as a highly desirable feature in a long lasting gaming system? :) Just to make sure that it is justifiable upgrading the other components for this function. It would seem worth it to me, but just wanted to ask others opinion on crossfire/sli in general